I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel
Showing posts with label Rev. Jesse L. Jackson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rev. Jesse L. Jackson. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Considering The Wife....

Since my blog post on Rev. Charles Jenkins and Mundi Griffin I've been giving a lot of thought to all the issues that surround infidelity. I've given a lot of thought to Dr. Tara Jenkins, Rev. Jenkins' wife.

Honestly, I hadn't thought about the impact of my blog post on her prior to posting. For sure she knew about the affair prior to my blog post, because Rev. Jenkins confessed. His confession started this process. Actually in reality, Rev. Jenkins making a concrete decision to step outside his marriage set his wife's hurt in motion.

What I don't know, and really for me the most important piece, is if any of my details were new to her. It's one thing when you are trying to reconcile within yourself and heal with one truth, to then learn that what you thought you knew was only some of what you actually knew. The healing process then takes a turn. I've always contended that you cannot heal with half-truths and misinformation. Secondly, I have wondered what additional pain have I caused Dr. Jenkins by keeping the issue of her husband's infidelity in the public my posting my blog.

Many people know that Rev. Jesse Jackson and Mrs. Jackson are like family to me and I have never spoken about the baby and the affair publicly. I have always had this overwhelming urge to protect Mrs. Jackson. That is what family is suppose to do.

I remember when the baby drama was made public. The "publicness" of the issue made it a circus. The fact of the matter, when the news story broke, it was old news to everyone in the family close circles. In fact, Rev. and Mrs. Jackson had already worked through the issue of his infidelity.

Yet, the "public" announcement of it all, created a new energy around the issue. I know I even became pissed off at Rev. Jackson all over again. It hurt me to watch Mrs. Jackson hurt.  I watched Rev. Jackson humble himself and take responsibility publicly. It wasn't about blaming for him but taking ownership. The biggest thing though was watching Mrs. Jackson. We surrounded and undergirded her, but be clear, she was never a weak woman.  In fact she is the strongest woman I know. With her faith in tote, Mrs. Jackson held her head up and walked through that fire, with dignity. I was amazed at her strength and  the fact that she always had the most profound insights. She was always looking at the bigger picture. Yet, it didn't mean that she didn't hurt.

I am sure those who love Tara Jenkins have surrounded and undergirded her as best as they can. But it does not take away the circus that surrounds the drama of her husband's infidelity, the picture and all the madness that came with it, as that was also the case for Mrs. Jackson. Support does not take away hurt, only time.

With this in mind, I am publicity apologizing to Tara Jenkins if I have caused you any pain. It was not my intent to hurt you, but to unpack the truths.

Now, I'm not seeking a response from Dr. Jenkins, I just wanted her to know my heart.

We have watched wife after wife, Jacqueline Jackson, Tara Jenkins, Gizelle Bryant,  Maria Shriver , and Hillary Clinton just to name a few, go through the fire because of their husband's infidelity, but do we ever really consider them? Do we ever really consider the wife?

I ask this because I have watched the Scandal craze with amazement. Everyone wants Olivia to get her man, that is, the man of another woman.

I've heard people say that their  love is "special." But what really blew me away was when people started passing one of Olivia's quotes around Social Media, "If you want me, earn me," like there was some honor in a married man disrespecting his wife.

The fact of the matter, when we translate that into real English, it means, in order to earn me you have to disrespect your wife more and more. It means you have to lie to her to be with me. It means untimely that you leave her for me.

{Side note: Now I'm not on a moral higher ground. I've been there with that demand and no consideration of the wife. I will talk about that in my next blog post Being Mary Jane. But I have worked on myself enough to get it--- this is wrong as a left shoe on a right foot.}

In all the excitement around Scandal, I have never heard anyone say this is some wrong shit. I have heard them say that a woman debases herself being a side chick, but no one talks about the "wife," Mellie.

For those who want Olivia to get her man, there is almost a justification, his wife is weak and they don't belong together are some of the ones I've heard. But in reality what people are advocating week after week is for Fitz to leave his wife.

Has anyone given any thought to the environment we are creating, i. e. It's O. K.  to be a side chick but of equal importance, it's ok to disrespect the wife.

What if Mellie beats Olivia's ass? Would it be a beat down she deserves? And what about in real life, when Lorena Bobbitt cut her husband penis off? We made her out to be a crazy lady. A wife gone mad.

Who considers the wife? The husband certainly doesn't. When a man steps outside of his marriage he has said, I place this emotional and spiritual fuck over and above my wife. I can morally degrade her, and keep her at the same time. When divorce is available to everyone.

Who considers the wife? The other woman certainly doesn't, she has said I can trespass over this woman with her husbands permission. I told one of my ex husband's women, "what kind of man would let a woman call his house and disrespect his wife, his sick wife at that."

And even if the husband doesn't have a level head in the matter, why would a woman pour salt into the wound, woman to woman? Like when Mary Jane in Being Mary Jane cornered  her lover's wife in a store to tell her that she was fucking her husband. Wasn't it enough that he was leaving is wife to come to you?

And what blows me away, the husband and the other woman together, they have partnered against not only the secret institution of  marriage, but against the wife.  I've been in that kind of planning meeting and looking back with disgust for my own disgust. I've been both the wife and Mary Jane. I know, as Mary Jane, I felt like the wife had no rights. I needed to respect, and for sure my authority came from the husband. How sick is that? I wanted respect when I was the wife, but didn't want to give it to a wife.  Thank God for years of therapy and a place of understanding of what it means to love oneself. With self love comes love and respect of others.

Who considers the wife in their own personal lives and environment?  Infidelity is not some far fetched concept. We know these people, they are are family and friends.

Do you  go on record with your disapproval or do you remain silent?. Like when does a brother tell another brother, man you wrong.  Or do you just come to his rescue when needed and hold on to his secret because he is your brother?

When does a pastor tell another pastor, pier to pier, man you can't bring your woman around me and you can't talk about your wife with disdain around me. Is there a moral authority that pastors hold other pastors to?

When does a girlfriend tell another girlfriend, you know you ain't got no right to that man, he has a wife and sometimes children....Thats some unhealthy shit no matter how you cut it for you, for him, and all involved. When does a girlfriend speak that truth to a girlfriend?

Who stands up for right in the face of this wrong? I remember a friend of mine was having an affair and I told him point blank, you cannot bring your woman to my house.  I will not entertain her, it don't work like that.

But how many of us ever take that kind of stand? How many of us have entertained the other women?  I wonder how many of the people who have called Mundi a whore, are friends with a Mundi of their own? How many Mundi's have you had in your home or have entertained in some way, yet you know the wife personally?

I learned that my ex-husband's family knew about one of his women. Like how does that work? How is it OK for a  family member to participate in the face of outright wrong?  When she married your brother, uncle, father cousin, she became your family too.

Who considers the wife? The media certainly dosent. They print stories to sell papers with no consideration. I called a blogger today a "Blog Whore" as it relates to this issue, but let me be clear, in my quest for the truth, I didn't even consider the wife.

Who considers the wife? The public doesn't  really. For everyone has an opinion that is often carried out with dogma. That's the reason I removed the post yesterday, the dogma was dark and sinister in spirit.

We have so many examples  floating around. I watched the public turn on the wife, worst than they do on the other woman, when she decides to stay in her marriage, especially when it's a public figure. Like the way feminist kicked First Lady Hillary Clinton's tail when she didn't divorce President Clinton. When it was rumored that Maria Shriver was staying with Arnold she was also under fire.

Everyone has an agenda and an opinion about the wife without any consideration for the wife. Her hurt are hers to work through - her way, it does not belong to us. All we can do is pray for her and those closet undergird and support the decisions she makes that will best serve her life. In the end, it is her life.

Who considers the wife? God certainly does, adultery is a sin.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happy Birthday Rev. Jackson!!

Today is Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson Sr. birthday and I honor him with a this blog post that  I originally wrote in on Father's Day three years ago!

 I never knew my father. He was shot in the back of his head by his first cousin when I was a three years old, so I was told.  When I was 11 years old my mother hooked up with a man that she later married. But he was never a father. He spent most of his time terrorizing me. And when I told my mother that her husband was grabbing my breasts, she told me, “Bitch, I’m ain't gonna let you fuck up my shit.”

So I never had that loving family and for most of my life I was void of positive male influences, that is until I went to work at Operation PUSH. Mrs. Jacqueline Jackson took me under her wings and she and her husband, Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr., nurtured and helped to shape me into the woman that I am. I became a part of the family, even living with the Jackson clan at different periods of my life. I worked in all of his organizations and on both presidential campaigns. I was the Deputy National Youth Director for the '84 campaign and the National Youth Director for the '84 campaign.

Today, the Jackson’s are a major part of my support system. There is nothing Mrs. Jackson wouldn't do for me. I know that I will never be homeless or hungry as long as they both have breath in their body. There are many things that I can say about Rev. Jackson, but I will share a few from a tribute that I wrote for a book celebrating his 65th birthday. I went to work at PUSH as an intern when I was nineteen years old and stayed.

By the time I was in my mid twenties, Rev. Jackson had helped to shape me and my journey. He taught me to stand for right in the face of wrong. With a deep understanding I learned that God could use the least to do the most. His tutelage was the catalyst for my groundbreaking work around HIV/AIDS. I could hear him loudly, “If not now, when?” “If not you, who?" These words embedded in me gave me the courage to stand tall. His impact on my life reached far and deep. His impact on America can never be erased!

But the truest test of the man, the leader, the mentor and the surrogate father came for me in 1992. I stood in his kitchen and told Rev. Jackson that I had AIDS. I had been diagnosed with HIV for almost seven years and had never disclosed my status. My failure to disclose was mainly out of my shame and my own culpability in my infection, and of course, fear of rejection. But now I had AIDS and the secret was written all over my thin frame.

I remember it was like yesterday, I said, "Reverend, I need to talk to you.” We stood in his small kitchen. He shot me that fatherly look and said, “You’re pregnant." “No, not that,” I mumbled. And after a pause I said, "I have AIDS." "You mean HIV?" he asked, "No, I have AIDS," I mumbled again. Back then AIDS was a death sentence. He was trying to make sense of the fact that I just told him that I was dying. He looked straight at me, digesting the information. His silence made me nervous so I started rambling. He stood and listened with this blank stare, I couldn't read it to save my life. I gave him seven years of information in three minutes.

But he was never one for a lot of small talk  and true to form, he stopped me and simply said very matter of fact, "Rae, I loved you before AIDS, and I love you with AIDS.” Then he grabbed my hand and said, "Let's pray." We prayed together in his kitchen that day and made our way to the Dinning room to tell Mrs. Jackson together.

That day Rev. Jackson validated for me the measure of a man. He was not only the first presidential candidate with an AIDS policy who spent nights in AIDS hospice with strangers left by their families to die, he was also one of the first African-American Leader's from the old guard to take a solid stand in this HIV/AIDS fight. Yes, his training and nurturing helped to shape who I am and that became a catalyst for the work that I do around HIV/AIDS and my public ministry. But most importantly, he was consistent. He and Mrs. Jackson have made themselves perfectly clear, you do not have to do it alone!

Rev. Jackson’s influence on my life reached deep within my soul. I am a better person because our destinies are bound together. I thank God for his place in my life. 
I thank God for his place in history. Happy Birthday Rev. Jackson!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fannie Lou Hamer! Someone You Should Know!

Fannie Lou Hamer was a giant of a woman! She took on the state of Mississippi, the Democratic Party and even Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Leadership.

She was a purest who's commitment to social justice was unwavering and unparalleled to any one person in the Civil Rights Movement.

I had heard about Fannie Lou Hamer, I mean anyone working in any Civil Rights organization better. And of course, everyone knows her famous quote from the 1964 Democratic Convention, "I'm tired of being sick and tried." But it really wasn't until I went to seminary that I really began to explore Ms. Hamer's life.

My professor Mark Wendoft assigned a book, This Little Light of Mine, The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer by Kay Mills. When I finished reading the book, I was in awe and I needed to know more. I needed an inside scoop. So I made my way over to Mrs. Jacqueline Jackson, the wife of Rev. Jesse Jackson to talk to her about Ms. Hamer for a paper I was writing

Sitting in her dining room, which was our hangout, I  said to Ms. J, as I call her, "Tell me about Fannie Lou Hamer." The first thing to come out of her mouth was, "She was one of the most integrist person's of the Civil Right Movement." She added, "Fannie took them all to task and when she was in jail, they beat her like she was a man."

Ms. Hamer lived in Mississippi all of her life. She was born October 6, 1917.  One of twenty children, the value of her life was an extra $50.00. In those days, the planation owners gave $50 for each new child; a possible field hand for the sharecroppers family. She was a sharecroppers daughter that herself became a sharecropper with an education level that barley reached the six grade. Most black children  from sharecroppers family only went to school 6 months out of the year following the cropping season. They had a sub-standard education, where the students  in all the grades shared one teacher in one classroom.

August 31, 1962, Fannie Lou Hamer's life changed forever and that changed the course of history for the state of Mississippi.  She was 45 years old as she made her way with 17 others to register to vote for the first time in her life. The Circuit Clerk turned 15 of them away that day. Ms. Hamer and Ernest Davis stayed and took the literacy test that was required to register. They had been tutored by the members of SNCC, The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee there for Freedom Summer.

Plus, you had to interpret whatever portion of the Mississippi constitution they requested of you. That day, she was asked a question about, "de facto law." Huh? What? Right! You get it. But she didn't back down, she did what she could. Later Ms. Hamer admitted, "I didn't no nothing about no de facto law." On the way back to the rural area from the city the bus carrying the passengers was stopped for being, "to yellow."

By the time Ms. Hamer arrived to her house that night, the plantation owner had already made his way to her place. He told her point blank, "Go get your name off that book!" believing that she had actually been able to register that day. She stood tall and told him point blank, "Mr. Dee I didn't go down there to register for you. I went down to register for myself." That took a lot of balls for a black woman to stand toe to toe, eye to eye with a white man in 1962. Not only was her life in danger but her livelihood, the planation owner to sharecroppers was your bread and butter. Fannie Lou Hamer stood her ground and never turned back.

To really understand the boldness of their work, one must understand the Delta. It was a stronghold of oppression for black people. Mississippi would take the lives of  Emmett Till, Medgar Evers and James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael  Schwerner, the three SNCC workers who had come for Freedom Summer to help register voters. The stronghold was so tight, by 1965, after 2 1/2 years of work, there were still  only 155 black registered in Sunflower County out of 13, 524.

The work that Fannie Lou Hamer and SNCC did in the Delta was courageous. She became, the voice, the face and the spirit of the movement in Mississippi. Well after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, they were still fighting hard in Mississippi. Harassment never stopped. Hamer's husband driving a car carrying white students from Georgetown University there to help register  blacks, was stopped for speeding.

The Hamer's sued the city and police chief  Curtis Floyd in Hamer v. Floyd, becoming the first lawsuit under the federal Voting Rights Act brought by private parties to block a state's prosecution, claiming harassment and infringement on their right to register and vote.

A major part of the work in Mississippi was challenging business as usual. They formed the Mississippi Freedom Party in direct challenge to the standing Democratic leadership. On one level they formed the party as a way to educate and organize blacks in Mississippi, but the primary goal was to unseat the all-white Mississippi delegation to the Democratic Convention in both 1964 and 1968.

History records her as uncompromising and uncontrollable when it came to the rights of people. The 1964 convention was plagued with controversy, sell-out and compromise, depending on how you read history. In a meeting with Ms. Hamer, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Hubert Humphrey, the then vice-presidential candidate, two congressman and two other Civil Rights Activist; where they were trying to reach a compromise;

Ms. Hamer said to Humphrey, "Do you mean to tell me that your position is more important to you then the four hundred thousand black people lives?"

Indeed she was uncontrollable and unpredictable. They excluded her from every other meeting after that. The Civil Rights leadership believed getting Johnson elected was the most important goal and would in the long run help further the cause. The Mississippi delegation left Atlantic City in 64 with a bitter taste.

Jacqueline Jackson's description of Fannie Lou Hamer was on point. She was integrist and a purest to the core. Her commitment to the rights of Blacks in Mississippi was unswerving. Rulevile, Mississippi erected a statue in her honor last week. It is one of four free-standing statue's of a black woman in the United States. The others are Harriet Tuman, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tuman.

Related Blog Post: Voter Suppression Is Voter Oppression Click Here

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Voter Surppersion Is Voter Oppression!

There were so many giants in the Civil Rights Movement. So many who made so many sacrifices for Black folks to have the right to VOTE.

Fannie Lou Hamer is the one person that I admire the most. A sharecropper with a 6th grade education, she took on the State of Mississippi. She was jailed countless times. She opened her home to the young people of SNCC who came to Mississippi for Freedom Summer to register Blacks to vote and she never turned back.

She was an unlikely hero and ally to the Civil Rights Movement. She didn't have a fancy education or any stature in her community, but she had more guts than any man of the entire Civil Rights Movement.

She was the only woman beaten in jail like a man to the point that it impacted her health for the rest of of life.

The signing of the Voting Right Act of 1965 was a major milestone for sure, but it didn't change the patterns or fancy ways they continued to suppress voting among Blacks and the poor. Fannie Lou kept fighting!  She was one of the giants who challenged the Democratic Party on the floor of the Democratic Convention in both 1964 and 1968. Of which her famous quote, "I'm tried of being sick and tried," has gone down in history. It wasn't just about the right to vote, but also the right to be included in the decision making of the Democratic Party.

She challenge our country to do better! If there was one person that I could have lunch with from the Civil Rights Movement, it would be Fannie Lou.

When I began working in politics in 1982 I thought we had come a long way. That is until my first staff meeting at Operation PUSH where Rev. Jesse L. Jackson began to lay out the new and creative ways of Voter Oppression. For example, some states had it where a person had to register twice to vote once; in Up-State New York they wouldn't allow students  to register in their college town for fear if they voted they would change the scale.

The summer 1983 , Jackson set out on a Voter Registration he coined The Southern Crusade. We spent that entire summer, registering blacks to vote throughout out the South. At the same time, Jackson began to challenge these laws that disenfranchised voters throughout the South.

He forced the State Department to step in. He challenged the system. We registered over a million new voters across the South that summer. That voter registration campaign launched his candidacy for President and it was the first time Black America had seen a black man debate white men on national television and hold his own. It was history!

It also launched other candidacies. This wasn't a one man show, be clear. Jackson was encouraging people to RUN, RUN, RUN. He would say, "Run for dog catcher, just run! If you run, you might lose, if you don't run, you are guaranteed to lose." It sparked an entire generation of new progressive politicians both black and white and launched the concept of the Rainbow Coalition, which helped to elect Bill Clinton.

 It was history  in the making. His bid for presidency also challenged the Democratic Party to do better and be better, just like Fannie Lou Hamer. It was Jackson who challenged the delegate progress of the Democratic Party and ushered in one man, one vote. For example, prior to this rule, a candidate could win the majority of the popular vote in a primary, but still not win the most delegates for that state. This change in party rules of course, opened the door for Obama to win the Democratic nomination. Sometimes I sit back and shake my head at how people think we just got here. Obama didn't just get here. There were a lot of people who paved the way. We got here because other people did the WORK!

During the first Obama Campaign I watched in horror as young people concluded that Jackson's critique of Obama was jealously. I watched this "new era" emerge that said, we can't be to black; black issues are obsolete. Obama even suggested that the Voting Rights Act was obsolete.

I watched as people with no understanding of history, so it seemed, declared that Jackson and men like him were obsolete. I watched as the good old fashion mechanism for voter registration and voter turnout were replaced with Twitter.

 I watched  in horror as my friends working in politics lost their jobs. There was a new day in Washington DC, a new and modern president and a new era and there was no need for us old timers, our voice or our analysis. We were to" black" and our ways of doing things were deemed obsolete.

I continued to watch in horror at all the joking and name calling in Social Media around the Tea Party. Yep, they let you call them names and they kept organizing. Organizing themselves better than any movement since the 80's.

Black folks are so freaking confused that it's scary. SCARYYYY!! The Democratic Party and Obama is in the fight for their life and all you can do is JOKE.

Let me be clear, all my close friends can tell you that I am a ABSOLUTE critic of President Obama and I consider both he and Michelle my friend. For Real. For me this ain't about friendship, this is about, a just society and a peaceful world for us all.  Now don't be confused, as a black woman I will ALWAYS have a special interest, Bullshit ain't nothing! I don't care if the President is green, my interest must have a voice! While Obama and I differ on quite a few things, Paul Ryan is scary and borderline's on fascism. He is dangerous! Yes I know he's not running for President. But don't be confuse, he has a ton of influence in the Romey's camp. Some days I think he is running for President and not Romey.

Ok, so this is SCARYY. Voting Rights is being attacked all across this country and we don't have a clue. NOT ONE CLUE! At one level this is about getting out to vote, on another level this is way more than that. This is about Voter Suppression! Which leads us right back to Oppression. 

The fact of the matter, the voting laws for the states have changed so much, you may get to the polls and not be able to even cast a vote.

You are so busy cracking jokes you ain't even bothered to check on your registration. So what you have your voter registration card in your wallet. That may mean little at the polls in November.

This is not just about the South, this is every STATE! For example, I live in Illinois. I moved one year ago. I changed my voter resignation to my new address and I have my card to prove it. BUT, I never changed my drivers license. Now that they have connected voter resignation to the DMV the two must match. My drivers license must match my voter resignation and NO you can't go back to the old polling place. The chances are, you have already been purged from the rolls. So now I have to go get a new drivers license, which cost, and make sure that my registration is connected to my new address by October 9th or I can't vote. Be clear, for poor people, students and seniors this is a hardship. Just working people, who has time to make it to the DMV after work  before close?

They say if you don't know your history you are bound to repeat it. Or maybe, we think more of America and the system then we ought to. The benefit of the doubt has bitten us in the ass. The bottom line is clear, they have found new and creative ways to suppress voting in 2012.

So whatever you thought you understood about progress has been derailed by your arrogance. Arrogance that said, we have arrived because a black man is in the White House.

Yep Yep.... This election is going to be a MESSY, MESS! My advice to you is to first check your voter registration laws for your state and make sure you are in compliance. FORGET what you think! Find out the FACTS! You have 5 more days to make sure you can vote. Voter Resignation closes on October 9th, thats TUESDAY!

BET News has set up a page state by state of Voter Laws check them out Here. BET also set up a Twitter account you should follow them and begin to RT the information.

 My suggestion is that in the next few days, use your Social Media tools, Twitter and Facebook to get this information out. You made the old timers obsolete, well now, make the new way work to your advantage.  In fact,  copy and paste BET's Link and put it on your Faceook page and Tweet it


As for me, I'm going to handle my business and change my ID on tomorrow, what are you going to do? Voter Suppression is Voter Oppression!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tea With Rae: The Wonder of Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea has a wonderful place in my heart and memory. On hot Chicago days I would sit in the yard of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson and Ms. J as I call her (Jacqueline) would pick peppermint leaves from her yard and make us a wonderful iced tea. I think I was in equal awe of the taste of this delight as much as I was by Ms. J traveling across the country campaigning for her husband to be president of the United States but yet had time to grow peppermint. She is amazing!

I so enjoyed those days sipping peppermint tea and soaking up Ms. J's wisdom and knowledge. Over the years it seems that each time I drink peppermint tea, my heart goes back to those days when I was young, vibrant, and HIV free. But those days are long gone. These days I'm dealing with the daily struggle of living with AIDS. And with this comes a ton of medication and side effects. #ForReal.

About two years ago I started a medication, Isentress, the very week it was approved by the FDA. I didn't really care about the side effects because taking it meant that I would be free of Fuzion, the HIV medication I injected in my stomach twice a day. Anything was better than that drama. I cried every time I injected myself. Well, let me tell you, it's been one uphill journey with this switch. The medication is working just great so there is no point in changing. I just gotta cope regardless.

But honestly, I was fed up with the intense headaches that Isentress cause, and equally fed up with popping pain medication every day in addition to already taking 15 pills. So, while writing my tea blogs, I've been in search of teas that have wonderful health benefits. One of my tea partners, The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, is very health conscious with their teas.

They had seen my tweets about my headaches so when I received a package of teas from them to review, to my surprise, they had added two teas to help with my headaches.

I gotta tell ya, these two teas, Mint Medley and Amore, are very different but equally wonderful. When I opened the tin of Mint Medley it sent me instantly back to those days in Ms. J's backyard. The aroma of this perfect blend of organic spearmint and peppermint, made from dried leaves of those plants, made me feel as if I was surrounded in a garden of peppermint leaves. The strong aroma is equally matched by the smooth but strong mint taste. Until now I had never experienced a blend of mints. There is something to be said about mixing the two different mint flavors. I can't quite put my finger on it, but they seem to go together just like strawberries and bananas. Alone they are equally great, but together they are sublime.

Now Amore is different in so many ways, but it shares the same aroma power as Mint Medley. Amore is an organic white tea, blended with rose, peppermint and other botanicals, but you clearly know that it has the power of peppermint when you open the tin. The rose and botanicals soften the tea like a flower garden in the middle of a park dominated by green grass. While you can clearly taste the peppermint, the softness in the smell is also in the taste.

I loved them both! Now did they help my headaches? Yes, they did! Not only did they help reduce the pain in my head, but they also helped me to relax.

The benefit that I hadn't counted on was my tummy. You all know the ongoing GI issues I've been having. Well, the peppermint seems to have a calming effect on my nausea.  Basically, the peppermint soothes the inflammation in the digestive tract which decreases nausea and vomiting.

Overall I give these peppermint teas two tea cups up! In addition to helping headaches, including migraines, they are rich in Vitamin B which boosts the immune system. This would be a perfect choice for a cold and/or the flu. Additionally, it is said to reduce muscle pain, which means ladies, it is GREAT for menstrual cramps. And let's not forget, Amore is a white tea, so it is also good for depression. Peppermint tea is a winner! And The Persimmon Tree Tea Company has two wonderful blends that are now a staple in my tea cabinet.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Reflection: Doers Not Dreamers...

Most people know me as an Emmy Award winning AIDS activist, but my life was committed to social change long before I appeared on the cover of Essence magazine. In many ways, my work in social justice paved the way for the work that I do now. My training ground was Operation PUSH, a legacy of which I am very proud. I remember one of the first assignments given to all the interns was to read, Why We Can't Wait, by Dr. Martin Luther King. It was the first of Dr. King's writings I had ever read and it set the tone for everything I did after.

Operation PUSH began as Operation Breadbasket, the economic arm of Dr. King's work in social justice. Dr. King appointed Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. as the national director. After Dr. King's death, it evolved into Operation PUSH where Rev. Jackson and a host of Civil Rights workers continued the work. They shut down A&P grocery stores on many Saturdays, demanding economic reciprocity. A&P's saturated Chicago's black communities getter richer daily from our dollars, yet only hired blacks for the most menial of jobs. Rev. Jackson, under the realm of Operation PUSH, fought for that change.

Operation PUSH was always referred to as Dr. King's workshop. It was seen as an extension of Dr. Kings work in Social Justice. Our focus was not remembering the dream of Dr. King, but the work of Dr. King. In fact, I can't ever remember the I Have A Dream speech as a starting point for conversation. Instead, we were reminded that Dr. King was assassinated working. He was in Memphis supporting the garbage workers boycott. We were reminded that Dr. King's work began with Civil Rights but once African-Americans were given the right to equal accommodations and the Voting Rights's Act was passed, King didn't quit. No, King shifted his work to the other important issues that affected not only African-Americans but all Americans. He shifted his work to economic fairness, poverty, and the Vietnam War.

Dr. King's workshop was a place where people came to work for change. Everything we did was about the advancement of others. This was not an organization, we were a movement. There was no set work day, we worked until the job was done. Many of us worked 10-12 hour days. One of my first projects was the boycott of Anheuser-Busch. A large portion of their sales were from African-Americans, but there were no distributorships, no senior management, and no investments in the Black community. They also held these Super Festival's with Black entertainers and all Black audiences, but yet, they used no Black promoters or public relations' companies to run these festivals.

I organized college students across the country, "Bud Is A Dud, Don't Drink Those Suds," was our battle cry. And we shut down those festivals in city after city after city. Anheuser-Busch lost money that summer and it forced them to sit down with us.

Yes, my time spent at Dr. King's workshop was about making change happen not dreaming about change. As the National Youth Director for Jesse L. Jackson for President campaigns, I crisscrossed this country registering college students to vote and organizing them to help get the vote out. I worked the Democratic Convention in '88 when Rev. Jackson fought for the one man one vote change in the Democratic party, which, by the way, paved the way twenty years later for Barack Obama to win the Democratic nomination. It was an exciting time in my life. I sat in meetings with women like Dorothy Height and Alexis Herman. Staff meetings were run by Rev. Jackson. To sit in his presence and absorb it all like a sponge helped to shape me into the woman that I am today. My peers were women like Donna Brazile. It was an awesome time in my life.

I was at the epicenter of it all fighting to help bring about change. We were doers not dreamers. My work in HIV/AIDS is just an extension of my work at Dr. King's workshop. I remember that Rev. Jackson was the first presidential candidate to have an AIDS policy. He would sleep in AIDS hospices and share meals with people dying from AIDS at a time when the current President couldn't get the word AIDS out of his mouth and discrimination was running rampant in our schools, hospitals, churches, funeral parlors, and even our homes.

My transition to an AIDS activist is a natural one for me. It is some of the most important work for African-Americans at this time in history. We have got to change the tide of AIDS in our community. African-Americans are 46% of HIV cases in the United States and only 12% of the population. AIDS is the number one killer of African-Americans in the United States between the ages of 25-44. There are 30,000 new cases of HIV a year and African-Americans are 42% of that number. We have to change the tide.

We must change the tide. We must challenge stigma and shame. We must educate so behavior can change, and we must challenge the government and traditional AIDS organizations to give us access to the money and resources for us to do the work. I get asked often by someone in the AIDS community, "What are Black folks going to do about AIDS in the Black community?" Yes, we do have to step up to the plate even more than we have. And don't be confused, there are Black people who do the work. But my question is, "What's the AIDS community going to do to help?" We deserve the same support and resources that the gay community received in the earlier period of the AIDS crisis in the U.S. Bottom line: There is much work for all of us to do.

So, for me, I make a renewed commitment to continue to do the work until the day I die. Looking back, over twenty-five years later, I'm grateful I learned all that I needed to know to carry out this work inside Dr. King's workshop at the feet of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson. I am honored to be a part of this legacy of doers not dreamers.

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