RIP #TrayvonMartin – Gone Too Soon.

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

I’ve kept quiet for too long about the recent ‘not guilty‘ verdict of George Zimmerman. 

For years we’ve watched how “Justice” serves the public. 

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison for standing up in what he believed in.

Martin Luther King was put in prison for a march promoting non-violence

Officers in LA were found ‘not guilty’ for relentlessly beating Rodney King which was caught on video.

George Zimmerman was found ‘not guilty’ for killing a young kid because he looked suspicious.

My heart goes out to Trayvon Martin‘s family. It’s one thing to have your child die before you. It’s another to lose your child to a tragic yet avoidable death, to hear him scream for help and watch the killer walk away free to do it again.

I’m sick with this sort of injustice.  How is a jury of all women George Zimmerman’s peers?  How can they truly, in their heart believe that this demented man (who is clearly not 100% there) is not guilty of pursuing this child after he had been advised not to. 

They really tried to make Trayvon look like a bad seed.  But first, he’s a kid…you show me a person that has never made a mistake in their life and I’ll show you a confounded liar.  Secondly, is anything that Trayvon did worthy of death?  Convicted pedophiles and rapists are able to walk the earth among us. But this child had to die for being a young black kid walking while with a hoodie? Is this a new offence I’m unaware of?

Since when do security guards walk with guns?  Perhaps things are different in the US but with all the gun violence in the world today, security companies really need to check out who they’re giving guns to and making it legal for them to kill at their discretion.

#RIP Trayvon. Everyone, we must work together to ensure this young life wasn’t taken in vain.

Martin Bashir really sums it all up right in his “Clear the Air” segment. 

@michaeljackson #gonetoosoon but will forever live in hearts

Cover of "King of Pop: Japan"

True Story – On June 23, 2009 I was speaking with a friend who said he would be sad if a certain comedian died.  He then asked me which celebrity I would miss.  Without hesitation I answered “Michael Jackson“.  There was no second guessing, not even ‘you know who else I would miss’. It was one answer. Michael Jackson.   So as you can image, I was stunned when a mere two days later, I was sitting in my car, listening to the radio and hear the song playing stop midway through with breaking news via TMZ that “Michael Jackson has been taken to the hospital”.

Though I was shocked to hear it, I figured he was exhausted from preparing for his upcoming show and I was confident he would be fine in a few days. Besides, this was coming from TMZ. Don’t get me wrong, I like watching their show now and then but it’s no CNN.  Little did I know how much that report would affect me and how I would have a new-found respect for TMZ (well…sort of).

I immediately called a good friend to tell her the news.  Years prior, she had warned me that she would be devastated when MJ dies.  She would wear the leather red jacket and silver glove, listening to his old records (yes vinyl) in his honour.  I called her to notify her of what was going on.  The first thing she said – “I’ll believe it when CNN reports it”.  The final reports came in that the King of Pop was dead.

We all know how the rest pans out.  Needless to say, I could go on and on about how many memories I have from all Michael’s songs.  I’m a child of the 80’s so I lucked out with experiencing a lot of “firsts” from him.  I still remember the first time Michael ever did the Moonwalk on the Grammy’s.  My family was in awe of how cool it looked to see him glide backwards across the stage.

Yes, many of today’s performer’s have perfected and even improved on to it but without Michael, they wouldn’t have had to up their game to the level they’re at today.  Just as Michael studied and admired James Brown, you can see the love and respect that the Chris Browns and Ushers of the world have for MJ.

I could write endlessly about his music but I’ll stop (for fear of starting to ramble on and revealing deep dark secrets that have nothing to do with this at all).

I have too many “Favourite” Michael Jackson songs to mention.  So here are some that are high on my list.

Rock with You

Don’t Stop ‘Til you Get Enough

The Grammy Performance of Billy Jean – 1st Moonwalk (at 2:37)

#BHM – It’s February

Getting to Know Harriet Tubman
Black History Month – Getting to Know Harriet Tubman (Photo credit: SITES Exhibitions)

February kicks off Black History Month.

I clearly remember sitting in grade 9 History class learning about prohibition in the early 1900’s and wondering to myself; ‘Why is this important to me?’ I was a student in Canada learning about Al Capone and his gang of ‘yes men’ on how they ran the streets of Chicago. Though I did find it interesting, the part that Canada played in this era was barely discussed.

I never understood it at that time and understand it even less now. But I’m sure the Canadian history books have been updated to include more pertinent information (or at least I hope so).

I remember having to go to the public library, outside of school hours, to gain the knowledge I was looking for and even that was limited.

I read about Harriet Tubman (1820-1913), an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made more than thirteen missions to aid numerous souls escape slavery using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era struggled for women’s suffrage.1

She experienced many trials and tribulations all her life and managed to keep her spirits high through her faith in God. She had to take drastic measures such as carrying a gun for protection from slave catchers as well as those travelling with her. She knew if any of the slaves were frightened and wanted to go back to the bondage the had grown accustomed to, they would likely tell their master, ultimately risking her life and the opportunity for others who wanted something that most of us take for granted today. Freedom.

In her early years, as a child of five or six years old, she was sold to a neighbouring plantation owner as a nanny where she would watch the owner’s baby during the night. If the baby cried, Harriet was beaten as it was assumed that she wasn’t doing her job. This is just one of the countless stories that Harriet endured. Later in life, Harriet worked with the North and Tubman became the first woman to lead an armed assault during the Civil War.1

On her last trip to the South, she returned for her parents. Her father was free and after the plantation owner’s death, he bought Harriet’s mother from the owner’s wife. However they were not free of the hate they were experiencing from those around them so Harriet made her way back from New York (where she settled) and traveled 145km to the south in order to lead them back to St. Catherine’s, Ontario (Canada) to live in the place that some of her other family members had called home.1

I could go on with endless stories of what occurred at that time but I’ll digress.

My point is, it’s great that a month has been dedicated to recognizing the accomplishments and progress made over time but Black history is more than the coldest month of the year. It’s about the trials and tribulations along with triumphs. History doesn’t happen in one specific month, it happens all year long.

Martin Luther King shared his dream…but not in February.

Rosa Parks was too tired to stand…but not in February.

Henry T. Sampson invented the Cellular Phone in 1971…but not in February.

T. Grant invented the Golf Tee in 1899…but not in February.

Phillip B. Downing invented the mailbox in 1891…but not in February.

President Obama was elected to become the first black president of the United States of America in 2008…but not in February.

History, from every nation, needs to be recognized throughout the entire year.

I agree a time of reflection is important and I encourage everyone, please keep learning all year long and don’t limit yourself at Black history, learn about world history of every nation.

Find out how we are all connected. It’s often said that ‘history repeats itself’ when negative issues arise. It doesn’t have to if we know past occurrences and make a change. Let’s be creatures of change instead of creatures of habit.

Learning about the darkness of the past can lead us to a brighter future. Ignorance is caused by lack of knowledge.

Knowledge is wisdom and wisdom is power. Let’s all become powerful!