Preserving Black Culture and History, One Cemetery at a Time: Oberlin Cemetery, Raleigh NC

November 10, 2016

Photo: Irma McClaurin

How people bury their dead tells you something about who and what they valued in life. African American cemeteries are few and far between because often, after Reconstruction and during the era of Jim Crow and segregation, black property was confiscated or destroyed, and sometimes Black cemeteries were covered over to make room for highways and urban development. This makes the presence and preservation of Oberlin Cemetery in Raleigh, NC very special and very necessary.

Efforts to preserve this historic Africa American cemetery, which is one of four in the city of Raleigh, is being done by a dedicated group of descendants of the original Black freedmen founders who were the original residents of Oberlin Village, current community members, and supporters such as myself. 
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Originally published on LinkedIn, Oct. 19, 2016


SCIENCESpeak: Hurricane Matthew Proves Climate Change Is Real And Here To Stay

November 10, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

How ironic.

Almost a month ago I participated in the 2016 Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference hosted by Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments. None of us could have predicted Hurricane Matthew would strike the Carolinas. And yet, we shouldn’t be surprised. The effects of global warming and the consequences of radical climate change is a fact. All weather these days is affected by climate disruption. And right after the last presidential debate, David Leonhardt, in a New York Times editorial (“The Debates Were a Failure of Journalism”) blasted the moderator for not posing one question to the candidates on climate change, after months of excessive heat waves across the country and in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

Anyone who doesn’t want to believe in climate change (even presidential candidates) is delusional. And the cause of climate change is us. Human beings and our massive consumption of energy and the heat trapping gases produced (our carbon footprint) have contributed to increased floods in the Midwest and Northeast, droughts in the Southwest and heatwaves and heavy downpours all over the United States. And, this is not just a problem of the United States, though we are largest consumers of energy, but a global issue.
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Presidential Debate: Hillary’s Triumph Or Trump’s?

November 10, 2016

What really happened during the Sept. 26 debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

Lester Holt allowed himself be intimidated by all the pre-media critiques and let Trump have his way. Why not just tell the man, “no” when he kept inserting his comments or take it out of his time for the next response? Instead, Trump was allowed to continue his political strategy of verbal bullying, non sequitur logic and making inappropriate sounds when his opponent spoke.

Without a doubt, Clinton stood strong and got some good jabs in at Trump. She pointed out his xenophobia with his call for President Obama’s birth certificate, his sexism with the adjectives he uses to describe women, his racism with the law suits against him for discrimination (to which Trump replied, “we settled but never admitted guilt”) and his classism in bilking architects and workers out of wages for their labor on his infamous projects. Good job Hilary.

But you, too, have a long way to go on the road to trust and righteousness. Under the Bill Clinton administration, Blacks were adversely impacted by some of the most draconian policies around welfare and incarceration since the 1950s. You need to speak to how you will distance yourself from these policies of the last Clinton president, and make things right.
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Originally Published:
See my blog post on LinkedIn: "The Elections Heat Up"


Part 4-Why We Can’t ‘Get Over It,’ Have A Kumbaya Moment

October 18, 2016
Why we can’t ‘get over it,’ have a Kumbaya moment

This commentary is part four of a four part series on racism and the over-policing of African-Americans and other people of color. America is not ready for a Kumbaya moment.

And Black and Brown people who are experiencing racism can’t “get over it.” Racism is real. White privilege is real. And these ideologies and practices and structures that have shaped American culture for centuries – and continue today to do so – impact our lives as Black and Brown people in large and small ways.

Right now in this country, among Black and Brown people there is a very strong sentiment (with justification) that structural racism in the form of grand juries or police internal affairs appear to affirm police action for what we (as the recipient of police violence and use of excessive force) perceive to be public executions of Black and Brown people.

In no way does this allegation of police violence justify criminal behavior or retaliation against police.
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Originally published: Insight News, 


PART 3: Stop Silencing The Messenger

October 4, 2016


This commentary is part three of a four part series on racism and the over-policing of African-Americans and other people of color.

Peacefully protesting the injustices by the police towards Black suspects (who have not been convicted of a crime) and seeking equal treatment under the law is the right of every American citizen.

Black Lives Matter cannot be held responsible for the actions of individuals who may use the cover of protests for their own agenda. And it is wrong for law enforcement and the media to create connections where none exist between peaceful protests and civil disobedience and the criminal act of violence against police. When any citizen (Black or white) takes justice into his or her own hands, it is vigilantism pure and simple and violates our rule of law. However, we also must hold police accountable when there is an obvious pattern of mistreatment (that may not be perceived as illegal) but certainly is clear indication of unconscious bias and an unequal enforcement of the law when applied to Black and Brown people.

America needs a healing. America needs a healing, to reclaim our humanity.
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Jada Pinkett Smith And Will Smith Launch Careers In Entertainment Initiative

October 4, 2016

Author's photo 
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
NEW YORK –Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, one of entertainment’s power couples are changing the world (or at least a small segment of it) with the launch of Careers in Entertainment (CIEAccording to Will Smith, the Sept. 21 launch was a simple case of following his grandmother’s advice to “put your money where your mouth is.” The initiative that carries the Twitter name of @MyCIEStory is designed to introduce inner city, underserved youth the skills and knowledge needed to have a successful career in the entertainment industry.

This project of the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation ( follows on the heels of Pinkett Smith’s decision to boycott the 2016 Oscars in a call for greater diversity in the entertainment industry following the notable absence of any nominees of color. Notwithstanding the criticism Pinkett Smith received, she has stood firm in her own power, as she has advised all of us to do, and kept it moving. Read MoreOriginally published:, 9/20/2016



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