Solace Soul Relationship Panel

I was asked to share closing words from a relationship panel I was on with my Solace Soul Poetry family in Chicago:

“1. Is your communication clear enough where there is no doubt what you desire in a relationship? – Your Actions, Your Behaviors, Your consistency.”
“2. What are you willing to give up?”
“3. What are you willing to tolerate?”
“4. Is your communication clear enough where you can understand what your significant other wants?”
“5. Are you happy, settled, or joyous?”
“6. Are you a situational or circumstantial partner?”
“7. What’s a deal breaker that puts you in the category of situational or circumstantial?”
“8. What type of ear do you listen to critical feedback? Defensive – Emotional – Clear”
“9. In every relationship, there is compromise and change. The 8 inches you love could be hit with a severe case of prostate cancer and become impotent. The big breast you love could be hit and stricken with a critical case of cancer, and you may have a wife with a full radical mastectomy.”
“10. If love covers a multitude of sin, how much love do you have for the one you want to spend the rest of your life with?”

The Endurer

 

Thoughts and Conversations – This USA!

I received a call from a former coworker who works for someone what we both used to work with at another company. She has seen his comments about President Obama and is fearful for her job because she doesn’t want to say anything to him about his post, yet she’s discouraged. She’s of Mexican descent. `He’s her boss, he’s white, and a Trump supporter. I let her know I see the same post, not only from him but, from people I attended a professional development training session with from February to October of this year. I encouraged her to stay optimistic, open up a safe dialogue, and don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. Meaning, keep your job and if you’re that uncomfortable find a new one.

This is the reality that we, as people of color, face every day under every president. I know and have experienced what it’s like to sit in meetings and accused of being the “Angry Black Man” while my white counterparts can throw profanity and yell across the table and its considered “how we conduct business.” I know what it’s like to experience people bypassing your position to go directly to your white boss because they don’t respect your intelligence, drive, commitment, or vision. I know what it’s like to be working and getting along with doctors in a hospital and delivering A+ service until one asks what college you attended and you tell them zero. You are treated differently. Everything you do is judged and scrutinized. But as my boss said to him, “If Tony says it can’t be done that way and he has an alternative solution then I’m going with his alternative recommendation.” I know what it’s like for my boss to be superseded for supporting me. We both laughed when something was implemented by an outside consultant for $7K, and I could have had it done in less time with a $200 investment. That’s what we’re used to. You’d rather spend money than trust what you deemed uneducated. My path in life was only different, and I’m in school now chasing what I’ll never find, a place of acceptance.

After sharing my experience with her I told her, she has a unique opportunity to get his views, opinions, and thoughts but at the end of the day, he’s a white executive and has a level of privilege and access that we will never have. It’s just the way America is, and it was built.

I also know what it’s like to be supported by whites. The civil rights movement wouldn’t have survived without our white brothers and sisters who were called “Nigger Lovers.” Our lives are linked to theirs, and for those that realized this, it was their sad duty, as James Rebb, to be murdered for supporting his black brother. I know what it’s like to be a non-degreed professional and given the opportunity to rise to the occasion. I know what it’s like to be hugged by men like Gary DeVore at Camp Rosenthal during the most painful experiences of my childhood. I know what it’s like to have keys and access codes to bank accounts and home to fix technology issues while my doctors were serving patients. It wasn’t because they had nothing to lose, it’s because they trusted me with their children, their homes, and their money.

I live in an America that can break hearts and mend souls. I live in an America where I know no politician is perfect because they are human just like me and I am not perfect. I have no issues with President-Elect Trump. He is who he is. He’s a marketing genius who just pulled off the biggest advertisement in American History. His genius has overtones of sexism, misogyny, racism, bigotry, and hatred. It’s not President-Elect Trump people are hurt or upset with; it’s those that support him. It’s those that scream “Hilary is a Bitch” at his rallies. It’s those that shout “Obama is a Nigger” at his rallies. It’s those that assaulted a young black woman at a Trump rally while thousands cheered. It’s those who’s children chant “Build a wall” in a school with undocumented Latino children. It’s those that line up with a man who is openly supported by the Ku Klux Klan. It’s those who say they are called to touch, move, and inspire, yet line up with an individual who has insulted veterans, women, the disabled, countries, and people. It’s those that snatch off hijabs from our Muslim daughters. It’s those that scribble on walls, “send those black fuckers back to Africa.” This is our disappointment in the humanity of a nation that would choose to support such a presidency. We missed an opportunity for change with Bernie Sanders; we missed and opportunity of hope with Hilary Clinton, but we missed and opportunity of love and acceptance, not by President-Elect Trump, but by those who support what he stands for today.

Open the dialogue, have the conversation in a peaceful manner. Hate will never trump love. Evil will never trump hope. Violence will never trump peace. Racism will never trump unity. Good luck President-Elect Trump, my prayers are with you in your decision making. The next four years will be the Celebrity Apprentice Live, 24/7. Grab your coffee, sip your beer, enjoy the ride! After all, this is the Republic for which we stand!

A Man of Passion: A Student Champion and Leader

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Vondale Singleton is a soul on a mission.  He is an associate minister at an active church on the south side of Chicago and has his hands embedded in the community.  He is an assistant principal of operations and community relations at a major charter school network in Chicago.  I meet him four years ago on a school visit as he was making his transition from Oklahoma to ChiTown.  He is a stellar husband and a glowing father of two, but his fatherhood extends way beyond his home.  Many of the young men he mentors in the city of Chicago look to him for guidance and instruction.  Whether he’s recruiting students for Gary Comer College Prep, A Noble Network Charter school and 2015 Broad Prize recipient, or running the C.H.A.M.P.S (Culturally Helping and Making Positive Success) Male Mentoring Program Vondale is committed to changing the culture of Chicago.  He’s beyond someone you should know.  He’s a man this city should invest in.  A few weeks ago he received what he perceived as a prank call.  It was king of the crossover, Chicago’s own Tim Hardaway.  “I heard what you’re doing and I want to help in anyway that I can.”  I asked my brother some very poised questions about what he envisions for Chicago.

  • You spent a great deal of time in Oklahoma working for KIPP, a great position building and solidifying their network infrastructure at the school you were located, why did you come back to your native Chicago? Although, I had a wonderful opportunity serving the city of Tulsa, and working at a great organization at KIPP Tulsa for 5 years, I was always called to come back to Chicago, because I always knew that my destiny was in my hometown.  When I would come back home to visit family and friends, I would hear of the gun-violence and stories about how the youth were off-the-chain, and I knew that God apprehended me to go back and be a light in the dark world of the inner-city of Chicago.
  • Mr. Singleton, you have spent an inhumane amount of hours with grieving families impacted by the violence in Chicago, what do you say to them?  It is appalling to know that we are leading the nation in murders. Furthermore, we see the majority of murders are from school-aged Black and Latino Males and often males without fathers in the home.  The thing that grieves me the most is instantaneous lost of 2 lives though 1 incident.  The victim and the murderer.  The victim’s family has to prepare a funeral, and the murderer family has to now visit them in prison.  These are both lose-lose situations, but the biggest lost is when a family has to deal with the reality of not getting their loved one back.  I realize that at any point it could be me or my family in this situation, so I never become desensitized to the fact of a family grieving and want them to know that they have me in their corner and I am willing to walk with them through this tumultuous process of bereavement.
  • The CHAMPS Male Mentoring Program has received national acclaim with being honored as a 2015 White House Film Festival awardee.  Kelly Wright of Fox News also came out and interviewed several students and staff members, why is this type of media coverage significant for Chicago? I want to dispel the narrative that all Black and Brown boys are gang-members, thugs, and cynical.  I decided that though the CHAMPS 3 E’s; Education, Empowerment, and Exposure, we wanted to show that through our own positive media, that we can compete with any people group anywhere on the planet in any academic arena, and that we have something great to offer the world.  Our young men deserve to turn on the TV and see themselves as important, powerful, and celebrated.  
  • Why is the June 4, Born 2 Win conference so important? I believe that this conference will help kick our summer off the right way, by involving the young men that it need the most.  This should be something that the whole world is behind.  I figured that if we can get 500 young men that will go into there respective communities, schools, and groups of influence then we can help empower a movement that will spark a necessary change our city and this nation needs.  
  • It’s not summer, Chicago has experienced more deaths than days of the year at current, how can hope be brought to the hopeless? There are three things I share with our young men. When we have facilities, resources, and finances then we are able to empower our community with a sense of hope.   We realize that part of the hopelessness is the institutionalized systems of racism and poverty.  When a man has a legal job, and is able to provide for his family it lessens the need to have to rob another man, it also occupies his time so that he isn’t left be the idle mind that bends towards evil.  We need more men stepping into the roles of fathers, and modeling how to overcome the negative influences of the streets, by capitalizing on opportunities.  Education is the greatest equalizer, with it you can go in any room and compete.  

Chicago is my kind of town.  When it’s violent we hear of the west or south sides of the city.  When it’s celebratory we hear of downtown.  Vondale is not only committed to changing the culture, he’s committed to changing the perception of African-American and Latino American students. He’s more than someone we should know, he’s someone we should be.

If you’d like to make a contribution to the C.H.A.M.P.S Born 2 Win conference, please email vsingleton@noblentwork.org or visit the Noble Network website to make a donation electronically and reference Born2Win-2016.

The Legacy, The Icon…Blaq Ice

He is an activist, writer, poet, artist, motivator, coach, entrepreneur, and father.  De’Andre Hawthorne, known as Blaq Ice, has been on the arts scene in Chicago since rapping and entertaining in his early days as a student at Simeon High School located on the south side of Chicago.  He is the founder of the award-winning International Spoken Word group named P.O.E.T (People of Extraordinary Talent).  Founded in 1990, P.O.E.T does various community service projects throughout the city and external of Chicago including chapters in Minneapolis, Detroit, Michigan City, and Las Vegas. P.O.E.T visits battered-women shelters, public schools, hospitals, parades, community rallies, and various other community events as part of their call to heal the world “one word at a time.”  Their membership includes people from all walks of life and religious beliefs.  Their focus on community, mentoring, and social equity drives them.

Under his leadership, many poets and spoken word artist have become published authors, have released music, and gained local notoriety.  The annual A.C.E Tech High School sleep over held on May 14, 2016, was a major success.  But as always with recognition comes trials, ups, and down.  I chopped it up with the P.O.E.T CEO, entrepreneur, and community activist this morning to engage the mind of one of Chicago’s own.

1.  Why is P.O.E.T so important to Chicago and beyond?

As you know, over the years, Chicago has increased in gun violence, so much so that we have as many murders as of May 2016 as there are days in the year so far. What P.O.E.T brings to the table inspires teens to make positive choices and decisions. Not only have are mentorship programs been effective in Chicago, but all across this nation. When you see those whom we have mentored become mentors, at that moment our mission and motto become complete. Our Motto is “Changing The World, One Heart, One Mind, One Word At A Time.”

2.  There seemed a time in 2012-2015 there was a lot of tensions amongst poets and groups with a lot of that social media hostility directed towards you.  How were and are you able to maintain, still be you, and not retaliate?

I war not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. There will always be those who hate what they don’t understand.  Jesus had haters so you know I’m not exempt. However, in order to be a leader you have to love those whom you lead more than they hate themselves. I don’t retaliate because as a leader I have to be the example, besides, my city (Chicago) has a problem, so my fight and my war is against the violence on my people by my people.

3.  What do you think is lacking from African-Americans with all the violence in our communities?

My people are destroyed by lack of knowledge. The knowledge of God and our true identity (Israel) has caused so-called African-Americans to carry the label of MADE IN AMERICA. God created us, but America made niggers. So as many young people as we can reach and teach the truth to, it will enable us to help to save the future generations to come.

4.  I have seen you on Fox News often addressing some of the issues with violence.  Why is local community activism a must narrative for African-Americans?

People are tired of talk, that’s why activism is important. The root of the word activism is ACT and actions speak louder than words. Our youth wants to know that they are loved and appreciated. Spending time, sharing what connects us (our stories) with them, allows them to feel comfortable opening up, releasing that buried hurt and pain. Once they release, we can replace the hurt and dirt with positive spirits.

5.  30 years, 19 albums, 4 published volumes of poetry, business owner; what’s next for Blaq Ice?

I love art, entertainment, and poetry.  If my existence on this earth doesn’t help change or save lives, then my living is in vain. Yes, I will release more albums and books, but the entertainment platform allows me to use a bigger stage to reach more people. It’s all about developing programs that will continue to exist beyond our own existence.

We are already seeing other poetry groups follow our lead, doing the very things that P.O.E.T was once criticized about in arts, entertainment, and social activism. We have already inspired others who are recreating what we are doing and have done. I believe the programs I have created such as the P.O.E T, the A.C.T.I.O.N Mentorship program, P.O.E.T RADIO, The TYRONE HAWTHORNE CANCER Scholarship, The P.O.E.T TEEN IDOL, Stand Up, and The Legends of Chicago Hip Hop will continue to exist in some form or fashion even after I’m gone.

Surely Chicago will see more of one of its greatest entertainers.   To reach out to P.O.E.T and learn more about the organization please visit their website.

Life After a Mastermind Group

I spent six months in an extraordinary Mastermind Group this year. Lead by one of the most critical thinkers I know, Desiree Adaway, a group of men decided to take the challenge of bringing order to chaos, dreams to vision, passion and influence to fruition.

The Challenges Presented:
1. Cut out the B.S.
a. Who are you blaming for you not getting things done?
b. Who are you listening to that’s telling you, “you’re not good enough”?
c. Why are you refusing to follow your God-given destiny?
d. What are you willing to give up?
2. What do you want to Accomplish?
a. Dreams
b. Businesses
c. Books

Over six months we delved into the what-if’s on the positive side. What if you actually have a great idea? What if it actually succeeds? What if you invested in yourself as much as you invested in your job? What if you actually lived life as you were important? All of these are great what-if’s but the challenge I found was facing the man in the mirror. How do you overcome years of being the underdog? Years of self-doubt and wrestling with self-inadequacy? Simply put, how do you write the vision and make it plan. And where does one even start? I still don’t have all the answers but I know this, until I put it down on paper I didn’t have a clue. It’s been a little over 6 months and my poetry book is almost complete. A few more edits and wow, it’s almost ready for publishing within the next 3 months.

There’s no way to tackle everything and the Mastermind group wasn’t designed to tackle everything, it was designed to get me to realize that my potential is limitless as long as I make good use of my limited time in this realm. Mastermind pushed my thoughts from darkness to light in regards to the existence of Tony Briscoe – The Endurer. It’s a fight everyday to get up, step out into the world and be surrounded by some of the most incredible thinkers I know and say to myself, “You’re one of those great thinkers”.

Not one person in my group had a desire to do business solely for sake of self. We all wanted to change the world through writing, through traveling, through philanthropy, through change and organizational management. Are you stuck? Are you stagnated? Are you fearful of success? Then maybe, just maybe, a Mastermind group should be in your future to challenge the greatness inside of you and the power that keeps you pushing everyday to excel beyond your position, your title, and your organization to become the hope you are destined to be. Focus on you for a period. A little motivational selfishness will foster a life of selflessness. Ask yourself those questions above and decide to do something about it. I dare you to dream again…

Tragedy Strikes ~ The Heart of Home: Emanuel A.M.E Church

This is a station identification break. Originally I had scheduled a young hip-hop artist and recent Columbia University graduate for my next blog post but after the recent shooting in Charleston I had to digress. Selah…..

Tragedy strikes ~ The Heart of Home

As a kid, a black kid, or African American kid, or colored kid…you get the point….like every other child I loved the Dukes of Hazard. There was never an inkling of the flag on the roof of the car, affectionately known as The General Lee, was a symbol of hate, slavery, racism, socio-economic injustice, oppression, inequality, and the lowest form of humanity to strike at the heart of human dignity. No thought of chattel slavery, Jim Crow, lynching or discrimination entered our minds. After all, Bob and Luke Duke were just some “good ole boys never meaning any harm”.

However, we are no longer in the ignorance of our youth. We have parents, educators, social activists and the longstanding forms of artistic expression through blues, hip-hop and spoken word to enlighten a generation that seemingly cares more about twerking than social justice. What happened in Charleston is a travesty.  It’s domestic terrorism.  It’s a strike at the core of the Church. Not the “Black Church or Negro Church, or African-American Church, but the Church and a body of believers called Christians. The calculated, malicious, methodical, planned, known, senseless attack executed in brazen form was learned demonism and hatred breed by upbringing and association. For him, it was nature. His matriculation of having “black friends” was simply to further syncopate his level of disdain for a race of people that he simply didn’t know. He used the depiction of blacks on Fox News, AllStarHipHop, Mediatakeout, Facebook, and other media outlets to stiffen his resolve of murder. But something strange happened; he didn’t look to the lowest form of depravity to plan his execution, he chose the peaceful, he chose the standard, he chose Black Christians.  He didn’t go into a community where drug dealers and gang bangers would have easily exchanged shot for shot. He entered into a church.  He probably thought of Jesus as being white and the savior of the white race only. He pulled out his birthday gift to himself and massacred nine of God’s people. He murdered nine saints of God. He murdered the leader of a flock of people that have one of the hardest calls on this earth and that is to forgive. He went to a sacred place of worship because he realized the thugs and the gang bangers and the drug dealers are not the real threat. It’s the peaceful ones he targeted.

I don’t have statistics for you. I don’t have live data. I have heart and filtered emotion. I don’t love this young man. I don’t have remorse for this young man. I don’t feel any empathy for his family because I simply don’t have to extend that type of attention to him. I have a responsibility to speak honesty that I am of a faith that requires me to forgive him. With that responsibility comes a great amount of mental anguish because I loathe his deplorable actions.  “Hate the sin love the sinner”.  Whatever!  I despise his upbringing. I question why a kid so young used birthday money to purchase a 45 caliber weapon that only serves one purpose.…seek and destroy. In the eyes of some he’s a hero; that is the sadness of America. Yet, there is a symbol of hate that is stronger than the face of a young punk, it is the flag of the confederacy battlefield. This young man is depicted in a picture waving a confederate flag while burning the US Flag (I’ll save my opinions on that for another day).   A flag that until this incident I thought had a right to honor even the fallen soldiers. Then I started to remember the blood of my ancestors, the rape of my ancestral mothers, the murder of my ancestral fathers and realize municipal or federal government institutions should never support a symbol that is supported individually.

This is why I don’t care about this lost soul. May he find mercy in the arms of God but may he find the electric chair, or needle, or death by firing squad at the hand of justice. The symbol of the confederate should die along with all those that execute innocent people on its behalf. He should no longer breathe fresh air. Let him find and breathe rotten piss at the bottom of a cell where many innocent men have been falsely imprisoned. May he find redemption in the arms of the Lord but find swift and painful justice in the arms of the law. A law that took him to Burger King, a law that peacefully arrested an armed murderer. Hmmm, maybe it is then the deceased that shall find no justice. He is not an actor, he is neither Bo nor Luke Duke, but he clearly serves the spirit of General Lee and he clearly is a good-ole boy that meant to do harm.

I do want to thank him for bringing the seeds of hatred and race to the forefront. I thank him for not sparking a race war but for the broadcasting of a church service that will draw more souls to Christ based on the love of the people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church. I thank him for encouraging white pastors to now get in front of the race discussion. I hope he realizes through Biblical research that Jesus is not white and the same Nazi-type hate he lives in opens his eyes to know that the founder of the Christian Faith is a Jew with a far from white skin tone who died for the since of man.

My thoughts, my ramblings, my opinion but had to share it nonetheless.

Battling the Darkness

I decided to put my experience during the week of 1/1/2017 on my blog in video format. Be inspired, be transformed, choose life!

https://afsp.org #suicideprevention

 

Illinois: No Budget, New Laws

First, I give it up to ABC7Chicago.com for keeping Chicagoans informed.  I also want to give credit to Illinois Policy.  Their Facebook Page is my primary go-to for information regarding policies and politics that affects the good citizens, any not go good citizens, of Illinois.

I’m not going to list all of the new laws that initiate today.  I extracted the ones I felt pertinent after a review of the bills listed by ABC.  I’m also included links to each of those bills that will coincide with my initial thoughts.  A direct link to all Bill numbers searchable on ilga.gov can be found by clicking here.

  1. HB 5913:  This will largely have an impact on small business owners who for years ran a business as plumbers and outsourced and trained people to work with them who were capable of doing the work and worked in conjunction with this since they are licensed and bonded.  For those in the construction field, more than likely, their general contracting corporations will provide the training for them but this may not be so cut and dry for the little man as it may prohibit the execution of training options for those who are gifted and simply looking for work.
  2. HB 4517:  You’ll have to dig through this 58 page law in order to gather it’s full meaning.  You will see some previous parts of the law restricted (meaning they have lines drawn through certain paragraphs) that does eliminate the Center for Comprehensive Health Planning (links to a surface indication of what the CCHP was intended for but it’s fairly dated). It looks like it removes bureaucracy but those in the health care creation, planning and evaluation would be able to provide more insight.  The governor, with senate approval appoints the members from various demographics including doctors, nurses, business community on for and non profit sectors.  I do like that fact that a member has to be a regular citizen over 60.  Elderly healthcare and concerns should be noted.
  3. SB 1120.   Return rental equipment or pay the price for thievery. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Bottom line is people can’t afford to be lax when returning rented items.  This is more than likely a protection for SBO (Small Business Owners), that have little means of quickly replacing what customers have stolen.  Don’t get a felony and fine people. Rent it, return it!
  4. SB 2900:  APN’s and PA’s will finally get a seat at the table. Highly qualified and often unregarded work of those that work hand and hand with physicians on a daily basis have more authority to be the eyes, ears, hands, and feet of the physicians they serve and the patients they work for.  I am banking this will lead to an increase in the field and a governing organization that will drive more roles and responsibilities for these great people.
  5. HB3239: If this gives our students more power to have an active voice on Local School Councils then I am all for it.  They should be able to engage their future and the future of their piers by being at the table.
  6. SB 2777:  This is a win for Juvenile Justice Advocates.  I hope there are more restorative efforts for young people in the inner-city as most rural juvenile offenses go unreported or privately dealt with when it’s public knowledge.  Hopefully the young people that find themselves on the opposite side of the law see this (and it should be publicized) as a second chance opportunity.
  7. HB 6006:  We need not lose any more State Troopers or citizens for failure to change lanes.  “Move trick, get out the way”.  Sorry, I had a hip hop moment.  Change lanes people.  Simple as that.  Beware of traps though, I can see the state using this even when it’s innocent and cars won’t permit you to pass.  After all, people can be rude.

Now, Bills I don’t care for and I’ll get dinged on this.

HB 4264:  This is an arrogance of legislature that baffles me.  It’s as arrogant as the governor mandating students be taught how to engage police officers.  Even with training, there is nothing under the law to protect cosmetologist, aestheticians, barbers, etc. from retaliation from families.  It’s a requirement that will subjectively, and one again, put pressure on the small business owners.  It would seem that the one area that is effectively staunch in the Black community is coming under indirect fire an assault of the legislature.  It has absolutely nothing to do with their profession. It’s almost like making an account doing family taxes a mandated reported, or a construction worker repairing a house that notices a bruise and has to become a mandated reporter.

I’m off my rant people, get educated, stay informed.  If you ready any of these bills one statement will resonate:

"Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:"

We can ill-afford to vote for people without knowing.  If they are making laws on our behalf, let’s ensure we are informed.

Happy New Year.  May 2017 be a year of information and community!

Happy New Year Chicago. It’s 2017!

A good friend, and blogging coach extraordinaire recommended that I take my post to my blog instead of my Facebook page.  So, for this post, and yearly, I’ll open up with that post:

Some of the highlights of this year.
1. I got to witness two great friends transform their marriages.
2. My mentee finished college and we are going to light it up in 2017.
3. I pulled off a community photoshoot with the help of the greatest and most humble unknown mentor in Chicago, Vondale Singleton.
4. I made statements my place of business that were strong, bold, and fully self-expressed.
5. I apologized to a business colleague for being a butthole at times and she did the same and we’re still on the same team fighting, mean-mugging and doing great work for Black and Brown children in Chicago.
6. I sent my wife to Mexico and can’t tell you how it blessed my soul to see her so relaxed and joyous. It’s just the beginning and we’re still honeymooning.
7. For the 2nd year in-a-row I got to inspire over 600 Noble graduates before they took their journey to college.
8. For the 2nd year in-a-row I got to speak to the students at Hansberry College Prep before they took the ACT
9. I was able to give over $600 dollars to support my P.O.E.T family
10. Increased the time with my family, connected with some good friends, prayed with the brokenhearted, mentored marriages, failed miserably at somethings and wasn’t ashamed (well, getting their).
11. A board member and supported the creation of the Arthur and Isabelle Brazier Veteran’s Resource Center – Patti Caire is amazing.
12. I celebrated, photographed, and captured the night my mentor Juliana Stratton was elected as a state representative.
13. I witnessed a President love his enemies, work peacefully towards diplomacy, and tactfully deal with the worst racial treatment of a single black family since Jim Crow by those that call themselves patriots, countrymen, and Christian’s.
14. I witnessed a reality TV star and business tycoon channel evil, racism, hatred, homophobia, gender bias, xenophobia, and misogyny to win the highest political office in the United States of America.
15. Most of all, I was awakened to how great I am. I am just getting warm.

Blessings to those with whom I’ve had great conversation and debates in the social media world. Whether we agreed or disagreed, we didn’t let it tear apart our history, kinship, nor friendship. Keep it moving family!

Taxed to Death, Shot to Death ~ A Tale of One City

Illinois taxes break my back – Cook County taxes break my neck

Chicago taxes break my wallet – Federal taxes break my bank

These murders break my heart, not sure where to start

We are a fragile people, pimped by politicians – Puppeteered by pulpits

Enslaved by an element of social depravity – Trapped by gangs, cornered by guns

Deafened by screams, painted by blood

Entrapped by brutal slave masters that etched their self-destructive will on a people

That refuse to take responsibility for their own house

Because the laws changed and we are arrested for disciplining our children

While slave overseers in blue uniforms unload with merciless execution in broad daylight

How can I hope, believe, dream or conquer if it has been deferred; we are sick

As a people, not black, not white, not Buddhist, not Christian, not Muslim,  but as humanity

We have forgotten what binds us to settle for what holds us bound, it is not a fault of religion, it is a fault of us

We stand by silently, blaming, finger-pointing, shrugging shoulders like it won’t happen to…

Interrupted post from a billion dollar industry of metal that has unleashed unrestrained, uncontrollable, unmerciful, uncompromising damage on society

Home from college, winter-break, not going back, I am staying here, in Chicago, in a coffin, under the earth from which bore and birthed this vessel from the beginning of time

Taxed to death, shot to death, a tale of a city that has so much to celebrate, yet so much to admonish

We are on break from election season, no political phone calls for they don’t need us at this moment

No cries from the people for we don’t need them at this moment

Only cries from the fallen that are not with us for grandma died from a broken heart when realtors bought the taxes she could not pay and they took her home

A tale of a city

And more than bullets, we bleed from silence…

Built to Last ~ Enduring Marriage

I have friends that are single.  I pray for them.  I hate that they are lonely at times, but I’m glad they choose to remain single and not let loneliness force them into settling.  I take marriage seriously.  It has not been without its challenges, temptations, ‘isms or problems.  I am a living example of “For Better or Worse, for Richer or Poorer, in Sickness and Health, till…”  If not directly by me, it’s through the lives of those I share the marriage experience with that these vows come to life.  God willing, I will be embarking on 15 blessed years of marriage short of a month and a few days.  I call it a honeymoon, and that’s what it has been.  A Christ-centered marriage is all I know because I have seen what it takes to make a marriage Built to Last and I have witnessed what it takes to make a marriage destined to fail.  As I look at the mystery of marriage and how it is biblically linked to Jesus and the Church I can only think of the devotion God has to his children.   Even through our most intentional and devious sin, the Lord still grants us grace, and it is this grace through forgiveness that marriage must be founded.

I must say that I have had to overcome many challenges of my internal struggles.  I have learned a marriage cannot heal old wounds, it can’t cure self-esteem issues, it won’t make you forget an old romance, and it won’t make you better in and of itself.  Long before you say I do you must journey into pre-marital counseling to ensure the foundation in which you foster your relationship is Built to Last.  Pre-marital counseling set me on a journey of not only to co-exist with my wife but steered me down a road of challenges to prepare me for marriage.  I encountered weekly grueling, piercing, and self-reflective questions in my quiet time that made me cringe.

  • Dare you go into marriage with secrets?
  • If you don’t love yourself how can you expect her too?
  • So, you expect someone else to make you feel good about yourself?
  • So…why are you getting married?
  • Yo, that anger problem, how shall you every conquer that?

Surely, all of those questions were not fully answered when I got married.  It took lots of prayers, mentoring, and study to amass enough strength and courage to tackle half of this list before marriage.  Through my covenant, I have a partner in life that will help me with my struggles, and I assist her with her struggles.  “Your success is my success, and your failures are my failures.”  Those were words my wife shared with me when I was only her fiancee.  I thought if this is her mentality now this is going to be great.  It is still her mentality.  She works to out-love me, and I work to out-love her.  Imagine, two people that don’t try to out-shout, out-talk, out-argue or out-win an argument.  Imagine a single goal to out-love a the modifier to enhance your marriage.

What ails your relationship?  Are you getting ready to say “I do” with trepidation?  Are you at the door of your wedding in the morning and have grave doubt that this should not be?  Well, I encourage you, no matter how far along in your planning, to stop the process.  I guarantee the money you forfeit from the reception and honeymoon will not outweigh you entering into a marriage without a solid foundation.

To my friends that are single I say know you are more than your weight in platinum and gold combined.  Never settle, never dumb it down, and always be truer to yourself than the person you expect to be faithful to you.  The journey to marriage may be long, but it takes that to ensure the journey in marriage is Built to Last.

The Endurer

 

The New Year Begins

Good Ole Chicago

Happy 2016 Chi-Town

Happy New Year Chicago,

I plan to do a better job this year of blogging. This will require making time for me and less time for the regular job in the wee hours of the night.  One thing I will focus on heavily is 1st Congressional candidates in the State of Illinois.  I waited too late to put my hat in the arena (my wife is ever grateful of this oversight).  We are in for a wild ride with non-contested tax increases by our wonderful mayor and Cook County Board President.

As we unwrap 2016 there’s a lot each of us desire to accomplish. I’ve already spoken about my Mastermind 2015 session that helped me do one primary thing and that is to learn to believe in me. I was charged to walk in the “Faith” that I say I believe which also put in the forefront of my walk with the Lord. Yes, I’m a Christian, one of the obvious traits many people who know me respect and also challenge when I get into “Hulk Smash” mode.  This year I will embark on a Landmark journey, thanks to my gracious and awesome boss (he hates being called that).

So, accountability for 2016, I’ll put myself out there:

  1. Get the book done. I’ve been editing a lot before sending it up the chain and I’ll continue to do so.
  2. Learn something new in technology. No more “I’m too old to grasp this or that…math is beyond my scope of reach….” I’m in get it done mode. As a brother in the faith described…push your capacity (Dr. Allmon)
  3. Laugh Laugh Laugh. I am often criticized for being overly serious. What can I say; it’s true.
  4. I’m not sure on the pursuit of a bachelors degree.  It’s still on the table and need to master a serious plan for  life-balance as I look at my vision board and update it.
  5. Discuss the hard stuff. My friend Desiree is a master of this technique.  There are certain conversations I avoided in social media but after the recent ruling on the “Tamir Rice” – Wiki Quote case in Ohio, silence about social issues, white privilege, black on black crime and politics is no longer an option.
  6. Be the voice of the people as a poetic-revolution and dynamic mentor.
  7. Know more about my history, my ancestral background, and all things of African descent.  This is more of a Black History 365 and a full time life journey.

Well, that’s all for now. Let me know what you’d like to talk about. I will do my best to be informed on all issues I bring to the table and I’m sure you’ll rip me a new one if I’m not. Let’s take the block, then the community, then the city, then the state, then the country and then the world and I’ll try not to use “then” so consecutively.

Happy New Year