Thursday, January 31, 2008

My First Love

My senior year of high school I went to UNC to visit. This guy took a group of us to observe a college class. He sent me a note asking which schools I had been accepted. I thought nothing else about him. Advance forward to my first week on campus my freshman year. The two large dorms, Morrison and Hinton James, had a party for the freshman. Same random guy was there as a counselor. After the party he volunteered to walk my friend and I back to the dorm. Sure, whatever.

Two days later I see him in the cafeteria, we lock eyes, and within hours become a couple. (Remember this is before I even started classes my freshman year.) Anthony and I stayed together for three years until he graduated. People often called us "The Happy Couple" because we were always together and also constantly smiling. He walked me to my classes and we always made sure our dorm rooms were placed next to each other. He became my best friend at UNC and I shared all of my hopes, dreams, experiences and fears with him. I was truly in love. But that love scared me at the age of 20. I thought about how college is the time you get to know various people, and he was the only man I ever met. I still had another year at Carolina so we broke up in 1997 and I decided to see what else was out there.

Anthony will tell you that I was the person he envisioned himself marrying. However while he was always ready to settle down, it wasn't until about 6 years ago that I was honestly ready to consider marrying someone. By then he had moved on with his life and now has a wife and two kids. Recently we met for lunch in North Carolina. Although we've talked on the phone, this was our first time together alone since we broke up. I was nervous at first, but we had a blast. We spent three hours reliving the college days and both apologized for things done wrong. When I asked the waitress to take our picture, she said "You all are such a great couple!" (lol) I drove away with flashback memories of the strongest relationship I have been a part of. I realized that he loved me for the person I was and will always be there to protect me. He helped me remember the genuine qualities I need to look for in my next potential mate/relationship and that all people come into your life for a reason.

Who would have known that while I was sitting in the back of a UNC classroom, planning what I'd wear to prom, that a guy would be put into my life that would show me what true love really is?! I say this because you never know when the next "he/she" will be placed into your life. Watch out, now!!

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick May Have Lied Under Oath

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has, for the first time, publicly addressed a sex scandal that has rocked his administration. Giving a speech while holding hands with his wife, Kilpatrick asked the city of Detroit to forgive him for his sins.

"I would never quit on you, ever," said Kilpatrick. "We've got a lot of work to do. And with your help, I am going to continue to lead this city in getting the work done."

Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press reported that Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick may have lied under oath about having an affair with his Chief of Staff, Christine Beatty. Kilpatrick was also accused of lying about his firing of Deputy Chief Gary Brown.

Kym Worthy, the county prosecutor, has announced that an investigation is being opened into wrong-doing. If found guilty, Kwame Kilpatrick could face time in prison.

Rather than denying the affair, as Bill Clinton did nearly 10 years ago, Kilpatrick took full responsibility, stating, "To all of you who have believed in what we have been doing in this city since 2002, to all of you who have believed in me and my leadership, to all of you who have stuck with me through difficult times, to all of you who have prayed for me, I'm sorry."

Mayor Kilpatrick's wife, Carlita Kilpatrick also stepped in to provide support for her husband. She also noted that she and Kwame were having problems.

"Like all marriages, ours is not perfect," she said. "But through our commitment to God and each other, my husband and I will get through this. Yes, I am angry, I am hurt, and I am disappointed. But there is no question I love my husband."

Kwame Kilpatrick refused to discuss details of the sex scandal during his speech.
"Because there are legal matters pending at this moment, unfortunately I am unable to discuss any of those issues at this time."

Kilpatrick finished off his speech with a public apology.

"Most of all tonight, I want to make a public apology to my entire family, and specifically to the four people who I love the most in this world," said Mayor Kilpatrick.

"First, I want to apologize to my sons, Jelani, Jalil and Jonas. For the first time in my life I had to have a conversation with my 12-year-old twin sons about very grown up things. It was, without a doubt, the hardest conversation that I've ever had in my entire life.

"Finally, and most importantly, I want to make a public apology to my wife, Carlita, who I fell in love with when I was 19 years old. We decided to build a family together and we did that. Our marriage has not been perfect, but it has been great."

Reporters were barred from Kwame Kilpatrick's speech, given in a relatively empty room in the church that he and his family attend. Kilpatrick did not address the woman that he allegedly had the affair with, Christine Beatty. Instead, he focused on his marriage to his wife, Carlita Kilpatrick.

"This has been a situation where, yes, it's been embarrassing, yes it's been painful," the mayor said. "But through all of that, through the grace of God, we've also had a feeling of thankfulness and freedom. We have committed to moving forward together to make our marriage better and stronger."

Whether the public chooses to forgive Mayor Kilpatrick is up to debate. The American public forgave Bill Clinton for his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, but there are some who doubt that a young black politician can be as easily forgiven.

Kwame Kilpatrick, one of the youngest mayors in America, has been under a great deal of controversy since he took office. While being supported strongly by the city of Detroit, many have criticized his unconventional style of leadership as arrogant and overbearing. It is yet to be seen if he can overcome his most recent controversy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Don't Sweat the Small Things: Let Go and Let God

I am one of those people who constantly worry about things that they can't control. I can't help it. This problem has plagued me all of me life. Maybe it stems from the burden of being the oldest child--the one with all of the responsibility.

For example, I remember going to a house party and worrying about people spilling things on the carpet and IT WASN'T EVEN MY HOUSE. I can laugh about it now, but as my friend would say "Girl, you are always ON." I knew exactly what she meant.

I needed to calm down and live in the moment, but that was easier said than done for a girl who loved planning out everything.

One restless night, I sat in bed contemplating what I was going to do with my future. I had many of those nights.

Suddenly, I heard this song on the radio and it touched my heart. It gave me the peace of mind that I was searching for over the years.

I want to share this song with everyone. Listen to the words and embrace the message. Here it is....

by Dewayne Woods

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lil Wayne and Heath Ledger: What They Have in Common

Shortly before Lil Wayne’s arrest, I’d recently become reacquainted with him. I’ve met a lot of artists through time, and even when I’d met Wayne a couple of years ago, I wasn’t impressed. I honestly didn’t feel, at the time, that his music was all that good. But this year, I was proven wrong. Lil Wayne came up like Godzilla from the ocean, and he now has my respect. Sort of.

Heath Ledger has had an equally meteoric rise, with that rise expected to go on full blast with his latest role as The Joker in the new Batman film. The Joker’s presence appears to be the central theme of the movie and I am sure there are rooms full of Hollywood executives trying to figure out how to manage the fact that one of the two most important people in their new blockbuster film is now lying in a casket.

I feel bad for Heath Ledger and Lil Wayne. It appears that both of them had an odd love affair with a set of mind altering substances.

There are at least three clear differences between Heath Ledger and Lil Wayne: First, one guy is dead and the other only has a death wish. Secondly, one guy’s substances are illegal, and the other guy’s stuff should be outlawed. Third, I am not sure if Heath Ledger ever had a chance to experience the greatness of Lil Wayne, and I would not be surprised if Lil Wayne missed out on Broke Back Mountain. I honestly missed it too, it was just too weird.

But that’s where the differences seem to end.

Drugs are everywhere. As a college professor, I’ve seen drugs destroy the lives of many otherwise normal, happy, healthy young people. What’s worse is that many of our greatest drug dealers are major corporations. I tire of seeing one commercial after another, seeking to bring out the hypochondriac in all of us. They overmedicate our kids to turn them into lifeless, wide-eyed, zombies. They tell old men that they can have bigger penises and use them more often. Anyone who can’t sleep or has a series of bad days is given something in a bottle that will make the bad days turn sunny.

Actually, they’re right. People on drugs are usually much happier than those who actually face their problems and work through them….at least for a while.
I am not here to say that psychiatric medication is not necessary. I like the idea that I can escape the pain of surgery and suddenly see Halle Berry in a bikini. However, the idea that our society allows an industry to make money hand over fist by getting us all hooked on their product is quite disturbing. Pookie on the corner offering hits to school children has been overshadowed by men in business suits showing up at the same school to offer a more powerful product.

Heath Ledger had problems, and his doctor gave him prescriptions to make it better. He eventually dies from an overdose. Lil Wayne surely has problems of his own, since the list of haters gets long when you’re on top. He found his own medication. Part of the reason I never wanted to be a huge celebrity is that the psychological toll can be astronomical. In this case, the inability to handle this toll has stolen the life of one of our most talented celebrities, and may steal the livelihood of another.

I must admit that all of this just makes me sad. But then again, I’m sure some company will soon offer me a drug that can make it go away. Perhaps I should see my pusher….err uhh…doctor. Either one would be just fine.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University. He makes regular appearances in national media, including CNN, FOX, BET, CBS, and ESPN. For more information, please visit

Friday, January 18, 2008

"Thy Closets Runneth Over"

closetOkay, I will be the first to admit that I have A LOT of clothes.  I really do.  But it's not completely my fault. Part of it is because I haven't grown for the past decade.  I've been the same height and weight since college so I never really have a reason to throw a good piece of clothing away.  The other part of the 'reason for the season' is my mother.  My mother and I wore the same clothing size and same shoe size.  When she passed away, my closet almost doubled.  She wore the classiest suit and had some pretty amazing shoes. Whenever I wear something that belonged to her and someone asks what brand it is, I say it came from the "Mom Collection". 

I recently took a tour of all the closet space I use just to see how bad it really is.  First there's the walk-in closet in the Master Bedroom.  One side consists strictly of tops.  They are separated: sleeveless, short sleeve, long sleeve and blazers.  Each individual shirt section is also divided by color.  On the other side are all of my pant suits, skirt suits and pants.  Throughout the closet are rows and rows of shoes racks and above the clothes are my collections of sweatshirts.  I then walk across the room to a dresser and see 2 shelves of casual tops and shelf of jeans.  The other dresser in the room has t-shirts, undergarments, socks etc.

That's sounds like about in itself - but that is only one room!  The office has a closet that holds all of my sweaters and casual sweat outfits (matching top and bottom).  One guest bedroom closet holds all of my dresses and skirts.  I just love dresses!  The next guest bedroom holds my formal dresses and my mother's clothes from Africa.  Then I find the dresser that really lets me know that I have far too many clothes.  This dresser has four drawers.  The top drawer contains all of my bathing suits and sports bras for working out.  The next drawer holds my other tops for working out.  The next drawer has all of my long pants for working out and the bottom drawer contains all of my shorts for working out.

I realize that I could clothe an entire village in Africa and probably their distance relatives in Asia.  I've made the commitment to go through my closets and donate the clothes that I haven't worn in years. That's not the easiest thing to do, though.  Sometimes you'll hold up something you've worn once in 10 years but have such a wonderful memory of the time you wore it that it's hard to let it go.  I also will not put another new item in my closet until I get rid of something else. Parting is such sweet sorrow, but as I watch my stack of clothes grow that I will donate to charity, I know I'll be help bring a smile to someone's face as they prepare for an interview, go to church or get dressed for a first date.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oprah Winfrey's "OWN" Television Network

Oprah Winfrey already has a top-rated talk show, Web site, magazine, XM satellite radio network and a number of TV movies, now she is stamping her name on a TV network.

It was announced Tuesday, that The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) will debute next year as part of a deal with Discovery Communications, according to The Associated Press.

The new network will replace the Discovery Health Network which has been declining in popularity over the years.

The deal states that OWN will be a 50-50 partnership between Discovery Communications and Winfrey's Harpo Productions Inc.

Winfrey will be chairwoman of the new network, which will reach 70 million cabel accesssible homes.

"This is an evolution of what I've been able to do every day," Winfrey said.

Furthermore, Winfrey plans to show programs that deal with issues such as health, raising children, wealth and relationships.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Braids by Donisha Adams

Hair texture and hairstyles have been complex issues in the African American community. Some of us prefer to straighten our hair, while others prefer to “go natural.” No one is right or wrong, but the causes for these modifications may be deeply rooted in American society and socialization theories.

American society is driven by white standards of beauty—that blond hair, blue eyed and model thin look. Media perpetuates this ideology in movies, television shows and books. They teach us that there is only one way to look, well if you want to be successful anyway.

Braids, cornrows and dreadlocks symbolize our culture—where we have come from and where we have yet to go. They are a link to our ancestors and they pay honor to creativity and originality.

I wear long, flowing braids because they are beautiful and they allow me to pay homage to tradition. I cherish my badge of individuality, knowing that my braids may look odd to some people. However, I know that people judge me by my braids.

Growing up in Washington, DC, most of the girls that I knew had braids of all different shapes, sizes and colors. If I had some nice braids, people in my community would be sure to let me know. On the other hand, if I had too much “new growth” I would be told to get a “touch-up” immediately. This is how things are. This was how things were—that is until I decided to attend a predominantly white college in Pennsylvania.

“How do you get your hair like that?” “Does it hurt?” I heard all of these comments and more, on the day-to-day basis. While some comments were positive, some of them hurt.

The hair debate is very heated when it comes to the professional world, especially a career in journalism. For instance, I have been told many times that I should not wear braids to an interview, because it is not professional. People tell me: “It is better to straighten your hair and tie it back.” What is really being said is that white employers (and some black employers) will be less likely to hire me if I have braids.

Why is this? Do braids symbolize how smart I am? People might look at my braids and see all of the ethnic stereotypes—loud, uneducated, ghetto girl, because that is what they see on television.

However, I am ME-the smart, funny, beautiful and polite young woman who likes to wear her hair in braids. I am just as qualified as the next person so check my resume before you look at my braids.

Supporters of the Confederacy are Sending a Message to You with Talks of Lynching and the Emergence of Hangman Nooses

by Syreeta McNeal - CPA, JD

On or about May 2, 2007, it was reported by news outlets that Senator Barack Obama announced he would seek the 2008 Democratic nomination for President of the United States. It is amazing that reporters stated that Obama’s announcement invoked the memory of President Abraham Lincoln as he made his announcement in Springfield, Illinois. It is kind of ironic the comparison of Senator Obama to President Lincoln. President Lincoln’s election compelled the Confederacy to break from the Union in 1861 and eventually led to the assassination of President Lincoln on April 14, 1865 (just five (5) days after the end of the American Civil War), but I will get into that a little bit later.

Now since Senator Obama’s announcement, we have had a string of incidents that invoke a very dark period in America’s history. The following list of incidents is not complete but illustrative of this essay’s purpose:

A 6-inch string tied as a noose was found in an African-American cadet's sea bag in July 2007
A white female civil rights instructor found a small noose in her office at the academy in New London, Connecticut in August 2007
Nooses hung under a perceived “white only” tree at Jena, LA High School on or about September 1, 2007
A noose was discovered at the University of Maryland in a tree near a building that houses several black campus groups in September 2007
A noose appeared in the locker room of the Hempstead, N.Y., police department, which recently touted its efforts to recruit minorities on or about September 29, 2007
A noose was seen hanging on a utility pole at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama on or about October 2, 2007
A noose hangs outside a Columbia University professor's office on in New York on or about October 9, 2007
Nooses hung before a tolerance rally at Cal State Fullerton on or about November 7, 2007
Ms. Kelly Tighman’s, who is a native of Myrtle Beach, SC, comments that we should “lynch him (Tiger Wood’s) in a back alley” on the Golf Channel broadcast on Friday, January 4, 2008

Some Americans and international viewers think the mention of “lynching” or placement of “hangman nooses” are jokes and no big deal. Even supporters of Obama state that his platform is not about race and it should not be an issue. However, below is a little history that might shed light on the recent talk of lynching and emergence of hangman nooses. I believe it is not a coincidence, but is a historical message that has reared its ugly head again.

Excerpt from MSN Encarta Encyclopedia on “lynching” states the following:
Lynching, hanging or other types of executions, in punishment of a presumed criminal offense, carried out by self-appointed commissions or mobs, without due process of law. The term lynching is generally believed to be derived from the name of a Virginia justice of the peace, Charles Lynch, who ordered extralegal punishment for Tory acts during the American Revolution (1775-1783). Frontier settlements in the United States often lacked established law enforcement agencies and, instead, exercised summary justice through vigilantes. Western pioneers punished murder, rape, horse thievery, and other capital crimes by resorting to lynching.
Even before the American Civil War (1861-1865), many lynchings took place in Southern states. The violence was usually directed at members of the abolitionist movement or others who worked to end the system of slavery. After the war lynching became a method of terrorism against black people in the South. During the period of Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan used lynching to intimidate freed blacks who were voting and assuming political power in many parts of the South.

As illustrated by the historical text on lynching, the use of lynching and hangman nooses signifies opposition to black progress in voting and assuming political power. Hence, I believe opponents of black political progress are trying to intimidate those who support Obama becoming the first black president of the U.S. Some people ask why I would make that assertion. Well, if you do not know, history can and often does repeat itself. That is what is happening with the recent occurrences of these symbols of racial hatred.

Another illustration to support my assertion is that two prominent presidents, President Abraham Lincoln (16th President of the United States from 1861 to 1865) and President John F. Kennedy (35th President of the United States from 1961 to 1963) suffered horrible deaths at the hands of agents or locations associated with the Confederate South. Both presidents, just happened to be white, sought to implement change of political status for African-Americans in key points of each of their respective terms.

President Lincoln initiated the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 to free slaves confined in the Confederate South. The Confederate South rejected this legislation for two years until the end of the American Civil War in 1865. Also, the Confederate South, signaled their displeasure of this promising legislation to blacks by having their agent, John Wilkes Booth, assassinate President Lincoln on April 14, 1865 (five (5) days after the end of the American Civil War).

Similar to President Lincoln, President Kennedy made a speech on the evening of June 11, 1963 after sending Alabama National Guardsmen to help two African-American students attend classes at the University of Alabama even-though Alabama Governor George Wallace threatened to prevent it. In President Kennedy’s speech, he informed the American public that he would request Congress to pass laws to give blacks equal access to jobs, public accommodations, voting, and education under federal law. What later became known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 did not pass under President Kennedy’s presidency. Unfortunately, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX on November 22, 1963, roughly four (4) months later after this speech to work to bring legislation to better blacks’ lives in America.

Now, we have Obama, a black man, who many perceive has a legitimate shot to attain the highest office of the executive branch in America in the upcoming 2008 presidential election. Is this truly a coincidence of the recent occurrence of talks of lynching and emergence of hangman nooses? Or are the supporters of the Confederate South trying to send supporters of Obama a message as they had done to President Lincoln and President Kennedy? Black America, are you really ready to see what consequences can emerge with the growing possibility of Obama reaching the pinnacle of the oval office in America in 2008?

If you are, my advice to you is TO BRACE YOURSELF, because supporters of the Confederate South and its methodology are going to make it very difficult or even impossible for that dream of an Obama Presidency in 2008 to be a SUSTAINABLE reality.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

And Baby Makes 3 (or 4)

Two of my best friends are pregnant - very pregnant. It's been pretty amazing to watch them over the past several months. Although both are pretty close in their delivery dates, their experiences have been very different. My first friend is expecting her first child. She married her high school sweetheart and once she turned 30 she said she'd be ready to start a family. Although she didn't want to know the sex of her child, her husband did. After only a few weeks, while he was out of town, he told his cousin the sex. While my friend talked to the cousin via phone, she said "He's going to be a great baby. I mean 'it'!" Once she found out the sex, she was excited to see the penis ultrasound. Unfortunately, her husband hid it in a spot so she wouldn't find it. It was hidden so good that he forgot where it was. It was in one of his 200 CD cases, he just didn't remember which one!

Being a local news anchor, she's had to struggle with buying more maternity clothes than the average person. As she continued to grow and expand on camera, she must continue to smile and show her glow. I traveled with this friend to Viriginia over the Christmas holidays to spend time with her family. She had not yet told this side of her family that she was pregnant, seven months pregnant! They all walked in wide eyed. While all were happy at the news, they were somewhat upset that she didn't tell them and surprised that she kept a secret for so long. Once we returned home, she developed a craving for oranges, her feet started swelling and she took down the 'man room' in order to set up a nursery. She and her husband are both big UNC fans so they already have a Carolina outfit to bring their son home.

My other friend is expecting her second son. She married her college sweetheart and this pregnancy has not been a pretty ride. Although she is not due until the beginning of April, she was put in the hospital on bed rest starting December 11. She unfortunately had to celebrate her son's 3rd birthday, Christmas and New Year's Eve in the hospital. There is nothing worse that eating hospital food over the holidays while looking at the bare white walls for hours upon end. Since she has a lot of time to do absolutely nothing, she became fixed on the horoscope of her future son. Since she'll probably deliver early, there is a great chance that he will be a Pisces instead of an Aries. Everyone else in her family is an air sign and she doesn't know how a water sign could co-exist. I asked her if there was anything good about being pregnant and she said, "It sucks." I asked her husband the same thing and he agreed.

I've never been pregnant so I can't say I can relate to anything they are going through. My stomach has never expanded outside of being bloated. I've never developed a waddle. It's impossible for me to imagine a child developing inside. But I did see the light! While sitting in the hospital room of my bed ridden friend, I saw her look over at her young son. I could see the love in her eyes and the admiration in her heart. So, while being knocked up may be hell-in-a-handbasket, it's about the promise of the future and the creation of their love and partnership. Get ready world, two fine young gentlemen are getting ready to take the world by storm!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Get Low" ~ (Our Song) by Donisha Adams

Get low, get low, get reaaaal low until you touch the floor/

Those that spread their hate/ Those that kill your spirit leaving carnage in their wake/

They make you get low, get low, get reaaal low/

Those that want your body without taking the time.../the time to wonder about the inner trappings of your mind/Those that say they love-like love was a brand new pair of Jordans that can be bought/I know that love is blind/

Yahhh, they make you FEEL low, FEEL low, FEEL reaaaal low until you feel this____big.

Who helps the little girls who are caught up in deception?/ Who can't love themselves unless they look like VIDEO GIRLS/

They feel low, feel low, feel reaaaal low-trapped/

Their wings have been cut/No one taught them how to fly/ Above it all/ And eventhough you are 5 feet tall you can still carry yourself like you are a GIANT/But, here you are in the club EVERY NIGHT trying to be seen/ Feeling good because you are looking like that VIDEO GIRL/Letting some man treat you like dirt...because "atleast you got a man."/ And sometimes love hurts/

Gettin low, gettin low, gettin real low until u hit the floor./

One day, you will see/ You create your own self-image/ You create your destiny/ You demand respect./When all is said and done you give yourself the wings to...

Get high, get high. Get reeeaaal high SKY!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

Happy New Year!!  I wish you all the blessings for 2008! 


The year 2007 started out horribly for me.  My desktop computer crashed.  I attended the funeral of my grandmother in FayettevilleNC.  I then traveled back to Louisville to attend a second funeral for her (family drama).  While watching the news I saw that there was a car accident where a man running from the cops crashed into a car ejecting seven kids.  Two of these kids were my former students.  I went to the hospital to see one of their precious souls on life support.  That sight went straight to my heart.  Then the heat in my house went out and I had to purchase a new heater.  Then my laptop crashed.  My boyfriend and I broke up. Oh, and did I mention that all of this occurred before January 20, 2007?


I prayed daily that this would not be how all of 2007 existed.  Luckily, my bad luck ended there.  On January 26, I went out on an outing that would change the rest of my life.  Renee Murphy, Shannon Maxey and Tioka Ivory entered my life.  I was never one to be a part of a girl group or a ‘chic clique’ but these women have become my best friends.  It is simply amazing how God puts people into your life.  I didn’t ask for them to be placed there, but he knew it was what I needed in my life.  These women have been there for me through thick and thin and I am truly blessed for their existence.


The rest of my year went pretty well.  I was able to travel to North CarolinaCleveland for the Women’s Final Four,PhiladelphiaSt. LouisArizona, Virginia, Detroit and who can forget Puerto Vallarta.  I expanded OnyxLouisville and have met many wonderful people in the Louisville community.  I was able to join several Boards and also became a volunteer ‘Big” through the Big Brother/Big Sister program.  I was fortunate to see a plethora of top notch plays, concerts and performances here.  I lost my tonsils, gained a nickname and almost became a guest on the Oprah Show. 


December 31, 2007 ended with an odd twist, but I do believe everything happens for a reason.  I’m still waiting for genuine, true love to enter in my life.  I know it will happen when the time is right.  It’s going to be great in 2008 and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  

Friday, January 4, 2008

DNA Testing Frees Dallas Man

Charles Chatman left a Dallas courtroom Thursday, with his arms raised in victory. The 42-year-old man was released after spending 26 years in prison for rape that DNA tests proved he did not commit.

“I’m bitter. I’m angry,” Chatman said. He continued: “But I’m not angry or bitter to the point where I want to hurt anyone or get revenge.”

Chatman said that his race proved to be a factor in his conviction, noting that there was one black member of the jury.

In 1981, Chatman was arrested for aggravated sexual assault after a white woman pointed him out in a lineup as the man who raped her. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Although Chatman lived five houses from the victim, he said that he did not know her.

“I was convicted because a black man committed a crime against a white woman,” Chatman said. He continued: “And I was available.”

This case made Chatman the 15th Dallas County inmate since 2001 to be exonerated by DNA testing.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

An Unusual Pain

I love to workout!!! Most of my friends call me a gym rat because you can find me in the gym several days a week. They recently opened a new gym here and it the best thing ever invented. It was love at first sight! This gym has a cardio studio, swimming pool, aerobics classes, pilates machines, full basketball court and a track. Did you hear me? This gym has an indoor track. There are no other gyms in my city with one.

As soon as I saw the track, I flashed back to my high school days of running track and field. I used to HATE to run track and field, but I was good at it. My first year of middle school I went out for the track team. The sprinters were being timed in the 200 and everyone had to pair up. I was very small in size and also shy. I did the calculations and noticed that I would be the only person without a partner. I became nervous. So what did I do? I saw my friends running long distance and joined them when they made their way past me. In that moment I became a long distance runner. I went most of the season running the distance, but my track coach caught on. He noticed that during the mile I'd run at a slow pace for the first three laps. However, on the last lap I always had a great deal of energy and would sprint to run past all of the other runners to win the race. I did not run the other two years of middle school. However, the track coach told my mother that I really needed to run in high school.

So I enter high school and my mother told me to let her know when track season began. I sat in class daily listening to the announcements that track would start in a couple of weeks. I'd go home each day and my mother would inquire if they mentioned anything about track. I always said "no". I completely avoided track my freshman year. During my sophomore year, my mother caught on to what I was doing and asked the athletic director to personally call her when track season started. During the first practice we all lined up to run the 100. I heard all of the upperclassmen girls talking junk. I was intimidated. But, when the whistle blew, I beat them all. This is when I knew I was talented.

The three years of running track I never put forth my best effort, but I won many races. I went to State Track Meet for three years. Once I graduated college and returned home, I ended up coaching the girl's track team from my high school. Many of these girls had the same lack of enthusiasm that I had. That was the first moment that I appreciated track (although it was too late for me!)

Push ahead to 2007/2008 and the beautiful track that sat ahead of me. I relived my high school days and sprinted around the track for my cardio. I was often complimented on my speed and many were impressed. Not only would I sprint, I also started doing hurdles (without the actual hurdles). Today was one of those days. I was working it. Straight working it. My right leg would shoot into the air and my stride was tight! I think I overdid it, though, because my right quad started hurting.

Once I arrived home, I took a long bath to relax my muscle. While my quad started hurting, I had a new unusual pain. It was in the front part of my private part. What does that muscle have to do with the hurdles? When I say it hurt, I mean it really hurt. I couldn't even stand up all the way to walk down the steps. I found myself laughing hysterically because I didn't really know how to explain the situation to anyone. I couldn't get the trainers at the gym to massage my muscle because that would have been a straight invasion of my privacy. I didn't want to put ice on it for fear of freezing things that I may need later in life. I am just hoping it heals on my own. So as you go to sleep to night, please pray for me and my private part muscle. I will forever be grateful!