Legacy of Slavery

February is Black History Month. Ontario Black History Society President Nikki Clarke asked a youngster during a school presentation why we celebrate Black History Month. The youngster

said, “because we treated black people badly and we have to feel bad.” Out of the mouth of babes. Slavery happened. It was economic, brutal and a crime to humanity. But it was in the

past and we have to focus on the present. It’s all we have control over. Here’s what happened this month, February 2016 to a friend of ours.

Our friend has a 15 year old son who is a straight A student. He is Canadian with parents from the Caribbean. A teacher accused this young man of stealing someone’s lunch. The principal

got involved with the result that the teacher had to apologize to the young man. This teacher, no doubt, felt angry. The teacher saw the young man out at the mall some days after. No words

were exchanged between them. The teacher went back to school and told the principal that the boy verbally threatened her. Without investigating further, the principal called the police. In my

opinion, this was irresponsible. The police arrived at the school and had the young man not called his father so that he could be present, the boy might have been charged. He might have

gotten a record. His parents want answers as this clearly seems to be an issue of racial bias, and is the type of incident that can hinder a person’s opportunities. Now that the father wants to

pursue this through legal channels, suddenly the school wants the parents to drop the case.

This is the present.

Black History Month is not only to remember the past and to honour the black men and women who have changed our lives. It’s for us to check our biases, our racial hatred and to treat people

as individuals and not as the negative stereotypes perpetuated by the legacy of slavery. Black History Month is the month to understand that discrimination has been passed down to us from

our forefathers and like a bad habit, it’s hard to break. It’s up to us to be vigilant in our negative thoughts about other races. It is up to us to break the cycle of discrimination, one person at a

time, so that one day, the legacy of slavery no longer exists.

Public Reading: The Red Bench

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Details:

Join me for a public reading of all my children’s books in collaboration with the The Red Bench Project on Saturday February 27th, 2016 from 1pm to 3pm at Studio 89, located at 104-1065 Canadian Place, Mississauga, Ontario L4W 0B8. This fun-filled creative and educational experience is perfect for families with young children.

My Good Self

I’m going to blog every two weeks. This is not as easy as it sounds. It’s not that I don’t like blogging. In fact, I love it. What I don’t like is feeling obligated to do anything. The reason is once I have to do something, the rebellious child inside me pipes up, “No I don’t. I’m going to do what I want to do when I want to do it.” This childish voice is strong and it whines about freedom, telling me that I don’t have freedom to live the way I want to. Only recently I’ve realized how much this child inside me holds me back. I’ve spent so much time blaming other people, being bullied when I lived in the States, the economy, the government, etc. for any lack of success, that it blinded me to whom I should really blame: Myself!

The horrible truth that I’ve had to face is that I’m indisciplined at times and I easily lose focus even when the light at the end of the tunnel is right there blinding me. Instead, I turn from the light and run the other way, telling myself I’m not ready to face the light and I’ll get to the end of the tunnel when I’m good and ready.

The truth hurts.

“What? You mean I could have had the life I was meant to live had I shown a little more discipline and focus, a little less fear, a little more confidence in myself? Noooooo!!!” Writing is a lot like exercise (another area where I’ve been indisciplined and lost focus. I used to teach aerobics for heaven’s sake. Now I can’t walk up a flight of stairs without breathing heavily). They both take discipline. A little every day is better than nothing at all and it has nothing to do with freedom. Both take focus. Focus is deciding what it is you really want. If writing and exercise are so important to me as I say they are, then shouldn’t I focus on doing what it takes to get results? This is a no brainer. As I see my body losing its muscular tone and my novel sitting on my computer unfinished as it has been for many years, I feel like beating myself over the head with a stick. Instead of doing that though, I’m going to stop listening to that child who is immature and frankly very silly. I have to talk back to that child and say, “No-one lies on a beach all day. That’s not really freedom. Hush. I have a blog to do. And after, I’m going for a walk.”

Just like my latest children’s book Juliet Malevolent, An Evil Tale, where the cake at the launch showed a picture of the benevolent Juliet and the words “Be Your Good Self,” I’m trying to be my good self. It’s not always easy, but I have a strong feeling it’s really going to be worth it.