Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thought for the day....

"Dear White People", a comedy that sheds light on perpetuated racism in America.



I can't wait to see this movie because I can definitely relate!!  I remember the first time a white person asked to feel my "natural" hair, I was an officer in the Navy.  After I educated her on the similarities and differences of our background, we became the best of friends and I even invited her and her husband to my wedding.   In today's society, why are Americans continuing to perpetuate hate and racism?  We need to better educate our children on the uniqueness of our American culture(s), and to learn to be receptive of other cultures.   The last time I checked, America is becoming one big melting pot!  Who wants to live in a world of classism?  I don't!!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Thought for the day...


The Bible may not tell you this but God is "light" energy, guiding you to achieve Greatness!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

It's Nelson Mandela International Day, a day of service celebrated on July 18, Mandela's birthday.






The former president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, died on December 5, 2013, at 95.  Upon his death, I wrote the following poem as a dedication to his remarkable legacy...

Oh’ Mother Africa

Oh Mother Africa,
let me hear your cry.
As we celebrate
the life of your beloved son,
as we long to say good bye.

Standing steadfast in the midst
of your great divide,
liberating the souls of your children,
leading their spirits to freedom,
during the wrath of your apartheid.

Freeing your children
from the bonds of mental slavery;
inspiring them to believe in you,
their heritage, throughout their quest for liberty.

Oh’ Mother Africa,
how you weep the loss of your beloved son;
be proud of his immeasurable deeds,
knowing that his work is never done.

His legacy reached far beyond the shores
of your magnificent ivory coast,
to the hearts and souls of your
African-American children,
where you are loved the most.

Oh’ Mother Africa,
as you lay your son to rest
cradle him in your earthly bosom,
knowing that he has done his best!
© 2013 Syneeda Penland

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thought for the day...


Los Angeles Daily News reports, “First Lady Michelle Obama to spend day 2 of Los Angeles visit speaking about veterans, education”...


It appears that Michelle Obama is continuing her "usual" campaign, showing her support for military veterans. Too bad she's not willing to tackle the bigger issue veterans are facing with regards to the VA Medical system, "YIKES"!!! If you are into history like I am, you can obviously see how history is repeating itself. The way our veterans are being mistreated, under-appreciated, and outright deceived is similar to the Vietnam Era. However, I do applaud her efforts in wanting to discuss the economic concerns of our veterans.
For over a decade ( or longer) its become more apparent that America is not producing enough jobs to keep the average population employed at a decent enough wage. As prices continue to rise, our country will continue to face a larger economic gap; most journalists are describing it as "class warfare", which is similar to foreign cultures who live by a "class" system. But what determines which "class" a person should be placed in?, "Bloodline, wealth, education, occupation, or in my spiritual belief, the amount of love and compassion you have for others?!" In the end, the later always prevail!
Full article:  http://www.dailynews.com/government-and-politics/20140716/first-lady-michelle-obama-to-spend-day-2-of-los-angeles-visit-speaking-about-veterans-education

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

ROONEY COSPONSORS BILL TO IMPROVE VETERAN HEALTH CARE ACCESS


Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17), an Army veteran and member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, today cosponsored the Veteran-Centered Access to Coordinated Health Care Act, H.R. 3858, which would help ensure timely, quality care for all American veterans.

“The secret waiting lists in Arizona and other VA facilities aren’t isolated incidents – they are indicative of widespread problems at the VA in delivering care to veterans when they need it, where they need it,” Rooney said. “I have heard from veterans across my district who have been forced to wait months to see a doctor or begin needed, life-saving treatment. Veterans in Florida’s heartland have to travel long distances for simple examinations and procedures. This is unacceptable.

“Just like veterans can take their GI benefits and go to any accredited school of their choosing, they should be able to take their health care benefits and go to any licensed doctor, especially when the VA can’t treat them in a timely manner. By allowing the VA to contract with non-VA providers, we can ensure that our veterans get the care they need, when they need it.”

The Veteran-Centered Access to Coordinated Health Care Act would:

•    Clarify existing authorities of the VA by directing the VA Secretary to enter into contracts with non-VA providers when it is not capable of providing services for geographical, capacity or timeliness reasons; and,

•    Reauthorize and expand the VA pilot program Project ARCH (Access Received Closer to Home). Currently, the pilot program, which determines eligibility based on driving time from a VA facility, involves limited facilities in five states. H.R. 3858 would expand Project ARCH to all Veteran Integrated Service Networks across the country.

http://rooney.house.gov/press-releases/rooney-cosponsors-bill-to-improve-veteran-health-care-access/

Food for thought:  Several years ago my father passed away from COPD while waiting for an initial screening at the Atlanta VA.  Its going to require more than introducing a bill or appointing a new VA Secretary to resolve the internal issues of the VA health care crisis.  If we focus on Peace initiatives, vice war, it will lessen the burden of our failing VA healthcare system.   But lets not fool ourselves, the military helps to line the pockets of Big Pharma and our veterans are "lab rats" to assist with the advancement of the the medical community...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Netflix Pulls Plug On Orange Is The New Black; The Reason Why May Shock You


Empire News reports --In a bizarre turn of events, and just months after renewing the series for a third season, Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings has announced that the critcally-acclaimed series Orange is the New Black has been cancelled.

“We regret to inform Netflix members that Orange is the New Black has been permanently cancelled. Also, starting September 1st, 2014, past episodes will no longer be available for streaming on Netflix.” said Hastings in a press release early Monday.

The news is a shock to fans of the show, which is based on true events described in Piper Kerman’s memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, about her experiences in prison. The show was originally renewed for a third season in early June.

According to inside sources, a private fued between Netflix co-founder Hastings and show creator Jenji Kohan came to a head after Hastings insisted to Kohan that there be more male leads in the show. Kohan became infuriated with the idea, being that it would stray from the memoir written by the real life character Piper Kerman, around whom the show is based. When Kohan put her foot down and refused to buy into Hastings’ idea, he displayed his displeasure with how the show represents women.

A woman’s place is in the home, in the kitchen, taking care of children.” Hastings told San Jose Mercury News reporter Noah Houpt as he was leaving Netflix headquarters Monday afternoon. “A woman in jail? How does anyone even watch this show in the first place? It’s like we took everything bad about OZ, and make this show with the leftovers.”

According to entertainment lawyer and Empire News corresspondant Jeremy Downard, there is no chance for ‘OITNB’ to take the show to a television network due to the type of contract originally agreed upon between Kerman and Netflix. Sad news for all fans, the show was a huge hit and has steadily gained popularity since it’s release in July of 2013.

http://empirenews.net/netflix-pulls-plug-on-orange-is-the-new-black-the-reason-why-may-shock-you/


Food for thought:  I subscribe to Netflix and to learn that their co-founder is a sexist is appalling!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thought for the day...



I’ve recently completed my second poetry book, “Black Pearls of Wisdom,” which will be available soon, by e-book, hard-copy and spoken-word cd.  While scribing this amazing collection, I experienced a “spiritual awakening”.  I must say, each day I’m thankful to the Divine for blessing me with such remarkable gifts.   I hope you enjoy my “art therapy”, and will share more via YouTube in weeks to come. 

Thought for the day...


The  True Essence of Black Beauty

Within your flesh
is where my spirit lies, 
to experience the true Essence
of my Beauty, 
simply close your eyes. 

My auras resonates 
through to the beauty
of your skin, 
in total and complete blackness 
is where life begins... 

© 2014
Sy'needa Penland

Friday, July 4, 2014

'What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?' Excerpts from a speech by Frederick Douglass


Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from the Declaration of Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world, and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic, are distinctly heard on the other. The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen, in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:
God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o’er
When from their galling chains set free,
Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee,

And wear the yoke of tyranny
Like brutes no more.
That year will come, and freedom’s reign,
To man his plundered fights again
Restore.
God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good,
Not blow for blow;
That day will come all feuds to end.
And change into a faithful friend
Each foe.
God speed the hour, the glorious hour,
When none on earth
Shall exercise a lordly power,
Nor in a tyrant’s presence cower;
But all to manhood’s stature tower,
By equal birth!
That hour will come, to each, to all,
And from his prison-house, the thrall
Go forth.

Until that year, day, hour, arrive,
With head, and heart, and hand I’ll strive,
To break the rod, and rend the gyve,
The spoiler of his prey deprive —
So witness Heaven!
And never from my chosen post,
Whate’er the peril or the cost,
Be driven.
Full speech:  http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/what-to-the-slave-is-the-fourth-of-july/

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Celebrating the 50 Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.... Unfortunately, these rights are not extended to US military personnel!!


The Civil Rights Act of 1964
and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Background
In the 1960s, Americans who knew only the potential of "equal protection of the laws" expected the president, the Congress, and the courts to fulfill the promise of the 14th Amendment. In response, all three branches of the federal government--as well as the public at large--debated a fundamental constitutional question: Does the Constitution's prohibition of denying equal protection always ban the use of racial, ethnic, or gender criteria in an attempt to bring social justice and social benefits?

In 1964 Congress passed Public Law 88-352 (78 Stat. 241). The provisions of this civil rights act forbade discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race in hiring, promoting, and firing. The word "sex" was added at the last moment. According to the West Encyclopedia of American Law, Representative Howard W. Smith (D-VA) added the word. His critics argued that Smith, a conservative Southern opponent of federal civil rights, did so to kill the entire bill. Smith, however, argued that he had amended the bill in keeping with his support of Alice Paul and the National Women's Party with whom he had been working. Martha W. Griffiths (D-MI) led the effort to keep the word "sex" in the bill. In the final legislation, Section 703 (a) made it unlawful for an employer to "fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges or employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." The final bill also allowed sex to be a consideration when sex is a bona fide occupational qualification for the job. Title VII of the act created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to implement the law.

Subsequent legislation expanded the role of the EEOC. Today, according to the U. S. Government Manual of 1998-99, the EEOC enforces laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age in hiring, promoting, firing, setting wages, testing, training, apprenticeship, and all other terms and conditions of employment. Race, color, sex, creed, and age are now protected classes. The proposal to add each group to protected-class status unleashed furious debate. But no words stimulate the passion of the debate more than "affirmative action."

As West defines the term, affirmative action "refers to both mandatory and voluntary programs intended to affirm the civil rights of designated classes of individuals by taking positive action to protect them" from discrimination. The issue for most Americans is fairness: Should the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment be used to advance the liberty of one class of individuals for good reasons when that action may infringe on the liberty of another?

The EEOC, as an independent regulatory body, plays a major role in dealing with this issue. Since its creation in 1964, Congress has gradually extended EEOC powers to include investigatory authority, creating conciliation programs, filing lawsuits, and conducting voluntary assistance programs. While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not mention the words affirmative action, it did authorize the bureaucracy to makes rules to help end discrimination. The EEOC has done so.

Today the regulatory authority of the EEOC includes enforcing a range of federal statutes prohibiting employment discrimination. According to the EEOC's own Web site, these include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and its amendments, that prohibits employment discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older; the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in compensation for substantially similar work under similar conditions; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of disability in both the public and private sector, excluding the federal government; the Civil Rights Act of 1991 that provides for monetary damages in case of intentional discrimination; and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, that prohibits employment discrimination against federal employees with disabilities. Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 forbade gender discrimination in education programs, including athletics that received federal dollars. In the late 1970s Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This made it illegal for employers to exclude pregnancy and childbirth from their sick leave and health benefits plans.

Presidents also weighed in, employing a series of executive orders. The first use of the phrase "affirmative action" in an executive order appeared in March 1961, when President John F. Kennedy signed E.O. 10925. President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered all executive agencies to require federal contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." A 1969 executive order required that every level of federal service offer equal opportunities for women, and established a program to implement that action. President Richard Nixon's Department of Labor adopted a plan requiring federal contractors to assess their employees to identify gender and race and to set goals to end any under-representation of women and minorities. By the 1990s Democratic and Republican administrations had taken a variety of actions that resulted in 160 different affirmative action federal programs. State and local governments were following suit.

The courts also addressed affirmative action. In addition to dealing with race, color, creed, and age, from the 1970s forward, the court dealt with gender questions. It voided arbitrary weight and height requirements (Dothard v. Rawlinson), erased mandatory pregnancy leaves (Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur), allowed public employers to use carefully constructed affirmative action plans to remedy specific past discrimination that resulted in women and minorities being under-represented in the workplace (Johnson v. Transportation Agency, Santa Clara County), and upheld state and local laws prohibiting gender discrimination.

By the late 1970s all branches of the federal government and most state governments had taken at least some action to fulfill the promise of equal protection under the law. The EEOC served as the agent of implementation and complaint. Its activism divided liberals and conservatives, illuminating their differing views about the proper scope of government. In general, the political liberals embraced the creation of the EEOC as the birth of a federal regulatory authority that could promote the goal of equality by designing policies to help the historically disadvantaged, including women and minorities. In contrast, political conservatives saw the EEOC as a violation of their belief in fewer government regulations and fewer federal policies. To them, creating a strong economy, free from government intervention, would produce gains that would benefit the historically disadvantaged. Even the nonideological segment of the American population asked: What should government do, if anything, to ensure equal protection under the law?

In fiscal year 1997, the EEOC collected $111 million dollars in financial benefits for people who filed claims of discrimination. Its recent successful efforts include a $34 million settlement in a sexual harassment case with Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, resulting in the company's adoption of changes to its sexual harassment prevention policy.  Working with state and local programs, the EEOC processes 48,000 claims annually.

http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/civil-rights-act/