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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

De facto segregation vs institutional segregation: are either ok?

Love and compassion should not be based on race. (Picture of Mother Theresa and sick child.)
I was talking to my son Sunday, describing to him my need to attend an integrated church - neither all white nor all black - and how this quandary into not being able to find one close to my home has hampered my religious identity and relationship with God.


segregated - set apart

That brings to mind the real definition of integration. Is an "integrated" church one where only one person from another race is on the rolls?

For several years, I have been attending a Greek Orthodox church within one mile of my house with my husband who has converted to Orthodox Christianity. We were introduced to the church when we attended the Annual Greek Festival when we were warmly welcomed, enjoyed the food and the dancing.


integrated - combining or coordinating separate elements so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole

When we attended our first service, we were enthralled by the golden iconography, the music, and the incense. Everyone was nice, and there were several Ethiopians worshiping there.

But over the years, the Ethiopians left, and one other black man joined the choir, but I haven't seen him lately. I haven't "joined" the church because I just don't feel right there. All the icons of holy people, saints, and angels are white, and it appears  "man" has made God into his image of himself, and I have a problem with that.  

To further exacerbate the problem, while a volunteer at the festival, I was cursed at for no apparent reason near the church steps by a member! Later, she said she was on prescription drugs and couldn't remember our conversation.

Another Greek American that I'm friends with says Black people are stupid for supporting the Democratic Party. One of her Facebook friends called a former Obama aide, Valerie Jarrett, a "racist wench" even though I doubt he has ever met her... do they think they will win friends/converts/voters this way?

Then there was the priest's sermon on the poor not getting into heaven and protesters being "jealous" followed by comments to me that I "racializing" everything. I have a strong feeling of white superiority ruling this church which is trying to establish a school which will probably be "segregated."

But I left my "all black" church because I didn't want to go to a segregated church.

What should I do??? I will ask God and the ancestors for guidance.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Virginia Caples dies; university president and community leader

If someone wanted to brand the late Dr. Virginia Caples, they would say “smart, accomplished, kind” and could add “sorority woman and entrepreneur” to the list. It is rumored that she succumbed to kidney failure since she was on dialysis due to diabetes.

To read bio, go to: http://www.aamu.edu/news/2011/Pages/Virginia-Caples.aspx

Monday, February 19, 2018

Gun raffles in church and sports organizations commonplace in America

A church visitor was given a new Mossberg shotgun in the church sanctuary.
Hopewell Baptist Church in Harrodsburg, Kentucky held its Annual Wild Game Feast Saturday night. On the menu were raccoon, dove wrapped in bacon, beaver, catfish, frog legs, fried chicken, wild turkey tenders, venison sausage, deer chili, barbecue wild pig, barbecue shredded duck, other wild game, familiar side dishes, and desserts. 

Members of the community caught or killed most of the game, including minors who described how they killed bucks and does with rifles from family arsenals.

The Master's Servants quartet performed the song "Use Me" and various gospel songs.

Family values were emphasized at the event.

After the sermon and Christian Servant's Resolution was read by a visiting minister and a prayer was given, guns were raffled off using attendance cards. One was given to a 12 year old boy and another to an adult male in the church sanctuary, with the fully illuminated cross in the background. Gift cards were also raffled off. There was no charge or offering required.

"I thought the guns at the altar were for security, for I did not sign up for a gun raffle," said one winner who was surprised when he won a shotgun.

Background checks were not done for those receiving guns, but copies of driver's licenses of the winners and minor's grandparents were made. The grandparent's verbal permission for the youth to receive the gun had to be gotten, and the man's wife had to approve him receiving the shotgun.

Many members of the surrounding community expressed outrage that guns are being given away at church, which they believe sends a mixed Christian message concerning deadly weapons and religious morality. Others deemed it a veiled attempt to acquire guns without a proper background check.

"My church would never do that," said one Lawrenceburg, Kentucky native.

This event follows others in which guns are being raffled despite increasing incidents of gun violence taking place all across the US. "I guess they have found a way to raise money that is more successful than a bake sale," he said.
Raffle ticket in Kentucky to support traveling ball team.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Antique stores becoming thrift shops in growing communities

Sign in front of Park Avenue Thrift Outlet in Woodstock, Ga.
"Soon you won't be able to get rid of any of your 'stuff' you've paid so much for because it won't be worth anything," said one of my lifelong friends about liquidating assets.

Let's face it: many of us have too much money invested in clothes, shoes, purses, and household accessories. Some of these items are selling cheap at second hand stores.

"Yes, a quarter is a good price," said a shopper who passed by me outside the store which used to be an antique mall. 
Choosing the right day of the week to shop can save you money.
My prediction - brick and mortar stores will soon go out of business because they will not be able to compete with thrift store prices. Some items at these stores still have the tags on them and may be donations from Macy's or J. C. Penney's.

I went to Saks in Atlanta's Phipps Plaza, and the whole basement floor is filled with clothes marked 70% off which is still expensive. Wonder where those clothes will end up?

After working in retail myself, I've seen how expensive clothes are folded on the floor and how many people try on clothes.  I also witnessed a contestant on the Jeopardy game show who was dressed to the 9s. He told the host that he bought all his clothes at Goodwill!
This store used to be an antique mall.
Even well to do shoppers are finding bargains with designer labels at thrift stores. Go figure. Even Neely Fuller said fashion is not important; only cleanliness matters!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Congrats, Bruno Mars - huge Grammy winner!

Picture taken at MGM National Harbor, July 1, 2017
A beautiful brother, but what is he selling???

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Unemployment one indicator, but does not prove economic progress in African American communities

Just because you say you're not a racist means nothing.
Help people economically, spiritually, and psychologically to prove your point!
U.S. President Donald Trump is fast to answer critics who call him "racist" with indications that unemployment is down for African Americans during his Administration, but what is the real economic outlook for people of color in our country?

Let's first take a look at poverty and economic development in Mississipi, a state Trump recently called "The Great State of Mississippi."

Mississippi is the poorest state in the United States. According to the Clarion Ledger newspaper, "More than a third of Mississippi children are stranded in poverty — higher than during the Great Recession." (https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/07/21/mississippi-children-living-poverty/30494287/)

"Mississippi’s Black population was 1,143,789 in 2014 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The actual percentage of African Americans in Mississippi was 38% which makes it the largest percent of African Americans of any state in the country," according to search engine BING.

Mississippi's flag still resembles the confederate flag.
I've traveled through this state, known for its brutality against black people, and realize it's a dangerous place for people of color.  My family inherited land there but quickly sold it because of its bloody history. It's a beautiful place, I kid you not, but I'm sure some communities could resemble "Shitholes" after suffering through many natural disasters.

If Trump wants to show that he's not racist or elitist, maybe he should start trying to help folks in Mississippi instead of spending weekends in Mar-a-Lago. I called the Grand Bear Golf Club in Saucier and talked to the manager and head pro. "Trump has never been here, not in the 12 years I've been here," said Ian Kahn. "I don't think we will be inviting him down here anytime soon," Kahn said. 

I contacted Kelly in Mississippi Republican Governor Phil Bryant's office and asked whether President Trump had ever visited the state. "Yes, he was just here at the opening of the Civil Rights Museum," she told me.

When I asked whether Pres. Trump talked with the governor or African Americans about economic development issues, she asked me to email Clay Chandler, communications director, to answer those questions. I am awaiting his reply and will update this post as soon as the information is received. She told me it may take a while for a reply since the legislature is in session.

Monday, January 15, 2018

MLK's daughter calls for revolution

Scene inside Ebenezer Baptist Church during MLK celebration

In a celebration commemorating the 89th birthday and 50th anniversary of MLK's death come April 4, his daughter, Bernice, stood at the podium in Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church. Her mission: to spawn a moral revolution based on her father's philosophy which was developed from his study of  Western and Eastern religions.

The Rev. Dr. Bernice King, a graduate of Spelman and Emory Universities and CEO of the King Center, pulled no punches and preached off script. "Our president does not represent the spirit of America," she said. King inaugurated a MLK 50 Forward Initiative, starting today until April 4, and asked her father's followers to perform 50 acts of kindness towards someone of another race.

"God's purpose has been revealed...you will reap if you fear not." King vowed that she and God's people must put an end to xenophobia, militarism, materialism, and racism.

She urged listeners to choose non-violence and condoned unity. "We have the same speeches each year...now we need a revolution of values." She said we must listen to those we don't agree with and come together to save humanity.

King said those who believe in her father's teachings must not hate others because hatred leads to bitterness. She shared that she used to hate all white people, especially all white men, but said she changed her mind when she was given a sincere hug one day by a white male interviewer.

Earlier, Rev. Wright Lee spoke about the failure of the "white" church. "We need another Letter From the Birmingham Jail." He said of the present political and religious climate, "Enough is enough. It's time to be different."

All speakers pretty much followed the same script that has been spoken since King's death. His daughter is convinced that collective voices will win in the end. Manifestation of God's love will save us, she said.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Suspicious Nabisco cracker packaging raises safety alarm

Piece of tape found on wrapper in Nabisco's Ritz Cracker box.
Yesterday, I took advantage of  Publix Supermarket's "Buy One, Get One Free" promotion at their Barrett Parkway store in Marietta. I purchased a box of Ritz Crackers.

When I opened what appeared to be a factory sealed box, one row of crackers had a piece of tape on it which looked odd.

"You can return it to the store for a full refund," said Allison who said she was in charge of community relations at the Publix headquarters on Delk Road where I went in person. After asking about the policy for food merchandising as far as this being a health/ safety concern, she said someone would call me back. I have also contacted Mondelez International, Nabisco's parent company, through their website and am awaiting an answer.

I requested that Allison take a picture of the box so they could possibly trace who had packaged the crackers. I am awaiting a call back as to what will be done on this matter.

Of course, I will not be eating Ritz Crackers for a while...

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Cyberjagzz robotic students get GoFundMe account

A GoFundMe.com link has been set up for robotics students in Huntsville, Alabama to offset costs to compete in upcoming events. (https://www.gofundme.com/cyberjagzz-robot-competition)
Dr. Cydale Smith, an expert in ion-matter interactions and nanoscale materials/device fabrication, has set up the account. "Through my interactions with the public schools here in Huntsville, I have developed a passion for providing students access to quality science education." His organization,
4SIGHT, INC., is dedicated to advocating for historically, under-represented minority students. 


Huntsville, Alabama is known as Rocket City and the adopted home of Wernher von Braun, aerospace engineer and space architect. Half of the German Rocket program was stationed in Huntsville to help the U.S. win the Space Race in the 1960's. Currently, $30-50 billion goes through the city via government contracts. 

"At 4 SIGHT INC, we have a community-based FIRST Robotics team with students from these low-income families known as the Cyberjaggz," says Dr. Smith. "Our robotics team is invited to the 2018 Rocket City Regional here. In order to participate, there is a huge financial bill that we cannot pay for on our own."

Smith says the GoFundMe page will help pay for parts, transportation, food, equipment, software, supplies, materials, and team spirit items. Donors will be continually updated on how the Cyberjaggz are doing throughout this process.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Unified Christians should celebrate Jesus' birth everyday, every season

Mosaic in lobby of Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation
Atlanta, Ga...Here is my take away from the Orthodox - Catholic Ecumenical Gathering held December 18 in Atlanta's Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation.

Jesus' birth should be celebrated not only on December 25, but on everyday of the year, in every season. The historical and spiritual Jesus is God's great gift to the world! He was a poor boy who is now recognized as God's son. There is evidence that Jesus was born, but the significance of His birth is more important that the date of His birth.

Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory and Metropolitan
Alexios Panagiotopoulos had unifying messages during event: Jesus is a gift!



Matthew 2: 1-12 in a nutshell: Wise men frightened the political leaders of the day. Herod wanted to know where the Savior was so he could destroy Him. Jesus was a rising star. A true ruler leads people to the light of truth. The biblical wise men gave Jesus all the material treasures they could carry but didn't give parents any words of advice which you would think they would do. If they did, it was not recorded in the bible.
Metropolitan Alexios: Christmas is the biggest event for the human race. We are participating through faith in this historical event. This gathering is a performance when we can open your hearts to feel the presence of Jesus. How do we prepare to celebrate the birth of a Savior?  Materialism has taken precedence over the historical celebration. Gift giving during Christmas should not over emphasize the material but should dwell on God's gift of Jesus, the Savior of our spirituality. Feel the presence of God during this time. 

Father Panayiotis (l) looks outward during ceremony.
Rev. Father Panayiotis Papageorgiou: December 25th is a unifying feast day for Christians. What actually happened on that day, and was Jesus actually born on that day? It's debatable. Refer to Luke 2:8. Some things to consider:
1. It was too cold for shepherds to be out at night tending their flocks. They were probably in caves resting from a hard day's work.
2. Pagans celebrated their SUN rituals on December 25. Christmas was actually first celebrated in 336 AD by Christians. 
3. There was a census being taken at the time of Jesus' birth which is in the public record.
The Annunciation
4. According to Jewish tradition, high priests would go into the Holy of Holies at a specific time. Zachariah was a high priest who went into the Holy of Holies. His wife, Elizabeth, was pregnant before Mary. Mary became pregnant in March... December is nine months later.
5. Early church leaders intentionally picked December 25 to celebrate Jesus' birth. Don't worry about the date because the early Christians made the decision... rejoice in that decision.

Church processional after event

Archbishop Wilton Gregory: Come together in prayer. Be gracious and grateful. Christ must be reborn everyday in your spirit, regardless of the date of December 25. Celebrate His sacrifice. I look forward to the day we can all worship at one altar. Christmas is a mystery. Draw close to the manger. Jesus was born a poor child. Keep alive faith, unity, and peace. Welcome God's Son made flesh. May God's blessing remain with us forever.
Jesus in dome of Atlanta's Orthodox Cathedral

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Mercedes-Benz teams with Super Heroes in JUSTICE LEAGUE

JUSTICE LEAGUE, one of the most anticipated superhero movies of all time, will hit U.S. theatres beginning November 17, 2017, and Mercedes-Benz vehicles will join the League alongside Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash as they race to save the planet from an alien assault of catastrophic proportions. 

Accompanying DC's most iconic heroes on the big screen, the new E-Class Cabriolet, the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo with its new interior developed for this film, and the G-Class 4x42 will play an integral role in this epic action adventure. 

"With JUSTICE LEAGUE, we found the perfect partner to highlight our current vehicles as well as communicate the fascination of our brand. The E-Class Cabriolet is a natural fit for Wonder Woman," says Dr. Jens Thiemer, Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars. "And who other than Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, would be more inclined to drive a car like the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo? We are, therefore, very excited to partner with Warner Bros. Pictures on this much-anticipated movie as we reach out to as many people as possible with a creative and innovative campaign."

"As a designer you have to create fantasy, so we often get inspired by the film industry. I am excited that this time, the film industry was inspired by us and our Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo became the car for a super hero," says Gordon Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG. "Extreme proportions, sensual contours amd intelligently implemented high tech blend to form a breathtaking body and the perfect car for Bruce Wayne."

For more information, go to:  https://media.mbusa.com/releases/release-db8e07ab3dc1897e7df477d6b10037d1-mercedes-benz-launches-campaign-to-support-warner-bros-pictures-upcoming-epic-action-adventure-justice-league

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Puerto Rico in shambles after Hurricane Maria

San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico

is located in country's eastern central region


and has a population of 41,947 U.S. citizens.
(Photos submitted by Maritza Rodriguez)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Protesters and police: a volatile case in change management which can lead to good

A take off from "Black Lives Matter" slogan, this unoriginal message may be obstacle to bringing cops and protesters together.

When National Action Network leaders announced that they would be sending Al Sharpton to rally against Cobb County Lieutenant Greg Abbott's "We only kill black people" remark, Cobb County, Ga. Police Chief Michael Register recommended that Abbott be fired immediately.

That's the kind of change happening across the United States where communities have seen an uptick in "Killed by Cop" incidents, and the police themselves have become targets.

"Instead of implementing change by accident, lawsuit, or crisis, law enforcement professionals need to act deliberately — with confidence and purpose — to ensure the desired outcomes," say Deborah Lewis and Fredinal “Fred” Rogers of the United States Capitol Police. ( https://www.policeone.com/police-jobs-and-careers/articles/6969429-Overcoming-3-key-challenges-to-change-management-in-policing/ )

Recently, a Georgia Tech student armed with a knife, Scout Schultz, was killed by campus police who did not deploy non-lethal bean-bag rounds which could have saved his life. The result: violent protests erupted in Atlanta.

Yet, this is a moment when relationships between police officers and the public are under the microscope, ready for improvement on both sides. What will improve relations between the police and community members they serve?

Transparency. Sensitivity training. Reinforcement of positive behaviors. Breaking down stereotypes. Accountability. This is the responsibility of human resources, the union, training facilities, public relations administrators, review panelists, and community activists.

The police should not be at war with the citizens they serve. Ongoing and sustainable changes are keys to improving community policing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Florida's Keys: what will happen now that Irma's gone?

Muddy waters left by Hurricane Irma
Do you think investors will go to the Florida Keys and grab up some cheap real estate, will insurance companies pay for rebuilding, or donations help individual homeowners recover? What about the U.S. government?

ABC News has reported that 90% of homes in the Keys have been damaged or destroyed. That's approximately 34,200 homes at a median price of $280k each. It would take $7.5 billion dollars to help rebuild them. And that doesn't include businesses, boats, cars and possessions.

During times like these, unscrupulous people with money hone in on victims. Only time will tell.






Thursday, August 31, 2017

Breaking news update... Abbott out after "We only kill black people" comment


Lt. Greg Abbott, a 28-year veteran, has been fired by Cobb County Police Chief Michael Register after the media released dash cam video of Abbott saying, "We only kill black people" at a traffic stop.

In a 3:30 press conference, termination was recommended by the Chief. The AJC has reported that Abbott resigned or retired at the same time the police chief said he recommended firing.

Another source informed Wingcom Watchdog that while processing Abbott's termination, he retired but may not receive his pension.

Abbott's firing comes after a lengthy report documenting dysfunction at Cobb County Police was completed by the International Association Chiefs of Police (IACP).

I think Register made the right move. Too bad it took the press to have an investigation opened and Abbott removed. We're hoping that proper training is focused on before the public is asked to pay higher taxes to hire more officers.


For more info., go to: http://www.myajc.com/news/local/cobb-officer-who-said-only-kill-black-people-says-retire/iwXaTAucCB4ZKIK7uvEbxO/