I recently had a chance to meet with and hear Henry Louis Gates discuss his latest work, which I have been watching on TV. The series is the most captivating I have ever seen on the subject. There is an insight in every pause, word, sentence, still, etc. Truly remarkable. “Must See TV”.
Upon introducing myself, the first thing he remarked is “you are of Haitian descent” which is half true, the other half being Canadian. Both facts figure prominently in early episodes, and I found myself feeling extremely proud of my heritage. I consider my heritage a gift.
During his keynote address to a room of about 100 of us, he mentioned his Harlem roots, spoke about the need for everyone to understand America’s economic history and the key role the enslavement and torture of human beings played, and urged everyone to become more educated about the achievements and innovations of African Americans.
He also talked about the need for current and new black leaders to develop a comprehensive strategy for making sure that ground won is not lost (voting rights, affirmative action, etc) and for closing a widening economic gap that leaves millions of people no better today than they were 30 years ago (a sad fact that statistics support). He also mentioned the importance of personal responsibility. One aspect of which I call “doing it from within” – as in your self. Your family. Your community. As the circle widens it causes change. Like ripples across the many rivers we have – and will continue to, cross. As so well told by Mr. Gates.
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is the companion book to the six-part, six hour documentary of the same name, airing on national, primetime public television in the fall of 2013. The series is the first to air since 1968 that chronicles the full sweep of 500 years of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent and the arrival of the first black conquistador, Juan Garrido, in Florida in 1513, through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to today—when Barack Obama is serving his second term as President, yet our country remains deeply divided by race and class.
The book explores these topics in even more detail than possible in the television series, and examines many other fascinating matters as well, such as the ethnic origins—and the regional and cultural diversity—of the Africans whose enslavement led to the creation of the African American people. It delves into the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives that African Americans have created in the half a millennium since their African ancestors first arrived on these shores. Like the television series, this book guides readers on an engaging journey through the Black Atlantic world—from Africa and Europe to the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States—to shed new light on what it has meant, and means, to be an African American.
By highlighting the complex internal debates and class differences within the Black Experience in this country, readers will learn that the African American community, which black abolitionist Martin R. Delany described as a “nation within a nation,” has never been a truly uniform entity, and that its members have been debating their differences of opinion and belief from their very first days in this country. The road to freedom for black people in America has not been linear; rather, much like the course of a river, it has been full of loops and eddies, slowing and occasionally reversing current. Ultimately, this book emphasizes the idea that African American history encompasses multiple continents and venues, and must be viewed through a transnational perspective to be fully understood.
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“You know, I love all kinds of activism. I certainly think blacks deserve to have something whether it is affirmative action or an opportunity that should be opened up to them. But at the same time I believe that people of color are not the only poor people in America and all over the world.”
“Respect your parents. What they tell you is true. Hard work, dedication and faith will get you anything. Imagination will drive itself. You can get anything you want, but you have to have faith behind all your ideas. Stick to your goals and have an undying faith.”
- Russell Simmons
We wanted to quote Russell Simmons this week again (one of many times that we have quoted Simmons here on our blog in our inspirational quotes archive) as a follow up to our quote from Don Lemon last week. I believe both of these public figures are inspirational to our children and the community.
It’s ok to come from different view points and have a discussion or a debate. Especially when ultimately everyone wants the same thing, people growing into the best person that they can be. Self-empowerment (as Don said) and recognizing your self worth. The important bottom line here is to have the discussion. This discussion which has been brought up several times over the years by many public figures such as Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z and Common. I remember on the Oprah show when Jay Z was on, and they politely disagreed with each other about his lyrics. But you believed that they walked away with respect for each other even though they viewed the topic differently. I love interviews like this because it brings up a discussion. It is an important discussion to keep having. Whether agreeing or disagreeing have a discussion with your kids and each other and keep it moving.
I really like the second quote above by Russell Simmons “Respect your parents…” The message really helps to mold your/our way of thinking. And if not your parents, your grandmother, or your aunt or older brother, sister etc. To discuss helping people, improving yourself, helping each other, treating one another with kindness and respect, I can’t think of a better or more important discussion to have. Even if it starts with a disagreement it might end with an agreement or at least an understanding.
And just one last thing, living in New York is one thing, but living in Harlem is a bigger feeling of community, and focus and passion towards helping those that need it. At least this is the Harlem that I have come to love. People here in our community black, white, spanish, artist, corporate, community organizers, politicians, rich, poor, moms, students whatever, all seem to step it up a notch or two and this is a great thing. I was speaking with someone the other night at a Harlem event (at the HarlemGarage) and we were discussing Detroit (the woman I was speaking with was from there) and the turmoil that Detroit is going through right now. She said she wants to go help in some way. We both shared an enthusiasm on how we might help – help is really where it all begins. That’s what I’m talking about. People that give a sh#! (pardon my French) and walk the walk don’t talk the talk. I think Russell, Don, everyone that I’ve mentioned above are perfect examples of people who care and act. And if you disagree, just wikipedia any one of them.
Keep it moving, have faith, keep having the discussions. We all want the same things, though we may get there in our own way, style and time.
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As you may have noticed Chloe the Yogi is the newest thing for the cool kids. With Holidays and Birthdays right around the corner take advantage of this limited offer for only $0.99 you can buy “Chloe the Yogi Goes to the Amusement Park” by Adventures in Yogaland, Inc. Why pay $2.99 (regular price) when you can buy it for $0.99! Take advantage of this limited offer for the first edition of this five book series of electronic yoga adventure books that mirror the experience of a children’s yoga class.
Get Chloe the Yogi Goes to the Amusement Park on the App Store. See screenshots and ratings, and read customer reviews.
iTunes Preview E-Book Series
*This interactive book is a great way to get kids active with yoga and healthy habits while having fun at the same time.
“Chloe the Yogi: The Amusement Park is the first edition of a five book series of electronic yoga adventure books that mirror the experience of a children’s yoga class. The story featuring Chloe the Yogi is an engaging vehicle for learning yoga poses and reinforcing the emotional support that children get through stretching, breathing, and role playing. Designed for the iPad, the Chloe the Yogi E-Book series was created as an answer to parents’ desire to see and experience what their children are learning in the increasingly popular yoga classes offered for children. It is the first book designed specifically to be enjoyed through electronic devices where both the child and the parent can benefit from seeing the movement in and out of the pose. The Chloe the Yogi E-book series is tailored toward children ages 3-7 and their parents.”
Land Yoga in Harlem
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Tagged @HarlemHCL, alignyo, Chloe the Yogi, Chloe The Yogi Goes to the amusement park, community, E-book, Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Harlem, Harlem Blogger, Harlem Blogs, Harlem Business, Harlem kids, HarlemCondoLife.com, HCL, Health, Healthy Living, iTunes, Kids, Kids books, Land Yoga, Lara Land, Teachers and Centers, yoga
“Choose a job you love,
and you will never have to work a day
in your life.”