Armor Up and My Brothers 3

I’ve been realizing lately that I need to armor up.  I need to work hard not to absorb or believe the messages I’m being fed via the media. 

  • I am not too busy to cook a meal from scratch.

  • I do not have restless leg syndrome or a dozen other maladies or symptoms being suggested to me daily on television.

  • Life does not suck although it can be sucky some times.

  • There are people, strangers even, that I can trust.

  • Money is not the only measure of success. 

  • I am not dying of everything or having worse outcomes just because I’m Black. 

Everybody dies.  To be human is to die, to transform to heaven or into the atmosphere and back to the earth.  An untenable rule of nature is that everything disintegrates, dies, transforms.  Unfortunately, there were scientists – you know who they were and what value system they came from – that went against this rule and created things that were indestructible, that do not become one with the earth and air and nurture new life thereby continuing the life cycle.  Plastics…nuclear waste…Teflon…with us forever and all unnecessary.  (Certainly not all scientists act unethically or do not care more for profit than for benefit, but too many have.)

Aretha sang, “You better think, think about what you’re trying to do to me.”  I would say this to the media – “what are you trying to do to us?”  Is the goal to make us unhappy, paranoid, distrustful of the world?  As a Black person, should I just give up, let go, throw my hands up in despair?

What I want to know is: 

Who laughed today?  Who went to work and did their job efficiently and pleasantly?  Who built something today?  Who played with their children?  Who wrote a new song, cooked a favorite meal, or volunteered and helped somebody?  What Black man was a great father/husband/uncle/friend today?  What Black men are working to make their dreams happen?  What Black boy made an A today, turned in his paper, tutored a kid, led his team to victory today? 

My brothers are under siege, left out of the picture, and written about negatively in screaming headlines every single day.  I keep them in prayer and love, support and encourage the ones that are in my life. 

For the past two weeks, I’ve been reading all the books by a brother-man named Eddy Harris.  He is an adventurer who takes off on solo trips like canoing down the Mississippi River.  He writes about his experiences and about being a Black man (and a loner) eloquently, thoughtfully and profoundly.  South of Haunted Dreams is a must read.  The books are out-of-print but I’ve gotten them all from the library (thank goodness we have public libraries where so much wisdom is available for free!) and have three more to read.

I was tremendously  blessed  yesterday to hear Rick Lowe of Project Row Houses speak with his colleagues about the profound cultural, artistic and community achievement that PRH is.  He accomplished something that is providing inspiration not only for people all over the world but for the people in the Third Ward (Houston) Texas.  Using his artist’s eye, his southern sense of family and service, and his creativity he worked collaboratively with other artists, community members, and a supportive cast of others to create and continue to develop something magical.  Check it out at  PRH is at a crucial stage of development where it has become an institution and has wisely begun to build the infrastructure to make that happen.   (A shout-out to Cheryl Bowmer who is the ED of PRH and is carrying on that part of the work.)  Visit the website and check out the movie. 
Oh, and Rick’s inspiration for the possibilities of the row houses came from none other than the master artist, John Biggers.  Mr. Biggers beautiful paintings of row houses and their iconic comfort and importance to Southern Black people are unsurpassed.

God bless everyone – no exceptions!

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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