The Importance Of Birthdays!

The Importance Of Birthdays!

The Importance Of Birthdays!

This time you might be thinking I’m selfish as I choose to write about the importance of birthdays. It could be due to my own which arrives on December 11th each year. I have had many bithdays, some memorable and some not so memeorable, but I’m grateful that I get to tell my story and to live to see another year.

Some may ask, why write about birthdays. Well, the truth is I began to question the importance of it as I faced another milestone; mid-life and the circumstances which affect us in our middle years. Lately I have found myself encircled by people who seem to be at one point in mid-life or another.

It’s interesting to watch how each person deals with it; some are in denial and yet some remain puzzled by the changes that  mid-life bring while others are just now going through it. Some day I’ll write more on this, but I want to keep the focus on the celebration of birthdays.

Have you ever been in a restaurant and hear the servers gather around a table to sing someone a happy birthday? Or have you been at work and seen your co-worker’s spouse or other family member receive flowers to celebrate their special day?

Or do you tear up when you’re at a child’s birthday party and see the cake with candles and the hope and laughter pictured on the child’s face.

That’s what birthdays are to me. Hope. I remain hopeful for each birthday that I get another year to pursue my goals and to live my life in the happiest state I can be. The wonderful thing about growing up is that you are able to witness life, and by that I mean, you begin to see life not as a joke or years you spend in college drinking and binging, but you become more appreciative of the meaning of life.

For most of us we become participants in our own lives instead of spectatators. One of the interesting perspectives I have observed is that very few people  get to live as if they are actively engaged in the circumstances of their own lives. Some are just learning how to and yet a vast majority of people are spectators.

They are unaware of how much life means, as they continue to allow others to determine their outcomes. These are the folks I’m interested in getting to as I want to show you how you can unlock the  meaning  of life by not allowing someone else’s negative feelings and emotions to rob you of the greatest adventure; Discovering the meaning of your own life.  BOOM!

My friends, there’s nothing more exhilarating than living each day with purpose. That I have discovered is the true joy of life. Knowing that I am fulfilling my life’s quest and are in active pursuit of my goals become the most engaging moments that I treasure. As your birthday approaches or if you have already celebrated one, take time to to review and analyze the changes you need to make  in order to find your life’s meaning.

So many of us become  someone else’s goal.  We give and give and give, until our emotional wells run dry and nothing is left for us to give to the most important person:You. In order to serve those around you; spouse, children, family, friends, boss, colleagues, community etc. you must learn to give to you. Make that your goal for your next birthday.You should  learn to treasure your own life and especilally in this day and age when sickness knows no boundaries, it becomes even more important to live each day to the fullest.

Each birthday for me is another chance not to relive the past. No, I don’t engage in negative forms of thinking. But I get to set new goals, rethink strategies, take better care of my health and to live to the fullest.

I look at the people around me and I think how blessed I am that my world is filled with people who love me. This includes you by the way. And I get to see a new perspective on life. My life is full, I don’t get a lot of chances to meditate or think about  missed opportunities, I stay focused on what’s ahead.

Life is such an adventure. Somedays I say to myself, I really get a chance to to live out this adventure. There are still some things I want to do. In fact my lists are always long and they seem to lengthen each year as I strive to make a difference and help as many as I can get to.

For me that is the hallmark of a good life. Each minute of my day counts as I sit and plan and ponder my next moves. It’s on my birthday that I make The List of those who will be eliminated from my circle. Some by their own behavior have made themselves irrelevant. For others, their fate becomes known when the new year comes and they never hear from me again.

I think all of us should make that list. I choose to make mine on my birthday. For you it might be new year’s day. In any event if you are one of the blessed persons who celebrate your birthday during this month then here’s a Hey Ho! From me. You are an awesome person and just like me you get another year and another chance.

Happy birthday!

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The Politics Of Red And My Calcutta

The Politics Of Red And My Calcutta

The Politics Of Red And My Calcutta

The reddening of the political spectrum and the resulting economic chaos ensuing from decisions and policies made by red statesmen have had a direct impact on citizens and residents of my Calcutta. First, let me define who they are.

Located  in one of the most economically depressed areas of Detroit, hard hit by the downturn in the automotive industry, ( yes, I said downturn, there are no jobs here for these residents) and by policies and legislation enacted by politicians intent on seeking the blood of people who might h not have voted for them, it’s safe to say there are many adverse effects on residents in my Calcutta.

 Traditionally, this is an area with many social issues. School dropout rates are high while the rates of unemployment and incarceration seem to increase. I have seen the dramatic effects these policies have had on people in this area. There is no shame here. Just need. I volunteer with a church to help distribute food on Thursdays. Believe me it’s much needed.

 But food is not the only thing these residents need. The one thing they desperately need is hope. And that’s the one thing these harsh political agendas seem to have pushed away from people; hope. You see when you lose hope, there’s nothing left for the human spirit to survive, dream and build a future on. These policies have directly affected the way people see themselves in the future and in the here and now.

 The demographics here speak for themselves. Made up of predominantly African-Americans, on any given Thursday, the racial composition is mixed with my blond, dark-haired, blue-eyed brethren. Hardships and lack it seems know no color, and when the red statesmen enacted their policies they might have assumed that only African-Americans would be affected. The converse is now true.

 Persons involved in charity work around the country will tell the story, I have just told you. That more and more of our white brothers and sisters are showing up in places and at organizations looking for help. They have been affected by the economic downturn just as much as any one else. They too have lost hope. Many days as I sit and look across the people, I see no reason for them to hope.

 I feel their angst, but more importantly, I feel their recognition that there’s no use in hoping. Hope is a luxury they can ill afford. For them life is all about surviving for this day only. Some of my residents are those who were incarcerated and recently freed.

 Where do they go to get jobs.

 You can see the brokenness as they realize that not only have they paid for their crimes by serving life sentences or prison terms, but now that they are free, they realize they’re not truly free; as they cannot attain employment to sustain themselves. For these, there really is no hope.

 You may ask, why write about this. The answer is to make it personal as  it had become personal for me. Peripherally, I knew these problems existed, but until I had come up close and personal with it, I wold have never known what it must be like to live without hope.

 Many Thursdays, after I leave, I carry their burdens with me. It’s not enough  for me to touch their hands and pray and wish and hope for a better tomorrow for them. Sometimes, I want to help restore their hope.

 Hope, faith and love. The greatest of these is love. Is it too much to ask red statesmen to show a little love  to people who  do not look like them? Perhaps it is.

 I have found that hope is a beautiful thing. It can change and transform your perception of your situation. I’m amazed that so many red statesmen claim to be Christians and attend church frequently. I wonder if they really listen to messages on hope, and love. They use their Christianity as a tool to justify their reason for creating harsh policies aimed at destroying people’s lives. Have you ever wondered when they pray whom do they pray to? It seems to me the very christian principles they claim to adopt, they should practice.

 I invite you to visit my Calcutta. People who are there are not there because they’re lazy. It’s because, they cannot find work, they’re unable to access credit, they lost jobs, which in turn led to loss of homes, motor vehicles, and loss of lifestyles. Because they’re still alive, they’re clinging to life and trying to find the abundant life that is preached from the pulpits red statesmen visit.

Maybe spreading that abundant life around would do some good. Show some love and hope as much as you claim to believe in it. if you’re interested in visiting my Calcutta; email me. I would be happy to show you what we do, in spite of the little that we have been given. It’s no joke when we feed 186 families every week.

 Seriously, that’s no joke. If we run out of food, which has happened, the hurt and pain we have seen in people is unbearable. If you believe in the christian principles you expound from your platforms, then you know this  passage “Greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends”.

 Myself and others involved in the business of helping people, do not claim to love people more than you do. We just use more of our compassion. Perhaps being red has distorted our vision and our ability to help humanity. If being blue is not for you, try a melding of red and blue. Let’s all become purple as we reach out and touch each other.

 Hope is a beautiful thing. Let’s give some hope.


Remember To: Never Look Back


(Calcutta is not the name of the area Harriet is referencing, the community is located in Brightmoor, in Detroit,MI. Calcutta is used by Harriet to reference need and a place of hope and dignity for those in need).For more information on Harriet and programs in the community, visit her web site at, follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Thanksgiving- The Season To Give Thanks

All week long I had been reminded that the season of Thanksgiving was upon us. For most of us it means work as we have to tend to the needs of our families by cooking and preparing and decorating and in the midst of all of that  we forget the reason for the season. It is to give thanks.

I attended church this morning and  as  I  sat in  the services and began to review the stages of life. Over the past year, my life or I should say my perspective on life changed. It became affected as I watched the various situations around me and how I reacted to the changing scenes of life.  As I looked at the people who sat around me, I wondered how did their lives change?  Just a glimpse of a sneak peek into their lives and I couldn’t help but wonder at the changes they had seen.

It’s safe to say many of us have seen many changes this year, some good and some bad. While none of us have a crystal ball to see what the next year will bring, we hope that any change that will come will be good and will work together for our good. We believe that  issues affecting our lives have a purpose. Sometimes it’s to instruct, sometimes it’s to remind us of the big picture or sometimes things happen for reasons we cannot understand. But we do have the assurance  and the belief that ultimately all things will work together for our good.

This year, my family are coming for Thanksgiving. I’m  excited as I plan to entertain and cook and clean up afterwards. I have found the joy is in giving. Not just of my talents but of my presence. I plan to laugh and eat (forget my diet) and joke around for a brief few hours to forget the pain and sorrow that is in the world.

I also plan to give thanks. I will give thanks starting now. I’m giving thanks with a grateful heart for joy, peace, shelter, food, clothing, friends, vocation, and health, these basic things in life for which we take for granted. Everything else is secondary. Nothing matter’s more this season than having someone to share these precious few moments with  when we can forget politics, elections and every situation that divides us.

I ask that as you sit across the table from your annoying uncle, brother, sister, take time out to see them for who they are, a relative, a friend someone in need of the same things you do. Give thanks for the gift of family, it’s only a few hours and then they will be on their way. But for now give thanks.

There are many people who have no family whose members are deceased, deployed or who are missing. They would give anything to have what you have. Give thanks, anyway. There are senior citizens who have been abandoned and who having worked to build this nation and raise their families are now left at the mercy and kindness of an overworked employee; give thanks as they cannot do so, but do it anyhow. If you have all your limbs intact and they we are not blown off by a  roadside bomb in a war fought in a country far way, give thanks.

If your parents are divorced and they are fighting, give thanks anyway. If your are in a hospital give thanks. It’s better to be hanging on here than to be on the other side. If your children are missing, but you are here, celebrate life, give thanks for the time you had with them.

If 2012 was the year in which you lost your spouse whether it was to divorce, or death each signaling the same  result, give thanks anyhow. You are still here, while there is life there is hope. Hope in tomorrow.

For those of you who don’t believe in America and who believe  that our nation is on the verge of collapse, I encourage you to take a lesson in foreign politics and watch the BBC World News. You will find yourself giving thanks that each day you wake up you live in a country where the President is always the President and the police are not in charge of the affairs of the country. Give thanks, anyway.

I found myself giving thanks for all the storms that I had  passed through, all the loss I experienced , I found that I was grateful for still being here. I am grateful for being able to write this and grateful that you are reading and are a supporter of my efforts. I am deeply grateful, thank you.

I encourage you to say a prayer for peace and for Americans who are fighting in Afghanistan, whose families are wishing they were here, give thanks for their sacrifice. For that child wishing Mommy would survive cancer, give thanks, for the homeless and the hungry, give thanks that it could have been you, but for the Grace of God go I, give thanks .

For the husband, wife, or child on life support, give thanks anyhow. If you lost your job or your business, give thanks. You will have an opportunity to start all over again. This time you will be smarter,wiser and humbled by the experience of loss. You will find you are more loving, more patient and you will take time to  see life not as a spectator but as a participator.

Give thanks with a grateful heart  are the words of a song used in the service. As the notes in the song stirred  my soul I was reminded how difficult it is to give thanks in the midst of loss and pain and sorrow. But I know from first hand experience, that this  is when you should give thanks.

As you look around you and see the losses that have occurred and you know it could have been worse, but you  are standing in the midst of it, but just like a soldier who has come to bring freedom to people in a war zone, that’s how the spirit of gratitude comes to refresh our soul and to remind us that every day is a gift. If we take one day to give thanks, then let it be  I say let it be.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I decided to keep a list of companies who choose to fire their employees in protest to President Obama’s re-election and to ObamaCare, the president’s health care initiative. I am calling this  list RollCall as it  identifies  employers who are not interested in the good of all  the people.

I fail to understand their rationale as they seem to have more than enough to distribute to the very people who help make them rich. In another era, we would have called them robber barons as they gouge out the poor behind a facade of selling you a service or delivery of goods in exchange for your money and have convinced  us that we cannot live without. Today we call them rogue CEO’s or my favorite  term vulture capitalists.

We are not talking about hostile takeovers here but we are talking about slick marketing campaigns designed to make you believe that these companies  while making a profit are doing good deeds in the community. Just this week I saw where one of the largest Pizza firms in the country, Papa John’s owned by a man who claims to be a  self starter who originated from the 99% and who in ads on TV  donate two million free pizzas, announce that he would have to reduce hours for employees to avoid costs in healthcare due to ObamaCare. How can you donate two million free pizzas but cannot afford to pay healthcare costs for your workers. Papa John’s owner lives in a forty thousand square foot mansion and wants us to believe he cannot afford to pay for his worker’s  health insurance? Maybe he’s just a rapacious capitalist or better yet a vulture. The practices of these employers are beginning to appear to be vulture cpitalism at it’s best or worst, depending on how you look at it. I’m beginning to think they and the Chinese are in the same financial bedroom as Chinese politicans get rich off the loose morals of vulturistic American businessmen who choose to rob working people of the right to earn a decent living and live in a free society.

It seems that it is in the interest of these businessmen for America to be comprised of two classes; the dominant class in which they determine who rules politically, socially and economically and the rest of us who work for them.

Boycotting their products should serve as jolt to them and a wake up call that Americans choose not to be a part of their system of government, but we choose to to operate under a system of goverment chosen by the people, of the people and for the people. If they wish to engage in feudalistic power then perhaps they should take a hike back to the fifteenth century in a time warp and stay there. We who choose to remain prefer to work and live in a progressive society where the majority rules and wealth is available to those who work hard to pursue it.

The choosing of government should not be the sole forte of the wealthy. We recognize that the poor will always be with us. However it should be that we choose to help people to better themselves and  not take from them and discard human beings like garbage. This reminds me  of a time period in Europe in which children and adults who were poor were often taken advantage of by the aristocracy and treated as if they were animals. The whole point of moving to the New World was to create a new way of life to avoid the mindset of entitlement which comes with inherited  and created wealth.

I daresay we seem to have reverted to the  same mindset of that dark time in human history in which  there existed a stark difference between the wealthy and the poor. Slowly but surely that time is emerging again in this new world in America. Let this serve as our wake up call to realize that we have got to change.  I am calling for a time out on sitting on the couch and being entertained as rich people continue to take advantage of the disenfranchised, and  the dispossessed.  I am calling for a time out for sitting with your arms folded  saying I can’t do anyhting to change it. Let this serve as notice to you that a goverment of the people by the people and for the people is the only way we can keep predatory busneesmen in check.

While you are sitting on the couch watching Kanye and Kim and a variety of individuals with loose morals who are being paid by the plutocracy to entertain you to keep you distracted from perusing the hidden agendas behind their business decisions, that there is a silent take over and disenfranchisement of your rights. Some of you are slowly beginning to see realities  in which you no longer have a  say in the business you purport  to run for  these rogue indivudals and are only just beginning to see that you are nothing but a fugure head, a title  they use to show others that they are good employers who are engaged in hiring practices and good corporate citizenship in which they are spreading the power and the wealth around.

You need only look in the parking lot at the  end of the day and watch who gets into what cars to see where the real wealth is.  Look around you. Having worked hardest to prove you are a good employee you are still driving out in an economy car, no matter the slick advertising from that car maker, that is  a part of the ruling class designed to  make you feel as if you are part of a class system in which you may not realize you have no power over how long you stay in it. Picture the economic  downturn which took place a few years ago. Most people who lost their jobs also lost their footing on the upward ladder of the society. They lost homes, cars and businesses some of whom never recovered emotionally, nor financially and who were relegated to live in areas  they haven’t lived since childhood or pre-college days. In the meantime, upper management and owners were still living high on the hog, drinking and toasting while you were struggling with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac,  Bank Of America, Chase and Countrywide to keep you in your house and not  watch your own car   being driven away from you.

If you learned nothing else, you should never allow yourself to forget what it felt like having to explain to your children the reason you had to relocate  or change schools  was as a direct result  of the impact of job displacement. I have no doubt in my mind that the economic fiasco we faced was as a result of rogue CEO’s who chose to pay us back for the election of a president who was part of the emerging classes and who wanted to demonstrate the power  their wealth could do. They communicated to their hiring managers to make sure it was difficult for people to obtain jobs. They increased job requirements and imposed strict jobs adherence so that  many people would have been excluded from the job market. If this does not constitute vulture capitalism I don’t know what does.  Shameful, that they robbed people while at the same time continued with marketing programs aimed at fooling us all to think they were interested in the country’s welfare.

Make no mistake about it. Many of you cannot afford to live in areas and subdivisions  where your company bosses and owners live. When you drive out of   company parking lots that’s when the Great Divide emerges. Those who head north are the haves and most of you head east or west or south. That  should tell you where the  money is.

Time to wake up, America and smell the roses that all is not well in this democracy and we have a job to do to work and preseve our way of life for generations to come. I don’t know about you but if histroy serves as a lesson well learned I would hate to think that we return to a time when children and women who are poor are seen as pieces of disposable property by wealthy indivduals who do nothing but indulge their wicked natures to effect hardships on people, because there is no system of govenment that would hold them accountable.

We have no time to waste. Let’s get busy with the business of erasing wickedness and human depravity from our society. We must wake up. It’s time for RollCall.

List of Companies:

Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden & Red Lobster) plan to put more workers on part-time status)

Papa John’s Pizza

Applebee’s Franchisee Zane Tankel

Michael Fredrich (Owner) MCM Composites

David Siegel of Westgate Resorts

Cintas (The Uniform Company)


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Election 2012

It’s almost over. Soon we will be able to breathe and watch TV without constant reminders of the game of politics.  This election season has lasted longer than previous ones as the canvassing for electoral votes began two years ago. A media campaign based on candidates’ special interests ruled the airwaves as advertising became the best way to get their message across. Our media spectrum inclusive of social and recreational media became the venue for all forms of politicking. Ads and more ads permeated the airwaves as the election discourse began in earnest.

At first,my interest was piqued but I soon became tired as the ad making became savage and individual reputations were tarnished and the facts became reduced to misstatements or they simply gave way to what was more headline grabbing.  Nothing in this election cycle has shown the angst both parties have of each other as ads generated by super PACs and their creative machines.

At some point in our national discourse, we have to become more civil and more caring of the ways in which we respond to people with whom we disagree. I am not sure much is gained by lying and twisting the story to spin it to one audience taking advantage of  their lack of savvy or lack of access to media. I think that spells a certain kind of mental manipulation and it somehow reminds us of a time when leaders in a feudal society assumed that because of their position they had the right to rule based on their position of birth. This thinking gave way to the idea that because I am privileged I have the right  take away from those who have not.

If one thing became clear to me, in this election cycle, it’s that it created a mental thought process which indicated that most of us would prefer to be among those who have than not to have. It is clear that American life is slowly becoming more about those who have and those who don’t. It is becoming more and more important that we educate our children so that they will have a better life and they will have access to the corridors of power. Somehow we have created a mindset in this country that to be American means that you are rich and have more than your neighbor.

We seem to have forgotten where we came from. A nation built on the disenchanted former citizens of Europe  who travelled many miles across seas seeking to build a new life in a society free from the guaranteed inherited wealth and power status  prevalent in European societies. Of course upon arrival, they were met by citizens of the land who extended a hand of friendship in the belief that we can all coexist. Later, Africans were brought against their will but who by virtue of their birth and sacrifice became citizens and who had to fight for their rights to be included in the  politics of the time.

Lest we forget this how America was founded. Hence the prevailing idea of  a society that  welcomed immigrants and women who worked hard, side by side  to retain and build a nation in keeping with  sound moral values operating on the belief  that each man is his brother’s keeper.

This was lost during this election cycle. As the season of giving thanks nears, let us return to the values on which this nation was built. Let us remember to give a helping hand, that all mankind is  created equal and that we hold these rights to be true, that all are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

What ever Tuesday night’s outcome, I pray peace.


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The Religious Right

In our culture today, we are inundated with rhetoric and ideology from a group of individuals whom I refer to as the Religious Right. They form the dissension that has become atypical of the American political spectrum.  As a group  they are filled with ideas of what they believe America and Americans should look like, sound like and think like.

They believe that there should be separation between church and state yet they choose to effect and affect the election of candidates who support their agenda. They project an image of God as a hateful, repressive being whose only interest in your circumstances is to punish you and rob you of your choices. Their ideology suggests that God did not give you free will and therefore the choices you make render you morally bankrupt for all eternity. They seem to forget redemption by grace and that you still stand a chance of getting into heaven based on your free will choice of salvation.

Somehow they have convinced people that God hates everyone, and have reduced human conditions and failings to labels that are not only incendiary but are quite hurtful. Is it any wonder many people in America today do not want to go to church? I wouldn’t want to serve and fellowship with people whose idea of moral bankruptcy does not include slick politicians who lie and who have displayed racial and misogynistic  tendencies. What kind of God does not embrace all people?

It’s hateful thinking like this that made Hitler rise to power. Beware of people who continue to project an exclusive idea of God suggesting that you if you are a Christina this is how you should look and what you should sound like and what you should vote like and what you should wear.  Beware of people who suggest that God looks like them and sound like them but who  perpetuate hate on women, blacks and other racial and ethnic hatred and  intolerance of anyone else. I seem to recall that verse in the Bible  that says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that WHOMSOEVER…. (John 3:16)  That’s the key word, whomsoever. This verse alone implies that God’s love is for all humanity, black, white, yellow, red, gays, straight, transgender and any other grouping you choose to place people into.

Where is the love? God gave it , you received it, now distribute it. God loves all of us, show us that love, stop the hate and segregating, show us love by eliminating hateful and misogynistic rhetoric implying women and our freedoms are the reason America is in the state it is today. Show the love of God as spread abroad for all humanity not just for you, but for all who choose to receive it. Just maybe by showing love, people will believe that the God you serve loves us all.


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Mitt Romney, Abortions & Stericycle

They’re at it again. Its an election year and political candidates awash with hopes of clinching the most coveted title in the world, that of President of the United States and  leader of the free world,  are pontificating and postulating on their various positions on issues relative to the nation’s interest. They soon forget their past histories including stories of  business deals that will catch up with the rhetoric they spew from  campaign stumps across the country.

One such that I learned about recently was of  Mitt Romney  (former governor,Republican presidential candidate) and his many business interests.  As a policy the Republican Party is anti-abortion and in Gov. Romney’s speeches he has indicated he  is  against abortion or depending on where he is or what time of day it is, it becomes unclear what he personally believes. It was recently reported that his  son, Tagg Romney had inserted an abortions clause into the contract he wrote for the surrogate who carried his child . Here’s the thing. Governor Romney’s former company Bain Capital invested in a company named Stericyle whose business is the disposal of human fetuses after abortions. Stericycle is a medical waste disposal firm whose corporate headquarters are  in Lake Forest, IL.

Is this hypocrisy? So you are saying abortion is okay when it s being used as a tool to help members of your family but is wrong for women who have been raped, or molested. Really?

I shudder as I  write about this. The double standards and the lack of support for women’s issues emanating  from his campaign make me wary of any kind of presidential administration he would form. I am uncomfortable with the rhetoric his party puts out concerning  the issues women have worked for and achieved in the last fifty years. I am sure like most women we do not want to revisit an era in which we were viewed as pieces of property without a voice or any power of decision making on issues affecting our lives. I think we are in for a rough ride as this becomes a primary focal issue in the next few weeks leading up to the election.

I am asking very woman to consider the options before you. If your view coincides with Governor Romney and his friends, don’t believe for one minute that your association with them will prevent you  from going to jail if you are found taking birth control!  Believe that they mean what they say. I urge many women who are in positions of leadership in your homes, schools, and work environments to consider the policies that are being espoused by both parties. Review them carefully and make a decision based on what you believe either party would do on your behalf. Include as part of your decision making,consideration for women like me.

I  am an immigrant and therefore unrepresented  in  Governor Romney’s focus. Therefore without the Violence Against Women‘s Act which the Republican party has threatened to veto, myself and many women like me  would not be here today. It’s this act that seeks  to provide protection for victims of human trafficking and child sex pornography who have been  shipped  here  from overseas in containerized vessels like cargo and placed on the streets of our nation left to fend for themselves at the mercy of men who have deprived them of common human decency and used their most private parts to elicit pleasure for themselves.

I urge you on behalf of victims of violence, sexual and domestic  that take place in homes across this nation across the spectrum of human living to vote in this election with our voice guiding your finger.
Your vote is our voice, thank you.

Author’s Note:
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Wear a purple ribbon in support of victims of domestic violence including women and children. Visit my web site for more information;

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The Bridge To Somewhere

I was at a meeting recently organized  by the African Caribbean Chamber of Commerce of Detroit at which  the Canadian Consul-General to Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, the Hon. Roy Norton was the guest speaker. Consul-General Norton outlined the value of trade  traveling between the U.S. (Michigan)and Canada on a daily basis.

We are all familiar with the story of  that bridge to nowhere that was never built in Alaska. The bridge to somewhere is named as the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor, Canada. Many of us have travelled that bridge. For some, it is part of a daily commute as residents of Canada who work in Detroit, go back and forth daily. Likewise Americans who work in Canada for either of the Big Three  do the same.

Most members of the audience who were present at the function, are  familiar with TV advertisements airing  in Detroit which paint  the proposed new bridge as a demon to be despised. In fact a proposal is on the Michigan electoral ballot, this coming November  asking Michigan citizens if they believe a new bridge is necessary. I’d like to tell you some facts that might cause you to rethink Proposal 6.

The Ambassador Bridge, like many bridges of its kind was originally  built in the  1920’s and  was built to last for 50 years. It’s now 83 years old. It means even if we do not want to build another bridge immediately (and I don’t know why we wouldn’t) we cannot expect it to last another 50 years. Canada is proposing to build this bridge at their cost. They expect to make a return on their investment from tolls collected from motorists. You might be saying what’s the problem, the current owners of the Ambassador Bridge are collecting as much as seventy million ($70M) in revenue annually, they are reluctant to loose revenue of that magnitude. As usual it’s all about the Benjamin’s, (the U.S, $100.00 bill). Canada is not proposing scrapping the Ambassador Bridge  they are simply saying let’s have another bridge that can reasonably accommodate the volume of trade between the two countries.

If the bridge isn’t built producers and manufacturers will seek other alternate routes to take their products to market. It means other border towns like Buffalo, New York might see an increase in trade traffic. Michigan could  loose the revenue generated from the  8000 trucks per day that travel this route.

English: The Ambassador Bridge is a suspension...

English: The Ambassador Bridge is a suspension bridge that connects Detroit, Michigan, in the United States, with Windsor, Ontario, in Canada Français : Le pont Ambassadeur est un pont suspendu qui relie les villes de Détroit dans le Michigan (États-Unis) et Windsor dans l’Ontario (Canada) passant au-dessus de la rivière Detroit (Photo credit: WikipediaIf the bridge isn’t built producers and manufacturers will seek other alternate routes to take their products to market. It means other border towns like Buffalo, New York might see an increase in trade traffic. Michigan could  loose the 8000 trucks per day that travel this route.

The current Governor of Michigan supports the idea of the bridge. I was amazed that support for the bridge came from both sides of the aisle, Democrat & Republican alike. This is a bridge going somewhere. Not only does it protect the largest share of the trade form this  border crossing, (approximately 25% of the trade between the U.S. and Canada travel via the Ambassador Bridge) but it also will help allay some security concerns between both nations.  For those of you who live outside the area, there’s another border crossing 60 miles north east of Detroit. But that would mean companies like Chrysler would have to drive 120 miles to make 1200 border  crossings per  day. The new bridge is a  twelve mile run in  both ways. This facilitates ease of commute for the big three automakers who have plants in Michigan and Canada. For anyone who lives south-eastern Michigan, it means trucks from Jefferson North, Sterling Heights and Auburn Hills would have to drive to Port Huron instead of making the trek to the Ambassador bridge. Chrysler, for instance operates on a just in time model. It means their products have to arrive at the specified destination within the time frames stated.

You can definitely agree this bridge leads to somewhere. It covers the trade route  between U.S. and Canada via Detroit, Michigan.


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Epidemic Of Domestic Violence Continues to Grow at Alarming Rate

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Many of us in the Domestic Violence (DV) community prepare to acknowledge this by sharing with the community, stories and resources used in the area of preventing violence. The language has changed in recent years as statictics now tell us that more households are affected by violence.

Children have become unintended victims and in some cases are the targets of violence in the home. Wherever you turn in the national spotlight, you will read headlines depicting family violence where mothers and fathers choose to end their own lives and those of their children. This comes as defense contractor Albert Peterson killed his wife and two sons, then turned the gun on himself in a triple murder-suicide in an affluent community in Herndon, Va.

Somehow we have to end violence. I recently took  part in  a group focused on head start in education. The information from this panel indicates  that  national surveys  show the damaging effects violence has on early childhood education. What does this mean? It means before our children have been given a chance at life, we have subjected them to violence in our homes.

As a society we are imploding from the cumulative effects of violence in our communitites. Violence has become the leading cause of injury to women who show up in emergency rooms across the nation. Violence has overtaken city streets, violence is in our work places and we have seen in recent history violence in places of pleasure. All this has proven there is now no safe haven from violence.

We have got to end violence. I say this before and I will say it again, we have to  implement measures of preventing violence by engaging political leaders to ensure gun laws are enacted restricting access to high powered weapons. Each of us has  to manage the ways in which we communicate with one another. We have to become the examples in our homes and communities  and lead the way in preventing violence. Most incidences of violence stem from conflict. These are highly preventable. We can choose to be upset or walk away or simply choose to ignore. In the end the responsibility  becomes ours in how we choose to manage conflict.

If I can get you to see the damaging effects of violence, maybe I can prevent another theatre shooting, or worship center  shooting, or  a shooting in the streets or a murder/suicide in a home.  Let us commit to an end to  violence by making it preventable.

Commentary: Never-Ending Downward Spiral of Violence Against Women Continues

For some reason, I chose to ignore the daily morning newscast on television. I didn’t have any prior knowledge or extra sensory perception nor any fore-knowledge, I didn’t know that a quiet suburban neighborhood of West Bloomfield, Mich., was under siege as women in our society today have come under siege from politicians. I didn’t want to start my day with anything negative. I came across  a story of  a domestic violence  situation in a nearby town. As I sat waiting for my car to be serviced, I was moved by the news report of the  explosive violence unfolding.  I was shocked. I couldnt’ believe that what I had seen in communities  around the country had now hit home.

I am no stranger to violence. After all, as a survivor of domestic violence it stands to reason that I now advocate for an end to violence against women. Here on TV right in my own backyard was what I could clearly  see  was a case  of  violence against women. I knew immediately why financial executive Ricky Coley would barricade himself in his own  home. I knew it wouldn’t end well. Needless to say I won’t increase the pain of his survivors by outlining the details of what took place that Monday. But I do want to say we have created a culture of violence against women. Ringing  from political platforms  around the country , from the halls of power to to campaign stumps   it seems an open  war on women has been engaged.

Make no mistake about it, we’ve already won the war. We won in Roe v Wade, we won when we earned the right to vote, we won when we could choose who we love and how  we choose to become pregnant and we won when we can deterimine if terminating a pregnancy is in the best interest of mother and child .  It seems that rich and powerful men are determined to take us back to a time when we were powerless and had few  choices over  our reproductive rights.  If that’s not enough, imagine  a political candidate  running for president   being endorsed by an influential  religious leader who is quoted  as saying” since men can’t beat their wives anymore, might as well move to Saudi Arabia”  Unbelievable. This is violence against women.

Violence against women is real. We must work to end it. We must stop the violence.

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