Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Love's in Need of Love Today. Think You Lost Her? She's Been Here All Along.

This post is inspired by a post by my brother - Eric Caver.  He said: "I think that think the things we have lost the most through [captivity] and Jim Crow and in life, have been our self worth. . Self love. . Self esteem.. 

He asked for responses ..

Sister Brunson responded: "I know part of the problem but I don't know the solution. We have gone through an identity crisis. We have lost our culture.... WE ARE GREAT AND CAPABLE OF GREAT THINGS!"

I agree with both of them. Sister Brunson and Eric, AYA has been working on a healing solution, and have some great tools to help us recover and live out the greatness that you so accurately and eloquently claim. 

We actually, haven't lost all of our culture - not by a long shot. Severely damaged, yes. On life support, yes. As Stevie Wonder says: "love is in need of love today." 

We need to reclaim the remnants that we have - dusting them off, treasuring them, placing them on the mantel pieces and in the honored places in our lives; protecting them, studying them and rebuilding from them. As simple example my illustrate. 

Call and Response is a key part of our culture. It's central to our music, talking, communication. The choir issues the call, the audience responds - "go head", the minister issues the call; the congregation responds - "take your time, Rev.;" the band says "Hey", we say "Ho." Call and response embodies the principle of reciprocity and is so critical for building trust. 

Trust is the basis for unity. Now, instead of just thinking of call and response or reciprocity in music where we most know it, what if we applied it to our relationships? 

See we been socialized by sick society to build relationships on domination, control, who's in charge, who's the best, who's the head, who wears the pants, etc., That's the European way. Though we've copied it, it's not "home" for us. 

That's why music in a Black church will be different experience than in a White church. Similarly, we we build our relationships on call and response, on reciprocity then we'll have a difference experience too. Right now, our family and personal relationships look more like theirs - a good show, but empty underneath.

Our church  or concert experiences based on call and response or reciprocity will be interactive, with every response by the audience becoming a call to take the choir higher, which, in turn, takes the audience higher - and the spirit moves! 

No one is in control, yet nothing is out of control. 

We're being guided by our culture and specifically cultural principles that we still value and that were to basis of both our great civilizations and our surviving the brutal captivity of yester-year. They are: Authenticity, Balance and Reciprocity. 

We've not lost it. We do have to see it all around us, then we have to use it to build with and build upon. 

Imagine if we built our relationships on those principles. The Warriors-Healers-Builders family has worked with hundreds of people, couples and organizations  to apply this aspect of our culture to their new and old relationships. 

The results mimic the rockin' church I alluded to earlier - the relationship, communication, respect and love goes higher and higher - and the spirit moves. 

Call and Response is just the tip of the iceberg, our culture is waiting for us to reclaim her, and to re-learn how to use her as a foundation for living and building anew.
Love is in need of love today. Come learn more how to see and use the power of our culture to heal, build and defend.  Don't delay. Love's in need of Love today.
Upcoming Retreats:

  • Wash, DC - Feb . 6, 7, 8 

    • Atlanta, GA - March 20, 21, 22 
    • Chicago, IL - May - TBA
     This is the heart and soul of AYA! Everything we do is designed to make us better warriors, healers, and builders. It matters not whether it's a photography workshop, a math class, or relationship coaching. The goal is the same.

    Monday, January 19, 2015

    MLK - The AYA Way

    aya SWHB logo
    mlk an insurance in...

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    AYA Parents, Family and Friends,
    I've been wanting to get this to you all day. We're celebrating MLK's Bday. Although our school will be closed, we hope that for you it's not a day off, but a day on! Not a day for shopping, unless you're shopping at a Black business - like he asked us to do. Please do something uplifting with and for our people. Choose Warriors-Healer-Builder, or maybe do some of all three.
    Brother Sundiata Aya called me this afternoon with a request about some Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes and speeches. As I talked to him, I realized that I needed to make available my favorite MLK words.
    I've just finished, and the video is ready. I wanted to be short. We'll just over 30 minutes is the best that I could do: 

    This is a King that others won't likely show. Hopefully, they'll stimulate discussion for you, your children, maybe your peers even.
    Here are 20 short topics, questions and one-line excerpts from the the video/audio selections that will make for an AYA-like discussion for you and your family after watching the video.
    1. "You died when you refused to stand up for justice."
    2. "Never bow to the gods of evil!"
    3. "I will not segregate my moral concerns"
    4. "We are God's children"
    5. "God's preachers must talk about the new Atlanta, New York, Los Angles"
    6. Anchor external action (protest) with economic withdrawal and economic development

    Find the references above and discuss what he meant and how does that relate to now.
    1. We are both rich and poor economically - rich in collective wealth. Poor relative to Whites. (What's the relative income and wealth of us vs. them? Compare since King's time.)
    2. What is America's messianic arrogance?
    3. MLK says America provides socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. What is socialism? What is capitalism? Does that still exist today? He gives an example in his speech; can you give others?
    MLK pointing both fingers
    1. What's the triple prong sickness that he said was the plague of the US and other Western (White) civilizations? Still a plague?
    2. What are the hounds of hell of which he speaks?
    3. Some Black people refer to a "White backlash" based on Barrack Obama's election. King speaks to the claims of White backlash during his time, but says that those claims are unfounded, says that the roots of White action are deeper and from a different place. From where?
    4. There is are two myths of capitalism that Kings addresses: one about that it's so wonderful, and the other about the origins of America's great capitalist progress. How did he explode this myth. Do you agree? Can you back your opinion up with any historical evidence, or can you find any to support or challenge his contentions?
    5. What does he mean by the Victor Hugo quote re: misery and humanity? (Discuss it. Is it the nature of humanity or the nature of Western society?)
    bham jailing martin-luther-king-jr-31
    1. King said that the Ghetto is a domestic colony; what's that?
    2. He also said that we need to control the politics, economies and destinies of our communities? How can we do that? Can we do it by integrating into other communities? Have we done that? Has it worked?
    3. Who are the people and what are the principles, ideas, issues, causes, for which we are willing to die? King said if we don't have these, "we're not fit to live." Could that be the "Prince of Peace," or is was he really a "Drum major for Justice?"
    4. Re: Vietnam: What is the Geneva Accord?. What was the Vietnam War, and why was he so against it? (Hint: $500K vs $53). What's the military industrial complex? Is it still operative, now? Given what you've learned from these excerpts, would King be against it? Are you?
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    Where do you stand?
    1. Discuss, analyze: "On some positions cowardice asks is it safe, expediency asks is it politic, vanity asks... but... King often ended his speeches with this quote. What do you think would happen if this one was repeated as much as the "I Have A Dream" quote?
    Now, you become the media to make sure people know this quote. Memorize it and repeat it often. Include "...you may be 38 as I happen to be..." and end with "... merely a belated announcement of any earlier death of the spirit. You died when you refused to stand for truth, justice, and something right."
    mlk an insurance in...
    A Day On; Not A Day Off!

    Wednesday, January 7, 2015

    ..The Only Heaven That Attracted Them

    I love AYA.

    Malcolm X said: “Of all our studieshistory is best qualified to reward our research." 
    Arturo Schomburg told Baba John Henrik Clarke to "study the [oppressor's] history..." 

    Today, WEB Dubois helped AYA students of the Following Araminta class do both. Just as Araminta (Harriet Tubman) is entering the war between the states (Civil War) that she helped to ferment, we took a break to go beyond the  moral analysis, to understand some of the economic and social forces at play before, during and after this "Civil War." From his Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 the students read as DuBois cast the Civil War as the greatest labor revolution in history, but they were most riveted by his class analysis of the 7% elite vs. the white laborer North and South:
     "While revolt against the domination of the (Southern) planters over the poor whites was voiced by men like Helper, who called for a class struggle to destroy the planters, this was nullified by deep-rooted antagonism to the Negro, whether [captive] or free... But the poor whites and their leaders could not for a moment contemplate a fight of united white and black labor against the exploiters. 

    Indeed, the natural leaders of the poor whites, the small farmer, the merchant, the professional man, the white mechanic and [captive African] overseer, were bound to the planters and repelled from the [captive Afrikans] and even from the mass of the white laborers in two ways: 

    • first, they constituted the police patrol who could ride with planters and now and then exercise unlimited force upon recalcitrant or runaway [Africans]; 
    • and then, too, there was always a chance that they themselves might also become planters by saving money, by investment, by the power of good luck; and the only heaven that attracted them was the life of the great Southern planter"

    The connections that the students began to make to events of today were outstanding: 

    • One student connected their "exercise of unlimited force" to Ferguson (Brown), New York (Garner), Ohio (Rice), etc. 
    • Another student connected White's belief in their own inferiority as a driver for their domination of Afrikans, so they could prove they were "somebody."
    • They all began to see White "elites'" use of the "chance of becoming" illusion as a distraction for working class White people then and a distraction for us now (lottery) working for real and systemic change. 
    This comes on the same day as these youth started the Where My Voice Begins Class. It's a youth version of Warriors, Healers, and Builders. You know that I was lovin' it. And while a central thesis of Warriors, Healers, Builders is that "Europeans have chosen to use domination as a surrogate for spiritual transcendence," today I had to yield to DuBois' words: "the only heaven that attracted them was the life of a Southern planter."

    AYA's Melanin Mastery Cohorts Forming

    AYA Parents, I sent this out last Saturday. The response has been overwhelming. Here are some of the responses: Monica Utsey   I am ONE...