Affirmations for positivity


Affirmations for positive vibrations are needed now more than ever. Holiday blues and post-election woes have gotten us down. Rude and racist people are coming out of their closets. I noticed that my snap back timing has been off. When someone was rude to me, I was stunned. I didn’t have a quick comeback. It took me a moment to regroup.

Snap back: Recently, at an event for small business owners and an art exhibit launch, an angry woman with cornrowed bangs stood over me, pointed a finger and snapped. She was rude and racist. “How could you side with those immigrants when your own sisters can barely survive? They are working for minimum wage at Mickey Ds trying to raise a family with four kids. And you want the immigrants to get more?”  Where did that come from, I thought.


I was seated with two other black women having wine and cheese. During small talk, the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel closing and layoffs came up. Miss Angry Lady, who was not part of our conversation but standing nearby, chimed in: “I’m glad they got fired! Those immigrant washroom workers were paid $25 an hour. They will get $130,000 severance pay! I’m glad Trump got elected. He helped a lot of black people, especially rappers like P. Diddy become rich and successful!”

So, I said something lame like: “Oh wow, that’s not right!”  She shot back at me: “Oh, you must be one of those Spanish-speaking types!” I shot back: “What does that matter?”  She snapped: “You know, I’m tired of bitches like you. Kiss my black ass!” She walked away.

I was stunned. I looked to my companions. They consoled me. “Girl, don’t worry about her. We should have warned you. She’s kind of cre-cre.”

As a native New Yorker, my radar for crazy people is finely tuned. But the atmosphere of the elegant Municipal Building art galley and the wine must have put me at ease.

Angry lady was lucky she got me. Had she run into my sister, it would have been a different story. There would have been a rumble. My baby sister, who is twice my size, inherited the family’s drama genes. She has a short fuse and relishes a public street scene. When we were kids, I used to threaten playmates with her: “Don’t let me call my ‘Karate Ca-razy’ sister on you!


Razor’s Edge: When I got home, I didn’t tell my husband. I was too upset. Over dinner the next day I told him. He chuckled and knowingly shook his head. “Everybody’s on razor’s edge since the election,” he said. In his 80-plus years on this earth he said he has seen his own share of angry black women. “It’s not myth! It’s truth. Black women have every right and good reasons to be angry,” he said.

Angry black women: Check out insightful counseling segments about angry black women with TV host Iyanla Vanzant. “A white woman’s emotional reactions, regardless of how outlandish or inappropriate, are perceived differently than those of black women. When white women express their emotional state, it is perceived as a “bad hair day” or perhaps, a hormonal imbalance.” Click here to read more.

Furthermore, some black women proudly own their ‘angry black woman’ journey. “Because I was in 8th grade the first time I was called an Oreo and told that I “wasn’t really black” like it was a compliment.” To read more, click here.


Affirmations can help and heal. Here are a few of my favorites from the Happy Black Woman site:

  1. I choose to radiate love, joy & gratitude today. I know life is too short to dwell on negativity. I walk in the light!
  2. I am calm in the face of conflict. I brush annoyances off quickly & easily. I agree to disagree. I am bigger than that!  Click here for more affirmations.

Do you have positive affirmations? Please share.







Military Monday: Memorial Day – African American Origins

WWll veterans: My father, Alfred Burton Smith (r) and his brothers, Joseph (l) and John Baptiste (center). May they rest in peace on Memorial Day.

The first Memorial Day or Decoration Day (decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers) has its origins with African American former slaves in Low Country, South Carolina. Thank you South Carolina Sisters and Brothers! Like most Civil War topics, this holiday has a lot to do with memories lost and whitewashed. Even on mainstream websites, false credit is given to women’s history—that Memorial Day was somehow an idea created by a military officer’s wife.

But thanks to Yale professor David W. Blight who authored American Oracle: Civil War in the Civil Rights Era, and NY Times article, we are able to verify what genealogists and African American oral historians have been whispering for eons about the true origins of Memorial Day.

Memorial Day (originally called Decoration Day) is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to the United States.

Learn about the African American origins of this American holiday according to a New York Times article excerpt by Professor David W. Blight:

Military graves decorated with American flags in honor of Memorial day.

“The procession was led by 3,000 black schoolchildren carrying armloads of roses and singing the Union marching song “John Brown’s Body.” Several hundred black women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantrymen. Within the cemetery enclosure a black children’s choir sang “We’ll Rally Around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner” and spirituals before a series of black ministers read from the Bible.

After the dedication the crowd dispersed into the infield and did what many of us do on Memorial Day: enjoyed picnics, listened to speeches and watched soldiers drill. Among the full brigade of Union infantrymen participating were the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th United States Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite.

The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African-Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration. The war, they had boldly announced, had been about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic. They were themselves the true patriots.

Despite the size and some newspaper coverage of the event, its memory was suppressed by white Charlestonians in favor of their own version of the day. From 1876 on, after white Democrats took back control of South Carolina politics and the Lost Cause defined public memory and race relations, the day’s racecourse origin vanished.

Indeed, 51 years later, the president of the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Charleston received an inquiry from a United Daughters of the Confederacy official in New Orleans asking if it was true that blacks had engaged in such a burial rite in 1865; the story had apparently migrated westward in community memory. Mrs. S. C. Beckwith, leader of the association, responded tersely, “I regret that I was unable to gather any official information in answer to this.”

Here is the link of the full story:

. Forgetting Why We Remember –

Cinco de Mayo, New York, 2013

Soldiers reenact battle against French occupation of Mexico.

It seems like a big fiesta, but the history of Cinco de Mayo is covered in bloodshed and remembrance. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day. El Grito de la Indepedencia (The Cry of Independence) is held annually on September 16 in honor of Mexico’s independence from Spanish rule in 1810.

Mexican American youths posed in traditional attire at parade on Central Park West.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the country’s freedom from France’s occupation after the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. Recognized mostly in the United States with parties and parades, the holiday was invented in California in 1863. Ignored in Mexico except for a few states, especially Puebla, Cinco de Mayo is a day for Mexican-Americans to celebrate pride for their homeland, people and history.

According to Fox News Latino: “Latinos are helping fuel New York City’s population growth, but the composition of the Hispanic community is changing, according to an analysis of 2010 Census data released by the Department of City Planning.

The Mexican-origin population of New York City skyrocketed from 2000 to 2010, while the Puerto Ricans that helped fuel the city’s growth in the 1930s and 1940s abandoned the city in large numbers. The Mexican share of New York City’s population jumped 73.7 percent to 319,263, with immigrants accounting for more than half of them.

Authentic tortillas and fresh guacamole at Cinco de Mayo street fair.

The Puerto Rican population, meanwhile, dropped 11.2 percent. Notwithstanding the decline, Puerto Ricans remain the largest Latino group in the city, with 723,621. Dominicans, the second-largest group by country of origin, also experienced strong growth, with an 8.2 percent jump, to 576,701.

Latinos are New York City’s second-largest ethnic group, with 28 percent of the total. The city’s Hispanic population as a whole rose 8.1 percent, to 2.34 million—making well over one in four New Yorkers a Latino. The Latino population increased in all of the five boroughs, except Manhattan.

The largest growth in Latino populations across the board occurred in the outer boroughs of the Bronx and Staten Island. Only two other ethnic groups grew as a portion of the city’s total population—Asians (31.8 percent) and Native Americans (0.6 percent).


Mayan traditions celebrated at Cinco de Mayo parade.

White non-Hispanics remain New York’s largest ethnic group, at 2.72 million—about one-third of the total population. That figure marks a 2.8 drop since 2000. New York City is the country’s largest city by far, with a population of over 8 million.”
Read more: