Born A Girl

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Bishop Corletta Vaughn is no stranger to this blog. I have covered her extensively during the airing of “Preachers of Detroit” and also “Women Who Soar” her coaching and mentoring seminar for women. On April 9, 2016 she unveiled her latest game changer, Herself! In a brand new documentary “Born A Girl”, Bishop Vaughn reveals her struggle to become a world renown Preacher. Little did we know, her first struggle was being allowed to preach in the first place. Simply because she was a girl.

Being a preacher’s child often carries with it a natural knack for the word of God. So preaching her first sermon at the age of 4 in her mother’s salon should have been no surprise and was the first indicator that she will follow in her father’s footsteps. This would be no problem if she was born a boy. For in the Baptist church as well as other churches, women preachers were and still are strictly forbidden.  “Born A Girl” Takes you on a journey with Bishop Vaughn as she recalls the trials and triumphs that built the woman of God that she is. Everything from that fateful night her father Henry Lewis stood up for his daughter’s call on her life to preach to the murder of her brother in Memphis,TN. Nothing was easy. In this documentary, she exemplifies hard work and not taking no for an answer.

This is why she wanted this opportunity to tell her story. Because women are often told “No”.  Young girls with dreams of mighty things are told they can’t just because they are girls. Bishop Corletta Vaughn is seeking to destroy those barriers. You could tell by the faces of the guests in attendance, her message was getting across. So much so that once the credits rolled, a standing ovation was mandatory. Her mission, accomplished! Her documentary is arguably one of the most inspiring films any young girl can watch.

As a man watching this film, I felt even more compelled than ever to ensure that all women have equal opportunity succeed in this world. For man’s world would not exist without a woman’s contributions. In her documentary, Bishop Vaughn quoted an old African proverb “If you teach a man, you help a man. But if you teach a woman, you help a village”. This documentary will go a long way to doing just that. Because the first thing our young women need to learn is that being born a girl is the first step to becoming someone great! Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

UPDATE: I was so moved by the movie and the efforts of the Corletta J Vaughn Foundation, that I have decided Hollaifyouhearme.com will partner up. The tab at the top of the screen that says ” Support The Corletta J Vaughn Foundation ” will be there for you and anyone else to donate to their efforts to help women and girls! I will be pitching in and I hope you will also!

Self Inflicted Wounds

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There are things that plague our community and we thought injustice and police brutality was tops on the list. In fact, it sparked a new movement entitled “#BlackLivesMatter”. This past Holiday season has opened my eyes to an even bigger problem. We seldom value our own lives. In the fight for peace in our neighborhoods, we are losing daily.

The man pictured above is Anthony Tolson. Arguably Detroit’s best on bass guitar. The truth of that statement may never be known now. Last Christmas eve, Anthony was shot and killed by thieves who carjacked him for his truck. The truck was found. His children’s gifts and his bass still in the back. One of the young men arrested for his murder indicated that they only wanted the rims. A few months later, A young man was shot and killed at Eastland mall. It was over a minor dispute in the mall but I continue to read his mother’s major heartbreak on Facebook everyday. Every week since then, there has been a murder here in Detroit, 90% of those under the age of 30.

It’s not just here in Detroit. Chicago, Miami, and Memphis have seen some of the most bloodiest days in their history in the past month. Guns are easy to get and easily stolen. Now that Micheal Jordan has released his latest color of his old throwback gym shoe. To my knowledge, there have been 3 fatalities due to being robbed for those shoes at gunpoint. These factors have driven people to the gun stores at record numbers. It feels more like we have given up.

We have given up raising our kids, We have given up mentoring our teens. We have given up passing knowledge of self and community. We have abandoned the notion that we can control our own; raise our own; provide for our own. We want to fight mass incarceration yet give into mass neglect. We, yes WE! We are the key to everything. Not lawmakers or lawmen. We who are in the neighborhoods everyday. It is We who must teach what really matters. Not Jordan’s, expensive rims, not even foolish pride, but the lives of every one who looks like you, lives like you, and in the future…will learn to believe in you. Holla if you hear me!

-K  Greene

 

 

It’s Official: I Am With Her

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I admit, this had been one of the hardest decisions in all my years voting. Bernie Sanders has some interesting ideas and viewpoints. His history fighting for civil rights also weighed heavy on me. If there was ever a time we needed a champion for civil rights in the White House, that time is now. Yet I feel there is something more to it. A bigger picture.

The one idea I really liked from Bernie Sanders was the idea of free college. These days it is impossible to get a decent paying job without a college education. As we all know, nothing is free and even by his own admission, taxes will have to go up to pay for it. Everything else can be gained at the Senate level.  Bernie is better served staying in the Senate and offsetting the Republican surge there. If the Democrats win the senate, Bernie will have an easy time getting support for his initiatives.

Hilary is ready. She watched as her husband ran our country effectively. She was a Senator from New York from 2001-2009. Then she would later serve our country as United States Secretary of State from 2009-2013. She has the experience. She knows what our country is facing and what will help it. She knows the Republican plan for America and went to Flint,MI to see the affects of one Republican’s interpretation of that plan come to horrific fruition. There she promised Flint that she will fight for it and never forget it. Secretary Clinton also readdressed her commitment to ending Systematic Racism. Which is not just a minority issue, it’s an American issue. Racism has shattered America for centuries. Mrs. Clinton has vowed to “Make America Whole”.

The Republican party has come out with guns blazing and focused on Hilary Clinton. They know she is a direct threat to their plans. Her experience, insight, and dedication to America and not just the wealthy make her the top choice. I am endorsing Hilary Clinton for the next President of the United States. I believe that the best man for the job in this case is a woman. Holla if you hear me!

– K. Greene

 

 

Be Black History

In school, there was no other month I looked forward to more than February. Finally, I get a chance to learn about my history. The people that paved the way and the ones that gave with their lives. Each story seemed to give me life no matter how many times i heard them. Why, because each one brought me closer to myself. For what is a man without his history? African-Americans only have 28 days a year for it to be nationally recognized. However, it has occurred to me over the past 4 yrs that I may very well be cementing myself in Black History. More importantly, I wasn’t the only one. Also, I believe you can join us.

If you look at African-America’s most notable figures, nobody had anything more than anybody else. Nobody had special powers or supernatural gifts. They came from an assortment of everyday backgrounds much like you or I and if things were equal, we may never have known about them. Yet slavery was a precursor to the road our people had to travel in this new country. Bound together by shackles, worked and bred like beasts, the road to freedom and equality would have to first be paid for with blood and sacrifice. Those ancestors who rose to pay that toll endured the worst. In the years after, more and more of our ancestors sought our rise in every avenue possible. Education, Business, the Arts, and Civil Rights. Our ancestors in these areas saw a need and addressed it. There were needs in our government as well and those before us addressed those too. Even though the color of their skin minimized their voice at the time, their words proved prophetic as our country still struggles with racism to this very day.

It is this very day that concerns us. It’s this very day that I want to bring to your attention. Today, is our day. There is still a need for those of us to take a step up. We have come a long way but we are not there yet. We are still being beaten and murdered by police. There is still economic and systematic Racism plaguing our community. There is a call for change that has remained constant in all aspects of African-American life in America. All that is needed is for you to answer the call where you are, in your profession, or craft. Our history is riding on the number of African-American men and women who willing to be the very best at what our culture needs right now. I am committed to making sure that my body of work adds to our culture and brings our people together. It is my goal that my work inspires the next generation of writers. My place in Black history is now. Will you join me? Holla if you hear me.

-K. Greene

Reading,Writing, and Water

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I was writing a new piece when I finally had enough. The news became more and more unbearable each time it was reported and for the first time in a long time… I hated to be right. I never liked Governor Rick Snyder. I saw his disdain for the lower class and minorities evident throughout every move he made. Now those moves have risen to the surface. Invested in apathy and interest paid for by the health of thousands of Michigan residents.
Currently, Detroit Public School teachers fed up with the conditions of the schools and laughable wages have staged “Sick outs” to call attention to the matter. Detroit Public Schools are under an Emergency Manager appointed by Governor Snyder in order to help the school district while it is severely in debt. Help only in word and not deed. For the past 6yrs, Detroit Public Schools continued to fall deeper into decay. Molds and fungus grow wild in the hallways. The very same hallways kids have to use for gym class because the gymnasium is no longer suitable due to leaking roof and warped, molded floor. Some schools have no heat, old books. Teachers have to come out of pocket for toilet paper and school supplies for the children. Their salaries barely supporting their own households. How would you feel if your child went to school and these are the conditions that they were forced to learn in?

An hours drive north of Detroit and another Emergency Manager appointed by Governor Snyder has committed the unthinkable. It has been known for the past two years that Flint’s water supply was in dire straits. In fact, General Motors abandoned using Flints water in 2014 for their plant citing pollutants in the water. Like his counterpart in Detroit Public Schools, he was in no hurry to turn things around. In fact, it was a doctor’s report on the high levels of lead in children that sparked outrage. Then there were the reports of over 80 cases of Legionaries disease with 10 fatalities due to the polluted water. It is estimated that it will take $41 million to replace all the corroded pipes causing the contamination. Which is all the pipes in the city. Darnell Early was the Emergency Manager in Flint and of course Governor Snyder had to remove him. Yet Snyder felt Early was a good man and made him the new Emergency Manager of … You guessed it, Detroit Public Schools.

Governor Snyder has apologized and in turn blamed bureaucrats for anything he could but the damage is done and his part is plain as the pain in the faces of Flint’s residents. Faces that echo the ultimate betrayal of leadership. Snyder’s lack of respect for minorities and the poor came swiftly when he appointed Emergency Managers over Flint,Pontiac,Detroit, and Benton Harbor shortly after his first term as Governor. Now we see the fruits of his decisions. Promise fair oversight but deliver unfair dispensation. Promise an investment of resources but deny the resources necessary. Emergency Management is nothing more than suspending democracy in favor of his friends. Namely the rich and Republican. The rest of us can drink the water. Holla if you hear me.

-K. Greene

 

Welcome to the New Year

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Welcome to 2016! I thought about writing about what I have planned for your reading enjoyment this year. However, I would hate to ruin my surprises. I thought about writing something super inspirational. However, just about every blog I have read this week is doing just that. So I decided to share with you a word that I received from Bishop Corletta Vaughn on New Year’s Eve. That word is… Preparation.

In order to get what she told me, you will have to attend Holy Ghost Cathedral on East Grand BLVD on Sunday mornings in Detroit,MI. I will give you some to think about in the interim. It all starts with one question. “What are you Preparing for?”. I know you are hard at work on your brand new resolutions but why make them? What is the outcome of your hard work?

A lot of you want to lose weight. A lot more of you want more money. I know most of you want both! I want you to consider not your goal but your journey. What are you doing to prepare yourself for the end of the journey? Not physically, but mentally. There is something to consider when attacking this year and it is the same every year and it’s the number one reason why so many people fail in their resolutions. Lack of Preparation. You haven’t decided what to do when you meet your goals. Also your goal was only for this year. How can achieving your goals this year carry over into the years to come?

Prepare yourself. Not just for the ritual of making a resolution but for long term change. Use parts of your journey to lay a foundation for next year. I want to challenge you not to think in terms of  365 days but 730 days. Look forward to 2017 right now and when 2017 gets here, start laying foundations for 2019. That way, building your empire during 2018 will be a lot less hectic because you will already have a plan in place. So instead of making resolutions, we can make progress. Holla if you hear me!

-K Greene

Power of the Black Vote

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I spent most of 2014 hosting a radio show called “We The Nation” on Urban Nation Radio. I focused on politics and current events. The most important message that I wanted to get out was the importance of voting. I had numerous guests and did a lot of great interviews but the voting numbers in the African-American demographic barely budged. When I went out into the community, I often spoke to young people about voting but many felt like their vote didn’t matter. They were unmoved by my knowledge and my words fell on deaf ears. I needed a bigger and better example. Thanks to Donald Trump and his meeting with those black Pastors, I may now have it.

Before the meeting ever took place, a backlash came from the African-American community once the flier was circulated. Eventhough Trump is a highly successful billionaire, many in the African American community see Donald Trump’s views as racist and unfavorable. Many of Trumps comments have done little to change this perception. Trump himself realizes that he cannot win the White House without the Black vote. So with the help of Pastor Darrell Scott from Ohio, Donald Trump reached out to African-Americans through the Church. It’s a well known fact that the church has been the center of the African-American community since the Civil Rights Movement. Also, since the Republican party has built their campaigns on Christian morals, it was a very sound strategy.

The post meeting fallout was even more explosive. CNN interviewed Black Pastors all evening and the following day. One Pastor that was featured prominently was Bishop Corletta Vaughn from Holy Ghost Cathedral in Detroit. She did not go to the meeting citing Trump has not visited the community she serves and especially his unclear views on women’s rights. What did Trump do in response? He now has a clip of two African-American women loudly proclaiming their endorsement of him for President.

Now, if you throw in the recent Senate battles on Gerrymandering and voter redistricting at the local level in urban areas along with Donald Trump’s campaign strategy, the picture is clear. Black voter power is big! The fact that African-Americans don’t embrace it is bigger! Imagine what changes in education and economic empowerment if African-Americans realize their voting power. Now that is HUGE! Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene