Category Archives: The Big Picture

Love and Grace

I heard the above while at a Brother Ali concert recently. It had never been my favorite Stevie Wonder song, but as an anthem to long-term survival I can think of few better tunes.

That song played in my head as I read the two articles below. Check ’em out. I think they actually have a lot to do with each other.

Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down To 2 Basic Traits

[Masters] are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes…

there’s a great deal of evidence showing the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which leads to upward spirals of love and generosity in a relationship.

As an organizer affianced to the love of my life, I not only thought of this personally (what kind of existence do I want to inhabit in my time on Earth?) but in terms of the challenge it posed: what kind of movement do I want to be a part of creating?

And on another tip:

Poor black people don’t work?: Lessons of a former dope dealer

The fact is that I can travel through east Baltimore or any urban inner city (BLACK) neighborhood for under 10 minutes and introduce you to the hardest-working Americans in our country. I know a guy that guts houses for $50 a day, a rack of uncertified tax preparers, too many single moms with triple jobs, some freelance freelancers, infinite party promoters, squeegee kids, basement caterers, back-alley auto mechanics, dudes of all ages selling bottled water and a collection of Mr. Fix Its, all living in a two-block radius. We are all American dream chasing, all trying to start our own business, all working our asses off…

She still works hard but will be only judged for not following traditional rules, which is unfortunate because there are so many hardworking people like us who are forced to create our own industries as a direct result of being isolated by society. To me that poses a bigger question. Why employment inequality for African-Americans is always identified as laziness?

Hire us.

Word. Peace and love, yall.


Fast for Democracy

Plantation Capitalism:
Plantation Capitalism:

For a couple weeks now, my buddy Kai has been engaged in a Fast For Democracy to bear moral witness to the corruption and state violence of concentrated wealth overwhelming the voices and votes of ordinary people. The fast is also to encourage folks to pledge to vote for pro-democracy candidates. He asked me to take the pledge, help spread the word, and encourage others to do so, and given the swirl of recent scandals and revelations around voter suppression (which I touched on a couple days ago), I felt compelled both to spread the word and to join in the fast myself.

Continue reading Fast for Democracy

The Vote, Lives and Livelihoods, and Power

A Collage

Below is a roundup of a handful of articles from the last week. I found that, together, they tell a story of the relationship between voting, White Supremacy and how good our lives get to be, that leaves me reflective, anxious and yet hopeful.

Reflective, because it feels like we’ve been here before with White Supremacy. (Folks wiser than me would probably add that we never left)

Anxious, because while radicals denounce Democratic shills and voting, and elders disparage the disaffected young people who don’t get it, so few of our groups achieve the integration of massive civic engagement and disruptive power-building we need to succeed. And so we find that 40,000 Georgians who registered to vote may be unable to do so, and we don’t have the power to change that. The cost of that fragmentation is borne overwhelmingly by the bodies and the bank accounts of the poor, people of color, the young and our elders.

And hopeful, because I see in our generational cohort of grassroots groups (see: Freedom Side, OSA, Dream Defenders, United We Dream) and regional power alignments (see: Working Families Party, Moral Monday NC, and West-Coast labor-based coalitions) a maturing analysis that is working on internalizing that integration in a real way.

Anyway, peep the articles below. I found them provocative, to say the least:

Continue reading The Vote, Lives and Livelihoods, and Power