Friday, October 31, 2008

Daughter of Slave Casts Vote, Remembers Struggle

For 109-Year-Old Amanda Jones, a Vote Is More Than a Vote
Oct. 31, 2008

At 109 years young, Amanda Jones can still remember when the idea of blacks having the right to vote was as far-fetched as the idea of desegregation.
Amanda Jones says she hasn't missed a presidential election since FDR.

Born in 1899, the former housewife and cleaning lady has lived in three centuries. They were three centuries of struggle from her father's oppression as a slave in Texas to her own battle for equality.

It was not just her race, but her gender that kept Jones from the polls. Women did not get the right to vote until she was 21 years old.

"I think it's very important that she got to vote in this election knowing all that she's seen and all that she's been through," Brenda Baker, Jones' granddaughter, told "Good Morning America."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Video The Vote...

I live in California so I don't foresee this being a problem here with the presidential election because Barack Obama has such a big lead. It is highly unlikely for California to vote Republican in Presidential elections without a party candidate being from the state. I wanted to pass along this website and information for those of you who are in “battleground” states or areas where they have been instances of voter intimidation.

They want to record situations where people were not allowed to vote or intimidated into not voting. You can also be a driver, dispatcher or blogger, uploader/tech support check out:

Sign up to Video the Vote and join a growing network of Americans working together to monitor and improve our election systems. We are concerned citizens, amateur videographers, voting rights activists, and filmmakers united by a commitment to strengthening democracy through citizen oversight. And we need your help:
Videographers - Get dispatched to cover problems in your area or go out and document on your own.

Dispatchers - Monitor the national voter hotlines and then send out videographers to get the stories.

Drivers - Help videographers get to where they're going.

Uploaders/tech support - Make sure volunteer videos get online and to the media as fast as possible.

Bloggers - Review volunteer footage and spread the word about the best clips.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ChurchBoyz Unleashed...

I have a friend. A brother who made transition this past Wednesday October 8. We performed together as a spoken word/vocal duo "BettaWayz".

It came about because of Jeffrey King, Executive Director of In The Meantime was celebrating his birthday and asked if I would share some poetry. I have a piece called "Idle Worship" that I thought would be perfect. I'd always wanted to perform it with a vocalist. The text of it is:

Idle Worship
By The Literary Masturbator™

He entered the edifice hoping to be saved

Wearing his best clothes to show the blessings of all his hard work

Praying at the altar for a savior

Hoping that would connect him to the divine

He drank of the cup and ate of the bread

The bar became his sanctuary

His place of refuge

A processional of toned bodies dancing in the spirit baptized the believer in trance like beats

and moved him to shout of the goodness

“The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!”

He was born again and gave 3 snaps

One for the father, one for the son, and one for the Holy Ghost

The club became his church

The DJ his minister of music

The bouncer the head usher

The vogueing queens the Pastor’s Aide committee

Trade was the truth – the gospel according to John, Gerald, Walter, Bernard, and Tyrone [Call HIM!!]

A choir of DL brothas offered an A selection of false hopes, a B selection of broken promises

At the benediction he left the temple with an angel he found leaning against the wall near the bathroom

Another type of worship service

Telling the saints,…Pray for me.

with Regi's and my creative collaboration we added vocals, harmony, and comedy to express the piece. Our duo was born and our friendship/brotherhood cemented.

We entered a spoken word contest about a week before the performance just to try out the material and placed first in Round 1. Unfortunately we didn't know there were 2 rounds so in the intermission I ran through some of the other pieces I had memorized and he added some vocals and we ended up 3rd overall. It was a testament to our ability to come together as separate artist.

I have performed with musicians and other poets but nothing has ever been like the bond with Regi and I. We were able to not see each other for a while but when we got together it was like we were with each other the day before. Even after I moved to the bay area I had him come and perform with me and it was as if we had never left each other.

Regi's heart was as big as his voice and if you ever heard him sing you would know that means it was gigantic. He flair for clothes and creative arts pushed others to places they didn't know they had inside of him. I will certainly miss him but as a believer in eternal life being continuing to speak of the people who inspire you, he is and always (All Ways) will be with me...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Elections, Assumptions, and Barack Obama...

For those of you who don't know and automatically assume. I am not a registered Democrat. I am registered in the Green Party. The reason I bring this up is because in this political season almost everyone assumes I am a Democrat and will be voting for Barack Obama.

Don't worry I certainly won't be voting for John McCain. But as a registered Green I do have the chance to vote for Cynthina McKinney and Rosa Clemente The first party that has nominated two women (and two women of color) for President and Vice President. McKinney is a former Democrat representing Georgia who is famous or infamous for her run in with a security guard on Capitol Hill. Clemente is a Afro-Puerto Rican Hip Hop Activist from NY.

Some may wonder why I would even consider this choice. If you think about it. Obama will easily win the California electoral votes and other parties must have at least 2% of the electorate to remain viable in most states. It's also a choice I make on grounds that even though I am inspired by Barack's message of Change and inspired by his visions of Hope I keep coming back to the fact that the Democratic party even though more progressive than the Republican party it's still two sides of the same coin.

The other thing to take into consideration in this equation is the history of electing a man of African descent as President of the United States. Is that reason enough for me to do it? I think a lot of people will look to this as a sign that racism and prejudice no longer exists in this country and no matter who is President that is simply not true. I even had a friend who uses a website for dating and had gotten messages from white men telling him they were supporting Obama as if that proved how liberal and open minded they were.

I do think of my parents and how in their lifetime they never thought this would be possible. My mother is the daughter of a former sharecropper from Cottonplant, Arkansas who watched as her father was called "boy". To this day she will not let anyone refer to her as "gal".

At this point I haven't decided how I will vote and I am not even sure I will make it public. I have found this election season to be one of the most exciting and interesting of my entire adult life. I can't imagine how a first time voter would feel.

I support anyone's right to vote how they see fit whether I agree with their choice strongly (McCain/Palin) or not. I just don't think we should make assumptions of how or who someone should vote for...