Archive for October, 2008

Lurker Friday…Or Maybe It’s Heartbreak Friday…

Friday, October 31st, 2008

It’s a few days before the elections, and I probably shouldn’t be wasting my moral capital on any topic other than this historic moment. But I need something to take my mind off politics right now.

Nostalgia sent me on the hunt for an old Whitney Houston song that still makes me crumble in a heap on the floor. Not before chills run down my spine. That voice. That voice. That voice. There will never be another voice like hers. I’m probably the only one who cares a twit about whether Whitney Houston ever comes back. I’m probably the only one in the universe who wonders how she’s doing and if she’s on the mend emotionally and spiritually. No matter how dumb a decision it was for her to marry Bobby Brown, I forgive her. Falling in love with a man you’re better off without is, for some of us,  one of the many rites of passages you survive to becoming the woman you’re gonna be.

I listen to Whitney singing “I Will Always Love You” and remember. I remember what it felt like to be young and given to suicidal love affairs. I remember what it felt like to sit in my apartment and cry my natural born heart out over someone who is perfect in every way except in the way that matters most. It’s been years since I’ve been hostage to that  achey breaky kind of love that’s so consuming you can’t get out of bed.

You know his love is no good for you. You know you are not what he needs. You know he makes you crazy. But you’re powerless to do anything about it. He’s like a drug that won’t flush out your system.

But you know you gotta let him go. Because loving him is killing you.

After several failed tries you finally break up for good, but in the meantime it felt like  you were being hacked to death.

You survive. You move on. But you never get over it. Sure, you get over him. But not it. That feeling of being obsessed with something or someone you could have and didn’t need, but didn’t care that you couldn’t have and didn’t need. Desire. It was all about desire. The drug that makes you feel so alive that it threatens to destroy you…

Whew! Earth to Renita. Come back, girl.

All that from listening to Whitney Houston sing in that remarkable voice of hers, “I Will Always Love You” as part of the soundtrack to movie “The Body Guard” (which she starred in with Kevin Costner).

Oh yeah, it’s lurker Friday. It’s also Halloween.

Leave a comment and rescue me from wherever it was that I just went. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wear Red and Say Hell No To Violence

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

In light of all the violence in the news in recent days, let me urge readers of this blog to go in your closets, find something Red, and join me and others on Thursday, October 30th me in wearing Red on Thursday, October 30th in recognition of the second annual  Document the Silence of Violence Against Women of Color movement.

Last year around ths time I swore up and down to my young activist friends over at DSVAWC that women in the church care about domestic violence as much as they do and that church women have long been at the forefront of offering comfort and rescue to battered women and their children. Who do they think has been doing this work all these years? Women with deep religious convictions  have been working the phonelines and harboring abused women and their children in their homes for decades.

Where do folks get the idea that Christian women are not activists, that women who go to church are conservative, too conservative to respond to the cries of battered women? It’s stupid to confuse what black male preachers say with what black women in the pews think. And it’s insulting to hear folks talk as though women who go to church are dumb, uncritical thinkers.

Besides, what makes folk think that community activists have a monopoly on justice work and that those working in the trenches of community organizing don’t attend church? Don’t make me go there!

But I digress.

With all that’s going on, let’s all wear Red to work, Red to class, Red to early voting, and Red to the grocery store on Thursday, October 30th.

***In memory of Jennifer Hudson’s mother Darnell Donerson, brother Jason Donerson (brother), and nephew Julian King whose horrific murders are likely to have been the result of a family dispute.

***To call attention to the fate of the thousands millions of women who are beaten or killed every year by men they thought loved them.

And while you’re at it, wear Red

***In protest against the likes of white women like Ashley Todd who had herself beat up and branded with a “B” on the cheek so she could claim she was attacked by a big, black male Obama supporter who was getting back at her for supporting McCain.

***In protest against white skinheads everywhere who concoct plans to murder blacks, and especially any black man who thinks he has the right to become President of the United States.

***In protest against the racist rumor crackpots have tried posting on this blog and which I’ve heard again and again on television and radio in recent days, namely the rumor that regardless of the outcome black people are going to riot on and after November 4th. Whether in celebration of Obama’s victory or outrage at his loss, blacks are going to tear up cities and whites have reason to fear for their lives. Exactly who is responsible for this racist, noxious rumor? What’s with these white people who claim to be scared and torn about what to expect on Election Day? What the…..? This is crap. We have white skinheads concocting plans to murder the black presidential candidate along with dozens of innocent black students. We have a young white woman who gets someone to punch and slap her around and leave bruises on her face so she can claim she was attacked by a black male Obama supporter. We have whites growing angry and rowdy at McCain/Palin rallies, yelling “Kill Him” when Obama’s name comes up.  But never mind any of that. It’s black people who are violent and a threat to the commonwealth.

I’m not disputing that we have our share of ugly, nasty violence in our communities. But we are not alone.  America is a violent country. Besides, the last time I looked black people  are not the ones conspiring to commit violence designed to topple the government and disrupt the entire national election process.

But where was I? Oh yeah, like I said: wear something Red on October 30th, doggoneit, in a show of support for  victims of violence everywhere, especially women.

If you’re a woman who goes to church wear Red on October 30th to show that you don’t mind supporting your feminist and activist sisters everywhere who seek to call attention to the plight of battered women and their children.

If you are committed to real change, wear Red on October 30th as your way of saying “Stop the Violence.”

(Drop by Document the Silence of Violence Against Women of Color what else the group is asking folks to do on October 30th.)

Send this post to friends on your email list so we can all to do our part in getting out the work about DSVAWC “Wear Red” on Thursday, October 30th campaign.

When I Was A Child…

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Don’t ask me why I woke up this morning thinking back on my days as a child. My heart aches today for children who find themselves in troubled and violent homes.

Don’t ask why I’ve got a mind to stop what I’m doing right now and drive around to the middle school in the back of my house and sit in my car and pray for every child in the building. If I didn’t think the principal would call the police to have me locked up I would go in and demand that I be allowed to lay hands on each child and pray a blessing over each one.

Don’t ask me why. Perhaps it was all that hugging of wee ones in church yesterday after preaching and talking to the mischievous ones who are growing up much too fast that caused my mind to drift back to my childhood. Or, perhaps it was going to bed last night hearing the news about American Idol star Jennifer Hudson’s nephew being missing after the double murder of his grandmother and father and waking up this morning to the grim news that a child’s body matching his description has been found in the family’s SUV.

October is, among other things, Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Of all that’s going on with the economy and in the world of politics, let’s not hold the next President’s feet to the fire on policies concerning the safety and welfare of children. Not just some children. Not just individual children. All children.  Vulnerable children and seemingly privileged ones too. Children who are afraid of the dark. Children in war torn areas. Children whose parents can’t afford insurance. Kids caught in the crossfires of adult demons. Children who go to bed hungry.  Children who don’t know what it is to have the unconditional love of a grandparent to run to after being scolded by a parent. Children who are sad over the death of a pet. Children with a parent in jail. Children in jail. Children in the foster care system. Children who can’t sit still and pay attention in school. Children with a parent who lost a job in this recession. Children with a parent deployed in the Middle East. Children living in refugee camps. Children living with HIV/AIDS. Children who are different from other children. Children who know someone who was murdered because they witnessed the murder. Children who murder other children.

little black boy

Don’t ask me why? Thinking about children sent me on a search for some of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons when I was a child.  Back when the most I had to worry about as a child was waking up early enough on Saturday morning to get to the television before my older brother did so I could turn the channel to my favorite animated shows:  The Jetsons, Casper the Friendly Ghost. Porky Pig. Magilla Gorilla.  As someone who fancies herself today something of a serious commentator on religious and political affairs, I suppose I should be embarrassed to admit to spending hours as a kid watching such hokey cartoons on tv. But I’m not. I was a child. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child…” (I Cor. 13:11).   That’s what it means to be a child. Besides, that’s what adults are for: to do everything in their power to let children be children for as long as they can before the harsh, soul crushing world of adulthood comes crashing in.

No. I did not get all the protection I needed when I was a child growing up in a violent and alcohol-ridden household. But thanks to a village of teachers and neighbors, and a church to call home, I got enough protection — to limp out of childhood with my soul reasonably in tact enough to go on and build a productive life for myself.

The following prayer “Protection” can be found in a book of prayers for children, I’m Your Child, God  written by my friend and a long time national advocate and voice for children,  Marian Wright Edelman of The Children’s Defense Fund.  (Edelman coined the  phrase “Leave No Child Behind” long before the Bush administration coopted it and used it as  platform for some bogus education reforms under the name “No Child Left Behind.“) I include here this prayer asking God’s protection over children even though I believe it’s adults responsibility to protect children, not just their own but all children, and even though I believe it’s grown ups who hurt children, who put children at risk, who leave children unprotected, who wound children who in turn wound other children.


For ghosts and goblins
and snakes under the bed,
please deliver me, God.

From guns and gangs
and big scary things,
please protect me, God.

From bullets and bad people
whose tease and abuse and make me afraid,
please keep me safe, god.

From those who don’t see or hear me
or care whether I exist,
please shield me, God.

From doubt and despair
and the low expectations of others,
please lift me, God.

Take Our Daughters, Granddaughters, and God-daughters to the Polls

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

daughters to the poll

Why our daughters? We show them that they are in fact a valuable part of the political process. We show them that their vote counts. We show them that women can indeed make a difference in the political process.

Did you know that the U.S. currently ranks 71st–that’s right 71st!!– in the world in women’s political representation.

  • Women make up just 16% of the Senate,
  • Women make up 23% of state legislatures,
  • Women make up 10% of big city mayors.

Don’t get me started on how few of these are black and other women of color.

With so few women to emulate, young girls have a hard time sometimes believing that they can make a difference in politics when they grow up. Unless, of course, they have someone around telling and showing them otherwise.

To find out about initiatives designed to get more women to run for public office, visit The White House Project’s  “Vote, Run, Lead.” For those of you who do not know, The White House Project, is a national, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization, which aims to advance women’s leadership in all communities and sectors, up to the U.S. presidency.

So, here’s something I need readers to help me think about:

Do women leaders make a difference?
Are our expectations for women leaders different from the ones we have for men in leadership positions?
Whether she’s a governor or pastor of a church, a college president or company head, student government president or head of the PTA — does it matter if it’s a she instead of a he?
Do women bring some unique experiences to their leadership positions?

What do you think?