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A thought, an idea, a flash of inspiration. Potently Pickaninny but small enough to fit on a scrap of paper. Leave a comment. 



Black Excellence: Malcolm Mitchell



Photo Courtesy of Book for Keeps

By Karima E. Rustin

Malcolm Mitchell, a 24-year-old rookie wide receiver for the New England Patriots, assisted New England in coming back from a 28-3 deficit to win the Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons, and take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy. While his teammates are reveling in their shared victory, Malcolm achieved another victory most people don’t know about. A victory he is more proud of than a Super Bowl ring.

When Malcolm entered his freshman year at the University of Georgia in 2011, he could only read at a junior high school level. When he suffered an injury to his ACL, he made a decision to improve his reading, so while working through rehabilitation, he made sure he had a book in his hand. Completing his first trilogy, The Hunger Games, ignited a passion for reading, leading him eventually to join an all-women book club. He became one of its youngest members.

Most athletes want to build an impenetrable legacy based on physical prowess. What is most exciting about Malcolm’s story is that he wants to build a legacy to outlive his football career. For all the catches, yards, and touchdowns he will accomplish during his lifetime, Malcolm wants to ignite and excite the imaginations of young minds. He started a literacy foundation Read with Malcolm and partnered with Share a Magic, a non-profit, to promote reading among students in Title 1 schools. Malcolm is an author as well. In 2015 he decided to self-publish a children’s book “The Magician’s Hat.” Hopefully the book is the first of many. I believe Malcolm’s story can inspire any young person to believe that it’s never too late to fundamentally change your life.



The Travel Ban and Links to a Racist Past

By Marlin Paschal

On Sunday, February 19, Trump explained his statement at a rally in Melbourne Florida regarding a non-existent terrorist attack in Sweden was actually in “reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden."



The story on Fox News specifically focused on crime and the “rash of rapes” against Nordic woman by refugees and the Swedish government’s efforts to cover it up. Although there is some evidence indicating that non-Swedish born nationals commit crime at a higher rate than native born Swedes – there is absolutely no evidence suggesting there is a refugee fueled rape epidemic being covered up by the Swedish government.

Nevertheless, Trump’s use of rape-based imagery to justify his spurious travel ban is troubling at best. In fact, it is reminiscent of a time in American history when white southerners justified the practice of lynching as a means to protect the sanctity of white women from rape-prone black men.


Ida B. Well’s description in Southern Horrors describes this phenomenon and thoroughly debunks the “rape myth.” Despite her efforts, lynching in America continued for decades and its ghost still haunt us today. Dylann Roof’s racially motivated murder of nine black citizens in a South Carolina church were inspired by the belief that black people are “raping our women and taking over our country.” 

Trump is prone to making provocative, rash, and deplorable statements; and he has now suggested his travel ban is part of a broader crime prevention strategy. Astonishing – considering the fact the evidence suggests otherwise AND refugees entering the U.S. tend to be SIGNIFICANTLY less prone to commit terrorist acts than the folks actually born here.  


Shell Shock

Shell Shock by Alice Smith and Sam Dew

shell shock: noun psychological disturbance caused by prolonged exposure to active warfare, especially being under bombardment.

"You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive." - James Baldwin


No Justice for Trayvon Martin

We may write something more thoughtful later but for right now, this is how we feel:


Standing Strong for Reproductive Rights

By Sheryl Wright

For those of us who believe in a woman’s right to obtain a safe and legal abortion, the push by state legislatures throughout the country to restrict women’s reproductive rights is disturbing to say the least. But in a welcome turn of events last night, those legislative efforts hit a wall in the great state of Texas. AP PhotoAt close to midnight (CMT), Texas state Senator Wendy Davis (D) ended an 11-hour filibuster which made it possible to halt the Republicans attempt to pass Texas Senate Bill 5 (SB5)—legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and close 37 of the 42 clinics in the state.

40 years have passed since Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the U.S. The abortion debate started many years before the Court’s ruling, and what has happened since 1973 shows that pro-life advocates were not deterred. Through the work of pro-life groups and their legislative allies, access to abortions hangs in the balance in Mississippi, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming—states with only one remaining facility that provides abortion services. Unable to make abortions illegal, the anti-reproductive rights folks are more than happy to create abortion-free state[s] by making it impossible for providers to operate within their states—despite having the lowest abortion rate in the country and only one clinic, legislators and activists in Mississippi continue to push for additional anti-choice measures.

Like those in Mississippi, it’s unlikely that Texas Republicans have given up on their attempt to pass “the most restrictive abortion law the state has ever seen, and one of the most restrictive in the country.” After acknowledging defeat, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst (R) said, “It’s been fun. See you soon.” In the meantime as Texas Republicans plan their comeback, those who stand on the side of a woman’s right to obtain a safe and legal abortion have reason to be encouraged for the battles ahead.

Thank you to Senator Davis and to all of the Texans who showed up and spoke out in support of women’s reproductive rights! It was an awesome example of the power of the people’s voices.