AMERICA, THE QUASI BEAUTIFUL

Six months to the day — for my nephews, my brother, husband and all of the Black men whom I love — my brothers throughout the world — it is time to act intelligently, strategically. . .

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When my nephew called me a few days ago, I was glad to hear from him but could sense an uneasiness in his voice. When I asked, “how are you sweetheart, what’s going on,” rather than the standard niceties, my 30 year old nephew began to rant about his experience as a Black man in America.  He began his pouring out by saying “policeman lay in wait for me, Aunt De.”

First, a little background: His worldly physicality – 5’8, deep dark-skin, neatly cropped dread locks, drives a Cadillac. His nurtured mentality – high school graduate, conscientious, works two jobs, father to a son, stepfather to a daughter, a poet, eldest son and first born male in the family’s 4th generation. His innate spirituality – God-fearing, laid back, mellow, thoughtful, easy-going, elevated and enlightening.

Over more than ten years – the first decade of his adult life — he has…

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RACE BAIT: A NEW BEGINNING©

           quite by accident, I have been dropped into this heaven

pinpointing when, the specific incident,

spiraled me through millions of unexamined suppressions

you see, for hundreds of years, the hue / beige, russet, midnight blue

defined the parameters of the protective organization

the haven, the safe place, the desired configuration 

this focus on skin:  das ist a fictionalized story,

a fallacy, a catastrophic miscalculation,

One Moment In TimeOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,

An Imitation of Life, an urban legend, a ridiculous notion

for through the lens of race

we lost the propensity, the willingness, to define social wrongs

as it alone was the bait that kept a nation lost, unable to find its pace

generations wandering, unknowing, trapped in the past amidst ghostly, vicious throngs

but – today – in this historic moment

we learn there are mutual interests, agreed-upon dimensions,

common expansions, natural, easy-to-see conventions

among beings, not tones, come clear intentions

complex, thoughtful motivations spark and ignite

and, finally we are driven!

AMERICA, THE QUASI BEAUTIFUL

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When my nephew called me a few days ago, I was glad to hear from him but could sense an uneasiness in his voice. When I asked, “how are you sweetheart, what’s going on,” rather than the standard niceties, my 30 year old nephew began to rant about his experience as a Black man in America.  He began his pouring out by saying “policeman lay in wait for me, Aunt De.”

First, a little background: His worldly physicality – 5’8, deep dark-skin, neatly cropped dread locks, drives a Cadillac. His nurtured mentality – high school graduate, conscientious, works two jobs, father to a son, stepfather to a daughter, a poet, eldest son and first born male in the family’s 4th generation. His innate spirituality – God-fearing, laid back, mellow, thoughtful, easy-going, elevated and enlightening.

Over more than ten years – the first decade of his adult life — he has worked to eradicate the stigma of a troubled past and is, to this day, striving to live a righteous life. Yet, on this day — the snow providing a needed reprieve from school runs and reporting to first one, then a second job — he finds himself sitting in a parking lot, crying because of the state of his life in America.

On this snowy day in February 2014, he has driven to the cleaners to drop off some clothes. As he sits in his car reflecting over the last few days of his life, he looks up to find he is under surveillance. The police car that was exiting as he entered the lot, has circled back and is parked next to him. The officer is just looking, seemingly waiting for a reason to interrogate, not caring about his tears. Unaware that he is crying because the police have arbitrarily stopped him earlier in the week as he is on his way home after dropping his babies off at school (to question, of all things, an air freshener and covered tag). Unaware that he is crying because he is pondering how to downplay the appearance of privilege he is working for for his son so that he will not be a target in this hostile environment. Unaware that he is crying because the woman he wants to love is wholly unprepared to support him in his struggle – she thinks her sexuality is enough. Unaware that he is crying because it is the 10th anniversary of his uncle’s suicide, an uncle who honorably served his country as a Marine during Desert Storm to round out a more than 20 year stint of government service, only to put a bullet in his temple when he could no longer deal with the storm of police profiling that occurred practically everyday of his 43 year life.

My nephew’s tears break my heart too, now have me in tears. Like the grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, uncles and aunts of young Black boys and men in America, I cannot hug, love or talk him into a state of protection that will ensure his safety. I am trying to figure out what to do, but I have been fighting this fight since 1973. Marching, sitting-in, making love not war, rioting, writing, praying, believing, following leaders committed to making a difference, even helping to elect a Black man to the White House – for more than four decades.

What else must I do to save my future generations from the pressures of being Black in a QUASI beautiful America?

“. . . Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a bloody peace be written in the sky. Let a second generation full of courage issue forth, let a people loving freedom come to growth, let a beauty full of healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing in our spirits and our blood. Let the martial songs be written, let the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now rise and take control!” (Margaret Walker)

Or shall I adopt/adapt the attitude/altitude of Claude McKay and take one last stand with this generation now under attack:

If we must die, let it not be like hogs hunted and penned in an inglorious spot. . .. Like men we’ll face the murderous cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

I consider myself spiritually enlightened, but in the wake of all of the Martins, Davises, Hawkinses and the list of marginalized or murdered Black men, women and children that is becoming much too long to easily recount, my 21st century thinking seems out of place.

So what do you think? #isittime2actyet

WHAM-BAM, SOUL-ROBBING SHAMS (THE REWRITE)©

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(The Zimmerman Sham And Other Hidden Agendas)

Imperative we pull conscience off the shelf, remove all that stuff blocking us from spirit self.

We need to arrive at our essence, let the soul’s reality plea be free; learn to dissect the wham-bam soul-robbing shams so that we can clearly see:

Intelligence unnerves. Intensity on display can bring to the fore the world’s hateful sway. But don’t give up – be smart anyway.

Folks will try to kick you to the curb, reduce your passions to a cosmic blurb. They will embrace to co-opt your reasons, then drop you on the proverbial dime. Nefarious dealings, hidden truths, in the midst of it all, it will be hard to discern honest feelings.

The whole damn thing will make you want to withdraw until you choose another pace; step to a better place; create where you are a stronger space. Flee from all apprehensions — be true to self — radiate, show your enlightened face. Once you assume a new gait, you will innately abhor the poisonous bait and attract like-energy as one by one we rise to empower an even more vibrant, THINKING race.

By giving true consideration to your brother, you will auto-commit to the idea of strengthening one another. Your vitals will become trained to feel the depth of the scams as you “stand for something” and become impervious to the world’s soul-robbing shams.

By Roberta Milton In Support Of The Trayvon Martin Foundation

PRINCIPLE, PURPOSE, PASSION

March 26, 2013 at 9:31am – A lot has happened since my last rant. As noted during a recent testimony, God has brought me so far in wellness, I can hardly recall the details of my illness(es). To God be the glory.
One of the greatest lessons I have experienced over this period is the spiritual requirement to give of myself. If you run into a person who is hungry, feed them. I don’t mean buy a fast food basket — go home and whatever you prepare for yourself, prepare enough to share.  If you encounter someone who is emotionally broken, take a moment to find out why. Then, do what you can to make it better. It doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment, although your actions will likely result in an important, long-standing relationship.
Forgive one another. People are going to hurt you and you are going to do your share of hurting. Don’t ignore the pain you experience and make sure not to discount how you make others feel. In the overall scheme of life, it’s important to try to make things right.
Get a pet.  Animals are phenomenal beings. Jada, my cat, has given me so much in the two years she has been with us. I was someone who did not like cats. When my husband brought her to me, my first response was less than lady-like. But through vet visits, kitty diseases, nail clippings, attempts at bathing, food sampling and identifying temperament, I have developed a love unlike any other. She is a joy. She is honest. Her love is what it is. The things we share belong to us and us alone.
Finally, as we experience the more than 2,000th Easter, let us hold firm to the truth that the entire Christian story is about one thing and one thing only:  Love!

ANALYSIS OF HEALTH CARE REFORM TECHNOLOGIES

On October 22nd, I visited www.health.gov to begin the process of reviewing Dental Plans in my area. Made it to Identity Proofing (Step 3) and received message that feature is currently unavailable.  Not a problem – I’m okay with that because I’ve been responsible for implementing new systems, including overseeing change management. So I’m looking at this with an eye towards what works. From the point of provision of information, the site looks good.  It is appealing and is basically user-friendly. The Research and FAQs links are working well. That’s all I can say today.

Now looking at it from a systems development life cycle standpoint – it’s pretty massive. Once you indicate your state/zip code, you are redirected to your state’s health connection site.  From there, you are able to begin the process of evaluating plans available to individuals, families or small businesses.  When you consider the amount of data that will/needs to be captured (according to a March 2013 report by The Huffington Post, potentially 45 million people throughout the United States need insurance), troubleshooting the End User experience will take a very long time (maybe years, not months). A system roll-out of this magnitude means that new users will be testers assisting in Implementation & Testing, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a required phase; when the private sector does a smaller scale roll out, real users measure the system’s feasibility (i.e., glitches).  I’m sure testing has been done but it could never occur at a scale to measure real performance except with real users.  Maybe a major city/per state (phased) roll out would be a more prudent approach.  Oh well, I’m retired because of disability so it’s unlikely anyone will be listening, but just in case…there are lots of smart people working on this and they will begin examining processes if they haven’t already begun to do so.

So folks, let’s be smart about this and stop buying into the negative hype about the Affordable Care Act Roll Out. This system is good, but like any software system worth having, it’s going to require real work to get to that desired level of glitch-free performance. And it’s not only going to require smart systems developers and project managers in background, but the general public is going to have to smarten up rather than dumb down.

Image Testing – Debugging – Deployment – Maintenance