The Essence of Politics

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Perspective: The War On Our Youth: Chicago’s Fears Are Political

The violence in Chicago has been reported on for nearly 2 years now with CNN devoting several news shows to it and having a special report on it not only in 2008 but in May of this year as well. Also BET did a special on the violence in the streets of Chicago last summer as well but nonetheless the violence in Chicago continues to grow and get out of control no matter how much attention is given to the matter. Many of my friends in Chicago try to ignore the issue or at least down play while others have become accustomed to the violence reigning supreme in the streets of Chicago.

Therefore the fear in Chicago residents that has spurred up has come out of the fact that they don’t feel safe and it is even worse for the youth in Chicago. The only safety Chicago residents seem to get is at school where luckily for youth, no gun violence has occurred on school grounds since the violence exploded on the scene in Chicago in 2007. However with youth only being safe at school, which means youth are not safe during the summer unless they are in summer school which was evident early this month when 6 teens were gunned down and 5 were wounded at a funeral outside of a church. Therefore youth are not safe on buses, at church or in other places in Chicago besides at school.

Therefore it is clear that Chicago youngsters are dying daily and often while many officials say the slayings are going ignored because victims are minorities. Nonetheless the issue hasn’t been ignored for nearly two years with national media given it the attention it needed while a Chicago’s very own resident Barack Obama was running for President all of last year and is not the Commander-In-Chief of this great nation of ours. So Chicago’s problem has been highlighted and has been discussed but it is up to Chicagoans to deal with this properly if the youth of Chicago are to have a better future in the city. When CNN did its special report on the violence in Chicago 36 children has been slain and two of them had happened the week of the report and Alex Arellano, a shy 15-year-old, was beaten, burned and shot in the head just the week before the report had started. Despite Chicago's numbers, Mayor Daley has constantly said the problems are the same in all cities but that is just not true.

While all major cities deal with gun violence, gangs and teen violence, what is happening in Chicago reminds many of the 1980s where the crack game emerged and plagued every major city from the East to the West Coast like a plague in this nation and violence in the street was the norm. Chicago’s violence has gotten out of control with already 300 people being gunned down this year and many more wounded. Out of the 300 people gunned down nearly 40 plus of them were students and at this rate Chicago could eclipse its number of 50 school age students that dead last year as a result of gun violence which is an all time for Chicago. Even the Rev. Michael Pfleger has ordered the American flag at St. Sabina Church hung upside-down -- a historic sign of distress -- to symbolize the growing death toll among the city's youngsters.

So far this year, 40 plus children and teens have been murdered -- more than one a week -- and Pfleger is among a chorus of weary Chicagoans who say the slayings aren't getting the attention they deserve. Had 40 plus kids died of swine flu this year, "there would be this great influx of resources that say, 'Let's stop this, lets deal with this,' " Pfleger said. Instead, because violence is driving the epidemic, "We're hiding it. We're ignoring it. We're denying the problems," he said. Pfleger is not the first Chicagoan to express the sentiment. In 2007, after the city recorded 31 murdered children during the school year, Arne Duncan, then-CEO of public schools, expressed similar disappointment. Duncan, who now serves as President Obama's secretary of education, said "all hell would break loose" if these killings took place in one of the metro area's upscale enclaves. "If that happened to one of Chicago's wealthiest suburbs -- and God forbid it ever did -- if it was a child being shot dead every two weeks in Hinsdale or Winnetka or Barrington, do you think the status quo would remain? There's no way it would," he said. Yet the problem has only worsened since Duncan publicly shared his observation. At the time of CNN’s report, it was about a month left in the school year and Chicago's public schools had topped the number of students slain in the 2007-2008 and 2006-2007 school years -- 27 and 31, respectively.

Now with the summer coming to end nearly 40 plus Chicago teens have been shot and killed and many more have been wounded. One of the most disturbing slayings in all of this was when the family of Alex Arellano found the 15-year-old's body. He had been beaten, burned and shot in the head. "It's sad because they didn't have to torture him that way. He never did nothing wrong, never. He was a good kid. It just gets to me. It's crazy," Alex's friend Ashley Recendez said. Indeed, police say the teen had no criminal record, no gang affiliation. His family says he was well-behaved and shy, almost fearful of strangers. They had recently taken him out of school to protect him after gang members threatened him. He was last seen May 1, leaving his girlfriend's house. His girlfriend told his family that several young men chased him and beat him with baseball bats. She didn't know why.

The family found his brutalized body in an alley the next day, which at the time made Alex the 34th child slain this school year in the city, according to an unofficial tally kept by the Chicago Tribune. "Why would they do this to a child that has nothing to do with nothing, and just, on top of that, brutally killing him?" asked Alex's uncle Juan Tirado. Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said scuffles among youth have become more violent and a conflict that 20 years ago would have warranted a pushing or wrestling match now sometimes results in gunfire. "There's simply too many gangs, too many guns and too many drugs on the streets," he said. "We've got a problem with some of our young people are resorting to use of weapons and violence to solve any type of conflicts they may have." Weis said he concurred with Duncan's remarks from two years ago and bemoaned that society had become desensitized, almost to the point of acceptance, by the violence in some of America's major cities.

"That is a very sad state of affairs," he said. But not all officials are convinced the level of violence against children is unique to Chicago. As I stated, Mayor Richard Daley said the numbers appear worse in his city because the public school system considers teenagers students even after they drop out. However all the teenagers that were shot this school year in Chicago were all students currently attending the public school system. This just goes to how even Chicago politicians are out of touch with the issue of the violence plaguing the youth of Chicago. Daley went on to say, "The rest of America doesn't count them. You're a dropout forever. We don't think they're dropouts. They're students". He further said Chicago's problems are no worse than those in any other American city. "It's all over, the same thing," he said. "You go to a large city or small city, it's all over America. It's not unique to one community or one city." Despite Daley's remarks, CNN learned that none of the city's 36 victims this year were a dropout. Also, Daley's statistics on the number of youths killed in other cities don't appear to match reports from American cities. Los Angeles, California, notorious for its gang problems, is larger than Chicago. It has reported only 23 child slayings this school year. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is about half the size of Chicago, but it has witnessed only a ninth of the child slayings: four this school year.

Therefore it is clear that Chicago’s own politicians don’t understand the issue of the youth violence that is erupting in the city yet alone the violence that is plaguing the city. For two years, the city of Chicago has been under siege by the violence in the streets and even its own Mayor can’t understand it yet alone can’t make accurate statements regarding the matter. Chicago is in distress and the violence in the streets of Chicago is incomparable and unimaginable no matter how anyone looks at it but this isn’t a new problem in Chicago but it is one that has been brewing for a long time and has gotten worse since 2007. In 2007, Diane Latiker, founder of the community group Kids Off the Block, began a memorial on a vacant lot in Chicago. She bought 30 landscaping stones and wrote the name of a slain school-age child on each of them. Her hopes were that the stark sight of the memorial would shock the city into action. Today, the memorial includes 153 stones, some for children as young as 10, and there is little indication the pace is waning, as at least two children were killed since Alex Arellano's body was found Saturday.

"They come by here and they do this, and they come by here in cars and families come and cry," Latiker said of the burgeoning memorial. Asked who was failing the kids -- police? schools? city officials? -- she replied flatly, "We all are." That is the truth all of Chicago is failing the youth and the truth of the matter it should make ever Chicagoan made that so many youth have had to die or be wounded since 2007 because the police, the schools, city officials, clergy, the community and politicians have ignored the violence in the streets. There are many groups in Chicago who have tried to deal with this issue but with each step in the right direction, it seems as their efforts go unsuccessful because not all of Chicago is on the same accord which is easy to see by Mayor Daley’s own comments. For example other community activists said they're at a loss to find any simple explanation for the problems in Chicago. In May 2007, public outrage overflowed after the death of 16-year-old Blair Holt, an honor student and aspiring songwriter.

According to various media reports, Holt was riding a city bus when a gunfight erupted between two gang members. Holt tried to shield a young girl who was in the line of fire and was fatally shot in the stomach. His death sparked public protests, and grieving family and activists listed a host of scapegoats: lax gun laws, insufficient policing, and bad parenting. But two years later, families and activists say they're tired and discouraged by the torpid pace of change. Lakeesha Stevens, whose son was shot as he slept in the car last year, said, "It can happen to anyone... you can be walking, you can be anywhere." Fortunately, Martrell Stevens survived the shooting, but kindergarten proved a lot tougher for the youngster after the bullet left him partially paralyzed. Weis said Chicago police work tirelessly to keep the violence out of the schools, and he expressed relief that the city is "providing a safe place for our young folks to learn."

However, Weis acknowledged that the conflicts sometimes begin in the schools and are finished off-campus. “The violence will continue to be a priority for Chicago police”, he said. "I can promise you the Chicago Police Department is outraged and we will continue to work these cases with high energy and a great deal of enthusiasm," he said. Therefore it should come as no surprise that Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to do more to address youth violence in Chicago. In a letter to AG Holder, Senator Durbin says, "Last school year, more than 500 Chicago school children were shot and at least 36 of them were killed. This is not a chance occurrence but, unfortunately, is a developing pattern of tragedy. We need to work with the Obama Administration and state and local officials to end this devastating violence in Chicago." Durbin made his remarks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing dealing with oversight of the Justice Department. He noted that he has also called on Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the former head of Chicago Public Schools, to join in the effort. "No one in Washington knows the Chicago schools better," Durbin said.

As mentioned early Duncan was the Superintendent of Chicago Public Schools when the violence got out of control where he expressed public outraged and the issue got worse even until Duncan left his post to be the Secretary of Education of the United States Department of Education under President Barack Obama’s administration where Obama was the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois. Even President Obama is not immune to the gun violence because last April while on the campaign trail, he came under criticism not just for Rev. Wright’s comments but many Chicagoans criticized him for not doing more to address the youth violence in a community where he still owns property. However the national media and other Americans as well as many Chicagoans were too caught up in the historic Presidential election and possibility of electing a black man to the Presidency that the youth violence in Chicago was put on the back burner. Although CNN reported on it and BET did too, it didn’t garner enough attention from the national media to ask then candidate Obama what he would do to combat this youth violence problem.

In fact Duncan while making a speech about the violence in 2007 when 27 youth had been killed during the 2006-2007 school year, he didn’t do anything to actually garner more attention on the issue and deal with it. Also Senator Durbin ignored the issue for nearly two years until CNN did more in-depth and investigative reports on the matter for nearly two weeks in order to showcase just how bad Chicago has truly gotten since the summer of 2008 when they did a story on it. Now as the violence escalates, it is clear that Chicagoans fears will continue because no political figure seems to have an answer to this issue. Then the violence in the streets of Chicago isn’t the only problem to worry about because there is a real emergency for a county hospital emergency room due to the uptick in violence that is literally draining the blood supply. Chicago’s CBS 2's Pamela Jones reported one specific blood type is running dangerously short. "I lost a lot of blood, so they had to give me a lot of blood for me to get back on my toes," said De'London Smith.

De'London Smith was stabbed through the heart and recovered at Stroger Hospital where he says blood transfusions saved him. "It gave me life again. Because from what I heard, I was dead," Smith said. But now it's the trauma unit that needs saving. Doctors say the facility's supply of O-negative blood is dwindling. "So that's the lifesaving blood, and that's what we have virtually nothing left in the hospital," said trauma surgeon Dr. Andrew Dennis. The blood bank only had eight units of O-negative blood left. Only three of the units are designated for trauma patients, though. Any more outbreaks of violence on the streets pose a threat to the hospital. O-negative is the universal donor type and anyone can accept it when seconds count. "Anyone that is bleeding, that needs blood emergently, that is their first line of defense," Dr. Dennis said.

Dr. Dennis says the reason for the shortage is the high numbers of victims of shootings and other violent crimes who come to Stroger Hospital for life-saving treatment. "We see probably an average of between 10 and 15 people who get shot or stabbed every night," Dr. Dennis said. Addie Lewis has seen the benefits of blood donation firsthand. She stands in her 18-year-old grandson's hospital room; he was shot in the neck. "Everybody has been so good, he's had about eight or 10 blood transfusions," Lewis said. Her family and others urged the public to give blood and help save more lives. "Donate blood to the county because it's my day today and it's someone else's day tomorrow," Lewis said. CBS 2 talked to Lifesource, which supplies Stroger Hospital and others in Chicagoland. They say the O-negative blood shortage is not unique to Stroger and that they're seeing a shortage across the area. If you donate just once, the blood you give could save three lives.

Well that is the problem when violence especially youth violence is getting so out of control in Chicago at the rate it is. As a candidate running for President, Obama said in an April 25, 2008 interview with the Chicago Sun Times entitled “Laws alone can't stop violence: Obama” that he had been following with great concern the gun violence that has plagued the city of Chicago. "The news has just been heart-breaking," Obama said after a speech to union members at McCormick Place. "I've asked my staff to contact the Chicago Police Department, and I'm going to put in a call to the mayor just to find out just what is accounting for this huge uptick." Obama said elected officials can help by restoring federal funding to put more police on the street and passing more gun-control legislation, such as better background checks for gun purchasers. But laws alone can't change things -- some parents have to get more involved in their children's lives, he said.

"Children have to be taught right and wrong, and violence isn't a way to resolve problems," Obama said. "Kids have to be kept off the streets at night. A lot of these kids, unfortunately, they might not have parents at home who are helping to give them guidance." Obama, who had trouble with gun owners in Pennsylvania and other states, said he has never supported a blanket ban on handguns but favors letting local officials enact gun regulation appropriate for their areas. Banning guns has not always proven effective, he said. Therefore even President Obama seems to not understand the violence in Chicago and how the youth have been caught in the crossfire. While Obama is right when he says laws along won’t fix the problem and that parents take to need responsibility but candidate Obama should have seen this violence transpiring in 2007 not in the midst of his Presidential bid. Since Obama and Arnie Duncan were basketball buddies than instead of candidate Obama doing the typical political posture of having his staff make calls to see what he could do, he should have publicly gathered Duncan, Daley, the Police Chief and others together in a private meeting to see what he could do to finally address the violence in the city.

Therefore it amazed me earlier this year when Secretary of Education Duncan said he was losing sleep over what was happening in Detroit Public Schools so if Duncan was losing sleep over DPS academic problems than he was having nightmares while in Chicago as the Superintendent and until now he is probably having greater nightmares as the problems in Chicago get worst. Thus the President has not made any public stance or reference to the violence in Chicago where he still owns a home and his family visits when they can get away from the White House to visit friends back in the Windy City. In the same article with the Sun Times, than Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama also said that “There's a bunch of things that federal, state and local governments can do to address gun violence and violence in general. I've already said as president I want to restore [federal] COPS funding, which will put police on the streets. Additional police improves public safety. New York has seen a huge drop in crime over the last decade, more than even other cities, and part of it is they've got more cops than anybody else per capita. We've got to help local communities put more police on the streets. We want to make sure we provide state and local government with the targeting information they need, the technology they need to make sure police are going to the places most at risk for gun violence. We've got to tighten up our gun laws. I've said before we should have a much tougher background check system, one that's much more effective and make sure there aren't loopholes out there like the gun show loophole. [Or] The Tiahart Amendment [requiring destruction of gun-purchase records.] Here's an example of something common-sense: The ATF [federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] should be able to share info with local communities about where guns are coming from, tracing guns that are used in criminal activity. It's been blocked consistently in Congress. As president, I'm going to make sure we know if guns are being sold by unscrupulous gun dealers not abiding by existing laws. We should know about that. Finally, we've got to deal with the underlying social issues that are causing this gun violence as well. You've got gangs of young men who are lost, who are involved in the drug trade. Starting early with early childhood education, improving our K-through-12 education, having after-school programs or summer-school programs so we are providing pathways for young people to move in the right direction. As president, we've got to be able to help local communities put those programs in place.”

Well President Obama, now is the time to make sure you put it in place because the future of Chicago is under attack like never before. Chicagoans can’t wait another month or year for help to come because with each passing down another person is being gunned down or wounded due to gun violence. If the stimulus money was to keep local law enforcement in place than additional funding is needed because it is clear Chicago’s violence continues to climb with each passing day and minute. Candidate Obama also said that parents have to do a better job of parenting which was a major theme of his campaign. When it comes to gun violence and the violence in Chicago he said, “Absolutely. That's what I refer to when I say we've got to get to the underlying problems here. Children have to be taught right and wrong and violence isn't a way to resolve problems. Kids have to be kept off the streets at night. Transmitting those values is important. A lot of these kids unfortunately they might not have parents at home who are helping to give them guidance. Their communities themselves are wracked with violence. They're seeing it every day going down the streets. The role of the community, the churches, other institutions, instilling a different sensibility in our young people -- that's got to be part of the solution as well.”

Obama was right then and he is right now that parents need to take responsibility for their youth but at the same time, the law enforcement in Chicago is clearly not doing their when youth are being gun down on buses and at funerals. However when will politicians and law enforcement realize that you can come up with all the gun laws you want but if you don’t apply them than they are worthless. The gun violence in Chicago is unprecedented and astonishing but if the heart of the problem is to be dealt with the it is time for politicians, clergy, students, parents, law enforcement and the city of Chicago as well as the rest of America to stand up for the youth of Chicago now rather than later. We should be outraged, we should be and angry about the youth that is spilling on the streets of Chicago claiming the futures of hundreds of youth since 2007. 152 youth in Chicago have dead since 2007 and nearly 1,000 plus have been wounded while even more residents in Chicago have been gunned down and wounded in the same stretch.

The Washington, D.C. [handgun ban] case that was before the U.S. Supreme Court in which the gun ban was overturned early this year, Obama spoke on that issue last year before the case was decided and said, “My view continues to be that the constitution, I believe, does provide a right to bear arms; but that local communities, and state governments, as well as the federal government, have a right to common-sense regulations and firearm ownership [rules.] The truth is, obviously, the ban here in Chicago, the ban in D.C. is not keeping the guns out of our cities, and so I'm interested in just figuring out what works and I'm confident we can come up with laws that work and that pass constitutional muster and don't infringe on the rights of lawful gun owners whether it's in Downstate Illinois or rural Montana.” Now is the time to figure out what works because it is clear the gun ban law in Chicago aimed toward zip codes is not working in the city. Obama speaks of wanting to have laws that work but even when Obama was a lawmaker in the state legislator in Illinois he voted a bill which would let people with orders of protection [against others] carry guns and another that would have barred municipalities from punishing people who kept guns in their homes. Why? Obama said, “I felt that [the first one] was a precedent for conceal-and-carry laws. There has not been any evidence that allowing people to carry a concealed weapon is going to make anybody safer. [The second one] is relevant to the D.C. handgun issue. I wanted to preserve the right of local communities to enforce local ordinances and this would have overturned municipalities being able to enforce their own ordinances. We can argue about whether the ordinances work or not. But I wanted to make sure that local communities were recognized as having a right to regulate firearms.” Obama didn’t take a stand on the D.C. gun-ban law because was a pending case but the truth is Obama hasn’t taken a stand on this pertinent issue of violence in Chicago.

As the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois, as Democratic Presidential candidate, as the Democratic Presidential nominee and now the 44th U.S., Obama still hasn’t come out adamantly declaring this war on our youth to end in Chicago. Chicago’s problems are outrageous and gut wrenching. The cries from help are there and it seems as if they are now still going ignored. Although Senator Durbin sent a letter to AG Holder for the Justice Department to get more involved with the violence in Chicago, it is clear that Chicagoans fears are political in the sense that its own politicians don’t understand the issue and think more gun laws are the answer and more law enforcement will resolve the issue. However this issue is twofold in the sense that many youth in Chicago feel discouraged, forgotten and lost in a system that has abandoned them for far too long. Even the evaluation of one of their own to the highest post in the land, the Presidency of the United States of America can’t change the mindsets of many of the youth in Chicago who feel that their life is not going anywhere and they might not live long so why should they care about the livelihood of others.

This is the message that has been implanted, enrooted and entrenched in the youth of Chicago. Thus when Obama speaks about the time he went to a school and saw all the happy smiles on the faces of the youth and when the school’s principal said those smiles would soon turn to frowns because their hopes and dreams would soon turn to despair and hopelessness. Well Obama that hopelessness and despair is what is driving the violence in Chicago that no one in Chicago including Arnie Duncan could deal with as the Superintendent of Chicago Public Schools, that Mayor Richard Daley doesn’t understand cause he thought many of the youth dying were dropouts and that the violence is similar to other major cities and even Senator Durbin seems a year two late in dealing with this issue. Now President is dealing with all types of issues as President so he can’t just focus in on Chicago but it would be nice for a news reporter in the White House press corp. to ask him a question on the matter like they did with Professor Henry Gates arrest since they didn’t press him on this issue during the campaign? Still even as the U.S. Senator from Illinois, Obama didn’t properly address this issue and now no one in Chicago or anywhere can expect for him to come out and speak but if the national news media asks him about it than he will have to address it properly.

The war on our youth must end and it must begin with ending the fear of violence that is reigning supreme in Chicago. Chicago’s politicians have failed the residents so it is up to the students, parents, school officials, and law enforcement to try to raise a village from the ashes of hell to the mountains of heaven in order for the future of Chicago to be brighter and greater than it has ever been. I am here to stand with Chicago in this these troubling times of tremendous pain so I hope many of you will do the same. The violence in Chicago must end now and it must end with all of America stepping up to end it once and for all. Ain’t no politician going to save the residents of Chicago yet along the youth so where there’s fear we must restore hope and life so that generations of youth no longer grow up to see their smiles turn into frowns thus resulting in hopelessness and despair. I don’t want to see that anywhere in America but if we can’t fix the gun violence in Chicago in order to save their future generations than what are we really saying about the future of America yet alone the future of Chicago.

The future begins now, it begins today and it begins with us stepping up to address this horrendous war on our youth that has plagued too many lives in Chicago and has hurt too many our youth in a city from our 44th President comes from. If we can’t solve this problem than what message are we sending to the rest of the world yet alone the rest of the nation? If we can’t end the sense violence on our youth in the streets of Chicago than what type of message are we sending to the rest of the nation who could see violence increase in their cities? If not now than when, if not today than what will tomorrow look like, and if not here than when will be a right time. We have to deal with this not now but right now. We have to deal with it right here, right now because this is our youth we are talking about.


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Jay-Z - History

(Jay-Z - History)Jay-Z - History with Lyrics

LYRICS : [Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
(Gimme a lighter)
Victory (Lighters up) is finally ours
(Lighters up)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
In search of victory, she keeps eluding me
If only we could be together momentarily
We can make love and make history
Why won't you visit me? until she visit me
I'll be stuck with her sister, her name is defeat
She gives me agony, so much agony
She brings me so much pain, so much misery
Like missing your last shot and falling to your knees
As the crowd screams for the other team
I practice so hard for this moment, victory don't leave
I know what this means, I'm stuck in this routine
Whole new different day, same old thing
All I got is dreams, nobody else can see
Nobody else believes, nobody else but me
Where are you victory? I need you desperately
Not just for the moment, to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History (yeah), so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 2: Jay-Z]
So now I'm flirting with death, hustling like a G
While victory wasn't watching took chances repeatedly
As a teenage boy before acne, before I got proactiv I couldn't face she
I just threw on my hoodie and headed to the street
That's where I met success, we'd live together shortly
Now success is like lust, she's good to the touch
She's good for the moment but she's never enough
Everybody's had her, she's nothing like V
But success is all I got unfortunately
But I'm burning down the block hoppin' in and out of V
But something tells me that there's much more to see
Before I get killed because I can't get robbed
So before me success and death ménage
I gotta get lost, I gotta find V
We gotta be together to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighters. Up.)
And the battle's finally won
(Lighter. Up.)
Victory is finally ours
(Lighters. Up.)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
Now victory is mine, it tastes so sweet
She's my trophy wife, you're coming with me
We'll have a baby who stutters repeatedly
We'll name him history, he'll repeat after me
He's my legacy, son of my hard work
Future of my past, he'll explain who I be
Rank me amongst the greats, either 1, 2, or 3
If I ain't number one then I failed you victory
Ain't in it for the fame that dies within weeks
Ain't in it for the money, can't take it when you leave
I wanna be remembered long after you grieve
Long after I'm gone, long after I breathe
I leave all I am in the hands of history
That's my last will and testimony
This is much more than a song, it's a baby shower
I've been waiting for this hour, history you ours

[Chorus: Cee-lo (2x)]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

Man in the Mirror--By Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

I'm gonna make a change,
for once im my life
It's gonna feel real good,
gonna make a diference
Gonna make it right...

As I, turn up the collar on
my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
with not enought to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It's time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways - ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that..
(Take a look at yourself and then make that..)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror - Oh yeah!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cook

It's been a long time coming but a change is surely going to come in America and the World! I am the Future of America and the World and that is the message that each of us must carry with us each and every day that we wake up on Earth! I am the Future! You are the Future! We are the Future of America and the World! That is way every election is important--primaries, special elections and general! So vote every year and hold our politicians accountable. Hold our political officials accountable by writing them, calling them and making sure they attend meetings that we the people have. "The Time for Change is not Now but Right Now!"

"EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary" should be our anthem and should be our creed as we make the positive differences in America and the world that so many people beg for and hungry for year after year! A Change is Gonna Come, A Change is Gonna Come, that's what we must say as we say "God grants us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, Courge to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference" each morning before we go about the task of making a positive change in America and the world a reality.

Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen

“When will people realize that we are Americans first and foremost, not Democrats or Liberals, not Republicans or Conservatives, not Independents or moderates. We are Americans. Stop putting a political party above America and stop putting any politican above America. America succeeds because of us the people holding our government responsible no matter the political party because the main two political parties are to blame for the condition America is in."—Hodari P.T. Brown

America with its flaws and all is a country I am proud to have been born in. America is not perfect but my love for it is perfect. That’s why all Americans must realize that we are all Americans. In fact we are Americans first and foremost. We are not Democrats or Republicans. We are Americans.

We are not Muslims, Christians or Jews. We are Americans. Too many times we recognize our differences with others rather than appreciating our similarities which are, we are Americans. We are Americans first and foremost, no matter if we were born here or moved here legally. We are all Americans, here in this country to make not only our lives better but the lives of other Americans better so future Americans can enjoy the rights and freedoms that make us all Americans.

We are all Americans. We are one party united under God. We are Americans and this is the only political party that matters. We are Americans and this is our country so let’s make sure that we make America better than how we found it so future Americans can live prosperous and joyous lives. We are Americans and must not ever forget that.

America will prosper as long we make sure we are doing our part to make it prosper and that means we can’t put any political party or politician above America. Long live America forever and long live America’s service to the world. Together, America and the world will prosper for future generations to enjoy America and the world we live in.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

This video of the ' Negro National Anthem' was originally screened at the historic African-American Church Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC on January 18th, 2009. Many of the esteemed individuals featured in this video in attendance and we presented with the ' Keepers of the Flame' award for the monumental contributions to social justice.

This version of the song was performed by the Grace Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, conducted by Derrick James. The video was produced and donated by Ascender Communications, LLC ( at the request of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

If I Was President--Wyclef Jean

If I was President that is the people's anthem. We all have ideas of what we can do as President and through this website, we will fulfill our deam as a people!

Somethings Gotta Give--Big Boi ft Mary J Blige

Somethings Gotta Give people and it begins today for all us to make sure that something is us. We the people are sick and tired of suffering. Where is our piece of the Dream that so many people dead for so that we all could see today. This is our time people to change America and the world so that the Next Generation has a better future than the past we inherited.

This is our call to service. This isn't about one political candidate or one political figure. This is about us as people coming together to finally leave up to our potential and achieving the great feats that those before us have achieved. This is our moment to lead our nation and our world to greater heights.

Somethings gotta give people and it starts with us the people making it happen. We have to improve our education system in America. We have to rid the world of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We have to go to the streets and lift a hand to another in order to decrease poverty in this world. We have to take a stand today and make sure that the future of America and the world is brighter than it has ever been.

Somethings Gotta Give and that is why we must "Remember Each One, Reach One and Teach One so America's future and the World's future continues to prosper."

John Legend - "If You're Out There"

If you're out there than you need to get started in helping to change America and the world. The world and America won't change until you get involved in making the changes you want to see in this world. If you're out there, than you must know that tomorrow started now and today started yesterday so you are behind in helping to the change. If you are tired of hatred, racism, poverty, war, and violence than the time to change it is now. If you want universal health care, world peace, democracy for every nation, equal rights, and happiness for all than you must get involved now to help the save world.

You must believe in the change that you want to see and you must act on making that change a reality. If you're out there than say it aloud and show the rest of America and the world that you're out here to make a real positive change in the communities we stay in. If you're out there than get involved now. I'm calling every women and men to join me as we take back our country right here, right now. If you're out there than the future started yersterday and we are already late so we have lots of work to do but I know we can do it together as one.


Yes We Can accomplish anything that we set out to do! We don't need charismatic or inspirational leaders to believe in ourselves and to take responsiblity for our own faith, we just need each other. Yes We Can build a new America and a new world if each of us would take action now to make the changes that we want to see in the world. Yes We Can control government by holding our political officials accountable for their actions by calling them out when they don't pass legislation that supports the common good of all man and by voting in every election to ensure that we have people representing the people locally, state wide, nationally and in the world.

Yes We Can be great! Yes We Can be what we want to be! Yes We Can be glorious in not only America but the world! Yes We can put action behind our worlds and change the world starting right here, right now! Yes We Can as Republicans, Democrats and Independents become one as we freely think about our fellow men and women and make decisions that will be in the best interest of all people and not one single group.

Yes We Can be the change that we want to see in the world! Yes We Can show the world that the youth are ready to lead! Yes We Can put our egos, our social economic statuses, our religions, our educational statuses and our skin color to the side for the better good of the world! Yes We Can be Greater than we have ever been and help others be Greater than they have ever be!

YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS IN ALL THAT WE DO! YES WE CAN, no matter what others may say, we will be glorious! YES WE WILL and YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!

YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN is what will be sung from every mountaintop, every riverbank, every household, every school yard, every factory, every sporting event, every college campus and even every place you can imagine in the world is where YES WE CAN, will be said and heard!


Keep On Pushing - Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions

Wake Up People! No matter who is elected to any public office, we have to “Keep On Pushing” as a people to make sure they don’t leave us in a worst state than what they inherited. We as a people have to “Keep On Pushing” to make a difference in the lives of others. We have to have an “EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary” attitude as we continue to push our agenda that we the people deserve and want better. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change in a positive way that will benefit all Americans no matter their age, their religion or skin color. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will improve our education system, improve our military, improve our national security, improve our healthcare system and improve our economy. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will leave America’s future in a better than how we found it and that will leave the world’s future in a better state than we imagined we could live it. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to make life better for our neighborhoods, our families and even our quote on quote enemies. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to inspire, to uplift and to guide those who need help spiritually, physically and mentally. We have to “Keep On Pushing ” so that our lives, our future generation’s lives and the lives of those who came before us does not die in vein.

“Keep on Pushing”

A War For Your Soul

A War For Your Soul-regular version from Erisai Films on Vimeo.

The moment has come for us as a nation of people to finally wake up and realize that our destiny and fate in society has rests on our shoulders. We cannot allow the forces of evil and darkness to drain us out. We have to continue to overcome all odds in order to make the future of our nation better and the future of future generations of Americans better. We have to continue to pray to our Lord and we have to continue to uplift each other in prayer as well as take action against those things that are trying to destroy us. We have to stand up once and for all and be the future that we want to be. Now is our time and we shall do together by any means necessary.

This video was created to inspire young African-Americans not to fall prey to some of the problems they face in society. The use of the voice "Master of Darkness" represents evil, which is where the blame of all problems should be placed, and not on any one group of people. This video should not to be used to divide people (Black & White), there are images of heroes that are white in this video, and there are images of Black & White coming together with the words of Dr. King in the background. Some of the images from the past can be unsettling, but they are used to show all Americans how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. This film is being strategically placed in school systems, churches and youth orgs around the country, in hope of helping a lost generation of kids that we as Americans have forgotten. As fellow Americans we must continue to love each other, and take that love and spread it to the rest of the world. **THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR SALE & I AM NOT ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR THE FILM, I ONLY WANT THE MESSAGE TO REACH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT ANY HIDDEN POLITICAL OR FINANCIAL AGENDA.
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Sitting On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

"The time for sitting is over! The time for action is now! The time for hope without action is hopeless! The time for change without a positive attitude is a change that we can't believe in! We need change that is positive of helping all people! Our time for action is now, our time for hope is now, our time for change is now and our time to believe that we can do whatever we set our minds to is not now but right now!"


The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming;
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.
And this be our motto— "In God is our trust; "
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Black President

Our Time is not now but Right Now! Our Time has finally come to change the world not now but Right Now! If you don't believe that we can change the world than watch as we do it by changing your mind into believing in us and what we can do! This is OUR TIME RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!


We got to FIGHT THE POWER! We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch injustices take place. We can no longer sit by and allow our right to vote to become unexercised. We must FIGHT THE POWER for our past, present and future! We can no longer allow our rights to be oppressed and our voice to become drained by the powers at be. We must FIGHT THE POWER and show that we have a lot to say that needs to be heard by the mainstream media. We must FIGHT THE POWER and live up to our potential as dynamic, unbelievable and phenomenal people.

We must not believe the hype but we must become the hype. We are not Harriett Tubman, Marcus Garvey, MLK, Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington, Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois, the Black Panther Party, SNCC, or any other activists but we are the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunties, and relatives of those who came before us to pave the way for us to FIGHT THE POWER! We are not next Generation of leaders who will not be honored and praised until they die but that’s the fight we accept. We are not fighting the power for glory or fame but we are fighting the power for just causes that most men and women will not understand until years or decades later.

We are fighting for our sisters and brothers in Darfur, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, China and Mexico. We are speaking for those who are poor and have no food or water. We are fighting for those who are sick and dying. We are fighting for universal healthcare across the world and human rights for all people. We are fighting for rich and poor! We must FIGHT THE POWER no matter how hard and tough the road may be. We must FIGHT THE POWER for a better today and an even greater tomorrow!



“People Get Ready” our time is coming! We have come too far to turn back now. Our train is coming and it is coming in waves. “People Get Ready”, we don’t need a ticket but we need faith and the Lord will help guide us as we take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” our moment is now and we are ready to see the change we want in America and the world. All we got to do is have faith, hope and prosperity. “People Get Ready” to face your fears. “People Get Ready” to face your demons and the challenges of yesterday because today and tomorrow we will conquer & be victorious. “People Get Ready” a change is coming and our actions will make sure that change is a real positive change that lasts forever.

“People Get Ready” because we have had enough of just talking but now is our time to show action. “People Get Ready” to take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” to take back our communities and to make our streets safer and schools better. “People Get Ready” to make all our dreams come true. “People Get Ready” to see a better present for everyone and a better future for future generations. “People Get Ready” to live up to your potential and to help others live up to their own potential. “People Get Ready” to move past hatred, bigotry, racism and sexism. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the dreams of those who came before us and those who will come after us.

“People Get Ready” as we make our actions speak louder than our words. “People Get Ready” to make words mean something again as we put action to back up our rhetoric. “People Get Ready” as we embark on a new journey that will re-write America’s history as well as the world’s history. “People Get Ready” as we make the lives of others better and the lives of future generations better. “People Get Ready” because all we need is faith, hope and action to make this world a better place. “People Get Ready” to make a difference. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the American dream. “People Get Ready" to live out the American Dream as our founding fathers wanted us to live it. “People Get Ready” because our time is now, our moment is now and our moment in time to change America & the world is not now but right now. “People Get Ready” because a change is coming!

(Let me tell you now)
People get ready, there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord

People get ready, for a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most

There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all man kind just to save his own (believe me now)
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there's no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

[Alicia & Lyfe]
So people get ready there's a train coming
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming,
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord


God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood

Lee Greenwood-god bless the U.S.A