Painful as this is, I want to look at each child’s face and try my best to remember their names. How many can remember action movie stars names who act in violent movies? Something is wrong with us too if we can remember these actors names over children who were massacred. And let us remember the young black men assassinated over the years throughout US history. They are somebody’s children too.
These images mean a lot to me as I recall reading stories to my children over 40 years ago. I lived in Los Angeles, CA at the time where gangs and gun violence was common. I recall coming home one day from work and SWAT had blocked off my street because a gunman was holed up in my next door neighbor’s home and they needed to get him out. That was 1973. I left Los Angeles in 1983 and have never looked back. But it seems there is nowhere safe in this country anymore.
Our children deserve a safe place to live. Young black men deserve a safe place to live. Citizens of America deserve a safe place to live.
Via The Obama Diary
First Lady Michelle Obama reads a Christmas story as her dog Bo sits on her lap and 5-year-old AJ Murray (L), and 5-year-old Jordyn Akyoko sit nearby at Children’s National Medical Center on December 14.
It was many years ago, but I remember it clearly today. I was going through a divorce and my then husband had the children while I relocated and started a new life in another city. The plan was to come back for the girls once I got a job and had a place to live for them.
I was not looking forward to that Thanksgiving Day and the entire holiday season. I was depressed and uncertain as to which way to go and what to do, being all alone. The day before Thanksgiving I found myself crying and alone in my mother’s apartment. I couldn’t talk to her or anyone else. “I’m an adult,” I thought to myself, “and I will act like one.” Yeah. Right…as the tears flowed.
That afternoon, I picked up a newspaper to look for a job and saw an ad looking for volunteers to help feed the hungry and distribute clothing to the needy at a mental hospital in the city. It hit me that I could busy myself on Thanksgiving Day by helping others and forget about my problems. Long story short, I volunteered the next day and had a wonderful time with people who appreciated the fact that I took this holiday — and my time — just to be with them. Little did I know that this would turn out to be an annual event for me, even when I had my family together and times were better.
~ Marion Young
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Article...When Being Thankful Doesn’t Come Easy
SOMETIMES IT’S HARD TO REMEMBER WHAT WE HAVE TO GIVE THANKS FOR, BUT BROOKE OBIE SAYS THERE’S ALWAYS AT LEAST ONE REASON TO BE GRATEFUL
The holidays are upon us. For some that means spending time catching up with friends and enjoying family. For quite a few others, it is the most miserable time of the year. Employment issues, personal tragedies and loneliness are among the many factors finding people dreading the holiday season. And this year, on top of potentially stressful gatherings and heart-breaking reminders of lost loved ones that can creep up around this time, there are also many people who are still recovering from the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Nearly three weeks after this natural disaster ravished the entire east coast, there are more than 16,000 people who still do not have power, not to mention the 209 people who died in seven different countries and the $50 billion worth of damage to houses and businesses the storm caused.
Needless to say, 2012 has been a rough year for many people, and you might be one of them.
So if you are one of those people having a rough time and not looking forward to this season of “gratitude,” what do you do? Many people would tell you to “think of the less fortunate” during times of sadness, but why would comparing your situation with someone with even more problems than you have make you feel any better? It doesn’t make your pain or problems any less real or valid because someone else has it worse. But what might actually make you feel better is not just to think but to do something for someone else who needs your help.
And I’m not talking about just donating money to the Red Cross (though this organization is doing amazing things for the victims of Sandy). This holiday season, if you are physically able to, go out and spend some time with forgotten people—even if you feel like a forgotten person yourself. Check out this database of homeless shelters and soup kitchens, find one near you and find out how you can volunteer some time there. Visit a nursing home or hospice center in your area and see what you can do to help out. Just listening to patients who have no one else to talk to and no one to visit them could lift their spirits – and yours. These are not novel ideas, but they work. They work because they give us an opportunity to get out of our own head and be an ingredient in someone else’s happiness. The joy you bring to another person’s life has no choice but to rub off on you too. And it can completely change the way you deal with sadness or loneliness in the future.
That brings me to the one thing everyone can be grateful for, no matter what your situation may be: time to change. Every time we get to see a new day that was never promised to us, we are gifted an opportunity to seek out a different course. We can swallow our pride and mend fences with estranged loved ones. We can change past behaviors and we can make new mistakes. We can seek out professional help if our problems are feeling like too much for us to handle alone. And we can recommit ourselves to our goals and dreams because with each day, we get a little bit more time and just one more chance to do it differently.
If that is the only thing we have left to hold on to—the hope of just one more day—that’s reason enough for us all to be grateful.
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This is dedicated to you, my dear Grandma Sallie,
You were the most loving, wise, patriotic grandmother any child could wish for. To me, you were perfect in every way. Your home was always filled with family, friends and food that would blow anyone’s mind. It wasn’t just me who believed that. People came from miles around for your meals. Yet, you were never paid enough for your worth to allow you to move beyond your simple means. So it was and always has been for the majority of African Americans.
I always considered you wealthy, although the truth was the reverse. Your modest home was always clean and no one was turned away. Your home was a salvation for the needy where you collected clothing and funds for family, friends and neighbors. I learned about community service and charity firsthand from you. You never wore makeup, always wore a simple house dress and apron, but I thought you were the most beautiful and smartest lady in the world. As I grew older, I realized I was right about you. I always felt loved, safe and happy around you.
Your spirit…your spirit…
You were the last in our family born into slavery. I remember your stories of struggle and the pain of our people. You said, “Get your education!” I did. I became a teacher and activist, following what you taught me. Outside of school where I should have learned about slavery which built this nation, I learned the stories were worse than what you told me. I have learned to survive in a country where racism has always been a part of my life to the point where the poison is no longer hidden from anyone. I remember you were patriotic and believed in the good of all people. A picture of JFK hung on your wall for many years.
You told me to vote. Always. You once said it would be nice to have a “negro” president who cared about our people. You said it with hope in our future. I promised you I would always vote…and know who and what I was voting for.
Well Mrs. Sallie E. Hunt, I kept my promise to you. I have always voted since age 18. And for the past 5 years, I dedicated my life to the election and reelection of President Barack Hussein Obama, the first black president, but more important, possibly the greatest president this nation has ever had. And while our work is hardly over, we are on to a good start to make this country into something you prayed and dreamed of.
Under President Obama, I feel safe, I believe Obama cares, and I face the future with optimism and hope.
And so, I dedicate this song and celebration of the election of President Obama to you, and to all the slaves who struggled and died for a country that used, abused and despised them. It seems the hate never left. But I remember you said to love even the haters because they know not what they do. I will try to remember that part. And I will keep hope alive.
In closing, this song is for you. I know you will always be with me.
Aretha Franklin’s version