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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A Journey Through South Africa - Kliptown Touching Our Hearts!

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 04/14/14

How do I begin to share the joy and gratitude I feel from visiting the beautiful country of South Africa?  Africa, and South Africa in particular was on my “bucket list” for quite some time.  I have a friend who used to travel to the beloved country and he would tell me I needed to go, especially with the work I do around the subject of forgiveness.   Forgiveness is truly one of the critical components that has helped the transition and healing of this Apartheid torn country.

 

When we arrived and landed in Johannesburg, I had to touch the dirt.  There’s something about touching the land and feeling connected.  Our first stop was to our hotel to drop off our luggage and head straight over to the Nelson Mandela Square. The bigger than life statue takes your breath away.  There’s not enough space to share all of the emotions I experienced while traveling through Johannesburg, Soweto, Kruger National Park, and Cape Town, but I want to focus on two areas of highlights;  Kliptown this week and the life, leadership and legacy of Nelson Mandela next week.

 

The first experience is about an Orphanage we visited in a Township called Kiptown.  As we walked through the Township and observed the living conditions of the people, tin huts, no running water, no bathroom facilities inside their living quarters, dirt floors, trash everywhere and things we could never imagine, but yet they welcomed us with a smile.   Our poorest of poor live like kings and queens in comparison.  They seemed to embrace an inner peace that most of us could not comprehend.  However, don’t mistake their peace for liking the way they live.  Apartheid ended only 20 years ago and there’s still so much left to be fixed and improved for the people.

 

In the midst of Kliptown sits the Orphanage ran by a gentleman name Brother Bob.  The purpose of the Orphanage is to give abandoned, lost, and helpless children of the Township a place to come and lay their heads.  They are given food, clothing, and hope.  When we walked into the facility, a little boy came up right beside me, took my hand and wouldn’t let me go the entire time we were there.  He captured my heart.    They need so much.  I believe it is important for all of us to do our best (whatever that is) to help those who cross our path.  Whether it is a one-time assistance or an on-going commitment.  We as a group left money and many other personal items that hopefully will make a difference in their lives.  We will also continue to search out how to stay connected to them and the work being done.   Stay tuned next week for part two!

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter or 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.

South Africa...A Dream Come True

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 03/29/14

Growing up as a little girl my paternal grandmother exposed me to the love of travel and the appreciation of other people and cultures.  Although we did not have much in terms of worldly standards, she believed in making sure we went to church, appreciate family, and achieve an education (inside and outside the classroom).  My first memories of traveling were the times I was with her and we went on a bus ride to the Grand Canyon and then a drive across country to a family reunion. 

 

My grandmother, also known as Mother Dear, graduated from a historical black college called Bishop located in Texas (now closed).  As a matter of fact, both of my grandparents came out of Bishop almost 90 years ago.  After graduation from college her heart was bent on teaching and traveling.  Throughout her entire life she achieved both of those goals, she was a teacher and she traveled the world and shared her experiences with others.  When I was in high school, I had two aunts who were American teachers for the government and taught in both Germany and Japan.  My grandmother, also believed in visiting the various places her children lived and when it was time for her to visit my aunts, I was chosen to travel with her.  This would be my first experience of traveling abroad and getting my first passport. 

 

Having the opportunity to travel to Germany fulfilled many dreams.  My birth mother’s family are of German ancestry and although I did not grow up with them, I longed to know more about that side of my heritage.  As I sit and write this week’s article, I am preparing to go on another journey that has been a lifetime dream.  I will be traveling to South Africa to visit the “Mother Land” of my father’s people.  I don’t know what the trip will bring, but I am totally open to what will be revealed as we travel into Johannesburg, Soweto Township, the Apartheid Museum, Kruger National Park, Cape Town, Robben Island, Table Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope, the Nature Reserve, and Mandela Square.  I know that my life will not be the same when I return back to California.

 

In line with my personal life mission of forgiveness, what better trip could help me embody the philosophy of forgiveness and to be able to travel the road once walked by the peace maker known as the father of forgiveness, Nelson Mandela.  More to come when I return.

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com &  www.forgivingforliving.org.   You can email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Also follow her blog:  Wendygladney.blogspot.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Dominique DiPrima's Front Page Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am.

International Women's Day!

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 03/07/14

March is designated as Women’s History Month and Saturday, March 8th, is recognized as “International Women’s Day.”  This day is celebrated all over the world to show respect and appreciation to women for the achievements they have obtained.  This year as their theme, the United Nations has proclaimed, “Equality for Women is Progress for All.”

 

Although we have women in the corporate board rooms, at various levels of government and even fighting combat in war, in 2014, we are still behind compared to our male counterparts. Globally women and girls are still not equal in regards to access to education, equal pay for equal work and we are often not at the table where critical decisions are being made. 

 

However, as we celebrate all of the wonderful women in our lives, as well as the ones who’ve made history, we must continue to strive to open the gates and pathways for young girls who are coming behind us.  One such organization that focuses on young ladies and their education is the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College (the Los Angeles Chapter).  I am proud to be the mother of a daughter who graduated from this excellent school of higher education.  I remember when I took my daughter, Courtney, to Atlanta within the first week of college she was already feeling proud of her heritage and excited about what the future held for her.     Each year the LA Chapter holds an event to raise awareness and funds to help young ladies from the Los Angeles area who attend Spelman with scholarships and to keep the tradition alive.

 

This year the ladies of Spelman will be honoring Holly Robinson Peete, Mara Brock Akil, and Alumna Traci Lynn Blackwell at a dinner on Saturday, March 8th at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel.  This marks their 20th Anniversary with the theme of, “The Amazing Race:  Celebrating 20 Years of Lifting As We Climb.”  Forgiving For Living, Inc., is proud to not only support this wonderful local organization, but for the second year in a row we have young ladies from our organization that attend. 

 

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes…and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”  So we must encourage our young girls to make wise choices so when they look back, they too have opened the door for those that will come after them!

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com &  www.forgivingforliving.org.   You can email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Also follow her blog:  Wendygladney.blogspot.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Dominique DiPrima's Front Page Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am.

What Does The Oscar Mean To You?

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 02/24/14

As we all know we’ve been in the height of the awards season for several weeks. With so many it can be difficult to keep up.  Just to name a few we have the People’s Choice Awards, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild, the NAACP Image Awards, the Grammys, the BET Honors and the granddaddy of them all the Oscars.

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, is an annual awards ceremony honoring achievements in the film industry.  As a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and AFTRA., I am somewhat familiar with the landscape of the industry.   Although I never achieved a certain level of success (whatever that means) or notoriety in the “business,” I understand when awards are given out it’s not always about who was actually the best. (Although it sometimes happens).  As in most things in life politics and or popularity can get in the mix. A lot goes on behind the scenes.   

As a member of SAG, I often receive copies of various movies in order to cast my vote.  When all is said and done, I find it interesting the movies that actually make the final cut to be considered for an Oscar.  This year the only movie with a main African American cast to be considered was “12 Years A Slave.”  Although we are very happy for Chiwetel Ejiofor and breakout star Lupita Nyong’o for their nominations, other actors and movies such as, “The Butler,” “Mandela:  Long Walk to Freedom,” or “Fruitvale Station” were left off the table. 

Although many of our fabulous and talented African American actors may not be able to shine as bright as they should this coming weekend when the Oscars are handed out, it is wonderful that we can still honor them and acknowledge Black Hollywood through outlets such as the fabulous NAACP Image Awards which was televised by TV One this year!

As we close out Black History Month, more than being concerned with what movies make it to the Oscars, we need to be concerned with the images and messages we present to the world and to our children.  Rashida Jones, daughter of Quincy Jones, said “There’s a definite responsibility that comes with being famous.  You shouldn’t be able to just dress up and look pretty.”  So as we discover the role we all play in life, we need to be mindful of the responsibility we carry.  Life’s heaviest burden is to have nothing to carry!

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

Visit www.WendyGladney.com &  www.forgivingforliving.org.   You can email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Also follow her blog:  Wendygladney.blogspot.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Dominique DiPrima's Front Page Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am.

"What Must We Do To Save Our Young Black Boys?"

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 02/16/14

The news can be very disheartening and discouraging.  Every time you turn around there’s something bad, negative or tragic in our faces.  Just this past week we learned of once again another example where a young black man, Jordan Davis, was murdered by a white man name Michael Dunn all because he felt he was playing his music too loud.  This in itself is not a new story, but what is interesting is how right on the heels of the Travon Martin case, we realize that in 2014 black life is not valued by many in America.

In reading about this case, the jury regarding the murder trial for Michael Dunn reached a verdict on 4 of the 5 counts against him and were hung up on count 1 which is first degree murder.  It appears to most of us he should have been convicted straight out.  How many of our children, especially our young black boys have to be killed before society understands this is an American problem?

As I googled and read more about this case, I was happy to see actor Jesse Williams, a black man best known for his role on Grey’s Anatomy, use his celebrity status to speak out.  Those in positions of power or influence must use their voice for those that have become silenced to help bring justice and resolution.

I am best known for the work I do with Forgiving For Living.  I have a passion for young girls and their wellbeing. I believe it is part of my purpose in life to help our young girls believe in themselves, have a positive self-esteem and reach their full potential as much as possible.  However, as we talk about the family, if we don’t care for and treasure our young black boys, our future looks tragic.  We must all care about every member in the family.  We are a community.  We are a village.

As we continue to celebrate the accomplishments of our ancestors during Black History Month, let’s take a pledge to make sure our children have the ability of creating history for future generations.  This will only be possible if they are granted the right to live. 

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

Visit www.WendyGladney.com &  www.forgivingforliving.org.   You can email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Also follow her blog:  Wendygladney.blogspot.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Dominique DiPrima's Front Page Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am.