Water Cooler Chat With A Conscience

Monday, August 27, 2007

Remembering Roach

On August 16, 2007 the jazz world lost a legend...the social world lost a fierce activist...the worlds greatest jazz percussionist, Max Roach passed away at the age of 83, after suffering from a long illness.

There will never be another - the TRUE man, myth, and legend....

Below is a tribute done to him on NPR's "Democracy Now w/Amy Goodman"


Farewell to Roach...Rap-a-tap-tap....

The Ants Go Marching One by One....

In the words of acclaimed musician/playwright/poet/activist Amiri Baraka, after hearing the news that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez had resigned, effective immediately....

"It seems to me that all of Mr. Presidents men are dying on the vine, one by one. It's just a shame that Mr. Gonzalez resigned before he had the opportunity to arrest himself."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

2 Timothy 1:7

For the first time in a very long time, i find myself somewhat afraid....not of a person...not of an animal...but of failure, my own potential, and the path that lies before me....which is rather ironic b/c i am the biggest proponent for following the path that God lays out before you....one of my quotes is "imagine how great we could all be if we stopped tip-toeing around our potential and finally began living in it"....that's me...i made that up....and now here i am...standing at the mouth of the road that leads to the fulfillment of my purpose...my potential is staring at me, into me...waiting for me to pick it up and run like i stole something....and i'm looking back but not fully..scared to make eye contact...scared NOT to make eye contact....

it's rare that one is given the gift of knowing what their purpose is (newsflash: we all have one)...it's even more rare that one actually takes the gift of knowledge and follows the gift givers path to fulfillment (in laymans terms...it's not often that one will sit still long enough and listen closely enough to follow the path that God lays before them, to fulfill said purpose)....at 23 i was blessed with the gift of knowledge....at 24 i began walking that path...at 29 i'm standing at the mouth of the next road...leading me evercloser to the land of fulfillment....the path is clear..there are no obstacles (at least not yet)...and while i am not paralyzed by fear....i am a little afraid of the beauty of the (un)known...my purpose is a beautiful one...the road is a beautiful one...the attributes that will carry this purpose to the land of fulfillment are beautiful ones...tenacity...passion...patience...commitment...integrity...belief....drive...divine blessing from divine hands....truly beautiful things...all things that i have been blessed with to move me down this road...yet i'm afraid....

i am blessed with the unique opportunity to forever affect the world by working with at risk youth...something i truly truly love to do...it is where my heart is....my passion is...it's what i like to call my "lifework"....the fear of failing God is intimidating me...i mean, come on...when the man upstairs hands down instructions, it's kind of a big deal...the fear of my own potential is intimidating me...and i must say...it's a very strange feeling....knowing that truly...the sky is the limit....the phrase "if you can dream it you can have it" is very real to me right now...if anyone reading this actually knows me, you know that i have a vivid imagination...and i'm the girl who doesn't quite understand the meaning of the word "no" when it comes to philanthropy...or simply "doing the right thing" - and my purpose is just that...a matter of "doing the right thing"...i just keep going until i get an answer i like...so knowing this about me...and knowing that i'm at this unique place in my life...one can understand the hesitation in putting my toe in the road...

then i got 2 Timothy 1:7, and it hit me like a ton of bricks...and my decision was made in that instant...i am looking my potential in the eye...and we're having a little conversation...but i'm doing most of the talking...going a little something like this:

potential: so...what are you gonna do?
me: baby..i'm gonna ride this thing till the wheels fall off.....end of story

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


If you say in one breath that no one has the right to play God with someone elses life, and then in the next breath that you are all for capitol punishment, are you contradicting yourself?

Poli-tic(k)s Bite!

So today I experienced my first major professional let down...all due to the rearing of the big, nasty, ugly blood sucking head of OFFICE POLITICS....what was being hyped to me as this "great promotion into a position that we've created with you in mind specifically", was taken away faster than a small asian woman shoveling water soaked hot dogs into her tiny little mouth....and what was the premise under which i lost my first professional promotion...SENIORITY....in what world does seniority outweigh experience...the non-profit world....NOW....to prove that i am NOT a negative nelly...there is an upside to this story of professional lime disease....even though my grant is ending and my current position is being done away with, there is ANOTHER position that i will be moved into....so this is a good thing...i still have a job...i will also have more one on one contact with my students, allowing me to build strong relationships and make a more direct impact in their lives..which is truly the reason i got into this field in the first place....to make a positive impact in the lives of at-risk kids, and possibly save some (if not all) from the perils around them....so in actuality..what seems to be a minor setback now may actually turn out to be a MAJOR WINDFALL....I have to keep reminding myself that all things happen for a reason, and God knows what he's doing so i need to just chill and roll with it....also...i'll still be doing what i love (which is working directly with kids), and i'll (hopefully) be making a difference....it's not all about me and my professional wants....that Executive Director position will come in due time...apparently there is just still more to do and learn before i get there....and that's alright...but man...this office politics business BITES! I hope it doesn't leave a mark.....

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Be-u-t-full (Be U 2 the Fullest)

My Be-u-t-full
does not lie in the soft spot
between my legs
nor does it reside
in the roundness of my chest
you cannot find it resting
on my high, ample behind
or hidden in the polish
of my pedicured toes
or my freshly manicured full set
My be-u-t-full
does not come from the salary i earn
in one years time
it does not have its origins
in the car i drive
My be-u-t-full was not given to me
by the men of my past
it was not given to me
as a token of appreciation
or given as a reward
like a good grade in class
no, no my dear
my be-u-t-full is more....
my be-u-t-full is in the work i do for Him
it is in deciding to push myself even harder
when faced with the dilemma
of sink or swim
it rides high on perseverance
and soars like an eagle on my dreams
my be-u-t-full is not in the obvious
but it is gently nestled
in the in-betweens
you can see it when i laugh
from deep down inside
it sings in the steps
of my easy, confident stride
but each step hums with a sweetness
to assure you it's not pride
my be-u-t-full dances alive
because even though i am mother to none
i am sister to many
it does a "clap stomp clap" at church
because i can give my 10%
even if it's just a penny
you can spy it in my language
somersaulting through english
cartwheeling through spanish
salsaing to sounds of puerto rico
bailando hasta tengo dolor en mis pies
my be-u-t-full
is not in magazines
not on any page of any book
you can't see my be-u-t-full
if you take just ONE look
you won't find it in hollywood
or on the stretched out blocks
of new york city
my be-u-t-full is more than gorgeous
lovelier than pretty
more REAL than breathtaking
my be-u-t-full
comes from within me

The Fate of Saulito Arellano

This morning, Elvira Arellano of Chicago, IL was arrested in Los Angeles,CA after speaking with the media about her pending deportation. For the last year, she and her 7 year old son, Saul have taken refuge at a church in Chicago, affectionately known as "The Sanctuary". Now, Elvira was an undocumented person living in the United States, however her son was born here, making him an American citizen. Elvira was a productive member of society, working and sending her son to school. Never had any criminal trouble - until the government realized she was working under a false social security number (which is a crime), and tried immediately to deport her. Elvira, fearing the worst for her child if she allowed the U.S. to deport her, took refuge at the Sanctuary and remained in hiding for the past year, until just recently when she took her fight to California to urge all undocumented peoples living in CA to go to their senators and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and persuade them to put the Immigration Reform Bill back on the floor. Knowing full well that she would be arrested shortly after her news conference, she got in a van with her son and some others and made her way to a California church. Soon enough they realized they were being followed and pulled their van over. Border Patrol and police swarmed the van, ordered her out of the car and consequently her son, frightened beyond measure began to cry. She begged the police to let her have a last moment with her son. They granted her the last moment, she kissed him, told him not to be afraid, they couldn't hurt her or break her, gave him his bendiciones (blessings), and was then removed from the van, handcuffed, and placed in the back of a squad car.

Here is my question....which is more costly to the country - keeping a child in foster care, or granting someone citizenship so they can become a legal member of society? And with the child, it's not just the cost of foster care that must now be taken into account, but also the cost of counseling this child will most likely need to undergo due to being exposed to such a traumatizing event. And let's just really play the other side and say he's not at all resilient and chooses a life of crime to deal with his anger and angst...then there are the legal fees incurred, and possibly the tax payer dollars that will have to be spent if he should have to go to prison. Now, I'm no mathmetician...I barely passed College Algebra (no really, I'm not kidding...I was ecstatic to get a "C")...but I do believe that all of that combined will cost TONS more than just allowing her to obtain a work visa, or grant citizenship.

I don't know...maybe it's the social worker in me...my girlfriend m* says that I have a bleeding heart...but it just doesn't seem right to tear a family apart based on a technicality....If they send the child to Mexico with his mother he's then considered an undocumented person in Mexico...but they can't allow her to stay here b/c she's an undocumented person in the States...so they send her back and leave the child here, motherless....ummmm...yeah...that just doesn't seem right to me...my heart and prayers go out to Saulito Arellano....

QOTD (Question Of The Day)

How do you change a community's mind, when they have an overwhelming sense of entitlement? Is it possible?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I Rage

It's a crazy world we live in
Suicide bomber pilots and AIDS
Africa perishing
New York once flourishing
My eyes glaze over
And not understanding God's logic behind tragedy

See folks, I'm not an angry person
Not by any means
Ask anyone I know
But in taking off my glasses
I am pissed the hell off
Because my mind, my limits, my vision
Is being forced to grow
expand, stretch, accept realities against my will
Is it fair that an entire continent of people
That looks JUST LIKE ME
Is wasting away from maybe ten minutes of ecstasy
That in the end will kill?

And that death escaped prevention
Lack of use of man's invention
How's that saying go?
"No glove, no love"
How come no one told Africa?
When push came to shove
Did we think they would naturally rise above?
Lack of education
Paved the way
To moral/mortal damnation
AIDS swiftly wiping out verification
That our brothers and sisters were ever there

I ask my God why,and how this could be
Our people, his people
Could suffer so much
"Negroes for sale!"
End of slavery, then
"Back of the bus!"
Malcolm X
In only one box place a check
...And in 2001 AIDS stands on Africa's neck...

It's a crazy world we live in
Suicide bomber pilots and AIDS
Africa perishing
New York once flourishing
My eyes glaze over
And not understanding God's logic behind tragedy

*note from that one girl
obviously this was written back in '01...but here we are 6 years later and the situation has only gotten worse...if you would like to help in the fight against the spread of AIDS, please go to www.theglobalfight.org - something's got to give

paz y bendiciones

La Guerra

For years black women have struggled with our hair....if we relax it are we selling out..trying to be white.....if we let it go natural do we forego our tenderheaded-ness, and accept that while we are not part of society's mainstream of beauty, we are still beautiful nonetheless....if we loc it, will that fly in the professional world...i must admit....i am one of those women entrenched in that struggle...back when i was 23 i felt the need for great change...and i off all my hair...at that time it was relaxed, just below my shoulders, and i was rockin a fly farrah....couldn't tell me i wasn't cute...but there was some unrest on the inside...i felt a strong tug of war with what society was tellin me was beautiful...and what i personally felt was beautiful...it was THE YEAR for supermodel alek wek, and while my friends couldn't see what was so stunning about her ("she's dark as all get out, has a gap between her teeth, skinny as a rail and has no hair...NOT CUTE")...i took one look at her and said "wow"....for me she was black beauty to the nth degree....not because she wasn't a mainstream beauty, but b/c she was so comfortable in her own skin - she literally GLOWED on the pages.... she had no hair...all the other black models had weaves as long as the Great Wall of China...she had a gap in between her teeth but she always gave the camera a wide, toothy grin....other models had their teeth airbrushed to look perfect....my point is she was lovely, and graceful, and stunningly gorgeous, and she was herself....so....i became a copycat artist and chopped off mine too....except i didn't feel pretty....at that time, to me...i looked like a boy....and when i had no makeup on i looked like a butch lesbian...i hated it..i hated everything about having short hair and couldn't wait to relax it again...when i looked in the mirror all i saw was ugly....and as soon as i had more than an inch of growth, i picked up a box of dark n' lovely......

Fast forward 7 years and now i'm about to be 30...i have come a very long way from 23, and i don't battle with my looks anymore...i have grown to reallize that my external beauty shines to compliment the beauty i was already blessed with...the beauty the lies within....however....i am still at war with my hair...but this time it's not for aesthetic reasons, but for personal reasons...natural hair = patience of a saint and full acceptance of my own unique beauty...the patience to let it grow...the patience to let it do whatever the hell it's going to do...the patience to learn to love my hair, kinks and all...the ability to wear my hair FOR ME...not for what this guy or that guy says he likes, but for what i like...what I think is beautiful...for me, my hair represents full acceptance and love for myself, inside and out....oddly enough though, this year of my life, age 29, has been all about learning true patience, and learnig to remain true to myself...to love myself...waiting on God to do what he needs to do so that he can bless me...patience truly is a virtue, and not being patient has taught me many lessons at age 29...not being true to myself has taught me many lessons at age 29....perhaps if i go into 30 exercising patience and truth, i can begin walking in my many blessings, instead of learning many more lessons...

"I am not my hair, I am not this skin...I am not your expectations, no....I am not my hair, I am not this skin...I am the soul that lives within..."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Adventures at Wal-Mart.....

So the other day I pulled my little Holli into a parking spot at the Baytown Wal-Mart....I should have known that was to be the beginning of all things bad...1. I was in Baytown...2. I was at Wal-Mart...that's never a good thing....but anyhoo...so I pulled little Holli into a spot and as I got out I noticed the car parked next to me...I spied with my big brown eye a confederate flag license plate on the dashboard...my anxiety went up a bit, b/c see...I'm not exactly white...so I noticed it for a few seconds and then proceeded to walk past it...when lo and behold, I spied with my OTHER big brown eye a plethora of bumper stickers singing the praises of the good old Texas Redneck...let's see...there was the one that read "Damn right I'm a Redneck B!tch, and Proud of it!"...."Real women love their rednecks, no teeth and all"....and the one that I swear made me throw up a little bit in my mouth....it was the Confederate Flag and underneath it read the words "Heritage Not Hatred"....I swear I heard the theme song to "Deliverance" playing as I stood there staring like a mime at this woman's back window...then I just kind of took an overall assessment of the vehicle and noticed there were confederate flags all over it and inside it....Thinking it would be in my best interest to actually MOVE MY FEET AND WALK AWAY before she came back, I shuffled into the dungeon we call Wal-Mart and pondered over that last bumper sticker..."heritage, not hatred"....it was simple to see that she was beyond thrilled with the perks of being a redneck - but I was saddened to see that still today - in 2007 someone could be proud of a heritage that was BASED on hatred....To see that on August 16, 2007 there was someone in this world that was actually in such close proximity to me, that was actually proud of a heritage in which her forefathers murdered my forefathers, raped my woman ancestors, whipped and maimed the children of my past, and worked my kin literally to death...to know that I was THAT CLOSE to someone who was so proud of that, and not the least bit afraid to let you know it...i dunno...that really shook my core....i would want to look that woman in the eye - just to REALLY see her face to face...but then again, they say you turn to stone if you look evil in the eye....it's things like that that make me realize that Selma wasn't so long ago...and we still have many marches ahead of us...