Wendy's Window
Wendy's Window
Monthly Newsletter Archive

2011
December 2011 - Merry Christmas
October 2011 - Swift Transitions
July 2011 - Settle in to Summer
April 2011 - Let's Spring Forward
February 2011 - 2011 is Off to a Great Start!
January 2011 - Happy New Year from Wendy Gladney

2010
December 2010 - Season's Greetings
November 2010 - Daylight Savings Time
September 2010 - Celebrating Life & Another Year
August 2010 - Over The Summer

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How Does A Flag Define Us

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/29/15

This past weekend I held a reunion party at my home for those of us who traveled to Israel back in May with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.  I decided to make my décor theme around the upcoming holiday, the Fourth of July.  When we were traveling throughout Israel we saw the Israeli flag flying just about everywhere, from homes, to cars, to boats and even on bicycles.  Their patriotism was very contagious.  I wanted to continue that sentiment with our flag back here in the good old USA.

 

The Fourth of July holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence dating back to 1776.  We tend to always associate the flag with the holiday although the way we know our flag today evolved over time.  The flag, also known as, Old Glory, symbolizes to Americans and the world over the values of our country and what we were founded on.  Growing up as children we are taught the pledge of allegiance to the flag and how it units us across the states as one country.  When we have terrorist attacks we rally around the flag and it serves as our symbol of unity. 

 

As I continued to read about the history of our flag and how it relates to uniting us against the forces of our enemies and helping us to stand strong together, it made me think about who is our enemy?  Domestically right here in our own country we still wrestle with issues of racism and separatism that tears us apart.  Another flag, the Confederate flag, which served as the official flag of the Confederate States between 1861–1865, truly divided us as a nation even to this day. After the Civil War it popped up from time to time and became linked with the Ku Klux Klan.  During the Civil Rights era a resurgence of the Confederate flag began to appear.  It is also associated with the (alleged)  killer from the latest shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. 

 

There has been much debate over the real meaning of the Confederate flag and its context.  Some feel it is a part of history (then we need to keep it in the past), and some feel it is a symbol of racism.  In reality both schools of thought hold some truth.  Since the killing of the Mother Emanuel Nine in Charleston, South Carolina there has been a push to have the flag removed from flying over the State House grounds, as well as other governmental properties.  Due to the political system, even if a law is passed, it could still take months before it is removed.  What is really sad is when the Emanuel Nine where murdered, other flags were lowered and flew at half mast, whereas the Confederate flag was never lowered, what disrespect.  It is time for change.

 

As the flag debate continues, I am sure it will be part of the conversation during the various political elections over the next year or so.  Some feel it is a State issue while others feel it is a National issue.  My thoughts are if it has a historical context, which it does, then put it in a museum and then let us work on unifying our country under our United States of America flag.  If we are going to move forward as a people united as one country, we must put the past in its proper place while moving forward in respect towards all Americans. Happy Fourth of July!

 

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

Hate Won't Win, But It Is A Struggle

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/22/15

My fascination with history is part of why I love to travel.  Three years ago I had the opportunity to journey to Savannah Georgia and Charleston South Carolina to visit historical places that are critical in the narrative of African Americans.  One of the places I visited was Emanuel AME Church, also known as, Mother Emanuel.  Since its inception, Emanuel has stood strong in the community overcoming everything from revolts, burnings, being shut down and having to rebuild. Even today in the midst of their tragedy where nine members of their congregation were murdered while attending bible study by a gun man who was racially motivated by hate and racism, the survivors promote forgiveness and proclaim that hate won’t win.

 

For many years my mantra has been, Healing Without Hate:  It is a Choice, It is a Lifestyle, Pass It On.  Today my heart is heavy as I ponder the meaning of these words.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.  He also stated that, hate paralyzes life; love releases it.  Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it.  Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.  In the midst of their pain the family of Emanuel AME Church illuminates love through their tears and forgiveness. 

 

Hatred is not new and sadly there are people that carry this torch throughout their lives.  History has shown us that hate crimes motivated by race has raised its ugly head even in the most sacred of places.  During the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s the Klu Klux Klan planted dynamite at the Sixteen Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama where four innocent little girls were killed and many others were injured and now a half of century later the House of God is still not a safe place of refuge.  If we are not safe in our homes, schools and even our churches, where do we go?

 

The preamble of the United States Constitution declares the importance of establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare (for all) , and securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity (which means all future generations of people). How do we as Black people fit into this scenario?  Black Lives Matter! I am not saying that all lives do not matter because they do and I am not saying that all white people are filled with racism or hatred because they are not.  There are good and bad people in all communities, but today I am hurting for my community and the rights and safety due to all mankind. We must get to a place where all lives are respected and protected. 

 

How do we pursue justice and forgiveness at the same time?  How do we make sure that the blood of the Mother Emanuel Nine (and countless others) will not be in vain? We must take action by holding those in authority accountable while seeking justice in love.  Mahatma Gandhi said, where there is love there is life.  Although my heart is heavy, I will not stop hoping and believing in the power of forgiveness. Hate will win, but that does not mean it is not a struggle.

 

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

I Am My Father's Daughter

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/15/15

My father passed away on January 5, 1998 and although it has been close to seventeen years, it feels as if it was yesterday.  It is true my father and I had a rough relationship, but in the end God showed us grace through the power of forgiveness.  I experienced sexual abuse from my father, but over time we were able to heal from our broken wounds.  Someone once told me, hurt people hurt people.  As I grew into adulthood and eventually became a wife and mother, I wanted to make sure that I did not carry the hurt I experienced to the next generation.

 

There is a saying that time heals many things.  Healing does not mean forgetting, but it can mean restoration. As I reflect on this day honoring fathers, I think about the man who brought me into this world and although he was not the Dr. Huxtable father many of us saw growing up on television, which was just a fictitious character by the way, deep down inside he had a good heart, but he had a troubled soul.  I am  not totally sure what was the seed of his trouble, but over the years hearing various family stories, I have come to learn he had his own demons that he wrestled with and somewhere along the way I was a little girl caught up in his tragedy.

 

Close to three years before he passed away, I received a handwritten note from my father that said, We really enjoyed the luncheon, it was a refreshing break from Riverside.  Wendy, you are a blessing to me and I thank God for bringing us back together.  I am glad and proud that you are my daughter.  I love you! I found this note amongst my various papers a few years back and I actually have it taped up over my desk to be reminded daily of how far we were able to come. In a subsequent conversation my father thanked me for forgiving him and having mercy, today I think how could I not.  I am grateful we had the courage to work through what was dark in order to bring light to our family. 

 

Life does not always go the way we hope or dream, but it is not just about what happens to us, it is what we do with it and how we handle the curve balls.  Yes, I have experienced hurt and pain, but I also understand grace and reconciliation.  If most of us are honest, we all have things in our lives that we would do over or would make right, but how many of us either make the effort to make things right or are given the opportunity. I am not condoning any wrong behavior, I am just advocating for forgiveness and how it can heal a family.

 

Every day was not a bad day with my father and we actually had more good than bad.  When he finally turned his life around and left the ways of the streets, he gave his life to God and became the person he was made to be.  He began to walk in his purpose.  He was able to rewrite his narrative and turn wrongs to right and to that I am grateful.  He is no longer here on this earth where I can wish him well on this special day dedicated to fathers,  but I am grateful we had a chance to get to the other side before he went to the other side.

 

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

The House My Grandfather Built

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/08/15

I am truly grateful for the platform I am given where I can share information that touches me personally or could have an impact on those who read what I write. As I travel on this journey called life, I also examine what could be the deeper meaning of something that lies below the surface. Oftentimes what we may think is just an old oyster could be holding onto a precious pearl inside.  This week it was brought to my attention the house I grew up in Riverside and was also built by my grandfather in 1947, was no longer in the hands of our family.   For close to seven decades several generations lived in that house.  The house was passed down from my grandmother, to my Aunt Dolores and then finally to one of my cousins. Although the house was getting old and needed some updating, it was my pearl.

 

Long before I was even born my grandparents migrated from Texas to California and in 1947 my grandfather, Booker Telefaro Washington Harris, built the house for the love of his life, my grandmother Rebecca and their young family.  The house was built brick by brick by various family members and although it was a very modest house it served as a haven for generations.  No matter what any of us may have gone through we always knew we could come back home to 2775 Twelfth Street.  The family home was not only our rock, but it also served as an anchor in the neighborhood.  Everyone knew they could stop by our house for a quick meal, words of advice, or even a place to rest their head.

 

During the forties and fifties there was an increase in homeownership including African American families.  Home ownership represents more than just a roof, it also provides stability and the opportunity to participate in the American Dream.  Although today we are achieving more education and supposedly making more money, homeownership is becoming a pipe dream to so many.  When I think about my children and the feasibility of them possibly purchasing their own homes it looks a little frightening.  Why is it so difficult for us to keep real estate in our families?  It is important to think about not only our own lives, but the lives of those that will come behind us. When given such a rich heritage we must try very hard to hold onto it and preserve it for the next generation.

 

What I find fascinating about the timing of this is the very same weekend that I received this news,  I attended a three day seminar that taught strategies on how to buy, invest and rehab various real estate properties and yet right under my nose a property that had deep roots in my own family slipped through our hands.  Although it was not my house and legally my cousin had every right to do what he felt necessary, I wish the house could have stayed in the family for another seven decades as a testament of the vision and legacy of my grandparents. 

 

We have to do more than just keep the light on and the ladder down, we have to make sure we have a room for the light to come on and wall for the ladder to lean, I call it a home!

 

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

What's TEDx Talking About?

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/01/15

What is up with the conversations regarding TED and TEDx Talks?  For some reason we get excited when we hear something new around the subject of a TED Talk even though they have been around for close to three decades. The Talk format was released at a TED conference crated by Richard Saul Wurman in 1984.  Have you ever wondered what TED means?  Well, it stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, however, unlike its original origin, today it incorporates and showcases ideas from a variety of disciplines.  The other thing I find interesting is the speakers have to share their knowledge and information in eighteen minutes or less. This may sound easy, but when you are trying to share an idea or concept completely and succinctly that can pose a challenge.

 

The TEDx conferences or summits developed out of a need from local communities to share worthwhile information to their audiences and are independently organized away from TED conferences, but yet adhere to high standards that are approved by the TED parent body.  TEDx events provide live speakers, as well as sharing links to pre-recorded TED Talks that can cause conversation and dialogue among the invited audience. As a matter of fact just this past week a friend of our family, Fawn Weaver, spoke at the TEDx PORTLAND Conference.  These Talks are popping up everywhere with lots of good information.  Congratulations Fawn!

 

The UCLA Diversity Programs recently assembled and showcased the first gathering called the TEDxUCLAWomen event around the theme of Momentum.  I was excited as an UCLA Alumni when I received an invitation to complete an application to be considered to attend.  When I received confirmation that I was accepted I was elated.  Who would not be?  The thought of participating in such an inaugural event at my Alma Mater with a group of esteemed colleagues was exhilarating and motivational.  Patricia Chau Nguyen, Senior Director of Diversity Programs at UCLA, along with her team did an excellent job of inclusion and making everyone feel part of the conversation.

 

The event was very well organized and brought together women from various graduate classes of UCLA.   Christine Simmons, President and Chief Operations Officer of the Los Angeles Sparks served as the emcee.   The speakers included Ann Wang and Jessica Willison, co-founders of a nonprofit called Enrou that focuses on a socially conscious organization that helps people to realize we can acquire products while doing well and giving back.  Jennifer Hirsch shared how we can learn to take tragedies in our life and turn them into strategic storytelling to help individuals and communities to strive and thrive.  Finally, Cari Champion from ESPN2 First Take shared how she took rejection all the way to the front line. 

 

So, although they are called TED Talks, the women in the room had strong voices and shared pearls of wisdom we could take with us and incorporate into our everyday lives.  They made us all proud to be BRUIN Women!  Let us keep talking.

 

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am.