The Rich and Poor: Guilty as Charged

Today I shared the message below as a reflection for my Breaking Bread With Natasha post. It touched me so deeply that I was moved to share this beyond my spirituality blog, because the words are not religious, they are based in an energy that crosses all faiths, religions, and beliefs. 

Even if you don’t believe in God, omitting the name and reference in my message still doesn’t change the message—we need to all do our part to help ourselves and help our human brothers and sisters (no matter what their skin color, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other demographic marker that separates us). 
We all live on Earth, and 99.99% of us will most likely die a human death on this planet, so we need to make the most of our circumstances and do our best to protect our home and each other. Below, read my message shared earlier today, and if you want, thoughtfully respond. Thank you. 
Some people negatively fixate on the super wealthy as the creators of our worldly pains and issues. But the “crabs in a barrel” and the “move out of the hood” mind sets have also plagued our families and communities. How are any of these groups truly different?

We would rather hold on to our full dollar when we only need 75 cents, than spare a quarter to someone who needs 50 cents. 

Our self-absorption, even at the bottom of the barrel, means that we will stand on the backs and heads of others to elevate ourselves, rather than creating a human ladder or pulley system that lifts all of us out of the barrel. We’re always fearful of being left behind by the first crab who exits, and we’re terrified to be the last crab at the bottom. So we viciously attack, climb over, and do whatever it takes to get out and never look back. We end up acting like the first crab we feared. 

Socioeconomic and racial tensions (primarily caused by socioeconomic conditions) are boiling as we enter the summer season. The heat clouds our thinking as we exist in what feels and looks like stagnation. We want someone to blame, so we childishly point the finger at others. We need to accept the fact, the truth, God’s Truth–that we’re all to blame for what’s happening in the world today. The only innocents are the babies and children, and those individuals born with mental challenges that restrict their active involvement in their or our destruction. 

The rich person in their greediness is no more guilty than the poor person in their greediness. Neither are sharing God’s gifts. The careless spending by the wealthy is equally appalling as the careless spending by the impoverished. Both are arrogantly wasting God’s blessings. 

The wealthy person passing by not willing to help the homeless person asking for food, water, or shelter, is equally at fault with the poor person who doesn’t tell (or take) the homeless person to a source (that they have also used or heard of) that provides food, water, or shelter—or worse, they don’t stop to share a portion of their own. 

The poor person blames the wealthy person for being far-removed, yet the poor person ignorantly feels content in not opening up and giving what God touches their heart to give–because the poor person hasn’t yet learned how to properly sow. Our unwillingness to give freely is equally sinful, no matter what your financial status declares. 

Why complain that all you have is bread and water, but then choose to watch your bread go stale rather than sharing some of it with someone else in your same situation or worse off than you? 

Why complain about one source of violence in your community, but not stand outraged by all types of violence in your community? If your neighbor is murdered by another neighbor, your outrage should be heard as much or even louder than your screams over the murder of a neighbor by an outsider (or the murder of and by outsiders). 

Is the raping, beating, and theft of your neighbors not reason to stand for justice? Are people who look just like each other, hurting and killing each other, not a reason to stand up and say, “no more” and mean it? Why are we only outraged when the perpetrator doesn’t look like their victim?

We are all God’s children and we waste more of our precious time finding ways to remain divided (and creating a broader space), than we embrace ways to come together to reflect His Truth. When will we stop frolicking in wickedness and instead turn to the Light?


Copyright 2015. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved. 

Interpreters: Either Left Behind or Left to Fend for Themselves in a Foreign Land

Have you ever heard of the organization, No One Left Behind (NOLB)?

Not to be confused with the seriously flawed and misunderstood No Child Left Behind Act, NOLB was formed to help Afghan and Iraqi interpreters (also known as “translators”) working for the United States gain their Special Immigration Visas, be relocated to the U.S. and setup properly so that they can actually survive in this foreign land — rather than be forced back into their home countries where they are oftentimes hunted down by the Taliban (or others) for being traitors.

What the founders of NOLB discovered was that these interpreters who risk their lives working for the United States government (and indirectly for our citizens living abroad and on U.S. soil) are promised safety and freedom from the hell they are merely existing within (which is incentive to help).

But the vast majority of times they are either left behind after our troops are pulled out (which leaves the interpreter and their family targets of the terrorists our country is fighting) or the interpreter is brought to the US only with the clothes on their back and whatever they can fit into one suitcase. They land in the U.S. and before they know it they are left with little to no resources and no backup plan.

Our country is the land of backup plans. But you have to have a fair shot at opportunity, and you must have hustle.

Please don’t confuse this post to be an attack on my beloved country, our government, or our dedicated military. This post is to highlight a human issue that has unpredictable consequences, all of which the majority of our nation is clueless about, but needs to be made aware of so we can play a role in improving the situation—standing what we’re for and not merely screaming about what we’re against. Even if you only do it for self-preservation and/or peace of mind, doing something is better than doing nothing.

If you need help wrapping your mind around all of this, let me shed some light….

Could you imagine risking your life and the lives of your family and friends to serve the government who has come to your country to fight “terrorism and injustice”. Every day you serve this foreign government, you are seen as a betrayer to those who are either in power or causing the most havoc in your country.

Would you risk everything for freedom, dignity, and a chance at a better life?

Could you imagine uprooting your family with only one suitcase each? Could you leave behind the pictures, keepsakes, family heirlooms, your car, and things you worked hard to earn and get? You’re leaving behind extended family members and friends, to have little to no contact with them once you arrive in the foreign country, because it puts them in even greater risk.

Well consider the shock of coming to the foreign land (in this case, the U.S.) just to be abandoned without a home, no money, no job, and little to no resources. Consider not having an immigration Visa that would ensure your stay and the guarantee of not being deported back to your home country.

Now consider helping this foreign government (risking everything each and every day) just to be told that you and your family can’t be rescued and relocated to the country you served, but rather must remain in your home country and face the consequences of your “traitorous act”. Maybe this other government will make an exception, but maybe not.

Right now there are interpreters waiting in Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) hoping that their service to the U.S. wasn’t in vain. Hoping that they can be rescued from the hell that they are facing. They served in hopes of ensuring the safety and freedom of their people and Americans abroad and on U.S. soil. They served in hopes of a slice at the great American ‘pie’.

There are numerous interpreters living in the U.S. who are living in extreme poverty, some have been evicted from their U.S. apartments and many are left with only one option….returning to the country they fled and “betrayed”.

Why should people in the countries we enter risk life and limb (and the lives of their loved ones) to help the U.S., just to possibly end off worse than they were before our countries intervention?

Could you uproot your family and take them to another country you have never lived in, and then announce to them weeks, months, or years later that this freedom dream is about to disappear, and that unless a miracle visits your family very soon all of you will have to return to your home country? Where do you return to exactly? You can’t go back to your old home. You can’t get your old job back. You can’t relaunch your old business you were operating before you left.

Could you look into the eyes of your spouse and children and watch their hope fade out of their eyes, and watch it be replaced with a fear greater than what you saw before you fled?

Well this is what’s happening right now.

We have courageous and hopeful people living in absolute fear in their home countries praying for salvation in the way of plane tickets, immigration Visas, opportunity, and a safe home to call their own.

We have courageous and hopeful people now living in the U.S. with limited to no resources, no guidebook, and no way to navigate through a foreign (and much larger) land with foreign rules, laws, customs, and cultures.

NOLB has been working hard to help these interpreters by providing them with three months of rent, fully furnished homes, job placement, and cars. Maybe you can volunteer or make monetary or in-kind donations to assist NOLB with helping these brave individuals with their transition from a life of fear into a life of hope.

Please remember that every war, conflict, mission (both public and secret), and intervention has innocent people and families on both sides. It’s not just our troops risking their lives. It’s not just our families fearful of the outcomes. There are everyday men, women, and children living in those countries risking their lives to help our troops –and to help us. They aren’t soldiers. They are regular people just like you and me.

Don’t they deserve more than a “thanks” and pat on the back? Or a “Welcome to the U.S., here’s a few bucks and a map, we hope you can figure out the rest on your own“. Okay it may not be that harsh, but I’m sure it feels like that to those people who gave up everything for the U.S.

Consider this…how helpful will people continue to be to and for our country if they no longer have hope that the U.S. will help them help themselves to a better life than they currently have?

Would you serve without immediate and substantial benefit to you and your family?

Would you serve if you heard that the other side of the coin may be much worse a fate than your current situation?

To learn more about what interpreters risk helping us visit this link.

To learn more about NOLB and possibly even help with their efforts, please visit.

Sources:
No One Left Behind.
http://www.nooneleft.org

Men’s Journal.
http://www.mensjournal.com/adventure/collection/afghan-interpreters-struggle-to-find-a-home-in-the-u-s-20140625

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

Prentice Powell Explains the System Controlling You

By Natasha Foreman Bryant

Below you will find a beyond amazing performance by spoken word artist Prentice Powell. It speaks to my Call to Action posts that I have shared for men and women asking that they stand up and help our youth, families, communities, and world be better, stronger, and more dignified (note: a Call to Action part two is coming ladies).

Prentice Powell is speaking the truth and we need more Powell’s sharing the reality that we all have helped create, want to ignore, point fingers at, or are still playing a role within. If you take offense to what Powell says, then you are quite possibly one of the offenders he speaks of throughout his performance.

Yes, his message is very much directed to and about Black people, but honestly, you can insert any group of people into this configuration and see some or most of what he is addressing. What is most visible, embarrassing, and heart wrenching for him (and for me) is the breakdown within the Black community, and the accepted role within “the system” that Black men and women alike play. So this is what he speaks of, but I have friends of other nationalities, races, and cultures who could easily plug and play their “people” in this example, and say, “that’s us too”.

So I ask that you come from a place that is familiar to you, or try to see through Prentice’s lens, and then ask yourself, what you can do to help bring about a positive change to this epidemic that affects all of us—because believe it or not, we’re truly in this boat together.

Please view the video below and then share it with others. We must change our thinking and habits, and be the change that we want to see in the world. We must disengage our role within “the system” and engage in a more healthy environment for ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world. Please share this with your circle of influence and re-post for the world to see, hear, and to begin a healthy (and productive) dialogue.

Thank you.

~Natasha

Video Source: http://youtu.be/R04kzrpuDY4

Video posted on YouTube by: Arsenio Hall Show

Prentice Powell: https://twitter.com/FollowPrentice

Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved.