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Cheryl Smith

Don’t Start Tripping About Washing Your Hands

Someone has to tell you, an adult, this? What the heck? Weren’t you raised right? Didn’t you learn at an early age to wash your hand when you finished your business? Someone really had to tell you to wash your hands after wiping your behind? Really?

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Hand Washing

MY TRUTH COMMENTARY

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, we received mixed signals. One message that was constant was, “wash your hands.” Even before the mandate to wear masks, health officials were stressing the importance of hand-washing.

The Centers for Disease Control instructed, “To prevent the spread of germs during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.”

I loved that directive because I have always wondered about people who didn’t wash their hands. Go into any restaurant and you’ll find signs instructing employees to wash their hands. The CDC gave explicit instructions: Follow these five steps every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Someone has to tell you, an adult, this? What the heck? Weren’t you raised right? Didn’t you learn at an early age to wash your hand when you finished your business? Someone really had to tell you to wash your hands after wiping your behind? Really

Which brings me to my truth.

Yes, there were times when I didn’t act like I had home training. I did things — things that I definitely didn’t want my parents to find out about. But this washing my hands thing? Basic hygiene practices? Nah, didn’t roll like that.

No one has ever had to tell me to wash my hands but I sure as heck have had to tell people to wash their hands especially before coming into my kitchen.

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#NNPA BlackPress

COMMENTARY: Congressional Black Caucus: Prioritize Black People First! Word!

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Currently, Congress approved $450 billion more in the PPP 2 bill. For this bill we need Black congressional leadership to sing the words, “Say It Loud I’m Black And I’m Proud!” And by the way James Brown was a Republican, so political partisanship should be put aside!

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The National Bureau on Economic Research (NBER) presented a working paper that found that the medium firm/business with expenses over $10,000 per month has only enough cash on hand to last for two weeks.

By Thomas Muhammad, Texas Metro News

As a person who’s been on the front lines of protests advocating for Black folks for media job hiring, slavery reparations and more Black history teaching in public schools, just to name a few. I’ve witnessed for decades how my work was being translated by news reports as “working on behalf of minorities!”

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

But unfortunately, it’s how White leadership has seen Black protesters and the sad commentary is, it’s been primarily a narrative pushed by Black leadership in their need, it appears, to be loved by everybody in the world.

However, the people primarily hurt by this compromise has been the voiceless masses.

It seems that finally there appears to be some powerful help on the horizon in the name of a group of activists known as the Black Business Empowerment (BBE). This movement is made up of a crossbreed of business owners, community organizations, religious leaders and grassroots groups that decided to come together to show unity and to pool their strengths to advocate for Black people.

The groups all agree that the consistent use of labeling their causes under the word “minority” has many times weakened their abilities to assist Black people.

And it is those Black people who through nearly 210 years of forced slave labor and an additional 100 years or more of Jim Crow laws; Black businesses should have been sectioned off with relief funds for Black people only!

After all, it’s been Black businesses that have employed Black people in Black communities in America as White businesses and businesses owned by foreigners have exclusively discriminated against Blacks, even in majority Black neighborhoods.

So yeah, I’m pissed off to the highest pissivity over constantly sacrificing for other ethnic groups! It’s time for others to take a hit for the damned team!

It’s time for us to look out for us first!

It’s like riding on an airplane and you’re told to put on your mask first before you mask others. Black leadership needs to follow that example for Black people!

Don’t get me wrong!

Sure, if brown, yellow, red or white folks benefitted from my work, okay that’s fine!  But my initial plan was for Black people, so the word minority should not even enter the conversation!

So now we’re faced with the issue that the Small-Business Loan Program has run out of money! $350 billion from the first Payroll Protection Program (PPP) has run out of money. You now see owners, like Denny Moe’s Barbershop, in Harlem say, “I can probably last until May. But I don’t want to think about that!”

Currently, Congress approved $450 billion more in the PPP 2 bill. For this bill we need Black congressional leadership to sing the words, “Say It Loud I’m Black And I’m Proud!” And by the way James Brown was a Republican, so political partisanship should be put aside!

Think about these facts. The National Bureau on Economic Research (NBER) presented a working paper that found that the medium firm/business with expenses over $10,000 per month has only enough cash on hand to last for two weeks.

Problem is that reference doesn’t refer to the much smaller businesses like brother Denny Moe’s mentioned and the many mom/pop businesses that only employ two to five people but have been in business for decades! I’m talking about your neighborhood cleaners, beauty salons, bakeries, t-shirt making shops, bookstores, and the list goes on. What about them?

Put that up against Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain that grossed $42 million last year but received a $20 million forgivable loan and Potbelly and Shake Shack restaurant chains receiving $10 million. Excuse me, but all I can say is, ‘huh!’

Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris just recently announced they are returning the stimulus checks.  I guess this proves they do have some scruples. But it also proves that they didn’t need the f!:/“@; money in the first place, don’t you think?

Which brings me to this point, that if the CBC believe their job is to advocate for minority communities then maybe it’s time Congress creates a Congressional “Ethic” Minority Caucus which should then allow CBC to advocate for Black people only. How about that for some clarity?

As for the BBE Movement we need Black people in all 50 states of America to come together and join this call of BBE to get Black congressional leadership to continue seeking federal funding to support Black businesses, which in return will employ Black families and help them survive America’s white supremacy legacy!

A Lata Continua: The Struggle Continues…

Thomas Muhammad is Chairman of the National Black United Front (NBUF)-Dallas Texas Chapter.

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#NNPA BlackPress

COMMENTARY: I Was Just Thinking… Mama in the Classroom

NNPA NEWSWIRE — I remember quoting Mama’s explanation of how she got the endearing title, though she had no children of her own. She had said: “During the war years, fathers were in service, mothers had to work. I told my students, ‘I’m your Mama now, while you’re here. You have a problem, come talk to me.’” So, how did we get here – from Mama Chandler to a fist fight?

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Mable M. Jackson Chandler, better known as Mama Chandler. (Photo ©The Black Academy of Arts and Letters)
Norma Adams-Wade

Norma Adams-Wade

By Norma Adams-Wade, Founding member of NABJ

I Messenger Media welcomes veteran journalist Norma Adams-Wade. We hope you will enjoy her insightful, informative and entertaining columns.

I wrote my first column in 1988 for a local Dallas newspaper. I wrote about a beloved Dallas guidance counselor and teacher that most students called “Mama.” Chew on that for a minute. A teacher that students called “Mama.” There is so much meaning in that thought that I can hardly contain it. Many of you, some of you, may remember her – Mable M. Jackson Chandler, better known as Mama Chandler.

She began teaching and counseling during World War II and did so for 39 years before she retired in 1980 and died some years later. She loved it when students called her Mama. She acted the part, but she wasn’t acting. She was real. She cared. She disciplined with a look, a firm reprimand, a take-no-prisoners persona that commanded respect, with no need to demand it.

Tiffani Lankford, the 32-year-old substitute teacher who was arrested earlier this month Norma Adams-Wade I Was Just Thinking for fighting back after a 16-year-old student allegedly hit her in the face.

Tiffani Lankford, the 32-year-old substitute teacher who was arrested earlier this month Norma Adams-Wade I Was Just Thinking for fighting back after a 16-year-old student allegedly hit her in the face.

The funny thing is that with all of her “tough-guy” demeanor, I don’t remember any students who seemed to doubt that beneath that exterior was genuine love. So, I was just thinking… about Tiffani Lankford. She’s the 32-year-old substitute teacher who was arrested earlier this month for fighting back after a 16-year-old student allegedly hit her in the face.

The encounter – that happened at Lehman High School in Kyle, Texas just outside of Austin — was caught on cell phone video recorded by another student. The video shows the teacher repeatedly punching the student, pulling her from the desk and slinging her to the floor where the teacher appears to stomp on the student’s head.

Initial news reports said there was no immediate information as to what prompted the encounter. The substitute teacher was arrested, fired, and charged with aggravated assault. But back to Mama. I was just thinking… How would Mama Chandler have handled that situation? First of all, though, the thought seems inconceivable that any student during Mama’s time would ever have imagined hitting this maternal figurehead.

I remember quoting Mama’s explanation of how she got the endearing title, though she had no children of her own. She had said: “During the war years, fathers were in service, mothers had to work. I told my students, ‘I’m your Mama now, while you’re here. You have a problem, come talk to me.’” So, how did we get here – from Mama Chandler to a fist fight?

Many people who commented on social media sided with the teacher. Commenters also described modern school systems as out-of-control with student violence, blatant disrespect, and disdain for learning. There was once a popular 1950s television series, called ‘I Remember Mama,’ about a Norwegian immigrant family.

One reviewer described Mama, the main character, as “one of the warmest characters ever to grace television.” You could not describe Mama Chandler as warm. But she was certainly loved and respected. She also helped finance many students’ college education, and they floated her with cards, letters and visits over the years.

When asked the clue to her success, she answered: “Accepting other people’s children as my own.” So, it’s fair to say that those children, her students, could utter with conviction the television show’s familiar tagline: “I remember the big white house… my little sister…big brother…and Papa. But most of all, I remember Mama.”

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COMMENTARY: Always Give Love and Thanks

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “More ironic than celebrating “Thanksgiving” during American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month, has to be Black people who would rather identify with Native Americans while totally disregarding, dismissing and oftentimes making disparaging remarks about Africa!”

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(Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

 My Truth

Cheryl Smith, Publisher of, I Messenger Media L.L.C. / Texas Metro News

Cheryl Smith, Publisher of, I Messenger Media L.L.C. / Texas Metro News

By Cheryl Smith, Publisher of, I Messenger Media L.L.C. / Texas Metro News

I’ve always heard that one man’s Heaven is another’s hell. While one group is celebrating Juneteenth, the other side was bemoaning the ending of slavery. That’s pretty much the way it is with Thanksgiving.

Now, November is significant for a number of reasons, including it is American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month, which brings me to my truth: We’re not living in a vacuum and we have to be concerned about others.

Now, when I was growing up, everyone, I mean every Black person I knew claimed some type of “Indian” heritage. They were “part” Cherokee, Apache, Seminole, or Comanche, et al. “Don’t you see my high cheekbones,” many would ask.

More ironic than celebrating “Thanksgiving” during American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month, has to be Black people who would rather identify with Native Americans while totally disregarding, dismissing and oftentimes making disparaging remarks about Africa!

Well, I just absolutely love Patty Talahongva. A member and former president of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA). Patty has been very helpful in sharing information about the culture of America’s real first family.

We were in a program that brought together journalists from NAJA, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and National Association of Black Journalists.

We had some intense discussions. I learned quite a bit from my sisters and brothers. We shared information about one another’s struggles and tackled stereotypes. The conversations weren’t always calm or civil; but they were definitely eye-opening.

Since those days, over a decade ago; I still feel a bond with men and women from each organization. I listened and felt their pain and didn’t try to one up them on whose experience was more painful.

When the members of NAJA said that sports mascots were offensive to their people, guess what? I made a commitment to honor them by not referring to those mascots, especially when you got the back story on some of those names.

I also learned about the significance of Totem Poles and other sacred items. Of course, I thought back to my last year that I went Trick or Treating and how because of my “Native American roots,” I dressed as an urban Pocahontas.

And there was also the high school I grew up wanting to attend, Weequahic High in Newark, NJ. The colors were orange and brown. I ended up at East Orange High and we were the Panthers.

And yes, I am going to say, today, I was a Black Panther, although that wasn’t really the case. I could also tell about the lessons I learned from the other journalism group members, but this is American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month, right?

Some people don’t care that they are hurting folks when they make negative comments about another’s culture, heritage, or upbringing. Thanksgiving is celebrated around the world, and many don’t know why.

Through my interactions with others, I learned more about my people and the Motherland. Sure, I already loved being Black and my feeling about African people has always been positive.

But there’s something to be said about sitting around with a group and the Native Americans can tell you what Nation their parents are from, the languages spoken, traditions and more.

On the other hand, here us Black folks were talking about our European experience and nothing more: dressing up for Easter Sunday, getting a turkey for Thanksgiving, struggling to get gifts so Santa Claus could bless everyone. You get the picture!

Well, I don’t have to wait until the fourth Thursday in November to eat “good” food, or to bring the family together. Actually, that was a way of life for African people.

Heck, Black people tease other Black People for participating in the ONLY celebration regarding the freedom of enslaved Africans in America, Juneteenth! But if we don’t celebrate, who will?

We can’t blame our young for not knowing anything, especially if we don’t know and we aren’t trying to find out so we can spread knowledge. We have a responsibility to teach, not to demonize those who don’t know. Know history. Share history.

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