Firefighters Bridging the Gap Between the Past and the Present

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial About FirefightersI had the good fortune to be the keynote speaker at the Southwest Regional Conference of the United Firefighters of Southern California on April 9, 2010. After the speech a few young firefighters from cities including Compton and Long Beach came up to me and reminded me that they were in Pasadena when The Journal was fighting to get more Black Firefighters in Pasadena over fifteen years ago. During the speech I had mentioned a young man named Eric Jackson who I tried to help get into the Pasadena Fire Department, to no avail. Eric is now a Captain in Atlanta, Georgia.

Pasadena's Fire Department was so racist that this young brother had to go to the Deep South to get a job in his chosen field. After the speech, more than one young man came to me and shared that the articles in The Journal years ago had been helpful. Another young man said he had kept all of The Journal articles and my columns for all these years.

I admit to being flattered that a young fireman who by now had reached the rank of Captain in the Fire Department had used something I said years ago to keep up his fight to become a fireman. The comments of the young firemen and the racist hiring activity of the current Pasadena City Manager served as a reminder that the struggle was not yet over. I call the current City Manager racist because he demonstrated his racism in November, 2008, while barely a few months on the job, he hired a White male to serve as Assistant City Manager of Northwest Pasadena, days before the date announced for the closing of the job. The last day to apply was November 25, 2008. He announced at a press conference on or about November 22, 2008 who the winner was.



Firing Barack

African American news - Opinion-Editorial on PoliticsThis past week I had a discussion with a well known African American Business Woman in Los Angeles. She was mad as the devil at President Barack Obama and vowed not to vote for him next time. She was ready to fire Barack, He had disappointed her and the world has not turned around in his one year in office. She said it was because he had chosen some of the Bush cabinet people for his cabinet. Then I stopped by a beauty shop of a friend of mine and they were discussing whether Obama would run again. I believe he will. The shop owner said her husband thought Barack would run again, but some women in the shop thought he had had enough. The shop owner wondered why anyone would want the job of President with all of its headaches.

As I reflect on Obama's first year in office, I think he's doing just fine under the circumstances. That doesn't mean that I have not been mad at him at times... Mostly because he seemed to not hear the Republicans when they demonstrated that they would vote against anything he tried to do. Like a basketball game where there are four Quarters, Obama has fought through the first quarter, and he won.

I've been married to my wife for forty-seven years. That doesn't mean that every year has been perfect. It hasn't, and most of it is my fault. But I'm still there, so I win. It took me seventeen years from the day that I decided I wanted to be a lawyer till the day I passed the bar, after taking it over and over. But I won, and this November will mark twenty-eight years of practicing law.

Politics is like sports in many ways, but there is always a beginning score of 0 to 0. The score and the lead may go back and forth but it's the end score that counts. As for Barack Obama, he won the health care battle. Health Care Reform has started. Job creation has started. It's only the Second month in 27 months for the creation of jobs to increase. It is true that 44 percent of people out of work have been out of work for over six months. But the turn around has started.

The announcement that off shore oil exploration has been approved is probably good news. It maybe undesirable, but is it necessary?

Watch the prices of gas go down and his wisdom may prove itself. After all, we buy oil from Iraq and other enemies while being at war with them. We need to do something to change that. We co-exist with racists everyday on the job and at the stores that we shop at because they are Americans just as we are. Sometimes they take the money we spend with them and buy materials or support programs that are racist and we don't even know it.

Let's not fire Obama yet. It's just the end of the first quarter. Winning takes time and strategy. He's not playing the game alone. There are two teams, Republicans and Democrats, or maybe more if you count the so-called Tea Party and the Southern Democrats who are against him. If my wife had not given me a few second chances to do the right thing, my marriage would be over, and I'm still learning. If the Bar said you can only take it one time, I would not be a lawyer. If my Dad had not made a decision to move from Altus, Oklahoma, a town of only 20,000 people to California in 1948 and start over, where would I be? You can't be in a hurry and win, it usually takes time. I think it's premature to be talking about firing Barack. It's only the beginning of second quarter.

On another note, there has been some scuttlebutt about our local council person, Jacque Robinson. To those who want her fired, I ask what you have done for us lately. It is easy to stand back and take pot shots. If it's important to you, roll up your sleeves and get in and help. In our upcoming issue of the "State of Black Pasadena" we will address that issue further. We will also address our view of what is happening at the school district, in the city manager's office and of course at the Police Department and (pre)choosing a Police Chief. Stay tuned!


Easter Reminds Us That Through the Storm There’s Strength From Above

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Easter from a Black perspectiveIn Haiti the music continues to fill the air with sounds of celebration and hope. A chocolate colored boy flirts with a pretty brown skinned girl amidst the rubble of the earthquake. She's still beautiful.

In America, African Americans shout that a President named Barack proves that "he, indeed, is the one" as he delivers the health care bill over the power and purchase of the Republican Party by the powerful Insurance Industry. He's still standing tall and still beautiful.  I can imagine someone somewhere is saying he won because the Bible says, "If God be with you who (in the whole world) can be against you." In my ear, I hear an old Saint sings to herself the spiritual tribute, "I shall not, I shall not be moved." Barack won't be moved.



Showing Off The Good Side

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - showing off the good sideAny photographer taking a portrait of a woman will look for her "good side" before publishing the picture. Giving an Oscar to Mo'nique sets off bells of disgust in me, as it gives another excuse for the world to think that that's the way Black women are. Well I prefer to show off the good side of Black women.

The good side is the mother who found her way to church on Sunday to expose herself and her children to the teachings of Jesus. I note: she uses a mix of love, and force if necessary, to get them to church and enforce biblical ways of acting, like Harriet Tubman did for those traveling on her Underground Railroad.



What Happens When the Leaders Eat All the Fish?

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - When leaders eat all the fishThree events this week reminded me of the bible story about the little boy who gave Jesus his five loaves of bread and two little fish to feed the masses (5,000) who had come to hear him. I wondered what would have happened if Jesus had taken the food and ate it all himself. It reminded me of those times when my mother had the preacher over for dinner and we kids could only eat what they left, if any. What would have happened if Jesus had left the masses to starve and fend for themselves, as it seems some institutions are doing these days?

One incident was the meeting that warned the schools here and across the country that there was not enough money to maintain the existing education system. Americans are accustomed to free education and the more students, the merrier. The theory is that since the more educated people we have, the more we can lead the world in accomplishments whether it is in science, music, technology, space exploration, health, or commerce.



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