by Gray Graham
As someone that has celebrated Juneteenth for longer than most of you have been alive it pains me to see all these responses from people about Walmart selling Juneteenth ice cream right next to the 4th of July sherbet. About twenty years ago I was trying to get Black people to to acknowledge and support Juneteenth at some major organizations. At the time I got a lot of rejections and disinterest especially from Black people from the Northeast or Black immigrants. They had never heard of Juneteenth and once they were told what it was, they had no interest in doing anything for it.
So you will have to forgive me if I call foul on all these Black people online complaining about Walmart selling Juneteenth wares. You knew last year they were going to sell Juneteenth merchandise just like they do ever single other holiday. I promise you that if major corporation did nothing to acknowledge the existence of Juneteenth, some of the same people complaining now about them selling Juneteenth red velvet ice cream would be complaining that retailers were ignoring Juneteenth as a holiday and not giving it the same respect as Independence Day. I know my Christian African American brothers and sisters are not complaining about buying stuff for Juneteenth when they just spent money celebrating the death of Jesus Christ on Easter.
Last year when Juneteenth was made a national Federal holiday, I had more than a few Black people curse me out because what kind of self respecting Black man would want a national holiday for the end of slavery. A long time friend basically said I and others like local civil rights heroine Ms Opal Lee, were just being passive puppets to the white supremacy.
While many of us have always celebrated Juneteenth as Jubilation Day, Jubilee Day, or Freedom Day under the mantra of none of us are free until all of us are free, others look at the day with anger that even after a war people still had their freedom taken from them for two years. There are a lot of African Americans that simply hate the day.
This all boils down to the fact many African Americans are ashamed of being Black specifically African Americans, the descendants of former African slaves. See racists white people are not the only ones that don’t want slavery taught in schools. Some African Americans are ashamed of their African ancestors and are ashamed of anything that reminds them of the African slaves.
Many African Americans want to be anything but African Americans. How many Black people become upset when they are referred to as African Americans? They will tell you that they have never been to Africa so don’t call them that. They don’t even realize that it was the newly freed African slaves that called themselves African Americans. Even though we have churches over 100 years old with African American in the name, many people think it is a term started by Jesse Jackson in the 90’s.
African Americans are not a monolith. Black people are not a monolith. There is not just one Black culture in the United States or the world. To racists we may all just be Black, but there are many different Black cultures in this country. Juneteenth is one of the only times where African Americans are clearly separated from our Black brothers and sisters. So no you can’t wear your Haiti Independence t-shirt to a Juneteenth celebration anymore than I would wear a Juneteenth shirt at a Haitian Independence Day celebration.
There is clearly a separation between what I like to call average Black people vs Black journalists and Black social media influencers. We often see various people online speak for Black people when they don’t actually have a connection to African American culture and the African American community. Many can not even define what African American culture is. For them if a person with dark skin does it then it is part of African American culture.
Let’s understand something, Walmart is not a white corporation. It’s a corporation just like all the other corporations out there. You are free to buy stock just like any white person. If you have a retirement account chances are you already own Walmart stock. Walmart and most of these organizations have African American employees, African American executives and African American leaders.
I fully understand, especially at the moment, that many people have a problem with corporate greed. Companies never miss an opportunity to turn any event or tragedy into a profit as we are seeing in America right. During the Black Lives Matter protests we saw people try to capitalize on that to make a profit. There were many Black people that used Black Lives Matter as a way to make money for themselves when they didn’t actually do anything for the larger Black community. Same thing goes for Juneteenth. There are plenty of Jamaican and Haitian people that are making Juneteenth merchandise to sell when they have no connection or love for the holiday at all.
I don’t know what happened to Black people over the past couple of decades. Actually I do know what happened to Black people and so does every other older Black person that warned us what was going to happened. I can only hope that one day we get our Blackness back but it definitely does not look like that is ever going to happen. Black people can’t even define what being Black is other than they want to make sure that they are not it. For too many of us see ourselves through the eyes of those that hate us just for existing.
Here we are as Black people; African Americans upset about a “white” store selling ice cream for Juneteenth. I have know many Black elders that would have thought that was a great accomplishment especially after having a Black President of the United States and a Black Vice President of the United States.
Instead we have people that want us to mourn and grieve and read books instead of taking just one day to just celebrate that despite all the evil that has been done to our people, African Americans not only survive but we thrive. People the world over copy our culture and follow our lead on a number of issues.
That’s what is really sad. African Americans have been abused and traumatized so much that we can’t even take a moment to have some joy as we prepare for the next battle. As my good friend told me, it is more important than ever for us to teach the younger generations about our history, experiences, and culture. There is a movement in our country today to completely remove the history of African Americans from schools and colleges.
We have leaders in this country who still have the same mentality as the Texas slave owners that refused to tell the African slaves they were free. They, like their forefathers, believe they are superior to all Black people and we are lesser than they are. African American is a joke to them and so is an African American holiday. See we are free but our freedom is always being challenged, just like our peace of mind. Juneteenth will always be a reminder to America that it’s sins of slavery still affect us today and it is something that we as a society will have to work hard to repent.
by Gray Graham
When you are a good person you will never beat the bad people. Sure you may win some battles but you will never win the war. And make no mistake it is a war, one that will test your very soul most days of your life.
See bad people have an advantage over good people, they can do anything to win, good people can not. They don't have to think about what is going to harm another person. They don't have to think about your feelings. They don't have to think about if you are going to cry. They don't have to think about you at all. Your cries and pleas for help fall on deaf ears. It is not something that will ever cross their minds.
Bad people never think they do anything wrong. Every action they take is fully justified. In fact they will go one step further and say their victims are the bad people attacking them. The good people keep damaging their fists, swords, guns, and bombs with their frail human bodies.
I know that you are not going to hear inspirational and motivational speakers ever tell you that good people are always going to lose. I mean who wants to hear that? You want to hear that love conquers all and good guys win in the end. Nobody wants to hear that somebody is waiting to put a knife into their sweet kind heart.
But I am here to tell you that it is okay if good people never win for good people are not competing for worldly prizes but heavenly ones. Winning on this earth doesn't make your heart full. No amount of hateful, evil earthly triumphs will fill an empty heart.
So it doesn't matter how much money you make, how many people you deceive, how many people you conquer, or how many people you kill, in the very end you will still be the same person that is empty inside and unfulfilled. That will be your reward and it is the one that you will have to carry for eternity.
At this point you are probably asking yourself what makes someone a bad person? The simple answer is that is the eyes of someone we are all bad people. Plenty of people over the years have told me how I was an awful person for the speeches, talks, prayers, articles and posts that I have done spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ.
A quick trip around social media any day will show you thousands upon thousands of posts saying how Christianity is evil, Buddhism are evil, Islam is evil, and atheism are all evil and will destroy the world. We see people who start wars and commit all kinds of heinous war crimes be cheered as heroes and champions of the righteous.
Of course all of this is a fallacy. Every single human being with a rational mind knows the difference between right and wrong. We all know when we do something good and when we do something bad. Many lie about it, but we all know when we are serving good and when we are serving evil.
Probably the hardest thing for good people to accept is that there are evil people in this world. They are not uneducated. They are not victims of abuse. They are not mentally ill. They were not misled. No they are just evil and they have chosen to be that way.
Some people like to say that certain people are not monsters. That they are not heartless. Well this is correct. Evil people are not monsters because monsters are imaginary creatures. They are not real. Evil people however are very much real and they cause harm by committing unspeakable acts to people every single day. Their hate knows no limits and they will never stop.
How can a good person fight against that? You fight against evil with love and hope. No matter the obstacles before us and how difficult it is we can still inspire others and spread joy. We might not win today but maybe someone else will win tomorrow. While it is true that evil never sleeps it is also true that goodness and righteous never sleeps either. The smallest ember can ignite the flames of peace and harmony. That is the hope and belief we need to cling to each and every day.
by Gray Graham
Spoiler ***To make a marriage successful, love is all that you need. It really is that simply. It is not complicated. If you love someone then your marriage will be fine. If you don’t then your marriage will not last, at least not one based on love. We will now begin the inspirational post.***
Over the past couple of weeks your social media timelines were probably bombarded with endless posts, videos, memes, and affirmation quotes about love and marriage, not necessarily in that order. You probably saw everything from marriage is the greatest thing in the world to what’s love got to do with anything.
The ones that really caught my eye were the ones that said that love was not enough to make a marriage work, some going a step farther to say marriage had nothing to do with love. These social media posts would then list the things that were more important in a marriage like net worth, employment history, medical history and credit score. This really got me thinking what exactly do people want out of a marriage today.
When I first started ministering to people, I was kind of shocked by how many people came to me to discuss their romantic relationships. For some reason I was not expecting that to be a topic people would bring to me. They usually start out with why would a man that says they love me do this and why would a woman that says she wants a good man do that. I am sure you can see where this is going really quickly.
Okay let’s start from the beginning with marriage with a little hard truth and tough love; marriage is not for everyone. Let me say that again for the people in the back of the room, marriage is not for everyone. I will go a step farther and say it is probably not for most people. And when I say marriage I mean what we think of when we say marriage which is to meet someone, fall deeply in love, get married, have kids, and live the rest of your lives together.
The reason I say marriage is not for everyone is because many of you reading this and out there have already done a lot of items on this list before you even meet someone. This means that before you even get started you have failed the whole concept of what most people think of as marriage. This is where some people feel they need to make up ground and that is when they start making bad choices, mistakes, and the bitterness starts.
In our society most marriages end in divorce. Not only do they end in divorce they end in divorce soon. It really is amazing how quickly people can go from completely committing themselves to another person to hating their guts and can’t even stand to be in the same room with them.
So if most marriages end in divorce why do people still want to get married? Well I don’t think most people want to get married anymore. A lot of people still get married but most young people have no use for it. I mean there are people in “committed relationships” or as we used to say “shacking” for years. They live together, have children together, and do the things that married couples do but they never get married. I don’t understand why anyone would want to do this other than maybe their credit score really is that important to them.
Seriously though, there is nothing in this world more beautiful than a loving married couple. Those posts make their way around the internet too. People’s hearts melt when they see people that have been together 25, 50, 75+ years. Just as happy today as they were when they got started. It is something most can not imagine and few even believe is real.
There really isn’t anything more powerful than love and it really is all that you need. I have seen many a person that had everything on that “need to have to be married list” and were unhappy with life but I have never seen a person filled with love and not love life and that is the kind of person it takes to be married.
There ain’t many people in this world filled with love like that but thank God there are some. If you are lucky enough to be one or know one God bless you. Keep your love shining because this world needs all the love it can get. This world also needs all the loving marriages it can get too, remember to marry someone that you truly love and not just someone with a cute smile or large bank account. Cute and bank accounts come and go but love lasts a lifetime.
by Gray Graham
Before this year I wondered how many people knew who the Falcon and Captain Marvel were. The Falcon has been on the scene as the first African American superhero in comics since 1969. He has been a major character at Marvel ever since as a member of the Avengers and fighting alongside Captain America.
Captain Marvel has been around since 1982. She was one of the first major African American women to appear in comics joining the Avengers and eventually becoming leader of the team replacing Captain America. Wait what?
So you didn’t know that Captain Marvel was first an African American woman? That’s right Captain Marvel was an African American woman for years at Marvel after the original Captain Marvel died in the comics. Carol Danvers, the person you know as Captain Marvel today, until recent years was known as Ms Marvel, a groundbreaking character in her own right.
At some point Marvel decided to take the name Captain Marvel away from Monica Rambeau and give it to a white male character. They then had the character give up her new name Pulsar to another white male character. In order to make their universe more equal and diverse, Marvel decided to focus on diverse characters to give them more exposure to the public. Ms Marvel was one of the characters they decided to elevate but instead of going with her groundbreaking original name they decided to call her Captain Marvel instead. I am going to let you decide why Marvel thought this was a good idea. On their website they say it doesn’t matter what Monica calls herself because she is awesome. Seems like it mattered to someone.
We have to understand that many African Americans can only identify with white superheroes and their experiences. They can only envision themselves as a Black person in the role of a white character. They don’t get behind original African American characters or the African American experience.
Before Disney/Marvel made the Black Panther movie, I remember speaking with an African American blogger about positive African American characters she could introduce to her young son. Falcon was one of the characters I mentioned to her but she quickly rejected the idea because no one knew or cared who he was.
There are a lot of African American creators who probably have thousands of similar stories. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told “Why I got to like (insert African American character) just because I am African American. Many African Americans don’t truly believe that African American culture exists. I have been told countless times over the years that there is no such thing as African American culture. African American culture has little value to many African American fans of super heroes. Even today I am willing to wager that most African Americans superhero fans would still choose to be Batman over being Black Panther. I guess that’s why in 2021 you still have African Americans calling themselves the Black Superman, the Black Batman, the Black Wonder Woman, the Black Spider-man, or any Black version of an established white character.
Sadly there are many African American creators that also don’t see the need to show African Americans. I am sure you have a better chance of a character being accepted in the media if they are Jamaican, Haitian, Brazilian, or any African nation than just plain old African American. African American just aren't exotic enough or have enough shock value for the larger public.
African American children need super heroes just like all children need superheroes. They don’t need to know people with super powers can beat people up, they need to know that people with a big heart that care about people can make a difference in the world. They need to learn to dream of things bigger and more unimaginable in their everyday lives. They need to learn about hope and faith. Superheroes embody this in the modern world and children learn this at an early age. African American children are also learning that they are sometimes an afterthought in the superhero universe.
Too many African Americans don’t see themselves as a community, an ethic group. They see themselves at best as just an unnamed part of the African diaspora and at worst a second class dark version of white Americans.
This seems to be something that only African Americans suffer from. Other Black people in the world take pride in their culture and do everything they can to make sure it is represented and respected. There are many people that proudly say they are Afro Latino, Haitian, Brazilian, Jamaican, Nigerian, or Ghanaian, but African American, not so much. They just want to be Black and not much else.
African American culture matters. The African American experience matters. There is a difference in this world between being an African American and being a white American. There is a difference between being an African American and being an African immigrant. There is a difference between being an African American soldier from New York and being king of an African nation. Even to the racist, there is a difference. Too many people lose sight of this fact. For many embracing your African American heritage is an affront and attack on other Black people around the world.
I do appreciate Marvel, DC, and other media companies for creating many great African American characters. It was not so long ago that showcasing these characters would have been impossible and you would have lost your job or company just trying to make it happen. Even today the public is more receptive to the Black exotic character that is taboo instead of someone that looks like they live in their neighborhood, goes to school with their children, or their African American co-workers.
Much progress has been made that we have a major character called Captain America that is African American with no sugar coating the irony of this fact. I hope this is just the beginning. If we support African American creators and all creators that care about the African American experience instead of people that don’t really care, then we can teach future generations of African American children to love themselves more.
I try to do my part, I hope more people join the work that I do to share the African American experience. African Americans are nowhere close to reaching the point where we can move on from our struggles for our struggles have been long and hard and much work still needs to be done. Superheroes are just the first step. Scientists, physicians, engineers, and just a happy average African American human being is the final goal.
by Gray Graham
Everybody loves sports. Even the people that say they don’t love sports love sports but they probably don’t realize it though. Anything that we do that is competitive, that has winners or losers, is a sport. From spelling bees to marathons, people find an activity that they love and they proceed to find someone to test their skills to see if they can be the best.
But let’s stick to the activities people think about when they hear the word sports. It’s football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, track & field, boxing, swimming, diving, skiing, figure skating and gymnastics. I am sure I left something out but these are the sports most people love. The athletes competing have almost superhuman physical abilities far beyond those of the average human. These athletes do things that ordinary humans can only dream about. Well that used to be the case.
Apparently, according to a recent poll, 60% of American men believe that they have the ability to actually compete in at least one Olympic event competitively. I mean that is mind blowing to me. Maybe it is because of video games that people actually believe that they have the natural ability, skill, and experience to compete with the greatest athletes to ever walk the earth.
This is probably why we hear so much chatter when athletes fail in big moments. I mean we have an entire sports media industry that is built on talking about the mental toughness of athletes. Imagine how you would feel as an athlete if someone had become a millionaire attacking your mental toughness for decades. People that can’t make a layup or turn a cartwheel make a good living criticizing elite athletes about what it takes to compete at an elite level in sports.
There probably are just as many people that watch sports to see people fail as there are that watch because they love the sport. Like many things in our society it seems it is more rewarding to dislike something and cheer against it than it is to cheer something on because of pure happiness and joy.
For me there is something fascinating about the people that can overcome their physical pain and the mental pressure yet still perform in the highest competitive situations. Knocking down those game winning free throws. Catching that game winning touchdown in a blizzard. Sticking that landing to get a perfect ten. Stopping that goal on a penalty kick. It takes a special kind of person to be able to do these things.
These moments are the things that inspire us. To know that no matter what life throws at us we can still fight and maybe win sometimes. That is the thing that means so much to so many people. But times have changed and for some athletes, winning is not the most important thing anymore. Some just want to have peace of mind. It is something that I suspect most sports fans will never understand.
There are so many sports fans that have tried to get to the professional level and failed, that they can not accept that someone would just toss away their opportunity to play a sport they love. Let’s not forget that many of these athletes are wealthy beyond imagination. Even in failure many still have millions of dollars so most people are not going to feel sorry for them and their mental struggles.
As someone that has known many amateur and professional athletes in my life, I don’t think people truly appreciate how hard it is and the sacrifices that they have to make just to make it. We know all about the success stories but that is just a few hundred out of millions of people across the world.
The world is not filled with that many people that can rise to the occasion and perform the way that we ask athletes to do. Most people can’t even cope with the job they have. Now imagine doing that job with the world watching you ready to attack you and everyone you love based on how they think you performed. I doubt many of you could handle that kind of pressure.
Average people quit their jobs everyday. We are seeing more and more people that have decided that winning is not everything. Life means more to them than simply chasing the next dollar or promotion especially after the last year and a half that most have lived.
But this is not something most Americans are going to understand. Our culture is built on working as hard as you can, to make as much money as you can, and to win at all costs. I would say that most of the world has the same philosophy now.
It is going to take a long time to show people there is another way. That it is okay to lose. Heck it is even okay to just quit. At the end of the day the most important thing is that you have peace of mind and you are happy whether you win or lose.
by Gray Graham
There is a business that pays very well and it’s called misery. The reason it pays so well is because there is a lot of misery in this world. In fact there is a never ending supply of misery in the world. Not a second of a day goes by that there is not some miserable situation occurring somewhere on our planet.
In the information age where billions of people are connected it is not hard to show this misery. Gone are the days where the average person barely knew what occurred in their neighborhood let alone the entire city. In the old days a city was a big place. Today a country seems small.
You would think that happiness would sell better than misery and it does. Industries like amusement parks, fairs, and restaurants show you that people like to have a good time. They want to sit back, relax and have fun. Leave their problems at the door and just chill. I mean there is a birthday party everyday for this very reason.
But some people don’t like having fun. They don’t really have close family and friends. If they have them they probably don’t like them that much. Sadly some people don’t receive love at home and that makes you view the world differently. If you can’t see joy in your own house, how can you see joy in the world?
Enter the misery business model. It is built on the valid idea of making the world a better place. In order to make the world a better place you have to stop people from making it a bad place and there are plenty of people that are trying to make the world a bad place. The rich and powerful plunder and loot our resources for their own personal gains giving little or nothing back in return.
Evil is abundant in our world. Hating others has become the number one activity for certain parts of our society. They are constantly attacking others physically, emotionally, and economically to the point many people can not cope in day to day life.
Many people have decided to prey on this sense of hopelessness by constantly dwelling on the misery. It is their brand and how they make their money. They go beyond just fighting injustice to constantly fighting. Even in victories they are not happy.
They go out of their way to take away the joy others feel. It is kinda like if someone on your wedding day decided to only talk to you about how many people cheat on their spouse, spend all their money, get someone else pregnant, and then get a divorce and leave them. That wouldn’t be a very happy wedding day would it.
There are an endless number of activists, analysts, journalists, and social media influencers whose whole careers are built on the misery of others. Their whole reason for being is to tell you how unhappy and angry you should be. Many people buy into this way of thinking but I hope you will not be one of those people.
Sure there is a lot of evil that occurs in the world and the reality is that evil will always be there. If there is something that can be gained by hurting others, someone is going to hurt others. That is the nature of humans. It is also true there is a lot of love and joy in the world. A lot of kindness and helping others.
It is important that we share these things too. It is probably more important that we share the happiness over the misery. We all know there is misery in the world but we don’t all know there is happiness in the world.
We need that happiness to give us hope and to inspire us to do great things to help and protect the people that we love. We can never let evil take that away from us. We need to be slow to anger and quick to care. We can never forget how to love and can never forget how much joy there is in this world that God has given us.
Remember to keep your joy and never let anyone take it away from you.
by Gray Graham
Fathers are so very important to us. They are the foundation our lives are built upon. They are our first heroes. They represent what we believe is possible in this world. Fathers are there for us when we need them the most.
Fathers teach us about life. They show us all the things we need to know about the world from how to stand up, how to walk, how to protect ourselves, and how to gather food. They show us out to reach beyond what we think we are capable of doing. They teach us how to stand on our own.
Even though they teach us a lot, they don’t always give us all the answers. Most of the time they let us figure things out on our own. Fathers spend a lot of time telling you everything that is going to happen but if you choose to do something else they are going to let you and learn how things work yourself. No matter what happens your father is going to be there for you to pick you back up if need be.
Fathers spend a lot of time alone; reflecting, thinking, and planning. They want to make sure they do everything they can to provide for their families. They always have a plan no matter what life throws at them. No matter what it takes they want to make sure that their family is protected.
Sometimes that means that a father might carry a burden so you don’t have to carry it. He doesn’t want you to suffer not one little bit if it can be helped. That’s probably why father’s spend so much time telling us stories and sharing their thoughts on everything whether we want them to or not.
Fathers come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. There isn’t a one size fits all father. Some fathers are hands on they teach by doing. So fathers are scholars, they teach by reading and having you read and research things they believe are important to you. Some fathers are jolly. They want to make sure you are always laughing without a care in the world. Some fathers want to make sure you know the difference between right and wrong. They never want you to make a mistake that will hurt you so they always want to protect you.
Being a father is one of the most important things for a man right there with being a husband. The same love you have for your wife is the love you pass on to your children. You take the job seriously because you have been entrusted by God to bring other people into this world and take care of them no matter what. It is not an easy task but it isn’t one that you would trade for anything in the world.
It doesn’t matter what you called the man in your life that loves and supports you: Father, daddy, dad, poppa, pa, papa, pappy, papi, etc; you are thankful to God that you have him in your life. A man’s love for his children is something that is strong. It fills you with the energy you need to go through life’s ups and downs.
We are so thankful to our fathers for supporting our families and communities giving us all the love and support we need to be joyful and happy in life. God bless father’s everywhere.
by Gray Graham
June 19, 1865 was the end of slavery in the United States of America. It occurred two years after the emancipation because the people of Texas decided that they were not going to abide by the laws of the land and thus subjected African slaves to two additional years of the horrors of slavery. If it is possible to do something worse than enslave another human being this might be an example of such an evil.
Growing up in the South we celebrated Juneteenth every single year. Us Black folks didn’t care anything about the Fourth of July as it was known then because we didn’t get our freedom on July 4, 1776. We got our freedom on June 19, 1865 because as long as one Black person was still enslaved we were all enslaved.
Of course Black people did not achieve real freedom on June 19, 1865 either. We have endured segregation and discrimination on levels that resemble slavery in many respects. We are treated as third rate citizens in a country built by us on land stolen from others. It is a reality Black Americans carry every single day.
With Juneteenth officially becoming a federal holiday this week a lot of people learned the work of Opal Lee who as a child on June 19, 1939, watched her home in Fort Worth burn down as a white mob threatened to lynch her father. It was this experience that drove her to have Juneteenth established as a national holiday even though for many Black people it was the cornerstone of their culture.
The struggle of Black freedom has been a long one and we are still not close to the end. Across the country groups of people are still trying to deny equal rights to Black Americans who are the descendants of those African slaves. State legislatures across the United States are constantly passing laws that make it harder to vote, easier to imprison, and even easier to kill Black Americans. The real irony is that some of the very same people that voted to make Juneteenth a national holiday are also the ones that are preventing schools from teaching our children about the events that led to us celebrating Juneteenth.
In spite of all of the hardships and struggles placed on us as a people, Black Americans have always risen from the ashes quite literally. We have never needed approval or acceptance in order to celebrate the joys of life. The horrors of slavery. The pain of segregation. The crippling economic discrimination. Everything that could be done wrong to us has been done and we have triumphed and conquered it all.
It is this unbreakable spirit of Black Americans that has made the world try to copy our soul, our style, and our grace. The world sings like us, dances like us, cooks like us, run like us, jump like us, talks like us, and prays like us.
Juneteenth is a celebration of Black America. The children of those African slaves that America tried to break and keep trying to break. We have survived. We keep standing on the shoulders of our elders taking one step further than those before us. It is a slow process because we are still opposed by the children of the slave owners who still despise and hate our very being, but they can’t stop us; they can only slow us down.
So even though it might take us decades to achieve specific goals, you better believe that we or our children are going to get every single one of those goals accomplished. One day all Black Americans will be free and will help America realize the ideas it was based on even though when it was founded it was just a lie.
by Gray Graham
Psalm 23:4 King James Version
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Many of us know this verse from the Bible very well. It is probably one of the first Bible verses that you learned in church. It’s message is to always trust in God no matter what your situation in life is at the moment. Today many of us have forgotten the simple message to always trust in God.
Now I am not going to tell you to never be afraid. It is very human to be afraid. It is actually dangerous not to be afraid. When we have no fear then we tend to do things that will place us in danger. We take risks that may lead to bad things happening to us. Fear keeps us cautious and it keeps us safe.
Fear also cripples us. When we are afraid we tend to pick the path that will give us the least amount of trouble. It takes a certain level of courage to put yourself in danger especially when you know that not doing so will mean that you will be unharmed.
Many people choose to be safe over confronting evil. I would even say most people choose to stay safe instead of confronting evil. Most of the time it only takes a simple threat to quiet any opposition to an evil deed. We see this take place time and again in everyday life.
Today we face many evils in the world. These evils are nothing new. There have always been and there will always be evil people. Humans have a thirst for power and anything that may be a threat to that power is something that they will eliminate. In some respects we are more civilized today than in the past. In other ways we are more savage and cruel. It is all just a matter of prospective I suppose.
But what does one do when the evil is close to home? When the people that are trying to do us harm are family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers how do we deal with them? What do we do if they are harming others but not us? Do we turn a blind eye and stay silent?
It is hard to do the right thing. It is even harder to do the right thing all the time. There will always be situations in life where we pick our battles so that we can live to fight another day. It is one of the things that is difficult about life.
Even though it may be difficult it is important that we stand against wicked behavior in our everyday lives. We should never shrink in the face of people that engaged in foul, vile behavior. We should never ignore their actions. We should never make excuses for their sins. We should never try to justify the harm they do. We should do all in our power to confront their evil deeds.
Far too many people have gotten accustomed to running away and hiding from evil. Too often we would rather cry and sob in a corner rather than face the hateful people hurting us. We have to understand that just wishing something to change does not make it change. While it takes a lot of courage to face evil, it takes so much more to turn away from evil. For most it is nigh impossible.
This is why it is so important that good people take action, both big and small to confront destructive behavior in our lives. Bad behavior left unchecked simply grows into larger hateful actions. History has example after example of people ignoring a small sin only to be faced with a larger evil that they could have prevented.
It is up to us in love to make sure evil never takes root in our lives. You don’t have to wage a war against all the evil in the world in order to do good. Just addressing the evil that we face in ourselves and others in our everyday lives will have a great impact on the world.
We must have the courage to confront our parents, spouses, children, family, and friends when they are doing something that is wrong. We can not remain silent just to maintain some false sense of peace because we love them. We much encourage them to turn away from their wicked ways. Can never fear losing a love one that is lost more than doing what is right. We must remain vigilant in our courage and strength and never fear evil no matter where it lies.
by Gray Graham
If you have been following the site for a few years then you will remember that once upon a time we used to write many articles about love and relationships. Second to our faith section, which is about the love of God, those articles were our most visited section. People would reach out to me to discuss their search for love that they were not able to find.
Even after all of these years some of the same people are still searching for love. Others completely gave up on the idea of receiving the love of others. Instead they chose to focus on only loving themselves. Since they cannot find someone that will give them the love they seek, they focus all of their love on themselves because receiving love is the most important thing there is.
At least that seems to be what many people think these days. Instead of this great gift, people have turned love into this obligation that someone out there is required to fill. That is why you see so many posts across the internet today talk about self-love and self-care, but what they are really talking about is being selfish and lonely.
This applies not only to romantic love but also to the love that a group feels. February is Black History month. The entire reason we have a Black History month is because America tries really hard to make Black people feel like they have no love in their lives.
The stories that America paints of Black people is always one of hopelessness and despair. They make sure that we are always enduring tragedy and trauma every single day. They make sure that it is known that Black love does not exist. That it is just a dream. That Black people can’t possibly just love each other and care about each other.
There are few things in life as disheartening as seeing so many Black people posting on social media about nothing but anger, self-hate, hate of other Black people, and begging for the love of people that hate them.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is truly nothing greater than love, but it must be given and received freely. You do not give love with the expectation of getting love back. If someone is not freely giving you love then you need to remove them from your life. You don’t need that kind of pain and heartache in your life.
God loves us all unconditionally but that doesn’t mean that we are able to do the same for others. It takes a big heart to love another and an even bigger heart to love someone that hates you. Sadly in life we get too much practice loving people that will never love us back. This makes most sad and bitter. It is something that they will never get over.
When you are missing love from your life, that is a hole that can not be filled. Money, power, and fame will not fill that emptiness. Possessions and travels will not fill that hole. The darkness that you feel never gets any light because it is being illuminated with the wrong things. We must first learn to love ourselves and once we do that then we will not feel the need to have others love us.
So today, despite everything that is going on in your life, love yourself. I don’t mean be selfish, I mean just love yourself. No matter what you are going through, love who you are today. Know that God loves you and he has more than enough love to carry you through everything in your life.
Once you can do these things then everything in life gets so much easier. Now take that love you have and share it with someone else, no strings attached. If more of us do this then we will make the world a great place full of happiness and joy. Until that day we can let our love shine because you never know if that is the light another soul needs to lead them out of darkness.