Tag Archives: Diversity

Good Cops: Come out…Wherever you are!

copsLet’s get one thing straight!

This piece is not about bashing police officers. It is about looking for solutions to problems that continues to plague Black and Brown communities of the United States.  It’s about raising the expectation of protection and to service.  It’s about commitment to ensuring the words spoken by every police officer are true, alive, and made real in all interactions

Law Enforcement Oath

On my honor,
I will never betray my badge,
my integrity, my character,
or the public trust.
I will always have
the courage to hold myself
and others accountable for our actions.
I will always uphold the constitution
my community and the agency I serve.

This piece is a call to the good, faithful, responsible, and committed police officers who are dutifully referenced after deaths of unarmed victims such as Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, and others whose names and stories haven’t risen to prominence.  This piece is for the officers who fall into the group, “This does not represent all police officers”, those who are not part of the “few bad apples”, and the fraternity of “the good cops out there”.

We need you!  Good police officers and administrators, we need you! WE NEED YOU!

The change that protesters, parents, friends, family, and community members are calling for has to start with you.  It is more than the extensive training you receive on firearms, tactics, and self-defense. It is going to take more than an overcrowded justice system, arrest quotas, and neighborhood sweeps.  It is going to take more than empty legislation, and oppressive laws designed to maintain the status quo.

The change begins with good police officers stepping forward, calling out, holding accountable, and removing from their ranks the officers whose behaviors, ideologies, and actions are counter to betraying the badge and the eroding the public trust. The good officers create the change so desperately needed by all communities is by raising the ethics bar for new recruits.  The Law Enforcement Oath will be best exemplified when good officers don’t go straight home after their shift. They take the time to evaluate and “check” the ones who run counter to the tenants of to protect and serve.

Unless good officers take a stand, a strong stance on protecting the dignity of the badge, I have nothing less than to expect another unarmed corpse, a crying family member, a protest, dropped charges, and then…nothing.

You know who you are!  Come out!  We need you!

Guy A. Sims is the author of the novel, Living Just A Little, and the crime novellas, The Cold Hard Cases of Duke Denim.  He is also the head writer of the Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline comic book series and the Brotherman graphic novel, Revelation.  

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When I Was Your Girlfriend: Book Review

When I Was Your Girlfriend: Book Review

Author: Nikki Harmon

Mt. Airy Girl Press, 2015

 

It is better to have loved and lost…WIWYG Cover

Alfred Lord Tennyson’s quote is pure b.s. in Dee’s world.  A talented midwife and sometime-y single, Dee finds herself pushing through the revolving door of relationships or flirting in dark-cornered trysts as the cavernous hole in her heart aches to be filled with a love yet to be discovered and cherished.  When a familiar name is mentioned at her office, Dee ponders one of life’s perennial questions, can you relive or recapture the feelings of the past?  This is Dee’s dilemma and her soul-searching sojourn in Nikki Harmon’s novel, When I Was Your Girlfriend.

Harmon tells both the coming of age and coming to terms story of Deidre “Dee” Armstrong, a confident, competent, and casually content Philly-based midwife, balancing the delivering of babies with the one and off relationship with the beautiful women she encounters.  When she hears the name she hadn’t heard in years, an emotional and torrential flood sweeps her headfirst into the forgotten recesses of her past and the aching desire to find her first love.

Harmon’s writing is crisp, humorous, insightful, and unabashed.  Through Dee, she grabs readers by the waist and escorts them into one woman’s jaunt through short-lived romantic relationships and the emotional racking of longing for a love that may not have ever really existed.  Readers are challenged to search their hearts and minds to conclude if long-lost loves should remain in the past…or…like the Phoenix, have the opportunity to rise from the ashes of time and distance to live again.

When I Was Your Girlfriend is a clear pick for the summer.  A perfect read for the beach, book club, or with a glass of wine after leafing longingly through your high school yearbook.

Expect more insightful, inspiring, and intriguing works from Nikki Harmon in the future.

You can get your copy of When I Was Your Girlfriend here, Amazon, or whereever good books are sold.

Guy A. Sims is the author of the novel, Living Just A Little, and the crime novellas, The Cold Hard Cases of Duke Denim.  He is also the head writer of the Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline comic book series and the Brotherman graphic novel, Revelation.  

 

 

 

 

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Replay: A Cupboard Full of Coats – A Review

THE JOURNEY TO TRUTH IS OFTEN LONG AND OPAQUE.

Reviewed by Guy A. Sims

CFC New

The is the new cover for the U.S. market…it is “Yankee” tight!

Sometimes we have the pain of which we cease to feel…or perhaps refuse to feel. Jinx is a distant mother, mortician, an ex-wife, and responsible for her mother’s death. She’s a ball of pain, pressure, and questions which cannot be quelled by either isolation or destinationless running. For fourteen years she has held the guilt of jealousy, hatred, and loss until a familiar stranger knocks at her door.

A Cupboard Full of Coats, the maiden voyage novel of Yvvette Edwards (note the double Vs in her name…that’s how the sisters do it in London), is an intimate journey of unresolved pain, misunderstood understanding, restrained loss, and unresolved love. Drawn in close quarters, Edward’s protagonist, Jinx, has lived a life walled by her guilt of causing the death of her mother; manifesting her guilt through the disconnection of her son and estrangement with her husband. Edwards crafts an environment which gets more and more emotionally claustrophobic as Jinx’s life is illustrated as one confined to both the home and her memories.

The tension rises like a pot of boiling ox-tail stew with the sudden appearance of a long-time family friend, Lemon. Though with reluctance, she invites both him, memories, and truth to come sweeping into her self-made prison. Through the Caribbean delicacies prepared by Lemon, memories conjured by the wine, and unfolded mysteries disguised as casual conversation, Jinx is pushed down Memory Lane to a place of confrontation and truth. The journey is suspenseful, funny, painful, and sensual. Suspense is the ingredient which brings the final satisfaction to the reader’s intellectual palate. Issues of jealousy, abuse, abandonment, and desire fill the rooms of Jinx’s home with a cupboard full of coats as the conduit for what was and what could have been.

Edwards brings to her readers across the pond a snapshot of the unfamiliar Black life in London. She illustrates the confluence of American and Caribbean culture with an East End vibe. Her passion, humor, and exposition brings to readers an understanding of her world beyond the Hollywood and tabloid descriptions of London.

Yvvette Edwards has lived in London all her life. She grew up in Hackney and is of Montserratian-British origin. Yvvette continues to live in the East End and is married with three children.

Listen to Yvvette discuss her book right here.

Publisher: Amistad, 2012

Pages: 275

Click here to secure your copy of A Cupboard full of Coats

Guy A. Sims is the author of the novel, Living Just A Little, and the crime novellas, The Cold Hard Cases of Duke Denim.  He is also the head writer of the Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline comic book series and the Brotherman graphic novel, Revelation.  

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Jenga: Mizzou Version

jengaRemember the classic block stacking game Jenga?  Players are faced with a tower of wooden blocks, taking turns removing them one at a time, replacing pieces onto the top, until it becomes unstable and falls?   For those who are patient, committed, and “in the game”, it is exciting to watch a once solid structure become wobbly…and when the right piece is removed, the exhilaration of the crash signifying a victory.

The events taking place currently at the University of Missouri are reminiscent of the game Jenga.   Students have been sharing their experiences of racism, racist behavior, and other instances counter to the institution’s Statement of Values, specifically Respect and Responsibility…just like Jenga game pieces.  Removing them from the long-standing foundation of campus culture and placing them on top for all to view…and waiting to see what happens.  And like the game, even though pieces are removed, the strength of the culture allows for the structure to remain in place.  But unlike your rainy Saturday afternoon game of Jenga, the real-life version has players that come and go, semester after semester, year after year…with the game being reset…no true resolution.Mizzou

This week, a major piece of the University of Missouri version of Jenga has been extracted.  Yes, graduate student Jonathan L. Butler (Blue Phi) was steadfast on nearly two weeks of a hunger strike after seeing a swastika drawn in human feces (now you know that’s straight nasty).  One piece removed.  Yes, the #ConcernedStudents1950 student group had a loud, profound, and viral protest.  Another piece removed.  But the power play of the day was the members of the football team, along with their coaches, issuing their statement of solidarity with their own champion-style strike, refusing to play anymore games until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed from his office.  With millions of dollars on the line, a public relations nightmare…oh yeah…and the duty to do what is right, the University of Missouri Board of Curators announced Dr. Wolfe’s resignation.

Tim Wolfe

Pres. Tim Wolfe

The tower falls! Or does it?

One thing about Jenga, after the structure collapses there is a mess all over the table.  Mom and Dad aren’t going to let you just walk away and get a snack…it has to be cleaned up.  The tower is rebuilt and ready for a new game.  This is the challenge for the Mizzou community.  When this tower is put back together, serious discussions on what will be different has to take place.  One person may be gone but the culture remains.  That is what has to be addressed or the same old game will be played over and over and over.

This is an academic and cultural watershed moment that should not be squandered.  It is a chance to fully involve everyone (because everyone is impacted) in the resolution of what the community can and will be.  In fact, it should be exciting.  Reinvention is the hallmark of progression.  It can be done, the time is right, and the University of Missouri is the place.

Wishing the best for you…Mizzou.

Oh, by the way, did you know that Jenga is a Swahili word meaning, to build.  Now is the time for the community of the University of Missouri…to Jenga.block

Guy A. Sims is the author of the forthcoming Brotherman graphic novel, Revelation. He is also the author of the romantically romance novel, Living Just A Little, and the crime novellas, The Cold Hard Cases of Duke Denim.     Contact or comment at guysims.com or @guysims6 

 

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Tim Wise: Cultural Provocateur by Guy A. Sims

Tim Wise

Tim Wise

Tim Wise began his comments at Virginia Tech with a caveat…a bit of clarification…perhaps even a spoonful of keepin’ it realism.  No surprise…what he came to deliver was not anything different from the messages people of color have been sharing, promoting, explaining, and demanding in classrooms, boardrooms, cubicles, and neighborhoods.  Only this time it was presented in a package a little more palatable than what may have been the norm.  It was akin to a parent no longer giving their child Castor Oil in a spoon but now it is in a gelcap.  Same medicine…just easily swallowed.  The goal, to massage the words of Malcolm X, was to administer the medicine by any means necessary.

Mr. Wise, if you’re not familiar, is an anti-racism activist, an author, lecturer, and cultural provocateur (I added that one myself, we’ll get to that one later).  His books, White Like Me, Dear White America, and (hold on for this one) Speaking Treason Fluently Anti-Racist Reflections From An Angry White Male speak to address, illuminate, and dismantle structures of white privilege, cultural mis-education, false notions of power, and the head-on challenge of having serious and action-oriented conversations on equity and diversity.

On this evening, like many of his presentations, Tim Wise was speaking primarily to his white brethren and sisterens.  A deep rooted son of the south, Tim peeled back the onion of history, of Americana mythology, of institutional practices of divisiveness, and the mental shackles that bind us all.  His peeling, slow and easy, doesn’t produce tears.  His delivery, complete with self and cultural-effacing humor and rife with majority-generated information for the data-driven doubter, brought a paced and steady rise of discomfort for many in the audience.  Tuned in observers may have noticed that numbers of people of color present served as the choir, offering their call and response to this guest preacher in the House of Diversity & Equity Elevation.

Tim Wise challenged misrepresented rhetoric presented in the form of mainstream logic when addressing Black Lives Matter, immigration issues, and deadly police interactions with people of color.  He challenged those unable to connect racialized issues of today as another troubled link in the history of race relations in the United States. He challenged the very core of belief systems that define how people view their place as human beings.

Tim Wise and Guy Sims

Tim Wise and Guy Sims

As a cultural provocateur, Mr. Wise stirred the senses and notions of those in attendance.  At times it was uneasy to laugh, to agree, to look at your neighbor, or even at yourself.  I asked him at the conclusion of his visit did he feel he was getting any traction with his message.  He said on the grand scale, maybe not.  But individually, people who say their lives and thinking have been changed…yes.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  The journey of a better world begins with one person.

Guy A. Sims is the author of the forthcoming Brotherman graphic novel, Revelation. He is also the author of the romantically romance novel, Living Just A Little, and the crime novellas, The Cold Hard Cases of Duke Denim.     Contact or comment at guysims.com or @guysims6 

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