Framing OJ

It’s been 20 years since the OJ trial sparked controversy and debates around race, police and criminal justice. What would it have been like had we had social media?  

Today, the very same topics spark debate. For several months, I’ve been working with screen-writer, director, Joshua Newton on a feature film, based on true events that transpired six years after the first OJ trial.  

Was he guilty? Was he framed? Was he innocent? The questions still linger. But one thing for sure, the jurors saw reasonable doubt and acquitted him. Joshua has based his film around events many are unaware of that will make others who may not have agreed before side with the jurors.  

Tomorrow night, the Honorable Diane Watson, retired member of Congress is hosting a town hall meeting where Joshua will for the first time publicly discuss his upcoming feature film, The Framing of OJ Simpson. 

If you’re in LA, it would be great to see you. 

Like on the page about the movie to receive up to date information about the film and learn more about tomorrow night.

And of feel free to comment.  

A New Deal

  Speaker Paul Ryan took a courageous step changing his view on the poor as “takers.” Let’s applaud him before criticizing him for taking a step in the right direction. The leader of the Republican majority in Congress making a statement like this is good for the country.

There some on the other side, good friends of mine that don’t believe him. Does that move us closer or farther from addressing poverty in America? How do we change policy, if we don’t listen to others. Speaker Ryan listened. Shouldn’t we? 

Some see a track record of insensitivity from the Republican Party. I cannot argue that. 

I do offer that if our heart is hardened, it is difficult, damn near impossible to hear what others are saying. And we cannot be quick to judge or condemn, because like it or not we all have to work together. Quick story….

Franklin Roosevelt was approached by friends from the labor movement with policy recommendations they wanted him to implement. After sharing their wants, the President said “I like it, I want to do it. Now go out there and make me do it!”

As private citizens, it is our job to make our elected officials implement policy that is good for us. Politics is about persuasion, public opinion and likability. Policy is what makes the engine run. 

Would you walk up to someone on the street and say come with me? Then expect them to, if they don’t know you?

If you talk to them, paint a picture of a better place on the street you want to take them, and appeal to their heart, there’s a better chance they will. If they see that picture and believe in it, they will invite others. That’s politics. 

President Roosevelt knew the men. But politically, he knew it couldn’t be done without political capital. That capital was the support of many people he and those men didn’t know. They had to paint a picture to get others to follow. Today, there are labor laws, new deal programs and other social programs that continue to help the poor because of that political capital made almost a century ago.  

Today, we need a New Deal. To get there, we are going to all on both sides of the aisle, open our hearts and like Speaker Ryan courageously did, change our minds. The old way is that, let’s make a new way together.  

Imagine Together 

I think it’s empowering especially for young people to see that despite her struggles, America elected her first Black President. Imagine how powerful it is, that some have only seen a Black president. And what this means for the choices they will make for years to come.  

America’s diversity connects us to the World. That’s why so many are trying to get in and so few are trying to get out.  

The struggles within are real. But the people outside our country can identify with her. Diversity is our strength and it  is beautiful to see.  Especially, when we work together and uplift each other.  Instead of arguing and yelling, let’s talk and trump the naysayers who divide us.  Let’s create avenues that make the way for big victories like the one in 2008.  That’s how we got our first Black president.  Now let us together imagine something bigger and achieve that something, together!   

“Some see things as they never were and ask why.  I dream things that never were and ask, why not?” Robert F. Kennedy 

Inspiring messages uplift the spirit and a can do attitude with action empowers us all!  

Great Powerful Oz

We call him racist. And his rallies grow larger. His party wants to stop him. But he keeps in Charlie Sheen’s voice “winning!”

Trump says, “We are going to make America great again. We are going to build a hundred foot wall and Mexico is going to pay for it. I have so much money. My wine, steaks and university are great.”

He’s the all great powerful Oz confusing us with his white smoke (white lies) fooling us into believing he can protect us from the evil witch.   

Only time he’s wavered was in Chicago where, a diverse group of courageous young Black, Hispanic and Muslim Americans came together and won “a battle.” Like Dorothy and her crew in the Wizard of Oz, with a spineless scarecrow, creaky tin man and scared lion exposed the wizard, we find behind the curtain someone afraid to show us who he really is.  

But how do we pull the curtain back and win the war against Trump?  

The conventional methods aren’t working. This is divergent.  So, instead of attacking him, what if we ease on down the road and conquer what’s in front of us, by sharing what’s great with America?  

Like our great communities? And…

What if America hadn’t had slavery? Then list great things America would not have, were it not for the Africans and their descendants in America. 

Here are some simple ones to start with. Jan Metzlinger’s shoe lasting machine and Garrett Morgan’s gas mask and stop light. And where would the world be without the drums for jazz and the pain brought out soulfully in the blues. All which spearheaded rock and roll.  

What if we tied it all to how great America’s founders were to create a document like the US Constitution? And that slaves built America and the foundation of its economy, the wealthiest in the world. But tell it with pride, not pain. What if we elevate the truth with a story so powerful, it shakes the world’s conscious? By showing how slaves inspired the language in the constitution. That America’s constitution is and always has been about freedom. And that she still has not freed herself from the bondage of mental slavery.  But that her better days are still ahead. 

The comrades of the civil rights movement showed us a better way putting their lives in harms way.  And that’s what those Americans did in Chicago.  Because that’s what Americans do!

Now we need courage to elevate the tone and pivot from the abyss of despair and complaining. Let the country know that America is great, and this is why.  Let’s not just tell the story of slavery. How about the Native Americans and the Hispanic and Latino communities too? After all, would we have a country if Cristóbal Colón, an Italian sailing with a Spanish fleet and money hadn’t blown off course to a new beginning. There are plenty of rich diverse American stories to tell. 

That’s how we beat Trump and don’t forget Cruz. His followers may be crazier than Trump’s. To defeat them we have to see the cup as full, even when it appears empty.  

The idea of America is waiting to be told in an uplifting way? One that shows the power of example from a positive point of view!

It may not stop Trump’s charge! But it can inspire people to see, America’s strength within. Like Dorothy waking from her dillisional state to find everything ok at home, so will America.  She will wake from her dillision and find the American Dream is greater, when it’s for everyone.  We have to wake from our nightmare and make that dream a reality.  That’s the lesson we can learn from Trump, the great and powerful Oz. 

Like Dorothy and her friends found courage, oil and a spine was in them all the along, it’s time for Toto to pull back the curtain on the lie of the great and powerful Oz. 

Together our voices and stories are diverse and uplifting. They beat back the evil witch of racism because they come from a pure heart. We are not going backward on the yellow brick road. We’ve been there. It’s full of devious pitfalls. America’s best days are in front of us.  And angry munchkins think for yourself and see that there is a better way than “making America great again”. We already did that. She is great.  Together, we can move America FORWARD and rid of her the evil witch of racism.  That will make us all rejoice. We’ve already proven once that together we can make America prosperous. Now we can do it without the shackles of Slavery. Together, we can make America greater than she’s ever been! 

Fight the Power

fight the power
Fighting in politics isn’t new.  Every President has opposition and with social media, the friction and division are enhanced.Every day, the words are harsher. But our politics and issues are no different than yesterday. The truth is, American politics is tough because the arguments evolve over centuries. For instance, slavery to race. Women’s voting to equality in pay.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz lead segments of our populace yearning for yesterday. Their rallies are filled with insecurity and hate. Protect my guns! Build the wall! Secure my liberty! Muslims are the enemy! Scrap ObamaCare is their rallying call.

The politics of fear wins sometimes but loses in the end. It is grounded in insecurity that is racisms ugly core. Ask a racist why they feel better than someone else. Get to the core of their feelings and you will find fear. That’s why guns are important to them. And police officers kill Black men. It empowers even the weak among them. Religion becomes their roadmap “my God says the Muslims are evil.”

But fear, insecurity also lead to other forms of violence. If you don’t agree with me, I will kill you. Our seventh President Andrew Jackson dueled a man to protect his wife’s honor.   A congressman was caned on the US Congressional floor for a disagreement and countless of other elected officials dueled just a mile outside DC on the shores of the Anacostia River.

Yet, the indignity of Trump and Cruz followers is not what upsets me most. What upsets me most are people on both sides thinking there is only one way forward.   That is how racists divided this country. This country has plenty of room for a middle road.

As the conservatives fight the liberals. The liberals are fighting themselves, promising not to vote for the opponent if he or she wins, and throwing insults at Senator Elizabeth Warren for not picking a side.

American soldiers and advocates like the comrades of the civil rights movement lost their lives fighting for democracy. Democracy meaning the right to vote. Yet, many don’t vote! In a democracy, we are entitled to an opinion. And we are entitled to vote on those opinions. The majority wins!

So, no matter what side you are on, Vote! We have had some challenges in voting, but that should not stop you from voting. Fight the power at the ballot box. Consider your vote a bullet. Strategize and join a campaign, local, state or federal.   Come up with a plan to get the most votes. Your votes matter! And your side or team cannot win without them.

Then come to or plan a real Party with food, drinks and music. Just like a Sunday football game, sit back and watch the score. Your team won’t win every time. There will be drama. That is to keep us engaged. Think about it, without drama who would watch, Keeping up with the Kardashians?

If we work together, and put fun in the process, we will find a way to win on our issues. Better yet get the best candidates elected to work on our issues. Then we can celebrate the victory with a Super Bowl type party. Some call it Inauguration Day!


Bill Maher Liberals  Why Are You Fighting

Congressman Caning on US Congress floor

Elected officials Dueling Creek on DC’ Anacostia River

Best Reality Ever

I watched the video clip last night, over and over. Reality television on steroids. Thousands yelling racist and build that wall. Emotions so heated it led to violence. 

“Any nation that makes peaceful revolution impossible, makes violent revelation inevitable.” John F. Kennedy

America is in the mist of its second civil war. The battle of words and the escalation of voices is taking us down a dangerous path. 

There are too many guns in our society. My fear, this is going to get worse, before it gets better. In the video below, listen for the bang and how the policemen react. 

This campaign season has created something frightening, encouraging and downright embarrassing. 

It’s frightening to see people fighting and kicked out of rallies for voicing their opposition. Or a presidential candidate fanning the flames of division. It’s frightening to see the hate in this candidate’s followers. We see insecure, reckless and racist attitudes front and center, on the best reality show ever! Let’s call it, Real Life.   The followers seem to believe the candidate is going to give them something that was taken away from them. Worse though, this is a reflection of our values. The World has seen what we ignored for a long time, the bully mentality, front and center.

It’s encouraging because we are communicating. Yelling is a form of communication, if you want someone to hear you over the noise. But not the best method, if you want them to listen.  

For fifty years, civil rights groups and the Black community did a good job using this as a way to suppress the insensitive rhetoric of racist tones. It was necessary to keep the peace. But racism in America never went away.  It was quiet for a while, buried alive. 

It is embarrassing talking to friends from other nations.  America has championed freedom of expression, speech and religion as tantamount to our democracy.  How does this freedom look now with candidates like Trump and Cruz , no matter how insensitive or undignified, railing against the religion of Islam and spewing hate toward Blacks, Hispanics and Mexicans.

I often steer away from talk about race and religion. Sometimes, play devils advocate on my social media platforms.   Because these topics lead to deeper division and I prefer to build bridges of unity.  But, if we don’t get to the core of the problem it will further divide us and we will never solve the issues that plague us.  Politics does divide but policy solutions that can come from political discussions can solve problems when people come together and champion them.

The reality at the core of our human existence is our soul.  Collectively in our country it makes up America’s soul. Her soul has cried out at different times leading to change. Policy changes and legislation that brought an end to slavery, open the door for women to vote, access to universal healthcare and legalized same sex marriage.  Politics, religion and race has historically provided a road map to get us there.  But has also been used to divide.  It’s been a disaster when people exclude others as if there’s only one way made for them.  That’s why it’s important to listen to the collective America crying out to be free!

The division in America comes from her soul’s unhappiness.  The anguish and voices of frustration, no matter what side of the issue, is crying out! Let me be free! Free the shackles of limitation for my people. Those shackles aren’t just about race, religion or politics. It’s about economic opportunity for all!  

Race and the color of our skin is symbolic but it’s just the covering of our soul. Just like our flag is the covering of our country.  The intellect and the people’s conscious are telling us, we can do better.  

But the heart of some, including our leaders is so cold, they can’t hear the soul telling us, there’s a better way, if you come together.  America is not happy, so it cries out, “how can this be for some, but not for them?  I’m here for everyone.”

It sounds strange, but the truth is, Americans don’t know what they are fighting for this election season. 

Race and religion are at the forefront of discussion, because it’s easy and right in front of us. So we don’t see that our attention has been diverted from the issue that can unite us. No offense, but as James Carville said in the 90’s “it’s the economy stupid!”

That’s what the wall is about. It’s what the racial clash has always been about. Land and money, freedom and opportunity for some but not everyone. And the religion thing, is another way to keep people divided. 

Economic factors keeping a prosperous nation from moving forward is imbedded in the separation of opportunity for all. That is the core of America’s problem. 

People fighting each other, takes attention off the culture of greed. And without realizing it, the people feed the  frenzy.  Why does the media feed us a debate or two every week?  Because deep down there’s a lust for more division and to hear who is fighting for me! To believe I’m the chosen one now. I am on the right path. That’s at the core of the religious divide and the cultural one too. 

Don’t believe me? See how  much money the 24 hour media cycle is making courting viewers.  Filling slots with rallies, fights and debates. The media is no longer chomping at the bit. They’re in full stride!   Finally, they have what networks and cable stations found decades ago.  Cheap reality television shows!

It rewards candidates based on popularity  who use religion and fear to fuel the fire. 

More noise, means more fans, for one billionaire. He had a head start with his own show and media circus before the campaign. 

And the people who think he’s going to make America great again, miss this. Is he really funding his campaign?  Or loaning it millions. 

Turns out he’s given it a couple hundred thousand. But lent it millions. Recently, he told a rally that the campaign will accept money from donors after the nomination. That means, it can repay back the loan!

It’s brilliant. The media is giving him free earned press so he doesn’t have to spend like the other candidate because we are all fascinated. Fascinated doesn’t mean excited.  It means we are locked in, wondering what is he going to do next.  

It’s sad but that’s reality television at its best!  If only this was the Apprentice and we could sit across the table, look the candidate in the eyes and say “You’re Fired!”

Nancy Reagan

I’ve visited the White House several times for meetings and events. But my first was to a Just Say No (to drugs) program hosted by First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Since that day, I’ve met Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama. And had the pleasure to meet their First Ladies.

But I never met President Ronald Reagan. That day, I got a glimpse of him through her.

It was 1984 or 85. Lots of kids were there. And like me, we were all excited to see Mrs. Reagan.

In person, she was smaller than on television. But she had a presence that was regal and captivating.  And she was soft and powerful at the same time.

She called the President, Ronnie and it humanized the man we saw as President. In her voice, was love and unwavering support for her man.

I remember and an thankful for that experience. Thank you Mrs. Reagan for being an amazing First Lady, and my first invitation to the White House!