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Of The Great Depression, A Soft Tone and Common Ground …

"Details of 'Common Ground'"
“Details of ‘Common Ground” by angelo greco

Then again, my mother grew up during The Great Depression. Born in 1920, she was but nine years old when the Crash of ’29 (1929) occurred.

I remember her describing how they all went to bed, she and her five other siblings, my grandmother had not yet given birth to her youngest child, went to bed and upon waking the next morning discovered, along with reading in the local newspaper, thousands of people who had to that point, held much money, were now poor same as my mother and her family.

Some of these people lived in small town in southeastern North Carolina where my mother grew up. This proved, I gathered over the many years I heard my mother tell this story, an eye-opening moment for her.



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Kiss Me, Kill Me: Trayvon Martin, Black Male Bodies and White Supremacy

When I started my stand up comedy career over a decade ago, I often highlighted police brutality and the way things were mishandled during the Amadou Diallo murder case.

While I was a good story teller, highlighting the Diallo case created a couple of very predictable responses: groans (which basically meant doesn’t bring this up!), nervous, tempered giggles (should this be funny and is it ok to laugh?) or audible gasps (did he really say that?).

My intention when I began stand up like all of my creative endeavors has been simple.

Challenge and change.

White Supremacy and its offshoots (domination, racism, violence and oppression) want us to believe that people are unable to change their hearts and subsequently their minds.


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Of Mothers, Admiration, and Forfeited Goals …

“Admiration” by RasMarley

Despite the difficulties I had with my mother I admired much about her. That I admired so much about a woman who could be abusive speaks to the craziness of our relationship and my own struggles.

Yet and still my mother was a hard worker. Whatever she set her mind to achieve, she remained committed until she had ascertained the goal. As for not gaining the goal, I cannot remember anything that she set out to do and she later admitted not having accomplished.

This is weird to think about, because there are things in my life that I set out to gain, but for whatever reason have not attained, forfeited them. Somewhere during the first five years of my marriage I entered a graduate program in social work. I went through the orientation and everything. I began the clas


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On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow!

Are you familiar with the Law of Diminishing Intent? It says the longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it. What have you placed on your “to-do list” that has yet to be completed? I’m not talking about your finances, your interest in adding a new garage to your home or things like that. I’m talking about your personal growth.

As we age, we learn different skills, acquire abilities, and become masters of our talents. As we grow older, we get to develop ourselves as a whole as well. From being helpless babies we learn to become independent and in the end become self-sufficient. In order to maintain this self-sufficiency, we need to consistently hone our skills. We spend years in school getting to know more and more about the c


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Another Fine Distraction… Paula Deen As an Apology for Trayvon Martin Part 2

More than a year ago, another young black male life was snuffed out.

While there was a great deal of hand wringing, tears and sadness, not a whole lot was done. Laws were not reexamined and destroyed with new ones taking their place. A murderer walked free and we all collectively shook or heads at the shame and brutality of it all.

My frustration level regarding the state of Florida for its stupidity, bigotry and flat out allegiance and complicity with white supremacy and violence continues to engender feelings of impotent rage.

I know that I am not alone in this troubling and haunting upset.

The powerful machine that is domination and oppression is always ready to serve us a “crumb banquet” that keeps us sated, confused and well distracted.

This new distraction in none other than the quee


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4Cs of Effective Leadership

The 4 Cs of Effective Leadership: Confident, Competent, Courageous and Calm

Gwen, Inc. helps leaders increase personal and organizational effectiveness by focusing leaders on developing the 4 Cs-confidence, competence, courageous and calm. These are the four core competencies of Gwen Inc., and the company utilizes an array of programs and services to help leaders incorporate these competencies into their ongoing professional and personal growth and development.

Confidence is an anchoring leadership competency that serves as a “springboard” for the development of the other Cs. Developing personal confidence is primary for career success and leads to other types of confidence that contribute to business success. When leaders develop strong strategic plans they increase organizational confid


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Of Frustration, Suicidal Ideations, and The Need to Feel Appreciated …

“Appreciation” by Fifi 1968

Everyone wants to know that they matter, that no one else can fill their role and that they are appreciated. I wish to have told my mother how much I, her daughter, appreciated her.

But doing that would have entailed, if I were honest, also telling her how much she hurt me. More importantly, letting her know how special she was in my life, emphasizing the unique role she played in my development, would have included telling her how much I needed her to be kind to me, that I looked up to her and when she lashed out I felt horrible, worse than that actually.

I wanted to disappear to never have been born. Every time my mother was angry and frustrated, I wished I had never been born, the thought being, “I am making you unhappy. Your life would be better without me


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Love Life: Under Construction

I recently did some promo shooting for my new relationship book, The Modern Princess: A 21st Century Guide To Fairy Tale Relationships. As I met with the production team we settled on a location in our offices that were still being remodeled. The primes was a two part shoot showing both the section under construction and the remodeled portion. I instantly recognized a few vital keys to relationships especially when things seem to be going through a remodeling stage.

Here’s the real deal, we all bring a certain amount of crap and debris with us into any relationship. It’s just a fact of life. Where we have been and who we were connected to play a major role in shaping our belief system about love. That in turn develops our tendencies and affects our current relationships. It is going to tak


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Another Fine Distraction…Paula Deen As an Apology for Trayvon Martin

While I was amazed by all of the hullabaloo surrounding Ms. Dean’s admission of using the “N” word, I am not shocked.

When I began reading her biography seven years ago, there was something that was not being addressed. It was clear that she had a very complicated relationship with the black community and those that were in her service.

Many folks want to punish her.

As a nation, we want to believe that we’ve come so far and yet when we hear young teenagers, irrespective of their color, refer to each other using Dean “speak” we never stop it or question it.

Ms. Dean used the term and was fired.

Black kids use it and get record deals by the same conglomerates that own a stake in the Dean empire.

We won’t allow an old white lady to say it and feel justified in calling her a racist and yet wh


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3 Quick Ways to Win Over Your Audience

Have you ever stood before your co-workers, strangers or friends to give a few remarks or a prepared presentation? Your hands were shaking, your heart was almost jumping out of your chest and your only thought was—“Please let this torture end quickly!”

We’ve all been there…Standing before a group, thinking about how uncomfortable we feel. But all you have to do is flip the script and change your focus. When you focus on your audience, instead of yourself, you both will feel better.

Your audience wants to cheer for you—nobody wants you to be boring, uncomfortable or scared. The audience is rooting for you, so just think of your speech as a talk with a group of friends. You can connect with your audience and ease your nerves if you adopt the delivery style of Chris Rock, Kevin Hart and Wand


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Of Axioms, Doubt and Similarities …

Similarity by Jan Meeus

“Similarity” by Jan Meeus

My mother dispensed a number of axioms that I adhere to.

Dress appropriately for the occasion. First impressions are lasting impressions.” “Start 0ut the way you want to end up. People aren’t too keen on changing in midstream.”

Do a good job at whatever the task, even if it’s just sweeping the floor, or digging a ditch. Your ability to give your best speaks to your character.”

And then there were the ones that ever how well-meant, that defied understanding, seemed to say more about the people or person s speaking, where their priorities lay, that a fact of life.

Wear good lingerie when you go out. You never know where you might land, like the hospital emergency room. You’d hate for the doctors and nurses to see you in tattered lingerie.”

I’ve worked in a hospi


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Deeply Rooted Stigma around Mental Health in our Community.

1) Why don’t we adequately recognize and treat anxiety, depression and other mental health issues in our community; what are the consequences of that?

There is a deeply rooted stigma around mental health in our community.

Too many in our community have dismissed mental illness for the following reasons:

There is the assertion that African Americans are a strong race of people that can withstand any sort of adversity as a result of slavery; making us largely immune from mental illness. Furthermore, there is still an active belief of “the strong black man” and “the strong black woman,” who is supposed to be strong, present and capable for everyone in his/her family, neglecting his/her own needs. We have been conditioned to appear as though we are not hurting. Without support from the commun


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