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Category Archives: African Americans

Actions Speak Louder – Support Scholarships for College Bound in DC Metro Area

Hi all,

My friend Jameel, Morehouse c/o 2005, contacted me recently about a fundraising effort that he is involved in via his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, and I thought I would help him out by spreading the word. The 501(c)3 organization of his fraternity’s local chapter is is fundraising for its Ira Dorsey Scholarship Endowment Fund by running in the Marine Corps Marathon on 31 October 2010. Click here to donate.

His original letter is at the end of this post but quickly he is asking for support on three levels:

Crawl: $1.00 per mile  = $26.00
Walk: $2.00 per mile  = $52.00
Run: $3.00   per mile =   $78.00.

I myself donated to the cause today and I encourage you to do the same. Every donation helps! In this recovering economy especially,  many students particularly students of color are passing on college due to the exponential increases in the costs over the last 15-20 years. Unfortunately, the recent mini-depression that the United States is now out of has not ended in the homes of those on “Main Street” especially on the “Main Streets” of blue color workers and people of color. Your support is just one way to assure that someone else has a chance at a college education that will change their life.

Feel free to click on the links above to learn more about the Scholarship Fund as well as the Marathon. Once done with your background research: Click Here to Donate.

All the best!

DNMP

P.S. – If there is anything that you wish were different or better about society where you are today. Planting the seed of giving to causes like this are just a small action that you can do to make this world a better place than when you left it. Your donation could go to the first Latina US president or the first Black woman US president or even the first Black Female Speaker of the House (my research is on women in politics which is why I used these examples :D)

Jameel’s Letter

Brother/Sister,

You may already know, I am preparing to run in this years marathon.  I never ran a marathon before and am on the one hand excited about this opportunity and on the other wondering can I make 26 miles- lol.  However, I am truly very excited about this years run.  A few of my fraternity brothers and I made a team (which is comprised of Alphas and non-Alphas) and are running and raising money for scholarship for deserving students.  As you already know I am an avid supporter of helping students gain college access and graduate.  By providing students with scholarships, their chances at attending and graduating from college is enhanced.

My fraternity provides scholarships every year to students through our 501(c)3 arm – which goes to high school students entering college.  By supporting this event with a financial contribution, you will be helping a young student actualize their dreams.

To make a donation- please click on the link below and donate.  There are three levels which I recommend that you give (however feel free to give more if you so wish).  I am running 26 miles and all I ask is that you give $1, $2, or only $3 dollars for every mile towards this run. The levels are as follows:

Crawl: $1.00 per mile  = $26.00
Walk: $2.00 per mile  = $52.00
Run: $3.00   per mile =   $78.00

Please note that the race is coming up soon (October 22nd) so we need donations fast.  All you need to do is click on the link below and make your donation with a credit/debt card:

http://www.active.com/donate/teamiradorsey/Jameel2010

Thanks in advance!

Jameel

 
 

What I Learned From Oscars Tweet Coverage: Actions Speak Louder!

So I am trying to write a paper that I should have started a month ago but I am also checking my Twitter feed periodically.

What I have learned tonight via Twitter is that Precious/Mo’Nique won some Oscars tonight. I also have read a series of complaints about the film winning surrounding these victories perpetuating stereotypes about Black people and or women. I do not disagree with most of these complaints and I did re-tweet some of them. I also acknowledge that when Denzel Washington and Hallie Berry won Oscars a few years back I was VERY irritated for the same reasoning. How Denzel did not win for some of his other performances where he played characters that uplifted Black people i.e. Malcolm X (love him or hate him he did help wake up Black America to action against decades of discrimination and self hate) but won for being a corrupt cop highlights SO much of what is wrong with Hollywood. Additionally, the same can be said of Ms. Berry, she won for playing a strung out, deadbeat mother who was “hoish” in some of her actions and choices (I take full acknowledgment of the controversy of the term “ho” but I do have a paper to get back to so…just know that “ho” helps perpetuate the stereotype that women are to act angelic and not express their sexuality openly and men are free to put it where they can fit it whenever they can fit it. Take a feminism or sexuality course to dig into that!).

So moving from the controversy over films like Precious, Training Day, Monster’s Ball with a splash of all the push back I have read over the last year over Tyler Perry’s films and TV/TBS takeover, this is what I am reminded of this evening – the old adage “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”

Sounds simple and it is easier said than done (no pun intended) but if you did not like what you saw this evening at the Oscars or in previous Oscar years don’t just tweet about it – do something about it. Some suggestions include:

  1. Find out your gift and then work it (related to film or not).
  2. Support independent films (most of the good cinematography that does not perpetuate negative stereotypes about people especially black and brown people will not show up at the megaplex).
  3. Make a film or support an organization that encourages historically marginalized groups to do so (check out Black Girls Rock or Reel Girls)
  4. Get into the industry or support those with such gifts to do so (The Oscars are decided by a committee/The Academy. The more diverse this body becomes the better  the nominations and the higher the probability that films like the ones listed above will not win).
  5. Stop supporting “garbage” however you define it. Now this is where the idea of Catch 22 comes in because on some level some may feel that its best to support something so that something does not turn into nothing. Some “garbage” I no longer support is mainstream hip-hop music, the Big 6 mainstream media (ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and NBC)  and BET or Black Exploitation Television as I like to call it. I like to plug TV One, NOW on PBS, Grit TV and Democracy Now as much as I can as to date these programs do a better job of representing Black America (US) or the news than the programs I now boycott).
  6. Educate someone/share with someone one of the above actions. Now, do so with the spirit of love and openness and not with a spirit of superiority or as a lecture. Dale Carnage said it best, “criticism puts people on the defensive,” so share with a smile. An example of this is share a link to an interesting news story like this one: Hundreds of Thousands Take Part in National Day of Action to Defend Public Education)

The six items above should get the ball rolling. Do you have other suggestions? What is the “garbage” you no longer support?

Finally, my hope is that this wave of dissatisfaction with the status-quo of Hollywood and the films by people of color that get mainstream recognition turns into something more fruitful than a great tweet or a trending topic. Now, back to that paper I’m supposed to be writing…

 

“Sophisticated Romance” and “A Tale of Two Cities”

So last Saturday I went to see a friend’s movie. It was kinda like a independent artist night sponsored by the Deltas (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority) of Central Jersey. I had a great time and I heard some great poets but in the time I have had since to reflect on the movie (I’m a thinker) there is one scene that applies to my own journey with romance.

“Sophisticated Romance”: The Movie
So “Sophisticated Romance” is a film that analyzes relationships from the perspective of being single and dating as well as being married. Without giving too much away, the film follows two groups of friends who are dealing with various relationship issues. Basically, their is someone who is involved in a marriage, someone who is involved in a serious relationship, a player type as well as someone forcing a relationship to a place it is not. Honestly, it was a good film which says a lot because I gave up on Hollywood a long time ago to offer quality films that tell a story and involves its audience into the characters (I mean the Harry Potter series kinda does this, though it cuts out a lot, but Harry Potter started as a book so I don’t count it and Tyler Perry does better sometimes but I digress). “Sophisticated Romance” has won some film festival awards including Best Feature and Best Actress.  To learn more about the film (support small & people of color businesses!) check out Open Mind on Ning and to learn more about the company that wrote the film check out Open Mind Productions.

Moving forward, there is one moment in the film that has been in my head this week and it is a scene where one of the characters laments about how she cannot manage being in school and being involved in a serious relationship (I’m working on my PhD right now). Anyway in the same scene a woman responds to her concern stating something along the lines of “Keep Hope Alive” and I hope it works out (my words not the film writer’s). The scene fades out and continues with the plot (I wish I could say more but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone-did I already say go see the film? lol). If I’m honest with myself and possibly too honest with the open internet (to future employers who may be reading this in the future I’m all better now :D) the concerns of that woman in school reflect my concerns though my response to the issue differs from the woman who faces the same challenge in the film.

“A Tale of Two Cities”: Academilandia, Careerville

All my life I have had my head in the books. From the moment my mother could she placed a book in my hand and I owe my love of reading and knowledge to her (Thanks Mom!). This early exposure and support of all things academic not only helped me to do well in school but planted a love of knowledge that blooms today (Hello PhD in the works :)). This love caused me to be super comfortable at school and participating in class. Trust me on this! I’ve been called a dork, nerd, Oreo and even got the high school superlative Biggest Brown Noser (I wanted Best Legs but that’s another blog post). Full disclosure, depending on the day, and how old I was I would have different reactions to these names but no matter the reaction I always was and still am comfortable with the heavy focus on school and school’s cousin, my career.

“A Tale of Two Cities”: [Undiscovered Location], Datingburg

Now there is another land  that I am WAY less comfortable with. A land that at age fifteen I called dealing with boys and now is a land called Datingburg. For me this land is dark and meek with confusing people. There are people in this land that you can see but are SOOO not reachable, there are reachable people that are not appealing and another people I have discovered recently are the people of this land that look so good on the outside and are prepared just how I like but when you start working this land its just horrible land. Historically, the excuses I have concluded are the cause for my difficulties in Datingburg ferment from the following sources: 1/4 I used to be a “tomboy”, 1/4 effects of puberty and 2/4 I have three older brothers, a father and lots of male cousins (the stories from the latter I could write a book about). Lets just say I STILL remember the day my mom asked me if a male friend of mine was a friend or a “friend friend,” and when I say remember I mean I remember where I was standing in my house (the kitchen near the dishwasher), the fact that I was a senior in college (it was Christmas break) and the fact that this was the first time my parents actually encouraged me to have a dating life (my parents are very traditional and wanted us to focus on our education first). As result of these things added to moving around a lot from 2003-2008 the idea of dating is pretty much an uncharted territory. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had boyfriends, I’ve gone out on dates, men have been interested and men have not been interested but I was/am nowhere near say the original 90210 gang where boyfriends & girlfriends were rotating with the seasons.

“The Road Less Taken”

So going back to this woman in “Sophisticated Romance,” I think she stood out to me as a character because in some ways she reminded me of myself and in other ways she reminded me of the recent news coverage about how bad it is for Black women and the marriage market (for the record all women are having issues). Furthermore, as much as I want to date and eventually have a husband there are days where I just feel like it would be so much easier to just do my career thing (increase the number of women in politics), travel the world (still need to make it to Asia & Africa), and just be single forever. However, deep down I know this is not what I really want and I am only saying “just do me” because this is what I know and what I am comfortable with. I know the cycles of being in school, of working on a project for work and going to lots of meetings. What I do not know as well are cycles of dating, figuring out if he likes me when I like him (somehow I’m really good at figuring out that they like me when I’m just not that into them :() and deciding which one to “pursue” (I went to college at an HBCU and lets just say I hardly dated/talked to one person because…well their was always someone better looking around the corner or just behind them ;)) Frost’s poem ends sharing, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” I am not sharing this to argue that I have to pick one road or city. But I am realizing more and more that I need to work and have the courage and patience to spend quality time getting to know a new city so that I can begin to see not only the bad (my perspective on dating post college thus far) but to see the good. Its funny, just sitting here writing that previous sentence I thought to myself, “as a woman that has lived in seven cities since leaving high school nine years ago I should know this by now,” because each time I move the same battle and dislike occurs and each time I come to love the city for what it offers (and that’s saying a lot for Central NJ which I also call The Blackhole). So here’s to me planting more seed and making more investments in a new city I’m visiting more and more, Datingburg…especially because I think I may have discovered a new people that have what I am looking for inside and out 😉

 

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Smorgasbord of information…

So a lot has been going on with me lately so I decided to do a quick, I hope, smorgasbord of information.

“Lenting” for the First Time
So this is the first year I have decided to actually participate in Lent, one of my best friends has done it in the past but I just kinda looked at her like she was crazy. But this year I decided why not..I’m up for the challenge. It took me awhile to think of what I could give up. I more or less eat healthy, I don’t smoke, and I don’t drink too much. Finally it dawned on me what I could do- give up Facebook and MySpace. It was something that would be a sacrifice and something that was CLEARLY a large part of my life, I can barely go 24 hours without checking one or the other most times both. So to Facebook and MySpace see you on April 6th =)

Lent Day Two
Its only day two and I can sense that I will be getting a crackhead itch sometime soon. Basically this evening I have done replacement activities instead of going on Facebook or MySpace. I went to blogs of friends and associates and made comments, an idea that was stressed by someone on the Facebook referring to how people will complement his notes but not comment. So I did what I normally don’t do and I commented- so what if the entries were old…if anything maybe it will encourage them to post another blog.

In an ideal world: My Presidential Candidate Selection Committee
Between all of recent talk about the committees assessing if politicians should run for president in 2008 and reading Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope, a must read I may add, I thought about what if I could have a committee to look at who I should vote for and why. A group to get to the bottom of what is the deal with Hilary, to figure out if Obama’s inexperience is an advantage or disadvantage, to decide should I take Biden’s “articulate” comment in the spirit of it or literally and to even explore if I should even look at Giuliani. This committee would also look at candidates voting records to see how they have developed over time (my heart would go out to the team or intern that would look at Biden’s 34 year voting record). I am assuming that some of the people that may read this are thinking isn’t that what political action committees, political parties and other organizations are supposed to do? For me I get that but these groups are not personally catered to me they are catered to their interests some of which are important to me but I am concerned about the environment but I am not a tree hugger or I’m a democrat but I’m moderate. My Presidential Candidate Selection Committee would take these things into account and help me decide Biden, Clinton or Obama– a hard decision considering all three candidates represent some part of my identity. Biden is a Delawarean, Clinton is female and Obama identifies Black.

What is currently playing on my iTunes/iPod
I recently bought The Evolution of Robin Thicke and the Dreamgirls Deluxe soundtrack. Both I highly recomend. Robin Thicke’s album is SOOOO good. He has so many songs that I can relate to. “Lost without You” is one of those songs that always make me want to dance, no matter where I am. Moving to Dreamgirls the soundtrack is a greatway to re-live your favorite parts of the movie, if you have seen it. I was listening to this one all day at work today and I was cracking up the whole day at my desk. I also had, “Got me a Cadillac, Cadillac, Cadillac, got me a Cadillac car,” in my head all day- both versions. I would say more but I think I have said enouph for one day…so much for quick.

 

Happy Black History Month

well…I realized like 7 min ago that this is Black History Month. yeah I know I know but I’m in the DR where right now its the Mes de la Patria/ Patriotic Month because its the birthday of one of the founding fathers and then their Independence Day. Also its Carnival time so my mind has been on those two things.

Black History Month is cool and all but its so fake now…the schools teach about MLK and Harriet Tubman but they don’t get into the nitty gritty Black History. No one talks about the fact that Malcolm X was a completely different man by the time he died and he wasn’t as militant as he once was, or at least that is my interpretation from his autobiography. No one talks about Madam CJ Walker the first female millionaire…not first black female millionaire but first woman millionaire PERIOD.

Anyway…I was just writing because I just realized it was black history month after reading someone’s facebook page, hey maybe the facebook isn’t as bad of a waste of time as I thought.

I leave with a quote from the late Coretta Scott King may she rest in peace: “Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.”