Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Don’t Blame Twitter For The Swine Flu Brew Ha-ha, After All, It’s Just People Talkin’!

The swine flu outbreak is causing debate about how people get information during health emergencies – particularly when there are so many independent news sources.
Folks like Brennon Slattery (PC World Contributing Writer) feel Twitter -- a micro-blogging site where users post 140-character messages – is fueling misinformation about the outbreak. Folk went on to say "This is a good example of why [Twitter is] headed in that wrong direction, because it's just propagating fear amongst people as opposed to seeking actual solutions or key information."

How do you feel about that? Do you think that Twitter is being socially irresponsible?

Well, here’s my take—I totally disagree. You know why, because Twitter is just that, a bunch of folks chatting away about anything that comes to mind. It’s just people talking! You see, it’s what Twitter isn’t that makes this whole “Twitter social responsibility” thing irrational.

Twitter is not a blog. Blog’s, albeit of a tremendous variety of subjects, generally try and pass on information of value to their readers. Many bloggers consider themselves experts, or diligent followers, of the subjects of their blogs. Blogs give authors more than 140 characters to develop a story line and generally allow authors to site sources: most do. So, readers might expect to gain a modicum of truth about the Swine Flu outbreak from let’s say, a health blog. But I don’t know any reader who would expect to find something of value about the Swine Flu on a pornographic blog! And you best believe that not all bloggers are created equal. Some writers are more “expert” than others (academic education in field, lifelong experience, etc). Some do more research. Some bloggers are biased and favor a particular viewpoint on a subject. But, no matter what, the lesson is the same, take what you read with a grain of salt—its just people talking!

Twitter is not a full blown social networking site like Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn. Why is this so significant? Because on such sites; you’re going to have a lot of folks who have the same general interest and as much or more expertise than the author. This is what makes them so much fun. There will always be someone with an alternative point of view and able to express it in more than 140 characters. Twitter’s mantra says it all, “What Are You Doing?” It’s just people talking!

Twitter is not YouTube, a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. Many fancy themselves as cub reporters showing events as they happen in real time. Twitters tweet. What can you learn from a bird? Relax. It’s just people talking!

So for me, to say that Twitter should “seek actual solutions or key information” is to say that every human being who has anything to say should say something meaningful. They should, but they don’t! And in Twitter’s case, I actually think this is a good thing. You see, Twitter provides a great service, especially in this instance, because it gives people a place to vent: which lessens anxiety.

And, did I mention that the Centers for Disease Control has its own Twitter account?

The Twitter “debate” is stupid, people aren’t. The tweeters on Twitter understand that gathering information, from any source, is just like buying something: caveat emptor “let the buyer beware.” They understand they’re just talking!

One of the real issues here is where should people EXPECT to get credible information about such things? While there’s a host of good tweets on it; it definitely isn’t Twitter.

There is also the issue of satisfying the public’s need for credible information. Perhaps the Government or more specifically President Obama should speak to the American people and let them know what’s going on…in lieu of the media sound bites.

Finally, the current Swine Flu outbreak has sparked a number of old debates and questions. Hmm…perhaps it’s time to discuss immigration? How about what to do with the boarders? Just what are you going to do to protect US citizens from this outbreak and others like it? Are illegal aliens in the US putting all Americans at risk with insanitary lifestyles based on the cultures and countries they came from (e.g. keeping farm animals within the city limits and in their homes)?

While I don’t know the answer to these questions, the Government does, or at least it should. And believe me the American people (even Tweeple) expect the Government and not Twitter to address them now.

How do you feel?

- Has Twitter been irresponsible?

- Where have you been getting your information on the Swine Flu epidemic?

- Do you feel the Government has done a good job of keeping the public informed?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

(Harrit's Quilt) Swine Flu Spreading In US— Precautions You Should Take

By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard that there is concern over a form of Influenza called Swine Flu: a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A Influenza normally found in pigs. While it normally does not affect humans, human infections do occur.

There may be as many as 40 human infections from 10 states across the U.S. Of concern are a few confirmed cases of a new strain of Swine Flu A (H1N1). Laboratory testing has found this strand responds favorably to two antiviral drugs and has issued guidance to healthcare officials on how to use them. There are antidotal reports that the prescription drug Tamiflu will fight the virus. However, I have not seen reports from official medical agencies on this—Check with your doctor.

What can you do to stay healthy?

Be courteous, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in the trash after use. If you don’t have a tissue, cough in your coat sleeve to prevent the spread of viral particles.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also work. TIP: After washing hands, use the paper towel used to dry your hand to open doors from the bathroom and your office.

Wipe down your phone receiver with an alcohol-base wet wipe (doesn’t hurt to wipe your computer keypad and mouse either).

Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

Avoid crowded areas. If you are coming down with something but must ride in a bus or plane, wear a surgical mask made to help contain viral particles (will cost more, but will help). TIP: If you are sick but must care for children, wear one before coming in close contact with them.

If you get sick, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

When Should I or My Family See A Doctor?

Children Should See A Doctor When

High fever (above 103 degrees), or a fever that lasts for more than 3 days
Symptoms that last for more than 10 days
Trouble breathing, fast breathing or wheezing
Bluish skin color
Earache or drainage from the ear
Changes in mental state (such as not waking up, irritability or seizures)
Flu-like symptoms that improve, but return with a fever and a worse cough
Worsening of a chronic medical condition (such as diabetes or heart disease)
Vomiting or abdominal pain

Adults Should See A Doctor When

A high, prolonged fever (above 102 degrees) with fatigue and achiness
Symptoms that last for more than 10 days or get worse instead of better
Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest
Fainting or feeling like you are about to faint
Confusion or disorientation
Severe or persistent vomiting
Severe sinus pain in your face or forehead
Very swollen glands in the neck or jaw

You’re undoubtedly seeing a lot of sensationalistic articles and blogs about a Pandemic. Keep this in mind, while the outbreak in Mexico is cause for concern (81 deaths related to the Swine Flu virus and more than 1300 reported cases), the people stricken with this in the US are (at the time of this post) recovering without incident—there is no need for alarm.

If you are really concerned, check with your doctor and develop a course of action, now, for you and your family. Good questions to ask are: Have there been any cases reported in your area? What drugs work to prevent the disease/treat it? Do you have adequate stores of them? Since symptoms resemble the flu, when should I see you? Also, don’t forget to ask your doctor to help you identify family members that might be more at risk of catching Swine Flu or it might be harder on due to certain risk factors (young children, elderly, immune deficiency, etc.).

Following are a list of links with credible information on this situation:

United States Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Disease Control

Friday, April 24, 2009

Poor Schools Or Being Poor Are Not Holding Your Kids Back: your poor parenting skills are — turn your family on by turning your TV off

Now that I have your attention, let me start by saying that urban schools are not without their challenges: in-effective school boards whose members are more politicians than educators, unqualified or barley qualified staff, teacher turnover lack of funding, etc. And yes, these things need to be fixed. However, despite these challenges, most public schools, even those in the inner-city, do a good job given the task at hand: educating children who come through their doors with a host of issues that should have been resolved at home: lack of quality medical care; hunger; depression; domestic violence; child abuse; alcohol or drug abuse by family member; family lack of priorities, especially for education; lack of productive male role model; etc. The way I see it, these schools are being asked to be mom, dad, counselor, pastor, doctor, dietitian, motivator, and teacher—all rolled into one. And folks, that simply just can’t be done. Government cannot fix all the ills of society. Parents, you need to get involved! One way to do this is to get family back focused on each other by turning off the television.

The average U.S. household has at least one TV set turned on for about seven hours a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics' recommends that a child watch no more than one to two supervised hours of TV a day. Yet the average school-aged child watches 27 hours of television per week (some preschoolers watch much more). And most of the time, they are unsupervised by a parent or responsible adult.

Here’s an interesting fact. Did you know that kids today spend twice as much time in front of a TV or computer as in the classroom? Children spend about five hours watching television, playing computer games or online each day—that’s 2,000 hours a year! Yet, they only spend 900 hours in class and 1,270 hours with their parents.

Do you allow your kids to watch this much TV or stay on the computer this long?

Did you also know that much of what your child is watching is intended for adults and that TV shows contain approximately 20 violent acts per hour?

Do you supervise your children while watching TV or using a computer? You should.

I also found the habits of parents in other countries interesting. Japanese kids watch about four hours of television every day, yet they continue to outscore American kids on all standardized test. Why? Japanese parents not only monitor but control what their kids watch. Japanese parents tie television watching to homework (i.e. watching more educational shows and the completion of homework before watching TV. Wow, there goes that parenting thing again—and it didn’t cost any money.

Chinese children are not even allowed to go out with friends or watch television on school nights—they to school six nights a week. They are expected to be responsible, work on their own, do their homework, and do well.

You see, it’s all about priorities. We must make parenting, education, and saving a priority in our families. Parenting is not just something you do because you had kids. You should have had the kids only after you knew you wanted to and were ready to be a parent. While public schools have their share of problems, I contend that too many of our children come to school ill prepared to learn and expect schools to fix these problems. Mark Michaelis in “The Seven Big Problems In High School,” summed it up this way:

"In the 1940s a survey listed the top seven discipline problems in public schools: talking, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, getting out of turn in line, wearing improper clothes, not putting paper in wastebaskets. A 1980s survey lists these top seven: drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, assault. (Arson, gang warfare and venereal disease are also-rans.)"

After reading this, do you still feel public schools share much of the blame for your child's lack of academic success? If so, would you please tell me why?

Keep this in mind; over the course of a year, children spend more time watching TV than they spend in school or participating in any other activity except sleep. If one of these kids is yours; you need to reset your priorities. So, the next time your kid reaches for the remote or the laptop, give them a book instead. Better yet, read the book with them. After all, if your kid is not doing well in school, it’s your fault.

Do you send your children to school ready to learn?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Economic Survivalist: A Few of Their Strategies Can Help You In These Uncertain Times

Are you worried about the future? Are you concerned about the economy? If so, you’re not alone. According to a recent Gallop Poll, “55 percent of consumers rate current economic conditions poor.” It’s a small wonder that record mortgage foreclosures, an anemic stock market, a collapsing banking system, record unemployment, high prices for basic items, and high uncertainty has created a new offshoot of an old breed: “Economic Survivalists.” Economic Survivalist are people who are cutting expenses by becoming more self-sufficient and self reliant. Note, this is different than your “old school” gun toting apocalypse now variety survivalist who feared world collapse. While some Economic Survivalists do include preparation for a total collapse of civil society in their planning, for many, this is not their main focus.

So, are any of these strategies right for you? I don't know. I do know this, many of these things make sense, not matter what the economic climate. Also, you may find that reviving "almost lost" skills and preparing for tough days make you feel and put you more in control.

Here are some of things Economic Survivalist are doing:

Take Control of Your Food Source

  1. If you can, install a wood furnace somewhere in your home.
  2. If you have the space in your yard, grow a garden. Better yet, get together with family, friends, and love ones, buy a plot of land, and plant together!
  3. Raise farm animals such as chickens, pigs and cows for food.
  4. If you are in an area where you can, hunt and fish to help put meat on the table.
  5. Can your food—remember Grandma’s preserves? Pickle items such as fresh eggs.
    Fix things around the house yourself. Lowes and Home Depot offer excellent classes on many home repairs.

Make Your Household Independent

  1. Produce more of the things you need: paper, candles, soap, bake your own bread, sew your own clothes (many stores carry patterns for making pants and dresses), and make home decor (i.e. curtains, comforters, pillows, chairs, etc.).

  2. Give up anything unnecessary: vacation cruises, restaurant meals, high-tech toys and electronics (big screen televisions, stereos, DVDs, new clothes), etc.
    If you must buy, buy only necessary items and buy them in bulk which is usually cheaper.
    Use herbal remedies to treat minor illnesses.

  3. Do your own home maintenance and repairs.

  4. Do your own automobile maintenance.

Work With Others in Your Community

  1. Get to know your neighbors.

  2. Group related jobs (from several homes) together in order to get a better deal.

  3. Barter; trade services instead of money.

Make Your Money WORK FOR YOU

  1. Begin to pay down your debt but save money for a rainy day.

  2. Save some paper and coin money in a safe place in your house (you might want to invest in a small or medium size safe to store your money and other valuables).

  3. If it isn’t necessary to support life; you don’t need it. And if you can’t buy it with cash; don’t buy it at all.

Remember, economic survival=self sustained living. By now I'm sure you see that this is a “lifestyle.” It can be as involved as you want—the degree is up to you.

Finally, this isn’t just “a black thang.” People all over the world are struggling in these troubled times. Many were struggling when we in the U.S. were experiencing our highest standard of living. Yet, people all over the world are learning to survive in these troubling times—knowing how; that’s confidence. Knowing you can weather the storm; that’s power.

Want to know more? Comment on this post and I’ll get you the answers you seek. Are you an Economic Survivalist? Have you found a great way to save money?

Share! Let me know what you are doing to get by.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Want A “Justice” System? End Four Wack Practices

The other day I came across an article talking about ways to fix the U.S. penal system—the prison system specifically. The article concluded that the U.S. prisons were vastly overcrowded and that minorities were disproportionately represented in the prison populations and recommended several courses of action such as greater access to drug treatment. This is nothing new.

But this got me to thinking. What are the real day-to-day practices and therefore the real issues that are putting minorities behind bars at a disproportionate rate? I set my mind to thinking and came up with four practices that must end if the U.S. Justice System is to really dispense justice.

Like It Wear It!

It isn't you know. That said; here are four practices that simply must end.

End racial profiling. You know, “driving while black,” “shopping while black,” “flying while Muslim,” etc. End it all. Did you know that using racial profiling to interdict highway-bound drug couriers is ineffective? A study done by the Department of Justice in 1999 revealed that officers focused more on African-American and Latino drivers. However, drugs were found more often when they searched whites (17%) than when they searched African-Americans (8%).

End Crack and Powdered Cocaine sentencing disparities. Why in the world would two people get entirely different sentences for possessing the same amounts of powdered versus crack cocaine? They do. Sentences are much harsher for the possession crack cocaine. And by the way, because it’s cheaper, blacks are far more likely to use it.

Don’t give time for minor crimes. The majority of inmates in prison today are there for drug use and small time street dealing. We need to reduce the use of prison for low-level drug offenders and to increase the availability of substance abuse treatment.

Have you heard of “Sexting” – the exchange of explicit photos and videos via mobile phone? It’s the in thing with teens now. In several states it’s a crime. Participants can be charged with child pornography, convicted as sex offenders, and have to register as such for the rest of their life! This is another example of how some states and courts are overreacting and unnecessarily increasing prison populations.

Ensure all defendants have adequate pretrial counsel. Minorities, who often cannot afford lawyers, are disadvantaged in the pretrial process because of the ineptness of their public defender: often grossly unprepared, poorly trained, lacking resources and experience.

Point is, if just these four things were corrected, we would see fewer minorities in the “system” and therefore in jail.

Monday, April 13, 2009

53 Lives Lost In A Month: I Think I Favor Gun Control — Do You?

A string of shootings in the U.S. in the last month alone has claimed the lives of 53 people. Police still don’t have a motive for several.

Is it time for gun control? Think about it, you have to have a license to drive a car, to fish, even to do nails. So why not to own a gun?

Fact: There are over 83 handgun deaths each day in the U.S. (That’s each and every day)

Is it time to mandate some sort of training to own one? Many states mandate driver’s education for teens, motorcycle safety courses and certification to own certain martial arts weapons. In many states you even have to have training to hunt on public lands! So why not to own a gun?

Fact: In 2005, the most current statistic available from the Centers for Disease Control, there were 789 accidental gun deaths per 100,000 people.

Should sanctions be taken against gun owners whose firearms were improperly stored and consequently were used to cause death or injury?

Fact: In a single year, 3,012 children and teens were killed by gunfire in the United States, according to the latest national data released in 2002. That is one child every three hours; eight children every day; and more than 50 children every week. And every year, at least 4 to 5 times as many kids and teens suffer from non-fatal firearm injuries.

Is it time to require a basic level of mental screening to get one?

Fact: In the U.S., guns are associated with the majority of homicides and over half the suicides.

Is it time to rethink limiting the type of guns Americans can own (i.e. a new Brady Bill)?

Fact: While fun to shoot, the Kalashnikov's automatic rifle model of year 1947 (AK-47), M16, Armalite Model 15 (AR 15), Hekler and Koch MP5, Uzi and the like were not meant for any type of “sporting” use. They were designed to kill human beings in a combat environment, thus the name “assault weapons.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Okay Chris, Rihanna: If You Want To Stay Together; Here’s How To Heal

As many of you know, Chris Brown entered a not guilty plea Monday on charges of beating and threatening his girlfriend, Rihanna. While the gossip is “off the chain,” rumor also has it that these two young people still continue an “off-again”, “on-again” relationship—much to the disdain of family and friends. As a dad of a daughter who was in an abusive relationship; I thought I would pull out my couch and offer some advice to these two (and some of you).

Chris, Rihanna:

First of all rumor has it that you are both pretty hot-headed, so this advice is for both of you.

Know That Being Abused Is Not Your Fault. While certain actions may trigger an abuser, their actions are their fault and are inexcusable.

Ask Yourself; Is He or She Worth It?

If You’re Together - Work on a Safety Plan. Look at patterns in your behaviors to figure out when either of you might be explosive or violent. Decide how and where you would go if you had to leave home quickly (and Chris, you should if things get heated).

Remove Yourselves From Harm As Soon As Possible. Until both of you gets help, completes therapy, and a professional says it’s okay to see each other—don’t.

Stop ALL use of alcohol or drugs.

Seek Help For Yourself. Let The Other Person Go Voluntarily. If you have to ask the other person to go, they are not sincere. Alcohol Anonymous says: “Abusive relationships do not change without sustained therapy specifically targeted toward the abusive relationship patterns. These relationships cannot be changed from one side, it takes mutual honesty, openness and willingness from both parties to work through these issues. Group therapy is highly recommended for abusers, as it helps them to break through the denial that is generally a part of the abusive patterns. (People in denial generally recognize their own dysfunctional behavior in others more easily than in themselves.) This applies to the partners of abusers as well - group helps them to break through the denial by seeing the relationship patterns from a wider view.”

Also, many authorities on the subject warn against your attending any type of counseling or therapy together—whatever triggered the abuse in the relationship may be triggered there also.

Some abusers have obtained a measure of success by attending a Batterers Intervention Program (BIPs). BIPs are educational groups that are designed to hold batterers accountable for both their physical violence and other forms of coercive behavior. Anger Management and Marriage Counseling have not netted good results.

Commit To Change For The Rest Of Your Life. Realize, That You Will Never Be Totally Cured. Abuse is about many things…control, insecurity, enabling, and most importantly, poor reactions to stress. It is poor reactions management at a basic level. It is both learned and innate. I want both of you to realize that to change one’s basic reactions is very hard and will take a very long time—probably the rest of your life. While I know you want to stay together, know that the odds of doing so without doing each other harm are against you. Sometimes, the best way to really love someone is to let them go.

And for those of you in the reading audience; how do you feel about this? Do you believe Chris is worth it? How about Rihanna? Do you think Chris or Rihanna will commit to it? Can each of them do it? Do you have any personal advice or stories you would like to share?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Shopping While Black? Don't Get Mad, Get Activist!

Consumer Racial Profiling (CRP), defined as any type of differential treatment of consumers in the marketplace based on race or ethnicity that constitutes a denial or degradation in the product or service offered to the consumer. We know it as "Shopping While Black." And it hurts. When it happens, black shoppers, or anyone who has been singled out, are made to feel both unwelcome and under suspicion.

If you had a front row seat to this kind of racism, would you take action? ABC News' "What Would You Do?" set up the largest hidden camera operation in the show's history in New York City's Soho neighborhood at the chic clothing boutique Unpomela. Some of the reactions might surprise you.

Not surprisingly the behavior is rather common. A telephone survey conducted last fall of almost 500 people (both Black and White), in the Philadelphia area revealed that 43 percent reported they had experiences being treated differently while shopping because of their race. And, a brief Internet search on the subject turned up no less than 100 articles of reported instances of consumer profiling.

But there is a simple yet effective way to combat it. "Old school" activist such as Louis Farrakhan, Jessie Jackson, and Al Sharpton knew the answer: boycott! That's right; vote with your wallet. If you are disrespected at an establishment, don't shop there; shop somewhere else! I call this concept "not shop." Simply speaking, it's the proverbial double whammy. Not only does that retailer not get sales, but their competitors do. Want to go a step further? Organize and get others not to shop there either. It's a fact that the only thing retailers understand are sales, or a lack thereof. That's why I believe the best way to deal with this issue is to "not shop" and boycott the stores involved.

What makes this strategy even more effective is today's modern communication mediums: Internet, email, text, chat, and social websites (Facebook, My Space, You Tube, Twitter, Yahoo! 360) etc. In addition, there are a plethora of consumer advocate web sites such as Complaints.com, Consumer Affairs.com, and iRipoff.com that give you, the consumer, a powerful voice. So, the next time this happens to you, and history says it will, don't get mad, get activist!

How's that for the relevancy of the old school Civil Rights Movement? We have an old civil rights issue and an "old school" solution.

I want to hear from you.

Has this ever happened to you? Recently?

If so, what did you do? What would you do?

Is this still happening in this economy?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What Does It Mean To Be AMERICAN In Black?

What Does It Mean To Be AMERICAN In Black?

What do you do when someone asks you what it means to be black in America? The next time someone asks you this question I want you to say, “I don’t know.” Now, I’m sure they’re going to look at you like you’re crazy and with a puzzled look on their face and ask why. And I want you to tell them, “Because I’m American in black.”

Yesterday CNN asked me (and I’m sure countless other bloggers) to highlight the replay of their upcoming special,” Black in America – Eyewitness to Murder: The King Assassination” in commemoration of the 41st anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The special will re-air on April 4th and 5th at 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm ET and PT.

While you watch this program I want you to think about those days and what it meant to be black in America. Then I want you to focus on the now. I want you to think about the progress we've made and all the possiblities afforded us. I want you to think about what it means to be American in black.

What Does It Mean To Be American In Black?

What does it mean to be American in black? Is it living in a derogatory, demeaning world having to always prove myself? If so, then I’m glad, because I live in a land that provided me the ability and will to do so.

What does it mean to be American in black? Is it being born to a single Mom who struggled (with her demons, her man, and da’ man), just to raise me? If so, then I’m glad, because of her dignity and strength I made it, often despite it, and now I am the apple of my mother’s eye. Now she can say wow look at me!

What does it mean to be American in black? Is it growing up in a poor, crime-laden, poverty stricken community? If so, then I’m glad, because the food (the little there was) was cooked with loving hands; the house (though public) keep me warm and safe enough yet insecure enough to yearn for a place of my own--that I bought; the education (inadequate though it might have been) gave me the knowledge to know that I must first seek to know myself and my God; the health care (i.e. AllKids, Kidcare, Peachcare or some other) kept my body and mind strong; the community (da’ hood) while I didn’t have all things I had everything: love, support, God, Country, AND desire; the church (the scandal and the parishioners)—inadequate though they all might be, gave me the indomitable spirit to rise above the fray.

What does it mean to be American in black? Is it not having a job? If so, then I’m glad, because when I have a job, I KNOW I earned it and therefore I appreciate it, and when I don’t, I have a hustle or a hand (state or church) until I find it. I can survive.

What does it mean to be American in black? Is it being imprisoned? If so, then I’m glad. Whether I did the crime or not, whether I do all the time or not; I will come out stronger (mentally, spiritually, and physically) because in this nation there is opportunity for growth, even in here…and I will.

What does it mean to be American in black? Is it being a father separated from my kids? If so, then I’m glad, because despite being broke, tired, imprisoned, homeless, ill, or scared; I’m not estranged or useless. I’m not only just a Dad; I’m a Father. As long as I live in the greatest country there is I have something to give and I will.

What does it mean to be American in black? To witness the death of dreams deferred? Or is the realization that light, even hidden under a bushel, is still light. Is so, then I’m glad, because this year, in this country, I observed the death of our dear friend Martin one day and witnessed his dream, the election of Barack Hussein Obama President of the United States, the next.

What does it mean to be American in black?

It means the same thing it means to every other American—to be born, to live, to struggle, to overcome, to grow, to give, to serve, to get older, and to die. All in freedom. And for this I’m glad, because it has not always been this way.