I don't want to see stores looted or buildings burned; but African- Americans have been living in burning buildings for years, choking on smoke as flames burn closer and closer.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

That’s not a chip on my shoulder. That’s your foot on my neck.  – Malcolm X

"We must never, ever give up. We must be brave. We must be courageous." John Lewis, activist, congressman. 1940-2020 

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama

"Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public."  Professor Cornel West.

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat."  Audre Lorde

"The serious function of racism is distraction". 1995, Toni Morrison; Portland lecture, Playing in The Dark

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me.” Nora Ephron

"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 2019)

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me”; Nora Ephron, author/comedian

"Make your story count". Michelle Obama

"Social pain is understood through the lens of racial animus". Researcher/author Sean McElwee writing in Salon, 2016

"We are citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear."  Chelsea Manning; activist/whisleblower

“My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you, And no fascist minded people, like you, will drive me from it. Is that clear?” Paul Robeson; activist/singer

“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent”. from civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” Frederick Douglass, WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS 4TH JULY? 07.05.1852 (full text in blog)

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

"We are more alike than we are different" ~ Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singe


It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain


You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore


 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:


"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.


Colin Powell endorses more than Democratic candidate Obama


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Late in the game, the assumption that Muslim is a stain on one’s character has been challenged. Finally.

The challenge came not from the candidate who should have rebutted the personal attacks, not from the progressive press who allowed the innuendoes to mount, not from the Muslim leadership in the US, not from the only Muslim member of the US Congress, not from Muslims members of the Democratic Party, loyal to the young inspiring candidate, Obama, despite his proudly stated devotion to Israel and its Zionist aims.

The challenge and lesson came from a leading military figure, a former Secretary of State, a Republican Party luminary: Colin Powell.

In an October 19 TV interview, the former secretary of state announced his endorsement for the Democratic Party candidate. There Powell made a point to speak at length about the unmentionable, being Muslim. Why do we treat Muslim identity here as something negative, as un-American, he asked? Powell read the references and retorts to Obama’s possible Muslim background as I and other Muslims did: it was wrong to deny it, and objectionable to suggest it was not something fine. What if an aspirant to the White House were Muslim? So what? That should be as acceptable as any religious identity.

This is an excerpt from Powell’s interview on Sunday’s “Meet the Press”. In reference to questions regarding Obama’s religion, he said: “Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not American. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? ….. "Yet", Powell went on, “ I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, 'He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.' This is not the way we should be doing it in America"

The good general then recounts a photo of an American mother at the Arlington cemetery graveside of her soldier son, who died at the age of 20. His name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. "The symbol on his tombstone is the Islamic star and crescent", he takes the time in the interview to point out.

Powell is making more than a political point here. Powell expresses his dismay and objections to the many negative references coming from the McCain camp regarding Muslim identity in the country. But it appears that he is not unaware that the Democratic and so-called liberal community are as guilty of the anti-Muslim bias that disturbs him. Powell is directing his remarks to the entire country, including its leaders. And I cannot help feeling that he is also defining a possible new path for the young Obama. Because by endorsing the Democratic candidate in this context, Colin Powell is surely also endorsing the goodness of being Muslim in America. He is breaking a taboo for the soon-to-be occupant of the White House who, although during his election campaign he may be obliged to bend to Christian and Jewish pressures, as a president, he has to embrace the Muslim is a more mature way.

For those of us who look to the Democratic Party as the beacon of higher social values, of religious inclusiveness and expressed concern for human rights and equal treatment, we have been dismayed at times, feeling no party or leader represents our values. It seemed the party platform was being managed by select interest groups. Muslim and Arab Americans were being shunted aside. Where does one turn at such a critical time, when we have must hope it is possible to restore democratic and universal ideals and to mend broken trust around the world? It is sobering that a voice of maturity, reason and healing emerges from the ranks of the Republican Party, in the person of Colin Powell, a Black American leader, a military man.

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not caring whether they fall on those near or far away,

Just as the rain never cares where the clouds pour it out,

whether on fertile ground or on rocks.”



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