Archive for the ‘“African American Women: Where They Stand”’ Category

You Need Some Time To Yourself

Monday, August 25th, 2008


Just because you’re not in Denver this week with the DNC doesn’t mean you don’t have some thoughts about what it takes to change the world.

We’ve talked a lot on the blog about a lot of issues. We’ve not always agreed. But there are some things we all agree on: the importance of black women taking stock of their lives, taking care of themselves, and taking charge of their situations.

Join me in Savannah, Georgia for a Sistah Summit that includes reflections, relaxation and for a spiritual renewal.  

Are you ready for a luxurious Southern escape?  The Sistah Summit Retreat from November 5-9, 2008, as we take in the bountiful beauty of Savannah,GA and the rich cultural heritage of Daufuskie Island.

The Sistah Summit will feature cultural and holistic activities, engaging workshops, dynamic speakers and some post-election reflection and conversation. There’s still time to register to get away and have time to think clearly and hear from within what the Spirit is saying you’re supposed to be doing.  

What better place to meet than in historic Savannah and the sea island of Daufuskie. Think Daufuskie and think Julie Dash’s 1992 “Daughters of the Dust.” Drenched in sea mist and strewn with palms, come and contemplate the wild beauty of the sea island Dafuskie which was once home to a sizable population of Gullah inhabitants from the end of the Civil War until very recently. Gullah are the descendants of freed slaves.

Let’s gather there off the coast of Georgia and prove to both CNN and NBC: It Does Not Suck to be a Black Woman!   and We are Our Sisters’ Keeper!

Restore your Senses.

Journey Within.

Seek Solace.

Soar to Greater Heights.

Let’s Show Al Sharpton That We Are Our Sisters’ Keeper

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008


This mass open letter is a call to action for all black people who
care about the safety and welfare of black women and children in
America. If you are concerned about the recent developments about
Dunbar Village, please copy the post below, and email it to all of
your friends and coworkers.



Right-thinking black people everywhere are stunned by the recent betrayal of Al Sharpton and the NAACP in a situation that is just too outrageous to ignore.

This is a painful story to tell, but it’s important for the moral, law-abiding majority of black Americans to understand exactly why Al Sharpton and the NAACP must be immediately stopped.

On June 18, 2007, a black woman was gang raped by 10 youths and forced at gunpoint to have sex with her own 12 year old son in a housing complex called Dunbar Village in West Palm Beach, Florida. The young men not only viciously punched, kicked and sliced this sister and her son with glass objects, but they also blinded her boy by pouring nail polish remover into his eyes.

The young men forced this sister and son to lay naked in a bathtub together, and attempted to set them on fire (they could not find matches). The youths boldly took cell phone pictures so that they could enjoy their violent, immoral and sadistic acts at a later time. The violence continued for more than three hours, and although this sister’s neighbors heard her screams, no one called the police or came to her aid.

This sister and her son had to walk a mile to the hospital, because the assailants stole her car, and threatened to kill her and her family if she told the authorities.

Only four of the young men have been apprehended, while the remaining six are on the loose, doing Lord knows what in our communities. There is no manhunt for the remaining suspects.

As devastating as this story is, what the NAACP and Al Sharpton have done about it will simply take your breath away:Not only did the NAACP ignore hundreds of requests to assist this woman because it was ‘outside the scope of their mission’, but they joined forces with Al Sharpton, and sent their lawyers to speak out IN SUPPORT OF THE RAPISTS.
You heard me right.

Even though there is conclusive DNA evidence and signed confessions, the NAACP and Al Sharpton are saying that it is ‘unfair’ to not offer bail to these four alleged rapists. They even had a press release about it.


Al Sharpton and the NAACP are banking on the belief that you and I will be just like this black woman’s neighbors. Join me by saying NOT THIS TIME. We will not turn a deaf ear to when we hear calls for help from one of our sisters and brothers who are being victimized.

Stop the NAACP and Al Sharpton’s National Action Network from committing this disgrace in our community. Just this once, let’s stand up and be counted by saying that we demand safe neighborhoods for our women and children.

Here is what you can do:

1. Spread the word. Forward this email if your conscience and concern have been raised. Send it to every concerned black citizen that you know.

2. Demand an explanation from your local NAACP chapter about this case. Cancel your membership to these organizations, and write a letter explaining that you will return when they prioritize the public safety needs of black women and children.

3. If you do not belong to these organizations, call and write them to tell them of your outrage and displeasure:

NAACP National Headquarters
4805 Mt. Hope Drive
Baltimore MD 21215
Toll Free: (877) NAACP-98
Local: (410) 580-5777

National Action Network
Rev. Al Sharpton
106 W. 145th Street
Harlem, New York 10039

If you know an African American reporter or a black radio talk show host, forward this story to them and ask them to follow up on it.

Read the history of the Dunbar Village problem here:

Something Within is collaborating with a network of other black women bloggers who are committed to staying on top of this story. Please check any one of the following blogs out on Fridays for an update on this story.

Do What You Have The Power To Do

Monday, December 10th, 2007

You don’t even have to be a starry-eyed Oprah follower to know how much medial mogul Oprah Winfrey respects Maya Angelou, writer, activist and poet. She quotes from Maya Angelou on her show and has had the Poet Laureate on many times over the years. Maya Angelou was one of the 25 honorees at Winfrey’s Legends Ball earlier this year, and Oprah has even given her mentor a weekly radio show on her “Oprah & Friends” satellite radio channel.

But when it comes to politics, evidently friendship has its limits. And that’s a good thing, I believe.

Close friends Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey – mentor and protégée, godmother and adoring daughter-like figure —have decided to use their star power to lend their support to their favorite presidential candidate. The problem, for some, is that the two friends disagree on which candidate should become president. Oprah Winfrey has decided to go all out for Barack Obama’s campaign by throwing a Hollywood studded fundraiser for him back in the fall and this weekend joining him in Iowa and South Carolina at his stomp speeches. Maya Angelou, 79, who was the poet at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in January 1993, makes it clear that she’s ready to pen another poem for a Clinton presidency

Speaking to the throngs in Iowa and South Carolina who, like myself, have doubts about Obama’s experience, Winfrey said: “Experience in the hallways of government isn’t as important to me as experience on the pathway of life…The amount of time you spent in Washington means nothing unless you are accountable for the judgments you made with the time you had.”

Frail, but undaunted, poet Maya Angelou has taken her support of long time friend from Arkansas, Hillary Clinton, to the airwaves in a 60-second radio spot running throughout South Carolina entitled “My Girl.”

“Each generation of African Americans stands on the shoulders of those who came before,” says Maya Angelou.” Today, the challenges facing us threaten the dreams we have had for our children. We need a president with the experience and strength to meet those challenges. I am inspired by Hillary Clinton’s commitment and courage … a daughter, a wife, a mother… my girl.”

It’s a lesson in the use of power. We are witnessing two African American women using their power as cultural icons to make the changes they want to see in the world.

You remember the story in Mark 14 of Jesus’s anointing at Bethany by the woman with an alabaster jar filled with costly ointment. When some of the guests treated her rudely, Jesus replied, “Leave her alone.” (I like that part.) Then Jesus told them, “She has done what was in her power to do.”

Do what you have the power to do.

Power. Influence. Charisma. Seniority. Wisdom. Capital– financial and moral.

Certainly, power is difficult to define and takes many forms. In the past power has been defined in the male sphere as having control. But as more and more women stretch out and begin to use their moral, economic, political, and intellectual influence to change the way things are done, perhaps it’s time to redefine power itself as having the energy, influence, vision, and the courage to risk becoming a change agent.

I admire Oprah Winfrey. I like what she has to say about Obama’s candadacy in her stomp speeches. (Too bad Obama has to take the mic after Winfrey.) I agree with her that values and vision matter. I just disagree with her on how very much experience matters when it comes to the highest office in the land. Too bad she’s not running for president. I trust her experience in effecting change more than I do Obama’s.

But that’s a point for another day.

For now, I am just enjoying watching two powerful black women go out on a limb for who they believe in. Angelou and Winfrey, two women at the height of their careers, one in media and the other in art, each using her seniority, making use of her influence and visibility, and tapping the moral and political capital she’s amassed over the years in her career, to get her favorite candidate elected. I’m delighted to have lived long enough to see black women making it clear where they stand by playing an important role in reimagining and redefining power in all of its contexts—not only for the sake of women, or for blacks, but also for the well-being of all people, all cultures, and the earth itself.

Do what’s in your power to do.

What’s the point in having seniority if you’re going to play if safe, like you did when you were an upstart and were afraid to make waves? What’s the point in climbing to the top of your profession, if all you’re going to do when you get there is to continue with business as usual? What’s the point in having power if you’re not going to use it?

Do what’s in your power.

Leave the rest to God.

It Does Not Suck To Be A Black Woman!

Friday, November 30th, 2007

I know as a black Christian woman that I should be grateful that NBC News even bothered to devote a weeklong series to African American women. But I’m not. I have not been impressed. If I were a sister from another planet and depended upon a satellite of NBC’s “African American Women: Where They Stand” to give me my first introduction to the lives of black women I would probably conclude, “I’m glad I’m a sister from another planet. It must suck to be a black woman.”

In case you didn’t know, because you live on another planet that doesn’t have satellite, a special series has been airing all week over at “NBC News with Brian William” focusing on a wide-range of issues affecting black women entitled “African American Women: Where They Stand.” Night One of the series aired on Monday night with a discussion of black women’s educational achievements. Did you know that nearly two-thirds of black graduates are women, and at black colleges the ratio of women to men is a staggering 7 to 1?

On Tuesday, Night Two, the series focused on the increased risks for breast cancer among black women. Black women with breast cancer are nearly 30% more likely to die from it than white women. Lord have mercy.

A roundtable talk about relationships was the format on Wednesday, Night Three, with NBC correspondent Rehema Ellis facilitating the intimate chat with three members of a Chicago book club. Here we learned, as if we didn’t know already, that the percentage of African-American women between 25-54 who have never been married has doubled from 20% to 40% in the past fifty years. (Compared to just 16% of white women who have never been married today). Many feel that the achievement gap in education and business among African-Americans is having an effect on relationships, changing “Black America’s family and social structure.”

Last night’s segment on black women and heart disease reiterated the well known fact that we’re all just one hamhock away from a heart attack, to quote my friends over at WAOD. Put soberly, heart disease is the leading cause of death among black women.

After four nights of watching NBC’s reports on the sorrowful plight of black womanhood, all I could do to dull the pain afterwards was to grab the tv monitor and turn to the UNC-Purdue women’s basketball game.

The truth will set you free, but first it will hurt your feelings. Not to mention make you look bad in front of others.

Listen up: I am a black woman. Hear me roar — It does not suck to be a black woman! Heartache, loneliness, disease, suffering, and poverty are not the sum total of our existence as black women. We laugh, love, play, sing, work, fight, cry, pray, jump, dance, work, smile, kiss, hug, fight, cry, pray, work, raise our families the best we can and trust God to do the rest, like every other woman who knows that life is what you make it. Life is tough, but there is joy.

If Friday’s segment is as forecast on the black woman vote in South Carolina, perhaps things will look up tonight. Hopefully, black women won’t come off looking like such an unhealthy, downtrodden, lonely race of women. After all, in South Carolina half of Democratic voters in the state are African American, and most of those are female—40%of whom have yet to settle on a presidential candidate. You guessed it. The latest flavor of the month in South Carolina Democratic circles is the black female vote. Battling for dominance in the region, the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in hot pursuit of black women. My suggestion to black women voters in South Carolina this morning after this week long NBC series is to play hard to get. Leverage your power. Make the candidates address the issues that matter to you. Take your time to decide.

On second thought, things could go from bad to worse for black women tonight. Seems like reporters and pollsters covering the South Carolina primary race have the bright idea that the black beauty shop is ground zero for finding out what’s on black women’s minds. Depending upon what you think about the public display of nappy roots, if NBC’s “African American Women: Where They Stand” cameras bust up in black hair salons to interview black women voters, things could get real kinky.