Hoping for a Better 2018

The year 2017 was an especially difficult year all around the world and for some of us personally. There were earthquakes, devastating hurricanes, refugee crises, and other man-made and natural disasters. The year 2018 has begun with terrible winter weather conditions in the U.S., other man-made and natural disasters around the world, and now mudslides which have claimed so many lives in the United States.

As you read this, please just pause and observe a moment of silence in memory and honor of those who have been affected by these disasters and unfortunate events. Please join me as we keep those impacted by these events in our thoughts and prayers.  While some of these occurrences are unavoidable, I for one, am praying and hoping for a better 2018.


Common Courtesy Goes a Long Way

It always amazes me when people do not realize when they are being discourteous. They may just not know any better. As I interact constantly with adults and kids in the community and the world, you would be surprised at how many really do not know any better. While some of my advice below is meant to be humorous, it is also serious. I encounter these situations daily, and it is irksome. Here are a few tips that I would like to share with you regarding personal courtesy.

  • When asking someone for something, please use the word “please”. This is what we teach our children, unfortunately, some adults have still not learned this.
  • If you do not hear or understand what someone has said, do not say “huh” – instead, please say “excuse me”, or “pardon”.
  • Do not refer to humans as “hey”. “Hey” is for horses, dogs, birds, insects, reptiles…. Just recently in the community, someone called me “hey”. I promptly asked the person, “what did you call me?”, and he/she apologized immediately. Did he/she know better? Yes he/she did, but he/she thought he/she could get away with it.
  • Never, ever, ever, show someone your middle finger as an insult; if want to insult someone, use words. Better still, keep those words to yourself.
  • When sending someone an email, always begin with a salutation such as “Dear Joe”, “Hello Joe”, etc. You may also want to check to see if the person is still alive first, with a statement such as “I hope you are well.” You may skip this only if you are in a back-and-forth conversation.
  • Always say “thank you” when someone does something for you; this includes waiters and waitresses, flight attendants and others.
  • When talking on the phone in a public place, please keep your conversation to a minimum and as private as you can. Most people do not want to hear your mess!
  • It is plain rude to hold an extended phone conversation when you are in the presence of others. Just simply say, “I will call you back.”
  • When at a public place such as a store, and you walk in front of somebody who is looking at items on a shelf, say “excuse me”.
  • Say “excuse me” when you interrupt someone who is speaking; better yet do not interrupt people! That’s just rude!
  • Last but not least, when you pass anybody on campus, please say a simple “hello.” You can try that is public, but some people might think that you are just weird.

Life is about relationships and the nicer and the more courteous we are to others, the better this world will be for all of us. The above advice is of course not meant to be exhaustive, but this is all I could think of at this time.

A Tribute to Charles Silver Wolf and Native American Heritage

Charles Silver Wolf was my friend. He died a couple of months ago and I found that out only earlier this month. He was a Native American/American Indian, and I find it appropriate to write this tribute to him during this Native American Heritage Month of November.

Silver Wolf, as I called him, was a mild mannered individual who had a calm and giving spirit. I met him a few years ago when I joined the Turtle Island Dream Keepers – a Native American Group that meets here at MCCC every month. Silver Wolf would bring me symbolic Native American gifts from time to time and gifted me with a leather bound collector’s edition copy of the book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. The book recounts the struggles encountered by American Indians as their land was being settled between 1860 and 1890. After reading almost half of the book, I was unable to read any further because of the violence perpetrated against American Indian women and children. I just had to stop reading it. He inscribed a note in the book that read, “To Kojo, my friend and brother, Charles Silver Wolf.” He will be missed.

I remember my conversations with Silver Wolf were educational, edifying, and illuminating.  He was a gentle and caring soul and was always willing to impart knowledge in a kind and understanding manner. Silver Wolf was a member of our county-wide Diversity Committee and was always willing to share his thoughts and knowledge in a non-accusatory manner.

As we celebrate Native American Heritage Month this November, we have a display in the hallway of the A Building.  Silver Wolf used to provide the material for that display and decorated it himself every year. We found out of his death when we reached out to him for display material. May his soul rest in peace.  There will be two presentations this week on Native American Heritage here at MCCC, please check our website and email for details.

When I found out he had died, I called his wife, who told me that he had been in ill health for some time and died in his sleep. He asked that no obituary or announcement be printed and was cremated per his wishes.

Silver Wolf is no longer with us physically, but he is with us in spirit as we celebrate his life and legacy and the heritage of Native Americans this month and every month of the year.

Remember Others During this Thanksgiving

This is the time of year set aside for thanksgiving. Indeed, we must give thanks year-round and on a daily basis. I give thanks every chance I can get. In these difficult and trying times when there is so much tragedy and strife around us, we must pause to reflect on our many blessings. But even as we do that, we must continue to keep those less fortunate in our thoughts and prayers. There are those who have been devastated by natural and man-made disasters in Mexico, Florida, Houston, California, Iran and Iraq, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Syria, Las Vegas, Texas, and so many more.

When I began writing this blog, I was going to provide a list of all what I/we should be thankful for, but remembering those less fortunate is the direction my thoughts took. We have all suffered some tragedies in our lifetimes (I have known my own very recently), but we must continue to keep others in our thoughts and prayers, because no matter how bad it may seem, there are many who are less fortunate than we are, and as long as there is life, there is hope. We must remember the less fortunate during this Thanksgiving Season.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Local Elections: What a Difference a Year Makes

Local Elections: What a Difference a Year Makes

Today is Election Day. I went out and voted first thing this morning. I was relaxed, felt no anxiety, and was one of only two voters at the polling station – I was number 19 just after 8:00 a.m., after the polls had been open for an hour. Contrast that with last year when I was a bit anxious and had to stand in a long line. So what is the difference between this year and last year? Here are a few differences:

  1. Last year was a general and national election, this year is a local one.
  2. I hear the Russians tried to influence last year’s election, this year they have not.
  3. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were involved in last year’s election, this year they have decided to stay out of it.
  4. For some strange reason, I spent time campaigning last year, this year, I am taking a break from campaigning and focusing more on eating in Cuisine 1300 on campus.
  5. Last year, MCCC was on the ballot, this year we are focusing on renovating our campus.

What a difference a year makes. Local versus national, it really does not matter, we need to exercise our vote. Tomorrow we will know the results. Some will celebrate, others will know the agony of defeat. We have experienced both here at MCCC, and I prefer celebration.

A Call to Action

As I go about my community, travel around the nation and the world, and listen to the news, I see so many things that are just wrong! I see man’s inhumanity to man and other actions that should not be allowed. Yet they continue, because nothing is being done to stop it. Right is right and wrong is wrong! So, this is what is on my mind this Monday morning.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. For several months, I was part on an Anti-Bullying Task force here in Monroe, but for some reason, it does not meet anymore. I will not get into the statistics here, but there are literally millions of people being bullied every day. And what is sad about it is that there are many who while not perpetrators, turn a blind eye to this sort of behavior. Currently in the news is the sexual harassment charges against Harvey Weinstein. I am sure others knew about this man’s behavior, but they did nothing. Both sexual harassment and bullying are harmful negative behaviors. Other such harmful behaviors include any kind of discrimination (except price discrimination – from an economics perspective, of course).

For those of us who observe discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment or other such behaviors and do nothing, we may be as guilty as the perpetrators. We have an obligation to take action if we observe any kind of misbehavior or see anyone being wronged. Here are a few quotes about INACTION:

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” — Benjamin Franklin.

“Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the oppressed.”– Elie Wiesel

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”– Haile Selassie
“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. “– Albert Einstein

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” — Edmund Burke

“A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case, he is equally accountable to them for the injury.” — John Stuart Mill

Please resolve to take action whenever you see or observe any wrong behavior, it’s the only way to make this world a better place for all of us.



Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” I wonder how many of us ask ourselves that question each day or on a regular basis. For some of us, by virtue of our employment, we are always doing for others. But I think Dr. King’s quote goes well beyond that. What are we doing to make a difference in the lives of others, besides what we do at work? Besides our jobs, these giving back opportunities present themselves constantly and consistently. Here are a few immediate opportunities to impact those less fortunate than many of us are:

  • There are so many opportunities to help the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and now Jose and Maria. We can give online, by text, at Walmart, through the Red Cross, etc.
  • Giving to or walking in the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s.” Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects so many in our families, community, and beyond.
  • Giving to the Bed Race to Aid Children Inc. – you would be amazed at how many children in Monroe County have no bed to sleep on. This effort helps us buy beds and deliver them to these local children
  • The United Way is an agency that supports so many other agencies. The local campaign was launched last week and the goal is $1.2 million.

Other organizations include the Salvation Army, March of Dimes, Relay for Life; the list is virtually endless. The point is, we can show we care by giving of our time, talent, and treasure. Personally, I have found that my talent is limited, so I give of my time and treasure to the extent that I can.  Thursday, September 21, 2018, MCCC will host a panel discussion on “Natural Disasters: What is our Obligation?” Please join us for this discussion in the cafeteria on Thursday at noon. This discussion is part of the College’s Current Affairs and Diversity Series. Do we care? Should we give? Is it an obligation or not? Come join us to express your opinions.