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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Heavenly Father's Day Daddy...

Roosevelt Williams
October 9, 1936 - May 2, 2002

I thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday, and days before that too.
I think of you in silence, I often speak your name.
All I have are memories, and your picture in a frame.

In life I loved you dearly, in death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place, that no one could ever fill.
It broke my heart to lose you, but you didn't go alone.
For part of me went with you, the day God took you home.

No farewell words were spoken, no time to say goodbye.
You were gone before we knew it, and only God knows why.
A million times I needed you, a million times I cried.
If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.

Gone yet not forgotten, although we are apart,
your spirit lives within me, forever in my heart.
Nothing can ever take away, the love a heart holds dear.
Fond memories linger every day, remembrance keeps you near.

A gift for such a little while, your loss just seems so wrong.
You should not have left before us, it’s with loved ones you belong.
Your memory is my keepsake, with which I’ll never part.
God has you in His keeping, I have you in my heart.

If tears could build a stairway, and memories a lane,
I’d walk right up to heaven, and bring you home again.
Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.

Special Greetings From Your Great Grandson

He is 12 years old now and yesterday, he visited your resting place for
the first time. He put down some roses for you and sends his love too. 

Happy Father's Day Hubby!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Step-Fathers: A Blessing From God

"Color Him Father" Performed By The Winstons

There's a man at my house, he's so big and strong.
He goes to work each day, stays all day long.
He comes home each night, looking tired and beat.
He sits down at the dinner table, and has a bite to eat.

Never a frown, always a smile,
when he says to me, how's my child.
I've been studying hard, all day in school.
tryin' to understand the golden rule.

I think I'll color this man father.
I think I'll color him love.
I'm gonna color him father.
I think I'll color the man love, yes I will.

He says, education is the thing if you wanna compete,
because without it son, life ain't very sweet.
I love this man and I don't know why,
except I'll need his strength, till the day that I die.

My mother loves him and I can tell,
by the way she looks at him, when he holds my little sister Nell.
I heard her say just the other day,
that if it hadn't been for him, she wouldn't have found her way.

My real old man, he got killed in the war,
and she knows she and seven kids, couldn't of gotten very far.
She said she thought that she could never love again,
And then there he stood, with that big wide grin.

He married my mother and he took us in,
and now we belong to the man with that big wide grin.

I think I'll color this man father.
I think I'll color him love.
I'm gonna color him father.
I'm gonna color him love.

Footnote: In 1969, this song ranked #2 on the R&B charts and #7 on Billboard's Hot 100; the composer, Richard L. Spencer, won a Grammy Award for Best R&B song in 1970. Click on the record label for a link to YouTube and listen to this classic gem, the only one of its kind, which pays tribute to all of the stepfathers holdin' it down out there. And, always remember (as my pastor so eloquently pointed out in a sermon once)... Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was actually raised by a man who played the role of a stepfather and his name was Joseph. So, never underestimate the importance of the part you play in God's divine plan. You are loved and appreciated much more than you know. May God continue to bless all of you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Another School Milestone

Congrats to My Youngest Granddaughter! YGG!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trading One Form of Racism For Another

This is urgent. Pennsylvania is moving quickly to implement a racist data tool that will send more Black people to prison and for longer--but we have a chance to stop it.

Next week, the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing (PCS), the governor-appointed body responsible for sentencing guidelines, will vote on implementing the use of a racist data tool called a “risk assessment,” that would arm judges with a racially biased algorithm to use in handing down sentences. Instead of giving a judge sole blame for incarcerating large swaths of Black people, a computer will do it by branding individuals as "risky" for a broad range of traits and predicted future behaviors that have nothing to do with their actual risk or danger. Data suggests that the tool would label Black people as “high risk” at up to TWO TIMES the rate of white people with the same types of offenses--meaning they would get harsher sentences and restrictions for coming home to their families. Meanwhile, white people are up to two times as likely to be labeled “low risk”--allowing them the privilege of a second chance at life.

It’s replacing the racism of mass incarceration we know with another faceless, more pernicious version--and we must stop it from happening.

Gov. Wolf instructed the sentencing commission to create this tool as a part of his package for criminal justice reform to eliminate the racial bias of individual judges. However, this tool is designed to reinforce the harmful racial disparities already painfully present in the system. If a person is Black, lives in a poor or overpoliced neighborhood, or has been convicted in the past, this tool will determine that they should be locked up. In a state like Pennsylvania, that incarcerates Black people at one of the highest rates in the country, we can't afford this.

If approved by the PCS next week, the state legislature will have an official vote in the fall--increasing the chances of this racist tool being weaponized in courtrooms. However, the momentum is building to stop this racist assessment tool. This week, the sentencing commission held a hearing where dozens of people testified including activists, the public defenders, the mayor, state senators, probation & parole officials, and even the Black police union, Guardian League. Not a single person who testified was in favor of this risk assessment tool--and the commission is feeling the pressure to vote it down. The sentencing commission is made up of lots of individuals, but there are four elected officials who have voting power--Senators Sharif Street and John Rafferty and House Representatives Joanna McClinton and Todd Stephens.5 We can influence them if they feel the pressure from their constituents. That's why we're sending petitions to their office every day until the vote. Will you sign?

Tell PA lawmakers: Vote NO on this racist assessment tool. It will not fix mass incarceration. "Risk assessments" are supposed to predict an individual's future behavior, punishing someone for what they MIGHT do. But the tool is flawed, based on racist data, and produces racist results--here is how they work:

They collect a broad range of data and pick out bits of information about a person that are supposed to predict future risk, but are actually just basic facts about their identity--like where they live, their gender, age or if they've ever been incarcerated before. Then the tool judges these traits and spits out a label of high, medium, or low risk and sends it to the judge to determine their sentence. It's like the horrific system in the film Minority Report--only it's it's not colorblind.

But here's the thing: the tool can't actually predict whether someone will commit a violent crime or whether they are "dangerous" at all. But when it labels someone as "high risk" that's exactly the message it sends to the judge handing down a sentence--even if they will never be arrested again. In fact, 81 percent of people labeled "high risk" won't be re-arrested at all let alone convicted of a crime. The only thing this risk assessment predicts is who is likely to come into contact with the system again. That could be anything from being arrested, missing an appointment with a probation officer, to not being able to afford court fees. As we know, Black communities are the most heavily policed, Black people are arrested at much higher rates, and courts extract wealth from Black communities with exorbitant fines and fees. Judging someone on their likeliness of being arrested or missing a court fee payment is a way to directly target Black people.

Pennsylvania should be focusing on decreasing the prison population--not expanding it. Will you sign the petition to stop this racist assessment tool?

Risk assessment tools have become a common tactic to advance criminal justice reform in many places across the country. But are actually maintaining the "Law and Order" status quo of the past. They are being used to set high bails, send Black people--who haven't even been convicted of a crime--to jail, and set conditions for release on probation and parole. Federal legislators are even working to put one into the hands of Jeff Sessions.

But Black people are not "risks" to manage nor numbers in a system. We are people who deserve justice just like everyone else. Risk assessment tools, like the one proposed in Pennsylvania, are not a step forward for justice rather they take us many steps backward--locking our people up with no one directly to blame but a racist algorithm. They are often coupled with reforms that acknowledge the harms of the system and work to solve them--like the governor's package that moves the needle on probation and parole reform, bail reform, and even sentencing reform. But we cannot replace one type of racism with another, less blatant form, that hides behind technology.

If we can stop this racist assessment tool in Pennsylvania, we will set a precedent and build the momentum against the unjust use of risk assessment tools nationwide.

For decades, our communities across the country have been on the ground fighting to end mass incarceration and stop the harms of the carceral state. And at the same time, people not situated in the communities most impacted by the system have tried to rely on new technologies to help address these issues, thinking they will bring objectivity--but they end up reinforcing mass incarceration every time. We saw it with mandatory minimum sentencing that perpetuated harsh punishments for small infractions and denied each person to have their case reviewed as an individual. We see it with electronic monitoring (aka ankle bracelets) that intended to get people out of prison but has become a profitable industry while our people are forced to pay to be caged in their own homes. Now, risk assessments threaten to cement default sentencing and the failure to treat our people as individuals back into courtrooms even further.

Imagine what would happen if judges saw Black people as people and not as a risk, but as people with kids, and other loved ones, with jobs, hopes and aspirations. Imagine what it would look like if our people received the support they needed instead of being locked up in a cage. This is the future we are fighting for but racist assessment tools threaten to hold us back. Pennsylvania lawmakers should be focused on DECREASING the prison population, securing funding for better access to education, jobs, healthcare, and housing--not creating shady technology meant to keep Black people locked up.

Technology should innovate not incarcerate. Demand Pennsylvania say NO to racist assessment tools!

Footnote: The preceeding information was copied verbatim from a Color of Change email received by The Lady(Bug) of the Household on June 12, 2018.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Quote of the Day

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Quality Time w/ The Grands

Sleepover Weekend Brunch @ Trolley Car Diner

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Evangelistic Prayer & Praise Outreach Ministries

Congrats to EPPOM as you celebrate 30 years of ministry!
Holy Scripture Reading: Psalm 121 and Jude 3, 20, 21 at
Zion Hill Baptist Church in Southwest Philadelphia

Friday, June 8, 2018

R.I.P. Andy... We Miss You!

I always loved Andy Rooney. He had the shortest and best segments on 60 Minutes. Apparently, he heard about all the foolishness going on in the White House these days and decided to come back for just a moment to share his wisdom with us once again!

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Christian Internet Code of Ethics

As a Christian who is active on the internet,
I hold myself to certain standards of conduct:

  • I guard my online relationships.
  • I am careful to visit websites that do not compromise my life in Christ.
  • I take care that my written communications reflect Christ in my life.
  • I guard my time to assure that my time online is kept in proper balance with the rest of my life.
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