Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families


Black Love, 2016

Today I'm reposting last year's Black love message, with three additional songs added to the playlist. These include Gregory Porter's defiant stand against love's failure, No Love Dying, followed by a plea for the approval of one's true love's parents, in Real Good Hands. To help close out the set, there's another Porter favorite, When Love Was King, a lyrical painting of the world we want our children to re-member.

The major lesson I'm learning as time passes is that love really isn't that complicated. It's our ability to create space for its full and healthy expression that's complicated; that includes space for love's giving and receiving. And it's all of that stuff that we've accumulated through the years and now carry with us that takes up that space. I'm clearly still a work in progress... but I do still believe.

lotus flower - meditation before blooming

Black love is beautiful,
even if a little complicated.
As we continue find our way back to ourselves,
love's spirit always finds its way home.

In celebration of this year's weekend celebrating the timelessness and enduring beauty of Black Love, I pulled together a musical tribute in celebration of the beauty that we are. I hope you enjoy the playlist, and I welcome your comments, and any suggestions of songs that you'd add to the list.

love our people...

Step into the music: black love music celebration

This year's 24-song playlist...

  1. Mali Music - Beautiful
  2. India Arie & Musiq Soulchild - Chocolate High
  3. Gregory Porter - No Love Dying
  4. Gregory Porter - Real Good Hands
  5. l Jarreau - So Good
  6. Otis Redding - Try a Little Tenderness
  7. Leela James - Fall for You
  8. Alicia Keys - If I Ain't Got You
  9. India Arie - He Is the Truth
  10. Ledisi - I Blame You
  11. Gregory Porter - Be Good (Lion's Song)
  12. Randy Crawford & Joe Sample - One Day I'll Fly Away
  13. Raheem DeVaughn - Woman
  14. Esperenza Spalding - Black Gold
  15. India Arie - Break the Shell
  16. Whitney Houston - Greatest Love of All
  17. India Arie & Akon - I Am Not My Hair
  18. Stevie Wonder - Isn't She Lovely
  19. Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit
  20. The Isley Brothers - Caravan of Love
  21. The SOS Band - Tell Me You Still Care
  22. Earth, Wind & Fire - Reasons
  23. Gregory Porter - When Love Was King
  24. Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers - Be Encouraged

Educate Girls

Took a picture of this sign at a charter school primarily serving African American and Latina girls in Los Angeles last week. We must prioritize the full education and healthy development of our young girls.

Given the increasing rates of incarceration, the increasing exploitation of our young girls through sex trafficking, and the relative inattention to the abuse of our young girls and women at the hands of law enforcement, one might reasonably conclude that the full and healthy development of our young girls is not a priority for our community.

While I, like most of you, remain clear about how important girls and women are within our community, I would also argue that we all need to express and affirm this in increasingly public ways.


You Are Beautiful Because You Exist

While the world we live in may be complex, there is one truth I know... that of your eternal beauty. That truth is simple and unchanging. You are beautiful, because you exist. You were beautiful during all of our yesterdays, you are beautiful today, and you will remain beautiful for as long as the world remembers that you exist. We do still see you. And we still believe.

Goapele - Strong As Glass

Mali Music - Beautiful

Musiq Soulchild - Yes

Alicia Keys - Superwoman

Randy Crawford & Joe Sample - Almaz


Portrayals of Black Women in Media: A Conversation at the Schomburg Center

To close Women's History Month, the Schomburg Center hosted a special panel discussion with leading journalists, writers and bloggers around representations of Black women in global media. The speakers included, Vanessa Karen DeLuca (Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine), Demetria Lucas D'Oyley (author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty Blogger & A Belle in Brooklyn), Farai Chideya (award-winning journalist, author and host of One with Farai) and moderated by journalist, Akisa Omulepu.

This event took place on Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Part 1  (approximately 30 mins.)


Part 2  (approximately 30 mins.)

Part 3  (approximately 23 mins.)


Video of Sandra Bland’s Arrest in Waller County, Texas; Chicago Woman Found Unresponsive in Jail Cell After Traffic Stop

Below is the video of Sandra Bland's arrest in Waller County, Texas on Friday.  Officials kept her in police custody over the weekend, and report finding her unconscious and unresponsive in a jail cell on Monday morning.  Officials are reporting that she probably committed suicide, but family and friends are saying this is highly unlikely, especially given her recent relocation for a new job at Prairie View A&M University, the institution she attended and graduated from. Given the tone of the interaction during her arrest, and reports of a history of "racial intolerance" in Waller County, one can reasonably question the official story about what happened to Sandra Bland.

Ultimately, something seems really off about this, and I hope we continue to get a better sense of what really happened to Sandra Bland.


What Happened to Sandra Bland in Waller County, Texas; Chicago Woman and Prairie View A&M University Graduate

Family, friends and other concerned individuals are pressing to find out what happened to Sandra Bland, a Chicago woman who was relocating to Texas after taking a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. Sandra Bland died in police custody after a routine traffic stop.

From ABC7 in Chicago...

Friends and relatives of a 28-year-old Naperville businesswoman are angrily questioning her death in a Texas jail.

Sandra Bland was found dead in a Waller County, Texas, jail cell on Monday at 9 a.m. after being arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer during a routine traffic stop, the I-Team has learned. Authorities say her death appears to be suicide.

In numerous emails and phone calls to the ABC7 I-Team, her friends and relatives say they do not believe the official version of what happened and say this is a case of foul play in a county with a history racial intolerance.

Bland was pulled over Friday for improper signaling a lane change, according to Waller County Sheriff's Department officials. They say she was charged with "Assault on a Public Servant" and taken into custody by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper.

Bland's friends say she had been with her family in suburban Chicago over the July 4th holiday, and drove to Texas for a job interview at her alma mater, Texas Prairie View A & M. Family members say she got the position and was to begin working in student outreach today.

Sheriff R. Glenn Smith says that jailers saw Bland at 7 a.m. Monday when they gave her breakfast and again at 8 a.m. when they spoke with her over the jail intercom. Smith says she was found dead an hour later. In a press release from the sheriff's department, authorities say they applied CPR, but that Bland was pronounced dead shortly after she was found.

The Willowbrook High School graduate died by "self-inflicted asphyxiation," according to sheriff's deputies, who have turned the investigation over to Texas Rangers. Some family members and friends say Bland was found hanging in the jail cell, but authorities have not confirmed the exact circumstances around her death.

In a press release from the sheriff's department, authorities say they applied CPR, but Bland was pronounced dead shortly after she was found.

Longtime friend LaNitra Dean tells the I-Team that Bland "was a warm, affectionate, outspoken woman" who spoke out about police brutality often on her Facebook page.

"The Waller County Jail is trying to rule her death a suicide and Sandy would not have taken her own life," Dean said. "Sandy was strong. Strong mentally and spiritually."

Waller County Sheriff R Glenn Smith said, through a statement, "any loss of life is a tragic incident."

The statement continued, "While the investigation is being conducted by outside agencies, the Waller County Sheriff's Office will continue to observe the daily operations of the jail to always look for improvements and/or preventions of these incidents."

Wednesday afternoon a small group of Bland's friends converged on the Waller County jail to protest her death. The facility is 50 miles north of Houston. Family members say they intend to bring her body back to Illinois for burial when authorities release it.


Astrophysicist Jedediah Isler: How I fell in love with quasars, blazars and our incredible universe

Excellence in every form of human endeavor. Black Girl (Woman) Power. Breaking down barriers to science and STEM career fields.

During a time in which so much media attention related to African American people and communities is related to violence and random identity and lifestyle claims to/of Blackness, let us never forget that we have so much more to talk about and share with each other and to expose our children to.

We all have to be firmly aware that we have so much genius all around us, and that this genius is so much more prevalent (even if unnoticed) than the violence and other negative messages we are bombarded with.  This genius is widespread throughout our community, and in every part of this country.  It's up to us to go the extra mile to expose our children, youth and family members to the genius examples that surround them/us all.

One example is the African American astrophysicist, Dr. Jedidah Isler...

Jedidah Isler first fell in love with the night sky as a little girl. Now she’s an astrophysicist who studies supermassive hyperactive black holes. In a charming talk, she takes us trillions of kilometers from Earth to introduce us to objects that can be 1 to 10 billion times the mass of the sun — and which shoot powerful jet streams of particles in our direction.

A TED Talk. Delivered April 2015.

Jedidah Isler has been staring at the stars since she was 11 or 12. But because neither her undergraduate college or the university where she got her first master’s degree offered astronomy majors, she threw herself wholeheartedly into physics. It wasn’t until she entered a doctoral program that she was able to dedicate her time to the studying the night sky. In 2014, she became the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D in Astrophysics from Yale.

Isler studies blazars — supermassive hyperactive black holes at the center of galaxies, some of which emit powerful streams of particles. Sometimes these are oriented toward Earth, offering us a unique perspective on the physics of the universe. Isler is a Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow in Physics at Syracuse University. She participates in the Future Faculty Leader program at Harvard's Center for Astrophysics and was named a 2015 TED Fellow.

Isler is also interested in breaking down barriers that prevent many students — especially women of color — from becoming scienists. She works to make STEM accessible to new communities.


Black Women’s Lives Matter


She is our daughter our sister our wife our mother our cousin our aunt our grandmother our granddaughter our friend.

She is intelligence creativity power intuition justice healer seer creator inventor strategist teacher thinker builder engineer organizer warrior nurturer comforter.

She cries. She laughs. She hurts. She heals. She feels.

She is beauty, in every form and expression.

She is human. She can do it all. She mustn't have to do it all.

She is creation. She is the source of our beginning. We are whole with her.

We need each other to survive.

#Black Women's Lives Matter



Poet Aja Monet Confronts Police Brutality Against Black Women With #SayHerName

#SayHerName - by Aja Monet


Black Women Not Immune to Police Brutality and Unjustified Use of Force By Law Enforcement

For anyone who believes that tension and conflict between law enforcement and the general community is reserved for Black males...

The incident captured in this video reveals the sheer horror and terror experienced by Charlena Michelle Cooks, an African American woman who was eight months pregnant, at the hands of law enforcement. This happened in Barstow, California in January of this year, apparently after a white woman called the police complaining about the woman in a school parking lot.

The white woman appears to have experienced the 'protect and serve' version of law enforcement the public is socialized to believe in, while Ms. Cooks received the 'command and control' version of law enforcement that too many African Americans are more familiar with. Also note that this treatment is not reserved for Black folks in the inner city, as Barstow, California would not fit the profile.

Officers charged Ms. Cooks with resisting arrest, a charge quickly dismissed by a judge.

You can read more about this incident, including the enduring traumatic aftermath, here, here and here.

Please don't forget that some of our sisters, daughters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers are also subject to brutality at the hands of law enforcement.

Racism has never preferred some in our community more than others. We remain in this struggle for justice, together.