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Black Men in America … A Course in Survival and Miracles

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Black role models - John Kennedy - Rodney D. WallaceThis week in America, Black men demonstrated their ability to survive and achieve again, in spite of the odds. At the national level, the world watched as America's Black President demonstrated that he was large and in charge of the most prosperous country in the world – The United States. At the local level, I am just as impressed with Black male success and the comings and goings of two local role models. John Kennedy and Rodney D. Wallace. These two local men fit in the category of new beginnings. This is true even though one reached a milestone of retiring. His final words at his retirement party were, "I'm going to wait and see what God has in store." Here's my take on these two local men. They serve as reminders that surviving and thriving in America for Black men is an achievable course in miracles.

JOHN KENNEDY

John Kennedy is the winner of the most watched city council race in Pasadena, California, last week. The District, known as District Three, may mark the first time three Black men ran for a seat to represent a constituency in Pasadena's history. The District is far from being just a Black District. It stretches throughout one of the largest and most prosperous and influential business areas of this city, known as the City of Roses.

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Justice Scalia and Racial Entitlements Equals Racism 2013 Style

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Judge Scalia and the Post-Racial Era?On February 8, 2013, a 60 year old white man, Joe Rickey Hundley, on an airplane slapped a two year old black child and drew blood just below the child's right eye, and told the mother to "shut that N----r baby up". Hundley was an aircraft parts executive and was allegedly arrested and charged with simple assault. I wonder what would have happened to a black man slapping a white child on a plane.

When nine year old Quvanzane Wallis was nominated for best actress for her recent film, a tweet from The Onion blog called her a cu_t (rhymes with runt). This is just as when young Gabby won a Gold medal as a gymnast at the Olympics. There, the talk was about her hair. Why? There is no post-racial era, yet.

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Black History, A Personal Reflection

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Black History and a civil rights personal experienceIn February 2011, I was honored to be asked to be one of the speakers at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles (CAAM) in their conversations program focusing on journeys, issues and insights of individuals. I shared my life story, in brief, as part of their Black History Month program. This year, I was asked to share my civil rights experiences with the black students at PCC on February 26, 2013.

It's always surprising to me when I get an invitation to speak, since it doesn't happen that often, but it usually ends up being a stimulating experience. I consider my life as a normal one for a black man who grew up with three siblings and both parents in California's Jim Crow Bakersfield. I call it Jim Crow because, though it is in California, the culture was Southern. Although Texas and Oklahoma are not considered to be in the South like Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi, that distinction is only geographical. On the map they may not actually be in the South, but culturally the difference was insignificant, as it was truly a distinction without a difference. For those historical purists, Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona could be said to be the Southwest. But if you were black they were all thought to be in the South.

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An Altar Call for Action

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Black History Month and call to actionBlack History Month has always been an inspiring time and should result in action. After we've been reminded of the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality, and the contributions of the ancestors and those whom have gone on before, the question for each of us is, "What is your contribution for the future?"

It has been said many ways that none of us are truly free as long as there is someone left behind, uneducated, in poverty, or just denied opportunities because they are Black. One writer, in a poem to his mother, lamented with regret that, "I must confess that I still breathe while you are not yet free." The writer is sad because he realizes that the work is not yet complete.

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District Three Election Has Gotten Unnecessarily Ugly

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - District Three election and Tea Party dirtSome weeks ago in my column for the year's end, I talked about change coming to our community and to our country. One of the things that I wrote was that rumors have it that the Tea Party is going to start telling lies about one of the candidates to replace Chris Holden in the District Three race. I spoke to each of the three candidates, John Kennedy, Ishmael Trone, and Nicholas Benson, and indicated that I would not endorse or get involved in writing about the race. I then wrote as a warning that we should watch out for the dirt being thrown around by white agents and politicians to influence elections involving Black candidates. I then asked, 'hadn't we seen enough of that with the election of President Obama?'

But then the dirt began to fly. In a sense, historically, it is the nature of the political beast to throw a little dirt and hide. It's the hiding that makes me angry. When the dirt gets to be mud, it needs to be addressed, and so based on what I have recently read in other media, and the debate that I watched on the candidates, here is my opinion.

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