Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Poem: Starlight

and time
miles away
all things
in between
physical gaps
are obstacles
that are overcome
one challenge at a time
at the end
of it all
is her

A star
the light of my life
A star
the shines bright
from long distances
that warms
the very skin
that contracts
making follicles
stand to attention
when she is in my presence

My star
that I follow
that lights my way
when I am in the dark
My star
that shines 4 times
brighter than any other
i bask in it
and travel toward it
wanting her starlight
as much as she wants me
because we share
the space
the time
the miles

I am the Moon
to her stars
and she is the stars
to my Moon
together we are
a part of something bigger
and yet apart
by miles
and time
which is just an obstacle
but the path through it
that is shown
through her starlight

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oh, Syracuse...

No. I don't know him. Stop asking me. I do not work for the Basketball program and I am fan of the Syracuse Orange just like the rest of the alumni and staff. I have never met Bernie Fine and the only time we have ever been in the same room is when I have tickets to a basketball game. I find what he did deplorable and horribly evil. Right now he is tumor that needs to be cut out from this campus.

I will also say that abuse of any kind is not to be tolerated. It is a violation of basic human rights. I am past the stage of saying that I cannot believe that something like this can happen at an institution such as Syracuse because it seems like it does. I am also not going to be one of these people that will say that we should not fire other people because if anyone who is employed here knew what Bernie Fine was doing then they need to join him in disgrace.

I feel that I need to say this because people do ask me. My parents, my friends, and people in general who know that I work for Syracuse University. Quite frankly, I do not keep it a secret that I work here. I still feel that SU is one of the better schools in the country. I love what this school represents and the number of doors that this education has opened for students and alumni. Unfortunately, situations such as these happen and we are left to wonder what kind of person does this? Are people like Bernie Fine a representation of what Syracuse University is? No, this is not the person that I want to be a reflection of this institution.

Syracuse as a whole has had a bad year. I feel like we have been getting our collective asses kicked in so many ways in the media. The football team started the year with a great win at that Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium , but it had to be a controversial win (can we jut win a game out right?). Getting the #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament only to lose in the second round to Marquette was not that big of deal in the grand scheme but it still upset me. Then the move to the ACC from the Big East looks even more horrible now as the days go along.

That was just in sports, but did you know that Syracuse University was under fire for being too inclusive? People with big academic credentials are suggesting that SU's admission policy of allowing too many students of color is giving us less prestige. It has been suggested that we are now a second tiered school because we have focused more on the common good by following what is has been coined by our chancellor as "Scholarship in Action". We embrace the community and help build the world around us while learning Global Citizenship. I suppose great Universities would rather embrace selectivity of the students over the common good.

Now there is this. We are now defined as the school that Bernie Fine was fired from. We are lumped into the same context with Sandusky and Penn State. Are people expecting our students to riot if Jim Boeheim gets fired? I think the country is watching to see what happens as the microscope is focused on a town that is only used to the glamour and glitz of NCAA basketball. People have already weighed their opinion as we all wait for the other shoe to drop. I just think about the future of this school because one man's evil deeds should not undo the education of so many.

I think about Bobby Davis and become so sad and sickened when I think about the suffering he must have gone through as a kid. Innocence lost is something that no justice system can ever truly pay for. But, I do hope that there can be a small measure of justice down the line. We are all stunned because I think we all lost something over last few days. We lost the faith in our system. We lost faith in administrators. We lost faith in our public figures who are after all human beings we chose put on a pedestal. Perhaps we feel betrayed that things like this can happen on our campus to children that could be a brother or a sister or perhaps even a child.

My point is that Syracuse will continue to take a beating on each showing of Sportscenter. We will be in the spotlight well into next year on every news program as more light begins to be shed on this situation. I am confident that my alma mater will make the tough decisions it needs to make so that abuse and child molestation does not go unpunished. I just hope that students maintain a clear understanding of what is truly going on around them because right now a tumor is being cut out of campus and it will take years to recover from the therapy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Reminder

Today is a day where we (in the United States) are supposed to give thanks for everything we have. If we compare what we have with what other people in the world have then we should be giving thanks for many things, including being born in this country. There should be a certain humility to this day. Most of us have the privilege to be in the presence of vast meal and have many days of left overs to feast on. We are indeed lucky and should give thanks.

I feel the need to remind everyone about the historical significance of this day and days like this. I was very clear in my views about Columbus and the celebration of his massacre of thousands of Native people. So I think about the Wampanoag people who gave seed to the Puritans and taught them how to fish as a gesture of good faith an in honor of the end of the harvest. Back in those days, many cultures had a feast to celebrate the ending of what was hopefully a good harvest and to thank God for all they had.

Of course the Wampanoag were ravaged by disease and imperial encroachment soon after which makes me wonder why we even celebrate this day in the way we do. Historical images show how kind Native Americans were to the Pilgrims with the sharing of food and the breaking of bread and yet we have politicians who want to build an electric fence to keep "foreigners" from gaining access to this land. Imagine if the Wampanoag slaughtered those Puritans as a way to protect the harvest and their borders.

I am sure many people take this day for granted by eating and watch football while paying little attention to the poverty around us. However, I do take solace in knowing that their are people who do share their food and work in soup kitchens to feed the poor today. The question is, why do we only pick this day to volunteer when we know that poverty does not stop when Thanksgiving ends? Are we afraid that we will be like the Wampanoag and give only so much only to have the people we help take everything we have in return?

With that being said, just take time to think about how we got here. How grateful we should all be to have a table to sit at. Take time to think about the hungry children around the world. The sick people dying from diseases we cannot cure. Pray for those who have hatred in their heart because those people never find true happiness. Ponder about all the things you have before you think about all the things you want for Christmas. Be thankful for the beauty of this day when you look outside your window.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dear God

Dear God…

I dedicate this blog post to one of my many prayers to you. I know that I am not the most religious being on this planet and I am certainly not Christ-like but I write this as a way to throw my literal words out into the universe as a testament of my faith that there is indeed a higher power. I pray to you because there are things in this world that I cannot control. I am just one person in a world filled with wicked people that murder, rape, and take advantage of the less fortunate all in the name of God. I pray to you because everything happens for a reason and every person in my life serves a purpose even if its for a little while. One of those people told me that if I truly want something than I need to ask the universe.

Asking the universe is like asking God because the two things are synonymous. I know that when I tell the universe my wants that it will conspire in my favor to help me get it. In saying that, I know that my prayers are pleas for help because I cannot do things without faith in myself and world around me. The problem is that I fear so many things. The decisions I have made in the past has not made my present as great as I would like it to be which only puts my future in question. I do think about my future because I still consider it bright.

I want to do so many things it is hard to comprehend where I can begin to start. This is a part of the problem because I don't know what I don't know. I ask for the strength to help me pass my own weaknesses. I know that I have not been one to totally go for financial success because money isn't everything and let's be honest, I cannot take it with me in death. However, I can pass it down to the children that I hope to have. What I want is to be able to live without fear. I don't want to worry anymore about how I am going to get from paycheck to paycheck.

I pray for strength to get me through the hard times. I pray for strength to get me through the sparse amount of interviews. I pray for strength to let me deal with the unforeseen things that life throws my way. I am just a man in this world trying to do good. I help the students that I work with. I stay in touch with those former student who still feel they need my guidance. I want to be there in ways that people were never there for me when I was a student. I let my work speak for itself.

I thank you for things that you have given me. Those tearful nights when I thought I would never get to where I am now have seemed to have paid off. I am a survivor of bad decisions and financial consequences. More importantly, I thank you for putting her into my life. I thank you for giving me the strength to survive the past four years. I thank you for the family and the friends that I have because I am truly fortunate to have people support me when I needed them.

The strength I ask for is because I know my successes are not handed to me. I need the strength to act on motivations because fear is the only thing that is stopping me. I am tired of being afraid. Fear takes my will to succeed in every facet of my life. I pray to for help so I can get to my goals with dignity and honor. I ask the universe to conspire in my favor to help me achieve my personal legend.

I am not a perfect man. I am sinner in many respects, but I am a good person willing to help others in the only way I know how. All I ask is for strength, courage, and wisdom to guide me on this quest. I want to be the legend that I know I can be.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Love and Balance.

Yes. I know… It has been a long time. Work has been incredibly busy over last few weeks and it has been difficult to get a moment to write. Now that I am currently in New York City for Thanksgiving, I think that I now have the gumption to write whatever comes to mind. This is a bit of a free write because I need to get back to it. I need to get back on the writing tip because it can be so easy to get off that ride.

I have to say that I have my groove back. I have finally got my love life in a place where I want it to be and it is fantastic! When I started this blog in 2009, I was not sure where I would be. I was looking at failed marriage and began to believe that being in a good relationship was something that I may never achieve, but when the world is looked upon negatively, the thought of anything good does not surface. 

I finally had the privilege to post my relationship status on Facebook and while that sounds kind of cheesy it is actually a big step. The start of a new relationship is always a big deal after the ending of an old one, especially if that end was a divorce. It makes the process of moving on and living a life of happiness complete. Not everyone moves on to another relationship after a marriage because it is not as easy as one would think. There is the battle to get over oneself. We all have issues and the thought of sharing those with someone else can be almost unbearable for some.

As for me. I feel like an adult. I know that sounds weird coming from a 37 year old man, but I have been surviving what I once considered a mess of a life. There are parts of my life that I still need to rectify but those take time based on financial issues. Yet, I survive because I watched my dad survive. I learned from him how to deal with life when it gives you lemons. I am very close to my goals and any forward movement toward them feels like a battle won.

What has really makes me feel good is the support that I get from friends and colleagues. They see the passion I have to move back to NYC and the love I have for the woman in my life. All the dues that I have paid to the universe in the form of both good and bad karma has seemed to make me very fortunate. I find myself developing my personal relationship with God. I pray from strength when I need it because I know that I need to achieve my hearts desire, I do not expect it handed to me. I pray for strength because I am tired of living in fear. I am tired of being afraid of failing. So I battle through it all because I am determined to make it.

Then there are the people that who do not support me. Those who look like the could be a friend but really criticize me when I am not around. I know they exist and I also have a general idea who they are. I want to thank them because their comments and negative provides the rest of the fuel that I need to motivate myself. I have not been one to subscribe to the notion that I have haters, but all adults who strive for the best have them. I still do not pretend to be a perfect man and I will continue to make mistakes but the negativity makes it easier to give less than a f*ck about what people think.

I will strive to finish what I start. I want to live in harmony with my various worlds in sync. I want my professional life to be as good as my love life and my family life to be just as good as my social life. I am looking for balance and I think I have completed that first step.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Heavy D: He Had is own Thang

When I talk about my love for hip hop, I often say that the artist that really made me start buying albums was Rakim. The first CD that I ever bought with my own money was Redman's debut. But, the first cassette that I every owned was Heavy D and the Boyz: Big Tyme. Sure, I rocked Big Daddy Kane with my cousin who bout 12 inch vinyl records. I would also listen to my brother tapes as well so I was always into hip hop, but Heavy D represented something to me.

When I was a sophomore in High School I had very few friends. I felt like I was the smallest kid in all of Saint Raymond's High School for Boys. I lived in Riverdale at the time because years earlier, my mother decided to move me to yet another section in the Bronx. I did not care for this place, I was in the whitest neighborhood I have every seen up to that point. The commute was something I had to get used to. I had to find my way from Castle Hill Ave all the way to Riverdale. This meant taking three buses.

I ended up making friends with kids from my school who lived in Washington Heights that took the exact route I did. Some were even seniors that I ended up hanging out with. But, despite this, I was relatively unhappy. I couldn't speak to girls and I was just this short nerdy kid trying to find his way. Then one of my buddies asked me if I liked Heavy D. Of course I did, who wouldn't like The Overweight Lover? So he gave me his cassette. Maybe he lent it to me and I just never gave it back...but I still have it.

I listened to Big Tyme everyday on my walkman. As I look back at it now, this was the first album that I listened to from start to finish. Not one bad song. He set the bar for me when it came to buying future albums. I remember how listening to this album got me through the days where school was hard in a time where my parents fought over me and their failing marriage. More importantly, I found it hard to fit in and I remember a particular line from his song "We Got Our Thang": Don't be down with everyone, let 'em all be down with you. This one line made me rethink many things in my life. I realized that I shouldnt have to fit in. I should just be me and let people deal with it.

Heavy D became a huge part of my High School life through this album. First, Big Tyme itself is a classic. Every track stands alone, but I absolutely love the song, "Somebody for Me". This was another song that just spoke to me because he raps about how hard it was to find the one for him. It seemed to hold true to me for so many years. He was trying to find someone who loved him for who he is and I appreciated that. I remember some girl telling a friend of mine in high school that I would be cute if I had an earring and a mustache and got rid of the nerdy glasses. I was ready to get my ear pierced! But, my brother told me that I should not have to fix my appearance for anyone. A woman needs to like you for who you are now. It made me think of that song.

Let me not to forget that he indeed a pioneer of the industry. The collaboration on Somebody for Me was with Al B Sure and at the time Hip Hop/R&B songs were rare. When I was in college he has this song with called "Dem No Worry We" with Supercat that was crazy! Dancehall was just becoming a sensation when that came out and I am pretty sure he was the first or one of the first Hip Hop artist to be on a Dancehall track. He moved to television with appearances on Its A Different World. He maintained relevance within the industry by continuously dropping albums in the 90's. However, I think because he was not the gangsta/pimp type, he was not getting the airplay or the credit he was due.

When I think about the tapes that I made in college to listen to, I think about all the people who I put along side him. Eric B & Rakim, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest,  EPMD, Jungle Brothers, Big Daddy Kane, and that is just to name a few. Heavy D died way too young. We joke about when we are all old and they will have the legends of hip hop performances like you see in those old Motown shows..who would actually look good performing? Well, Heavy D would have. He would have rocked it with songs that are timeless. He was never negative. He never used the N-word. He was always about being positive to women and the community. We not only lost a music legend, we lost a humanitarian.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Team @BeingAfroLatino

I always find it interesting when putting a team of individuals together. I feel like I am forming the Justice League which makes the little nerd in me smile. But, I do not think that I am too far off from this. Team @BeingAfroLatino is all about justice. We have banded together from our corners of the internet to promote Afro Latinos.

We are of the mind set that neither of us can educate alone. All of us on this team believe that alone we can only reach just a few people, but together we can be extraordinary. So when we formed, it was out of the belief that @beingafrolatino was bigger than all of us. Over that last few months we have been working together on twitter and over tumblr to educated awareness and show the injustices of discrimination. I think it is about time that I formally introduce us all:

Anthony Otero is Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian that was born and raised in the Bronx, NY and currently a staff member at Syracuse University. He is one of the co-founders of The LatiNegr@s Project. A constant writer, he is currently working on his first book of poetry called "My Twisted Life Through Lines of Poetry" set to come out in 2012 and created the blog Inside My Head.

As one of few Latino administrators at Syracuse University, he become an adviser to many Latino students and Latino student organizations. Anthony also helped create the Latino Heritage Month celebrations that still occur today. He took graduate courses in Cultural Foundations of Education and finally understood that what it means to be Afro-Latino after soul searching through research papers. This sparked the creation of all his blogs including the newly retitled Tumblr site: Black, Brown, and a little Mestizo. He also created the @beingafrolatino twitter account as a way to promote and unite Afro Latinos.

Bianca I. Laureano is a first generation Puerto Rican sexologist living in NYC. Raised in the Washington, DC area in an activist environment, Bianca is the daughter of an artist and educator and a product of the public school system. In the field of sexuality for over a decade, Bianca has worked with and taught youth of Color, working class communities, speaks at national and international organizations advocating sex-positive social justice agendas. She has presented both locally and internationally on various topics concerning activism, Latino sexual health, feminisms, youth and hip-hop culture, Latinos and race, Caribbean cultural practices and sexuality, dating and relationships, curriculum development, reproductive justice and teaching.

She's a board member at the Black Girl Project, doula with The Doula Project, co-founder of The LatiNegr@s Project, and Monster Girl. Bianca is an instructor and a freelance writer and was awarded the 2010 Mujeres Destacadas’ Award (distinguished woman) from El Diario/La Prensa for her work in sexual health. She hosts the website and identifies as a LatiNegra, media maker, radical woman of Color, activist, sex-positive, pro-choice femme. Find out more about Bianca by visiting her website

Violeta Donawa is a Detroit native, born to a Panamanian father and African American mother. As a doctoral student, she examines racial ideologies and paradigms, as well as the impact of social media on identification processes. She has two publications, entitled, “Exploring the Afro-Latino Presence: The Afro-Panamanian Experience in Michigan” in the journal, Negritud: Revista De Estudios Afro-Latinoamericanos and “Defining and Documenting Afro-Latin America" in the journal, Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies.

Raising visibility of the AfroLatin@ community has always been a passion. She has found multiple ways to integrate this passion into her everyday life through academia and social media. As a freelance writer and emerging blogger, she has contributed to the Voices from Our America ™ project, volunteered with The AfroLatin@ Forum, written for, and runs her blog La Republica de Detroit

Kismet Nuñez is a black and Puerto Rican woman of color insurgent who deploys 21st century forms of art, autobiography, and performance against the discursive terrain of race, sex and personality. With the help of new media, Kismet breaks herself into pieces to become more than her parts in a revolutionary act of defiance, affirmation & self-care. Kismet is a blogger, writer, student, teacher, researcher, historian, fangirl, lover, sister, daughter and everything in between. In 2008, she founded iwannalive productions, a social media collective specializing in radical black gyrl media, political education, sex positive empowerment and complete and utter disruption of the archive, academy and hu-MAN-ity as we known and understand it. iwannalive productions manages #AntiJemimas, a social media performance project.

Begun in 2010 out of an earlier blog project exploring self love (and hate) titled Self Care: Revise, Revise, Revise, the #AntiJemimas project is about infinite literacies, multiple beings and the conundrum of trying to build a real black gyrl in a world of 21st century digital engagement. The project's goal is to circumvent the oppressive power of the iconic that traps woc bodies, sexualities and genders into roles labeled Only or Never. Today, #AntiJemimas has evolved into an online universe of blogs, Tumblrs and Twitters committed to the very hard work of building a real gyrl of color in a world of new media. You can find Kismet fomenting rebellion at Zora Walker, making gris-gris in the WOC Survival Kit, living on a distant star as the Sable Fan Gyrl, stroking her thighs as Pretty Magnolia, or twiddling her thumbs on Twitter. Kismet also blogs at Nuñez Daughter, the base blog for #AntiJemimas. Founded in May 2008, Nunez Daughter is an experiment in digital autobiography and archive. It expands on thoughts formulated in a research paper titled, “‘I’m On to You:’ Troubling Performances of Race, Gender and Class.” 

We are Team Being Afro-Latino. You can follow on Twitter or on Tumblr. Buckle your seat belts, it will an exciting ride.


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