Kemet Awaits: My journey to Egypt, Africa

>> Saturday, May 29, 2010

I've always wanted to go to Egypt. In about 24 hours, I will be in Cairo.

Growing up, I dreamed of going to Egypt. Then Michael Jackson's 'Remember the Time' video came out when I was at Longfellow (Elementary) and I said, 'I'm going to Egypt.' Now, I've been blessed to have a dream come true.

The two week trip is a part of the Merritt College Africana Studies Department's Study Abroad program. The purpose of the program is to "globalize students’ understanding of the African world historically, culturally and politically from an African Centered perspective.

The true name of the land now called Egypt is Kemet, written as KMT. I will be taking lots of photos and posting regularly to this special blog, California to Cairo.

Traveling always makes you grow as a person. Not only did I grow as a human being with my 2005 trip to Bosnia, but after my 2006 trip to Jamaica, I grew locks.

I am extremely great(full) for this opportunity. This experience will make me a better person for the community I serve," Besides documenting the trip on the Cali to Cairo blog, I will be making community presentations this summer and through the fall, to share my experiences.

It is my hope to be able to use the experience to elevate consciousness and respect for Africa, and articulate the greatness of African people. Actually, the greatness of all people and our ability to be great reflections of the Divine Order of Netcher (Nature).


To follow my travels, request a postcard or contribute, visit http://calitocairo.blogspot.com

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Eliminating Can't from Your Vocabulary

>> Sunday, May 23, 2010

For a little inspiration this afternoon, I decided to check out Brother Jesse Muhammad's page. Always a source of inspiration.

As his status message, he had the following quote from Minister Farrakhan:

"There is no such thing as 'can't' in the vocabulary of God"


It reminded me of something else I experienced last week. I was with a good brother of mine, Abdul-Hanif, and his son Hamza. I don't remember exactly what he was said, but Hamza told his father, "I can't." His father's response: "What did I tell you about that word?" He apologized. His father then said, "There's nothing you cannot do."

It reminded me of an ayat (verse) from the Holy Qu'ran. Surah 53 An-Najm (The Star), ayat 39. (53:39)
Man can have nothing but what he strives for and his striving will soon be seen


How often do we here people commit suicide with their own dreams? Too often, we place limits on ourselves.

As a child, I liked to be defiant. If someone told me I couldn't do it, I'd do it to prove them wrong. As I got older, I realized that I didn't accomplish what I could for their sake, but for the sake of myself and my offspring.

Looking up the word, "Can't," one definition I found was an "Angular deviation from a vertical or horizontal plane or surface; an inclination or slope." Another was "A thrust or motion that tilts something."

When you say you "can't" do something, you deviate from your own abilities. You thrust into motion a path towards failure. You are destined for greatness. Although society may be structured in a way that seeks to limit your contributions, or your God-given abilities, you must fulfill your destiny. As a reflection of G-d, you are great.

Be your greatest and eliminate the word "can't" from your vocabulary.

Yes, you can. "Accomplish what you will," Marcus Garvey taught us.

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Oakland legend - Proverb Jacobs - Former Laney College Women's Track Coach

>> Monday, May 10, 2010

A few weeks ago, I met an Oakland legend.

Proverb G. Jacobs

I was at the Oakland History Room in the Main Library near Lake Merritt two Sundays ago. I like to study at the library on Sundays.

On this occasion, I went to the Oakland History Room for research on an upcoming story I'm writing about the history of Black Studies at Laney College. A few years ago, I discovered a book called, "A Chronological Review of A.S.L.C. and related student political activities, as told through the Laney Tower."

This three volume set full of clippings from the college's Laney Tower newspaper has been a great resource in recent years. When they listen, I've numerous ASLC officers to check the third volume out for the sake of institutional memory. But I digress...

This particular afternoon, I was interested in the first volume, which I knew went back to 1952. When I got to the room, I looked up the call number on the computer and asked the library to go to the stacks. I looked to my right and noticed an older man staring at me. I nodded. He nodded back. I went and took a seat while waiting for the first and second volumes to arrive.

Once the books arrived, I took them to the table where I'd already began pouring over the third volume (2000-2004). I looked up and noticed the man still staring at me.

"Hi," I said, looking at the man with a slight smile and partial, "Can I help you, OG?" look on my face.

He responded, "I made that book." I stood to my feet.

"You're Proverb Jacobs?" I asked. He nodded his head.

The first time I got the book, I wondered, "Who is Proverb Jacobs?" From some minimal research, I discovered that he was a former track coach at Laney Colege. And from time to time, he would visit the Laney Tower offices to make photocopies of articles. Presumably, that is how he compiled over 40 years of stories.

I introduced myself to him as a writer for the Laney Tower. I happened to have a recent issue of the newspaper and showed him the photo of the Lady Eagles on the front and back pages. He began telling me about the books and the rise of the track team.

At one point, I thought to myself..."I'm never going to get a look inside these books." So what? I had a living library of history, information and inspiration before me.

Not only was meeting him a story in itself, but, he is now the subject of an upcoming profile I'm writing for the Laney Tower.

Here's a preview:

Untitled profile about Proverb G. Jacobs
There is a Swahili proverb that states, “When there’s a will, there’s a way.” In Oakland, there is another Proverb that exemplifies the above statement: Proverb Jacobs. An educator, scholar-athlete and historian, Jacobs may perhaps be best known for resurrecting the Laney College Women’s Track Team.

Proverb Gabriel Jacobs, Jr. was born in Marksville, Louisiana in 1935. His family came to California as part of what is known among African Americans as, the “Great Migration.”

The ever-athletic Jacobs graduated from Oakland Technical in 1954. For three years, Jacobs was All-City in both track and football. He then went to Modesto Junior College where he was All-Conference and All-Northern California. After receiving his AA, he transferred to UC Berkeley. At Cal, Jacobs continued to excel. In 1958, his shot putting earned him sixth place in the NCAA Championships.

After graduating, Jacobs was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round. After a few years, he played for both the New York Giants and Jets before putting in two seasons as a starting offensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders.

Jacobs came to Laney College in 1968 as a football and track coach. He later became Head Coach for both track and Cross Country.

At age 74, Jacobs stands tall at 6’4’’ and has a commanding presence. While he sported a medium length Afro in his coaching days, his ‘fro is short and gray, giving him a near prophetic look.

The full story will appear first on The Reginald James Report on May 15, 2010.

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How many books do you have in your house?

>> Friday, May 7, 2010

BooksDon't judge a book by its cover. Chances are, you've heard that statement before. But I've got one you've never heard. During my "Black Experience through Film" class at Laney College, our professor quipped:

Ladies, if you are at a man's house and you're on your way to his bed, and if you don't see 10 books before you get to his bedroom, leave.

It was another one of my professors hilarious and outrageous statements. But the idea had merit: Don't f*ck with a dumb f*ck. It was a relief from society's usual patriarchal suggestions that women trade sexual favors for a man's money. More often, men are judged by their paper and not their paper backs.

I jokingly asked: What if a man has a whole bookcase?

"A whole bookcase?" she asked. "Shoot, if he has a whole bookcase, you can spend the week there." The class laughed. "In fact, you should call a few of your girlfriends to come over." Comedy.

Now of course, with the bookcase picture above resting in my bedroom, that sounded like a great offer to me. A week-long literary orgy. Bring it on.

Although that idea may come off as crude, or comical, it contradicts with the values of American society. If we were to choose our partners based off knowledge -- assuming that having books equals actually reading books - many problems of our society could be eliminated. Knowledge is beyond just algebra, history or science, but applied knowledge. Information about having better relationships with people. Knowledge about respecting life. Knowledge about co-existing and living harmoniously with the physical environment while living a spiritually rich life.

So, you can judge a man by the rims on his scraper, or you can judge a man by the number (and quality) of books bound with paper.

Then again, just because a man is smart does not mean he is good for you. And it certainly doesn't mean you should be in his bed.

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15 reasons Oakland Police shot and killed deer

>> Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Many people are disturbed by the recent news that Oakland Police shot and killed a lost deer in the backyard of a housing complex in East Oakland on May 1.

Many are bewildered and have asked, "Why did police kill Bambi?" I have a few hunches.

Through the assistance of my friends on Facebook, here are fifteen possible reasons:

15 Reasons Oakland Police Shot and Killed a Deer

Nothing else to shoot.
Fulfilling gang initiation.
The deer fit the description.
Deer had dirt on Oakland Police involvement in assassination of Chauncey Bailey.
Practice.
Gain a reputation.
Deer failed paper bag test.
Send a message to Rudolph, Prancer and Pluto.
It was an accident. Cop meant to pull out his Taser.
Mistook its tail for a gun.
Deer's name was Lovelle Mixon.
Cop had bad childhood memories of Bullwinkle.
Deer violated Oakland gang injunction.
Resisting arrest.
Pigs eat venison (deer meat).
Penis envy.

Oakland Police claimed to be investigating the murder of the deer.

Justice for Bambi.

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