Sunday, June 28, 2015

Love Wins, but the reaction isn't Lovely

by Leora Jackson

Since the Historical Ruling on June 26, 2015, social media has blown up with many views and criticisms. I have taken the time to look through some of these comments and post them here.

June 26 at 10:53am ·




Divine judgment by God was then passed upon Sodom and Gomorrah and two neighboring cities, which were completely consumed by fire and brimstone. Neighboring Zoar (Bela) was the only city to be spared. In Abrahamic religions, Sodom and Gomorrah have become synonymous with impenitent sin, and their fall with a proverbial manifestation of divine retribution.[5][6][Jude 1:7] Sodom and Gomorrah have been used as metaphors for vice and homosexuality viewed as a deviation. The story has therefore given rise to words in several languages, including the English word sodomy, used in sodomy laws to describe a sexual "crime against nature" consisting of anal or oral sex, either homosexual or heterosexual, or sexual activity between a person and a non-human animal (bestiality).[7] Some Islamic societies incorporate punishments associated with Sodom and Gomorrah into sharia

Anonymous: Let's stay focused people. Why are people so concerned with who you love. Don't use the bible to Beat up on people. You so concerned about who sleeping with who. In my experience you only fight against something that hard because you connect to it. Why you arguing? When did Jesus argue? Even going to death being accused he answered THOU SAITH. I careless who you love. These anti LGBT PEOPLE ARE FUNNY TO ME. When you go through drive threw do you say, ha before you make my food are you gay. When you call 911 do you say ha before you stop that robber are you gay. Ha Dr. Before you do my surgery who did you sleep with last night. If you have a problem with gays don't pick and choose when you have a problem with them. Just my thoughts

Bishop Allyson Abrams

This truly has been 24 hours of UNFRIENDING people! It is good that people are expressing their true feelings regarding the ruling on yesterday by the Supreme Court. But to go and say that the President is unChristian, the USA is going to hell and all the couples are an abomination is wayyyy beyond what should be said. The problem I had with some of what happened yesterday is that while everybody feels it is a human right, no one has cleared up the fact that the RELIGIOUS PEOPLE still think that same gender love is against God - WHEN IT IS NOT!! It is NOT an abomination! Get an understanding of what was being discussed and WHO that scripture (Genesis) was directed towards before declaring that gays are hell bound! God has NOT turned same gender loving Christians over to a reprobate mind! Get an understanding of what was being discussed and what was going on during that time that was being addressed! NONE of that applies to loving couples on today! It is time that SOMEBODY made it clear that same gender loving couples who have genuine love, and are NOT prostitutes and sex slaves, are loved by God and blessed by God. I need people to stop just going along to get along while putting people in hell in the backs of their minds. More gay folks will probably be in heaven than heterosexuals if hate doesn't leave your hearts, judgment doesn't leave your spirits, and lying doesn't leave your tongues! Same gender loving persons have a right to be in the church and serve in the church. Now if we want to talk about error and sin in the pulpit and pew, we can do that. Let's start with the men who pastor while also ..

Kim Morrow shared Fox 5 DC & MyFoxDC's photo.
11 hrs · Edited 

The White House was lit up like this Friday night in honor of the Supreme Court's decision to allow same-sex couples to marry nationwide

The White House was lit up like this Friday night in honor of the Supreme Court's decision to allow same-sex couples to marry nationwide

There is nothing beautiful about this lie and the profaning of the colors of God's rainbow!!! And, if you can't stomach God's truth...unfriend me and block yourself but I will not be a party to all these lies and not speak out. God will NOT hold me accountable for keeping silent when silence itself is a form of approval!

Kim Morrow And Y'all can stop with the Love business...LOve has nothing to do with right or wrong. I LOVE my children but when they are wrong and disobedient, they still have to be chastised and corrected. God's love doesn't give us free reign to live outside his will and HIs word. Jesus said, since you want to go there...If you love will keep my commandments.

Christian Pastor Promises To Set Himself On Fire If Gay Marriage Is Legalized Nationwide

Here's my thoughts... The judgement given today although it tried cannot change what God ordained. Those who are for it have summed their feelings up in a hashtag ‪#‎LoveWins‬ sorry to say but that's not love its LUST! Our response as a church will determine truly if #LoveWins. Love doesn't accept wrong nor does it condemn. Love shows you the error of your ways and give you the opportunity to change. That is the Gospel. Jesus Christ came to show us our sin and then provided a way for us to change eternally! And NO I'm not perfect and need Jesus daily!‪#‎ProfessaSpeaks‬

Anonymous:  Any person who chooses to debate Gods Word based on their personal wants, versus conforming their personal wants to Gods Word, is in the Creators Own determination a fool, a double-minded soul, and theologically as lost as the unbeliever. It is His way, or your way, God does not respect your compromise.....Lord sanctify..

Whew!! You people with all these different feelings, mixed emotions and anger about yesterday's ruling! The courts can decide whatever they want. The bible is clear and it still stands. God is still the ultimate judge. We have separation of church and state. So the ruling doesnt surprise me. But just because the supreme court ruled it, doesn't mean God approves it. My minister said it best when he said "most people say they believe IN God, but do they really BELIEVE Him? Most folks don't wanna talk about the God of vengeance and justice, only the God of grace and mercy." But He has two sides too..

To my Christian friends if same sex marriage offends you, do this read John 8 3:8!!! Jesus is beyond reproach, meaning He is the only one who would or could ever be sinless!!! Yet He showed only compassion and love!!! Not accepting sinful behavior, but always accepting and protecting the person who sinned!!! Perhaps if we showed more compassion and love toward sinners, we would have more power and influence for good and appear less like hypocritical Pharisees!!! It's His kindness that leads us to repentance Romans 2:4!!! I remember all to distinctly growing up surrounded by this Pharisee driven behavior!!! The results are devastating and a huge turn off for non believers and struggling Christians!!!‪#‎loveliftedme‬!!!

Homosexuality and pedophilia are not synonymous. To assume that those with same sex desires also desire children is insulting and ignorant. Furthermore, if this nation ever passed laws to allow adults to prey on children then that should not be blamed on homosexuality but parents. Finally, it's okay to be upset by the SCOTUS decision but please don't use that as an excuse to blame every sin and social ill on homosexuals. We had sin and social ills way before they could marry.

The thing I love about homosexuals or people who support homosexuals is that they point to all other sins to justify a lifestyle choice. 

A man may steal but that's not his lifestyle choice.

A man may make a mistake and sleep with his neighbors wife bu that's not a lifestyle choice.

A man in a fit of rage may kill someone but that's not a lifestyle choice.

If I sin and repent and make every effort not to commit that sin again is one thing but to openly sin and not make any attempt at repentance for the sin. Is sad. It's called an abomination for a reason. And death was called for so it wouldn't spread

  • Leora Jackson Sir, if your son or daughter were to say..."Dad, I'm Gay!" What's your first reaction?
  • Anonymous: If it's my son. I'm going to probably cry. Then I'm going to try and get him some help. I probably will get myself some help. Remove all guns an knives from my home so I don't kill myself.
     If it's my daughter. Try to get her some help

Black Pastors Vow Acts of Civil Disobedience if Supreme Court Approves Same-Sex Marriage

If you have an opinion, please feel free to say your opinion in the comments section of this article.

Leora Jackson, Blogger

Other images regarding Homosexuality & Sin:

The Groove was Compassionate

The Compassionate Groove 
by Leora Jackson
On a cool Saturday evening June 20, at Common Grounds Coffee bar, a young hostess prepped and prepared the stage for what was to become an emotional, emphatic, empowering night in which all listeners left with a feeling of accomplishment, awareness and understanding.

 That’s what Poetic Justice Open Mic #3 presented as the Compassionate Groove continued…
Jared Carter and Tina Gaston singing Nothing in this World

Patricia Rodriguez and Lakeesha Shaw, the hostesses for the event, opened the stage with Tina Gaston and Jared Carter, HandsUPNWA founders as they gave acknowledgement to the recent tragedy of the Charleston 9.  The HandsUPNWA Duo later sung, "Nothing in this world" by KeKe Wyatt and Avant.

Rodriguez, turned up the temperature in the room, by reciting a poem that her 14 year old son Diego wrote titled, ‘The Heat is on’.

 “To say the heat is on is to remember the summer’s dawn,” said Rodriguez.

The other hostess Ms. Shaw gave us a deep, cultural poem from a classmate that was written in 1996 by Jared Simmons.
Lakeesha Shaw

“Just like any other race, there lies a man behind each face. .. each chooses what he wants to be. His choices should not change the way you choose to treat black me. From this burden set me free.”

Abel Perry came up to do his poem, “Its Not JUST music.” He described how his love of music is embraced and powerful! “Its not just the beats is much more than that.”
Abel Perry

And the best way to appreciate music, is with great songs from great musical artists such as Human Nature by Michael Jackson. This song was sung by a poet, musician,  and dynamic middleman in the community, Stephen Coger. His singing was awesome! The crowd sung along in unison with,

“If they say, Why, why, tell 'em that it's human nature. Why, why, does he do it that way. If they say, Why, why, tell 'em that it's human nature. Why, why does he do me that way.”

Anne Shelly, Executive Director for the Rape Crisis Intervention Center, gave a few words comparing rape victims and racial discrimination victims.

Stephen Coger singing Human Nature
Anne Shelley

“In regards to the Charleston killing, it is racial motivated…it is a hate crime! Very few victims of Racial Discrimination ever…ever..ever..ever..ever ..get JUSTICE,” she said.

Irvin Camacho enlightening the audience of Dream Walking as it related to feelings toward immigration and overcoming obstacles to rise above and continuing toward a dream.
Irvin Camacho

David Garcia of Fayetteville Free Zone and Jane Stitt of NWA IWOC (Incarcerated Workers Organization Committee) came up to talk about Charleston. David explained that this is a very emotional moment to continue to see killings, shootings, murders of black people.

Jane Stitt and David Garcia
“I’m choking in the deaths of Baltimore. I’m choking on Mckinney TX. I’m choking about Rodney King. I’m choking on Eric Garner. I’m choking about Charleston,” said David as he broke down in sobs, feeling overwhelmed with intense emotion regarding the killings of 9 black innocent lives and many others. He later invited the audience to sing together with Amazing Grace.

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. ….When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun.” And the audience chimed in singing along,  with a feeling of connectedness.

Myrlinda Huff came up next to talk about wanting and feeling the experience of Love.
“I want love to rain down on me, and I want to taste the Love on my lips” she said.

Gaston, came back to the stage and read a poem titled, I’m not your average Black Girl, in which she gave credit to the other women who paved the way, like Rosa, Angela Davis, Harriet Tubman and more. 

"They say I'm not your average black girl because I speak so well," she said.
Myrlinda Huff

F.L. Jones did a spin on a rap, called, “Don’t Blame Me,” in which she talks about her cousin Lupe who seems to always be in trouble. It had a nice beat to it.

“Don’t blame me when I tell you what Lupe did. He got caught, boy it was stupid…..Don’t blame me when I tried to get away. I turned around and told Lupe, ‘Have a nice day.” But, no..he did not let me go. He escorted me to the front door,” rapped Jones.

The audience joined in with finger snaps and laughed at the funny, comical rap about her troublesome cousin Lupe. Then Jones got serious with her poem called, “Shake the Hands.”

“I wish I could go back in time and Shake the hands of the people who gave birth to me, paved a way for me, slaved for me, struggled for me and died for me. I wish I could go back in time and shake the hands of Martin Luther King and say, Martin…we’re still trying to live your dream, but it seems that society is still so unfair and mean.”
F. L. Jones

Jones gave a dramatic episode in a monologue as she conversed with Rosa Parks while sitting on the bus and also a moving episode of walking with Trayvon Martin before he was shot. Jones had the audience feeling a connection between time zones as she also wished to go back in time to shake the hands of those 4 little girls in the Birmingham Church Bombing in 1963, which felt similar to the Charleston 9 church shooting.

“4 little girls who were targeted because of race, would never again get to see their parents or sibling’s face, as they were taking home to their final resting place on September 15, 1963 as bombs destroyed that place,” said Jones.

Later the hostesses Rodriquez and Shaw came up to the mic to declare a moment of silence and read off the names of the Charleston 9.

“We pay our respects to the lives that were lost this week in Charleston, SC; Cynthia Hurd- 54, Susie Jackson-87, Ethel Lance- 70, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor-49, The Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney-41, Tywanza Sanders-26, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr. 74, Rev. Sharonda Singleton-45, Myra Thompson-59,” said Shaw and Rodriquez as they took turns reading the names one by one.
Monica Ramos

Monica Ramos came to the mic to say a poem about her friend Patricia Rodriguez, the hostess.

“She is a passionate person. There is nothing she works harder on than being a parent for her son”

Laura Newman came up to do spoken word about White privilege and how she encountered it in the education setting while working on her dissertation.

“You have some white people who have so much privilege and this isn’t fair,” said Newman, who is also white. “They are just oblivious to what is occurring with minorities and are only about their ego and about themselves. It is disgusting, really. If you can’t change it, you just have to get thru it”

Laura Newman

Laasean Willis performed 2 songs, Comfort Inn by Jhene' Aiko and Why don't we fall in love by Amaire, with her last song describing loneliness.

“I’ve been on a loneliness paradise,” she sung. Her voice displayed love lost and the feelings that is encountered when one is without their love.  A very moving and deep song.

Overall, the Compassionate Groove was still present and very much engaging and flowing through the veins of all who attended.

Stay tuned to Poetic Justice Open Mic #4 in August. What will the next Groove be like???

Come and find out!

Check Facebook for Poetice Justice Open Mic #4 soon.

"Party in the city where the heat is on
All night, in NWA till the break of dawn
Welcome to Poetic Justice!"
Speaking on the stage when the mic is warm
All night, in the club till the break of dawn
I'm goin to Poetic Justice."
Welcome to Poetic Justice."

Poetic Justice Open Mic Team and some remaining audience members June 20, 2015

Photography by Patricia Rodriquez, Hannah LaReau, Irvin Camacho & Leora Jackson

Poetry Reviews:

“The event was fantastic: the artists talented, the audience attentive, and the vibe was just perfect.  It felt like a safe space for everybody.”  Stephen Coger

“The event was cool and laid back very eye opening made you think. Very refreshing and the dancing at the end was fun.” Ugochi Iloka

"I really enjoyed hosting it was a first experience for me and I just hope those in attendance had a good time and spread the word about upcoming poetic justice events." Patricia Rodriquez

"Poetic justice open Mic nights are more than just poetic food to feed your ears. .. it feeds the soul too." Tina Gaston

Stay tuned for more Poetic Justice in August!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

St. James M.B. Church and local Peace Groups show support for Charleston 9

St. James M.B. Church and Local Peace Groups show support for Charleston 9

Fernando Garcia urging motorists to Honk for Charleston

The sound of honking horns, some loud, some blaring, some barely a beep, were heard throughout the neighborhood on North and Leverett Streets Saturday, June 20 as the Historic St. James M.B. Church hosted a vigil in honor of the Charleston 9 whose lives were tragically lost on Wednesday June 17, 2015 during a prayer meeting at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston SC.
Peace Volunteers encouraging motorists to support Charleston
Motorist and walkers were curious as to why people were holding up signs, but as they got a closer look, they saw signs that read, “Black Lives Matter, Charleston Matters, We Stand for Justice.” As well as simple signs that garnered the most amount of action such as, “HONK for Charleston!”
Irvan Camacho and Mayra

“Wow, I’m glad that you’re doing this,” shouted one gentlemen driving by on North St.

More horns were heard across Leverett and North Street almost simultaneously at times.

“Honk for Charleston,” shouted Rose Collins, a peace volunteer as a female motorist beeped her horn. “Thank you, ma’am.”
Rose Collins and Leora Jackson urging motorist to unify with Charleston by honking their horns

When asked why she wanted to do this volunteerism support, she replied, “I didn’t want to just stay home today. When I saw the Facebook post about the vigil, I wanted to come out and do something. I am glad that you all are doing this. I didn’t want to be like my other white friends and ignore it and be mum about this, I wanted action! This is needed.”
Sarah Marsh of Fayetteville City Council & Fernando Garcia of OMNI stands in Solidarity with Charleston

Sarah Marsh, of the City Council made an appearance and spoke for an interview with David Garcia for Fayetteville Free Zone. 
OMNI Members Standing in Solidarity

Other members of Omni Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology were there to show support.  Signs were made with the help of OMNI members and USWG (Umoja Soul Writers Group).

“Make some noise for Charleston and honk your horn,” shouted Leora Jackson, USWG member.

Many people honked and gave the Thumbs up sign as in solidarity for Charleston.

Nik Robbins standing for Justice for Charleston

Leora Jackson with USWG, standing in Solidarity

NWA Peace groups, St. James M.B. Church and the motorists blasting their horns on North and Leverett streets between 5:30pm-6:45pm, were all STANDING IN SOLIDARITY with the Charleston 9 and with the rest of the world as they paid their respects to those 9 people who lives were taken because they were BLACK.

Let us continue to pray for healing in Charleston for the families and community. Pray for Healing in the world today.

We Pray for the Charleston 9!

Cynthia Hurd- 54 years old 

Susie Jackson-87 years old

Ethel Lance- 70 years old  

Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor-49 years old

The Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney-41 years old 

Tywanza Sanders-26 years old

Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr. 74 years old 

Rev. Sharonda Singleton-45 years old

Friday, June 19, 2015

NWA Vigil Services Honoring The 9 of Charleston

It was a nice sunny evening on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 in Charelston SC as Parishioners arrived to Emanuel AME Baptist church greeting each other, hugging and chatting for a bit as they were preparing their normal prayer meeting without an inkling that soon something drastic would occur to make it their.... last prayer and last supper.

Six women ranging in ages of 26 to 87 and three men ages 41 to 75 were all gathered for what is to become their last evening ALIVE on earth.

While praying and discussing the financials and arrangements as usual, thirty minutes later, a young white male with hatred, malice and evil in his mind, heart & Spirit, approached the Lords House with an intent to SEEK, KILL, and DESTROY!

He entered the church and took a sit while waiting for the the perfect time to unleash his HELL's FURY onto unsuspecting members.

He shouted,  "No! You've raped our women and you've stolen and you've taken over the country, so no, this must be done"

Then he opened FIRE to Destroy!

And Destroyed he did!
He Destroyed 9 LIVES
He Destroyed a Church!
He Destroyed a Community!
He Destroyed 9 Families!
He Destroyed a Race of People!


Now, Because he is ALIVE and they are dead.
He Destroyed our TRUST in the Judicial System!

Justice Must be Demanded!

Keep Fighting for Justice!!


Cynthia Hurd- 54 years old 

Susie Jackson-87 years old

Ethel Lance- 70 years old  

Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor-49 years old

The Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney-41 years old 

Tywanza Sanders-26 years old

Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr. 74 years old 

Rev. Sharonda Singleton-45 years old

Myra Thompson-59 years old




Join with HandsUPNWA, Umoja Soul Writers Group and Omni Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology as we unite together for this tragedy.


COME LATER TO POETIC JUSTICE OPEN MIC to talk about Justice, Pain, Suffering and more at Common Grounds on Dickson St from 8pm-11pm. Free Platform to Speak about Justice!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

REAL Conference REAL Writers

 R.E.A.L. Conference NWA Teen Summit
USWG Writers’ Workshop
by Tony E. Boyd

I didn’t know exactly what to expect when asked to cover the Umoja Soul Writers’ Group (USWG) Writers’ Workshop at the R.E.A.L. Conference NWA Teen Summit. So I had no pre-conceived notions when I arrived that day (at 9:30 am on a Saturday morning May 30).
Leora Jackson
Since I was a little early, I noticed there weren’t a lot of people there yet and figured they would file in later. Already there were Umoja Soul representatives and four teens. As the time for the event to start approached, I noticed only a few more people trickled in, but none were teenagers. Remaining undaunted, the organizers soldiered on with their plan.

They had created this event for an important purpose, inspiring teens to explore their creativity through writing and to give them a safe, non-judgmental place to explore their self-expression.
Lakeesha Shaw
Leora Jackson, Coordinator of the Umoja Soul Writers Group, took the floor first to do the opening.

“People write all the time whether they know it or not,” she said. “And we all have a story to tell, but we just need the time to write about it.”

Examples started running through my mind. People will tell you that they can’t write, maybe even add “creatively”. But in today’s world, we write almost constantly (depending on your generation). Social media has created a tide of new writers who don’t even know they are writers.
"Bowtie" Todd Jenkins encouraging youth to be engaged
She also discussed activism in the community and how writing can be used to help affect change. This led into her introduction of LaKeesha Thomas Shaw who would introduce the workshop’s speaker, “Bowtie” Todd Jenkins.

Mr. Jenkins, a distinguished and accomplished orator, discussed having a plan for your life with the teen attendees. He related his personal tale of struggle and figuring things out for himself through trial and error and strong, loving parenting.
"Bowtie" Todd Jenkins and REAL Writing Mentees

“Teenagers don’t have complete control over what they can and cannot do,” Jenkins said.  “There would be times when there would be conflicts between what they want to do and what they are allowed to do.”

 He explained to them that they could choose to either embrace or rebel. If they chose to rebel, lying and doing what they weren’t suppose to, this would represent that choice, a negative choice. If they choose to embrace positivity and take responsibility for their own actions, then expressing themselves through writing could help them gain control over what they think they didn't have control over.
Jenkins encouraged the youth to, “be engaged, be there, be open, and tie things together in order to get the most out of the workshop.”

Next up was rapper/activist, mrsShiny. She discussed the therapeutic nature of writing, a way to get things out that are bottled up inside. She followed that up with an inspirational rap about "not letting the haters slow them down, or the naysayers steal their crown."

mrsShiny rapping to the kids to keep moving Forward

It had a nice beat and I could dance to it. J I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think all the other workshop attendees did also. During her performance, the teens seemed attentive and engaged.

At this point, the teenagers were paired with mentors from USWG and asked to perform a writing exercise. The assignment was to write about a life experience that became an inspiration to do better in life. 
Mentors & Mentees writing in their journal
Young mentee writing a story

Once the time limit passed the workshop participants were encouraged to come forward and share what they had written. Some stories were heart tugging, some contemplative and others inspiring.

LIFE writing her story
Stacey “LIFE” Harper came up next and had a roundtable discussion with the teens about their self-esteem, moving forward through adversity, taking control of their lives, and defining themselves. She introduced them to the concept of them being “rainbow children” and encouraged them to look it up, because they would be inspired to know that they are special and unique in their own gifted way. 
She spoke to them in poetic rhythm, with dramatic emphasis on the most important parts. They seemed to soak it in.
I think it will take time for all of it to register but they do have the information to start with.

My overall analysis of the workshop comes down to one word, SUCCESS! 
I truly believe the workshop was a positive experience for all who attended, mentor and mentee alike. I think anytime you can be a positive force in a young person’s life, it’s worth the effort.

Kudos to Leora "F. L. Jones" Jackson, “Bowtie” Todd Jenkins, mrsShiny, LaKeesha Thomas Shaw, Stacey “LIFE” Harper, John Bell, Tonya "mrsShiny" McCoy, Patricia Rodriguez, Carma Nicholson, & Carla Thompson and all others who worked to make this happen.

I’m sure the youth were inspired and motivated to Move Forward and to Be Engaged! 

Photos and story by Tony E. Boyd