Jamie Mayes, AOE

Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

Don’t Check Your Watch…It Was Time…

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2013 at 11:09 pm

traymart

“It took over 350 years to be freed from slavery and you thought we’d be equal 50 years after Jim Crow?” ~J.Mayes

This morning I finally managed to drag myself out of the bed to the computer to write on the topic that has been at the end of nearly every writer’s fingertips and on the edge of every citizen’s mind for the past few days. I found myself grief stricken as the verdict of the State vs. George Zimmerman trial was announces. While I had long ago embraced the possibility that this criminal could walk away freely, there was a deep hope that this country wasn’t uncaring as I knew it was. Yet, late on Saturday night, the hopes of receiving justice for the death of a seventeen year old boy who was walking home from a visit from the store were dashed and left on the ground lifelessly, just like the body of Trayvon Martin.

The social media lines lit up with cries of injustice, unfairness, and disbelief in the American system. Other cries of an “American” justice system, justice serving its purpose, and an over play of the race card began to surface as the night went on. However, intense focus on the surface of the situation has blinded so many from seeing the depth of this situation and the danger it holds for African Americans. The tears that I shed that night were not solely because of my frustration with the non-conviction of George Zimmerman, but I cried even more so at the startling realization that is still resting on the forefront of my mind.

Black Americans, America has no respect for you. This is a startling and unnerving conclusion, but a true one. For years, I have proclaimed that my biggest problem with modern society is the blindness of black Americans and the sense of entitlement that the new generation possesses. They are under the misconception that they are just as good as their counterparts and that their mere presence is enough for them to be treated equally and fairly. Young black men think that being athletic makes them an invincible superstar and young black women think that they are made solely to wear weave, shop, and act a rambunctious fool in the public eye. Thus, a misunderstood view about who they are and should be has become a regular perception of the black race by society. The modern generation lacks knowledge about the past and the tireless battles it took for our ancestors to obtain a sense of governmental freedom. This part of American history has been denounced by both white America and black America. As a result, black history is a part of American history that has been ignored and misrepresented. The end result of such misrepresentation has created false self-identities in the black community.

As this point, readers may question what this has to do with Travyon Martin. Well, we have been receiving gentle reminders of America’s lack of growth and tolerance for many years. Ever since President Barack Obama became a viable candidate for the office of president, there have been constant reminders of the general perspective of blacks in America. Reflections of this have been in everything from questioning the location of his birth to derogatory names and public disrespectful treatment towards him.  Still, black America failed to truly address the huge issue of race relations in this country. Issues with our president are only one example of the attempt to awaken a social consciousness.

A little over a month ago, one of America’s most beloved cooks and downhome television stars dropped an ugly bombshell in court. Paula Deen admitted to using the “N” word in conversations on a regular basis for many years and that it was a regular part of life where she came from. Americans appeared to be flabbergasted, verbally lashing Mrs. Deen and demanding that extreme actions take place. And they did. She is still currently losing business deals and connections, causing her success to decline at a rapid rate. Paula Deen has been heavily criticized for something that should have come as no surprise. Many Americans (black and white, but mostly black) reiterated over and over that Deen deserved all she was getting because of personal practices that the masses detested. (See my blog on Paula Deen for my perspective) Yet, America missed an even more important lesson from this unfortunate situation. Americans applauded companies as they pulled her products from their shelves and issued strong public statements disconnecting themselves from her. However, I thanked Paula Deen for opening my eyes and committing the ultimate crime in the black community- snitching. Yes, she told us what really goes on in many board rooms, meetings, and private conversations across the country.  Major companies wanted to rid themselves of Paula Deen, for a scandal this big had the potential to reveal the true nature of many more Americans other than Paula Deen. Still, black America, you missed the mark by criticizing her admittance instead of looking more deeply into the situation. Once again, we missed the wakeup call.

There is a saying which states that the third time is the charm. The third time wasn’t charming for us, but it finally gave a wakeup call that made society stop, reconsider, listen, and react. The actual event occurred over a year ago, but the verdict of the State versus George Zimmerman was what caused black Americans to cry in outrage. It had been over twenty years since a court case caused such uproar in America, but after the verdict was read lists of cases across America with similar incidents and states with Stand Your Ground laws began to get attention. Black mothers hugged and rocked their sons understanding the danger that exists for them. Black fathers cried out in anguish and frustration at the realization of the lack of power they have to protect their families in America. The truth is that “Stand Your Ground Laws” don’t protect black Americans whether they are standing or lying down on their ground. It is unfortunate, but true that young Trayvon Martin had to serve as a sacrificial lamb to get America’s attention. The conviction of George Zimmerman would have caused the case to go away and today black Americans would still be under the misconception that this America works on their behalf. There was more important reason that Zimmerman was not convicted; a movement of massive importance had to occur for the seriousness of this situation to be understood. Finally, the voice of Attorney General Eric Holden is being heard, the story of Marissa Alexander is spreading, Floridians are demanding the change of a law that should have never existed, and other states with the same laws are being criticized, too.

This pivotal case brought senseless death of Emmett Till back to the media and highlighted the startling similarities between two cases that are over half a century apart. It made society recall the great wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the unfair death he suffered. Yet, all of these individuals had to die unfairly for America to make drastic changes. These changes must be legal and personal. For if the death of a seventeen year old child and the acquittal of his murderer doesn’t spark a sense of change within communities, nothing will.

The unfortunate death of young Trayvon Martin was painful but necessary to open the eyes of America, especially black America. Many things have changed since the 1960’s, but so many things have not. Despite the anger and hostility felt by so many, the most important thing that can happen is to educate black children about the past and why it is relevant. Teach them to love and respect others regardless of how they are treated, but to be conscious of situations that exist for black Americans. Tell our children to be noble citizens who have pride in the work our ancestors invested into this country, but stand up for that which is right and fair. Familiarize them with the laws of the state in which they live, but remind them they these laws apply to black Americans more than anyone. Pray with and for our children, but teach them to use the wisdom that is given to make decisions. Most importantly, remind them that Trayvon Martins and George Zimmerman’s don’t just live in Florida. They live all over this country. While we are marching, rallying and making our cries heard today, there will be another situation which arises tomorrow. This is not cause to give up or give in; this is reason to unify in order to create a tumultuous cry that will knock down the doors of difference in society. For this is the only true way that the death of Trayvon Martin and so many others who died at the hands of racial violence won’t be in vain.

Jamie Mayes: “Pennies In My Pocket” | 7-18-13 | KEDM

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2013 at 9:24 pm

I had a great time sharing my work with Bob Lenox this morning! Take a listen!

Jamie Mayes: "Pennies In My Pocket" | 7-18-13 | KEDM.

Is Marissa Alexander Next?

In Uncategorized on July 13, 2013 at 3:29 am

marissa

I first heard this story a year ago. A Florida mother of three became involved in an altercation with her husband/ abuser. Terrified, she fired ONE warning gunshot in the air while in her home. She was arrested and eventually received a sentence of 20 years in prison for firing the weapon. The woman felt that under the Stand Your Ground Law, she had the right to protect herself and her children from the vicious man. Her husband admitted to the abuse (and that he abuses of three of his other “baby mamas”), and stated that he would have wrestled the gun from her had the children not been home.

I will admit that the Trayvon Martin case diverted my attention for a while because it was so popular. However, the continual unraveling facts of his case have brought my attention to several other suspicious cases and brought my attention back to the case of Marissa Alexander. Trayvon Martin’s death has indeed been a startling eye opener to the amount of injustices which occur in the alleged justice system. It is an unsettling realization that Jim Crow Laws may have been abolished, but it does not mean that society has changed.

Many will attempt to contest the idea that many of these cases are a result of racial disparities; maybe in Marissa’s case it was her gender. Nonetheless, it brings many who see the injustices to anger. Yet, I understand the difficulty Americans have with embracing the idea that the country which preaches equality and fairness is a stark contradiction of their own word. It is like a parent who attempts to justify the misbehavior of a child though they subconsciously know the wrong which exists.

Let me not digress from the point of the addressed issue. Now that the large legal issues that exist in Florida have been brought to the attention of the media as the result of one child’s death, do we stop here? While Marissa Alexander is not a seventeen year old child, she is the mother to three children who may possibly spend the most vital years of their lives without her. More importantly, she has experienced a dire injustice.

I call upon any noble American who believes in fairness to act on this woman’s behalf, but I specifically call upon Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton, Roland Martin and all other influential figures to demand further investigation of this situation and proper justice which is due. Lately, I have been troubled by the lack of respect that seems to be exhibited for African American women in this country. They are exploited in videos, ostracized in the media, and criticized by their own men. While many women are guilty of their own derogatory actions, here is a clear example of a woman who is guilty of no such thing. She only wanted to get away from her abuser. It’s time that someone says they will protect this sister and they follow through so that we can have faith not only in brothers but in humanity.

Maybe after this case, Marissa Alexander’s story will cross the desk of Nancy Grace or Jane Velez-Mitchell. Perhaps, NBC will air a full show on her story. There must a way that women can know that the Stand Your Ground Law protects them from their abusers, too.  It seems as if the expectation was for Marissa was to continue to take the abuse until he would have accidentally killed her. She didn’t fire at him. She didn’t try to kill him. Yes, she is serving the same sentence as someone who is guilty of manslaughter simply because she tried to save her life and scare her abuser away. Where is the justice in this?

I am pleading: We are fighting on behalf of Trayvon Martin; can Marissa Alexander be next, please?

Haven’t read her story?   http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/story.aspx?storyid=254334

 

 

Do you want to support Marissa Alexander? Sign this petition of support of her: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/503/600/056/dont-imprison-marissa-alexander-for-standing-her-ground/#next_action

Bitter Lemons, Sweet Lemonade: A Collection of Short Stories about Women

In Uncategorized on July 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Bitter Lemons, Sweet Lemonade: A Collection of Short Stories about Women

For the past few years, I’ve been asked when I would produce something other than poetry, I am proud preview my latest project, a collection of short stories celebrating the strength and lives of women. I am honored and blessed to feature my aunt, who is a representation of womanhood in the physical and emotional sense, on the cover. I smile in elation as I consider that beauty of the cover which was photographed and designed by my talented mother. This compilation of original stories is a treat no one should missed and it will be available to audiences soon!

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