Sunday Reading: The State of The Family in America

            There comes a time when students, family members, and professionals must come together to discuss the problems that directly affect the family structure, and answer the question, What is the State of The Family in the 21st Century? On Thursday January 31st the Theta Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., brought these groups together in the annual panel discussion, State of The Black Family.

            Panelists included, Liane Robinson, a Senior Communications Major with a minor in Sociology, and the current music editor for CLE Magazine; Dr. Marcia T. Caton, educator who has served as an adjunct faculty member, full professor, and assistant dean at LaGuardia Community College, and Co-founder and President of the Caton Foundation; Malik Goodson, a proud father of a newborn baby girl, a member of Alpha, and Senior Project Manager for the Port Authority of NY and NJ; Jodi Cox, the Director of Campus Activities at STJ, and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.; Timothy Pettaway, a Finance Major, licensed insurance agent, and President of Haraya (The Pan-African Students’ Coalition); Sean Jefferson, Legal Studies major with a  minor in Sports Management, the President of the Theta Epsilon Chapter, and Treasurer for the STJ Chapter of NAACP.

Discussion questions tackled how domestic, community, and mainstream systems affect the family structure. One of the main problems that were raised during the discussion was the influence single parent homes have on the children within the family—specifically the lack of a father figure.

These are the conclusions that were agreed upon:

A child who grows without the influence of a strong family in his/her own home may walk with a disability that follows the child as he/she starts a family.  When the domestic family fails, the child looks towards the direct community for examples of a family—this includes the church/religion, educational system, and organizations the child is exposed to.  If the family structure is not quite present in these groups then the child looks toward mainstream for influence; this is the media, trends, entertainment, and dominant ideal depictions of family. If the media portrays fake and degraded family structures, or the dominant ideal structure is not something realistic to the child, then there grows a large disconnect between the ideal structure the child sees and who the child is. Cut off from these three systems of development, the child continues a path of dysfunction and plants these seeds of dysfunction in his/her family.

As the panelists noted, in order to destroy a strong group, one must attack the source of that strength.  Naturally if one divides a group, the group can be conquered.  The family that sticks together, undivided, can become a strong family. If only the parents, who are the strength of that family, stop dividing themselves.  Whether the issues are depression, financial instability, substance abuse, or boredom; the family must deal with these issues together, and overcome them. Condemnation, hate, condescension and neglect, will only exacerbate these issues, and cause splinters in the relationship.

Humbleness and strength in the face of struggle will heal a splintering home. These must be practiced adamantly.

How?

Through wisdom and education—and not necessarily post-secondary education—but the wisdom and education that comes from relatives, friends, elders, experienced people, and community organizations. The family must constantly be in a state of education, where family members genuinely want to learn more about themselves and the structures around them. This must be sought out.

In today’s world, with women gaining more and more opportunities in the job market, which helps generate more household income, and the Obama’s setting the ideal family structure for Americans to follow, there is no reason Black, White, Spanish, Asian, Indian, Caribbean, and all other races in America cannot continuously succeed. In order to do so, the source of strength, the family, must remain resilient and intact.

STB

J.C.

Snowwoman

Oh, Snowwoman, how you lay,

Like sleeping beauty encrusted with snowflakes,

Though you struggle, you’ve got to get up.

For the sun will rise this morning with or without you.

But, if you allow my story to be the shine, the warmth, and the wit to thaw out you

I guarantee it will wake & warm you up,

Such as green tea, in a martyr’s cup.

sleep4

 

J.C.

Guns Make People Go Wild

In response to President Obama’s 23 executive orders on gun control:

This sheds a bright light on the gun problem we have here in America. I agree that stricter gun control will result in a reduction in gun deaths, largely because what one sees is what one will use. If a person is not exposed to so much guns and gun violence, then it will not be readily available for him to use guns in order to solve problems. Having guns around so loosely not only shows that we accept gun violence, but that it is a direct means to solve problems, and to promote fear and coercion. Imagine the amount of fear a man can impose on another man if he has a gun in his hand?

When this happens, the vulnerable man is left to react in one of three ways. One, he may go and get a bigger gun to hurt the man who caused his vulnerability–thus beginning the first steps of a violent, bloody war. Two, he may do nothing. Or three, he may petition the government for his grievances, and take part in non-violent direct action. The question here is: which world do we want to live in? One of constant death, one of apathy, or one where peace allows people to pursue happiness?

Which one of these puts the value of the human being in America high?

Sandy hook was not an image of a man, but of a gun. Men without guns don’t shoot. Guns make people go wild. I would venture to say that it is actually the gun that kills people and not the human, because the gun represents violence. I never knew a gun to represent defense or happiness. A shield may represent defense, and love may represent happiness, but never a gun. It is a basic cliche for one to say that, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” If there is no gun–no symbol of violence–the amount of deaths will be reduced. Besides, most men are not evil enough to kill without the use of some empowering weapon, and would testify to not murdering unless there was a gun or weapon accessible.

Preventing this massive form of violence is necessary to restore peace, because when there are less guns, there is more chance for peace.handgun

J.C.

A Broken-Winged Bird

Dreams are…cruel and wicked things in the hands of those who don’t have the means to attain them. Those who have what is desired will be admired for a second and hated for a lifetime. Happiness is and only will be within. But dreams, those irrational things, can screw and mix up the soul’s beauty, and distort the mind’s purpose. Heed these words and give those cruel and wicked things up, lest you live a life of suffering & bitterness.

…Ahh, but that suffering is what makes the apple taste that much sweeter.

broken bird 2

J.C.

Christmas 2012

Today is Christmas! The Christmas tree is up, the family has come over for the holiday, the eggnog is ready to go, and of course, it’s time to relax.  I’ve vowed to share some thoughts on this blog, so here I go with something I think is necessary to talk about. Tragedy. This Christmas doesn’t quite feel as jolly as it used to. A large part of this is due to all of the tragic events that have occurred lately. Beginning with the burdensome unemployment rate, then the Colorado shooting on July 20th, which left 12 people dead and over 50 injured, then Hurricane Sandy, which destroyed people’s homes and took a few lives along the way, and now the Connecticut Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults. People are displaced and America is hurting. How can so much devastation happen in so little time?  No jobs, no homes, innocent lives taken; the Christmas spirit just isn’t there.  Usually the houses around my neighborhood  are all lit up, but as I passed by on the way to do Christmas shopping, I was surprised to see just one.

Though these are hard times, we must all remember that there is no obstacle we cannot overcome, together.  If today does anything for us, it should do just that, keep us together. Families, friends, acquaintances, please come together and share in each other’s company. Be strong, and keep the Christmas spirit alive. Unity and faith overcomes grief, and America needs a lot more of both.

Be strong and blessed,

JC.

Panorama & Poetry on Parsons

Poets and musicians grace the stage to present their works. The audience watch as student musician Andrew Ortiz—a sophomore from Queens College, captivates the crowd with an unnamed song. When the song is over the audience gives it a name. His song is now to be called the “Good Old Days.” Ortiz is delighted to express himself in Panorama for the first time, stating, “It was a great feeling, I’m definitely coming back again.”

Panorama or “Beauty All Around” is more than just a coffee shop. Established in the heart of Jamaica, New York, it attracts diverse customers from all ethnic backgrounds. “Panorama is a place where people of any belief can come and enjoy themselves in a peaceful environment,” says Panorama owner Ketan Goldman.

Right on 84-73 Parsons Blvd, it is convenient for any student or faculty member looking for a place to enjoy homemade pastries, creamy coffees, organic teas and charming vegetarian selections while conversing with friends over thought-provoking poetry and music; or expressing his or her own original words and musicalnotes. If any of the above seems appealing, then the Panorama Coffee Shop is an ideal place for those looking to get away from mundane routines. The menu is equipped with salads, sandwiches—Italian and Mexican wraps—Gelato shakes and ice creams, all at a reasonable price. A popular at Panorama is the Cookie Monster Gelato Shake, which is mixed with luscious chocolate cookies and vanilla, for only $4.50!

Goldman founded the coffee shop 5 years ago in 2007. He set out to spread peace through the shop and was inspired to do so by the teachings of Sri Chimney, a man who dedicated his life to peace and goodwill.

This inspiration is reflected in the hospitality of the shop’s workers. The staff greet customers with ear-to-ear smiles and ask if they want to perform. Some are excited to do so, while others are there simply to listen. The walls are colorfully vibrant, illuminating Panoramas’ tranquil atmosphere; couches and chairs are as comfortable as a living room sofa, making one feel as if it were there own home. The sweet smells of homemade dishes coming from the kitchen are redolent of grandma’s homemade cooking.

The Panorama Coffee Shop is highly recommended for anyone looking for a place to have a good time, while escaping the chaos of work, or exams.

panorama of my silence heart

J.C.

Who Am I

WHO AM I? By Jaquon C. Heath

I think I am a bottle of rum: Jamaican rum.

Smell me before you sip lest you burn your tongue.

Don’t chase me.

I am not soluble, nor am I solvable.

Problematic and voluble, my mouth runs like liquor,

Singed, with a hint of sour: vinegar.

I am living for a better tomorrow,

but yesterdays’ drinking

Helps me distinctly die quicker.

I am vigor. Relentless. Oppressed by—left by—

The dismembered memory—

Remembered, in the re-

Memory of a home once,

Filled with the hearts of those who once loved me.

Drink me: take me in to your chalice.

Sip and be filled.

Now fill me with your knowledge.

Calm my turbulent flesh, and put me in a proper stillness,

Where the dancers spin, on heels of balance…silent…motionlessness.

Whole,

No chaser.

If you take too much, you can lose your senses.

Your motions controlled by your emotions—tactlessly failing,

Because I am not structure.

But the chaos that the world began in,

Masked in utter destruction and famine—

Poverty, possibly, will be the outcome (the probability)

If you underestimate the proof of your tendency and instability.

Ingenious, but no ingenuity…

Fluent, but no fluency…

Living, but not alive! Free, but not freed!

Castrated!

Immobilized!

Mortified!

Left to lie in lies!

Surrounded by flies in a place where the alate being can not fly.

Who am I?

Food For Thought Poetry Book

Here is the first ever Food For Thought Poetry Publication!  This is a collection of the poets and thinkers who are all a part of the organization Food For Thought.  Please contact me if you would like a copy, if you click the “poetry” tab on this site you will find my poem for the book, it is entitled “Who Am I”.

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“This is the way the world ends”

Being dead is easy, but dying, dying on the inside is painful.  Dying because you either gave up or because you’ve lost the will to move forward, is pain.  It’s a hard thing to ask someone to continue living, to move their body forward toward an encumbering tomorrow, when its easier to live in a free yesterday, especially if the mind will not yield.  Zombies run loose on the world of lost dreams and forgotten stars.  Amongst crowds, lies the crumbling fate of those who take solitude for granted.  Thought breaks the painful chains of loneliness and despair.  Death has no power here.