A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.
-Marianne Williamson

Inspirational Woman Of The Day

Inspirational Woman Of The Day

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Angela Davis

Angela Davis

Angela Davis, the daughter of an automobile mechanic and a school teacher, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on 26th January, 1944. The area where the family lived became known as Dynamite Hill because of the large number of African American homes bombed by the Ku Klux Klan. Her mother was a civil rights campaigner and had been active in the NAACP before the organization was outlawed in Birmingham.

Davis attended segregated schools in Birmingham before moving to New York with her mother who had decided to study for a M.A. at New York University. Davis attended a progressive school in Greenwich Village where several of the teachers had been blacklisted during the McCarthy Era.

In 1961 Davis went to Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts to study French. Her course included a year at the Sorbonne in Paris. Soon after arriving back in the United States she was reminded of the civil rights struggle that was taking place in Birmingham when four girls that she knew were killed in the Baptist Church Bombing in September, 1963.

After graduating from Brandeis University she spent two years at the faculty of philosophy at Johann Wolfgang von Goethe University in Frankfurt, West Germany before studying under Herbert Marcuse at the University of California. Davis was greatly influenced by Marcuse, especially his idea that it was the duty of the individual to rebel against the system.

In 1967 Davis joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party. The following year she became involved with the American Communist Party.

Davis began working as a lecturer of philosophy at the University of California in Los Angeles. When the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1970 informed her employers, the California Board of Regents, that Davis was a member of the American Communist Party, they terminated her contract.

Davis was active in the campaign to improve prison conditions. She became particularly interested in the case of George Jackson and W. L. Nolen, two African Americans who had established a chapter of theBlack Panthers in California’s Soledad Prison. While in California’s Soledad Prison Jackson and W. L. Nolen, established a chapter of the Black Panthers. On 13th January 1970, Nolan and two other black prisoners was killed by a prison guard. A few days later the Monterey County Grand Jury ruled that the guard had committed “justifiable homicide.”

When a guard was later found murdered, Jackson and two other prisoners, John Cluchette and Fleeta Drumgo, were indicted for his murder. It was claimed that Jackson had sought revenge for the killing of his friend, W. L. Nolan.

On 7th August, 1970, George Jackson’s seventeen year old brother, Jonathan, burst into a Marin County courtroom with a machine-gun and after taking Judge Harold Haley as a hostage, demanded that George Jackson, John Cluchette and Fleeta Drumgo, be released from prison. Jonathan Jackson was shot and killed while he was driving away from the courthouse.

Over the next few months Jackson published two books, Letters from Prison and Soledad Brother. On 21st August, 1971, George Jackson was gunned down in the prison yard at San Quentin. He was carrying a 9mm automatic pistol and officials argued he was trying to escape from prison. It was also claimed that the gun had been smuggled into the prison by Davis.

Davis went on the run and the Federal Bureau of Investigation named her as one of its “most wanted criminals”. She was arrested two months later in a New York motel but at her trial she was acquitted of all charges. However, because of her militant activities, Ronald Reagan, the Governor of California, urged that Davis should never be allowed to teach in any of the state-supported universities.

Davis worked as a lecturer of African American studies at Claremont College (1975-77) before becoming a lecturer in women’s and ethnic studies at San Francisco State University. In 1979 Davis visited the Soviet Union where she was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize and made a honorary professor at Moscow State University. In 1980 and 1984 Davis was the Communist Party’s vice-presidential candidate.

Inspiration Of Motherhood

Inspiration Of Motherhood

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Single Mom


By Kris Johnson

A Senator Circle resident is trying to change the Houma public-housing community’s image.

Tawanda Smith, a 35-year-old single mother and full-time retail associate, says she wants to make the low-income housing complex a better place not just for her 8-year-old son, but for everyone who lives there.

Smith was appointed Senator Circle Resident Council president by the Houma Terrebonne Housing Authority one year ago.

Often, she said, people who live in public-housing developments are overlooked; her role is to make sure they have a voice. She leads Resident Council meetings and attends every monthly Housing Authority meeting as a liaison between residents and the agency’s staff.

Smith is working on education and tutoring initiatives, health issues for Senator Circle kids and transportation initiatives for every child to have a safe ride to places like school and recreation centers.

“Sometimes people who live here think their opinions don’t count. I’m focused on making sure they do. Eyes are starting to open, and they’re starting to get a different viewpoint on how things can be done and how things can progress back here.”

With the Housing Authority’s help, Smith encouraged people to come out to Senator Circle events and volunteer to help with programs geared toward youths. In February, Smith led the planning of the complex’s annual Black History Month program and the Easter Extravaganza.

“I never want to make my title as president all about me. I don’t want recognition for it. I just like to work with people. I want to do the things the tenants need me to do, and I want to see everyone do well.

“Not everyone who lives here plans to stay here forever. Senator Circle is a stepping stone where we can work on continuing to grow and move forward in life,” Smith said. “With the things I’m doing, my hope is that this positivity will breed more positivity for Senator Circle, not as a ‘project’ or just public housing, but as a community.”

Women In The News

Women In The News

Women In The News

By Megan Baldwin

If breaking up came easy, there wouldn’t be a song telling me that it’s hard. I am also pretty sure Adele wouldn’t have won so many Grammy awards. For many, breaking up calls to mind a half-empty closet, a bed that’s far too big, or not hearing a familiar voice when you walk in the door. For me, it conjures a fear of wandering around grocery stores with a basket filled with different cereals because they all look good without my sister there to tell me that caramel flavored Cheerios are a bad idea. Either way, it sounds really lonely, and I’d rather not.

Once upon a time, she and I were just like every other set of sisters: We fought for our parent’s attention, played Barbie dolls, and had friends apart from one another. She is three years younger, five inches shorter, and in every way my other half — the louder, middle-child half.

Yet when we reached high school, my parents decided to drop out for a bit. They gave us a car to share, equipped us with matching ATM cards, and “fend for yourself” night became a daily occasion. I can’t remember if we minded: We picked up the pieces, learned to shuttle ourselves to and from soccer practice, made our little brother grilled cheese sandwiches and just went about things until one or both parents reappeared.

When I went away to college and she to boarding school, we took a break (you know, to meet other people). Yet, in the past few years we’ve fallen back into it. Hard. Aside from the occasional fight when I borrow her clothes without asking, things are actually going pretty well. We’ve moved in together. We’ve taken on some relationship-cementing hobbies. I’ve become almost dependent on her constant presence and she on mine — even though she has a serious — 5-years worth of serious — boyfriend.

I think from time to time he resents that I am the one that she leans on the hardest. Alternatively, I think he is appreciative that I am there to take her home and hold her hair back when the night takes a turn for the drunk. I allow him to live far away and be there, without truly being there.

For my part, I’ve grown disgustingly accustomed to her maternal instincts. Like the best sort of mom, she reminds me to make my bed, put away my laundry and calls me obsessively when I break curfew. The other day she removed a glass bottle from the garbage can and reprimanded me because This Family Recycles.

I am slowly realizing, however, that this level of intimacy is threatening just about everything outside our bubble built for two. If the thin casing was formed out of survival, now it has matured into something rigid and impenetrable. Our existence is one without an authentic need for anyone — except each other. Needless to say, it makes having friends, boyfriends, an independent life complicated.

Recently, it has become like the anti-freeze in the Gatorade bottle of her relationship: odorless and slowly poisonous. Her other, other half feels no need to be there for her, and worse, has no idea how. Her dream of a white picket fence involves being able to look out the window and stare into my kitchen. I don’t think he shares the same Hitchcock fantasy.

Somewhere I know this is wrong, but I know I would readily accept her invitations for sleepovers — even if it did mean that her other, other half was forced to the couch. So I’m hardly innocent in this co-dependence.

I use it to distract myself from the need to grow up and become a person who does her own laundry and has relationships that move beyond text messages. It’s easy to blame her. Or shove the responsibility on her little shoulders. But willing myself to do something I don’t really want to do feels impossible when she is there to sort my clothes and consume my emotional reserves with her needs.

The thing about family (real or anyone who feels that way) — the addictive thing ­– is that they allow you to be the truest version of yourself. They knew you when you wore braces and sat next to you in the plastic teacups at Disney World. They are there for keeps without pretense or a filter. Yet this closeness can also be antithetical to change.

I recently applied to a job across the country — on a whim, or a hope that maybe I would take a risk and go. I had a phone interview while walking across the Brooklyn Bridge with my sister in stride and felt like I had to say no. What else could I say? She was looking at me, silently challenging me to say anything but.

Yet, as I watch her relationship dissolve into silly fights and my own Playskool romances continue along as little else but gifts of gummy bears and sex, I wish we could dissolve the casing or expand it — at least a little. It would be hard. She makes it easy to remain unattached. I never have to be alone or decide what cereal I actually want — and to be honest, caramel Cheerios sound sort of delicious.

I don’t know whether being miles apart would give us the right sort of breathing room to stand on our own. I want us to be ready, or I want to be.

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