Find Your Unique Way To Help!

Dear Friends,

If you, like me, are watching current events in the United States with feelings of anxiety, anger, sadness and the like, why don’t you consider reaching down into your personal “toolbox” to find your own unique way to help.

If you are unsure of where to start, look no further as I have culled together (below) some specific areas in the African American community that need YOUR immediate attention, talent, skills, knowledge and abilities.

This list is, by no means, the end all, be all.

However it does include areas that I, as a black woman, consider to be high-priority.

In essence, my goal here is to point you to the issue so that you can further research them and find your way to help!

And so…..

Family, Mothers and Fathers, please teach your children to be courageously kind and compassionate.

Teach them to value all human life! Not just certain ones.

Professionals, Scholars and Students of Law, Medicine, Education, and Journalism, please lend your knowledge!

We need your help!

Writers, Researchers, Photographers, Video Journalists, Counselors, Coaches, Social Workers, Marketers, Salespeople, Artists, Entrepreneurs, Computer and Technology experts, please lend your skills and abilities.

We need your help!

If you have extra money to spare, but are unable be more active, then give money to those who can be more active.

We need your help!

To my international readers, if America chooses NOT to change systemic racism, please consider helping us find a new place to live a better life!

We need your help too!

Everyone, I implore you, please find your own unique and productive way to help your brother.

Links to Specific Areas that Require Concentrated Assistance for African Americans:

Disparities in Health Outcomes and Access to Care

Source : Kaiser Family Foundation

Statistics on Violence

Source: Healthy People 2020

High Maternity Mortality

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Maternity mortality in black women

Even economic background can’t seem to help us overcome the stress of being black in America. A must read!

Source: Harvard University School of Public Health

Disparities in Education

Source:  United Negro College Fund

Contrary to popular belief, all black children do NOT automatically get United Negro College Fund Scholarships! These funds are tied to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. For more info click here!

Food Justice

Black Farming Leah Penniman Soul Fire Farm

Source: University of Vermont

Environmental Racism

Source: NYU School of Law

Black Health and Black Wealth

Pages 15-16 are very telling regarding wealth

Source: U.S. Congressional Black Caucus

Black Codes

This explains how blacks were jailed for bogus “crimes” like vagrancy in order to be used for free labor in prison camps. This is the beginnings of over-representation of African Americans in the prison system.

Source: Equal Justice Initiative

From Slavery to Mass Incarceration

Source: Ben and Jerry’s (Of all people, LOL!!)

I’ve just put my own M.Ed. and B.S. degree to use in order to find my way to help!

LadyG loves YOU! I DO!

Now get out there and help!

A Family Conversation: The Cousins Discuss The Elusive American Dream

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“A Family Conversation” is a storytelling audio series that features weekly discussions between blogging cousins LadyG and Ron Brown on current events along with favorite posts from each other’s blog.

“A Family Conversation” is published on Wednesdays.

*****************************************************************************

Excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech:

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

If you are interested, you may read the full speech transcript here.

Now…

Observe as I switch my focus from the words of a King to a topic that appears to be totally different.

I’ll begin “the switch” by asking…

Isn’t it funny how the lyrics of a song can mean one thing in one context, and another thing in a different context?

That very fact inspired Ron to post two throwback jams from one of the most prolific songwriting duos of all time, Valarie Simpson and her late husband Nickolas Ashford.

And so….

This week, Ron and I discuss the song lyrics from Ashford & Simpson’s “It seems to hang on” and “Found a cure.”

Listen in as we flow with the lyrics into conversations on :

  • Dealing with the ever-present albatross of discrimination.
  • Interacting with people who either intentionally or unintentionally invalidate our experiences of prejudice.
  • Maintaining a hopeful optimism that one day America will live up to its greatest potential by adhering to its own assertion that “all men are created equal.”
  • A Divine prescription for the cure that we need; hint, it’s been there all along.

Enjoy,

Adult Language and Situations

Pt 1

Pt 2

To listen to a deeper conversation click here for parts 3-5

A Family Conversation: Ron Brown and LadyG Discuss the Cool Uncle’s Story

 

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Cool Uncle aka Daddy (Sembach Airbase 1965)

“A Family Conversation” is a storytelling audio series that features weekly discussions between blogging cousins LadyG and Ron Brown on current events and featured blog posts.

*************************************************************************************

“My uncle was as cool as a ’65 Thunderbird!”

-Ron Brown

Yep, that’s precisely how Ron describes my Daddy’s vibe from his younger days as a MP in the United States Air Force.

Folks said he was as cool as a cucumber…

A tall drink of water…

A pretty redbone…

Clearly, LadyG loves a good cliché

LOL!

All that aside, Ron’s cool uncle tells some awesome tales from his post-military days working on the railroad in the late 1960’s through the late 1990’s.

And so…

We invite you to join us in today’s sessions as we talk about Ron’s cool uncle (my Dad) RailroadConductor67’s post, “Santa’s Helper.”

As usual, Ron and I often found ourselves sidetracked!

Our conversation quickly galloped from Lysol to Clorox to wild game to storytelling where it crashed, head on, into Rickie Lee Jones.

But it gets better considering the fact that Rickie Lee wasn’t supposed to be a part of the dialogue.

AT.

ALL!

(Warning, a shift from first to third person is coming up so that I may distance myself from “LadyG”)

Yeah, so, you see, it all started when LadyG went on this tangent about Tommy Lee Jones, whom she thought was named Rickie Lee Jones.

Just so you know, Rickie, the female singer, should NEVER be confused with Tommy, the male actor.

They aren’t even kinda the same.

But of course, LadyG cannot be bothered with “facts.”

And, if you stick around to listen to the part 2 audio in this post, you will hear this for yourself.

Anyway…

Remember, you can find my Daddy, Ron’s cool uncle, here under category:  “True Railroad Stories”

You can also find Ron Brown under category “Ron’s Time Tunnel” and at his blog “Time Tunnel” 

Audio does includes some adult language

Part 1 Run time: 30 minutes

Part 2 Run time: 25 minutes

 

Patio Garden: Listen in as Daddy teaches me how!

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***Important Note: 

Daddy and I purchased the seeds for our patio garden back in late January/ Early February of this year. 

We had planned to get started with this project much sooner.

But, life happened, and one day in mid February, out of nowhere, Daddy collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital. 

As a result, he spent some time in the ICU. 

But thank GOD, he was released ONE WEEK after his emergency admission date. 

God was with him the entire time!

He was truly blessed and so were we!

We thank every doctor, nurse, assistant and therapist involved in his care.

Special thanks to my son and daughter who were with him when he collapsed.  They took immediate—lifesaving action.

Remember, in an emergency, it is best to call 911 because they bring help; they are NOT just there for the ride! 

They can make ALL the difference between living and dying!

Thank you to those first responders (Paramedics, EMTs and Firemen ) who arrived on the scene to care for my Dad.

Also, special thanks to the anonymous witness who called 911 seconds before my daughter did!

That said, after spending several weeks in physical and occupational therapy, Daddy is now recovered.

No doubt, we lost some time starting our gardening project, but his well-being was much more important to me.

AND NOW……

Enjoy the post and the video!

___________________

I think it was 2017 when I first revisited a recurring idea of setting up a patio garden.

Sadly, Covid-19 has recently come to town and highlighted, among other things, weaknesses in our food supply chain.

As a result, you can best believe that I am now moving this project to “on fire” status!

I’m dead serious!

Anyway, a critical piece to this garden project included having my daddy teach me how to set it up—mainly because that dude has a…

Mint

Jade

AND

Emerald

Green thumb mix!

His daddy taught him.

I’m a Georgia girl, so frankly, as far back as I can remember—and I am about 50 :), my dad, who is a native of Alabama, maintained a garden in our backyard.

He kept that practice up for years!

Later in life, maybe 15 years ago, he transitioned to apartment living, and continued gardening on a smaller scale.

Neighbors, who passed by his patio, would ask, “Hey man, how do you grow such beautiful greens?”

He’d just smile and offer some form of pleasant response and continue on with tending his “crops.”

And when the crops were ready to be harvested, mama made sure to cook them up just right!

Queen Diva Eva!

YAASSSS!

Now then,

Let me be frank, there is NO way in hell that my dad would consent to appearing on camera so I had to secretly record the action!

God knows if he reads this….that’s my ASS! 

Oops!  Did I say that?

Forgive me Daddy!

That said, I am going to post an audio of him supervising my steps toward establishing our little family garden along with a short video and some pictures.

Forever the conductor!

But he’s cool about it

Anyway…

Enough of my rambling.  Check out the video.

LadyG loves YOU!

*** WARNING:  This video contains strong Southern accents so may the peace of the Lord be with you if you are not used to it!  A bit of translation is included 🙂

Comment on your experience with gardening, or if you’d like to leave a tip!

Check out Daddy’s railroad stories by going to category: “True Railroad Stories.”

*See pictures of one of his gardens in the first post I did about his gardening here!

A Family Conversation: Ron Brown & LadyG Discuss Mama Warriors

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Don’t mess with a mother’s child!

It doesn’t matter WHO you are, WHERE you are, or, in this case, “WHEN” you are!

Today, Ron and I talk about my post, “Blackie,” which is a lighthearted true story that details my courageous young mother’s willingness to risk everything for her child in the newly integrated South.

“Blackie,” which was set in early 1970’s Georgia, is not hyperfocused on the perils that accompanied integration/segregation.

That’s a whole n’other story for a different post.

However, it does highlight the lengths that a mother will go in order to protect her child.

After listening to, or reading “Blackie,” you will learn that my mother was no play-thang.

She was a warrior!

A soldier, if you will.

Don’t believe me?

Check out what she did for my brother in Mama and the Balloon Man!

After you read it, you’ll be a believer about Queen Diva Eva!

But, back to the topic at hand….

Join Ron and I for parts 1,2, and 3.

***By the way, you can catch our first episode by clicking here.

Lady G Loves YOU!

Ep. 2 Part 1:  LadyG reads “Blackie”

Ep. 2 Part 2:  The Discussion Continues

Ep. 2 Part 3:  Parental Guidance is highly suggested

 

 

 

A Family Conversation: Ron Brown & LadyG discuss their favorite stories(Ep. 1)

*** “A Family Conversation” will be a weekly recurring series that highlights stories told and written by Ron Brown and LadyG. Look for new posts on Wednesdays.

 

Welcome to our inaugural post!

Greetings my loves,

Today, I am presenting a conversation that I had with my cousin, Ron Brown, aka “The Professor,” regarding our favorite storytelling blog posts.

Baby, we’re recreating our own little version of  “The Decameron” over here!

Now, if you don’t know what that is, GO GOOGLE IT!

LOL!

And so…

Our focus, during today’s conversation, is on one of my favorite stories, told and written by, you guessed it,  Mr. Ron Brown, entitled, “A Man Called Boy.”

(Not to be confused with  ” A Boy Called Man.” )

Trust me, there is a difference…and it is deliciously intentional!

Anyway, in this recording, Ron not only gives details about the origin of the story, he also reads it with that melodious baritone voice of his!

Can you say 3-alarm Fi-yah?!

I mean, what more can you ask for?

Especially if you are, like me, a huge fan of his work.

That said, I hope that you enjoy what you hear today and remember to check out “A Man Called Boy”

You can read more of Ron’s stories on this blog by searching  for “Ron’s Time Tunnel” in categories.

You can also catch him at his own blog “Time Tunnel.”

Comments are welcome 🙂

***NOTE: Please ignore the sounds of lawn work and other random noises.  We are in our homes, living our best “shelter in place” lives! LOL!!!

Enjoy 😘

 

Stay tuned for Episode 2! Coming Up Next Wednesday! 

 

LadyG loves YOU!

A Study in Tenacity: My Son, the Graduate

With degree
My Son with his Degree from Emory University in Atlanta Georgia
When he left for college…

We prayed for him.

We encouraged him.

We guided him.

We supported him.

We cheered for him.

We consoled him.

We pushed him.

We pulled him.

We LOVED him…

But the one thing that we could not do was go to school for him.

 

Nevertheless, we did all that we could.

And now…

After enduring any number of set backs, this young man soldiered on and did the DAMN thang!

He NEVER gave up!

And we expected nothing less.

So, please join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of my beloved son.

First, a word about his alma mater, Emory University.

Emory is a private university, nestled within the tony Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, GA–actually it’s more so Decatur but anyway….. 🙂

The University was ranked by The Wall Street Journal as number 17 of 500 US national private and public universities.

It is the only University in Georgia to make the top 20.

Some notable alumni include, Robert W. Woodruff of Coca-Cola fame.  In fact, Mr. Woodruff’s family and charitable foundation remain huge supporters of the University.

Other notable alumni include:

Dr. Bernice King (Daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Robert Jones (Professional Golfer and Father of The Masters Golf Tournament)

Kenneth Cole (Famous Designer)

Notable Faculty include:

39th U.S. President, James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr.

19th U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

It is also important to note that Emory University Hospital accepted and cared for American physician and Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly back in 2014.

So….

I’d say, this kid was in good company huh?

But seriously, I am so proud of my sweet boy—now young man!

That said, we don’t get to celebrate the accomplishments of African-American men very often, so please indulge me as I do that here.

Here is a short video and a collage of pics.

First, a 30 second video of the Graduation Processional.

The music was provided by Atlanta Pipe Band.

Bag Pipes!  YAAAAAYYY!!!

 

Additional program music was provided by The Atlanta Symphony Brass Quintet.

 

 

Mama loves you Rod!  And in the words of the great Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss, “Oh the places you’ll go!”

Oh the places

Thanks for allowing me to share this with you.  Please be sure to comment and offer any words of advice to my son as he starts a new chapter in his life!

Love and light to you all!

Lady G

😘💋

 

 

 

 

Fifty Shades of Black

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Mama (Eva) holding Tack, that’s me on the right with my mouth wide open!

 

Random Woman:  Hey Brenda!

Brenda:  Hey girl, how are you?  I haven’t seen you in some years!

Random Woman: I know!  It’s been a long time.

Brenda:  Yes it has, by the way, let me introduce you to my friend, Eva.

Random Woman:  (Very dry, cold and nonchalant) Hey Eva.

Random Woman: (Directly addressing Brenda) Ooh Brenda, your little girl is so pretty, how old is she?

Eva: (PISSED) That’s MY child!

Random Woman: (Slightly Embarrassed but still chilly) Oh, I’m sorry, she just looks more like Brenda to me.

Eva walks off with child (ME) in tow.

Yes friends, my mother, Queen Diva Lady Eva, was tee’d off!

Why, you ask?

Because ‘Ms. Random Woman’ assumed that I was Brenda’s daughter based solely on the fact that we shared the same skin complexion.

She never thought for a moment that I could belong to my mother–who was a shade or two darker.

It simply didn’t occur to her to ask.

Sadly, this type of attitude was nothing new to Mama.  As a child, she had received whippings from a lighter skinned uncle for being “too black.”

Colorism 
col·or·ism
ˈkələrˌizəm/

noun

Prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group–Oxford Dictionaries
What the Oxford folks failed to mention is that this phenomenon is a ‘carry-over’ of Slavery; having been birthed from the actions of slave owners.
In essence, slave masters created division among their chattel by treating them differently based on skin complexion.
The darker slaves were treated far worse than the lighter slaves.  Because of their color, dark skinned men and women were forced to engage in heavy labor while the lighter skinned slaves were treated better–relatively speaking.
Naturally, the lighter skinned slaves were told that they were superior to their melanin rich brothers and sisters and both groups bought into that belief.
And there we have it!
A lifelong mutual animosity between darker slaves and lighter slaves…which sadly continues with their descendants today–albeit to a much lesser degree.
Come now!
Let’s re-evaluate the scenario that I offered at the beginning of this post.
Notice how dismissive Ms. Random Woman was toward my mother.
She all but ignored her darker skinned ‘sister.’
‘Ms. Random’ never imagined that chocolate Ms. Eva could be the mother of a caramel colored daughter with long pony tails.
Of course, at the age of 3, I was too young to notice or understand the larger implications of this woman’s attitude.
I had no clue what was really going on.
Little did I know, I would continue to experience some form of this lunacy throughout my life as my father’s racial identity was, to the average onlooker, perplexing… to say the least 🙂
Lord, I got all kinds of questions like, “Is your Dad Mexican?”

Puerto Rican?

Cuban?

Arab?

West Indian?

East Indian?

Native American?

And everything in between….

Oh, and then there were the really stupid questions like:

How did your Mom get a handsome man like your Dad?

Ok, that’s when I got rowdy!

All bets were off!

Seriously?  What do you mean?

Do you not realize that you’re talking about MY MOTHER?

You better back the hell up!

I’m sorry guys but that mess really got under my skin!

Oh and if you think things got better as years passed…

Think again!

My Mama often recalled a time when an associate of my Dad’s came by to borrow a drill.

Apparently, he peeked past my Mom, who had answered the door, in order to get a better glance at me and whispered, “That must be Jim’s daughter.”

Mama said, “Yes, and she’s my daughter and we have a son too!”

What an idiotic thing to say!

“That must be Jim’s daughter.”

It rolled right off his ignorant ass tongue without a bit of thought attached to it.

The fact that he knew that my parents had been married for 100 years added insult to injury!

Ah…but here’s an even more egregious example.

One day, back in 2012, I had been sitting in the hospital room with Mama for most of the morning.

Well, this black nurse, who had been in and out, and who had seem me sitting there the whole time, asked, “Has any of her family come by yet?”

What the hell do I look like?

Chopped liver?

Of course I didn’t say THAT but I did say, “Well I’m her daugther.”

Naturally, the nurse apologized.

I thought to myself….Here we go again…after all this time.

Still dealing with issues of color.

Mama caught hell for being too dark and Daddy caught hell for being too racially ambiguous.

Good grief!

 

 

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Daddy and Mama at about age 15

 

Inspiration for this post came from comments between myself and these great bloggers:

Kelley at Gray Suede

Dr. K. E. Garland

Ron Brown