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Should a Lie Be Rewarded?

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 08/28/16

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio may be over, but many had concerns and doubts before the games even started.   Brazil was the first South American nation to host the Olympics, but out the gate there was skepticism if they had the infrastructure to handle such an event. Although they hosted the Pan American Games in 2007 and the World Cup in 2014, Brazil still had lots of work to do to improve their roads, water systems, housing, and many other necessary components to make the world feel they were ready to host the granddaddy of all games.  Crime in Rio was also a concern. The international community wanted to make sure that Rio would be safe for the athletes and guests coming from around the world.  With all of these issues this small country in South America did not need an athlete from North America putting fuel on the fire of doubt. 


During the Olympics, American swimmer Ryan Lochte and three of his teammates fabricated a lie and said they were confronted and robbed at gun point by a group of citizens from Brazil.  News coverage went out internationally sharing this story before it was actually even validated.  What I found interesting as I read stories that were put out across various media outlets is how Lochte was taken at face value and believed without anyone understanding what really went down.  Over time as the officials in Rio began doing an intensive search into the matter it surfaced that the four swimmers from America shared different versions of the story.  Somewhere in all of this the truth surfaced, but at what cost.


The swimmers finally admitted they lied and fabricated the story.  Although there was some sort of altercation that occurred, the American athletes lied in an attempt to cover up their own bad behavior. The lies told by Ryan Lochte and his teammates put a stain on the Olympics and embarrassed Brazil.  This situation put a damper not only on the Olympics, but also on a small country of color that was doing their best to fulfill a dream of hosting the international games.  In the beginning many ran to the aid of Lochte over the word of officials from Brazil.  Is this because Lochte and his team members represented America?  Was it because it was the word of four white boys over the word of men of color? Would things have turned out differently if the people involved were different? This is a question we all need to assess in our own hearts. 


The fallout from all of this has taken an interesting turn.  After Ryan Lochte admitted he lied, although he is still twisted in scandal, he signed an endorsement deal with Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops.  It is said that the campaign will be focused around forgiveness.  Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops: Forgiving on Your Throat.” Really?  So in the end, Lochte will still profit from his misbehavior and lies. Is this the message we want to send to the world on how someone can discredit a country and still come out on top.  Is this really an act of forgiveness?  The definition of forgiveness means the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. How do the people of Brazil fit into this campaign or process?  Should a lie be rewarded?  Something to think about.


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 You Sitting At The Right Table?”

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 08/22/16

America is known as the land of opportunity.  As an African American woman born in the early 1960’s, I have seen my share of opportunity given and taken away from women and people of color. As we continue to sojourn this election season, each and every one of us needs to make decisions and vote; not only based on what will be good for us individually, but for our country as a whole.  I definitely don’t consider myself to be a political pundit, but anyone willing to listen, read and do their own research should be able to decipher good information from bad information. 


From the beginning of his campaign, Presidential candidate Donald Trump has made a lot of claims. Some of which have been untrue; and, speaking personally, have also made very little sense. Recently, he has made a plea for the African American vote, asking what they have to lose as a community by voting for him. In pontificating that the African American community is so plagued with poverty, unemployment and a failed education system, Trump implies that it would behoove the community to “try something new” and give him a chance. Donald Trump and his supporters have claimed that the Democratic Party has failed the African American Community.  Truth be told, America has failed the African American Community.


Trump may want to blame the Democratic Party for the current state of the Union, but in reality it is not solely up to the President of the United States to fix the plight of every one of its citizens. Congress, the Supreme Court and wealthy business owners also dictate much of what happens in this country. 


Trumps concern for the African American vote is a relatively new one. Just one month ago, the NAACP invited him to speak at their annual convention; an invitation which he declined. He even had the audacity to say, “look at my African American over there…sitting there behaving” at one of his rallies in which the Ku Klux Klan was demonstrating. However, as we draw closer to Election Day, his tune is starting to change. Perhaps it was the results of a recent poll by NBC/WSJ/Marist which indicated Donald Trump’s popularity with just 1% of African American voters compared to 91% with Hilary Clinton. The African American community has a voice and the Trump campaign is beginning to understand the power in these numbers. Do we?


My objective is not meant to tell anyone for whom they should (or should not) vote.  I am a firm believer that it is important for there to be diversity in both parties.  We should have African Americans represented in all parties so that we have a voice at the table no matter who is in office. The point is to make sure that you are true to your convictions and fundamental beliefs.  Make sure when you are sitting at the table you know what the table stands for and represents. You may not want to eat what is on your plate.


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. 

“The Sweet Life on Martha’s Vineyard”

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 08/14/16

When most of us think of summer we think of lazy days at the beach, rocking on a porch while waving to people as they pass by and eating good food with a nice glass of lemonade and a freshly baked cookie.  My daughter and I just returned from fulfilling one of our bucket list items as we traveled to the town of Oak Bluffs to partake in the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival (MVAAFF) and Odyssey on the Vineyard.  While we were there we experienced all of this and more.  This trip allowed me to slow down and take in everything all around me.  I had no idea of the sweet life that awaited me on the Vineyard. 


As a child growing up my family never traveled anywhere near the Cape and I really didn’t know much about it until later in life.  I remember over twenty years ago there was a movie called The Inkwell starring Larenz Tate that shared about a family who visited a relative on the island during the summer and although it was a cute movie it didn’t move me to buy the next plane ticket.  However, as my circle broadened and I met people who either traveled to the Vineyard or owned homes on the Vineyard and they shared their memories and family traditions something inside of me was sparked and I knew it had to go on my bucket list. 


Family, tradition and legacy are very important to me. As I continue to live life and get older, I realize what we will remember are the people that touch our lives and the memories we create with loved ones more than objects or things we collect. I will forever remember the warmth and hospitality of the Oak Bluffs Inn and how the owners Erik and Rhonda extended hospitality to all of the guests who came from near and far.  The Inn had a wrap-around porch with wicker rocking chairs that faced out towards the main street to “woo the wanderer”.  Each day they would not only provide a nice deluxe continental breakfast, but also fresh sweet basil lemonade and homemade cookies in the afternoon.  The evening greeted us with a little port or sherry to relax and share our experiences of the day.


While on the island there was so much to take in.  Coincidently we happened to be there while the first family were vacationing and although we didn’t get to see them, we had an opportunity to eat at the President’s favorite restaurant, The Sweet Life, which happened to be right across the street from our Inn.  Second, my daughter found us a fabulous tour called, The Martha’s Vineyard African American Heritage Tour.  We learned so much about the history of African Americans on the island from enslavement all the way to present day with President Obama vacationing on the Vineyard and everything in between.  Dignitaries and celebrities such as Adam Clayton Powell, Senator Edward Brooke, Spike Lee and others have made this heaven on earth their home. Third, we were able to participate in the MVAAFF and we saw the movie Southside With You (the Barack and Michelle Story). Finally, the icing on the cake was when we attended the Odyssey on the Vineyard and met Gail Lumet Buckley, daughter of Lena Horne, and she shared her family history from her latest book, The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights With One African American Family.


Journalist Mike Wallace summed up the feeling of the Vineyard very well when he said, Even as I talk I can see it and feel it.  It’s a special insular, quiet, healing, glorious place.  Year after year after year you not only see your kids and grandkids grow, but you see everybody else’s kids…there’s a strange continuity to life on the Vineyard. I’m hooked and I’m grateful to have experienced just a little of the sweet life.


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. 

“How Can One Person Make a Difference?”

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 07/31/16

When I think about what is happening in the world today it could be real easy to feel discouraged and downtrodden.  We can’t turn on our televisions or look at our smart devices without seeing another negative situation.  Whether it is around gun violence, racial prejudice, name calling, bullying, homelessness, hunger, domestic violence, or human trafficking these are issues that plague us each and every day. We all have times when we feel overwhelmed and wonder what can be done to make a difference. 


History has proven that change comes from the power of individuals. Oftentimes strong individuals prompt movements that change the world. We’ve all heard of people such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Confucius, Thomas Jefferson, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Winston Churchill, Buddha, Barack Obama and Jesus Christ just to name a few. They all believed in something and decided to make a difference.  No matter what your background these individuals have played a role in society.  Whether or not you believe in their philosophy or fundamentals they have shaped our world in one way or another. I am sure you can think of others that I didn’t mention that stepped out on faith or followed their conscious and made a difference in their family, community or even possibly the world.


In the line of work I do as a Consultant I meet a lot of different people.  Over the past several months I’ve had the privilege of working with Claremont Lincoln University (CLU).  I have learned they embrace the very definition of how all of us have the capability to learn the necessary ingredients to help make the world a better place and make a difference right where we are planted.  They teach that meaningful and positive change starts with you.  They emphasize learning how to put your ideals and ideas into action.  This is accomplished through their core values which include Compassion (follow the Golden Rule); Integrity (be consistent and transparent in your values, actions and outcomes); Respect (value and be mindful of other’s views and traditions); Diligence (have a commitment to continually improve and the strength to make a difference); Individual Responsibility (hold ourselves accountable/deliver on our promises); Loyalty (support and allegiance); Social Impact (make the world a better place); and Service among others.


The world we live in today is not really that different from generations that have come before us.  We just see things in a different light because of the impact of social media and technology.  I believe if we are able to embrace the core values as taught through the philosophy of CLU we could all do our part to make the world a better place.  Furthermore, if we think of embracing mindfulness, creating dialogue and collaborating with others when possible we will all see the change we so desire.  We can’t wait to see what others will do and we can’t even wait to see who our next president will be.  We have to make up our minds that we are sick and tired of being sick and tired of the way things are.


Robert F. Kennedy said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” How will you make a difference? #ClaremontLincolnUniversity #CLU #CoachWendy #Change


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. 

“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.