A few months ago, I did an Ancestry DNA test. Now for the first time, I have the names of African countries where my ancestors came from: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Mali, Benin, Togo, Senegal. It’s an amazing feeling to have that information.
In direct opposition to that feeling, each day Donald Trump’s increasingly racist comments are an assault on my mind and soul. He is morally repugnant. Ignorant and hateful. I condemn him and all that he represents.
The most recent abhorrent statements by Trump referred to Haiti and African countries in general as “s***hole” countries. The context of these statements were in regards to immigration policy. He then went on to say that he’d prefer that people come to the United States from countries like Norway.
Many have since denounced his comments. The Government of Botswana issued a statement asking if they are considered one of those countries and further stating that they “view the utterances by the current American President as highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist.”
The African Group of Ambassadors to the United Nations met in an emergency session yesterday to consider Trump’s remarks. They issued a statement demanding a retraction and an apology.
Among other things, they said they are “extremely appalled at, and strongly condemns the outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks attributed to the President” and further stated that they are “concerned at the continuing and growing trend from the US Administration towards Africa and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of colour.”
In the wake of all of this, there are a few things that I would like to state.
There are 54 countries in the African continent.
The birthplace of human kind is in Africa.
In September 2017 at the United Nations General Assembly, Trump stated, “Africa has tremendous business potential, I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you, they’re spending a lot of money. It has tremendous business potential, representing huge amounts of different markets. … It’s really become a place they have to go, that they want to go.”
Donald Trump Jr. has a history of visiting Africa to kill wildlife.
The conversation around Trump’s comments has degenerated into talking about “s***hole” countries that people have left to come to the United States. I hate the focus on that word.
Instead, I wish the conversation would elevate to how the Continent is rich with resources and beauty that everyone wants.
Further, the people from this magnificent continent make-up the African Diaspora, who have shown unshakeable resilience and bravery in the face of terror and horror over centuries and brought beauty and culture throughout the world.
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Image: Public Radio International
But I absolutely believe there are specific moments in this movement. Oprah Winfrey’s speech last night was one of them. It was part teaching moment, part rallying cry, celebration, gratitude and memories.
It was everything. It was so much that I don’t think any of us really know what it was. Yet.
It was the type of speech that needs to be read multiple times [here is the text] watched repeatedly, studied and looked back on.
In the future, when we look back on it, maybe we will understand the nuances based on what comes after. My blog has given me many gifts. One is the gift of perspective. I can look back and see myself growing and changing through my writing. This is why I keep blogging.
I can also see changes beyond me. Changes where I live, in this country and the world. Only time let’s us see things from a distance, along with keeping a written record of the present.
Part of the beauty of this speech is the way that Oprah speaks. It’s not just that Oprah is giving you a car. It’s how she says, “You get a car! You get a car!”
Merely reading the words doesn’t do the speech justice. The same words gather energy and intention based on her inflections.
These two passages below resonated the strongest with me. And I think with the audience as well. Seeing peoples’ reactions was just as powerful. Oprah truly moved the crowd. And a nation.
For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men, but their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up. …
I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who have withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon.
After this speech, many have said that Oprah will run for President in 2020. People love the hype of speculation and jump to conclusions over anything she does. I hope that she would want some government experience first. At least a run for Senate.
And to be truly honest, I have been very disheartened by her lack of speaking out against Trump. The last that I heard her mention about him was right after the election, when she said that we should give him a chance. That was like a punch in the gut. I was shocked.
The #MeToo movement reminds me that we don’t really know the stars that we admire. They are just people who happen to be famous. It’s hard, because their art can inspire so much emotion. Nobody should be put on a pedestal.
I have admired Oprah for decades. She’s only human too. People we love and admire will eventually disappoint us. Nobody is perfect.
So I cannot speculate about what Oprah will do next. All is know for sure is that her speech last night was a moment to remember.
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Last night I walked home from the train like most days. It was probably the coldest temperature I’ve ever felt. My face hurt. It took hours to warm up and I kept shivering.
Between that walk and shoveling out my car in the morning, I’ve caught a cold. So this weekend I’m resting and trying to get my strength back.
Even though this winter is far from over, I’m looking forward to a warm-up that’s supposed to be here by Tuesday. Yay for the January thaw!
Also, the sunsets are getting later. More sunlight each day. I’ll take it.
Happy weekend to you!
On this last day of the year, it seems like the perfect time to share one of my favorite television series with you. There’s something magical about moving from one year to the next in the span of one second. And the magic in this series is time travel. One of my favorite things!
I watched Nine: Nine Time Travels over a period of a few weeks. It’s dramatic, mysterious, fun, heart-wrenching, romantic and surprising. I looked forward to watching it each day and hated for it to end. I really loved this show.
The science fiction/romance series is about a man who finds nine magical incense sticks that allow him to travel 20 years back in time. He attempts to keep his family safe in order to change the world he lives in today. However, this is not without consequences as his actions in the past affects the lives of many in the present, including his.
As a fan of time travel, it’s always interesting to see the device chosen to facilitate the travels. The use of incense was very different than most, because it’s so relatable for me. Sometimes I’ll combine it with candles when I meditate. I love the smell. There’s something very calming about it — watching the smoke floating and knowing that it will burn itself out. The time component of the way incense burns is a key element of the story.
The lead character is a news anchor named Park Sun-woo who is able to travel back exactly 20 years to the day. So with each day that passes, he can go back to a different day in order to solve a mystery. The show is quite a ride! The twists and turns!
I hated when the show was over, but there is some good news. For the future. According to a 2013 article, actress Yunjin Kim, known from the shows Lost and Mistresses, is working with ABC on a show based on the series. She will be one of the executive producers of the show.
Since it’s now going on five years since that article, I’m not sure the status of the show, but it’s something to keep an eye out for.
This is the last that I’ll be here for 2017. See ya in 2018!
Happy New Year!
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