Lost to History – Unfamiliar Faces: Latasha Harlins and Deadwyler

Rodney King. It is a name that rings all too familiar in the history of Black America. Latasha Harlins however, is a not so familiar face.

Latasha Harlins

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Latasha Harlins died 13 days after the beating of Rodney King on March 16, 1991 at The Empire Liquor Market in South-Central Los Angeles with two dollars in her hand. After attempting to purchase a bottle of Orange Juice, Latasha and Korean Store Owner Ja Du got into a verbal and physical altercation. Du thought Latasha was trying to steal the $1.79 drink, which lead to a fight. Latasha struck Du and the two mouthed words before Harlins turned to walk out the door but it was too late. Ja Du pulled the handgun from behind the counter and shot the teen in the head. The entire ordeal was caught on tape and Latasha died instantly. She was 15 years old. November of that year, a judge sentenced Du to five years of probation, 400 hours of community service, and a $500 fine. Tupac’s “Keep Your Head Up” was dedicated to Latasha Harlins.

The Deadwyler Case

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Johnny Cochrane is another prominent name in the black community. Modeling his career from the inspiration of Thurgood Marshall, Cochrane was born in Shreveport LA and gained his fame after defending such big names as Micheal Jackson and O.J. Simpson. An unfamiliar face however lies in the name of a man whose death is responsible for launching Johnny’s reputation: Leonard Deadwyler. Deadwyler’s death galvanized protests and activism that lead to the Martin Luther King Jr. and the adjoining Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. While speeding through several red lights, Leonard Deadwyler raced in an attempt to get his pregnant wife, now in labor, to the hospital. Due to the lack of a black hospital near by, the Deadwhyler’s had to attend a facility 20 miles away. On the way, Leonard was stopped by police and a confrontation erupted which resulted in the shooting death of Leonard who was shot and killed in front of his pregnant wife. Police said the ordeal was the result of a drunken Leonard to the debate of his wife who remembered no such account. Blacks in South Central protested that Deadwyler would not have been speeding, and thus not shot and killed if there was a hospital near by. Leonard’s wife sued with a young Johnny Cochrane as her lawyer who filed a Civil Suit on behalf of the Deadwyler family. They lost the case, but Cochrane had already set himself apart as a talented lawyer as it pertained to Civil Rights, police abuse cases.

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Faith

Hi guys! *Waves*

How is everyone? I hope you are well and Welcome back to another episode of Writer’s Quote Wednesday as hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading, and co-hosted by Ronovan of Ronovan Writes. Today’s theme is Faith:

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What makes us worry? What makes us doubt? What makes us second guess? Often our stresses come from the anxiety of not knowing. We can only see part of the staircase or only part of the road. We want to go on, except we’re not so sure what’s on the other side. Will the staircase end? Will my car drive off the road? What if there is no other side? Faith is going on despite the fact that you don’t know. It is the expectation of what you do not see. Faith is not seeing any possible solution and yet still expecting the answers to come. Faith is the expectation of the impossible, allowing you to push through because, though you can’t see it now,  you have the hope. Faith is the hope for what is not yet visible.

4 Reasons Why a Book is Still of The Utmost Importance in a Digital World

Great posts on hardcopies vs digital. I will always be of the opinion that Authors should have hardcopy versions of their books as well.

The Indie Book Writers Blog | Self Publishing | Get Published

As digital media has expanded at a dizzying pace and social media outlets have grown, certain pundits have suggested books would diminish in importance.  Mobile devices and shorter attention spans would create an environment where books would not matter as much as the onslaught of information and innumerable choices available at our fingertips every moment.  Certainly reading habits have morphed as digital options have increased, but despite these changes, books are as important as ever because their very form enables them to impact lives in ways no digital media can. Here are four reasons why I believe that is so.

A book is permanent

With so many media forms today, like Snap Chat or Instagram, the information or images conveyed are instantaneous, but soon forgotten after the next tidbit fills the feed. Not so with a book. The very form of a book means it can be preserved and revisited…

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How I Stay Positive – The Four Agreements

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•Be impeccable with your word.
• Don’t take anything personally.
• Don’t make assumptions.
• Always do your best.

I try to stay true to these steps and in return they help me to maintain peace and positivity in my life.

Be impeccable with your word

We’ve all heard it before: “All a man has is his word”. This is the truest thing ever spoken. It doesn’t matter if that man is poor, if he is rich, if he has a successful career, etc. What sets him apart from the other is his speech. The things he says, how he says them and why. A good man or a good woman can always be dependable when it comes to their words. They are not gossipers, they are not slanderers, and they are not backbiters or murderers of the tongue. They make sure that the words they speak will not bring about negativity and strife either to themselves or others. Be impeccable with your word. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Flattery will get you nowhere. Let your actions speak.

To be impeccable with your word means to:

• Speak with integrity
• Say only what you mean
• Avoid using words to speak against yourself
• Avoid using words to speak against others
• Use the power of your word for truth and encouragement

2. Don’t take Anything Personally

This was a big one for me and I do believe for most people. The origin of strife and drama is usually because people choose to take things that other’s say way too personal. In return, they react (either by word or deed) in a defensive way. We forget that others have opinions and that these opinions are based on their own experiences and perspective. This means their words are a reflection of them NOT YOU. However, this is rarely if ever understood and we allow negativity to come into our space because we are so caught up in ourselves. We think that the things people say and do is always about us. Even when those things are about us, we are so quick to give up our power. But when we avoid taking stuff personally, we take away the power that others try to have over us and can instead focus on encouragement and positivity for ourselves and others.

Here are some techniques to help:

• Use “I” statements.
• Don’t put yourself down.
• Don’t use excuses or blame others.
• Offer any possible alternatives.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions

This one is just as big as the last one: Don’t Make Assumptions! The problem that leads us here is usually our own convictions. We have issues (as we all have) and sometimes someone gives a message, or comment, or opinion that exposes these issues. The people or person exposing these issues are not intentionally targeting a specific person or group, they are simply stating truths. However, there is almost always someone who will be convicted by such truths and in turn become offended. As a result, because they cannot be sure if such a thing is targeted toward them specifically, they create the assumption that it’s just them and the other person in the world and the other person had so much time on their hands that they decided to speak negatively about them. The product of an assumption is always because someone took something personally or did not verify their sources. To avoid making assumptions, it is always best to gather all of the facts since many assumptions are made because people don’t ask for clarification. I chose to rid assumptions from my life by communicating as much as possible as not to create drama, gossip, and confusion < all of which are the result of an assumption.

4. Always Do Your Best

Stay away from the bare minimum and strive for excellence. Deny yourself the satisfaction of being lazy; instead, approach every project with the same level of professionalism despite the reward. The key to this agreement is to recognize when you are doing your best and accept those results despite the quality. Too often we set our goals by what other people deem important instead of what we know to be important. We whine and we complain that our results are not their results and this is a recipe for disaster and robs you of the positive in your life. As long as you look for confirmation from others you will always be second best. Instead, look to do things differently and to the best of your ability. Create a uniqueness that is exclusive to you and be good at it. This is what draws people into you, whether it is your writing or your blog. Always do the best you can and notice those small progressions in your life. To focus on being positive, encouraging and doing your best, stop focusing on the problem and work toward a solution. Learning comes by trial and error, so do not expect everything to succeed. Sometimes you’ll have to learn by doing it wrong. As such, you will begin to see why it did not succeed and try again the next time. Only this time you are so much more knowledgeable and wise about that thing. You did not focus on the act of failing, you focused on what you can do to succeed. Positive people always see the good in things because they focus on the good.

Everything Must Move – What Watching Movies Taught Me About Writing

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This post was conceived while watching one of my favorite movies. Thus, as usual, it is based on my personal experience. So anyway, to the point…

I found myself paying attention to what was going on in the background of this particular scene in this movie instead of what the leading characters were doing. To better understand this, I challenge you to do the same. Choose one of your favorite movies, what’s going on in the backdrop? An old man is laughing with his wife. The waiter is walking away from a table, she looks down at the notepad before walking away. Behind her, the bartender throws a bottle into the air before catching it with his other hand and pouring the liquor into the long line of glasses in front of him. The waiter walks up to the bar, picks up two of the many glasses and walks them over to her table. The old man and his wife smile while nodding thank you.

What just happened? What happened is that there’s an entire event taking place in the backdrop of what’s happening in the forefront. Though not the center of attention, everyone in the scene moves. Though not the primary characters, everyone in the scene is doing something.

While working on my next project, I’ve found it helpful to make sure  that everyone in the scene from the smallest to the greatest has something to do, or has a goal they want to achieve (despite how small). There shouldn’t be any stick men and women. If we are at dinner, the people behind Nora’s table should be laughing or talking. Not so that it’s overwhelming, she is the leading lady after all, but they shouldn’t just be sitting there. There should be movement. For instance, in A Beautiful Mind, John Nash sits on a bench in front of the University. With him is his old roommate and together they sit there and talk. As they are speaking, there are people walking by, students, professors, and faculty members. And as the camera zooms in and pans around, we notice the people  are looking at John oddly.

For those of you who’ve seen the movie or who are familiar with the man John (this movie is based on a true story, Nash just passed recently matter of fact) you know that John Nash suffered from a severe case of schizophrenia. His college friend does not really exist. From the first time viewer’s perspective, John is just sitting there talking to an old friend. But if you notice the people in the backdrop, they are not just walking by, they are walking by and staring.  Why? You assume its because John has always been a little, well, off kilter. Weird. Odd. By the end of the movie however, you realize that the people are staring because John is sitting on a bench  talking to himself. They are staring because there is really no one there. Though not the center of attention, even these people have a purpose for being. In this case, they are hints that help lead up to the end of the movie so that it all makes sense.

I’m not saying writing fiction and writing a movie script is the same thing because its not. What I am saying is that everything around us can be useful to help us in our writing. Who says we can’t use non-conventional means to build on creativity? After all, that’s what creativity is anyway, inventing new ways to do things.

Since working on The Renaissance (my 2017 novel project) I’ve been using this technique (making sure everyone in the scene has a purpose) and its really been helping in my development of the story. It helps me to ensure that everything is accounted for and that there are no loose ends. From the protagonist, to the lady swatting at a fly standing behind her, everyone has a goal or a reason for being. Everyone and everything moves.