Category: Hopeful

Fatherhood: Black Men are Challenging Negative “Daddy” Stereotypes

Watching TV, the other morning, I came across an interview of leaders of “The Dad Gang.” According to their website, thedadgang.com, the mission of the Dad Gang initiative is partly to “shatter myths and celebrate black fatherhood everyday.” Started by Sean Williams in November 2016, The Dad Gang started as an Instagram page focused exclusively on reflecting positive images of active black dads. In learning more about this organization, I am reminded a little about what active dads do. Deuteronomy 11:19-21 (NLT) instructs leaders of their households (men) to “Teach them (decrees from God) to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.”

Active dads are leaders of their children. Active dads are ministers to their children. Active dads are protectors of their children. Active dads are providers to their children. Active dads are teachers to their children. Active dads have fun with their children. Active dads are involved with their children. Active dads train their children (in the way they should go) [Proverbs 22:6]. Active dads develop the character and talent of their children. Active dads serve their children. Active dads love their children. I appreciate the men of The Dad Gang Initiative and encourage US to work to promote a positive and healthier fatherhood for all to see and witness. Let’s do it, together!

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Reflection on the Killing of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery

I walk/jog/run most days of the week. I walk/jog/run for my health & well-being. I encourage other men who look like me to walk/jog/run for their health & well-being. I encourage ALL people to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” & “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31, NIV).

I cannot explain the tragic circumstances of #AhmaudArbery. My hope is WE can ALL work towards LOVING our God and LOVING our fellow MAN. Perhaps when we treat each other the way we would want to be treated, then these tragic events will decrease and end. Heavenly Father, I pray for peace, love, strength, encouragement and comfort for the family of Ahmaud Arbery. I pray the same for all the many families who have lost loved ones due to violence. God, grant us the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Lord, please embolden men and women in solidarity with each other, in You, to champion the causes of the just, the good, the defenseless, and those experiencing unfortunate circumstances. May we speak up and judge righteously. Amen.

Reflection on the Killing of Mr. George Floyd

To all my Brothers | Sisters | Those I Have Yet to Meet: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’…’Love others as WELL as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them” [Matthew 22: 37-40, MSG].

No matter one’s skin color or social standing, I encourage ALL to at least value the lives of others while working toward loving others. If you find it challenging to value the life of another and/or LOVE others, then my prayer is that you will open your heart to God and allow Him to “transform your heart & mind.” Let us work to not believe all the negative stereotypes about people we don’t know. Instead let us challenge our thinking, be intentional about overcoming biases, and work to do “life” with one another. In the process, we will learn to love one another. Strength, Encouragement, & Comfort to the family of Mr. George Floyd. #georgefloyd #racisimisasin

Moving Beyond the Shock

By Lyricc K. Wilkinson, Woman31

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Have you ever gone through something that totally rocks you to your core? How do you rebound? As a nation/community, we are living through one of the most difficult pandemics that has ever impacted our lives. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has literally swept across our nation, sending shock waves of fear, panic and anxiety across the globe. So, how do you remain strong during these trying times? Where does your faith lie? Who do you turn to in times of crisis?

I want to encourage you, even while we’re all in the midst of this storm, ‘Shake Off the Shock’ and TAKE ACTION! Although these last few weeks have felt like a blow due to COVID-19, guess what, YOU’RE STILL HERE!! So, you got this!

As my pastor loves to say, “If there is still air in your lungs, God’s not finished with you; you’ve got something left here to do!” So LET’S GO! But HOW?? I’m so glad you asked.

Here are 5 Daily Actions to Achieve Your Greater LIFE-WORK-FIT, especially in the times of crisis: 

1 – PRAY, fast and live with intentionality
2 – FOCUS your priorities, position and purpose daily
3 – COMMUNICATE with those in your tribe; seek wise counsel
4 – MOVE your body & eat/drink well
5 – DO something fun every single day!

Do you already take these steps?? How do they help you in your everyday life?

Lizzo Sponsors Lunch for Emergency Room Staff at Several Hospitals

As many across the country are quarantined due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and as the number of deaths due to COVID-19 continue to rise, it is good to remember our men and women who are on the frontlines of this health battle. Many of the nation’s health workers are laboring long hours with minimal resources to confront this new disease. In an awesome gesture of gratitude, the recording artist Lizzo sponsored lunch for emergency hospital workers on the frontlines of COVID-19. Lizzo posted on Twitter her remarks to the hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, “thank you so much…you are keeping us safe, you are keeping us healthy.” Lizzo sponsored lunch for several hospitals. See the pictures and appreciations below.

Shout out to Lizzo for this amazing gesture. Thank you, frontline workers, (i.e. health care, grocery, trucking, mail, warehouse, etc.) for caring for our health and well-being during this time of uncertainty and vulnerability. The uplifting acts of generosity that individuals from all walks of life are doing is making a positive difference for individuals, communities, our country, & the world. We are all in this fight (against COVID-19) together. Let us all continue to live, work, play, and pray together…keeping in mind social distancing of course!

Larrell L. Wilkinson

Tennessee Judge Explains His Views about Black Lives Mattering

According to Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle / USA Today reporter Stephanie Ingersoll, a Tennessee Judge Wayne Shelton exclaimed, “Black men are more dangerous to other black men than white Klansman ever were.”  While presiding over the preliminary hearing of Vincent Bryan Merriweather on Thursday, January 3rd, according to reporter Ingersoll, Judge Shelton went on to say that he is “sick and disheartened by what he sees as a lack of respect for human life, especially among young black men willing to shoot at one another for little or no reason.”

Continue reading “Tennessee Judge Explains His Views about Black Lives Mattering”

Don’t Conform, Stand Up and Stand Out!

Sometimes, do we feel like we don’t belong? Do we feel like we’re not part of the popular group on campus? At school? To be in that group, are you asked to sacrifice “who you are” as a person? If you’re older, do you recall a time when you tried to “fit in”? A time, when you did or said something you knew was wrong…just so you could feel like you were cool? To be a part of that crowd?

I can recall times in my life when I gave in. Times when I tried to be cool, tried to act hard, tried to go against my nature…all for the purpose of fitting in or being cool. My nature you might ask…I’m mild, calm, not really tough unless pushed to the limits, patient, kind, respectful…that is me in a nutshell. So why did I do it? Why did I smoke that, drink too much of that, treat that person that way, curse that, steal that, cheat on that…Why did I fight so hard to be so wrong? Why do you? Why did you? I am assuming we all aren’t perfect, but if this doesn’t apply to you…please share your strengths in the comment section. For others, answering WHY (i.e. fear, teasing, bullied, risk-taking, peer pressure) can be the first steps to “Standing Up and Standing Out”.

If trying to fit into the wrong crowd is something that bothers you, then allow me to offer you some encouragement. If this is a battle you overcame some time ago, please share your strategies with others reading this post. First, just to cover our basis…what is the wrong crowd? Chances are, if people around you are repeatedly hostile, arguing, causing strife, using illegal drugs, lazy, divisive, rebellious to authority, promiscuous sexually, angry, or even place money and material goods over people; chances are you don’t want these individuals to be your closest friends. This may not be the crowd you want to “run with” regularly (or at all). Why? Simply put, their negativity can “rub off” on you. They can bring you down, burden you physically and mentally, or place you in serious trouble or danger.

At this point, you might be thinking: “Well, everyone is bad…so I guess I’ll have no friends”. Although we all make mistakes, everyone is not of the wrong crowd. Everyone is not bad! When you don’t conform, you stand out! Standing up for your beliefs, for what you know is right (i.e. fair, moral, and ethical) attracts other positive people to you! When you stand out, it becomes easier for good people to find you! Furthermore, when you lead by good example, others will follow. Your leadership creates a path away from conforming with the wrong crowd, to establishing a good group of friends of your own. So when the WRONG crowd tries to put you down, Stand Up! When the WRONG crowd asks or tries to force you to be in their group, Stand Out! Be Strong, Be Encouraged, Be Comforted… for greatness comes to those who do good!

PHAME-US

Helping to End Violence Against Women

Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday, February 28, 2013, Congress acted in a bipartisan on the behalf of women. The House vote of 286 – 138, coupled with the Senate’s passing of the “Violence Against Women Act” (VAWA) of the 112th Congress in 2012, progressed the law and readied it for President Obama’s for signature. The last VAWA expired in 2011. When the former law was passed in 1994, the foundational law helped the country to recognize the devastation of domestic violence. The law supported the change of perspective among police officers in how they treated domestic abuse, from a private family matter to a serious offense. Additionally, mandatory arrest policies and grant funding for research was also implemented because of the law. The 2013 version of VAWA extends the work of its predecessor.

Many women advocacy groups believe the newly passed VAWA bill will strengthen the protections of specific women sub-groups who are at extreme risk for domestic violence. They credit the former bill for saving thousands of lives over the past two decades. According the U.S. Bureau of Justice (2013), since 1993, intimate partner violence has decreased 64%. Still, approximately 80% of intimate partner victims of violence are female, with women ages 18 – 24 and 25 – 34 being most at risk. More work needs to be done, especially in single mother households where young females have ten times the risk of intimate partner violence when compared to households with married adults with children. The actions in this bill will work to build on gains made in the past, while targeting efforts at those most at risk. The bill may not end all violence against women, but it does build on gains made by subsequent legislation while also modernize efforts to confront the scourge of domestic violence.

– Larrell L. Wilkinson

A Beautiful Moment for a Beautiful Game

Boateng Walks Off Pitch due to Racial Abuse
Boateng Walks Off Pitch due to Racial Abuse AC Milan Soccer Player Boateng Walks Off Pitch due to Racial Abuse

Many times in today’s society, people are torn down for standing up for something they believe in, especially when that something flies in the face of conventional wisdom or login.  Many soccer fans around the globe were dismayed when soccer player Kevin-Prince Boateng walked of the field in protest after being the victim of racial taunts and abuse earlier this year.  Most importantly, their dismay was not directed at Boateng, but was directed at the soccer fans that caused the disruption.  Following the example of their comrade, the rest of the players and the officials followed Boateng example, and walked off the pitch.  Officially, the friendly match was suspended definitely with official notes stating “AC Milan leaves the pitch after racist abuse by a minority of Pro Patria fans at Boateng, (Mbaye) Niang, (Urby) Emanuelson and (Sulley) Muntari. The rest of the fans in the stands disassociated themselves from such racist events.”

Now, I don’t believe that racism and/or many other -isms have gone away in 2013.  Don’t get me wrong, progress has been made in the United States and globally concerning prejudice and racism.  Still, it is important to have a comprehensive perspective concerning that progress.  In truth, for every few forward steps, there have been regressive movements and setbacks as well.  To quote Boateng on Twitter after the incident: “Shame that these things still happen… #StopRacismforever.”  In this gesture, I am reminded of the larger picture here.  Teams WALKED OUT of game, professionals MARCHED OFF a field, and authorities CALLED OFF a game that spectators paid good money to see and onlookers and fans readied to see the results.  The result, the world saw a demonstration of peaceful protest and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit.  The globe witnessed a beautiful moment for the beautiful game!

– Larrell Wilkinson