Posts from the ‘The Point’ Category

Adjustments,Tucks and Plans

Guest Blogger:
Karen Lindquist, Southern California 

Anita’s Note~ Kudos to my niece, Karen Roehrick Lindquist, who wrote this first as a comment to my post: My Letter to the Young Folk. Her powerful sentiment left me in tears. Lucky for us Karen agreed to having the comment published as a post to share with all of you. Many people are asking, “What do we do now?” After reading this you will have some ideas on that…

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist waits, expecting it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” ~ William Arthur Ward

Thank you for your continued guidance Aunt Anita…as I woke to my alarm last Wednesday morning and learned the “official” call, I had to pick my jaw and heart up off the floor, make my coffee, get out the door and get to the hospital where I take care of almost exclusively Latino families whose child is experiencing a serious medical condition. And when I got to my unit, the air was eery and thick. Generally I’m there before the kids wake up so I’m slipping into each room silently checking tubes and drains and medication and safety equipment before I ever see those little eyes open.

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On Wednesday the TVs in each room were quietly broadcasting various newscasts. Moms and dads and grandmas were soundlessly, dazedly watching. As I tucked and adjusted and straightened, I made eye contact with those parents and thankfully no words were needed as my heart had gone from the floor to my throat and there would have been nothing my voice could have produced. Each room, I did my checking and felt those parents and felt the weight of our new reality.


And then when Hillary spoke that morning, the unit paused and I watched with my Latino and black and Muslim and female colleagues and together we fought back tears and anger. And then the day marched on as it had to so we could treat, heal, and love those families. Then the week marched on and the waves of sadness, grief, disbelief, and fear have rolled in.

It’s traumatic. It’s traumatic to witness the destruction of our friends’ and neighbors’ civil rights. Just ask those who have come before us. We are witness to a(nother) surge of open white supremacy and hate speech. And it’s traumatic. As with all trauma it can be difficult to navigate.

I am encouraged by those who call for action and preparation…I like adjustments, I like tucks and I like plans. But I fear that calls for unity are delicately disguised calls for acceptance. I cannot accept. I cannot stand in the face of this and call it a difference of opinion. I’m not grieving because of our different viewpoints on social and political issues. I grieve because Trump’s hate rhetoric is bigoted harassment toward our vulnerable people and his election is a sign that—for at least half of our voting country—this is acceptable.

I thought only the fringes of society could possibly overlook his misogynist, racist, homophobic, sexist values and actually vote for him. This cannot be normalized, it cannot be woven into normal life. I am thankful for those who are called to protest and activate. For me, while I might not hold that picket sign, I’ll continue to be a helper. I will continue to help and love and value all different people no matter their race, religion, how much they have, who they love, what they believe in…I will be a helper…and lean on those who have been here before to help me.

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“We Shall Not Be Moved” ~ March On Washington 1963

America has been here before.

Watch this video of the Freedom Singers that preeminent day 53 years ago.

The Freedom Singers began in Albany, Georgia in 1962 during the Civil Rights Movement. From L-R: Charles Neblett (bass), Bernice Johnshon Reagon (alto) Cordell Reagon (tenor), unknown and Rutha Harris (soprano). This performance was at The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Tuesday, August 28, 1963.

We shall not, we shall not be moved
Just like a tree planted by the water,
We shall not be moved.

May 27, 2014 ~ After North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis refuses to meet with North Carolinians, a sit-in turns into a church service lead by Rev.William J. Barber, President of the NC NAACP:

Other versions of the song: http://civilrightssongs.blogspot.com/2015/02/we-shall-not-be-moved-lyrics-videos-and.html

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Freedom Riders at the March on Washington, 1963

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Civil rights organizer Karen House at ’63 March.

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Paul Newman at ’63 March

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Marchers cool their feet in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, ’63 March on Washington

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March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom: 8.28.63

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Van Jones: “Whitelash”

Since political activist Van Jones used the word “whitelash” on CNN after the election  a bunch of people have lost their minds. Nothing makes some folks more uncomfortable than the very mention of race, so touché, Van. So irritating to hear, “Why does everything always have to be about race.” Well…because everything HAS pretty much been about race since race was constructed in the 1600s. No matter what room you walk into in the USA, race done already walked in there before you, right along with sex and money, to name a few.

whitelash, n  1. an adverse reaction (i.e.backlash) by white racists against non-white civil rights advances.

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If you don’t know this man, you should. And I’m happy to introduce him via three videos where he talks about whitelash and a whole lotta other issues that are on our minds since Tuesday night. I especially hope young folk will watch video #3 and “Check Out His Thought” Read more…

And now…moving on…My letter to the Young Folk

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Edith Lee-Payne at March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom: 8.28.63

I’m impressed with how you are engaged and involved with today’s political & social issues. I’m hopeful for America’s future because YOU are that future. And yet it breaks my heart to see you filled with stress at having to witness the moral degradation of late.

Exhausted from the two-year fiasco we’ve endured we’re also concerned for our unknown future. My 22-year old daughter said “it feels like a death”. Students are crying, wearing black and protesting on campuses all over the country.

It’s not enough for us to verify that the country seems hopelessly divided and say we fear for your children and grand-children. Better that we circle the wagons—keep all of you close via face-to-face conversations, video chats, texts and phone calls because ~ yes we have seen a death of a measure of common decency and human spirit, but also of apathy, which needs to die. Let audacity live in its place. Your generation is waking us up to the call for paying attention and holding ALL politicians accountable, on both sides. Van Jones says—we must mourn (and drink water!) in order to heal, and then we must pick up and move forward. As President Obama said, “the sun will come up again tomorrow” ~ a place where from death there can be new life.

I know it’s hard for you to imagine that America has been through worse than what we are seeing now, but it’s true. Much, much worse. It’s up to those of us who were there for those times to help you navigate these rough waters by elevating morals.

We who believe in decency and “re-spect” must look deep and “see-again” the Good Wolf embedded in the foundation of America—a determination that had to be strong to rise from the blood and ashes of piracy and genocide that is, sadly, America’s bedrock.

Beginning in the 1600s with the collisions of First Americans with the entitled Spanish and British dissidents, the forced migration of enslaved Africans, indentured servants and others, race was constructed in America—and as Farai Chideya, said on Twitter, “white” is also a race. One cannot build on such a wrongful foundation and escape the consequences. An America where forces that embrace wide-spread bigotry can rise to power is part of those consequences.

Through centuries of hardworking fighters who would not be moved the phoenix called Audacity rose and still flies in the hearts of all who believe. Trust in the power of one; we must continue to not be moved and be the positive, inclusive change we want to see in the world.

With each rising sun of the next four years we will renew the journey as countless fighters before us have done. We will not succumb to the notion that at its core America is anything less than benevolent and humane—otherwise we would not have survived these 240 years. THAT is the balm to begin healing.

And no. We don’t move to Canada; we move forward like The Scales of Justice ~ working to strike a balance between the forces that seek to divide us and our collective Audacity.

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Nia ~ An Inspired Wave

Writing and Life intertwine in interesting ways.

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My creatively cluttered desk

 

It’s been a while since I posted—too busy with life and writing, each taking me into uncharted territory. Revising the novel results in a blur between fiction and life sometimes as my characters throw in their own commentary on what’s going on in my life. Read more…

Red Tails Movie Salutes Tuskegee Airmen

Bring on the buzz!

We all need to be makin’ lots-o-noise for this movie, which is now in theaters everywhere.

My family went opening night, and as hard has it is to hold back, I’ll wait to write a review until more of you have seen it. IT IS WORTH SEEING, even if you don’t like war flicks (not my favorite genre, either) (see it for all the reasons we already know and a bunch you haven’t thought of), and to see if you agree with Roger Ebert.

Scroll down to see what others are saying, add your own comments to the conversation. Write a quick review and let us know what you really think of the film. All respectful views are welcome.

I’m all for anything encouraging that lifts up positive black stories to the forefront of world culture and gets folks talking about these stories. Amazing that I can still truthfully say that in 2012.

And I don’t say this only because I’m a black, southern child of the Civil Rights Movement; with a father who served in the Philippines in WWII and returned “home” to the segregated south; who is telling her own under told story in the form of Peach Seed Monkey .

The Point Is ~ Vote with your movie dollars for the Tuskegee Airmen, real American action heroes. Let this be a portal into the meaning of the all-too-real deeper story of that era for our heroes and all black Americans ~ that of anger at the long arm of the Jim Crow situation back home.

I Believe

‘Tis the season.
(Written December 29, 2011)

A few nights ago my husband Rob was watching the movie version of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic children’s book, The Polar Express (creepy animation, but I love the book). I caught the tail end when the boy holds up the bell and says, “I believe, I believe!” and then the bell rings. That sent a little bell jingling in my head with the idea for this final post of 2011.

I believe in signs.
Clear, unexpected signs that show up along a path, urging you on, when you’re full of fear and self-doubt but moving forward despite them.

I haven’t reported here yet, but the day after Thanksgiving my manuscript was rejected by an agent I had high (as it turns out false) hope for. One down and many more to go. Pity party only lasted two days. Learned a lot. Moving on.

2011 is the year that I finished my first novel. Proud of that. I’ve had more than a few signs this year on the journey. Gotten to the point where when one shows up I just shake my head, smile and say I’m not even surprised. However, depending on who’s in conversation, I might as well say I believe in Santa Claus.

A fellow writer sent an email urging me not to pay so much attention to such things as signs, but just buckle down and write the best book I can.
She doesn’t get it.
I love the signs. I’m grateful for the blessing. I was excited by them and shared some of these stories with a few friends, but then cut back on talking about them outside of my little family of three, because of people who don’t get it. But the jingle bell told me that’s their problem. So here I am, throwing this out for those who get it.

It’s clear to me now that the key to catching signs is forward motion despite fear. My sister Betty spoke of it often: “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey,” her graduate students quoted her to me. And that’s definitely what my mother Irene was talking about when she forbade us to say “I can’t”, replacing it with her mantra: “Can killed Can’t and they got in behind Couldn’t and haven’t seen him since.”

Photo: Anita Jones

So in the spirit of the season, I’ll share three of my favorite signs ~

#1. February 22, 2011~ I had taken the writing as far as I could without  traveling back to Albany to immerse us both—story and myself—in the sights, sounds, cadences of southwest Georgia. That morning I met an interested friend for coffee in San Rafael to discuss the book. Then I dropped by Fairfax library, the whole time struggling with the decision to start putting money where my idea was: plane ticket, car rental, hotel, etc. I walked out to my car, and in that very moment of wrestling with thoughts of flying home I saw that the license plate of the car parked next to mine included: AJR747 (my legal initials are AJR).  Of course I had to share the story with the woman sitting in the car. She smiled and said, “Sounds like you need to get on a jet!” (Then she thanked me for pulling her out of her worriation over an upcoming anatomy test). Two months later I made the first of two 2011 research trips back to Albany.

#2. Oct. 14, 2011 ~ parking lot of Maples Pavilion at Stanford University in Palo Alto.  Well, I’d driven all the way down there for an education Roundtable with Charlie Rose as moderator. I wondered why there was so much parking available. Well, it was because I was there on the wrong day, the thing was the next Saturday.  Frustrated, I made the best of it, decided to do research in the Green Library. Got to the driver’s side door and spotted something on the asphalt in the empty space next to my car. “Is that a peach seed?” I asked out loud. Knelt down to examine and yes it was ~ a crushed peach seed! You already know what I said then: “I’m not even surprised.”

#3. At the suggestion of Aruna, a writing cohort, during this Christmas break I’ve been reading Richard Yates, starting with Revolutionary Road. Amazing work, written from the eye of the storm of detail and dialog. I’m learning a lot. I noticed that his birth and death years are exactly the same as my mother: 1926 ~ 1992, but this next sign really got me: Betty had a few terms of endearment—often called us “Cutie”—but her favorite was “Pookie Nose”. The third line in Yates’ novel The Easter Parade reads:

“Their mother, who encouraged both girls to call her “Pookie”, took them out to New York…”

OK. ‘Nuf said.

Here’s to a happy, productive 2012 for all of YOU… and …

THE POINT IS ~ hope you’ll always hear the jingle.

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