Category: ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE


Dear Jurline,

I have watched you mature so much in the last year.  You are truly one amazing woman.  I admire your compassion as well as your passion.  I love that you always look a the positives versus the negative.  I love your ability to give so much of youself to help make this world a better place.  I love your generous spirit. I have watched you share your last to help someone else. I love your sense of social justice, girl you take care of business.  I love your faith, your tenacious spirit, your courage, your ability to take a stand for what is right.  I love that you love your family.  I love that you care about your community and willing to make positive social changes against the odds.   I love your energy, your creative and active mind.  I still can’t believe you are sixty.  I love your pretty brown eyes so big and expressive.  I love your ability to sell yourself. You are so confident.  You are so friendly and outgoing.  I love your ability to communicate.  Public speaking is your gift.  I love that you value education. Working on a second Master’s Degree? I love your sense of committment. You are a good friend.  I love your ability to encourage others.  I love your honesty and your Pollyanna attitude.  I love your faith in God! I love your relationship with your children especially your daughter. I love that they both love and respect you so much.  I love your sense of humour. I love to see you dance.  I love the girl in you.  I love your positive spirit! I love your walk, your talk, your ability to command attention without hardly trying.  I love that you are one intelligent woman with an inquisitive mind.  I love your inner and outer beauty.  I love the color of your skin, your hair, your body! You are truly a beautiful and vibrant woman.  I love your passion for life and your passion to love.  I love that when you are in love with someone you give them your all.  I love your integrity.   I love that you will fight for what is right, regardless of the consequences.  I love that you are a great parent and a terrific grandparent.  I love that you have so many good friends that love and support you.  I love that you are fearless! Is there anything you will not try? I love your sense of adventure. I love that you love spending time being alone with you.  I love that you are respected by your family, friends, and colleagues.  I love that you do not hold onto the past, you press forward.  I love that you are learning to cope with your illness and recovery is a possibility for you.  I love you for working hard to leave a meaningful legacy to your children and grandchildren.  A legacy of greatness.  I love your loyalty.  On the other hand, I love that you know how to walk away from a negative situation with dignity.  Yes I love that you are a sexy and dignified woman.  You are not afraid to embrace your sensuality.  I love that you are well read, educated, fearless, true blue altruistic woman!!!!! I love you for acceptance of others, the underrepresented and underserved.  I love your appreciation of nature.  You are truly a special person.  God’s gift to the world. Jurline,  I am thankful that you are my best friend.   I feel blessed when I am with you. 

Love always,

Jurline

Yesterday, I was  invited to attend a community outreach meeting   to learn more about  Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa’s’  Summer Night Lights,  Gang Reduction and Youth Development  Program.  It was my first time visiting Los Angeles City Hall and I had no idea it was such a beautiful and historical building.  I was in awe as I traveled through the corridors hardly able to contain my excitement.  I felt like a school girl on my first field trip!!!!   The City Hall is a beautiful building and our meeting was held on the 26th floor in the Mayor Bradley’s Conference Room.  It was a small group of faith-based community partners and we spent time networking and enjoying the continental breakfast.  I shared a table with a lovely woman from Venice California and we were chatting away.  To my amazement, I looked up   to the  front of the room and  Mayor Villaraigosa was standing at the podium.   I did not see him come into the room.  I had seen him many times on television however it was only my second  time seeing him in person.    I tried not to make a spectacle of myself as I snapped a picture of him with my camera phone.

  It was obvious that this program was important to him. He talked about the success of the gang reduction program as well as extended an invitation to Faith Based Organizations to partner with LA County to help reduce gang violence.  I was impressed  with the program and look forward to volunteering this summer.   As Executive Director of New Impression,  my function is to attend meeting .  When I received this invitation to the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development community outreach meeting, never in my wildest imagination did I expect to see the Mayor. He humbly apologized that he could not stay due to the fact that he was en route to a funeral.   However he took the time to share a little about the program. Mayor Villaraigosa indicated that    The Summer Night Lights program was launched in 2008 in eight recreation and parks facilities to offer fun-filled positive opportunities for young people living in the most crime ridden communities.  In 2009, the program was expanded to include housing developments and a school throughout the City of Los Angeles.   He emphasized that  SNL is a violence reduction strategy which provides an extended programming between the hours of 7pm to midnight, 4 days a week throughout the summer months. I learned that the summer is when gang violence is at the highest resulting in many homicides. Consequently, the purpose of SNL is to create safe environments during the peak times for violence and in communities most affected by violence. This programming is for the entire community which includes those who are potential victims and potential perpetrators of violence.   

After the Mayor left, we spent two hours learning more about the program.  For example, that the youth are fed while at the parks and given opportunity for employment as well.   We were a small group however the energy in the room was electrifying.  I met some terrific people.  New Impression will be volunteering to help work with the youth this summer.  I truly needed this motivation as it is hard work, developing a grass-roots organization.  However yesterday’s meeting reminded me that the work we do(community activist) is important.   Many of us live in high crime areas and are aware of the dangers associated with gang violence.  We are all affected by gang violence in one way or another.  If  the violence is not contained, it will and has spilled into other communities as well.  I am excited and committed to doing my share to help promote the Mayor’s Summer Night Lights Program.

When was the last time you reached out to a youth?  Or made a trip to  a Boys or Girls Club? Thought about mentoring a youth? It is time to focus on our future before we end up in a Clock Work Orange Society.  The youth is our future!   If you don’t have the time.  Consider donating to a local homeless shelter program  or inner school program.  Yes, I know first hand, it is better to give than to receive.

Maya Angelou at the Discovery 2000 conference.

Image via Wikipedia

Originally, I was going to write that I wanted to lose 30 pounds and the reason was that since I promote diet and wellness, I should practice what I preach.  However, today, I went to see my tax accountant.  It was a depressing reminder of how little money I made this year.  Further, I have been actively pursing employment.  If you have followed my posts, you know that I suffer from PTSD.  I am sick and tired of being the victim.  Therefore, I hope to change  the way I feel about myself and work harder to improve my emotional  health.  Prior to my injury, I was a confident professional social worker.  I had been recently promoted to supervisor and I was making good money.  I had a great retirement plan, insurance benefits and finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.  I  purchased my first house,  a long-awaited dream and was  feeling great to finally be a homeowner!    However, in 2006, the pressure of working in a hostile work place finally took its toil on my physical and emotional health.   I applied for worker’s compensation  and was to be reassigned to a less stressful  job.   Of course, this did not occur and I took an early retirement, with the  plan of  seeking employment elsewhere.  For a short time, I worked for my church and believe it or not, due to the stress of that place, I found myself back medical leave.     Consequently, I suffered an emotional set back and found myself back on my therapist’s couch.  I quickly regrouped, at my therapist’s suggestion, applied to the California State  Department of Rehabilitation for retraining.   I qualified for state help due to my job related injury.  My rehabilitation plan  was approved for me to return to  college to get a Master’s Degree in Family Therapy.  In spite of my best efforts, I continue to suffer periods of self-pity and shame for suffering an emotional breakdown.  I truly thought, I was going to quickly recover and get back to my old confident self.   Consequently, this year’s goal is to work harder on putting the past behind me.  I continue to send  applications, go on job interviews,  attend college and self-improvement workshops,  and hope for the best.   Overall, I think I am making good progress, however I am my worst critic.  For example, yesterday, I was on an emotional high, I  interviewed for my dream position  and  it appeared that I was making  a good impression on my interviewers.  However, today, I received a follow-up email indicating that they would keep me in the loop however they were continuing their search.  It was an encouraging email, however I feel they were letting me down gently.   So, I feel emotionally drained and somewhat defeated.  I love Maya Angelou‘s Poem, Still I Rise , especially the verse, “and still I rise”.   Therefore, I must work harder to embrace the future, and to let go of past disappointments.   I downloaded the Bible app on my Blackberry and have started a daily Bible study.   Today’s lesson was so timely  and so encouraging that I have posted it here for all to read.  Whenever you feel that the world has treated you unfairly, remember, they too will have a judgment day!

The “”Knower

God is many different things. He’s a Father, a Creator, a Shepherd, a Husband, a Healer, and a Provider. And each of these names highlights a certain aspect of His nature and character. As a Father, His compassion is expressed. As a Creator, His creativity is expressed. And it goes on and on.

There’s another way in which He is known, and that’s as the Just Judge who presides over earth. As such, another angle of His character is seen. Although the injustices and wrongs of this world may seem to go unpunished, God is the keeper of justice, and He will be faithful to execute it and uphold His righteousness.

It doesn’t always seem like that, especially when we’re personally affected by someone else’s sin. Sometimes it appears that injustice will prevail. But in His own perfect timing, and according to His own perfect way, injustice will be brought into the light, tried, and judged. Nobody truly gets away with anything. One way or another, justice will be served. And this is one of the many ways God’s incomparable character is expressed.

How? We all have a “knower” inside us that responds and resonates when we see the right thing happen. It’s been placed there by God so we would have an internal witness that gives an “amen” to His standards for right and wrong (Romans 2:14-15). And when we see justice served, when God executes judgment, there’s a connection that happens inside us. It puts us on God’s wavelength and can even serve as a catalyst for a deep and intimate relationship with Him.

Lord, continue to reveal Yourself as a righteous and perfect Judge over all things, and deepen our understanding of your heart as you continue to do so.

What does this passage reveal to me about God? He is the judge over my life and is in control of my destiny.

What does this passage reveal to me about myself? I need to develop a stronger faith walk and realize God is in control.

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?  Seek a spirtual mentor,  continue to seek balance in my life, be still and wait patiently on the Lord!!!!

What is my prayer for today? 
Sent via BlackBerry by AT

 

Savage Inequalities

Image via Wikipedia

SAVAGE INEQUALITIES JONATHAN  KOZOLhttp://books.google.com/books?id=UEJ3QAukj9oC&lpg=PP1&ots=ExGmJXNhP7&dq=jonathan%20kozol&pg=PA17#v=onepage&q&f=false

Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities, changed my viewpoint on education, class, race, and equality. Prior to reading this book, I honestly believed that if we all worked hard it was possible to achieve the “American Dream”.  Whatever that has become, only God knows.  Education in America, is based on a political formula, I am going to call it taxation without any type of representation.  I have been forever changed as a result of Mr. Kozol’s in-depth look at the inequalities associated with being poor.  Growing up, I was told that education was free.  Go to school, my  parents’ refrain.  They said, “We could not go to school, you can go and it is free.”   Attending a public school is free!  However, I did not realize that the quality of the education received is` based on how much property tax is paid.  A poor child residing in a inner city community attends a public school and based on this legal formula receives a poor education.  Their parent’s live in housing projects home ownership is limited in such communties.  Mr. Kozols’ books changed my viewpoint on life in general.  I realized that Race in America is a sad state of affairs. I am one of the fortunate ones.  Due to God’s grace, only his grace, I am a inner city girl who beat the odds.  I grew up attending public schools.  In the 60’s my parents bought a house in a middle class neighborhood. I received a good education.   Education has always been important to me.  I  eventually earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California.  Reading this book, generated a social consciousness  within me, about the importance of giving back.  It also generated a profound feeling of  sadness for the countless American children that will not receive an adequate education, due to their race and socioeconomic status.   This book also changed my views on American racism.  The reality that no matter how many African-Americans excel, there will always be savage inequalities.  It made me sad that so many low-income  Black and Brown  American, children will never have access to a quality education.  I do not believe that we will ever be equal in this color based society. Education is a basic right, however, the government supports this tax  system that punishes the poor and rewards the rich.  Public schools that are free but not equal. 

Ain't I a Woman?

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths. these people have an appreciation, a sensitively, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deeploving concern. “[Elizabeth Kubler Ross].

As I was sitting here thanking my few donors for their generous donations, I found this quote in one of my files. I love Kubler Ross, her take on death and dying has always been my tome to live by. However, somewhere in the last five years, I lost my way. I have allowed negative people and negative circumstances to make me a negative person. A shock because I always thought of myself as I person with a positive outlook. Thanks to WordPress.com, through this media, blogging, and my friend Jennifer Kerr Boyd, for suggesting that I blog.  I am finding my way back home. I am finding the woman who I fell in love with when I turned fifty. The confident, sexy, outgoing,stunning woman with the Scarlett Ohara attitude!!!!! Reflecting on Elizabeth’s quote, I am surely by far a Elizabeth Taylor, a Jane Fonda, Tina Turner, women who have all  known loss, known suffering, and known struggle! Holla! Thanks Kubler Ross for helping me to see what I have become due to having to endure so much pain. I now see what others see when they meet me. I am now understand the attraction, why both men and women. I now understand why “friends” get so angry with me at the thought of losing my friendship. I understand why my lovers walk away from me and never look back. I now understand why my employers tried to discredit me and my work ethics. I now understand why others marvel at my fortitude and tenacity. I now understand why some secretly admire me and wish to be like me, on the other hand they can’t stand me. I do understand now, why the caged bird sing, what its feels like to be a phenomenal woman. I know that I am truly an enigma, a jewel, a survivor. I now know what it feels like to truly love myself! I know what it feel like to be lonely and engaged at the same time. I know that I am a Woman, like Sojourner Truth, so boldly proclaimed. I shall never doubt who I am and how I arrived at this place! I totally forgive all those that caused me sorrow, pain, despair, confusion, grief, doubt, and most of all sadness. I most of all forgive myself for thinking loving you all was my weakness, and helping you all, made me feel foolish, and giving and getting nothing back was just my plight. In the end, I got a life, a wonderful life, a beautiful life, a fulfilling life!!!!!! AINT I A WOMAN, A PHENOMENAL WOMAN, DON’T HATE , APPRECIATE, CAUSE I GOT THE BATTLE SCARS TO PROVE THAT I AM A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH! OH BY THE WAY, WHEN GOD MADE ME HE BROKE THE MOLD! HA! I AM A WOMAN AND I AM LOVING ME SOME JURLINE. NOW GO RUN AND TELL THAT!!!!

Brain structures involved in dealing with stre...

Image via Wikipedia

 

THE EYE IS ON THE SPARROW AND I AM WATCHING YOU

TODAY AS I WAS DISCUSSING THIS HORRIBLE SUBJECT OF BULLYING. I WAS SICKENED TO THINK OF HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING FROM BULLIES.

FOR THIS REASON, I AM TAKING A STAND!  ALSO I HAVE A QUESTION? DO YOU THINK BULLIES ATTEND CHURCH?  THE SHORT ANSWER IS YES!!!!!! I HAVE BEEN GOING TO AFRICAN AMERICAN CHURCHES ALL OF MY LIFE…I HAVE BEEN ATTENDING CHURCHES OF DIFFERENT FAITH MOST OF MY LIFE.  I HAVE ENCOUNTERED THOSE CHICKEN LIVERED BULLIES WHILE WORSHIPING THE LORD.  THE MOST RECENT INCIDENT THAT COMES TO MIND IN WHEN I WORKED FOR A LARGE CHURCH.  THINGS STARTED OUT HOLY AND QUICKLY CHANGE TO HELL.   LET’S GET TO THE BULLY.  FIRST OFF THE BULLY IS THE ONE THAT WANTS TO TAKE CHARGE OF EVERYTHING AND COMPLAINS BEHIND YOUR BACK WHEN YOU DONT GO ALONE WITH THE PLAN… WELL THIS BULLY TRIED HER BEST “PUT ME IN CHECK”, HUMILIATE ME,  AND BASICALLY MADE MY LIFE HELL.  I COMPLAINED YES I FELT THAT I HAD TO TELL THE POWERS THAT BE, IT ONLY MADE MATTERS WORSE.  I PREVIOUSLY SHARED WITH THEM THAT I SUFFER FROM POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER.  THEIR ANSWER WE ARE GOING  TO PRAY THAT YOU BE HEALED!!!!!! OKAY! I WENT TO MY THERAPIST AND SHE PLACED ME ON LEAVE.  WELL, WHILE I WAS OUT RECUPERATING, THEY FIRED ME.  YOU HEARD ME YES FIRED FROM THE CHURCH, NO CALLS, NO FLOWERS, NO GET WELL CARD.  I RECEIVED A CERTIFIED LETTER INDICATING I WAS FIRED AND SEND BACK THE KEYS AND THE GARAGE DOOR OPENER.  I CRIED LIKE A BABY AS MY THERAPIST READ THE LETTER.  I HAD ENOUGH SENSE NOT TO READ IT ALONE, WHENEVER YOU RECEIVE A CERTIFIED LETTER FROM THE JOB AND YOU AINT EXPECTING A CHECK, IT IS NEVER GOOD NEWS.  MY THERAPIST LOOKED UP AFTER READING THE LETTER AND SAID, YOU NEED TO FIND ANOTHER CHURCH.  I AM STILL LOOKING AS I AM STILL RECOVERING FROM BEING FIRED FROM MY CHURCH. YES,  BULLIES ARE EVERYWHERE.  YOU PROBABLY THINK I AM BEING EXTREME.  I WILL SHARE JUST A FEW PERSONAL EXAMPLES.  MY DAUGHTER AND I WENT ON A CHURCH CRUISE, THE BACKSTABBERS TALKED ABOUT MY DAUGHTER AND MADE HER FEEL SO COMFORTABLE THAT SHE REFUSED TO INTERACT WITH THEM.  THE PROBLEM SHE LOOKS YOUNGER THAN HER STATED AGE AND THEY WERE JEALOUS THAT SHE WAS ABLE TO WEAR HER TWO PIECE SWIMSUIT…DUH!!!!!   THE LOOKS AND THE SNIDE REMARKS WERE UPSETTING  AND MY DAUGHTER IN HER EARLY TWENTIES AT THE TIME HAD JUST JOINED THE CHURCH.  BY THE END OF THE CRUISE SHE HAD ALMOST RENOUNCED RELIGION AND WENT BACK TO HER OLD CHURCH.   THESE ARE GROWN WOMEN. I HAVE SEEN THEM SAVE SEATS AT CHURCH, AT CONFERENCES, AT HOLIDAY PARTIES ETC.  I HAVE APPROACHED THEIR TABLE ONLY TO BE TOLD THAT THESE SEATS ARE SAVED. (YOU MEAN GOD IS SAVING CHAIRS INSTEAD OF SOULS).   DO NOT MENTION THE CHURCH PARKING LOT WHERE I ALMOST SAW A NICE MATURE LADY GET A BEAT DOWN BECAUSE SHE ACCIDENTLY  BUMPED ANOTHER LADIES CAR.  THIS WAS BEFORE CHURCH MIND YOU.  TRY GETTING OUT OF THE PARKING LOT AFTER CHURCH AND IF YOU AINT REALLY SAVED YOU WILL LOSE YOUR RELIGION.   THEIR IS NO DECORUM WHEN IT COMES TO LEAVING THE PARKING LOT, YOU WILL GET SOME DIRTY STARES IF YOU DONT MOVE FAST ENOUGH, YOU BETTER NOT TRY TO CUT IN FRONT OF SOMEONE, ALL THAT PRAISE AND WORSHIP AND THE GOOD PREACHING EVAPORATES ON THE PARKING LOT.  BULLIES SHOULD BE ASHAMED THE STRESS THAT THEY CAUSE, THE EMOTIONAL ABUSE.  THERE OUTTA BE A LAW.  SOME STATES ARE TAKING THIS ISSUE VERY SERIOUSLY.  SOME CHURCHES EVEN HAVE A DRESS CODE, (UNSPOKEN THAT IS) THE PULPIT SAID COMES AS YOU ARE, THE CONGREGATION SAID YOU BETTER NOT SIT HERE LOOKING LIKE THAT, THESE SEAT ARE RESERVED.   OF COURSE, NOBODY WILL TALK ABOUT THIS SUBJECT.   THE CHURCH SHOULD BE THE ONE PLACE THAT IS SAFE, NON JUDGEMENTAL, FORGIVING, LOVING, COMPASSIONATE. OKAY, THINK ABOUT YOUR OWN CHURCH EXPERIENCE.  ARE THERE CLIQUES? THE PREACHER‘S CIRCLE? THE FUNDRAISERS? THE CELEBRITIES? THE CHOIR? THE USHER BOARD? THE MOTHER BOARD? THE DEACON BOARD?  DONT GET ME WRONG THIS IS MY OPINION AND I HAVE ATTENDED ENOUGH CHURCHES TO FORM MY IDEAS ON THE SUBJECT OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE IN THE CHURCH. HAVE WE ALL FORGOTTEN ABOUT JIM JONES? OR THE OTHER CULT THAT TOOK OFF AND WENT TO MARS(HEAVENGATE ACTUALLY COMMITTED SUICIDE ).  OKAY, I STILL ATTEND CHURCH ON OCCASION. I GO TO FELLOWSHIP. I REALLY DONT CARE ABOUT THE DIRTY LOOKS, OR THE CLIQUES, OR THE SPECIAL ANOINTED ONES. I GO FOR ME AND MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! I AM STANDING UP AGAINST BULLIES !  I VOTE FOR ALL STATES TO ENDORSE ANTI BULLYING LEGISLATION.