Reminders Amid Chaos


Happy Hump Day, folks!

Due to the recent events of the weekend, I have had to stray away from my editorial calendar and answer the calling of my heart.  Within the past three days, I bore witness to the amazing talent and resilience of Atlanta youth by way of AileyCamp Atlanta in an inspiring closing camp performance at the Fox Theatre on Monday, July 15th

The event celebrated the accomplishments of the youth, ages 11-14, in a 6-week camp where they studied four dance disciplines (West African Dance and Percussion, Modern, Jazz, Ballet), and participated in personal development, drama and creative communication classes under the direction of Diane Sales with instructors, Omelika Kuumba, Akumba Bynum-Roberson, Jelani Akil Jones, Urusla Johnson, Rocoe Sales, Theresa Davis, Joy Pigg, and myself.  

Shout out to AileyCamp Atlanta Group Leaders:  Joshua Burney, Prenecia Brooks, Jasmine Stevenson, Portia Armstrong, Joy Pigg!  Thanks for all your support!!!

Interestingly enough, this event took place two days after the verdict of the trial the nation has been closely watching.

I will not rant or vent here and hope not to repeat.  I simply want to offer some reminders amid the chaos to you as well as to myself. 

1)      We cannot afford to get caught in the hype and inaccuracies that toy with and provoke our emotions.  There are plenty of folks putting it out there and even more drowning in its abyss.

2)      We must remember that legislation and jurisdiction do not replace the individual work we all must do in our one-on-one relationships (with family, friends, and others known and unknown) to demonstrate the value and respect of life, all life.

3)     Amidst our mourning and disappointment, we must remember to celebrate that life in ourselves, our elders, our youth with each day we are given with unrelenting commitment and consistency beyond any outside defamation.

Our children must know that they are invaluable and precious to us every day no matter what happens.  Too many of them lack that knowing and certainty.  In order to give it, we must first nurture it within ourselves to have enough to overflow. 

We obviously have a lot of work to do.  As always, share your reflections with others on the blog.  Scroll to the bottom and look for "comments."  Be sure to check the creative feature a poem from AileyCamp Atlanta youth and old-school video to inspire you.

Be Joyful,

Be Creative,

Be Inspired,




a found poem from members of AileyCamp Atlanta Camp M and Camp P (Summer 2013)


Ladies and gentlemen!

Teachers and mentors!

Moms and Dads!!!

May we have your attention?  PLEASE!!!


What you are about to open will change your life forever!


CAUTION!  Handled with care!


I don’t exist to be thrown in a corner

untouched and unwanted.

I want to be handled gently,

held tightly without being let go to fall.

Touch me with gentle soft hands;

handle me as if I were beautiful sand

slipping through your fingers.


Will you do that for me or will you turn away?


WARNING!!!  Careful when you open me. 


My wrapping paper is wrinkled, my bow, crooked.

Easy when you touch my bow!

Clear tape makes it easy to see the scars

and torn, ragged edges of my paper.


Open me,

open me slowly for you may not be ready for the prize inside.

Easy!  You’re going to be shocked!


I am bright on the outside and quiet on the inside.

I’m beautiful to look at but easy to bruise,

used as a token of love.


I’m made of glass;


 I’m fragile,

but It takes a lot to break me!


I’m precious, a best friend, a protector.

Treat me as you would treat yourself with love and care.

I ‘m not a bad thing, but I’m not always good.

It’s hard to be loved and then rejected the next day!


More beautiful inside than out,

I am a rose that blooms in a dark room.

Only a few people really get to see

 my rose glisten like gold.


If you look inside yourself,

you’ll realize I was there all along.

LOOK! Look closely so you don’t miss me!


I am the gift,

the gift of strength and power,

the gift that loves,

the gift that keeps on giving,

the gift that my family always wanted but never really sees

the gift that is waiting to be opened.


Open my eyes

so that my vision is clear,

to lead me down the right path


Can I really live my life to the fullest with my eyes closed?


Open my eyes

to see the bright side,

to see the blessings I have right in front of me,

to look away from my past and towards my future,

to know my future is steps ahead.


How am I supposed to be a role model for others  

when there’s no role model for me?


To a new day of positivity and joy

to find my purpose in life

to see that everyone/everything 

around me has a purpose.


To touch.

to see,

to be,

to be just me,

to be the real me,

a gift,

open my eyes!!!


DON'T GO YET!!! Check out the video for a lil' extra blessing, "A Prayer" by the O'Jays!!! And remember to leave your offering under comments!


Tamara July 19, 2013 @08:16 am
Thank you, LaVerne! It is amazing how Love and the Divine find ways of reaching out to us and speaking with words of wisdom and support. We simply have to be open to see and receive! Beautiful
LaVerne C. Hall July 18, 2013 @11:49 pm
In spite of . . . My heart continues to smile. Yesterday I saw a mother duck with her babies struggling to keep up with her. The smallest one was falling and lagging behind, but he continued on and they did not leave him. As I review this scene over and over, my heart smiles and my soul says . . . "Leave no child behind." I am blessed because everyday God plants me in the midst of the beauty of His Word and His Instruction.
Tamara July 17, 2013 @10:20 pm
Thank you, Mr. J! That means a lot coming from you, and I truly appreciate it!
Jelani Jones July 17, 2013 @05:39 pm
You are amazing keep doing what you do.
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