My Grandfather’s Words

Detroit Fist

Even though my Grandfather’s passing  left a hole in my being, many things he told me filled the gap. It was as if his words took over when his presence transitioned to eternity. There is one story he would tell more often than others and it is this story I wish to share with you.

When World War II ended, My Grandfather Farris Green Jr returned to his home state of Mississippi. It wasn’t long before he heard of Federal money being given out to Veterans to help start out their lives after the war. He figured this money would definitely pay for a new house. So my Grandfather went down to the office to get the money he is owed as a WWII Veteran. The white man at the desk looked up at my Grandfather and said “A Nigger don’t need no house!”. This was Mississippi during the 1940’s. Segregated, racist, and proud of it. My Grandfather had no choice but to build a house, on his own, by any means necessary. He often told this story with a smile.

It wasn’t till later that I got what he was trying to say. It was more than mere boasting. He beat the establishment. He accepted not getting what he was owed. He accepted not being treated on equal footing as whites. What he did not accept was defeat. He later confided in me that had someone told him that he would live to be an old man with all these grand-kids running all over his yard, he would have went crazy. That was his acknowledgement of the rough times of doubt and uncertainty.

In the few years before his death, he was not well enough to travel to family reunions. So the family reunion came to him. Right up to his doorstep stood over 150 members of the Greene family. I could not make it myself but I saw the photographs and received the phone calls. My Kinfolk told me how he was over come with emotion as he told the whole family how much he loved them all. It was then he received his reward. The Lesson he taught me come to fruition. Accept not getting what you are owed, accept not being treated fairly, but do not accept defeat no matter how grim things may look. Your family is depending on it. My Grandfather’s words I now share with you. Holla if you hear me.

K. Greene

For Our Girls

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I admit, I am very happy I have turned my attention to the women in our society this year. Tagging along with Bishop Corletta Vaughn gave me valued insight into the plight of women today. It also gave me new appreciation for the work of BerHenda Williams and the Power of Girlhood,

On December 19, 2011 The United Nations adopted Resolution 66/170. This Resolution Declares October 11th as International Day of the Girl Child. They wanted to set aside this day to recognize the rights and challenges girls face around the world. For The Power of Girlhood, the girls in Detroit,MI are their responsibility. Growing up in city where public education is severely underfunded, Household incomes dipped on average 40%, and positive female role models remain far and few between. Young girls are bombarded daily with images to destroy their self esteem and conform to a lower standard of living. BerHenda has fought this battle for years. winning small victories through the young girls she has mentored. Speaking to BerHenda is always a pleasure and her face lights up when speaking about Power of Girlhood. It is that passion on a very special day I wish to tell you about.

Join BerHenda Williams and the Power of Girlhood this October 11th at Birney K-8 School 27225 Evergreen Rd in Southfield. From 10am-12pm there will be a very powerful program and fellowship for the benefit of our girls, There will be a number of performers and speakers with Social Justice Champion Keisha Thomas giving the Keynote address. I am urging everyone to bring their girls to this event! Also please donate to the Power of Girlhood through the link below.  Go if you hear me!!

Power of Girlhood #IDG2015

-K. Greene

The Return of Jazz

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As much as I love writing, as much as I love my Wife, as much as I love driving my Charger at high speed, there is a sound underneath it all that I also love. That is the sound of Jazz music. I was inflicted early in life. My Dad was into blues and my mom R&B and Gospel but it was Ellington and Basie who sunk their hooks into me, The trumpet of Miles Davis gave me peace though high school. The deep bass of Stanley Clarke played in the tape deck of my first car. Jazz music became the soundtrack of everything I thought was cool.

My favorite radio station was Smooth Jazz V98.7 and one of the voices there was none other than the lady pictured above, Maxine Michaels. Ms Michaels vast musical knowledge and silky smooth voice was unparalleled on Detroit’s air waves. With the emergence of syndicated radio, many great local stations didn’t survive. Detroit lost its most powerful Jazz outlet. However, what was once lost is now found! You can now hear Maxine Michaels on WRCJ FM 90.9 Friday nights from 7pm to 11pm EST. YES!! Maxology is back! We fans of Jazz here in the Motor City now have a weekly oasis.

This is huge! Whereas R&B and Rap has dominated the airwaves, I often felt we losing one of the best music forms in the process. Also, having a local Jazz radio show attracts artist to our city and helps us uplift our own Detroit artists in the process. I urge everyone to tune in and support her show, As Detroit grows, hopefully Jazz will grow along side it and become interwoven in it’s culture. As Jazz moves forward in Detroit, it could have no better guide than Maxine Michaels. Holla if you hear me!!!

-K. Greene

The Non-Advancement of American Colored People

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Every February our country celebrates “Black History Month”. Its the usual celebration of our heritage and honoring those that trail blazed our road to freedom. Speeches by Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are replayed as reminders of our struggle. For that entire month, we remind the nation what it means to be black. After watching the news lately, We have only proved what it means to be fooled.

My heart sank at the news of the South Carolina Church Massacre. As if Eric Garner’s death at the hands of police wasn’t enough. Ferguson, Baltimore, Trayvon Martin, and recently Kaleif Browder, Headline a long list of examples of institutionalized brutality against African-Americans. Now, we have a pre-meditated act of terror against innocent African-Americans murdered at church. While institutional racism is nothing new, The South Carolina church massacre sheds light on the bigger problem that is at the core of it all. The Civil Rights Movement was pacified and we have gained nothing in 50yrs.

Many people see the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as the leader in African-American rights and representation since it’s founding in 1909. The NAACP was highly involved in the organization of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960’s and very involved in politics. Being highly involved in politics is a good thing. Many white politicians consider an endorsement from the NAACP a priority in securing the African-American vote. The problem here is while the NAACP endorses these candidates, The African-American community receives nothing from these candidates. You can go to any city and see the evidence for yourself. Especially here in Detroit.

I can easily blame ourselves for how we vote but I want the NAACP to be stronger with our voice. It’s been a year since Ferguson and another unarmed black college student is killed, protesters are arrested, and police brutality continue to plague our community. Be the NAACP of old. Lead us, organize us, force legislation! Official statements are useless. Holla if you hear me!!!

-K Greene

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

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I have been sitting back in utter horror as I see our community rip itself apart. I shouldn’t have been surprised however, the Republicans have been stirring the pot for a while now. It was bound to bubble over. Since President Obama’s first day in office, Republicans have been coaxing closet racists out of hiding to spread their disrespect in the name of votes. They also used Fox News to rally and misinform their followers. The next part of their plan was to get African Americans to vote against President Obama. Getting Black folk to vote against a Black man would seem impossible but not so. Their plan will be hatched in the church. The strength of the African American community.

The Republicans needed strong bait to lure the church in and the subject of Gay Marriage was that bait. The Republicans touted a moral standing(Even-though they are far from moral) on all their issues, Especially on Gay Marriage. The President stood in support of Marriage Equality as most of America did, I always knew it was coming. Our high divorce rates, out of control domestic violence cases, and the backlog of child support cases proved that we as heterosexuals didn’t appreciate the sanctity of marriage anyway. Also, At the base of everything, Separation of Church and State. The Republicans dragged the church into a fight it couldn’t win and now, Members of the LGBT and Church communities wage verbal war. Many families are now split

One evening in South Carolina, racism guided a young white male into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, an historic black church, and Murder 9 people during a Bible study. That young man even noted how well he was treated by the members of the church before he opened fire on them. He felt this was necessary because Blacks were taking over the United States and raping white women, His social media photos were of himself posing with the Confederate Flag. A civil war relic which symbolizes the South’s commitment to slavery and hatred of African Americans. It is this horrific act that has changed the nation’s view towards the confederate flag as a symbol of hate. Yet the Republicans refuse to acknowledge this massacre as racially motivated. Any conversations on racism would shine the light on their actions over President Obama’s tenure, Actions that could have very well inspired young Dylann Roof to walk into an African American church and start shooting.

I was really at a loss for words, The United States didn’t feel like 2015. In fact, I would say more like 1965. Whether it be law enforcement or the racists burning churches in the south, African Americans are very much under attack. The LGBT community won a big victory then came under fire from the African American churches who have their hands full with the racists in the south and their own internal conflicts. Peace between human beings seems at this point seems impossible. Until Facebook gave me an epiphany.

I was looking at my profile on Facebook and had an epiphany. To the left under “Friends” 9 pics gave me clarity. These were pics of 9 of the 1,200 “Friends” that I have. There was a Bishop, A prophet, A prominent LGBT Author and one of my closest friends. A former co Worker, An Atheist, An old friend, A community Activist, and a pretty cool white guy. What do these folks have in common? Me. I have spoken to each one on several occasions. We have shared thoughts, laughs, and concerns over many topics, Why is this so hard for America? Why can’t someone start a conversation with another person and exchange dialogue, I have no problem going anywhere and starting a conversation with another human being. Even in rural Michigan where you may see the Confederate Flag on occasion, I see it constantly during my day job. But I hold out hope that other people like me will start to rise up. My fellow communicators who only judge on content of character and not race or sexual preference. It will be us communicators who will be the glue in years to come, Those of us who believe in only one thing… We were all created equal in his image and that is all that matters. Holla if you hear me! .

-K. Greene

Detroit Women on a Mission

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There are times when I look around and wonder what direction are our women are going? I see some who are goal oriented and achieving yet social media paints a different picture, Women and young girls twerking by shaking their butts in G-Strings or very short shorts get 500 “Likes” on Facebook. It also appears that “Girl Fights” are the new rage on social media as well. It doesn’t matter if its 1 on 1 or an all out brawl. Hair pulling and clothes ripping excites the crowd as the female combatants provide plenty of action for everyone’s camera phone, Even the older women join in. Then, it goes viral!

For two of Detroit’s most influential women in the community, This is unacceptable! Ber Henda Williams is a noted poet in the city and her passion for spoken word only pales in comparison to her passion for mentoring young girls, June 6th she will be hosting her annual Power of Girlhood version 5.0. She will have special performances from poets One Single Rose and Dimonique Boyd just to name a few. You can find more information here: http://www.thepowerofgirlhood.org/. If you have a young girl, do not let her miss this event and It is totally FREE!

Nobody took the world by storm like “Preachers of Detroit”  cast member Bishop Corletta Vaughn. She has been an inspiration for women and young women alike. Bishop Corletta Vaughn’s story of perseverance to become a Bishop in the male dominated pulpit has empowered women world wide. Bishop Vaughn wants to do more for women and young girls. In one episode of “Preachers of Detroit”, Bishop Vaughn invited the women on the show to her “Women Who Soar” conference, On July 8-12, she will be doing her conference again and it’s open to all women who want to attend! Also, for the first time, this will be her expansion summit! Ladies are strongly encouraged to bring their daughters for an enrichment summit that will stay with them for a lifetime! There is a fee for this summit yet it is a small price for the information and enrichment women and their daughters will receive! This is a can’t miss Mother-Daughter outing opportunity!

I encourage all women reading this post to attend both events! Let the “Power of Girlhood” bond you and “Women Who Soar” empower you! As men, we have to support our women and encourage them to attend, Our daughters can benefit greatly from interacting with strong and talented women. Encouraging your wife to go to an empowerment summit is the perfect way to show your support for her goals. In return, she strengthens the household so that both of your goals become a reality!

My hat is off to Ms Ber Henda Williams and Bishop Corletta Vaughn. I am thankful for these women of faith and purpose serving as guides and mentors to our community’s most valuable asset… Our women. Holla If You Hear Me!

– K Greene

Preachers of Detroit: Community Counselors

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Last Friday evening, we got a look at the most important part of ministry. That is Stewardship to the people. Back in the Civil Rights Movement, White supremacists firebombed Black Churches. Not because Black folks were in them, but because those churches meant everything to the community. Those churches were the gathering places. Community news was shared. During the Civil Rights movement, all marches and protests were planned at the church. They were shelters in a vicious world. The Pastor ensured the churches remained safe havens where he tended to his congregation on a personal level.

As we see in Evangelist Dorinda Clark-Cole, this can be a huge undertaking. Her schedule stretches her very thin. In the process, she becomes very tired and old wounds start to surface. With the help of her sister, a therapist, and reassurance from her daughter, Dorinda found peace to endure the road ahead. Pastor Shelby and First Lady Shelby deal with one of their own at Burning Bush International. A young woman named Christian who struggles with homelessness and addiction not to mention trying to raise a very young child on her own. Things started off rocky at first but they were able to get her the help she needs. Only time will tell if they were successful.

A successful community is the goal of all our Preachers. For Bishop Corletta Vaughn, success for her community will be imported from Peru. Multi-Millionaire Fernando Palenzuelo purchased the old Packard Plant which is walking distance from her church Holy Ghost Cathedral. Bishop Vaughn met with Mr. Palenzuelo and thought it will be a great idea to have a town hall. There, Mr. Palanzuelo can meet the community and outline his plans for development including jobs for the community. Bishop Vaughn also spoke to Pastor Bullock about the town hall. Pastor Bullock is known for his work in the community and bringing him in would be a good move. Pastor Bullock jumped at the chance when he found out City Council President Brenda Jones was going to be in attendance. This was his chance to make a political contact. A political contact he will desperately need if his hopes of getting elected to the Detroit City Council is realized.

I had the pleasure of covering the town hall and you can read about it on this site in the archives: “The Packard: An Answered Prayer for Prosperity”  . On screen, we see what my spot at a table could not. I was dismayed to say the least. I know or met just about all of the community leaders and activists in Detroit through covering events and hosting a show on Urban Nation Radio. Needless to say, getting them all on the same page is difficult at best.  Yet they all share one thing in common. They let their work speak for them. Self promotion is not more important than the causes they champion. I saw no such thing in Pastor Bullock. While the night was clearly for the community of East Grand Blvd and Mt Elliott, Pastor Bullock’s sole focus was on himself. Even left early when it appeared to him that meeting City Council President Brenda Jones seemed unlikely. He missed that opportunity as well as the opportunity to meet Mr. Palanzuelo himself and voice any community concerns he had. Youth and energy are great assets but often betrayed by a lack of patience. I like Pastor Bullock’s passion for the community but his lack of seasoning is getting in the way of him doing mighty things.

Oxygen network is already hyping the next episode as “Bullock vs. Vaughn”. The events of the town hall will be discussed. I hope Pastor Bullock really listens to Bishop Vaughn. Pastor Bullock has to become the key to Detroit’s future. He has to realize that after the last episode of this show airs, it’s his deeds that people need to see. The Pastor Bullock that he is currently showing everyone echoes the self-centered politicians that got Detroit in the mess it is in today. The people have seen enough of that. Holla if you hear me.

-K. Greene