Black men aren’t the problem

Last night I went to bed knowing that an unarmed black man was shot in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This morning I woke up to a news report of yet another black man killed by police in my hometown, Charlotte, North Carolina. Police say Keith Lamont Scott, age 43, wasn’t the suspect they were looking for in a search near UNC Charlotte. Right now the police say he had a gun, and his daughter says she didn’t.

Black men are being shot by police officers whether they are armed or not. Standing by a broken down car, waiting for a child to get off a school bus, or simply waking up as a black man, is a danger to that man’s safety every day.

It is life-threatening to wake up as a black man in the United States.

But, f you are a young privileged white man like former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, you can wake up, get crazy drunk one night, rape an unconscious woman, and then blame your actions on the party culture of Stanford University, where you were enrolled on a sports scholarship. The judge who hears your case, Aaron Persky, will sentence you for a scant six months because,”A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” Persky said. “I think he will not be a danger to others.” And then you’ll get to go home after serving half of your “sentence.”

Brock Turner’s cakewalk with the justice system is one reason #blacklivesmatter is a very real issue in our country. It has been a long time coming. If you are a white person who feels threathened by what is happening in our country, imagine how it feels to wake up as a black man every day.

Don’t sit out on the work that needs to be done

James Taylor’s song Shed a Little Light, is not new, nor is my posting it here on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Performance of the song in the video below is unique.

When Taylor’s summer tour last year took him to Columbia, South Carolina, he was joined by the Lowcountry Voices, a group based in Charleston.

The night following the Columbia concert, I was lucky enough to see James Taylor in North Carolina. As soon as Taylor and his band began singing Shed a Little Light, the audience came to its feet, but not for a standing ovation.

We stood as a sign of respect for the people of Charleston, still reeling from the massacre at the historic Mother Emanuel Church. We also stood because the song, as beautiful and subtle as it is when sung, is also, in many ways, a protest song.

Dr King’s work is unfinished. Don’t sit out on opportunities for greater equality.

Shed A Little Light
James Taylor

 

Let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong
We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound and we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

(chorus)
Shed a little light, oh Lord
So that we can see
Just a little light, oh Lord
Wanna stand it on up
Stand it on up, oh Lord
Wanna walk it on down
Shed a little light, oh Lord

Can’t get no light from the dollar bill
Don’t give me no light from a tv screen
When I open my eyes
I wanna drink my fill
From the well on the hill

(do you know what I mean? )
– chorus –

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Oh, let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood


Oh let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women, living on the earth
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
With a desire to see the world become
A place in which our children can grow free and strong
We are bound together by the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead, we are bound then we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of the fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
Though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

(Shed a little light ohh lord) Shed a little light oh lord
(So that we can see) Ohh now
(Just a little light ohh lord) Just a little light oh lord
(Gonna stand it on up) Stand it on up
(Stand it up ohh Lord) Get down
(Gonna walk it on down) Gonna shed a little
(Shed a little light ohh lord)

(Can’t get no light from a dollar bill)
(Don’t give no light from the TV screen) No No No No
(When I open my eyes, I want to drink my fill)
(From the well on the hill)
Then you know where I’ll be

(Shed a little light ohh lord) Shed a little light oh lord
(So that we can see) Ahh yes
(Just a little light ohh lord) Just a little light oh lord
(We’re gonna stand it on up) Stand it on up
(Stand it up ohh Lord, Stand it up ohh lord)
(Gonna walk it on down) Gonna shed a little
(Shed a little light ohh lord)

There is a feeling like the clenching of the fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
Though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Oh let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women, living on the earth
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
With a desire to see the world become
A place in which our children can grow free and strong
We are bound together by the task that ties before us
And the road that lies ahead, we are bound and we are bound

Oh let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women, living on the earth
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
With a desire to see the world become
A place in which our children can grow free and strong
We are bound together by the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead, we are bound then we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of the fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
Though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

(Shed a little light ohh lord) Shed a little light oh lord
(So that we can see) Ohh now
(Just a little light ohh lord) Just a little light oh lord
(Gonna stand it on up) Stand it on up
(Stand it up ohh Lord) Get down
(Gonna walk it on down) Gonna shed a little
(Shed a little light ohh lord)

(Can’t get no light from a dollar bill)
(Don’t give no light from the TV screen) No No No No
(When I open my eyes, I want to drink my fill)
(From the well on the hill)
Then you know where I’ll be

(Shed a little light ohh lord) Shed a little light oh lord
(So that we can see) Ahh yes
(Just a little light ohh lord) Just a little light oh lord
(We’re gonna stand it on up) Stand it on up
(Stand it up ohh Lord, Stand it up ohh lord)
(Gonna walk it on down) Gonna shed a little
(Shed a little light ohh lord)

There is a feeling like the clenching of the fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
Though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Oh let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women, living on the earth
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
With a desire to see the world become
A place in which our children can grow free and strong
We are bound together by the task that ties before us
And the road that lies ahead, we are bound and we are bound

The language of love

The Tonys are one award show worth watching, and I tuned in for a little while on Sunday night. This ad by Wells Fargo, which aired between the incredible theatre performances, is worthy of an award in its own right.

Conservative Christian leader Franklin Graham, took to Facebook to announce he would move the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s money out of Wells Fargo to “fight the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business, the media, and the gay & lesbian community.”

Graham counted on Facebook as an effective tool for announcing his outrage and call to action action Well Fargo.

I guess Graham made an exception, just this once, about using Facebook, a company that promotes same-sex equality. As Domenick Scudera points out, Graham is going to have to make a lot of exceptions if he wants to go much past snail mail for broadcasting his calls for moral righteousness.

I’d sure like to know who did the homework on finding a new bank for stashing Graham’s cash. On Monday, Graham announced that the association bearing his father’s name is moving its money to BB&T.

Ooops. BB&T sponsors a Gay Pride parade in Miami. The bank even set up a makeshift chapel in their South Beach branch for a wedding ceremony legally uniting two men who have been together for 55 years.

Graham did mention, while announcing that BB&T is his newly anointed bank, that the organization would save $100,000 a year on fees.

Does this mean if the savings are large enough, it is ok to compromise on “fighting the moral decay” brought on by equality?

 

 

 

Get some religion on Coal Ash Wednesday

coal ash waste
coal ash waste

North Carolina artist Kathy Clark is calling for the tradition of Ash Wednesday to also be Coal Ash Wednesday. She is encouraging people to reduce their use of electricity as much as possible today as a reminder of the damage coal ash continues to do in the Dan River.

Clark is urging people to use a bare minimum or no electricity from 7:00-7:30 tonight. Whether you observe Lent or not, this is an excellent opportunity to consider how you use electricity (and other fuel) and how you can reduce your consumption. It is time to get some religion about energy use in our country.

Doc, I’d like a prescription for two old bathtubs

He couldn’t get the General Assembly to pass a bill restricting state employee insurance funding to cover abortions, so Governor Nathan Deal worked another Back Room Deal and got insurance companies to stop covering abortions for state employees. It sort of begs the “Never you mind, missy” about medical procedures that are still legal and safe for women.

This closed door tactic earned Governor Deal a much deserved award from Planned Parenthood. Our Governor is Planned Parenthood Action’s Gynotician of the Week! 8-9-13-Georgia-Governor-Nathan-Deal-Gynotician-blog

As Planned Parenthood Action points out, Deal earned his B.A. and his law degree at Mercer University. But he lacks a medical degree and I bet he hasn’t even played a doctor on TV. “Never you mind, missy” a gynotician (a politician who feels more qualified than women and their doctors to make women’s health care decisions resulting in a combination of the words gynecologist and politician) knows way more than a woman and her board certified, state licensed doctor do about the best health care decisions for her.

Deal follows last week’s recipient, North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory and his attempt to assuage women protesting outside the governor’s mansion by offering them cookies after he signed a bill restricting abortion access which he clearly said as a candidate he wouldn’t sign. McCrory walked away to a chorus of “Hey Pat that was rude! You wouldn’t give cookies to a dude!”

What I wonder is if there are any back room deals to add old bathtubs as part of the 67325-57735state employee health insurance coverage plan. I don’t watch a lot of TV but it sure does seem like some men who need erectile dysfunction (ED) medicines (covered by state employee health insurance) also like a nice soak in an old bathtub outside with a woman in a tub next to them (can’t see their wedding rings from that distance so I can’t call them married).

And what about men in same sex partnerships? This could really run the price up on old bathtubs if every sexually active man got two tubs with his ED meds.

If the state continues to cover men’s prescription erectile dysfunction drugs, we might see some job creation for plumbers installing all these outdoor tubs and architecture salvage companies could see the demand soar for old bathtubs (I’m only guessing that because based on the number of commercials I’ve seen there must be A LOT of men who need these drugs).

Governor Deal I hope you enjoy all the accolades you’re receiving for dialing back access to health care for the women you work among every day in your office and the taxpayer-funded mansion you live in now. Some of those women might be willing to help you pack your bags after the election next year.

Regards-

Missy

Among good friends and family

What I might write here about Moral Monday 12 on July 22 won’t add anything better than what has been captured in the photos and two videos below.

My nephews Dillon and Andrew are on the left, my friend Sarah Chew is behind the sign on the right. Photo credit to Armed Democrats for the man in the middle of this collage.

My nephews Dillon and Andrew are on the left, my friend Sarah Chew is behind the sign on the right. Photo credit to Armed Democrats for the man in the middle of this collage.
Mary Helms from News 14 Carolina coverage
Mary Helms from News 14 Carolina coverage

My sister Mary Helms on News 14 Carolina:

Amy Axon from NAACP video, July 22, 2013
Amy Axon from NAACP video, July 22, 2013

The NAACP’s video includes my Guilford College classmate Amy Evans Axon at 5:40

Checking in at mid-year

This year I decided to be physically present in my beliefs by showing up. I started 2013 with wise and funny women at the North Carolina coast. Being Present has led me to stand silently while same-sex couples requested, and were denied, marriage licenses in Decatur. Being Present has taken me to a TEDx conference, the nation’s largest Climate Change action in DC, and a ribbon-cutting for the Dublin High School solar energy installation.

Next week I’ll Be Present with Guilford College alums at an unofficial Guilford College Reunion organized by alum Tom Dawson. We’ll come together in Raleigh, North Carolina at Moral Monday outside the state Capitol. Tom’s call to gather includes:

Why: This is not an official college reunion. Our truest reunion will always be in the field helping others.

We’ve seen so many Guilford friends representing their communities and the highest principles of their education and selves. Let’s meet up for a common purpose and represent together. This is a good way to connect across communities and bring out people who haven’t come to a Moral Monday yet, but are concerned about North Carolina.

When: 5:00, July 22 rain or shine

Where: Come to the word “Awed.” You can find it under the you are “a child suitable to be awed” inscription on the Public Instruction Department building on the left side of the commons facing the general assembly. Closest streets are the North Wilmington and East Lane Streets.

Who: Guilford alumni, students, faculty, kids, partners, friends, it’s complicateds, Quakers, strangers you meet on the street who have that certain “glow” about them. It’s a big field. Let’s fill it.

What: Wear Guilford colors if you like. If the spirit moves us, lets form a “Silent Bloc.”

My sister, Guilford College ’88, and her sons will go with me to Raleigh. She’s already working on a sign to carry. I’ll probably make mine with my nephews after I arrive.

It is important to me that I stand with my family for them, for my friends in North Carolina, for my high school and college alma maters, and for the millions who call the Old North State their home. I’ll be in the best of company.