Keeping Up with the Jonzee still at the right spot.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Have a Little Help from Your Friends

I am blessed in many ways. But one of the most important ways to me is the many wonderful and supportive friends I have collected over the years.

And God knows I need them now.

So, this a shout out for all my friends who have called me twice a day for the last couple of days to check up on me, make me laugh, or just in general send some encouragement my way.

I love you!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Rock is Missing Two Johns

For the past two nights, I have watched the Black in America Series on CNN. I was not surprised by the content. But I was significantly disappointed by the way it was presented and what it reported.

I could go into the whole thing about how I think black women got played. The overarching theme about black women ither promiscuous baby making machines or hard- driving-ball-busting career women. Nothing about income disparity in earnings between black women in the workplace and male counterparts either white or black and how that disparity effect largely female head-of-household families. And what about the great gloss-over of the effects of misogynistic images of black women and how that effects our relationships with men and our view of ourselves (which has a lot to do with why so many young black women choose to have children--often without a pot to piss in)? And don't tell me that 8 seconds last night counts as any sorts of coverage.

And most importantly nothing about what the lack of a father in a woman's life does to her. As usual, the lack of a father is most prevalently identified with black manhood.

But like I said. I'm not going there.

My biggest issue is with that Cosby Show has-been dude John Phillips. WTF?? His simplistic, pedestrian analysis that "they shouldn't sell crack", "they should go to school because that is how you achieve.", and lastly his attempt to lambaste Spike Lee regarding Lee's statements about Hollywood studio level racism when it comes to funding black films(even though the fact that the studios set a benchmark of $100mm and he blew it out the water more than once--he's still got his hat in has hand for most projects) just reiterated the dumb simplistic shit people say about the pervasive nature of poverty and discrimination.

It's easy to say all that shit if you have role models who "show you" the value of an education at work or who demonstrate to you that dreaming and achieving is possible. "Keep Hope Alive" slogans are not enough. If you were raised in a family or a neighborhood where education is not valued, and most folks are standing on the corner and succeed at not following in those footsteps--you are an exception not the rule.

And then their is this man--with his black people have no work ethic and aren't smart enough to learn. Guess that whole white kids and black kids are educationally on par till 4th grade missed him.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bump you! Pay Me!

So, Dr. Fryer is paying children to learn and folks are up in arms.

Not surprised.

But its not such a far out radical idea. Dr. Freyer just had the balls to say it straight up. "Pay them to learn".

Its no different than a kid getting a new book (like I did) or a special dinner when they bring home a great report card. Or how about programs like Upward Bound or College STEP? As a STEP alum, I got a $5,000 stipend every year I was in the program and did what I was supposed to do. I don't hear anyone hollering about that--and Upward Bound is probably one of the greatest experiences a teenager could have.

All examples of incentivized learning.

I get why so many are like "we are teaching children materialism", we are "using money as a means to an end", etc. But lets step down off our high-minded idealism about education and be real. Children are surrounded by materialism and the need to "get money" long before they walk in the classroom door--particularly if you are a poor child. Over my years of mentoring, I have listened to many a child talk about money. To my kids, money, or the lack of it, is the reason they don't have, can't get, can't have. The link between "getting money" and education is not tangible to them. To my mentees its been more like 'show me why I should' not tell me.

But showing and not just telling takes people who can demonstrate that education can get you further than you ever imagined. People talk alot of shit. But don's show up to do this "showing".

Until we get more folks doing by volunteering and mentoring rather than "running the yap" about what should be done, Dr. Freyers plan for a small sample of children will be that motivation.


Unless of course we are about to start a new movement of successful people of color volunteering for one-on-one...


Thought so. Talk shit amongst yourselves.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I am struggling with this long-distance love. It is progressively getting worse. Every time I leave him I feel like my heart is having the life squeezed out of it. When he leaves, it feels like someone has just left my home forever. The silence.

This was my choice. I chose to take a position that was essentially lateral, for a better company, with significantly better pay. And he encouraged me to take the job. Too bad I know the job is not for me in the long run. As a matter of fact, the best thing about my choice, is that I live an easier life in a nice house in a city of which I have always been curious.

Today, the admin told me that the NY office is finally hiring for the same position I occupy here in MD. Too bad when I originally interviewed to be the NY version of me, the position was on freeze.

Too bad.

But I'd leave tomorrow if he asked.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Serious Affair

And as the AKA Centennial Celebration week winds its way to the end, I thought I would reflect on just how in the world this chick who said she would never do it, went ahead and did.

But, alas, I was born an AKA. Though I didn't fully realize it until later in life than I would have liked.

Although, I grew up in a church full of AKA women (80% of the church ladies), and my grandmother has been a card carrying dues paying member since the late 1930's, I never bought into it. Honestly, I didn't get it, and based on my run-ins with some of the church ladies, I thought they were mean as hell.

During my high school years, my anathema to joining a social organization waned. Me and my closest girl were all about wearing the Crimson and Cream. Shoot, everyone who knew me growing up said I acted like a Delta--whatever that is supposed to mean. I was even...well I can't tell you that, my Sorors might kill me.

But two things happened that steered my right on back to where I belong. One, was an incident with one of my best friend's mother. Upon hearing that I might have to move to Cleveland with one year of high school left, she and some of her sisters (who were also good friends of my family) wanted to see if they could help me stay in my home high school so that I could finish my last year with friends. After much begging on my part, my father asked her and her sorors, If I could live with them when school was in session. You should have seen how fast "no" came flying out of their mouths. But another young woman who I had only become friends with during high school (whose Mom was an AKA) offered easily without me asking--and even had drawn up a plan of the rules and responsibilities that would be involved. Even though in the end I still had to go. Just the gesture stayed with me for a long time.

The second, was right around my Senior year of high school. I wanted to do a documentary on the decline of Shaw Senior High, a once prominent public high school in East Cleveland. I didn't have any money for the project. And I was new to the area. I didn't really know anyone, other than the folks at church who work like grandparents and aunts and uncles to me. The ladys of AKA heard about my dilema from my father, and out of the woodwork came donations and connections. Someone lent me a great camera, another lady helped me find someone to edit it (for free), and other helped me connect with the administration at Shaw and the EC board of Ed. The ladies who went to Shaw signed up to be interviewed, shared year books, etc. Many of the AKA's in Cleveland are teachers and they gave their perspective on public school education and suggested ideas on how to fix the system. They helped me make my project an award winner.

Perhaps these things seem small to you, but these are only two of countless examples of ways in which I watched ladies in pink and green not only talk the talk and walk the walk of a "lifetime of service" not only to Alpha Kappa Alpha but to the world in which they live. There are countless other folks I know who have been helped, prodded, even chastised when they needed it by these ladies. They run soup kitchens, bible school, tutoring sessions, and mentor young women in some of the most abject poverty you could imagine, all while managing their own families.

If you know nothing else about me from this blog, you should know that I believe reaching back and up to empower minority folks, especially black folks to empower themselves. So many of the ladies of AKA embody that spirit and they do it in their own way, with their own voice, and they are unapologetic about it.

Don't get me wrong there are plenty of women who joined just so they could don the pink and green and do the strolling and party hopping. As well as plenty who take the AKA stereotype to the Nth level. But for every 1 of them there are at least two who are trying to figure out how to create programs to educate folks about Diabetes, managing money, or some other community service initiative.

Happy 100th b-day AKA!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I got that feeling...that Pre-Teen Feeling..

Growing up, I had New Edition on wall, and these dudes on the other.

I had the buttons. The Tee-shirt. Every copy of Tiger Beat, Teen Beat, and even Right On with them on the cover. (Yeah, Right On...remember that???)

But, a chick was like 12 then. So...why the hell do I heart their new joint???

New Kids on the Block - Summertime Music Video

Perhaps, it's because it reminds me of when I discovered as my great grandmother would say, those nasty boys. :)