This program taught me five valuable lessons:
1. Children need our support and guidance. When each of these children spotted their family, the look of love and joy could melt the hardest heart.
2. Our teachers are put in thankless positions. They need more love, support and pay. The soloist didn’t show up and these educators filled in admirably.
3. Our children are beautiful together in their own world. It’s a shame what growing up will do to their minds and hearts.
4. The school is very diverse, but all of the teachers are female and predominantly white.
5. The world needs love and someone to lead on. These children spoke/song in multiple languages, genres and eras where grandparents, parents, students could all sing in harmony and unison.
Independence is a great thing!! Every country celebrates the day of its beginning. Every child eagerly awaits the day they turn 18 to finally be legally emancipated into adulthood. Now, to be grown has its heavy responsibilities, but it is also carriers the wonderful gift of Freedom. Freedom to breathe. Freedom of choice. Freedom to move. Freedom, Freedom, Freedom!!!
Well, imagine if freedom never came. What if your whole life was destined to only the darkness of servitude. For many children (and their descendants) of the diaspora this was a grave dark reality. With the Emancipation of 1863 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 many rights were restored and granted. However, the evidence of the indoctrination from centuries of capitivity is revealed in the lost of language, family names and culture. So, when the ability to be free came for our ancestors, many choices could not be made because they were lost in the annals of a history, forever.
Circa 1966 when Kwanzaa was invented and the Nguzo Saba gave us seven principles to help reconnect with our African heritage. On the second day being that of Kujichagulia: Self Determination. The ability to define and name ourselves. To create for ourselves and speak for ourselves. For any person, freedom and independence is as essential to the health of the mind as air is to the body and lungs.
On my Sankofa (Go back and Get It) pilgrimage to Ghana Africa. I was given a new name from Chief Nana Kow Amoasi III of my new village of the Efutu Mampon people. Kweku Akyirefi was the name given to me. And, it felt like a new birth, baptismal, and reawakening. My new name literally means, he who is born on a Wednesday and and he who hates dirt (injustice) and is a connector of people.
I wear this name with pride; in fact, with more pride than the name of my birth— because it was a choice for me to ask for it, accept it and wear it. As this second day of Kwanzaa is reflected on by many Americans of African descent, it is important that we all recognize the beauty of freedom. Whatever name we choose to wear. Whatever ways we choose to define ourselves. Whatever ways we choose to speak for ourselves- let us do it in a way to set a foundation for future generations; but, even more in a way to show respect for our elders and a veneration for our ancestors.
Habari Gani? Kujichagulia
The artist formerly known as Ramel Smith
A young student at Marquette University, Austin Moutry, is doing something about all the negativity in the world, he has tapped into the powerful source of constant positive thinking. Through a clothing line and a simple statement P.O.is.E.
How many times have we’ve been told to keep our POisE during a difficult situation? Well his clothing is designed to remind us of that concept every time we (or someone else) looks at our chest or sleeve or head.
Austin stated that Posiitive Outlook is Everything! A junior at MU, he is spreading hope, love and positivity when so many institutions and people are spreading chaos, confusion, division and negativity.
We all face problems in life, but our outlook is what will help us to overcome— or more readily succumb—impossible situations. It is nice to know that the next generation can keep their “POisE” because we need it today!!
I always end my show with the message, “the best way to heal yourself is to help others.” Well with this article, I think I just healed myself a little.
Keep your POisE
True and life giving
Loving ones touch makes me whole
The gift from above
To boycott or not, this is the question of the Fall of 2017 for the National Football League.
Colin Kaepernick, the former QB of the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL created a plethora of conversations around the nation last year. His initial protest to sit during the National Anthem was to draw attention to police brutality toward unarmed citizens, specifically unarmed people of color. However, his protest was drowned by the voices of those who thought his form of protest was unpatriotic. To show it was not a matter of disrespect to soldiers, he took a knee to respect those who have fought and continue to fight for our right to have freedom of speech and freedom in general. Yet, it was not enough to appease many people who believed his protest was invalid and his measure of protest was disrespectful.
He became so polarizing and a hot button issue that when his contract was up, no team wanted to sign him– even in a back-up capacity. Players, Coaches and upper management believed he could help a team; yet, he remained unsigned. So why is he unsigned? There are a myriad of reasons why he is not signed, but the major reason appears to be his polarizing presence that would create a circus of attention in the locker room.
But when has the circus coming to town ever stopped all 32 teams from taking a chance on a player that could be a positive asset to the team. Mind you, the controversy around him is not about a criminal event. The controversy around him is not being a bad teammate. The controversy around him is not his inability to play the game. Well, his ability is little in question; but, many players feel even if he is not a starter he is a solid and capable quarterback insurance policy for the vast majority of teams in the league.
So, why is he not playing? The belief is he overstepped his bounds of topic. He was suppose to be a role model, but just on superficial issues or issues that have universal appeal and support.
Colin committed the grave sin of speaking on THE most hot button topic in America- Race. More specifically, Racial injustice and Racial inequity. His non-placement on a team can be cleverly disguised by multiple plausible reasons. However, anyone who is aware of his ability –and is honest–will agree that this (Race) is the largest slice of the pie if we completed a multiple regression analysis.
For many who view Kaepernick as a modern day Ali, who champions the voice of the voiceless and is willing to use–and sacrifice– his celebrity to take a stand on a topic often avoided, discounted and ignored, feel the need to stand behind him.
Not only for him, but for the others who are willing to continue this fight and for those daring souls who may attempt this fight in the future.
Economic castration is what will turn the engine of any vehicle that travels on the highway of capitalism. Many shout- BOYCOTT. Let’s hurt the NFL where it counts. No NFL until Colin is on a team!
Martin Luther King, Jr. stated that any man who hasn’t found something to die for, isn’t fit to live. Colin was willing to kill his career to stand on this point! I applaud him and those who support him!
However, let me ponder some reasons on how this boycott- has the right spirit, but is not suited for true victory. Low television numbers will get the attention of teams and the league. So, let’s say Colin gets a job– we will go back to watching? Then, I submit for your consideration that you are a cheap date.
If there is to be a boycott, why not let it last until more people of color are hired as head coaches and general managers. If there is to be a boycott, why not let it last until more women are highered on all levels in the league. If there is to be a boycott, why not let it last until all the former players who have mental and physical health issues are able to rest on the comfortable economic pillow their blood, sweat and tears created. If there is a boycott, why not let is lasts until there is true and honest conversation that leads to a change in the militaristic policing styles of far too many departments in urban communities.
My problem is not a boycott, my problem is boycott that comes with weak demands that allow all the true problem that persists to remain. Boycotts must have leaders to discuss the negotiations. Boycotts must have a collection of individuals who are persistence with unwavering support. Boycotts have to be more than just good people with good intentions willing to make a superficial sacrifice.
I am not boycotting for several reasons: There are several other brothers (some with different melanin levels) in the league who still need our support. Fighting for Colin is great, but even he would admit this is bigger than him- and was never intended to be about him.
I am not boycotting the NFL, but I am still going to fight the battle again police brutality in America. I am not boycotting the NFL, but I will use my ability to educate all on the need for equality. I am not boycotting the NFL, but I will write to every organization to tell them why I am disappointed in the league to–seemingly–consciously keep this young man out the league: and, then offer them some viable solutions. I am not boycotting the NFL, but I will not try persuade anybody else how to fight. So, if you want to not watch, do not watch. Do you! I applaud you. But remember, Like young David, we all have different weapons that can be effective in the battle. We have to use what we are trained to use, not what others may capriciously decide for the masses.
Let’s hope the NFL hears all its fans and works to unite the country in ways that sometimes only sports can do!
Blessings and Prayers
It’s been a decade
10 long years
10 years filled with tears
Tiny face: Memories don’t fade
Memories don’t disappear
2017 Father of the Year
your name in my biography
Mental movies Mental photography
distant in proximity
in my heart,
we share the same geography
My little girl walks with the ancestors
sitting on the laps of both your
granddaddies. bouncing and laughing
feeling real happy.
And, it takes me a while but that makes me smile
knowing your protected my child
Laughing because you probably protecting us
We think of you everyday- TRUST!
Trust- One day we will meet again.
Trust- A love undying to the end
Trust- TEAM SMITH is not complete without you
Trust- Team Smith misses child number 2
Trust- the pain never goes away
but pillars helps us get through the day
LOVE, RESPECT, EFFORT, PERSERVERANCE
that’s the base, the foundation of the family
Next pillars we know we need HONESTY and POSITIVITY
Benevolence because it is not about us
Great power given to us:
FRIENDSHIP and KINDNESS is what builds us
RESPONSIBILITY to us all is a must
All hands down, All hands in
something missing from the picture you see
what would you add, Duck and Mookie
I wonder what you would have added
your presence is missed
let me send you a cosmic kiss
today no bliss. No bliss today
No cake today MA is MIA
This earthly home was too little for
your cosmic spirit.
So all the ways to Heavens,
I hope you can hear this
synchronize your angelic heartbeat
to be in tune with the whole family.
Send us a blessing to cover our hurts
Guide us with a light to walk the righteous path
Guard your siblings. They need an angel to have their back
We say your name
Future Present Past
Here or not here
I hope you can hear
you will always be here.
Here in our hearts
below and above
Here above the mundane matters
that we think really matter
Here below the skies
the stars are your eyes
Here on earth I see you everyday
A little bit of joy sprinkled
in the connection of two boys.
Spiritually minded- twin like connection
Here is where you find it
Separation from my hand
Not separated from my soul
My heart, My love, My walk, My thoughts
Here today is your day
You’ll always be with us
Here today and everyday
That you can believe
Happy Birth Anniversary little MA
Catch your ballons… 10 just for you
Always remember, the Daimyo loves you!!
On August 10, 2016 an athlete had to say good-bye to the game he loves so much. MANY, not me, will say he has millions of dollars and earned it doing something he loved. I am not sorry for him.
STOP IT. PLEASE
Athletes who transition out of the sport they have only known since their youth is a seriously traumatic event. No, it is not as traumatic as an unarmed man being shot and killed by a hyper-aggressive police officer. No, it is not as traumatic as the horrific homeless problem we have across the states— and the world for that matter. No, it is not as sad as the glorious pomp and circumstance of the 2016 Olympic Games that neighbors next to the lowest of impoverished situations in Rio. But, it is traumatic, nevertheless.
Many athletes post-retirement find themselves in the depths of depression, financial woes, loss of identity and we have seen these issues manifest into familial issues, bankruptcy, imprisonment, drug abuse and even suicide. I don’t want that for Prince or any other athlete.
I salute Prince because as a person born and raised in Milwaukee, I saw him come up through the professional ranks and have mammoth success. I was sad to see him leave for Detroit and know I am especially hurt to see him have to leave the game he loves prematurely.
As a psychologist, that have worked with clients that ranged from traumatized children to professional athletes, I salute Prince for his contributions off the field. For example, Prince made even bigger headlines with his ESPN the body issue episode. Some mocked him. Some laughed at him. I, like many others, admired him. He showed a confidence and self-love; and, more importantly, he gave countless millions reasons not be ashamed of ANYTHING.
So as I say “Respect,” “Thank you,” and “Goodluck” in the future to a man I never met, but greatly enjoyed watching him do what he loved to do. So, Brother Prince- shed your tears, but now move to the next phase of your life just as bold and confidently.
My picture is a tribute to Prince, but also a reminder for all of us to be more transparent in life. Not to hide behind our “clothes” and make believe personas. Not to feel ashamed of our imperfections. Not to ever stop loving ourselves unconditionally.
Thank you Prince
All the Best