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Jesse Williams: Freedom Now

On Sunday, June 26, Jesse Williams received the 2016 BET Humanitarian Award. He gave a powerful acceptance speech that is an on-point statement highlighting racial inequality in America today. It’s ironic that it was given in a room full of entertainers, one of which was posturing with a thick gold chain while pointing to the brand on his shirt right before Jesse called out the culture of selling ourselves for brands after praying and working for centuries to escape being branded.

“This award is not for me. This is for the real organizers across the country: the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. Right? It’s kind of basic mathematics. The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.”

“There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There’s no job we haven’t done. There’s no tax they haven’t levied against us. And we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. You’re free – they keep telling us. But… she…she would have been alive had she not acted so… free. Freedom is always coming in the hereafter. But, you know what though? The hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.”

“The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job. Stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance… for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for Black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.”

“The thing is though, just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.”

~ Jesse Williams

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Note to self: Legacy of today.

Legacy of today.

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacies lately. Life seems to be a waste without someone to share it with and even more so when there’s no one to benefit from your efforts when you’re gone. Sort of makes you want to throw your hands up in the air and stop working. Luckily, that feeling forces you to focus more on today… even if only to avoid being depressed while thinking about an empty, distant tomorrow. What can I do today to enrich others? What can I share with the people I encounter today? 

Photo: The Decision by Lisa Richelle (2014)
Photo: The Decision by Lisa Richelle (2014)
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Choose today…

Every morning you wake up, each day you live on, will be marked by the choices you make.

Every choice you make identifies your master. Everything you do points to your passion. What’s driving you will show in the choices you make.

All your todays add up to all your tomorrows. If you choose something today that you don’t want for your tomorrow, just remember the choice was, is and will always be yours. So… be intentional about what you think about today. Be purposeful about what you do today.

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Right behind you…

The ability to dream bigger, rise higher, advance further, break down more barriers, become more in your own right with each successive generation — that’s what the push forward and the firm standing is for. Today’s fight is never for today; today is already done. The fight is for tomorrow – for our children, and their freedom to live according to their individual destinies instead of the dictates of others.

Today’s lesson: Keep moving forward. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. The next generation is close behind you – jumping from one of your foot prints to the next and gazing up at you as a benchmark for all they aspire to be. You have already made an impact; what you do next will determine how much greater your impact will be.

Get up and get to it, people!

Video: President Obama thanking his campaigners in Chicago after his reelection.

“I’m Really Proud of All of You.”

by “Thank you. This is your victory.”

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Your Life is Your Ministry

The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:2-3  

I have heard many people claim that they are going to do this or that when they clean themselves up, get themselves right. They’ll focus on God when they stop clubbing or have had enough of the promiscuous lifestyle. They’ll forgive someone… eventually… they just have to keep praying about it. They’ll commit as soon as they get the job or the raise they’re waiting on. They will love people as soon as people love them.

I’m sure you’ve heard many variations of this theme. And to all of those excuses and the ones waiting to be spoken, I say – Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. In 2 Corinthians 6:2 we are told:

For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

So… just do it!

Bust a move and build on your good, life-giving thoughts.

A Lifestyle Example in the Workplace

“You are the light of the world…. [L]et your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:14, 16

My last performance evaluation was eye-opening for me. You may not think of your job as the appropriate place to let the light of God shine through, but I will tell you anywhere your body goes (or your presence is seen or felt) is an appropriate place for God’s light to shine through you.

Last year was a very rocky year for me in some respects, but apparently it didn’t show in my day to day interactions.

Here are some remarks my manager wrote about me in my annual review:

LaShawnda performs her day-to-day duties in a superior manner. She exercises good judgment about priorities. She functions very independently, but seeks guidance when appropriate. She asks questions and applies what she learns to her daily work.

She is well-organized and always pleasant, cheerful, and professional in her dealings with others, and has built many constructive relationships [in the company]. She is a great ambassador for me and our group.

LaShawnda is service-oriented. She works extremely well with others, whether she is in charge or taking direction.

She understands the importance of corporate rules and policies and ensures that this office follows them.

LaShawnda has initiative and persistence. She is a person of integrity and can be relied on to be direct and forthright about problems, complications, errors, and other “bad news” as well as good. She takes responsibility for her performance in the fullest sense.

She is flexible and adaptable, and she is always open to new challenges. If she promises to do something, she always follows through. I love that she comes to work with her brain turned on.

She is an intelligent, enthusiastic, hard-working, conscientious, and creative partner in the workings of my office. She is considerate of my work style and sensitive to times when I need to be left alone to focus on something, but she is also a lot of fun!

She wrote much more, but these are some of the comments that mirror Kingdom principles to me. She deserved an on-the-record response for recording such an evaluation of my character and conduct. In the first part of my response, I spoke as a citizen of God’s Kingdom. “I truly enjoy the role of ‘helper’ – it is a pleasure working in a role where performing well means I must assist others and maintain good relationships with them.”

That’s my life in a nutshell. I’m here to help. I’m here to serve. And it doesn’t matter if I’m giving orders or taking orders, my responsibilities are going to be the same: love people/treat them well, let my light shine, speak truth/be freed by it, do everything as I am doing it for the Lord, declare what the Lord has done for me and rejoice always.

People will know you by your fruit and you drop seeds with every interaction you have.

God has transformed and blessed you so that you may be a blessing to others.

 We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Scripture references:
Psalm 118:17, 24
Mark 12:29-31
Matthew 5:14-16
Ephesians 4:15
John 8:32
Colossians 3:23
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Philippians 4:4-7

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Video: This Time by John Legend

I’m posting within an hour of hearing this song – it was so powerful to me.

I’m trying to get up and clean, but in the middle of my quiet, slow Saturday, I start surfing channels and stopped on BET to watch their showing of back-to-backs of “The Game,” a TV series about a fictional football team and some of the relationships a few of the players were involved in. I’ve seen the show a few times over the years, but today I landed on the last three episodes of the series, which aired last year. The last fifteen minutes of the last episode had me sobbing ridiculously and perhaps I cried for fifteen minutes after the show went off – during which time, I rewound my TV to replay the last ten minutes. Then I went to YouTube to find the song that turned me into a water fountain. {I’m posting the video that features photos of the actors in The Game.}


After numerous replays of This Time by John Legend, I noticed on the sidebar that one of the main characters of The Game, Tia Mowry (Melanie in the show) was featured in videos titled Tia and Cory’s wedding. I clicked on a couple and realized that Tia Mowry married her real-life love a year before the show finale. But what continued to choke me up was the song accompanying one of her videos – Jesus is Love by the Commodores. It was almost like God Himself reached out to console me during my outpouring….