“A Vicious Cycle” by Butch Ford

“A Vicious Cycle” by Butch Ford

I read a post a few months ago, and it read, “If we kill US & if they kill US.  There will no more US.”  That resonated in my spirit, and my soul couldn’t rest.  It inspired me to write about it.  Then you factor in the lives lost to COVID-19, and the lady who posted it was right.  We’re becoming the next endangered species.  I’m appalled, outraged, deeply concerned, and morally defeated.

In broad daylight, Minnesota resident George Floyd, yet another unarmed black man senselessly lost his life to four Minneapolis Police Department officers.  Breona Taylor was slain in her own home during a “no-knock” search warrant executed by the Louisville, Kentucky Police.  And there are several other similar cases too numerous to mention.

Our country has a serious problem, and it’s time to address it.  It’s 2020, and the same social injustices that my grandparents fought about and against 60+ years ago still exist today.  People have had enough.  It’s time for a change.  But where do we start?  The hatred is so deeply rooted in the fabric of America.  Only now, it’s blatant and extremely obvious…plus highly visible to anyone who cares to pay attention.  But we are fighting a losing battle?

The one bright spot in all of this is, several other ethnic groups are protesting and standing alongside African Americans in our fight for equality, this time.  It’s pleasing, and it shows that we aren’t in this battle alone.  Some things have changed since the Civil Rights Movement in the ’60s, and there are still good people in our country. 

My biggest concern is the heinous and senseless black on black crime…we’ll get into that topic later.  But make no mistake about it.  It’s time to stop the mistreatment of minorities and end all racial discrimination once and for all.  We should all be outraged and should demand systematic reform.  What are your thoughts? 

“Inspired by George Floyd” by Butch Ford

George Floyd

“Inspired by George Floyd” by Butch Ford

Sometimes I sit and reflect on the way life used to be.  Naw that’s actually some bullshit.  Honestly…I do that quite a bit.  Things were a lot easier when we were the kids.  We had parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to lead and guide us.  They showed us right from wrong and there were lessons in everything they would say.  Life seemed so pure and innocent back then.
There were obvious challenges, but we were protected from them.  We didn’t know we were poor.  We weren’t aware that they struggled so mightily.  All we saw and felt was the overabundance of love that they showered us with.
Personally, I had strong ties in my church home in which I was raised.  The block I grew up on was a tight-knit extended family.  Little League, Highschool & College Baseball produced unbreakable lifetime bonds. And dozens of friends have lasted throughout the decades.
But today…a lot of the influential people I made reference to earlier have gone on to glory.  And life isn’t quite the same without them anymore…as now, we are the parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  It’s our responsibility to carry on the legacy of strong, positive, respectful, and proud role models & leaders to the generations watching us.  In some aspects, we’ve made strides.  And in several ways, we’re failing them.
The name George Floyd has become synonymous with change, reform and unity.  But there’s a lot of additional work that has to be done.  This is only the beginning.  But it seems as though we’ve turned the corner.  Whites are standing with us in our struggle.  Our voices are being heard.  And it’s stretched beyond our borders.
I can’t speak for everyone.  But I know my relatives, church family, neighborhood family, educators, coaches, friends, and Civil Rights Activists who are no longer with us…have to be smiling down on us & beaming with pride.  Maybe we have finally “overcome.”
                                               Butch Ford

A Change Gonna Come by Klassy K

Faith

A Change Gonna Come by Klassy K

Home Skilllets! I hope all of you are well and staying home, staying safe. Prayers go out to all who have lost a loved one to the coronavirus, natural causes, or illness; rather, it was a friend, family member, or stranger. Just know that we will get through this together at some point. For those that have the virus or know someone that has the virus, stay prayed up, take supplements (vitamins) and seek hospital care. The pandemic has affected everyone’s lifestyle, including work, clubbing, going to the park or movies, vacation plans, concerts, sporting events, going out with friends/family, and or just going over a family member’s house to have Sunday dinner. Basically, the simple things in life we once looked forward to, and now it’s all put on hold until further notice.

We are trying to do all we can to stay active, sane, and healthy. Some of us have resulted in streaming, going to the store to buy essential items, zooming, or face timing with our friends/family members. Maybe even some of us are doing social media challenges or trying to do some exercise in our home, helping kids with assignments and coming up with other things to try to normalize our lives as we once knew it. This virus just “creeped” upon us like TLC and straight jacking up our lives like Ice Cube. It’s been boring. Hey, dull sounds good right about now, especially with everything that’s been going on with people dying, sick, or out of work. Please remember Home Skillets, this to shall pass.  We all must do our part in stopping the spread of the virus. I’m with Governor Whitmer.

It’s only so much social media, challenges, streaming, and going to the refrigerator that we can take. I need some stimulating entertainment! Not “the over” 18 activity, but I actually miss seeing the Detroit Pistons lose.  I missed the Detroit Tigers game day opener and even watching the Detroit Red Wings run up and down on a cold ice skating rink wishing someone could bring them a cold pop like Sweet Brown. All jokes aside, though, I miss watching sports, and I am a female, so you know I’m bored. If it’s not the Superbowl, the draft, All-star games, championship games, and maybe a competitive game that I might want to see, not interested. The men are more so sport fanatics then females, in my opinion. I guess that’s why men athletics get more attention than women athletics. It’s all about money, and which one generates the most money.  Like C&C Factory, things that make you go hmmmmm.

Well, I don’t know if you heard the NBA and MLB are thinking of having empty seat games. Basically, it’s going to be a bunch of rich men playing like its practice, but it’ll be against an opponent. Due to social distancing, the games will be televised. Ironically, some countries are already doing this.  It won’t be any time soon here though; many speculate in June. The WNBA draft was last week, which you probably did not know about, but I bet you know about the NFL draft? You know why? Right! Well, read the last two sentences in the third paragraph. The NFL draft starts tomorrow, April 23rd through the 25th. It’ll be a virtual draft. The Commissioner, Roger Goodell, will be announcing the draft picks from his house. This year the Detroit Lions have nine picks which one of them is the 3rd overall draft pick. Sport media outlets are thinking that the Detroit Lions will either pick an offensive tackle, defensive end, or quarterback. Yes, you read correctly, a quarterback!

Yes, we already have a quarterback, Matthew Stafford, but I’m speculating that he is going to want to be traded or retire. He had two back surgeries, been in the league for over 10 years, his wife had brain surgery, has two small children and he is over 30. Time for some new blood. I am hoping that the Detroit Lions franchise makes the right choice and pick Tua Tagovailoa, a junior quarterback from the University of Alabama. He is young, talented, and fine! Oh yeah, he can play too! Google for footage/stats. If they pick him, I will gladly spend $200 for nosebleed seats, ha! Who am I kidding? I’m frugal, and I’m social distancing. LOL.

On the last note, I would like to dedicate this blog to my friend and co-worker Latonja Degraffenreid-Smith and her husband Ricardo Smith. She recently lost her father in law and his father Rev. Richard Smith due to the coronavirus.  I would also like to dedicate this to the front line workers that risk their lives every day to save others. All we can do is pray Home Skillets, for continuous strength, because the pain never ends. God bless.

Klassy K’s Sportz Korner, an “opinionated” sports blog

-A contributing writer for aheartfullofconversations.com

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

Let’s Start Anew by Butch Ford

start anew photo
Let’s Start Anew by Butch Ford

As we come to the close of another decade, there are some things I’d like to see change within our community.  As a people, we have really lowered our standards and expectations of one another.  And as a society we have come to be too accepting of mediocrity.

Professional sports are all about marketing dollars and network ratings.  Gone are the days of good sportsmanship and integrity.  It’s so much pressure on these kids nowadays.  Bring back the days of playing for the love of the game(s).  

Social Media has taken over as our main source of communication.  There’s no one-on-one interaction anymore.  Everything’s so impersonal.  There was a time when we had to talk to one another, meet up, ask someone out or just getting to know people.  Now everyone’s just typing away.

Which brings me to the education system, or the lack of emphasis placed on learning.  This one’s self-explanatory, but perplexes me nonetheless.  Generations past took pride in being the best at tasks at hand.  Millennials couldn’t care less.  They just want, want, want.  No concept of working to achieve goals.

And last…the lack of family dynamics.  We once ate meals together, taught each other hobbies & skills, supported the dreams of our relatives, asked how each other’s day was, etc.  Now everyone’s out for themselves.  Fathers are absent from their children’s lives, which forces the mothers to carry the load.  But they must be mature and responsible enough to take on the duties of parenthood.  Again…we must do better.  

We need to own our own businesses, invest in our communities, teach our youth and overall be better as African Americans.  We owe it to ourselves and to our future.   WE NEED CHANGE…LIKE YESTERDAY!

               

                                Butch Ford

See the Other Side by Butch Ford

Thoughtful man looking out the window in bedroom at home

See the Other Side by Butch Ford

During my professional career in Human Services…I’ve had the distinct honor of working in the inner-city Public Schools System, the Clinical Psychiatric Field and in Juvenile Detention.  I was blessed to have met some incredible people throughout my journey.  In each of those positions, I encountered individuals dealing with extreme challenges.  A lot of them beyond our comprehension.  Most of them precipitated by social, emotional, and/or economic conditions.  Often…to no fault of their own.  They were commonly judged unfairly and, in most cases, categorized by what was only visible to the naked eye.  All they truly desired was someone to care, who was willing to put forth the effort to help them work through their obstacles.  Or someone to listen to their story.  Sadly, most of the clients couldn’t see beyond their current circumstance.

I always made a point to talk to them regularly, taking the necessary time to familiarize myself with them as well as their cases…to be a support system.  I was always professional; I spoke to them respectfully and I treated them with dignity and class…looking beyond their diagnosis or their charges.  These core values proved to be extremely helpful and were vital in establishing a healthy rapport needed to build trust with the clients.  It was amazing to see how barriers would crumble as we got to the root of several of their issues.

One strategy that I found beneficial was my suggestion for the clients to travel and visit different cities, states or even countries.  My belief was…a change of scenery could potentially lead to a change of lifestyle, a difference of philosophy or perhaps a totally new mindset altogether.  In life, people take on the qualities and mentality of what’s familiar to them or what’s common in their natural habitat.  And as humans we adapt to these surroundings.  The adage is…If you want a different outcome, you must make the necessary changes that are required.

Let Today Be The Start Of Something New. Inspiring Creative Motivation Quote Poster Template. Vector Typography

During my time as a civil servant, I would recommend to the clients that they try to see the other side.  Meaning…see how people in other areas geographically, live differently.  I would encourage them to read and do research of other cultures.  This was a hit with the clients, because their faces would light up with anticipation.  For this was unfathomable to many of them.  The idea of new beginnings never occurred to them.  I think this applies for everyone.  There is more to life than what you presently know.  Everyone should take the time to see the other side.  It could be life changing.  I wonder how many will attempt to try something new.

 

Butch Ford

“Today’s Amerikkka” by Butch Ford

Amerikka

“Today’s Amerikkka” by Butch Ford

Today, I experienced something very disturbing and disheartening.  My own personal bout with racism.  We’ve all read about it, have seen it in the headlines, and watched live posts on social media.  But the feeling is totally different when you go through it personally.

Initially I was startled…followed by feelings of disbelief, confusion and then extreme rage.  I quickly remembered I was at work, as I gathered myself.  But couldn’t believe it was happening to me.  Mind you, I drive commercially for our region’s primary suburban transportation service.  And I had just finished dropping off a passenger at his home in a modest subdivision in an older neighborhood in Farmington, MI.  I parked at the end of the block to review my paperwork and to go over some notes when I noticed an elderly Caucasian man in my rear view mirror backing out of his driveway a few houses away.

I didn’t pay it much attention because I was working and minding my job-related business.  He pulled alongside of my vehicle, gestured for me to roll my window down and demanded that I leave immediately.  He said I wasn’t allowed to park on the street.  I looked away while halfheartedly replying “okay.”  He obviously wasn’t pleased with my response and lack of compliance.  So, he angrily pulled into the next driveway, turned around and headed back towards me.  He got my attention once again and informed me that if I wasn’t gone in 10 minutes that he’d call the police.  I told the gentleman that I was a commercial driver parked on a public road.  And although not obligated to, I reiterated that I had just dropped a passenger off and had every right to be there.  Besides…I wasn’t breaking any laws.  He again yelled angrily and aggressively, “I don’t care!  You can’t park here!  Leave now or I’m calling the police!”  What was the root of his anger?  I’m still not quite sure.  My vehicle was marked and visibly distinguished who my employer was.  I wasn’t making any noise or disturbing the peace, nor was I bothering anyone.  The only conclusion I could draw was that this man didn’t want anyone African American in his neighborhood any longer than they had to be.

Professionalism outweighed all personal feelings at the time.  Thank God.  Because things could have taken an ugly turn.  I thought back to my grandparents and the stories they told me of entitlement, inequality, social injustice and other similar instances.  I remember their deep disdain crystal clear.  But as a child I didn’t fully understand.  Maybe I wasn’t meant to at that time.  And for decades things seemed to have taken a more positive swing.  At least here in the north.  I don’t recall ever being a target of anyone’s prejudices, but it was extremely unpleasant to say the least.

Throughout the day as I reflected on this incident, I felt a myriad of other feelings.  Sadness, shame and pity came to mind.  I thought about the younger generation and the things that they will have to endure in their lifetime.  Especially with the climate of today’s society and the insensitivity of the world today.  Yet again…I’m back to the same question…what can we do to make it better?  Things must change!  I want to see my kids and grand baby grow up to live happy and productive lives.  “Today’s America” is not what our forefathers fought and died for.  I have stronger thoughts and opinions regarding this occurrence, but they’re better left unsaid at the time.

Thanks for taking a second to listen,

 

Butch Ford

 

Photo Cred:  Matthis Volquardsen from Pexels