Saying Goodbye

You died.

I longed to find you and tell you that I’ve loved you and that you broke my heart – but you died.

I spoke to your son – your son you had with another woman – a woman whom you kept secret from me and on that night my anger seeped through my pores when you broke my heart. I was dangerous, but in love with you.

You broke my heart again because you died.

I remember that chilly night in the warm jacuzzi when you charmed me with your boyish grin and your strong arms and the careful way you held me.

The night I sung our song to you as we drove down the highway – a song I hear in my head – even now – you smiled and looked over at me. I loved you.

I was ready to change my name to yours. I was ready to go away with you.

All of it is now vapor.

All of these years I’ve searched for you and when I finally find you – you’re gone. Every relationship I had, you were there. They couldn’t love me like you loved me. They couldn’t hold me, like you held me. They weren’t you.

If we were together, tonight I’d be alone – missing you –

Here I am. Alone. Missing you because you died and I loved you.

To Brian Keith Miles. I loved you so much. Rest in Peace.

Vote, Please

The airwaves are bombarded with ads about Trump and Biden. Trump sends out messages that Biden is going to increase taxes and defund the police departments. While Biden shows how much division, hatred, and the horrors of COVID-19 has cost Americans under Trump’s presidency.

I am not going to tell you who to vote for, but I am going to tell you that I am tired of the hatred and division. I am tired of the name-calling and mud-slinging that is happening at the White House.

Folks, I’m tired of Trump.

During his four years, I have seen the cancer of hatred against people grow stronger than ever! In this 21st Century, the politics in this country has played an integral part in feeding the frenzy of “us vs. them.”

I have never seen the confederate flag fly so proudly in my 55 years! I am sickened by the blatant and subtle racism; and no, I’m not naïve to the fact that racism exists. I’m asking friends and family members to stand up against this putrid, foul stench of a divided nation to help it heal!

Like him or not, when Barack Obama became president, I could see a glimmer of hope! People elected a biracial man to the highest position in the United States government. That glimmer of hope came during a time when three family members died – in 2008 my oldest sister passed away from Cancer; her oldest daughter passed away from Leukemia a month later, and in the latter part of the year, before the election, my father died in September. When the spark was flickering, the country elected a leader of color! I thought that maybe we had turned the corner and got out of the dark past! I thought about the ancestors who worked the land so many generations ago, who were smiling with tears in their eyes. I thought about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose words were suddenly realized on that historical day!

For eight years, the Obamas stood for America! No matter how much others felt about him, I didn’t feel threatened or afraid!

Now, I do.

We are chanting “Black Lives Matter.” We have people who we have respected and loved say “All lives matter.” Yes, they do. But, when it comes to the brutality and killings of African American citizens in this country, I am outraged.

Are we really created equal? Is that the goal of Donald Trump?

His niece and sister spoke about him, and I trust family more than others. They don’t trust him. His own flesh and blood have said that he is not trustworthy; he is sick; he is a liar. Well, no one can really handle the truth, or tell the truth, but I am definitely secure in saying that family knows better than friends.

When I watched the Bob Woodward interview on “60 Minutes,” I was certainly convinced about Donald Trump. His voice was on the recording, loud and clear, admitting that he knew how bad the Coronavirus was going to be in America! He knew that it was worse than the flu! We could have prepared ourselves! As Woodward said Trump doesn’t know the American society! We are resilient! We are planners! We are workers! After 911, the country mourned, but we were working to support our neighbors in New York! We pulled together! If we can do that then, we can do it now!

I am sorely disappointed in our country. I daydream about packing up and travel across the ocean to African, Spain, Portugal, or even Italy to live. I will take my dog and leave this country behind because I see its demise. That’s why so many immigrants leave their homeland; they are saddened by the results of what is happening in their country.

I hate apathy. I can’t stand when people don’t stand up to say the RIGHT things! We have so many conservatives who think they are right; we have so many liberals who think they are right. The right thing is to correct the wrong! When you see injustice and unfairness, you have to correct it.

It is obvious that people will never defund the police. I need police protection and I know there are good police officers in the ranks. I believe that stringent training in cultural awareness is needed, but to defund the police is a bad idea. I believe people who love the confederate flag are traitors and terrorists to our nation because in the Civil War, those people wanted to separate from the union – the nation. I believe any hate group are against what the United States stands for!

You may not like the Biden/Harris ticket, but right now, it is better than Trump/Pence. The country is burning up with anger and distrust; the country is being drowned in destruction; the country is being manipulated and lied to; the country is being hypnotized by an evil presence.

We need to heal our land. It won’t happen overnight, but it can start in just one day. Election Day.

Vote, please.

Living Stones

A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor to teach the adult Sunday School class at my church. I felt very comfortable teaching, but teaching a lesson from the Bible was indeed an honor and very exciting.

Anyway, within the lesson, there was a point about how Jesus is the chief cornerstone in our lives and we are living stones; stones that build each other up, grow, and flourish. I pointed out that there is a plant called Living Stones – it resembles a stone but it has a colorful succulent that sprouts. It is very interesting. Two adults in the class Googled the stones, one of them was our Pastor’s wife and one of the ministers of the church. They were fascinated by them.

Later, the minister told me that she had received a phone call from someone who needed prayer because she felt very sad about someone who was very negative towards her. The minister listened to this woman describe the pain as “someone throwing stones at her.” This gave the minister pause. She thought about our Sunday School lesson earlier that day and the stones reference resonated with her.

The next day, in our church’s morning prayer group, she pursued the reference of living stones and asked the question “What kind of stones are we throwing?” When I saw the post on Facebook from my friend, Donna, I loved it immediately.

But then, I examined myself: “What type of stones am I throwing to others?” Sometimes, I think I am stuck in the moment when Jesus got a whip and turned over the tables and whipped people out of the temple courtyard in Jerusalem because they were selling trinkets in a holy place. The anger I hold against people is not a good stone to throw. I mean, Jesus’ anger was for good; and, sometimes I try to justify my anger with people.

I will be honest: My complaints were turning against me. My body was declining because the foulness was overtaking me. I had to do something to get myself back to a place of survival!

The stones that we throw can be harmful to us too.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to be a “holier than thou” person. What I’m trying to achieve is to throw more positive stone – living stones and not dead stones. Dead stones can kill people’s spirit and also my own spirit. Dead stones just drop heavily and stay there. Living stones can build people up and also myself.

I am a teacher and everything I feed my students has to feed me too because it comes from me. Therefore, I have to drop those dead stones because I am not perfect either. Yes, there are people whose actions are questionable and I wonder, “Why do you have to be like that?” Or “Why are you trying so hard to be liked?” I am not sure that is a stone or not; but, I have to look at myself and see if the stones I am throwing will benefit someone and not hurt them.

You see, everyone is hurting in one way or another. There is pain searing across this country, if not the world. There are a few living stones that want to help heal the land, but are afraid they won’t be accepted. They are so many who have dogged the actual acts and beliefs of living stones, but they actually accept the dead stones more often.

Why is that? Why is it better to hurl those dead stones?

I cannot promise that my dead stone throwing days are over; but I have to be cognizant of throwing them. I have to step back and figure out how this stone is going to hurt or heal me. The stones I am throwing can be thrown back at me too.

I want to be a living stone and I want to throw living stones to others. I want to build others up and keep them alive with hope and love! And, at the same time, I want to help them to not throw dead stones that might hinder others and hurt themselves at the same time.

But, I am going to do this out of necessity for the survival of my own soul and conscience. The phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is not true. Words embed themselves in the human brain, and we tend to think we are immune to the hurtful words hurled at us.

Not true.

So, if I had ever thrown a dead stone at you, please forgive me. Here’s a living stone for you to use:

“Don’t throw stones at your neighbors, if your own windows are glass.” – Benjamin Franklin.

Hello God? We have a problem!

The United States is hurting. There is a painful surge of anger and damage that is spreading throughout people of color – African Americans and White people who understand the plight. People of color are feeling the sting of the injustices that are clearly present and dangerous lurking around almost every corner in this country.

I will name the problem because you can do this yourself. I know there are some people who will still utter “All Lives Matter” or “Not all cops are bad.” Yes. We know this. However, not all black people are bad either. Not all Mexican people are dirty. The Chinese do not carry diseases. The Native Americans are not alcoholics. And, yes, not all white people are racist!

The pain that is finding its way into the heart of America needs to be soothed. We are in pain and in the middle of an election, where there is a lot of finger pointing and flexing, there are people who are sitting at home in silence wondering what they can do to even survive in this land we call “Opportunity.”

I haven’t written in a long time because I’ve been one of the silent ones – quietly seething, yet praying for answers of peace and understanding. The screaming lies of hate and misunderstanding are louder than the peace most people want. I cry and I weep alone. I am the last child of two people who were in the middle of racism and injustice. My parents were born in 1917 and 1919, so you know throughout their lives what they had faced, but they both courageously raised seven children to be bold in faith and to pursue life.

Yes, faith. My inheritance. Faith in God.

How do I stand strong in this firestorm of confusion? Faith. I’ve asked God what is going on? I’ve asked God to help us. I’ve asked God to take care of us. Some non-believers may feel that there is no God – but in my experience, there is. God is watching despite what you might feel. God is working despite what you may see. This is the time to believe in Him because evil is present. Evil is prevalent.

How do you battle evil?

You have to have God on your side. During this battle, I feel some peace. I may crack and break down but it only lasts a little while. I retreat into meditation and pray to revitalize my soul. My armor is damaged when I allow these trying times to creep inside of my being.

I am not denying the anger and frustration I feel; oh yes, I have emotions and I have breakdowns; however, I get back up and start again. I will not be defeated by the hate and anger.

In the Bible, there are warnings of such days as these. God had asked people to turn away from their wicked thinking and actions to be spared from the chaos and fight we are witnessing today. God has warned us. God has warned us about false prophets and people who claim to have love and God on their side.

Beware of high officials. Beware of friends who say “I agree with you, but…” Beware of those who do not want to sow seeds of peace and understanding.

Beware.

I am consciously aware of people’s words and actions. I am watching closely to what people are saying about what is happening to our country. There are times I want to step back and close myself off from them, but I cannot. There may be some people who think I am ignorant or not well-informed; but how wrong they are! I was a trained journalist and I observe people’s behavior deeply. That’s why I am a teacher – I am trying to get my students to observe and think deeper.

I can’t teach them about God-but I can live my life before them to help them understand to look within themselves and make hard decisions that will deepen awareness. I choose literature to help them with that process. Education is not about reading, writing, and arithmetic anymore; it is about how to survive in a world that is not forgiving.

You might think I am only talking about the racial injustices and BLM movement, but I am also talking about COVID-19 too. We have a leader in office who is placing Americans in harm’s way. People are following him like he is a new religion. They are drunk with this president. He encourages ignorance and paranoia; he has no plan to help the country and he has been successful in dividing the country. God has warned us about a person like him too.

I have had my inner demons and fights these past few months. I wanted to retreat and cover my eyes and mouth to not say anything. But I can no longer hold my peace.

We are fighting evil, my friends. We are fighting forces that will penetrate your closest friends and family members. These spirits will brainwash folks into believing that protesters are violent (people with evil intentions are infiltrating those peaceful protests); these spirits are dividing and conquering hearts of men and women who should be in positions to protect and serve; these spirits are entering people who have the influence and power to change laws.

Refocus.

Change the lens.

Vote.

Listen deeply to that still small voice inside of you. Quiet your thoughts. Stop talking and listen for a change.

If Not Me, Then Who?

This question was on my calendar of daily affirmations and Bible verses. I look forward to reading what the following day’s words of wisdom will bring me.

It’s funny, though, because as I sit here at my desk, writing, I wonder to myself: Am I writing this for me or for everybody?

The reason I’m thinking about this question is that not a lot of people read my blog. While I would love to have a larger audience, I believe that what I have to say doesn’t really matter to a lot of people.

But what does matter to people?

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Apparently, the lives of others do not matter to some people in the world. Most Americans are going nuts because they have to wear a mask! And, wearing a mask infringes on their rights! These people care about a piece a cloth covering their face and mouth infringing on their rights?

Hmmm. It hasn’t caused any less freedom when I wear my mask to the stores. But, if you want to talk about infringing on the rights of people – no. I won’t go there.

I recently received my DNA results from Ancestry DNA. I was excited to see where I came from. Of course, the first three countries came from the continent of Africa: Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo & Southern Bantu Peoples; Benin & Togo. I also knew about the 3% from Ireland and Scotland because my dad’s grandmother was the product of rape from the white slavemaster, Jonas Touchstone (an Irishman), and her African slave mother, Linda Touchstone. My great-grandmother was named Emily Touchstone. My dad had told me that she was very short, and she had a deep scar on her forehead from when she spoke back to her “dad,” and he hit her. But, what really surprised me in my DNA results was 9% of England, Wales, & Northwestern Europe, and 3% Sweden!

It goes to show you that I have a story. My dark skin tells one story, but my genes have another account.

During this time of quarantine and racial unrest, I’ve been talking with friends about what has been occurring in the world. My friends and family are quite disgusted with everything! We try to resolve issues locally as well as globally, but our voices only range from one cell phone to the other. I have found myself getting into debates online with people who want to type in all caps and then call me foul names because I don’t agree with them. I must admit, it bothers me. I get offline, and there have been times that I cry, and I talk to God. When Senator John Lewis died, and it was posted on social media, a person responded, “Good.” My heart sank.

I have some personal battles in my life that I am going through. I have struggles that are surrounding me as a teacher – my livelihood. In less than a week, I will turn 55 years old, and this year has been a roller coaster – it still is a rollercoaster mixed in with the Teacups, the Matterhorn, Space Mountain, and a Merry-Go-Round!

Some parents want to send their children to school despite the surge in coronavirus cases. Officials are claiming that schools are safe – but Arizona’s governor has not opened gyms, bars, pools, etc. The reason why schools are seemingly harmless is that we have not been in school since March. I watched a video of how the Superintendent in Massachusetts demonstrated with officials how distancing looked in a school bus and in a classroom. There’s not much distancing unless you only have five students on a bus and class!

I am among the throngs of teachers who are apprehensive about going back into the classroom. While we love our job, it is somewhat frightening to think about coming back with the COVID-19 cases still increasing in some of our cities! People do not understand that we have seen our classes almost diminish when flu season hits! Children are walking germs! Kleenex stocks jump when the end of September and the beginning of October hits! I ran out of tissue boxes before my Expo markers run dry!

But what worries me more is my compromised health. I have asthma and diabetes. I am at high risk for COVID-19. I took a COVID test, which was negative, but that’s because I don’t go out much. If I go to the store, I mask up, but lately, I’ve ordered groceries from Walmart, and I pick up my prescriptions from Walgreens drive-thru. I keep myself safe. Now, the school year is beginning. We are holding our staff meetings online, and for the first few weeks, we will have online learning; however, after Arizona’s Executive Order of no school opening until August 17th, I will be back in my classroom.

I posted this once on Facebook that we had to prepare ourselves for an active shooter in the school, now we have to prepare for a silent assassin – COVID-19. Schools are not safe! Schools haven’t been safe for a long time! And, sadly, teachers are not paid enough for this! Sometimes I think that we are not essential to government officials. We are indispensable workers – if we get sick, oh well!  This was another Facebook fight: a teacher had mentioned how she was at-risk for Coronavirus, and a parent wrote, “well, you shouldn’t be a teacher!”

Where is all this hostility coming from?

So, whoever is reading this blog, thank you for “listening.” I haven’t written in a long time, and I apologize if this was long-winded and slightly boring, but I felt the need to write. I am not going to quit teaching, and I am not going to stop believing in God because of the rampant hate and the overwhelming deaths and sickness facing this world. I survived an auto accident that could have killed a friend and me – so I do believe that miracles happen.

I have to believe it.

You might ask, “If not now, when?”

I don’t know. Maybe when you start believing too, because I need to tell you that if you don’t start believing now, the devastation will continue.

A Message: America’s Altar Call

If you are offended by the Christian message, this is fair warning. This blog is a message given to me inspired by God’s Word.

I’ve been kicking this around in my head and heart for the past two weeks now. It is a revelation given to me by God. Some of you may or may not know (and if you didn’t know, then that’s a bad thing for me), but I am a Christian. I believe in the Holy Trinity and I believe in Jesus Christ. You cannot persuade me that there is no God because God has come to me in dreams and visions – and if you’d like to know what I’ve seen and heard, message me and I will tell you.

However, this blog is not about that. It is about what is happening in our world today. Some of you might be wondering, “Why is this happening?” And, some of you who do not believe in God, might ask us who do: “How can your God allow this to happen?” We have an answer for both of those questions.

One night, I listened to some Gospel music and one song in particular, gave me pause. It was sung by Tramaine Hawkins and Gospel music’s phenom, Reverend Walter Hawkins. In case you need further explanation, he was the brother of Edwin Hawkins, who wrote the iconic “crossover” song “Oh Happy Day!”

Anyway, the song I listened to, “The Potter’s House” sung by Tramaine and Walter Hawkins. The song is based on the scripture in Jeremiah Chapter 18. When I read the chapter, I held my breath and closed my eyes. I heard the words “America’s Altar Call” inside of my thoughts. And then, there was this burden, or push inside of me that the reason we are going through all of this pandemic, racial unrest, political fights, is due to what God had asked Jeremiah to do.

Here, let me show you:

The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

Then the Lord gave me this message: “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, 10 but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would.

11 “Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’”

12 But the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.”

13 So this is what the Lord says:

“Has anyone ever heard of such a thing,
even among the pagan nations?
My virgin daughter Israel
has done something terrible!
14 Does the snow ever disappear from the mountaintops of Lebanon?
Do the cold streams flowing from those distant mountains ever run dry?
15 But my people are not so reliable, for they have deserted me;
they burn incense to worthless idols.
They have stumbled off the ancient highways
and walk in muddy paths.
16 Therefore, their land will become desolate,
a monument to their stupidity.
All who pass by will be astonished
and will shake their heads in amazement.
17 I will scatter my people before their enemies
as the east wind scatters dust.
And in all their trouble I will turn my back on them
and refuse to notice their distress.”

A Plot against Jeremiah

18 Then the people said, “Come on, let’s plot a way to stop Jeremiah. We have plenty of priests and wise men and prophets. We don’t need him to teach the word and give us advice and prophecies. Let’s spread rumors about him and ignore what he says.”

19 Lord, hear me and help me!
Listen to what my enemies are saying.
20 Should they repay evil for good?
They have dug a pit to kill me,
though I pleaded for them
and tried to protect them from your anger.
21 So let their children starve!
Let them die by the sword!
Let their wives become childless widows.
Let their old men die in a plague,
and let their young men be killed in battle!
22 Let screaming be heard from their homes
as warriors come suddenly upon them.
For they have dug a pit for me
and have hidden traps along my path.
23 Lord, you know all about their murderous plots against me.
Don’t forgive their crimes and blot out their sins.
Let them die before you.
Deal with them in your anger.

 

New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

OK. There it is. But before you skeptics start in on semantics and point out that it refers to “Israel” I believe that Israel is in reference to all people. But, the principle of the scripture is the message: if we continue to do evil and not obey God, then we will be inflicted with disaster!

What is the evil we are doing. It is apparent, isn’t it? Each of us, including me, is doing something that doesn’t sit right with the universe. We are creating chaos and destruction; we are hating and judging; we are disregarding people’s feelings. God’s Word isn’t terrible. The scholars asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment, and Jesus’ reply was “You shall love the Lord your God with all of your soul and with all of your mind.” Yet, Jesus provided a new commandment to “Love one another.”

And there lies the problem: We do not love each other. In the Bible, Jesus says that Hate stirs up conflict, but love covers a multitude of wrongs. Here, we have Jeremiah, an Old Testament prophet given a message to turn away from evil, and Jesus, in the New Testament, proclaiming that loving each other will heal all that is evil.

Hmmm.

So, as a nation, the majority of us are replying just as it was written in Jeremiah: “No thanks you invisible God. No thanks. We will continue with our own plans because we are little gods and we do what we want because we know what’s best. We are the brightest bulbs in the box. We don’t need the Bible to tell us what to do. No. Let’s go on our merry way and continue to defy that you even exist.”

How’s that working for you?

Evil exists because we do not really love each other. I ask God daily, do I have to love Trump? Because I cannot see myself saying that I love Trump. Do I have to love those men and women who hate my skin color? Because it is difficult to wrap my little brain around that concept.

In the Bible it says, “Love your enemies.”

Ewww.

That is so difficult and therefore, this nasty pandemic continues; the struggle of racism rises, and the political temperature in our country is a tug of war between blue and red.

This is the hard message. I am clay. I am being molded and reshaped to love others daily. It’s hard when I’m angry. When I see videos of people being killed or harmed; when I hear that people disregard masks and act like it is offensive when it is piece of cloth to prevent the spread of a deadly virus; or, when I see the president make stupid remarks. I get angry.

I don’t want these evils to continue. I will pray and I will ask God to reshape me, and form me into what I need to be to help make this world a little better. I am marred. I will remain on the potter’s wheel until I’m in better shape.

Miracles

I am prophetic today.

A miracle is coming to the world.

I saw this when I was watching CBS This Morning and watched a segment of outpouring support internationally for Black Lives Matter. Yes! Around the world, people have been protesting, marching, and kneeling to support our plight in the United States: racial injustice.

There have been arguments against the phrase “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter,” but, again, someone or some people have made new slogans about these differences between the two phrases. Yes, of course, all lives matter, but it appears that black people’s lives matter less!

A miracle is approaching.

I believe all people are getting tired of the inequalities. White people are upset that racism is blatant and in our faces; the government is shunning it as much as they can, and the people in this government finally understand that it has to change!

We do not need another MLK; no. We have to be MLK! We have to be the movement – we cannot look for another man or woman to lead the way! We are the men and women to do that.

The tides have changed.

A miracle is approaching.

I read one of my niece’s Instagram posts provided some insights into how people viewed her. One comment she wrote about is a person who said, “You’re too pretty to be black.” You see, my niece is biracial. She has light skin, but thick curly hair. She looks like my brother, of course, and she has hints of her mother. But, that comment not only bothered her, but it also shook the very foundation of who she is: an African-American woman.

Do you see the problem?

I hear voices saying, “Everybody is too sensitive. Everybody is offended easily.” Yes. We are. If you have never been offended regularly, then you have no room to say anything!

Excuse me. I digressed.

A miracle is just over the horizon. I see the movement. I hear the voices of the people.

I believe that if this injustice and inequality don’t bother you, then something is wrong. If you are not moved by the emotional pleas of family members who have experienced significant loss through police brutality, then something is wrong.

You see, I have not experienced police brutality in my family. However, I think about how it could have happened to my brothers, my male cousins, my dad, or my nephews.

I believe in miracles.

I believe a miracle is coming and when it does – we can start breathing again.

Dear White People, I’m Not Angry with You

As I peruse social media and see the protests, the memes, the t-shirts, the slogans, I can’t help but become overwhelmed and anxious. The country is damaged. The country has been hit by two viruses: COVID-19 and racism. Well, racism has been infecting this country for centuries. Many people have ignored it for so long that they forgot its existence. But when I say “people,” I am mainly talking about white people.

It’s the truth.

White people have no idea about how it feels to always have this “fear” or stigma that follows you. You know that feeling when you walk into a store and store employees are sort of following you around the store? It’s an uneasy feeling.

I remembered once I went into a store to buy my two sisters’ Christmas presents. I knew exactly what I wanted to get them, and this specific shop had it. As soon as I walked inside the store, one of the employees observed me as I looked at the gifts I wanted. I turned to her and smiled and asked for assistance. When she saw that I was indeed a customer and not a thief, she gladly helped.

I’m not paranoid. It just happens that way.

The uneasy feeling.

I am not angry at every white person in the world. No. My parents didn’t raise me that way, nor did they build me to grovel and bow down to white people either.

It hurts to see signs that read “Black Lives Matter,” and it hurts when some white people want to smooth that over and say “All Lives Matter.”  Yeah, they do. But, whenever there is an incident with police officers, black people end up dead!

When the white kid killed and wounded some of the black people in the church, they stopped to get him some lunch!

Blows my mind!

White people. I’m not angry with you.

The stereotype of the black person is lazy and shuffling. Yet, I remember how hard our ancestors worked in this country because if they didn’t, they would beat them. My daddy’s uncles were lynched. My dad had to step off a curb so white women could pass by.

But I’m not angry.

I see the mounting support of white people with this protest. I see posts about white privilege. That’s great. That’s wonderful.

Are you beginning to feel uneasy?

Black Lives Matter. I Can’t Breathe. We Shall Overcome. I Am Somebody.

These words have been mantras for the African-American race for a long time. We have been battling a bitter war for years. The silent war.

I have white friends on social media who have been very vocal and very supportive. Their posts have been daily with right, positive words. I knew who they were when I met them; I knew that they understood right from wrong. I have friends that I am not so sure about – I’m not sure where they stand and not because I haven’t seen anything on their page, but because I think they are afraid to stand up to what is wrong in America.

We have an ignorant, racist president. A president who doesn’t bother to calm the country but to divide the country. He is doing a great job of that! If that was his entire agenda to divide the country, then he has done it!

Make America Great Again is actually Make America Hate Again.

The last straw is the photo opportunity of him in front of a church holding a Bible! Second Corinthians 11:13-15 – “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

My great-grandmother, Emily Touchstone Watson, was the product of rape between her mother and a slave owner.

I’m not angry with you, white people.

I am rambling now. I can’t formulate solutions. But, I do want to say that if all of the African-American people began hating white people for the years of injustice, this country would actually burn.

That’s how angry we are.

But, I’m not angry with you, white people.

Lay down your privilege, and let’s walk together in this.

 

Here We Go, Again

There’s an enemy out there

and everyone is aware

Not seen with the naked eye

However, over 100,000 souls did die.

We are on a ship, like the Titanic

Where the band played while people panic.

And yes, you may ask

Why I wear a mask

Because people who don’t care

if their face and hands are bare.

They haven’t been touched

by death so much.

A lot believe it’s not real.

And the government wants to make a deal.

Money needs to flow

They don’t care if the cases are not low.

This has been on my mind

there are no answers science can find.

In my state, the cases grow

in the summer heat, the enemy does not slow.

When will people listen?

When teary eyes glisten?

When everyone dies alone?

When singing becomes an echoed moan?

Invincible, we are not.

We are human if you forgot.

The enemy captures all.

Young and old both fall.

We preach about our rights,

We carry guns to fight!

But, who are you going to shoot?

The virus and its root?

Journalists are wary of the news breaking

Medical staff walks out of hospitals shaking.

While we need a haircut and nails done

and celebrate dead soldiers in the sand and sun.

This whole world is a mess

and, of course, you can guess

I am against this conclusion

That the virus is an illusion.

Yet, I am going to comply

by staying at home, pray, and cry.

And to those who refuse to abstain,

all I can say is here we go…again.

Graduation 2020: A Speech

In June of 1983, I was one of the two student speakers at my high school graduation. I had practiced the speech in my government class a few days before, and friends told me that they were happy they could hear it in class. On graduation night, I struggled through tears as I read my speech, and it was hard to understand what I was saying! On that same night, my longtime crush kissed me on the lips! It was such a pleasant surprise! He said, “I’ve always wanted to do that.”

It was like a teen movie.

My high school graduation was 37 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. It was a memorable moment for me. I don’t remember everything, but I remember the special moments of that night.

Now, it’s 2020, and some students will not experience the traditional sense of graduation. They have completed their studies: 12 years of school for the high school senior, and additional post-secondary work for students in college. What a journey!

I want to provide these seniors (whether high school or college) a few words of encouragement in a speech:

How are you going to inspire others? What will you do with your life to encourage those who decide that life doesn’t matter anymore? I am posing these questions to you because through the most uncertain time in the history of our world, a virus wreaked havoc among humans and devastated families across the globe.

You have a cap and gown hanging in your closet and a piece of paper with your name on it en route to you. You persevered! You did not give up. Although the school buildings were shut and closed, education was persistent. Your instructors became students again to educate you through the means of technology. Your teachers and instructors tore down walls and gained access to Zoom and Google Hangouts; they depended on video and audio components on their computers and laptops just so you can complete your goal.

You didn’t quit. You didn’t give up. Why? What made you want to finish? Is it because you could see beyond your future? You knew that a virus couldn’t stop you from finishing? Of course, that is what you were thinking! Of course, you have goals and dreams! Even with a menacing virus sweeping the world, you hunkered down and defended your right to an education. You didn’t quit.class

Understandably, you’re upset that you cannot wear the flowing gown and the cap that represents your scholarly accomplishments; you cannot wear symbols of regalia that boast your high honors or series of degrees. You’re feeling slighted that you cannot walk across the stage and hear the applause and cheers from family and friends. It’s not fair. You’re right; it isn’t fair.

However, the world knows what you have done. The world sees you! You have the attention of everyone who knows that you will not be able to celebrate your success on a stage for an hour or two. But, Class of 2020, you have something that no other graduating class has; you have the attention of the world! You have giants in politics and entertainment, celebrating you and your success! You want your graduation to be unique? Oh, it is! You have national television show executives preempt programming to praise you! You have the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, addressing you! All of you!

So, put on your cap and gown! Walk outside of your home and yell, “I did it!” Celebrate with your friends and family! You did it! You continued and didn’t quit despite what was happening around you! That type of motivation should continue within you to move you to make life better! You are a part of history! No one will ever forget 2020!

In conclusion, I will ask the question again. How will you inspire others? What will you do in your life to encourage those who decide that life doesn’t matter anymore? You can begin by telling your story and fill in the blanks to what made you want to finish your education during the hardest time in this world. 

Class of 2020, do what you can to make this world a better place. I know it’s a cliche phrase, but take it to heart. You beat the odds, and that means you can do more!

Thank you, and we love you!