Wednesday, January 21, 2009

TVR Editorial: Where Do We Go From Here?

On Tuesday, January 20, 2009 Barack Hussein Obama, the nation’s first African American president, called the nation to “a new era of responsibility.” It is a noble call to all Americans to help make our country better. Yet it is a call that resonates in the black community like a trumpet. For, now that the pageantry has ended, the revelry has tempered, and the shadow of something the slaves could only dream about has begun to recede, the question is now, where do we go from here? Did we travel to the nation’s capital merely to catch a glimpse of history? Or do we use this majestic occasion to look within ourselves and our communities and find new ways to heed this era of new responsibility? The hard work now begins.

Yet we know for certain that it cannot begin with our fooling ourselves, as may portend a recent CNN poll which found that sixty nine percent of blacks surveyed agreed that the dream of equality has been fulfilled. The presence of a black man as leader of the free world 146 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 45 years after Dr. King’s dream is no fair arbiter of equality, only a sign that, indeed, progress has been made. And now the dream is put on par with responsibility (indeed Dr. King preached responsibility no less fervently).

Where does this responsibility begin? I say it begins with the person in the mirror. We must recommit ourselves to hard work, hard choices and hard love; finding within ourselves intestinal fortitude to improve our own lives. Each of us has a purpose we’ve been created to strive toward, a greatness – not just fame – that beckons the best within us.

We must, as well, find it within ourselves to take a stand against that which has undermined our self-love and self-esteem for so long now. We must demand of men, myself included, a commitment to the welfare of our families; we must take a stand against the tyranny of ignorance that divides our communities – from the misogynistic lyrics of pop stars to the lunacy of “bagging” among our young black men.

When we muster the best of ourselves and our community, when we become concerned about the issues that beset us, our acceptance of this “era of responsibility” has truly begun.

Positive Thought for the Week

"Change is the engine of the empowered life; if you are not willing to tap into the wellspring of your existence, to accept change, you will never move beyond your present shores."

-Author unknown

Did You Know?

Between the 1970's and 1999 the rate of suicide among black males climbed from 7.9 per 100,000 in 1970 to 10.9in 1997, compared to a modest increase in the rate for all blacks during the same period. Furthermore, since the 1970's, the rate of increase in suicides among black males in their twenties has been alarmingly steady. Source: Lay My Burden Down, Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African Americans, Dr. Alvin Pouissant and Amy Alexander

Don't Believe the Hype!

Hype: Teenage pregnancy is a runaway problem in the African American community.

Fact: African Americans ages 15 to 19 experienced the steepest decline in birth rates—42 percent—from 118 per 1,000 women in 1991 to 68 in 2002. Among African Americans ages 15 to 17, birth rates dropped by 52 percent between 1991 and 2002.
Source: Advocates for Youth

The Literati: A Crisis in the Mental Health of Black America

Suicide has always been a hush-hush topic in the African-American community; nothing silences a conversation more suddenly than talk of someone who has taken their own life, whether a family member or friend. With the publication of Lay My Burden Down, Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans in 2000, the veil of secrecy and inherited shame was lifted and the subject was put out in the public arena. Its authors, Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint and Amy Alexander, offer a convincing, cogent and relentlessly grievous account as to the myriad reasons so many African-Americans suffer from depression and other mental health issues and how those reasons lay the groundwork for the ultimate act of self-aggression: suicide. In particular, and certainly disturbing, is the suicidal trend of black males in America, which tripled between the 1980’s and the end of the twentieth-century, according to the authors. The common element of this trend is the loss of hope, a virtue that historically underpinned the ability of blacks to overcome the legacy of discrimination, segregation and unequal justice. Says Poussaint and Alexander: “…the realities of modern life have begun to undermine the historic adoptions, the coping strategies that are part of the African-American culture.” Lay My Burden Down requires the immediate and consistent attention from anybody who senses the urgency of self-destructive behaviors in a family member or friend and is a must-read for policy chieftains, church leaders and grass-roots organizations.

An Interview with Rev. James David Manning

This interview was conducted by W. Eric Croomes on Friday, October 31, 2008 regarding Manning's comments on Senator Barack Obama.

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About the Editor

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Arlington, Texas, United States
W. Eric Croomes is a writer and playwright based in Irving, Texas and a native of Phoenix, Arizona. Eric is a graduate of Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, earning a Bachelor of Arts in religion and sociology and is founder and executive director of Millennium Men of Color, a non-profit black male advocacy group. In 2002, Eric self-published Dance in the Dark, Poetic Reflections on Love and Culture, a collection of his original poems and essays on love and relationship in the African-American tradition. Three to Eight, a play examining the hours when most teens become pregnant and most juvenile crime is committed, was Eric’s first theatrical release and debuted at the 2004 Black N Blues one act play festival at the African-American museum in Dallas. Brotha2Brotha, Becoming Healthy Men from the Inside Out, a spiritual primer for men of color, was released in September, 2006. Eric’s next book, Thoughts in Black and Male, is slated for release in spring 2008. COMING SOON: THEVILLAGEREPORT.NET Visit Eric at

Trademark Info

The Village Report with W. Eric Croomes is a registered trademark of The Apple Tree Group. All content authored by W. Eric Croomes is Copyrighted 2008.

January 19, 2008 issue of Golfweek Magazine

January 19, 2008 issue of Golfweek Magazine
and I didn't say 1958!