Many quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. were posted on line this week. A fellow Chattanooga colleague got my attention with, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Then I got an email from a synagogue buddy asking me why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) was being silenced and suggested that I write about this for my TFP column. Interesting coincidence! But I was busy mailing a DEI book that I’d written. Holding the book in one hand, I picked up an unmarked envelope mailer only to find that there was something already in it. And that’s when coincidence became weirdness.
Timeless Lessons for Generations Z and Alpha
Black History Month is an opportune time to pay tribute to the greatest civil rights leader of our modern times: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
MLK’s timeless words of wisdom continue to resonate today with a new generation of young people–Generations Z and Alpha–who can learn many vital lessons for the civil rights icon. Most notably, that hate begets hate on social media and digital devices. This is especially relevant due to the ubiquitous nature and influence of today’s mobile, digital and virtual Information Age on the minds and development of young people.
“Keepin’ It Real: Essays on Race
in Contemporary America”
James Baldwin, the famous 20th century American intellectual, once observed:
“History is the present. We carry our history with us.
To think otherwise is criminal.”
This is an important point to ponder during the annual Black History Month observance during February in the United States. Baldwin was an iconic and outspoken figure of his time who was internationally recognized as a leading voice of the African American experience.
Thus, as Baldwin reminds us posthumously, we should not only focus on trailblazers of centuries past, but also consider more recent history when assessing the state of racial progress.
I’d just driven into my parents’ driveway. I was time to pick up my toddler from the babysitting grandparents. And there was my little 3-year-old Rosie, rocking back and forth on her rocking horse without a care in the world. The horse squeaked and groaned on its springs, far too annoying to be allowed in the house.
Fossil fuel is a term used for non-renewable energy sources like crude oil, natural gas, coal and its related products, petroleum products, etc. These non-renewable energy sources originated from the remains of plants and animals that existed on earth for millions of years.
Several millions of years ago, the pressure and heat from the Earth’s crustal layer decayed and decomposed the organisms into three major forms: coal, natural gas, and oil. The fossil fuel, when burnt releases nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is responsible for degrading and depleting our environment by causing acid rain and smog. It also traps the heat in the troposphere, which in turn causes climate change. It can further destroy and damage the water, land, and our biosphere and eco system.
If you’re like me and get what seems like 7 million reminders to do things better, you know that this is a self-improvement month .My inbox is full of suggestions for getting in shape, losing weight, eating better …you name it. Watch the news and you’ll see reporters give tips on what diets to follow to help you live longer and healthier. Ironically, those reports are interspersed with ads for the Ultra-processed food” (UPF) you’re being told to avoid. The processed food industry is spending big bucks to promote their UPF yummies containing high levels of saturated fat, salt and sugar. Having learned long ago that UPFs contributes to my chronic inflammation, I’m determined to counteract the 14 billions of dollars spent annually marketing this crap.
Did you know that about 73% of our country’s food supply is ultra-processed and are about 52% cheaper than less processed alternatives. Further, of all the advertisements related to food or drink, almost 80 % were junk food ads. We’re being played!
Some people are just made to cause, as the late Congressman John Lewis called it, “good trouble.” They’re contrarian by nature. It’s in their DNA. It ignites their fury. It explains their courage to put life and limb at risk for what they believe in.
Which brings us to African American History Month 2024 and to “Mrs. Good Trouble” herself, the late civil rights pioneer Amelia Boynton Robinson, inarguably the matriarch of the voting rights movement. Now if you subscribe to that familiar saying, “behind every great man is a woman,” then I’ll say, “behind every great movement is a woman.” Many of them in fact.
Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press
Whether you resolve to get more exercise, learn new skills, or avoid doing stupid stuff, January has us thinking about the future. I began 2024 with good works, donating piles of clothing at Goodwill in Eastgate Mall. Driving there, I realized that the process begins with gratitude and humanity. That means being grateful for those who have come before us, who gave us life. We remember that we’re not only their beneficiaries, but also their legacy of how they made a difference.
2024 is going to be a very tumultuous year. It is an election year, divisiveness, hate, polarized manipulation will be the name of the game. Pitting people, groups against each other will be attempted, fight these forces. Take the high road – call for calm, unity, understanding, and Peace.
As a global backdrop, a constant reminder of division and hate – Ukraine-Russia, and the Israel-Hamas wars will be a contributing factor in the churning of hate. Hate opportunists will take advantage of these wars as a backdrop to foment division, suspicion, and outright hate and violence. Watch the hate on social media and call it out. I am constantly “Calling for Respect, Dignity, Understanding for All.”
Since Hamas’ October 7, 2023, attack on Israel, the world has been convulsed by the carnage emanating from the Middle East. That convulsion has migrated to the United States, where it is expressed daily in protests, demands, threats, and moral-grandstanding often reeking of dehumanizing language.
The carnage has claimed the lives of thousands in Gaza and Israel. It has also claimed other kinds of victims in the United States. This includes three college presidents, whose December 5, 2023, testimony before the Education and Workforce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives brought them instant public infamy because of the way that they positioned themselves in regard to speech.