Greetings everyone! First, I have to ask that you please forgive me for such a delay in my blogging. I'd never want to display that I'd take for granted this space and opportunity that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Final Call Editor have allowed me to express myself.
Things are moving so fast with news and technology that there's no time to blink, but even knowing that, I did and missed what seems like a century of contact and activity here, but I'm back and pledge to keep it coming.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the importance of the Black Press, especially today, as we usher in this new era of change under the political leadership of President-Elect Barack Obama. As Min. Farrakhan continues to outline our roles in "The New Beginning," and admonishing us to "Accept Our Responsibility," I've been re-organizing my personal and professional lives to be able to meet the challenge and be obedient.
In that reorganization, I gained time to finally accept an invitation by Los Angeles Sentinel (published by Danny Bakewell, Sr.) Religion Editor Niele Anderson to contribute articles to her section. Since I'd been thinking of a column that would uplift people as well as call attention to various issues, I thought it'd be a good idea to submit it for the spiritual pages.
My first column ran on October 23, 2008. (Bro. Jesse thanks for the logo!). I chose the title, "With These Hands," because it reminds me that we are a creative people who've built civilizations. As everything around us seems to be crumbling, remember, we can always build and rebuild.
I hope you enjoy...
With These Hands
"This is a really different time, almost like people are on a roller coaster and they don't know what to think or expect and I'm afraid that because of people struggling psychologically, they will then begin to experience physical problems, like hypertension and other stress-related issues."
My beautiful friend Dr. Gloria Morrow, an Inland Empire-based clinical psychologist, said these words to me during a recent conversation about the financial turbulence within America. Although I'd already been researching and writing about the country's economic crisis, I realized at that moment she spoke those words that the "bottom" that everyone is waiting to fall out reaches deeper than the real estate and investment markets. It permeates the loss of people's homes and money, as if that weren't enough.
As I began preparing for this humble privilege and opportunity to contribute to this very important section of the Los Angeles Sentinel, I began reflecting on "In the Meantime," a book of meditations by the great author and motivational speaker, Iyanla Vanzant. She recalled that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam leader, once said that God has the ability to create something out of nothing.
Ms. Vanzant continued:
"The earth was without form and void..." (Genesis 1:2); today it is a multinational conglomerate. Remember when there was a void in your life, seemed to be no way up or out, and then suddenly a way was cleared. What about when you were down to your last dime and didn't know where the next one was coming from; it came from somewhere. When you were at your wits end, the wolves were on your heels and you had reached the end of your rope, somehow you rose above it and lived to talk, even to laugh about it. You may think you did it on your own, by yourself, without help from anyone, but you didn't realize where the help was coming from. So the next time you find yourself in need, ask, who can make something out of nothing?"
It's been widely reported that we are continuing to experience the domino effect caused by scandalous sub-prime lenders. Wall Street investment firms, and the housing market. There is widespread job loss and people are unable to pay for food, medicines, school and college tuition. News reports indicate that some are losing their minds, their physical health, spirituality, faith, and ultimately, their lives, but we must hold on and we can.
At the time of this writing, at least two people had killed themselves as a result of their debt and hardships. One man killed himself and his family and an elderly woman was so distraught that she pumped two bullets into her upper body, however she survived.
I'm getting calls from women who are depressed and others who are ready to buckle under the pressure of holding up themselves, their families, their communities.
As I take in their very personal stories, I've come to understand that although this domino is already in motion, it doesn't mean we have to disintegrate under its rapid blows. It had a beginning and it will have an end. Until then, we can beat the unsolicited side effects of this countrywide debt crisis.
We can beat depression, unwarranted embarrassment, shame, worry and thoughts of suicide.
Black women have always been a deeply, spiritual and praying woman and we've survived through worse conditions. This statement isn't to dismiss or diminish our very serious experiences today, but it's to recall us to a time of tragedy, as well as strength and faith in a mighty God that brought us through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. We prayed through mass murders and rape; through the separation from our men and our children; through humiliating displays on slave traders' auction blocks; through the pain of unspeakable lynchings and through the unjust assassinations of our great leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Through all of that God was in control and He is today. He is still the giver of life, the sender of all prophets, a merciful forgiving God. We've never been afraid to call on the Lord, whether we use the name Jesus, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Allah, Yaweh, Jehovah, and we can't stop now.
Each day, as we fall on our knees and pray to Him to help us endure, let's rise with our hands and create the things that will help to feed our families, pay our rent or mortgages, and clothe our children. The scriptures tell us that faith without works is dead. We've survived without Fortune 500 companies before. In fact, we've built them.
We can rebuild our homes, our economy, and our lives.
With These Hands, let's:
1) Open self-help centers that teach people how to enter new careers or start their own community-based service industry businesses;
2) Open youth mentoring and tutoring centers;
3) Cook extra food for the family or single mother next door to help carry them to their next meal;
4) Open overnight community childcare centers to assist mothers and fathers who work nights or non-conventional shifts;
5) Host a rent party or create a community calendar of resources such as job leads, affordable housing or quality discount moving companies;
6) Sew, bake, make beautiful jewelry or handbags to sell as we trim our household budgets;
7) Plant community co-op gardens, start a local food bank or can and preserve food as our mothers and grandmothers once did to ease the sting of rising grocery store prices;
8) Serve each other;
9) With These Hands, let's pray.