Thursday, February 28, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama’s cameo during Academy Awards

In the wake of President's Obama re-election, it appears that he and his family are facing  ongoing personal attacks, similar to his first election.

When I served as a senior black female officer in the Navy, typically as the only one, I was often called the "B-word" and "N-word", sometimes to my face.  Nevertheless, I kept my head up!

Despite the media's ongoing criticism of the First family, Michelle looked absolutely stunning in her dress.  She is truly becoming an inspiration and Icon for American women, young and old.  And she is showing us how great and wonderful you can look, as long as you eat healthy, workout and take better care of your body.  

I'll leave it up to her "Hater's" to continue to express their jealousy over her and her husband's unprecedented  and historical success!  Hang in there and keep up the good work, we love you! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Celebrating our History...

As African - Americans continue to celebrate Black History Month, I ask that you continue to celebrate the legacy of ALL of our ancestors, even the ones we were never told about.  Like few, I believe WE ARE ALL CONNECTED, Human Beings, in a very special way!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tell Congress to Close the SEC's Revolving Door needs your help!!
“Here’s what Bill Moyers had to say about our recent report on the revolving door between the Securities and Exchange Commission and industry:
“According to a major new report from the nonpartisan watchdog POGO – the Project on Government Oversight -- hundreds of the agency’s former employees have done or are doing business with the SEC on behalf of the corporations the agency is supposed to regulate.
Imagine – hundreds with an intimate knowledge of how the place works advocating for their clients with friends at the SEC -- colleagues who themselves may be looking for a big payoff when they, too, leave government.”
The revolving door blurs the lines between one of the nation’s most important regulatory agencies and the interests it regulates. Former SEC employees routinely help corporations try to influence SEC rulemaking and enforcement.

Besides pointing out what is wrong with the revolving door, our report outlines several steps Congress can take to mitigate the most harmful effects of the revolving door. We need your help to get these recommendations in front of Congress."
Tell Congress to Close the SEC’s Revolving Door!

Read more here :

Food for thought:  Former employees of the SEC are not the only greedy regulators who are engaging in Revolving Door practices, just take a look at a number of retired high ranking military officers who are “triple dipping” in American taxpayer’s pockets. 

I said it then and I’ll say it again, it is dangerous business to allow high ranking military retired officers to serve as defense contractors or consultant advisors to private industries, because when the war is over, you’ll never know which side of the fence they’ll be playing on!  

Greed is the root of all evil!

Monday, February 18, 2013

First Look: Blackboard Wars - Oprah Winfrey Network

Food for thought: What is happening to our children?  What is going on in their homes or neighborhoods that is making them want to take their violent behavior to school?  

As a 20 year military veteran I made personal sacrifices throughout my Navy career, one was deciding to never have children.  For the past 2 years, since returning back to my home town near Atlanta, I've been reaching out to so many of our young children, "just to see where there head is at."  Believe it our not, I'm even encouraging them to join the military, despite my own personal shortcomings, the military helped to raise me into the woman I am today.  

I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth and neither are any of these kids in this video.  Whether you are an auntie (like myself), close friend to the family, church member or just someone who cares about America's future, reach out to a child because they are our future!

All it takes is for you to provide them a listening ear and I guarantee you, you'll see magic in their eyes and you'll feel magic in your heart.  Most of these children just need love from someone they know truly cares!

Together we can help our children by helping them avoid some of the stereotypes outlined in my poem, "Take Back Our Children".  By helping them, we are also helping ourselves, our schools  and our communities. 

Take Back Our Children
©2012 Syneeda Penland

How do we Take Back Our Children?
I ask myself this question,
each time I hear a news story talkin’ bout…
“A young black boy or girl gettin’ shot.”

How do we Take Back Our Children?
I ask myself this question,
each time I hear a young black mother
tellin’ her daughter,
who’s less than five years old,
“Go head baby gurl,
that’s right!
Do it like ya’ moma…
‘Drop it like it’s hot!”

How do we Take Back Our Children?
I ask myself this question,
each time I hear a new rap song
Playin’ on the radio,
talkin’ bout…
Droppin’ dollars
or pimpin’ hoes.”

How do we Take Back Our Children?
I ask myself this question,
each time I hear a young black woman
talkin’ ‘bout…
“Gettin’ her hair and her nails done
before goin’ clubin’, 
to look for a new man
to buy her some mo’
tight-fittin’ clothes.”

How do we Take Back Our Children?
I ask myself this question,
each time I hear a new statistic
on the news or the internet,
talkin’ bout…
“Black on black crime,
or young black children
growing up without their parents;
being raised by other family members
or forced to live in a foster home
or in the streets
‘cause their mom or dad is dead,
addicted to drugs,
or in prison - doin’ time.”

How do we Take Back Our Children?
We take back our children,
by Taking Back Our Communities!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Republicans’ Ugly and Shameful Chuck Hagel Filibuster

Senate Armed Services Committee members John McCain (left) and Lindsey Graham confer at the start of the committee’s hearing on the appointments of military leaders Thursday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Earlier today reported--GOP senators’ obstruction of a straight vote on the defense-secretary nominee and Rand Paul’s placement of the CIA director nomination on hold amount to a cowardly and cynical political strategy that could compromise national security, says John Avlon.

Since the election, Republican talking points have reflected the fact that they need to reach out beyond their base: to be positive rather than negative; appear more reasonable, less obstructionist.

 But how you act speaks more loudly than what you say, and Senate Republicans have doubled down on obstructionism with their shame filibuster of secretary-of-defense nominee  Chuck Hagel.  Add to this fresh insult the hold Sen. Rand Paul put on Obama’s nominee to be CIA director, John Brennan, and it looks like Republicans are backing a cynical political strategy that could compromise national security while proliferating hyperpartisanship even further in the future.

Read full article here:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Former Buffalo Soldier shares story of his service

FORT RILEY, Kan. -- When Albert Curley was a noncommissioned officer in the Army, he taught his Soldiers to take advantage of opportunities to better themselves.

"Nothing is given to you," said Curley, a retired first sergeant. "You've got to earn it."

Curley remembers the days of segregation when the Officers' Club was all white simply because there were no African American officers.

"The biggest change now is you have qualified black officers and they'll get promoted," Curley said. "We have qualified black officers as generals now."

Into his 90s, Curley has continued to share his experience as a Buffalo Soldier, a member of one of the all African-American cavalry and infantry units activated between the late 1800s and the mid-1900s, in the hopes that others will seize opportunities to better themselves.

"The opportunity is there if you're qualified," he said.

Curley joined the Army in 1940. Drawn in by a sign hanging in the post office that advertised a wage of 50 cents a day, Curley and several friends went to the recruiter.

"We couldn't find a job for 50 cents a day," Curley remembered. "We got free housing. We got free food. We got free clothing. So that's why we joined the Army."

Curley, fresh out of 11th grade, had to get parental consent to join.

"My mother wouldn't -- she refused to sign, saying I shouldn't go to the Army; I should finish high school," Curley said. "But my older brother signed the papers."

"He forged my mother's signature," he added. "She chewed him out, but it was too late then."

Curley and his friends were shipped by bus from their hometown of Helena, Ark., to Kansas -- first Fort Leavenworth and then Fort Riley. To Curley it may as well have been a whole different world.

"They put us up in tents," Curley remembered.

Curley had to pass literacy tests and a physical before being sworn in.

"They swore us in and they put us in Troop A of the 9th Cavalry (Regiment) at Fort Riley. And this is the horse cavalry, now. It was more horses and mules out there than there was Soldiers," Curley said.

As a member of the 9th Cavalry, Curley became one of the storied Buffalo Soldiers.

"The Indians gave 'em the name the Buffalo Soldier because the buffalo was hard to kill and the horse cavalry -- the Soldiers -- was hard (to kill) … and because their hair was similar to the manes on the buffalo," Curley said.

When asked if he had a sense that he was part of history, Curley shook his head.

"We just went along with it," he said.

Curley remembered his early days at Fort Riley being separate, but equal.

"It was all segregated then," he said. "You was treated as a Soldier."

From equipment to food to clothing, "you didn't get any different from the white Soldiers," Curley said.

Like any Soldier, Curley remembered following orders and staying out of trouble.

"We went where we was told to go and we followed orders," he said.

In 1943, Curley was sent to Italy to fight in World War II...

Read full article

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A step in the right direction -- Md. attorney general announces gun ‘turn-in’

WP recently reported --As Maryland lawmakers grapple with gun-control legislation, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler on Monday said his office will employ the “time-tested” tool of allowing residents toturn in illegal or unwanted firearms, no questions asked.
Gansler (D) dubbed May 11 the “The Attorney General’s 1st Annual Statewide Gun Turn-in Day.” He said his office was working with local prosecutors and police to set up drop-off points statewide. No ID will be required to surrender a weapon, he said in a statement.  
“This gives family members the opportunity to remove illegal and unwanted guns from the home that they fear would be used to harm themselves or others,” Gansler said.
Read full article

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Dedicated to the Life, Legacy and Celebration of my Grandmother's Birthday

Dear Grandmother
©2009 Syneeda Penland

I recall as a little girl
you taught me right from wrong.
Your words of wisdom stood steadfast
like a cadence guiding me along.

When I traveled
through many hills and valleys
my temperament stood strong,
I never fell out of step
as I danced to the rhythm
of your sweet song.

is what you taught me,
to never compromise my values
just to get along.

Even at the final hour
of my misfortune,
I felt you in my spirit,
I was never alone.

A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of an acclaimed African American Poet

Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American poet to garner national critical acclaim. Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1872, Dunbar penned a large body of dialect poems, standard English poems, essays, novels and short stories before he died at the age of 33. His work often addressed the difficulties encountered by members of his race and the efforts of African-Americans to achieve equality in America. He was praised both by the prominent literary critics of his time and his literary contemporaries. 

Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872, to Matilda and Joshua Dunbar, both natives of Kentucky. His mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery and served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. Matilda and Joshua had two children before separating in 1874. Matilda also had two children from a previous marriage. 

The family was poor, and after Joshua left, Matilda supported her children by working in Dayton as a washerwoman. One of the families she worked for was the family of Orville and Wilbur Wright, with whom her son attended Dayton's Central High School. Though the Dunbar family had little material wealth, Matilda, always a great support to Dunbar as his literary stature grew, taught her children a love of songs and storytelling. Having heard poems read by the family she worked for when she was a slave, Matilda loved poetry and encouraged her children to read. Dunbar was inspired by his mother, and he began reciting and writing poetry as early as age 6. 

Dunbar was the only African-American in his class at Dayton Central High, and while he often had difficulty finding employment because of his race, he rose to great heights in school. He was a member of the debating society, editor of the school paper and president of the school's literary society. He also wrote for Dayton community newspapers. He worked as an elevator operator in Dayton's Callahan Building until he established himself locally and nationally as a writer. He published an African-American newsletter in Dayton, the Dayton Tattler, with help from the Wright brothers. 

His first public reading was on his birthday in 1892. A former teacher arranged for him to give the welcoming address to the Western Association of Writers when the organization met in Dayton. James Newton Matthews became a friend of Dunbar's and wrote to an Illinois paper praising Dunbar's work. The letter was reprinted in several papers across the country, and the accolade drew regional attention to Dunbar; James Whitcomb Riley, a poet whose works were written almost entirely in dialect, read Matthew's letter and acquainted himself with Dunbar's work. With literary figures beginning to take notice, Dunbar decided to publish a book of poems. Oak and Ivy, his first collection, was published in 1892. 

Though his book was received well locally, Dunbar still had to work as an elevator operator to help pay off his debt to his publisher. He sold his book for a dollar to people who rode the elevator. As more people came in contact with his work, however, his reputation spread. In 1893, he was invited to recite at the World's Fair, where he met Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist who rose from slavery to political and literary prominence in America. Douglass called Dunbar "the most promising young colored man in America." 

Dunbar moved to Toledo, Ohio, in 1895, with help from attorney Charles A. Thatcher and psychiatrist Henry A. Tobey. Both were fans of Dunbar's work, and they arranged for him to recite his poems at local libraries and literary gatherings. Tobey and Thatcher also funded the publication of Dunbar's second book, Majors and Minors. 

It was Dunbar's second book that propelled him to national fame. William Dean Howells, a novelist and widely respected literary critic who edited Harper's Weekly, praised Dunbar's book in one of his weekly columns and launched Dunbar's name into the most respected literary circles across the country. A New York publishing firm, Dodd Mead and Co., combined Dunbar's first two books and published them as Lyrics of a Lowly Life. The book included an introduction written by Howells. In 1897, Dunbar traveled to England to recite his works on the London literary circuit. His national fame had spilled across the Atlantic. 

After returning from England, Dunbar married Alice Ruth Moore, a young writer, teacher and proponent of racial and gender equality who had a master's degree from Cornell University. Dunbar took a job at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He found the work tiresome, however, and it is believed the library's dust contributed to his worsening case of tuberculosis. He worked there for only a year before quitting to write and recite full time. 

In 1902, Dunbar and his wife separated. Depression stemming from the end of his marriage and declining health drove him to a dependence on alcohol, which further damaged his health. He continued to write, however. He ultimately produced 12 books of poetry, four books of short stories, a play and five novels. His work appeared in Harper's Weekly, the Sunday Evening Post, the Denver Post, Current Literature and a number of other magazines and journals. He traveled to Colorado and visited his half-brother in Chicago before returning to his mother in Dayton in 1904. He died there on Feb. 9, 1906

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Honoring one of the Navy's Most Highly Professional Leaders, Vice Admiral Michelle Howard reported, Aurora native and Navy leader receives NAACP Image Award.  Navy Vice Admiral Michelle Howard, a 1978 graduate of Gateway High School in Aurora, was honored during an NBC television special Friday night, "The 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards."

Howard, deputy commander of the United States Fleet Forces Command, received the Chairman's Award, selected by the leader of the NAACP board of directors, Roslyn M. Brock, as a leader who has promoted diversity and community involvement in his or her profession.

In August, Howard became the first African-American woman promoted to a three-star rank in the U.S. armed forces.

She also was the first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy warship, the first female graduate of the Naval Academy to achieve the rank of rear admiral and the first African-American woman to command an expeditionary strike group at sea.

In a statement on the NAACP website, Howard said, "I am sincerely touched and honored that the NAACP would choose to recognize me with the Chairman's Award. I have been privileged to serve with our nation's sons and daughters who remain my greatest inspiration."

Before her promotion last year, Howard was as chief of staff to the director for strategic plans and policy for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

Last August, she credited Chuck Woodward, her sociology teacher at Gateway High, as a major influence on her professional life."

Monday, he called Howard, "Dynamic, funny, challenging and exciting."

"She was the kind of student teachers dream about and always hope will be in their class," he said in an e-mail.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Help end child bullying!


           Tormented Heart
                ©2011 Syneeda Penland
      Isolated from the rest of the world
          a lost soul, lonely, extremely shy.
          Weightless like a drifting feather
          free to roam and soar the open skies.

          Empty like the pit of a well
          when there’s no rain.
          My soul is hollow,
          once filled with love
          now lies completely dry.

          Pain is the torment in my heart
          revealed from a single glance
          when you look into my dying eyes.

          Still is the moment in time
          when there’s no motion,
          our tender lives passes us by.

          Breathless, to inhale and breathe again
          I ask myself, “To go on living... Should I try?”
          Numb, when there’s no more pain,
          agony or emotion, my body lifeless when I die.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vote to Eliminate Ban on Gays in Boy Scouts Is on Agenda at Board Meeting

The New York Times reported--IRVING, Tex. — A proposed shift by the Boy Scouts of America   to drop its national ban on gay leaders and scouts, and allow local scout units to decide for themselves, was the center of attention as the organization’s national board gathered here on Monday for a three-day meeting and a vote on the issue.

But the undercurrents of the debate — a drop in participation in the Scouts over the last decade and a deep division between conservative and liberal church groups over the proposal — are raising the stakes even higher for the vote as a kind of proxy on the question of how scouting stays relevant in a changing social climate, Scout volunteers involved in the discussions said….

Food for thoughts:  As more and more children are identifying with their sexual orientation at a younger age, (which could have something to do with the growth hormones consumed from our food) I support lifting any and all bans that suppress a child’s identity. Children need to be taught who they really are, not kept in the closet!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Tell House Republicans: Stop Blocking the Violence against Women Act

Since the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed in 1994, it has protected women across America from domestic violence by providing resources from local law enforcement to fight domestic abuse. A popular and effective program, it was reauthorized again and again without controversy.

That is, until House Republicans decided to block it in 2012.  Though it passed in the Senate by an overwhelming majority, House GOP leaders refused to even bring it up for a vote.  And when that Congressional session ended, the re-authorization bill died with it.

The Senate it it now poised to pass the bill again.  And if House Republicans have any shred of decency left, they will do the same.

Write the House Republicans today.  Demand they allow a vote on VAWA, and demand they re-authorize it.

As a survived victim of military workplace abuse, I encourage you to help make our voices heard, via the link below.

Friday, February 1, 2013

There are "NO" words to describe the ----"O.U.T.R.A.G.E." ---- AND IT'S ...

This poem is dedicated to the future of our children!

      You are Somebody
 © 2009 Syneeda Penland 

          Don’t turn your back on someone
          who’s crying out for love,
          we should embrace all GOD’s children
          by giving them a hug!

          Tell him or her, “You are somebody”,
          not to waste their lives in the street.
          Teach them to open up their hearts to GOD,
          yet be weary of those they meet.

          We are all vulnerable to those
          who make false promises by telling lies,
          those who worship false idols
          won’t go to heaven when they die.

          This world we live in is plagued with sex,
          drugs, lies, false idols and deadly diseases.
          Turn your life over to GOD
          He will never forsake you,
          ‘Cause Jesus sacrificed his life
          for both you and me.       

Food for thought: Yesterday the gun violence in our schools hit extremely close to home, there was another school shooting, this time in the city of Atlanta.  This unnecessary gun violence took place as many Americans are still celebrating and honoring the re-election of President Barack Obama and the late Dr. King's 84th birthday.  As a strong supporter of  peace, non-violence and protecting our human rights, I strongly encourage parents to take back control of your children.  Before there are more innocent lives lost as a result of senseless gun violence.  Our kids are not deaf or blind, and they know where guns and weapons are located in your house.  If they are being bullied in school or harassed by someone don't ignore their cry for help!  Help stop the violence, before it's too late!

There are no simple or quick answers to explain this weird epidemic, all I know is God is in control!