Kufere and Doc G share thoughts and questions about African-American liberation.

The brilliant American poet Langston Hughes wrote a poem named History.
The past has been a mint of blood and sorrow.
That must not be the time of tomorrow.
This is one of his shortest poems but has a big message about not letting history repeat itself. For African-Americans in Memphis there is a well-documented history of freedom fighters and liberators being marginalized by violence and oppressive policies. Those like Ida B. Wells who dared to speak truth to power were run out of town or chose to leave under the weight of frustration. How are freedom fighters being marginalized today, or are there none present? Are we satisfied with the strategies available to fight oppressive policies that could keep many African-Americans poor and powerless in Memphis into all of the 2020 decade?
Tricksters and oppressors using social media to get us to not vote in government elections have peeped our weaknesses and lack of awareness of where our strengths exist. Intellectual giants like Langston Hughes and Ida B. Wells were unapologetic in calling out racist tactics and putting a spotlight on the path to freedom. Are African-Americans using our most favorite social media platforms to liberate others?
Harriett Tubman was a freedom fighter like none others and deserves to be honored on U. S currency and film. The lessons to be learned from the greatest of liberators have relevancy for preventing more blood and sorrow in cities like Memphis. Are tricksters intentionally influencing execution of films like Harriett? Are they orchestrating controversy to keep us confused about whether to integrate this liberation story in to our consciousness in the same way we integrate Queen and Slim, another traumatic and dramatic display of our powerlessness? Do we need to be more discerning, more truthful and more responsible about the information we absorb and repeat? Is history repeating itself?

Kill the Crow !!

Is Jim Crow alive and well? Author Michelle Alexander argues in her book THE NEW JIM CROW it looks different, but Jim Crow is still alive and well. The mass incarceration of black and brown people is the new Jim Crow (a strategy for oppression) and has contributed to increased children at risk, community pain, and the disenfranchisement of millions of Americans. The dream, illusion or myth that this a country where all children are guaranteed fairness, healthy environments and equal rights has been sold to the masses. The protection of vulnerable children must include a continual fight and the implementation of strategies for helping families deal with legacies of oppression. People of color have a complicated history that includes slavery, trails of tears, Jim Crow, and the new Jim Crow.
Our prisons are disproportionately full of people of color, that while locked up lose their full citizenship and healthy sense of self. Most find it very difficult to recover these rights and their identity without the support of people who welcome them home with patience, resources and love. These supportive people do exist and a collective of them met, fellowshipped and strategized this past Saturday at the Knowledge Quest Family Stabilization Initiative building to understand how to be available for men and women when they come home. Mothers spoke passionately to social workers, doctors, therapists, students, administrators and others at the Lifelong Initiative for Family Empowerment Barber Shop Talk about the changes in their sons, daughters, and significant others after their incarceration experiences. Men who have been incarcerated shared their experiences, frustrations, and suggestions for successful transitions from prison to home. One of the most important themes was the need for pre and post preparations for the incarcerated individuals and their families. Another important theme was the reality that individualized needs must be addressed- each situation is different. Reentry mentorship and relationship counseling were also discussed.
It is painful and a great strain on the sanity and resources of families when they have a family member incarcerated. Please help of us understand the issues from your perspective by sharing your thoughts, reactions, successes and willingness to bring these fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers back to a prepared welcoming community. Kill the crow!!

Doc G and Kufere

Men Healing and Men Communities

As Director of CAYDI am excited about the upcoming academic year and the amazing partnerships CAYD has with some of the most talented people in Memphis. We are about working with communities to support the creation of safe spaces to share strengths, success, nurturance and strategies for healing. We recently facilitated 11th Barbershop Talk Event in June at the Knowledge Quest (KQ) Green Leaf Farm Grizzles Pavilion with support of the Shelby County Division of Community Services (check out the pictures) and it was a great fun informative time. The Men Healing Men and Communities Network will continue to show how men are actively involved in the positive development and healing of our communities. Healers are doing amazing work in our communities and KQ and the Refugee Empowerment Program have integrated the healing power of drumming and movement into unique work with children, youth and families.

Utilizing a trauma informed care lens is important for helping support the development of youth, but it is not without its limits. Many care approaches fail to recognize that for people of color trauma experiences are historical and present community based. Organizations, networks and institutions need to work together with community-based organizations to address trauma from a holistic prospective. In addition to the healing and coping that interventions with cognitive behavioral therapy emphasis bring, some have called for more “healing centered” approaches. An ongoing question that needs to shared is, what are the things men are doing to heal our communities?

Doc G and Kufere