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A Drop of Blood

by Wendy Gladney on 01/20/20

African Americans have long been familiar with the “one-drop rule.”  It is a social and legal principle that determined if you have one drop of Black (African) blood you are considered Black.  Although it is said that the one-drop rule is defunct in law in the United States, we know it is still an unspoken rule.  I am of mixed heritage; my mother is white, and my father is Black. Although I am technically equally Black and white; I have always been told that I am a Black Woman.  I am proud of my entire heritage, but being raised primarily by my paternal grandmother, who was a strong and proud Black woman, I feel comfortable being known as a Black woman (or woman of color).

As the grandmother of two beautiful grandchildren that have parents from different ethnicities and cultures (my son married a beautiful woman of European ancestry), I know that they too will one day face the world about who they are and how they associate themselves in the realm of identity.  What I find interesting is that no matter what one may think of themselves, there’s also the factor of how the world will see you. If they encounter law enforcement and other legal entities, they will have to be mindful of what it means to be Black in America.

There was a time in history, due to an overwhelming level of racism, some African Americans (especially those in the entertainment field or veterans returning from war) moved to Europe, especially France because it was believed they would be treated better there.  Although this may have been true for some it is not a blanketed response or situation for all.  I think it has always been true that there are those that enjoy “fraternizing” with us as long as we don’t marry into their families.  We are accepted if we can add some level of comfort, joy or financial gain; but please do not marry our children.

Well, I think this truth has come to light in what started out as a fairytale wedding between a Prince and a beautiful woman of mixed heritage from America.  Recently Meghan, Duchess of Sussex who became a member of the British royal family and her husband Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex made an announcement that they have decided to step down as senior royals.  It is assumed it is due to the fact they feel ostracized by the royal family and they feel it would be best for them to carve out a new role for themselves (and create a new future for their child).  A friend of the couple said, “There is so much bad blood in that family – it’s toxic.” 

It has been reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have had to endure a lot within his family and the British newspapers.  It is believed this is due to the fact that Meghan is an African American.  This makes the couple’s son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, a little boy who also has a “drop” of African American blood.  I believe that Harry loves his wife and son dearly and is willing to do whatever he feels necessary to protect them and honor everything they represent.  It has been said that the media in Britain has not been kind to Meghan. For different reasons, they also hassled Harry’s mother; leading to her untimely death.  When we will get to a place when people are truly valued for who they are and their character verses the color of their skin? Something to think about, no matter where any of us may originate from and no matter the color of our skin, the blood that runs through all of us is red.

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

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. 

Justice For All

by Wendy Gladney on 01/13/20

I have been a member of SAG-AFTRA for close to 30 years.  As a young girl I was in several beauty pageants and I saw myself pursuing a career as an actress or model.  During my teen years and into my twenties I was able to make a modest living doing some catalog modeling and a little acting.  Although I never made it big in the industry, I’ve stayed involved on the periphery and kept up my membership.  Over the past several years I’ve also been selected to be one of the members chosen to view various films and vote on whether they should be considered for certain awards.  This year was no exception.  As I’ve watched several of the movies sent to me (I can’t believe some of the movies that get green lit for making), the one that has truly stopped me in my tracks was Just Mercy.

Just Mercy is the story of a young black man by the name of Bryan Stevenson who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1989 and decided to practice law in Alabama to help defend individuals who were wrongly condemned or who could not afford proper legal representation.  A gentleman by the name of Walter McMillian happened to be one of the men he decided to help.  In the late 1980’s, Mr. McMillian was wrongly accused of killing an 18-year-old white girl and was sentenced to die; despite all the evidence that proved his innocence.  The movie shows how, despite overt racism, racial injustice, legal and political maneuverings, Mr. Stevenson never gave up fighting for Walter McMillian.  Stevenson believes there’s always something that can be done to right injustice.   

The reason this struck such a chord with me is because, even though I know racism was (and actually still is) alive and well during the 1980’s, I am still flabbergasted at the levels of hatred that still existed over a century after the end of slavery.  In 1981, while I was in college, I had the opportunity to serve as an intern in Washington, D.C. for California Congressman Julian Dixon.  Coming from California, I was not aware of some of the things I became exposed to while working on the Hill. Hate crimes such as lynching’s were still happening in the South with little repercussions to the white men that were doing these heinous acts.

This type of hatred and treatment towards black men has been happening for generations.  When I was a little girl I would hear family members talk about the fact that my paternal grandfather had to leave Texas in the middle of the night because white men wanted to lynch him for being what they called, “an uppity n*gg*r.”  My grandparents came West to California with seven children to start a new life.  When they arrived in California, they faced a different type of racism that was more covert and hidden behind the veil of segregation; but at least he didn’t fear for his life.  One of the themes also discussed in Just Mercy was fear -- and not “false evidence appearing real;” it was the real deal.  Black people feared for their lives every day, even if they were totally innocent. 

Not all people from any race or ethnicity are good or bad, nor are they all racist. But history has shown that the playing field has not provided equal justice under the law for people of color.  We must all be willing to stand up for what is right and do whatever we can to set things right. It is never too late to stand up for justice.   In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

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

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. 

How’s Your Confidence Barometer Going Into 2020?

by Wendy Gladney on 01/09/20

Henry Ford said, “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Which means it is up to us to determine our altitude.  We’ve all heard the saying: if you want to achieve it, you must first believe it. This is true for both our personal and professional lives.  Over the years I’ve worked with many individuals; some have been considered extraordinary while others may be considered everyday people. But one thing I found common in most people is a lack of confidence.

Confidence is defined in a couple of different ways; the state of feeling certain about the truth of something; or a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. Oftentimes we don’t trust our own instincts and we don’t value or understand what we possess or bring to the table.  There are many reasons why this phenomenon exists.  Psychologists believe we get our first level of confidence from our parents as children.  If our parents don’t speak life into us and assure us that we can do anything we put our minds to, our confidence will falter as soon as someone comes along to discourage us.

Growing up I didn’t always have a lot of confidence.  People thought that I did because of the way I carried myself, but due to various situations in my childhood I didn’t always see myself in a positive light.  I carried the negative feelings I felt about myself quietly inside, but it caused me to make some not-so-good choices along the way.  When we don’t like ourselves, we tend to self-sabotage; sometimes without even realizing it. This is not an uncommon trait.  There are many people that cover up how they truly feel about themselves by pouring into their work, drinking, drugs, sex, shopping and other things to distract them from their reality. Some people are good at putting up the façade of confidence when in reality they’re not.

As we bring in not just a new year, but a new decade, let’s stop and check our personal barometers on how we see ourselves. A barometer is something which reflects changes in circumstances or opinions.  We can all change how we think about ourselves and we need to rethink our focus for 2020.  When we have 2020 vision, we have clarity or sharpness to what we see.  We are all a product of the choices and decisions we’ve made in our lives, but it does not mean we have to stay in a situation if we’ve made bad decisions.  God is in the mercy and grace business. Start making better decisions today that allows you to walk in confidence.

If you realize that you’ve made some bad choices, find out why.  Is it based on bad information?  Is it based on a characteristic flaw?  Whatever the reason, decide now to change your focus and to do whatever is necessary for you to get on the right track and begin to make better choices that will help build up your confidence.  Making good choices and developing good habits are initial steps to getting you on the right path.  I believe it is never too late to believe in yourself and to have the life you’ve always dreamed of.  I made the decision to walk daily in this truth.  I believe in myself and what I have to offer to the world.

Make 2020 and this next decade your best years ever.  Don’t worry about being accepted by others. Be true to yourself and your maker.  Learn from your past and understand your vision moving forward.  I believe your best days can still be before you. The best is yet to come. What say ye?

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

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. 

Never Give Up On Love

by Wendy Gladney on 12/30/19

Over two decades ago I met a man that would change my life forever.  During that time, I was a very industrious and busy event planner helping different organizations and people with their events and fundraisers.  One of the projects I was involved with was putting together a celebrity basketball game for   a client who wanted to help raise funds and awareness for a school in Pasadena.  Truth be told I didn’t know all the pieces that were involved with putting together such an event, but I had people who were willing to help me and introduce me to people who could help me further.  That is when I met a man that not only helped me but would become one of the best friends I would ever have.

When we met, we lived in different states, were married and had different lives. Although there was an attraction it was not something we could pursue.  We both went on with our lives crossing paths from time to time, but each time our lives would intersect something else was happening that would prevent us from coming together.  We were pulled towards each other while at the same time running in opposite directions. Those that know both of us would often ask why aren’t the two of you together?  Our response was always life just keeps getting in the way.  Miles, marriages and mistakes kept us apart.

In March 2019, a mutual friend of ours passed away causing our paths to cross once again.  This time when we connected, we were both at different places in our lives.  I had gone through a divorce.  I felt like a failure and that I just could not get this marriage thing right.  My friend was also single.  Over the next several months we began to talk and share what we wanted out of life and we realized it included giving our love and friendship a try. We discussed how would we do this still living in different states and how would we make sure we did it right.  It was finally our time.

We made a conscious effort to spend time together, talk, and put God first in the relationship.  We kept the world at bay so that we could really focus on keeping the main thing the main thing…which was working on the relationship and seeing if this was of God.  When we were introduced the person, who introduced us would often say that we were the male and female version of each other, and she was correct.  People often say opposites attract, but we say equals attract.  When we are really ready, I believe we open ourselves up to the possibilities of what we not only want, but what we need. We wanted to do this right and have God’s favor. After all, if we were ever going to get married it would be the last time around for both of us…no matter what!

A lady I met in church many years ago, who was like a mother to me, was not only my prayer partner, but she also prayed for me.  She would say, God is going to save the best for last for you Wendy.  I have nothing negative to say about my past relationships, there were definitely lessons I learned along the way, but I truly believe God has been kind, merciful and gracious in giving me one more chance at love with who I believe is my soulmate and the love of my life.  By the way, he put a ring on it on Christmas Eve.  As we kick off a new year and a new decade, I share my story to encourage someone who may need to hear this, never give up on love no matter how many mistakes you may make or how long it may take.  I hope in my transparency someone will know God hears our prayers and knows our hearts.

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

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. 

The Miracle of a Little Broach

by Wendy Gladney on 12/24/19

This past week I spent time with my son and his beautiful family.  My son, daughter-in-love and my two beautiful grandbabies decided to take me out shopping for no reason.  It wasn’t my birthday and they said it was not because it was Christmastime. It was simply to just say you are loved.  I was so excited because my son told me to think of something(s) I really wanted but either wouldn’t buy for myself or just hadn’t gotten around to it.  Now of course I knew there had to be a dollar limit so I wasn’t going to go crazy, nor would I any way, but the thought of going shopping picking out what I want and my son and daughter-in-love were treating me was pure delight.

As I prepared for our outing I put on one of my comfortable holiday outfits because I knew we would be walking and of course I would be holding my granddaughter Siena and running after my grandson Grayson, but I didn’t think the situation through all the way.  I wanted to add just a little touch of sparkle to my outfit so at the last minute I put on one of my favorite broaches.  It was a broach I found in the gift shop at the Nixon Library when I was there for a speaking engagement.  The curator said it was a replica of one of the broaches Pat Nixon would often wear. It is in the shape of a wreath made up of little crystals.

Going back as far as I can remember my grandmother, “Mother Dear” would wear broaches and then I began to pay attention to the broaches worn by Margaret Thatcher. From this fascination I began to collect broaches or pins because they represented simple elegance in my mind.  You don’t need to wear too much else when you wear a broach.  Keep it simple. What was I thinking wearing such a piece on a day when there would be a lot of hustle and bustle and when I knew I would be carrying my grandbabies? That’s the problem, I didn’t think about it I just put it on.  When I arrived back home at the end of this joyful day, I noticed it was no longer on my shirt.  I frantically ran around everywhere looking for it and to my dismay I could not find it anywhere.

The next day I shared with my children that I had lost the pin and of course they were sorry and my daughter-in-love, Sara, even asked me where I bought it and how could she try and buy another one for me.  When I explained to her the history and that it was just a “thing” and I had to let it go she still wanted to try and get another one for me.  I concluded that it was gone and that I needed to learn the lesson from this situation – don’t wear such things on days when I would be running around with my grandbabies and not paying attention.  In my mind I was okay because it was just a thing and that the time I spent with my children was way more valuable than anything else.    

Then the next morning I was having a little talk with Jesus and I said to him, “Lord, I know this is probably petty and I shouldn’t be praying about something like a piece of jewelry, but I told him that I really liked it and I would really like to have it back.  I told Him I learned my lesson and that I wouldn’t be so careless in the future.”  I thought it would take a miracle for me to find the broach now since I had already looked everywhere.  Then literally within minutes after praying I turned and found it on the ground.  Seriously! This touched me in such a way not because I had to have the broach back, but because it reassured me that God cares about me and hears all my prayers.  God is in the miracle business in all of our lives big or small.

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

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker.