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I Equals We

We equals Us & Us equals Them!!! TeamUs joined together on a Easter Sunday and Helped Them with food & clothing! Thanks to the @keturahhamiltonfoundation for organizing such a heart felt, spiritually lifted, needed opportunity to help those in need. And I’m not referring to the homeless. #itsbettertogivethanreceive

from Instagram: http://ift.tt/1UYfW2D
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Tear filled eyes

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When I was a boy I knew God was all-powerful because of my mothers love for him and because she would occasionally do something when we prayed that I never seen her do anywhere else: at some point during our night prayer, she would bow her head and weep. It was the only time I seen her cry. “Why do you cry during prayer?” I asked her one night after we prayed?” “Because God makes me happy.” “Then why cry?” “I’m crying, cause I’m happy. Anything wrong with that?” “No,” I said, but there was, because happy people didn’t cry like she did. My mother’s tears seemed to come from somewhere else, a place far away, a place inside her that she never let no one visit, and even as a boy I felt there was pain behind her tears. I thought it was because she wanted everyone in her family to accept Islam, especially my Father and Grandmother.

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But my father was infuriated about his wife converting to Islam. Pastor C, was a quiet, soft-spoken man who knew his Bible. He wore fashionable clothes, silk ties, button-down cashmere coats, suspenders, and dressed neatly at all times. He did everything slowly and carefully, but beneath his slowness and outward gentleness was a hard, bold, quick thinking black man. He took no stuff and gave none. And even though he wanted nothing more than to walk away from my mother for the shame and embarrassment she caused and remarry one of the many women that sat in the pews of his Sunday service, he decided to stay. He loved my mother with every fiber in his being and even though having a wife that converted to Islam was the worst thing that could happen to a Baptist Minister, my father seen it as a test of faith.

Besides he had 4 little girls and a baby on the way.

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So he just prayed that this Muslim thing was nothing more than a trend that would soon past.

But it never did. Soon my mother started wearing headscarfs and she learnt how to read and speak Arabic, and eventually she changed her name. She kept the last name out of respect for my father.

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My mother was beautiful and slender with long black hair, brown eyes, a sparkling smile and a bowlegged walk that you could see a mile away. If fact, the image of my mother walking down the street with a headscarf typified her whole existence to me. Her oddness, yet complete non-awareness of what the world thought of her, so nonchalance in the face of what I perceived to be imminent danger from blacks and whites who disliked her for being a Muslim in a black Christian community.

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She saw none of it. She walked so slowly that if you looked at her from a distance it seemed as if she was standing still, a frozen image, painted against the summer skyline, a women walking with a headscarf, with black kids zipping past her on bmx bikes, popping wheelies and throwing baseballs that whizzed past her head, tossing firecrackers that burst all around her. She ignored it all. She had absolutely no interest in a world that seemed incredibly agitated by her presence. The stares and remarks, the glances and cackles she heard as she walked about the neighborhood went right over her head. She wore a solid white dress with brown loafers, her long black hair tied in a colorful headscarf, as she called out my name amongst the many parents picking up their children from our after school play area. “Jr.….. Jr.…. Come here! Its time for prayer and your studies….. Lets go…. NOW!” I couldn’t handle it. But I had no choice.

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As I grew older I begin to notice something about my mother, she stood out from the other kids mothers. And it wasn’t just her headscarf, but it was her clear skin, white teeth, bright eyes, and serious, strong demeanor. She stood apart from the other mothers, rarely talking to them. She stood behind them, waiting calmly, hands in her dress pocket, watching intently as I ran toward her. She’d take my hand, ignoring the stares of the other black woman as we walked away.

One afternoon as we walked home from my after school program, I asked my mother, why she wore a headscarf and made me wear a kufi cap, none of the other mothers wore headscarf’s and none of my friends wear kufi cap’s. “Because we are not them” she said. “Who are we” I asked. “Were Muslims”! “Then why don’t Daddy wear a kufi or why don’t Pam or Gwen or any of my other sisters wear a headscarf like you?” She sighed and shrugged. “It’s not there time, Allah didn’t bless them like he blessed you and I, all we can do is pray for them and hope Allah lifts the vile from their eyes, crack the seal on their heart, and take the plug out of their ears. Until then, we will continue to do what Allah asked us to do”. “What’s that?” I asked. “To fully submit our will to him”, “And what if I don’t want to” I replied. “What if you don’t want to, What if you don’t want to,” she snapped, “Who you been talking to? Huh! You listen to me! I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! YOU HEAR ME! DON’T YOU FOLLOW NONE OF THEM, NOT YOUR FATHER, NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER, NOT YOUR SISTER’S AND ESPEACIALLY NOT YOUR FRIENDS! YOU HEAR ME! YOU STICK TO ME! JUST ME! THAT’S IT! END OF DISCUSSION!”   One thing is for certain, when my mother issued orders, her rules were law, and I followed.

As a boy growing up, I was terrified of sleeping in the dark. I would often dream my bed was spinning around and around and there was some sort of demon holding me down. I would get dizzy and try to scream for help, but that demon would take his hand and cover my mouth. I couldn’t say a word. In fact, that demon would hold me down. I can’t move, I was paralyzed, for what seemed like hours. I would just lay there, motionless, voiceless, and terrified, and when I was finally released, I wanted nothing more then to jump up and run to my mother and have her tell me I was safe, that everything was all right. But I never did. Because deep down inside, I was more afraid of my mother than I was of sleeping in the dark with that horrific bedroom demon.

But what was even more terrifying was to believe in my mother when no one else believed in her, not even my father or sisters. Which made me feel like the loneliest boy on earth. To be an 8-year-old boy standing up for something when everybody else was sitting down. To go to school dressed as an Islamic foreigner and have everybody look at you and say, what’s the matter with him? To walk down a empty street, listening to the sound of your own footsteps, shutters closing, blinds drawn, car doors locking against you, and you aren’t sure whether you’re walking towards something or if your just walking away.

As I stood for prayer and looked out my housing project widow, I notice the sunrise, and I knew everything was gonna change. It was summer and I just finished the 8th grade, next stop, High school. But before I go, I was going to have a terrific summer. When the sun rose, I knew everything I was going to do for my summer vacation. What basketball team I was going to play for, what cookout’s I would attend, and what pretty girl I was gonna ask out for ice cream. Yes sir! I had it all planned, and my mother wasn’t gonna stop me, not this summer. But by the time the sunset I was headed to Texas to live with my uncle on a military base.

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I remember walking down stairs and seeing my bags packed. There was this long moment of silence, so profound that it seemed as if the entire housing projects I lived in was asleep. No sound from the television, no arguments amongst my sisters, no children playing outside our front door, no police sirens. No hope, No basketball, no cookouts, and no pretty girl to take for ice cream. It was as if the world had fallen silent because my soul had. I stood there, staring blankly at my mother, wishing she would just kneel over and die. I knew she wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say. So I turned to him, the only person I thought could save me, my father, my Pastor, the man I seen my entire life just sit back and watched my mother ruined my life, but let my sisters do as they willed. I looked him in the eye, and said, “You gonna let her do this to me. Huh! Are you? You gonna let her put me on a bus and ship me off like I’m a piece of mail. Huh! Answer me! Answer me! You know what? You don’t have to say nothing, I understand, you have no say, you never did, and you never will. BECAUSE YOUR WEAK! You’ve always been weak, and you always gonna be weak. You know what? You always telling me to be a man, “be a man”, you’d say, and now I finally figured out how. The best way for me to become a man – is to look at you, and do the complete opposite.

As I sat on that Greyhound bus headed to Texas, I could see the sun setting through my tear filled eyes thinking this was the end, But little did I know, it was only the beginning. I had to SWEAT!

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You have to go!

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When my wife gave birth to our son, our conditions were limited. But we never seen our conditions as a problem, we seen them as evolving. We didn’t comfort our conditions, we confronted our conditions, and we made certain, they didn’t determine our position.

 

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When my son was a child, he thought like a man. He had a childish body, but a leadership mentality. There was a king inside my little boy and it made me nervous, because it was my responsibility to unclothe his greatness.

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But at that time, our community was exploding with guns and drugs, police kept abusing young black boys, blaming the victim was public policy, and erasing a culture was their top priority.

“My son will be arrested before the age of 14. My son will be in a gang and call the members best friends.” My mind kept swirling with negative thoughts and that’s when I knew, my family couldn’t leave, but my son had too.

 

When it came time for him to go, at the youthful age of 13, I never doubted, wavered or questioned my decision because he had to leave or be killed on those streets.

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His burden was heavy, I seen the weight in his eyes, my brave little boy, started to cry. The words I told him I’ll never forget, “your hurting I know, but you have to go or be hung in the courtroom or killed in the streets, our community is a horror story, that ends in defeat.” So he walked on the bus his head hung low, I knew he was lonely, but he wasn’t alone. He had to SWEAT!

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“I Refused!”

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I refused to let the culture of those streets kill my only son. I refused to let an inferior education deter his destination. I refused to passively stand by and watch hood elements strip him naked: Drugs, guns, money and jail. Gangs, disease, hoes and thieves – welfare mentalities and police brutality has robbed his generation. His entire population used crude communication. Loving the worst things in life was their biggest vice. Selling dreams for magic was their tragic habit.

But I refused! and would die first, as would his grandmother, before we let the culture of those streets take my only son. I refused! So we had to SWEAT!

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Sweat! “Justified Chaos” Post 1

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I was just a boy, but if I stayed in this environment I would grow up an urban machine, engineered by a government policy that would control my thinking. I lived in a place called Justified Chaos, where handshakes, head nods, and a whiff of fear, easily left a trail of tears – led by a casket in a black shiny wagon.

I was in constant jeopardy, where fist turned to knives, and knives turned to guns, and hopscotch squares turned to drinking beer, and drinking 40’s turned to blunts filled with crack rocks and angel dust. And little girls turned to women, and women turned to hoe’s, and rape and disease was their overarching theme.

I lived in what seemed to be a caged jungle, surrounded by human beast, and at the age of 7, I so desperately wanted to be free, but in order to escape, I first had to survive – I had to SWEAT!

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‘Fitness In The Hood’ Program To Benefit Dixie Manor Kids

BOCA RATON — It is no secret there is an epidemic of obesity among the youth of America. Just go to any school campus, fast food joint or shopping mall, and you’ll see the evidence.

Simon Carter has made fitness and nutrition a personal mission.

A PhD candidate in education (minor fitness science), Carter is a new team member of PROPEL (People Reaching Out to Provide Education & Leadership), a Boca Raton non-profit dedicated to the betterment of disadvantaged and at-risk youth.

Carter is also a professional group fitness instructor at Lifetime Athletic Club in Boca Raton. He is launching a new “Fitness in the Hood” program at Dixie Manor in the Pearl City section of Boca Raton. The target startup date is Saturday, April 23. Class will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and admission is free.

“When you eat well and are physically fit, your mind is sharper,” says Carter, a former boxing champ and all-around athlete. “If you blew smoke and spilled alcohol on a computer it might still work, but not as well. The mind is a lot like that.”

Young people learn by example, and when presented with a persuasive, positive role model, they are more likely to pay attention and take the message to heart.

Carter says he got the message at the young age of 17, when his mother sent him from his home in the projects of Connecticut to live with an uncle in San Antonio, Texas.

“I was ignorant,” he admits. “But my mother saw the drugs and other bad things coming in our neighborhood. The turning point was when I met a couple of what I thought were young men at a life skills workshop. I was amazed to learn they were 55 and 60-years-old. I decided then and there, that whatever they were doing, I wanted to do it too.”

That meant a healthy vegetarian diet as well as physical exercise, running and sports training. Carter is his own best advertisement.

“If we can influence today’s youth to eat right and exercise smart, we will have accomplished our goal — a better life for them,” states Carter. “I know it’s been a better life for me. When I returned to Connecticut, most of the crowd I hung out with were in jail or on drugs. My mother was right.”

For more information about the program, call Simon Carter or Tolliver Miller at 561-955-8553, Simon Carter at 561-306-8452 or visit www.propelyourfuture.com

– Source  http://www.bocaratontribune.com/

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