*When and how world-class athlete Kobe Bryant died in January, set the tone for things to come in this year 2020. It was a perfect storm of events to follow – COVID-19, the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (among others), global protests, wildfires burning up the west coast, massive flooding on the east, and no decisive/definitive leadership from the White House – has left us all in a lurch.
While this COVID-19 pandemic has given us time to stay-at-home; shutting down businesses, schools and other “non-essential” entities; we’ve had an opportunity to reset the scale – to recalibrate!
What really matters now? We’ve enjoyed all the best in entertainment – sports, music, film, fashion etc. – and here we are now chomping at the bit to get back to where we were, when we should be looking at where we are and how we should be going forward!
What can we do now as the world economy has come to a screeching halt, to engage in God’s economy? What can we do now to bring it back better? That business model that we all complained about; the systemic injustices; the inequities – all the things that we’d like reformed are now glaringly on the table.
Do we see people taking advantage of the advantage at hand? No! People still want to go to the beach; to party, to shake their butts on the internet and all other kinds of foolishness. From whence comes this spirit of defiance? At least wear a mask as prescribed by the professionals!
Black folks in particular need to wake up and shake up one another – stop making excuses – and stop reinforcing what Hollywood and the media have decidedly defined us to be. We are not buffoons (with some exception) trying to fit in and be accepted. No amount of money nor fame can bring about the dignity that we deserve just as any other race or ethnicity on this planet.
Remember the “bra-burning” era of the 1960’s? It was a women’s rights party, but when the party was over, white women went home to stability; black women went home to chaos because they did not come out of the same stability from the start.
Fast-forward to today – same thing – we’re out there partying and trying to do what white folks are doing when we should be trying to get some basic things at home in order. This is not just a racial issue, but more a character issue and a historical fact that keeps us as a people, at the bottom of the totem pole.
If we do nothing else for the balance of this historical, game-changing year, in honor of the fallen – Kobe, the victims of COVID-19, victims of police brutality, victims of natural disasters and essential workers – let us re-examine ourselves and reassess what really matters. And by all means, let’s get out and VOTE (thank you Congressman John Lewis for your service!) – purposefully and meaningfully!!
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributor. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon). Email: [email protected]
The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Stand Your Ground A License to Kill Protestors?
*Just as Americans are fixated on the results of the 2020 Presidential Election Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to push legislation through the Florida statehouse that could put targets on the backs of protestors exercising their First Amendment rights. While the eyes of Americans are watching the White House, DeSantis is sneaking through the back door – aka the statehouse.
If De Santis has his way people who use deadly force against protestors could use the Stand Your Ground law as their defense to get away with murder. De Santis drafted a bill that could expand the controversial law to cover anybody who claims they feared for their lives and end up killing a protestor.
The first issue I have with this law is who is to say whether a person is a protestor or looter or rioter in the heat of the moment? The second issue I have with this proposed expansion of the law is it promotes using deadly force to protect personal property. Most SYG and castle doctrine laws across the United States allow using deadly force only if a person feels their life or a loved one’s life is in danger. Killing someone over theft or property damage is unlawful. If Florida expands this law it could be a green light for other states to do the same.
In addition, DeSantis’ bill includes mandatory punishment for protest organizers and mandatory jail time for anyone convicted of assaulting police and it would block local municipalities from defunding local police departments. View the video for more details.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries. Follow her @TCBStef on Twitter and Instagram.
JFK Remembered: ‘Purple Raindrops’
[Updated version from the author’s book, “Book To The Future” (Amazon)]
As we commemorate the 57th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, many things are being written and new revelations are surfacing about our revered fallen hero. For instance, until now it has not been widely known about the various enervating illnesses JFK suffered from early childhood and throughout his adult life which included Addison’s disease. The many medications he reportedly was taking seem to be on par with the magnitude of findings after singer Michael Jackson’s death.
It was a sad day when we heard the news about JFK on November 22, 1963. That was truly the day America lost its innocence. Videos of the presidential motorcade ambling through the streets of Dallas, and the impact of that dreadful moment surely defined the BC and AD of our times. Thanks to television, the image of JFK was larger than life. On a higher level, Jesus – the very image of God – was larger than life. What deep sorrow and loss his disciples must have felt when he, the Son of God who had all power, died on the cross suffering the ultimate separation – from God the Father! [Ref: Matt. 27:45-50, KJV]
Looking through the historical lens at closely bonded relations it seems the closer the bond, the deeper the sorrow when it is broken. Just imagine the horror and shock, when JFK was shot, then the suddenness of loss Jackie Kennedy felt as she sat there watching her husband die in such a cruel and gruesome manner. Think of JFK’s brother Robert Kennedy (who also died years later at the hand of a gunman); his big brother leaving D.C. for Dallas with all power, and being returned to him in D.C. in a casket all within a matter of hours. It’s the lasting anguish as intimated by L.C. Cooke on the loss of his brother, world-renowned singer Sam Cooke – shot and killed at the height of his career – “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him.” Most of us can relate to the anguish and the agony of sudden loss; here one minute and gone the next particularly by a bullet. Think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, John Lennon, and Marvin Gaye. The news was totally shocking and unexpected.
I was recently researching some songs in Stevie Wonder’s discography and discovered that the song “Purple Raindrops,” which was the B-side of “Uptight (Everything Is Alright),” was released by Motown Records November 22, 1965. Written by Stevie’s tutor Ted Hull, the song was already two years old which would place its creation around the time of JFK’s death in ’63. For years the song was virtually lost in oblivion, but Stevie was singing “purple” before Prince’s “Purple Rain,” and the movie “The Color Purple.”
There are various interpretations and meanings of the actual color purple. Award-winning designer Jennifer Bourn writes, “Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. The color purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic.” Does that sound like our beloved JFK and the romanticism of an anywhere place called Camelot? Coincidentally, at the time of JFK’s death I was living on Camelot Way in Los Angeles’ Green Meadows projects.
Purple signifies our highest honors. The Purple Heart is awarded to our military soldiers for meritorious performance of duty. I wish we could award one to every little child who has to leave home headed for school through a minefield of uncertainty due to senseless gun violence.
Bourn further writes, “The color purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind and nerves, enhancing the sacred, creating feelings of spirituality, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity, and encouraging imagination and creativity. Purple is associated with spirituality, the sacred, higher self, passion, third eye, fulfillment, and vitality. Purple helps align oneself with the whole of the universe.”
Bourn’s take on shades of purple can also be ascribed to Jackie Kennedy’s experience. In video composites Jackie is shown wearing pink when leaving the hospital after their infant son Patrick died just months before JFK, and the more familiar pink outfit that JFK’s blood splattered all over in the motorcade car in which they were riding.
Bourn writes, “Light purple or lavender is a feminine, graceful, elegant color that has long been associated with refined, wealthy women. While the color purple represents royalty, lavender represents beauty and femininity. Lavender is considered to be the ‘grown-up’ pink.” Certainly Jackie’s “pink” went beyond lavender and to a deeper shade after that period in her life.
At the close of 1963, America was already feeling change in the air and it was voiced in Bob Dylan’s 1964 album release titled “The Times They Are a-Changing.” The following month introduced The Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan show – the British invasion had begun. That same month The Kingsmen came out with one of the most controversial songs of all time – “Louie, Louie,” and 22 year-old Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) defeated Sonny Liston for the heavyweight boxing crown, declaring “I am the greatest.” Later in June The Supremes’ “Where Did Our Love Go” exploded on the charts – its simplicity reminded me of bubble gum and hopscotch. I think it really resonated in America and on a global scale as people reflected on Camelot lost. As 1964 came to a close we lost Sam Cooke who left us a message of hope – “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
Despite all the difficulties JFK encountered during his brief presidency, he forged ahead. Being the youngest president ever elected, he intuitively knew that it was his moment. He knew his purpose was to usher in a new era, and he delivered. He was the “purple” and when he died, it spattered on us like purple raindrops and enriched our lives. The beginning lines to Stevie’s “Purple Raindrops” are: “Purple raindrops/spattered flowers/I daydream for hours…” JFK’s legacy – to dream big, and the challenge “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – is truly a profile worth remembering and acknowledging.
To hear Stevie Wonder’s “Purple Raindrops” (<ahref=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UXsJ9Yj1Ho>CLICK HERE)
Please share your thoughts in the user-friendly, no-obligation comment section below.
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]
The Wattree Chronicle: Dubious Donnie’s Just Reward
*I hate to celebrate another person’s misfortune. That kind of pettiness is totally classless. But watching Donald Trump having to agonize through his current loss to Joe Biden is making me want to dance in the street.
Donald Trump is currently showing the world just how petty and vindictive he is. He’s purposely doing everything in his waning power to make America suffer for voting him out of office. Due to his petty, vindictive nature, he’s trying to punish America by refusing to concede and failing to cooperate with a smooth transition of power.
His intent – other than his desperation over having to face the possible legal consequences of his past behavior – is to make it much harder for President-Elect Joe Biden to pick up the pieces after he’s gone, and he doesn’t care how many Americans he’s responsible for killing in the process. And the Republican Party clearly recognizes that fact, but they’re much too weak-kneed and self-serving to defend the American people from this atrocity. But America will recover, so all Trump’s actually doing is making a fool of himself, ensuring his place in the garbage heap of history, and clearly demonstrating just how rudderless this nation has been for the past four years.
Trump insists that the election was rigged, while not only the facts, but simple logic suggests that’s not the case. The fact that Donald Trump lost, while the Republican Party fared much better than expected, indicates that the American people didn’t reject conservatism, but Donald Trump.
This article/essay continues at The Wattree Chronicle.
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