The 2015 Bid for Power and History in Savannah (Georgia, USA) – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

There’s a lot at stake when it comes to casting a vote for the mayor of Georgia’s first city. Candidates not only stand to make history but to shape it some very powerful ways. (photo of Edna B. Jackson courtesy of Diva Magazine)

Journalist Patricia C. Stumb, in a 1999 Connect Savannah news magazine story titled “Peace, love & blessings…,” wrote of how I “found worldly consciousness in the heart of [my] hometown.” Her observation was surprisingly precise because during that period while living in Savannah, Georgia, I had indeed become more aware of my hometown on the global scale of things. I had also become more cognizant of myself as an author whose influences and inspirations tended often to derive from regions far beyond it.

However, expanded consciousness or not, there was no such thing as overlooking the profound thematic shift that occurred in the city’s history when Floyd Adams became its first African-American mayor in 1996. That event prompted the composition of these lines:

By way of an African wind
a letter came today.
It was not scribbled over
Hallmark fantasies or
popcultural postcards;
it was engraved on sweat-dyed scrolls
manufactured by centuries
of anguish, struggle, determination.
––from the poem A Letter Came Today (I Made My Boy Out of Poetry)

The thematic transition grew even more powerful in 2003 with the election of Otis Johnson as mayor of the city and in 2011 when Edna Branch Jackson won the office. Up until this point, too much of the story of African Americans in Savannah had been one of a people continuously oppressed and suppressed by history itself. Different industries (such as film) and individuals benefited economically from that history but Blacks native to the city have rarely done so to any significant degree.

The Re-Historicization of a Narrative

The elections of Adams, Johnson, and Jackson created a thematic evolution that has helped the city prepare for even more dramatic and culturally inclusive demographic shifts already in progress. Call it the re-historicization of a narrative that dates back at least to late 1800s Reconstruction.

Please enjoy the complete essay at this link: Source: The 2015 Bid for Power and History in Savannah (Georgia, USA) – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

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Many Inspired by Amazing Grace of Young Brotherhood Advocate Semaj Clark

Advocate for brotherhood Semaj Clark giving thumbs Up GoFundSemajBrotherhood ambassador and advocate for nonviolent conflict resolution Semaj Clark. (photo courtesy of Gofundme)

The cost of the public health crisis of gun violence in America grows more expensive by the day. It has surpassed even the mega-millions of dollars that gun advocates such as members of the National Rifle Association casually spend to counter efforts to implement the most basic sensible forms of responsible gun legislation.

The greater cost is in that of lives lost or irreparably damaged. Sometimes the damage takes the form of psychological trauma experienced by those who have lost loved ones to the violence and for whom monetary compensation does nothing to ease their inconsolable grief. Recent reports on an attempt by Gloria Darden, mother of the late Freddie Gray, to commit suicide, underscores that point. Moreover, it represents only one example.

What happened to Semaj Clark when he chose to speak out against the violence he saw destroying too many young lives represents another deeply troubling instance. Yet his story is one which this compelling millennial crusader for brotherhood refuses to allow to be defined by the word “tragedy.” Considering what doctors have said about the likely results of the gun violence inflicted upon Semaj, his amazing grace is truly inspiring.

To learn about Semaj Clark’s extraordinary story please click the link below:

Millennial on a Mission to Promote Brotherhood

Aberjhani

5 Ways to be Geniuses Together: Celebrating Ja Jahannes

Quote by Ja A. Jahannes with art graphic by Postered Poetics and Aberjhani.
“Unless we learn” quote by Ja A. Jahannes (with art graphic by Postered Poetics)

One self-penned definition of the word genius is: a focused intensification of individual intelligence resulting in works of exemplary creativity, visionary leadership, or uncommon spiritual depth and beauty. This definition is perhaps a fitting one to describe much of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Ja A. Jahannes, who was born August 25, 1942. in Baltimore, Maryland, and died in Savannah, Georgia, on July 5, 2015.

As recently as April 28, Jahannes (as he was known to many of his friends) had started a new blog in which he stated his intentions as follows:

“This is the beginning of me putting my thoughts, observations, queries, photos and insights in one place for present, current, and past generations (it could happen…time travel) to read and witness that I made some small, if not minuscule, contribution to Planet Sol-3.”

Unfortunately, battles with illness and the drive to continuously produce creative works did not leave much time or energy for the planned blog entries. That does not, however, mean there was or is anything at all “minuscule” about the contributions Jahannes managed to make to the world community before leaving it. Proof of that statement may be found in the announcement that his latest play, “Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly,” will be performed July 26, 2015, at the Jewish Educational Alliance in Savannah.

Indeed, anyone even vaguely acquainted with his name find themselves astonished when learning about his prodigious output as a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, an educator, minister, proud alumnus of Lincoln University (Pennsylvania), composer, playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, photographer, family man, community leader, publisher, and public intellectual.

Please enjoy the complete article by clicking here:
5 Ways to be geniuses together: Celebrating Ja Jahannes (part 1 of 3: the man) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Shifting Points of View and the Massacre in Charleston | Aberjhani | LinkedIn

#PrayersForCharleston #StandingWithCharleston #Aberjhani

News about homegrown and foreign terrorism receives a lot of broadcast media airtime and focused attention online. It has become a pervasive theme in the developing story of our 21st century lives. Still, it is not something with which most us can ever afford to become so comfortable that we take it for granted in the same way that we take doing the laundry or drinking a cup of coffee for granted. Nor should we.

I almost refused to allow myself to believe the reports about the shooting Wednesday at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. Six women and three men shot dead by one Dylann Storm Roof. I almost succeeded in believing the massacre had not occurred so close to where I grew up in Savannah, Georgia. Then I reminded myself that denial of evident truth is also something we cannot afford to indulge in today’s socially and politically tumultuous climate.

Heeding that reality, I found myself meditating on words from my essay Creative Flexibility and Annihilated Lives (published last year in the fourth edition of Charter for Compassion’s Words and Violence online curriculum resource):

Shifting Points of View and the Massacre in Charleston | Aberjhani Author-Poet-Literary-Consultant | LinkedIn.

5 Eye-opening Books about Slavery in Savannah (part 1)

Georgia Historical Society marker citing
Georgia Historical Society marker citing “The Weeping Time,” a.k.a. the “Largest Slave Sale in Georgia History” held in Savannah.
(photo courtesy of Waymark)

Two of the most acclaimed movies of the past decade, 12 Years a Slave and Django Unchained, have focused on the degradation, inhumanity, and absurdity associated with slavery as it was once practiced in the United States. Those who are surprised by this film genre’s ability to continue to command the attention of audiences around the world might want to consider the fact that various forms of forced servitude are very real in 2015.

In addition, just as the year 2011 marked the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War, 2015 commemorates the sesquicentennial of the war’s end. It is therefore also the official end of slavery in the United States and reason enough for movies that remind viewers why so many fought against it then and why so many, acknowledged or not, are doing so now. For all intended purposes, the precise date of the end of the Civil War was April 9, 1865, when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia. Some, however, maintain it did not end until Confederal Gen. Edmund K. Smith’s concession on June 2, 1865.

A Functional Metaphor

Slavery as it was known in the past serves as a functional metaphor for the human trafficking that remains to be corrected in the present. Current estimates provided by the Walk Free Foundation place the estimated number of people enslaved across the globe at 35.8 million. The foundation has drawn some heat regarding the accuracy of this figure and how they derived at it. In its own defense, the organization’s website states the following:

“Measuring modern slavery is a very difficult undertaking due to the hidden nature of this crime. Surveys represent the most accurate method for estimating the numbers of people living in modern slavery…. Data from a total of 19 countries were obtained from random sample surveys, including the seven Gallup survey countries.”

Criticisms of methodological precision to the side, even the fact that organization members dispute an exact number of millions of people enslaved in modern-day times is something so incredulous that many prefer to pretend there are no real numbers at all.

For the TedTalks photography video on modern-day slavery and to read the complete essay by Aberjhani please click this link:
5 Eye-opening books about slavery in Savannah (part 1 of 2) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

How Creativity and Social Responsibility Inspired 5 Memorable Moments | Aberjhani Author-Poet-Literary-Consultant | LinkedIn


Rainbows introduce us to reflections
of different beautiful possibilities
so we never forget that pain and grief
are not the final options in life.

Aberjhani

Measuring the success of a given year by the percentage of profits gained or lost is a sensible enough practice for many individuals and an essential one for various organizations. However, I decided going into 2014 that I wanted to commit time throughout the year to finding ways that creatively honored the concept of mutually-empowering and life-enhancing partnerships. The goal was to combine as much as possible measures of social responsibility with different types of creative endeavors.

Why such an intensely-focused approach? Because the still-straggling uncertainty of the economy, the domestic gun violence that broke America’s collectively-beating heart nearly every other week, and rising waves of conflict on the global front made it far too easy to succumb to such dispositions as cynicism, nihilism, and actions motivated by anything other than an ethical perspective.

Since partnerships, or relationships, by definition require interaction with more than just oneself, not every effort was as successful as I might have hoped. Certainly not all would top a list of favorite #My2014Moments even when proving what some might describe as “profitable.” Still, others resulted in beneficial reconnections with previous colleagues and some produced thrilling adventures in formerly unexplored territories.

5 Memorable Moments

1. Taking a Stand for Compassion: Toward the end of the year 2013 I promised to sign the Charter for Compassion on the first day of 2014. That affirmation so far has not impressed groups such as ISIL, Boko Haram, the Taliban, or Al-Qaida to revise their habits of employing guerrilla decontextualization to misrepresent a major religion and justify heinous actions against noncombatant civilians. It did, though, prompt me to write three of my stronger articles in 2014 on the world’s attempts to reconcile chaos with sanity:

To check out the full list please click this link:
How Creativity and Social Responsibility Inspired 5 Memorable Moments in 2014

by Aberjhani

Savannah Community Marks 100th Anniversary of Group’s Legacy of Knowledge

Cultural arts advocate Dessie Baker and librarian Mark Darby at Carnegie Branch Library historical marker dedication in Savannah, Georgian Nov 13, 2014.

Cultural arts advocate Dessie Baker and librarian Mark Darby discuss new historical marker for the 100-year-old Carnegie Branch Library in Savannah, Georgia. (photograph by Aberjhani)

 

Among those assembled on the lawn beside the majestic front steps of the library, located at 537 East Henry Street, were: Senator Lester G. Jackson (D-Savannah and Chatham County), cultural arts advocate Dessie Baker, librarian Mark Darby, author and composer Ja A. Jahannes, historian Charles Lwanga Hoskins, Library Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Daniel Brantley, Georgia Historical Society Executive Director Todd Groce, founder descendant Ursuline Dickey, Dixon Park Neighborhood representative Helen Washington, Library Foundation Director Lester B. Johnson III, the library’s current branch manager Adriene Tillman, and many others.

In his remarks on the historical significance of the library, Sen. Jackson noted that one of the reasons his father first moved their family many years ago from Statesboro to Savannah was to gain access to the library. They settled in a house only two blocks away: “He said son, this neighborhood will be an investment in your future. It has a library… Every Saturday morning before I could go out to play, I had to visit this structure…”

Sen. Jackson added the following:

“A hundred years ago, 11 men got together and invested in this community’s future by gathering books. And that’s what this marker here stands for today, an investment those men made in the future of not only young people but everyone. It gave them access to knowledge, it gave them access to history, but most importantly it gave them access to the world… where they could come read books, where they could come collect books, where they could come to understand what was [happening] in the world. And that knowledge is still needed today.”

To read the full article by Aberjhani please click this link:

Savannah community marks 100th anniversary of group’s legacy of knowledge – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.