Harlem Incubators Nurturing Vibrant Start-Up Scene — The Chicago Defender

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series that examines entrepreneurship in Harlem, where NewsOne looks inside a few of the community’s business incubators. In Part 2, NewsOne explores how gentrification is helping to shape that growth. Promptly at 7 p.m., Gina Ramcharan started a marketing lesson for her class of African-American female entrepreneurs.…

via Harlem Incubators Nurturing Vibrant Start-Up Scene — The Chicago Defender

Hours after Donald Trump’s election victory, protesters gathered outside the U.S. embassy in London Wednesday to rally against racism, the Huffington Post reports. The U.K.-based group Stand Up To Racism organized the event, which drew several hundred protesters, many of them holding signs denouncing Trump for stirring anti-immigrant and racist sentiments in his campaign. Anti-trump rally…

via Trump Victory Sparks Anti-Racism Rally At US Embassy In London — The Chicago Defender

On The Mike Brown Verdict . . . .

In light of the events of the past 24 hours, this seems incredibly naieve. But, I’m still here.

Feeling Womanish

Okay, lovelies. This is going to start in a weird place. But, 1) you should be used to it by now, and 2) just stay with me. Hopefully, it will all make sense when I’m done.

When I was an undergraduate, and taking my first class from my mentor, Chico Herbison, he played an audio tape. It was a recording of students in the student union at Kansas State University cheering the news that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been killed. (He didn’t die, jerk. He was killed. Better yet, go stand in the mirror and say, “Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot by a crazed racist”, until you can come to grips with reality.) Chico had been a young man, making decisions about college and where he might like to go. And, he made the recording while on the phone with a friend, who held the phone receiver up in…

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Character Strength, Or Character Flaw?

I’ve spent the last 36 hours recuperating from my initial gym workout. At first, I thought I was going to cramp up forever. I’m feeling better, now. I’m not looking forward to doing that gym routine again. So, I guess that means I need to do it more often, so that I recover faster.

I am starting to think about something that happened while I was training. My trainer kept trying to give me physical assists. I would consistently refuse them. In my mind, I kept thinking to myself, “I have to be able to do this when you’re not here. I have to be able to do this by myself.” But, I wonder if it would have been as bad for me during the recovery phase, if I had just taken the help.

Life does some messed up things to you. You develop patterns of thinking, ways of believing and ways of behaving that don’t serve you consistently in the ways that you want them to. Being independent has it’s benefits. But, allowing yourself to accept and receive help when you need it is a strength, too. Not allowing yourself to depend on people isn’t necessarily a strength. It seems like it’s more consistent with favoring your other arm when one gets hurt. You’re protecting old wounds and not strengthening the place that is hurt. You’re learning to live hurt rather than learning to live whole and well.

I can’t say what’s right or wrong, right now. I can only say what I’ve observed. But, get in where you fit in fam.

Kelil

Kelil was a neighbor of mine. When he moved in, he was less than a year old. His parents had moved here to go to college. His father played football for the local university, and his mother … . well, I guess the best thing to say is that she followed his father.

He was born the year my father died, on the day that would have been his birthday. So, it’s easy for me to remember when his birthday is. And, he was a fearless, rambunctious little dickens. That boy would make you tired just watching him run. He was trying his best to play football, like his dad. And, myLORD was that kid fast. I can’t tell you the narrow misses both me and his mama had trying to keep his narrow behind out of the street, once he could walk. But, he would flash a smile, with the cutest dimples, and no matter what was going on, the world was ai’ight.

Everyday that he was allowed to play outside, when he saw me come home from work, he would run as fast as he could to me and we would hug. Can you imagine how great that made coming home? And, he would fight the other little boys (his age) on the block if they tried to love on me, too. Nope. I was his, and he was not sharing. And, you know what? That hit me on all the right places of my ego. But, you know, you still have to be a responsible adult and say that you can love everybody … . I still think that he knew he was my favorite.

Being a smart kid, he decided that I was related to him somehow because I was brown, and he was brown. And, from what he had seen, all the brown people were his some kind of way. He would not be dissuaded. LOL! I was grandma, auntie … He wasn’t old enough to know that brown people get to have cousins that aren’t in the family Bible. And, his parents were fit to be tied by it. So, eventually, he just quit trying to name what relation I was and just said I was “his”.

His father graduated, and his parents moved away. For a while, I got update photos from them. But, they have stopped coming.

I guess God knew I needed something, in that time. And, Kelil was my answer. I needed every ounce of love that was shared between us. I can’t say that Kelil offered much in the way of a life philosophy aside from two things: 1) Go hard, or go home; 2) tell people you love them.  He made his mark.

Happy Birthday, Kelil.

I’m so sad that season is over, it’s unreal. Even if I am happy for the growth of his parents. My little man turned 5 this week. And, man, I miss his hugs. I wonder how fast he is now?

On The Mike Brown Verdict . . . .

Okay, lovelies. This is going to start in a weird place. But, 1) you should be used to it by now, and 2) just stay with me. Hopefully, it will all make sense when I’m done.

When I was an undergraduate, and taking my first class from my mentor, Chico Herbison, he played an audio tape. It was a recording of students in the student union at Kansas State University cheering the news that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been killed. (He didn’t die, jerk. He was killed. Better yet, go stand in the mirror and say, “Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot by a crazed racist”, until you can come to grips with reality.) Chico had been a young man, making decisions about college and where he might like to go. And, he made the recording while on the phone with a friend, who held the phone receiver up in the air, so that he could hear and record the crowd’s reaction.

I think you can imagine the wave of horror and incredulity that swept over our hearts and minds as we listened to this crowd. But, it was important for us to hear that tape. It was important because we had heard the whitewashed, sanitized version of that history: you know, the one where everyone who was alive during the march to Selma was on the bridge. The version that couldn’t possibly be true because if it was, that damn bridge would have collapsed.

A veil had been lifted, for me at least, and an innocence was lost. I started to listen to my family that had been alive during the Civil Rights Era with different ears. And, I started to appreciate those stories very differently than I had before. Because I more fully understood that the narrative of token resistance by a society ripe and ready for change during the Civil Rights Era was a great myth. Not a myth. An outright lie.

So, now, in the face of the virulent, maleficent, unconscionable backlash against peaceful protest in Ferguson, and other cities nationwide, both by the population at large, and the powers and authorities that be, there’s a certain resignation to it. Almost ennui. Sure, I had some hope that things would be different. But, it is the sort of hope that you have when you know the odds are against it, and you’re hoping for a miracle. I mean, Barack Obama is president. Surely, people will stand up for a black kid, killed in the middle of the street, in broad daylight, with his hands up in the air, when a black man is president . . . . Right? People can’t be racists with a black man in the oval office for two terms, can they?

A black man may be president, but I’ve heard the thousands of shades of nigger he’s been called since he was elected in 2008. We all have. I’ve posted some of the images that have circulated on the Internet about him, before. Damn, that post-racial America everyone is talking about must be on backorder, like a mug. Because the America I live in is very much racial, and still very anti-black.

There has been a lot of talk about the protesters burning the American flag. And, I can understand why, in anger and frustration, the protesters would lash out against a machine they feel dehumanizes, degrades and diminishes them. That seems to be a reasonable and rational reaction. However, for me at least, the American flag is still Dr. King’s promissory note. And, I for one, won’t rest until we’re paid, in full.