MAKE AMERICA GREAT!
a new book, a compilation of annotated new and old essays, notes, and poems
Can be purchased here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=RWF6XNETAAQ3A
(Always remember writers must eat:)
After coming to the shores of America bound and chained over 300 years ago, African Americans find ourselves in an uncomfortable time in history once again. After surviving slavery, marching for civil rights, abolishing Jim Crow, overcoming de-facto segregation, and electing a Black president, white supremacy and hate crimes are on the rise again. Many seem determined to turn back the hands of time.
But, still, during this holiday season, we must be grateful. We must be grateful because we’ve survived the worst that any group of people on earth have survived. (At least the holocaust ended.) We must be grateful, even though our struggle continues on during the holidays, 2017, because we always survive, and we always thrive. Yesterday, my husband said that old black women had their Thanksgiving baskets filled to the brim. We’re accustom to the up and down see-saw on which we live.
Despite the passage of so much time, African Americans are still fighting to be treated fairly under the law. For generations of African American families, progress is not linear, smooth, or measurable by exact calculations. It is evidenced by small steps, bit-by-bit. My Bigmama had a fourth-grade education, and bit-by-bit, some of her sisters received more education. Bit by bit, her children graduated from high-school. Bit-by-bit, one daughter broke free (my Mom) and got a Ph.D. Bit-by-bit, progress is made.
When it’s announced that Hillary Clinton will not be our first female president, I climb in the bed and pull the covers over my head. I weep! The thought of the “bit-by-bit” progress being halted is more than I can bear.
I weep because I can’t believe that 63 million fellow Americans have disregarded the “bit-by-bit” struggle of African Americans for over 300 years. The “bit-by-bit” struggle to not be called nigger. The “bit-by-bit” struggle to work and live where we please. The “bit-by-bit” struggle to have more black men in college than in prison. The “bit-by-bit” struggle to survive a simple traffic stop and not be killed by the police.
I pull the covers over my head because I can’t believe that my fellow Americans elected a regime that will destroy our “bit-by-bit” progress.
But, after surviving this year, I now understand that America’s covers needed to be pulled back to expose the negative forces operating in the dark. I’m standing once again. I’m stronger and more determined. I’m more focused and clearer about what my part is in the big scheme of making America great. I understand that change isn’t instant. As Martin Luther King said, “I may not get there with you,” because progress doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a dance. Two steps forward, five steps back. We’re in the backwards part of the dance right now. We’re in bit-by-bit progression but, in the words of Sam Cooke, “Change Is Gonna Come.”
Through the pain and divisiveness, bit-by-bit, we are making America great! We are making America great each and every time we use our voice, our talent, our gifts to move America forward to being an inclusive country that rejects those who would hold us back. As we organize, march, resist, talk, teach, make progressive music, dance for a cause, and write, bit-by-bit, each of us is doing our small part to make America great.
Bit-by-bit, we’re defining how a great America looks: In a great America, the majority rules and democracy is strong. In a great America, the press is free. In a great America, protest is expected, allowed, and honored. In a great America, blacks are judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. In a great America, women are respected. In a great America, systems are inclusive and there are few or no white only rooms.
Through the pain, we’re getting there. Black Lives Matter and the unjust deaths of many have shone light in dark prisons, courtrooms, and police stations. Black Lives Matter have performed an eye examine on America’s vision, bringing the blurriness of racism into focus!
It’s painful progress that’s done bit-by-bit, but, nevertheless, it’s being done. Bit-by-bit, the women’s march empowered women. Bit-by-bit, the onslaught of sexual harassment cases is bringing light to powerful men abusing their power. Bit-by-bit, the images in Hollywood are including people of color.
Bit-By-Bit, Making America Great is a compilation of essays, new and old, about this most difficult season. It’s about this season where we all are, bit-by-bit, making America great, by using our gifts in our own special way. Where we all are bringing light to darkness in our own way. Some of the essays were on Huffpost. Others have never been published. They are essays about finding peace and purpose, bit-by-bit, and making America great with our, individual, talents.
My job is to write! I’m most inspired to write when it’s darkest, so what an inspiring season this has been for me, because it is, surely, dark. There has been so much darkness that it’s been disorienting at times, sometimes with many negative things happening, simultaneously.
Yet, although I’m awakened in the middle of the night, inspired to put something on the page, I must tie my hands behind my back to keep from writing about all the dark places in America: The justice system, the financial systems, the educational systems, the presidential tweets, the sexual assault of women, and the molestation of children by politicians and celebrities. It’s all too much, but we must stay focused and not become disoriented by the chaos.
I’ve had to monitor and censor myself and be patient with the process because it takes time to transform darkness into light and brokenness into peace and then magically turn it all into words. My writing would be vile and negative if I didn’t go through the process of meditating, praying, and shedding tears when the hurt is deep. Without the process, I would just cuss on the written page:). And this is not my assignment. My assignment, as a writer, is to transform darkness to light.
So…the essays are annotated. The annotations will make your eye brows rise. In Bit-By-Bit, I share the writing process of going from the moment I pulled those covers over my head to the moment I sat down with my Huffpost piece Dear Sons, fully formulated in my head. I describe, as best I remember, what was weighing on my heart at the time, which is often more exciting than the sanitized essays that emerge.
You’ll receive your signed copy by December 15th, and, hopefully, you’ll join me to discuss it at a future date. I look forward to sharing, Bit-by-Bit, Making America Great!
I hope you order your copy today by clicking here:
Your purchase will help me sustain my independence as a writer and my ability to write, and I will be grateful for your support!
P.S. The first essay in Bit-by-Bit is my “Me Too” testimony and a discussion of the sexual harassment issues that the country is facing. It’s entitled Broken Peace, a mirror moment, and you can click on here: https://memekellyinspires.com/2017/11/09/new-book-broken-peace-order-today/
It’s password is “mytruth”.
(Broken peace is actually an essay, no longer the name of the book.)