STOP The Shootings!

mural

 

Yes, just another day … for most of us … reading perhaps …

I have noticed lately the plethora of programs in some “inner cities” where former “gang bangers” and even some political officials as well as reverends, coaches and teachers … cops even … are sponsoring programs to aid educating the youth, pre-occupying the youth with athletic programs, and organizing the community with programs that provide substantive alternatives to the “street life” of inner cities of Miami, Chicago … Los Angeles.

This past weekend in Chicago, Dwayne Wade’s female cousin was shot and killed as she walked pushing her child in a stroller as they approached her car.  The two shooters were out on bail from multiple gun charges!  They have been captured and jailed, but the baby still has lost its mother …  In Miami on Sunday evening, an 8 year old girl was shot in the head as she stood with her father on the street in front of their home in their neighborhood.  She remains on life support, though the family believes she will not make it, and her father who was hit multiple times remains in the hospital.  The only evidence, if found, is a dark colored SUV that is said to have sped away from the scene.  King Carter’s (RIP) father showed his support for the family and the lifeless child at the hospital.  I don’t know if you remember but King was an 8 year old football player from a  tough Miami neighborhood who was also shot … and killed … by a stray bullet as he played in front of his home on another “mean street in Miami” …. How are these guns getting in to these inner city neighborhoods?  Is there something our politicians can do about this?  Sometimes … “It makes me wanna holler … throw up both my hands!”

The community cry is going out again … “If you see something, say something!” as the police and the local community seek to locate and arrest the shooters of this little girl and her father.  Do you think these folks have a choice to grow up living in such communities in Chicago, Dallas and Miami?!?  Do WE … “the people” have an obligation to “Stop this Violence”?!?  You bet we do … as it is getting closer to some folks’s homes and families.  The whole world is watching as America … “land of the free, home of the brave” … learns to cower in our “own streets” from gun violence.  What will we do?!?  What is the root of all of this evil plaguing our inner cities?!?  We need to do everything we can … EVERYTHING … to Stop the Violence!  What say you?!?  Educate the youth, teach them alternatives to this “lifestyle” and teach them to prevent the violence so prevalent in their neighborhoods!  Easier said than done … it’s a tough job … but someone has to do it!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Educational Excellence
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“You’re A Racist … You’re A Racist! You’re A Racist!”

christian racist

 

Happy Friday, All!

I am feeling a hearty “T.G.I.F.!” today … how about you?!?

If you are like me, you have more to be grateful for than not to be … or perhaps, we don’t recognize it!  I catch myself just saying “Thank You!” sometimes as my car continues to cruise down the street though I could use some new tires … an oil change and maybe a car wash!!  After multiple episodes of “unfairness” and “disrespect” on my previous job at the diabetic supplies call center, that gratefully ended, too!  I didn’t want to go there some days … but I needed to make some money … so I went!!  Logical, right?!?  It was probably the worst environment I have worked in in a long while.  I am fairly disciplined and know how to map my way around “average drama” in little or no time.  Yet, it was not a place I was motivated to go … and … as most of the readers know, I have been looking for jobs over and over … day in and day out … to get out of there!!  Yet, it was not so easy to find something paying between $13 – 15/hour and a decent “inside” job if you will, like this one.  The new position, yes … though I see the office politics already, has a more amicable environment, mostly adults, no teenagers or 20 something year olds still living with “Mom and/or Dad” … not that I mind them.  It was just that the managers started playing games with “the cute girls” giving them special treatment, opportunities and assignments, bonuses and gifts.   These 30 something year old managers manipulated EVERYTHING to their favor!!  It got woefully ridiculous at some moments.

Debt settlement is a bit more specific and requires multi-tasking between the computer, the phone and papers in your hand ranging from credit reports to applications for clients and notes to be read!  It is pretty intense and … either you can do the job or you can’t!  There are many tedious steps involving credit card numbers and account balances, loan agreements and installment payments … even bank account and routing numbers!  One has to be and stay on point, since one is calculating balance totals and setting up debt settlement plans from a client’s trust account all on line!  We create contracts from our computers, send out “pre-fab” letters to clients from their e-mails contained within our system.  The IT guys are from Turkey and Croatia and they are very talented!  The job is a breath of fresh air.  They even let me handle ALL the Spanish clients calls for now!  They trust and appreciate me THAT much!!  We know these things can change in a heart beat but I am enjoying it as I prepare for forms of employment and destinations for my early retirement!  I definitely need to keep working even during “early retirement”.

Have you heard the latest “talking point” of candidate Trump?!?  Something to the effect of how the Democrats  always use “the race card”, so to speak, “if something isn’t right!”, says Trump.  “You’re a racist, you’re a racist!  You’re a racist!” he claims that the Democrats say when their “policies don’t work”.  Do I need to mention “the wall” or the “registering of entering Muslims” here in the land of the free, home of the brave … both “ideas” suggested by Trump!??  He even went so far as to yell … not say … but YELL, “Hillary Clinton is a bigot!” with no reasoning or “excuse” for saying that, if you will.  So now we have two well off “white people” using the race card … in the presidential campaign nowadays!  Has this ever happened so openly before?!?  Are we in a country that has “lost it’s mind”?  Now that the “race card” is face open on the playing table, let’s see what happens next … as none of us can control what comes out of Clinton nor Trump’s mouth!!  Shucks, I saw a segment on the news last night highlighting the history of how the “German-born” Popa Trump had taught his family to say that they were Swedish … in World War II America!  By jove …. the games people play.  And now he is running for POTUS!!

This weekend, I plan to enjoy “the simple things in life”.  Of course my needed time in the gym with yoga, a sit in the jacuzzi and laps in the pool on Saturday … rain or shine!  There is a “free vegan event” happening in Tamarac, FL on Saturday from 11am to 5pm, vegan food tasting and preparation displays at the Community Center’s event!  I hope to get some time to check it out before 5pm.  There are threats of a tropical storm arriving on the shores of SoFlo so many cities like Hollywood and Miami are preparing their usual dissemination of “sand bags” to help thwart flooding conditions.

Whatever you do … if possible … DON’T BE A RACIST …

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Back to School 2016 – 2017

BTS

 

It’s Tuesday …

… and the kids are back to school now!  I remember when … Teaching has been one of my favorite “tasks” ’cause it doesn’t seem like a “job” for me.  Those who view it as a job are probably not very good at it nor feel fulfilled from teaching either!  For me, teaching is an art and something that you improve all of the time.  It is an exchange between students or participants and teachers or facilitators.  Preferably, each class or session would start with a lesson or topic for discussion.  The art part for me is getting the interaction going and facilitating the dissemination of information and the synthesis of ideas, if necessary.  I really enjoyed the challenge and still have a sincere attraction to “motivational speaking”, which is why I do workshops and presentations for Educational Excellence.

Teaching is indeed an art, as each facilitator is challenged with the task of blending all of the elements in a classroom and making sure that each learner has an opportunity to learn the subject matter regardless of their form of learning … be it hands on or rote/pure memorization of information learning.  As I consider my up bringing and the emphasis of my father of being practical coupled with my mother’s constant nurturing of “situations”, it was difficult for me to be tough at first.  I learned pretty much in elementary school and growing up in the Winbrook Projects.  My father was also very disciplined with me, making me get my homework done with my sister Edna being coerced to work with me before I could go out to play after school!!  I definitely appreciated the learning experiences at the public schools in White Plains even though Rochambeau Elementary School was nearly segregated and the City School District decided to integrate many of the apparently predominantly white schools with students from the segregated elementary schools.  Our level of education remained high, though the time I played the “Tin Man” in the Wizard of Oz was in 4th Grade at Rochambeau Elementary School!  It was a more artsy school with excellent and white music teachers who always played some mean piano behind some of those timeless tunes we sang in classes!

I have also always appreciated traditional education … you know, readin’ … writin’ and ‘rithmetic!!  Yet, I always liked being challenged with concepts of behavior and growth and development of humans, especially in regards to education and spirituality!  Imagine that, as this is what I attempt to propose in the thinking presented in my work with Educational Excellence with an emphasis in “Know Thyself” and a rigorous spiritual education.  Of course, spiritual growth and development is a lot more difficult to “measure” as in the empirical sciences.  How would one measure another’s peace or someone’s patience or even their tolerance other than putting them into a situation that required the implementation of one of the aforementioned in order to resolve a particular situation.  There was a time when I had the opportunity to host “back to school” programs and speak at graduations regularly for the Urban League of Broward County’s “Project Embrace”.  Who knows if I can market enough to get some more opportunities though my first passion is this writing … coupled with the speaking, too!  I have had a few opportunities to do talks for the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s Program called Community Justice presenting to both parents and their children.

Education of oneself … basic knowledge is important for ALL of us!  We need to learn about our society, though some integral changes need to be made in terms of the content of the educational curriculum.  An emphasis on human values and the importance of our OWN longevity … as a civilization … as a species.  Oftentimes, it appears we lose our emphasis on “self preservation” and focus more on material things … Peace be still.

Support local educational initiatives and do the best we can to help those around us take advantage of the opportunities in education …

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

To Tell The Truth

Tell the Truth

 

Happy Friday, All!

I must admit that I am feeling a hearty “T.G.I.F.”!

What’s really going on with ” … truth, justice and the American Way”!???  I mean that quote is usually associated with “Superman” and crime fighters everywhere in the U.S.A., right?!?  So, where have those values gone … in America?!  Has anyone seen “them” lately?!?  Maybe we could ask the group of Olympic Swimmers from the U.S.A.?!  Will they tell us the truth?

I tried to figure out why these swimmers would claim that they were attacked by people in Brazil near Rio who dressed up as police and robbed them at gunpoint!  Is this what the national representatives for this country want to be remembered for during these Olympic Games?!?  Is this what “stars” and “heroes” do once held up in high esteem not only by this country … but the world?!  We could simplify all this stuff and just say that it was an isolated event … but that doesn’t work for me!!  This is becoming the “way of the world” if it already hasn’t been as such!  It seems everywhere in nearly every part of the fabric of our “Western Civilization”, be it politics, business or sports, there is so much distrust!  I mean, the majority of the Russian Olympic team was “barred” from these Olympic Games due to excessive and illegal “drug use” to build their bodies to nearly super human strength!

So, were these athletes really robbed?  Let’s go to the video where it shows a group of the swimmers being led by Ryan Lochte who had gotten drunk and vandalized a local store and offered to pay for the damages that THEY caused to the establishment.  According to Lochte, his wallet was stolen during the “raid” as well as other items by the group of purported Brazilian thugs.  Yet, when the swimmers got off of their plane at the airport in Miami, they all had watches on their wrists and Ryan even displayed his wallet as they went through customs!!!  Has violence, deceit and dishonesty become “the American Way” now?!  Many folks feel that we have been portrayed as such a long time ago in international affairs, especially the people of countries that the USA has occupied or fought against during international disputes.  In other words, this is not the first time that “Americans” have been accused of being dishonest while waving the “truth, justice and the American Way” flag!  Is this what things have been “boiled down” to in our world?!?  I think so … may peace be still …

Even Trump’s campaign manager has been linked to ties with Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, and has been said to have been in support of Putin and possibly received monies from the Russian leader!!  The Clinton’s have also been accused of receiving monies from international supporters as well!!  So the new policy will be that if Hillary is voted in as POTUS, the “Clinton Foundation” will no longer receive donations from international contributors, corporations in this country, but will only accept donations from citizens of the United States of America!  Do we have to create more laws to MAKE people tell the truth?!?  Do you all think this will work?!?  Has humankind sunken to this nearly “sub human” level?!?  Only time will tell …

In the meantime, try to enjoy the Olympic Games and honor those athletes who have trained so hard and honestly prepared to compete in these Games!  Have a great weekend … and … tell the truth!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

That’s When The Demons Get to Work!

demon beach

 

It’s Tuesday . . .

I am glad that you all have adjusted to the days of Tuesday and Friday now for sending out these e-mails.  I thank you for reading as I continue to share some of my situations with you.  I always try to reach out and, since I write to so many different people, I  know from time to time you may disagree or just think I am foolish.  That’s okay … send me a reply and we can talk about it … if you like.  Otherwise, let me know that you would like to be removed …. please!

As challenges come in ones life, in particular mine at this time, some folks come around to help and others come around to see how you’re going to handle stuff.  I am usually pretty sturdy and innovative in getting things done.  I often wondered, why is it that “folks” sometimes enjoy that “cheap shot” on a fellow human being?  You know, when one is already kind of down and having some serious challenges, “others” decide that now is the time to try and “bury” this person already having “dog days” in their life?!?  Now some folks “buckle” under pressure and feel even more disenchanted with life during those “dog days”… maybe ready to give up … hurt themselves … or someone else!!!  I am proud of myself that there is little that anyone can say that would cause me to want to do bodily harm either to them or to myself!  It took some doing, some soul searching, some figuring out of “those kinds of people” and what makes them tick … in particular so that I don’t take their hurtful behavior too personally … if at all!!  I’ve gotten some thick skin over the years.  Partly due to “survivals” sake and partly due to learning to remove myself through prayer and meditation from taking things personally, especially when I am already struggling with “other” things.  As “The Talking Heads” once sang, “Everybody … GET … IN … LINE!”  In other words, wait your turn!!  When people go after someone else “sideways” with evil intent, do they think that “someone else” is going to just stand there and “take it”, so to speak, not saying anything back in their own defense, perhaps?!?  I smile when that happens to me … ever so gently … then I put together a minor “eye opener” so that “they” know that I am on to them … Then I take a few “spiritual steps” back … again, ever so gently … and then I allow a barrage of “reality” to rain upon them, ultimately demonstrating that I am just as proud of myself as they are of themselves, if you understand where I am coming from.  I am not talking about positions or possessions, titles or accomplishments … but really looking at that person’s essence … their personality even!

I can tell you that I used to “buckle” under pressure sometimes in my past …  Then, one gets tired of that cowering crap, especially to another human who has the same feelings and challenges as YOU!  Perhaps, they have had more help getting through some situations than others, and I for one am an “appreciator” not a hater!!  If a person has it going on, so to speak, I wish them well … I wish them harmony … and I wish them peace in their lives.  The other “things” come and go in our lives but those aforementioned “states of being” are not so easy to accomplish in life as there is no price on them, there is no store where you can purchase them and it actually requires a lot of personal “inside” work.  When we are challenged by “the demons” of this life, we each must be strong enough spiritually to “look them in their faces” and “shine on”!  I know, trust me, I know … it is easier said than done!  Stay flexible!  Just Do It!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

To Change the Approach to Things

conflict paradigm

 

I’d just like to T.G.I.F., if you don’t mind!

I am so glad that we get a weekend to relax a bit, as I see so many people going on vacations and stuff, just glad to NOT have to go to work for a couple of days.  Just hit the gym, to do some yoga and swim, sit in the jacuzzi  and it doesn’t cost that much anyways!!  Who knows, weather permitting, I will have a chance to go to the beach this weekend!

This campaign thing is really out of control now.  Have us “Americans” gotten so caught up in fantasy land that we allow our presidential election to turn in to a “reality show” starring Donald Trump?!?  Can you believe that this man is saying that President Obama and Hillary Clinton are the co-founders of ISIS?!?  Is this NOT insanity?!?  I mean, he is taking a well know fact, the founder of ISIS who is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and telling people that Obama is the founder!!  Do you think some people believe him?!?  You bet there is … probably quite of few … who would believe anything he says , just to show their dislike of the fact that there IS a “black” president Obama and of the Democratic Party!!  Yet, has this become what this nation’s politics have turned out to be?!?  Say whatever you want about whomever you want and try to win the contest of the most ridiculous candidate running for office, if you will … and you will win!!  I wonder what other country’s leaders think about Trump’s exuberance in ignorance?!?  I wonder what he thinks this type of statement does to “make America great again”?!?  Personally, I am nervous … not only for Trump’s complete indulgence in “his style” of campaigning … but more so for the people who follow him and believe him … what kind of “people” are these … my fellow Americans?!?

I have noticed that the “conflict approach” to everything is permeating our society.  It is in the work place … everyone wants to do “more than the next person”, right or wrong doesn’t seem to matter … just more!  Fighters want to do “more damage” as in professional sports like foot ball and hockey!  The more blood, it seems, the harder you purportedly fought and … the more “important” or noteworthy you are!  Trump’s supporters are starting to bring Confederate flags to his rallies!!!  What’s next?!?  Will the Ku Klux Klan come riding through the rallies next?!?  What a freaking horror story this election has turned out to be?!!!  Trump even called “Wednesday night” a “Friday night” in one of his braggart comments about “being at a Trump rally” … and the dummies in the audience at the rally cheered.  Is there another way we could be doing things … except trying to be the most ridiculous person ever?!?

Personally, I think we’ve lost our course as “the land of the free, the home of the brave” … not to mention the FACT that there were already people here four or five hundred years ago … when the Europeans arrived!  Is “the takeover” what humanity has boiled itself down to?!?  I hope not!!  We’ll have to see how far this thing goes!  Then, I will figure out where I am going … or do I stay!?

In the meantime, enjoy the “show” and have a great weekend!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Miracles Abound!!

Miracles for me

 

It’s Tuesday, Folks!

What’s really happening?!  I know, as I always tell the readers that I include in this list of e-mail family recipients of Educational Excellence … let me know if you would like to be removed.  I am okay with that … just let me know!  I am like yoga … I am NOT for everybody!  Just smile ’cause I am trying to be courteous, not rude!  Hopefully, you can understand that … and let me know, okay?!

Yes, “Black Lives Do Matter, Too!”  On Sunday, as I watched the POTUS speaking in Washington, D.C. on “race relations” in this country, amongst many others who took to the podium during that event sponsored by those who feel that this conversation needs to take place in as many cities across the USA as possible, I “met” a guy that I was unfamiliar with – Redditt Hudson, former St. Louis Police Officer.  He happens to be a very tall, well built, very fair-skinned African American male who is also the co-founder of The National Coalition for Law Enforcement Officers for Justice.  His intellectual capacities shined through as he mesmerized the audience with his take on “law enforcement officers for justice” and the cause they represent.  One story he told, clearly a true story, has some traces of my own findings in  my research for my first book, “From The Projects to Princeton”, where I discovered that there were like two “different” police departments in Philadelphia, PA around the time of the first attempts to include African Americans in that city’s police department – one “black” division and the majority “white” extremely racist and corrupt division!!  Redditt told the story of accompanying a white female officer to the scene of a purported crime there in St. Louis.  At one point, the female officer spoke to the suspect, who was an African American male.  Redditt said that the officer questioned the black male suspect, got upset at the lack of incriminating evidence and struck the suspect, knocking him off his feet.  She punched and pummeled the “suspect”, stood over him while he laid on the ground in front of he and his “fellow officer” telling him to get up.  Redditt escorted that officer away from the man, and, another officer came to the scene, also white, and began mistreating the same “suspect” in very much the same manner as the white female officer, and yelling at him to get up.  The black male suspect repeated what he had said to the white female officer, which was that, “As you can see … I can’t get up!”  The “suspect” was on crutches …  Peace be still!

I was happy to “meet” Mr. Redditt and admired him for his passion for the cause from his position as a former “law enforcement officer” who saw with his own eyes how white officers treated African American “suspects”!  I was even more ecstatic to see the momentum of the “National Coalition for Law Enforcement Officers for Justice”!  Carry on, Sir … it will take more people like you to help turn the tide of “police brutality” in the minority communities across the USA!!

In closing, I just wanted to acknowledge my Creator and the people placed in my path to help me overcome yet another “episode” in my life testing my faith in my Creator as well as being able to see and experience the undaunted help from my fellow human beings, especially friends of all races, as I embrace the transition from one “job” to another as well as seeking to improve my life as I approach “early retirement”.  Thank you ALL … for I have lost count of the miracles!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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