Category: Miscellaneous

Remembering John Mack (1937 – 2018)

Civic leader John Wesley Mack was born on January 6, 1937, in Kingstree, South Carolina, to Abram Mack, a Methodist minister, and Ruth Wynita, a school teacher. Shortly after he was born, Mack’s family moved to Darlington, South Carolina. Mack attended North Carolina A&T State University, where he earned his B.S. degree in applied sociology in 1958. As a student, Mack was the head of the college’s NAACP student chapter. The following year, Mack was married to Harriett Johnson, an elementary school teacher he met through his college roommate; the couple went on to have three children together.

In 1960, Mack co-founded and became vice-chairman of the Commission on Appeal for Human Rights, an organization that incorporated members of Atlanta University, Morehouse, and Spelman Colleges, including such noted figures as Marion Wright Edelman, Julian Bond, and Reverend Otis Marsh. That same year, the students held sit-ins at Rich’s Department Store. During this time, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested. 1960 was also the year that Mack obtained his M.A. degree in social work from Clark Atlanta University.

Shortly afterward, Mack and his family moved to Oxnard, California, as part of a social work fellowship established for him at Camarillo Hospital by his mentor Whitney Young. In 1964, upon completing his work at the Camarillo Hospital, Mack moved to Flint, Michigan, where a year later he became Executive Director of the Flint Urban League. It was in Flint that Mack focused on fair housing and voter registration issues.

In 1969, Mack became President of the Los Angeles Urban League, where he would serve until his retirement in 2005; the longest tenure of anyone in this position. With Mack as president, the Los Angeles Urban League became one of the country’s most successful non-profit organizations, generating an annual budget of $25 million while promoting issues of employment, education and economic development.

In 1977, Mack became co-founder and co-chair of the Los Angeles Black Leadership Coalition on Education, and in the early 1980s, he was appointed vice president of the United Way Corporation of Council Executives. In the late 1990s, Mack served as a Fellow in Residence at Harvard University, where he led a study group entitled “The Future of Urban America: Finding Solutions Through Strategic Partnership and Policy Advocacy.” In 2005, Mack was appointed President of the Board of Police Commissioners of the Los Angeles Police Department by Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa; he held this position for two consecutive years before being elected to the office of Vice President in 2007. Over the years Mack has been awarded by numerous different institutions, including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Black Women of Achievement, Operation Hope, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the California Afro American Museum.


Go THROUGH The Valley

Instead of focusing on life’s failures – which in most cases are perceived failures and not actually failures because in Christ you never fail; I’d like to encourage you to focus on that which is good. Focus on the many blessings God has given you – whether it’s life, health, strength, food on the table, clothes on your back, sharp cognitive abilities and the ability to love like God loves. (Romans 5:5) Dig deep into your soul and find the blessing – it’s not hard to find and it’s truly there. Be thankful for all He has done for you and brought you through.  (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

No matter what, let God turn your shame into a shout. Don't lay in the valley, go THROUGH thevalley with the Lord on your side - allowing Him to carry you while focusing on that which isgood. (Psalm 23:4) Philippians 4:8 states, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 

The word, think in this Scripture in the Greek means, meditate on or consider.  God wants us to meditate on, consider or shall I add focus on things that are just (righteous and acceptable by God), pure (clean, modest and sacred), lovely (acceptable and pleasing) and of good report (sounding well).

So focus on healing, restoration, peace, inner joy, forgiveness, laughter, love and all of that which is good and you will find in your life every thing that has been lacking will be restored and that which was lost will now be found – including the many years you thought satan had taken away from you forever. 

And I will restore to you the years that the locust  hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt  wondrously with you: and my people shall never be  ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,  and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.  Joel 2:25-27

*Originally published on Kim on the Web.

He Won’t Give Up On You

For today’s daily devotional, I’m led to remind you of the power in Hebrews 13:5b which reads … I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  Hebrews 13:5
To know that God is on your side no matter what you may going through is one of the greatest blessings. 
Even if you were in the wrong, or they were in the wrong, or if the situation itself was just all wrong, as long as you sincerely repent in your heart and go to God about the situation, He promises to never leave you in it…He promises to always see you through.
The word, “leave,” in this Scripture in the original Hebrew means to send back, relax, loosen, to give up, omit, calm, to leave, not to uphold, to let sink
The word, “forsake,” in this Scripture in the original Hebrew means to abandon, desert, leave in straits, leave helpless, totally abandon, utterly forsaken, to leave behind
So during those storms in life when you’re crying, “Why, God, Why?” or even, “Where are you!?” During those times you feel He has abandoned you, know that He hasn’t abandoned you… and He never will.
The fact that God says He will never leave you nor forsake you is a promise. And you know you can take whatever God says to the bank. You can cash that check and it won’t bounce. God’s Word is a sure thing.
Isn’t that good to know?
So another way to read Hebrews 13:5 is as if God, Himself is saying, “I will never relax or loosen my hold on you. I will never give up on you. I will never let you sink. I will never abandon or desert you.  I will never leave you helpless. I will never leave
you behind.”
God is always your present, right now, help in your time of need. (Psalm 46:1)
So no matter what you may be going through right now, remember you’re not alone.
You have someone who is right there with you, pulling for you who won’t let you sink in the quicksands of life – He’ll pull you up right in the nick of time – every time.
*Originally published on Kim on the Web.

Silver Alerts & Alzheimer’s

We’ve all heard about Amber Alerts for missing children, but what about a system for older missing adults? Introduced nationally in 2008, ‘Silver Alert’ is a public notification system used to broadcast information about senior citizens missing from their homes. In particular, seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia or any other mental instability.

A progressive and fatal disease, Alzheimer’s poses significant safety concerns for people living with the disease and enormous challenges and stress for caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease destroys brain cells responsible for memory, thinking and behavior. As a result, people living with Alzheimer’s may become disorientated and lost even in their own neighborhood or places that are familiar to them. Due to confusion, they are often unable to ask for help leaving them vulnerable to weather, traffic and other health complications. According to the Alzheimer’s Association 6 out of 10 people with Alzheimer’s will wander and become lost at some time during the course of their disease and if not found within 24 hours, up to half will suffer serious injury or death.

I am passionate about Alzheimer’s disease. Below is an article from the Huffington Post about Alzheimer’s & the Silver Alert system that I wanted to share –

Missing, Wandering Alzheimer’s Patients A Growing Concern

by David Lohr

In some cities, there are so many homeless people wandering the streets that others barely notice anymore.

But while mental illness is frequently to blame for their situations, those suffering specifically from Alzheimer’s disease may wander without knowing why they are there or where they’ve come from.

It’s an unfortunately common problem for people with Alzheimer’s to end up lost. But those who then vanish without a trace -– the people who cannot be located and are often never found –- constitute a rapidly growing crisis looming on the horizon for baby boomers and their loved ones.

“There should be more awareness,” Darolyn Fagg told HuffPost. “When a patient is diagnosed, a doctor’s office should be more proactive in sharing information about the available resources. We had no idea until my mother went missing.”

Fagg’s mother, Hellen Cook, 72, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009. Her symptoms worsened and her ability to speak significantly diminished over time, according to her daughter.

Cook was last seen on July 13, near Warsaw, Mo., a small city about 100 miles southeast of Kansas City.

Cook and Fagg’s father, Howard Cook, were at their second home in rural Benton County when she disappeared. Howard Cook said his wife of 51 years was sitting on a porch swing when he went to put his lawn mower away. When he returned, she was gone.

Despite multiple searches, Hellen Cook has never been found.

“These things can happen any given time. All it takes is a caregiver who’s working really hard, to turn around for a second and the person can wander,” said Beth Kallmyer, vice president of constituent services at the Alzheimer’s Association.

Alzheimer’s disease is fueling an increase in missing person cases worldwide and, without a cure, the problem could reach epidemic proportions by the year 2050. The disease, the most common form of dementia, is gradual, unbeatable so far and ultimately fatal. It afflicts 1 in 9 people older than 65, and according to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 of every 10 people with dementia will wander — and some never to be found.

The growing number of reported cases has not gone unnoticed by organizations committed to raising awareness about missing persons. “I’ve seen a steady increase in our own cases in the past five years,” Kelly Murphy, founder of the Omaha, Nebraska-basedProject Jason, told The Huffington Post.

Project Jason offers resources to families of the missing and has successfully organized grassroots efforts to pass missing-persons legislation. Murphy started Project Jason after her son, Jason Jolkowski, disappeared in June 2001. He is still missing.

“There’s approximately 125,000 search-and-rescue missions where volunteer teams are deployed … for missing Alzheimer’s patients every year,” said Kimberly Kelly, founder and director of Project Far From Home, an Alzheimer’s education program designed for law enforcement and search and rescue personnel.

The estimated number of reported cases is conservative, because not every department contributes to the reports, she said.

“With 5.5 million people with the disease, and 70 percent wandering away at least once, you can do the math,” she said. “Even [if] it is a 10-minute wandering episode versus a 10-day episode, you’re still looking at potentially 3 million people who would be walking away any given year. It’s huge.”

For many families, a lack of education about the disease fuels the problem.

Patricia Bryan has been looking for her father, Kenneth Lawson, since June 6. The 76-year-old was last seen at his home in Union Point, Ga. A number of exhaustive searches has been conducted, all to no avail.

“We have had no leads on the whereabouts of my father,” Bryan said. “He was not always in a state of confusion. He would have moments were he would check out or not know where he was, but this was not all the time. Up till my father went missing, I didn’t realize just how many people with dementia and Alzheimer’s went missing on a daily basis. The media does not do them justice.”

With each day, the odds of finding any missing person decrease, but when the missing person suffers from an impairment, the odds are worse. Alzheimer’s patients do not wander without an actual cause; very few have hallucinations. They typically are going somewhere, looking for something, and don’t actually consider themselves lost, so they don’t reach out for help. The environment also can play a pivotal role

“In Virginia, if an Alzheimer’s patient is not found in 24 hours, about 46 percent are found dead. In Nova Scotia, the mortality rate is 70 percent. In parts of California, we’ve never recovered a live Alzheimer’s patient after 24 hours,” Kelly said.

And it’s a problem that will continue to grow. Unless a cure is found, an estimated 16.5 million people will suffer from Alzheimer’s by the year 2050.

“In the next 20 years, it’s going to bloom because of the baby boomer population,” said Amanda Burstein, project manager of Alzheimer’s Initiatives for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “That, in tandem with people using alert system’s, we’ll be seeing it more and it will be happening more because there are more of us at risk for it.”

Earlier in 2013, the Obama administration dedicated an additional $100 million within President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget to the fight against Alzheimer’s. A “National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease” was also implemented. The goal is to prevent and effectively treat the disease by 2025.

The success of the president’s initiative is difficult to predict. In the interim, better education for the families of Alzheimer’s patients and members of law enforcement could help curb the problem.

“If someone does go missing, you need to call 911 immediately,” said Kallmyer. “It’s not a situation where you wait 24 hours, because they are vulnerable and can’t necessarily find their way home or take care of themselves. It’s always an emergency.”

Thirty-two states in the United States have some form of public notification system — sometimes referred to as a Silver Alert — to broadcast information about missing seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other mental disabilities. The guidelines are governed on a state-by-state basis. The goal is to have an alert system in every state, but that has not been easy, according to Kelly, who said some of the opponents are members of abducted children’s groups.

“They are afraid that equipment would be utilized for Silver Alerts and the [public’s] attention would be diluted for Amber Alerts,” she said. “The problem with that is that we’re starting to see even more cases where you have an elderly grandparent who has custody of grandchildren. You see cases where grandma is going to take a baby for a walk and doesn’t come back.”

J. Todd Matthews, southeast regional director of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, which was created by the U.S. Department of Justice, said he is seeing an increase in general in missing persons cases.

Alzheimer’s is a defining disease of a rapidly aging population and knowledge is key, he said.

“I think we will be very wise to put great thought into this issue as soon as possible,” he said. “The population is growing and so will this issue without efforts to prevent it. Awareness is the first step. It’s an investment in our own potential future. How would you want to be treated if it were you? It very well might be one day.”

For more information on the disease or to learn how you can take steps to help prevent a loved one from wandering, call the Alzheimer’s Association free 24-hour hotline at 800-272-3900.

The Alzheimer’s Association has put together a list of helpful tips.


Don’t Try This At Home: Getting Pregnant Later In Life

By now everyone has heard the news that recently-married Halle Berry is pregnant at the age of 46 (her first pregnancy was at 42). While I certainly wouldn’t follow in her footsteps, I do question why anyone would want to have a baby at that age. Even with modern technology we all know the challenges that women face having children later in life, such as birth defects and higher rates of miscarriage. Not to mention, the disturbance in one’s career and the sheer physical toll. But even with all of those things aside, why would you want to spend your “middle years” changing diapers & chasing after a toddler?

Other things to consider having children later in life are: fetal distress, cesarean birth, high blood pressure, diabetes, ectopic pregnancy and premature delivery. And that’s just for the mother! The baby is at risk for low birth weight, genetic disorders like Down syndrome, asphyxia, brain bleeds and stillbirth. How terrible is that?! Those are problems that occur during the pregnancy & in the delivery room. Consider what age you’ll be when your child becomes a teenager. How will your parenting abilities be as you age? Can you keep up with your children or their friend’s parents? Will you have the energy? Will you have the patience? Will you be able to keep up with the rigor of raising multiple children as you age?

According to the average life expectancy is 81 for women and 76 for men, so why spend the second half of your life raising young children? I would think that bearing children would be best to do while you’re younger. Instead of preparing for retirement, you now have to focus on raising an adolescent. While you may be more financial stable, the more out of touch you are with the younger generation that you are now raising. Not to mention all of your friends are just about done raising their children so you won’t have the support system that you probably hoped for.

Let’s look at some other famous people who had children later in life:

  • Uma Thurman – 42 years old
  • Celine Dion – 42 years old (with twins)
  • Tina Fey – 40 years old
  • Mariah Carey – 41 years old (and she’s reportedly pregnant again)
  • Nicole Kidman – 40 years old
  • Kelly Preston – 48 years old
  • Salma Hayek – 41 years old (her husband is a billionaire)
  • Molly Ringwald – 41 years old (with twins)
  • Mira Sorvino – one baby at 41 years old, and another at 44 years old
  • Charlie Chaplin – was reportedly 73 years old
  • Steve Martin – had his first child at 67 years old (and his wife was 41)
  • Hugh Grant – fathered a child at 51 years old
  • Warren Beatty – fathered a child at 55 years old
  • Tony Randall  – over 70 years old and died shortly thereafter at 84 years old
  • Luciano Pavarotti – fathered a child at 67 years old and died shortly thereafter at 71

It is a little different when you are rich – you can pay for younger help. You can also afford the best doctors to make sure that your health & the baby’s health is in excellent condition. Plus, Halle Berry looks like she’ll be young forever! But for the average woman these resources aren’t as readily available.

I am so glad that my parents aren’t “older”. This means that they’ll be around a lot longer J


Talk To Me, Baby: What Type Of Phone Call Are You?!

Life keeps us so busy that it gets difficult trying to catch up with family and friends. There are some people that I love talking to & some that I can’t stand to talk to for more than a few minutes at a time, so I’ve categorized my phone calls. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about –

  • Bathroom phone call: Sitting in the bathroom is usually one of the most peaceful times of day for me (don’t laugh) so what better time than to call someone that has stressful conversation? This way when I’m done with my “business”, I’m also done with the phone call. Sometimes I wish I could flush certain people down the toilet (lol!)
  • Lunch break: These phone calls are usually pretty quick since lunch breaks are only an hour long. Because I have to eat and possibly do other things during my lunch break people I call during this time are usually just acquaintances, business calls or family members I don’t really want to talk to for very long.
  • Making dinner: This is where I get to multitask – I call people who are not that interesting.  This way I don’t have to give them my undivided attention and once dinner is ready (usually 30 minutes or less) it’s time to get off that phone.
  • Eating dinner: While I’m eating, I usually call people who like to talk a lot. It’s not good to talk with food in my mouth so during this time I can be a really good listener. And if I go for seconds, then they can really keep talking!
  • In the car – These phone calls are reserved for people I really like because sitting in the car is the largest chunk of time I use up. Traffic can get really bad and driving a few miles can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour, so this is truly the best way to kill time. I can connect with friends that I love talking with while I get to my destination safely.

I’d like to hear from you…..what type of phone call do you think you are?


Why Are You Wearing Cologne To The Gym?

From time to time I like to write about my experiences at the gym. I try to work out about 4-5 days a week so something comes up almost every day. Here are my gym randoms for the week:

  • Men stop wearing cologne to the gym – Spraying an expensive fragrance (or even a cheap one) will never mask the odor of pure funk. Everybody at the gym smells & if you’re working out hard enough you will too.
  • Chest hairs are not sexy – If you have a lot of chest hair or hairy arms please cover that up. Nobody wants to see all that. Leave something to the imagination, guys! T-shirts are sold everywhere so there is no excuse.
  • There should be a minimum amount of weight that a man has to lift at the gym– A man should be able to lift more weight than I can. So if I leave a machine with, let’s say 25 pound weights, then a guy shouldn’t be able to sit at that machine & use the same amount of weight. He should have to automatically increase those weights by at least 50%. After all, aren’t men supposed to be stronger than women?!
  • I’ve said this before, but big arms & a big gut don’t go together – Talk about irony, why not work out so that your body looks ripped all over? It makes no sense to be strong enough to pick me up but your stomach is so big I can’t even hug you all the way. Ha!


Racism: You Can’t Determine What Is Offensive To Someone Else

Most African Americans have experienced racism at some point in their life. The problem is that most White’s in this country are apathetic to our plight. They tend to think the problems that we have are self-inflicted and our bouts with racism are over-exaggerated. I contend that another person, particular someone who is not of color, will never understand exactly what racism is & how it can affect generations of people.

White people don’t deny that there is some racism out there. And we already know that most racist acts are committed against African Americans – not Hispanics, not Asians, not Indians – but African Americans. So if we all can agree that racism exists & that African Americans are victimized more often, then we must agree that there is a perpetrator. After all, racism cannot exist without a catalyst, right?

Let’s talk about the “n-word”. There are some White people that think because some African Americans use that word, that it’s counterintuitive to discourage Whites from using this word. They can’t seem to understand why we continue to perpetuate a term that has such a hurtful past but get upset when they use that word. Here’s my response to any White person who says that:


The aggressor (in this case: White people) doesn’t get to decide whether or not it’s okay to use a word that I consider offensive coming from someone else. It’s the same example that I gave in an earlier post – if I call someone fat that’s considered rude even if they call themselves fat. And unless you grew up under a rock, everyone knows that the n-word is offensive to Blacks coming from White people. So why would you use it (especially in public)? White people aren’t always the aggressor and all Whites aren’t racist, but when it comes to race relations they don’t have the privilege of appearing to be a racist. It’s the same way with sexual harassment – if I say my co-worker is sexually harassing me then my company has an obligation to investigate even if my co-worker doesn’t agree that sexual harassment took place. Even if you don’t agree that using that word is wrong, you still know that it’s considered offensive so just don’t use it.

Some things we don’t have to agree with or even understand – Feelings are subjective. If someone is offended by something, you don’t tell them that they are wrong for being offended, instead you respect the way they feel.


I Like It Clean

My friends make fun of me because I listen to cuss-free rap. When I download rap music I always select the clean version because I don’t like to listen to a lot of foul language even though I may really like the artist.  Although the explicit lyrics help make the song what it is, here are the main reasons why I choose clean lyrics:

  • I don’t want to hear the same 4 cuss words again and again – Hearing the chorus over & over is repetition enough for me
  • I prefer to focus on the lyrics, not the vulgarity – Cussing takes away from the song & ruins the integrity of the words being said
  • I like the beat – Isn’t that what all children tell their parents when they want to listen to music they shouldn’t be listening to? When I was in junior high & high school I used to listen to Tupac (I still love Ambitionz As a Ridah) and Dr. Dre ( remember Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang?) all the time but when my parents listened to my Walkman, they would admonish me for listening to all that cursing. I tried to explain that I just listened to rap music for the beat, but my parents never bought that excuse
  • It is possible to have good music without all those bad words – Just look at other genres of music. Country, Latin or Jazz music don’t have curse words but it’s still good music to listen to
  • I don’t want to offend others – When I play my music loud (which is the best way to play rap music), I don’t want the language to be offensive to others. You never know who is listening whether it be children, senior citizens or people that just don’t want to hear it at all.
  • I don’t want to hear women called out of their name repeatedly– I’ve heard the “B-word” enough to last me a lifetime; I certainly don’t need to hear it again & again

So, you see, there are good reasons for listening to clean rap music. Right now my favorite “clean” song is Lil Wayne & 2Chainz – “Rich as *%$^#”, but of course the clean version.  You should try it sometime!

Two Places That Should Always Be Crowded But Never Are – The Gym & The Library

Within the past year I have added two more membership cards to my wallet – a library card & a gym card. I’ve never been one to work out regularly because 1) I could never find the time and 2) I figured working out was something reserved for women who want to lose their pregnancy weight (lol!). The only time to work out is either before work – and who wants to get up extra early for something they didn’t want to do in the first place? – or after work, right when I’m tired, worn out & ready to eat dinner. But now that I’m in my thirties I have to start paying attention to my energy level and my overall health.

I really never saw the need for a library card until I got active in a book club. That’s when my love for reading was reawakened. Once I was issued my first library card as an adult, I haven’t stop discovering new things about my local library. There so much to do, so much to see! Not just for me, but for children and seniors alike. This country’s reading level is somewhere between 8th – 9th grade. And although there are over 120,000 libraries nationally nearly 60% of them have reported a decrease in funding in the last year. It’s unfortunate that people don’t support their local library. What I especially love about the library is that it’s free! Other than checking out books here are some of the other resources that the library offers:

  • Tutoring – Many libraries offer free tutoring sessions or reading labs for school aged children
  • Movies – There are free DVD’s that you can rent including recent releases (they even have VHS tapes, if you’re interested)
  • Computers – All computer usage is free
  • Performances – Everything from spelling bees to live readings
  • Book sales – Want to buy a book you enjoyed? Libraries always sell books for next to nothing

I’ve started going to the gym lately because I want to stay in shape the older I get (and let’s not forget summer is here). We also know that this country is facing serious health risks so I’m trying to keep fit to avoid unnecessary ailments.

  • Obesity = 1/3 of this country is obese
  • Gym memberships only cost = $55/mo.
  • There are about gym chains are there nationally = about 4,000 chain gyms nationally (like Crunch, Bally’s 24-Hr, YMCA, Gold’s, etc) but over 20,000 gyms total
  • Only about 15% of people possess gym memberships nationwide, but only 30% of them actively go to the gym  (according to the New York Times)

And there are many things to do at the gym, including:

  • One place I don’t have to dress up or wear makeup
  • Watching TV – Most of the cardio equipment have televisions
  • Classes of all kind – Gyms offers classes from A-Z! Literally, everything from Aerobics to Zumba
  • Personal trainer  – Although I haven’t invested in one yet I’d like to think of PT’s as catered work outs
  • Eat healthy – A lot gyms sell smoothies, shakes or wellness snacks
  • Gym memberships are not expensive & give you a good return on your investment

So go & sign up today!