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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My Response back to their Response

Hello:

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my email. I do greatly appreciate it. I apologize for my late response; my computer crashed this weekend. The coverage on all stations has improved in my opinion. I am hearing less of looting and more on the attempts to rescue people and get them adequate placement, schooling, etc. I do applaud those efforts.

My greatest concern with the looting was the millions of sensationalized negative impressions that are broadcasted worldwide of African-Americans. If you are a person of color, I am sure that you can understand how damaging this can be to the perception of one's race and individualism.

For example, several people I spoke to this weekend wanted to take in a family (when that time comes) but were afraid to do so because of these perceptions. Although, you will always have a few bad apples in every bunch, I do not think it is fair to those who do not participate in such activity to suffer the repercussions of others' poor choices.

I have been volunteering and speaking with victims all weekend, and I can truly say that the people I have come into contact with are sincerely grateful to be alive and for the help that is being provided in Dallas. One man that I spoke to said that he could not leave early because he was afraid he would lose his job. Me and you both probably have the luxury of taking vacation time, but some people are so dependent on their employers that they cannot afford to do so. I think the annual median household income in New Orleans was somewhere around $7,500. This leads me to believe that so many could not afford to go, even if they wanted to. I could be wrong, but this is my logic. I have really thought a lot of the untold stories that are out there and will possibly never be heard.

On any note, I think stories such as this one should surface to the general public because they have the potential to reveal a range of underlying issues that can explain what went wrong with authorities and civilians. In general, I believe that the media has the power to bring these stories to the masses so that we can place greater demands on our elected officials to change policy that will protect the lives of all citizens in times of crises. For example, perhaps there should be a law that would protect disaster victims from losing their jobs, healthcare benefits or even damaging to their credit reports because of such events. I hope that more news stations, such as NBC5i would be compelled to bring such stories to the public so that we will all be more socially responsible in the future.

The media is such a powerful force in our society, probably more than our government, in shaping the lives of people. I just wanted to let you know that. Again, thanks for you time and I wish you well in your future endeavors. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Saki L. Milton

Katrina: Demand a Change Follow up

Okay, the first thing I realized that if I was going to place a demand on people, or the media then I had to place a demand on myself. This meant that I had to get off my own rear end and put in some work. So you know I got a little crunk on the media with the whole Katrina ordeal. I thought I'd give you an update on what went down after my little crusade ended.

The first thing I learned was that writing news stations took a lot longer than you think it would. You have to read everything about three times before you send it so that you won't end up on the FBI terrorist suspect list. Sista is not trying to do 20 to life with Big Ruth (as my friend put it). Don't quite see that in the forecast.

So after I sent my emails to all the local stations, the three major networks, CNN and MNBC, I decided to get up and get involved with the relief recovery effort. What started out as a day of absolute frustration and disgust turned into a week of giving and blessings. Truthfully, this has been a true turning point in my life for the better.

My girlfriend (we'll call her Lady J) and I decided to do some volunteer work. I had gotten an email that a particular apartment complex needed help repairing apartments to rent. We got there around 8:30AM, and this man was going on and on about the Reunion Arena and how terrible the conditions were there. He broke down crying at the apartment complex, and we were like, “Dang Gina!”

You know me. I wanted to be in the midst of the action, and Lady J is about as crazy and passionate as I am when it comes to black folks. He must have thought we were some weaklings because we were all peppy looking. He told us not to go if we had weak stomachs or if we cry easily. Obviously, he didn't know that he was talking to two soldiers. We were like, “Mike Jones, baby.” Needless to say we spent our Saturday assisting the evacuees at the Arena. We had a great time, and we got to hear some very inspiring testimonies. (Remind me to tell the story of Zach and Marshall in a later blog.)

The next day, I helped out at the church for several hours doing the same thing I did at Reunion. That was so cool because I ran into Zach and Marshall again. Long story short, lady J and I finally went through our Red Cross training so we could actually go inside and visit with our new neighbors. (Interesting stories that I will have to share in a later log too.) We have been going out there in the evenings and on the weekend. It has truly blessed us.

I did want to let you know the feedback that I got was positive. I got a response back from all of the local networks and CNN. Basically, all of them felt that their coverage was not biased and informed me that they were not referring to victims as “refugees” but evacuees instead. I did notice the sudden change, so somebody of power must have called them to the carpet on it. As far as the looting, several of them expressed that their coverage of the looting was minimal compared to their coverage of the story as a whole. I chose to disagree, but I did send a final email to all those who responded thanking them for their time. All were receptive to my comments and said that I could write them any time. Also, I made a new friend with one lady from the local station. She was actually trying to help me find the boys I mentioned earlier. She is a believer in Christ and is truly dedicated to this cause.

I posted the follow up letter I sent to the stations if you're interested. I don't know if it was my email to them or Oprah putting them on blast about it, but the coverage did get a lot better. I'm sure it was Oprah though. I couldn't possibly have that much pull (not yet at least).

So, I guess my biggest take away from this adventure is to be a part of the solution and don't just gripe about the problem. In some kind of way find a way to make difference. It doesn't matter how big or small your actions are, but do not be afraid to stretch yourself. If your heart is in the right place, then you do not labor in vein. Also, make sure you have a road warrior with you who's as equally down for the cause as you are. Thanks Lady J.

Back onto the campaign trail,

Kidd Grown

O, Backbone Where art Thou?

The question of the century is not “Who shot JR?” It is: Where is the backbone? Has anyone seen the backbone? You know, the spine that we were all born with. Not the physical one, but the gutsy one that the human eye cannot see, but boy you sure know when it's in the house. The one that tells you when it's time to shut somebody down. The one that makes you stand up for what is right. You know, a backbone - the one that separates the men from the boys. Have you seen it?

Of course this question stems from a series of conversations with girlfriends and just my general observations lately of men. I have reached the conclusion that something is fundamentally wrong with a lot men of today. They have no backbone. I don't know what happened to it. Did they forget to bring it home one day from school or were they just not born with it? I sure do miss it though. There's something about a brother who knows exactly who he is in Christ and isn't afraid to be that man. There's a level of respect that he commands when he enters the room. This is the type of man that no woman would have any problems submitting to. It's almost like the roles have flipped. You have a lot of pushy and controlling women and too many passive and timid men.

I just want to slap these dudes upside the head and say, “Don't you have an opinion? Boy, you'd better stand up for yourself.” Sometimes I get told that I male bash, and maybe I do sometimes. I know that's not my intent, but I'm just keeping it real. I love the male species. I think they are God's most fascinating creators. But, I just truly am concerned about them. I see too many boys dressed in men clothing. This is scary.

Sisters like for a man to get crunk every now and then. Or, we at least like to know that you can if you have to do so. (I'm not advocating ghetto-ness by any means, but you get my point.) Answer this for me? How are you going to lead a company successfully if you are scared? How are you going to cover your wife and family in prayer if you have to tip toe around their feelings? How are you going to meet a woman if you're sitting in the corner posted up acting shy? Men are created in the image of God, and the last time I checked my God was bold.

I know there are some men out there who can step up to the plate. Too many men today are strong physically, but mentally and spiritually they are lacking. This actually comes from an old strategy practiced by slave masters to maintain social order amongst the slaves. It was simple, and in some cases today, you can see us (men and women of color still acting it out). The males were raised to be strong physically for breeding purposes. However, just like a horse, they had to be tamed. The masters knew that a strong male slave could result in a powerful leader and potential slave revolt. Do you want a REVOLUTION???!!! Whoop, whoop!!!!

If you are a man reading this, it may not apply to you. But, I guarantee that you have at least one homeboy that it does apply to. Can you ask him to bring back the backbone? This world needs it. Our young black teens need it. And guess what, the sisters need it to. We need more vision. We need more passion. We need more action. We need more risk taking. We need more leadership. We need more MEN.

And ladies, if you have a good man - a real man - let him know, encourage him to lead and back him up 200% (if you aren't already doing so). And to all my brothers out there doing their thing and giving back to the community - we see you! Do yo' thang.

All hail to the Backbone!

Kidd Grown