How Does He Fix This, Now That He’s in Office?

Our children are the most precious, innocent, valuable, and fragile things that we have in our world.

In the United States they have heard for four years, but with the greatest intensity, the last two years, that there are groups of people either inferior or superior to them simply because of their race, religion, or gender.

We’re supposed to be protecting, nurturing, guiding, and uplifting them. We’re supposed to be allowing them to spend this time as kids, before adulthood takes over and the mountain of drama tumbles in.

How now after four years of ugliness and hate can this person now right these wrongs? How can he now heal the pain he caused? How can he fix the wounds and the breaks he created? How can he unify what he intentionally divided? How can he possibly instill hope when he’s spent more than four years injecting fear into our homes and schools?

Maybe his secret weapon is Melania. She says she wants to take on bullying and specifically cyber-bullying.

It took four years to get here. Hopefully it doesn’t take that long or longer to mend, fix, and heal this disaster.

Boko Hiram and Others Are Socio-Political Extremists Conveniently Hijacking Religion

The Nigerian government believes that Boko Hiram will keep their end of the recent cease fire agreement, but many people are skeptical.

This terror group is responsible for murdering more than 5,000 Nigerians at schools, churches, mosques, highways, bus stations, police stations, and at military checkpoints over the past 5 years all because they saw these people as pro-government.

Boko Hiram’s supposed mission is to return Nigeria back to a pre-colonial Muslim state, but by killing and kidnapping people, they have only proven that it is not in the name of Allah that they serve, but only in their own twisted and sadistic self-interest.

It is to gain recognition and possibly riches (from fundraising and looting). But definitely not to bring the overarching message of love, peace, forgiveness, charity, acceptance, and equality mentioned in the Koran. The same Koran that honorably references Jesus Christ numerous times throughout. I state this fact for Christians who don’t know this and continue to spread misinformation about Islam and Muslims.

To take this a step farther, beyond the extremism and violence, I make the statement that this terror group (and others like them) couldn’t genuinely be doing this in the name of Allah is because they freely killed people at mosques, while these people were praying to Allah. They weren’t praying to Satan. They weren’t praying to some pagan image or an animal. They were praying to Allah.

These innocent people died for what exactly?

They were murdered for being pro-government. What does that have to do with religion? Any religion?

So even in one’s ability to admonish this terror group, and others like them, by declaring that they go against the Koran. The most effective point of proving that this group is less concerned about honoring Allah, and more concerned with attacking governments and people (and taking pleasure and credit for it), is the fact that they have killed numerous Muslims–worshippers of Allah– the same Allah that Boko Hiram dishonorably mention as they spew hate and kill at their house of worship.

How could you bring violence to a known place of peace and love? How could Allah ever condone that behavior? If you have ever been inside of a mosque you could never visualize violence taking place there. But it’s happened countless times all around the world.

Boko Hiram aren’t religious extremists. They are socio-political extremists and opportunists masquerading as religious purists, just to have a niche footing in the battle.

You can stir up more fear when you leverage religion.

I bet if you sat them down and had an honest and open dialogue about what they are for, and not just what they think they are against, everyone at the table would be shocked, including them. It’s amazing how a principle initially fought for can be brutally mutilated into something totally different over time. Sometimes a noble argument can morph into a dangerous battle.

How does what you want now the same, similar, or different than what you wanted several years ago when your gang was just a member of one to three people?

Boko Hiram means “Western education is sinful” yet where are their schools or funding proposals for schools that peacefully teach their view on how children should grow and participate not only within their villages, towns, cities, and countries, but in other countries around the world?

Where are their schools where they are teaching love, acceptance, charity, respect for self and others, inclusion, equality, dignity, honor, and healthy pride?

They don’t have any because they are too busy spewing hate, killing people, and kidnapping innocent girls and holding them hostage for six months. They are too busy recruiting and brainwashing vulnerable people to be soldiers in a fight that they are clueless about.

If you want a greater Muslim influence and to see more mosques and schools teaching and practicing the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, then build them. Go home to home, town to town, lovingly teaching the words eloquently written in the Koran.

Maybe western education is sinful. But you don’t kill the sinner, you pray for them and you work to help them help themselves. This is the sin of many religions around the world. We don’t practice what we preach in houses of worship.

Ironically, the military weapons Boko Hiram, ISIL, and other terror groups use are designed from original western thought and first used by western military pioneers. Mass murder is entertainment in our movies and tv shows. We sing about it in songs. We’re fascinated by gangsters and drug lords. But terror groups can’t chastise the western world for creating the monster, and then use the monster for their own twisted benefit. By using western guns to kill people, they are just as guilty as the people they want to persecute.

You can’t be outraged by what someone is doing to you (or you think they are doing) and then you turn around and do the same thing—and 99% of the time not even against the actual people you hold responsible, but the thousands and millions of innocent people who have done absolutely nothing but live their lives.

This behavior is hypocritical. It’s cowardly and anything but honorable.

Western culture is now easily depicted and stereotyped by reality tv shows where women are seen as plastic surgery addicts, human Barbie dolls, whores and gold diggers, and both men and women are shown as self-centered, self-absorbed, obsessed with sex, addicted to drugs and alcohol, money hungry and greedy.

Maybe this is all sinful. But where in any religious text do you read that you have the right to kill these sinners? In all religious texts that I have read, God (by whatever name) has made it clear that it will be His responsibility to deal with the sinners.

So killing in His name is actually an even bigger sin!

Instead of killing why don’t you just teach children and young adults a better, more dignified way of living, that would honor God?

Boko Hiram, ISIL/ISIS, and other terror groups want to be heard, recognized, acknowledged, respected, and desire change. But no one hears, respects, or wants to work with anyone pointing a gun at them, shooting at them, stabbing and disfiguring them, kidnapping them, raping and torturing them, or killing their loved ones.

Without stopping the violence the only thing that will happen is the ultimate death of each member in the terror group.

What did that resolve? What was the learned lesson? What was gained? How did you get more people to read, study, and appreciate the Koran? How did you get more people to embrace and accept Islam? How did you get more people to convert? How did you get more people to be loving, charitable, and forgiving?

It’s not possible with hate in your heart, message, and mission.

This isn’t about God or religion. This is about some pissed off people who took their desire for positive change and allowed it to be contaminated, poisoned, and destroyed. When it’s all over, each member of these hate groups will have to answer to a Higher Power, their Creator, and at that moment it won’t matter what they think someone did to them, the Creator is going to focus on what this terrorist did to innocent men, women, and children— in His name.

Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. The Paradigm Life. All Rights Reserved.

Vice President Biden’s Mission to Reduce Gun Violence

Original post from The White House Council on Women & Girls

Working Together to Prevent Gun Violence

Vice President Biden is leading an effort to develop a new set of policies to reduce gun violence and prevent tragedies like the shooting in Newtown, CT. Wednesday, as part of that work, the Vice President met with victims’ groups and gun safety organizations at the White House, including with Annette Nance-Holt, a mother who lost her son to gun violence.

Find out more about Vice President Biden’s meeting with groups on violence prevention.

A Focus on Dignity and Non-Violence at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.

What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.

I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.


I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.

These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.

                        

When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.

We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.

We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.

We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.

We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.

I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
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>Highlighting Violence Against Women Via the Younger Women’s Task Force

>I am passionate about a lot of things in life. Dignity and respect for all humankind is at the top of my list. How women and children are denied these God-given rights burns my insides and causes me to stand up and speak out on a regular basis. I will not sit down, shut up, or stop until every person regardless of their culture, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, or socio-economic status is treated with dignity and respect, and is given the opportunity to lead dignified and respectful lives.

Violence is a anti-love. 
Violent people are weak. 
Men who attack women and children are spineless cowards. 
Period!

In my latest blog article written for the Younger Women’s Task Force Metro Atlanta Chapter (YWTF-ATL) I share the senseless crimes against men, women and children in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Men, tell me how you would feel if you were forced to rape your mother, sister, and daughter? Women, tell me what it would be like to not only be raped, but to be raped after watching your husband beheaded after trying to protect you and your family?

If you don’t think this is possible, if you don’t think this is happening in the DRC, throughout other African, Middle Eastern and European countries then read my article here: http://ywtfatlanta.blogspot.com/2011/01/be-voice-of-voiceless-fight-violence.html

Then share your thoughts and comments on the YWTF blog (under my article) so that we can help be the solution, not just talk about it. I have spent more than 20 years speaking and working with women and children, and various organizations to help right the wrongs. We can make a difference. We can see that these criminals are brought to justice and that our fellow brothers and sisters can live lives free from fear and the ugliness that haunts them daily. Join me. Read my YWTF article, share your comments, and then share the links to my article with others- spreading hope one email, one blog, one tweet, one phone call at a time.

Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
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