Category: Wholeness

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

Appreciation for the New Dove Commercial: Showing many types of Women

Shout out to Dove, the soap brand, for one of the latest additions to its commercial campaign. This moment of praise is not to endorse the Dove soap product. Instead, we want to encourage Dove, a product of Unilever, to continue airing commercials that include diverse women, embrace women of all different body types, and beautifully depicts the stories of women. Their advertisement “Our Skin Tells a Story” shows an array of women, allowing them to depict their story, positively! The ad was placed on the Dove US YouTube channel on February 20, 2020.


Although companies have missteps in advertisement time-to-time, we at PHAME-US Life & Style see it as our mission to support advancement of what is positive and healthy, while encouraging uplift and solidarity. Thank you Dove, keep up the good work!

A Call for Solidarity, Working against Racism & COVID-19

By Larrell L. Wilkinson

On April 8, 2020, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for greater unity in efforts to combat COVID-19. Since taking office in May 2017, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General outlined five priorities for the WHO: universal health coverage; health emergencies; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; health impacts of climate and environmental change; and a transformed WHO. Dr. Tedros previous experiences included serving as Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012–2016 and Ethiopia’s Minister of Health from 2005–2012. Dr. Tedros holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Health from the University of Nottingham and a Master of Science (MSc) in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the University of London.

Earlier today, Dr. Tedros remarked about the first 100 days of the WHO’s efforts to address COVID-19.

In his remarks on April 8, 2020 regarding WHO’s effort against COVID-19, the Director-General focused at least some of his comments on racism and unity. “I can tell you personal attacks that have been going on for more than two, three months. Abuses, or racist comments, giving me names, black or Negro. I’m proud of being black, proud of being Negro,” exclaimed Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus related to comments and threats made against him in the wake of this pandemic and questions regarding WHO’s response. He also called for solidarity in efforts to address COVID-19, stating “My message to political parties: do not politicize the virus. If you care for your people, work across party lines and ideologies.”

A lot has been learned since the reception of the first reported case of pneumonia from an unknown cause was officially received at the WHO on December 31, 2019. This case was first detected in Wuhan, China and received from the WHO Country Office in China. As more has been learned and efforts have been made, public health officials and leaders around the world have continually refined their initial and subsequent efforts to address COVID-19. The WHO is no different in their process of “learning as they address, refining towards progress.”

All of us have a role in this fight (COVID-19) that threatens our health, our humanity. Let’s work to not add to the unfortunate circumstances by exploiting differences among us. Instead, let’s build on our common humanity, show the love of Jesus Christ, and work towards solutions together.

Gauging Behavioral Health in America

SAMHSA | March 5, 2015

A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) details important trends — many positive — in Americans’ behavioral health, both nationally and on a state-by-state basis.

SAMHSA’s new report, the “National Behavioral Health Barometer” (Barometer), provides data about key aspects of behavioral healthcare issues affecting American communities including rates of serious mental illness, suicidal thoughts, substance use, underage drinking, and the percentages of those who seek treatment for these disorders. The Barometer shows this data at the national level, and for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Barometer indicates that the behavioral health of our nation is improving in some areas, particularly among teenagers. For example, past month use of both illegal drugs and cigarettes has fallen for youth ages 12-17 from 2009 to 2013 (from 10.1 percent to 8.8 percent for illegal drugs and 9.0 percent to 5.6 percent for cigarettes). Past month binge drinking among children ages 12-17 has also fallen from 2009 to 2013 (from 8.9 percent to 6.2 percent).

The Barometer also shows more people are getting the help they need in some needed areas. The number of people receiving help for a substance use problem has increased six percent from 2009 to 2013. It also shows that the level of adults experiencing serious mental illness who received help rose from 62.9 percent in 2012 to 68.5 percent in 2013.

The data in the Barometer is drawn from various federal surveys and provides both a snapshot of the current status of behavioral health nationally and by state, and trend data on some of these key behavioral health issues over time. “The Barometer provides new insight into what is happening on the ground in states across the country,” said SAMHSA’s Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde. “It provides vital information on the progress being made in each state as well as the challenges before them. States and local communities use this data to determine the most effective ways of addressing their behavioral healthcare needs.”

The Barometer also provides analyses by gender, age group and race/ethnicity, where possible, to further help public health authorities more effectively identify and address behavioral health issues occurring within their communities, and to serve as a basis for tracking and addressing behavioral health disparities.

For the first time, the Barometer provides analyses broken down by poverty level (above or below) and health insurance status. This data can help provide researchers, policy makers, public health authorities and others a better understanding of how income and insurance coverage affect access and utilization of behavioral healthcare services.

To view and download copies of the national or any state Behavioral Health Barometer, please visit the SAMHSA web site at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/browse-report-document-type?tab=46.

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

Finding the Beauty in Even the Dormant Stages of Life

Dormant Rose Bush

By Khalia Wilkinson
Today, while enjoying my morning walk I passed by a rose bush that I’m used to seeing in full bloom. This bush is usually very beautiful and full of life, with enchanting red roses layered one on top of the other. When I walked by it today, it took me by surprise; the appearance of this shrub was not appealing at all.  In fact, twigs, debris, and thorns heavily engulfed this sad little bush.  I thought, “Wow.  How ugly, dry and unattractive this is.”  Not being a gardener, I even thought that the owners of this bush should maybe pull it up because it was so ugly and lifeless.  The winter months had made it an eyesore.  I then took a look around me.  The trees and the grass were also very dry and brittle.  In that moment another set of thoughts quickly came to mind.  “Just give it time” I thought, “this rose bush will come back around and be beautiful once again very soon!”  This thought put a smile on my face.  I took a calming deep breath then heard my spirit say, “find the beauty in even the dormant stages of life.”

Bright Red Rose

To be dormant is typically preached against.  In fact, this word is normally received negativity.  But today, there was a spin on the word to me.  I appreciated it and received it with great joy!  Dictionary.com defines this word as “lying asleep or as if asleep; inactive; a state of rest or inactivity; inoperative; unasserted; not erupting; to be in a state of minimal activity with cessation of growth, either as a reaction to adverse conditions or as part of an organism’s normal annual rhythm.”

The reason why being dormant is so frustrating to many of us is because we have become a world of movers-and-shakers, go-getters, and high achievers; and there’s nothing wrong with that!  In fact, there are consequences in being the opposite which is slack or stagnant. However, we have become so focused and driven until we no longer understand the natural rhythms of life.  We have begun swimming upstream, pushing against the current far too hard.  We no longer appreciate the time of rest and inactivity that is needed.  We do not take the time to slow down, rest, and regroup.  In fact, to find the beauty in this is very difficult and challenging to do.

But today, I received that it is a must.  To everything there truly is a season.  And that even goes for the seasons of dormancy.  Now, I realize that this is not a discussion that one normally has, especially during the beginning of a New Year when resolutions are soaring high; however, being still and inactive for a moment can benefit you more than you think.  So when you feel the “tug” and your season is upon you to act in a dormant state, rest in it and enjoy all of the beauty that it has to offer!