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Rev. C.T. Vivian and Rep. John Lewis being awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama


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Rev. C.T. Vivian

Aug 25th, 2015 — When I wrote this blog post about Rev. C.T. Vivian, I was shocked and amazed when I learned that he had read it, and even more so, when he very graciously e-mailed me and expressed his sincere appreciation. Thus began a fascinating and immensely informative online conversation with this great man. I will always remember his kind and encouraging words as he expressed his hard-won ideals and his faith in the next generation. The lingering image of his constant smile and encouraging voice will remain forever.

Among his many accolades and life’s accomplishments as a pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement, Rev. C.T. Vivian had the dubious distinction of having been punched in the mouth by rabid racist Sheriff Jim Clark in Dallas County, Alabama in 1965. During the demonstrations to register voters, Rev. Vivian courageously confronted Clark and spoke up on behalf of the non-violent demonstrators’ right to demonstrate for voting rights. The Sheriff promptly punched Rev. Vivian in the mouth. But after being treated at a local hospital where he received 11 stitches in his lip, Rev. Vivian returned immediately to the demonstrations and continued with the march on behalf of voting rights. …


Then and now…

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LEFT: My brother, Winston. RIGHT: Me — Images from our childhood in 1950s Montgomery, Alabama.

“…despite advances, the United States remains a nation of cowards on issues involving race.” Attorney General Eric Holder in 2009.

The newly sparked debate concerning the existence of systemic racism in this country is utterly mind-boggling, yet not surprising. But clueless members of the feckless GOP, e.g., the incompetent Trump administration, Larry Kudlow, William Barr, as well as Chief Justice John “our country has changed” Roberts and their ilk need only look to televised images of protesters by the thousands who have been galvanized to finally confront this issue and begin this long-overdue conversation.


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Peaceful protestors outside of the White House being tear gassed. Malcolm Nance, his 2016 best seller, and Vladimir Putin looking up at President Obama.

In as much as I was born female, I may be treading on risky gender specific territory here, and the subject I’m about to approach may very well be viewed as “a guy thing”, but having grown up in a two-parent household with a father and two older brothers as well as having raised two sons of my own, I feel I have learned a few things about the male psyche. In any case, I’m ready and willing to risk a male backlash. So, here goes.

Donald Trump is a coward. A behind-closed-Bunker doors whimpering, yellow-belly, scaredy-cat coward. Moreover, I’m willing to bet that he has never been in a real fight, “mano y mano”, in his entire privileged Richie Rich life. And, like all typical neighborhood bullies, he’s always surrounded by a squad of ignorant protective goons falling in line to allow him to puff and bluster and sell counterfeit “wolf tickets” and look “tough”. A paid entourage of sycophantic parasites and obsequious flatterers who willingly enable him as he continues to defile the office of the presidency and destroy this country. But picture him utterly and completely alone and forced to contemplate the entirety of his inhumanity and wrong-doing and his useless life and it would be a completely different story. …


The global pandemic national health crises through their eyes

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No school. No play. And it’s neither a snow day nor a holiday.

With the Coronavirus crisis becoming increasingly deadly, and with a president in the White House whose indifference and human cruelty knows no bounds, my observations and opinions, admittedly through the prism of motherhood, tend to lean toward our innocent children and what they must be witnessing and feeling during these difficult times. The personal sacrifices and struggles we’re experiencing as we navigate our way through this global health crisis are understandably difficult. But considering what it must it be like for children is even more disconcerting. …


“Justice delayed is justice denied” is an oft-repeated legal maxim, but it holds little meaning in some cases.

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For over five decades, in the racially-polarized city of Cleveland Ohio, one man, Winston E. Willis, has waged a mighty war against corrupt local government officials and courtroom manipulations that led to racially motivated property thefts and the destruction of his vast real estate empire. During this time, in a classic David and Goliath underdog vs. giant-type scenario, the former millionaire real estate developer courageously stood his ground and defended his constitutionally guaranteed property rights. But even after educating himself in the law and courageously taking on the perpetrators and exposing rank legalized discrimination in his community, it soon became clear that he was powerless against the reigning elitist band of power brokers and institutional giants. As a result, he suffered numerous illegal posse comitatus type gun-point evictions, false imprisonment, attempts on his life, and other atrocities. In every court in the State of Ohio, he has been rendered civilly dead; consistently denied his civil rights, subjected to judicially sanctioned property thefts as well as despicable human rights abuses. Finally, in 2007, finding local courthouse doors repeatedly closed to him, he took his case to the United States Supreme Court. The case was accepted and docketed only to be subsequently denied several months later. Where are the custodians of justice? The interpreters of the Constitution? The so-called defenders of the rule of law? …


A shared birthday, a life-long love for the written word.

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I was an eager-to-learn first-grader at St. Jude Elementary School in Montgomery Alabama when I first became aware of the 19th Century poet, Emily Dickinson. Two of my older siblings, my resident babysitters were in junior high school at the time and very often, their nightly homework assignments became my bedtime stories. Drifting off to sleep as they studied and read aloud from textbooks with titles like “Prose and Poetry”, I soon became familiar with and began to memorize some of the poems being read to me.

Prior to entering Kindergarten and the first grade, I had been enrolled in Jimmie Lowes Nursery School, “pre-school” in the present vernacular, where my teacher happened to be my cousin. During my time there, she taught me to read at a very early age and shared her love of books as well as her admiration for writers. It was this cousin and teacher who revealed to me that I was born on Emily Dickinson’s birthday, and from that day on, I have been fascinated by her words as well as her strange life. I read voraciously and devoured everything I could find about her. During my childhood in Montgomery, living under the ominous shadow of Jim Crow laws, Negroes were not allowed access to public libraries. And although my parents and siblings were great readers and books were plentiful in our home, I longed for more details about Emily Dickinson’s motivation for her poems as well as her life of isolation. It wasn’t until my parents made the difficult decision to leave our home and family in Montgomery and join the Great Migration that a whole new world opened up for me. Life, as I knew it changed dramatically when our family settled on the West side of Detroit in the early 1950s. And on the day that we arrived in the big city, my older brother took me to the neighborhood public library, where I signed up for my first library card and checked out arm fulls of books. …


…what every teen girl wished for during our yesterdays.

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Natalie Wood was probably one of the most photographed persons in the world. The camera loved her, from her chubby baby pictures to voluptuous adulthood. Her beauty was stunning. Her poise and bearing remarkable. During her meteoric ascendancy from adorably precocious child star to provocative Hollywood starlet, her image appeared on the cover of every movie magazine in print and graced the bedroom walls and scrapbook pages of teen girls all over the world. I was one of them.

For adolescent and teen girls in the ’50s and ’60s, Natalie Wood was a beautiful and accessible fashion icon and the standard-bearer for the latest trends in make-up and hairstyles. Her fashion statements were clear expressions of her self-declared independence during her later teens. And the cute do-it-yourself Pixie haircut, which she performed herself “with a pair of cuticle scissors”, became all the rage for her fans. Teen girls copied the short coif, often at their own embarrassing peril. But Natalie’s version worked perfectly for her, gracing multiple magazine covers and being adapted to fit characters she was playing in movies such as A Cry In The Night and The Girl He Left Behind. …


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For most people of my generation, the war babies and baby boomers, the children of Pearl Harbor, the Polio epidemic, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the adults of 9–11, there are a few other dates that also hold special significance and meaning. Brown v. Board of Education, 1954; The March on Washington, 1963; Apollo 11, 1969; Watergate, 1972; The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989; and Operation Desert Storm, 1991. But neither of these historic events was accompanied by the profoundly unimaginable shock and overwhelming tragedy of the Kennedy Assassination. And as political analyst Larry J. Sabato wrote in his 2013 best-seller, The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. …

About

Aundra Willis Carrasco

Writer, Essayist, Blogger, Curious Social Observer. Lover of solitude. Born on Emily Dickinson’s birthday. E-Mail me here: aundra.willis@gmail.com

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