Commentary (156)

Remembering Cynthia

Written by Thursday, September 10, 2015
My heart has skipped a couple of beats since I got the news moments ago that Cynthia Manker, former Associate Editor of Inglewood Today, has passed. While I am still trying to wrap my head around what has happened, I am certain she is in a better place. Cynthia was forced to quit working in 2011 when she had a stroke. She never made a full recovery, although she continued to receive treatment and rehabilitation. Prior to this, she was plagued by other health challenges. But regardless, there are not many people I have met with more energy. Even when…

Strategic Laziness is a Good Thing

Written by Thursday, September 03, 2015
Labor Day Weekend is upon us—another opportunity to lay in the shade, kick back and enjoy barbecue. After all, that is what holidays are for, right? For many of us this, Labor Day is the “last hoorah,” the transition day that signals the end of summer and beginning of back to school or work. There is a mental attachment to this holiday which carries the message that fun time is over. It’s time to sharpen our pencils and settle down. Summer is such fun, and it’s sad to see it go. But it got me thinking of ways to extend…

The Heart of a Servant

Written by Thursday, August 27, 2015
On August 23, I attended the annual Gardena Jazz Festival. Former Assemblymember Steven Bradford (whose district included Inglewood) has been organizing the event for years, bringing top jazz entertainers to the South Bay. As usual, the music was phenomenal. However, what made this festival even extra special was the addition of youth volunteers assigned to welcome and seat the guests. There were young high school students catering to people. They were so nice, professional and respectful that I just have to acknowledge them. In this age where young people are doing many negative things to get attention, it’s so nice…

Junk Food Advertising Paves Road to Obesity

Written by Thursday, August 20, 2015
The road to obesity is paved with junk food advertising. If getting your kids to eat healthier seems like an uphill battle, the culprit may be your television. Recent findings revealed at this week’s annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media indicate black and Latino youth are being disproportionately targeted with junk food ads. The report, released by the Uconn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity (, found: · Food companies were significantly more likely to direct their youth-targeted ads to African American and Latino audiences than to the general population: 71% of youth-targeted brands focused on…

Oral History Project Gives Voice to More People

Written by Thursday, August 13, 2015
One of the best aspects of family reunions is bringing together older generations with newer ones. As grandparents learn about the latest pop culture icons, and Millennials discover more about their roots, a bond is formed between the generations. Recently I discovered an oral history project that has recorded interviews with over 100,000 people in the last 12 years. StoryCorps is making history come alive through recordings in unique ways. One story that caught my eye was an animated short movie by a black woman who was on the forefront of voting rights. She told the story of what she…

Three Cheers for Volunteers

Written by Thursday, August 06, 2015
On Tuesday night, one of the hardest working women around was honored with a commendation from the City of Inglewood. Long time resident Ethel Austin was acknowledged by Mayor James Butts and council members for volunteer work with the Special Olympics. Ethel assisted members of Team Jamaica, making sure everyone had what they needed. It was a well deserved honor that I know she will never forget. This is not the first Ethel has given her time to others in our community. And I know it won’t be her last. She belongs to a special group of individuals who have…

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Written by Thursday, July 30, 2015
Can you look at someone and tell if they are suicidal? That question, asked by writer Kirsten West Savali, caused me to pause. The answer is obviously no, but how often do we judge a person’s mental state or motive based on nothing more than physical appearance. Savali’s article focuses on the tragic death of young black woman, Sandra Bland, who mysteriously died in her jail cell after being arrested during a traffic stop. According to police, no one left or entered Bland’s room. Authorities say she hanged herself. But those who knew Bland say she would never do…

Give Peace a Chance

Written by Thursday, July 16, 2015
Some folks just aren’t happy unless there’s a war going on. Fortunately, they are not the ones sitting in the White House. On Wednesday, the grueling process of hammering out a deal with Iran to stop building nuclear weapons was over. The agreement is between Iran and six world powers led by the U.S. Iran has agreed to take steps to severely reduce its capacity to produce nuclear weapons and comply with inspections. If Iran keeps its end of the bargain, international penalties that have severely weakened its economy will be lifted. This was not an easy decision and the…

The Two Faces of Bill Cosby

Written by Thursday, July 09, 2015
It’s no secret that especially in the U.S., there are often two forms of justice—one for the rich and famous, and one for the poor and common. Celebrities have commented over Bill Cosby’s presumed guilt or innocence (Whoopie Goldberg says there is no proof), just as the rest of us. I suspect, like the O.J. Simpson case, some will hold staunchly to their opinions no matter how Cosby fares. I will not comment on Cosby’s guilt or innocence, but rather point out the consequences of becoming a public moralist. This is at the center of what happened this week when…

What A Little Hug Can Do

Written by Thursday, June 25, 2015
The Confederate flag and all that it stands for—racism, separation, White Supremacist thinking—has been a part of Southern American life since the South first waged war against the North in the mid 1800s. Southern soldiers took the flag into war with them to express their solidarity against Northerners who opposed slavery. The Civil War tore the country apart, not only through bloodshed but hatred against black people. White Southerners needed to hang onto free slave labor which blacks supplied. They needed to justify holding black people against their will in order to make a profit. Their notion of white superiority…
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