Yesterday I listened to a discussion about former Haitian President Jean-Betrand Aristide’s plans to return to Haiti after a seven-year exile in South Africa on NPR’s Tell Me More. Tell Me More host Michel Martin and Jacqueline Charles, the Caribbean correspondent for the Miami Herald, engaged in a lively discussion about the impact of Aristide’s return on Haiti’s presidential run-off election on March 20. Click here to listen to the show. Former First Lady Mirlande Manigat and pop singer Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly are the presidential candidates.
Martin and Charles’ discussion reminded me of the many presidential candidate posters I saw on houses and buildings during my recent trip to Haiti as a Heart of Haiti blogger ambassador in February. Sweet Micky”s posters appeared to dominate Port-au-Prince, Croix-des-Bouqets, and Jacmel. No matter who wins the election, I hope and pray Haiti’s next president will help stabilize, heal, and rebuild Haiti and the lives, families, and businesses of her daughters and sons.
I have a confession to make. I LOVE doing research for my next novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two. YES YES YES I LOVE RESEARCH especially with the Internet …. blogs, YouTube, Twitter, podcasts, Facebook, Myspace, and web sites.
Today, my love-fest for research took me to NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin (I listen to the show five days a week! Love it!). While listening to today’s show via podcast, I was introduced to Dr. L’Heureux Dumi Lewis who talked about Black male privilege. After listening to the show, I visited Dr. Lewis’ blog and watched a YouTube video featuring his keynote address on Black male privilege at his alma mater Morehouse College (the same school my main character Symon Allure attended during his freshmen year) in February. See video above. That keynote address convinced me to include a discussion about Black male privilege in my novel.
What do you think about Black male privilege?
Enjoy your day!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for the Internet,
Today I listened to NPR’s Tell Me More with journalist Michel Martin and learned that 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of Congresswoman Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm’s 1970 autobiography Unbought and Unbossed.
I first learned about Sistalove Shirley when my mother Theresa supported her 1972 presidential campaign. She was my mother’s shero and later became mine. Sistalove Shirley ran for Congress and headed to Washington, D.C. in 1968 to represent her Brooklyn community. In 1972, she became the first woman and African American to run for president of the United States. She had her own mind and was a true force of nature. Sistalove Shirley rocked her entire life and always told her truth in her own words. Her legacy inspires me to do the same. FYI – I wrote a poem about her in my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon – http://tiny.cc/7uFsg). See below.
During Tell Me More, Martin spoke with one of my favorite filmmakers Shola Lynch, who created the film “Chisholm 72: Unbought and Unbossed,” and Barbara Ransby, a professor of History and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Click here to listen to the show (17 minutes): http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122984022.
Chocolate Bar (from That Which Awakens Me’s Chapter Two: Girlhood Memories. Defining Self.Identities. Archetypes.)
Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke
My mother flipped through JET as we stood in the line at the grocery store.
I was busy trying to con her in to letting me get a chocolate bar from the candy stand located near the checkout counter.
She paid me no mind.
Persistence was my middle name.
So I continued and eventually got on her last nerve.
She threatened to use her Dr. Scholl’s on me.
I quieted down for fear of her wooden shoe.
That’s when she showed me a picture of this coffee-colored woman with glasses from some place in Brooklyn.
At first glance, the lady looked like a school teacher.
My mother proudly told me that she was Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to run for President.
I smiled and thought my mother might bend and let me get that chocolate bar, but she wasn’t having it.
Maybe if this lady wins the election I might be able to get a chocolate bar then.
Enjoy your day and week!
Peace, Creativity, Joy, Compassion, and Gratitude for Sistalove Ancestors,
Today I listened to NPR journalist Michel Martin’s conversation with James Braxton Peterson, assistant professor of English and Africana Studies at Bucknell University, about the meaning of service and its connection to Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.’s legacy of service. It was aired on Martin’s NPR show, Tell Me More on January 18. Click here to listen to the conversation (11 minutes): www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122626581.
I was really moved by Professor Peterson’s definition of service:
“Service has got to be not just the action but also a mind state and that’s something that’s got to be sustained over the course of the year, throughout your life. It’s a very, very important act, particularly people of color and people who come from certain circumstances understand that service is what helps folk who are underprivileged to rise above and transcend their own circumstances.”
I totally agree with the idea that service is a mind state. My mind state of service started when I was growing up in my parents’ home. They both believed in service to their family, friends, local neighborhood in P.G. County, Maryland, and St. Joseph Catholic Church.
My mother exposed me to the meaning of service through her active membership and participation in Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Sigma’s motto is “Greater Service, Greater Progress.” It became my personal motto when I joined Sigma in 1983. It also helped me develop my personal plan on how I contribute to my community and the world.
During Martin’s radio show, Professor Peterson also shared the following remarks:
“Remember, the idea around service is that it’s grassroots so that if everyone does a little bit, then actually that’s where the movement comes in. So, every small contribution does count. And listen, if you don’t have time contributing a few dollars to particularly service-oriented organization, it’s very, very important.”
“Part of community service is being an outstanding, contributing citizen within your community. That’s the first step, that you actually are someone who handles their own economic business, their family business and is responsible as a citizen in the United States.”
“So if everyone helps the elderly person to cross the street or if everyone goes into a school and tries to mentor one child even if it’s for one day, that’s going to be very, very powerful. That’s going to be extremely powerful. So, every little bit counts. We’re thinking aggregate here. And we’re thinking and hoping that everyone will rise to the challenge and the responsibility of service in our society.”
WOW! Professor Peterson’s really hit home with me. They made me go back and read my path of service discussed in my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com – http://tiny.cc/7uFsg). I have included an excerpt below.
Excerpt from Chapter Seven: Service. Vocation. Answering Your Life’s Calling. (one of my favorite six-word memoirs – www.smithmag.net)
Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke
The Birth of Service
A thousand thoughts ran through my mind as I tried to trace the birth of service in my life.
Three thoughts cemented themselves into my psyche.
Thought #1 – My parents taught me the more you have, the
more you are called to give through service they provided to
their neighborhood, church community, and membership
Thought #2 – The Catholic Church reinforced this teaching by
promoting charity to others.
Thought #3 – Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority required its
members to perform community service as an extension of its
motto: Greater Service, Greater Progress.
One question followed.
How did these thoughts shape my ideas and commitments to
My journal opened itself and soul searching unfolded onto its
Each page was decorated with one sentence.
I read them out loud and realized they were affi rmations I can
use to create a service creed for guidance and reminders.
I serve because I want to honor my ancestors by leaving Mother
Earth better than I found her.
I serve based on a family legacy that cherishes giving back through
I serve from the center of my spirit which is rooted in sacred
teachings that promote charity, compassion, and contemplative
I serve individuals, communities, and organizations that connect
to my deepest passions: creativity, healing, yoga, meditation, Reiki,
green living, people of color, and women.
I serve because my work contributes to greater service, greater
I serve because giving creates a vacuum for receiving, completes a
cycle of abundance, and says to the universe I claim my oneness
with everyone and everything.