Tag Archives: Worcester

Main South: Clark U to host academic symposium on Children and Mass Violence

But, first, on a lighter note:

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Clark University
950 Main St.

Oct. 19 public keynote to present “Stories from Syria’s Children

The Clark University Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies will host an academic symposium, “Children and Mass Violence,” Oct 19 and 20.

Experts at the symposium will explore the traumatic impact of mass violence on the most vulnerable segment of society – children and youth.

The conference will open with a free, public keynote lecture, “Stories from Syria’s Children: Growing Up in the Age of Genocide and Displacement,” by Lina Sergie Attar, at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 19, in the Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons.

Attar is the co-founder and CEO of Karam Foundation, a non-profit organization on a mission to build a better future for Syria. Her personal talk about the Syrian humanitarian crisis and its devastating toll on children will describe living through the deep layers of unimaginable loss when conflict hits home and explores innovative and meaningful ways to nurture hope in a time of despair.

“The modern history of human rights is closely linked to the genocides of the 20th century,” writes Mary Jane Rein, executive director of the Strassler Center. “Expanding human rights education will strengthen knowledge about individual genocides and will provide a theoretical framework that deepens appreciation for similarities and differences. Such an approach offers the best hope for understanding possible strategies for prevention, steps toward intervention, and insights into promoting democracy and justice in the aftermath of violence.”

Beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, October 20, Thomas Kühne, Professor of History and Strassler Chair in the Study of Holocaust History and the Director of the Strassler Center, will present welcoming remarks in the Higgins Lounge of Dana Commons. Talks by esteemed experts will follow, continuing to 6 p.m. Program details are available online.

The symposium is open to the public by reservation. Please contact Robyn Conroy at rconroy@clarku.edu.

Conference sponsors include the Friends of the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor in Armenian Genocide Studies, Alan Edelman and Debbie Sosland-Edelman, and Fran Snyder and David Voremberg ’72.

Center faculty and students foster important scholarship and germinate significant ideas as conveners of a robust series of international symposia, workshops, and conferences that broaden the boundaries of genocide studies by introducing less known cases and novel approaches, Rein said.

The Center will continue to organize events that bring attention to fresh issues that genocide scholars hope to confront including imperatives to address slavery and Indian genocide in the Americas, and mass violence and ethnic cleansing in the context of colonization and the collapse of empire.

Could your veterinarian be unwittingly supporting suffering?

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Lilac’s favorite nap-nook. pics: R.T.

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Jett + Lilac = old friends

By Ingrid Taylor, D.V.M.

Physicians take an oath vowing to “do no harm” when treating their human patients, but veterinarians, too, strive to avoid causing harm to animals.

So PETA’s recent exposé of a little-known and almost totally unregulated industry — animal blood banks — is an eye-opener to many in the veterinary field. Blood transfusions can be lifesavers for sick and injured animals, but behind the scenes, dogs on at least one blood factory farm are caged in squalor, denied veterinary care and repeatedly bled, even when they are scared to death of a human hand.

Earlier this year, a worker at The Pet Blood Bank, Inc., in Texas, which sold dogs’ blood to veterinary clinics across the U.S., decided that he just couldn’t take it anymore.

He blew the whistle on the enterprise, sending PETA photographs and video footage of 150 or so greyhounds suffering in shocking conditions at the facility. The dogs were “discards” from the greyhound racing industry, and some were so afraid to be touched, even urinating on themselves at the prospect, that they are called “cringers.”

Photos show dogs with open and infected wounds, painfully rotting teeth and overgrown toenails curled all the way back to penetrate their paw pads.

Video footage shows dogs pacing and spinning endlessly in circles — severe stress-induced behavior.

Most of the greyhounds are confined alone to wire pens devoid of anything to do, the floors pitted with holes and invaded by mice, ticks and even snakes. Out of boredom and despair, the dogs dig and chew on the old, filthy chemical tanks that serve as their “shelter,” come summer or winter, leaving jagged edges that sometimes cut them.

The whistleblower reported that dogs were denied veterinary care—even for an apparent broken leg—and in recent months, he found two dead in kennels with watering devices that were bone-dry. He also found hundreds of ticks embedded in their skin. In a crude attempt to control parasites, workers sprayed them with a termite poison meant to be used on trees and buildings. The chemical blistered their skin and irritated their eyes.

When the dogs were bled, up to twice a month, they were confined to crates for hours — sometimes kept in the burning – hot sun without access to water and even muzzled. Workers took 20 percent of their blood volume at a time, which can lead to serious side effects in dogs whose health is already compromised, and some became so weak that they had to be carried back to the kennels.

Greyhounds are especially sensitive to extreme temperatures because of their thin coats and sparse subcutaneous fat, yet they are held at this facility without protection from the heat or cold. And one dog was photographed with deep pressure sores on the hindquarters, caused by having to lie on the hard ground.

Surprisingly, even as the demand for animal-blood products grows and dog-blood banks proliferate, most states do not regulate or inspect such operations, and no federal regulations regarding them exist.

If you care about animals, you may be wondering what you can do. Many animal-blood banks sponsor blood drives and recruit volunteers, a model that should be adopted by all blood bank operations.

If you’re a veterinary professional, please make sure that the blood products you use come only from humane sources — meaning that the donors go home and sleep in their own beds after their blood is collected — and not from captive dogs confined to cages. And check the veracity of such claims, as this blood bank told clients that volunteer donors were its source of blood, when, in fact, they were not. If you have an animal at home, please show this article to your vet and ask him or her to go to PETA.org/Bloodbank to learn more.

Everyone is invited to visit PETA’s website and join us in calling on The Pet Blood Bank to surrender all the greyhounds so they can be rescued and receive immediate veterinary care. They deserve a chance to experience love and respect, to run and play, and to live as dogs at long last.

Ma’s little red book and Trump’s America

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“Ma”   photos: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

When my late mother was around 14 years old she got the How To Pitch Baseball book by Lew Fonseca lots of American kids (mostly boys) owned around that time (World War II) and pored over after school, during school, before baseball practice and after a game (sand lot, park or school yard) – kid-arenas where your team either won or lost and a million stories unfolded between the first and ninth inning. All of them were dusty and dirt-beneath-your-fingernails hardscrabble, especially if you played them in Green Island!

The slim red book is small and light – a teenaged boy could have held it in the palm of his hand easily.

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It was published in 1942 as part of the Little Technical Book Library and belonged to Ma, a baseball lover from impoverished childhood to impoverished nursing-home death. But most likely it first belonged to her big brother, Walter, who played baseball on his high school’s b-ball-team. So it was a hand-me-down, one of many that came my mother’s way because she was the youngest of five children in a Polish immigrant family and it was the Great Depression . She did things like walk the railroad tracks with her Polish father, my “Jaju,” looking for “coke” – bits of scrap coal that had fallen along the railroad tracks – to take home for their little black stove my grandfather had set up in the corner of their big kitchen in the Lafayette Street tenement. To heat the cold water flat up in winter.  Ma and Jaju would wander the Worcester fields, too, picking wild blueberries and mushrooms to take home to my Polish granny, Bapy. Bapy would  cook them in soups or breads. She was a great cook, made egg noodles, stuffed cabbage – everything they ate at dinner from scratch. She kept (illegally) rabbits in a hutch on the back porch for stew. Jaju slaughtered them for Bapy and occassionally made Ma a lucky rabbit’s foot key chain from the scraps. Ma said the rabbit stew was delicious and, even though not all mushrooms were safe to eat, Jaju was an expert mushroom picker, and knew the safe ones.

Like I said, Ma’s big brother Walter played baseball and was on a team in high school. They didn’t have baseball teams for girls. I know Ma would have joined one if they had them, especially if they were St. Mary’s school- or church-affiliated. She was tiny and skinny but always active, a great walker, walked all over Green Island – up Millbury Steet to buy sausage at Biehler Brother Polish Market – or up Richland Street to help the nuns with decorating their classrooms at St. Mary’s School. Ma whistled when she walked – so much so that Jaju nicknamed his skinny legged, whistling daughter “scrovonik” – Polish for Little Sparrow. St. Mary’s school cum church was Ma’s, all Woo Polish folks’, cultural and educational nexus. A bridge to  America, a new country, a place mysterious and grand and scary.

Baseball was another bridge to America! For Ma and Walter and so many kids of Italian, Irish, Lithuanian, Greek, Portuguese and Polish immigrants of the first half of the twentieth century. They found their parents flaying about – out of their deeply religious countries of origin and thrown into the great wide open moneyland that was America. They would do better than Ma and Papa. They would be fluent in English. They would be rich. They would live in houses, not tenements.  They would go to baseball games and the movies. They would play ball!!!

When Ma died, her little red baseball book became mine. It is sweet looking and fine to the touch, but I like my baseball book best of all because it’s a window on America that is no more: an America that encouraged – practically forced – first generation kids and their immigrant parents to get with the American program! Become a part of the best country on the planet. No one called it “assimilation” back then or felt sorry for or psychoanalyzed anybody who was struggling to get with the American program.  Our great land was serious and striving, even though it was brutally racist and loved its booze, vaudeville stars and strippers… For every illegal dog fight in Green Island there was a little paper American flag taped on a tenement wall. Right next to the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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Rose’s Bapy’s Sacred Heart of Jesus picture hung on her kitchen wall in her Green Island tenement for decades. Now it hangs in Rose’s bedroom.

Patriotism is the subtext of Ma’s/my little red baseball book!

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This late morning, as I turn its pages, I connect with the “late” America: one that paid lip service to equal opportunity for all but was dead serious about work ethic. Believed in dreams, infinite possibilities, the act of self-creation ane recreation. Embracing intellect, too – even if you were just a kid from Green Island you could be smart! In so many paragraphs the book is telling kids: The KEY TO SUCCESS IN AMERICA IS THE SAME AS IN BASEBALL – dream, work like crazy for your dream, and if you can’t realize your dream and you’ve had to settle for another position on the American team, that is great too! You’re playing the American game with gusto! Fonseca (or most likely his ghostwriter!) says this straight up in his introduction. He writes: “Pitching without a doubt is baseball’s citadel. … More often than not, however, he [the wannabe star pitcher] will find his forte is elsewhere.”

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No matter your position, in America, you can still shine! It’s the effort that counts!

I love this caption, printed under the photo, you see below:

“Run out every batted ball.”

“Never assume you are out till umpire rules.”

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Be tenacious, kiddos!

And our American love of science, math, Hard Facts, is on display, in several diagrams like this one:

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Very “Technical” – just like the book’s cover says! There is a science to great baseball!

Very American!

Even the President of the United States plays ball!! Fonseca tells his young readers that none other than our PRESIDENT throws the first ball of the first game of the baseball season! Every year! Right onto the diamond!

An American tradition!

In the book there is a photo of FDR throwing the first ball …

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The kids probably didn’t know President Roosevelt’s polio-ravaged body would never allow him to “play ball.” He couldn’t even stand up! “Standing” for the photo – to throw that baseball was a herculean effort on FDR’s part. It was in fact an optical illusion that the wheel-chair-bound Roosevelt and his team worked hard to create: Before the baseball game, a big ramp was built so that the President’s car could be driven up it. Then hidden behind a ton of bunting and banners the president’s team propped him up, held him tight while he gripped a railing or his son’s arm with one hand and threw the baseball with the other. Sonetimes FDR just sat in his car and pitched – the roaring crowd didn’t know the difference. Sometimes the President’s car was driven on the field and he watched the game from the sidelines. No one knew the difference!

None of this is mentioned in Fonseca’s little red book. After all, FDR embodied everything that Fonseca preached in his little red book!: high spiritedness, optimism, intelligence, competitiveness, most important, control. Without control, Fonseca tells his young readers, your pitching is no where. Without self-control, you can never be a great pitcher! FDR was a great pitcher for America! He was the Babe Ruth of presidents!

Flash forward to today.

President Donald Trump TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL. absolutely undisciplined. Today. Trump would probably make fun of FDR and his physical handicap – just like he did that New YorkTimes reporter.

Or the many other folks on the campaign trail (U.S. Senator John McCain. A Gold Star mother). The way Trump still treats his fellow Americans is appalling! Most recently, NFL players (he called kneeling NFL football players “sons of bitches”) and the folks of Puerto Rico (he intimated they were lazy and a drain on the mainland).

Now Las Vegas. A mass murderer with a ton of money but no soul. A big empty hole inside he filled with evil. What were Paddock’s motives, America wants to know?

What are Trump’s motives?

How is Trump making America great again???

My mom, like every kid in America, went to the movies religiosly. There was an A picture screened, preceded by the B, preceded by cartoons and shorts like this: 

Baseball was Ma’s fave sport! She must have loved this video when it came up on the big movie screen!! There were two or three movie houses in Green Island. They gave away dishes, so people would keep coming back. To make an entire table setting! American generosity and salesmanship!

Aa little kid, Ma listened to ALL the games on the big family radio in their “front room,” talked baseball with her big brother whom she watched play rough and ready pick up baseball games in the Green Island “big yard” – the sand lot down the street. Ma even grabbed her #2 pencil and, because she was a good artist, drew big sketches of her fave baseball players mid-swing or mid-catch. The hard, stitched balls only her mind’s eye could see…sailing through time and space … sateliltes of love. She gave her sketches to her teachers, the nuns at St. Mary’s school on Richland Street (still standing and operating!). They gave her little prizes for her skills: penny prayer cards (pretty picture in front, prayer in Polish on back), or little plastic statues of the Blessed Mother or Saint Joseph. 

Paddock worshipped winning money – an unhappy addict. A brutal killer who didn’t see, like I did on YouTube news, that pretty girl with long hair in short denim jeans and sexy cowgirl boot go down mid run to safety. She was hit with a bullet in her middle but like a young beautiful deer in shock got up and holding her stomach, ran, kept running. In shock. Would this lithe beauty die???

Trump never mentioned her or the others who were in the madman’s shooting gallery. Gun control? Not a peep from Trump on universal background checks, something most Americans want.

Trump is a demagogue, a slick, creepy divider of Americans, not a healer like FDR or Obama…

… but a killer, like Paddock. A killer of America, Ma, the immigrant’s dreams, science, good sportmanship, baseball’s highest ideals …

Donald Trump, our murderer in chief.

Vegan school lunches are a “recipe for success”

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By Heather Moore

The theme of this year’s National School Lunch Week, which is observed in October, is “School Lunch: Recipes for Success.” Schools are encouraged to boast about the “secret ingredients” to their success and to tell people what makes their lunch programs special. It’s a great opportunity for vegan-friendly schools to brag about their healthy, humane options — because I doubt that anyone believes “mystery” meat and cheese pizza help kids to succeed in life, especially considering that animal-based foods contribute to heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses.

I spent two days holed up in a Sarasota elementary school while Hurricane Irma barreled toward Florida. Many of those taking shelter were served school lunches—primarily chicken nuggets, corn dogs and cheese pizza. (Fortunately, I had packed vegan sandwiches, peanut butter, raisins, fresh fruit, vegan banana bread and other munchies.)

The school lunches looked depressingly similar to the ones that I ate three decades ago when I was a student — back before I realized that I was being served dead, dismembered animals and that animal-based foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Such fare would only qualify as a “recipe for success” if your goal were admittance to a hospital.

If you want to be healthy, try eating nutritious vegan meals. They’re cholesterol-free, generally low in fat and high in fiber, complex carbohydrates and other essential nutrients. Fruits, vegetables and other wholesome plant-based foods have brain-boosting properties, too, that can help students focus while they’re studying or taking a test. Ben Franklin even wrote in his autobiography that vegetarian foods gave him a clearer mind and better powers of comprehension.

So it’s smart for schools to give students vegan lunch options. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) — the second-largest school district in the nation — is conducting a pilot program at seven high schools through November 17 to offer students a vegan menu, including vegetarian chili, bean tamales, Italian “sausage” sandwiches and teriyaki “burgers,” in addition to veggie sides, fruit and dairy-free milk. This move can be attributed in large part to the efforts of the Earth Peace Foundation, a group of students who encouraged the LAUSD to offer an animal-free menu.

Only a few other schools serve vegan meals on a regular basis, including P.S. 244Q in Flushing, New York, and the MUSE School in Calabasas, California. In 2016, schools in Durham, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; Alachua, Florida; Loudon County, Virginia; and other areas were recognized by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine for offering vegan options as well.

I give high marks to those schools — and to the many college campuses that offer vegan options. Aramark — which serves more than 3 million college students each year — offers innovative vegan meals, including Vegan Chick’n Tagine and Pineapple Chipotle Black Bean Burgers. Vegetarian and vegan items account for more than 30 percent of the main dishes at the campuses that Aramark serves.

Kids shouldn’t have to wait until they’re adults to have access to tasty vegan meals. Nutritious vegan foods are the “recipe for success” for a healthy life. So I hope the LAUSD and other vegan-friendly schools will promote their menus during National School Lunch Week — and every week, for that matter. Perhaps other schools across the nation will learn a thing or two and start serving more vegan meals. Because no one should be subjected to the lunches that I saw during my brief return to school.

Tuesday, a day of mourning …

Las Vegas Massacre

By Ron O’Clair

Our country is being divided by hatred. Virulent anti-American hatred of all sorts, mainly directed at those who support President Donald J. Trump.

Stephan Paddock, a 64-year-old American citizen, decided for whatever reason, to barricade himself into two adjoining hotel rooms, bust out the windows and fire into a crowd of thousands of concert goers, killing 59 outright and injuring more than 500, many of whom are clinging to life as I write this column. The death toll may go higher if some of those injured succumb to their wounds.

Paddock’s family was shocked, they had no clue he was even capable of doing such a thing. All the facts are not in as of yet, and there is much speculation as to his motives, and what kind of help he had during this attack on innocent concert goers. The official narrative points to a “lone gunman” at this time, though there are many who seem to think that there was more than one shooter involved.

We do know that this man had acquired an arsenal of weapons and deliberately shot defenseless people from afar indiscriminately, not caring who was killed or injured.

This kind of killing is on the rise in our country. There are many who blame the weapons for the tragedy. …

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Our Founding Fathers were not talking individuals, they were talking militias – and muskets. NOT AK-47s… pics: R.T.

Now, with this latest outrage there is a growing swell of support for enacting more laws prohibiting firearms. We have been unable to come up with a solution to this type of indiscriminate killing which has been happening off and on in America since the Texas Tower shooting back in the 1960s, when a lone gunman barricaded himself atop a Texas University Tower and began killing whomever crossed his sights.

This author has no solution to offer.

I do not believe there is one – other than to remain vigilant and aware of what is going on in our own neighborhoods around the country.

I believe we need to be more proactive with neighborhood watch groups willing to report suspicious activity to the police for investigation/action.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this latest American tragedy and their extended family members. I pray to the God of my understanding that America can learn from this tragedy and hopefully prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Ron O’Clair, comments? ronaldoclair@hotmail.com

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LOVE YOU, TOM!!

By Rose T.

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Tom Petty put the HEART in heartland rock! He’s on the soundtrack to so many of our lives! Name me a Baby Boomer who doesn’t have a TP album or hasn’t gone to a TP concert? Still searchin’ that cobweb-covered cranium of yours?? Ha! … I remember being 19 at my first Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert: every bone in my young body, calcium-rich – and still growin’!! … My friend’s lighter, like the thousands in the arena raised by fans and groupies, flickering in the darkened, “weedy” mega youth”church”…The both of us glancing at each other. Smiling.

“Wherever you are tonight / I wish you the best of everything … It’s over before you know it.” – Tom Petty

From The AP – great article!


National Anthem has been a channel for protests since song’s origins

By JEFF KAROUB
Today

DETROIT (AP) — When football players kneel during the national anthem, Mark Clague sees the continuation of a tradition as old as the song itself.

The University of Michigan musicology professor and expert on “The Star-Spangled Banner” said the song has been a channel for protest since at least 1844, three decades after Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics during a pivotal battle against the British in the War of 1812.

Since that time, the lyrics have occasionally been rewritten or expanded to push for the end of slavery, for women’s rights and to call attention to other social issues that shaped a growing nation.

“The song becomes a vehicle for commenting on what it means be American,” he said.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the anthem in the 2016 preseason to make a statement about social inequality and police treatment of blacks in the United States. After President Donald Trump suggested that NFL owners should fire athletes who protest during the song, more than 200 players knelt or took other action during last weekend’s games. Some fans booed in response.

The players’ actions were “very much in keeping with past protests,” Clague said. In the days of slavery, the words were changed to begin with “Oh Say, Do You Hear” as an abolition song. During the civil rights movement, the anthem was sung by protesters alongside “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” the black national anthem.

Other versions were tailored to advocate for women’s suffrage, Prohibition and labor rights.

The durable yet mutable nature of the song is among its more intriguing aspects. The slower, statelier version performed today started life as a more upbeat victory song, Clague notes, and the tune synonymous with American patriotism came a few decades earlier from a musician’s club in England. The tune had been married to many other lyrics even before Key’s.

Click here to read entire article!

Parlee writes: On Taking a Knee

Parlee for Rosalie
Parlee Jones

By Parlee Jones

9/28/17
(my Sun’s birthday. He is a Black Man)

Colin Kaepernick did not stand during the national anthem at a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers in August, 2016. After the game, Kaepernick stated his decision to choose not to stand for the anthem saying, “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.”

Colin’s silent protest hit a nerve within me. Since that time, I, myself, and my children have not stood for the national anthem or pledge. I will continue to sit in silent protest for Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and all the other victims of murder by police that look like my sun. I am also tired of police brutality, the school to prison pipeline and other abuses under white supremacy and the present systems that control America.

I am an American. My ancestors on my dad’s side kidnapped and brought to America under the guise of slavery long ago. My mom’s people migrated from Italy.

I understand that some people may have a hard time separating peaceful protest and “disrespect of a flag and song,” but that is not a concern of mine.

Those folks are telling me that they see the value of a piece of cloth and words to a song mean more than the life of a Black man, woman or child. Kind of like a vote for Trump really says to me you are a racist. White folks may see this differently, but trust me when I say a majority of People of Color see you as racist if you voted for Trump. Regardless of your reasoning.

I know many that feel they live in two worlds. Many people of color have two lives. Myself included. Their time in the “business / work / corporate / professional” world (with white folks) and time at home w/ family and loved ones where the “social norms” are not expected and they can be free to live their true culture and way of life. Many people do this unconsciously.

W.E.B. Du Bois wrote over a century ago:

“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

There are many videos online with Fannie Lou Hammer, Marcus Garvey, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and many others that speak on why Black Folks have been torn with their experience in America.

Some People of Color try to assimilate into “white society” and unfortunately, they are always reminded that they are not white. Some children / people who are “mixed” struggle with this dynamic. But that is another article for another time. One drop of Black blood made you Black back in the day … I’m just saying.

I will end saying this. If you are not a person of color, please do not try to tell People of Color what racism feels like or looks like, how they should react and how you think they should do something. You are not walking in our shoes and really have no idea of what you are talking about.

I say this with love and sincerity.

Peace & Blessings