“Get Tough on Crime” by Dalphonso Brooks

I was born in 1972, during an era when the civil rights movement was on a decline. Get tough on crime was fed to the American masses during the 1970′s. On the horizon was a hot war, using political climates to change the clothing of white supremacy from tank tops and shorts (showing their true skin color) to full length suits (hiding their true skin color).
I became a teenager in the latter part of the 1980′s, right around the time free basing, crack cocaine and/or read rock was introduced in many black communities across America. Another reason to “Get Tough On Crime.”

I fell victim to selling cocaine in my own neighborhood, most days from out of my own mother’s town house, (this fed my mother’s monstrous views about me for many years to come). Not even realizing that I was bringing harm, destruction and chaos to my family and community. The idea of being a drug dealer appealed to my sense of success, confidence and being a man with street credit. What a wrong perception I had about how a man was supposed to rise to the occasion. I another reason to “Get Tough On Young Black Males.”

I was considered a young black male with no substance, morals or values. So it appeared to me I was wanted dead not alive (that was mentally or physically). Another reason to “Get Tough On Dalphonso Brooks.”

In 1991 I caught my first incarceration of now (3) three. Convicted for selling powder cocaine twice, 1 burglary and 2 robberies, I had become my best customer and worst enemy. Another reason to “Get Tough On Drug Addicts.”

I was released from prison in May of 1998. I wanted to go home and live with my Mother, at her apartment in Edgewood, Maryland, but she was on Section 8. While in the Section 8 program, periodically an investigator or inspector would visit the residences to determine if the land lord where maintaining upkeep and to make sure the tenant were not violating any of the rules. That meant that I would not be able to live with my mother. President Bill Clinton introduced Anti Welfare Legislation to help poor Americans to not take advantage the benefits of Welfare. Most of my family believed I still functioned as an animal (criminal). I had to find temporary housing in Baltimore City. A reason to not “Get Tough On Crime.”

My past aggressions and lack of value for life has caused me to appear unfit to my own family.  Allowing them to not take a chance on helping me move beyond my criminal mentality. We were never in position of middle class status, so it has always been a hard road to security. My plight has caused me to accept that The New Jim Crow does exist and it still makes slaves. A reason not to “Get Tough On America’s Young Black Souls.”

“The Chameleon of Racism” by Shakkit Talib Mujahid

In America, no one seems to honestly want to admit to their feelings about “Race”. There are all kinds of so-called laws passed to suppress and restrict the true thought of it in words and from view. While in the hearts of men, nothing but anger, spite and hatred brews. The question is “Are you pretending that “Race” doesn’t matter to you? It is my belief that as soon as we take off these mental and emotional camouflages and allow ourselves to release all our pinned-up racial, mental and emotional barrages, we will never honestly respect each other as human-beings or respect each others values and dignity.
Right now, we are existing amongst each other like “Emotional Chameleons.” Smiling in each other’s face, shaking each others hands. while in our heart we are blaming each other for everything in our lives that has gone wrong. Wake up people; can’t you see what’s going on? What do I need tor you to hear me. a 20 foot bullhorn? If we as a nation don’t honestly discuss this racial disease and poisonous thorn, we can never be truly mentally, emotionally and spiritually re-born.

I didn’t say it was going to be easy. You may hear something’s that may hurt. And there might be many emotional storms. but like any fever, or like any disease or rough storm, after it reaches its high point, then comes relief and calm.

Let’s be honest, some of you think its wrong to use “The Race Card”, but remember this wouldn’t exist, if someone didn’t decide that another race of people’s respect, dignity and lives should be totally disregarded. The “Race Card” is not meant for the poor black or the poor white. The “Race Card” is meant to be an inconvenience for the poor whites and an ”Ace in the Hole” for the elite white.

It’s not that I want to give you the total blame. we should all feel ashamed! We have allowed ourselves to be played like lames in this “Race Game.” As you read, you will come to see, the viciousness of this ·’Race Game·’ and disease. This nation has treated this “Little Dirty Secret” as something that should be swept under the rug, but everyone in the world but us can see what’s going on. That “The Disease of Racism” is America’s mental, emotional and spiritual “Chameleon.”

We all have been pawns in the games of this “Chameleon”, who uses our fears, weakness and insecurities to make divided and weak instead of strong. Ask yourself, “What did it do to make you feel superior over me?” “Did it make you believe black people deserve to be in slavery? Or did it make you fear me because of the laws you passed gave me justice, freedom and opportunity. Or maybe it made you believe to ensure you own “Safety” that black people must be locked up tight in a penitentiary.

Hey, despite what they tell you about me, I want you to know, I am a Man of Honor, Integrity and Dignity.  I love my family, responsibility and opportunity. I love freedom and Liberty and want to make my dreams a reality. Ask yourself, if you were subject to the same social and racial injustice as me. “Would you believe that America is “The Land and Home of the Brave and Free?”

Take a look around at the condition of our country and communities. This race disease has caused all of us mental emotional spiritual and economic fear and insecurity. It’s time to deal with our “Racial Reality.”

Staff Council Retreat- Morrison Reflection

I tried and tried to find different words but I just kept thinking about the 23rd Psalm.

Lord as MY Shepherd…..He leads ME…He restores MY Soul…He comforts Me…He prepares a table before ME….He anoints MY head and MY cup overflows…He is with ME forever and will follow ME all the days of My life…and He has made a dwelling place for My whole life long…..

…..And He has given ME all of these wonderful sights to see…..green gardens, love and hearts in surprising places; He feeds the sparrow so He will feed ME; He allows ME to see the 200 year old trees of strength, and He gives ME the Grace to feel the breath of the ocean and the warmth of the sand for MY spirits comfort… The Lord IS MY Shepherd…

Welcome William T. Miller and George W. Traub to the Loyola Jesuit Community

Joining the Jesuit Community at Loyola University Maryland are renowned authors, Fr. William T. Miller, S.J. and Fr. William W. Traub, S.J.

Miller holds a doctorate in Old Testament from Union Theological Seminary and teaches courses about the Old Testament at St. Mary’s Seminary and the University of Baltimore.  Two of his recent books are The Book of Genesis: Question by Question (2006) and The Book of Exodus: Question by Question (2009) published by the Paulist Press.   William will be working with Fr. Tim Brown, S.J. on an upcoming Saint John’s Bible project.

Traub has spent more than two decades fostering greater understanding of Jesuit mission and identity and has spent almost thirty years in Jesuit education.  Prior to Loyola, he was a Professor of Theology and Executive Director of Ignatian Programs/Mission and Identity at Xavier University.  Traub is the author of many books including A Jesuit Education Reader (2008) and An Ignatian Spirituality Reader (2008) published by the the Loyola Press.

Welcome William and George!

Featured Examen

“How do things stand between me and God? Where am I coming from, and how is my life in Christ growing?” I can answer such questions satisfactorily only if I take leisure to reflect. Here is a way of examining this deep and dynamic personal relationship.

1. Recall that you are in the presence of God.
Recognize that God is intimately involved in your life, wherever you are and whatever you are doing at the present moment. Take time to recognize God’s presence. God is concerned for you and about you.

2. Give thanks to God for the favors you have received.
Use your imagination and your senses. Be concrete in looking at the day’s gifts. Just notice.

Look at your more permanent gifts that allow you to live today. How has God blessed you, and what do you contribute to others and to God? Give thanks for the many blessings of your life.

Ask for an awareness of the Holy Spirit’s aid.
Ask for the Holy Spirit to explore the mysteries of the human heart. Ask for the freedom to look at your interior life without condemnation or complacency. Trust in the Spirit — it will lead you through pain and darkness, and into gratitude and joy.

Now, examine how you are living this day.
Review your day. Look at your internal events of the day. Where was your heart divided? Do you notice the Holy Spirit or the evil spirits? Notice where you acted freely and when you were un-free. Explore the mystery of your inner self.

Pray the words of reconciliation and resolve.
After reviewing your day, look compassionately upon yourself and recognize your need for God. Express sorrow for your sins. Praise God for the times you responded with charity, and ask for the desire to see God more clearly

Be courteous!
End your prayer respectfully and completely. Say your goodbyes in a way that is comfortable for you.

A few final points:
Growth in friendship and intimacy takes time and constant attention. Try to give 10 minutes each day to this examination.

Cover all five points each day, but allow yourself to linger more at one point than another. Let the Spirit guide you.

Find a prayer spot and make it sacred. Make it your own.
Regulate your breathing. Breath is a source of life.

“This I Believe” by Sue Cesare

It seems our world is a divided place, red states versus blue states; liberals here, and conservatives there. Some are Christian, some Jewish, some Muslim, some atheist. So many differences? At every turn one seems to sense a world of differences, in tension, at war, not knowing or understanding the other or even those close at hand. Is it so? Is it this way and no other?… (read more)