Tale of Treasured Trash

Treasured Trash

Treasured Trash

Listen my peeps and you gone check

Sleep-slumbrin’ ‘hoods, ’bout to get respect.

Between the weeds and tires dumped

lies precious metals, mem’ries slumped.

Layered paint over dreams deferred

Scarred yet stronger, now goan be heard.

Drop the pretense & its weight

Sun shower, shimmy, foundations shake.

Hearth and heart, no more to roam,

Ancient acres rolling, home.


Charity As Commerce

I am constantly amazed at human ingenuity and ignorance. Give us a mammoth problem, and we’ll give you a magnificent solution; then we forget it! We hide our bright lights of hope under bushes of –isms: Nationalism, Racism, Sexism, Color-ism, Ethnic-ism, Age-ism, Sexual Orientation-ism, Disability-ism.
Cases in Point: Charity As Commerce (The New/Old Concept of Making a Way Outta No Way)
About 50 years ago, my grandfather, William Holmes Borders, Sr. embarked on a project of parochial community investment that became approximately 30 acres in downtown Atlanta of housing, retail and banking assets unparalleled nationally. The project stands as a testament to what can happen when a few good people take a seemingly insurmountable problem, e.g. 1950-60s African-American Poverty & Segregation, and transform it into something spectacular, e.g., Wheat Street Gardens, Towers & Credit Union, a Cinderella story of “Urban Blight to Bright.”
In 2010, the 22-acre Wheat Street Gardens apartments, a low-income housing community, were replaced in part by a 4-acre farm, this in response to the Food Desert challenge in the area. The project, brainchild of Rashid Nuri, founder of Truly Living Well Center for Urban Agriculture, has been recognized in the media, but I’m wondering how long it’ll take before this brilliance will be forgotten. Will history revisionists leave this story out because many of the project volunteers are white? Will African-Americans continue to shrink from such an empowering initiative for food sovereignty because of residual slavery associations, or as Dr. Joy DeGruy would suggest, Post-Traumatic Slave Disorder?
Two years ago, an architecture competition inspired amazing ideas for resolving Jakarta overcrowding and waste problems, the winning entry involved building housing over trash dumps and using unemployed neighbors to recycle the waste. I digitally stumbled upon this gem and can see its applicability to my own community, but will it be discounted because it WASN’T INVENTED HERE, but by a firm in The Netherlands for an Indonesia drowning in people, pollution and paper?
Can you imagine where the world would be if we could get out of our own way?? See through our fears and prejudices to an unbelievably bright future? I think we’re infinitely capable of such greatness, and we can begin with each of us seeing bold change AND THEN being that change. I invite you on this tempting, titillating & tumultuous journey with me. Where and how will WE continue together?

What is 2008?

I am ALL that I create in ’08. All that I create in ’08 is great. I am great (& GRATEful) in ’08. Dr. Michael Lomax, now CEO of UNCF (www.uncf.org) taught me all about the syllogism when I was a Freshman at Spelman College in 1979. This form of logic uses 2 related positions to support a particular conclusion, the point being, if you agree w/the 1st two, the final statement can’t be disputed. So this syllogism frames my way of being for this 2008 New Year.

I prefer this approach to making a New Year’s Resolution. These often seem limiting, more like obligations (what I should do) than commitments (what I’m willing to do to pursue my passions), and quite frankly they just haven’t stuck! Anyway this syllogistic affirmation serves as a guiding principle for what I am becoming & accomplishing in this fantastic year of opulent opportunities.

I know that barriers may show up; conquering them will make the victories all the more sweet…remember My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music? Well, Jewels’ version goes something like this:

Mist in the morning and fresh scents awakening,
Incense & gardens & calm bath for taking,
Brown silky skin sheaths on Nubian Kings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Rich, bright red ipods and itunes for listening,
Shea butter, nut oil and your visage glistening,
Bobbles and bells with a platinum ring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Men in tuxedos with teeth brightly flashing,
Children on playgrounds with energy dashing,
Fun instant messages with you I ping,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the job bites,
When the tea stings,
When I’m feeling mad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I do feel so glad!