#BlackLivesMatter: Who Was Renisha McBride?

“Let’s lift her name up, together, c’mon yall!”

“Renisha Mcbride! Renisha McBride! Renisha McBride!”

Police say her car crashed around 1 am then, two hours later, around 3 am, McBride was a shot and killed on the front porch of a home on Outer Drive.

While Dearborn Heights is about 83% white, Outer Drive is a relatively diverse neighborhood.

On the night of the shooting, the murderer was taken to the police station, where he was questioned and then let go, according to his attorney.

Victim’s family is still waiting for justice

But McBride’s family isn’t buying it.

“My niece is gone. Now, right now, the way I’m feeling? It was racist.”

Bernita Spinx is McBride’s aunt. She told the local Fox news station that she believes McBride was just looking for help after her car crash.

“You seen this black African young lady, knocking – not breaking in your house, not breaking a window – knocking! For help!”

McBride’s family says they had to have a closed casket funeral for McBride, because of the gunshot wound to the front of her head.

Bernita Spinx says it’s unfair that her niece’s killer is still free.

“And he’s outta jail? Wow. Could I possibly do that? Somebody knocked on my door and I pull out my shotgun, would I be standing here? No, I’d be in jail without a bond.”

The shooter’s side of the story

“There was a lot of banging. A lot of noise. And it didn’t sound like just knocking.”

On the night of the shooting, Carpenter says her client was afraid for his life, and regrets what he says was a tragic accident.

“I want to say that this was a tragedy for everyone involved,” says Carpenter. “He realizes that a life was taken. It was a young woman. And he is devastated by that fact.”

While there don’t appear to have been any eyewitnesses to the shooting, Dearborn Heights police say they do want to arrest the homeowner.

But the county prosecutor says more investigation still needs to be done

“Then you add the racial element to it, the case has now taken a life of its own, and it’s not going down the right track.”


Excerpts taken from Michigan Radio.

Men, Where’s Your Sense Of Urgency?!


If a guy asks a girl out, I would like to think that means he’s into her. But when he doesn’t follow up that ask with an action (like actually taking her out) then that leaves the question, is he really all that interested?

There’s a guy who I met a few months ago who asked me for my number and has been calling me pretty regularly ever since. He’s done a good job of staying in touch over the phone but we haven’t gone out since the day we met. He works long hours so he’s very busy, not to mention we live a pretty long distance apart. Days turn into weeks, weeks have turned into months and here we are in a new year and still there’s been no date set.

He has talked about taking me out. Lunch or dinner, he’s always telling me we should “hang out”, but never actually sets a date. Whenever we do talk about actually getting together he always laughs and says that he “owes me a lunch” but never actually follows it up by making plans. And since I’m not one to chase a man, I let it slide.

He’s nice & all but I don’t even know if I’m interested in him. We have good conversation (which is pretty hard to come by) but I’m not sure if I see a future with him. Of course it would help if we actually went out on a first date, right?! I’m certainly not going to press the issue, after all, he was the one that approached me, asked me for my phone number, called me up, and even asked me out. He just hasn’t followed it up yet. But if he really wanted to take me out, he would’ve done it by now right?

All of this leads me to wonder, why are men so slow when it comes to the dating process? If they meet someone they’re interested in, wouldn’t they ask them out quickly and then actually follow that through with a real date? Why risk her losing interest, or being put in the friend zone? I know that’s what I do – if I have a great conversation with a guy who says he likes me but never actually takes me out, he gets “friend-zoned”.

I’m sure he’s busy, but I’m busy too. When a man wants a woman he makes time for her. And he makes time sooner rather than later to spend with her. I certainly can’t think that a man is interested in me if he keeps talking about going out but never actually makes plans with me.

Men, dating shouldn’t be this confusing. If you’ve met a woman and you like her and ask her out then ACTUALLY take her out! So unless you just want another female friend on your roster, you’re going to lose our interest if you don’t ask us out on that first date.

Guys, what stops you from planning a date with us when you are the ones who asked for our number?


#ThursdayThoughts – Author Gwendolyn Brooks

Poet Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas, on June 7, 1917. Brooks moved to Chicago at a young age. She began writing and publishing as a teenager, eventually achieving national fame for her 1945 collection A Street in Bronzeville. In 1950 Brooks became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize, for her book Annie Allen. She died in her Chicago home on December 3, 2000.

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on June 7, 1917, in Topeka, Kansas. When Brooks was six weeks old, her family moved to Chicago as part of the Great Migration. Brooks was known as “Gwendie” to close friends and family during her childhood.

Brooks attended three high schools: the prestigious, integrated Hyde Park High School; the all-black Wendell Phillips Academy High School; and the integrated Englewood High School. The racial prejudice that she encountered at some of these institutions would shape her understanding of social dynamics in the United States and influence her writing. In 1936, Brooks graduated from Wilson Junior College, having already begun to write and publish her work.

Brooks began writing at an early age. She published her first poem in a children’s magazine at age 13. By 16, she had published approximately 75 poems. She began submitting her work to the Chicago Defender, a leading African-American newspaper. Her work included ballads, sonnets and free verse, drawing on musical rhythms and the content of inner-city Chicago. She would later say of this time in her life, “I felt that I had to write. Even if I had never been published, I knew that I would go on writing, enjoying it and experiencing the challenge.”

Brooks worked as a secretary to support herself while she developed as a poet. She took part in poetry workshops, including one organized by Inez Cunningham Stark, an affluent woman with a literary background. While Stark was white, all of the participants in her workshop were African American. Brooks made great strides during this period, garnering official recognition. In 1943, her work received an award from the Midwestern Writers’ Conference.

Brooks published her first book of poetry, A Street in Bronzeville, in 1945. The book was an instant success, leading to a Guggenheim Fellowship and other honors. Her second book, Annie Allen, appeared in 1949. Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Annie Allen, making her the first African American to win the coveted Pulitzer. Other honors received throughout her lifetime include Poetry magazine’s Eunice Tietjens Prize.

In the early 1960s, Brooks embarked on a teaching career as an instructor of creative writing. She taught at Columbia College in Chicago, Chicago State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin. She also continued to write and publish. Her long poem “In the Mecca,” published in 1968, was nominated for a National Book Award in poetry.

Brooks married Henry Lowington Blakely Jr. in 1939. The couple had two children, Henry and Nora.

Gwendolyn Brooks died of cancer on December 3, 2000, at the age of 83, at her home in Chicago, Illinois. She remained a resident of Chicago’s South Side until her death. She is buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois.


#WednesdayWorshippers – Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III

Education and faith are the hallmarks of the ministry of the Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, infusing his life, his work and his teachings. As Pastor of the nationally renowned Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York, and President of the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Old Westbury, Dr. Butts’ sincere commitment to enhancing the kingdom of God on earth is evidenced in a loyal attention to the daily activities and services of the congregation, as well as the pervasive impact of the church on community development initiatives including homelessness, senior citizen and youth empowerment, cultural awareness and ecumenical outreach.

Under Dr. Butts’ leadership, Abyssinian Baptist Church is committed to the expansion and maintenance of its Christian mission to win more souls for Christ through evangelism, pastoral care, Christian education, social service delivery, and community development. Toward that end, in 1989 Rev. Butts was one of the founders, and is the current Chairman of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, a comprehensive, community-based, not-for-profit organization responsible for over $600 million in housing and commercial development in Harlem. He was also instrumental in establishing the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change—a public, state-of-the-art, intermediate and high school in Harlem—and he is the visionary behind the Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School, which opened in September 2005.

A native New Yorker, Dr. Butts spent a few years in the South, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. He returned to New York and earned a Master of Divinity in Church History from Union Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry in Church and Public Policy from Drew University in Madison, NJ. The Reverend was conferred with honorary degrees from Morehouse; The City College of New York; Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, AL; Claflin College of Orangeburg, SC; Dillard University, New Orleans, LA; Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA; and Trinity College, Hartford, CT.

Rev. Butts was an Urban Affairs instructor, and served as an Adjunct Professor in the African Studies Department at New York‘s City College. He also taught Black Church History at Fordham University, and continues to lecture and speak at colleges, universities and various organizations throughout the United States and abroad.

In addition to his professional and religious avocations, Dr. Butts is a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), as well as a Board member of New Visions for Public Schools. He also served as Chairman of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), was a founding member of the organization’s Board of Commissioners and was a member of the Board of Trustees of  American Baptist College in Nashville, TN.

Previously, Rev. Butts also served as President of Africare, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in rural Africa, as well as President of the Council of Churches of the City of New York. He served as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of United Way of New York City, and Chairman of the Board of the Harlem YMCA.

Throughout his tenure at Abyssinian, Dr. Butts has spearheaded numerous boycotts against institutions that practice racist policies and employment discrimination. He has led campaigns to eliminate negative billboard advertising in Central Harlem and other New York City communities, and to expose rap music that includes violent and negative lyrics targeted at women. Rev. Butts has spoken out against racial profiling and police brutality, built coalitions to foster economic development and job growth and mobilized support for the plight of Christian minorities being persecuted abroad. Dr. Butts was also instrumental in establishing a church-administered legal defense fund, which is used to assist members of the Abyssinian congregation and the local community in covering legal expenses.

Rev. Butts is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Shirley Chisholm Community Service Award; Man of the Year Award from Morehouse College Alumni Association; Morehouse College Candle Award; induction into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers (Morehouse College); the William M. Moss Distinguished Brotherhood Award; and the Louise Fisher Morris Humanitarian Award. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Prince Hall Masons (having received the 33rd final degree in Masonry), and was recognized as a Living Treasure by the New York City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Dr. Butts is often invited to preach in distinguished pulpits throughout New York, nationally, and internationally. He has traveled to Africa, China, Cuba, Europe, the Middle East, Netherlands, South America and throughout the Caribbean.

Rev. Butts is married, has three children and six grandchildren.



#DiscoveryTuesday: Home Surveillance Cameras (Marie Van Brittan Brown)

While home security systems today are more advanced than ever, back in 1966 the idea for a home surveillance device seemed almost unthinkable. That was the year famous African-American inventor Marie Van Brittan Brown, and her partner Albert Brown, applied for an invention patent for a closed-circuit television security system – the forerunner to the modern home security system.

Brown’s system had a set of four peep holes and a camera that could slide up and down to look out each one. Anything the camera picked up would appear on a monitor. An additional feature of Brown’s invention was that a person also could unlock a door with a remote control.

A female African American inventor far ahead of her time, Marie Van Brittan Brown created an invention that was the first in a long string of home-security inventions that continue to flood the market today.