So, here we are. It’s Saturday, January 21, 2017. The day after Barack Obama’s last day as President of the United States. As much hatred as that man endured. The disrespect from American elected leaders. The persistent obstruction by Republican members of Congress. It was not a good look for our nation, but it was our reality. We will miss the tremendous dignity, grace, and intelligence of President Barack Hussein Obama. We will miss the Obama family. Eight years of “No Drama”. Thank you, Mr. President.
So this was yestersay's news conference with Donald Trump. The first conference since he won the presidential election. It was all that Americans expected. It's troubling to fathom four years of this sideshow. This guy seems like a snake oil salesman. The United States of America is transitioning from an intelligent, classy leader such as President Barack Obama to this. Narcissistic. Not trustworthy. Untruthful. Unpresidented. God help us.
Reading the headline announcing the death of iconic, trailblazing journalist Gwen Ifill made me nauseous. Although I’ve never met her, I felt as though I’d lost another family member. I loved watching her on television. Whether she was delivering the news, on moderating a debate or commenting as a panelist, Gwen Ifill was the consummate professional. Ifill was the journalist I wish other journalists modeled nowadays. I would be less than honest if I didn’t share that I was proud when I saw her on television. She was a rarity as black and female in nationally televised news dominated by white males. Cool. Calm. Collected. Prepared. Thank you, Gwen Ifill. Job well done.
It’s still very disturbing and shameful that it is reported that election polls predict the presidential race is too close to call and in some battleground states, including my home state Florida, Donald Trump is winning. Jesus, take the wheel.
Donald Trump is dangerous for America. He lies way more than what he has accused Hillary Clinton of doing and, if elected, he will continue the Republican Party’s practice of obstructionism and anarchy.
Regardless the presidential election result on the evening of Tuesday, November 8, 2016, the racism, sexism and class warfare will not go away. Jesus, take the wheel.
Even after such a disdainful, hyperbolically nasty election season, I want to think America is better than the actions we have witnessed but is it? Jesus, take the wheel.
Retired FSU football coach Bobby Bowden endorses Donald Trump for President of the United States.
So, at a rally in Tampa, Florida last Monday evening, legendary Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden formally endorsed Donald J. Trump for President of the United States of America. Greeted by the crowd with the FSU tomahawk chop, it was both sad and disappointing but not at all surprising. It was a surprise that so many people, particularly Blacks, are surprised that Bowden endorsed a narcissistic, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, emotionally unstable, sexual predator to lead this nation.
Just add Bowden's name to the list of famous athletic coaches that are on the Trump train including Bobby Knight, Mike Ditka, Rex Ryan, Mike Leach, and Lou Holtz. These coaches can be pleasant, even charming when recruiting young black men to play sports for them. They sometimes refer to young black men as "son," but the athletes are never seen as more than tools to win championships. Thus, the low prioritization of academic achievement and personal development of the athletes beyond the football field. The athletic championships can translate to obscene amounts of money for everyone else except the athlete unless he manages to make it to the professional level.
Rumors of Bowden being racist have persisted for years. His endorsement of Donald Trump, even under the guise of religiosity appears to confirm those rumors and gives rise to more concerns about how he views women also. One would be shortsighted not to wonder about the current culture at Florida State and its football program. These negative perceptions didn't develop overnight and won't change quickly either.
Florida's capital city, Tallahassee, is also the home of Florida State. It would also be prudent to believe that elected and business leaders in Florida who endorse Trump share his perspectives on ethnic minorities, women, and immigrants. It is what it is, let's not kid ourselves.
Sadly, at the end of the day, for the love of money and dreams of fame and fortune, many Black parents will still entrust (pimp out) their young sons to the likes of Bowden and other coaches who share his white supremacist and misogynistic perspectives. Are the majority of American voters with Bowden on the Trump Train? I don't think so. We will find out November 8.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department finally released video of the CMPD confrontation with Keith Lamont Scott. The gut-wrenching video of a portion of the incident filmed by Scott’s wife, Rakeyia, was released by the family two days ago. Rakeyia Scott warned police her husband had a TBI (traumatic brain injury).
In the police dash cam video, Keith Lamont Scott can be seen exiting his vehicle and walking backwards following police commands. A few seconds later, as Scott is walking backwards, he is shot multiple times. Why? He was not threatening anyone. He was not reaching for anything. Keith Lamont Scott was compliant. That was cold-blooded murder by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.
The officer(s) who fired shots at Scott need to be fired and arrested. Whoever fires them needs to fire the Police Chief Kerr Putney also. There needs to be an investigation of how a weapon Scott was supposed to have, was introduced into this situation. It’s now crystal clear why Chief Putney didn’t want to release that damning video earlier.
May peaceful protests continue in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and grow throughout the United States until the family of Keith Lamont Sott gets justice for his death.
The Ryan Lochte Rio Olympics scandal continues to be prominently featured in the media with the latest news of two of his major sponsors, Speedo and Ralph Lauren, severing ties with the athlete because of his shenanigans in Rio.
US swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger leave Rio.
For sure Lochte, his teammates - Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and the local people involved know what really happened during the athletes' night out in Rio even if the rest of the world can only speculate. What we do know for sure is that Ryan Lochte’s recounting of what happened changed a few times. We also know that the guys out on the town with Lochte disputed key elements of Lochte’s story. Yet there was also agreement that guns were drawn on them during the encounter with men who may or may not have been security guards who were also robbers.
So, it is entirely possible that Lochte and Rio locals both embellished…over-exaggerated…lied about what actually happened. That $11,000 donation to charity that Feigen had to make before he was allowed to leave Brazil, seems an awful lot like a shakedown. I’m just saying.
US swimmer Jimmy Feigen leaves court after his passport was returned. He had to pay a fine of almost $11,000.
Even if it is proven that Ryan Lochte is not the only person that lied regarding this incident, he will be remembered for not owning up to his lies and other mistakes. He will be remembered for his apology that was actually a non-apology. He will be remembered for leaving his teammates in Rio while he hurriedly returned to the United States. He is already the brunt of jokes and subject of social media memes.
US swimmer Ryan Lochte's non-apology apology.
Many in the mainstream media will be remembered for providing cover for Lochte by trying to convince the world that the incident was just a juvenile act. I see you Billy Bush. Many in the mainstream media seem to have forgotten that Ryan Lochte is 32-years-old. Far too old for the foolishness and lies about what happened in Rio.
As far as the end of his endorsement deals with Speedo and Ralph Lauren, it is not likely the deals would have been renewed anyway. Lochte performed admirably during the games but his individual performance was not spectacular. The endorsement deals would likely go to other athletes a la Michael Phelps….Simone Biles…Katie Ledecky…etcetera.
I don’t know Ryan Lochte personally but I'm willing to bet that the worse part of this horrible situation is the fact that he lied to his mother. Sure, he was the center of an international incident but disappointing and embarrassing his mom is a probably a much bigger deal.
While the incident in Rio overshadowed the magnificent athletic accomplishments of Team USA at this year's Summer Olympics, as time passes and Ryan Lochte completes his punishment and attempts to redeem himself with gold medal winning individual performances in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, America will salute his story of perseverance and redemption.
A year ago, today, America mourned the massacre of nine worshippers at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. Not much has changed regarding gun control laws since the day when Dylan Roof wanted to start a race war by murdering: Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; and Myra Thompson, 59.
Even after The Honorable Clementa Pinkckney, South Carolina State Senator, was gunned down, Congress still has not passed a law requiring background checks, banning the sale of assault weapons and other common sense measures. Should we be surprised based on their actions or lack thereof after the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011 in which six people were killed?
To this day, congressmen shamelessly offer ridiculous rationale for holding fast to their position regarding gun control. Some even blame President Obama as if they have no role in the legislative process in the United States.
After the most recent massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, again, we mourn the loss of 49 victims of senseless gun violence. More than 50 people were also wounded in that incident.
At what point do we, as Americans, care enough to elect representatives who will put American citizens first? Enough is enough. If we don't care enough after the Massacre at Mother Emanuel or Orlando or San Bernardino or Sandy Hook or Aurora or any weekend in some cities in America, then shame on us.
Miss me with the hashtags, catchy slogans and creative graphics expressing unity, outrage and sympathy to yourself if you are not going to do anything more than lip service or be a keyboard commando.
Sleep in Paradise, Emmanuel Nine, you are not forgotten. Disarm hate.
Enjoy this speech, in video and text, by Donovan Livingston, Ed.M.'16, student speaker at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s 2016 Convocation exercises. Instead of a traditional speech, he chose to communicate via spoken word and he is awesome.
“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,
is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” – Horace Mann, 1848.
At the time of his remarks I couldn’t read — I couldn’t write.
Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.
For generations we have known of knowledge’s infinite power.
Yet somehow, we have never questioned the keeper of the keys —
The guardians of information.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen more dividing and conquering
In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.
For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.
How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —
Like tokens in coined phrases? —
There are days I feel like one, like only —
A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.
But, hey, I’ve always been a thorn in the side of injustice.
Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.
With a passion that transcends the confines of my own consciousness —
Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.
I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,
With veins pumping revolution.
I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.
I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.
And a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget
My past, alone won’t allow me to sit still.
So my body, like my mind
Cannot be contained.
As educators, rather than raising your voices
Over the rustling of our chains,
Take them off. Un-cuff us.
Unencumbered by the lumbering weight
Of poverty and privilege,
Policy and ignorance.
I was in the 7th grade, when Ms. Parker told me,
“Donovan, we can put all of your excess energy to good use!”
And she introduced me to the sound of my own voice.
She gave me a stage. A platform.
She told me that our stories are the ladders
That make it easier for us to touch the stars.
So climb and grab them.
Keep climbing. Grab them.
Spill your emotions in the big dipper and pour out your soul.
Light up the world with your luminous allure.
To educate requires Galileo-like patience.
Today, when I look my students in the eyes, all I see are constellations.
If you take the time to connect the dots,
You can plot the true shape of their genius —
Shining in their darkest hour.
I look each of my students in the eyes,
And see the same light that aligned Orion’s Belt
And the pyramids of Giza.
I see the same twinkle
That guided Harriet to freedom.
I see them. Beneath their masks and their mischief,
Exists an authentic frustration;
An enslavement to your standardized assessments.
At the core, none of us were meant to be common.
We were born to be comets,
Darting across space and time —
Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.
A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened right here —
An indelible impact that shook up the world.
Are we not astronomers — searching for the next shooting star?
I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —
Tribulations into telescopes,
So a child can see their true potential from right where they stand.
An injustice is telling them they are stars
Without acknowledging the night that surrounds them.
Injustice is telling them education is the key
While you continue to change the locks.
Education is no equalizer —
Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.
So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices
Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.
Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.
I’ve been the Black hole in a classroom for far too long;
Absorbing everything, without allowing my light to escape.
But those days are done. I belong among the stars.
And so do you. And so do they.
Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness
For generations to come.
So no — no, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.
Newly redesigned $20 bill will feature Harriet Tubman on its face and Andrew Jackson on the reverse side.
Yesterday, Black folk in the US went absolutely crazy celebrating the announcement that abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace President Andrew Jackson on the United States $20 bill. However, Andrew Jackson is not “off” the $20 as has been widely reported. Andrew Jackson will be on the reverse side of the new $20 bill along with a depiction of the White House. Any logical thinker and realist would know that the United States is not about to allow a woman, especially a black woman, to totally displace a white male on currency. Let’s just keep it real.
Also know that the $5 and $10 bills have also been redesigned. The concept for the newly redesigned bills will not be unveiled until 2020 and there is no firm date of when a decision on the final design for the bills will be made and the when the bills will be placed in circulation. Let that sink in. It will be four years before the “concept” will be unveiled. Also note that the U.S. Treasury website indicates that the $10 bill, honoring women’s suffrage leaders —Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, will be released first.
Black folk, as a people group, have yet to rise to the level of actually earning the respect of the power brokers in this country because Black folk still don’t know, and therefore use, their actual power. So Black folk are frequently placated by superficial actions such as this redesign of United States currency.
Don't get it twisted, Harriet Tubman on United States currency is a good thing. Sharing her depiction on currency with Andrew Jackson who was a slaveholder and lead in the genocide of Native Americans? Waiting at least four years for the bill to even be released into circulation? Not so much. Only in America are Blacks expected to be happy while they are being insulted.