Is the South ready to embrace everyone?
I recently attended a fundraiser for Jason Carter, who is running for Governor of Georgia. His grandfather is former President Jimmy Carter.
Upon hearing both President Carter & State Senator Carter speak about their love for Georgia and their faith in the progressive nature that many Georgians want, I was intrigued. Until this point, I did not perceive Georgia as a place where the majority cares about the environment, women’s rights, gay rights or equality with blacks and other minorities. The Governor’s race is a dead heat as I write this. That means people want what Carter is offering.
I love it when I am wrong about these things. I believe this proves my point about visuals and storytelling. If I just relied on what I read in storybooks and mainstream media and did not check it out for myself, I wouldn’t get the opportunity to expand my horizons.
The I Am Just Like U Campaign is slated to produce a Photo Shoot Event & Workshop for teens in Atlanta later this year. I figured we would be inviting a smaller segment of the population to join us. I did not expect that there would be many outside the black community that would be interested in what we are doing. I spoke to Senator Carter and many others at the event about IAJLU. Their response was positive and, of course, they knew guys we should invite to be interviewed. That is always the point. Those I speak to about the campaign know plenty of black male role models.
I am always inspired to hear other people wanting to connect humanity. We have to start somewhere.
President Carter was always championing for basic human rights. I am excited see his grandson follow in those footsteps to move Georgia forward and embrace everyone in that state.
Please support IAJLU with expansion into other southern states. Let’s connect everyone to their humanity. Participate with us.
Have an intentional conversation about race; Share our stories; Create your own t-shirt with your own statement; Elect officials that support everyone’s rights.
IAJLU is founded on influential and heartfelt storytelling of the every day black male. To rise up and call out the role models of the current generation.
Racism in America is bigger than Donald Sterling.
I waited to write this blog because I knew more information would come out about this situation if I gave it time. I, of course, wanted to jump on the bandwagon immediately and express my anger. But there is a larger picture here – and so many questions. I will start with the questions.
I do not know Donald Sterling, nor has be been someone I’ve read about until this all came to light. After listening to the partial video posted by his girlfriend and an NPR segment with sports writers who knew about this man, I just want to fully understand.
Why do you, Mr. Sterling, have a half black girlfriend if you do not want to socialize with black people? Why have you donated to the NAACP and other foundations that support minorities? Are they only worthy of your generic “support” and handouts? The employees at the Staples Center, your team of players and direct administrative staff are a mix of black people and other minorities – do you only tolerate them, but never see them as humans?
I would encourage some self-reflection at this point. I can only imagine that you probably did not see yourself as racist because you are around black people all the time. I would also encourage you to not only apologize, but to sit down and actually connect with your team and really discover who they are as people, because, they are just like you, human.
This is a mentality that is bigger than just a Clippers owner. Courts have found Sterling guilty of housing discrimination. Forget his actual quotes, but literally not wanting to rent to people based on how they look is illegal. These were public records and no sports writer would highlight these “fun facts.” One employee sued him based on racial discrimination, but that stayed off the larger radar, as well.
Sterling is also not the last man in power that practices racism, but that culture still seems to be allowed. It is allowed because we are not asking for anything different. I do not claim to have all the answers, but we are all part of a solution if we participate.
Sterling is responsible for his actions, but what about those journalists that did not call major attention to this long ago and readily ignored the situation. I was listening to Madeline Brand interview a sports writer and she asked him that very question. He had no significant response.
I do not condone taping someone without their permission. Allegedly, there was mutual consent and he knew he was being taped…but I am guessing the girlfriend had her reasons of getting his racism out to the world. Maybe she was sick of how he was treating people that looked like her.
One of our requests at I Am Just Like U for the general public has always been to have an intentional conversation about race. To bring it out in the open and make it everyone’s responsibility to change the negative perception we as Americans hold toward minorities. I would go further to say journalists have a professional responsibility to challenge the power culture and bring to light the information that is not always known about our leaders or those in authority. It sure is easy when sex and affairs are involved. Why not illegal racial discrimination? When will it be important enough to encourage unity instead of separation?
Let’s use our voice for good. Let us stand up when you see something that makes you and others uncomfortable. It is easy now to get on the bandwagon when a Facebook post points to an unfair situation, but we challenge you to stand up even when social media is not looking. We can all do our part. Let’s begin with an intentional conversation and actions that encourage unity, every day, not just when there is a scandal.
IAJLU is founded on influential and heartfelt storytelling of the everyday black male through unique and simple images.
Human Trafficking Awareness
It’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month and we are so proud to support Michael Cory Davis (one of I Am Just Like U’s featured men) in his passion and boldness joining this movement to end modern day slavery. Labor and sex trafficking happens everywhere – to men, women, boys and girls all across America and the globe.
Michael learned about Human Trafficking while he was filming in Bulgaria. “I saw signs of it on the streets. Not necessarily knowing that it was sex trafficking I started talking to people about it and found out that young women and children were being manipulated into thinking they could get employment or education if they joined placement services or paid fees to foreigners who promised them opportunities, but what they got in return was the nightmare of forced prostitution.”
After finding this out and learning how Human Trafficking is so prevalent, Michael joined forces with a local non-profit in Bulgaria called Face to Face. During one of the awareness missions at an orphanage, Michael met a 13 yr old girl named Svetlana who was sold and forced into prostitution by her adopted parents.
“It was her story that served as the inspiration for my first film, Svetlana’s Journey, which I created to shed light on the brutal reality of this crime,” says Michael. “I believe art, film in particular, is an effective way to reach people in large numbers and emotionally connect people to issues that would otherwise go under the radar. I knew that if I could show people in Bulgaria and ultimately around the world what sex trafficking looked like from the inside. They would then hopefully be compelled to take action and get involved in helping to end it. Statistics educate, but film tells the story.”
There are many ways in which you can join Michael Cory Davis in putting an end to Human Trafficking. “First, educate yourself about it and then educate others. Second, you can make choices to not support businesses that support forms of labor trafficking. Buying fair trade when possible helps that,” Michael replies enthusiastically. “You can support organizations with donated time and money or use your own talents to support awareness efforts.”
Get involved and learn more here: istoptraffic.com