Valentine’s Day 2012=You Got to Love Yourself First

Crack babies are born addicted; the rest of us have no excuse. Times get tough, a friend offers something to relieve, revive, redirect the pain, sorrow, anger, frustration, fatigue, stress and the journey to a living hell begins.

The truest voices for me throughout the past few days were TV personality Jane Velez-Mitchell candidly admitting to the daily even hourly battle to resist the temptation once one is seduced by drugs of any type. She said you’re never free of it or words to that effect. Whitney, in her own words was the other one. When asked by Diane Sawyer in 2002 if she could name the most significant demon Whitney responded:  “I guess that would be me. Nobody makes me do the things I do. The decisions are mine”.

She’s right. The best choice is not to begin.  I know, easier said than done. We have to begin early and often to foster good self esteem and love of self so that we have healthier responses to stress, pain, frustration, and disappointment. So many say it is fame, fortune, overnight success . . . genius even. There are many throughout history and the present who have succumbed and countless others who have not.

It begins with a core belief in oneself and absolute faith in a higher power and NOT in the sanctity of the substance regardless of the name. We need a comprehensive national strategy that works like Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone- one block and one neighborhood at a time.

Valentine’s Day is upon us. Let’s try to instill a love of self this day and keep it going throughout the year. Loving words, chocolates, flowers, and the like are fleeting. Whitney and the others who died the other day won’t be the last. We’ve lost too many. Let their deaths not be in vain.

This Valentine’s Day make sure those around you, especially the little ones and the teens, know how wonderful they are and how much they are loved. In Margaret Walker’s For My People she writes about a new nation rising and taking control.

It’s time people. It’s time for us to pay attention to good health, nutrition, and healthier choices. It’s time to instill a love of self in all of our young people and to support those who are struggling. With this Valentine’s Day let’s begin a new generation of hope and healing designed to rid our communities of this horrible scourge. It is time to take control.


Response to Bomani Jones’ (Washington Post) piece entitled the Tragedy of Allen Iverson

 I agree with much of what Bomani Jones says. However we cannot fail to mention the impact of family and a poor quality education. Allen’s posse was his family. His loyalty, however much sometimes we wished he didn’t have so much,was born of a street culture he lived even if many of us didn’t.  He made the NBA stars respect him because of his work ethic,  his huge heart and his incredible talent. Practice my behind! Other NBA players admitted the stars didn’t do all the drills,etc. Couldn’t afford having them get injured in practice. Allen was blessed with a monster heart, not size. He gave it all on the afternoon/night of the game and then some. Sometimes I think all he had was his ego. He often seemed to will himself to maintain the stamina,  make the shot, dive for the ball, win the game.

The enemy isn’t Iverson;  it is a system that has consistently failed to educate all of its people thus ensuring parents who aren’t properly educated, adequately employed, and therefore unable  to provide the necessities for solid home and community life and well-being. It is easy to cast aspersions when folks don’t live up to their potential. The real tragedy I think is when society, that means us, fails to recognize and admit the part we collectively play in it.