Thursday, December 5, 2013

Death of a world renowned leader

South Africa has lost a true gem. Nelson Mandela who became an international icon for his fight against apartheid in South Africa and spent 27 years in prison for defending his cause and led South Africa into democracy as its president, died Dec. 5, 2013 in his home. Mandela was 95.

What I admire most about Mandela's life story is that no matter what, he did not give up the fight for what is right. He, like American Civil Rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that "hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." I believe Mandela left a legacy of love covering the continent of Africa and I hope that everyone will embrace his legacy, learn from his life and strive to continue the fight for social justice, hope and peace.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Injustice and a guest post

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of injustice happening in our world.

Black people in America were rocked by the verdict on the death of a young black teenager named Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed by a Hispanic/White man named George Zimmerman because he “looked suspicious” when walking home in a gated (rich) community in the state of Florida with a bag of Skittles and iced tea in his hands, wearing a hoodie. Who knew a hoodie could look sinister? Apparently if you’re a black male in America and you’re wearing a hoodie, walking in through a rich housing development minding your own business (in fact he was going to a relative’s house) then you are suspect. Zimmerman was found not guilty and Black people in America who could relate to these situations, were immersed in despair.

See, for Black people in America, it’s MORE than a black boy who was killed by a White man. It’s about the history of oppression, hatred and injustice that still hurt people in America today. It’s about feeling that your voice will never be heard and if ever is heard, it will be disregarded. It’s about being "sick and tired of being SICK and TIRED" and yet forced to stay sick and tired because people in power do not care about helping you change your situation for the better. It’s about the silence. Yes, the silence. Black people in America are often forced to suffer in silence for fear of being heard and by being heard, offending people who have the power to make your life miserable.

I wish we all would remember that we are ALL from the SAME two first parents—Adam and Eve--
who were the first human beings created by God at the beginning of time on planet Earth (read the Bible book of Genesis for proof). I wish that we would remember that and then DRAW from it, in turn being motivated to treat others the way we wish to be treated and then being resolved that NO ONE is BETTER than ANYONE because in God’s eyes, we are ALL created EQUAL. And not only are we equal, but we are LOVED, yes, LOVED by GOD and I do believe that the good Lord wants us to get along with each other. 

Unfortunately, since we live in a sin-filled world, true harmony with all humans will not happen entirely until Jesus Christ returns to this Earth to take His faithful followers home to heaven and put a permanent end to sin (as it says in The Holy Bible, read the book of John and Revelation for details). BUT until then, God DOES hold us accountable meaning there ARE consequences to our actions and He does NOT expect us to sit idly by and watch injustice have a field day! No, God wants us to ACT, to promote peace, to as it says in Micah 6:8, do what is required of us mortals which is to, “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God”.

Read Isaiah 58:6-7 (New International Version) which says, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

Part of acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with God is sharing your story with the world in a way that encourages dialogue, dialogue that prompts change. Today, I’m being hosted by writer and editor Deidra Riggs on her blog with a guest post for her "Going There" series about race relations in America. You can read it here.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A New Kind of Bachelor

Really, It Matters
(A guest post by Deidra Riggs)

I swore off watching “The Bachelor” about seven seasons back. I used to be SO into it. Addicted, really. The romance! The drama! The exotic dates! The Fantasy Suites! The heartbreak! The sobbing in the limo! I. Loved. It. All!!!

Believe me. I don’t blame you if you feel the desire to click away right now and read something that will enhance your intellect, rather than this drivel about a — insert air quotes here — reality show where thirty eleven women throw themselves at one man who ignores the advice you shout at him from the sofa and who never picks the right woman and in the end the one he does pick drops him like a hot potato once the spotlight fades to black. You read about their breakup on the cover of a tabloid at the check out counter in Target and you shake your head and say to your own man, “I knew it! Why do these men never listen to me?” to which your man looks at you with eyes glazed over and says, “Really?”

Yep. I had quit. Cold turkey. But the other night, while scrolling through Facebook, I glimpsed something about a minority on The Bachelor! “What?” I thought to myself. I responded with something like, “We’ll see how long she lasts,” and figured that would be that.

Well, my curiosity got the best of me, and the next day, I logged on to my laptop to watch the episode online. Sure enough! Three black women! THREE! And, not only black women. This is the most diverse cast I’ve ever seen on The Bachelor (and I used the word “cast” intentionally because, let’s face it, the reality show thing is only so real). Later that day, I snuck downstairs and set the DVR to record this season of the show. (Surely, my husband is planning an intervention.)

The irony of this does not escape me.

All around me, people are dating and marrying “outside their race” (as our elders like to call it), and The Bachelor is just now airing an episode where there is a higher than usual statistical possibility that a woman of color will last beyond the halfway point of the season. And...I’m watching it! Can’t tear myself away.

Sean is this season’s blue-eyed, blond-haired bachelor, and my goal is to get inside his head, while not being manipulated by the producers at ABC. Don’t laugh.

Here’s what I want to know: Is he serious? Is he sincere? Is he really okay with dating someone whose culture is different from his? How much of this is about ABC and ratings (I know, I know)?

No. Those aren’t my real questions. What I really want to know is this: Haven’t we come further than this? Why is this such a big deal? Why are we Tweeting and writing status updates and blog posts about women of color on a television dating show? Why has it taken so long for The Bachelor to mix things up like this? And honestly...the real question is...why hasn’t the bachelor or bachelorette ever been a person of color?

Of course, I’m not just talking about The Bachelor. What I really want to know is, how can we say race doesn’t matter — on television, at church, in the corner office, in politics, in the classroom, etc. — when it obviously still does?

A believer in the unmatched power of story, Deidra seeks to connect people to one another and to God through words. She believes in the value of every person’s story and works hard to make sure we each find our place at the table, and grace to speak the words in our hearts.

Deidra serves as Managing Editor for and writes for DaySpring at The host of JumpingTandem: The Retreat, Deidra is fervently committed to the idea that God wants to change the world through you — yes, you! Connect with Deidra at, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

RACE in Movies

So I went to my first Writer’s Group recently and toward the end of our meeting, we all did a free writing exercise. Free writing is when you take to pen and paper (or keyboard to word processor), set time and write with reckless abandon until your time clock stops. At this particular event, we had exactly 7 minutes to respond to a prompt. Our prompt given before the timer was set began, “It’s always interesting that…” and from there we were encouraged to write, freely until the time of 7 minutes was over. 

I would like to share with you what I wrote and I encourage you to respond, freely! 

My 7 minutes of free writing: 
It’s always interesting that the movies made about Black people that win all of the awards have storylines based in stereotypes! Sure, Halle Berry and Denzel Washington won the Oscar. But look at the roles they played and the stories they portrayed! Denzel put on an award-winning performance in the movie John Q and The Great Debaters yet did not win an Oscar. And Halle had to DEGRADE herself to win that honor. 

It’s not just Black people who suffer this phenomenon. I’m sure Latinas are tired of seeing themselves portrayed in movies as the maid who doesn’t speak English or the Dominican woman who is ready to slice you with her collection of knives. And I’m certain Asians do not want to always fill the roles of the owner of the 7-Eleven or dry cleaners! 

The problem with these stereotypes is that they only show ONE SIDE of a person’s culture and history! There is SO MUCH MORE to Black culture than the ghetto and Ebonics and eating fried foods! There is SO MUCH MORE to Hispanic culture than gang violence and knives and border crossing issues! There is SO MUCH MORE to Asian culture than dumplings, sushi and the caste system! 

Now let this be your writing prompt: What do you think about the roles given to minorities in movies and the stereotypes they have to battle in real life?

Respond in the comment section.