Page 1


Ebony S. Muhammad


JUNE 2011 CONTENT | VOLUME 3 | NUMBER 4 | 2011

Events

Pg. 35

On the Cover... Se7en The Poet

Features

Get to Know Me As A Man

Food & Nutrition

Pg. 42

Inspire Me

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 3


THE COVER “I do a lot of self-disclosure. I talk a lot about the mistakes I‟ve made and misconceptions that I‟ve had about my education. I‟ll hear a lot of kids say, „Man, I‟ll never use algebra. I‟ll never need this after high school‟. And I‟ll tell them I‟ve said the same things and I‟ve made the same mistakes. However, there was one critical time when I decided to listen instead of blow it off, because I‟m here and I might as well make the best out of it. I did that with poetry. I remember when someone introduced that to me. I was like „poetry for what?‟ Now here it is, decades later, this thing that I blew off but still decided to give my attention to is now paying my bills.” ~Se7en The Poet

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 4


Monthly Food 4 Thought By Lady 4.0

1. To expose your weakness is a sign vulnerability is sometimes necessary to inherit strength . 2. When life takes an unexpected turn, God is the only one that can get you back on track . 3. Life is what you make it. Don't be afraid to start over if you have to, to get the results you seek . 4. If the best things in life are free, why do we associate our worth with overly priced items we can not afford? 5. If you are constantly living in the past, your present will be forfeited and your future will be non-existent .

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 5


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 6


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 7


Power Prayer of the Month No, in all those things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 Lord, my past is history. It’s over and I can’t change it. But no matter what has happened, things can be difference from this point forward. You are the One who turns tragedy to triumph. As I look to the future, may I have hope for good things to come and victory in all I do. Le me succeed because Christ lives in me. Direct me, Lord, to Your good purposes. Amen. [Editor’s note: This power prayer is reprinted from the book Power Prayers for Women]

Book of the Month What Daddy Should’ve Told By Tony Gaskins

Author Tony Gaskins, Jr. discusses the secrets of male behaviors in courtship and love relationships. He covers such topics as 1) Why some men cheat; 2) why men fall in love differently than women; 3) why some men don't appreciate celibacy; and sadly, 4) why some men may physically and emotionally abuse women.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 8


The Challenge of Fatherhood for Dads Behind Bars by Brother Demetric Muhammad

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan coined a phrase that says simply ―self improvement is the basis for community development.‖ There is so much packed within such a concise and seemingly self-evident maxim that volumes could be written on it. In fact this maxim serves as the title of the Self-Improvement Study Guides authored by Minister Farrakhan, which contains 21 volumes. This rich series of study guides covers many pertinent topics such as Building the Will, Building Human Potential, Overcoming Difficulty, Respect for Authority and Rising Above Emotions.

I begin my thoughts on fatherhood for incarcerated dads by citing this course of study and the overarching idea that it enshrines, because the idea of fatherhood or fathering connotes normally an external exercise. But in reality fatherhood begins and involves heavily the internal development of a man so that he is able to transfer not only his genetic material to his offspring but also the requisite knowledge and personal example so that his progeny‘s life eclipses his own in every positive way.

Fatherhood must be understood then as that which is natural to human life and if it is natural to human life it is considered from the Islamic perspective as being sacred. This sacred office of fatherhood must never been taken lightly or dismissed as irrelevant to proper childhood development. As men we must be actively involved in the lives of our children. This begins by being present. We can‘t do this if we are locked away for criminal activity. No man can be an effective father in prison. I repeat, no man can be an effective father while in prison. A classic truism is cited here that states ― 90% of success is in showing up.‖ If we as men continue to live careless lives in the midst of the many negative forces arrayed against the Black community then we can‘t show up for our children. Christian brothers and sisters often give testimony of overcoming difficulty by thanking God for ‗showing up and showing out.‘ HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 9


Minister Farrakhan has taught us that the study of God and His relationship to humanity is how we should study to be not just a good father, but the ideal father. The religion of Christianity is popular for its description of the Creator as ‗God- The Father,‘ so it might be easy to understand the Minister‘s point from a Judeo-Christian perspective. But this description of God as ‗Father‘ is frowned upon by Muslims. Nevertheless, Islam does carry a rather complimentary idea in its theology. In the Holy Quran Allah (God) is described by one of his attributes Rabb. Rabb is an attribute or name of the divine supreme being which describes Him as nurturing, nourishing, and evolving creation stage after stage until it reaches its eventual perfection and completion. This definition is consistent with the primary responsibility of fathers in the lives of their children. This attribute is used to describe Allah (God) some 960 times in the Holy Quran.

If you are someone that is incarcerated or you are reading this and planning on sharing this with an incarcerated father then know that I have known men who have been very active in their children‘s lives while they are incarcerated. The admirable men that I have known all shared similar values and characteristics. I offer them now as points of advice for those who remain locked down.

STAY OUT OF JAIL: Recidivism is an on-going problem; its statistics reveal the frequency with which offenders are released and return to prison. Let the fact that you have children who will fail in life if you are not present to protect them, guide them, teach them and love them serve as a motivation to get out and stay out! MAKE SELF-IMPROVEMENT A HABIT: You must recognize that as a father you are to further your children‘s knowledge. Every child deserves to be able to point to or recall pearls of wisdom that they were taught by their father. RESPECT AND HONOR THE MOTHER OF YOUR CHILDREN: This is a top requirement for those incarcerated men with children and all men in reality. Utilize whatever legitimate means available to pay respect, honor and kindness to your children‘s mother. If you work in prison jobs, ensure that you gladly participate in have something sent to help care for the physical needs of your children. READ, READ, and READ: Many of the men that I encounter as a chaplain are functionally or completely illiterate. Historically prison has been a place where men develop a high I.Q. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 10


through developing reading as a pastime. This enables them to sharpen their mental faculties and even in some cases use knowledge of the law to unravel and overturn false convictions involving themselves or other inmates. COMMUNICATE THROUGH LETTERS: Writing, just like reading, are core competencies that time in prison can help you master. Establish, with the help of your children and their mother, an appropriate frequency with which to send letters to your child. ENROLL IN AN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM: In recent times funding for educational programs for inmates has suffered losses, but seek out and enroll in whatever prison classes that you can. In many federal prisons, inmates even have the opportunity to learn trades and become certified as professionals in those trades. If you have a school age child then your own time in school or classes will help you relate to him or her in a very meaningful way. BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD: I will end with this but it is definitely not last in terms of importance. Most men are conscious of what they need in terms of creature comforts or biological needs. Too many of us fail to consider the need for a strong relationship with our Creator. I encourage men behind bars to participate in the various religious services programs that are offered. Learn how to pray and do it often. Study the word of God and pass on what you are learning to your children in the letters that you send. Don‘t try to preach or lecture them, because jailhouse religious conversions are not popular and are not really respected. But gently offer and share your faith with your children as the opportunities present themselves. Once you return home and have full freedom to demonstrate that you have a real relationship with God you will win over all your detractors.

The above is not an exhaustive list but just some thoughts and practical applications for brothers who sincerely want to be fathers from behind bars. If you notice the theme is not the outward exercise of fatherly authority over your children. The theme is the improvement and development of self. If you will develop yourself while you are incarcerated you can regain or maintain the love, trust and respect of your children. The key of course will be getting out and living the kind of life that makes incarceration the least likely of all outcomes. May Allah (God) bless us all to be to our children what He has been to us.

As Salaam Alaikum, Demetric Muhammad

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 11


MM45 Believers Awarded Top Auditing Honors by the Church of Scientology!

O

n May 28, the Houston Church of Scientology celebrated the 61stanniversary of the launching of Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard.

Directors from the local church recognized Muhammad Mosque No. 45 with the Top Field Group award for having 36 total Dianetics Auditors and over 1300 combined auditing hours. The top three individual awards for the most auditing hours were presented to Student Regional MGT-GCC Captain Valerie Muhammad (223hrs), Byron Muhammad (139hrs), and Ebony S. Muhammad (100hrs). Congratulations to the honorees and all Dianetics Auditors of Muhammad Mosque No. 45!! Allah u Akbar!

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 12


Tornados Over Alabama: A Father’s Heroic Story Interview by Kevin Muhammad (Alabama)

Kevin Muhammad (KM): We’re going to discuss what happened on April 27, 2011. Go ahead brother and share your experience. DeAndre Muhammad (DM): Yes sir. Anytime there is a tornado warning or watch, just from what I‟ve learned by the Teachings (of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad) I don‟t play with it, because I know that it‟s about an hour away from coming in. I shut my shop down and I went home. Since I like to watch a lot of National Geographics, Storm Chasers and things of that nature, I stood in the door watching the clouds. At one particular point I noticed that the clouds started to move very fast in one direction, and I noticed on the other side of the town the clouds began going in the other direction. I was actually able to witness the tornado form. Right before it came down, I saw lightening flash and it sounded like two train cars crashing into each other. That‟s when the funnel came down. I was able to watch the tornado come from the other side of town until literally all the way up to my door. It was an unexplainable experience watching the tornado approach and how huge it was. The only thing that was going through my mind at the time was either I‟m about to die or Allah (God) is going to have to deliver me, because nothing else was going to save us from that tornado. At that particular time a couple of my neighbors and I were still standing outside of our doors watching it approach. We saw people driving up who weren‟t aware of the fact that the tornado was headed directly for us. We began yelling at them to let them know that the tornado was right behind them. I stood there until the wind literally pushed me back into my apartment. It wasn‟t a violent push, it was almost like a hand was in my chest and pushed me back into my apartment. If you have the opportunity to watch the video I have, I did tape the storm all the way up through our neighborhood; you would wonder why the building we were in was not harmed. All of the other buildings in my neighborhood, the windows were HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 13


blown out and the backside of the apartments are out except for the apartment building I was in. There was no damage to my apartment building. The cars on the outside received a lot of damage. I attribute to our building not being hurt to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. In the past he instructed the believers to put an “X” above their door that represented the Passover. I never took my “X” down. I have been ridiculed, laughed at and mocked. A couple of the believers saw the “X” above my door, and I could tell by their facial expressions that they were thinking “Why you still got that up”? I believe in my heart that the “X” on my door, that still hangs there, that is when the death angel passed over our building. There‟s no other explanation on how everything on both sides of the building; all of the trees and apartments, and everything was destroyed except for that building, the building that I live in. So I give thanks to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad for raising the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the instruction that he gives us. I thank him, and I believe because of his instruction I am still here, my son is still here and all of those people in that building are still here. We had a radio station and other people come by and they want to know about that “X”. They can‟t explain how everything around me was torn up except the apartment building I was in. They want to know how my son and some of the other children can be outside playing on the basketball goal I set up in the middle of what looks like a battle zone still smiling, laughing, talking and how I was so comfortable. The radio station asked me what was it that I needed, and I told them that I was all right. I let them know who was in our building, I let them know where the elderly were, I let them know which apartment had young children and arm babies. I told them that maybe they could assist them, and I directed them to their houses. All of that is in our training. To know who‟s in your neighborhood, to know the needs and who‟s a diabetic and their information. During this storm all of the power was knocked out and by me following my instruction I had my survival kit, plenty of water, and plenty of canned goods. I had my flashlights. I had my generator. Within a 1.5 mile radius I was the only one with power and I was the only one with hot water. I had my generator in place. My son and I were watching TV in the morning. We brought the big George Forman grill out and the barbeque grill and we cooked breakfast for the neighbors. Anyone who wanted to run power from the generator I allowed them to run an extension cord from the generator so that they could have lights. If they needed hot water, they were able to come to my HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 14


apartment and get hot water. So the Teachings that were formally laughed at, ridiculed and mocked at people want to know about that survival kit now and the things you should have in your home. I had $100 worth of $1 bills. I was prepared if I had to trade and barter with my neighbors. I was pretty comfortable. Our power was out for about 7 to 8 days, but we were alright. I had hot water, because I rewired the hot water heater and ran that to the generator that had a 240 on it also. I disconnected it from the power box and ran it to the generator. I used heavy gage wire that was a part of some wood that had blown into the neighborhood, so I went out and cut it off and made a plug and ran it to the generator. The Teachings allowed me and my son and our community to be comfortable in the midst of what was going on. All praise be to Allah for the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, our survival kit and everything that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has taught us will absolutely save our lives in this hour, I bear witness. KM: We also want to know about some of the information that CNN and other news outlets didn’t broadcasts. I know you’ve seen some of the casualties. If you don’t mind going into depth about that so we can understand how tragic this was. DM: Yes sir. Immediately after I was blown into the apartment, I went into the closet with my son. A lot of pressure came upon my ears and once the pressure was gone I knew it was over. I got right back up and went outside and I was able to see it go up the hill. Immediately after that, a strange thing started to happen. It began hailing. It hailed for about 10-15 seconds and then heavy rain came and it lasted for about 10-15 seconds. After the rain passed you could hear people hollering and screaming. We immediately ran over and began pulling people out. At that particular time, the first house we unburied an elderly lady. She was fine. She came out with no scratches, but her house was completely gone. We moved to the next house which wasn‟t as fortunate. There was a lady and three children. She was barely breathing. Her children were dead. She had two arm babies and a young girl who seemed to be about five or six years old. We got her to the end of the road, because around that time the ambulances and police were coming. She was so hurt and out of it that she couldn‟t really ask about her children, and I couldn‟t bring myself to tell her that her children HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 15


were dead. I went back to double check and they were bleeding out of the mouth and… It was people everywhere. I really don‟t understand with the amount of people that were dead that we pulled out that the number is as low as they‟re saying. It was something else to be in the midst of that where every house was just a slab, and the wood is just about gone with rubble everywhere and water shooting up. It was really like a movie, but it was very real. People were running around hysterical asking “where‟s my mom”, “where‟s my son”, “where‟s my daughter”…it really was an experience. You know I grew up in the projects and I‟ve seen people dead and bleeding and people with their intestines hanging out, because of the stuff going on in the projects. Therefore, it wasn‟t something that bothered me to the extent where I couldn‟t function. So through the Teachings and knowing how to remain calm I did not get hysterical like a lot of other people were. It really was something that I will never forget. It was a real experience. It‟s hard to describe it. You really had to be there to understand what was going on. KM: You’re doing a good job of painting a picture. There are two more things. What do you see we could do better especially as followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad when events like this happen? DM: One of the things I know that we‟ve got to get better at is communication. Reaching out to brothers and sisters, trying to make sure that everybody is okay. Even in the midst of trying to help look for people I was dialing believers. We‟re so used to not answering people‟s phone calls, not returning phone calls to the point where I don‟t know if they‟re alright or if they‟re playing phone tag. That‟s how we do. At this present time I‟m the Student Brother In Charge in this city, so in a situation like this you don‟t know if they‟ve been in harm‟s way or if they‟re just on their regular routine. We‟ve got to get better with our communication, and calling one another and answering the phone calls. We‟ve got to get better on that level. KM: The last thing. What do you need personally and well as what do the other believers need? DM: What do I need personally? The only thing I can say I need is for us HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 16


to be like the Minister said, “We must first be brothers”. I need for us to be stronger and have more concern with each other. We‟ve got to get better with looking out for our own. We need to come by and see. Not to ride by and see what the destruction is. Check on your brother, check on your sister. KM: Is there anything else you would like to say before we conclude? DM: The only thing I would like to say is that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has not missed yet. So I give thanks to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad again for his wise choice and for preparing a man for us in this hour, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. And I thank him for the instruction that he gave us to put up that “X”. Wherever I go, that “X” will follow me and hang it on my door. We have to move out and I‟m going to have to find somewhere else to live, but wherever I go that “X” will follow. Let us be found hearing and obeying to the best of our ability every instruction and taking heed to every warning that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has given us, because he really is giving us the instruction that will save our lives in this hour. KM: I thank you Brother DeAndre for your time and sharing you experience. I believe this will build a beautiful foundation and will make the weak believers strong and make us more mindful of the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 17


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 18


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 19


One-On-One With Born Free My Rebirth After a Miscarriage

Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): You are currently a single father, with a 10 year old daughter. What were the circumstances surrounding her birth and your present role as a single parent? Born Free (BF): Well first of all I sincerely appreciate you giving me this opportunity to share my experiences with you. I love your magazine and I believe you're providing a unique and much needed service to our community. Now that I've said all that, let's go in! I could never say that I'm a "single" parent because even though we're not married, me and my daughterâ€&#x;s mom have equally raised her in every possible way. The circumstances around her birth we're actually excellent! I was working full time at a consulting firm in Philadelphia and I had a very nice amount of savings stacked up, so from a financial perspective I/we were ready to go from the beginning. Emotionally I was in a great space as well. I dreamed about being a dad ever since I was real young watching the Cosby Show. My spirit was at an all time high because I was extremely happy at the idea of having a child and I couldn't wait to see her or him. The sex of the baby was irrelevant to me. All that mattered was that I was about to be a father. EM: What has it been like raising her primarily on your own? What has been the most challenging and rewarding aspect? BF: Even when there was a separation between me and her mother we still worked together every single day to make sure that all her needs were met mentally, financially, and spirituality. The most challenging part about that time was dealing with the sad reality that our little family was broken. I hated not seeing her every day and night. Seeing her every other week wasn't working for me. It's hard to speak about that time in our lives as being rewarding, but I was definitely proud of the fact that we were able to HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 20


continue to shower our daughter with a lot of love in spite of the fact that we were going through a rough patch. EM: On the subject of dating, what has that been like for you? Are you especially careful of whom you bring around her or relatively relaxed? BF: I never really dated during that time because honestly I didn't have the time or really the desire to get into any new relationships. I put all my energy towards making sure that baby girl was okay. So she never saw me courting or all booed up with any other woman. I don't think it would have been fair to her to see me get down like that. EM: What do you consider most critical in raising a daughter as a father? BF: I think having a strong spiritual foundation and providing her with the kind of loving and joyous environment that allows her to discover all the great things about herself. EM: What are you teaching her about herself as a young lady? BF: I'm teaching her that she is a child of the God/The Creator/The Most High and that she is more than just her pretty face. Every morning before she goes to school we say, "I'm smart, I'm pretty, I'm strong, I can do anything, I'm brave and I stand up for myself". I just want her to be a well rounded person. EM: Another aspect of fatherhood for you is your experience with losing a child by way of miscarriage. Can you please share what place? What was the experience/loss like for you and the mother? BF: That was the worst feeling that I've had as an adult outside of losing my Beloved Grandmother. The miscarriage happened about 7 months before our daughter was born. It was somewhere around May or June in the year 2000. I believe it was on a Friday night around 9 pm. I remember because that was our movie night. I was in the kitchen cleaning up and getting things together so that we can watch a movie when I heard a bone chilling scream coming from the bathroom. When I opened the door I HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 21


could see some blood in the tub. I knew what was happening but I didn't want to admit it to myself. Once we calmed down we went to the hospital and that's when it was confirmed that we lost the baby. EM: What went through your mind and what feelings did you experience when the news came about the loss? BF: At first I think I was numb to everything and my first instinct was to comfort and surround my lady with love and support. I think at the time when all this was going on I didn't invest anytime in thinking or dealing with how I was feeling about the lost I just figured that I would just be okay over time. Nobody ever asked me how I was feeling or doing. All the focus was on the mom, and I didn't trip about that because I thought that was normal and the way it should be. But I soon realized that I was severely depressed. EM: What was it like recovering from that loss? BF: It was really hard because hearing the news that I was going to be a father was so uplifting and inspiring that the idea that it was over before it really began was unbelievably tragic. When I look back on it I realize that my depression became magnified because I didn't have an outlet to release all the pain and anguish. Sometimes I don't think that women (of course not all) but in my case think that men feel the lost of a child on the same level as they do. I know I was going through hell internally and I needed somebody to talk to, to help guide me through that kind of darkness. EM: Where are you now as it relates to that experience? BF: I'm at peace with everything at this point. When my daughter was born, I was re-born again! Everything was new and so fresh and so clean clean. LOL! I think at the end of the day, that loss made me a better father because I realize how fast things can change. I need to make the most out of everyday that I'm blessed to have my daughter in my life. EM: What would you like the world to know about fathers who are, in spite of men who are not, taking care of their children especially single fathers? HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 22


BF: I want the world to know that we exist! That we LOVE. That we CARE. That we are INVOLVED! That we know how to have FUN! That are RESPONSIBLE and we that we are NOT babysitters in our child's lives, we are FATHERS in deepest and most intimate ways. Don't let the media convince you that the few wayward men represent the norm. They absolutely DO NOT! EM: What would you like to say to the single mothers out there? BF: Hold your head up high and give your child all the love that you can summon. Keep your heart open because your child is going to need constant access to the best part of you, and try to develop a good and solid support system with your family and closest friends. EM: Anything else you would like to share? BF: I'm not sure I think you've opened me up wide enough for today. LOL. I just want to say THANK YOU once again for allowing me to share my thoughts and experiences with you. I've really enjoyed this conversation. Let's do it again. Peace! EM: Absolutely! Thank you for sharing your experience. Peace!

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 23


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 24


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 25


She Didn’t Tell Me Until It Was Too Late… One on One with Terrance Young Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): With your first experience with abortion, how old were you and what were the circumstances? Terrance Young (TY): My first experience with abortion, I was 18 years old. I was in the military and my then girlfriend called me and told me she was pregnant. Being 18 it may be unusual for some but I was ecstatic, I was happy, I was looking forward to bringing in a new life into the world. She appeared to be just as ecstatic as I was; however, her mother intervened and suggested abortion and backed up her suggestion with many reasons that my then girlfriend fell for. Sooner or later that‘s what she ended up doing. She pretty much had an ultimatum from me that if she aborted the child I would leave her and her mother told her that if she did not abort the child she would abandon her. Therefore she‘s literally in a catch-22, and had to choose between her boyfriend and her mother, and she chose to honor her mother‘s wishes and had an abortion. EM: How was the news given to you since you were in the military? TY: Well, before she actually had the abortion she shared with me her conversations with her mother and she confessed to me that she was contemplating it. She told me that she would give it time and she would wait before she made her decision, but unbeknownst to me she made her decision a lot sooner than I thought she would. I heard that she had done it through one of my friends. A mutual friend told me about it. EM: When you came back, well even before that but definitely when you came back, how did that affect your relationship with her? TY: It destroyed my relationship with her. Although we stayed together in a physical sense, emotionally things were never the same. I was filled with resentHURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 26


ment from that. I never found myself able to trust her again after that, and I felt in a way as if she was someone I didn‘t know. I guess for selfish reasons I stayed with her, but you how they say ―your body‘s here with me but your mind is on the other side of town‖…mentally and emotionally I was somewhere else. To answer your question, it literally destroyed our relationship, it was never the same. Even when we tried to get it back on track it was never the same. EM: How did it affect her after the abortion, after you coming back and the relationship not really working out? TY: She resented her mother and she regretted the fact that she had gone through with it. She expressed that to me numerous times, which wasn‘t good enough for me. She had done what she had done. She always said that if she had the opportunity to do it all over again she would make a different decision. Abortion is one of those things…it‘s not like a dice game where you throw the dice where if the dice don‘t fall your way you can just throw them again. Once you do it it‘s done. She told me she had trouble sleeping. She told me it was just very, very difficult for her. In the years afterward she would always try to get pregnant again for me, and it would just never work. It was a great source of pain for her in the end. EM: After that, how did it affect your relationships with women in general having that on your mind, before having the children that you have now? TY: I think that it further damaged my ability to trust women when I was in relationships, but beyond that I don‘t think that the abortion affected any of my future relationships, at least not that I can think of. EM: Looking back on that, how do you see it today? TY: It reaffirmed for me the sacredness of human life, and watching her vacillate between two opinions, mine and her mother‘s, and doing the wrong thing because you‘re trying to please somebody who thinks it‘s the right thing, is never the right decision to make. So more than anything it just really reaffirmed my belief that if God decrees for a child to be born than none of us have the right to impede that child and its opportunity to be in this world. I just don‘t believe in that. It just reaffirms my belief that she did the wrong thing. I can‘t say that learned from it, because in my nature I already knew that it was wrong. I believe that‘s what God put in my heart and my mind.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 27


EM: For the 16 year olds, 20 and 30 year olds who are going through what you went through where they have a girl pregnant, what advice would you give them in handling a situation like that especially if they’re faced with opposing views, whether the woman wants to have the abortion or someone in her life wants her to have it? TY: I believe that any woman who becomes pregnant with child should automatically incline more toward the thinking of the spiritual mind versus all other minds that might be around them and have the ability to influence them. I think that prayer is paramount, and you should ask God to guide you in your decision making process. I think that you should get a piece of paper, and on the left side of the piece of paper write down all of the reasons that you think you should terminate your pregnancy. Then on the right side of that piece of paper, write down all of the reasons you think that this child should be born. Envision the possibility of what this child could be and could do for the world. Don‘t think negative, think positive. I guarantee you that the right side of the piece of paper will be far more powerful and outweigh whatever is on the left side of the piece of paper. I say that to say your reasons for having the baby is always more powerful and it makes more sense than for terminating the pregnancy. Although you may have other extenuating circumstances like rape and incest and molestation that take on different dynamics. Recently I had a young lady send me a message on Twitter, and she told me that maybe five years ago she contacted me, because she was pregnant and she was contemplating abortion. I don‘t remember the conversation, but she definitely does and she said that I talked her into having her child. Whatever I said to her influenced her in the way that she should have the baby. She said, ―Now every time I see you on the news I reach over and I kiss my five year old son, because I don‘t know where I would be without him now‖. So the inclination to terminate the pregnancy oftimes is a result fear and a result of the stress that goes along with being pregnant and all of the social pressures, that are around you. That fear, that stress and those social pressures they‘re always temporary. You never know what that child will grow up and become. So I think that would be my advice to someone who might be crossing between the two opinions. The scripture says that if you have choice to choose between life and death choose life. It‘s just as simple as that. EM: You have another experience with abortion where she seemed a little bit less attached and it was done somewhat casually and again without your HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 28


knowledge. Tell me a little bit about that. TY: Well, when I was younger I was in a casual relationship with a young lady and subsequently she got pregnant. She never informed me that she was with child; I heard it through a third party. However, by the time I heard that she had gotten pregnant she already aborted the baby, and I was angry with her. I called her and asked her what happened and she said, ―Yes I got pregnant, but I went on and had the abortion. Don‘t worry about it‖. I told her that I don‘t believe in abortions, and I wish she would have consulted with me. I would have wanted her to bring the child to term, and she said, ―I didn‘t know that you would‘ve wanted it. Had you wanted the child I would‘ve kept it‖. That was her attitude, and I really think that that was the assumption, because she and I were casually relating that I wouldn‘t want to take responsibility for a seed that I implanted. So that was that. I think that in society there‘s a stereo type, particularly among males in the inner city that we would rather not have a child than to have a child and it‘s just not true in all cases. So that was a very interesting experience to say the least. By the time I heard that she was pregnant she had already taken a trip down to the local abortion clinic and did what she thought I would‘ve wanted her to do. EM: In spite of what society may project on the men to not want the baby, what about the social influence on the woman to have an abortion. What are your thoughts about that? TY: I think that it has a lot to do with the society that you were brought up in. I think living in the country that we live in we make things like abortion so convenient that it‘s socially acceptable. Women, they just don‘t see it as the big deal that it is. It‘s a social norm, and it has a lot to do with the environment in which that person is raised. I think in most cases it‘s not as easy as some women make it appear. Most women that I have intimate conversations with about abortions, they have some sense of regret. If not regret some sense of hurt or some sense of pain still there, because it can be akin to taking a life depending on how you view it, and taking a life is not something that just easy to do. EM: You mentioned a law here in Texas where the mother has to listen to the sonogram of the baby’s heartbeat before going through with the abortion, but you also mentioned bringing balance to that in bringing the father into the picture to make that decision as well. Tell me about your views with that. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 29


How do you believe more balance can be brought to this? If the male doesn’t want the abortion how can he exercise his authority as the father? TY: Yes, I believe that it takes two to make a baby, and it should be required that the two that made the baby be held responsible for the baby. So if a child is brought to term and the child is born and the father has disappeared, the constabulary on the local or state level oftimes will go after the father to make him responsible for the child that he brought into the world. They call it child support. However, when a woman is impregnated by a man, I‘ve suffered this myself, and the woman decides she does not want the baby the man has no say-so in whether or not she be permitted to abort the child although that‘s his child too. Society says that because it‘s her body she should have full range in the decision making process, and that‘s the way it is most times. Men, we have no say-so in whether or not the child is brought to birth, however we‘re made to be held responsible for the support of the child once it is brought to birth. I just think that there needs to be more balance and that men should have a place and a position in the decision making process of whether or not the child that he help to produce is brought to term. I think if nothing else an initial inquiry be made. If the woman is halting between the two options; abortion versus going through the birth process I believe that … and I don‘t know if it would be a doctor or a social worker… whoever is the authority in handling that particular case should ask the question, ―Where‘s the father?‖ I think that should be standard operating procedure that a request is made for the father to come in and that the decision could and should be made together. I think that better decisions would be made if both parents made the decision. However, like I say in most cases, if a woman comes in and she has an abortion, society assumes that he man does not want the child and it‘s just not always the case. It‘s like asking a man the question, ―Has anyone ever aborted your child‖, to be very honest with you we really don‘t know unless somebody tells us. Somebody can tell you ―no‖ and that may not be the truth. He may not even know. Why? Because they don‘t need his consent. So those are my thoughts. EM: Thank you very much for being so open and for offering some thought provoking points. TY: Thank you queen. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 30


HOSTED BY SISTER CHARLENE MUHAMMAD EVERY SATURDAY ON KPFK

“Liberated Sisters” with Sister Charlene Muhammad is a forum to highlight and seek solutions to critical issues impacting Black women and their communities; hightlight their connection to and collaboration with the global struggle for social, educational and economic justice; and to lift positive images of Black women in media. Tune in every Saturday 1-1:30 P.M. PST on KPFK 90.7 FM or live at www.kpfk.org. Call in and be heard at 818.985.5735 If it’s impacting your community or can life us up as a people, let’s talk about it! Email: liberatedsister@gmail.com Twitter: @liberatedsisters Facebook: Liberated Sisters

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 31


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 32


“Self Love in the Midst of My Painful Past” By: Dawn The Self Esteem Queen™ It's funny how you think that you know what life is going to bring you, and then one day what you think is reality turns out to be something that you never expected. You are the director of your own movie....you pick the actors.....you pick the scenes....you pick the sub-titles...then, before you know it.....the page goes black...and you find out you never knew anything at all....The Creator picks you up from your fall and helps you to lick the wounds so you can one day direct again...This is called “LIFE”. ~Dawn The Self Esteem Queen™

I

used to wish I wasn’t such a cracked pot. I had been through so much in so little time that I spent many years feeling like it was a punishment to not have friends, to not have places to go or people to invite me to this party and that wedding. Surely they weren’t inviting me because they knew my life was full of drama. Surely they weren’t inviting me because they knew that if someone asked me how I was doing, they were going to have to hear the truth which was – I was probably helping someone out of something or ministering to someone through my own journey. No one wanted to hear my superhero story. It was just too much to take. The truth was – Most people could never do what I do. My gift to the world is my incredible ability to have empathy for others and their situations. My gift to the world requires me to sometimes experience the pain I must later empathize about in others. My gift to the World warrants that I take the time to look for the lessons in the midst of the trial or tribulation with an open and clean heart. My gift to the world mandates that I forgive daily. That forgiveness includes the forgiveness of self. Some of you may believe that your past is prohibiting you from a life of pleasure. Some may blame it on karma, others may blame it on a family curse, and someone may say it’s just not in the cards for them to live a painless life. I am here to encourage you today. What you are about to read is my secret for embracing my past to propel my future. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned over the last several years that I believe will help you today: Not everyone will understand the reason you experience “pain”. My question is, “Who said an unpleasurable experience had to automatically equate to pain?” We’ve been told things like, “in the valleys you grow” and “to know joy you must experience pain”, yet we are often embarrassed to be in the midst of a growth spurt given to us from the Most High. You cannot be empowered and continue to be a victim. Learn to overcome your painful past by helping others. Look in your circle for the amount of people who’ll allow you to have a HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 33


“pity party” versus those who will actually pull you by the coattails and tell you to “get it together!” You can empower yourself by learning from the pain. Embrace the joy of learning what you don’t want in life through experiences. Tell your story. Help empower someone else through the power of conversation. Self condemnation is an unhealthy way to live. Stop being your worst enemy by allowing your idle mind to play tricks on you. Most of us are beat ourselves up and then expect other people to be gentle on us. Why would they do that? For some, answering questions with a negative answer is the only way to live. I asked someone, “How are you today?” Her response, “Girl, I’m tired. Been up all night….So and so didn’t come home last night…..I’m tired of my job…..Womp womp womp womp….” If you feel the need to answer a compliment from someone by pointing out the flaws, you might be living a life of self condemnation. Start to say, “thank you” when someone pays you a compliment. Stop pointing out your flaws to yourself and others and learn that people often don’t see the imperfections you choose to see in yourself. Don’t allow your past to define your present. Learn the lesson and move on. Allow your life to be transformed by the lessons and stop seeing pain as a negative in your life. Don’t allow your past to disrupt your future. Blessings, Dawn, The Self-Esteem Queen “I teach people how to BE BETTER human beings. My Mission is to help you seek, say, & live the TRUTH” http://www.SelfEsteemQueen.com © 2011 Dawn The Self-Esteem Queen™ / SEQ International, LLC All rights reserved. Dawn The Self Esteem Queen is a Registered Trademark for SEQ International, LLC. All rights reserved. ABOUT THE AUTHOR - With a knack for bouncing back when faced with the most difficult adversity, Dawn The Self Esteem Queen™ has quickly become known for her ability to get people out the “victim” mindset immediately. An Internationally Recognized Rescuer of Teenage Prostitutes and Runaways, In Demand Motivational Speaker, Author, Mentor and Certified Life/Spiritual Coach, Dawn “The SEQ” uses her experience with trials to mentor, minister, and coach people all over the World. One of today’s leading experts on Teen Mentoring, Self-Esteem Enhancement, and Servant Leadership, Dawn’s mission in life is to teach individuals how to BE BETTER Human Beings.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 34


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 35


etc.). Believe it or not, that can also include overcoming self destruction. Before I became saved

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2010 36


One-On-One with Shawn J. I Didn’t Want the Abortion but She Did‌.

Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Briefly tell me a little bit about yourself and about the relationship you were in at the time of the pregnancy. Shawn Jenkins (SJ): I am currently, 28-years old and I am an executive at an investment firm. We were engaged at the time of the pregnancy. EM: How old were you both at the time of the pregnancy? SJ: I was about 21 years old and she was around 24. EM: Tell me about the moment you were informed of the pregnancy and the thoughts/feelings that you experienced? Did you feel capable, afraid, excited, etc? SJ: The moment I heard about the pregnancy, I was super elated. Although, I felt a bit young to have a child at that point in my life, I welcomed the feeling of being a father with open arms. EM: What was the discussion like after the results were relayed and when the question of abortion came up? SJ: It was a difficult discussion. I was happy for the pregnancy; the emotions she displayed were completely opposite. The discussion went nowhere, because she seemed to have made her mind up before she even spoke to me about it. EM: Understanding that you did not want the abortion, what was her reason for going through with it? How did this make you feel? What was going through your mind? Was there a long deliberation or was it cut and dry of what she wanted to do? HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 37


SJ: Her position was that we were both too young and unprepared. Honestly, I do not think she wanted to be in a relationship with me. I was devastated because we have gone through much together in the previous years of our relationship and I was ready to do what was necessary for us. In my head there was much confusion. I didn‘t really agree with her decision, but I respected it because it was her body and ultimately a heavy burden on her. We talked about it for about two or three days and she went to the clinic. EM: Were you present with her at the clinic? What was that experience like? SJ: Regardless of what my personal feelings were I made sure to accompany her to the clinic. It was a cold moment. I sat in the waiting area holding back tears and praying that she‘d come out saying that she wasn‘t going to go through with it. EM: What, emotionally, did you experience after the abortion was done and the loss began to set in? Did you and the would have been mother continue to communicate afterwards? SJ: I recall walking with her through Manhattan and tears coming out of my eyes. I was in deep pain wishing I could turn back what just happened. EM: How has this affected you in the relationships that followed this experience? How often does this incident cross your mind? SJ: It is has made it hard for me to become emotionally attached to women following that experience. I began focusing more on work to lessen the chance of having to go through that pain again. I think of the incident often, almost weekly. EM: What misconception would you like to clear up as it relates to men and fatherhood? SJ: I would like for it to be known that men do care. Even though much burden is on the woman, a loving mans deepest desire is to share that pain. EM: What did you learn from this experience? What was the most positive aspect of this lesson for you? HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 38


SJ: Sex is something that can wait. It is a very hard discipline to control. I work every day to control my urges until I have found the right person - a woman who will take the responsibility of not just having sex, but to raise a child together- to become a family. That is the biggest lesson I‘ve learned from this. EM: Thank so much brother.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 39


Freely Speaking, Inc. Poet/Novelist/Speaker Email: freelyspeaking3.57@gmail.com Blog: www.freelyspeaking357.blogspot.com Website: http://freelyspeaking.shutterfly.com HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 40


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 41


The Exclusive with Se7en The Poet

Get to Know Me As A Man HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 42


Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Briefly tell me a little about who Se7en is. Se7en (SP): I‟m Se7en the poet, father, entertainer, educator, and spokesperson for the fellas (laughing). EM: The poem that you recited on last Sunday (May 15th) “Step Up To the Plate”, you opened up with a few words about the little regard and recognition men receive whether they’re biological fathers, father figures, uncles, etc. in comparison to Mothers Day. You also mentioned how most of the attention is given to the men who aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I wholeheartedly agree with you that there should be more of a balance or more appreciation shown to the men than there currently is. What was the motivation behind that piece? SP: It was a strange occurrence. There are things that will come to me in my sleep. Quoting a line from Jay-Z..Jay says, “These days can‟t wake up with a dry pillow”. I guess he‟s saying he cries in his sleep, but he‟s talking about a loss of a friend. Sometimes things hit me in the pit of my soul. I‟m unconscious, I‟m sleep and I will wake up emotionally distraught. This one time specifically, I woke up and I was in tears. I was sobbing profusely. I could not stop, I could not catch my breath. This whole concept came to me while I was asleep. It had to do with several young men that I know. I know of their situation and they are excellent fathers and that are fathers to children that are not biologically theirs. I have heard that the women in their lives just down talk them and relate to them in such a negative fashion. I woke up and I was hurting about it and so God put that on my heart to write about that piece. EM: With your personal experience in being an educator, you’re actually in a father figure role. Statistically speaking, 70% of children are in a single parent home headed by a woman. What has your experience been like in that father figure role for those children at your school? SP: You know with men…I don‟t know what it is but we‟re just not appreciated for it. The crazy part is that in my professional role, you know who really looks to me as a father figure or will verbalize that they look at me like a father figure are mostly the young ladies. The fellas I can tell they want to come by and sit and talk to me about intimate things; things that are happening in their homes, emotions that they‟re experiencing that they don‟t feel comfortable talking to other people. However, it‟s the young ladies that come to my office and call me dad at school.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 43


One time in particular, and I probably overstepped my bounds with it, but there was this young lady that expressed to me that she really didn‟t have any plans after high school, but she was going to go to college because her boyfriend was going to college and that her mother told her that it was okay. I called her mom on the phone, and basically said in so many words “no the hell she won‟t. She will not follow him to college. She is going to find a college that will best prepare her for whatever profession she desires to go into and explore, but what she won’t do is follow a young man to college because they‟re in a relationship. I won‟t stand for that.” It wasn‟t in a rude way, but because I was adamant about it, her mother relented and I got my way. Well painfully we already know what happened with his first semester in college; he was an athlete, he was on a scholarship and they broke up. However, because she made a better choice she had a better situation to deal with them breaking up. Now she‟s going on and she‟s done a couple of years in the Navy and she‟s doing well for herself. That‟s just one instance. I‟ve also gone so far as to catch dudes in the hallway and let them know, “Hey man, you can‟t treat her like that. Yes, she probably doesn‟t have brothers or a father in her life, but I‟m not going to stand for you to treat her any kind of way.” It goes back and forth…. EM: With the position you’re in, especially when it involves the parents, considering how the students view you, was there ever any time where it may have gotten heated between you and the parents when you’re just trying to look out for the betterment of that child? SP: Not really heated, because when it‟s really about the kids, there‟s no reason for us to get heated. I‟m going to express exactly what I think is best. I‟m going to express what I‟ve seen the child do. I‟m going to express what I know that child‟s strengths to be academically and socially, which is something that the parent may not be aware of because of the amount of time they get to spend with the kid as opposed to the time I get to spend with the kid. I think that they can usually just tell that I‟m sincere. I‟m very harsh, blatant, and unapologetic about how I feel about certain things even when parents are in the office. I‟m not going to sugarcoat it for you because you‟re mommy‟s here or your daddy‟s here. No, I‟m straight no chaser with it. Recently I just had a parent ask me, and her whole thing was, “can you take it lighter when you talk to him?” I told her right there, “Ma‟am, I‟m a man. I‟m not about to whisper to him, I‟m not going to sugarcoat it and dress it up, because the world is not going to do that”. He has less than a month left in school and when he walks across that stage he closes the door on his childhood forHURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 44


ever. I told her, “You‟re his mom and he‟ll forever be your child, and I respect and love that but what I will not do is send him out of my doors ill prepared”. If that‟s heated then… EM: Well it would all depend on how that parent received and responded to those words. SP: One thing they do get is that I‟m sincere about the success and well-being of that child. EM: What has been the most the most rewarding moment that made an impact on you with your students? SP: There‟s so many…I can go down the list. The young lady I told you about that went off to the Navy, I was excited about that. Sometimes you get a situation where you‟re the counselor and you‟re over a certain alphabet and so you might get siblings. There was a gentleman that I was counseling, and he graduated and I became his sister‟s counselor. After he graduated, I believe it was the next year, his mother told me at open house that “in our household, you‟re a super star and we thank you for what you did for our son and we look forward to you being our daughter‟s counselor, because we know what you bring to the table”. That totally caught me off guard. You know what I always thought was a little weird was how some students would keep in touch with their teachers, but now I‟m that dude that kids go off to college and they still come back to see me and let me know “this is what I‟m doing, I‟m progressing. I remember when you told me this… and I remember when you told me that…” That definitely makes you want to keep going. EM: How many other Black male professors or counselors are there in the school you work at? SP: Well I‟m the only male counselor on staff, period. In the entire district there‟s only two Black counselors, and in totality maybe four or five males period in the entire district. EM: Wow…what district are you in? SP: I‟m in the Spring Independent School District. However, in education in the district in state there are not a lot of males and there are definitely not a lot of Black males in the education system. We are a very hot commodity.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 45


EM: Why do you think there aren’t a lot of men, especially Black men, rushing to fill those positions and roles? Another question I want to ask is what effect do you think that has on the student body to have that presence or to not have that presence? SP: I gotta be honest, I‟ve never said or went to school thinking I‟m going to be an educator when all of this is said and done. There‟s not that much emphasis place on education. It‟s not a glamorous profession. It‟s not one where we‟re talking about dollars, because it is not a “get rich” profession, let‟s face it. Then when you examine that it‟s dominated by women, which means that the opportunity for it to be built for us and edified is really present. There are only a handful of us in barber shop in a week that can express to guys “hey man, this is a good profession that you want to look into”. Then, when you get into the fact that it is education, and a lot of us aren‟t educated enough to have the credentials that it‟s going to take that the state requires of you to be in front of students. So there are several factors, but what‟s the impact? The impact is terrible. We‟re left to depend on athletes and entertainers to groom our young men when that‟s not the case. Professionally, I‟m not perfect. I don‟t do suits and ties. I can, but I think that fashionably I would play a bigger role if I show the kids you don‟t have to have on a suit, but you don‟t have to sag your pants either. I think there‟s a medium. We have to find a medium, because these children don‟t know and they‟re not seeing it. When you put on a suit and a tie, all that really communicates is that you‟re different from me and you‟re one of “them”. It doesn‟t say to the kid that they can do this too and they can be that. You want to get them at that point first before you hit them with the “dress like this”, “talk like this”, “walk like this” and “look like this”. We gotta get them in the game first before we start being critical about small things. EM: I agree that breaking down those barriers is important, because they need to be able to see themselves in the person that’s in front of them to better relate to them. You just sparked a memory from a school I used to work at where I was observing the athletes and what they said about not being able to connect what they were learning to their everyday life. That’s usually the issue within the educational system, among other things; the way that information is being presented is not showing the children how to connect those dots. It’s not given to them in a way that they can easily apply what they’ve learn. How do you incorporate that being a counselor and an educator to help them connect those dots and see the value in what they are receiving in school? HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 46


SP: I do a lot of self-disclosure. I talk a lot about the mistakes I‟ve made and misconceptions that I‟ve had about my education. I‟ll hear a lot of kids say, “Man, I‟ll never use algebra. I‟ll never need this after high school.” And I‟ll tell them I‟ve said the same things and I‟ve made the same mistakes. However, there was one critical time when I decided to listen instead of blow it off, because I‟m here and I might as well make the best out of it. I did that with poetry. I remember when someone introduced that to me, I was like “poetry for what”? Now here it is, decades later, this thing that I blew off but still decided to give my attention to is now paying my bills. So what I tell the kids is to apply themselves, because you never know what‟s going to come at you. You don‟t know whether you‟re going to need geometry or not. One of my other mistakes that I totally blew off…when we got to select electives I took wood shop, because that‟s where the fellas were. I didn‟t want to take keyboarding, because I didn‟t want to be in a room full of chicks. Now here it is, decades later, I‟m at a job where I need to be able to type and I can‟t. I‟ve learned and I‟ve adapted, but had I taken keyboarding seriously I would‟ve been better prepared. So it‟s like six in one hand and half a dozen in the other. That‟s one of the thing I implore and impart to the kids. There is so much knowledge and beauty…and some people may not get this but I don‟t care…but there is so much beauty in the Willie Lynch Letter if you really pay attention. He‟s giving you all of the locks. That letter gave you every lock that we experience in society. If I have the inner workings of the lock surely I can create the key. The thing is in that letter it specifically tells you if you put the old against the young you‟ll have the separation. I was beat up by the old school telling me how wrong I was for my emotions, for my anger, for how I handled situations in the crack era. Yet, what‟s crazy is that they had never seen the crack era so how are you going to tell me how to navigate it? Just like now, the old heads are telling the young that they‟re wrong for their connection to technology. You‟ve never seen technology like this so how are you going to tell this child that they‟re wrong? What you do is show them how to manage and how to be responsible about it and in turn you will learn something about technology and it‟ll give you a greater understanding of where they are, which puts you in the position to connect the two; to connect the past to the future. Now the playing field is leveled and we‟re learning from each other and we‟re growing together. That‟s how I bring it to the kids. EM: Yes sir! You struck a nerve with that Willie Lynch Letter. They have certain books that are listed as required reading in school, and I honestly and wholehearted believe; yet I don’t see this happening in this educaHURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 47


tional system, that book needs to be required reading. This plainly written letter will give them a clear understanding as to why things are the way that they are and to open up their minds to a level of consciousness that the educational system, as it’s being run now, is trying to keep them from. Are those books and principles something that you implement whether directly or indirectly with your students to prepare them for the world that they’re going into? SP: I would definitely say that it wouldn‟t hurt for that to be required reading. This is total blasphemy as a poet, but I don‟t understand the importance of Shakespeare. I respect him as a poet; he is the biggest poet to ever walk the Earth, hands down. However, it just doesn‟t hold weight to current situations as far as relevance is concerned. I acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses. Some people aren‟t ready for the extremes. I have several books I think should be mandated reading that I won‟t really express (laughing) but definitely the Willie Lynch Letter would be one. Yet, I can‟t expect that out of the public school system. What I would say is parents should start putting some literature in their children‟s hands. Cee-Lo has a line that says, “They don‟t wanna hear the truth so I‟ma lie to them and make it sound fly them”. You don‟t present the book as a chore, but you present the book as something simple. It‟s a baiting situation. You present it as something simple at first, and then you have your friends over and you discuss a certain type of reading. Nothing too extreme; something that the kids can relate to. If they‟ve read it, they‟ll be able to share. If they didn‟t, when they hear the mature people expounding upon a certain subject that‟s not too far of a reach, they say “oh, this is an intelligent conversation”. Now you‟ve created the thirst for an intelligent exchange. Then as the books get heavier your kid will have the desire to have something to say, so they will go over the literature. We‟ve got to get creative. There are a lot of kids that can‟t read. I‟ll tell parents, especially at elementary age, let them watch TV as much as they want. Let them play the video game as much as they want. Parents say, “Why, that‟s not going to help them.” Yeah it does; turn the volume off and turn the caption on. I bet they‟ll learn. So you want to watch Sponge Bob, no problem. Watch until you can‟t stand it. Watch it til you know the script by heart. You want to play Play Station and Wii? Cool, you play these games, games that spit caption out. Watch your kid grow. EM: One last question: It’s interesting that you mention the children who cannot read, but what about the parents who have a difficult time reading? I can imagine them not being as active in their child’s education as they could be. How would you address that issue? HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 48


SP: I‟ll take it back to keyboarding. The way I would approach that is to create a situation where parents can be taught reading with their cell phone. These parents can‟t read, but they‟re texting. How are they texting? What are they texting? I would create simple, simple sentences. IDK-I don‟t know. Just go from there and they‟ll learn. They may not be able to understand that l-a-u-g-h-i-n-g is “laughing” but they know what “LOL” is. Spell it out for them. EM: You have a beautiful mind Se7en. I am really seeing a different side of you. SP: I appreciate that. EM: You mentioned at the poetry lounge of a new CD you have coming out. When is that dropping? SP: The new CD is entitled “Public Commentary”. It‟s complete, we are awaiting a release date. It speaks to politicians, educators, and parents. It‟s not condemning. It‟s not the “rah-rah…we need to do something right now”. It‟s more celebrating where we are, acknowledging where we are and saying to those people in those arenas that it‟s cool to feel the way you feel. A lot of times when you‟re in the public eye and you‟ve got the weight of society on you, you question “Am I doing the right thing? Do I need to go on?” I do a lot of church gigs, and I deal with a lot of politicians. It‟s crazy that I‟m „hood‟ enough to call the Pastor of a mega church and say “Wuzzup dawg”. It‟s a trip to them. It lets them know that I still see them as human and not some deity and that they feel like that have to be perfect in front of me. No man, let your hair down. They love it. So that‟s “Public Commentary”. It‟s already done. As a matter of fact the next six albums are done. EM: Wow… SP: Yea, I take something from some of my brothers whom I‟ve seen do it. That‟s word to my man Tupac Shakur. If I die, my albums will still keep coming out. They‟re already locked and loaded, which is the reason why we can fall back and say we‟ll wait for the right opportunity to release the new album. Recently we‟ve moved poetry night from the Shadow Bar Downtown (Houston) to Bam Bou on Sunday nights, which is 2540 University. We are not genre specific. If you rap, if you sing, if you‟re a poet come through. We don‟t care if it‟s slam poetry, if it‟s political poetry, if it‟s radical poetry we don‟t judge. Come through, express yourself. Usually for the past ten years I was quiet, but I‟ll go ahead and put it out there…I feel like we are the best poetry set. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 49


We are definitely the biggest in the nation. I think that our professionalism is greater than other places. I don‟t even allow the elitist attitudes of “I‟m a better poet than you, because I spit poetry like this” or “I speak on these topics”. Everybody get it where you fit in, because there‟s no telling who those words are affecting. I don‟t think any of us are in the position to say what should or what shouldn‟t be said, know what I mean? So that‟s 2540 University, every Sunday night at Bam Bou at 6 P.M. I‟m looking for another ten years. Also, I wrote a show entirely for the education system. It‟s called “The Teacher‟s Show”. It‟s going to be big. I‟m thinking that it‟s going to get some national attention. I‟m going to do it like a one man show, but I do plan to incorporate other elements of art. I plan for it to be an HBO special. We‟ll definitely release it on DVD with it. We just opened up a Netflix account with the other DVDs we have out. EM: Congratulations on all of your accomplishments and endeavors! SP: Thank you! I have an interview question for you. When are you getting back on the mic? EM: (laughing) I’m coming back to the mic in the next couple of weeks Se7en! Look for me! Visit Se7en online at www.Se7enThePoet.com for bookings, CDs/DVDs, and more. Se7en is also on Facebook and Twitter.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 50


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 51


T

he definition of Overcome is to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations,

JUST GIRLS ACADEMY (Houston, Texas) ACADEMICS-FEMININITY-MODESTY-VIRTUE-CULTURE-REFINEMENT


I Wasn’t Ready To Be A Father… One On One With Eric Smith Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Let’s start from the beginning; how old were you and what was taking place up to the moment you found out you were about to be a father? Eric Smith (ES): I was a Junior in high school and I was a pretty decent athlete. I met this older girl, you know…I‟m trying to be grown. EM: How much older was she? ES: She was about 24. I was 16 or 17. We were cool. She would do a lot of things the girls my age wouldn‟t do; spending money and doing the things I thought back then was “big time”, because nobody else was getting it. So I brought her to meet my family one day, and my mom already had a gut feeling saying, “That‟s not the one”. She said it in a roundabout way. What I didn‟t know or realize at the time was that the girl already had a child, and the child was maybe about two years old...a little girl. So me being hard-headed, I was trying to do something different for maybe an EGO boost or bragging type of deal for me. My dad used to work nights, and it was one of those situations where it was the right place and the right time. She came over, and to be honest I used protection…I‟m just recalling this…and I really believe that the condom broke. Either the condom broke or I took it off for some strange reason. So one day I‟m at my mother‟s house and the phone rang. She was on the other end of the phone crying. So it‟s late at night, and I don‟t know how to handle the situation. I ask her what‟s wrong and she says that she‟s pregnant. My first response was, “How do you know? For real? Yeah right. Let HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 53


me see, what did you use.” She proceeded to tell me that she went to get a pregnancy test and thought that it wasn‟t accurate. She went to the doctor‟s office two weeks later and it turned out she‟s pregnant. I‟m really thrown for a loop. I‟m quarterback in football and it‟s the middle of football season. I‟m highly recruited in basketball. So my selfish self immediately began to think about how I‟m going to end up having to stay at home, because this girl is about to have this baby. I didn‟t really have anyone to talk to about the situation. I couldn‟t tell my dad, because I knew how strongly he felt about my athletic career and the opportunity to go beyond in sports. Therefore, it was something that I kept within and cried a lot at nighttime and would just fight the feelings. Yet, at the same time I‟m talking to her every night, really trying to get an understanding of what‟s going on and at the same time trying to convince her that this may not be the best time or the best moment for her to have this child. I thought I was pretty convincing, and I got to the point where I was strictly selfish about it. It wasn‟t about her and the baby; it was about me and my career. I used to travel out to see her on the weekends and we would cry together, but then again mentally I‟m in a mode of convincing. I don‟t know what to do, I don‟t have any money, I‟m going away to school and I‟m getting recruited. After some months she finally said, “Alright, I‟m going to go ahead and get the abortion”. At that time, to be honest with you, I played it as if the abortion was something that was going to bother me or as if she still had an option. I was like “You can still have it, but if you love me you would see where I was coming from”. Once the abortion happened I went off to school. There was definitely a sense of relief. She was still trying to get into the picture, and I would play it as if “I‟m going to still be with you and we‟ll still have an opportunity to have a kid, just not right now. Maybe in the future.” EM: Did you accompany her to the abortion clinic? ES: No. I was so young; I didn‟t go with her to the clinic. I think I gave her half of the three hundred or so dollars. Honestly, I just assumed she did it. I didn‟t really have the time to go out there, and I didn‟t want anybody to know. I was kept track of around that time, so I really didn‟t want people to HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 54


know what was going on inside my world. EM: Did you speak with her immediately after the procedure? ES: Oh yeah I did. I did have a heart to where I felt bad about it, slash selfish about. I did talk to her about it afterwards because I knew it was a big thing. I didn‟t know to the extent of how big it was until I got older. So to me it was like “okay, we‟re still cool”, but you could see that I was gradually, month after month, backing away and getting away from being in Texas. So I went off to school and we never really talked again. I ran into her at least four times probably within the last ten years, and every time she mentions that baby, she mentions how she should‟ve had it and how she regrets the decision, and as I got older I started to feel something inside of me…that I made the wrong decision or it was a bad decision and wondering if God will allow me another child because I‟ve already sat here a made that decision on one, which could have been my blessing, you see what I‟m saying? For now I don‟t have any, and that‟s something that I play…when I‟m considering having a child…in the back of my head. I just came to realize that it wasn‟t that major then, I didn‟t realize what I was doing. I didn‟t have the people or the resources to talk to put it to me the way that it should have been put to me. It was a tough time, and I think that regardless if she would have had that baby or not we would have made it, regardless if I was going to be with her or not. I think that baby would have had a great life, you feel me? EM: Yes sir. ES: So now I just try not the think about it, and those personal things you just keep to yourself and keep moving. As guys we think we‟re tough anyway, so those are the things we really don‟t want to talk to people about. Number one, we‟re prideful and ashamed and number two, we don‟t want people to think we‟re a bad person; that I just killed a baby without a conscience and you can move on with your life and it doesn‟t affect you. Now that I‟m older I can… EM: How old are you now?

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 55


ES: I‟m 31. It took me 31 years to realize all of the mistakes that I‟ve made, and I‟m probably going to make a ton more, but it won‟t be to that extent. It won‟t be to that extent definitely. EM: Has this affected any of your relationships and getting closer… ES: Big time. I run. I don‟t think I allow myself to become connected like that and I think it‟s something I unconsciously do. It‟s something somebody had to point out to me that “every time you feel or when you seem to get close to somebody you‟ll just stop calling. You‟ll just do something different”. That incident…I found that it really hit home for me and was really a touching point for me. Unconsciously, I don‟t want to let anyone in, but consciously I‟m open. I want to meet some body, I want to open my heart. This is something that I‟m now starting to pick up on and somebody had to tell me what I was doing before I could realize what it was. EM: What do you think would be the threat if you went ahead a let go? ES: Most men are really, very vulnerable that they don‟t want that emotional, that heart and soul to be touched because it‟s a sign of weakness. I think that once you‟re hurt once, guys really can‟t recover. As much as we say we recover. When we‟re growing up we‟re taught to be “men”. We‟ve been taught to be prideful. You have to control yourself. You have to be strong. You have to know how to handle situations. So anything other than that from a guy‟s perspective it‟s a sign of weakness; opening your heart and becoming vulnerable, telling someone how you feel and asking questions when you have a problem. To us that‟s a sign of weakness. A lot of us, not all, but a lot of us have problems opening up because we were always raised to “don‟t cry” or “don‟t whine” or do things that were more of the opposite sex. Those things carry on. If no one ever tells you how to open up and you‟re never comfortable to whom to open up to you‟re just going to hold everything in. A lot of guys, including myself, have problems with relationships today, because we just don‟t want to get hurt. Hurting us is kind of like…you can take all our money and you could do probably the worst things to us, but when you touch our heart or when you touch our soul…it‟s like all that other stuff just doesn‟t matter anymore. It‟s the worst feeling ever. Even HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 56


with my kid, when I finally realized what had happened, what I‟ve done and the decision I was pushing, it hurt me. It hurt to the point where it was saying, “That‟s your blood. That was someone that was a representation of you that you just didn‟t even give a chance to live in this world. So now it‟s like do you open yourself up to that hurt again? Or do you just kind of ease your way in to get better but never really let someone get to know the person you are? EM: So now at the age of 31, what would you say to that 16 year old who comes to you and says “this is what I have going on, this is the situation I’m in, what should I do”? ES: Talk to somebody, anybody that you can confide in. Talk to a mentor. Go to church and talk to the pastor. Talk to someone that won‟t tell your business, but at the same time who can give you an honest and educated opinion about the right and the wrong, the do‟s and the don‟ts. They‟re not telling you what to do, they‟re just giving you options. So before I would tell anybody to go through that situation, number one, you should prevent it by not doing it (sex) especially at 16 years old. You‟ve got so much ahead of you and that is just a minor aspect of life. Number two, if you decide to take on a grown up‟s responsibility talk to somebody. Be a grown up about it. If you‟re going to do it as a grown up or as an adult talk and handle it as an adult. Don‟t do an adult thing and handle it as a child. Although you know people are going to have some harsh things to say and a lot of people have different opinions, you‟ve got to accept that. However get your options. Consult with someone. Never leave the person you‟re in the relationship with out of the loop. Eventually it‟s you two together regardless, because it‟s you two that have to make that tough decision. I wouldn‟t advise killing any child, but I do understand that there are people who can‟t take care of a child after they bring it into this world and there are options for that too. That‟s why I‟m saying to weigh your options before you even attempt to make a drastic decision about somebody‟s life. EM: What would you say to those young girls and women who are in that position as well? ES: I would tell them the same thing I would tell the brothers, just in a different way. Sisters, your body is gold. What most guys want whether it‟s now or later is your body. Number one, this stuff can affect your health. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 57


This stuff can affect you mentally and physically and in the long run. Number two, you have to make sure that this is something you want to do and this is someone you want to be with. With sisters, they‟re going to mature a lot faster than guys. Their idea of what they want in a man is going to change, regardless if you‟re in love in elementary school, middle school, high school or college their idea of the man that they want is going to change. Whether it‟s having a little bit of the father, a little bit of the uncle or a little bit of their friends the older they get the more they will change what they like. So give yourself an opportunity to live your life. Don‟t take your youth for granted, because you will be older trying to relive your youth. That‟s why we have marriages doing what they‟re doing today, and a lot of them aren‟t working. We don‟t see the old people or the grandparents who we could talk to about these situations around, because all of our grandparents are 30 years old. So now you just have to be smarter about your choices. It‟s kind of like eating food. Back in the day we could eat chicken in grease and didn‟t really care about congestive heart failure, but now they‟re preaching eat healthy because the life of expectancy will be a lot longer. The world is evolving. As good as it feels, and as lustful as you probably feel, you have to think twice. If you decide to take on that responsibility at least be safe. EM: So what would you tell the woman, who would have been the mother, now that you see everything clearer; the decision that you pressed and all that you went through, what would you say to her? ES: I would let her know one thing guys don‟t understand is honest is the key. We think that we can lie to get out of things when a lot of times all you have to do is tell the truth regardless if they like it or not, at least you‟re being honest. So I would, now that I‟m older, be honest; this is what it is, and I would put it on the table and I would give her the option to accept it and deal with or not accept it. However, this is a part of you and this is a part of who I am, and it‟s something that‟s important enough and will impact my life. I want you to know about it. EM: Whenever you see her and she says what she says, do you ever respond to her? ES: I try not to, because it rehashes everything from back then instead of HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 58


“how are you doing today” or “how is everything going today”. I don‟t want to just leave that in the past, but I don‟t want to bring up those feelings. The older you get the more it hurts, because you start thinking about it more and pondering on it. So when I do see her, whether it‟s at a Wal-Mart or a gas station, she always tells me that she should have had it. We always talk about how we got to that point. I‟ve apologized for being that forceful with her about that situation. I wish I would‟ve handled it better. You can‟t make that wrong right, but you at least try to make it better. I don‟t want her to feel as though I was disrespecting her or that I didn‟t care about her. I know that‟s a big thing on a woman, because you‟re the one who has to carry this baby. Men, we can just sit back and let you have it and not be attached to it. But for women, this is your body. This is somebody that‟s a part of your body, that‟s a different connection then what most men have with their children. It‟s something that I don‟t try to think about very often, but I just try to learn from my mistakes and do better the next time. This is really my first time speaking out about it. That just goes to show you how long we‟ll keep it in. I was 16…. My mother had answered the phone and heard the whole conversation; the girl crying, me crying… it‟s midnight or a little later than that, and I had a phone upstairs. So not only did she pick up the phone she listened to the whole conversation. That was the day that changed everything, because when I came out of the room, acting like I had to go use the restroom but really just to wipe my face, she came out of her room and said, “Handle that”. It wasn‟t a handle it in this way or that way, she just said, “Handle it. You want to be an adult, handle it”. That‟s something that she and I have kept to ourselves from then on. She‟s never told anyone else about it, I don‟t think, because no one ever mentioned it to me. It was something between she and I. I didn‟t want my dad to be disappointed in me, because he used to always preach, “Don‟t get none of these girls pregnant.” That‟s why I love my mom to this day, because it was something that I didn‟t want to go in depth about, but once she found out about it, she just said handle it and there was no more discussion about it, which surprised me. I thought I would have gotten the third degree, but she never told anybody. If you have a mom to talk to like that, if she‟s just cool and will give you the truth, then do that. But talk to a brother or an uncle; someone who won‟t run and tell your business to your family. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 59


Talk to someone who is not going to taint your image but will give you your options, because they don‟t want anyone to look down on them and judge you behind that. That‟s why so many people are afraid to talk about it, because you really just don‟t want anybody to look down on you. Image is all you got, your word is all you got and you really want to keep that clean. Talk to someone who will give you some real options and not tell you what to do. Make your own decision. This is the decision you made anyway and you have to live with it. Before you make that decision, I want to give you A, B,C, and D. Therefore, whatever you choose, you made that decision and you and the young lady made that decision. I think that it‟s only right and fair for the child. At least give him a 50/50 chance. EM: Yes sir. Is there anything else you want to add? ES: Thank you for allowing me to get this off of my chest (laughing). EM: It was indeed a pleasure and an honor.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 60


Houston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Awards Ceremony Congratulations Jesse Muhammad

O

n Thursday, May 19, 40 Houstonians were honored at the Houston Business Journal‟s Annual 40 Under 40 Awards Ceremony at the House of Blues. Jesse Muhammad was one of 40 recipients to be recognized for his outstanding work and contribution to Houston‟s business community. “I first thank Allah (God) for using me as a vessel to do impactful work whether it is writing critical news stories, blogging or speaking before audiences across the country. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us that if we make service our first priority instead of success, then success will come. This award bears witness to that,” said Jesse Muhammad, 32, a staff writer for The Final Call Newspaper. Brother Jesse is also present working on his first soon to be released book, “In Search of My Father: You Can Do It Too,” a memoir about how he was able to miraculously find his biological father and his relatives. The book is slated for release in September. About Jesse Muhammad Jesse Muhammad, aka Brother Jesse, is a journalist, award-winning blogger, experienced community organizer, and touring national motivational speaker. He is a staff writer for The Final Call Newspaper, a nationally and internationally distributed publication. Brother Jesse also is a guest blogger for the Houston Chronicle's religious site Houston Belief. Brother Jesse is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers for youth in the country. Energetic, inspiring and effective are just some of the words audiences have used to describe his works, writings and messages. The theme of his motivational talks is "Mediocrity Is Not In Your DNA." Brother Jesse also is a go-to expert on blogging, media exposure, online social networking, public relations, personal branding, public speaking and community organizing. For more details, visit http:// jessemuhammad.blogs.finalcall.com.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 61


my life was in shambles. I was one of those people that if you looked at my outer appearance

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 62


R.I.P. Fears By Jesse Muhammad

The other day I read a quote that says “Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.” Fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.” We are all being challenged by our fears in some way—whether it is paying bills, getting or losing a job, taking on a new challenge, bad relationships, or embracing necessary change. Fear, when not met head on, restricts human beings from completely being who God wants them to be, because He created us to fear nothing or no one in creation except Him. Is God worthy to be feared? I think so, because He is the Creator and Master of everything we see. And the fear of God alone actually opens up vaults for us. In Proverbs 9:10 is reads "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” When we allow other people and things to make us afraid they actually become our master. We become restricted, boxed in, cowardly, immobile and even paralyzed by the stagnation born out of our submission to those things that aren‟t worthy of worship. Are we compromising our values for the sake of keeping a job? Are we running when we‟re brought face to face with something we have feared for years? Do we doubt that we can be successful in life despite saying we believe in God? (By whatever name you call Him) As a child we had a curious mind. We would have never known we could walk until we took that first step and fell down. That initial fall didn‟t produce more fear, it increased our faith that we could take more steps— HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 63


especially if we saw a bright ball sitting across the room to play with. That desire fed our Will and starved our fears of falling again. Am I saying we wonâ€&#x;t be made afraid at all? Of course not! If we went home right now, headed upstairs and saw a grizzly bear sitting on our steps--that surely would bring a hint of initial fear inside. Our heart might start beating a little faster as the bear stares us down. Metaphorically, we have a lot of grizzly bears in our paths. In my continued study of Dianetics, Iâ€&#x;ve learned we have five alternatives: (1) Attack, (2) Flee, (3) Avoid (4) Neglect or (5) Succumb. Attack your fears and starve them out! [Reprinted from Chron.com]

Brother Jesse Muhammad is a Staff Writer for the Final Call Newspaper, a journalist, award-winning blogger, experienced community organizer, and touring international motivational speaker. Learn more at Brother Jesse Blog.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 64


The Best Paper to Read! Visit www.finalcall.com

Subscribe Today! Visit www.finalcall.com HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 65


Hard Work or Hardly Working? How White People Got So Rich Part I By the Historical Research Department of the Nation of Islam [Reprinted from FinalCall.com]

(FinalCall.com) - The foundation of American White supremacy sits tenuously on a rickety base of lies and deceptions about how Whites gained their wealth and status. A century and a half after slavery the median wealth of White families is $100,000; for Black families, it's $5,000. The belief that Whites achieved this 201 wealth advantage by HARD WORK is an absurd and a historical fantasy. Nonetheless, the airwaves are filled with the self-righteous pronouncements of Caucasian commentators anxious to ―advise‖ Blacks to ―work hard‖ and to ―pull themselves up by their bootstraps‖ if they want to succeed in America. Not only do they seek to invent a fraudulent fairy tale that whitewashes a very bloody legacy, but they also aim to reaffirm the notion that ―non-Whites‖ are naturally inferior and lazy and are thus responsible for having comparatively nothing. The truth is a whole lot nastier than that. The group that has always posed as the ―best friends of Black people‖ is most fond of making this argument, yet the Jews are guilty of the worst abuses of the slavery and Jim Crow systems of White empowerment. Any reader of The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Vol. 2, will discover that Jewish wealth in America was so completely dependent on Black slavery that their incessant Jewish mantra of ―hard work‖ will be forever consigned to mythology. The mechanisms of government and private industry that were constructed to specifically hamstring Black prospects for success after slavery are extraordinary. In harmony, government and private industry, and all sectors of American society, instituted a series of White Affirmative Action programs for the benefit of WHITE EURO-AMERICANS ONLY, programs which gave them material advantages that had nothing whatever to do with either merit or ―hard work.‖ The Messenger of Allah, The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad—The Messiah—said: ―Observe the operations of the white man. He is successful. He makes no excuses for his failures. He works hard in a collective manner. You HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 67


do the same.‖ This is the first of a four-part observation of the operations of the White man. It will take us on a journey through the reactive mind of the racial sociopaths who have worked hard in a collective manner to construct our Black American reality. And through this process we will examine just some of the acts and policies that are the nuts and bolts of the White man's dubious ―superiority.‖ *** Indian Land Grab Right from the very start the European settlers were begging their British king to destroy the ―savages‖ faster than he already was. It was one of the reasons they listed in their Declaration of Independence that caused them to want to SEPARATE from England. Merchants, many of them Jewish, supplied the British, French, and American armies to ethnically cleanse the indigenous Native Americans from their ancient lands. Once the bloody deed was done and the murderous armies retreated, it was those merchants who surveyed and divided the land into lots and began selling them to White settlers. This land ―value‖ was created out of thin air and these property rights were then protected by the U.S. government. Legendary American ―frontiersmen‖ like Daniel Boone were actually surveyors in the employ of these merchants, and some of Boone's receipts are actually in Yiddish. Later, President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act of 1830 initiated a series of massacres and wars against the Indian Nations, killing most and evicting the rest from their own land. This policy imprisoned the survivors on approximately 310 ―reservations,‖ where they can be found today. The Messenger wrote that ―The white man has left a remnant of that people for the sake of mockery and for his children to see the people their fathers conquered in taking this land of the Indians for their own land (as they call it today). God never intended that the people of the earth go about killing each other to rob each other of their homes. It was never done by anyone but the white race.‖ Ultimately, the Indian Holocaust netted for the White man 2.3 billion acres of free land. Dawes Act Massachusetts congressman Henry L. Dawes drafted federal legislation enacted in 1887 which ordered the ―registering‖ of Indians so that they could receive an allotment of their own land! But to get on the ―Dawes Rolls,‖ Native Americans had to anglicize their names. This allowed White officials to slip the names of their relatives and friends onto the Dawes Rolls and reap millions of acres of land. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 68


In one state alone, the 138 million acres of Indian-held land at the time of the Dawes Act in 1887 had been reduced to 47 million acres by 1934, when the Act was repealed. Slavery Everything you see in the western world—its cities, institutions, and wealth—is built on Black slavery. Paris, Rome, London, New York—name the place, and its riches are built on the backs of the Black man and woman. The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Vols. 1 and 2, and the next ten thousand Final Call issues could only begin to elaborate on that statement but let us just take the most celebrated and iconic American—George Washington. At one point in his ignominious life, he held 216 Black Africans—92 of them children (this high ratio of children to adults indicates Washington was a slave-breeder). What could one do today with that many lifelong unpaid employees? Jim Crow Laws The so-called Jim Crow laws were simply reconstituted Slave Laws and they applied throughout America, in the South and North. Their aim was not to keep Blacks from ―White‖ drinking fountains and toilets, or even to stop them from breaking the law—but to keep Blacks from accumulating property, starting businesses, engaging in trade and commerce, and establishing an independent economic base and to force them back to the cotton plantations. Whites, having ―legally‖ eliminated all competition from the most productive people on earth, benefitted immensely from these repressive American racial restrictions. Religious Policy: The Hamitic Myth The foundation for nearly all of America's most destructive acts and policies has been a religious one—from the ―just wars‖ and ―manifest destiny‖ used to justify the Holocaust against the Indians, to the cross-burning violence of the Christian Ku Klux Klan. Originally, in ancient times, slavery victimized all races and peoples, but Medieval Jewish rabbis, who sought to justify the targeting of African human beings, invented a racist embellishment of the Noah story which asserted that God cursed ALL BLACK PEOPLE with black skin, thereby marking them forevermore as permanent slaves to White people. All major religions adopted this racist motif and liberally used it to justify the most profitable Caucasian enterprise in the history of the planet—the African slave trade. White Terrorism The Ku Klux Klan was the generic name for literally hundreds of White terrorist HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 69


groups set up to force the ex-slave back in ―his place‖ on the plantation picking the commodity at the very center of the world economy—cotton. These Ku Kluxers were not errant outlaws—they comprised White government officials, businesses, and religious leaders. The Klan openly recruited in churches and synagogues and Masonic halls, and many communities held Ku Klux Klan country fairs. Armed, robed, and hooded, often by Jewish merchants, they burnt Black businesses, farms, schools, property, and human beings—with government sanction and participation. Such government-sanctioned terrorism ensured that Blacks would be unable to accumulate wealth and pass it on to later generations. This is important to future White prosperity, because it has been estimated that up to 80 percent of lifetime wealth accumulation is attributable to gifts from ancestors. The KKK only waned in its influence when the U.S. government, through executions and mass incarcerations carried out by its ―justice system,‖ took over most of the KKK's main terrorist functions. Sharecropping Sharecropping is the Talmud-based economic system that was set up throughout the South to continue the benefits of Black slavery long after its legal end. The cotton profits generated by the extraordinary Black farmers called sharecroppers financed America's railroads, factories, mills, the building of the major cities, and the entire U.S. infrastructure. It is truthfully asserted that the major cities of America and the Western world were ―built with bricks of cotton.‖ Noted scholar W.E.B. Du Bois concluded that in the 35 years after the end of slavery fully threequarters of the wages due Black farmers had been simply stolen from them. Compromise of 1877 The Compromise of 1877 is arguably the most devastating single event in the history of Blacks in America. That is when a group of politicians convened at the Wormley Hotel in Washington, D.C., to attempt to resolve the deadlocked presidential election of 1876 between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden. They agreed that if Hayes were awarded the presidency, he would remove the federal troops protecting the ex-slaves in the South, and the former Southern slaveholding class would be free to return to power and establish new forms of slavery without federal oversight or control. This is the exact point in American history when Whites determined that the Black man and woman would forever be a secondclass citizen in all aspects of American society.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 70


After twelve years of “emancipation” Blacks were returned to virtual slavery, and assigned to permanent political, social, and economic inferiority. A Jewish congressman from Louisiana, William M. Levy, gave the speech that convinced the lawmakers that this wicked act that scholars call ―the Great Betrayal of the Negro people‖ was the best policy for America. Blacks had made great strides in developing private businesses, but the Ku Klux Klan targeted these businesses for destruction as in Rosewood, Fla. and Tulsa (Black Wall Street), Okla. and many, many other lesser-known places. Blacks lost billions in investment dollars to Whites through these acts of terror. Black businesses were often uninsured because of the racist policies of American insurance companies, so the destruction of a Black business was totally unrecoverable. Whites had no such disabilities in growing their businesses. The most profound part of this history, however, is that on THE SAME DAY that those White politicians decided to end Black progress forever, Allah decided that The Saviour to the Black man and woman would be born. Both events—the two MOST SIGNIFICANT IN THE HISTORY OF BLACK AMERICA—happened on February 26, 1877! (The Historical Research Department of the Nation of Islam was established by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to support and bear witness to the teachings of the Messiah, The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.)

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 71


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 72


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 73


One-On-One with Brother Marcus Muhammad Everything I’m Not Made Me Everything I Am Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Brother Marcus you are a proud member of Nation of Islam, Fruit of Islam, student ministry class, the host of the Brother Marcus Radio Show, a mentor, a motivational speaker, a marriage retreat coordinator, and a loving father and husband. There is a story behind all of that in which you do. What brought you to this dispensation in time?

Brother Marcus Muhammad (BM): I was born and raised on the mean streets of Brooklyn, New York to my parents, Joseph and Carol Girard. I had three older brothers and three younger sisters and I was the middle child. I observed many things growing up in Brooklyn. One of those things was watching my father and mother physically fight each other like the proverbial cats and dogs many, many times. My dad stood 6‘4‘ and weighed approximately 450 pounds. My mother was only about 5‘4‘ and weighed about 200 pounds herself. Those were very frightening and disturbing scenes to witness. My mother could not physically beat my father, but she found very skilled and calculating ways to deal with my father. Looking back over my childhood as an adult, I now believe I learned a lot of good and not so good things from both my mother and my father. There was so much drama at my home it forced me to go outside of my home for love and guidance and to manifest my budding leadership skills. It was what appeared to be a negative circumstance that would later cause me to connect so deeply with the message of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as it was being taught and explained from the powerful oratorical genius of his student, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan! The teachings that I have already received and will continue to receive with the Dianetics auditing has been and will continue to be of immeasurable value in helping and aiding me to overcome all of the childhood drama I have experienced and help me to reach my full potential. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 74


EM: I recently saw a news report that there has been a 25% increase in men and women living together (shaking up) and preferring that to getting married. From your knowledge and expertise on the subject of marriage, why do you believe this increase has taken place in the lack of desire to get married but to just "shack up"? BM: Some men and women have been made to believe that cohabitation is a good way to test their marriage beforehand, but studies into this have revealed just the opposite. The Sociology Department of both Duke University and Michigan University interviewed 30,000 couples who married after living together. The Sociologists found that 80% of the marriages arising from cohabitation or living together ended in separation or divorce. Living together offers little or no guarantee of a happy, successful marriage. Freedom without responsibility is the opposite of love. The greater the sense of commitment, the more a person is willing to give of themselves and this is an indispensable requirement for marriage. The more often and the longer that men and women cohabit or live together, the more likely they are to divorce later. Cohabitation undermines this trust because both partners are aware that it is perfectly possible for them to bail out at any point. Cohabitation is not good preparation for marriage: it does not involve the building up of the virtues- rather it is an exercise in convenience rather than purity and true love. My grandfather used to tell my sisters, ―Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?‖ This question is still extremely relevant in 2011. EM: There are numerous talk radio shows that bounce opinions, reports and trending topics around with its listeners. What sets the Brother Marcus Show (shout out to your co-host and wife Sister Cecelia) apart from other shows? What topics do you discuss that many other shows do not? BM: What makes our show different is because the Spirit of the Lord is upon me. I feel God's presence all in me and around me. I am not moved by hot topics. I am moved by the Spirit of the true and living God. I am learning to wait for His sweet and Holy inspiration to guide my next step on what should be discussed with the people. Many people discuss the topics that we discuss but they may not go deep enough to the root of the problem and they may not be willing to draw upon the wealth of valuable information that we have been given by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and many other great men and women! EM: As a member of the Nation of Islam and Fruit of Islam contrary to what mainstream media reports, what misconception would you like to clear up about the NOI and Muslims in general? HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 75


BM: The Fruit of Islam is God and everything that God is, is found in the body of men who have been called to be a Fruit of Islam. I have always felt unworthy to be called an FOI, and too many men in my humble opinion take that title for granted. An FOI is a supremely organized and disciplined man. He is quick thinking and fast moving and operates right down to the modern science of time. He has been well trained and understands the time and what must be done. He is of great consequence wherever He is at all times. I am striving to live up to this high post that Almighty God Allah, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Louis Farrakhan has called us as men to become. One of the biggest misconceptions I find out there is that an FOI is only security in the very limited sense of the word. The world knows that the very best security force on earth is the FOI. But in addition to that we are also scholars, healers, peacemakers, businessmen, coaches, fathers, husbands and most of all we are learning to be brothers. The men of the FOI are some of the most talented, loving, sophisticated, and distinguished men you will ever meet. We are all constantly at work in whatever field or endeavor we find ourselves, helping Allah, His Christ and their Apostle to secure the earth and usher in His kingdom. EM: What do you see in the significance of the recent weather conditions? BM: The significance of the weather to me is that the Kingdom of God is at hand and He is not playing with any of us in today‘s times. All of us have to beg Allah for His divine and holy forgiveness for our wrongs and shortcomings and for His guidance that we might take our rebellious and wayward lives and place them on the path that Allah has bestowed favors and not upon the path of those whom Allah‘s wrath is brought down. EM: Briefly tell us about your mentoring program; vision, mission, target mentees, activities, etc. What has been the most memorable moment for you as a mentor? What are the challenges and rewards? Why do you feel it's worth the effort? BM: I love giving back to our youth, because I was mentored so heavily back in New York City. If it were not for the people who saw some value in me in the early days and invested their time, their energy and their money in me, I wouldn't be having this interview with you. Our Mentoring program has been in existence for nearly 20 years and we have been blessed to mentor thousands of young people throughout America. We have been blessed to conduct many Motivational training sessions over these years. We try to focus on black boys, because they are HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 76


the problem everywhere I go. But the need for guidance extends to the Mexican youth, the Hispanic youth, the Chinese youth, the Vietnamese youth and even the Caucasian youth and all of the girls need help and guidance. If there ever was a generation that needed someone to look beyond their faults and see their needs it is this generation. Very few can reach the mindset that these young men and women are in today and all of our children are at risk in such a wicked and duplicitous society as this one that our youth have to wade through. We teach boys how to be men. We teach them how to walk, how to talk, how to dress, how to think and act like a man thinks and acts. I have been blessed to write a book for them that is based on the secrets of manhood that I observed by watching our Minister called, “The Wise Men and Women Have Sent Me to Tell You” that is available at Amazon.com. The most impacting moments for me are always those times when I meet a young man or woman again who gave me pure hell when they were younger in my class as a student and now they have grown up a bit and I meet them somewhere and maturity has finally dawned on them. We laugh together and they always say something to the effect of, “Thank you for continuing to work with me and not giving up on me. I love you Brother Marcus.” It often brings tears to my eyes when they walk away because I know that this is the work of God that I am doing. EM: Is there anything else you wish to add? BM: I don‘t want to just to be a hearer of the word anymore. God knows we have been thoroughly taught by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. I want to become a doer of the word. I want to be with him through doing the work of resurrecting his people. He never called us to be his cheerleader. He called us to follow him that where he is, we may be. I want to be the kind of follower that he doesn‘t have to wonder about when he ascends to the father, whether I will do the work or will I fall off somewhere. I want him to know that right now while he is still with us that he has a young man out here that is working hard to help him reach the people and is growing in understanding the reality of who he is among us. I so dearly love him and I love his followers and his people! EM: Do you have any upcoming events, projects, etc? What are the Brother Marcus Show days and times? Do you have a web site/blog/etc. where the readers can learn more?

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 77


BM: We are striving to effectively implement the work that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has asked us to do! We accept the responsibility to build our own community! We ask your readers to join us in Atlanta on Saturday June 18, 2011, the day before Fathers Day at the College Park Auditorium in College Park, Georgia! We have conducting a workshop will really help us to see how we are all being heavily influenced by this sub-culture that is dominating our young people today in 2011 as well as many, many adults. Are your children hard to reach? Why are so many of our teenagers so sexually promiscuous? Are they growing more and more rebellious and out of control? Why? Why are we not being transformed? Why are we being deformed by the "lifestyles" that are constantly being promoted to us? Come to learn and also come to share. Also on the same evening, we are conducting a terrific talent show and Hip Hop Concert. Aren't you tired of these entertainers disrespecting you and your family when you have paid your hard earned money to attend their shows? Well, come to our show then! We won't allow any of our performers to disrespect you or your family! We have put together a quality family show! There will be some hip hop, some poetry, some modeling, some drill exhibition, some singing, some dancing, some comedy, some laughing, some clapping, and some cheering. We are 100% sure that with the help of God you are going to have a very good time at our event. Tickets and vending to attend our first fundraiser is only $10. Insha’Allah we have the 2nd Annual Marriage Retreat coming up in November 2011. Last year we successfully had the first one in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. This year our Sister Student Coordinator, Debra X. is asking us to join her on a Cruise to the Bahamas from November 27 – December 1, 2011. We have found many couples that didn‘t take a honeymoon, or have never been on a Cruise Ship. We have found many who have said, “We are always doing something for the Single brothers and sisters. When are we going to do something for the married brothers and sisters?” Well here the opportunity that we may have been waiting for. Anyone desiring more information about the 2011 Marriage Retreat can log onto: www.blackmarriageretreat.com for more information. Once again, my wife and I have been asked to serve as the Facilitators again for this retreat. We have to continue to promote Marriage and healthy relationships in the Nation! Our Main website is www.marcusgirard.com. To add your name to our weekly mailing list simply email: marcusgirard34@yahoo.com. Anyone who needs to contact me for any reason can reach me at 404-5423808.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 78


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 79


HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 80


“The purpose of One Woman is two-fold. The conference will equip entrepreneurs with real, actionable, practical knowledge to help them survive and thrive in today’s economy. Secondly, One Woman creates an opportunity for contractors and suppliers to meet and discover opportunities to work together”. —TBA Chairwoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Member of Congress. For more information about the One Woman Conference, the presenters, the workshops, and to register for the 3rd Annual One Woman Conference 2011, please visit www.onewomanconference.com. To learn more about the Texas Business Alliance, go to www.texasbusinessalliance.org. You may also visit MWH Public Relations, the Woman One Conference event coordinator at www.mwhpublicrelations.com. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 81


Farrakhan Delivers A Warning and Offers a Healing for Spiritual Leaders and Humanity By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Asst. Editor-Final Call News [Reprinted from FinalCall.com]

CHICAGO (FinalCall.com) - The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered words of warning to spiritual leaders and offered a healing for humanity in a message delivered at the American Clergy Leadership Conference's prayer breakfast here May 17. Reflecting on the deadly weather that has struck America over the past year, the Minister said he has a duty from God to warn of that which is to come. ―It doesn't make me feel good to tell America what is coming. It doesn't make me feel good to know that death and destruction has entered America and most of us are not prepared for what God is bringing down. You can pray for America, that's good, but let me tell you something–America is almost past praying for and if the government of America under President Obama does not repent, you're living in a house that soon will be no more.‖ Addressing over 500 spiritual leaders on Chicago's South Side at Life Center Church of God in Christ led by Rev. T.L. Barrett Jr., the Minister encouraged the clergymen to work for unity and become better servants of God and exponents of His Will. ―God is not the author of confusion; he is the author of peace. He does not have many religions, he only has one,‖ said Min. Farrakhan. ―This division among the people of God is abhorrent in His eyes, that we would split up religion into sects and parties each one vying with the other due to envy and jealousy. But God is one, his truth is one and his people will be one.‖ HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 82


The Minister said that the people of the Earth are no longer children of God and His Christ, but the product of slave masters who need reformation and transformation in order to be acceptable to God. Minister Farrakhan said the people have gone astray because many of the spiritual leaders—referred to as watchmen in the scriptures—have gone astray. In this dangerous time of judgment many pastors Pastor T.L. Barrett congratulates Min. Farrakhan's recent birthday. Photo: appear to be more concerned with being popu- www.dbarge.com lar, building mega churches and striving for nearness to political officials, than preaching God's word, he said. ―When you are called to the ministry, you are not called to the ministry to preach a gospel of tolerance with wickedness. When you are called to Jesus Christ, you are not called to break bread with power for some benefit from power that is evil. You are called by God to his Christ to preach an unadulterated Gospel that does not tickle the ears of the wicked or the weak or the powerful. You must warn them and be warned yourself,‖ said Min. Farrakhan. ―The duty of a pastor is not just raising money and building fine churches, the duty of a pastor is to again make people in the image and likeness of God through Jesus Christ.‖ ―You can't pray for all, because all are not going to make it. You can pray for the governor, you can pray for the mayor, you can pray for the president, its nice, but hell you better warn the governor, warn the president, warn the mayor that God's judgment has entered into America and the world! God doesn't want everybody in His Kingdom! You've got to make a decision whether you want to be there!‖ he said. Minister Farrakhan said many pastors are afraid to speak out against homosexuality and lesbianism. Many pastors accept this, but it is not accepted by God. ―This is a world that has made evil fair-seeming and this is because Satan is the master of this world and he is the arch deceiver of humanity,‖ said Min. Farrakhan. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 83


The enemy will never truly lead the people to Jesus because that would be leading people to the one who will end their rule, and any preacher sent by the enemy will agree with Satan's world. The present world is filled with hatred, division, strife, envy, enmity and jealousy, said the Minister. If the scripture says God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, it was not for this world we are living in, and that many appear to love. Such is the way in America, the modern day Babylon, he said. ―What world is God in love with that He would give His son? Is it this one?‖ Minister Farrakhan asked. This world is a world of sin, a world of rebellion to God and whatever God says ‗thou shalt not do,' man says ‗its all right' and makes it fair seeming. In America, all of God's laws are ignored regularly he noted. ―Satan is winning the battle for the hearts and minds of men and women,‖ the Minister said. ―What kind of world are you living in? Thieves stole America! Thou shalt not steal! Thieves killed the original inhabitants of America! Thou shalt not kill! Thieves took you out of Africa and made you a slave and coveted the wealth of Africa! Thou shalt not covet! You love this world? You're dead in it,‖ said Min. Farrakhan. The Minister mentioned that he and the Nation of Islam enjoyed a good working relationship with former Mayor of Chicago Richard M. Daley and former Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis as the Nation of Islam effectively reduced crime in some of Chicago's worst areas. In a letter written to recently sworn in Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emmanuel, the Minister offered the help of the Nation of Islam. Though invited, Mayor Emmanuel was unable to attend the breakfast. 20th Ward Alderman Willie Cochran was present as his representative and gave a donation on his behalf. ―I want to offer you my hand and the hand of the Nation of Islam to help in whatever way we can to lessen crime and violence in this city, and I ask for nothing in return but that this city be run well and peacefully; and I pray that God will give you the wisdom and the strength and the guidance to make your tenure in office successful,‖ said Min. Farrakhan sharing the contents of a letter sent to the new mayor.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 84


―This is coming from a so-called anti-Semitic person. I don't hate Jewish people but I do hate injustice and evil.‖ Referring to Revelation 2:9 and 3:9, the Minister said it is his job to point out the deceivers of the world, which is why he is hated by those whose hidden influence is not fully known. ―Let me tell you something about divine revelation when you get it. That's a privilege. But when God confers on you knowledge, that knowledge can either be used for the good of his will or for satisfaction of your own desires against his will. So those of us who receive divine revelation, that's a trial for you and some Jews are very good, and there are others that use the wisdom and power that they have for wickedness and you won't point it out because they pay you. They hate Farrakhan because I am pointing out the wicked ones and the wickedness that they do that is deceiving you and the government and the world. That's my job from God! And I will not shirk my duty to open your eyes to deceit and a deceiver.‖

Read full article here.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 85


JUST IN CASE YOU MISSED THE 2011 SAVIOURS’ DAY CONVENTION….

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2010 86


Justice Reinvestment: A Pragmatic Approach to Outsourcing Black Male Unemployment and Disproportionate Incarceration By Byron Price

S

lavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. Black male labor was recaptured, according to Blackmon, by charging Negroes with crimes such as vagrancy and other non-

consequential acts, and this need for cheap labor paralleled an increased enforcement of these frivolous laws—i.e., harvesting time. As a result of this system, Blackmon describes this indentured servitude (debt slavery) as forced labor. As prison labor became a more necessary part of the capitalist system during Reconstruction, as a result of the devastation brought on by the Civil War, landowners exploited this peonage system and needed to build new prisons to house these former slaves and lease them to labor-hungry entrepreneurs.

These labor-hungry entrepreneurs decided to expand on this idea of convict leasing in the 1800s and created the first private prisons. States such as California, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas had privately operated prisons between 1850 and 1950. The industry of contracting out prison labor was extremely profitable up until 1950, but things became unglued with the discovery of rampant abuse in these private prisons. Private prisons reappeared in the 1980s as a result of the “war on drugs,” and the conHURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 87


comitant laws associated with this war such as California‟s notorious three -strikes-and-you-are-out laws. These campaigns such as the “war on drugs” and “get tough on crime” have been a dismal failure and have afflicted non-violent African American offenders, especially males, with a permanent handicap—a lifetime of limited opportunities.

The collateral consequences of a felony conviction also play a role in the burgeoning African American male unemployment rate. African American male unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 15.6%, which economists assert is a Depression-era level number. The U.S. economy, it has been widely reported, has not added jobs since December of 2007 and has shed 7.2 million jobs overall since then, according to reports. Even worse, it is accepted that many jobs will not return for several years. Of course, African American males will be the most affected by the structural and racial flaws in the economy.

In my book, Merchandizing Prisoners: Who Really Pays for Prison Privatization?, I show how the United States is returning to systems of prison labor exploitation. Over 2 million U.S. citizens are now incarcerated in the U.S., and half of them are African American males. This return to slavery has been facilitated by private prison corporations that lease factories in prisons and then lease the prisoners they house for the state out to these factories to perform work for companies such as Dell, Victoria‟s Secret, and other multinational corporations and Fortune 500 companies. According to Yahoo Finance, Corrections Corporation of America has a 2.69 billion market cap. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 88


There is a phenomenon eerily similar to what Blackmon describes regarding the nominal fees Black men were forced to pay to forestall forced labor. This is now happening to the formerly incarcerated who come out of prisons with crushing debt. These economic sanctions come in the form of probation fees, jail fees, special assessments, fines, and restitution. These fees are assessed on money deposited for prisoners by their family members. When ex-prisoners cannot pay these fees, they are returned to prison on a technical violation and are then forced into labor again. Instead of states spending more money on corrections over education and building more prisons, they should embrace this idea of justice reinvestment to attack disproportionate minority contact with the criminal justice system, outsourcing and African American unemployment. Justice reinvestment strategies, according to Susan Tucker and Eric Cadora, contend that the billions of dollars spent on corrections should be redirected to build “human resources, physical infrastructure such as schools in those neighborhoods devastated by high levels of incarceration like the million dollar blocks in Brooklyn, NY.� A million dollars a year, according to Tucker and Cadora, is being spent to incarcerate people from one block in Brooklyn.

Redirecting money to create jobs in these high incarceration communities would go a long way towards improving education in these communities, improving employments prospects, and de-commodifying Black men so that their labor is not stolen by capitalists looking to exploit the captive labor the prisons provide them. Finally, states should follow New Jerseyâ€&#x;s

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 89


state legislature‟s example of exploring laws which remove barriers that affect successful reintegration back into society by the formerly incarcerated, such as not being able to stay in public housing or receive welfare benefits, not being able to secure occupational licenses, and asking the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” Dr. Byron E. Price is a professor of political science at Texas Southern University and is the author of Merchandising Prisoners: Who Really Pays for Prison Privatization. [Reprinted from The Atlanta Post]

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 90


We are a group of believers in the Nation of Islam, determined to stand and defend our Big Brother (Minister Farrakhan) through scripture. We wish to inspire others to do the same. We Are The Farrakhan Justice League! Visit us online at www.handsofffarrakhan.com

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 91


Our Cure Is In the Kitchen Natural Home Remedies for Common Health

Foot Odor Baking Soda Snuffs Sneaker Smells They put it in their socks and shoes. They sprinkle it on their feet. They soak in it. They recommend it to friends and family. The product these people useso lavishly is plain, old baking soda—a white powder with well-known odor-absorbing qualities and an ingredient in some overthe-counter body powders. Snoring They Make Him Roll Over Heavy snorers can saw wood in just about any position, but moderate snorers do so only when they lie on their backs, which allows the tongue to fall back into the throat, obstructing the airway. So it’s no surprise that keeping a snorer on his side or stomach is a major noise-stifling strategy. Please be mindful of the ingredient for food allergies. For medical concerns, Consult your physician.

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 92


Safiyyah’s Sweets & Treats Incredible Iced Coffee

What You Will Need

Method

Blender

Cinnamon

Brew coffee as usual. Pour coffee into blender to half point Add sugar to taste Add creamer (1/4 cup) Add ice, not past 5 inches from rim. Blend until smooth Drizzle chocolate syrup inside of glass/ mug. Pour iced coffee mixture into glass/mug. Add whipped cream on top. Sprinkle cinnamon over whipped cream.

Chocolate Syrup (Optional)

Enjoy !

Your favorite coffee

 

Ice

 

Creamer

Raw Sugar

 

Whipped Cream (Optional) Glass/Mug HURT 2 HEALING | NOVEMBER 2010

93


11 Ways To Handle Stress By: Wholistic Stress Control Institute, Inc. www.wholistic1.com *Take a deep breath.

*Let go and Let God.

*Think positive.

*Get a massage!

*Talk with someone.

*Take a trip!

*Relax and chill out!

*Do some fun things-Laugh!

*Let anger out - Scream!

*Exercise and eat nutritiously.

*Forgive yourself and others.

HURT 2 HEALING | NOVEMBER 2010

94


Links / Resources Stay Connected Wholistic Stress Control Institute, Inc. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence American Holistic Health Association Houston Association of Black Psychologists American Bar Association: Commission on Domestic Violence (Statistics) Social Issues Research Center Association for Death Education and Counseling

HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE 2011 95


HURT 2 HEALING | NOVEMBER 2010

96


I would first like to thank Almighty God for the courage and inspiration to compile such writings and subjects for the betterment of myself and others, THANK YOU! I would like to extend my deepest and most sincere thanks to all of the contributors to this month’s edition; Se7en The Poet Demetric Muhammad DeAndre Muhammad Kevin Muhammad Born Free Terrance Young Shawn J. Byron Price Erik Smith Dawn, The Self-Esteem Queen Jesse Muhammad Ashahed Muhammad Marcus Muhammad Felicia Watson Historical Research Department of the Nation of Islam Natural Hair Pandemic KAS Collection, Inc. Freely Speaking, Inc. Modest Models, Inc. Connect the Dots Radio Show The Elevated Places Radio Show Sounds of Soul Radio Show Liberated Sisters Radio Show The Final Call Newspaper Rolling Out Magazine THANK YOU! To ALL of the Hurt2Healing supporters...I cannot find the words adequate enough to express to you of how much I appreciate all of the love and encouragement you give! I don’t take for granted the time you lend to read this publication! THANK YOU! HURT 2 HEALING | NOVEMBER 2010

97


HURT 2 HEALING | APRIL 2011

98

H2H JUNE 2011  

Special Father's Day Edition

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you