Looking in the Mirror

Spiritual Revelations for those seeking Humanity in Humans ~~CordieB.

Archive for Justice

Troy Anthony Davis – Remember Him…?

Troy Anthony Davis
Troy Anthony Davis!
Remember Troy Anthony Davis. . . ?  I wrote a post on him some time ago.  Well. . . we must remain vigilent in our endeavors.   I truely believe in Troy’s innocence.  And the facts speak for themselves, he was not afforded a fair trial.  When there is any doubt, I believe the weight of favor should be given to preserve life at any cost!    Please read the letter below, written by Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, Director, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign,  Amnesty International USA.  Take time out to watch the video and send a letter to the Governor of Georgia.  Our voices may save Troy’s life.
Dear Dean,
The state of Georgia seems determined to kill Troy Davis. But your thousands of calls, faxes and emails have sent a powerful message that such an injustice is totally unacceptable. Georgia officials need to keep hearing your voice: Ask Governor Perdue to stop the execution of Troy Davis.
You’ve heard the facts already:

  • 7 of the 9 witnesses have recanted their testimonies
  • No murder weapon nor any physical evidence has been found to link Troy to the crime
  • One of the remaining two witnesses has even been implicated as the real killer

A new animated video, featuring original music by State Radio, illustrates the injustice of Troy Davis’ case. Video produced by Citizen.

Despite this mounting evidence in favor of Troy’s freedom, he continues to wait on death row.

Watch and share the story of Troy Davis by forwarding this new video to friends, family and supporters of human rights.

We are anxiously awaiting the court’s response to the latest round of arguments in Troy’s case that could be handed down at any moment. So the fate of Troy Davis is still very much in limbo. We need you to continue rallying support by spreading this video of Troy’s story any way that you can.

Each time you forward this video to a new person, you help build a stronger case for Troy and help tip the scale in favor of justice.

In Solidarity,

Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn
Director, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign
Amnesty International USA

————-

Sweet Revenge Turned to Eternal Regret

To the dismal chambers I watched him walk
His breath so shallow; he could not talk
I gazed into his coal, cold black eyes
He’d finally face well deserving demise . . .
For killing the man I loved so much . . .
..the wife I can no longer see, no longer touch
…the child who brought all my earthly joy banished
Due to an evil man; soon rightfully before my eyes vanquished
I felt my blood flow warmly through my veins with sweet revenge
Closure! My love one’s death finally avenged . . .
. . . . . . .
Two years have passed since the revenged death ejection
Of the man convicted solely on witness recollection
Seems evidence proves the man who walked the mile
Was not the man who stole my joy; my love, my smile
With hatred, I watched an innocent man die in vain
Funny, his death never brought closure or eased my pain
I still recall that young man’s mother’s scream
Agony in heartbroken eyes, such as I’d never seen
The pain of unjust reality literally took her breath
When her innocent son was sentenced to death
Her agony leaves me feeling numb, emotionally wrecked
Sweet revenge has turned into eternal regret

~By CordieB

 

 

Advertisements

Sweet Revenge Turned to Eternal Regret

Troy Anthony Davis, Execution Stayed on Tuesday by Supreme Court
Troy Anthony Davis, Execution Stayed on Tuesday by U. S. Supreme Court, Let Us Pray Justice Prevails!

Sweet Revenge Turned to Eternal Regret

To the dismal chambers I watched him walk
His breath so shallow; he could not talk
I gazed into his coal, cold black eyes
He’d finally face well deserving demise . . .
For killing the man I loved so much . . .
..the wife I can no longer see, no longer touch
…the child who brought all my earthly joy banished
Due to an evil man; soon rightfully before my eyes vanquished
I felt my blood flow warmly through my veins with sweet revenge
Closure! My love one’s death finally avenged . . .
 . . . . . . .
Two years have passed since the revenged death ejection
Of the man convicted solely on witness recollection
Seems evidence proves the man who walked the mile
Was not the man who stole my joy; my love, my smile
With hatred, I watched an innocent man die in vain
Funny, his death never brought closure or eased my pain
I still recall that young man’s mother’s scream
Agony in heartbroken eyes, such as I’d never seen
The pain of unjust reality literally took her breath
When her innocent son was sentenced to death
Her agony leaves me feeling numb, emotionally wrecked
Sweet revenge has turned into eternal regret

~By CordieB

Fellow writer, Paisly has taken on a brave effort to bring our attention to the many executions that have taken place and continues to take place in the United States in which the evidence is based soley on eyewitness testimony, cohersed testimony, and false evidence; many, many of which are later proven by DNA evidence to have been wrongly accused.  The statistics are staggering.  Statistics show for every seven executions, one Death Row inmate has been exonerated.   Although guilty individuals may receive stays; it takes extreme evidence to the contrary to be "exonerated."  This figure will increase, as more and more people are convicted of capital crimes, proponents push for speedier executions, and legal help becomes less and less available for those who are accused of committing capital crimes.

Like Paisley, I have been quiet to this complicated issue we face; as it has never really effected me personally.  However, as a human being; a person who speaks and writes of unity, love, and freedom; I can no longer sit still without speaking out.   As a free nation, I feel it is barbaric that we, the Home of the Brave, Land of the Free, could actually be putting innocent men to death.   Also, like Paisley: 

"i believe the only real entitlement we as humans can lay claim to at birth,, is a little something called common sense..  and as i employ mine,,  it becomes increasingly impossible for me not to realize that given the right set of circumstances,,  it could (and very well might some day) be me,, for which they come….."

 

Senator Obama! Change we can Believe In!

 

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Abbreviated Remarks of Senator , Democrat Nominee Barack Obama<

Final Primary Night
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
St. Paul, Minnesota

As Prepared for Delivery

Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said – because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another – a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

 

I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign – through the good days and the bad; from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls. And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for President.

 

At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

 

That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she’s a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she’s a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

 

We’ve certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who’s shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning – even in the face of tough odds – is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children’s Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency – an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

 

There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time. There are Independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn’t just about the party in charge of Washington, it’s about the need to change Washington. There are young people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.

 

All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren’t the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn’t do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – we cannot afford to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say – let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.

 

In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine. My differences with him are not personal; they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign.

 

Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

 

It’s not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush ninety-five percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

 

It’s not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college – policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.

 

And it’s not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians – a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn’t making the American people any safer.

 

So I’ll say this – there are many words to describe John McCain’s attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush’s policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them.

 

Change is a foreign policy that doesn’t begin and end with a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged. I won’t stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what’s not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years – especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

 

We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in – but start leaving we must. It’s time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It’s time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home. It’s time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda’s leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century – terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That’s what change is.

 

Change is realizing that meeting today’s threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy – tough, direct diplomacy where the President of the United States isn’t afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for. We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy. That’s what the American people want. That’s what change is.

 

Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It’s understanding that the struggles facing working families can’t be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It’s understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was President.

 

John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy – cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota – he’d understand the kind of change that people are looking for.

 

Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can’t pay the medical bills for a sister who’s ill, he’d understand that she can’t afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and wealthy. She needs us to pass health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it. That’s the change we need.

 

Maybe if he went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job but can’t even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he’d understand that we can’t afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators. That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future – an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced. That’s the change we need.

 

And maybe if he spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, he’d understand that we can’t afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education; to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; to finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American. That’s the change we need in America. That’s why I’m running for President.

 

The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to. It is a debate the American people deserve. But what you don’t deserve is another election that’s governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon – that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.

 

Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself. I’ve walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools. I’ve sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row. And I’ve worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.

 

In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.

 

So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.

 

So it was for the Greatest Generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.

 

So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom’s cause.

 

So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that’s better, and kinder, and more just.

 

And so it must be for us.

 

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

 

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

No Small Dreams – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Photo courtesy of DrewMyers and is licenced under Creative Commons

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

As I celebrated the life of Dr. King on yesterday, I remembered  seeing Dr. King’s picture on the front of The Richmond News Leader  as a child, upon his assasination.  Everyone was mourning and crying; some were angered.  I was confused.   I was 4 years old, and it was the first time in my life that I realized I was a black child.  Before this, I had no concept of a difference between black and white people.   I was a child.  Children have no prejudice, unless it is taught.  As God’s Children, we should all strive to be like children in our hearts, for such is the Kingdom of God. 

Yesterday, I also remembered the hopes and dreams of this man, who with love for humanity, purpose and vision, tapped into the conciousness of many Americans and people around the world.  Dr. King’s dreams for racial equality, was not his only dream.  Dr. King was a visionary, a warrior for peace, love, and just simply doing the right thing.  He was a true humanitarian, who spoke his truth, no matter what popular opinion held.  The article below written by Michael Eric Dyson, clearly gives us a broad array of Dr. King’s Dream of people creating and not destroying, working together and not against each other, loving and not hating. 

Peace, Love and Light to all Warriors of the Light in respect for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
~CordieB.

No Small Dreams – By Michael Eric Dyson

As a literary figure, Martin Luther King, Jr., stands as possibly the greatest American rhetorician of the 20th century. As a citizen, his singular contributions to the legacy of American democracy helped this nation realize its political and moral aspirations to an arguably greater extent than any other figure. And while much of the literature about King portrays him as a dreamer intent on rhapsodically transforming America through eloquent speech and writing, in reality he was much more. He was a visionary activist whose disturbing words and courageous deeds cost him his life. It is unfortunate that we have largely frozen King in his “I Have a Dream” stage while neglecting the radical evolution of his later years. Perhaps by revisiting the impressive body of literature King left behind we can come to a deeper understanding of his thoughts and his abiding legacy.

One of the more misunderstood and underappreciated features of King’s mature thought is his skepticism about the earlier methods of social change that he advocated. For the first several years of his career, King was quite optimistic about the possibility that racial inequality could be solved through black struggle and white good will. In The Preacher King, Richard Lischer captures the civil rights leader’s early views in a revealing quotation by King:

“Maybe God has called us here to this hour. Not merely to free ourselves but to free all of our white brothers and save the soul of this nation–We will not ever allow this struggle to become so polarized that it becomes a struggle between black men and white men. We must see the tension in this nation between injustice and justice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness.”

But during the last three years of his life, King questioned his own understanding of race relations. As King told journalist David Halberstam, “For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of the society, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire society, a revolution of values.” King also told Halberstam something that he argued in his last book, Trumpet of Conscience: that “most Americans are unconscious racists.” For King, this recognition was not a source of bitterness but a reason to revise his strategy. If one believed that whites basically desired to do the right thing, then a little moral persuasion was sufficient. But if one believed that whites had to be made to behave in the right way, one had to employ substantially more than moral reasoning.

King’s later views on racism were shaped by his move into northern communities in cities like Chicago. King’s open housing marches in Chicago were greeted with what he characterized as the most “hostile and hateful” demonstration of white racism he had ever witnessed, more violent even than Selma or Birmingham. David Garrow, in his book, Bearing the Cross, quotes King as saying that northern whites were practicing “psychological and spiritual genocide,” which was a stunning about-face on his earlier beliefs in the inherent goodness of whites. In Chicago, King openly admitted “I’m tired of marching for something that should have been mine at birth,” and he lamented the loss of America’s will to right its wrongs. In his book Why We Can’t Wait (1964), King made a remarkable statement:

“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the 16th century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population.”

This is not the Martin Luther King, Jr., who is sentimentalized during each holiday celebration. This is certainly not the portrait of King painted by fast-food advertisements that encourage us to recall a man more interested in dreaming than doing, more interested in keeping the peace than bringing a sword.

If King’s later views on persistent, deeply entrenched racism capture his radical legacy, his views on economic inequality are equally challenging. By 1964, King had reached the conclusion that blacks faced “basic social and economic problems that require political reform.” But the vicious nature of northern ghetto poverty in particular convinced King that the best hope for America was the redistribution of wealth. In his 1967 presidential address to the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), entitled “The President’s Address to the Tenth Anniversary Convention” (included in Testament of Hope, a collection of King’s speeches edited by James Washington), King urged his colleagues to fight the problems of the ghetto by organizing their economic and political power. King implored his organization to develop a program that would compel the nation to have a guaranteed annual income and full employment, thus abolishing poverty, and he preached that “the Movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society.” When such a question was raised, one was really “raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth,” and thus, one was “question[ing] the capitalistic economy.” These words mark a profound transformation in King’s thinking.

While King’s radical views on racism and economic inequality were disturbing to many, his views on the Vietnam War were virtually unconscionable to millions of Americans. Although King was initially hesitant about jumping into the fray, his strong antiwar activism proved just how morally and ideologically independent he was. According to Adam Fairclough’s book, To Redeem the Soul of America, by 1965 King had concluded that America’s policy on Vietnam had been, since 1945, “morally and politically wrong.” Despite his views, King’s public criticism of the war was hampered by two factors. First, his evolving radicalism called for an independence from mainstream politics that the bulk of his followers were unlikely to embrace. Second, his open criticism of foreign policy would alienate officials of the federal government on whom blacks depended to protect and extend their civil rights. This double-bind temporarily silenced King’s opposition to the war and made it nearly impossible for him to generate sympathy for antiwar activities in broad segments of the civil rights community, including his own Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

By 1967, King could no longer remain silent about Vietnam. His most famous statement of conscientious objection to the war was entitled A Time to Break Silence. That speech, contained in A Testament of Hope, was delivered at New York’s famed Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, exactly a year before his assassination. After noting the difficulty of “opposing [the] government’s policy, especially in a time of war,” King argued that Vietnam was stealing precious resources from domestic battles against economic suffering and contended that the “Vietnam War [was] an enemy of the poor.”

King’s assault on America as the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” elicited a predictably furious reaction from the White House. The news media was even harsher. In Symbols, the News Magazines and Martin Luther King, Richard Lentz notes that Time magazine had, early in King’s opposition to the war, characterized him as a “drawling bumpkin, so ignorant that he had not read a newspaper in years, who had wandered out of his native haunts and away from his natural calling.” Newsweek columnist Kenneth Crawford attacked King for his “demagoguery” and “reckless distortions of the facts.” The Washington Post said that King’s Riverside speech was a “grave injury” to the civil rights struggle and that King had “diminished his usefulness to this cause, to his country, and to his people.” The New York Times editorialized that King’s speech was a “fusing of two public problems that are distinct and separate” and that King had done a “disservice to both.”

Of course, King’s views would eventually win the day. But King’s willingness to risk his reputation within the civil rights community attests to his notable courage and his commitment to principles of justice and nonviolence. He refused to silence his conscience for the sake of gaining in the polls or winning broader popularity. In fact, as David Levering Lewis points out in King: A Critical Biography, in 1967, for the first time in nearly a decade, King’s name was left off the Gallup Poll’s list of the 10 most admired Americans.

It is easy to forget that King was only 39 years of age when he died. That he helped spark a racial revolution in American society before his assassination in Memphis is a testament to the power of his vision and the grandeur of his words. Not long before he died, King described how he would like to be remembered:

“I’d like someone to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody. l want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe the naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.”

Michael Eric Dyson is an author and a professor of religious studies at DePaul University. His books include, among others, the recently released I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr., Race Rules: Navigating the Color Line, and Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X.

Quotes of Dr. Martin Luther King
Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speach (Audio)

Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speach (Video and Text)

Maya Angelou – I know why the caged bird sings

A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied, so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.
(Written by Maya Angelou)

This poem was inspired by Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s poem entitled, Sympathy.   In Maya’s autobiography, I know why the Caged Bird Sings, she writes about sexual abuse she suffered as a girl and about prejudices of society.  Maya, who we know to be so rich in speach and intellect, actually stopped speaking for years following the abuse.  Through the miracle of God and his hands (other people) Maya was able to move out of her shell and become the outspoken, free as a bird Maya we now know and love.  We as humans need to ensure that we help those who are abused and are in a shell.  We should not sit by idly and watch others whom we know suffer.  We should offer gentle encouragement and our love, if nothing more.  In the case of children, we should take steps to protect the children at all costs.  I personally know why the caged bird sings and what it feels; I truly appreciate the love and support that was shown to me to help me regain my freedom years ago, while living as a battered spouse.

I often wonder why humans have such a need to control and hurt other humans, especially children.  I know of no other species that feels the need of such control.  I have found through my experiences that those who desire to control, have very low self images of themselves.  They feel that being in control of others gives them power; or being in control simply makes them feel good about themselves.  They are often so afraid of losing that which they control so tightly, that the end result is abuse.  Victims of spouse abuse often feel sorry for those who hurt them, and therefore stay in unloving relationships out of duty, obligation or sympathy.   Adult victims feel they can handle the abuse, and truly believe the abuser will change.  Abusers can change, but the change must come from them, not the victim.  If this message applies to you, my advice to you is to run away as far as you can, and do not look back.  Do not go back unless you are 100 percent sure that the person has truly changed–this seldom ever happens. (you’ll know in your heart).   Once you leave, get some type of counseling, because so often there is somethng about victims that attract abusive people.  Don’t make excuses for an abuser.  An abuser gains control by manipulating others to feel sympathy for him or her.   

I feel that although people may have bad days, bad years, or even bad childhoods, it gives them no excuse for abusing others (mentally, emotionally, or physically).    I believe that freedom is everyone’s God given right.  It’s so sad that so many people still live in in physical bondage each day; and far more remain in mental bondage. 

I pray today that all who read this and those who don’t–and especially those who can’t– will open there mind’s up to freedom, and not let anything or anyone take away their dreams and aspirations.  I pray that these people will overcome all fears and start living the life God intended for us all.  ~Amen

 Peace, Love and Light to all, CordieB.

Perhaps Taylor’s death will help us rise above statistics

 Mr. Williams article touched me so much, that I had to repost it here on my blog. 

By MICHAEL PAUL WILLIAMS

TIMES-DISPATCH COLUMNIST

If raw statistical data is the mortar that seals our fate, you can only wish Sean Taylor had been just a tad older.

Taylor, 24, the Washington Redskins safety, was slain four months short of graduating from America’s most vulnerable demographic group.

According to 2005 Bureau of Justice Statistics, the homicide rate for black males between the ages of 18 and 24 was more than double that of black males age 25 and older. Homicide rates for black people overall were six times higher than the rates for whites.

Whatever state of affairs has formed these statistical icebergs makes life risky to navigate for young black men, even if they’re affluent, famous or the son of a police chief, like Taylor.

“I was just heartstruck to learn [yes terday] that he had died,” said the Rev. Canon Alonzo C. Pruitt, rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church and chaplain of the Richmond City Jail. “It’s another tragic part of the price we pay for this war of black men on black men. It’s one of the terrible vestiges of racism — that having been hated for so long, we have learned to hate ourselves.”

Forgive Pruitt’s assumption, or mine. But nearly 95 percent of black victims are killed by blacks. Taylor appears to be a link in a tragic, blood-stained chain that is systematically sending black men to the prison or the grave.

Taylor came out of a University of Miami football program feared and revered for its jacked-up attitude and outlaw trappings. That attitude seemed to follow Taylor into pro football, where he had several legal scrapes — one involving his brandishing of a handgun. But more recent accounts suggested that fatherhood had matured him.

Unfortunately, the so-called thug life has become as ingrained in the football culture as yard markers. Perhaps for some of these young men, it’s a misguided form of empowerment.

Whereas so-called gangster rappers tried to convince us that they were real-life Scarfaces outside the recording studio, athletes have been turning up in police reports as alleged perps or as victims. Eleven months ago, Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed in Denver.

These are the folks our young people look up to. If they represent hope in life, their deaths cut a wider swath of despair. But this, like all tragedies, comes with lessons.

Or as Pruitt said: “More people will notice it because of his celebrity. But hopefully, they will notice that wealth is not going to save you.”

What will save us?

“We need to each one of us commit some time each day to loving as many people as we can, especially angry, powerless people,” he said.

“Leadership doesn’t belong to a particular individual,” Pruitt said. “It has to be a communal experience. It’s not like we can go pull the wizard from behind the curtain to make it better. We all have to make it better.”

We’re a celebrity-obsessed society. The loss of a distant celebrity should carry less sting than the deaths in our own communities. But perhaps Taylor’s death will galvanize us against this ethos of violence.

Who knows? Maybe athletes will take a leadership role in steering young black men from the streets. And maybe, someday, “18 to 24” will represent a beginning and not an end.
Contact Michael Paul Williams at (804) 649-6815 or mwilliams@timesdispatch.com.