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APRIL 2013

DIRECTOR/PRODUCER

D. CHANNSIN BERRY

TALKS ABOUT THE DREAMS THAT LED HIM TO THE BIRTH OF HIS FRATERNAL TWINS:

MUSIC & FILM

p. 18

DR. JEREMIAH WRIGHT

INDUCTED INTO THE HALL OF RESISTANCE

p. 6

SURVIVING

SEXUAL ABUSE

AND THE

CHURCH’S RESPONSE p. 24

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

CHANGING HAITI’S NAME CHANGES ITS DESTINY

p. 30


2 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013


CONTENTS | APRIL 2013 FEATUR E S COV ER Director/Producer D. Channsin Berry An inspirational story of a dark-skinned Black man fulfilling the dreams he had since he was seven years old (page 18).

24 30

Surviving Sexual Abuse and the Church’s Response Bottom 47 | What’s In a Name? Changing Haiti’s Name Changes its Destiny D E PA R T M E N T S 5

FROM THE PUBLISHER The Season of Rebirth

6

WRIGHTINGS | Pastor Emeritus Reflections

8

A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR The Real Problem with Many Children: Parents!

GLOBAL NOTES 10 Howard University’s Alternative Spring Break: Making a Difference in the Lives of Our Youth SOUND ADVICE 12 Stop Abusing Children with Bad Language 26 Ask the Dentist… Dissolving the Sweet Tooth 28 Most Taxpayers Are Vulnerable to 2013 Tax Changes PHENOMENAL LIVING 14 Zumba Bursts Victory for Victor V 22 A Darker Shade of Pink: Clean Up the Chaos Inside 32 Living to Wynn: A Wynning Testimony SOUNDING ON 16 …About Rebirth 34 BLACKWARDS Child Abuse Prevention: A Black Pearl Anniversary Revision REAR VIEW 36 The Treason of the Intellectuals APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 3


PUBLISHER/EDITOR IN CHIEF Jeri L. Wright EXECUTIVE EDITOR Rev. Dr. L. Bernard Jakes MANAGING EDITOR Janet B. Wright COLUMNISTS Colleen Birchett, Ph. D., Erika Bracey, Marjorie Clark, Kim Dulaney, Melody Ferguson, Keenan Glover, Jazmin Hall, Natasha L. Robinson, Esq., Dr. Susan K. Smith, Brenda Taylor, D.M.D., Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Donna Hammond, Chris Hedges, Jeri Wright Chrishawn A. Speller, PhD (Contributing Writer from March 2013) We sincerely apologize for the omission. ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/DIGITAL SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Nakia Green CREATIVE DIRECTOR LaShaunn Tappler JERI WRIGHT AND REV. DR. JEREMIAH A. WRIGHT, JR. PHOTOS Rodney Wright/Image Makers Photography WRIGHTINGS PHOTOS Paul Braxton Photography D. CHANNSIN BERRY PHOTOS William Pitts Photography FOUNDER Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE 939 W. North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642 Nakia Green, Associate Publisher 312.646.2144 | infor@thetrumpetmag.com | www.thetrumpetmag.com

Contents may NOT be printed or duplicated without prior written permission from Trumpet Newsmagazine.


FROM THE PUBLISHER

THE SEASON OF

REBIRTH

It’s time to clean house mentally, physically, and spiritually. It’s time to begin again! It’s time for a rebirth!

Rebirth as defined in the World English Dictionary is: 1) a revival or renaissance; 2) a second or new birth. Funny “Rebirth” would be the theme for the month of April in the life of Trumpet Newsmagazine. As March came to a close, I found myself going through another transition as I began to do an internal inventory. I found myself working on one of the four soon-to-be-birthed books I have begun to write. In fact, I wrote one chapter of the first book originally planned to be co-authored with my sister, Janet Wright Moore. Writing that chapter was very therapeutic for me. It became a turning point in my life. By the time I’d completed what was to be an article, I realized I had completed an entire chapter! Suddenly, I knew life would not be the same. In fact, I knew I was at the beginning of a rebirth! This issue was particularly interesting for me. I was definitely dragged out of my comfort zone as I prepared to interview my friend, about whom the cover story is written. Because D. Channsin Berry is one who exudes love as he bursts forth his message of healing, it became increasingly difficult for me to do justice to the heart and soul of the matter without divulging too much of his personal, private being. By the completion of the written article, after managing to mull over one of the most intense interviews I’d experienced, I received further confirmation. I am experiencing rebirth! As Trumpet Newsmagazine prepares to host the screening of Dark Girls, including matinees for students, April 17–19, as well as host the Sneak Premier of The Black Line: Profile of the African American Woman (Part 3), it is our hope this will be a rebirth for African American women and men of all ages. Not only will the movies be shown on the big screens of Chicago’s Ice Lawndale Theaters, the movement is birthed as moviegoers will benefit from a Question and Answer period with director/producer D. Channsin Berry, following each screening. The movement continues throughout the spring season as we will host follow up workshops, and introduce curriculum to the students who will be in attendance. To sponsor a group of students and/or reserve your vendor table, purchase tickets, or for more information on this four-day event, Not Just a Movie, It’s A Movement!, feel free to email info@thetrumpetmag.com or call 708.680.NEWS. Phenomenally yours,

Jeri L. Wright Trumpet Publisher & Editor in Chief APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 5


W R I G H T I N G S

PA S TO R E M E R I T U S R E V E R E N D D R . J E R E M I A H A . W R I G H T, J R .

I

am writing the April article for the Trumpet Newsmagazine on March 1st. It was on the 1st of March, I started as Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, in 1972. Because of the specialness of the day, I cannot help but reflect, remember, and rejoice! I sat in the airport in Selma, Alabama, on March 1st, remembering. I had just left the

and the pictures on the Wall of Resistance, and my mind raced back across the years.

sacred Ancient Africa Enslavement and Civil

I thought about our church’s involvement

War Museum, where Dr. Tony Browder is the

in the March on Selma before I got to Trinity

curator. It was at the museum (on March 1st!)

Church. On Bloody Sunday of 1965 (the

that I was inducted along with Dr. Na’im Akbar,

first Sunday in March), our Founding Pastor,

Queen Mother Moore, and Dr. Haki Madhubuti,

Reverend Kenneth B. Smith, was in that March.

into the “Hall of Resistance.”

I was stationed at the United States Naval

The “Hall of Resistance” is a Hall of Fame where African and African American

heroes

Hospital, in Bethesda, Maryland. My oldest daughter, Janet, was almost a

and

year old, and Jeri would not be born until

sheroes are recognized by

that following October. As they talked about

the living veterans of the

March 7, 1965, I thought about both of my

March from Montgomery

oldest children. I also thought about the fact

to Selma (The “Bloody

that Barack Obama was four years old when

Sunday” veterans).

that March took place.

The celebration

“Bloody Sunday” took place two weeks after

is held at the foot

Malcolm X was murdered. Two weeks after El-

of

Edmund

Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was assassinated, “Bloody

Pettus Bridge, at

Sunday” shocked the nation and world, as

the museum, and

the raw racism of this country was seen by

my name now joins

television viewers from Georgia to Jamaica,

the name of Queen

and from Columbia to Cote d’Ivoire.

the

Mother Mary Moore, Haki Madbubuti, Kwame

It was on Bloody Sunday that John Lewis

Nkrumah, Dr. Iva Carruthers, John Henrik

got his head cracked open. It was on Bloody

Clarke, Randall Robinson, Asa Hilliard, Kwame

Sunday that Black and white bodies were

Touré, and many, many others.

bloodied, and backbones were strengthened,

Receiving that honor, and hearing the praise of the warriors of the Civil Rights Movement,

as the vicious Alabama racists tried to thwart the Voting Rights Act.

meant an awful lot to me. It meant even more

The irony of the first day of March, the Bloody

for it to be on the day I started as Pastor of

Sunday Jubilee, the induction into the Hall of

Trinity United Church of Christ, forty-one years

Resistance, and the remembrances of March

TOP: Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. inducte

ago! I sat in the museum looking at the names

1965, was made even more poignant by the

Wright gives thanks for the honor of being i

fact this was the same weekend Supreme Court 6 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013


REFLECTIONS

ed into the “Hall of Resistance.” BOTTOM: Dr.

inducted. Photos: Paul Braxton Photography

Justice Scalia said our voting as Black people

Wright, Sr., and Mary Henderson Wright,

was an “entitlement.” I sat there wondering

standing on either shoulder, standing right

how far we had come since 1965—or if we

beside me, encouraging me and reminding

had come far at all!?!

me they laid the foundation upon which I was

I thought about our young people at

standing.

Trinity who were teenagers in 1972. They

As I train our oldest daughters to take over

are now grown. They are now parents. Some

the Africa, Caribbean, and Brazilian study

are grandparents! All of them who came

tours, I am reminded of that foundation. As

through the congregation “under my watch”

I looked at the picture of W.E.B. DuBois, the

are persons whom I treasure and value

picture of Gwendolyn Brooks, the picture

individually and collectively.

of Sojourner Truth, and the picture of Julius Nyerere, I thought about all of those heroes

They shaped my ministry. They made me who I am. They made Trinity Church, what Trinity Church became—the largest and strongest church of any race in the UCC denomination! They were the persons who did “Black Theology” on the ground.

and sheroes who made me who I am, and who gave me hope for our future. It was an awesome first day of March. It was a powerful “anniversary” celebration. It was an emotional day of remembrance and thanksgiving. During the month of April, we move into the “post-Easter” season of the church.

It

is my prayer that no matter what church is your home church, you will take the lessons

The adults, the children, the young adults,

of James Cone’s, The Cross and The Lynching

the teenagers, and the congregation, which

Tree, and internalize them. Think about them

caught the vision of Dr. King, James Cone,

daily, and live as one who has taken up your

Malcolm X, and Jeremiah Wright, all made up

Cross to follow Him who said we had to deny

the family of Trinity United Church of Christ,

ourselves, not “indulge ourselves!”

and all ran through my mind on the first day of

For all of the readers of this Newsmagazine,

March, as I sat in front of the Wall of Resistance

I ask you in this mood of reflection: “What will

and was inducted into the “Hall of Resistance!”

you do this month to make this world a world of

I had to deliver two public lectures during

peace?” Our political leaders are hell-bent on

the month of March. At both lectures the

making a world of unending war. What will

newspapers warned of the “haters” being in

you do to make it a world of peace?

n

attendance to protest my being in their “fair” cities. My oldest daughter, Janet, reminded me when I stood up to walk behind the lectern to deliver those lectures, however, that I was not standing on my own! I not only had the power of God and God’s

Founding Chief Executive Officer of Trumpet Newsmagazine, the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., Pastor Emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ, is a student of Black Sacred music, ethnomusicology and African Diaspora studies, and an historian of religions.

promises I was standing on, I also had Jeremiah

APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 7


A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR

The

REAL Problem With Many Children:

R E V. D R . L . B E R N A R D J A K E S

I

PARENTS!

believe the children are our future; teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.1 The belief system

statistically connected to the covert

erected prison, and this is done by going

of Michael Masser

genocide of a generation, is that many of

into

and

Linda

underserved

communities

and

Creed,

these children have not had the privilege

arresting those young African American

songwriters of The

of having the fertile soil of their souls

males and females, many whom are

Greatest

of

planted with proverbial seeds of positivity,

victims of child abuse and neglect,

All, from which the

while being saturated with waters of

for non-violent offenses. The signs are

above

Love

are

encouragement. The lack thereof only

evident when young African American

drawn, speaks to the

lyrics

adds to a growing list of other elements

children have more knowledge of their

possibility and hope

that lead toward their extinction, and the

mother’s boyfriend than they do of their

that rests in children,

lead lack is what I am choosing to label as

biological father. The signs are evident

the

child abuse and neglect.

when a parent or guardian articulates

responsibility

adults have to sow

Many

American

the first sign of child abuse and neglect:

seeds of positivity in the lives of children,

children are victims of child abuse and

“I am not going to raise my child the way

whereas children can believe what they

neglect. You may never see them with a

my momma raised me.” This statement

see with an eye of faith in themselves,

black eye, broken ribs, or signs of what

is often articulated out of dissatisfaction

despite what they see surrounding them

could be understood as “real signs of

with the order by which a child was

with their natural eyes, and the need for

abuse.” On the contrary, many young

reared. I recall when I was a child, when

adults to be reminded of the days of their

African American children have never

the street lights came on, my sister and

youth—days that were hopefully filled

been physically touched to the point of

I had better have been making our way

with laughter, joy, and the freedom to live

receiving bruises. Yet, they are victims of

to the house—not from a long distance

as children. Although penned in 1977,

child abuse and neglect, but they have

away, but where my mother could see us

the lyrics are relevant in 2013, because

never been identified as such, because

walking to the front porch.

the possibility and hope of children

they do not show visible physical signs.

For many of my childhood friends, who

serving as the future, coupled with adults

However, the signs are evident when

adhered to the same rules, they would often

sowing seeds of positivity in their lives

less than 47% of young African American

articulate that when they have children

is, unfortunately, losing momentum.

males are graduating from high school.

they would let the child stay out as long as

The saddening climate of today’s young

The signs are evident when the prison

they wanted. When you examine much of

African American culture, irrespective

industrial complex can rest assured in

the crime activity within African American

of many young African Americans who

guaranteeing a rural town the maximum

communities, it takes place during times

are working diligently not to become

number of occupants needed for a newly

when children should be in the house.

8 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013

young

African


This may appear as freedom in the mind of the parent, but for a child who is forced to navigate through life without order, especially from their parent, it’s child abuse and neglect.

of having these basic needs met creates long-termed

negative

issues

within

the life of the child, and these issues negatively

impact

African

American

communities. For the parent or caregiver who finds no fault in allowing their child to roam the street all hours of the evening, or who does not follow-up with their

As a myriad of social and civic

child’s academic record, or who identifies

organizations are seeking to identify the

their child’s behavior as combative and

main source of the problem with young

wayward, rather, “You ackin’ jus like yo’

African American children, with the hope

no good daddy,” but will not seek to

identification would lead to a plausible

identify if the child’s combativeness or

solution, the conversation must begin

• An act or failure to act that presents

with child abuse and neglect. Addressing

waywardness is an outward cry due to

an imminent risk of serious harm.

sensible gun laws is in order, but what

inner turmoil—this is neglect, and it is a

Most Federal and State child protection

about the child who carries the gun?

laws primarily refer to cases of harm

Addressing the main source from the lens

Parents and caregivers must be held

caused by parents or other caregivers;

of public health is in order, and should be

responsible for the care of their child. It is

they generally do not include harm caused

moved to the second item of observation,

unfortunate, however, the care for children

by other people, such as acquaintances

but only after a serious conversation is had

is losing momentum because the child’s

or strangers.4 As the conversation must

about child abuse and neglect, especially

parent, in many cases, is only modeling

ensue regarding child abuse and neglect,

in the African American community. I

what was modeled in their lives. April is

it is the neglect that speaks to the plight

am well aware of the scriptural reference

Child Abuse Awareness Month. Join me

of many young African American children.

often connected with justifying what can

in sounding the clarion call to all parents

Neglect is the failure of a parent, guardian,

be viewed as physical child abuse: Spare

and caregivers, as we reclaim abused

or other caregiver to provide for a child’s

the rod and spoil the child! The scripture

and neglected children, especially young

basic needs. Neglect may be:

African American children, through love,

form of child abuse.

reads: Whoever spares the rod hates

• Physical (e.g., failure to provide

their children, but the one who loves their

while assisting and challenging parents

necessary food or shelter, or lack of

children is careful to discipline them.2 It is

and caregivers to provide appropriate

appropriate supervision)

care for these angels. Every child deserves

not the correction through the rod which

• Medical (e.g., failure to provide

needs to be highlighted, as long as it is

an opportunity to experience love! No

necessary medical or mental health

reasonable and causes no bodily injury

child deserves to experience abuse and

treatment)

neglect! Shalom.

to the child.3 The child abuse or neglect

• Educational (e.g., failure to educate a

that has affected young African American

child or attend to special education

children expands beyond the rod.

needs)

The U.S. Department of Health and

• Emotional (e.g., inattention to a

Human Services defines child abuse and

child’s emotional needs, failure

neglect, as is written in federal law, as, at

to provide psychological care, or

minimum:

permitting the child to use alcohol

• Any recent act or failure to act on the

or other drugs).5

part of a parent or caretaker which

When examining the neglect aspect

results in death, serious physical or

of child welfare, many young African

emotional harm, sexual abuse or

American children are victims of not

exploitation; or

having their basic needs met. The lack

n

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/whitneyhouston/greatestloveofall.html 2 Proverbs 13:24 (New International Version) 3 https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/ whatiscan.cfm 4 ibid. 5 ibid. 1

Executive Edior of Trumpet Newsmagazine, the Reverend Dr. L. Bernard Jakes is the Senior Pastor/Teacher of The faith family of West Point Missionary Baptist Church.

APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 9


GLOBAL NOTES

Howard University’s Alternative Spring Break:

MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the Lives of our

K E E N A N D. G LO V E R

W

hen I first arrived in Cramton Auditorium that Saturday, the beginning of spring break, I could not help think about how I had given up my time of rest, for the alternative—early mornings and late nights. After I delivered my bags to the holding area, where they would be placed in the luggage compartment of the coach busses that would transport more than 400 students around the United States, sleeping in and relaxing was but a dream. However, I knew what I was getting myself into when I applied. We were on a mission to raise awareness about bullying. Our audience would be school children, parents, teachers, and others who were receptive of our message. I was going to be sure to let my voice echo through Atlanta. The bus ride was pretty calm and

throughout the daycare rooms and the

Once we were finally boarded on the

smooth. Friends who knew each other

dining area to claim a space to lie our

bus, I would be ready to complete the day’s

prior to departure seemed to be the only

heads at night/early morning. I found

ultimate mission. I was in the mindset to

passengers holding conversation, while

myself bundled up in my sleeping bag

serve the community. We would start off

others, like myself, simply watched the

pleading for warmth, only to wake up in

at Hope-Hill Elementary. I tutored math to

movies being played on the television

a pool of sweat from the blasting heat

students in Mr. Everett’s fourth grade class.

screens on the bus. As I watched the

that always seemed to kick in after I was

Of all my tutees, I grew a brotherly bond

documentary, “Bully,” I found myself

trapped in an insulated sleeping bag.

with Douglas. When I first saw Douglas,

reflecting on the times I was bullied in

Every morning, I would embarrassingly

his head, covered by his hoodie, was

elementary school. I am so thankful I

tiptoe over heads, and weave through

cemented to his desk. Because of the way

had great self-esteem and a support

hallway crowds, to grab paper towels

Mr. Everett addressed him, in attempts to

system. Most of the children in the movie

to wipe perspiration off the floor and

awaken him, I knew he was one who was

had no one to come to their defense

my sleeping bag. After having to plead

no stranger to conflict in the classroom.

and aid them. As the film progressed,

and bargain with people to take their

This actually excited me! I love working

passengers began to connect with one

scheduled shower time, I would race the

with students who need guidance. As we

another through common emotions

clock to bathe within the allotted seven

worked on the assignments, I discovered

and experiences inflicted by watching

minutes. After rushing in the bathroom,

him to be a very intelligent kid. Slowly,

“Bully.” This connectedness became the

I then had to make mad dashes to the

but surely, we began to learn more and

beginning of a week’s worth of bonding.

kitchen to assure I would get breakfast.

more about each other. Once he finished

Berea

Waking up early to a spoonful of eggs and

his tutoring sessions with me, he would

Mennonite Church were definitely sub-

hash browns was a hell of a lot better than

seem energized and ready to tackle

par. Almost fifty of us, Howard University

sleeping an extra 20 minutes and eating

the rest of the school day. It gave me

representatives,

nothing until lunchtime.

pleasure to think I was giving him a lot of

Our

living

conditions

dispersed

at

ourselves

10 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013


encouragement and motivation. Young Black men need people to look up to and aspire to be, and I believe that’s who I am for Douglas. After tutoring, we would have Safe

nurturing information into a child’s mind, we are doing our communities a disservice. I’ve heard teachers refer to their children as “special-ed.”

Circles with our assigned classes. In Safe Circles, we would teach students about bullying: how to identify it, whom it affects, and what the effects are physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. We would tell the students our various stories of being bullied. In return, they opened up to us a lot more than we expected. One child shared a story of being bullied all throughout her life by siblings, family members, peers, and even teachers at Hope-Hill. When she shared this on the first day, I was in shock! I kept thinking: How could a teacher exhibit such behaviors? As the time passed, I began to see exactly what these students had shared.

To my surprise, many of the Hope-Hill educators do not respect their jobs, nor do they understand the importance of teaching. Teachers shape the minds that will lead the future. If we are not putting useful and

and economics. They will soon begin to understand the complexities of this world. It is imperative the elders show them the ropes in this jungle of a world. We must stimulate their minds to think outside of the box, especially young Black

Some teachers swear in front of their students and have piss-poor attitudes. Some humiliate their students without thinking

twice.

One

teacher

even

whispered in my ear, “They (are) all crack babies.” I couldn’t believe the things I witnessed in the classrooms of HopeHill. Each day, during our end of the day meetings, we reported what we witnessed and experienced as we worked with and observed the staff, but the administration would respond as if they could do nothing to deal with the issues within their school walls. This broke my heart. It made me realize we were not only there to raise awareness about bullying, but we were there to see the injustices these students endure on a weekly basis. How are we going to sound off about this? What can I do to elevate awareness? Throughout the week, I was able to ponder this thought: those children will soon be caught up in the realm of politics

boys. They need positive role models in their lives. With music, television, and the internet being the most popular sources of mass media, there are still very positive role models for Black children. We have music artists who glorify sex, drugs, violence, and material possessions, actors who exhibit repulsive behavior, and the list goes on. Despite the negativity in the media, I believe the youth I came in contact with, more than any other famous face, looked up to me. When I came into the room, I saw their faces light up. The students would run up to me to “slap me up” or give a jovial hug. Ultimately, I made a difference over the course of my spring break and it was truly a lifechanging experience. Because of this, I am forever grateful for Howard University’s Alternative Spring Break: Atlanta.

n

A freshman, majoring in Administration of Justice, at Howard University, Keenan Glover, has received awards and honor for his commitment to community service and service learning.

APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 11


SOUND ADVICE

STOP ABUSING CHILDREN WITH BAD LANGUAGE

R E V. S U S A N S M I T H

N

ot long ago, I heard a proud grandmother talking about her granddaughter. She showed me a picture; the little girl was precious, but the grandmother, after thanking me for the compliment, immediately said she was “bad.” I asked her why she said that, and she said, “Oh, I don’t know. She’s just bad.”

I hear so many African American mothers, grandmothers, and others, refer to their kids as “bad,” and every time I hear it, I cringe. I hear parents call their kids bad, or get impatient with them, when they ask questions, or try to explore their world, or their surroundings – which is what children are supposed to do! I have seen African American mothers slap their kids for whining, (which kids do); I have seen them pulling their kids along, cussing at them for not moving fast enough. In many homes I’ve visited, the kids are not talked to, but yelled at, cussed at, and left alone to watch television. It seems too few of us realize using bad language, calling our kids “bad,” stifling their creativity, yelling and cussing at them are forms of child abuse. Many of our parents are good at providing material things for our children,

but what they need most is to be nurtured by their parents, to know they are loved and honored for who they are. It takes time and patience to nurture them, but without nurturing, they are thrust into a world that doesn’t care for them, without any spiritual or emotional strength to protect them. Many of us grew up in homes where we were yelled and cussed at. I was, and because I was adopted and already felt a little unwanted, the yelling and cussing had an indelible effect on my sense of self. As I look at our kids, I wonder how many of them feel like I felt growing up. I felt like I could never do anything right. It is a fact, if one does not feel he or she can do anything right, he or she has a hard time living up to his or her potential. There’s also the problem when yelling and cussing at our kids, we may be yelling at them for things they cannot control. I have long wondered how many African American kids have autism, or are bipolar; how many of them have some physical “something” going on, being mistaken for behavior problems? It is probably a real problem in neighborhoods that have a lot of single mothers who have poor jobs and no health insurance for themselves or their children. So, many of our children are being yelled at and cussed at—at home and at school—for being sick! Our kids deserve better. They are our gifts from God. They are on loan to us from God. We don’t have to beat, cuss, and yell to get them to do what is good for them,

12 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013

but we owe it to God to love and nurture them. They cannot grow up thinking they are bad, because we, the parents, have yelled and cussed them into that belief. If our kids grow up feeling unworthy and unwanted, they migrate to people who can make them feel better. We have all heard gangs are strong because they can recognize kids who feel unwanted and unloved, and they take on the job of nurturing them. Young girls end up hanging onto, and hanging out with, guys who mean them no good, but who say, “I love you,” and the girls drink it up, because their souls have dried up from having been yelled and cussed at for so long. Bad language, language that demeans a child, is child abuse. While physical abuse leads to scars we can see, bad language damages the spirit and soul of a person, and because those scars cannot be seen, we cannot see the damage we are doing. In the Book of James in the Bible, it says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” The behavior of our children reflects how we talk to them. They are already at risk in the world, in their schools. They should not be “at risk” at home. Just a thought… n Author of four books, Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith appears weekly in The Washington Post, as a member of a panel of theologians, scholars and writers commenting on issues pertinent to religion.


APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 13


PHENOMENAL LIVING

Zumba Bursts Victory for Victor V JAZMIN L. HALL

AFTER Photo caption goes here. Photo caption goes here

Ditch the workout, join the party!

V

BEFORE t Victor, second from left, with former Burger King co-workers

ictor Monterroso throws a party 28 times a week. In a mere three years, this Zumba instructor has used the newly popular exercise to transform his life, body, and soul.

The Zumba® program is an“exhilarating,

manager at Burger King, found himself

effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired,

close to 300 pounds due to bad food

calorie-burning

fitness-party™

choices and lack of adequate exercise.

that’s moving millions of people toward

Ready for a lifestyle change, he began

joy and health.” Zumba was created by

taking Zumba classes, and, shortly

Monterroso to talk about his new life,

fitness instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez, and

thereafter, became a licensed teacher, in

and find out how he continues to stay

began to spread worldwide, in 2001. Its

2010.

motivated as he motivates others, while

dance

combination of well-known international

Within three years, Victor has lost

music and addictive dance routines are

well over 100 pounds with the help of

just a few examples of how Zumba has

Zumba and a well-balanced diet. He

become one of the most popular and

currently holds seven of the eight Zumba

fastest-growing fitness programs in the

certifications, along with other fitness

world.

credentials. In 2012, Victor opened Victory

The music, dance steps, and fact that

Dance Studio. Victor now teaches a

you can burn up to 1000 calories in just

whopping 28 classes per week, and is one

one class have caused 14 million people

of the most recognized names in the city

to flock to Zumba, including Victor

of Chicago.

Monterroso. Victor, who worked as a

14 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013

I

recently

caught

up

with

Mr.

staying so humble and beautifully spirited through it all. VM | What led you to Zumba? TN | I was 287 pounds, and I was actually experiencing heart pains, when, suddenly, I saw a sign that said Zumba. I didn’t know what it was, but I went in and asked about it.


VM | Can you speak a little about your

those five people actually start screaming,

weight loss and how Zumba helped

because of the pain, but it’s no pain no

you?

gain. That’s what I’ve heard before, they

TN | I had gym memberships, before,

will actually engage with the music, and

that made me think I was getting a

they’ll start screaming, because they can

deal, because they would offer $30 for

actually feel it.

3 months, and promotions of that kind. I would get the memberships right away, but within a month, I might go, maybe, just twice. Then, soon thereafter, I never went back. I was just losing my money. It was nothing that was actually keeping me interested in losing weight. Then, I found Zumba. When I first started Zumba classes, I didn’t make friends, a lot of people didn’t like me. Each class, I would have a puddle of water under me,

VM | What inspires you most about being a Zumba instructor? TN | I’ve been asked this question so many times. It’s just natural. It’s the music. As soon as I put the music on, I feel myself getting started. If I’m out somewhere, I have the earplugs in, and it seems as if no one is there but me. I picture myself doing different moves, and I start envisioning new choreography for my classes.

because I sweat a lot. So, imagine me with

VM | What gives you the drive to

more weight. I actually had water all over

teach so many classes, with so much

me. Then I started losing five pounds a

enthusiasm in each class?

week. That kept me going, and I wanted

TN | I think just by seeing every one of my

to keep losing more, and more, and more.

students, I get excited. I see weight lost. I

I found myself addicted to losing weight

see how much they love it, and I feel, and

after that.

I may be wrong, but I feel they love me.

VM | Why do you think Zumba has become so popular? TN | I think Zumba is popular because of the international music. Zumba is all about the music, which includes Samba, Reggaeton, Salsa, and more; it’s a formula.

That’s what I feel when they come here (to my studio). People travel from distances, and they have many other options, but they come to me. That just really keeps me going!

n

own selection, which can be hip-hop, or

Victory Dance Studio is located at 10243 S. Western Ave., Chicago, IL, 60643. Class schedules and other information can be found at victorydancestudio.com.

whatever you like. Zumba, the music, is

Victor can be contacted at (630) 863-5960 /

flexible; it gives more options for you to

zumbachapin@yahoo.com.

Zumba instructors are required to have 70% Latin music, the rest can be your

decide what people like. People love Salsa, that’s one of the main types of music. VM | What makes Zumba so different, compared to other aerobics classes? TN | Zumba (its motto) says, “Ditch the

A recent graduate of Howard University, Jazmin L. Hall holds a Bachelor of Science in Health, Human Performance, and Leisure Studies with a concentration in Sports Medicine and a minor in Chemistry.

workout, join the party!” I feel like I’m at a party every single time I teach. Always, even if I have only five people per class, and I haven’t had that in a long time,

APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 15


SOUNDING ON

Sounding on about... N ATA S H A L . R O B I N S O N

I

“CHANGE IS INEVITABLE, GROWTH IS OPTIONAL.” —ANONYMOUS

love nature! I love watching the birds huddle together, building their nests as they prepare for the arrival of their newest offspring. I love watching geese soar in synchronized patterns, communicating with each other as they seamlessly fly in V-formation, gliding above the earth. I enjoy the changing of the leaves as rich greens morph into majestic auburns, mustards, and oranges, falling onto the ground, changing the landscape into a vibrant, colorful kaleidoscope. I marvel in wonder at the hues of every sunrise and sunset, as if God uses the sky as an easel, painting purples, pinks, and blues, causing one to gasp in amazement at beauty, personified. All of creation seems to be in a state

What is mind-blowing to me is out of

something we had placed in a particular

of natural rhythm. Each living organism

all of God’s creations, great and small,

way in a particular location? How many of

knows how to be in balance. It knows

it is the human being, the one living

us fuss when we come to a parking space

when to do what it needs to do to survive.

organism that can create mathematical

at our job where we have parked for years

Every spring, all of creation begins to

equations,

design

and, on this day, someone has parked in

crescendo into a masterpiece of visual and

skyscrapers,

articulate

and

our spot? Rather than find another spot,

indescribable beauty. The air is so crisp

feelings in a limitless amount of verbal

we will fume at the fact our routine has

and clean, the flowers bloom, the trees are

and nonverbal languages, that seems

been disturbed. Even chaotic situations,

full and lush, and animals are excited and

to be the only creature most resistant to

not the best or most productive for us, will

full of joy, especially the birds who sing

change. We just don’t like change. We are

remain the same, because we don’t like

like never before, as they awaken each

habitual creatures. We want things done

dealing with the unknown. It is chaotic,

of us everyday with their newest musical

in a particular way. How many of us have

but it’s our chaos, and we adamantly

ode to a new day and a new beginning.

a complete fit when someone moves

fight, tooth-and-nail, to keep it, because,

16 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013

larger-than-life words


at least, we know this type of crazy. How

about failure. What if this new decision

but the labor, the breathing, and the pain

insane is that?

doesn’t work? What if I lose friends? What

are remembered, but not surmounted by

While all of nature engages in all forms

can I go back to if this fails? If this succeeds,

the joy that comes thereafter: the gift of

of rebirth, we do our best to stay the same

do I have what it takes to maintain my

new life.

and control what we can. The irony is,

success? What will my success cost me?

This month, I’m sounding on about

while we are habitual creatures, we do not

How do I know I’m doing the right thing?

rebirth and the need for us to constantly

welcome the habit of change and growth.

Retrospection and reflection are two

revisit how we maintain balance in our

The truth of the matter is everything will

wonderful tools to have, but anything

lives.

change, but growth is not automatic. It

in excess usually causes one to get out

has to be intentional and not accidental.

of balance. For me, being the analytical

When the leaves begin to grow on the

thinker I am, the excessive questioning

trees, when the feathers of animals begin

caused me to doubt myself, and I ended

to shed as the new season approaches, it

up doing nothing. My feet froze, my

is because it is designed that way. How

stubbornness kicked in, and I resigned

ridiculous would a tree look to have the

myself to just “maintain.” However, as with

same leaves on it from five years ago? How

Nature, something within our DNA will

odd would it appear for a duck to keep the

let us know something needs to change!

same feathers on its body it had when it

Something needs to grow, and signals will

was a duckling? The shedding of the old

come from within as well as around you to

is the epitome of growth, a rebirth if you

let you know it’s time to begin again.

will. Something in their DNA mandates a

I cannot tell you exactly when my

rebirth take place, for it is necessary to live

moment of rebirth began, but, in the last

and to thrive.

few years, my rebirthing has culminated

Take a personal inventory and you will see, for most of us, it’s time to push and give birth, to produce something new in our lives.

into an explosion of experiences I would

I could go for hours listing all of the opportunities in life I missed simply because I did not want to go through the pain of growing. I’ve been blessed to live a wonderful life, but in my quiet moments of reflection, I sometimes shudder at some of the decisions I’ve made, because I didn’t want to go through my “birthing pains,” the process of giving birth to something new and unpredictable. There are a number of reasons why I felt the cocoon was better than the bursting out into the fullness of what God has called me to be and do. I failed to walk in faith, because I was worried about the fleeting opinions of a few. I was worried

have never imagined possible. In the last twenty-four months, I have made no less than three major decisions that have completely changed my life. It scared the living daylights out of me, because I am a proponent of predictability. I remember confiding in a loved one about one decision I felt led to make. I characterized this new chapter in my life as feeling like “something is dying.” He lovingly responded, “Nothing is dying. What’s happening is new birth.” New birth, I thought. Is that what I was experiencing? As I thought about it, it occurred to me

Our time for rebirth is long overdue. We cannot let fear or the addiction for approval deter us from doing what needs to be done. We are blessed everyday with fresh grace and mercy! Let this serve as the context in which we assess what needs to be birthed in us and through us. I promise you the process will not be easy,

that his wise response was exactly what

but the joy you experience will make the

was happening. Internally, my spirit and

n

my soul were finally responding to the rhythm of divine time. As with Nature, I honored what had been and was making room—shedding—and

preparing

for

what was yet to come. Any mother will tell you giving birth is an excruciating process,

journey worthwhile.

Former Assistant Public Defender, Natasha L. Robinson, Esq., head of a Law and Public Safety Academy, teaches criminal law, criminal psychology, civil and constitutional law to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, and heads an internship program for senior high school students.

APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 17


ON THE COVER

D. CHANNSIN BERRY

A FATHER OF FRATERNAL TWINS

MUSIC&FILM

JERI WRIGHT

M

usic is said to be many things to many people. For Maya Angelou, “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” To Ludwig van Beethoven, “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” This quote with no known author, “Music is what feelings sound like,” perhaps, best connects to the man behind the music and the movies.

18 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013


As for D. Channsin “Chann” Berry, prolific

Chaka’s my muse, but the others are my

songwriter and music video producer for

inspiration: Stevie, Luther, Donny, Duke

Chaka Khan, Dionne Warwick, Howard

Ellington.

Hewitt, Nancy Wilson and others, painter,

“Music

has

memories—deep

film-maker, director/producer of Dark

memories, childhood memories, situation

Girls (along with Bill Duke), The Black Line:

memories, the lack of love memories, not

Profile of the African American Male (part

being wanted memories; all that, and fun

1, part 2, part 3), and more, “My first love

memories at the same time.” Because of

is music.” Chann continues, “If I had it my

the lack of love and not being wanted

way, I would do music ‘til the day I died

memories, when Bill Duke presented

and would leave film out of it. I love film,

the idea of doing Dark Girls, Chann

because it gives me the visual of how I’m

immediately connected. Chann identified

feeling and what my thoughts are, but

with the pain, as he remembered being

music gives me everything. If I could just

“a very dark little boy and quiet, shy,

sit back and write songs for the rest of my

not attractive, and not being included

life, I would do that.”

in certain activities with other kids, like

Taking time while on the road, Chann

twins, and it’s beautiful! Not only do you

parties. Girls, even people in your own

talked about rebirth, cleaning house

get a chance to say something visually,

family, talking about you, how dark you

spiritually, mentally, and physically, and

you get a chance to say it also from a

are, how nappy your head is, that sort of

transitions in his life. “The things I do are

musical standpoint, and it’s all spiritual!

thing. I was already quiet, so I just went

nothing but gifts. At the same time, they

It’s all God!

further in.”

are gifts that come with responsibility,

“Making

these

transitions

from

Fortunately, Chann discovered his

and with responsibility come joy and

documentaries, to feature films, to music

strength, and championed through the

pain. When God has blessed you with

videos, to writing music, to painting, has

pain. “I had a mission, and I knew exactly

something, sometimes, it feels like a

never been hard for me. It’s just whatever

what I wanted to do when I was seven

curse, because it’s the things you’re

is in me at that time has to come out,

years old. I wanted to be in entertainment.”

passionate about and you can’t seem to

like right now. I’m in a deep, deep phase

Finding refuge in music, as early as seven,

get away from them, not that you want

writing music, right now. Although, I’m

whether playing drums or listening to the

to, but it’s never about you, it’s all about

working on four documentaries at one

radio, Chann recalls, “I wanted to be a disc

everybody else. Passion is about service.

time, the music thing, for the last month,

jockey, so I could play music and I could

Your gift is about service to others. Once

has been on me. So, I’m sleeping, I’m

talk, but nobody could see me.” Chann

you understand that, life becomes really

eating, I’m dreaming, I’m writing music

would “listen to Frankie Crocker, who was

clear and poignant. I often wonder about

down in my head, and in the studio. Then

my idol, at WBLS in New York in the mid-

how many things can I do in this lifetime

working on Chaka’s music is also exciting.

‘70s, late ‘70s… This is the wonderful thing

that will help my people, who look like

(Chann is one of the producers on Chaka

about being open.

me, go further, get further ahead, become

Khan’s latest CD project, due to be released

stronger in who we are as a people.

July 2nd.) When I think of music, especially

Dreaming is the best thing that could happen to a person, because you can have wonderful dreams that can give you a template to what life could be like.

“I’ve always been torn between music

when I think of singers, my favorite singer

and film, but they both, many times, go

is Chaka, and it’s easy to write music,

hand in hand. In my documentaries, or

because every time I hear something, I

some of my film projects, I have been able

hear Chaka’s voice in my head singing

to score, or write, my own music. That’s

it. I sit down and I write to her voice, her

a real joy. That’s almost like giving birth

inflections, her Chaka-isms. She’s like a

to twins. You give birth to the film—the

muse to me, and has always been. Even

project-—and you give birth to the music

when it comes to writing songs that are

I dreamed about being a disc jockey.

that goes along with it. It’s like having

male vocals, I still hear Chaka in my head.

I dreamed about being in Hollywood.

APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 19


I dreamed about making records. I

me. It’s about everybody, but it’s all about

producers Bill Duke and D. Channsin

dreamed about performing. I dreamed

Black people for me. When it comes to my

Berry recently signed a deal with Image

about this, about that, and all those

people, people who look like me, I love

Entertainment. Dark Girls will be released

dreams were coming true.

us, and I think we’re capable of doing

on DVD by the end of Spring.

“I got to become a disc jockey. I became

everything and anything.

After being approached by several

Frankie Crocker’s assistant at WBLS.

“I think we have a lot of life, spirit, and

people from academia, curriculum is

Frankie became one of my best friends,

love to give, especially Black men. I don’t

currently being developed based on

my mentor, and big brother, and then it

believe we’re all jacked up, messed up,

different sections of the documentary,

just went on from there. Meeting people

ghetto’d up, because I know too many

Dark Girls. This curriculum will focus on

in my life who would help shape me,

who are not like that. The majority of

building self-esteem from a physical,

like Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Dizzy

the brothers I know are strong brothers,

psychological,

Gillespie, Max Roach, Stanley Turrentine,

good fathers, good mates, good dads, or

Beginning with four- and five-year-old

Chaka, Stevie, all these people became my

just great guys who decided not to get

girls, the curriculum in development

friends. These were dreams this little Black

married.

will show them how beautiful they are,

boy had growing up in East Orange, New Jersey, and they were projected forward, and nothing was going to stop me. From age seven on, nothing was going to stop me from achieving and meeting these people, and doing these things, regardless of what people said to me: I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t talented enough, I was not physically appealing enough, and they were wrong.” After being told he needed to attend a junior or community college, because he was “not equipped to go to a full-scale university,” by the only Black guidance

population, Chann enrolled in and graduated from Rutgers University. He went on to pass the law exam and be admitted to law school, just to prove to all the naysayers he could do it. Instead, Chann followed his dreams. “Thirty-one years later, I’ve been in California, doing what I wanted to do… hard, but doing what I wanted to do. Music, television, film, doing it! Struggled, but I had to follow what was put on me. I knew I would be protected, because it was God who gave it to me. It was my assignment. Grateful, humbled, and never finished, constantly trying to improve myself, and it’s all about Black people for

standpoint.

building confidence and self-esteem,

My main thing is to show Black people we are not a monolithic type of people. We’re all of everything. We’re everything! We’re American. We’re worldly. We’re Black. We’re African. We’re mixed. Native American. We’re Caucasian. We’re everything! We posses the power to conquer more than what we have already, and we can’t keep believing there’s a ceiling above us, because there isn’t.

mentally, spiritually, financially, and more. Chann points out in doing these documentaries on women, “especially Black women, we men have damn near destroyed the two things that give us life: women and the Earth. Until women are healed, we won’t be healed as men, and I truly believe that. I’m about building, one by one, a nation that is rooted, strong, liberated, and healthy. Through my art and my music, if I can help do that, my work is done on the planet.” Dark Girls fell in line with The Black Line: Profile of the African American Man

counselor in the high school Chann attended, with only 1% Black student

spiritual

“They tell you there is, but there really isn’t. There might be a human ceiling, but there’s no spiritual ceiling. That’s the breakthrough: it’s believing there is no ceiling for the spirit, and that’s what we all have to achieve. We must achieve that in order to be free. Being connected to your passion and your purpose is what life is all about. Most people don’t have that breakthrough. Most people come to the planet and leave the planet not knowing what the hell they’re here for, which is the saddest thing. It’s all about service to others.” Now, within two years, seven million strong

on

20 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013

the

Internet,

directors/

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), the documentary series Chann was working on when first approached by Bill Duke. Part 1, has been out already for three years. Chann is still working on part two, but decided to do part 3, because part three is on the women. “It (part 3) was supposed to come out in January, but got a little pushed back. It will have a sneak premier in April, in Chicago.”

After the Sneak Premier,

Chann will do more work on the film, with the hopes of having it finished by Mother’s Day. “The Black Line: Profile of the African American Woman (Part 3), is me going around America, south, north, east, west, interviewing sisters on what it is


to be Black in America, and a woman. I

armed forces. We talk about the education

when it comes to my documentaries and

interviewed probably close to 90 women

of Black women, or the lack thereof, and

my music, is about healing, the process

so far. They range from strippers to CEOs,

we also talk about parenting. The parents

of healing—stripping away the untruths,

to judges, to Viola Davis, to Sheryl Lee

you have, had, or didn’t have, and your

the lies you’ve been told, or you believe,

Ralph, to Malcolm Jamal Warner’s mom,

parenting skills.”

you read—stripping away those lies and

Pam Warner, to a 16-year-old in Chicago

The Black Line: Profile of the African

getting to the truth of who we are, and

who didn’t give a damn about school.

American Woman (Part 3), is very different

what we are, individually, and as a people.

Light-skinned,

weight

from Dark Girls. “It covers the whole span,

That’s what it’s about. There, again, is

issues, self-esteem issues, medical issues

as much as I possibly could, about Black

where you have the rebirth, I think, to our

—we talk about it all. We focus on two

women and who they possibly could be.”

true selves.” 

dark-skinned,

n

things with the medical situation, fibroids and depression in Black women. We talk about relationships, the good and the bad of them. We talk about sex. We talk about the lesbian lifestyle versus a straight lifestyle. We talk about women in the

MORE THAN A MOVIE, IT’S A MOVEMENT! “I always thought of it as a movement, because it was all about healing. My work,

D. Channsin Berry, “first, and foremost, a child of God; a man of God; a son, a father, a husband, a brother, a friend, and a human being who happens to be a man, and happens to be Black,” living his dreams as a movement in the service of healing our people.

APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 21


PHENOMENAL LIVING

A DARKER SHADE OF PINK

CLEAN UP THE INSIDE ERIKA BRACEY

Clean up your house! Not just the four walls where you lay your head, but the temple that houses your soul.

I

rose out of bed feeling much like the

that today is a new day, one of life. But, I

woman portrayed on Annie Lee’s piece

ask you, whose life are you living? Speak

“Blue Monday,” except today was Friday,

the life you want into existence!” At that

yesterday was Thursday, and the day prior

moment I realized I had been asking God

was Wednesday. Nothing different; it’s just

for something, I hadn’t taken action to

the same old mundane mornings. As I sat

receive. I was waiting to see God’s work,

in darkness, reflecting on my life, I realized

but I should have been living my request

how sick and tired I was of being sick and

as if it was already happening.

tired. I was a train wreck minutes away

I wanted a radical change in the scope

from crashing. Frustration had set in to a

of my life. I started digging and sowing

point that if you said the right thing to me

seeds in my life. I sowed a seed of health,

waste time; it’s too short and too precious.

on the wrong day, I would cut you, with

and as much as I hated to work out, I was

I will be productive in my potential,

my tongue, that is.

in the gym three days a week energizing

because potential without productivity

My personal house was chaotic,

my heart and oiling my joints. Frustrated

is pitiful. I will laugh no matter who’s

dysfunctional, and needed to be cleaned.

with life and the chaos I created, it was

listening. My smile is important, and when

I thought prayer would do it, but the

time to put a period on my past and some

it’s absent, I will remove the things that

miracle I waited for never happened. Every

dots on my future.

inhibit it. I am not ordinary, therefore, I will

night, I prayed the same prayer, “Lord,

Today is a new day, and I am open to

stop trying to fit in ordinary places. I am

make me new! In Jesus’ name. Amen.” If

receiving all I am supposed to have. No

rich, I am blessed, and I am here. I place

Jesus can turn water to wine, He could

longer will I limit my opportunities and

value on my life today!

surely clean up the mess I have made

neglect my feelings to advance others. I

of my life. I clicked the power button on

will nurture my body with healthy foods to

the remote control, and as the television

rejuvenate and restore my mind. I will love

came into view, I heard a voice, ”I tell you

all my imperfections and myself. I will not

22 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013

Owner of Blest Bracelets, Erika Bracey presents her testimony of lifestyle choices, healthy eating, faith, and fortitude, as the new face of breast cancer in a darker shade of pink!


APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 23


GLOBAL NOTES

SURVIVING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

and the Church’s Response

Part 1

DONNA L. HAMMOND

C

hildhood sexual abuse. Those three words together in a sentence are unfathomable to some, but a reality to many. Childhood—the time when we should be experiencing some of the happiest moments in our lives, yet, for reasons we cannot begin to understand, moments of our youth can turn into hell on Earth because of sexual abuse. I am a survivor of childhood sexual

open dialogue or discussion among

consequences of child sexual abuse noted

abuse. There, I said it! Saying those words

church leaders, pastors, and members

below, both pastors offered a glimpse of

has freed me to have open conversations

of

the church’s response to the socio- and

—not about being a “victim,” but rather, a

and counseling of adults who have

“survivor.” It is during these conversations, I

experienced and survived childhood

learned there are many who have survived

sexual abuse?

congregations

regarding

support

being sexually abused as children and who look to the church to offer a sacred space and opportunity to share their experiences, but cannot, because it just isn’t talked about. The National Clearinghouse on Family Violence uses the term “survivor,” instead of the term, “victim,” because a person has survived the effects of childhood sexual abuse. The word “survivor” gives power

So, the question remains, what does the CHURCH say about childhood sexual abuse? After all, the Catholic Church was bombarded with the news of priests who have, over many years, sexually abused children—both boys and girls. Although churches speak out on the wider conversation of domestic violence, and condemn offenders and those who do not report such crimes, where is the

According to the U.S. Department of

Health

and

Human

Services’

Administration for Children and Families2,

As sexually abused children grow into adulthood and attempt to become productive members of their communities, what types of support are available for adult survivors of child sexual abuse; more specifically, in the church setting?

and recognizes the strength of those who have survived.1

spiritual healing of the survivor.

the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) defines Childhood Sexual Abuse (“CSA”)3 as: • Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm. • The employment, use, persuasion,

Three years ago, while writing a paper for school, I visited this issue and had an opportunity to interview two well-respected pastors who have either counseled members of their congregations who are adult survivors of

inducement,

enticement,

or

coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct; or

childhood sexual abuse, and/or provided

• The rape, and in cases of caretaker or

psychotherapy, in an effort to assist

interfamilial relationships, statutory

their members in the healing process.

rape, molestation, prostitution, or

As survivors seek assistance with coping

other form of sexual exploitation of

mechanisms and counsel relating to the

children, or incest with children.

24 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013


According to CAPTA, there are several forms of Childhood Sexual Abuse.4 These acts of abuse include: • Physical abuse • Neglect • Sexual abuse • Emotional abuse • Parental substance abuse

In addition, it is estimated that one in every four girls, and one in every six boys will have experienced an episode of sexual abuse while under the age of 18.5

offer assistance to survivors of childhood

network. Dr. Wiley went on to say, in

sexual abuse.

order to prepare for working with people

Dr. Wright explained his pastoral

who are survivors, it is imperative clergy

experiences with counseling survivors

become aware of the information around

and families affected by child sexual abuse

child sexual abuse.

have been “mixed.” “I have had survivors

In order to provide support and counseling for members and the community, it is vital pastors are trained and educated by a qualified person, which is helpful to those providing therapy, as well as survivors seeking the proper care and treatment for learning to deal with the aftermath of child sexual abuse.

who refused to share their experiences with their immediate families; survivors who were so affected by the sexual abuse that relationships with spouses were irrevocably damaged, leading to divorce; survivors who are in long-term marriages and have never shared the trauma of surviving child sexual abuse with their spouses; and, the family of a survivor who was so angry with his decision to notify a

As survivors grow into adulthood, many have experienced various consequences of child sexual abuse including: • Chronic depression • Low self-esteem • Sexual dysfunction • Multiple personalities • Long-term psychological problems, including dissociative responses and signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome • Nightmares • Flashbacks • Venereal disease • Sexual anxiety • Violent behaviors/criminal offenders As I sought an answer to the question, “What is the church’s response to survivors of childhood sexual abuse,” I interviewed my Pastor Emeritus, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., and the Rev. Dr. Christine Y. Wiley, Co-Pastor of Covenant Baptist Church, Washington, D.C. I asked them several questions, such as their thoughts about counseling survivors of childhood sexual abuse; how they mentally and spiritually prepared to counsel survivors; if they felt the church has done enough to counsel survivors; and what they believe the church can do to increase awareness (such

as

ministry

opportunities,

discussions, and support groups), and to

therapist of the survivor’s abuse that they left the church.” He also stated he believed pastors

In addition, Dr. Wiley suggested, clergy

should make referrals of victims and their

inform the parishioner, because they do

families to professional therapists who

not have the training, they should refer

are equipped to do the long-term work

them for therapy to those who God uses,

needed in these instances. It is clear that

and who have expertise in psychotherapy.

Wright believes ministers are not equipped

“It is important that clergy are aware

to therapeutically counsel survivors, and

of their own unresolved issues so that

long-term therapy should, indeed, be

they don’t push it (their issues) off on the

provided by a trained psychotherapist.

people they counsel,” she explains. “Even

He advised, in preparation for counseling,

important, is the need for a church to create

and in addition to praying prior to the

a sexual abuse policy (which, in most cases,

sessions, he provides both the survivors

are required by insurance companies), as

and families with resources that will help

perpetrators are in the church.”

them understand all the dynamics (and the after effects) that might come as a result of the abuse. Dr.

Christine

n

Next month: Part II – Has the church done enough to counsel survivors? “Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse,” Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, ISBN 0-66220918-4, Cat. H72-22/12-1993E. 1

Wiley,

a

Pastoral

Psychotherapist, and a survivor of child sexual abuse, noted she was well aware the brokenness and damage done in childhood sexual abuse can impact a person and how they are able, or are unable, to be in relationship with other people for the rest of their lives. She stated the need to have clergy acknowledge, unless they are licensed therapists, they do not have the expertise or skill to do this work and need to have a good referral

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, http:// www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/define.cfm.

42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g(2) (2003).

3

42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g(4) (2003).

4

Botash, Ann, MD, Pediatric Annual, May 1997.

5

A survivor in her own right, former Trumpet Newsmagazine copy editor, Donna L. Hammond, is passionate about using her voice for the voiceless, as she joins Trumpet as a contributing writer.

APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 25


SOUND ADVICE

ASK THE DENTIST

DISSOLVING THE SWEET TOOTH

DENTAL AND HEALTH EFFECTS OF SUGAR D R . B R E N D A J . TAY L O R

L

ay people, generally, understand the basic mechanics: sugar bug + acid + tooth = cavity. This relationship has been in existence since the invention of the all too famous, soft, sticky, sweet and chewy penny candy, and the cola evolution.

It is what I endearingly refer to as a

be listed on a label are: Sucrose (sugar),

exceeds

love/hate relationship. We love it, crave

and Fructose (fruit). Examples of artificial

allowances issued by the U.S. Government

it, savor it, and spend millions of dollars

sweeteners are Saccharin (Sweet-n-Low),

Dietary Guidelines.

on it, annually. Unfortunately, however,

Aspartame/Nutrasweet

our teeth, waistlines, blood glucose

Sucrolose (Splenda). The 2010 U.S. Dietary

and insulin levels, as well as our heart,

Guidelines for Americans is Empty Calories,

yes heart, hate it! Because we are visual

those that consist of solid fats and added

people, the media incessantly promotes

sugars, should consist of no more than

it. The capital gain from the beverage

8–20% of total daily caloric intake. Most

industry is peaking at an all time high,

sugar consumption in excess is in the form

with bottled water at the forefront. A very

of sweetened beverages, both alcoholic

famous celebrity artist was recently paid

and non-alcoholic.

(Equal),

and

an unprecedented amount of money to promote a beverage. Where does our fascination and stimulation with sweets

discretionary

caloric

intake

Fact: Sugar consumption has been identified and linked to adverse health conditions such as: Metabolic Disease (Cardiovascular),

Endocrine

Disease

(Diabetes), vitamin and essential nutrient deficiencies, and Hypo-plastic Enamel tooth surfaces. Fact: 60% of newly diagnosed caries are directly dietary related.

SWEET FACTS

stem? The consumption, and satisfaction,

Fact: There is a worldwide pandemic of

of a sugar craving produces a moment of

obesity and cardiovascular risks due

immediate gratification and euphoric-like

to the emerging relationship between

feeling, I generically call the “aha effect.”

sugar consumption and cardiovascular

We must be mindful and considerate

health, according to a statement written

of what we ingest. The teeth and oral

by the American Heart Association in

cavity are the first point of contact. Sugar

2009.

is found in everything we consume, be it naturally, or artificially sweetened, and/

Fact: Daily consumption of sugar has

or processed. Examples of common

steadily increased over the last 35

names by which sugar is referred, or may

years. An amount equal to 20% greatly

26 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013

Fact: The average consumption of sugar by an adult is 22–35 teaspoons or 137G. The American Heart Association (AHA) has set the guidelines for adult women at no more than 25G or 6.5 teaspoons, and adult men at 38G or 8.5 teaspoons. Preschoolers

should

consume

approximately 1200–1400 calories and no more than four teaspoons of sugar daily. Children should consume approximately 1600 calories, and no more than three teaspoons of sugar daily. Preteens should


consume between 1800–2000 calories, and no more than five to eight teaspoons of sugar daily. Sugar left undisturbed combines with plaque and alters the PH of the saliva, thus making it more acidic. This combination erodes the enamel surface. Often, you will see a white banding around the tooth near the gingival (gum) line. Dentists will often refer to these weakened areas as “soda pop” caries, because of their distinctive appearance and specific origin. On the coat tails of this month’s theme of “rebirth,” we can learn from this limited and edited version of Nutritional Dentistry and begin to examine our dietary habits. Further and more detailed information is available at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov, the American Heart Association and the American Dental Association webpages. Live Well and Be Healthy!

n

Naval Dental Corps Commissioned Officer, Dr. Brenda J. Taylor, is the owner of Love Dental, Inc., located on the south side of Chicago, IL.

Useful Sugar Tips • One simple, inexpensive, and the best solution is to choose public drinking water as your beverage of choice. It has the added benefit of fluoride. • Brush your teeth with an American Dental Association endorsed dentifrice (toothpaste) at least two times a day. • Rinse your mouth with plain warm water between brushing. • Begin to form a habit of reading and understanding nutritional labels. Know the difference between carbohydrates and sugars in relation to the number of grams. • Although tedious, count the amount of sugar grams in your diet daily and try to adhere to the AHA Guidelines. • Choose low fat, low sugar alternatives such as olives, nuts, and cheese for snacks. • If food dishes require the addition of sugar, consider modifying the recipe to a low-fat version and/or using an artificial sweetener. • Limit alcohol consumption. • Season with fresh herbs to enrich and enhance flavor. • Have a sugar-free mint after meals. Mint has been associated with curbing the appetite. • You are what you eat. Eat to live; don’t live to eat!

APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 27


SOUND ADVICE

Most TAXPAYERS are VULNERABLE to 2013 Changes Planning is critical to avoid unpleasant surprises MELODY L. FERGUSON

B

eginning in 2013, certain income will have tax changes under the American Taxpayer Relief Act which will now apply to income from stock compensation, capital gains upon the sale of shares, and dividends. For people with incentive stock options, the alternative minimum tax (AMT) has also changed in three dramatic ways. Additionally, under the Affordable Care Act, increases in Medicare tax for high earners are now effective. Now, more than ever, tax planning should be fully updated with these changes, including detailed reviews, as they affect stock compensation. The top federal withholding rate on supplemental income rose to 39.6%. Supplemental income, such as stock compensation, is subject to one of two flat rates linked to income tax rates. Aggregate supplemental wage payments totaling up to $1 million during the year, have a rate of 25% (the rate of the third income tax bracket). Aggregate supplemental wage payments exceeding the level of $1 million in a calendar year, have a new rate of 39.6% (the new rate of the highest income tax bracket). The Social Security rate returned to 6.2%, after a temporary cut to 4.2%, in 2011 and 2012, as the new tax law did not extend the reduction in payroll tax. Social Security tax applies up to a certain amount of yearly income ($113,700, in 2013), and not to yearly income above that threshold. The capital gains tax rate applying to proceeds from a stock sale increased to 20% for single filers with yearly taxable income of more than $400,000, and for

married joint filers with yearly taxable income of more than $450,000. (Taxpayers whose yearly taxable income is below these thresholds, face a remaining 15% top rate of capital gains tax.) Similarly, the tax rate on dividends grew to 20% for single filers whose yearly taxable income is over $400,000, and married joint filers whose yearly taxable income is over $450,000. This applies to any qualified dividends received on company stock you own, or on unvested restricted stock for which you have filed a Section 83(b) election. For people with incentive stock options, the income exemption amounts (commonly known as the “AMT patch”) for calculating the alternative minimum tax in 2012 are $50,600 for single filers, and $78,750 for married joint filers. Additionally, the new tax law permanently indexed the annual AMT income exemption amounts for inflation, and made other important changes. The exemption amounts for 2013 are $51,900 and $80,800. The new tax legislation did not extend the refundable AMT credit available for the tax years 2007 through 2012. For qualified small business stock issued between now and the end of 2013, 100% of the gains will be excludable from capital gains tax (0% rate), and omitted from the AMT calculation. The provision was made retroactive to September 27, 2010. The exclusion helps anyone buying stock in a small privately held company, including stock from an option exercise or restricted stock vesting. Separately from the American Taxpayer Relief Act, in 2012, the Affordable Care

28 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013

Act increased the Medicare tax rate on compensation income for high-income taxpayers from 1.45% to 2.35%, and a new 3.8% Medicare surtax now applies to investment income, such as capital gains from stock sales. Both of these tax changes became effective on January 1, 2013. Waiting until you gather your tax documents for preparation is not a good time to find out how these things will affect your bottom line. Planning is essential, as most taxpayers are vulnerable to the tax changes, as well as the effect of the Affordable Care Act. Social Security is not as simple to receive as it may have appeared before. Credits have expired and income limits have been raised higher. In addition to verifying your W-4 allowances, you need to monitor the amounts of supplemental income and how it may be taxed throughout the year. Things like bonuses, exercising stock options, and relocation expense reimbursements are all considered supplemental income and reported on your W-2, which should have a supplemental tax application as opposed to W-4 taxation. Planning is not only essential, but also critical. Start today, implementing a plan ensuring you don’t walk into any surprises, or, better yet, shocks during tax preparation time.

n

Principal owner of MLZ Consulting, a minorityowned, full service accounting/tax/financialconsulting firm, Melody Ferguson has extensive experience in small business structuring, and specializes in complete financial solutions for everyone.


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APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 29


GLOBAL NOTES

BOTTOM 47

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

CHANGING HAITI’S NAME CHANGES ITS DESTINY

MARJORIE CLARK

“MANY HANDS MAKE THE LOAD LIGHTER.” HAITIAN PROVERB

A

s a child, I remember thinking Haiti was almost non-existent, a noncountry to the rest of the world. I can’t quite understand why I had this perception so early in my childhood. I remember feeling this way as young as four years old, and, to be honest, I carried a sense of shame about my heritage for many years to come. I couldn’t say why I felt this way, because my parents were and are very proud Haitian people. I still love my Haitian rice and beans, and I am captivated by our perseverance and sense of kindness. Looking back, I think my desire to not be different consumed me. It’s not easy being the first daughter of first generation immigrants. Growing up, most people I encountered didn’t know of a country called Haiti. They would mispronounce its name or dismiss its relevance. As a child, I was sensitive, so I internalized their discount of the country as a discount of me. Then, during the ‘80s with the pandemic of AIDS, Haiti acquired a middle name; Haiti was now known, internationally, as the country where AIDS was first discovered. My question was: if that were true, why didn’t the Haitian people die out? Why, in the ‘80s, would AIDS awaken on that tiny island? Why is it AIDS has to come from a poor and little island full of Black people? Thus, I found myself defending Haiti, again. I defended Haiti like Haiti was my momma. Next, it was the environmental misfortunes; as a result, Haiti was now being punished for its voodoo. Even godly men and women believed that Haiti was a cursed country. Consequently, I wondered whether

affecting initiatives that subjugated a people for selfish reasons was as evil to God as voodoo. Is it Levitical or Pharisaical to judge the wounded? As a created being, I cannot know why one is spared and the other not; should I blame the one not spared, or should I thank God that He chose to spare, possibly for the purpose of freeing the less fortunate? God has strong thoughts about His love for all of His children, including Haitian people. Unwittingly, we allow others to name us. Thus, we take on the attributes of the name others give us. Before we know it, we are, generationally, living out that name. Chicago has the name of being the murder capital of the world. It is up to us, as stakeholders, to work to ensure certain last names don’t stick, because when we call out a name, we call out destiny, good or bad. Haiti, or “Land of High Mountains,” acquired a last name “the poorest country

30 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013

in the western hemisphere,” so currently, it is. Haiti has fulfilled that prophecy albeit with the help of other countries. Do we have to keep names given to us? No. We can change Haiti’s name, thereby changing Haiti’s destiny. Haiti is no longer the poorest country in the western hemisphere, rather the western hemisphere’s Garden of Eden. No longer is Chicago the murder capital of the world, rather one of the most peaceful cities to raise a family. Together we can change a name to change the future. The simplicity of transforming a nation with many hands often becomes lost in personal agendas through ego. It creeps into the best intentions if left unchecked. The covenant that might have been produced between giver and receiver when aligned to common purpose never ensues.


The Haitian proverb “Many hands make the load lighter” makes a practical and spiritual point. Burdens seem lighter when we are carrying them with a friend. So the question becomes: should the poor carry their poverty alone? Is poverty only theirs to carry? Are we not our brother’s keeper? Shouldn’t vulnerable count on the rest of the human family for support? Is support that arduous? Is poverty under many feet? If we believe what the Bible says that our enemies are under our feet, doesn’t it include poverty? The average Haitian family earns roughly about thirty dollars a month. Industries including clothing manufacturers are currently targeting Haiti for exploitation through low wages. On the front end, these companies are marketing to the world their efforts to bring jobs to the Haitian people; while on the back end, they have no intention of paying livable wages. Why doesn’t the government take action? Well, they continue to be systematically weakened by shortsighted policies by our government as well as others. Most of Haiti’s infrastructure is privatized. Electricity, telephone, gas and oil as well as cement industries, to name a few, are

privately held. The Haitian government simply owns very little. What this means is they have few sources of revenue that’s independent from foreign aid. Therefore, they have little in the way of leveraging the needs of the people to government’s need for foreign aid. Since non-governmental organizations control most of the resources and they generally don’t source aid or economic endeavors through the Haitian government, they further perpetuate the cycle of weakness. NGO’s rake in hundreds of millions of dollars through the Haitian economy; thus, NGO’s typically operate with their interests in mind. Consequently, the people most affected by policies rarely are at the table. In the last days, did God not say He would raise up a remnant to do His will? Perhaps it’s the bottom 47%. Did you know as little as five dollars sent faithfully each month will save numerous lives? Dreams have been built on five dollars. Many faithful grandmothers sent their last five dollars and it built networks and industries and ministries. Can singles, and brothers and sisters, and fathers and mothers find five dollars, or even two? How would God

respond to the scent of that giving as it rises to His throne? We are breathing answers to the prayers of the poor. It says in the book of Revelations that God stores our tears and prayers in golden cups. Even from heaven, the tears of the wounded shout, expecting us to be their answer. We can do it. The many can effectually make the difference. We can move past the tipping point of waiting on the few to spearhead change. It is time for a new kind of social epidemic that is no longer driven by the efforts of a handful of exceptional people, but by the practical compassion of the many. If we are spiritual beings, the tipping point will have to come from recognizing that we are all exceptional beings, very capable of transforming Haiti into a land of beauty. Many hands make the load lighter and produce bonds not easily broken. A spoken name frames intentions.

n

Daughter of immigrant Haitian parents, Marjorie Clark is passionate about connecting the dots in the Black diaspora, particularly as it relates to Haiti. She believes if people of color can see in themselves, and through others, more commonality than difference, common good can be leveraged to create transformation.

APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 31


PHENOMENAL LIVING

LIVING TO WYNN

A WYNNING TESTIMONY! MAISHA WYNN

I

live by the mantra: “If you want to stand out in life, don’t be different, be the wynn’er’ you were destined to be!” For me, “Wynn,” my last name, and “Win,” being a homonym of my last name is no accident, because I am truly a winner. Listening to my physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital share with me I had a clean bill of health, from my body mass index being perfect to my cholesterol level being normal was the best news I had heard in months. My journey, over the last 18 months, has been life altering in every way imaginable! On October 5, 2011, I took my beloved mother to the hospital due to her having difficulty swallowing. After running numerous tests, we learned she had stomach cancer on top of all her other health ailments (i.e. high blood pressure, diabetes, sarcoidosis, high cholesterol, and depression). On the day my mother was scheduled for surgery, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. That changed everything for the worse. The superwoman who gave me life was now depending on me for life. Watching her lose the ability to move, as well as talk, was the most tumultuous thing to observe day-in and day-out, especially, a woman who was always full of life and embraced living. Due to my mother’s health spiraling out of control, the doctor was never able to treat her cancer. On New Year’s Eve 2011, my best friend, my mother, went home to be with our Savior. There is not one day that goes by I don’t shed tears for my favorite girl. In her loving memory, I’ve made a conscious decision to live a healthier life. For me, a sound body = sound mind + spirit. My body is my temple and my mind is my universe; if the two are able to operate at optimum speed, then I am truly wynn’ing’ in life. If you desire to transform your life, I’d love to share a few of my wynn’ing’ tips with you. This is coming from a young lady who has battled with her weight since childhood. I was literally a human yo-yo, going up and down the scale. The biggest I’ve ever been

was a size 20 and the smallest was a size 3. Now, I am a happy, healthy size 6!

WYNN’ING’ TIPS: 1). Learn to get active, whether it’s twice a week or four times a week. However, research suggests that just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, of some form of physical activity can keep you fit. The benefits are astounding from strengthening your muscles to prolonging your life. I’ve learned to embrace physical activities I enjoy like kickboxing, aerobics fitness, and weight lifting. Switching up my days keep my workouts fun and thrilling. 2). You are what you eat. Eighty percent of what you look like is contingent on what you put in your mouth on a daily basis. Fuel your body with healthy foods that give you energy and life. Protein should be at the top of your food chain list because it plays a critical role to the development of your human body. You could say protein is akin to the maintenance man keeping your body on point. If you think of fried chicken as a good source of protein, I would have to say absolutely not. Look at fried food as your enemy. You want to concentrate on grilled or baked foods (fish, chicken and/or turkey), because they are healthier in terms of fat intake. On a daily basis, I eat baked chicken and grilled fish. For good carbs, I can’t seem to get enough of baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon on top. Yummy! When I want something to snack on, I like to eat carrots

32 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013

and hummus. Carrots taste sweet and are great for lowering your blood sugar. 3). Make time to nurture your temple. Set up a play date with yourself, so you can love on you, whether it’s shopping or going to the movies. Every month, I have a standing appointment to either get a facial or a body treatment. Spa-ing is the second air I breathe. It is my way of releasing stress from the daily pressures of the world. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to pay homage to my face and body. With the steady rise of obesity in the United States, especially amongst women, we must be top priority in our own lives versus an option. The same energy and time we spend on our loved ones, family, co-workers, or friends needs to be invested in ourselves. When we are great to ourselves, we can be good to others. On this day, allow my personal testimony to be a blessing to your life. You only have one temple, so learn to cherish it! Owner/creator of Live To Wynn, motivational speaker, blogger, “Downtown Diva” talk show host, Maisha Wynn uses her “Live To Wynn Lifestyle Series” as a platform to Inspire Change, Ignite Change, and Initiate Change. Visit wynnwinsworld.com.


APRIL 2013 • TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE | 33


SOUNDING ON

BLACKWARDS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION

A BLACK PEARL ANNIVERSARY REVISION KIM DULANEY

C

all me “crazy.” I admit it; I embrace and celebrate it. My thoughts are not normal and I have not quite mastered the ability to compartmentalize my knowledge. My epistemological bearings are mixed and mangled, so areas of thought expected to be absolute and concrete often meld into abstract and esoteric spaces… my commonsense occasionally bleeds into my book-smart areas and creative, pragmatic renderings emerge. These pragmatic renderings or practical solutions are often antithetical to societal norms and contemporary philosophies. I need help! Today, I am confused by, and grappling with, the issue of child abuse. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time set aside to focus on the wellness of children, and the roles of family and community in caring for and protecting them. In 1983, there was a presidential proclamation that began this annual April focus. Types of abuse include neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological maltreatment, medical neglect, and other uncategorized harmful acts towards children. Since that time, reported abuse of children has escalated to alarming proportions. In fact, the United States has the worst record of industrialized nations, losing about five children per day due to abuse-related deaths, according to ChildHelp.org. Help me! How is it when we focus more attention towards a thing, have more research, have identified key causes, develop preventive measures, and increase awareness regarding the thing, it worsens? Hmmm… This perplexes me. In my grandmother’s voice, I request someone “answer me that

one!” In my cultural critic’s articulation, I must point out every other wellcrafted campaign focusing on children has been successful – all except child abuse prevention. Trends, products, and markets aimed at teens and tweens have garnered, if not the attention, surely the dollars, and, therefore, support of children and their accommodating adult parents across this country. Why hasn’t the same success been realized by efforts to end child abuse? My crazy mind keeps aiming at hypocrisy and weak or misguided arguments. All things point to Americans’ tendency to say the right things and offer symbolic gestures that on the surface appear to support what we say, but don’t really believe. America loves the children! Right? Uhmmm… maybe. Everything’s an argument. Arguments can be verbal, written, and/or visual. America’s verbal argument says children are our priority. The written argument can be assessed by critically analyzing public policies that impact children. The visual argument, related to children in America,

34 | TRUMPET NEWSMAGAZINE • APRIL 2013

is not so easily determined; what folks see in America can be vastly different, depending on race, class, culture, and specific geographic location. America, in the context of this article, refers to the U.S. Government or state and local governing entities. What about the individual American, the mamas and the daddies? What argument does each individual put forth, with regard to his/ her own child or children and the issue of child abuse? A parent’s profession of love for his/her well-groomed and dressed, hyper-scheduled child can not be the final, or even most poignant, indicator of the position or argument being made. The issue of child abuse is complex and persistent. You can’t properly diagnose it in an instant, or by looking at surface or superficial things. An efficient assessment tool would recognize the fact that prior, or traditional, indicators do not fully capture the essence of the monster that is child abuse. In every assessment or evaluation tool or mechanism, there must be an element of change or revision. With regard to evaluating arguments and


efforts towards preventing child abuse, I would posit, people need to change or revise their understanding of what child abuse is, and what its perpetrators and offenses look like. Since people have already entertained varied Eurocentric perspectives and understandings, it’s time to try something new: an Africancentered holistic perspective. So it is… This 30th year, on the anniversary, the Pearl Anniversary of the presidential proclamation that began the annual monthly focus on National Child Abuse Prevention, I offer a gift: a pearl of wisdom. This pearl is a little different from the pearls American folks have come to recognize and expect. Think of this pearl as a Black Tahitian Pearl, the only type of pearl that comes from a Black-lipped oyster. Yes, Sir! My gift, this pearl of wisdom, is a gift of revision and perspective, a gift you can only find and appreciate if you dare to explore beyond popular and common boundaries, a gift so simple the ancestors must be chuckling at its discovery. Happy “Black Pearl” Anniversary! May God bless, keep, and fortify all who engage in this most important battle against the abuse of children.

PEARLS SEXUAL ABUSE IS USUALLY COMMITTED BY SOMEONE THE FAMILY KNOWS They once thought it came in the Blackness of night, Thought it wore long dark trench coats, bore crossed eyes, and carried guns… It was everybody’s favorite uncle at her aunt’s midday party… he came with the sun through the bathroom window… she says, still now as a woman she can’t bear to hear people in bordering rooms laughing because right before she left the body he stole, she heard laughter coming from the kitchen, and her 10-year-old mind told her they all knew her soul was left in the pool of blood she woke up in, then cleaned from the bathroom floor. He came first, then her brother, then the man who

owned and gave her mom credit at the grocery store… she can’t remember the years, the ages, or the varied perpetrators, because they all blur and bleed into one overwhelming continuum. If you don’t take precaution for the safety of children and pretend this is not a reality, then you are an abuser. PHYSICAL ABUSE DOES NOT ONLY REFER TO BEATINGS, OR STARVATION They once thought it was boney and bubble-bellied, with flies living in crusty sunken eyes, Tried to say it first ran through the jungles of Africa, ‘till she shouted, “I ain’t got no jungles, fool!” It was her cousin America fattened with sweets, creams, sauces, and desserts Super-sized competitions and sales of excesses: buy one/get one free, and All U Can Eat A la carte and sides and appetizers and fries and large sweet teas and fountain Pepsi If you don’t take precaution for the safety of children and pretend this is not a reality, then you are an abuser. NEGLECT DOES NOT ONLY SHOW UP AS DEFICITS OF BASIC MATERIAL THINGS They swore it was poor Said poverty and lack killed everything Black, like it was a destiny… Today, it’s $500,000 homes with latchkey kids, bedrooms with no books… wide flat screens, shiny cars, and PhD’s with kids who can’t read… $250 shoes, $190 jeans, $200 hair weaves, parties, plastic surgeries, and themed parks – but no health insurance… it could be a display or issue of value – where a parent leaves a child in a house with a person who they would not trust to watch their dog, hold their diamond ring, or drive their car, keep their favorite coat, or even borrow a pair of shoes.

If you don’t take precaution for the safety of children and pretend this is not a reality, then you are an abuser. PSYCHOLOGICAL MALTREATMENT CAN BE MORE ABOUT THE ABSENCE OF ACTION, THAN ACTION They once thought it was cursing and calling kids derogatory names Thought it boldly ordered some folks out of the room and/or the game… Believed it was direct and immediate… It can be subversive and indirect… it’s often indifference or systematic exclusion that screams, “You’re nothing! I don’t see you! You don’t matter!”… Blatant disregard of culturally specific and readily identifiable rituals, images, and ideologies can be more damaging than spoken words… It can be an adult’s unwillingness to acknowledge truth and seek solutions, both for the adult and the child. If you don’t take precaution for the safety of children and pretend this is not a reality, then you are an abuser. CHILD ABUSE IS NOT USUALLY AN ISOLATED ACT, COMMITTED BY AN INDIVIDUAL PERSON; IT TAKES A VILLAGE. They once thought it was them, the others, in a single moment abusing, and aiding and assisting in abuse of children. Thought they could turn away and take solace in their disconnectedness, be excused from the reality… Today, it is we, in our complacency, cowering behind facades, protecting our images of wellness…no longer ignorant of the effects of our non-actions, now fully aware of the fact it takes a village to abuse a child! College professor of African American Studies, Kim L. Dulaney, is an established author of children’s books, poetry, novels, short stories, and creative non-fiction.

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REARVIEW

THE

TREASON OF THE INTELLECTUALS T CHRIS HEDGES (REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION)

he rewriting of history by the power elite was painfully evident as the nation marked the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Some claimed they had opposed the war when they had not. Others among “Bush’s useful idiots” argued they had merely acted in good faith on the information available; if they had known then what they know now, they assured us, they would have acted differently. This, of course, is false. The war boosters, especially the “liberal hawks”—who included Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Al Franken and John Kerry, along with academics, writers and journalists such as Bill Keller, Michael Ignatieff, Nicholas Kristof, David Remnick, Fareed Zakaria, Michael Walzer, Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman,George Packer, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Kanan Makiya and the late Christopher Hitchens—did what they always have done: engage in acts of self-preservation. To oppose the war would have been a career killer. And they knew it. These apologists, however, acted not only as cheerleaders for war; in most cases they ridiculed and attempted to discredit anyone who questioned the call to invade Iraq. Kristof, in The New York Times, attacked the filmmaker Michael Moore as a conspiracy theorist and wrote that antiwar voices were only polarizing what he termed “the political cesspool.” Hitchens said those who opposed the attack on Iraq “do not think that Saddam Hussein is a bad guy at all.” He called the typical antiwar protester a “blithering ex-flower child or ranting neo-Stalinist.” The halfhearted mea culpas by many of these courtiers a decade later always fail to mention the most pernicious and fundamental role they played in the buildup to the war— shutting down public debate. Those of us

who spoke out against the war, faced with the onslaught of right-wing “patriots” and their liberal apologists, became pariahs. In my case, it did not matter that I was an Arabic speaker. It did not matter that I had spent seven years in the Middle East, including months in Iraq, as a foreign correspondent. It did not matter that I knew the instrument of war.

The critique I and other opponents of war delivered, no matter how well grounded in fact and experience, turned us into objects of scorn by a liberal elite that cravenly wanted to demonstrate its own “patriotism” and “realism” about national security. The liberal class fueled a rabid, irrational hatred of all war critics. Many of us received death threats and lost our jobs, for me one at The New York Times. These liberal warmongers, 10 years later, remain both clueless about their moral bankruptcy and cloyingly sanctimonious. They have the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocents on their hands.

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The power elite, especially the liberal elite, has always been willing to sacrifice integrity and truth for power, personal advancement, foundation grants, awards, tenured professorships, columns, book contracts, television appearances, generous lecture fees and social status. They know what they need to say. They know which ideology they have to serve. They know what lies must be told—the biggest being that they take moral stances on issues that aren’t safe and anodyne. They have been at this game a long time. And they will, should their careers require it, happily sell us out again. Leslie Gelb, in the magazine Foreign Affairs, spelled it out after the invasion of Iraq. “My initial support for the war was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility,” he wrote. “We ‘experts’ have a lot to fix about ourselves, even as we ‘perfect’ the media. We must redouble our commitment to independent thought, and embrace, rather than cast


aside, opinions and facts that blow the common—often wrong—wisdom apart. Our democracy requires nothing less.” The moral cowardice of the power elite is especially evident when it comes to the plight of the Palestinians. The liberal class, in fact, is used to marginalize and discredit those, such as Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, who have the honesty, integrity and courage to denounce Israeli war crimes. And the liberal class is compensated for its dirty role in squelching debate. “Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position, which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take,” wrote the late Edward Said. “You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the responsible mainstream; someday you hope to get an honorary degree, a big prize, perhaps even an ambassadorship.” “For an intellectual these habits of mind are corrupting par excellence,” Said went on. “If anything can denature, neutralize, and finally kill a passionate intellectual life it is the internalization of such habits. Personally I have encountered them in one of the toughest of all contemporary issues, Palestine, where fear of speaking out about one of the greatest injustices in modern history has hobbled, blinkered, muzzled many who know the truth and

are in a position to serve it. For despite the abuse and vilification that any outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and selfdetermination earns for him or herself, the truth deserves to be spoken, represented by an unafraid and compassionate intellectual.” Julien Benda argued in his 1927 book “The Treason of Intellectuals”—“La Trahison des Clercs”—that it is only when we are not in pursuit of practical aims or material advantages that we can serve as a conscience and a corrective. Those who transfer their allegiance to the practical aims of power and material advantage emasculate themselves intellectually and morally. Benda wrote that intellectuals were once supposed to be indifferent to popular passions. They “set an example of attachment to the purely disinterested activity of the mind and created a belief in the supreme value of this form of existence.” They looked “as moralists upon the conflict of human egotisms.” They “preached, in the name of humanity or justice, the adoption of an abstract principle superior to and directly opposed to these passions.” These intellectuals were not, Benda conceded, very often able to prevent the powerful from “filling all history with the noise of their hatred and their slaughters.” But they did, at least, “prevent the laymen from setting up their actions as a religion, they did prevent them from thinking themselves great men as they carried out these activities.” In short, Benda asserted, “humanity did evil for two thousand years, but honored good. This contradiction was an honor to the human species, and formed the rift whereby civilization slipped into the world.” But once the intellectuals began

to “play the game of political passions,” those who had “acted as a check on the realism of the people began to act as its stimulators.” And this is why Michael Moore is correct when he blames The New York Times and the liberal establishment, even more than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, for the Iraq War. “The desire to tell the truth,” wrote Paul Baran, the brilliant Marxist economist and author of “The Political Economy of Growth,” is “only one condition for being an intellectual. The other is courage, readiness to carry on rational inquiry to wherever it may lead … to withstand … comfortable and lucrative conformity.” Those who doggedly challenge the orthodoxy of belief, who question the reigning political passions, who refuse to sacrifice their integrity to serve the cult of power, are pushed to the margins. They are denounced by the very people who, years later, will often claim these moral battles as their own.

It is only the outcasts and the rebels who keep truth and intellectual inquiry alive. They alone name the crimes of the state. They alone give a voice to the victims of oppression. They alone ask the difficult questions. Most important, they expose the powerful, along with their liberal apologists, for what they are.

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This article was published at Nation of Change at: nationofchange.org/treasonintellectuals-1364908888. All rights are reserved.

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April 2013 Trumpet Newsmagazine