All Lives Matter!

  

I will always seek to speak the truth and stand on the right side of justice. 

I will always seek to find ways to create stronger pathways to build bridges of communities. 
I will always even if it means others feeling want to unfriend me on FB, stand up for what I believe. 
Blacks in America have felt the burden of injustice for a long time. Yet have not taught their children to embrace that we are descendants of slaves.  
Too many are not proud of this. I’m not proud that slavery existed, but I embrace the strength and resilience it took to come through it.

I lived in Africa for 2 years, because my father wanted his children to know the continent personally. And when we returned to America, we wanted to kiss the ground. 

While my heart aches for the torture slaves endured, I am so appreciative that God saw fit that happened so that I and millions of others are in America as Americans and not in Africa!

If more of our children were taught this, they would understand that our slave ancestors built the economic foundation of this country. That was our down payment on citizenship. Battling and overcoming segregation was paying it in full.  

Yet, too many don’t look at the symbols of freedom and yell out I’m an American!  I built this country and am entitled to the rights of citizenship just like any other!

Instead they beg to be accepted. We say my way or no way. We cry, scream, holler and shout when someone does something and are quick to cry racist! Yet, Black men are killing Black men.

That is the image that Americans have of our community. Those men wouldn’t be killing each other, selling drugs to one another, creating baby after baby with multitudes of women, if they knew their history. If they were proud of the road we have traveled, they would treasure being an American. And understand why so many struggle to enter this country for an opportunity to be called an American. 

Don’t tell me #BlackLivesMatter until you and others in this movement are ready to work and fix what’s wrong in Black communities first. 

Stop blaming others. The image of Blacks in this nation is warped because of a few. And it’s warped because a majority of us, don’t want to tackle that issue because it is too hard. 
Chicago is just one example of how bad things are with Black on Black crime. 

I’m an American. I’m proud to be an American. I embrace that I am a descendant of a famous abolitionist and freedom fighter, Frederick Augustus Bailey. And I am a descendant of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. 

That is part of my American bloodline. I can’t run from it. But I am a reminder to those who seek to divide on both sides that I am a part of the history of this country. 

My bloodlines are the byproduct of slavery. I’m not ashamed of it. I can’t go back and change that. But I can say with all conviction in my heart, that embracing one life over another is wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right.  
South Africa never becomes free of apartheid and America never rids itself of slavery or segregation if someone on the other side didn’t wake up and say wait, #AllLivesMatter. Right the wrongs by being right for all!   

And this nation will not overcome the sickness of racism until someone steps forward with a message that heals and binds instead of sickens and divides.

Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm in Washington, DC and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR) and Party Politics (PP). Follow him on Twitter @atibamadyun or Like Atiba Madyun on Facebook.

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What If Police Didn’t Have a Gun?

  

Would police forces get smaller or have fewer recruits, if they weren’t allowed to carry a firearm?

The video of #SamDubose’s murder is just another example of why guns in the hands of “insecure” people who need to feel powerful, are dangerous.We the People must put pressure on our policy makers and share ideas and solutions to change laws governing “rules of engagement” for law enforcement. 
Demonstrating public outrage without putting our back into the effort to tear down these policies will go only so far. Let’s brainstorm solutions and share them. 

For instance, police training should include advanced tactical training on de-escalation tactics. How to approach situations without a gun.  

And/or what if police officers approaching a driver for a traffic stop are required to leave his/her firearm in their patrol car? 

What do you think about a world where police officer didn’t have a gun? 

#Gun #Reform #NOW #AllLivesMatter
Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm in Washington, DC and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR) and Party Politics (PP). Follow him on Twitter @atibamadyun or Like Atiba Madyun on Facebook.

A Change Is Gonna Come!

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I remember the story.  It happened at 3am on February 5th, 1997.  A young man approached another sitting at a red light.  They didn’t know one another, but one aimed his gun and shot his victim in the head.  The story still moves me, because of its gruesome nature, and the victim was a police officer.

Incidents of gun violence happen with  more frequently.  Guns are more accessible.  It feeds the power and inferiority complex of hearts corrupted by hate.  That’s why we see an uptick in mass shootings and police shooting unarmed citizens.  Even as I write this, another mass shooting occurred in a Lafayette, Louisiana movie theatre.

My friend Abby Dart in Michigan and I talked about what needs to happen to stop these incidents.  She believes America needs to treat the epidemic of gun violence as a public health crisis, similar to the anti-tobacco campaign.

Anti-tobacco campaigns created greater awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco products. People still smoke you might add.  But public policy and higher taxes, including a tobacco fund, helped some stop smoking.

She shared her belief that gun violence can be curbed if, “the Surgeon General, Department of Health and Human Services and CDC address the deadly combination of mental health and guns as a public health crisis.”

But opposition by The National Rifle Association is strong.  Each year, they successfully lobby Congressional members for more, not less access to firearms. The result is despite the President’s call for them to research gun violence, agencies like the CDC, fearing their funding will be cut, fail to act.  And the frequency of shootings increase.

Gun related deaths  are spiraling up, not down.  When a Ferguson police officer in Missouri murdered Michael Brown, the #BlackLivesMatter movement sprung forward.  It has brought greater awareness to police officers shooting and killing unarmed Black men. But it hasn’t focused our national attention on cities like Chicago, where Blacks are killing each other.

The video involving police officers stopping of Walter Scott in North Charleston and Sandra Bland in Texas give us a glimpse of guns and weapons giving police officers a feeling of superiority. That’s why, I remember the trial of the man convicted of murdering Officer Brian Gibson.  Even then, the story was different, an officer killed as he sat in his patrol car.

Prosecutors painted a picture of a twenty three year old, disgruntled Black man who felt powerless against a police officer.  Gibson approached a busy DC intersection and stopped at a stop light.  Little did he know, that moments before he came to that light, this man had been escorted out of a nightclub, yards away.

That intersection changed the Gibson family’s life forever.  And stories like it are where the lives of murderers and victims are intersecting every day, altering the lives of thousands of families, every year.  Whether it is the parents of the children and teachers killed in Newtown, Connecticut or a Congresswoman and eighteen others shot, some killed in Tuscon, Arizona th,eir families lives are impacted.  And Congress has failed them, by failing to pass meaningful gun reform legislation.

American communities, rich and poor, citizen and immigrant, White and Black, Christian and Muslim, straight and gay have to come together and fight back.  Mothers and fathers of those killed can relate to the need to protect our nation’s family health.  How many more lives have to be lost, before we come together?  “Political issues build the largest coalitions when we approach the subject from the largest common denominator.” Abby says. This is a political issue of epic proportion.

Together, as a nation, we can address our nation’s long standing gun issue as an issue of public health.  We can start by asking President Obama, to bypass Congress and do something through an Executive action..

Because, this health epidemic is claiming the lives of thousands every year.  If we step forward and support reform together, we can save the lives of thousands.  We all have to come together to ensure that A Change is Gonna Come!

#AllLivesMatter

For 2015 statistical data on gun incidents in America visit http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/

Abby Dart is an Advisory Board Member for Party Politics “Dinner and A Conversation”.

Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm in Washington, DC and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR) and Party Politics (PP).  Follow him on Twitter @atibamadyun or Like Atiba Madyun on Facebook.

They Aren’t Going to Like This!

Politics has always fascinated me.  When I was four, I told my parents, “I am going to be the first Black President!”  Almost forty years ago, that seemed impossible. But in 1978, at the age of six, I saw Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the Camp David Accords with President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin hammering out an agreement for peace between Israel and Egypt.

I studied Sadat. Why not? He looked like me.  His hair was gray, but the texture looked like mine. I could relate to him even more, when I learned he was a Muslim like my family. At first, I was alarmed that he smoked a pipe. But that made me look closer and see something I have found in other courageous leaders.

They are pensive. Sadat looked this way with his pipe in hand. But like courageous leaders, sometimes he looked sad. Not the kind of sad you and I feel. His was a retrospective sadness. Like he was thinking, “They aren’t going to like this, but it is the right thing to do.”

That look comes from knowing they may be right but have to move a mountain of naysayers to get the people onboard. Who wouldn’t be sad knowing this lies ahead. That is why CHANGE is hard and we see many leaders instead of standing up with courage, they turn and run the other way.

Equipped with this difficult task, on the global stage Sadat still often flashed a big smile. Begin and Carter did too. Their smiles on September 17th, 1978, were one of hope, that together they would move that mountain.

History shows that courageous leaders against great opposition, inspire hope.  They inspire even when we aren’t ready to travel the road less traveled. Fortunately, we have had Presidents do this, even when our Congress disagrees. Domestically this was the case with slavery, segregation and women’s right to vote.

Internationally we saw it when President John F. Kennedy negotiated behind the scenes with Russia averting war over the Cuban missile crisis.  When President Richard Nixon negotiated and then visited China.  And when, President Ronald Reagan negotiated with Russia to eliminate intermediate range and shorter range missiles. All decisions that altered the course of history using the strength of diplomacy over the power of war.

The Iran agreement is a pathway forward that trusts the strength of our diplomacy. What fourteen countries including the U.S., Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany achieved is historic.

Leaders like South African President Nelson Mandela whose nation was imperiled by apartheid offered his nation a better way forward.  If we look at photos and video of Mandela, you might see the look of pensiveness and sadness once he left prison.  Yet, close your eyes and remember his great smile.  It is like he knew something we didn’t.  And he provided hope to his nation and led them from apartheid to liberation.

Like Mandela, Obama now will try to offer that hope to our Congress who disagree with his decision with Iran. Congress will debate it and may vote against it. The reality is there is no agreement the GOP  would accept. They prefer fear, conflict and tension.  That is why this agreement puts Obama in the category of Presidents like Mandela, Kennedy, Carter, Nixon, Reagan, Sadat and Begin.

He made a hard decision that leads to a better pathway for peace.  And opens pathways for the world to get to know Iran better.  Because of the Camp David Accords I have been able to visit Egypt, South Africa and Israel.  I hope in the near future, peace in Iran makes it possible to travel there.

CHANGE is difficult for some to accept.  At times, leaders feel like they are stuck in quick sand moving large numbers out of an abyss of despair. They cannot walk like they are on land. They have to rise above the danger and see, then communicate that help and a brighter future with a better way is ahead of them.

Some leaders don’t have that ability.  More importantly, they don’t possess the talent or ability to inspire hope .  So they use fear to keep people close. This causes more friction and danger. We see this too often here and abroad. It keeps wars going for too long.

That’s why President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s words are still used today. During a time of great economic calamity he said in his first Inaugural Address that the “only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Fear has been used for centuries to keep us from moving FORWARD. The awakening of the intellectual spirit is offering hope that there is a new and better way FORWARD. That is what this agreement is really about, a better way FORWARD.

We won’t know for weeks, years or decades to come, if Iran will hold up its end of the bargain. But we should give it a try. And whether you do or don’t applaud the President for it, at least support him in the short term for diverting our nation from a course that would lead to another war.

The President like those before him often has that pensive look. At times, he has a look of sadness in his eyes. Moving a mountain is no small feat. Over the past six years, we have seen his big smile!  It is a smile of HOPE. It tells us everything is going to be okay. He is battle tested and deserves our support on this decision. The President has led our nation out of economic uncertainty, stabilized global markets and got us out of two wars.

He has moved mountains and as a leader he continues to make the hard decisions, not the popular one. His hair is gray much like Sadat’s almost four decades ago. He like Sadat, Begin and Carter during the Camp David Accords is trying to make America safer.

Some child or children are watching Obama as I watched Sadat thirty-nine years ago because they can relate to him. More importantly, they are watching us. Let’s give them the best example to follow. One that shows that together, we can move big mountains and make the world a better place for us all!

Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm in Washington, DC and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR) and Party Politics (PP).  Follow him on Twitter @atibamadyun or Like Atiba Madyun on Facebook.

Guns Are the Problem!

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Was reading last night about the vote in the South Carolina Senate to remove the confederate flag.

Good that it passed the Senate, but now it’s on to the House.

I was reminded of the issue of division, this morning reading Donald Trump’s statement about Mexico.  Because yesterday he referred to Jeb Bush’s wife in this whole thing as an illegal immigrant.

To be honest, I am not moved by either. One is long overdue to happen.  The other is getting more attention because of the winds of dissension in our country.

Personally, I look for what’s on the other side of the smoke screen.  Because too often, when the smoke clears, we go away.  That’s why politics has become the crafty art of games and deception.  A smoke screen!

The GOP took up the flag issue right after the President brought up guns. The Black community brought up race.  Race and the GOP’s focus on the flag, took our attention away from guns, again!

Remember how upset the nation was when those twenty young children and six adults were murdered in New Town, Connecticut by a man with a gun?

Polling then suggested, the nation was ready to reform our nation’s gun laws. But Congress ignored that by heeding the call of the NRA and a small number of gun owners in America.

After Charleston, the GOP saw an opening for the conversation to shift back to guns.  To calm the winds especially going into the 2016 cycle they “strategically” shifted our political attention always from guns to the confederate flag.

It’s a brilliant move even if the time has long passed for the flag to be removed and placed in a museum. The truth is it shouldn’t take a vote or debate. But the murders that took place in Charleston made it necessary to have this important discussion.  While on the surface it may appear to be about race, the men and women killed would still be alive, if we had the courage to reform our gun laws!

The murderer may be racist at the core of his soul. He may hate Blacks. So what?  He would not have had the courage to murder those nine innocent God loving people without a what?  Just as Medgar Evers, Dr. King’s, Malcolm X’s Johh F. Kennedy’s, Robert F. Kennedy’s murderers wouldn’t have had the courage without a gun!

In California, the murder of a young woman by a Mexican immigrant who had been deported five times caught fire when Donald Trump mentioned him in his comments.  The man said that he found pills in a dumpster and a gun.

Trump’s comments about illegal immigrants and Mexico overshadow the political debate that Americans keep missing.  It is the opportunity to talk about guns.

Forty people were wounded over the weekend by guns!

Ten people were killed in Chicago over the weekend, the home of President Obama, by guns!

The Chicago police chief is now calling for gun reform because too many guns are entering the city.

The political tide has not shifted enough to bring our nation together to discuss the important issue of gun reform. How many people have to die, before it does?

The issue of race, economic disparity, mental illness will not go away because we discuss and address guns. In fact, it is a hard discussion because it will bring up a number of other issues under the umbrella of guns in America.

Our nation is divided, yet it is One Nation Under God.  It is divisible, because we too often react first then quiet down when we the media and politicians divert our attention from major issues that we can solve together.

When will we find common ground to discuss the serious issues of today?

If we come to the table and discuss the out of control gun violence in our Nation, we will find ourselves at the table with Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Latinos, Asians, mental health advocates, LGBT, Muslims, Jews, Christians and many other cultures, ethnic communities and religions who have all been affected by gun violence.

At the table, on an issue we have all been affected by, we can find common ground to successfully tackle this hard issue together.

The relationships built there will provide avenues to build bridges of trust for further conversation on the issues of race, economic disparity and other pertinent issues of the day.

We can’t do this for one community.  We have to do this for One Nation Under God!

Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm in Washington, DC and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR) and Party Politics (PP).  Follow him on Twitter @atibamadyun or Like Atiba Madyun on Facebook.