About jlenoir

ePluribus: America is an on-line contemporary American culture magazine that incorporates the original concept of our nation's motto to provide cultural news coverage of America.

The History Of Thanksgiving And Why It Matters Today

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Every year Americans gleefully celebrate Thanksgiving. Today the holiday has morphed into consumerism, displays of costumed harmony and gratitude shaped by the fables and illusions constructed by those in power demanding we overlook the harsh truth and history of Thanksgiving. Still, no matter how far we stray from the path of truth, and as long as grass grows and water runs, history will remain seated in its scared place on top of the mountain awaiting man’s arrival for deeper knowledge and finally, true freedom rooted in a just and equal world.

Today, young people are still drawing pictures of pilgrims eating harmoniously with Native Americans when that depiction is far from historical fact. The truth, unfortunately, is the brutal genocide of Native Americans. And the official commemoration of Thanksgiving by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 was an idea born from George Washington as a political strategy for pilgrim unification, and in celebration of The Constitution. Historians say the turkeys significance as part of the origin of Thanksgiving, is due to the pilgrims dependence on wild turkeys they found to sustain themselves in their new world. And the national day of celebration was directly tied to their protestant religion of praising God for all the glory, land and newfound opportunities for riches outside the boundaries of Europe.

Equally important to note is how the European settlers defined themselves in an effort to unify and strengthen their hostile takeover of Native American lands. At some point, they no longer wanted to be seen as immigrants. Thus, after forming The Constitution, they evolved from being called pilgrims, colonists, Europeans and finally settling on whites, which essentially removed their specific place of origin across Europe from their identity. This new white institution was to form a political force and also to establish world dominance via the construct of white supremacy. Unfortunately, the “white” label of unity didn’t stop the Civil War from dividing the country, but I digress.

There are numerous historical accounts describing the brutality inflicted upon Native Americans by the pilgrims who came to be known as whites. It’s also important to remember, Black enslaved people were part of this journey of discovery to colonization. And they endured the worst of the pilgrims voyage and eventual settlement of the new world. It’s no secret our American teachings is shaped with many untruths and myths about our journey to this point in time, including the rotund myth of Christopher Columbus. As we advance in our knowledge of the world and its history, it’s becoming more evident that all the lies spun have been to lionize white men and their place in the world. This, despite clear, historical and anthropological accounts to the contrary. From human evolution to advancements in civilization, Africans paved the way.

Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated as a unique American tradition. It’s a day we celebrate the blessings of family, friendships, abundance and American liberty as we know it. Sadly, many Native Americans recognize this day as one of mourning. And rightfully so when you consider the ugly truths of Thanksgiving, which depicts their ancestors in a tale of brotherhood with their killers. Also, Black folks remain economically and socially oppressed in America despite the riches and bounties their ancestors reaped under forced slave labor that the pilgrims who turned white control and use as a dominating global force and superpower.

The significance of Thanksgiving matters, especially today, because we celebrate despite the reality on the ground for the people who suffered the greatest toll in the establishment of this day of harvest, feasting and celebration of our bounties. It’s a callous truth and yet every year we skip to the festive beat of Thanksgiving, with presidential turkey pardoning’s, parades and family gatherings, all while blindly ignoring history and realism. The world I want to live in celebrates a Thanksgiving where all the people who labored for the harvest equally enjoy and benefit from it. And until that day comes, the gobble, gobble will never be sweet in America.

The Finger Of Providence Pointed To A Trump Loss

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

“Only virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” – Benjamin Franklin 

Knowing that nearly 70-million Americans voted to keep a deranged racist at the helm of the most powerful nation in the world couldn’t dampen the spirit that rose like a phoenix from the ashes today. We did it, America! With the fire of the legend of Jim Thorpe, we did it. And this new dawn isn’t just washing away the worst of American greed and corruption, it’s ushering in the dreams and the hopes of enslaved Africans responsible for the wealth of our great nation, leaving behind the domestic terrorism fueled by the sitting duck in chief, Donald Trump.

And if you listen really close, you’ll hear the words in the breeze Dr. King spoke in 1963 during the March on Washington, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed…” Well, America, we’re rising despite all the noise from those with a death grip on hate, racism and intolerance.

And let’s not forget the spirit of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first African American to vie for the Democratic nomination for President in 1972. If you can’t see her essence in our first Woman of Color Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, you don’t know American history, the divine power of spirituality, the Black struggle for equality and the true meaning of demanding a seat at the table. Chisholm emboldened us to bring a folding chair to the table if a seat wasn’t offered. How proud she must be looking down at her countrymen who, during her lifetime, denied her basic human rights. We’ve come a long way but the journey to true freedom and equality is still far from our reach.

As Louisiana proudly holds on to the shame of American history with its support of a hateful and corrupt president, I can’t help but remember the 1863 photo of the brutally whipped slave, Whipped Peter, who had escaped to join the Union Army. You see, Louisiana is comfortably numb to the truth of Black lives in America because they’ve been successful in convincing the, “lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man.” So, they maintain their grip on hate disguised with political rhetoric unsuitable to the reality on the ground for their people; Black, white and everyone else not secured in generational wealth catalyzed by slave labor and persistent, inexcusable inequality. It’s an ugly truth but it must be told.

Another story worthy of remembering as we mark America’s first Jamaican Vice President is that of Fred Littlejohn. In the 1920s he moved his family from the South to Queens, New York and called themselves Jamaicans to avoid the mistreatment of Southerners in the North. And it was a biracial student committee in Chicago that founded Congress of Racial Equality, (CORE). The group staged its first sit-in at a coffee shop, leading to the inclusion of serving Blacks. Harris embodies all of America; the lives of the enslaved, native born and immigrant, who sacrificed everything for the homecoming we are witnessing in the election of this historic Democratic ticket.

And this win is also reminiscent of the 1968 Summer Olympics when African American sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their gloved fists in a Black power salute. What many of us miss in translation is the white sprinter from Australia, Peter Norman, who joined in the protest by wearing a button on his uniform promoting a Human Rights campaign to stamp out racism. Australians punished him for his act of bravery, only coming to their senses 6 years after his death in 2006, (after a tragic life spurred from the abuse he endured) with a formal apology from the Australian Parliament saying his gesture “was a moment of heroism and humility that advanced international awareness for racial inequality.”

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are progenies of revolutionaries intent on fully birthing the dream that is America. And Biden’ American legacy beats in rhythm with Harris’, making them a powerful and symbolic metaphor of America’s strength and deep-rooted posture as leader of the free world and beacon of hope for all mankind. The disheartening election results serves as a reminder of the evils of mankind, including the demagoguery, thuggery and authoritarianism that Donald Trump and his family demonstrated. So, let’s heed the lessons learned because it’s time we do the necessary and uncomfortable work to make America, and the world, a place where we all feel good in.

“The sum of us all is, if we would most truly enjoy the gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people; then shall we both deserve and enjoy it. While, on the other hand, if we are universally vicious and debauched in our manners, though the form of our Constitution carries the face of the most exalted freedom, we shall in reality be the most abject slaves.” – Samuel Adams

The Ancestors And Our Vote

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

The day we’ve all been waiting for, November 3rd, has come on gone. How are you feeling? Anxious, I bet. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s a collective state most Americans are in, including the spirits of the ancestors. With votes still being counted, it’s a sad realization despite the rhetoric of having far more in common than not, this election proved we’re not a united nation. We’re learning that more Black men voted for Trump this election cycle; jumping from 13% in 2016 to 18% in 2020. Also Black women, according to the NYT, doubled their support—from 4% to 8%—for a race agitator who referred to African countries as “shithole countries” and has consistently disrespected nearly every woman of color covering him. And, the number of white women who supported this foul-mouthed crotch grabbing president who doesn’t care about caging babies and separating families at our southern border jumped from 42% to 55%. Sadly, even the LGBTQ+ community increased their support for a president who stated multiple times that he doesn’t support gay marriages. The illusion of America is real. Our life predicted on screen is not.

This election outcome is another reminder that it is in our ancestors that we can discover ourselves and demonstrate their teachings of our social functions. And these last 4 years of the Trump administration have been a lesson in humility, hope and hate: a lesson on humility because trump reminded us of the fragility of our sacred human bonds and the tenacity of racism; a lesson of hope because these deeply troubling times under Trump’s so-called leadership suggests that to make America truly great will require a renewed commitment to the ideals of a blossoming nation yet to be fully satisfied and equally felt by all her people; and a lesson in hate because Trump reminded us that this nation remains deeply divided by it.

“I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”Lyndon B. Johnson

It’s unconscionable that our country, specifically the Republican Party, that proudly bombed ISIS in the name of democracy and to end their reign of terror across Iraq and Syria has adopted ISIS like tactics of loaded trucks with violent flag flying intimidation, blatant voter suppression and engaging in race fueled domestic terrorism. This nation is eating itself from the inside as the founding fathers warned could happen. It’s become a gang war; Red vs. Blue. That’s how much we have cheapened our country. We bomb developing country’s to adopt our ways and yet, we fight each other mirroring what we fight to stop in so-called hostile nations. These are ever changing times. And the 2020 election is a stark reminder of the rising tide of American racism fueled and emboldened by an unhinged madman at the helm of the most powerful nation in the world.

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” – Abraham Lincoln

Setting aside the devastating impact of Trump’s mishandling of COVID-19, money, power and race were the main actors in this election cycle. Money because the rich want to get richer at all cost, even by deteriorating a nation they claim to be patriots of. Make no mistake, they won’t stop sending jobs overseas for cheap labor and interference from human rights watchdogs. The elites make it abundantly clear; money over humanity and decency is their way forward in our democracy. And basic fairness has no practical value from their perch. It’s hard to accept billionaires fighting against paying Americans a living wage of $15 an hour but that’s the ugly truth of the matter. And yet, they’ve managed to convince even the poorest whites to adopt their position with lies and brainwashing tactics of government overreach and the unfulfilled promise of a trickle-down economy. If that’s not power, you don’t know what it is. South Carolinians refused to hold Lindsey Graham accountable with his own words. Maine voters are sending Susan Collins back to Washington despite setting women’s rights back several decades with her votes and shamefully supporting this boorish president who paid off the stripper he was cheating with while rubbing elbows with a powerful and bold pedophile. And Kentucky is a prime example of successfully convincing the neediest Americans to cast a vote against their own self interests. And unfortunately, the truth about Mitch McConnell’s track record has fallen on racist deaf ears amongst the poorest and least educated Americans, with Kentuckians voting for the 7th time to stunt their progress, throwing away an opportunity to rise from the depths of their poverty and educational access by reelected the sickly man who has only enriched himself and his family. Imagine the level of deep rooted racism that requires. 

 “The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.” – John Lewis

These words echo across our nation from beyond the boundaries where the ancestors roam. They left us the tools we need to improve the walk of life. Their wisdom is meant to guide us in forming a more perfect union. And yet, the fight for the soul of our nation in the era of Donald Trump has derailed us from the tracks of decency and humanity like the ill-fated Germans before WWII. That this election wasn’t a hands-down defeat for a madman likened to Hitler is personally demoralizing. I’m left feeling suspicious and even fearful of some of my white countrymen who make up 70% of voters, and who clearly harbor all that Trump represents; hate and intolerance of others in a country made rich by enslaved Africans; my ancestors.

When the election results are finally settled may this land, formed by the sweat, blood and tears of my enslaved ancestors, perform the Day of Death dance by ancient Africans, singing:

Natir ben be, O yi ye’e; O yi Man gon, O yi ye’e.

Here there are sores, May they go away; Across the river, May they go away.

Today, we find ourselves in an unholy place, not just because the Trump family represents America’s sore, but because they constitute all seven deadly sins, from gluttony, greed, wrath, lust, sloth, envy to pride. And a Biden win is how this ancient purification ceremony will symbolically wash away their stain on the White House and in due time, America.

Homelessness And The U.S. Census

BY JOHN LENOIR

I came to Austin to work the 2020 census and spend time with family here. Through the census I got an up-close look at the nooks and crannies of the city, and nose-to-nose encounters with Austinites living in its jewels of Westlake and between its toes under highway bridges and behind parking lots.

At the direction of the U.S. Census, my team and I were required to meet with residents and ask the formulaic questions about age, race and whether they owned or rented their homes. Knocking on a door in Bee Cave or Westlake generally involved getting through layers of security gates to reach breath-taking homes with pools, expansive views, or private docks on the lake. I got a lot of “Leave-Me-Alone” responses often couched as “I’m really busy,” and “I’ll do it online.” The underlying dynamic was, “You are uninvited on my property,” and “How did you get past security?”

When we completed the door-knocking count, selected teams focused on finding and counting Austinites in the tortured census acronym, TNSOL (Targeted Nonstructured Outdoor Locations) — in other words, the homeless. It was easy to follow the highways to find the tent and tarp communities under the overpass intersections. More challenging was to locate people disbursed in the woods, behind Walmart dumpsters and wherever they could catch a piece of dry land near an intersection where they could “fly” their cardboard signs asking for money.

We were fortunate to have introductions from support crews such as the Travis County constable, whose Precinct 3 team seeks out the most isolated encampments to deliver food and water. Other church-based and nonprofit organizations provide food and clean water to various camps — lifelines to a population that lives in the margins. Many people we encountered seemed to suffer from addictions and illnesses that they said cost them their jobs and put them on the street in the first place. In the one officially sanctioned homeless encampment on a former state Department of Transportation storage yard, I had expected to see rows of identical tents or temporary structures like the UN refugee camps in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. Here, the hundred-plus inhabitants of Camp Esperanza make their own shelters through a hodgepodge of tarps, tents and cardboard.

With the homeless there was, of course, the quiet ‘Leave-Me-Alone’ posture when we approached. But this was different. There was not the ‘Get Off My Property’ look of the high-grounders and lakesiders. The homeless were acutely aware that they have no right to be where they were and possess absolutely no property to protect. The ‘Leave-Me-Alone’ looks we got behind the iron security gates said, ‘I am where I want to be, doing what I want to do.’ The ‘Leave-Me-Alone’ under Highway 183 meant, I am in a place no one wants to be, subject to eviction, and I am humiliated. Their security moats were fear and despair. But they also seemed to project a sense of small pride in the resourcefulness to have put together enough shelter to stay alive. And as it was particularly dangerous to be alone in the woods, there were touching stories of taking in others recently on the street.

Once the regular follow-up door knocking cases started winding down, a few field supervisors like myself volunteered to take on managing teams counting the homeless population during the fourth week of September. Very few of the original crews opted to switch and take on the TNSOL. I heard concerns about the added dangers of COVID-19 exposure, unfamiliarity with the homeless population and, frankly, no interest in becoming familiar with the homeless camps. The census began recruiting people to work with the homeless; the team members I ended up working with each had a heart for the task. I was proud of them.

They were committed to getting a full and accurate count of the homeless population, and we were able to get through the Leave-Me-Alone defenses behind the tarps by acknowledging the human dignity of the people we were to “enumerate” and convincing them that they were to be counted just like everybody else in Austin, no matter where they lived.

Lenoir is a retired federal prosecutor living in Austin.

The Chaos Of Pitchfork Populism Is A Threat To Our Democracy

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Unquestionably, populism has shaped America. Faux populism on the other hand, as explained by author and political analyst, Bradford R. Kane, is dangerously shifting our political landscape in the era of Donald J. Trump, a president who chooses to divide our country for his own self interests. These are unprecedented times.

Kane is the author of, Pitchfork Populism, Ten Political Forces That Shaped An Election And Continue To Change America. In it he examines our past, present and future political landscape, including the impact and dangers of the current administration’s use of populism, dishonesty, racism, hate-fueled and misleading propaganda that has diminished our progressive culture and standing in the world. Even voting, a sacred and hard-fought for right, isn’t immune from attack and intimidation. And if Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, isn’t clear enough motive, his actions since taking office should be. This so-called American president is not only dangerous but a clear and present threat to our nation and the common bonds of our ideals, yet to be fully achieved.

We’ve come a long way from the type of American leadership, though flawed, that has steadily inched us closer toward a more just nation rich with diversity. Assessing our political landscape today, one would be hard-pressed accepting that our trajectory has taken us from the depths of slavery to the glory of the presidency of Barrack H. Obama, America’s first Black president. It hasn’t been easy, and we have more hurdles to overcome, especially concerning racial injustice, economic inequality and police brutality. Nonetheless, Kane leaves us with hope for the promised days of a post-Trump era. He foresees a stronger nation reinvigorated to birth a more rational governing culture rooted in the principles of humanity and sanity. He offers us a roadmap to take us from the disenchantment we’re experiencing under this president and his rabid, resentful and resistant to change base, to a more fact-based and inclusive governing structure. We, the people, must be more duty-bound than ever in paving the way from the chaos Trumpism ushered in. And, we must vote in every single election, to make the pavement eternal.

“Anyone can be a barbarian; it requires a terrible effort to remain a civilized man.” – Leonard Sidney Woolf

Kane’s timely, well-written and funny book can be found HERE, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Breonna Taylor: Disrespected, Unprotected, Neglected And Denied Justice

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

My son didn’t understand why I said it was a lonely feeling grasping the tragic reality of Breonna Taylor. I explained that beyond the hurt and betrayal cruelly delivered as a just outcome in seeking accountability from the officers who violated her human rights, was the face of the Black man, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, handing down the bitterly slanted and backstabbing grand jury decision. I’m surprised he didn’t shout out, “white power!” at the end of his sell-out performance for his caretaker, the despicable and treasonous Mitch McConnell.

“They put your mind right in a bag and take it wherever they want.” — Malcolm X

Taylor’s executioners, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were absolved of any guilt by a man whose family tree—despite his buffoonery and attempts to distance himself from it—flowed down the same bloody river familiar to all Black people before taking root in America. And yet, Cameron saw fit to uphold the racist system that continues to devalue Black lives. I wonder what stares back at him when he stands in front of a mirror… I doubt it’s human, let alone a proud Black man.

“I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.” — Malcolm X

Cameron, knowing the state of Black America, stood up to defend the police who failed the basic requirements of their job—making sure the person they’re looking for is not already in jail—and justified Taylor’s murder. Compounding his cultural abandonment and shameful betrayal, he pushed the knife in deeper by only charging the since fired police officer, Brett Hankison, whose bullet missed Taylor. Let that sink in.

“The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” — Malcolm X

As a Black woman fully aware of my assigned place and status in American society, this display of buffoonery and disloyalty reached beyond the place of hurt and settled in a deep despair and loneliness. Black women, separate from the collective Black experience, are abandoned on an island of their own. Adding to this despair and loneliness is that some prominent Black men, Shaquille O’Neil and Charles Barkley, joined the anti-Black woman ban wagon with commentary defending the police … It’s unconscionable. What a sunken place we found ourselves in.

“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” — Malcolm X

The saying, “Not all skin folk is kin folk” never reigned truer for Cameron who stands on top of that symbolic hill waiving a rebel flag. I’m sure he and Candace Owens have enshrined the confederate flag as their solidarity with the KKK and Proud Boys. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cameron is feverishly working to support efforts to dismiss the charges against Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Caucasian who was driven by his mother from Illinois to Wisconsin to engage in combat with BLM protesters and killing two people. Like Dylan Roof, he was handled with white gloves, even getting a standing ovation from Wisconsin Republican lawmakers … for killing two people protesting for humanity and change.

“We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.” — Malcolm X

The illegal no-knock warrant issued by a judge to go into Taylor’s home without just cause is part of the crime of being Black in America. In this country judges can rubber stamp the paperwork needed to carry out our murders thanks to the Castle doctrine. And because they see our Black bodies as disposable, they simply deal with the consequences of their actions—right or wrong—later. The police and our justice system have an out. A get out of jail free card for violating our basic human rights. This isn’t new. It’s designed to work as it always has. Cameron knows this. He knows the system that uses our Black bodies as battering ramps and yet he stood in place of a hooded Klansman singing Dixie and speaking legalese to protect the men who stole his mind, spirit, culture and dignity. He stood in defense of those who continue to benefit from our brutality and second-class citizenship in a country built under the cracks of whips by his ancestors.

“A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself.” — Malcolm X

Breonna Taylor was shot 8 times while she lay sleeping in her bed. She was a 26-year-old EMT, an essential worker during a pandemic. A judge cleared the way for her execution as part of the larger operation targeting stereotyped poor and Black people. This is how our legal system continues to devalue Black lives. And, as if the cultural symbolism doesn’t matter, they usher out a Black man to dig the hole they’ve put us in a little deeper. This country and its system of governance doesn’t care about us. This reckoning has to take root in our psyche. Voting, our 21st century revolution, is the only way out of this hole we’ve been in for 400 hundred years. There are roughly 3 million voters in Kentucky. 48 percent are democrats. Unfortunately, 1.6 million of them are nonvoting democrats, making it possible for the likes of Cameron to take elected office alongside the henchmen of Black terrorizers.

“If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.” — Malcolm X

Malcom X once asked: Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? To most Black folks the answer is clear and historical. But to Cameron, perched with the plantation mindset of a house Negro, undoubtedly will point his finger at his own Black family tree, as he proudly and shamelessly fondles the blond locks of his caretaker’s daughter.

“When a person places the proper value on freedom, there is nothing under the sun that he will not do to acquire that freedom. Whenever you hear a man saying he wants freedom, but in the next breath he is going to tell you what he won’t do to get it, or what he doesn’t believe in doing in order to get it, he doesn’t believe in freedom. A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire . . . or preserve his freedom.” — Malcolm X

History is cyclical. Our brutality is too.

Susan Goldfein On Aging Successfully With Candor And Wit

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

James A. Garfield once said, “If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon our heart. The spirit should never grow old.” That’s how the witty and inspiring Susan Goldfein lives her life bicoastally in Florida and Connecticut. After being forced into retirement thanks to the damage caused by Bernie Madoff, Goldfein embarked on a writing career she calls her second wind. Today, she’s an award-winning author of two books offering wisdom flavored with humor through enjoyable essays on life and its circumstances.

Her first book, How Old Am I In Dog Years, was inspired by her two dogs she noticed were aging right alongside her and her husband Larry. Her second book, How To Complain When There’s Nothing To Complain About, is a collection of short essays about life as a retiree and other topics that touch on different issues people in her age group face.

Her books won the 2016 Delray Beach Library’s Authors’ Showcase, a Silver Medalist in the 2016 Independent Publishers (IPPY) Book Awards in the humor category, the prize for humor in the 2017 NYC Big Book Awards, the Gold for Humor in the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award as well as the 2019 International Book Award for Humor.

In addition to writing books, Goldfein runs her own website, susansunfilteredwit, where she publishes monthly articles  on topics ranging from reincarnation, becoming her mother, zoom etiquette during COVID to her thoughts on television shows, entertainment and much more. Her website is full of amusing essays that will make you happy you stopped by for a read. Goldfein’s views on aging and life in general is wisdom we can all use, especially now when the rhythm of our planet is moving to an unfamiliar beat. Her books can be purchased on her website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. There, you will also find links to all her social media platforms.

My conversation with Goldfein:

 

A Discussion On Race And Racism In Schools

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Tracey A. Benson and Sarah E. Fiarman have written a timely and important book tackling race and racism in our schools. The book, Unconscious Bias in Schools, A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism, dives deep into the real issues many young people and educators face in their learning and teaching journey.

It’s an uncomfortable truth and recognition this nation is facing from a different angle and platform. This time. A platform that buoys her children, woke to the harsh realities of the illusions presented by a seemingly secure and protective bosom: the ideals of America. But America has a lot to atone for and this atonement is not just being demanded by those directly affected by the stark inequalities and racism they’ve marinated in since the birth of our nation, but by those who have unwillingly benefitted from the principles that unapologetically and with the blessings of God–manifest destiny–gave more to one by way of brutality and stealing from the other. Are the chickens coming home to roost? Perhaps. Nevertheless, there are those who choose to fight these blatant inequalities in our schools like Dr. King did. Not with violence, but with intelligence adequately designed and explained with a roadmap starting from recognition to management and eventually change we can all finally believe in.

The discussion with Benson, an experienced educator, highlights the focus and intentions of this valuable book presented as a tool to challenge bias, race and racism in schools.

To learn more about Benson’s anti-racism work or to purchase his book click: here.

“The concept of unconscious racial bias helps decouple intentions from actions … Good intentions aren’t being questioned. It’s impact that comes under the microscope.” – Tracey A. Benson

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month With Pride

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Hispanic Heritage Month is a national celebration of our diverse American culture. From the Arts to the culinary and agriculture industry, including social movements inspired by the African American civil rights struggles, Hispanics have and continue to shape American society.

Here are 10 things you need to know about Hispanic Heritage Month:

  • The annual month-long celebration and recognition of Hispanic culture runs September 15 to October 15.
  • President George H. W. Bush issued a Presidential Proclamation on September 14, 1989 to recognize the month-long celebration of Hispanic culture. It was a weeklong celebration before the change.
  • The significance of the date is to include the recognition of independence days for Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Chile.
  • Celebrations of Hispanic culture typically includes events focused on food, music, costume, dance, film, art and more.
  • Justice Sotomayor is the first Hispanic American appointed to the Supreme Court and the third woman.
  • This year’s theme for the celebration is, “Hispanics: Be Proud of Your Past, Embrace the Future.”
  • As of July 1, 2019, the Hispanic population of the United States was 60.6 million people, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority (18.5% of the total U.S. population).
  • The United States has the 2nd largest population of Hispanic people in the world, second only to Mexico.
  • The U.S. Government carried out many propaganda activities during World War II. One was an effort to appeal to Hispanic Americans and the people of Latin America to foster a united front against the Axis powers. Featured in this endeavor were the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs and the Office of War Information. These offices hired artists with ties to Mexico to illustrate posters.
  • Hispanics are the fastest growing population in U.S. Military, making up 15.8 percent of active Military personnel.

There are numerous ways to take part in celebrating Hispanic or Latino culture. Unfortunately, the on-going pandemic has limited the opportunities for normal festivities to take place but many organizations and communities all across the country are finding ways to highlight this part of our diverse American culture. Here are just a few ideas to consider taking part in: The Smithsonian Institution, The 6th Annual Official Latino Film and Arts Festival, The National Portrait Gallery, and Immigrant Food restaurant is offering a special in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Let’s embrace the future together!

WWII Spanish Poster