“I’m Not Racist, but . . .”

Enough stop racism

I grew up racist. I didn’t understand why. It took me well into adulthood to figure that out. My parents were good people. They raised their children with values. They never talked badly about the black people in our town. We also had some Italians and I heard other people call them Wops and Puerto Ricans were called Spics. There were no Hispanics. No Mexican food. Not even a taco. Looking back I can see that segregation and the lack of blacks and whites mixing socially caused my racism. I was scared to death of black people and there was no one who talked to anyone about this divide.

I grew up in Pa in the 50’s thru the early 70’s then left to go to school. My town had a clear line and white families lived on one side and black families on the other. I learned many years ago that black families couldn’t secure home loans on my side of the line. I remember hearing if a black family were to move into the neighborhood property values would go down because those people don’t take care of their homes and would trash them. “Just take a look at how they live.” But they didn’t own the homes they lived in. They rented from white landlords who felt little need to keep their properties in good shape. They had approval from the government.

I read an article on Moorbay’s Blog, about the fairly recent history of the last 100 years of housing segregation that forced black families to live in substandard housing. Read this article for yourself and learn. It caused me to respond with this post.

I came from a lower income family who didn’t live in the best part of town. My parents worked hard to provide a good home. There was an empty I’ve cream factory across the street and a big park a half block away. Often in the summer black children wanted to play at the park and had to walk through white neighborhoods to get there. They walked down my street. Not my side of the street but stayed close to the factory. They were as scared of us as we were of them. We didn’t call to each or attempt to make friends.  I had never touched a black person and wondered if their skin felt like mine. I wanted to feel their hair. There was no effort to bring the people together. When I say, no effort, I mean absolutely none, ever.

Today many white parents are raising their children to be racist. Maybe not overtly, but by comments inserted into conversations that put white people on a rung that black people don’t deserve, so white kids learn in subtle ways that they are better than others. These kids grow up saying things like, “I’m not a racist, but . . .” and go on to say something disparaging about that race, be it black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Guatamalen, Honduran and many more. White is superior in their minds.

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Today these kids are recruited on college campuses. Kids repeat what they hear and some become violent adults, like shooting at a teenager who knocked on your door for directions, and the man was a retired firefighter who saved people. A man who lied and said his gun went off accidentally. He couldn’t take responsibility for his actions.

After all this time how can this racism be continually perpetuated and not understood it is wrong. Everyone is human. No one is a superior human. Humanity comes from inside. It doesn’t come from skin color. We all know this so why do we continue to say, “I’m not racist, but . . .”

Since Trump, the rise of hate crimes has become staggering. People can openly hate now and the President of this country has called them ‘good people’ and mocks people of color. They use his show of support at their white nationalist rallies. Any race other than white is disgusting and inferior to this deeply flawed man. White people all over America are sucking it up like babies to a breast. It is nauseating to me.

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Last night my ten year old granddaughter needing a shower said, “At least I don’t smell like a Mexican.” That quickly got my attention. We had talked before about racism and racist comments but she had trouble understanding how she had slandered an entire race of people with her remark. Mexicans stink. “I didn’t mean that!” she said. I told her, “Maybe not, but that is what you said.”

My son works at a boat marina. Hot, sweaty, dirty, smelly work; a mixed race of workers. They joke among themselves calling each other names. They know they’re joking in good nature. My granddaughter overheard. She wasn’t trying to be disparaging but needed to learn if she used that among school friends how wrong it was to say that.

So many of today’s children are rude, undisciplined, smart mouthed and think they have a right to backtalk and argue and cuss at you. It is what they learn at home. Many parents are not teaching their children right from wrong. New racists of all ages are being raised thinking white people should be dominant – because their parents taught them that. I fear it will get much worse.

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Two years ago, Antwon Rose wrote “I understand people believe I’m just a statistic/ I say to them I’m different” in a poem about the disproportionate and unjustified shooting of African Americans. Yet, last Tuesday, Rose’s country failed him by making him yet another statistic of unwarranted and horrifying police brutality. The seventeen-year-old high […]

I felt the need to share this on my blog because it underscores what has been allowed to happen to this nation that still has the audacity to fling the words “democracy”. “freedom”. “Christian nation” along with “Make America Great Again” which means “Make America white” for the first time and if you don’t like it we’ll kill you and get away with it because white people are better than others – which proves white people are not. 

How did we get to this place? What happened to the Christian religion that now allows so many to think that Christianity is synonymous with controlling other lives to the point that murder is okay because it is just another black kid.

Why is it so difficult to make people be accountable for their actions? It seems to be easy to make people accountable if they can’t afford an attorney – even if they are innocent, but those so blatantly guilty, from the highest political office, down through prosecutors and judges who bend the law to the breaking point, down through murderous cops – and prison guards, down to pedophile priests. Why? Why do they not have to pay the consequences for their actions? 

Individual citizens are not allowing this. We can’tmini stop it except by voting when we can. But we can’t make them take their punishment. They let themselves off the hook. They pardon themselves as our current US President says he has the right to do. What a horrible thing for him to say. Paraphrasing, “I can commit any crime I want and you can’t stop me!”

America has gone sour. Too many of it’s people have become rotten like overripe garbage. Too many are beginning to enjoy the titillation of hate and are determined to follow this pied piper who enjoys hurting others he thinks aren’t worthy, no matter how much harm it causes. It is justified as long as they are a person of color.

This young man was shot in the back. There will be many more coming with their murderer saying, “I don’t know why I shot him.” The reason is simple. He shot him because he was running for his life and because he was black. He didn’t have the experience and maturity to come to any other conclusion. But many other cops would have shot him, too. He had to be guilty. He was running. Running for his life, which he lost anyway.

Now a young man’s life, and all he could be is over. Dead. I cry for him. I cry for what my country has become. I am ashamed.

via The Brutal Shooting of Antwon Rose —

Why America Needs a Slavery Museum

 

 

man's hands in handcuffsDoes America need a slavery museum? ( video at the bottom of the page) Do the people still not understand what happened – what is still happening? Apparently not enough – white people – because black people understand it quite well.

For ten years I have devoted my life to understanding racism and everything that the word means. It has stained America almost from its beginning. What gives any man the right to own and abuse human beings. The white children of that time were raised to believe they had that right to offset the guilt of their parents, who needed to believe they had the right to enslave people and they needed their children to believe it, too. Each generation taught the next. Their wealth and/or stature could only be passed on if parents could keep that belief going through the generations. It was, and is still, obscene. It didn’t matter that these fine upstanding white people professed to also be Christian.

Politicians who continue to this day to enslave the black man for their profit and to continue to believe in their superiority, they suppress their ability to get an education, while screaming loudly they are such fine Christians. They would like to use the bible as their rule of law, but only if it can be applied to kj them as superior, turning Christianity into a farce.

Today, in the prisons, using the 13th amendment from the time it was added, to legally enslave black people, it amazes me that our politicians, our Christian Politicians, continue with propaganda to sway people into believing black people need to be enslaved because they are dangerous and stupid and need to be controlled to keep America safe.

We know it’s not true. Anyone who doesn’t is ignorant.

While in prison Jamie has been beaten, medical care denied, locked up in a tiny cell deprived of human friendship, deprived of the warmth of human contact, deprived of an education for the sole purpose of making it difficult for him to survive when he gets out. Because they have denied him getting out of adseg for years he is not able to study for even his GED except for my providing a book. Will that get him a job when he is released in four years at the age of 39? Would he qualify for parole? Slaves were beaten if caught learning how to read and write. Keep a slave uneducated and they will always feel inferior.

Why would the prison and the corporations that control them do this? It is the same mentality of the slave owning plantations – to profit off a race of people they have determined to be inferior. The sick thing – in my own family, half my grandchildren are supposedly superior while the other half are inferior and will be subjected to the same harsh racism we see in the media today. From killings to being deprived service in a store. How can that be when they all come from me?

Do white people NEED to feel superior today, or is it inbred into their genes by now. I don’t understand why any person NEEDS to feel superior. Is it ::) already too late?

We DO NOT benefit from having a president whose ego is out of hand and thinks he is better than anyone at everything he does.  He has brought racism further into the light. He needs to be condemned for further ripping this country apart with our permission, because too many in this country turn a blind eye.

Slavery by incarceration needs to end.

 

 

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Ghosts in My Head – YouTube Video

 

This is the latest music video I have produced for my upcoming book “Inside The Forbidden Outside,” based on the life of Jamie Cummings and his years in prison. I sincerely hope you like it and subscribe to the channel. these numbers are very important for the success of the book.

So far he has completed more than twelve years out of seventeen, bouncing around to eight different prisons from one end of Texas to the other. He will be nearly 40 when he gets out. Unless I can raise the money to hire a parole attorney he stands little chance of making parole. Inmates are not allowed to be present for parole hearings. Their files are looked and a decision is made – almost always denied. What is in that file?  I intend to find out.

It is a tragic story and not an uncommon one. The prison system attempts to suck the life out of anyone it can get its hands on to increase the wealth of the corporations that run them. They make that profit by denying them the very things they tell the world they provide. They do that with smiling faces on their websites.

Horrible food, withholding medications and treatment for illness that do not have to cause death, but will if they aren’t treated. These are only a few of the inhumane things they do to abuse the people – the human beings – they are in charge of. They keep many, a higher percentage of black to white, in a classification called adseg or G5. When they are kept there it is very difficult to get out get their classification raised for years and even decades. These inmates are denied any form of education, even a GED, knowing when they get they will be unable to support themselves and society will not welcome them. Many in society say they deserve anything that is done to them – but do they? 97% of all arrests never make it to court and are forced to take guilty plea deals whether they are guilty or not by threatening them with added charges.  A 20 year plea deal can easily become a 65 year sentence for someone not guilty of what they are charged with.  But the public assumes they are guilty. They are black aren’t they? Much of society thinks being black is a crime itself, so lock them up.

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Ghosts in My Head is music for the chapter when the conversations he has with the woman in the letters crosses over from reality to fantasy and he is no longer alone in his cell. 

I hope you subscribe to the newsletter below so you won’t miss updates as the book gets closer to completion. Writing a soundtrack to read by is a bit unusual for a book and this music was written for him and the emotional roller coaster ride the last twelve years have been. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support.

 

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Destroying Human Life in Prison For Profit

illegal immigrant inmates, prison inmates

Do You Think Destroying The Lives of Prison Inmates Doesn’t Affect you?

Because I often receive negative comments about inmates – that they deserve every horrible thing the prisons do to them, you need to understand the impact on society. Almost all inmates will be released.

The quality of their lives affects society. So many people swallow the propaganda just like the government wants you to. Many people are less able today to think for themselves.

Some people think if they aren’t doing anything wrong the prison system doesn’t impact their lives. For that reason these people only read sensational headlines telling you inmates are dangerous criminals who need to be punished. Parents are often needlessly locked up for the entire childhoods of their children, making them unable to be a parent and their children with harder lives to bear. How many were un necessary? How many simply because they are black? Or Hispanic? Or anyone not Caucasian?

What good does it do to lock someone up for decades with fabricated evidence? And yes, the criminal “justice” system does that. Do you approve? Do you look the other way?  There are too many racists in this country, including our president. When you look at the fact that there are less Blacks in the US than Whites, there should be more white people in prison. Blacks do not commit more crimes or do more drugs than whites. That has been proven – over and over.

Since blacks and minorities are punished harder, the children in these families are severely affected by poverty and substandard education. Do you think that is fair? Their lives and later their children’s lives are affected while racism continues. Does that matter to you? This information isn’t new. Do you quietly turn your face away because after all they aren’t white? Do you speak up for those with no voice?

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A large percentage of people skim headlines without reading the articles and form opinions from that. Taking the time to read about a issue instead of being told what to believe by a newscaster is happening less and less.

Prisons and the corporations who profit from them do everything they can to keep your support – and your ignorance. Just like the tobacco companies tried so hard to convince you smoking wasn’t harmful, to get more people addicted and their profits rolling in. Propaganda you hear is meant to steer you into a precise mind frame.

People wrongly put in prison or given overly long sentences is done to create profit, not rehabilitation. This is wrong for a country that tries to convince itself it is a Christian nation. It makes me angry when some holier than thou comment is made by our leaders and politicians as they lie and cheat their way into wealth for their own kind not caring who they hurt. This is what I see today. It is shameful.

When I read what some people think about the way inmates are treated and that it should be worse, it makes me realize how little they actually know. What knowledge they have is spoonfed to them in soundbites.

They think they are safe. They wouldn’t commit a crime. Wake up. Many of the so – called criminals didn’t commit one, either. We would be closing down prisons if those people were freed, but the profit-motivated corporations couldn’t have that, could they? Does that bother you at all? Why do we have an average of 700 people per 100,000 when other countries are often in the 140-200. Why are Americans more often locked up? Are Americans more prone to being criminals, or is there too much profit in locking up citizens? Are they really guilty? Or are they money makers.

Even when it is proven an inmate is innocent the prisons and local government do everything they can to prevent them from being released. When a child is given life with no parole how does that help anyone? If they manage to get released after decades, is their life is in tatters becaus they have no life experiences to learn from? Does that make it better for you? Or him? Does that life matter as much as an unborn child? Can anyone answer that?

Many inmates are sick when they are released. They didn’t receive proper care for most medical conditions. They often lose decades of their life because the medical corporations don’t provide adequate healthcare. It hurts their profit. How does that affect you? Any part of our life that is taken over by corporations hurts us.

Chronic conditions worsen and mental care isn’t addressed properly. Inmates often aren’t given meds they were on when they arrive let alone for treatment caused by inhumane treatment. Those who suffer mental illness aren’t diagnosed and often left to die. Most inmates are released to the street with only a 30 day supply of any meds they were given, with no clear way to get more. Those who are released who need medical care can’t get it. If they are on the street they are locked up again. This often increases crime in the neighborhoods. It also increases trips to the ER which drives up medical costs for everyone.

Kids are being funneled into the school to prison pipeline at an alarming rate, in the hopes they will later fill a bed in an adult prison. The government has contracts with the prison corporations guaranteeing the prisons stay full or they have to pay them for empty beds. So increasing “crimes” to lock up people is the only thing that makes sense to the current Attorney General.

Why should the schools waste money on guidance counsellors, who rarely exist anymore except in high dollar neighborhoods, where many of the girls have eating disorders so the have prettier collar bones sticking out. They’d rather employ cops instead, to stand guard at the schools where at- risk kids go.

In many cases there is no more detention or being sent to the office. Children don’t see guidance counselors when they fall behind. Instead, kids get sent to juvenile detention. Education is extremely hard to get and when and if they are leased they have lost the social skills they need and are behind academically.

Most inmates come from foster care. They often end up committing the crimes they learned from boys who are older. Released into society these boys will utilise what the old timers taught them to survive. Could these kids have been saved? Many could have been if people cared have as much as they Do about abortion.

Prisons, and the human beings kept there are everyone’s responsibility. Changing the laws that create this is important.

 

 

Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga

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Source: evolutiontale.com

An article about Ota Benga was published by Push Black. In order to change the future we need to understand our past. This website educates people about black history, much of which is not taught in school. Children grow up not understanding the accomplishments in black history because only the white version of white history is taught in schools controlled by white educators concerned only wish pushing the white agenda as well as closing black public schools.

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The title of this article is also the title of a book you can purchase at Amazon about the kidnapping and exploitation of a Pygmy from the Congo.

The white man believes the color of his skin makes him a superior species. Believing that makes him better than other human beings has enabled him to do despicable things because he feels entitled. Exploiting others for profit only seems reasonable. This thought holds true for many white people today. But greed is not a quality of greatness. It is indeed the root of all evil.

Having money and influence has allowed the abuse of black and minorities races. Because you have the means to enslave other humans doesn’t make you superior. It makes you inferior.

A large percentage of the political white race also declares itself to be Christian and uses the religion as a means of control and justifies the laws they pass to benefit themselves as a right they have because they are white. It is heinous because there is nothing Christian behind their motivations.

Since we invaded America and set out to destroy the indigenous people who lived here, calling them savages because their way of life was different from Europe. European explorers wanted the land. They felt so entitled to take what wasn’t theirs they believed they had “discovered” the land. They set out to kill everyone already here and has continued to take the land given to the remaining people in treaties because they have exhausted the rest of the country of resources.

The land has been polluted with chemicals, mountaintops removed for coal, waters polluted by corporations dumping poisons, gases released by fracking, oil spoiled by faulty pipelines. Now they want the land given to American Indians. They threaten force to take what isn’t theirs to take. They want to drill for resources on their land. They need it now and have the power to take it. The so- called Christians continue to destroy “in the name of God” through force. Nothing has changed to this day.                                                  

At Amazon you can read an excerpt of the story about Ota Benga for free. It is an ugly part of the rise of Greater New York City in the early 19th century. They incarcerated and profited from this man, this human being, because he was different. His depression led to suicide.

He had been hunting in the Conga and returned home to find his wife and children slaughtered. He was captured, brought to America and put on display at the new Monkey House at Bronx Zoo. He was pointed at while people laughed. Did he have to urinate and defecate while people watched? He had to be grieving the loss of his family. Ota Benga’s way of life was not that of America but it was the way of his people. Does that mean it is okay to put him on display? Is it conceivable to put white people on display and treated as animals? Would that anger the white race?

We can only change the future if we learn from the past. If we don’t, we continue making the same mistakes in our treatment of humanity. My continued writing about prisons is an example of exploiting blacks and minorities for profit. As a white woman I am ashamed of what my race is doing and ashamed of those in our government who know what is happening yet are complicent in turning a blind eye. They, too, profit from the money given by prison corporations for their political campaigns. They are then beholden to vote for laws that increases these corporation’s profit by incarcerating a greater number of black people, minorities and immigrants while continuing to plant the seed with Americans that black people are inferior.

Many white people have a deep rooted need to feel they are a superior race. Watching the rise of white nationalism through the KKK and being told by the president that these are good people has confused the younger generation into believe it’s true. Lack of education means they aren’t learning from the past.

Many of those incarcerated have committed no crimes. Many have drastically increased punishment when compared to the incarceration of white people, yet no one is willing to level the playing field. Why is that so? Who benefits from this?

We can’t change what happened in the past but it doesn’t appear that we learned from it, does it?

 

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The Missing Verse of the Star Spangled Banner

Black soldiers fought with the British for teir freedom. Wouldn’t you? The Promised they would not be forced to be returned to the owners – as if people owning people was ever okay. Even as late as last year, Republican politicians in the south were trying to change the school history books, rewriting history, promoting the fallacy that slaves really had it pretty good. Well fed and dressed. They forgot about the raped, beatings and selling family members and never seeing them again.

This weekend, my mother was visiting and was reading a book history book titled “Mirrors”. She was shocked to realize that slavery in America lasted over 400 years. She didn’t know.

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Complete version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” showing spelling and punctuation
from Francis Scott Key’s manuscript in the Maryland Historical Society collection.

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bomb bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
‘Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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It is obvious, it is not in Trump’s best interest to tell the truth about why the NFL players are kneeling and what it stands for. In addition, Trump has often let words come out of his mouth about things he really knows nothing about. His ignorance is often astounding. He repeats lies so often his base thinks it’s the truth. All of the people who join him in bashing the NFL players and calling them names without ever actually attempting to understand why it was happening is just as ignorant as he is.

It easily showed who the real hidden racists are. Many of them call themselves Christians, but I sincerely doubt that this behavior is taught in Christians teachings. Even the simple teaching taught to children called, “The Golden Rule”, says to treat people the way you want to be treated. Why is that taught? Does it matter? What happens when we treat people badly? This Christian teaching gives you the answer: “You reap what you sow.”

Do you believe that? Do you think it applies to you? All of the time or some of the time? Do these rules – these teachings – apply to the way white people treat black people or do you think America should be white again, when it was never white in the first place? Do you think being white has privileges? You know it does. It shouldn’t, but as long as you are white you don’t care.

America still treats Indians as though they are worthless and white people are better. We destroyed them. We invaded and conquered them in true Christian fashion. People who insist America is a Christian nation yet does horrible things to people who aren’t white even though their religion teaches them there will be repercussions to the things they do, they do it anyway, as if their God will applaud their bad behavior against people who are also made in his image – so the teachings go.

I have listened to white Christians online the past few years, on up to this national anthem incident as they spit hateful names at black people, following the hateful comments by our hateful president who has bashed all races, and women, since his presidential campaign started. We sat shocked at the filth that spewed from his mouth. Surely this wouldn’t be allowed to continue. Everything that has followed from the beginning of the destruction of our public school system to wanted money from Medicare to build his dam wall, terrorizing Hispanics who’ve lived here most of their lives as well as the Muslims, taking away the chip program for low income and single mothers, destroying the EPA and allowing more toxins into our air and water – and the list goes on. – and there are people who approve?!

Those of us who know right from wrong were amazed that so many people hated America so much and held inside themselves the same views he held.

I sat one day with a feeling of dread and typed the words, “How will we be able to put the hate back in the bottle now that this despicable abuser has said it’s okay to hurt people.” In addition, he openly installed leaders of the KKK in his cabinet. Mass killings have escalated. He will do NOTHING except what the NRA wants.

My children are grown. When they were young I would not allow them to have play guns of any kind. The more guns there are, the more mentally unbalanced and drunk (mostly) men will use them. Ask my sister. Her husband, in one of his drunken stupers got his gun out and waved it around. He spent 11 days in jail before he could post bail. If he were black it would have been a lot longer, if bail would have even been offered. My sister bought a gun to carry in her purse because she was afraid of him. What part of the second amendment does that apply to? Why should you have to protect yourself from your husband? But everything is okay now. He decided to become a Christian, at least in front of people, and the story of what happened that night changed and a new truth was born.

What do I do with my good Christians friends who spew Trump’s hatred? I am not including all Christians here. Each person has the right to practice any faith they choose that they believe makes sense to them and helps their life. But that does not mean it is okay to hurt people who are not like you. And if you are going to be hateful – without investigating the things you say are true, and instead allow yourself to be lead around by the nose to support a president who clearly has some problems mentally, then you will be thought of in the same light as he is. He has the lowest rating of any president in a very long time. There is a reason for that. 

Support him if you want – but research what you think you believe. The national anthem is not what you think and you need to find the truth. I stopped pledging the flag about 40 years ago when I found out it had been changed. Do you know that? Do you know why? 

I am proud of the NFL players. Black people have been trying for along time to get the attention and be recognized as equal human beings and nothing worked. If you don’t support this – I mean, really support this, and not just lip service – then the line is drawn in the sand for me. 

I have black grandchildren. Real people. I won’t tolerate anyone thinking they are better than they are in any way. You can’t straddle the middle of the fence. You can’t think you are superior to my family or anyone else who isn’t white.

I am ashamed of this man who is supposed to be “my” president, whose lack of real compassion prompts him to talk about people like the uncouth person he is.

 

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If you know an inmate who writes poetry or is an artist or has a story you’d like to tell you can email me at: itfonews@gmail.com

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When You Know You Are Getting Old

lincoln kids
Lincoln Elementary School. People in my kindergarten class

You know you are getting old when you attend your 45th year high school class reunion. How did so much time go by? If I live another twenty years and become elderly, that time is going to whiz by faster than the rest. Knowing this I fill my life with as much as I can, never thinking I am too old. It’s easy think we are to old do things or it’s too risky. We wonder, “What will people think?” I have a motto I live by, (actually I have several of these) “If you don’t like what I’m doing, then don’t watch me do it.” I don’t care what people think about what I do. It’s my life and I’ll do what I want to do. If the fear is all in your head you’ll end up with regrets. Trying and failing isn’t nearly as bad as not trying at all.

It had been twenty five years since I went to a class reunion because I lived too far away. I moved closer to home in 2010 when I was sick and decided a few years ago I wasn’t going to miss this one. It wasn’t because I was such great friends with these classmates and we stayed in touch over the years – it was quite the opposite. I was a loner. I had a couple friends I hung around with and made no attempt to fit in. I suffered from low self esteem. If I didn’t make friends they couldn’t reject me.

As a very young child, music was the only thing important to me. It was the only music I listened to – the only albums I collected. A stack of classical piano albums was put on my record player at night and it played through the night. I was enthralled with Van Clyburn and Andre Previn. I knew current music because it was played on car radios when my boyfriend and I drove up and down the main street through town in the evenings, but I could rarely identify a song with the name of the band. I still can’t, even though I know all the songs.

In school I took every music class and sung in the chorus and yearly musicals but I never joined any other club. I think every school has their cliques and they are often divided by what part of town you live in and if your parents could buy you the latest fashions. I definitely wasn’t part of those groups of kids. I was part of the ARchie Bunker style streets. I always had what I needed, but what I wanted I didn’t ask for. My parents were young, struggling to raise three children.

We were not taught racism. Nothing negative was said, but neither was anything positive. We understood there was a clear line down the middle of town and black people lived on one side and whites on the other. Realtors wouldn’t sell a house to a black family on the white side of town because it brought down property values. That changed after I left home when homes were bought by realtors and broken up into apartments. Black people didn’t go to our church.  I remember wanting to touch a black person and see if their skin felt different. The elementary schools weren’t mixed. Kids went to the school in their own neighborhood. It wasn’t until Jr High that classes mixed because there were only two jr high schools, and only one high school. But even though we all went to the same school, black and white students generally stayed with those they grew up with. But still there was no racism. No name calling because someone was a negro, because the word black wasn’t used. Kids weren’t taught to hate. Were there problems – yes, sometimes – but not like today. Still, white kids didn’t walk through black neighborhoods. I did that – once. Children threw stones at me. There was an underlying fear. That is a story for another day.

There was bullying and I was on the receiving end. I honestly don’t know why. I was cornered in the restrooms, stairwells and the auditorium. I was threatened. I ran out the back door in the music room because I was afraid. That is yet another story. But kids have it much worse today with bullying because of the use of social media.

In many homes, kids today are not taught respect. Why? What happened? Suicides by kids who feel threatened are common. Kids in the 70’s still had respect for teachers and staff. The thought of cussing at a teacher was unheard of. It is much different today, and it shows in the behavior of the kids. We also had no cops at our school ready to handcuff us on school property and take us in the back of a police car and lock us up. The principal was the law. Black kids weren’t filling up juvenile detention facilities the way they do now. Now there is a lot of profit for locking up kids and preparing them for prison by destroying their education. It is so wrong – and that is another story.

Today, in 2017, I was now more than twice as old as I was when I graduated. I knew I was not the same person I was in the early 1970’s and I knew the students weren’t, either. Starting a few years ago I began connecting with people in my class through facebook. There can be a lot of drama and other crap on fb but the positive aspect is being able to connect with people. Some of these students I graduated with I also went to Kindergarten with as well.

If I was going to the reunion I didn’t want to walk into a large room with a lot of people who were strangers, so I used my time getting to know many of them. We “talked” about the things that separated us. It taught me a valuable lesson.
What we think about people – what we think is the truth – often isn’t. People put on faces of what we want others to believe. We hide things about ourselves  we don’t want other people to know.

We continue to do that even as adults. When someone asks us how we are, we say “fine” even when we aren’t. We assume people really don’t want to know so we don’t tell them. We don’t show people what is really going on in our lives. We think they will judge us.  We don’t get to know other people, either. Sometimes we also choose to not do things we want to do because, “What will people think?”

What I found over about three years is – all these kids grew up.  I’m not the same kid and neither are they. They had their own mountains to climb, kids to raise, careers grew and some were destroyed. Spouses died, kids died, health problems destroyed dreams. People moved. Some had wonderful experiences and some didn’t. No one had a perfect life with no problems. Our experiences shaped us. I enjoyed getting to know these same kids, now all around 63 years old.

Our reunion was over two evenings. Our class president and other students who stayed local put a lot of time into preparations so we could enjoy our time together. I saw many people who looked familiar but I had to look at their name tags to remember who they were. I honestly thought I had been so insignificant in school I didn’t think anyone would remember who I was.  But they did.  Part of me was dumbfounded. We hadn’t been “friends” in school so why? That was my low self esteem surfacing. Growing up I had to put on a tough exterior. I put on a face of confidence that wasn’t real, until I made it real. One student I didn’t remember walked up to me and said, “You always did dance to the beat of a different drummer.” What did she know about me that i didn’t? I have no idea what made her say that – but it was true. I always bucked the system.

One of the tables at the reunion held the pictures of all the classmates who had died since we graduated. Today that number is 39. About a half dozen of us stood there looking at those pictures and reading about how they died. A few died very soon after graduation, and the most recent one was in March of 2017. Looking at these pictures of people knowing I was still alive was overwhelming. I had come very close to dying of liver disease and cancer in 2012 but a liver became available in the nick of time.

“The Pain That Unites Us All” a book being published right now, has twenty-seven authors contributing their story – in short story or poetry. My story about my liver transplant and the emotional pain of being ignored by my immediate family while going through something so traumatic is published in that book. I had come home thinking they would support me.  I was dead wrong. That is also a story for another day. I’ll be posting a link to the book soon if you are interested.

We all have stories. Some people change for the good and some don’t.  I have more new/old friends because I took the time to listen and not judge. We can have value in other lives and they can have value in ours, but if we think we know it all and don’t need to take the time to listen, we lose that person in our life. It has taken a long time for me to find a place in my head to put the knowledge, realizing that coming home was a mistake. Except for patching it up with my mother, I have no value in the lives of the family I grew up with. I can’t even try anymore. But I have children and seven grandchildren and I am the head of my own family.  When I moved home, extremely sick, and was treated badly – I’m done with them and that is just the way it is. I had to teach myself to not care any more

I could have been in one of those photos of people who passed away. Anyone of us could have been up on that wall. At 63 we aren’t elderly, but more and more of us are reaching the end of our life. Many die due to illness. Some give up. My mother had her class reunion the week before mine. She graduated from the same high school. Her list of students who have died was a double column, front and back of two pages.

It is hard to look at your own mortality.  When I didn’t die of liver failure I had to make a choice. Wallow in my illness and give up – or push past it. I could say I’m getting too old to begin again. I live in a senior community and I see it all around me – those that give up and those that force themselves to live their lives completely until the end. I chose to give my live everything I can. It wasn’t time to give up.

That is when I started the blog My Name is Jamie – and everything else that followed – the writing of the book “Inside The Forbidden Outside” which I am still rewriting. I am heading to Texas next week to go to the Allred prison where Jamie is,  and to complete the stories that tie the chapters of the book together. I started writing the ITFO Newsletter which focuses on different issues concerning our prisons because many people really do not know the real reason for why we have more prisons than any other country. I also write about different people in prison with a story to tell. If you have one – contact me. My focus is to educate people and teach them there is no race that is better than another, no matter what mainstream media teaches you. We all need to work together to save our planet and our humanity.

This gives me the reason to write music as the soundtrack for the book. Helping others makes the cause to help my own life. I never sit around bored wondering what to do next. I spent most of my life creating music. Why stop when I am better at it now than I ever was in my life. Our senior years are when we have the most experience and wisdom to give the world. The youth has nice skin – but they lack life experience. We should strive to find a way to utilize it.

Sonni Quick improv pianoAfter I returned from my class reunion I sat at my piano and recorded a piece of music for all of the students who were no longer here – to honor them. When I play it I will think of them. They will not be forgotten. I’m hoping my friends – these past classmates will listen and remember and remember them, too.

I have a new album coming out that will soon be at CDBaby and Spotify named “Stories without Words”. This music will be part of that. I often give music as a gift. Writing music is a part of me I can give. It is all improvised. I feel, I play and record it. I can never play anything twice because I let it play me, not the other way around. I’ll be posting a link to the album soon.

Thanks for reading and thanks for listening. It is for everyone who graduated from Pottstown High in Pennsylvania in 1972. It is my gift to you.

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If you know an inmate who writes poetry or is an artist or has a story you’d like to tell you can email me at: itfonews@gmail.com

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Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Piano Improv Music of Sonni Quick . . . New facebook page of the past and present

ReverbNation . . . Website of Indie music not on traditional radio stations. Sonni’s featured page.

SkunkRadioLive . . . Indie radio station out of London playing music composed for  the book being written for Jamie.  If you can, help support. It will all help Jamie in the end.

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Protect yourself by having an attorney on call with an app on your phone. Have you ever been stopped and given a ticket? harassed? Get screwed by a landlord? Customer service not refund your money? Your rights abused in any way? Need a FREE will done? (normally about $300) Click on the link below and see why you need this. Just knowing you have access to an attorney when you need one, especially with all the crap going on these days, it gives you some peace of mind. No one knows when the police car lights are going to go off when you are driving in your car. Who do you call? What happens when one of your kids or grandkids ends up in trouble whether they are guilty or not. Today, people are guilty until they are proven innocent and today even that doesn’t matter, or they lock you up for months because you can’t afford bail money. This is why I promote this. Our govt is looking for new ways to lock you up. Without an attorney to call there is little you can do. This is only good for the US and Canada. Click on the link below that says 101 reasons to use Legal Shield.  You owe it to yourself to find out what this is about.  Leave me a msg here – or if you want it to be private leave me a msg at Facebook through messenger or at itfonews@gmail.com. All for much less than a trip through Kentucky Fried Chicken.

No one can make you do this, but it is why you have car insurance even though you are a good driver – the other person who hit you, isn’t. Then you call your insurance company. That is why you NEED Legal Shield.

You can also contact me here: Legal Shield

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Waiting On The Outside – Win a Free Copy

I’m having a book give-away this month. Each new person who registers for ITFO NEWS can enter their name and email address to have a chance of winning a signed copy (or ebook if you prefer) of  Waiting on the Outside” by Sharron Grodzinsky If your name is randomly pulled by Sharron, you’ll receive one of ten free copies, shipped free. 

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ITFO NEWS  covers many issues about what happens to the people – the human beings incarcerated inside prison walls many with family and children. Some are dangerous criminals often with serious mental illness, and many are not. Some were incarcerated simply because they are undesired as citizens because they are Black, Hispanic, or any country that isn’t of European white descent. Many are locked up because they practice the “wrong” religion in a country that wants to be known as a Christian nation. Sadly it makes some of these people think they have the right to hurt people not like themselves which goes against the teachings of Christianity.

“Incarcerating the Innocent” is the focus for the next issue of ITFO NEWS.

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This book being given away is timely for the sad situation happening in America today, especially with so many young people jumping on the bandwagon proclaiming America needs to be white “again”. What happened to their education? Is it worse in the schools than I thought? Do these young people actually think America was EVER white? They don’t know the history of the country they were born in?

History can not be rewritten to suit some faction’s misguided agenda. European white settlers slaughtered many thousands of indigenous people in the attempt to make this country white – and failed. These young people today never learned this? They can’t change history, but they are doing a good job of ruining their lives by wanting to repeat the carnage.

What is truly scary is how easily young minds can be swayed to believe a fabricated history – and also come to think that a skin cold makes them a better person. Then they become parents and teach the same flawed theory to their children.

Yesterday I read about fourteen year old white teenagers, barely out of puberty, strung up an eight year black boy and hung him with a rope from a tree – and left him, not caring if they killed him. I was mortified that older children would do that to a young child. I sat stunned, tears running down my face. The damage done to all of them would affect the rest of their lives, and the lives of their families who have to endure the scrutiny of an unforgiving public who will likely blame the parents for the way their sons were raised, so cavalier about trying to take the life of a young black boy. 

The fact that one human being could do that to another shows that these 14 year old minds were already so warped that taking a young boy’s life was meaningless to them. They didn’t learn this on their own. I don’t know their consequences legally, but I do know they will never forget it; nor will the young boy with severe rope burns on his neck, the scars which will always be there. The friends and family of this boy are, most likely very angry – deservedly so. All this does is escalate a bad problem that won’t go away. They have a right to this anger.

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Young people, with no maturity, get swayed by the excitement of being part of a huge negative social issue. The man in the book “Waiting on the Outside” exhibited emotional problems since childhood. He, too, was swayed by others who took advantage of his immaturity.

He was adopted at a young age by a woman who sincerely loved him and did everything she could to create a positive life for him As he grew up he sabotaged every attempt. He got into drugs and pretty crime and fell under the influence of the local white supremacy gang. My impression from her story, it was the excitement of living life on the edge that attracted him, not the thought that he felt himself to be superior.

After being released from his first prison sentence he sincerely wanted to do better but was pulled back into it. His sense of right and wrong was distorted through drug use. Now he sits in prison again, with the look of being a white supremacist. Shaved head. Visible Aryan gang tattoos. But still inside is the young boy who loves his mother as she sits during visits with the broken heart a mother has for a child she could help change.

He now wants out of the Aryan Brotherhood, but the KKK retaliates against those who want out. Is he safest in a controlled environment? Can he make it on the outside? Can he control the mental impulses he hasn’t been able to control before? Can he be the man she envisioned when she adopted him? As a mother myself my heart breaks for her. This never affects one person. There may be 2.3 million people in prison, which is kept at that steady number. It affects many more millions of people on the outside.

This is devastating story was written by a mother who, for decades has lived with a fear for her son and for people in his life he was hurt – including his own children.

If you don’t want to see if you can win a free copy of this book you can go to Amazon and purchase it. The winners will be contacted at the close of the sweepstakes, ten days after the publication of the next issue.

This book was first published before Trump riled up racism in America. This book shows you that although white supremacy is making huge headlines today, it has always been lurking in the shadows waiting – as if it a pimple waiting for more infection to burst and leave a scar. All they needed was someone like Trump to give them the freedom to come out of hiding. America had ignored them until now not wanting to face the ugly truth of their existence. They aren’t hiding anymore and some of them are your neighbors. Will history repeat itself even more? Did this country not learn from the past? 

These new recruits don’t hide beneath hoods anymore. They are showing their faces taunting us to do something about so they feel justified hurting people. This will negatively affect the rest of their lives and warp the minds of their children.

 

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101 Reasons Why You Need Legal Shield

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Legal Shield Website

The past few weeks I have been writing about a service called Legal Shield.  I could be wrong but I think many people who have seen what I’ve written have thought this was something they didn’t need and couldn’t see any reason why they would need it – but might think it could help other people.

So I am going to keep this post short and sweet.  First, it is only good in the US and Canada, but for everyone else in other countries, if you are on Facebook and other social media and have contacts in the US or Canada, please pass this on.

When I read this list of 101 reasons quite a few things that have happened over time where I got screwed in one form or another I sure do wish I had had a service like this.  It would have made my life a lot easier and way less frustrating.

In addition to being able to get an attorney on the phone right from an app on your phone, there is another service Legal Shield provides whether you sign up for it or not.  Go your play store and search for LS-Ask . If you have a legal question of any kind you can ask Legal Shield and find out if you have a leg to stand on. But you would have to be a member if you wanted to talk to a Legal Shield Attorney.  There is another app by LS called SHAKE where you can download any kind of form you need for everything from freelance work to loaning money to someone who promises he will pay it back ( and often doesn’t) as well as renting out something from equipment to garage space. And how about a roommate agreement for your college bound kids?

So if you are a skeptic about the value of this, but see the value in renters insurance or (mandatory) car insurance, burglar alarms, nanny cams to protect your children or just plain cameras in your house when you are away and everything else that protects you, then surely you can see the value of having an attorney in your pocket and it is probably the least expensive cost of all the things I just named.

I became an associate of this company because it is the most valuable piece of information I can pass on to you that you are going to need one way or the other, and those of you with kids, that thought is triple. Teenagers – in cars- with friends – doing whatever you don’t know about?

What I haven’t talked about yet is ID Shield.  I had my bank account hacked on April 26th. I wonder what other parts of my identity did they get?  We know how hackable  we are and all most of us do is put a virus protection on our computers and keep our fingers crossed.  It didn’t work for me and it won’t work for you.

Take the time to look into this.  I promise I don’t bite.  But at least ask questions. For those who want to make money – become an associate like I did and bring your friends on board.  The commissions are well worth it.  If you are 18 you can work it. In our unstable times we need all the stability we can get our hands on.

Message me – or find me on Facebook and lets talk.

Legal Shield Associate Member

Sonni Quick