Why I Love California

I visited San Francisco for the first time in the mid 90′s. I was attending the annual SHRM-Society of Human Resource Management conference with my colleagues from iMinorities, Inc. We left New Orleans with the temperature at 108 with the heat index in early June which is typical for our part of the country. Well, I have traveled all over the country and no matter where you go it’s usually warm in June; not so in San Francisco. I did not bother to check the weather to pack accordingly and once we arrived in the BAY it was 55 degrees my friend. I knew I would live here someday on that first trip. It was not only the weather, I loved the people too. Every nation was represented in this part of the country and what separates the feel, vibe and cultural here is people live and work together for the most part. Seeing interracial couples and families are the norm here. In my experience in places like New York which is considered the melting pot of the world are people live in very segregated communities, Italians with other Italians, Chinese with other Chinese, and Blacks with other Blacks etc. Now the elite and very rich may live in common communities but not in middle class to poor communities.

California is the birthplace of modern innovation, the home of multiple sports franchises, the 7th largest economy in the world, the best weather in the States and I will stop there.

Enough of that rant, here are a few of the top reasons I Love California…

YosemiteSailingYosemite 2Family in YosemiteLakesWaterfalls

Republicans are a mess!

“What I say is what I say.” Donald Trump
“It’s our responsibility to pick and choose who comes in.” Jeb Bush
“If I’m our nominee, we will be the party of the future.” Marco Rubio
“She counts on the fact that people are uninformed.” (referring to Hilary Clinton) Ben Carson
“We’ve got to stop this culture of government dependency.” Bobby Jindal

As I listen to the republicans debate and state their collective position for a brighter future for the U.S.A. I’m struck with one word to describe their platform, Ambiguous, which means- open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations. There is no clear cut demonstration of a platform that fits the Republican strategy as a whole. There is no one voice to clarify the unity of the party. From what I see, this will probably continue for many voting cycles to come. These guys are awfully arrogant for a party that has been in shambles for the better part of 16 years.

Let me make my position very clear, I vote for the best candidate for the job, whether local, statewide or a national office. When I served in the military I voted Republican for the most part because they made sure we had the best equipment, benefits and we received frequent raises. When I became a community advocate I tended to vote Democrat because they had a better grasp of what it took to improve inner city communities. Now you may have a different position about what I just stated and that’s fine, after all we are Americans and we have a right to voice our opinion. It seems these groups of candidates are afraid of public opinion or they don’t care to consider public opinion which Mr. Trump has become the poster child for this way of thinking.

I’m no political scientist, but my gosh, these folks need counseling. America is the great melting pot of cultures; at least we are supposed to be. Everyone has a right to be whom he or she chooses to be as long as you do not harm your neighbor in the process. I thought we all wanted the same things in life. Good neighborhoods to raise a family, great schools to send our kids to, a clean earth to leave to future generations, homeownership, world peace and everything else that’s good, pure and wholesome. That’s not true because of greed, violent nature and bigotry that some men want to hold as their virtues.

Vote for the best candidate and support their agenda and build a better America thus we build a better world community.

Selma and American Sniper

I recently saw the movies, Selma and American Sniper. I thought both movies captured the essence of the director’s intentions. Whether they were historically correct, I don’t know but there is much debate in the media at this time which I do not have a problem with. Why do I not have a problem with these debates? It’s American to discuss the nuances and nature of a thing, or a process or a system or just a new and better way of doing mundane and ordinary things. Not to question or discuss topics of any relevance is communist or dictatorship in nature to me!
Selma captured the struggle of a people within a nation that did not love or appreciate their contribution or humanity. What a story to try to capture in 2 hours of theater! And might I add the struggle continues. If you do not believe so you are misguided and/or plain ignorant concerning the world around you.
American Sniper captured the reason why we veterans serve our country in a military or defense capacity. It’s about love of country and family but much deeper than that; it’s about the men and women who serve next to you with courage, character, pride and dignity and mind you, some of those people in Selma served with great distinction from the Revolutionary war until today!
I love both movies and recommend you go see them. I also saw the Imitation Game recently and thought, this great mathematician changed the course of world history yet he was not celebrated until 2013. Why did it take so long? The answer is simple yet complicated; because he was homosexual. Ridiculous! He was a human being and he invented the 1st computer and he saved England and the world’s ass from Nazi domination.
What will I see next? I’m online looking now, so I will see you at the movie theater soon my friends.

Murder is NEVER Ok

“Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” Charles M. Shulz

In light of all the events taking place in the world let me add my take on the situation if I may. Life is precious! You have heard the saying, “We have but one life to live” which further accentuates my statement that life is precious. When we take life we snub out that person’s ability to grow, change and contribute to this world. How many people have made terrible mistakes but yet contributed much to the world? I think of people like Malcom X and Ted Kennedy as they made horrific mistakes in life when they were young but made amends later in life. Of course one went to jail and the other suffered no ill affect because of his economic and racial status. Which brings us to another factor that must be addressed; Minorities have added much to the USA and the world community in terms of intellectual property, manpower, artistic and cultural impacts are evident in all aspects of life. In music, fashion, technology etc., our footprint is felt and emulated. Those who are disenfranchised are more disproportionately left behind and are more likely to be murdered before they can catch up or hit the curve ball that life has dealt them. I’m not making excuses because I overcame many obstacles in life yet I’m making my contribution to this world before I leave it and hopefully not via the murder route.
A change in attitude is where the thrust of any effort must come from. First Lady Michelle Obama said it best, “We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean… and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.” Operative word being respect, the police need to respect our communities and our communities need to respect the police. The police in South Central Los Angeles implemented a community program to cross the divide and be a part of the community as opposed to an untrusted adversary. By using the means of sports with police officers coaching the young boys and girls in the communities they swore to “serve and protect”, change is taking place at a rapid rate in South Central Los Angeles. Crime is down more than ever, the community is helping the police identify perpetrators now and the officers feel a sense of connection to the communities they serve. Life is precious man! Let’s figure it out together and don’t tell me it can’t be done for my reply will be some people may not want to see it happen but all it takes is a few to ignite the flame of change.
“He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool. Shun him. He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is ignorant. Teach him. He who knows, and knows that he knows, is a wise man. Follow him. He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep. Wake him.” 12th century Arabic saying

I Noticed Him

How does one notice God? God is everywhere. God is everything. I was speaking with my cousin Alecia recently and in the course of conversation she said, “God will bring me to a land flowing with milk and honey.” She was referring to herself, but an explosion took place in my heart. God was saying to me in that statement, “I’m still here, ever present and wanting to and in fact needing to bless you!”
I began to think of how He has led me, corrected me, supported me and loved me throughout my lifetime! Why would I need to notice Him at this juncture in my life? Because I have gone about my daily rumblings and faintly remembering to acknowledge His Goodness. What a commentary this has become; I was His man, His trusted servant, His adopted son, but something happened to separate me to the point where I need to now Notice Him again.
I would pray every morning and that prayer would go a little like this; “Father I thank You that my family, my friends, my colleagues, my neighbors and my church walks in the redemptive work of Christ, Divine Healing, Divine Protection, Divine Deliverance and Divine Prosperity.” I can remember appreciating the singing birds, the rivers near my home and office and the awesomeness of knowing Him. There is a scripture in the Old Testament or Hebrew Canon that says, “The children of Israel knew His acts but Moses knew His ways.” I dare you to find and meditate on that text! I knew Him. Most people know of Him, but bless The Lord, I knew Him! Wait, I know Him.
Do not overlook and neglect those gifts He has placed in your mist. The friends, family, significant other, job, home, transportation, education etc., are all gifts He has given us and there should be no need to Notice Him for He should be central to our existence.
Love ya,

Devin