July 31, 2011

Marcus Garvey Extravaganza Art & Pan-African Book Fair

Marcus Garvey Extravaganza Art & Pan-African Book Fair

The 2011 Marcus Garvey Rootz Extravaganza kicks off at Carter Park on Friday, August 19, 2011, with a Art and Pan-African Book Fair running from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Limited prints of a variety of original artwork - donated by the acclaimed veteran “color master” Elgo and the talented and versatile illustrator Ras David - will be on exhibit and also on sale to patrons of the free event.

A wide variety of notable Afro-centric books will be provided by two of the still surviving Black bookstores, Headstart Books from Orlando in Central Florida and Pyramid Books from Boynton Beach in Palm Beach County. In addition, author/publisher Dr. Lance Seunarine of Trican Books from New York will be on location with copies of his new book, In Jah’s Hand. Local author Geoffrey Philp will also be there with his new children's book, Marcus and the Amazons.

Once again this year, the organizers of the Rootz Extravaganza have brought back the one-of-a-kind Kinad Mobile Museum. The Black History museum is mounted in a bus and showcases over five-thousand years of African history. The colorful, audio-visually enhanced mobile exhibit is ideal for both adults and children and the Kinad bus will be open for public viewing at Carter Park from 6:00 p.m. outside the main exhibition hall.

In the meantime, Dr. Umar Johnson is scheduled to conduct a special free workshop for parents with school aged children at the Art & Book Fair at 8:00 p.m. on Friday evening. And on Saturday morning, August 20, 2011, Dr. Johnson is also booked to present a lecture/workshop entitled: "The Rebirth of Garveyism in the 21st Century: How to Properly Educate Black Children for Global Competition".

That workshop runs from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at Miramar Branch Library and Educational Center, located at 2050 Civic Center Place, Miramar, FL 33025. The Saturday morning free workshop is being hosted by the Rootz Foundation Inc. and the Broward County Library Adult Services Department. For more information about these events, call: 954-981-1176 (Rootz), 954-828-5411 (Carter Park), 954-437-1806 (Miramar Library).

July 29, 2011

Caribbean Filmmakers Scholarships Fund Launched

TORONTO (July 29, 2011) – Filmmakers across the Caribbean region can apply for scholarships to attend this September’s CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution's Toronto Film Showcase and Market Access Program in Toronto.

Announcing the CaribbeanTales Scholarship Fund at a Toronto press conference last week, Frances-Anne Solomon, CEO of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribition, said the new fund will allow filmmakers from the region and the Caribbean Diaspora to attend the festival.

But more importantly Solomon pointed out scholarship winners would have access to the highly effective Market Access incubator Program which teaches skills in the all-important packaging and marketing of films.

 “The Fund supports the development of a vibrant world-class Caribbean film industry, by assisting filmmakers to create dynamic, distinctive and commercially viable films that will stand tall in the international marketplace,” Solomon declared.  She added early donor commitments to the fund had been “extremely encouraging” and validated the program.

 The sixth annual film showcase, which is being held from September 7 to 17 and will run alongside the Toronto International Film Festival, engages families, youth, community groups, and the celluloid industry in a program which includes workshops, screenings, networking sessions, and other activities celebrating the burgeoning film and television sector in the Caribbean.

Solomon said she had received interest from filmmakers in Antigua, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Martinique and the United States; and thanked Camilio Antonio, Carl Thorpe, Charlotte Rose, Fil Fraser, Jean Sheen and Selwyn Rouse for making contributions to the fund.

This year’s showcase, to be headquartered at the popular Harbourfront Centre, will feature the launch of some exciting films, docu-dramas, and CTWD's 2011-2012 catalog of films.

The Toronto showcase, among other goals, aims to raise the profile of Caribbean filmmakers and their products, support the growth of a vibrant world-class Caribbean film and television industry, and serve as a platform for promoting the Caribbean as a premier warm weather travel destination and location for film production.

CTWD, a member of the BIM Ventures family of entrepreneurs, has hosted two film festivals in Barbados, another in New York, produced training workshops for filmmakers, and now has scores of films in its catalog.

Interested parties may email caribbeantales@gmail.com or visit www.caribbeantales-events.com.

About CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution

CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution is the first full-service film distribution company in the English-speaking Caribbean, and aims to become the go-to solution for producers and buyers of Caribbean-themed content. The company holds marketing events through the CaribbeanTales Film Festival Group, and provides co-production services to producers. CTWD was founded by award-winning filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon, and its principals include creative industries expert Dr. Keith Nurse, economist and businessman Dr. Terrence Farrell, media personality and producer Lisa Wickham, and filmmaker and writer Mary Wells. CTWD is a member of the BIM Ventures family of entrepreneurs.

For more information:

Kevin Pennant, Pennant Media Group, kp@pennantmediagroup.com - 416 596 2798
Bevan Springer, Marketplace Excellence, bevan@marketplaceexcellence.com - + 1 201 861-2056

"Marcus Garvey" by Ras Hassen & Munky Lee

Marcus Garvey's work has inspired so many African. African American, and
Caribbean leaders, artists, singers and songwriters..including Ras Hassen & Munky Lee 

Yet,sadly, according to the records, Marcus Garvey remains a convicted felon.
This is why we are calling on President Barack Obama to EXONERATE Marcus Garvey.

If you would like to join in the online petition to clear the name of a good man, of an innocent man, here is the link:

Feel the dub, sign the petition, and  pass it on:

July 28, 2011

Accepting Submissions: sx salon

sx salon: a small axe literary platform

The Small Axe Project has recently launched sx salon: a small axe literary platform, a new electronic publication dedicated to literary discussions, interviews with Caribbean literary figures, reviews of new publications (creative and scholarly) related to the Caribbean, and short fiction and poetry by emerging and established Caribbean writers. sx salon also houses the Small Axe Literary Competition, launched in 2009. 

sx salon represents both a new project and a continuation of the Small Axe Project’s ongoing affirmation of the literary as a critical component of Caribbean cultural production. We envision this space as an open source, easily accessible, online resource for students, teachers and scholars, as well as a forum for academics in the field to consult for announcements related to Caribbean literary studies.

sx salon publishes a new issue every two months  and invites year-round submissions of:
  • Literary Discussions that engage issues relevant to Caribbean literary studies: 2,000 – 2,500 words
  • Book Reviews of recent (published no more than two years preceding the date of submission) creative literary works by Caribbean authors or scholarly works related to Caribbean literary studies: 1,000 – 1,200 words
  • Interviews with Caribbean literary figures: 2,000 – 2,500 words
  • Poetry and Short Fiction that engage regional and diasporic Caribbean themes and concerns: up to 2 poems or fiction of up to 4,000 words

Submissions must be accompanied by a short bio approximately 50 words, which should include information about the author’s location (institutional, geographical, etc.), and publications. Manuscripts should not contain any information about the author. Please include name, email address, phone number and, if applicable, institutional affiliation with the accompanying bio

Please visit http://smallaxe.net/sxsalon/submissions.php for more detailed guidelines for submissions.

ALL inquiries and submissions must to be sent electronically to the following addresses:

Mr. President: Rewind

July 27, 2011

Marcus and the Amazons @ Keiser University

Sometimes, reading for an audience never goes quite as planned.

I had prepared my notes, PowerPoint, and bundled all my books, including Dub Wise, for my reading at Keiser University on July 13, 2011.

At first, everything went as planned. I read from the first chapter of Marcus and the Amazons and encouraged the students to download the preview at Amazon. I also introduced the students via my PowerPoint to the book trailer, Facebook page, and blog for Marcus. But then, something happened that took me off my plan. The students were keenly interested in e publishing and the process of creating Marcus and the Amazons.

The question gave me the opportunity to speak about the genesis of Marcus and the Amazons, and the challenges of being an Indie author in a digital environment.

The first challenge is the stereotype that many readers associate with Indie publishing. But as John Locke has explained, no one calls it a "vanity business" if you decide to set up an independent insurance company (as he did), but if you self-publish, it's called "vanity publishing." The other stereotype is that a self-published book is somehow lower in quality than those books coming out of the major publishing houses in New York and London. This is a stereotype that many Caribbean writers still confront, and which, sadly, is one of the legacies of colonialism: the goods and services of the "mother country"  are always superior to anything "local."

These are just a few of the issues that an Indie author must face before she has written a single word. Then, there are the doubts: Am I good enough? What will my peers think? What if it doesn't meet up to my standards of taste? But you have to push through and write.

Then, after you've written the manuscript, proofread at least ten times, and sent it off to a copyeditor (as I did), the next step is formatting. Fortunately, my son did most of that for me and my other son, Patrick Pollack, created the graphics. Uploading to Smashwords and Amazon  was the easiest part of the process.

Next, comes the marketing, which some writers find distasteful. There are many authors who would much rather write the book, turn it over to a publisher, and let the publishers worry about the rest. These authors complain that marketing takes away from their writing time. It does. This is why Indie authors rely so much on the support of their readers.

When you are an Indie writer, you are the author, editor, proofreader, PR, therapist, coach, and booking agent. And you have to do all this while sometimes holding down a full time job. As I said to the students, "To be an Indie author, you must have the discipline of a warrior and the whimsy of a fool."

With that, I thought I was done, but the students wanted more. So, I read from Cry to Me, Third Time, and Dub Wise. It wasn't enough. I ended the reading with a poem from Twelve Poems and a Story for Christmas.

It was a great experience to read and talk with the students at Keiser University, who took me out of my comfort zone with the probing questions. Give thanks to Belkis L. Cabrera, for inviting me, and to Alissa Stone and Henry Georget for their generous support of my work.


July 25, 2011

The Future of Rastafari

At a recent symposium at Nova Southeastern University, The Rastafari Impact on the Culture of Jamaica and the World, what began as an assessment of the movement was transformed into a lively discussion about the future of Rastafari. This was hardly surprising. From the time I was a yute in Jamaica, I've been a part of and sometimes witnessed these deep reasonings. And this was a vitally important discussion. Nearly all of the panelists, Ras Don Rico Ricketts, Dr. Roy Augier, Nana Farika, Mama Iyaddis, Dr. Michael Barnett, Dr. Jahlani "Bongo" Niaah, and Dr. K'adamawe K'nife, seemed to be wrestling with the issue of "how to be in the world, but not of it." The significance of this issue lies in the genesis of Rastafari, which was labeled as a cult by the British government, and its growth into a movement that has had a profound impact on global cultures, especially in the area of music.

The presentation began with a pointed analysis by Ras Don Rico Ricketts, who moderated the symposium. He was followed by Sir Roy Augier, the only surviving author of the seminal Report on the Rastafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica.

Dr. Augier began by noting the contributions of M. G. Smith and Rex Nettleford, whose influence was noted by nearly every panelist. After a brief summary of the report, Dr. Augier challenged Rastafari to become more engaged in their communities and pointed to several forms of denial that were prevalent in the Caribbean and Rastafari. While he acknowledged that the idea of repatriation was a central tenet of Rastafari, Dr. Augier suggested that repatriation among Rastafari was a form of denial of the "lives that made a culture on these shores."

If it was a rebuke, then it was a mild one. For Dr. Augier had nothing but praise for Rastafari when he introduced the concept of negotiation, which set the tone for the challenges, which he suggested that Rastafari and the Caribbean must confront:
"Negotiation is a metaphor for navigation of the African presence in ourselves… We see it in the mirror and we don't like it…We are not whole. We are bifurcated."
Dr. Augier then asked the rhetorical question, "How do we negotiate the African presence in the Americas?" Rastafari, Dr. Augier argued began as an interrogation of the African presence in the Americas and that the movement posited an alternative value system of capitalist systems. He also contended that the movement could have positive effects on governance and the dietary habits of the Caribbean--noting the deleterious effects of fast food chains of the health of Caribbean peoples: "We are not eating right."

The discussion shifted its focus when Nana Farika, a senior Rastafari elder, stressed the importance of restoring the Omega balance, expressed in of Empress Menen of Ethiopia and Mama Iyaddis mused about Rastafari losing its impact by the growing commercialization of the movement. Dr. Michael Barnett and Dr. Jahlani "Bongo" Niaah also highlighted the significance of The Report on the Rastafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica.

But it was Dr. K'adamawe K'nife, a lecturer in the Department of Management Studies at the University of the West Indies, whose startling break with the program captured the imagination of the audience.

In his presentation, "A New Hope for Humanity," Dr. K'nife offered an elegant assessment of Rastafari's centrality in Jamaican culture and offered Rastafari as an alternative to the current social, political, and economic systems:

Emphasis on the human rather than capital
Rastafari: an ethic for sustainable development
Application of Rastafari in conjunction with the deep ecology
Movement away from reliance on texts such as the King James Version to intuitive and metaphysical livity
Itral: The Law of Life
"Rastafari, the ancient future. Man of the past, living in the present, walking into the future."

Following Dr. K'nife's lecture, Ras Don Rico Ricketts invited audience participation in a Q&;A session, which continued until the conclusion of the program.

Rastafari, in its current incarnation, which was born in slave ships, flourished in the hills of Jamaica, and blossomed in reggae, has had a profound influence on my generation. Drawing on its roots in Garveyism, which emphasized self-reliance and entrepreneurship, unity and nationhood, Rastafari informed our sense of identity. And because Rastafari did not separate the physical from the spiritual in all their manifestations, the movement offered an attractive alternative to the Cartesian models of the West. Like many Caribbean Boomers, Rastafari has been, to borrow Dr. Augier's metaphor, a way of honoring the African presence in our lives and negotiating between a system that values capital over the human and Dr. K'nife's expansive interpretation of the movement.

Image created by Ras Don Rico Ricketts.

July 22, 2011

"On Other Continents " by Cynthia James

On Other Continents

you guys are mixed, he said:
mixed with what, I said; obviously
he’d read my claim: divided to the vein;
où avez-vous appris le français?
Back home, I said: a convent: You?

Welcome Brother, long have I sought you –
Arrivants: we kiss cheeks thrice, masked the same,
set to scavenge slim phenotypic spoils
who would sell the other first -
a sail is a sale is yet a dirty sale

this vast value village’s cold -
though self-exiled we still need muffs, boots,
joseph’s coats, no frills - food: basics;
our curse’s genesis is close yet distant -
quintessentially human, yet recurrently man-made

"On Other Continents " by Cynthia James

About Cynthia James:

Cynthia James is a Trinidadian, living for the past 3 years in Toronto. She writes poetry and fiction and her work can be found in publications such as Callaloo, Caribbean Writer and The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse

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July 21, 2011

Top Rated in Children's Bug & Spider Books: Marcus and the Amazons

Give thanks to all the friends who have bought, liked, and reviewed Marcus and the Amazons. Now let's see if we can move Marcus into the bestsellers list!

One Love,

“Jailing a Rainbow: The Marcus Garvey Case" by Justin Hansford

Justin Hansford

When he is not teaching, Hansford plans to rewrite his essay on Garvey, “Jailing a Rainbow: the Marcus Garvey Case,” into a book. This is work that both corrects the historical record, in Hansford’s opinion, while setting the stage for progress in the crucial arena of economic justice.

“My thesis is that Marcus Garvey was wrongly convicted of mail fraud, and after this conviction he was later deported and never returned to the U.S.,” Hansford said. “His conviction played a large role leading to the end of his movement. Marcus Garvey’s vision for economic justice suffered from his incarceration and the ultimate marginalization of his movement.”

At its height there were almost 5 million members of Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. The Black Star Line, its flagship, allegedly was a fraudulent Ponzi scheme, according to prosecutors.

For more information, please follow this link:

Image Source: http://www.stlamerican.com/news/local_news/article_ca4b9ca4-b32c-11e0-80b9-001cc4c03286.html


“We are petitioning President Barack Obama to issue to clear the name of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a national hero of Jamaica.”

July 20, 2011

Afua Hall: "The Games We Play"

MIAMI – Afua Hall, a Miami Herald ’20 Under 40 Artist’, curates The Games We Play, a multicultural evening of dance for the Little Haiti Cultural Center’s Discover Art! Family Festival on Friday, July 29, 2011.

The title of the evening, ‘The Games We Play,’ references the multiple entendres associated with “games” as well as the practice of covering/sampling classic works, such as Reggae Artist Bob Andy’s interpretation of Joe South’s 1969 classic song, "The Games People Play."

The evening of dance performance offers a diversity of style, content and form – many of the choreographers are exploring new territory between traditional and contemporary dance styles from West African, Afro-Caribbean, Flamenco, Tap, Contemporary/Modern and Ballet. Needless to say, there is something for everyone on the program.

This free performance features contemporary and traditional choreography by South Florida based Choreographer/Dancers Sandra L. Portal-Andreu, Asha Darbeau, Anasthasia Grand-Pierre, Ronderrick Mitchell, Afua Hall, Annie Hollingsworth/Mayami Folklorico, Petagay Letren, Ana Miranda, Megan Swick and Natasha Williams. Also on the bill are Oakland, California’s Jacinta Vlach and Millicent M. Johnnie, formerly of NYC’s Urban Bush Women, whose choreography will be performed by Miami’s treasured dancer Stephanie Bastos, whose “robust strength and passionate expression” was lauded by the NYC Village Voice. Jacinta Vlach, will be dancing her solo 'The Quetzal in Flight' which addresses the culture liabilities incurred when Latin American immigrant women seek a path into North American idealism.

Annie Hollingsworth, one of The New Times’ 100 Creatives, will be presenting a work in progress titled Red Eyes (Je Wouj) choreographed in collaboration with Ann Mazzocca for her newly formed Mayami Folklorico. The company was formed earlier this year as a creative experiment in contemporary folklore, representing, through dance, the multiple traditions within Miami's cultural environment.

Petagay Letren, founder of Harambee Inc., offers an untitled West African and Contemporary Modern Dance study exploring the common denominator between the two techniques. Ms. Letren stopped off in Miami en route to Trinidad & Tobago where she will be taking a teaching position at the University of the West Indies teaching Dance History and Composition. Asha Darbeau, known to many as the Rasta Ballerina, who had the pleasure of being Ms. Letrens’ Rehearsal Director, will also be sharing her own solo improvisation.

New Mom & Choreographer/Videographer, Megan Swick will be premiering her Dance/Video La Danse Du Ventre that is a meditative ritual in anticipation of motherhood. Ms. Swick is known for fusing Belly Dance with Contemporary Dance Forms with her dance company Binti Ensemble.

Recent New World School of the Arts BFA graduates Ronderrick Mitchell and Anastasia Grand Pierre will both be performing their own respective solos. Mitchell will be exploring the spiritual warfare incurred while being African-American, Gay, and Christian. Ms. Grand Pierre’s solo is a reflection on her itinerant childhood as a Haitian-American daughter of Navy Parents.

Representing South Florida’s emerging talent, Natasha Williams of the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet will be presenting the newly formed youth Tap Team as they pay tribute to the great tap dancers of our time by doing an excerpt of Leon Collins’ Class Part 53 and Leonard Reed & Willie Bryant’s Shim Sham Shimmy.

Complementing the program is Sandra L. Portal Andreu, a choreographer and teacher on faculty in the NWSA Theater Department. Ms. Andreu’s solo “Ojos Que No Ven” was inspired by the Pasiego people of Northern Spain. A Spanish influence also colors the work of Ana Miranda, who melds Flamenco with contemporary dance forms. Her piece is an exploration of resilience, inspired by the survival of New Orleans.

Image Source: http://www.knightarts.org/community/miami/off-season-brings-indie-dance-with-afua-hall-dances

Marcus and the Amazons: Free Activity Guide

Marcus and the Amazons: Activity Guide is now available at Smashwords.

Activity Guide Thumbnail

Ebook Description

The Activity Guide includes a crossword puzzle, a vocabulary quiz, and questions based on Bloom's taxonomy. Ideal for the classroom and for parents/ guardians who wish to discuss Marcus and the Amazons with their children.

July 18, 2011

"An Ant’s Journey": A Review of Geoffrey Philp’s Marcus and the Amazons

By  Michela A. Calderaro

There are plenty of things most of us parents would like to pass on to our children, yet we are seldom certain how we should go about it. Sure, we could set an example for them, respect their opinions, leave them enough space to develop on their own. But you can also sit at their bedside and read to them.

A very fine book to read before bedtime, or at any other hour of the day, is Marcus and the Amazons - the story of a young ant, Marcus, on a journey of self discovery that leads him, as part of the process, to become his people’s savior.

Marcus, who goes to the forest and comes back a different being, is summoned to save the village from a terrible peril, must make weighty choices and fight a battle with instruments that are alien to his own companions.

Marcus’s journey is more than a mere walk from his village to the forest and back. More than a youth bildungsroman. One might call it a journey through history. As Marcus’s story unfolds in front of us, we see a parallel tale of world history.

Interweaving “history” and “story,” especially in a children book, is not an easy task. But Geoffrey Philp succeeds in blending the specific and the universal with outstanding skill: historic moments are told as parts of a personal story of one child narrating it to another, in a language that is easily accessible to kids.

 Indeed, the book can be read on various levels and from different perspectives, making the reading enjoyable for both children and grownups. While children will no doubt be holding their breath in expectation for the next plot twist, to learn how Marcus, the new champion of a non-violence creed, will lead his people to regain control of their village, adults are certain to find pleasure in detecting historical or classical references.
Such historical references – to Queen Victoria and the British Empire, the enslavement of whole peoples and the setting of a colonial rule – are reflected here in the fictional Amazons Empire and their own Queen Victoria. Other references one is likely to consider are Martin Luther King’s “Million Man March” on Washington, and the contrast between white men and enslaved Africans. These of course are the most obvious historical references, but there are others.

Indeed, the captives’ passivity cannot but remind one of other people that were captured and enslaved, tortured and slaughtered over the centuries.  Here, the Formicas’ passive acceptance of their fate immediately calls to mind the passivity of oblivious Jews paraded to the gas chambers.

But beside the obvious parallel reflection on certain historical events, the novel is sprinkled with literary and classical references – such as the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, or the biblical tragedy of Cain and Abel, to mention just a couple (in Marcus and the Amazons, however, the hero frees his loved one from death, and the two brothers reconcile).

The book follows the tradition of great children literature. An obvious example would be Luc Besson’s Arthur et les Minimoys (Arthur and the Invisibles). In Besson’s just as in Philp’s story we find a peaceful people dominated by brutes. On the one hand the Minimoys are crushed by frivolous humans while on the other they are oppressed by the brute force of their archenemy.

We may notice other literary intertextual connections with animated films like Antz and A Bug’s Life, but the quest for freedom in Philp’s book is based on far more solid moral ethics, and victory is achieved just because of these superior values – rather than due to a superior maverick’s ingenuity.

 The themes explored here are themes accessible to children yet of universal importance.  It is indeed surprising how so many themes can be packed into such a slim book and with such effective results.
Marcus teaches something completely new to both the Formicas and the Amazons: that violence does not pay; that appearances can be misleading; that not complying with the mainstream line of thinking can sometimes be the winning choice; that friendship and trust can lead to bridging  the differences among different peoples; and that pride can become our worst enemy.

Reality and fantasy are mixed, while questions are posed about who we are, where we belong and from where our roots draw the vital sap and feed our minds. The answer is not always simple, but Philp subtly presents the question leaving us to figure it out for ourselves.

About Michela A. Calderaro

Michela A. Calderaro, an Associate Editor of Calabash. A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters, now published on line, teaches English and Postcolonial Literature at the University of Trieste (Italy). Ms Calderaro, whose critical works include a book on Ford Madox Ford and numerous articles on British and Caribbean writers, has just finished editing a collection of unpublished poems by Creole writer Eliot Bliss and plans to complete Bliss’s biography by the end of 2012.

July 15, 2011

Thank You, JK Rowling

Last night as my family and I got ready to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, I remembered anticipation of my children, especially the eldest, before we headed out to midnight releases of the books or film premieres. Those nights were always special and quite surprisingly, it was always my children who were pushing me out the door instead of me waiting by the car for them to go to be on time for things like…school? For it wasn't always easy to match their excitement after a day of writing in the morning, taking them to school, teaching three or four classes, grading papers, preparing for the next day, and attending a film where I knew I would be quizzed: "How did you like the scene…?"

And I'll never forget the look on my daughter's face (she's back from Seattle and living with us again) after the midnight release at Books & Books of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and she stayed up all night to read the book. When I came downstairs, huge gobs of tears stained the cover of the book and she was depressed for about a week. Coincidentally, she was cleaning out her room in preparation for her next big adventure and found this booklet that she'd saved since 2001.

I look at the photograph of the Harry now and again I realize how much he has become a part of my children's lives and imagination. Harry has grown up with my children. As Harry was going through his quest for identity, adolescent love, and facing challenges to his integrity, my children were going through similar issues.

So, thank you, JK Rowling, for providing my children with an outlet for wonder that spurred their imagination and giving them a model to trust their inner and outer guides of wisdom.

Thank you for a great story that gave me a way to talk with my children about life, love, and yes, death. I'll never forget Amos Diggory's howl in The Goblet of Fire as he cradles his son's body: "That's my son! That's my boy! My Boy!" 

Thank you for creating a character who cherished his relationships with his friends and mentors, and whose love saved him from the perils of ego-driven power. For even as Harry struggled bravely with the forces of evil incarnated in "The One Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken," I hoped that Harry would (while secretly praying for my own children) find the strength to become the shaman that I always knew he could be. For in the end, that's what Harry taught me: True magic springs from hope.

"Marcus Garvey " by Big Youth

Mr. Marcus Garvey say black people down here
will never know themself till them back against the wall

Marcus Garvey's work has inspired so many African. African American, and
Caribbean leaders, artists, singers and songwriters..including Big Youth
Yet,sadly, according to the records, Marcus Garvey remains a convicted felon.
This is why we are calling on President Barack Obama to EXONERATE Marcus Garvey.

If you would like to join in the online petition to clear the name of a good man, of an innocent man, here is the link:


Sing, sign, and  pass it on:

July 14, 2011

Petition Update: Marcus Garvey Exoneration

Even as I write this, the online petition for the exoneration of the Hon Marcus Mosiah Garvey now has 1071 signatures. The goal is to reach 5,000 signatures by June 2012, Caribbean-American Heritage Month, and I hope to present the petition to President Barack Obama.

The growth of the petition would not have been possible without the livication of readers who have blogged, shared, tweeted, and emailed the link to friends and acquaintances in their network. And for this, I give thanks.

As Marcus Garvey showed us in his life and work, if we have a goal, then nothing can stop us. If only we would wake up to our power instead of giving it away or selling it for a pittance.

With that in mind, I have sought the guidance/wiseman of Jabulani Tafari (among others), and I will be meeting with Julius Garvey, son of Marcus Garvey, at the Rootz Extravaganza on Saturday, August 20, 2011. 

As a lead-up to the event, I will be appearing the Conduit Show with Sheron Hamilton-Pearson on Sunday, July 17, 2011 between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. to discuss among other topics, the online petition to exonerate Marcus Garvey.

In the meantime, if you have any ideas about I/we can be more effective/successful, please let me know in the Comments section.

One Heart

Michael Hettich Wins 2011 Swan Scythe Press Poetry Chapbook Contest

SACRAMENTO, CA, JULY 10, 2011 –- Swan Scythe Press, one of the U.S.’s most respected poetry publishers, today announced the winner of the 2011 Swan Scythe Press Poetry Chapbook Contest. The winning manuscript is The Measured Breathing by Michael Hettich of Miami Shores, Florida.

Mr. Hettich’s manuscript will be published by Swan Scythe Press in Fall 2011, and he will receive a $200 award for his work.  According to Swan Scythe Press’s editor, James DenBoer, his choice of the contest winner was based on “Michael Hettich’s distinct voice; his work stood out immediately from the large number of competent and interesting poets who entered our contest.  I was particularly impressed by his ability to write a book of lyric poems without using the word “I” and by his startling images of transformation and transcendence.”

Michael Hettich's poetry has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Cake, Hamilton Stone Review, International Literary Quarterly, Poetry East, and many other literary journals. His most recently-published book of poems is Like Happiness, from Anhinga Press; a new book, The Animals Beyond Us, is forthcoming from New Rivers Press.  Born in Brooklyn, NY, he now teaches at Miami Dade College.

Swan Scythe Press was founded in 2000 by poet Sandra McPherson, and is now edited by James DenBoer, also a poet.  The Measured Breathing was chosen as the contest winner from among 165 entries, from 34 U.S. states and 4 foreign countries.  Mr. DenBoer made the final selection of the winner, with the help of a small group of outside readers.  Mr Hettich’s book will be the 32nd book of poetry published by Swan Scythe Press.  Its authors have won many awards and prizes, and have distinguished themselves as artists and educators throughout the U.S. and abroad.

For more information on Swan Scythe Press itself, please see the Press’s website at http://www.swanscythe.com, email the editor directly at jimzbookz@yahoo.com, or write to the press at 515 P Street, #804, Sacramento CA 95814.


Congratulations, Michael!

July 13, 2011

Third Time by Geoffrey Philp @ Smashwords

Ebook Description

When Josh Harding, who is working as a sales clerk at a grocery store in Miami, agrees reluctantly to deliver groceries to his supervisor’s home, he begins a torrid romance with Liliana, his supervisor’s wife. His supervisor, Alvaro Guzman, besides being a known philanderer also has the reputation for his violent temper. How will Josh’s love affair end?

To buy Third Time, please follow this link: