Ron Finley: Gangsta Gardener

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Meet Ron Finley, a man who will not sit still and watch a problem take root. Having grown up in the South Central Los Angeles food prison, Ron is familiar with the area’s lack of fresh produce. He knew what it’s like to drive 45 minutes just to get a fresh tomato.

In 2010, he set out to fix the problem. Outside his front door, that is. Ron planted vegetables in the curbside dirt strip next to his home. And quietly, carefully, tenderly started a revolution. I wanted a carrot without toxic ingredients I didn’t know how to spell, says Ron.

His was an exceptionally creative, cost-effective and simple solution; however, it was also an act of spirited rebellion that led to a run-in with the authorities.

The City of Los Angeles owns the “parkways” the neglected dirt areas next to roads where Ron was planting. He was cited for gardening without a permit. This slap on the wrist did little to dissuade his green thumb. So Ron fought back. Hard. He started a petition with fellow green activists, demanding the right to garden and grow food in his neighborhood and then, the city backed off.

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This caught the eyes of creative leaders and media voices that lauded his courageous act of ebullient defiance. Ron has continued to share his story and vision with the world, giving a TED talk and planning many exciting ways to continue his involvement in mitigating Los Angeles food prisons.

The Ankh: Physical and Eternal Life

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The Ankh is defined as: The symbolic representation of both Physical and Eternal life. It is known as the original cross, which is a powerful symbol that was first created by Africans in Ancient Kemet.

The Ankh is commonly known to mean life in the language of Ancient Kemet (land of the Blacks) renamed Egypt by the Greeks. It is also a symbol for the power to give and sustain life, the Ankh is typically associated with material things such as water(which was believed by Egyptians to regenerate life), air, sun, as well as with the Gods, who are frequently pictured carrying an Ankh. The Egyptian king is often associated with the Ankh also, either in possession of an Ankh (providing life to his people) or being given an Ankh (or stream of Ankhs) by the Gods. This can be seen in the picture of King Senworsert below who is holding two Ankhs to his chest. There are numerous examples that have been found that were made from metal, clay and wood. It is usually worn as an amulet to extent the life of living and placed on the mummy to energize the resurrected spirit. The Gods and the Kings are often shown carrying the Ankh to distinguish them from mere mortals. The Ankh symbolized eternal life and bestowed immortality on anyone who possessed it. It is believed that life energy emanating from the Ankh can be absorbed by anyone within a certain proximity. An Ankh serves as an antenna or conduit for the divine power of life that permeates the universe. The amulet is a powerful talisman that provides the wearer with protection from the evil forces of decay and degeneration.

The loop of the Ankh is held by the Gods. It is associated with Isis and Osiris in the Early Dynastic Period. The Loop of the Anhk also represent the feminine discipline or the (Womb), while the elongated section represent the masculine discipline or the (Penis). These two sacred units then come together and form life. Because of its powerful appeal, the Ankh was used in various religious and cultural rituals involving royalty. In the Treasures of Tutankhumun, the Ankh was a major artifact found in the tomb. The circle symbolizes eternal life and the cross below it represents the material plane. The Ankh is called the “Crux Ansata,” it is of Egyptian origin and can be traced to the Early Dynastic Period, appearing frequently in artwork of various material and in relief, depicting the Gods.

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It is usually held to the nose of the deceased king by the Gods to represent the breath of life given in the after-world. The Ankh also resembles a key and is considered the key to eternal life after death. Its influence was felt in every dynastic period and survives as an icon possessing mystical power throughout the Coptic Christian era. The Ankh possessed by each God had power associated with that God. The Ankh of the God Anubis (shown in the picture to the right) is related to the protection of the dead, that of Sekmet, War, Hapi related to the living waters of the Nile and Amen, the spirit God, the breath of life.

The Super African Woman

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I am what i am, woman, soul, spirited
I am fearfully and wonderfully created
I am what no man can do without
I am meant to deliver with no doubt
I am behind every successful man
I am what was created out of a rib of a man
I am what i instill today in the future tomorrow
I am that feels the pain others will never feel
I am that bleeds without getting hurt
I am emotional and fragile i easily get hurt
I am that heals by my words and understanding
I am the producer of fine product
I am who’s character is reflected in my conduct
I am the one with my hands open wide for the weak
I am what every child seeks
I am a mentor and role model for many
I am not imaginary
I am strong even when left alone
I am never weak forever
I am the super diva
I am unstoppable
I am capable of doing the impossible
I am self-sufficient
I am self indulgent
I am young and sophisticated in my own way
I am with the semblance of a new day
I hold my head high when its supposed to hang low
I am beautiful, i am joyful
I am the perfect inperfect
I am mistreated, misunderstood and mistaken
I am underestimated and often shaken
I can’t be outrun or outmatched
In being everything that i am
I am what i am, soul and spirited african woman

Poem written by Abigail Sikwenda

Africans must unite against injustices

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As a direct descendant of the Xhosa Kingdom—the royal nation of Kings and Queens and Priesthood. We take pride in our history. There was a time when we made a public mockery of the most powerful military power in the world, the British Empire. We won victories and embarrassed them before the entire world. Our ancestors understood that the  object of war is to preserve oneself and destroy the enemy. The destruction of the enemy is the primary object of war and self-preservation the secondary, because only by destroying the enemy in large numbers can one effectively preserve oneself. What is more, our blood cousins, the Zulu Kingdom  completely smashed the British army in the Battle of Isandlwana in 1879. But what led to our downfall was DISUNITY and TRUSTING the wrong people.

It’s this foolish behavior we see in black America. Appealing to the morality of the very people who oppressed, raped female slaves en messe, castrated thousands of black males and systematically enslaved them under the most cruel and wicked system ever imposed on a people. How can you integrate yourself with a group of people who amassed great wealth and obscene privileges through the blood, sweat and tears of your ancestors and continue to do so?

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The 60’s Civil Rights movement led by Dr. King, a white-minded integration seeker and other integration seekers who were all subsidised and controlled by white liberal and the federal government who were not in black revolution but worked against the black revolution. Brother Malcolm X described it as “artificial fires that have been ignited and fanned by the white liberals in the desperate hope that they can use this artificial fire to fight off the black revolution.”

Today, we find American Blacks’ livelihoods worsened  and according to Michelle Alexander “It is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans… .As criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow” (pg. 235). It also came to my understanding that the Civil Rights legislation passed in the periods between 1860s and 1870s were much stronger than those in the 1960s and 1970s and thus, newly freed African slaves made many gains which surpassed, in many instances, the political gains  Blacks made in 1960s and 1970s (Dr. Amos. Wilson, pg. 12).

Today, we find Africans sit in the table and talking negotiations with the very people who took their ancestral land and committed atrocities among their own people. The South African government is yet to make a statement concerning the land in white hands. Most African governments have been hypocritical in regards to the land in white colonial terrorists’ hands.
When Africans are being killed in the streets of America through intense racial profiling, robbed of their dignity and recognition as human beings, cheated on their ancestral lands in Africa, being given the most inferior quality of education, housing, health care services, being discriminated in the workplace, and criminal justice system and when we say Africans should do something to protect and defend themselves, they say you are teaching hate and advocating violence. They didn’t say get nonviolent when Osama Bin Laden bombed the Twin Towers. They don’t call it nonviolence when the U.S. government bombed  both Libya and Syria.

Africans both in America and in Africa can extract themselves from this heinous repressive system that is kept in place through intimidation and emotional terrorism, if they desire to be free,  independent and in control of their destiny. Our ancestors couldn’t take it any longer. They didn’t have much but they fought back. I never understood the logic behind nonviolence and ‘peaceful’ protests, could there be a reason why the media and academia wants us to worship Dr. King, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela while ignoring people like Malcolm X, Patrice Lumumba, Steve Biko, and Huey P. Newton? The obvious reason for this is to make ourselves martyrs in the name of non-violence, while it is far better to make martyrs of the ruling class and police thugs.