Senator Kamala Harris & Cardi B Using Their Voices for Social Justice Like Two Sides of Dr King’s Dream

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Social Impact

It’s an important day in the life of America when people reflect on the social impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King’s national holiday sheds light on the words and wisdom from his work. For many there’re moments that stand out among a catalog of quotes, like the timeless four words of “I Have a Dream.”

This year the holiday is also when Senator Kamala Harris decided to make an announcement using four words when she tweeted “I’m Running for President!” During her appearance on ABCs Good Morning America, Harris added a personal view in saying she’s doing it for the people because “I love my country.”

Those words might easily connect with folks who think about the love King had for the people. That’s also where Cardi B comes in with her take on what’s happening with the Government shutdown. Cardi’s colorful view which went viral might also be summarized in four words; “this mess is whack.”

Harris and Cardi B are using their voices for social justice like two sides of Dr. King’s dream. Harris brings her immigrant heritage from India and Jamaica, while Cardi B’s hometown heritage is from the Bronx. Harris went from Attorney to Prosecutor to Senator while Cardi B went from the streets to major beats.

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There’re things from King that might inform Cardi B (and us) on how we take social action. There’re things from King that can inform Harris on her political aspirations. King knew our walk might take different paths but our work should help with economic, social and neighborhood-rising issues in these ways:

  1. Scholar
  2. Activist
  3. Griot
  4. Empowerer (or Empower-her)

Before Dr. King became a national-figure he spent time becoming a trained scholar. Not everybody will choose the path of getting a degree in philosophy but most of us can study a subject enough to get a Ph.D. in lifer-education. This way we’re not becoming ‘dumb and dumber’ but instead mover and shaker.

As King traveled the country he saw more examples of what kept America stuck in the racism quicksand. This led him to becoming more of an activist. An activist is to social change as a catalyst is to a chemical reaction. Sometimes sparks fly, but after a while, things change from the current state to a new normal.

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These days we’re reminded not to mess with ‘girls from the Bronx.’ That’s how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez put it after a political commentator choose to come-at Cardi B. Cortez took us back to earlier pop culture griots named the Sugar Hill Gang, as musicians, poets and storytellers who maintain an oral tradition.

There’s a feeling in social and political circles that a new kind of candidate needs to arise for the 2020 Presidential elections. We can’t continue on the current path where the leader acts like an emperor. We need to look to those who’ll be more of an empowerer of the community or an empower-her of the nation.

All it takes is four words to get our social-justice juices flowing. Harris made her presidential bid with the words “I love my country.” Cardi B shared her concerns with “this mess is whack.” Four words describing Dr. King as scholar, activist, griot and empowerer might help us to keep runnin’. Just think about the ‘what ifs’ and where we’d be without his ‘love for the people.’

Tracks: India Arie – What If  – https://youtu.be/Ae-i31wWxEo

Naughty Boy ft Beyoncé, Arrow Benjamin – Runnin’ – https://youtu.be/eJSik6ejkr0

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The Top Stories of Today that Might Make Dr. King ask ‘What is America’s Blueprint?’ – #HometownChat

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

It’s been a wild and crazy time in social anxiety and political discourse over the past few days, and even over many months. The list of mouth-dropping moments is still growing. As the nation celebrates another Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, many consider throwback moments from his day compared to today.

During his time King delivered inspiring messages of hope and social change. Sometimes it was in written form like his letter from a Birmingham jail. Other times it was through his oratorical genius heard in the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. His life’s work continues to challenge the powerful and empower the masses.

There was his 1967 speech to a Philadelphia High School where he asked students to consider their life’s Blueprint. He told them that it’s important to have a great sense of self-worth as well as a determination to achieve excellence. He also encouraged a commitment to principles of beauty, love and justice.

He ended by saying no matter the challenge whether social or personal, they should just keep moving. That’s a theme that would apply today as we consider top news stories and ask ourselves ‘What is America’s Blueprint?’ The answer needs to be more than just political talking points as we consider:

  1. What gives us the honor of being America the brave?
  2. How do we take pride in being America the beautiful?
  3. How do we improve the standing of America the brand?
  4. What keeps us moving towards being America the best?

A tragic fire in the Bronx a few weeks ago took the life of an American soldier. It was reported he went back in the building many times to rescue others. He lost his life in the process. There’s no question that he was an example of America the brave. He didn’t die fighting a war but warring the fight to save others.

These days there’s a fight for truth on our hands. It takes being ‘America the brave’ where loyalty doesn’t get confused with its newest form of lie-alty. Dr. King once said “To ignore evil is to become accomplice to it.” Well, today he might update those words in saying “To ignore lie-alty is to become accomplice to it.”

The Superbowl show lineup is set to include a performance of America the Beautiful by Leslie Odom Jr. The national anthem will be sung by P!nk and the halftime show featuring Justin Timberlake. But it’s more than just a song and a dance in these performances that will help us take pride in America the beautiful.

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King would remind us that we fall short of America the beautiful if we glorify the flag but decry the ideals of the Constitution. We fall short if we elevate hate but denigrate love. We fall short if we multiply our economics but divide our politics. We fall short if socialism benefits the rich and capitalism hurts the poor.

Some recent news stories make us wonder about the effects on America the brand. Having migrated to the US over 35 years ago, there’s a sense for the ‘before and after’ experience. For many, before coming to America there’s a sense of awe and wonder. After coming to America it’s a sense of wonder and awe.

On the inside you see the winning formula of ‘America the brand’ is its diversity. That diversity is built on being an immigrant nation. So can ‘America the brand’ improve its standing by damaging the winning formula? That’s the question to be answered by political leaders if they want America to keep its magic.

These days King might have a problem with many of the policy reversals underway. America’s history has had its moments of choosing between settling or rising. It’s like a bottle of juice or liquor that sits for a long time. They’ll need a little stirring or shaking-up to get the full measure of taste and enjoyment.

King reminds us that it’ll take a drum major instinct to shake things up, keep things moving and get the full measure of America’s promise. Sometimes it’s being a drum major for dignity, for excellence, for purpose. We get to ‘America the best’ by being a drum major for justice or at least standing up for something.

Tip: We’ll keep celebrating America the beautiful and moving towards America the best by being a drum major for justice or at least standing up for something.

Talkback: How are you being a drum major socially, professionally, in the community or in pop culture?

Tracks: Bob Marley – Keep on Moving – https://youtu.be/tsjVzuUg4qo

Andra Day ft Common – Stand for Something –  https://youtu.be/2GhY7qXGx-0

Bernice King & Elizabeth Warren on How We Persisted Then and Can Do it Again – #HometownChat

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

“Sistas how ya feel? Brothers you alright?” These words from a popular song are good for lyrics and civics for what can be achieved in the next phase of social engagement. It’s a lead-in to the kind of intro that Bernice King or Senator Elizabeth Warren might use on how we persisted then and can do it again.

King and Warren recently began setting our sights and setting the stage for new rounds in dignity, excellence and justice. They know two key things for going where we’ve not been before. It takes a destination and a map. Without a map we’re just winging it. Without a destination we’re just blowing it.

It’s a message Dr. King and President John F Kennedy wanted us to know in the short letter dug-up in ‘lost & found’ and recently posted on social media for the world to see. In a speech King gave in 1967 to Philadelphia students he asked them to consider having a blueprint that would be useful for being fruitful.

A blueprint is just as important for Community 3.0. Think about what a microwave has done for meal preparation. It’s improved how we thaw, heat and serve food. So King and Kennedy might #LetThePeopleKnow Community 3.0 has a blueprint to thaw tensions, heat dreams and serve smarts in:

  1. What we do to encourage ourselves during those vexing times.
  2. How we empower blocks & beats in the community.
  3. When we explain the in-and-outs of politics of the day.
  4. Ways we entertain people’s fun-side for more good times.

Since a recent online post, Bernice has been giving reminders for handling those vexing times. Just imagine the things she saw growing up as a child in the King household. With all that was happening around them and even happened to them they kept their eyes on the prize and hands on the wheel.

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The steps taken then might apply today. They focused on fighting the good fight, representing the race (plus shaking-up the place) by keeping the faith. That’s the formula used to overcome throughout our history. It’s how slavery chains got lifted, Jim Crow clouds cleared & homegrown conspiracies shutdown.

One of the ways a community might do this is in how we empower blocks and beats using a blueprint. Among the highest rated episodes from Oprah’s daytime show was when she gave away a car to each member of the audience. It was up there with the most talked about and uplifting pop culture moments.

The buzz was ‘you get a car, you get a car, er’body gets a car!’ That might work just as well in Community 3.0 if instead of a car it’s letting blocks get a ‘P.E.N. & C.L.U.E. Blueprint’ as People Engage Notes in a Community Letter Uplifting Everyone. It’s like a social postcard and stamp for getting from here to there.

This way for block after block it’s more like ’you get CLUE, you get a CLUE, er’body gets a CLUE!’ It would help do what Dr. King told us in his speeches, moving towards achieving more hometown respect and personal satisfaction. It might also be a CLUE in explaining the ins-and-out of politics of the day.

At times it’s hard to know if we’re being ‘played’ by some in government. We get ‘talked to’ but not ‘talked with.’ It’s not even clear when we’re ‘talked with’ if we’re actually being ‘talked over.’ The political machine seems more focused on voters who’re core nationalists, unsure working class and pure party loyalists.

Where some fall short Community 3.0 stands tall. As in the past it’s how community players and recording artists become a voice track of our days and groove track of our lives. We can let things become ‘played’ like a broken record or press the social impact ‘microwave buttons’ of change, progress and greatness.

This might also mean new ways to entertain people’s fun-side for more good times. How we entertain today in Community 3.0 was seen with recent Grammy performances. So as Mission Ready Blocks (MRBs) we gotta let purpose move hearts. With Mission Rockin’ Beats we gotta let the groove move feet.

That’s what happened back in the day when we tuned-in to watch Soul Train hosted by Don Cornelius. It was a time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate with some R&B. The dance moves were kinda like a bonus feature. Cornelius would end each broadcast saying ‘until next time, wishing you love, peace and soul.’

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We learn from and are inspired by our cultural icons of old and those we now hold. Warren as a champion for consumer protections walks in the shoes of John F Kennedy. While Bernice walks in the shoes of Martin Luther King Jr. as a champion for her mother’s voice, father’s vision and parent’s legacy.

In Martin & Coretta we have closing thoughts on giving the people what they want and serving them what they need. She once said “Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved you must become its soul.” He said “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl but by all means keep moving.”

Groove-tracks: Soul II Soul – Keep on Movin’ – https://youtu.be/1iQl46-zIcM

John Legend – Get Lifted – https://youtu.be/MSpPpLDYZeQ

Ava DuVernay & Lin-Manuel Miranda Speak on Winning a Game but not Losing Our Civil Liberties – #HometownChat

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

“Hey Martellus Bennett, Patriots just won the Superbowl, what are you doing next?” That question might remind us of those past ads for Disney. Bennett’s not planning to do the usual stuff. He’d probably love to hear Ava DuVernay or Lin-Manuel Miranda speak on winning a game but not losing our civil liberties.

While Monday morning quarterbacks broke down the game, other folks were happy seeing the Obama’s back in town. During their two-week vacation there was even a sighting of BO’s look-alike ‘cool Barry’ with his cap turned backward. They returned just in time to settle into Washington’s business as ‘Reality TV.’

What we’re seeing these days is just a new look of some old ways. That’s what a doctor might say when examining a patient or a historian might say when examining the political, social and economic system. We’ve gone from slavery to Jim Crow to an emerging system condition that could be called John Crow.

It’s called John Crow because of a certain far-away bird that takes advantage of the death, misery and ‘lost way’ of animals. This system has a new set of ‘isms’ (along with WMDs – Weapons of Mass Dah) to benefit from death, misery and lower socio-economic status. So to #LetThePeopleKnow when it’s a John Crow is to:

  1. Check the system for signs of ‘Vulture-ism.’
  2. Churn (agitate) the establishment for the acts of ‘sham-ism.’
  3. Challenge the laws against rounds of social schism.
  4. Cheer the people to avoid the pitfalls of fake realism.

Executive Orders recently issued by the Republican Administration appear to have a negative impact on the everyday citizen. Vulture-ism is seen when perks for Wall Street dig potholes on the roads for Main Street. It’s when concerns for poverty and income inequality are stunted by policies of ‘purge & reward.’ We’ve got to save our streets from being attacked by a ‘republic of vultures.’ (Is it just coincidence that Trump’s middle name is John?)

Even the idea of possibly taking Iraq’s oil to pay for U.S. troop deployment in the Middle East is like a John Crow beast preying on the least. The thing to watchout for is whether the shifting administration policies are really about ‘Make America Great Again’ or adding more power and prime rib to their plate.

These efforts to undermine & override are not being overlooked by ‘people in the know.’ Maybe that’s why Nancy Pelosi made the statement that Trump Advisor Steve Bannon is a shot-caller for white supremacy. Howard Stern saying he feels Trump ran for president to get more money for hosting The Apprentice.

By putting those two thoughts out there some political observers have concluded that we’ve got to callout the administration for the acts of sham-ism. A ‘sham’ is a thing that is not what it’s advertised to be. There’s reason the establishment has more explaining to do on their proposed policies and procedures.

In his letter written while in a Birmingham jail Dr. King outlined the issues of his time. He challenged those who questioned his non-violent protests against laws that protected Jim Crow but oppressed, suppressed or distressed John & Jane Doe. King was saying ‘Yo, that’s some social schism.’

Fast-forward to John Crow today with policies that threaten 1st Amendment rights to a free press and religion but protect 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms. The administration wants weak vetting on cabinet picks but extreme vetting on immigrant visas. We find them shutting down Obamacare signups while saying a replacement won’t be ready until 2018. Does that mean they’d rather have people die, denying them insurance while delaying them any chance for a supposedly better plan? Yo, that’s some social schism right there.

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So DuVernay and Miranda are doing their part to rally the people against losing touch with realism. She recently quoted James Baldwin who said A civilization isn’t destroyed by wicked people. It is not necessary that people be wicked. Only that they be spineless. Another philosopher once said Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (Is there a ‘true dat’ or amen?)

These notes are reminders to take off any ‘blinders’ that cause citizens to be tone-deaf, street dumb or side-eye blind. They might even suggest it’s a time to have ‘antennas up’ to get the reception and record straight. Smart community understands the past in order to better relate it to what just happened last.

When an Ohio minister says a ‘Chicago gang wants to work with Trump’ it makes people say, really? Then 24 hours later he walks it back, saying he miss-spoke as he was still tired from the recent campaign. He’s not the first minister with the campaign ‘trying to keep it real’ but showing straight-up fake realism.

The job of media, Congressional leaders, constitutional experts and engaged citizens is to keep the ducks in order. Some have committed to doing their part to fight the power as well as ‘floss Trump’s tweets’ (and the rest of his team) because the words in-and-out of their mouths can affect America’s future well-being.

‘Alternative facts’ is the new WMD in the John Crow system used as a cover for miss-information. We’ve been here before in Jim Crow times. So as we rise, let’s not be weary but stay true to realism. We’ll know if what we’re seeing will lead us to a place of more ‘still waters’ or towards a storm of some rough waters.

Groove-tracks: Isley Brothers – Fight the Power – https://youtu.be/KdJ0uv6oMRU

Solange – Rise/Weary – https://youtu.be/mKwxz23H5UY

Kyrie Irving & Susan Rice Show Why We Need Civic Engagement in a Fractured Country – #HometownChat

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

It’s been a wild ride since the Trump Administration rollout. There’ve been Executive Orders flying across his desk, twice as many as days of the week. The theme so far seems to be Make America Constipate Again. So Kyrie Irving and Susan Rice show us why we need civic engagement in a fractured country.

Irving recently spoke out on one of the hot button issues. He told ESPN he wants to be remembered for more than being a pro basketball player. He surprised many in saying he has Native American blood-lines in his upbringing. Meanwhile, Ambassador Rice’s thoughts on current affairs: “This is stone cold crazy.”

During the campaign one of Trump’s sons said running for President was a ‘step down’ for his father. It’s not clear if he meant step down in prestige or difficulty. So far it’s been more like a step down in empathy. Plus, his administration is ‘governing by crowd’ as if still campaigning as opposed to graciously serving. It’s still not clear whether Trump’s governing style is to disrupt even if having to destroy or destroy as a way to eventually disrupt.

One way to understand the rush of Executive Orders is seeing them as ‘love letters’ to his core supporters. But they’ve also been ‘chaos letters’ to the rest of the country. Over the short time in office Trump’s administration created a bond with Russia and a ‘beef’ with a majority of the American people.

So what else might Irving and Rice want to #LetThePeopleKnow about the Presidency and public service as a step up or step down? What’s the difference between governing as a campaign and governing to serve?  We’d like to see service from the White House to the heartland where:

  1. Politicians make policies and solve problems through net impact not just net service.
  2. Leaders make change their friend and purpose something for which they’re a fan.
  3. Communities make Martin Luther King Jr more than a city boulevard but also a social beat.
  4. Societies make people better not just make better things for people.

The term ‘net service’ means the number of years a person has worked for a company. Usually, the larger the net service the bigger the net pension. The general public isn’t as interested in a politician’s net service as they are in their net impact. They’re more concerned about net-value results than net ratings.

Experts wonder out loud if Trump is serious about solving problems. During the campaign and right up to now he’d repeatedly fall back to his old TV habits of ‘drama ratings,’ with a love for all the media attention coming his way. To some policy makers like Rice, his Executive Orders are starting to feel like ‘net crazy.’

Change is usually good for the better. For example the anti-Obama protests of the past opposed change in healthcare that helped people. But the recent days of anti-Trump protests oppose change in immigration that harm people. There’re important clues when campaigns about ‘change’ get a closer look.

Some leaders say ‘we do it this way, that’s how we do it.. period!’ Others say ‘we do it in new ways as a fresh way of doing it.. let’s go!’ If it weren’t for Steve Jobs saying ‘let’s go’ we’d not have iPhones, iTunes & iPads. However there’s bad ‘change’ leadership of letting ignorance look smarter than competence.

In cities all across the country you’ll find a block that surrounds Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. From Harlem to Atlanta, these streets are significant to the heartbeat of the community. There’s a legacy to uphold and a dream to unfold. These streets are like military stripes in the life of community responders.

But military stripes can be viewed as net service as well as net impact. Kyrie Irving says he’s going to speak up more on issues, thus earning his stripes as an engaged citizen. That should give us reason to step up as well to earn our stripes not only as pop culture trend-setters but also as social change-makers.

There’s that old saying of “we didn’t leave the stone age because we ran out of stones. We left the stone age because we made new things.” The benefit of more ‘bells and whistles’ in our cars and homes is a result of us inventing new things. But it’s not enough to have better things without making people better.

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In a sense that’s what protesters are saying across the country. The actions by high ranking politicians during the Obama years were guided by ‘obstruct.’ The actions by everyday people since the start of Trump’s term are guided by ‘resist.’ The history of Mandela & Martin, Maya & Marley (and others) shows the lasting good in people who protest out of conscientious resistance.

So take a flashback to high school math and those days of trying to find the ‘greatest common factor.’ This is a high multiplying effect between two or more numbers. What we need these days is to find the greatest common formation. This would be a high multiplying effect between net service and net impact.

Sports teams have offense, defense, scorers and role players in formation. We see these same multiplying factors in community as activists, advocates, reformers and commentators. If we add shared purpose and special teams to Community 3.0 we’ll make greater strides together towards more history.

Groove-tracks: Beyoncé – Formation – https://youtu.be/1xVjx_rK0xE

Anderson Paak – Am I Wrong? – https://youtu.be/2dxOpxdp0kI

Kerry Washington & Jane Fonda Want Us to Wake Up and Push for What Matters Now – #HometownChat

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

Women across the country came out in droves to make their voices heard. The rallies planned in many cities turned out larger crowds than expected. Even in the coldest parts of the world men and women joined together. So Kerry Washington & Jane Fonda want us to wake up and push for what matters now.

Some are questioning whether it should have been called a women’s march. Others consider whether the Presidential campaign, transition and inauguration speech were factors. In some ways the rally events were an outpouring of emotions on the Obama years, people’s tears, the country’s fears and racial layers.

We saw many poster signs at the rallies. One with a Martin Luther King quote said “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.” On social media was a church sign with words from Dr. King saying “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

As the first week of the incoming administration unfolds, a new level of social activism seems to be in the making. It didn’t help that over the weekend the press secretary flat-out made stuff up in what he told the public. So it’s possible that the use of ‘alternative facts’ will grow if we fail to #LetThePeopleKnow about:

  1. The great suppression in our politics.
  2. The great confession in our culture.
  3. The great expression in our community.
  4. The great connection in our country.

In his final White House press conference, President Obama gave a list of issues he’ll be monitoring as a citizen in the days ahead. High on the list was voter suppression. He said we’re the only major democratic nation in the world that makes it harder for citizens to vote. It’s a case of suppression over progression.

This was actively done in voter ID laws, reduced polling locations, restricting voter information and raising social discontent. It’s among the WMDs – ‘Weapons of Mass Dah’ causing alarm for those who choose citizenship over political gamesmanship. Now it’s in ‘Birtherism 2’ with questions about ‘illegal’ voting.

Haven’t we seen this before, the efforts in suppression and ‘alternative facts?’ Think of it as more direct accounts of hogwash (Dah!) for telling lies and spreading delusion. Plus, the great confession in our culture has roots in the Constitution from a ‘vanilla view’ of America with Blacks seen as three-fifths value.

These ‘alternative facts’ from early days and recent times are similar to versions of delusion seen today. Some hold extreme views in their minds which say white is always right and black must step back or be out of sight. So it’s a good thing when the Courts strike down Voter ID laws from state to state.

Remember when the campaign team said that Michelle Obama’s speech was not plagiarized at the GOP convention? The person trying to do the convincing then is the same person who’s the press secretary now. After the dust settled they made a surprise confession that the speech was lifted from Obama’s text.

In the movie Hidden Figures, the role played by Taraji P. Henson taught us about moving from what is to what should be. She kept pressing until she joined a meeting of the minds with NASA engineers and decision makers plotting the next space trip. Her math skills genius was the great expression in the room.

This kind of unsung talent can be duplicated in community. After the founding of the nation we saw Community 1.0. After the Civil War & Civil Rights eras we saw Community 2.0. These shifts took us from what is, to the next level. Now we’re poised to see Community 3.0. We’ll make the shift by learning from technology which went from ‘flip to smart’ phones, from a manual operating system to Windows PC.

In community is the call for a ‘system reboot’ that moves us to set our sights, stretch our skills, strut our stuff and save our streets. It would also be a kind of ‘social moonshot’ for the fulfillment of many more ‘I Have a Dream’ promises. This would be a giant leap for smart community, special service & civic dreams.

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At the women’s marches people showed up not based on net worth but on forging a greater connection of networks. It was all peaceful even though we heard some ‘choice words’ by a few as hearts were opened. But there were also thought-provoking ideas shared, reminding us that as a country thinks, so it is.

Meantime, there’re cabinet posts under review to serve our nation. What we don’t want is a political moon landing that’s like stepping into dirt on ‘Trump Island.’ It would be better to see a giant leap of faith across reasonably-minded individuals who know America as the land of the free and home of the melting pot.

So while elected officials try to do ‘repeal & replace’ we should challenge their intentions of reversing the gains and returning the pains. We should also be doing our own ‘rewind & retrace’ so we understand where all this is coming from. This way we’re not going from love and happiness to wonder and sadness.

Groove-tracks: John Legend, Common, Melanie Fiona & The Roots  – Wake Up Everybody – https://youtu.be/iJgxJ6JrPkc

John Legend – Surefire – https://youtu.be/Hih2iyO-LH4

President Lincoln & Dr. King Might Have to Step out of History to Reset Their Story at Obama’s Final Presser #HometownChat

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

History seems to have a way of repeating itself. That’s true when you consider the events leading up to and around another King Holiday. Some people are having flashbacks to the 60s with the number of ‘conscience rallies’ planned. Maybe Lincoln and King will have to step out of history to reset their story.

Lincoln moved America leaps and bounds to end the Civil War in the 1860s. King and the Civil Rights movement did their part for social justice in the 1960s. Lincoln is an idol for many politicians including president Obama. King holds high honor with many Americans, so too does Congressman John Lewis.

So after days of back-and-forth since 2017, there’s concern this is no time to get happy, but to get woke and huddle-up. We saw a southern American city try to re-name the King Holiday. Along with the John Lewis episode there were other surprise Twitter & SNL moments. What’s to come is anyone’s guess.

So as President Obama holds his final press conference, the goodbyes will be hard to swallow. But what if Obama were to invite Lincoln and King to the presser, how would they speak up and make it plain? They’d have four things to #LetThePeopleKnow as Obama’s set to go. We might hear them telling us to:

  1. Educate ourselves in communities of color and beyond on the 3Rs and other social issues.
  2. Elevate the broader public square to new levels of civic awareness.
  3. Evaluate the truth on who’s fooling who and who’s zoomin’ who (that’s right Queen Aretha).
  4. Escalate a commitment to change for the better (not just for PR or as a vote getter).

After the Civil War and Lincoln’s term ended, there was a ‘repeal & replace’ backlash that followed. Many newly elected officials didn’t want to appear supportive of progressive programs. This is like buying a new car and then having the HD radio removed because you don’t like the artist’s (Obama’s) name on display.

With new found freedoms and opportunities came a push to reverse them. Things went from a new normal to a new abnormal. So as time went on more HBCUs were started with renewed efforts to educate people on the 3Rs and their civic rights. Maybe Dr. King as a Morehouse Man would share this reminder.

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Many years after the Civil War, the focus was also on elevating the broader public square to new levels of social awareness. What we know as Black History Month today started as a weeklong effort to inform and inspire. Some modern day history books have a way of leaving blanks or telling tales just to make sales.

One debate is whether Lincoln issued the Emancipation to save the union or free the slaves. This can take on a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario or go from truth to spin to lies in a few seconds. So in our current political climate Lincoln might have us think on who’s fooling who and who’s zoomin’ who then and now.

Often when candidates run on ‘change’ it’s fair to think change for the better, not just for PR or as a vote getter. History will assess this for our outgoing President as it will for the incoming. But when King said ‘I Have a Dream’ he also wanted us to see change as the ‘We’ from bottom up that moves the ‘I’ from top down. It’s how we might shine as ‘hidden figures’ through Community MRBs – Mission Ready Blocks, Mission Rhythm and Blues.

The post Civil War and post Obama eras seem to have some similar sketch-lines. What we see today as a fight against Obamacare was a fight then to stall Emancipation’s progress. What we see in the rise of certain ‘alt’ groups today was the rise of fringe groups then. Plus, we see the potential for gamesmanship in politics to overshadow the purpose of service in politics. The pendulum swing is real so what now?

Well, this is where Prez Obama would step back letting Lincoln and King take it to the bridge. Lincoln the politician might say ‘we must be a country that chooses to plant seeds over weeds.’ Weeds can overrun a lawn and make it look shabby. We must overspread the American landscape with less weeds and more seeds. The spreading of racism, sexism, xenophobia and the rise of false-reality news & views are a bad mix of weeds across the homeland.

King as the Baptist preacher might paraphrase words from the Apostle Paul reminding us that ‘you reap what you sow.’ And to add a common touch King might say ‘you can fool some of the people some of the times, but you can’t fool God none of the times.’ That’s true whether we’re regular folks or big timers.

Those who keep sowing social media weeds can’t expect to grow seeds of trust and respect. It’s when we choose to operate higher than this that we bring honor to the legacies of King and Lincoln. In due season, God can decide to harden, humble, hasten or hijack a man’s heart while steering us on another path.

Godspeed President Obama!

Groove-tracks: Ledesi – Higher Than This – https://youtu.be/I4yva8U-78U

Usher, Stevie Wonder, Shakira – Higher Ground –  https://youtu.be/0PEPrPRAp4M