Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Freeway Ricky Ross - New Man on a New Mission

Sis. Charlene Muhammad interviews Ricky Ross during his homecoming celebration September 29 (photo Amin Ali Muhammad)

The Final Call Newspaper goes one on one with Freeway Ricky Ross

Several months ago I got a phone call - three in fact - informing that former 'crack cocaine kingpin' Freeway Ricky Ross was being released from prison. He was utilized as a pawn in the CIA's scheme to distribute crack cocaine throughout urban cities all across America and was sentenced to life in prison for his role.

I received a call inviting me to Ross' homecoming celebration just as my family and I were arriving at our mosque for an address by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan tonight. "We apologize. We meant to call you sooner, but we hope the Final Call can make it," his brother, David said. Hope! Please? This was the call.

After soaking in Min. Farrakhan's prophetic message we rushed to Ross' family's home. I thought we'd be driving far but who knew? It happens to be in the same neighborhood as mine / close walking distance. This gave us more time to talk. Today was a good day.

Ross shared a lot - lessons learned, whether he has any regrets, and why he feels he's on a God-given mission.

I'd never met Ricky Ross before - except through the countless news stories, articles and documentaries that have showcased his life. I tried to be unassuming. I didn't know what to expect.

We arrived and were greeted by a very humble, kind, grounded person, fully at peace with himself and his mission, which he told the Final Call is to save as many young lives as he can.

Check in with the Final Call Newspaper soon to find out how Rick Ross is doing this. (http://www.finalcall.com/).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Day In L.A...

at the Ebony Repertory Theatre

I received an email invitation to An Evening With Dr. Keith Black from Bro. Wren T. Brown, Founder/Producer of the Ebony Repertory Theatre. The evening was one of the best that I've ever experienced. Thank you Bro Wren! and co-sponsor, the National Black MBA Association, Inc., Los Angeles Chapter.

Dr. Black, a renowned neurosurgeon, recently released his new book, Brain Surgeon: A Doctor's Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles.

He spoke at length with the audience about what inspired him to be a brain surgeon and how good parenting made a difference in his life. Despite his tight schedule, Dr. Black took questions and greeted as many people as he could during the post reception in his honor. I enjoyed a lot about tonight, but what warmed my heart was his humility and the time he made for the community. I mean, a top expert in his field was here and accessible. And get this: general admission was just $20 and that included his book!

Dr. Black answered my Three Point Probe during his reception - see below - and look for more on why he wrote the book, his perspective on the health care debate, and his passion for the brain in the Final Call Newspaper soon!

Three Point Probe with Dr. Keith Black

Sis. Charlene: You talked about how on your journey, you persevered by turning negative energy that came your way into a positive for you. What has been your biggest challenge on your journey?

Dr. Black: When my research when I moved to UCLA (the University of California at Los Angeles) wasn't working and I really had to understand why, and thinking that basically my career in research would be over. But the persistence of trying to understand that answer actually led to another discovery which opened up another door, which led now to our ability to another discovery, which opened up another door which led now to our ability to improve delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs to patients with brain tumors.

Sis Charlene: What do you make of recent news reports that some 45,000 people die annually because they don't have health insurance?

Dr. Black: I'm not really familiar with those statistics, but I the problem in this country is not really a lack of health care, it's really a lack of health insurance. If someone has an emergency and they go to the emergency room, then the emergency room will treat you. But it's really the chronic disorders, making sure that one has good control of the high blood pressure, the diabetes, getting screening for prostate cancer, getting screening for breast cancer, those are the other areas where I think we can do a better job and improve the quality of care.

Sis Charlene: What do you love most about your career?

Dr. Black: There are a number of things I really like about it. One is I wake up every day and I know that I have the potential of helping someone. That is very gratifying. I have the potential of making a new discovery, which can improve the lives of people. And I work in an area, that I think is extremely fascinating and with the most incredible organ in the universe and that's the human brain. I just feel very blessed and very lucky.

Sis. Charlene: Thank you.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Van Jones "Green Czar" Resigns

Returning from vacation, Beck targeted Van Jones, the president's adviser for green jobs, enterprise and innovation.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Van Jones resigned from his post as President Obama's environmental advisor last night. What would make a man with years of experience in renewable energy, and a staunch advocate for green jobs quit when the country's most in need of this expertise?

Well, he co-founded ColorOfChange.org, the Bay Area-based activist organization that launched an online campaign against right wing Fox talk show host Glenn Beck, immediately after he called Pres. Obama a racist.

Immediately after the petition hit the web, Beck's sponsors started distancing themselves from his show and divisive rhetoric.

Van Jones had been inactive with ColorOfChange.org for some time as (before his job as the White House "Green Czar") he had founded and headed up Green For All, a national organization that strives to build a green economy and lift people out of poverty.

But Beck and the right wing went after Jones (not ColorofChange.org - because the real target is Pres. Obama and Jones' position allowed them to hit two birds with one stone), pulled up some of his past protest activities and lectures that addressed Bush's role in 911 and the Republican Party, and linked Jones' independent views to the President's. Well, the rest is history.

This issue is not just about Barack, Beck and Jones. The American people - especially the poor - stand to lose. Jones possesses the expertise needed to move the country from a wasteful economy to one that both provides the renewable resources it needs and put its people to work developing them.

All in all, Glenn Beck lost dozens of advertisers, but with Van Jones' resignation, the country, in the middle of one of the biggest recessions and unemployment eras in history, loses green jobs and much more.