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By Gail R. Jackson, Editor
No doubt protestors in America are outraged over the decisions by our justice system not to indict white police officers who were involved in several shootings and killings of unarmed African-American males. So am I. Words alone can’t express my anger. Every time a killing has occurred, from Trayvon Martin to the Eric Garner, I’ve gotten sick to my stomach because short of protesting, I can’t do anything about it. Black men are being gunned down by white police all across America but are not being held accountable. This madness has got to stop. I have a seven year old grandson so my maternal reaction is to protect him from this injustice. Of course, not one person can do it alone.
I am reminded of the pivotal role the church played during the Civil Rights Era. African Americans were sick and tired of being treated like they didn’t matter. In an effort to affect change, the churches were mobilizing points, people stuck together, many lives were sacrificed. As a result, through blood, sweat and tears, today African Americans are better off because of it. I believe that the time has come once again to address the racial divide that exists in this country. Police brutality won’t be ignored and I believe that the church should lead the effort. The church, the strength of the Black community, the most powerful institution we have, has got to stand up and say enough is enough. Church programs, musicals, and anniversary celebrations have their places, but the church must be about much more than that if the lives of our young men are to be saved.
It is my hope, my prayer that next year churches would come together in solidarity and purpose to adopt plans to build better relationships between the police and the community. Initiate social activities such as softball games, fishing expeditions, bowling tournaments, and camping. Involving local police in the lives of Black men allows the police to see young Black men as human beings and, as a result, end racial profiling. Black men would learn the job of the police, learn the law and the consequences of disobeying it. I don’t have all the answers, but I know that doing nothing to address this crisis is not it. Romans 12:9-10 (LB) reads, “Don’t just pretend that you love others, really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good.”
Tamir Rice was only 12 years old when he was shot down before he could comply with police. Amadou Diallo, 23, was shot 19 times while reaching for his ID that the police asked for. There are many other victims. When will the next police shooting of an unarmed Black male occur, and where? Will it be in our community, New Orleans, Marrero, Gretna? What other names will join those of Treyvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Amadou Diallo? Will it be your relative? Don’t wait until another murder of one of our boys or men occurs to get involved. Keep the protests going, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” “I can’t breathe.”
Please stand with me and say enough is enough. Get involved. This madness has got to stop. We must be proactive as a community; we must be our brother’s keeper.
So say it with me, “Not my Son.” Say it with an attitude, “Not My Son, Not My husband, grandson, uncle, pastor, neighbor’s son, church member’s son …. . “
What are You
By KaJa J. Dilosa, age 9
Okay, it`s November and Thanksgiving is close, so I’ve been thinking about what I’m grateful for. I also interviewed some special people in my life to find out what they are thankful for, and this is what they said. First let`s start with me.
I`m thankful for life, a house to live in, clothes, food, and last but not least, I am thankful for being a daughter of God.
I interviewed my mom. She is also thankful for life, her family, parents, grandparents, that the New Orleans Saints are winning, peace, loving kids and husband, good health, and that she can help others. After my mom, I talked to my friend, Zoe.
Zoe is thankful for friends, her mom, her education, and life. Next up is Mother (my grandmother).
Mother is thankful to wake up each day because she knows that God is allowing her the opportunity to make a difference in someone`s life and that others may bless her as well. She is thankful for her beautiful mother, Sunday family gatherings, dear friends, church, and God’s blessings upon all of us. After Mother, it was Pawpaw Larry’s turn. Pawpaw is thankful for his family, his health, possibilities, thankful for his wife, and the best kids and grandkids. Next up is my little brother, Jahari. He is 6 years old.
Jahari is thankful for pizza, eggs, his mommy and daddy, his big sister, a house, plenty of toys, the grocery store, friends, games, and electronics.
My cousin Tylee is 11 years old. He is thankful for one thing, LIFE. His brother, Trey, 12, is also thankful for life and family, love, friends, his dad and mom, and everything. Next up is my friend, Emely.
Emely is thankful for her family, her friends, holidays, and life. My other friend is named Elizabeth. She is thankful for her friends, her family, animals, life, her house, holidays, and her brother.
My dance director is thankful too. Ms. Decay is thankful for her family, the dance school, ALOD [Awesome Ladies of Distinction], God’s grace and mercy, and her health.
Finally, my dance instructor, Ms. Lee, is thankful for her good health as well, for creativity, and freedom. She said she is thankful for her life, food and shelter, and the right to make her own decisions.
What are you thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving!
KaJa is in the fourth grade in the Jefferson Parish School System. This is her very first article. She aspires to be a writer, a professional dancer, and a photographer. Her hobbies are dancing, shopping, and reading.
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Make Someone’s Wish Come True
By Gail R. Jackson
Recently on a television talk show, a young man was being interviewed by three women. Seeming to be just another kid to me, their body language indicated something different. They were fascinated by what this boy had to say, and it was obvious to me that they were deeply touched by his story. It got my undivided attention so I stopped what I was doing and watched.
The young African-American teenager told the talk show hosts that he asked his pastor if he could come up and address the congregation; his wish was granted. From the pulpit, he gave a heartfelt plea explaining how his mother died in prison when he was very young and he has been living in foster homes most of his life. The teenager asked if someone would adopt him. “All I want is for someone to love me,” he said. As of this date, hundreds of people have applied to adopt the teenager.
That young man’s request took my breath away and presented a different perspective in my life. Because of his situation and the fact that it’s Thanksgiving time, I wondered what children generally thought about the meaning of Thanksgiving, so I posed the question to my little granddaughter, and her story follows entitled “What are You Thank For.”
The finer things in life, i.e., designer clothes, five-star restaurants, private schools, IPhones and IPads, attending sporting events, travel and other luxuries have become the norm for many of us. However, basic needs for so many others, i.e., food and drinkable water, warm clothing, and yes, a family to come home to, ARE other people’s luxuries.
While this holiday season, many teenagers will be expecting electronics, expensive shoes and clothes, even cars, the only prayer of hundreds of others kids in foster care is to simply have someone who loves them and a family in which to come home.
I urge everyone to take some time and reflect on what is truly important, and how you can make someone’s wish come true, especially this holiday season.
Mr. and Mrs. Batiste
Lisha Davis Batiste proudly says, “I met him on Franklin Street in Gretna!” “Wrong.” says Vernon. She goes into a schoolgirl blush and covers her face as her husband details the correct story of how they first met.
Mr. Vernon Eugene Batiste, Sr. met his wife Lisha at a football game at West Jefferson High School stadium. “She told me she was from Chicago!” Mrs. Batiste laughs loudly while agreeing, “He had too much hair on his head. I wasn’t attracted to all of that hair. I didn’t want him to ask me for my phone number and try to track me down. I knew I had family in Chicago in case I would have to prove my story.” In fact, it would take three meetings before the two became a couple, thanks to her cousin. She was checking him out. Lisha chimes in, “He got a haircut and looked like Jermaine Jackson.” Lisha was 16 and Vernon was 19.
They were married on November 27, 1982. “That’s why I get gypped out of birthday presents because we got married on my birthday!” jokes Mr. Batiste. (more…)
The Power of Pink
By Gail R. Jackson, Editor
The color pink is overwhelmingly everywhere. This month, all shades of pink are showing up in the most unusual places. Corporate buildings illuminate pink, and football & basketball players wear it proudly. A color most popular in the spring, yet every October, pink has a specific job. It ushers in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, symbolizing a disease that primarily affects women, and too often results in the devastation of victims and their families.
It’s ironic to me that this classy color, like black, is used to symbolize both elegance and sorrow. Think about it; there are “pink slips,” “pink eye,” and “pink slime.” A little black dress can send a sensual message while that same dress can be worn to a funeral. We have accepted society’s claim that black is associated with pain and sorrow, but I can’t wrap my head around why pink, in all its gracefulness, is treated the same. Dark grey makes more sense. I wondered what was the mindset around the selection of pink in a negative light, so I did a little research in order to understand it better.
Mr. and Mrs. Bridges
Listening to the Bridges sing the lyrics to their song (the William Bell classic “I Forgot to Be a Lover”) to each other, “…. have I told you lately that I love you…..if I didn’t then darling I’m sorry….” leaves no doubt the romance and love is stronger than ever as they prepare to celebrate 43 years of marriage this month. Eugene Bridges married the former Mary E. Young on December 26, 1969. “We had a small wedding.” says Mr. Bridges. “We took a blood test and then got married right on the spot at a courthouse in Hazelhurst, MS!” He jokingly adds, “I’m old school; I had to get her parents blessings. Her mom loved me from the beginning, but her daddy mumbled something. I don’t know if I ever got his blessings!”
Eugene Bridges first laid eyes on his future wife at a “record shop that sold sandwiches” in Mary’s hometown of Crystal Springs, MS. We were introduced by a mutual friend. Eventually he went into the armed service. Then as fate would have it, when he was leaving the service, Mrs. Bridges went into the Air Force. Mary says, “I just wanted to travel, I had never left my town. (more…)
Mr. and Mrs. Victor
Mr. and Mrs. Larry Victor will celebrate 32 years of marriage on November 26. “We were married on Thanksgiving Day right in the living room!” says Mrs. Victor. She adds, “I was so nervous. I was crying, my brother (who gave me away) was crying. It truly was a beautiful day. Nobody wanted to go home!” Mr. Victor met his wife Dorothy while taking her to clean off her parents’ grave in Opelousas. “My sister and her friend knew Larry. The said he would be happy to take me to clean my parents’ grave and that they would tag along. On the way back, I ended up in the front seat with Larry. The rest is history!” says Mrs. Victor. Their song is “We Both Deserve Each Other’s Love” by Jeffery Osborne. The Victors’ marriage is deeply rooted in their faith in God. Their advice to younger couples is “Keep God first. Take everything to Him in prayer. This is a partnership. Don’t give up and don’t let the sun go down with you being angry. Communication is key, without it you have nothing.” Mrs. Victor adds, “Learn to compromise. You don’t always have to be right. Keep it fun and exciting. Never let things get dull. Do things out of the ordinary sometimes.” (more…)
Mr. and Mrs. Refuge
The Refuges are proof that when God has designed a mate for you, He will ultimately lead you to that mate if you let Him take control. Lawrence Michael met his future wife at an Exxon station in New Orleans where she was working. He says, “This beautiful attendant stepped from behind the counter in Daisy Duke shorts and asked ‘How’s your day going?’ I thought to myself, ‘I can’t mess this up.’ and I responded ‘It’s going well now!’. The two exchanged names. “I told her I felt like I knew her from somewhere.” says Mike. After a few dates, Sharon and Michael realized they in fact had met each other before. “Her sister owned a restaurant on Tulane Ave. that I used to frequent and she worked there. I had tried to meet and talk to her before.” Says Michael. Michael and Sharon were married on June 9, 1979. Sharon says, “Our wedding was literally planned overnight. I remember I worked on my wedding day. I worked at Hibernia bank. We had been discussing getting married and the pastor who married us called me at work on a Friday and said ‘I have an opening tomorrow if you two still want to get married’. (more…)