The Black Politico

Orlando politics and more -- from a black perspective

What in the world just happened to America?

Photo courtesy of O. Levard Photography studios

Photo courtesy of O. Levard Photography studios

By Rhetta Peoples

The President is singing Amazing Grace and discussing hard-core race issues in a black church on television under the microscopic lens of the world’s eye.The Supreme Court of the United States just lifted the ban on same-sex marriage and made the union legal in all 50 states. Families of hostages in other countries are able to try to negotiate the safe return of their loved ones without the government stopping them. President Obama’s trade bill passes, the confederate flag is ordered down from state grounds and Obamacare is upheld nationwide.

Whew! Holy Moses, POTUS and SCOTUS, take a bow!

If we ever questioned why Americans felt Barack Obama’s rockstar presence when he entered a room to speak while running for office, or if America ever doubted why they loved him in the first place, that community-organizing, law student turned Senator from Chicago turned, President-squared of these United States of America, reminded America of why they fell in love with him on both campaign trails last week.
The fruit of his labor showed last week and the explanation is simple. He did what he said he would do. And, he did it with mad opposition from not just Republicans but his own party of Democrats as well.

If I utter the words, “I told you so,” that would be quite childish, so instead I will have you recall this. Remember, when I, and probably the rest of the political world, said Barack Obama’s appointments to the Supreme Court would be a big deal? Well, here you have it. The appointment of some of the justices that currently sit on the court finally have the support and power to approve the peoples’ business. Ah, a sigh of relief from those who have held their breath for so long to get the SCOTUS to side with the people. Having a savvy attorney for President doesn’t hurt either.

Government, whether you see it as large or small, must be always about the business of the people in which it governs and for a long time, this nation has not felt any earth-shattering changes of many presidents past. Last week, this country prayed in a multitude of different directions, for a host of different political issues, to God knows how many Gods, for what we the people believe is best for our nation.

And to many, the answer has arrived in the form of affordable healthcare, marriage equality, independence and justice for all.

Now, read this part aloud very carefully. America’s next POTUS, after Obama leaves office, will choose four, count them, four justices to serve on the Supreme Court. That is a huge undertaking. Clearly, this means the 2016 election is so important it may blow the hair back on the heads of Americans until the next generation. Which means, you, me and everyone in our households had better be at the polls in 2016 voting our beliefs.

The work that went into each victory last week is worthy of praise. What may have sounded like a deafening silence for some time now was truly the innards of a well-oiled machine moving to create not only marriage equality but mic-dropping, unafraid push-backs on symbolizing in America that celebrates slavery, the most negative historical decision made ever in America, to be ordered down from government grounds.

In one of the most historic weeks in presidential history, what just happened to America was bold, it was right and it was overdue. As the week closed, pride celebrations all over the country began while the president, who remains opposed in almost everything he does, celebrated amazing wins toward the legacy he is determined to make for himself and this country.

Radio host Soul Brother Kevin fights for his life

He burned a confederate flag on stage in the middle of downtown Orlando before thousands of white people. He is a graduate of a Historically Black University, Florida A&M, who is mouthy, full of black power and pride and an icon in the Central Florida community and across all demographics.SBK

He also inherited a radio show that was in last place for over 9 years and took it to number one.

SBK or “Soul Brother Kevin,” the show-stopping sidekick of Shannon Burke on the Shannon Burke Show that aired on Real Radio 104.1 in Orlando, took over the show with his wit, humor and crass response to anything from current events in the news to his own private life. He reached new heights hosting one of the funniest radio talk shows Central Florida had to offer. In Central Florida, SBK was the voice on social and political issues that often echoed, exactly what black people want to say while listening to a debate between two white men on the radio. Today, still hosting his show, but in the Tampa Bay area, SBK announced he is fighting for his life as he battles stage 4 kidney disease as result of hypertension.

“My kidney function is rapidly declining and is currently operating at 17%,” he posted on his Go Fund Me page. SBK needs a kidney transplant from a living donor soon, or he will have to go on dialysis for the rest of his life. Donors need to be between the ages of 18 and early 70’s and can include parents, children, siblings and other relatives and friends. An ideal donor should have a genuine interest in donating and a compatible blood type wit the recipient.

SBK’s blood type is B+ and he can accept blood and a kidney from B and O blood type donors. SBK told HypeOrlando.com, “I encouraged one of my best friends to get a check up last week. His doctor told him that he has Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease. At stage 3 you can keep it from advancing.”

Unfortunately, SBK’s disease is more advanced than that of his friend. SBK said,”I now realize the importance of annual physicals. An annual physical could have detected my poor kidney function and my current medical crisis could have been avoided. Hypertension is something people usually don’t think about because most of the time there are no symptoms. I felt like I was in the best shape of my life when my doctor told me that my kidneys were failing. This is why they call it the silent killer.”

Right now, there are over 83,000 people waiting ahead of SBK for a kidney from a living donor according to the national kidney transplant list. Living donors help save lives of people battling kidney disease and they prevent patients from getting sicker.

The financial burden of having kidney disease and the kidney transplant surgery is significant. The transplant alone is around $350,000. Even with health insurance, help from his family and friends, the medical expenses he faces are astronomical. SBK’s Go Fund Me account is designed to have the community donate to help offset medical expenses ultimately helping SBK renew his good health. The donation account is located at http://www.gofundme.com/3hkh6o or you can visit www.KidneyForKevin.com.

Photo courtesy O. Levard Photography

While America lie sleeping

Photo courtesy O. Levard Photography

Race in America

By Rhetta Peoples

Being black in Orlando, is a little like being black in Charleston, Ferguson and Baltimore.

In the wake of Ferguson and the decision of the Grand Jury, my 11-year old, culturally awake daughter turns to me and says, “Why is America turning on itself?” “That is a great question, Nile”, as I answered uncertain and still baffled at the attempt of black America to simply get an indictment so the evidence may come out in a court of law in a country that claim we are equal. Now, she struggles to understand the massacre in South Carolina.

Compared to my childhood, Nile lives a privileged life. She has a nice home, a great school, two parents under one roof and has never missed a meal. Her clothes fit and she is up to date on everything including the tiny metal rods that are shaping her little teeth to enhance her already beautiful smile. She believes she is equal to her best friends and her classmates. Reality is, she is not.

America has indeed turned on itself and while the eyes of many white Americans look toward impeaching the first black President, degrading the First Family and pardoning the gunning down of black people on the street, Muslim extremist catch America doing what they believe we do best.

“Sleeping.” Not actually sleeping, but “sleeping” on what the true disease is that is plaguing us.
Our guard is up, yet it is against ourselves. Like an autoimmune disorder, our “white blood cells” are rushing to form a scab on a wound that isn’t really there. We are determined to beat the crazy out of each other while our troops stand alone against a war we are beckoning to lose. A nation divided is what we are. A nation divided is what we will continue to be should our people continue to be murdered in bloody gutters along the street corners of Anytown, USA while we continue to hate the day lights out of each other.

Any nation weakened is a nation that can be easily conquered. We, black folks and supporters of the cause will not give up nor will we give in which will force the hand of hate mongers and bearers of fear to face justice in America with equilibrium. Those who support the black murders and the injustice that trails it, yet claim to love America must change the way they see their brethren. If not, the nation is easily left open.
What Nile said to me was clear. We, Americans, are so busy infighting that we are forgetting all about the enemy.

If America ever wants to keep herself free, a stroke of brilliance would equal supporting each other whether we love, like or despise the color or social status of one another. There is a reason why some other countries hate free countries. Yet, those who pound their chests and claim, “freedom ain’t free” refuse to allow black people to be free in the very same land in which we fought and died.

While I channel surfed on the nights of the announcement that there would be no indictment for both murders, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, I listened to a Fox News commentator talk very specifically about why the officers should not have been indicted. It was sickening. They extrapolated every ounce of how these lame cops murdered these two men justifiably.

Now, we listen to the faithful express their sorrow and grief for those so close to them that were gunned down in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. On the other hand, we listed to former politicians and commentators make claims that say Dylann Roof’s massacre that left 9 black people dead, was not racially motivated, therefore not a hate crime. They blame it on insanity (well we know that) and talk about how he misused drugs and that is what caused this massacre. Yet, Roof himself admitted to it being racially motivated, drove 110 miles to a historically black church and pretended to be amongst the faithful in order to murder them. And, with open arms, just as Christ would want it, they welcomed him.

With the controversy in Orlando over an Orlando Police officer kicking a black man who had his hands up on the sidewalk, until he was flat on his back concerns me. More importantly, the disposition and the initial remarks supporting those officers by Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer and the current Orlando Chief of Police, John W. Mina as they initially refused to suspend them pending an investigation tells the vast majority of our community that we are just like Charleston. The rebel flag flies over government buildings while waving just as strong as the American flag. As I watched Charleston’s lowered flags, in respect for the 9 dead black Americans, I watched the rebel flag wave just as high as it could go on the flagpole only feet away from the American and State Flag. That spoke volumes as it was not an oversight. It clearly displayed the local government were afraid to lower that ugly flag and freak out the rebels while symbolically and firmly floating another confederate win in 2015.

And, we Americans, lie sleeping. Channel surfing in bed while the rest of the world watches and sees every Iota of our weakness. Isis recruits after such heinous acts of violence and debatably grows stronger at every weak point in our DNA. All the while, the real enemy looks nothing like the two groups of people fighting against each other. Keep sleeping America and one day the realization of who the enemy is may help you understand, that in order to survive and become unified, we must respect each other far more than we are doing right now.

Chronicles of America’s Race War

My daughter told me a few years ago that she “felt some kind of way” about Malcolm X. That “some way” was all about resisting his strategy and radical stage in history.

Long story short, by the time we were finished talking, she understood he was no more radical as the world around him, yet he was scorned and punished for the same thought process of the masterminds of the degradation of black people.

“I get it,” I told her, but without Malcolm, there would have been no Martin as we know him.

With her big brown eyes and braided hair, she stared at me as if she were figuring the logistics of how this could be true. She was about 9 years old, I think, at that time. Now, at 11, she can recite back why, how and what Malcolm X stood for and why the fire that lights his eyes in a portrait that hangs in my office makes her heart drop each time you glance at it.

But at first, she thought, “Did he feel nothing in his heart, Ma?” she said. I responded to her “He felt everything, in his heart, Nile”. I said something else to the effect of, “You know how Daddy feels about us? You know, if someone bumps us at the mall or treats us rudely, he gets all worked up as if we are royalty being gravely mistreated?” She laughed and said, “oh yes.” I said, ‘Malcolm was like that.’ He did not set out to “beat the brakes” off white people, but he moved very swiftly into a place of leadership, with strong forces behind him, to make his message as scarily true and real for white America as it was for Black folks.
In the first basketball game of the Golden State Warriors versus the Cleveland Cavaliers, in the current NBA Finals, LeBron James’ eyes, facial expression and body language changed when the game went into overtime. It was as if he was so shocked by the tightness of the game in points that he turned into a different kind of warrior. His eyes were beastly as if his life depended on a win. The end result was what mattered; no gray area in between. That’s basketball. Yet, this is life.
Malcolm X had little black girls of his own to raise and lived in a time where little black girls were burned alive in random church bombings all across the States.

Drinking from the same water fountain as whites was a crime and even now swimming in a pool with white people seem to be a major problem. Yes, even in 2015.

As I watched the video footage of the most recent viral outrage in true reality tv and social media, “cops versus black people,” I quickly grabbed the video as it was unfolding and showed it to my family. We sat there with mouths wide open. The color spectrum in our family ranges from white to black and all in between. It’s a ‘rainbow coalition,’ my family. We look scarily alike in the face, mannerisms and body structure yet the colors of our skin is vastly different.

A combination not often seen in one family let alone at one household at Sunday dinner. We usually get questions regularly on the race of those cousins, aunts or uncles after newcomers have stopped by and seen them all. I thought everyone’s family was that way as a child. I often wondered why my sister would be asked all the time if I was her “real” sister because of her skin color. The answer was always a fast, snarky, yes from her and the internal family response is “how dare they.” Nile, grew up looking at this “house o’ rainbows,” where everyone talked about race out loud in the house except those visitors who didn’t know what to say. They would whisper and say, “Don’t say that around such and such” or “is he black or white? Let me know before I say the wrong thing.” Funny thing is, no one in my family cared about the color issue in our house, we mostly agreed what we saw with our own “lying eyes” in America. Most of my relatives have traveled and lived outside of this country.

Unfortunately, when it comes to race, not one week can past that will allow us to not have to deal with race. Last Sunday we watched a teen have her rights violated by a law enforcement officer. The main officer acted as if he was tripping out of a chemical substance of some kind and shortly thereafter we saw an out of control officer and two standby officers and a “public servant” who stood around and allowed the officers to chase black kids with a loaded gun and wrestle a black teen to the ground for what could have easily been handled differently. At one point a random white man that was allowed to stand over one of the black teen girls’ head with his crotch planted at the top of her head.

Subsequently, he then blocked the young white videographer for a split second while the officer continued to wrestle the child to the ground. Even the young white teen is speaking out about the injustice of what happened to his friends whether he fully understands it’s an injustice or not. The problem is anger, fear and lack of training. All I could think about was my baby girl, Nile, on the ground screaming while being manhandled by this cop. As that girl shouted for her mom, the officer swore at the black children and sent them home. Even when other adults came over to help, the officer then sent them away with the exception of this one white guy who stood by pointing out the black children. I am not ok with that. I am not ok with it if it happened to children of any race.

We as a race of human beings should not be ok with that.

Sadly, in this world we live in, the disgust Malcolm X held in his eyes in the picture hanging over my desk erupts from the very same smoky soul that is stirring a fire inside of each of us each time we witness this kind of anger, fear and ignorance that is becoming so prevalent in our country. Black people are not the enemy. When we see this behavior, it is a poor, sloppy excuse for not actually going after the real enemy because that terrorist group of people, of all races, are too complex and too smart for a regular everyday mission on the streets yet the workload surely is there. As Malcolm X said, “the future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” We can only pray those teens, their parents and all of us watching from what we think is afar, learn a valuable lesson from this horrific event. May it make them stronger, more vocal and most active in changing the dynamics of the disgusting way the war is waged on black people in America today.

Five Things most Americans didn’t Know About Beau Biden

When we lose a leader, a champion of equality in the justice system and politics, it hits home pretty hard. Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, passed away last week due to a brain tumor. He was diagnosed in 2013 and fought the hard battle that many face when diagnosed with the same thing. I refuse to say, “he lost his battle to cancer” as most people do, because no one who fights a battle with cancer loses. Each fight is a step closer to a cure. He fought with the very best medical care possible. I am encouraged and believe this will inspire those in the medical field to help find a cure for this horrible disease. The story of the Biden family resonated well with America and here’s why.

  1. Beau Biden was Delaware’s Attorney General for eight years. As Chief Law Enforcement Officer of his state, Biden made and enforced laws that many consider near and dear to our hearts. He concentrated on many things but ran on a platform of keeping our children safe from internet predators, keeping our senior citizens safe from abuse and helping to stop domestic abuse.
  2. As Beau, his Mom and siblings were going to buy a Christmas tree, they were in a tragic car accident that killed his Mom and little sister, leaving his Dad, Joe Biden, a single parent. Joe Biden was a widower for some time and would go home to his children daily, even as it demanded a four hour travel time each day. He did this so that he could tuck his children in at night, while during the day, he was a champion of equal rights for us, the poor and middle class. Beau, followed naturally and genuinely in his footsteps.
  3. Beau served in the Iraqi war and flew in from Iraq to Washington D.C. to be with his Dad for his swearing in ceremony as Vice President of the United States of America.
  4. Beau Biden’s political reforms were about equality and justice for all people and he fought for LGBT rights and civil rights for all Americans.
  5. In 2010, even though many wanted Beau to run for the Senate, he declined and stayed true to his promise he made when he ran for  Attorney General and prosecuted what some say is one of the worst pedophiles of all time, Earl Bradley, a pediatrician, who raped, violently attacked and recorded the crimes he committed on children as young as 3-months old. More than 1,400 complaints came in about this child molester and Beau Biden successfully put this man behind bars for 14 life sentences without parole. Biden said, “I am determined to see that this defendant will never, ever be in a position to hurt another child again.” And he did just that.

For some, it takes an 80+ year old lifetime to achieve the things Beau Biden did in his short 45-years of life. His experiences were far beyond the spectrum of what most of us will achieve in our lifetime and as we selfishly mourn the loss of a great political figure, father, son, brother, husband and friend, we must continue to celebrate the life of so many like Beau Biden that do not reach the headlines each day. The power he had as an Attorney General fueled equal rights for the LGBT community, Black and Latino Americans and so many more. So as we say farewell to one of the greats, let us continue the work that he has done. Because Beau Biden was here and because he served, he has made this country a much better place for all who call it home.

Essure Birth Control by Bayer linked to injuries and death

Recent complaints made by a significant number of women has sparked outcry about Essure, a permanent birth control product by the company Bayer and its affiliated company Conceptus. Essure is non-surgical and inserted inside a woman’s body by her OB-GYN. Complaints and lawsuits have been filed against the corporation claiming patients are developing terrible side effects consisting of severe pain which some experts believed is caused by the coils growing into the lining of the vaginal walls causing scar tissue and other complications.

Women who are suffering now have the option of having the product surgically extracted and some even have to have a partial or total hysterectomy. A group of women started a Facebook page called EssureFL and are sharing their experiences and thoughts about the product. Some women on the page have posted openly that this otherwise non-traditional kind of online dialogue has helped them throughout the process; from finding a doctor to remove the product, to words of encouragement. In a news release dated May 1, 2015 Bayer defended the product by stating, “a 5-year follow up study further supports the effectiveness and safety of the Essure ‘Procedure’ as a non-surgical, non-hormonal option for permanent contraception.” The problem with that statement, some say, is the company defends the procedure of implanting the device, which is copper coils, into the woman’s body, yet it does not explain the injuries that come thereafter in an otherwise healthy woman.

The news release also stated, “Among the 364 women relying on Essure inserts who completed the full five years of follow-up, no pregnancies were reported. In addition, the Essure inserts were generally well tolerated.” Yet, Bayer continues by stating 7% of the women in the trial suffered chronic pain thereafter. “Essure is supported by more than a decade of science and real world clinical experience,” said Edio Zampaglione, MD, Vice President, U.S. Medical Affairs, Women’s Healthcare and Neurology. “Bayer is strongly committed to providing access to a wide range of safe and effective contraceptive options for women, and we look forward to continued research on Essure.”

Bayer does admit severe injuries to patients who were enrolled in the clinical trial. One woman with irregular menstrual bleeding, another woman with lower abdominal pain and very heavy periods, and a third woman with continuous bleeding. The latter two patients ultimately had to have a hysterectomy. Even still, Bayer continued to defend the product by stating, “Essure is a safe and effective permanent birth control option for women when health care providers and patients follow the Instructions for Use. Most of the side effects that have been reported about Essure are known and included in the Instructions for Use.”

An Open Letter to Moms of Black Girls

To every mother of a black girl, this is for you. It also serves as a reminder to myself to continue to nudge my daughter. While the country is focused on the horrible murders of black men, the failed American judicial system and the improper treatment of the first black President of the United States of America, we are still responsible for raising our girls. To do that with power, there are a few things we must consider to be non-negotiable.

First, we must teach our girls about their ancestry. Not only have them sit down with their grandparents and discuss the family history, but go beyond and find their roots. In this, they likely will take pride and be surprised at what royalty from which they extend. Be honest with them about how the world may view them and prove to your girls that populations of people feel negative toward them because, with the right tools, so many fear black girls are destined to be fierce. They are more than entertainers, but entrepreneurs, scientists, scholars and more.
Invest in their education. Find someone or some “thing”, like computer software or books, to teach them proper English, proper Spanish and the latest dialect of Arabic because they are going to need it all. Even if they take it in public school, follow it up and perfect it at home. Save for their education as aggressively as if they are going to Yale without a scholarship. Never let money be the reason they cannot go to an Ivy League college and finish. Prepare them to get accepted and send them. Don’t beg any man to be a part of their lives. If applicable, ask once and let it go. Get your girls the very best healthcare you know how and do it in a timely manner.

Refuse to let doctors make the final decision for their health and always consider surgery to be the last option for any disorder or disease. If they get a chance to travel, access the situation, accept the offer, send them or go with them. Allow them to see as much as they can and be there to explain and translate what they witness. Take them to church, pray with them and study the Bible with them at home as if it is the only thing that matters. Teach them suicide is never an option and make them promise you they will never take their own life. Make sure they understand that mental healthcare is just as important as physical healthcare and to not be ashamed to ask for help should they need it.

Remind them to be compassionate and bless others when they can but to take care of themselves first. Moms, as hard as it may be, we must learn to let go when the time comes. Don’t guilt your babies into staying at home as opposed to experiencing higher education and living their own lives. Listen to them while they talk. Laugh at their jokes and remind them of how beautiful they are on the inside and outside. Monitor their calls, emails and text messages and do everything you possibly can to keep them away from drugs and alcohol. Ask their teachers how they behave in school and who their close friends are in each class. Get political at times and remind them blacks fought and died for their right to vote but not for them to vote only Democrat or only Republican. The way they vote is their own call, not anyone else’s. Don’t just keep them out of the “system” but teach them to stay out of trouble as much as possible, yet to challenge things that are not fair. In other words, if they get in trouble, let it be because they stood for what is right. The law is not always on the side of black girls and being in jail or prison is not where they are destined to end up.
Teach them to never beg a man to love them as the outcome will not be what they dream it will be if they do so. Tell them if they cannot find a job, to create one as we all have the same power to build small and large businesses just as Bill Gates and Donald Trump. Remind them that while they may be afraid at times, believe every single one of God’s promises; don’t pick and choose, but believe it in its entirety and trust Him with every Iota of their being. Remind your daughters to smile and greet other black girls for they are their sisters. Teach them that their body is all they have and to be as careful with it as if it is the largest, most beautiful, most sought after, African diamond in the world.
Help them understand that friends may come and go but to choose each friend wisely. Stick closely to people who share the same basic foundations and beliefs yet be open to knowing those of all faiths and cultures. In the age of social media we attack people more so than ever before. Teach your girls to not be discouraged by cowards who send negative comments from behind their computer screens about them. If they are attacked with harsh words, teach them to fairly check themselves and if it applies, then work in changing that negative feature. If it does not apply, forget about it. Finally, tell them to make sure they do each and every thing here for their own little black girls one day so they can ultimately be the very best that God intended them to be regardless of the harsh world that encompasses them.

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