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“Is It An Issue of Race Or Does It Run Deeper?”

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 07/09/16

America continues to be plagued by the issue of race. I recently read a statement where someone said don’t forget to turn your clocks back 300 years before you go to bed.  Externally it looks like we’ve made great strides in the area of race relations, after all we have an African American President, but internally tension is running deep.  The lack of respect and value for Black lives, including for our President, is evident when police officers have killed over 500 people just this year and individuals, such as Joe Walsh, openly threaten President Obama.

 

Racism, anger and hatred are alive and well here in the United States.  Ironically, we are not as united as our name would suggest. The problem is people often correlate if one is in favor of supporting Black Lives Matter they are against everything and everyone else.  This is not true.  You don’t have to hate one to promote the other.  People who support the Black Lives Matter agenda are just trying to point a spotlight on the injustices that are happening across the country. Where oppression resides someone must talk for those who have no voice.   

 

Let’s flip the script.  This past week an African American man went on a rampage and killed five police officers in Dallas and wounded several others.  No doubt this is wrong and by no means would I ever justify killing anyone, especially police officers, but what is interesting is how the establishment went up in arms over this incident, but felt no remorse for the loss of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men who were killed during the same week. When flags went half mast this past week it was for the police officers who died, but yet no recognition was given for those who were killed senselessly by police.  This is why it is important to recognize and keep #BlackLivesMatter alive. 

 

As the mother of black sons and grandsons I wake up every morning and go to bed every night praying for their safety.  It hurts my heart that in the 21st Century this has to be one of the first prayers off my lips.  How do we deal with this situation that plagues us today?  How do we confront such an atrocity?  In my book “Healing Without Hate:  How to Forgive to Live,” I share 10 steps that help with forgiveness and healing.  Step three is learning to confront an issue.  The step focuses on the necessity to face the situation head on.  We must come together and have meaningful dialogue if there’s any hope of crossing over this bridge of mistrust and fear that ultimately shows itself in the form of racism. It won’t be easy, but it can be done if everyone comes to the table with an open heart and an open mind.

 

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to work with Claremont Lincoln University.  In getting to know them and interacting with their leadership, I’ve learned about what they call the Claremont Core.  The Core consists of four easy steps: Mindfulness, Dialogue, Collaboration and Change.  Although they may seem like easy and simple steps, they are quite powerful when practiced and can bring about great results.  I believe the Claremont Core provides the perfect platform to help when trying to confront others. 

 

If we have hope in mending the racial divide we must learn to coexist peacefully and in harmony.  I am reminded of the words of Nelson Mandela, no one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart. #CoachWendy #BlackLivesMatter #ClaremontLincolnUniversity

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy@wendyenterprises.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 4:30am. 

Are We Really the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 07/04/16

The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and America’s break from Great Britain. It is supposed to be a time of celebration with lots of joy and happiness.  I stepped out of the box and asked various people what does it mean to you to be an American in the climate of the world today?  Most of the people I talked to (white, black and more) overall feel a sense of pride and gratitude when compared to other parts of the world, but many still feel America isn’t living up to its true colors representing a melting pot of freedom for all.    

 

America is known as a Super Power in the world.  It represents the land where people’s hopes and dreams can all be achieved.  Our country was founded on the principles of freedom, but when we look at the things that still plague us such as racial, social, economic and political issues, gun violence, black on black crime, as well as various forms of inequality, are we really standing up to the true nature of our fundamental core?  History shows us that there really isn’t anything new under the sun.  Many of the issues we face today are the same issues that have plagued our country since its formation.  The issues now just have a different packaging. My father used to have a saying, what you think you are running to is really what you are running from. How do we walk in freedom while respecting the differences of others?  

 

Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner which is America’s national anthem.  In the song he wrote the famous words, “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” but when someone such as Jesse Williams, an African American man (actually biracial) who received the Humanitarian Award at the BET Awards was brave and stood up sharing some of the injustices that we still face today was shot down by critics for just speaking his truth.  Mr. Williams is an actor starring on Grey’s Anatomy and now there are people protesting and trying to gather enough signatures to get him off the show.  There are injustices happening to many people across the world, Jesse used his platform to share what his truth looks like being an African American just as others have used their platform and voice for their causes.

 

The voice of Black America is desired, but is it really wanted?  When people do step up and tell it like it is do we want to hear it?  I personally applaud Jesse for having the courage to speak his truth and to hold others accountable.  As he stated, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do.  Sit down.  This should be true across the lines for all people.  If we can’t be part of the solution then don’t keep being part of the problem.  Most people live and react out of fear.  The problem with fear is we judge all people by the actions of one.  FEAR is known as False Evidence Appearing Real.  Don’t look at the mistakes of one individual and cast it against an entire race or group. 

 

We must learn to strategically craft our conversations and understand the narrative that must be delivered.  If we truly want and hope for America to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, then we must have the courage to stand up for those who can’t speak for themselves.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Let’s be brave and practice compassion and understanding towards all mankind and maybe one day we will truly live in the land of the free.  #Freedom #Brave #Voice #4thofJuly #CoachWendy

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy@wendyenterprises.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 4:30am. 

"Summertime & The Livin' Is Easy"

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/27/16

Last week with the official kickoff of summer for some reason I thought it would be a good time to listen to the song Summertime.  The song was originally composed in 1934 for the opera Porgy and Bess and has been sung by many artist across several decades sharing the theme that fish are jumpin’ the cotton is high and the livin’ is easy.  As I reflected on the words of the song it prompted me to share my thoughts in my article for this week.  I asked myself are the words relevant for what we are experiencing in the world today?  It’s summertime and is the livin’ really easy?

 

When the song Summertime originally came out in the mid 1930’s it was during a decade of economic downfall known as the Great Depression.  The decade prior was known as the Roaring 20’s when people lived high on the hog so to speak, but yet people of color were still suffering.  Then came the crash of Wall Street in 1929 and the entire country had to rebuild.  As I continued to look at others who sang Summertime such as the great Sam Cooke who was popular in the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s which was also a time of chaos and change.  History has summarized the 1960’s as the decade of cultural and world political trends, as well as the Civil Rights era here in the United States.  Hope was restored and new beginnings were realized here and abroad. 

 

As I reflect on where the world is today with all of the racial divide that still exist, with the complexities of our political system, with the economic disparities and even global division around BREXIT it could look very daunting if summertime is going to be a time of living easy.  One constant in all of life is that nothing stays the same. Generation after generation will each experience their own highs and lows of life and none of us knows for certain what the future holds (although some at least know Who holds the future).  When history is written about this decade our children and our children’s children will look back at it and romanticize about the “good old days” or say our ancestors were simply nuts!

 

So as my thoughts go back to the words of the song, I am reminded that summer is a great time to relax and enjoy family and friends.  It is also a good time to get away and explore people, places and things you haven’t been able to make time for during the rest of the year.  Trouble will be with us always, but we won’t always have time to spend with our loved ones.  This summer can be the perfect time to plan a family reunion and reflect on your family history.  If there’s someone in your family that has served as the official or even unofficial historian share the legacy of your family and plant seeds for the next generation.  If no one has kept track of your family history then now is a perfect time to get started!

 

The next few months will continue to throw all of us curve balls with the Presidential election coming up in November and with the restructuring of the economic system on the global level due to BREXIT, so we might as well just relax and drink lemonade and iced tea real slow. Our parents, grandparents and great grandparents made it through and so will we.  It’s up to us to make life and living as easy as possible.   When I moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to attend UCLA I was attending Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Dr. E. V. Hill.  He used to always say, “don’t let your highs be too high and don’t let your lows be too low.”  I think this is pretty good advice any time of the year. 

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy@wendyenterprises.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 4:30am. 

"Forgiveness Day"

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/19/16

Gandhi said, “Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”  People who have the capacity to forgive are often viewed as weak and soft, but in reality it takes more strength to forgive and truly mean it when someone has hurt or wronged you then to hold onto a grudge and be angry.  Anger is a reaction whereas practicing forgiveness is a skill that is cultivated and requires discipline.  Forgiveness is also a choice and an act of one’s will.  Each of us has the power to decide whether we will or will not forgive another individual. 

 

There are and have been various individuals that not only share about forgiveness, but practice it in their own lives such as Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Simon Wiesenthal, The Dalai Lama, Olivier Clerc and George Foster just to name a few.  If you were to google the word forgive or forgiveness so much pops up and there are many different voices. Some people approach and teach forgiveness from a spiritual point of view, whereas others come from a more humanitarian perspective. I believe they both come from a place of compassion and mindfulness. 

 

Americans and probably people everywhere enjoy celebrating or acknowledging special days.  June 26th has been recognized as “Forgiveness Day.”  This day or occasion caught my attention because of the work I do centered around forgiveness (www.forgivingforliving.org) and helping people overcome issues of their past and help provide hope for a better future.    The mission of Forgiveness Day is to stress the importance for all us to practice forgiveness while we also seek forgiveness.  Oftentimes we forget that not only do we need to forgive others, but others will need to forgive us.

 

I would like to share with you 10 steps I developed that have helped me practice forgiveness.  I call them, “Healing Without Hate:  How to Forgive to Live.”

 

  1.  Prayer or Meditation – Pray for others and set aside quiet time for yourself
  2. Counsel – Don’t be afraid to get the help you need
  3. Confront – Deal with situations head on and don’t let them fester in your heart
  4. Release – Learn to just let some things go
  5. Forgive – Pardon verses Parole the effect something or someone has on your life
  6. Attitude – Look for the positive in everything and focus on it
  7. Joy – Learn what brings you joy and happiness and don’t let anyone take it from you
  8. Goals – When you have something to live for you learn to focus more on the future and less on the past
  9. Give – Help others along your journey and you will realize you are not alone
  10. Live – Tomorrow isn’t promised so don’t let your past drag you down

 

So on this Forgiveness Day I challenge each of us to choose the path of forgiveness it will help us feel lighter and not be so heavy laden.  When we open our hearts and forgive others healing can begin and we can make a difference not only in our families, but also in our communities and with global world issues that plague our society today. #Forgiveness #Compassion #Mindfulness #CoachWendy

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy@wendyenterprises.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 4:30am. 

"Fathers Are Worthy"

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/13/16

June typically is the time we celebrate graduations, weddings and the beginning of summer vacations.  Sandwiched between all of these activities is Father’s Day.  Traditionally fathers don’t get as much attention as mothers do for their special day, but there are some that highlight and bring attention to the worthiness of fathers.  Father’s Day brings mixed emotions for me because my father passed away several years ago and during my youth we had a tumultuous relationship, but as I grew into womanhood we were able to deal with our situation and the power of forgiveness gave us a new chance. For many years Bill Cosby (who people often said my father looked like) and his character Dr. Huxtable represented the epitome of the perfect father and husband, but eventually it came out that he was flawed. Who and what are we comparing our fathers too?

 

Many years ago I went through a divorce from my first husband the father of my children.  As a mother who experienced divorce with two children, I understand the other side of how fathers are viewed when a family dissolves.  Oftentimes, but not always, in a divorce children end up living with their mother.  If a father doesn’t really put forth an asserted effort children feel left behind or casualties of war.   There are many men that no matter what life brings they are there for their children and really take their responsibility of fatherhood seriously no matter what may come. One thing life has taught me is that as I grow older my heart has softened and it is easier to release the pain of the past and make the decision or choice to move forward with positive feelings.

 

Historically television highlighted the good things about dads with shows like “Father Knows Best.”  When children and wives needed reassurance or strength they would turn to dad. Fathers were the ones with all of the answers and we felt dad could do anything and could do no wrong. To many they compared their earthly father with a heavenly Father. Oftentimes today dads have been stereotyped as doofus and lost.  Many media outlets show an overbearing portrayal of the modern-day husband and father as lazy, incompetent and stupid.  It is important for us to pay attention to all of the fathers that are trying to get it right and lift them up.  There are some really good men in our community.   

 

There’s a woman that not only takes a stand in the courtroom on television, but also takes a stand for fathers and their good works.  Judge Mablean has been celebrating fathers for the past fourteen years with her “Honoring Unsung Fathers Awards Brunch & Concert” put on by the Mablean Ephriam Foundation.  Through her organization she focuses on the positive things being done by fathers and shares it with others.  It is true that not all fathers are deadbeats and that not enough attention is brought to those that sacrifice every day for the betterment of their families. 

 

Geoffrey Hill said, “Finally coming to terms with Father’s Day.  I blow as a Dad.  I get it.  No, I’m not an evil, abusive Father, it’s just that while all my intentions and thoughts have been out of love for my kids, my actions and behavior never measured up.”  This reminds me of the saying that I can’t hear what you are saying because I see what you are doing.  None of us want to mess up or fall short, but some of us do.  This Father’s Day let’s take dad by the hand and show him a little love and compassion and thank him for the things he has done and be grateful that he is still here and in your life.  For those of us whose fathers have already gone on, take a moment to reflect on a positive memory and smile because after all you wouldn’t be here without him.  #FathersDay #MableanEphriamFoundation

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy@wendyenterprises.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 4:30am.