Embracing Your Goddess Consciousness

“I found God in myself, and I loved her…I loved her fiercely” – Ntozake Shange’

As an educator, a common adage is that everything we ever needed to know we learned in Kindergarten.  Undoubtedly, many of us have heard this phrase and perhaps even smiled in agreement – but I submit to you that indeed, everything any of us ever needed to know “we were actually born with.”

Truly, absolutely every, single thing we need to know is already written upon our genetic codes and resides within us – subconsciously.  In fact, all of what we need in order to thrive and prosper on every level is not a popular “secret” that we must accidentally discover, but is an inherent ‘knowing’ which is deeply embedded within our sub-conscious mind, body, spirit, soul – and must merely be tapped into, re-awakened and activated to empower us today.

Contrary to popular belief, our gift to the universe is not the fact that we merely exist, add beauty and value to the environment or even in our admirable performance of good deeds (an honorable task which drives many of the enlightened amongst us, on a daily basis).  Arguably, our gift to humanity is not evident in our level of formal education, our jobs, spiritual piety or even our children – who are indeed blessings but come through us in a very real sense rather than from us; and are therefore, here to fulfill their own divine destiny.

Rather, in my honest and humble opinion, I truly believe that the only gift that any of us could ever offer the creator, universe or humankind is the meaningful ‘knowing’ of who we are from a God/Goddess consciousness and standpoint.  This consciousness is obtained through extensive self-knowledge, a courageous willingness to strengthen our own weaknesses (while simultaneously sharing of our strengths) and actualization of our oneness with the divine.  This knowing inspires the subsequent fulfillment of our very unique, God-given purpose(s), within our respective life trajectories.

Alas, although I readily admit to being a continual ‘work in progress’, formal adoption of an intentional Goddess consciousness has helped to bring me progressively closer to the fulfillment of my universal goals…and by embracing God in yourself and LOVING her fiercely, you can similarly bear witness to a life path of divinely ordered steps.

Black Panther Legacy is Not For Sale

IMG_4652The Revolution will not be televised. The powerful words of Gil Scott-Heron are not just slogan worthy, but they personified Black Consciousness. In 2018, they still represent a timely reminder and warning that as a people We. Are. Not. For. Safe.

My best friend throughout my beloved HBCU days is the son of one of the revered, founding members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and in sacred tribute to his regal, ancestral inheritance – an entire culture must not be guilty of the callous disregard of media pimping our liberation struggle.

I am a daughter of the 70’s and reap the benefits of the quintessential, generational gift of being born #Woke. My own parents boasted of fond memories of grassroots BPP activism and all my Mama’s and Baba’s bemoaned the systemic, government infiltration driven, and Cointelpro designed demise of this most righteous and empowered Revolutionary Movement.

I too, revel in the beauty of our Blackness celebrated in film and masterfully filtered through our own unique lens. But I shudder to think that a Marvel fantasy could supplant the proud history of an entire Black Power Movement worthy of its own patented mark on history. So, as you purchase advance tickets, carefully plan your wardrobe (wear your garb to the premiere), and otherwise anticipate the momentous Black Panther film…also read, research and #EducateToLiberate.

The Revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised…the Revolution will be live.

 

The Failure Of The Women’s March

I am no stranger to activism, protest and marching as the featured photos of my daughter, sister and I marching down Woodward Ave. in Detroit’s “Walk to Freedom” March in June, 2013 will attest.  This march was memorable because of the coveted opportunity to march arm-in-arm with Civil Rights legend C.T. Vivian and though my Mother, prominent activist and then-Detroit City Council elected Honorable Jo Ann Watson is not pictured, she helped the NAACP and UAW to organize this commemorative march and ensured the inclusivity of its purposeful agenda.  Yet admittedly, my presence, voice, agenda and that of countless of my sisters, mothers and daughters are significantly absent from the Women’s March on Washington.

In a nutshell, the agenda and demographics of the #WomensMarch2018 reflects the same electoral base of voters who overwhelmingly elected Donald Trump – White women.  Therein lies the inexcusable and essential failure of this exclusionary movement.  While the Women’s March on Washington courageously advocates on behalf of:  women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, environmental justice, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights – an outspoken commitment to issues at the heart of activism for Black people and Black women, in particular – are woefully absent.  I suppose this makes sense, since this was never our initiative to begin with…

During it’s November 2017 inception, this march was borne of the passionate plea of one woman, Theresa Shook, to do something to express her outrage at Trump having been elected.  “I didn’t have a plan or a thought about what would happen,” Shook told Reuters, “I just kept saying, I think we should march.”  As a result one year ago, nearly 500,000 women descended on Washington, D.C. and others organized in cities worldwide to “build bridges not walls.”  Except Black women were noticeably absent of this catchy, anti-Trump slogan and the subsequent movement to follow.  OUR issues:  the elimination of institutionalized racism, mass incarceration, widespread police brutality, classist/racist fueled mis-education, ever-increasing violence against Black women and men, in particular, and most importantly dismantling of the historic, systemic oppression of Black people continues to be an after-thought in this and so many popular, national movements (#MeToo and #TimesUp included).

In acknowledgement of the enormous void of empowered and diverse representation, there was a genuine attempt to appoint Blacks to key positions, most notably respected activist Tamika Mallory joined the organizing arm of the Women’s March early on and has lent credibility to the effort.  In addition, countless Black celebrities brought notoriety to the valiant efforts and enthusiastically endorse and participate in the LA march, thus offering the aesthetic veneer of diversity and inclusivity.  However, token representation does not elicit authentic inclusivity and with organizing partners such as historically racist Planned Parenthood, and messages/ images appealing to the White, feminist agenda this march (though well-intentioned), will always reflect the priorities of the original trio of White, women organizers.  Thus, the timely agenda and widespread endorsement/support of Black women will continually be absent.

This year’s march aimed at increasing voter registration and electing more women progressives to office is admirable and ensures a #Win for the Democratic party which largely benefits from this myopic, establishment-approved agenda.  For the vast majority of grassroots activists on behalf of justice and equality – the struggle continues.  For Black women the harsh truth is that White supremacy-based movements, feminism, patriarchy, external agendas, the status quo and the Democratic party have overwhelmingly failed us.  Our agenda is only advanced when we author, orchestrate, organize, center and fully execute our own movements in concert with our own very urgent, meaningful and unique agenda, as a people.

MLK Day – When We Fight, We Win

images-17If each of us knew the ‘real cost’ of the federal observance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. holiday – perhaps we would collectively embrace the spirit of service and activism that justice truly requires.

MLK Day is significant not only for the larger-than-life martyr and Nobel Peace Prize winning freedom fighter we collectively salute and honor – but this hard-fought, annual third Monday of January observance is emblematic of a tradition of a struggle that proves that despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, righteous battles for freedom, justice and equality must always be fought and will ultimately win.

The timely request to honor Dr. King’s life came in 1968, just four days after Dr. King’s tragic assassination.  Still the MLK Day legislation, which was the brainchild of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and exhaustively introduced by former Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), was not formally signed into law until 1986.  Even after the long-awaited and successful passage of the federal holiday, many southern states still refused to acknowledge and/or celebrate the national holiday until the year 2000 when all 50 states finally consented to lawfully observing MLK Day in unison.

Clearly, the history of struggle to even actualize a meaningful day of service in honor of a Civil Rights legend offers many teachable moments.  Namely, that even racist US President’s are bound to subscribe to the will of the people, when forced.  Notoriously racist President Reagan reluctantly signed the MLK Day bill into law, because the external pressure to do so overpowered his personal ideology and politics.  Frederick Douglass wisely prophesied that “power concedes nothing without a demand”.  Likewise, change is often reflective of years of unrelenting persistence and selfless struggle to support a valiant cause – against all odds.

Thus, the lesson compatible with the MLK Day observance is to always maintain the spirit of service, activism and the internal fortitude to struggle against racism…because when we fight, we win.

 

 

 

 

 

Is Solidarity Enough to Impact Change?

The overwhelming display of solidarity from Hollywood’s elite at the Golden Globes speaks volumes about the courageous willingness of women who refuse to adorn silence in response to the decades of sexual harassment and assault which has plagued the entertainment industry.

As affirming as the aesthetic show of collective strength and solidarity is to the psyche of generations of women who have survived the horrors of having been victimized by an all-too commonplace American culture of violence and subjugation of women…one wonders aloud:  are the social media fueled attestations of #MeToo and the uncompromising cries of #TimesUp enough to affect the necessary change in the trenches?

The schools, workplaces, grassroots communities and industries where women have too-long suffered the deleterious effects of sexual assault have certainly been made privy to the increasing popularity of these growing sentiments denoting that a ‘change is gonna come’, but in the real and final analysis, there is little hope that widespread change is even impacted by the temporal and popular nature of a trending ‘movement’ – without an equal impact upon education and behavior.

Alas, it is incumbent upon the women who have so eagerly embraced these courageous movements to ensure that our daughters, those destined to inherit the legacy of a society in which their mothers were viewed in the context of our objectified sexual forms and/or as victims lacking agency, are empowered to choose an alternative path of justice in opposition to the mantra of silent suffering, which was pre-destined for us.  As Oprah so eloquently referenced in her widely heralded Golden Globe acceptance speech, the long-suffering exemplar established by Recy Taylor and Rosa Parks who fought for justice, albeit in vain, must not be a vicious cycle repeated by young women who have yet to mature and/or encounter sexual assault as a norm.

Rather, it is much more fitting that these meaningful and trendy movements morph into a teaching tool to empower explicit instruction on a woman’s divinely ordained right to protect our temples and duly respond to sexual violence, with the same degree of self-defense that we address other forms of assault.  In this manner, #MeToo and #TimesUp advance much more than a powerful aesthetic image of feminine solidarity, but promote an authentically empowered paradigm of freedom, justice and equality to impact lasting change.