Winners, Losers and Choices are Everywhere


When I was a child, my parents set the rules and my mother was the daily enforcer. When Daddy stepped in, it was serious. The problems that mothers have to watch out for today are really not that different. The problem today is that (1) the rules are more lax, (2) it's not clear who is setting the rules, and (3) who is enforcing the rules?

In the old days with more nuclear families, with one father and one mother, parents set the rules together, and they didn't care about outside forces like television and the movies. The only outside forces that had any influence was the church that taught us about The Ten Commandments, as well as the rules about honoring your father and mother and your elders. School taught us about manners and etiquette as well as how to treat others like opening the door for the girls and ladies, if you were a boy and saying "sir" or "ma'am" and not using profanity.



There's Still Good News and Opportunities Out There

 A few weeks ago we got an early morning call from Atlanta, Georgia from our daughter in-law. She was calling to tell us that our grandson, Joshua, was on the front page of the Atlanta Daily Constitutional Metro page. Joshua is nine years old and part of a Chess day camp, teaching young people how to play chess. The excitement about the picture was increased because Joshua was in the picture with former mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young. Young was signing the camp's chess board with the inscription that said "Keep thinking through your next move."

The camp was part of a program started by former Georgia state trooper, Orrin Hudson. The program was designed to teach young people life lessons through chess. The camp is being held at the "BE SOMEONE TRAINING CENTER in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The kids wear T-shirts that say, "BE SOMEONE". The overall slogan for the organization is, "PUSH PAWNS, NOT DRUGS - HEADS UP, PANTS UP, GRADES UP!"



Pasadena at a Crossroad

I am excited about the response to the "State of Black Pasadena" report that the Journal African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Pasadena a crossroadpublished this month [4-9-09]. Many have contacted me about planning and facilitating a session or a series of sessions with small groups for the purpose of putting our collective heads together to develop some strategies for the future of our community. One group looked onto the idea of planning more programs to improve things in the areas of education and economics for Blacks. Others have contacted me about how we can influence the development of social and public policy that affect our community.

What is really exciting is that those who contacted me want to do something rather than just talk about the problems that we already know exist. What we need are ideas and action, not just more talk. In that vein, I propose Roundtable discussions. Those in the community who have new ideas may put something in writing and submit it to me so that when we meet we can start tackling the problems, rather than talking about and redefining the problems.



Remember Greenwood and Black Wall Street?

During the period between 1900 and 1921, in Greenwood, North Tulsa, Oklahoma, Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Greenwood and Black Wall StreetAfrican Americans built a thriving community complete with businesses and an economic infrastructure so strong that it was nicknamed "Black Wall Street." Over six hundred Black owned businesses thrived in the area. There were Black doctors, lawyers, business owners and entrepreneurs who controlled their own destinies. Black Dollars circulated in the Black community three times before it left the community. There were Black millionaires, Black owned restaurants, a 700 seat movie theater and Black owned bus lines, schools, banks, oil leases and a Black hospital.

Much of the progress was the result of Jim Crow Laws. These laws didn't allow race mixing, or school integration, or even for Blacks to go into White parts of town except to work for White folks. The Ku Klux Klan ran much of the state of Oklahoma. Ironically it was part of the so called, "Bible Belt of America."



The Dinosaurs Are Still With Us

As we look at Obama's success and simultaneously watch the high unemployment rates and theBlack news from Pasadena - Editorial - today's dinosaurs low graduation rates for African Americans, we must know that there is still reason for concern. Young White Americans and Americans who are products of the sixties Civil Rights revolution elected Barack Obama. The problem is that there are still political and social Dinosaurs in our midst and too often they have risen to levels of power.

When I watched Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melikian give a Dog and Pony show about the killing of Leroy Barnes, I understood I was watching what I call a Dinosaur in action. Melekian actually stood in the front of a room full of people and talked about being transparent and dealing with the facts of the Barnes' shooting. Then he went on to talk about how bad a man Barnes was, his felony convictions, and the fact that he had a gun, and then he essentially said it's okay to kill someone like that. The problem is that he was not telling us anything about the two cops who killed Barnes, except that they were back at work. A scary thought.



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