Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Sunday, June 29, 2008

All Shall Be Well

All shall be well
and all shall be well
and all manner of thing shall be well.

-- Blessed Julian of Norwich

Monday, June 23, 2008

How Convicted Felons Can Vote in North Carolina

An organization called Democracy North Carolina is serious about getting people registered to vote in this state. I recently saw one of their flyers that explains how ex-felons and other convicts can vote.

The flyer says, "Don't be locked out!" It goes on to say that if you've been convicted of a felony in North Carolina, you only temporarily lose your citizenship rights, including the right to vote. BUT you automatically get those rights back after you serve all parts of your sentence, including probation, parole and restitution. You do not need a special document saying your rights are restored. You just register and vote like any other citizen.

And for those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor, you never lose your citizenship rights. You can register and vote, even if you are still in jail.

For more information on where or how to vote, call toll free 866-522-4723.

Good information! Thanks Democracy North Carolina.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Always Trust God

You can't always trust your instincts. You can, however, always trust GOD.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Son Kiss in Iraq

Here’s an unbearable “Picture of the Day” from today’s New York Times. Here we see a man kissing the body of his two-year-old son, Akeel Faisal Ghazi, who was killed in a bombing in the Huriya district of Baghdad. The Times reported that at least 51 people were killed and 75 were wounded in the bombing late yesterday afternoon, Iraqi security officials said. The Times further reports that:

There were immediate and angry calls for revenge from Shiites, a display of sectarian tensions that had been ebbing as the overall violence dropped in Iraq. The blast occurred in the heart of a neighborhood where Sunnis had been brutally driven out — and some of the current residents blamed the displaced Sunnis for the attack.
In their rage, others faulted the new pro-American neighborhood patrols, brought in from outside the area, for not preventing the attack. It was the deadliest bombing in Baghdad in more than three months.

The photo shown above was taken by Karim Kadim of the Associated Press.

Monday, June 16, 2008

He is Our Father and Mother

God is our Protector, our Provider and loves us because He is our Father and Mother -- we are His children. I prayed yesterday that my daughter will know this now and forever since she has a great gap in the traditional “father” space in her life. But I know that she knows that God loves her because she says and writes, “I Love God” often, and I tell her that God loves her. I’m so glad she knows who she is. She’s much more advanced as a child than I was at her age – Praise God!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Am Above, Not Beneath

Here's an excellent quote from Pastor Gregory Dickow's Fasting From Wrong Thinking series. There's power in these words:

I think of myself God’s way...I am the head and not the tail, I am above, not beneath. I am blessed coming in and going out. I deliberately overcome negative thoughts by voicing positive ones from the Word of God.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Redbelt: The Art of Combat

I am a big fan of martial arts and have always been intrigued with the mystical qualities of the teachings. For this reason I will

1. Run to the theater when the movie Redbelt finally reaches Charlotte and
2. Soon enroll both myself and my daughter in a marital arts class

My daughter and I recently saw a friend’s black belt ceremony where she and several other students (three women and two men) had to exhibit all of the kicks, blocks, and other moves they learned in their many years of martial arts training. It was a fierce show by the students who all gave it a lot of emotion, sweat, and skill. My daughter and I were both spellbound and we are lucky enough to be able to take classes with the master teacher who headed this group.

Redbelt, directed by one of my favorite writer/directors, David Mamet, is about a martial artist (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who finds his integrity on the line after he saves an action star (Tim Allen) from attack and takes a job in the film industry. Chiwetel plays Mike Terry, a Jiu-jitsu master who has avoided the prize fighting circuit, choosing to instead pursue a life of honor and education by operating a self-defense studio in Los Angeles. Terry's life is dramatically changed however when he is conned by a group of movie stars and promoters. In order to pay off his debts and regain his honor, Terry must step into the ring for the first time in his life.

Here are some quotes from the movie trailer that seem to have some worth, apart from the film – they teach us something about combat:

The other guy has a handicap if he cannot control himself.

Breathe — you know the escape. Breathe, there’s always an escape.

There’s one rule — put the other guy down.

A man distracted is a man defeated.

He who imposes the terms of the battle, imposes the terms of the peace.

There is no situation you cannot escape. You know the escape.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Literature by Gang Members and Their Affiliates

A recently publishished anthology, The Bandana Republic: A Literary Anthology by Gang Members and Their Affiliates is sure to raise some eyebrows and, hopefully, get people talking about gangs, why they exist, their history, how to help them, and also how their members and affiliates can possibly help others.

I'm proud to say that I have some poems in this project. I want to thank the great Louis Reyes Rivera (a gifted poet and teacher) for recognizing how my work could contribute to such an anthology. Rivera and Bruce George edited this collection which includes essays, poems, letters, short stories, and interviews, by folks who, at some point in their lives, have been associated with urban gangs.

I'm honored to be included with the other writers, including Ruby Dee, Oscar Brown Jr., Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr., The Last Poets, Akua Njeri, Willie Perdomo, T. Rodgers, Luis J. Rodriguez, Malik Yoba, and many more. My work can be found under my previous name: Alicia Benjamin-Samuels.

If you're in New York City, there are two booksignings that you can check out:

Hue-Man Books
Monday, June 9, 2008, at 6 p.m.
2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (125th St.)

The Nuyorican Poets Cafe
Tuesday, June 24, 2008, at 7 p.m.
236 East 3rd St. (between Avenues B & C), at 7pm.

Here's what Jim Brown has to say in the introduction:
The Bandana Republic is the most provocative, researched, educational, opinionated piece of work that I have ever read . . . In its own provocative way, The Bandana Republic makes you think, reflect, cry. I recommend to all of you, and to all people who purchase this anthology: read it, learn from it, try to draw your own conclusions. What you have in front of you is a reflection of every revolutionary, every victim that ever lived in this country. Color, gender, race, religion . . . it does not matter. Only the individual dealing with correctness, fairness, love and caring, multiplied a billion times, will ever bring about the proper change in human behavior. Read this anthology, and then check yourself.

Here's a blurb from the book's publisher, Soft Skull Press:
Urban youth gangs and street associations are viewed more often than not as training grounds for thugs and felons. Left out are their members' emotional sensitivities, their political consciousness, their individual and collective capacities to assess the social conditions that gave rise to the need for such associations. Not included in the popular dialogue on gangs is the creative impulse that has continued to manifest in popular culture -- from the birth of the Blues to Rag Time and Swing, to BeBop, Doo Wop and Hip Hop.

You can purchase this provocative piece of literature from