Life Can Still Continue

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011



"When things don't go according to plan some people say, 'I just got dealt the wrong set of cards.'  And when I hear that, I start to think...well...whose actually playing?" says Nicholas James Vujicic (affectionately known as 'Nick'" (born 4 December 1982) is a preacher and motivational speaker born with Tetra-amelia syndrome--a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs.  

As a child and through the struggles a young one must have had growing up, he eventually came to terms with his disability and started his own non-profit Life Without Limbs – at age seventeen. Vujicic presents motivational speeches worldwide, on life with a disability, hope, and finding meaning in life.

This video below made me cry like a tiny tiny baby.  Let me know how you like it. 

Is Racism Still Alive?

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Friday, August 12, 2011



Here I was minding my own business when my friend Ryan Hill on facebook asked me to weigh in on a topic posted on his page by Mr. Willam Taylor.  Appropriately titled, "SPARKS." I have copied our conversation below as our discussion is a healthy one we must continue to ask ourselves.

William Taylor writes:
Over the past few days, I’ve been reading posts on Ryan’s page concerning racism, cultural diversity and overall ignorance. I’ve justly responded with my on thoughts on the matter(s), but feel like they’ve been promptly ‘swept under the rug’ by more debates stemming from the same issues. I, for one, apologize for using a friends Facebook page as a sounding board, but am – frankly – getting tired of the ‘why me’s’. I’m sure a few of you will think that last sentence was speckled with an ample dose of ignorance, as well, but if you were to take a chance to get to know me, like Ryan has, you would realize that it’s quite the opposite, so please…hear me out.... 
The post recently added by Amora, about a man – James Anderson – being brutally slain by two right wing extremists, disgusts me. Not for the fact that this was an act of racial prejudices, but because an honest, hard working family man was killed. The thing that bothers me about this, stems at an underlying issue that is far more disconcerting to me – to let this man die in vain, would be an injustice to both him and his loved ones, and would also serve as a victory to those who committed such a heinous crime. 
Instead of the “why me’s” and simply posting the fact that “racism is still alive”, people of the world need to realize a simple fact….. THAT WE ARE ALL ONE. We are all human. Slavery ended in 1863. The Holocaust in 1945. 18 days ago, a man killed 72 people in cold blood – all the victims were white, as was the killer. In Somalia, 500,000 children are facing imminent starvation because the al-Shabab won’t allow the U.N to import food. HATRED is not going anywhere, but the way we respond to it, HAS TO. Not one race should feel the pain of these tragedies, but everyone – ALL races and creeds. The further we distance ourselves in times like these, the longer these acts of hatred and ignorance will continue.
 - This is simply, my own humble opinion. 
And yours truly writes:
Your “one humble opinion” was stated perfectly. The phrase, “WE ARE ALL ONE” seems to ignite some abstract thinking into many minds instead of dealing with the simplicity of it. 
We are all interdependent on each living, breathing organism. The naturalist in me would say, as we exhale plants “inhale”, as plants “exhale” we inhale. Common concept of carbon and oxygen… The spiritual person in me says, we are all created with a purpose to peruse that specific purpose, backed by a merciful God. The historian in me shuffles back through historical data and traces our origins back to ONE source. 
We are all one, in the sense that we all experience hate, injustice, despair. Literary leaders, religious trailblazers, and humanitarian workers have all been quoted questioning humanity’s disdain for one another from the beginning of time. Shakespeare wrote in The Merchant of Venice "If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?" Mahatma Gandi’s, “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no cause that I am prepared to kill for.” “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19
There has ONLY been TWO times in history were a unity in the American people was tangible: 1, the 6.9 earthquake in 1989 (killing over 60 people and about $6 billion in expenses) and 2, the four coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda otherwise known as 9/11. I remember walking out of my house and stumbling and at least 4 people came to help me up. The hurt partnered with a thankful mindset for life created a blanket of harmony—although short lived, was beautiful.
But the point that you are missing is clear…racism is still UNFORTUNATELY simmering on a stove of governmental policies in a pot of political gain. And as racism is still simmering, violence is its inescapable companion. For example, since Bush has left the Presidential Office, racially motivated violent outbursts have increased by 400% against President Obama. (The highest number on record.) There has also been an increase in the number of anti-immigration groups throughout the country. These groups grew from 173 in 2008 to 309 in 2009, a rise of nearly 80%. 
I agree with what Ryan has said in response to slavery. The abomination of slavery is, in fact, over…but there is a pain that is associated even with the very word as slavery has affected lives of the old. The most influential way of storytelling is oral tradition. Stories passed down from generation to generation. And while black hurt as been passed down, paralleled are stories of white supremacy are passed down as well. We cannot simply touch on a matter without understanding its origins or subsequent actions. Now should a black man or woman sit back and use that ideology as an excuse to be unsuccessful? No…but it is what it is. 
As racism’s companion is violence its counterpart is power. Our world produces enough food to feed every mouth suffering from hunger. World agriculture produces 17 % more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 % population increase. Which leads us to the topic of poverty. The causes of poverty include an individual’s lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself. Racisim+violence+power= a self destructing world drowning in a conundrum of contentment. 

And I will stop here before I start rambling more. I’ll have you know, William, I told Ryan last night that I am in love with your mind.

If you care to weigh in on the discussion, by all so. :)