Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How To Write a Book For and About Young Black Males, and Have It Actually Reach Their Hands?

1. Write what they've been waiting to hear, not your doctoral dissertation or theoretical diarrhea. That may be easy formula to you but consequently boring to them;

2. Remember how it felt when you turned 14 and society no longer considered you cute and safe;

3. The ones you need to impress are the young males themselves, not your agent and not your ego;


4. Pitch to all publishers, not just African Americans. Because sometimes water is thicker than blood;

5. Consider the frustrations of a single mother with limited resources and funds;

6. Don't forget the fathers who do pay child support but are still not allowed to see their children;

7. Don't forget to bring up Africa because self-esteem begins at the Gold Coast, not at the American car show;

8. Always carry a few copies on you to give away;

9. Choose a cover design that speaks their language, not yours;

10. Use your personal copy when life coaching students, doing workshops and mediating;

(Artwork by student, Jacquie Torres)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Andrew Glover Program Honors

If you've been following my work, you already know that I'm affiliated with a few youth programs throughout New York and D.C./Baltimore areas. This past Friday, the Andrew Glover Youth Program, an alternative to incarcerating convicted young males and young females, did something I hadn't seen before. As a way of thanking their advocates, both the staff and the youth themselves decided to place life-size photos of key individuals who help the Program's participants reach their personal and academic goals. I was blessed to have been named as one their trusted family members and I stay grateful not only for their visual shoutout, but also for the respect and love these kids showed me when I first met them two years ago. Young folk don't like bs. If they think you're just a messenger of lies, they let you know right off the bat and it's over. If you're a newby to urban realities but your intentions are good, they let you get it together. And if you've been doing this kinda' thing for decades because it's your calling and what you do best, they recognize it. Doesn't matter if they come from broken homes. Your presence and testimony to surviving obstacles gives them a blueprint to learning how to not define themselves according to their circumstances but rather to their passion for reinventing themselves. 
Avenue A and 9th Street
 
Left to right-- Divino Quinones, US Army; Dan Grisby, Volunteer; Tamara Sandy, Soup Kitchen Director; Chino Garcia, Community Activist
 
The backdrop of this community tribute is a street garden called La Plaza Cultural
 
Rosie Mendez, Councilwoman


Jan Hanik, Clemente Cultural Center
 

 
The artwork on top of the fences was an added surprise. If you look closer, they're trash items that local artists turned into valuables....(amazing!)
 
Left to right-- Jan Janik, Clemente Cultural Center, Carno Pabon, Community Organizer; Miriam Reverand, Involved Neighborhood Mom
 
J.K. Canepa, Ecologist; Chris Slow, Firefighter; Ray Turner, Personal Trainer
 
Right to left-- Tamara Sandy, Soup Kitchen Director; Chino Garcia, Community Activist; Orlando Rodriguez, Business Owner
 
 
 
Every community garden needs a wall to represent the neighborhood's values and aspirations. In this case, the residents are saying their heart is in it!
 
Makes you re-think of things you typically throw away, right?...
 
Left to right-- Miriam Reverand, Involved Neighborhood Mom; myself, and Anthony Feliciano, Community Organizer
 
Inside of the garden is a loud but quiet contrast to the city noise just outside the gate...


Left to right--Hayan Kasem, Neighborhood Deli Owner; Carmen, Neighborhood Grandmother; Frank Morales, Local Priest
 

 

Left to right-- Frank Morales, Local Priest; Marttha Mobly, Headstart; Denis Barton, Homeless Coalition
 
 
 

 
A passerby was taking photos of the fence and reading about each individual being honored. She was excited to see one of them still there, took a few of my biz cards then took my pic next to my pic which was a bit surreal to me, yet it felt great to be recognized when your haters refuse to even acknowledge you. It was a reminder for me to ig the haters and continue what I came here to do. And maybe that was the passersby's own role, to remind me of just that!  
 
 
 
 


Artwork on the side of a bodega on Avenue A and 11th Street
Founder and Director of The Andrew Glover Youth Program, Angel Rodriguez
Program Coordinator, Jessica Hall
Photographs by Pamela Crimmins
Photo Project by InsideOut

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thank You

A simple but most sincere thank you is the best prayer.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Images 18: Everybody Needs One -- A Garden

 
 
 
 

 
 
 





 
 

 





 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A garden can be a small pot of basil on your window sill
or a botanical postcard right outside your door.
Be one with nature and be one with you!