Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Friday, October 30, 2009

Helping a Child Rape Victim in Richmond, Calif.

If you‘d like to send cards, donations, and words of encouragement to the 15-year-old Richmond High School student who suffered the heinous act of violence earlier this week, use this address: Richmond High School Student, 250 23rd Street, Richmond, CA 94804-1011. Make checks payable to: Richmond High Student Fund.

As many as 20 people witnessed the brutal rape of a 15-year-old girl in Richmond, Calif. Saturday night. That sentence alone made me stand up, get mad, call some friends and rail about the horrific vision of it all. It’s hard to fathom the sheer callousness and cruelty of the bystanders.

Not only did some of those 20 folks stand and watch, some of the onlookers and participants cheered it along, and videotaped it with cell phones.

Would one or more of them dare to post those videos on Youtube? And if they did, how many people would click in to watch the heinous violence against this child? I’d be afraid to tally up the number of people who would actually log on to watch the unfolding of this act of rape.

But that’s the kind of world we live in, isn’t it? Remember when a certain R & B star (R. Kelly) was accused of sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl? Remember the circulation of the video? How many people sat down at their computers and watched that travesty?

Let’s pray that these cell phone video tapes of the rape in Richmond never make it to Youtube or receive any kind of circulation.

Let’s pray that the next time someone witnesses a criminal act, like the vicious rape of a child taking place, that they have the courage to shout at the attackers, call 911, call for help, run to help the victim.

Unfortunately in this case, nobody called 911, nobody tried to stop the sexual violence, nobody came to this young girl’s rescue. Nobody.

I wish and hope and pray that the onlookers to this crime will be arrested. “Witnesses are rarely prosecuted for failing to report a crime,” Eugene O’Donnell, a New York law professor told ABC news.

"I can't tell you how many cases I had where there was someone standing feet away from a rape, and I wanted to try them as an accomplice but couldn't," Linda Fairstein, a former New York City sex crimes prosecutor, told ABC.

How many cases? How many cases, indeed. Even one case like this is too much.

This whole incident brings to mind the plot of a movie made in the late 80s titled, “The Accused.” Based on a true Massachusetts rape case, the movie features Jodie Foster as Sarah Tobias, a young woman who goes to a bar one night and has a bit too much to drink. She finds herself in a room in the back of the bar dancing to music playing on a jukebox. She flirts with a man on the dance floor and that man, also drunk, begins to sexually assault her. Two other men hold her down while this happens. Then a few other guys, who are looking on, also rape Tobias, while others cheer, chant and egg him on. After the brutality ends, Tobias runs sobbing from the bar out onto the highway to find help.

In Roger Ebert’s review of this movie he writes:

This is the first film I can remember that considers the responsibility of bystanders in a rape case. The drunken fraternity boys and townies who climb on the furniture and chant and cheer are accessories to rape, although our society sometimes has difficulty in understanding that.

How difficult is this to understand?

I believe that the proliferation of easily accessed pornography on television, the internet and other places has a lot to do with the ease with which some can stand by and watch such a thing happen. Too many are desensitized to violence, especially sexual violence that they see constantly in the media and other places.

It shouldn’t be hard to understand that it is just plain, flat-out wrong to watch such a brutal act of violence against anyone, especially a child. And it is also wrong not to at least pick up a phone (which at that point shouldn’t even be considered to be a recording device), and dial 911.

What do you say?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First Meeting: Single Mothers Support Group

Join other single mothers to discuss your needs, hopes, and dreams for your family. Come to the startup meeting for a Support Group for Single Mothers.

Are you feeling overwhelmed as a single mother? Have you perhaps dreamed of sharing your childcare needs with others? What about holding a pow wow to create tutoring opportunities to help accelerate your child's progress in school?

Consider that there may be other mothers in the Charlotte area who feel like you do and would like to support each other. If you’d like to join others to help start a support group for single mothers in Charlotte, please attend our first meeting on Friday, November 6, 2009 at 7 p.m.

For more information about the group and where the meetings will be held, contact Alicia Benjamin at

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Backspin: Treasure Chest of Old School Hip Hop

I've been missin' out on the musical gold of satellite radio! I discovered a station called Backspin, featuring the pioneers of Old School rap/hip hop just a few days ago. I had forgotten how much I admired some of those rhythms and rhymes. Can you place these snippets of clips from some old school hits?

1. "I'm brown....from the boogie down"

2. "This groove is set to soothe and move you. Party people now it's time to....Get up....everybody get up"

3. "Hyped like a poet, on the mic I'll show it. Do-re-mi fa-so-la ti-doe it."
(I wanted to jump up and dance, but I was driving the car.)

4. You a paper chaser, you got your block on fire. Remain' a G, until the moment you expire. You know what it is to make nothin' outa somethin'. You handle your biz and don't be cryin' and sufferin'."

You can't tell me that's not poetry. This performer's delivery is so rhythmically perfect even I can replicate it (sort of).

And this was the last of my satellite radio meal:

5. "Spread the word, cause I'm in EFFECT. A smooth operator, operatin' correctly."

Can you name any of the artists who penned the above lyrics? Juvenile is one of them and as I heard his song "Ha" on satellite radio recently, I remembered the eloquence of the music video for the song. The video for "Ha" is very well made and entertaining for several reasons. It's filmed in New Orleans in the Magnolia Projects, where Juvenile grew up. The video shows footage of random children and adults in the Big Easy, at least 6 years prior to Hurricane Katrina. You see the beauty, pain, strength and vulnerable humanity in the faces of these smiling, straight-faced, and frowning residents, medics and police officers. As I watch the video now, I can't help but wonder how many of these babies and grown folks were affected by the devastation of Katrina.

There's something both ominous and comical about the way Juvenile repeats lines from the Forest Gump film, "Run Forrest, Run Forrest, Run!" in "Ha" because as he says the lines, the music video shows a young boy running from police officers in an alley.

And for you Latin jazz/salsa lovers out there, if you don't know about it, you gotta check out Juvenile's "Follow Me Now" song that is oh so lively and ingenious. It's a harmonious and witty blend of hip hop and Latin flavors. I love the way the music video features shots of Latinos and African-Americans, smiling, dancing, and just actin' silly. Check it out here:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Prayer to God for Balance (Yoruba)

Ki nle 'ke odi.
Raise me above all misfortune.

Kiemaa gbe'mi n'ija kiemaa gbe mi leke isoro lojo gbogbo ni gbogbo ojo aye mi.
Raise me above all misfortune that might come my way while on this earth.

Kiemaa gbe 're.
Always bring me good fortune.

Bi'ku ba sunmo itosi ki e bami ye ojo iku.
If death is near help us to avert it.

Odun tiatibi mi sinu aye ki e bami ye ojo iku fun ara mi ati awon omo mi ti mo bi. Kiamaku ni kekere, kiamaku iku ina, kiamaku iku oro, kiamaku ike ejo, kiamaku sinu omi.
Avert death for all my children avert death for all those I include in my prayers. May they not die young, may they not die in fire, may they not die in tragedy, may they not die in shame, may they not die in water.

Ki e maf'foju re wo mi, ki awon omo araye lee maa fi oju rere wo mi.
I beg you to look upon me with good eyes so the world will be favorable to me and my children, may I be free from illness.

Ki e ma jeki nsaisan ki nsegun odi ki nrehin ota.
Let me overcome my enemies.

Ki e si'na aje fun me, ki awon omo araye wa maa bami, ra oja ti mo ba niita warawara, ipeku Orun e pehinda lodo mi.
Open the way to wealth for me, that the whole world will want the products of my work, let death pass me by.

Ki e da mi ni abiyamo tiyoo bimo rere ti won, yoo gb'ehin si sinu aye ate beebee.
May I be known as a parent who produces good children, who will stand behind me, follow my guidance and bury me at the end of my life.

Ki e ka ibi kuro lona fun mi lode aye.
Remove all obstacles wherever I go in the world.

Ki e bami ka'wo Iku, arun ejo ofo ofo efun edi apeta oso.
Protect me from death, disease, litigation, loss and hexing, prevent harm from those who work hexes.

Ki o r'omo gbe sire, ki e jeki oruko mi han si rere, ki ipa mi laye ma parun.
Let my name not be spoken with contempt, let my name be famous in the world, let my lineage flourish in the world.

Ki e jeki ngboki nto ki npa ewu s'ehin.
Let me live long and see my hair turn white.

Ase, ase, ase, 'se o.
May it be so, may it be so, may it be so.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reprise: Think on These Things (Gullah Version)

Philippians 4:8-9 (Gullah version from De Nyew Testament)

Here Paul is speaking to the people:

Me Christian bredren, las ob all, A da tell ya, mus keep on da study bout jes dem ting wa good mo den all an wa people oughta gii praise fa. Study bout dem ting wa true, dem ting wa honorable, dem ting wa right een God eye, dem ting wa ain neba mek people sin, dem ting wa mek ya wahn fa lob um, an dem ting wa people know fa be good fa true. Do dem ting A done laan oona. Mus do wa A beena tell ya fa do an wa ya see dat A da do. An God wa da gii we peace, e gwine be dey wid oona.

Translation for oona = You

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Who Am I?

(Taken from Neil T. Anderson's book, Victory Over the Darkness)

I am the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13)
I am the light of the world (Matt. 5:14)
I am a child of God (John 1:12)
I am a part of the true vine, a channel of Christ's life (John 15:1,5)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15)
I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit (John 15:16)
I am a slave to righteousness (Romans 6:18)
I am enslaved to God (Romans 6:22)
I am a child of God; God is spiritually my Father (Romans 8:14,15; Gal. 3:26; 4:6)
I am a joint heir with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him (Romans 8:17)
I am a temple a dwelling place of God. His Spirit and His life dwells in me (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19)
I am united to the Lord and am one Spirit with Him (1 Cor.6:17)
I am a member of Christ's Body 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph.5:30)
I am a new creature (2 Cor. 5: 17)
I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18,19)
I am a child of God and one in Christ ( Gal. 3:26,28)
I am an heir of God since I am a child of God (Gal. 4:6,7)
I am a saint ( Eph. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2)
I am God's workmanship--His handiwork--born anew in Christ to do His work (Eph. 2:10)
I am a fellow citizen with the rest of God's family ( Eph. 2:19)
I am a prisoner of Christ (Eph. 3:1; 4:1)
I am righteous and holy (Eph. 4:24)
I am a citizen of heaven, seated in heaven right now (Phil. 3:20; Eph. 2:6)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:4)
I am an expression of the life of Christ because He is my life (Col.3:4)
I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (Col. 3:12; 1 Thess. 1:4)
I am a child of light and not of darkness (1 Thess. 5:5)
I am a holy partaker of a heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1)
I am a partaker of Christ; I share in His life (Heb. 3:14)
I am one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as s spiritual house
(1 Peter 2:5)
I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God's own possession (1 Peter 2:9,10)
I am an alien and stranger to this world in which I temporarily live (1 Peter 2:11)
I am an enemy of the devil (1 Peter 5:8)
I am a child of God and I will resemble Christ when He returns (1 John 3: 1,2)
I am born of God, and the evil one -- the devil -- cannot touch me (1 John 5:18)
I am not the Great I AM, (Exodus 3:14; John 8:24, 28, 58) But by the grace of God I am what I am (1 Cor. 15:10)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Love, Not Love: Michael Moore's Capitalism

I saw Michael Moore's latest addition to his opus on how America is swiftly going down the drain today and was far more affected by this film than I thought I'd be.

I've read reviews by more than one writer who admit that Moore makes some good points with Capitalism: A Love Story:

* The majority of banking systems in the U.S. are corrupt
* Workers are underpaid and used like tokens
* The rich make a concentrated effort to keep the poor right where they want them (us) -- poor
* Many of our representatives are selfish and corrupt
* There's more but I won't go on

But the reviewers also say, "What's he want us to do about it?" Well, it's obvious that the man wants us to get up off our butts and DO SOMETHING. I'm sure Moore is saying to us all, "Be creative!" Write to your Congressional representatives and tell them what you want, protest in the streets, demand that the banks give loans to people want to create viable small businesses and buy affordable homes, demand universal healthcare for the country's citizens, etc.

He certainly made me want to change our dire circumstances. Moore's Love Story really makes me want to get more active and vocal. I'm sure it will have the same effect on you once you see this masterpiece.

One portion of the film that keeps ringing in my head is a chant that some people in Miami sang when they banded together to help a family re-enter a home that they were thrown out of for not being able to pay the mortgage. The home had been foreclosed and the family, which included several children, were living in an old truck in their neighborhood. Some of the neighbors decided to help the family by forcing open the locked doors and taking down the boards on the windows, so that the displaced clan could reclaim the house. When the officials, including police officers, came to remove the family from their home, the good folks told the officials that they weren't going anywhere. In addition to telling them how unfair their ousting was, the family, their neighbors, and other supporters, shouted over and over: "Ain't no party like a people power party, cause a people power party don't stop!"

Here's what Michael Moore has to say about his film:

"It's a crime story. But it's also a war story about class warfare. And a vampire movie, with the upper 1 percent feeding off the rest of us. And, of course, it's also a love story. Only it's about an abusive relationship.

"It's not about an individual, like Roger Smith, or a corporation, or even an issue, like health care. This is the big enchilada. This is about the thing that dominates all our lives — the economy. I made this movie as if it was going to be the last movie I was allowed to make.

"It's a comedy."

Read Sean P. Means' article about Moore's film in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Check out the trailer for the movie below, then go see the film today!