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Rites Of Passage Closing Ceremony

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In front of a packed audience at the closing comments of the Rites of Passage program (8/2/09 to 11/8/09)--directed by Lawson Bush and at Pastors Kelvin and La Quetta Simmons' Immanuel Praise Fellowship Church in Rancho Cucamonga -- my talk title (as one of the master trainers) was: "What We Know for Sure."

We know the first humans on earth were Black Africans who must have been geniuses because they had to discover, invent, and create to survive and thrive in every aspect of the seen and unseen worlds. Their success is indicated by us being here today. We know Africans dominated the world with a humanitarian spirit for the first 198,000 of 200,000 years humans have been in existence. We know Africans had an organized society of scientist, scholars, organized religions, mathematicians, etc as early as 20,000 BC. One of its members was Hercules and one of their discoveries was aspirin. Thereafter, we know Africa was the Mecca for all ancient civilizations, each of whom came to borrow ideas for their civilizations and cultures-- things like surgery (e.g. on the brain and eyes), martial arts, science, logic, philosophy, teaching methods, and math. We know the impact of African American slavery on the sound African bodies, minds, and spirits of the enslaved was a Maafa, meaning an immeasurable catastrophe. The term Holocaust -- a 'complete burning' -- is inadequate to explain this scenario because when slavery ended there were still many Black people's minds and spirits in flames -- a state continuing to manifest today among struggling Black Americans. At the time of enslavement by Europeans we know the African mind was sound and the people were respectful of God, Nature, and each other. They had no out-of-control youth and no police, jails, or prostitution.

What most do not know is that the solution for all Black people's Maafa problems is found in African Tradition's Sankofa process -- i.e. the past serves as a guide for planning the present and future. It says to Black people: We must go back to understand why and how we came to be who we are today. Here, coupled with boot camp type methods in order to bring about self-discipline, the boys have been told where they are; why they are where they are; and the forces they are up against designed to confine them to "being about nothing." We have laid out steps for how to become mentally, physically, and spiritually strong; for guiding them on to the right road; for where and how to pick up the treasures of Ancient African Values, Approaches, Methods, and Techniques required to handle the alligators on their path; and for helping them discover their Mission in life. We have admonished them to step back into African Philosophy in order to see and embrace a humanity for how to live in the present; for what is a man's role with women, with children, and with family; and for lifting others as they climb -- but only when able to do so. It does not help for the blind to lead the blind. We showed the boys techniques of using critical and rational thinking as well as the value of their spiritual feelings for making decisions and solving problems in the face of hostile alligators.

We presented ways of discovering and developing their talents while on the wholesome march toward their mission. In short, we have given them tools to allow them to progress, while in the flow of the speed of the times, at a faster rate. To explain this concept, recall the times when you were on a moving escalator, going from the first floor to the second. But in the process you started walking up this moving escalator in order to get to the second floor a little faster. This is what struggling Black youth must do in order to rise above poverty of all types. In comments from the community one parent said this program broke the vicious cycle her boy was on. Another said the program re-directed her son in ways she could not.

website: www.jablifeskills.com

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