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Are The Lives Of Our Women Valued?

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 07/26/15

When I googled black women killed by police or black women who died while in police custody,  the number of faces that popped up on the screen made me cry.  I could not believe how many women and girls of color have died in just the past couple of years by the hand of those that took an oath to serve and protect.  Many of us here on the West Coast remember hearing and reading about Alesia Thomas, but the list goes on with victims in cities from New York, Atlanta, Portland, Detroit and Chicago just to name a few.  Their ages range from as young as seven to ninety two.  Even our babies and grandmothers are not valued.


When I did the same google search inserting the phrase white women who died while in police custody or by the hands of police only a couple of names came on the screen.  Is this a coincidence or are black women targeted consciously or unconsciously because of the color of our skin.  I do not believe that all police are bad and I do not believe that all white people disregard the sanctity of life of black people, but the record shows that there is a true disparity in justice and respect for our lives.  


I am an African American Woman.  Although I am of mixed ancestry with a Caucasian mother and an African American father, America considers me a black woman.  I did not grow up with my white family, so I only knew the black community in which I was raised.  My paternal grandmother who was the first born generation free after slavery in our family and who was born and raised in Texas and eventually migrated West taught us to be proud of who we are and to respect our community.  Today as a mother of three African American daughters and two African American granddaughters my heart is heavy that their lives do not matter to some in our society.  They are not protected and valued.  They have to be careful every time they walk out the door.  This is in total violation of our civil and natural rights.  My daughters, all daughters are precious.


I pretty much never really feared for my life from anyone.  Of course if I ever got stopped by the police I would get nervous, but not so much because I feared for my life, but because I would wonder if I got a ticket how my insurance would be effected.  But now my thoughts have shifted.  It becomes a level of stress that actually can have a profound effect on one’s health and life.


When Sandra Bland was recently stopped by a Texas State Trooper for an improper lane change, we know that definitely did not merit an arrest and then ultimately her death.  Ms. Bland was a 28 year old black woman that lived her life with purpose and on purpose.  She may have been outspoken, but most of us are that want to serve our community.  She is quoted as wanting to make a difference regarding the injustice against blacks in the South. She was known as a social activist and was moving to Texas to start a new job where she thought she could live out her purpose. The reports say she committed suicide, her mother disagrees.  No matter what the verdict, she died too soon and we cannot let her life be in vain.  I recently read the saying a lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect. It is time for law enforcement to respect the boundaries we call life.


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 @ 4:30am. 

A Healthy Lifestyle is a Marathon Not a Sprint

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 07/17/15

It has only been a couple of weeks since I made up my mind to really get serious about changing my habits and live a healthier and happier life.  Over the first few days I actually felt like I was going through withdrawals.  The not so good habits I picked up over time subconsciously became a way of life for me. Things I used to consume sparingly became easier and easier to justify with the excuse that we only live once.   Especially once my children were grown and gone and I was living on my own and eating out more and more.  Two years ago I met and married the love of my life. Together we enjoyed late night dinners with a glass of wine and once again extra pounds began to settle around my waist.


This gets me to my next point, it is true we only have one life to live here on this earth.  Although tomorrow is not promised and none of us know how much time we have, if we want to increase our odds and have the best life possible, we must put in the effort.  What I am learning is weight or practicing bad habits do not happen in a day so why would we think we could lose weight or get back on track in a day? We must remember practicing a healthy and positive lifestyle is a marathon and not a sprint.  Furthermore we must be conscious and deliberate about our choices.


Over the past two weeks I have lost four pounds.  When I was in my thirties and forties it was easy to lose a few pounds here and there.  All I had to do was cut back on dessert, bread and snacks and five pounds would fall off.  But now in my fifties and in the midst of menopause I have truly realized my body beats to a different drum.  Weight does not just fall off as easy.  How we feel about ourselves is often a reflection of how we see ourselves.  Although others may see our strengths, we definitely see our weaknesses.  Although I lead a very disciplined life in some areas, reading labels, caring about portion sizes and making exercise part of my daily routine has been a challenge and was not part of my lifestyle.  


According to Wikipedia, lifestyle typically reflects attitudes, way of life, and or values. It is a means of shaping a sense of self that resonate with personal identity. How we view food and exercise is just a piece of the puzzle that makes up our overall life.  Another way to look at it might be to think of our lives as slices of a vegetarian pizza. The various parts of our life are represented by the individual slices.  Each slice represents a different segment of what makes our life complete and fulfilling.


The slices depict areas such as spirituality, health, career, family, relationships and personal.  Oftentimes when we struggle with food issues and the lack of exercise it ties back to us not taking care of ourselves.  We put ourselves on the back burner and we take care of others and everything else and give ourselves the leftovers.  It is true if you want different results you have to do things differently from the way you have become accustomed.  I am doing new things.  I have a new attitude and I am in it for the long haul.    


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 @ 4:30am. 

It Takes Courage For Healing and Forgiveness To Begin

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 07/13/15

It is no secret what we have all heard and learned about the actions of William Henry Cosby, Jr.  He spent a lifetime building a legacy around being a comedian, an actor, author and activist. He brought strong and positive images of African American families, colleges and universities into our living rooms weekly and made us hold our heads up high.  As he broke barriers, survived the death of his son and helped us to feel proud of who we are and where we have come from, for many of us it was a secret the demons of sexual immorality he wrestled with inside.  Today his head is bowed.


According to articles in the Hollywood Reporter and the New York Post, it showed Bill Cosby admitted to having frustrations of aging and losing his sex appeal.  It appears he had a thirst for women that he could not quench.  The man we revered as the quintessential family man and philanthropist was also a philanderer and carried on with women outside of his marriage.  What I found ironic, but not shocking, Camille Cosby knew her husband was a serial philander, but over the years chose to stay with him.  She has been quoted as saying she created him and she knew what she was getting into.  She felt the situation was between her and Bill.  She also felt the women he was involved with consented to being with him and that he was not a rapist.


This situation has kept my attention because growing up as a little girl many people would compare my father to Bill Cosby.  Among the various jobs or careers my father pursued one was that of a comedian.  His stage name was Koo Koo Brown the funniest man in town.  Some even believed my father resembled Bill Cosby.  Both Bill Cosby and my father had smiles that would light up a room and charisma that would charm everyone in their path, but yet they both had a problem and weakness that caused them to treat women as sexual toys.  What saddens my heart is to realize my father resembled Bill Cosby in more ways than one. The potential of their greatness was overshadowed by the behavior of their flesh. 


The pain, damage and havoc sexual promiscuity has on an individual, a family, and community is deep and has a profound negative effect on generations to come.  When people have this type of sickness it is like a cancer that eats away at the very fiber of society.  Those of us who are survivors of such actions must let our voices be heard.  We cannot sit in silence.  It is not my place to condemn, but rather to bring to the surface the devastation this type of behavior brings not only on the victims, but future generations.


In order for healing to take place and forgiveness to begin, the one who commits the offense must acknowledge they have a problem and get the proper help.  Sexual immorality is an illness that must be treated just as any other mental or emotional illness. Before my father passed away he admitted he was wrong for doing what he did to me as a little girl and for me that was the first step of our healing process.  His courage to admit his problem, seek help and ask for forgiveness opened the door for me to forgive and love the father I hoped was always there.   


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. 

We Have To Put In Time To Get The Results We Want

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 07/06/15

Who remembers the day they looked in the mirror and the image staring back at them did not look like they imagined? A better question might be when did the clock begin to change and we lost time?  I am a firm believer that people can get better over time and even improve with the right methods.  However, I am also learning just like with most things in life you have to invest to achieve the results you desire.  We all age over time, but if we want to age well and look well we have to practice good habits.  We have to make health a lifestyle.


How many of us know people that post photos of themselves and when you see them they do not look anything like their photo?  What I have noticed is either the photo they display is an hundred years old or they had so much help through makeup artists, hair stylists, and even photo shop you wonder if the person in the photo is the same person standing in front of you.  With the work I do it is my desire to make sure I reflect who I truly am as well as strive to be the best that I can be.


My life is busy and I feel blessed to be involved with work that touches lives and helps people to live out their purpose and understand the power of forgiveness. Oftentimes my work requires long days that include commuting and sacrificing to help others reach their full potential.  What I realize is I have been neglecting my personal health with excuses.  If I want to continue to help others, I must take care of myself first.  I used to think this was selfish, but now I understand you have to practice self-preservation in order to serve others. Making healthy and wise choices for your life will not only make you feel better but you will look better.


I have been in a rut for quite some time and I did not really know where to start.  When I was honest with myself I knew I did not always feel or look my best, but I kept making excuses.  I kept telling myself I am okay, after all I am over fifty, I am going through menopause and my husband does not complain, but in reality all of these are excuses I have hid behind.  It should not be about what others think about us or what stage we are in life, but it should be about making sure we are doing the right things today to help us be around tomorrow in good health.  Remember your health is your wealth.  


I have finally come to the conclusion that if I want to be the best that Wendy can be, I have to invest in Wendy.  So I am starting today to make better choices.  My first step is to evaluate my habits. Secondly, I am going to start making healthier food choices. Third, I have to try and get more rest.  I have always been challenged with sleep, but I know it is possible.  Fourth, I have to get this body in motion so it can stay in motion.  I have to find the right exercise program for me.  Finally, I have to make sure I keep up my spiritual and mental well-being while loving the person God made me to be.  Stay tuned because I will keep you posted on my progress and share what I learn along my journey.  I am determined this summer to lose weight, exercise and sleep better. Time is not running out, but there is a little more time behind me then ahead of me.    If I want certain results, it has finally hit me I have to put in the work and time. 


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. 

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.