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Success Story: Elizabeth Melson

Elizabeth at HeritageLet’s face it: every once in a while, you just need to hear a story with a happy ending. The U.S. criminal justice system has some devastating effects, and here at FAMM, every day we hear from people in prison and their families about how the criminal justice system is failing them. We share these stories to reform unjust sentences, and we’re grateful to have them to share.

But earlier this year, we decided that we needed to share some good news, too. In order to advocate for change, it’s necessary to demonstrate what that change could ultimately look like. So we expanded our profiles to include success stories – stories of people who get a second chance at life and make the most of it.

Click (FAMM, 2016) for more about Elizabeth’s story.

Commentary

We better all get on board.  It is time we give the nations offenders a second chance.  Period, Case-Closed!

Regarding What We Think We Know, Ch6

iceburgWould it not be far better to treat the atheist at least as well as he/she treats us? – Robert G. Ingersoll

Commentary

I am a believer!  I don’t know yet why I have to share that with you.  Maybe its because I have shared so many of Mr. Ingersoll’s thoughts in the last few weeks from his book, Some Mistakes of Moses. At any rate, there you have it, I Am A Believer!  So, now that I have said it, I waited for the thunder to roar, the clouds to part.  I waited for envy, jealousy, covetousness, racism and hatred to disappear – to vanish!  Well, they did not!  I think there is more to being a Believer than the labor of our tongues! Otherwise, we continue to get what we’ve been getting, i.e. three new deaths of police officers. Remember those in Dallas? As of this morning, there’s three more in Baton Rouge, LA.  However, let us dare not stop there, I do too remember the two Black men slaughtered near Baton Rouge and St. Paul.  In terms of the question offered above by Ingersoll, Is it necessary that the news media illustrate or narrate the death of these human beings the same?  As human tragedies? Revisiting the the image above, TWO different groups, SAME iceberg!  Yet, there’s something eerily different about the narratives of the police officers and the two Black men.  Or maybe its just me?  Period, Case-Closed!

Regarding What We Think We Know, Ch5

Stack of religious books
Stack of religious books

To hate man and worship God seems to be the sum of all the creeds. – Robert G. Ingersoll.

Commentary

The truth of this position has again been demonstrated in Baton Rouge, LA. Three police officers have been shot and killed.  Can we expect more deaths of police officers or Black men? Enough already!  Churches and mosques around the nation are packed I am sure. What will the message be – continue to love God and hate our brother/sister?  We can pray all we would like. Might our problem be the message and our demonstration of the message? – Period, Case-Closed!

 

The Resilience Breakthrough Pt3

baby seal

Resilience is innate.  However, it must be discovered, explored, and/or developed. Absent challenges, adversity, etc., resilience cannot be realized, demonstrated, nor illustrated.  Derek Irvin

Commentary

Prior to bed last night, July 10th – Sunday, I was watching Animal Planet.  I had been reading the book, The Resilience Breakthrough.  Thus my shared thoughts above surrounding – resilience.  This segment was about seals.  There was a baby seal that was newly born.  Not long after its birth, the mother quickly jumped into and swam far out into the sea for food.  The baby seal was “fearful” of swimming. He was fearful of getting in the water.  At first it just dipped its head in and looked around under water.  It was the cutest sight.  Eventually it FELL in and it had to swim – although clumsily.  It splashed and made lots of noises.  Interestingly, there was a male bull seal that seemed to be perturbed by this little guy.  The large male bit the little guy.  Several times, it picked up the baby by the neck or fin and slung it around the sea like a rag doll.  At one point I thought he was trying to drown the lil’ guy.  You could  hear the baby seal swallowing large gulps of the sea.  Eventually, the baby seal got away. Weary and worn, the baby seal made its way to the shore near some rocks. The rocks were slippery, so that baby had a difficult time climbing atop the rocks.  It was a pitiful sight.  It looked like an exhausted human.  I thought it would surely drown. However, finally, it made it atop the rocks.  There he rested. This sight to me was a demonstration of resilience. We all have it within ourselves to overcome any challenge.  The wherewithal to stay afloat and not drown lie somewhere deep within and it is when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances, paint, disappointment, or tragedy that resilience is demonstrated. Here’s a video that attempts to demonstrate my point; it’s not what I saw last night, but you should get the point.  CLICK: Baby Seal Swimming.  Period, Case-Closed!

Regarding What We Think We Know, Ch4

iceburgWhy should a believer in God hate an atheist? Surely the atheist has not injured God, and surely he is human, capable of  joy and pain, and entitled to all the rights of man.  – Robert G. Ingersoll

Commentary

I know, I know, four quotes thus far from Ingersoll.  Watching the news and conversations Saturday morning (Jul 9th) surrounding the murders of two Black men and now the police officers in Dallas is when I heard someone quote Ingersoll. This quote speaks to what I have long held as a foundation to my religious and spiritual beliefs.  If God is God, then he/she cannot be moved by the feeble beliefs of his/her creation – man/woman. Our belief in the existence or non-existence of God does not make God no more or less – GOD! However, if you believe that you have been especially selected or commissioned to spread (not demonstrate), but spread the so-called “word of God”, then no wonder we have this hell on earth.  I mean it makes complete sense to me now.  I have family and many a friend, Black, White, Jew, etc., etc. who believe they are God’s chosen. Please help me understand why would God need any of us to be his/her mouthpiece? To my recollection, neither of us were consulted when God laid the foundation(s) of the heavens?  I need to know where were we then?  I need to know this! And if we cannot provide a reasonable answer, then we should be silent or return to Oblivion. Period, Case-Closed!

Regarding What We Think We Know, Ch3

Stack of religious books
Stack of religious books

Mankind will be enslaved until there is mental grandeur enough to allow each man to have his thought and say.  This earth will be a paradise when men can…differ, and yet grasp each other’s hands as friends.  – Robert G. Ingersoll

Commentary

In other words, we will experience utopia when men and women have an imbalance of cognitive superiority or an exceeding spiritual stock.  Otherwise, we will continue to move further and further away from the bow and arrow, rocks and stones, pistols, rifles, and machine guns towards new tools of mass human destruction; this includes too our religious books and doctrine.  I’m in the mood to teach this morning! How ’bout that?!  Period, Case-Closed!

Is Race a biological reality?

Stack of religious books

We talk about  how racism is ultimately based on the falsehood that humanity is biologically divided into separate “races”, each with distinct characteristics. From the beginning of our work, we have maintained that “race” is a concept created by humans and not a biological reality. – Barbara Hacker, Retired Teacher

COMMENTARY

Maybe we should start there, center the conversation around the word “human”. If all the holy books are correct, the creator created “humans”.  My christian tradition taught me that in the beginning there was one man and one woman.  If this is true, we truly are all brother’s and sisters.  So again, I recommend we start from the place that we are all – Human. Hopefully the uppity, pompous, and pious (most of us if not all) will be silenced.  That our so-called truths will be cast into the deepest corners of space ever to be forgotten. One of us is lying, maybe all of us.  As such, we need to throw away the traditions and start ova!  Huh?  How ’bout that?! Period, Case-Closed.