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Black History, A Personal Reflection

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Black History and a civil rights personal experienceIn February 2011, I was honored to be asked to be one of the speakers at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles (CAAM) in their conversations program focusing on journeys, issues and insights of individuals. I shared my life story, in brief, as part of their Black History Month program. This year, I was asked to share my civil rights experiences with the black students at PCC on February 26, 2013.

It's always surprising to me when I get an invitation to speak, since it doesn't happen that often, but it usually ends up being a stimulating experience. I consider my life as a normal one for a black man who grew up with three siblings and both parents in California's Jim Crow Bakersfield. I call it Jim Crow because, though it is in California, the culture was Southern. Although Texas and Oklahoma are not considered to be in the South like Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi, that distinction is only geographical. On the map they may not actually be in the South, but culturally the difference was insignificant, as it was truly a distinction without a difference. For those historical purists, Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona could be said to be the Southwest. But if you were black they were all thought to be in the South.

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An Altar Call for Action

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Black History Month and call to actionBlack History Month has always been an inspiring time and should result in action. After we've been reminded of the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality, and the contributions of the ancestors and those whom have gone on before, the question for each of us is, "What is your contribution for the future?"

It has been said many ways that none of us are truly free as long as there is someone left behind, uneducated, in poverty, or just denied opportunities because they are Black. One writer, in a poem to his mother, lamented with regret that, "I must confess that I still breathe while you are not yet free." The writer is sad because he realizes that the work is not yet complete.

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District Three Election Has Gotten Unnecessarily Ugly

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - District Three election and Tea Party dirtSome weeks ago in my column for the year's end, I talked about change coming to our community and to our country. One of the things that I wrote was that rumors have it that the Tea Party is going to start telling lies about one of the candidates to replace Chris Holden in the District Three race. I spoke to each of the three candidates, John Kennedy, Ishmael Trone, and Nicholas Benson, and indicated that I would not endorse or get involved in writing about the race. I then wrote as a warning that we should watch out for the dirt being thrown around by white agents and politicians to influence elections involving Black candidates. I then asked, 'hadn't we seen enough of that with the election of President Obama?'

But then the dirt began to fly. In a sense, historically, it is the nature of the political beast to throw a little dirt and hide. It's the hiding that makes me angry. When the dirt gets to be mud, it needs to be addressed, and so based on what I have recently read in other media, and the debate that I watched on the candidates, here is my opinion.

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“City Hunting Grounds”

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Black History month today - City Hunting GroundsWhen Harry Belafante appeared at the 2013 NAACP Awards ceremonies to accept the Spingarn Award he reminded us of where we came from and asked who is leading us today? Belafante, standing besides another entertainment giant, Sidney Poitier, also, reminded us that he and the stars of his generation, like Poitier, Paul Robeson, and others, had to struggle with their careers as Black pioneers. At the same time they walked with, and marched with, and supplied economic support for the Civil Rights Movement, helping giants like Dr. King.

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“Turning Research Into Progress”

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Turning research into progress is for your family, tooIt's always interesting to travel. You always learn something, at least after you get through the hassle of boarding the plane. Better to drive, but then there is the time factor. In four hours you go from the West Coast to the East Coast on a plane, as opposed to two to three days by car. Either way, travel is always a learning experience.

Last week, we travelled to Atlanta, and reading a magazine in route, I came across an article about the state of Iowa, called the Field of Dreams. Within the article, touting the economic and educational privileges of Iowa and its educational system, there was a phrase that said, "TURNING RESEARCH INTO COMPANIES." The article highlighted how Iowa Colleges and Universities do an awesome job of training the state's work force. Secondarily, the educational system does a great job incubating the creation of new entrepreneurial opportunities and new companies.

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