Thursday, February 18, 2010

People Get Ready

People, get ready, there’s a train a comin…

Yes, people, get ready, because surely the world is coming to an end when children are committing the kinds of crimes they have been lately. The Bay Area has been inundated with shootings, assaults and all manner of crimes committed by young people. In Vallejo, a 15 year-old boy shot an ice cream truck vendor, an elderly woman in the chest. Thank goodness, she survived. Why did he shoot her? He was trying to rob her and because she didn’t speak English, he thought she was trying to resist. Some more Vallejo kids beat up a city worker. There have been various other incidents, kids committing crimes, often with a gun. But the end all be all occurred this past Sunday when three teenagers entered a Richmond church and shot and injured two brothers, also teenagers.

A former gang member said, “They have crossed the line.” What gives? Ministers are calling for a summit on what to do about the crime and young people? I don’t mean to be cynical, but they have done this before. It is said that these young people are in pain. They haven’t had proper parenting.; they don’t have role models. Frankly, I am tired of the excuses. Shooting in a church? Where are the boundaries? Like someone said, they have no boundaries. The corner church just as well the corner store. The aunt and uncle of the kid who shot the ice cream vendor appealed to the public to not judge their nephew. He has had a hard life, going from foster home to foster home. The father of the boy who assaulted the city worker said he wanted to make sure his son was treated fairly and he himself was killed by violence a few days later.

So, what is the solution? What can be done? I have no answers. The things that used to work; community involvement, parent concern and more policing are not available. Often these kids are raising themselves because of the lack of parents or neglectful parenting. Women are raising young men alone but that is a whole other blog. The situation in Vallejo with increasing violence is tied directly to that city’s bankrupt system and cutbacks in the police force. In my city of Oakland, I’m told there is more policing but they are still having side shows, doing donuts and crazy antics—a young woman was killed about two weeks ago when a driver lost control of a car. In fact, that young woman herself had been involved in taping a violent assault in a hair salon.

I don’t know what the solution is and I do not expect any quick answers. I just needed to vent and I have access to this space to do just that. While things are bad, there are young people who are doing phenomenal and positive feats. I hope to bring those stories soon.

February 18, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Late, but Right on Time

Well, it is 2010 and I did not blog in January. I don’t really have a reason for it. I started several blogs but nothing really materialized. When I look back at 2009, I’m pretty satisfied with my blogging, a vast improvement. But looking and going forward for 2010 is what I am about.

While I wasn’t blogging in January, I have been writing. Some exciting things have materialized in the way of gearing up my writing life. Back in November, I was kind of depressed and having a pity party about my lack of writing. I don’t believe I submitted anything, although I had one publication in January 2009 with Go, Tell Michelle. I was in a state of suspension. I was mentoring and encouraging others but I could not get myself together to further my goals. I have written quite a bit on my childhood stories on this blog. I have written shortened versions of some of the stories I have crafted in my collection. It came to me that I can publish this collection, I mean self-publish because hey, this is about heritage, family and I don’t need a publisher to tell me it is okay to publish MY STORY. So with that in mind, a weight was lifted off of me and I am revising and adding stories to my book that will give another view of my beloved Oakland. Stories of family, community and adventures while I was growing up. I will also look into having some of the stories posted in one of the local newspapers.

I was asked to participate in a collection with two writers by an author who I admire, a woman who has published several books. This book will be about mothers and daughters. I will be contributing two fiction stories. I am really excited because though I am multi-published, I have had very little fiction published. I am both excited and scared but ready to take the leap. So, look out for that to come out around Mother’s Day. I will keep you posted.

I received an email in early January from a children’s publisher to be a consultant for a historical book. Yep, just out of the blue. It occurred to me in talking with my writing partner, Teresa and she said it, things are happening when you brush off your fears. I know that God is guiding me and that my attitude had to change in order for him to make a way for opportunities to blossom. There are other opportunities; a chance to place an article about my trip to Cuba on a travel site, write articles for an up-and-coming women’s magazine and write more fiction for a new journal. It’s all here; I just have to grab hold of it.

Last weekend, I had an opportunity to attend a workshop with some phenomenal black women, all great writers, movers and shakers. We shared, wrote, networked and spoke of producing a community, a consortium of black writers, mentoring and publishing together. There were writers who are workshop leaders, community activists, educators, and even a well-known television journalist. I realize the possibilities are endless, that dreams and goals can be attained and we have the capacity to embrace all that is bestowed upon us as women in general, black women in particular, as leaders in our community and how much writing can play a part in making things happen, as it is a vital part of all the women who attended the workshop. I am hopeful, I am determined.