It’s Best To Wear That Latex, When It Comes To Practicing Safe Sex: In Georgia At Least!

The Black & White:

Numbers tend to have an unique effect on the imagery they can potentially draw. With numbers one can fill in the blanks of an obscure picture and many times walk away from a situation with a firmer understanding of reality versus perception. This weekend the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released telling numbers that identified Atlanta, Georgia as a domestic hub of the viral, yet deadly disease known as Human Immunodeficiency Virus. YIKES!

Before we dive into the number deeply let’s put this all into perspective. Georgia, the 24th largest state in the United States in terms of land mass and the 9th most populous state, has a documented population of 10.21 million. These numbers are result of the 2010 census data. Atlanta, GA, the metropolitan mega-center of the southeastern region and the state’s capital boasts a population of 5.6 million! That’s right, half of the state’s population lives in the Atlanta region, but hear this: 1 in 51 Georgians now have or will contract the HIV disease-about 200,000 overall. 

The Grey:

The bleakness of those numbers are important on so many levels but mainly because this happens to be The United States of America. What do I mean by that statement? We pride ourselves on being a domestic, civilized, sexually responsible nation; also, a healthy, medicinally conscious nation of people. I then am forced to ask: Why does a region, better yet city of mainly minorities have a HIV rate that rivals Zimbabwe, a country ravaged by HIV and one to this day lacking the infrastructure or technology to research and combat the HIV/Aids epidemic?

One can reason about these daunting numbers and offer numerous possibilities but nonetheless, this is a conversation and topic that cannot be overlooked as a passing, insignificant or trivial matter. 

Maybe it’s massive amounts of unprotected sex. Maybe it’s protected sex but irresponsibility in getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases at least two or three times per year. Maybe it’s physician’s dropping the ball and not informing infected beings of the magnitude of their diagnosis. Maybe it’s individuals just not caring who they infect even if they know they ramifications. Or perhaps it’s a concentrated genocide to eradicate a group of people. No matter the reasoning or logic we land upon in identifying the issue, one thing remains true: something has to change by way of a meaningful solution and purposeful discussion!

The Legacy of Barack Obama And His Timely War on Mass Incarceration

The Black and White: 

President Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America catches a lot of heat and backlash for his involvement and stance concerning issues related to race and relations in America. His fiercest opponents go to great lengths outlining how his lack of public discourse and action oriented solutions regarding, most notably, criminal justice reform is without a shadow of a doubt in their opinion, lackluster. These opponents are not limited in their racial sphere, and often times than not his largest rivals are those of melanin skin tones. These opponents have come to firmly believe Obama can do more to help minority families and minority males in particular to realize a more promising future free of heavy encounters with law enforcement and incarceration behind bars.

Perhaps as an African American male President Obama could have or should have done more in expressing his sentiments for the effects of mass incarceration and the war on drugs in minority communities. But one point that maybe conveniently overlooked by the public camps that seek to illegitimize his legacy thus far is: Obama vowed to be President of the United Stated of America and not merely the Black United States of America. I can only imagine how tough it is maintaining balance in action taken towards the cause, while also displaying unbiased decision making for an entire country, especially one as diverse as ours.

The Grey:

The reality of the matter is that some critics only view the picture with hindering limitations as their frame of mind is captivated by sudden, yet typically temporary changes. I argue that Obama’s actions are systematic, well thought out and have a greater chance to stand the test of time.

Here are a few changes Obama has implemented while serving as Potus:

  • Yesterday he commuted the  sentences of 58 federal inmates; 18 of which were previously serving life sentences.
  • To date, Obama has commuted the sentences of 308 inmates (this may be a drop in the bucket in perspective of the nearly 2.8 million inmates in federal and state holding facilities but…….
  • It is clear that Obama is concerned with mass incarceration and the effects the war on drugs has caused families (side note how do you have a war on drugs, usually wars are country against country). He has gone on record saying:”It just doesn’t make sense to require a nonviolent drug offender to serve 20 years, or in some cases, life, in prison.” He went on to add,

    “An excessive punishment like that doesn’t fit the crime. It’s not serving taxpayers, and it’s not making us safer.”

  • Obama has appointed 2 Supreme Court justices to the court (Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.) One Supreme Court judgeship is still vacant and very well can be filled with an Obama nomination before his term ends. Remember Supreme Court Justices serve life terms and typically aren’t replaced until death.
  • Obama has nominated and had confirmed 324 judges by the U.S Senate. (These posts include the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals, district courts, and the United States Court of International Trade.
  • The number of nominations can increase before his term concludes because 57 nominations are still pending Senate approval.
  • Obama can possibly nominate 92 more judges to various posts on various court levels before his term ends as current holders retire and/or decide to move on with other engagements.

All of these things are important in the grander scheme of politics and creating a platform for change that can become generational and not as short as a Senator’s office term. Although Obama isn’t blowing the country away with daily conversations and actions, his work thus far speaks volumes to his understanding that the challenges we face as a nation can’t be fixed overnight with one decision. Instead, the solution will come from a top down approach that is catered to by President, Judge, State’s Attorney, Prosecutor, Defense, offender, victim, community members and all of the sort.

There is an old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” in this case, it will take a nation, bound together in commonality of cause to create the overarching changes we so desperately need!


Rest on Mrs. Afeni Shakur-Davis, Your Job Is Well Done!

WOW!!! Just a few weeks ago the music world was shaken with the untimely passing of one of music’s greatest gifts known as Prince. This morning another music legend in her own right passed away, that being the mother of the late, great rap superstar Tupac Shakur.

Although Afeni Shakur did not make music directly, she is most notably known for her business expertise regarding the distribution and marketing of her son, Tupac Shakur’s legacy.  In the late 90s she challenged Suge Knight and Death Row records and won an appeal to exclusively own the rights and forward facing direction of Tupac’s legacy after his death on September 13, 1996.

Initial reports lead to the notion that Afeni Shakur passed away due to natural causes earlier this morning. Shakur was born Alice Faye Williams on January 10, 1947 in Lumberton, North Carolina. Being raised in the turbulent times and in the segregated south pushed Afeni to identify and support causes that celebrated black empowerment and black progression.

Tupac was once quoted saying “My momma used to always tell me, if you can’t find something to live for, then you better find something to die for.” Mrs. Afeni found her purpose in life and gave back to the community through the various organizations she intertwined herself with. Her involvement and imprint on this earth will be long felt as she was an adamant Black Panther, philanthropist and amazingly robust business women with the capacity to pinpoint and define goals. To say the least, she was a powerful force that had the rare ability to make things happen exactly how she wanted them to!

Afeni spearheaded an arts program for young youth named after her fallen rap legend son, Tupac Shakur. The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, a Georgia-based company provided a platform for youth to explore the arts and creatively express themselves utilizing the many mediums art offered. This was just one of many endeavors conquered by Afeni, she was also the brains behind the mother company that controlled all of Tupac’s music that was released post death named Amaru Entertainment. Afeni further exemplified her business skills as she ensured all proceed generated through album sales and the sales of the ‘Makaveli’ clothing brand were trickled into the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.

In homage of Afeni Shakur and the magnetism she invoked on the world, this afternoon/evening take a moment to listen to “Dear Momma” by Tupac Shakur!!!