Marching to Zion: My Pilgrimage to Israel  #BlackLivesMatterEverywhere! 

On August 6th I left NYC to travel to Israel for a conference and Holy Land pilgrimage led by a powerful sister named Mahalayah Goodman she wanted Black people from throughout the diaspora to come together to build spiritually during these hard times.

I have always wanted to visit Israel but I also know that the current political situation there is deeply unjust but while many progressive people focus on Palestinians hardly no attention is given to the racism Blacks who live in Israel face from the hands of Israelies and Palestinians. I knew before I went to Israel that I wanted to see how my people lived there, currently there are indigenous Black Palestinians who are unmixed, African immigrants and Black Hebrews who have lived in Israel for over 40 years.

I chose to go to a conference and pilgrimage planned and led by a Black woman living in Israel and our tour guide was a Bedouin man whose family lived in the Judean mountains since they immigrated to Israel in the 1800’s (since Israel has been conquered by various groups since ancient times many of the indigenous people are mixed and many people live there who may not necessarily be from there even if they aren’t White Israeli). We stayed in Tel Arad one of the most diverse towns in Israel and everywhere we went we saw Black folks: Sudanese, Hausa, Ugandan Jews and of course Ethiopians. Israel is a lot more diverse than people know since technically it’s in Africa, I would suggest viewing the documentary The Northeast African Deception for more information about what Blacks who are indigenous to Israel go through.

On our last day we visited Palestine which is home to the Cities of Jericho and Bethlehem and we learned first hand from Yonise our tour guide what Palestinians and non Whites go through. When we got to Jericho a Black Palestinian boy welcomed us with a big smile and shook our hand, I prayed for his protection and that the injustice he will face from both sides won’t steal his joy.

My group consisted of Brothers and Sisters from various parts of the U.S., London and Israel and we became a spiritual family. We prayed together and honored Mike Brown on the 1-year anniversary of his death during the conference where I closed with presentation on what the Black Woman and her children are facing across the globe we also honored the 5 Black women who died in police custody in July 2015.  Throughout the conference and the week  we discussed strategy and organizing for our people on every level spiritual and politically.

I was also able to get some much needed rest so this was like an extended Sabbath 😉.

We had a powerful time of prayer at the wall of the only temple remains from the period of Solomon in Tel Arad and these remains were discovered by a Black man. As we prayed we wailed for our people. At the river Jordan I remembered my enslaved ancestors who sung of being baptized in the Jordan and  was joined by brothers from the Akan tribe of Ghana who spoke of what would happen to those who enslaved us and talked about the slavery that happened right in Ghana!

Overall this was a life changing trip and I am inspired to uncover the hidden Black presence in Israel!

Check out my photo slide show from my trip:

https://flickr.com/photos/46579940@N04/sets/72157655008230573

A Cover Girl in Israel Work Sis!  

 An Indian Family gets Baptized in the Jordan River

‘Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)’

PrayerRallyforTM

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Revival is defined as: Restoration to life, consciousness, vigor, strength, and repentance (emphasis mine)http://dictionary.reference.com

Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have. At the end of the day, GOD is still in control.”-Sabrina Fulton mother of Trayvon Martin

Saturday night as I was waiting for the subway to take me from the Upper Westside of Manhattan to Harlem I overheard an African-American cop tell his co-worker that George Zimmerman was not convicted of any charges. The face of his co-worker who was an African-American woman dropped and she silently turned towards the tracks to look for the next train. The scene was disturbing to me because I saw the powerlessness in both cops faces which is disheartening since these are “New York’s Finest” and yet with their badges and city issued authority they like many African-Americans were reminded of our powerlessness in a system that was founded on devaluing African life. As I sat on the train heading uptown I was outraged by the verdict but not surprised. When I arrived home I had to tell my African roommates from Tanzania the news and we had a long discussion about the case and one of my roommates stated “I guess we can only get justice from God.” My African roommates like myself are followers of Jesus who have had evangelical conversion experiences yet we know that our faith cannot save us from white supremacy. The Sinful fact is that though the Apostle Paul proclaimed in Galatians that: “we are all one in Christ” (Galatians 3:28) this oneness has not occurred in our daily realities.

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Happy Kwanzaa!

Today is the first day of Kwanzaa the Pan-African Holiday celebrating African culture and principals. For more information on this holiday visit: http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org.

Be Blessed as we continue to celebrate this season of holidays and prepare to for 2013!

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               From: http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org

Bijoux Uniques

I love purchasing street or handcrafted jewelry and living in New York City I always have the opportunity to do so (probably more opportunities than I need).  Whether I am on 125th Street in Harlem or hanging out in Union Square downtown I am always tempted to by one more pair of earrings or another funky ring, see some of my finds below:

Various pieces that were gifted or brought from vendors on 125th Street in Harlem. The cuff is from Venus Visuals.

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Proud Black Mary

The Black Madonna can be found thoughout the world especially in Europe, but also in India, America and of course Africa. The Black Madonna represents motherhood, Mother Earth, Life, Death and Lady Wisdom(referred to in the Biblical book of Proverbs). The Black Madonna’s lap represents nurturing which is why many of her depictions show Jesus on her lap. Furthermore, she is a mother to the oppressed, marginalized and the poor which is best shown in the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Sadly many of these Black Momas were buried, hidden in the basements of churches and cathedrals or even “whitened”- ironically when they were whitened many European Christians would demand that she be painted black again. Some say Black Madonnas were blackened by candles burning nearby but some religious scholars attribute this theory to racism. There is proof that many Black Madonnas were created to be Black, but as the transatlantic slave trade picked up the Black Madonna was made in a white image so that European Christians could enslave, rape and dehumanize the Black woman without guilt. Today an interest in the Black Madonna has reemerged and my hope is that this will inspire Black women to look to the Black Madonna as a divine mirror reflecting the dignity, natural beauty, wisdom, love and power that we should display as Black women.

For more information on the Black Madonna read:

Return of the Black Madonna by Rev. Matthew Fox, Ph. D

Interfaith Marian Pilgrimages- The Black Madonna

The Magnificat or Song of Mary Luke 1: 46-55

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Where Are You From?

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As I stated in an earlier post I am in Saas Fee, Switzerland in a short term Media & Philosophy program. Participants in this program are from a variety of countries and since we are in the 3rd day of the program I am meeting new people and inevitably someone will ask “where are you from?” This question always makes me uneasy because all I can say is America, when Africans ask me this question I grow more uncomfortable because they sometimes think I am African due to my name (especially Nigerians). I have sometimes replied “I am just from America” because the furthest I can trace my roots back is North Carolina where my family was owned by the Alston family who were the largest slave holding family in America (for more information about the Alstons read
Family Name by Rev. Alston).

When asked “where are you from” I am always reminded of the fact that my family’s history and heritage was stolen, identity is essential to understanding yourself, your past and your future. When a huge piece of your identity is missing you feel a sense of loss that cannot be replaced. Though, I know my ancestors were brought from Africa it is also important to know which country and tribe you are a descendant from because this information is essential to understanding yourself. I know African-Americans have created a powerful culture that blends Africa and our experience in America but we are still missing a essential piece of our cultural puzzle by not knowing about the roots we have grown from. All Africans were and are not the same so by claiming “Africa” in general we miss something particular about who we are. Identity is the foundation of our development and without it we can be like boats drifting in the sea of a Western society that does not honor us and we can not honor and respect ourselves.