Category Archives: Janice S. Ellis

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Where is America’s voice?

RiseUp Founder & Publisher: Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D. has another poignant and thoughtful publisher’s note in this weeks edition of her publication.

For the 45 anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech she asks “Where is Americas’ Voice?”.

Hopefully last night’s speech by Barack Obama may have answered her question.

” Where is America’s voice? At critical points in the history of this country, it has, more often than not been resoundingly clear. But, today, it is garbled at best.

While one or more leaders may help define America’s voice, clarify it, and epitomize it with their actions, the voice itself goes beyond a personality or the vocalization of precepts and principles and specific initiatives. The presence and power of America’s voice characterizes ages, codifies eras, creates the culture, and more often than not, foretells the nature of a future society.

We have only to recall a few critical periods in America’s history and the personalities that led us through them—from the Declaration of Independence to the end of the Cold War — to be poignantly, and sometimes painfully, reminded of the great void that exists today.

Where is America’s voice? And if you are able to hear some muffled musings, what is it saying? Are you clear about where we are headed domestically or globally?

Through the work and words of the founding fathers and the framers of the Constitution — John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others — America gained its voice and its course through the end of the eighteenth century was clear.

Throughout the nineteenth century, America’s voice defined the periods from the establishment of the institution of slavery to the Civil War that ended it; the Jim Crow era that began after that war and lingered into the twentieth century until the Civil Rights Movement that fought to end it.

During these various and disparate epoch-making times America’s voice was — for better or worse — represented by Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Strom Thurmond, Lester Maddox, George Wallace, Lyndon Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., among others.

In between those times, World War I was fought to make the world safe for democracy. That was followed by what has been dubbed as the Gilded Age where the rich got richer, the poor poorer. America roared in the twenties, crashed economically in the early thirties, and joined the world to defeat fascism in the forties. And we lived and breathed the Cold War and its remnants for the next nearly fifty years.

We all know these seminal historical events and the leaders that brought us through them: Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

During any of these periods, America’s voice was very discernible if not always strong. The times seem more definable, the voice clearer, even while we lived them.

Where is America’s voice today? Where are the political and philosophical giants that represent us?

With the current war on terrorism, one might say that America’s voice is still one that proclaims democracy and individual freedom as paramount at home and abroad. But that voice seems muffled by all the static and noise that has emerged around the reasons for the preemptive strike against Iraq.

Where is America’s voice? What is it saying to us here at home? What is the message conveyed abroad?

As Dr. King stepped to the podium to give his “I Have a Dream” speech, he was introduced to the crowd gathered along the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial as the “moral leader” of our nation. After the speech, commentators called him the “voice of America’s conscience.” He was for that seminal period in America’s history.

There is no one leader — no one person — that today can be called the voice of America’s conscience.

More importantly, who are the leaders that will help America find its voice? It is not just left to the historians. We can shape it if we dare. Or we can sit idly by, and watch as we stumble into the future.”


 To check out this past weeks edition of RiseUp magazine and read the feature article about Martin Luther King Jr., click on the headline

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Filed under Barack Obama, Janice S. Ellis, Martin Luther King Jr., RiseUp magazine

>PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Where is America’s voice?

>RiseUp Founder & Publisher: Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D. has another poignant and thoughtful publisher’s note in this weeks edition of her publication.

For the 45 anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech she asks “Where is Americas’ Voice?”.

Hopefully last night’s speech by Barack Obama may have answered her question.

” Where is America’s voice? At critical points in the history of this country, it has, more often than not been resoundingly clear. But, today, it is garbled at best.

While one or more leaders may help define America’s voice, clarify it, and epitomize it with their actions, the voice itself goes beyond a personality or the vocalization of precepts and principles and specific initiatives. The presence and power of America’s voice characterizes ages, codifies eras, creates the culture, and more often than not, foretells the nature of a future society.

We have only to recall a few critical periods in America’s history and the personalities that led us through them—from the Declaration of Independence to the end of the Cold War — to be poignantly, and sometimes painfully, reminded of the great void that exists today.

Where is America’s voice? And if you are able to hear some muffled musings, what is it saying? Are you clear about where we are headed domestically or globally?

Through the work and words of the founding fathers and the framers of the Constitution — John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others — America gained its voice and its course through the end of the eighteenth century was clear.

Throughout the nineteenth century, America’s voice defined the periods from the establishment of the institution of slavery to the Civil War that ended it; the Jim Crow era that began after that war and lingered into the twentieth century until the Civil Rights Movement that fought to end it.

During these various and disparate epoch-making times America’s voice was — for better or worse — represented by Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Strom Thurmond, Lester Maddox, George Wallace, Lyndon Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., among others.

In between those times, World War I was fought to make the world safe for democracy. That was followed by what has been dubbed as the Gilded Age where the rich got richer, the poor poorer. America roared in the twenties, crashed economically in the early thirties, and joined the world to defeat fascism in the forties. And we lived and breathed the Cold War and its remnants for the next nearly fifty years.

We all know these seminal historical events and the leaders that brought us through them: Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

During any of these periods, America’s voice was very discernible if not always strong. The times seem more definable, the voice clearer, even while we lived them.

Where is America’s voice today? Where are the political and philosophical giants that represent us?

With the current war on terrorism, one might say that America’s voice is still one that proclaims democracy and individual freedom as paramount at home and abroad. But that voice seems muffled by all the static and noise that has emerged around the reasons for the preemptive strike against Iraq.

Where is America’s voice? What is it saying to us here at home? What is the message conveyed abroad?

As Dr. King stepped to the podium to give his “I Have a Dream” speech, he was introduced to the crowd gathered along the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial as the “moral leader” of our nation. After the speech, commentators called him the “voice of America’s conscience.” He was for that seminal period in America’s history.

There is no one leader — no one person — that today can be called the voice of America’s conscience.

More importantly, who are the leaders that will help America find its voice? It is not just left to the historians. We can shape it if we dare. Or we can sit idly by, and watch as we stumble into the future.”


 To check out this past weeks edition of RiseUp magazine and read the feature article about Martin Luther King Jr., click on the headline

Leave a comment

Filed under Barack Obama, Janice S. Ellis, Martin Luther King Jr., RiseUp magazine

Editors’ Note from RiseUp

Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Founder & Publisher of RiseUP  publications has yet another insightful Editor’s Note commentary on color and race relations in our society, that I thought I should share with everyone. 

“Oh, how we carry on a love-hate relationship with color. Color, in all its vibrant variety, is one of the spices of life. It excites and stimulates the imagination. Painters and photographers capture it on canvas. It is captured on the printed page in poetry and prose.
We marvel at the awesome beauty and bounty of Nature’s parade of color — blossoms and flowers in spring and summer, the maple trees and evergreens in fall and winter.

And then, of course, we adorn our homes and bodies with colorful furnishings, fashions and works of art — yes, even body art.

Color, in all of its richness, is welcome in every aspect of our lives except when it comes to other human beings — of color, that is. When it comes to people, suddenly different colors and shades provoke closed-mindedness rather than openness, fear rather than friendliness, oppression rather than freedom, and the baseness within us rather than the beautiful.

Our schizophrenic relationship with color is age-old. We love color in things. We loathe it in human beings. History is replete with examples of humankind’s most unkind behavior toward other human beings who do not look like us, dress like us, talk like us, worship like us, live like us, and are not the same color as us. Through the ages, many have fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice to resist and change this ugliness, and the injustice, discrimination, and persecution perpetrated upon our fellow man because of differences in color.

Imagine the possibilities if we could — if we would — appreciate the richness of different colors in people, just as we appreciate the richness of color in nature and in our own creations.

Imagine if we understood that every child, white, black, brown or yellow has the same needs: caring parents, safe neighborhoods, good schools, an opportunity to dream and to become whatever they dream of becoming.

Imagine if it was natural — a matter of unconscious practice — that every human, no matter their color, was given the benefit of the doubt and treated equally when he or she applies for a job, submits an application for college, applies to buy a house or rent an apartment.

If people of different colors were regarded with the same reverence and respect as the colors in nature, there would be no need for affirmative action, equal rights, equal employment protection, fair housing and other laws. Imagine if we weren’t required by law to do the right thing toward each other, because it just came naturally.

The economic, social and educational caste systems created around color and because of color have done as much to imprison and deprive the perpetrators as the perpetrated.

Great strides and gains may be made if we would only try to better understand our conflicting feelings around color, beginning with the simple acknowledgment of the common color that runs through our veins and binds us all with the gift of life.

Just imagine what might happen if we ceased to allow insignificant differences in skin color to confuse and compromise the quality of life we share as neighbors, colleagues, fellow travelers on the world stage. Just imagine.”

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Filed under Janice S. Ellis, Race Relations, RiseUp magazine

>Editors’ Note from RiseUp

>Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Founder & Publisher of RiseUP  publications has yet another insightful Editor’s Note commentary on color and race relations in our society, that I thought I should share with everyone. 

“Oh, how we carry on a love-hate relationship with color. Color, in all its vibrant variety, is one of the spices of life. It excites and stimulates the imagination. Painters and photographers capture it on canvas. It is captured on the printed page in poetry and prose.
We marvel at the awesome beauty and bounty of Nature’s parade of color — blossoms and flowers in spring and summer, the maple trees and evergreens in fall and winter.

And then, of course, we adorn our homes and bodies with colorful furnishings, fashions and works of art — yes, even body art.

Color, in all of its richness, is welcome in every aspect of our lives except when it comes to other human beings — of color, that is. When it comes to people, suddenly different colors and shades provoke closed-mindedness rather than openness, fear rather than friendliness, oppression rather than freedom, and the baseness within us rather than the beautiful.

Our schizophrenic relationship with color is age-old. We love color in things. We loathe it in human beings. History is replete with examples of humankind’s most unkind behavior toward other human beings who do not look like us, dress like us, talk like us, worship like us, live like us, and are not the same color as us. Through the ages, many have fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice to resist and change this ugliness, and the injustice, discrimination, and persecution perpetrated upon our fellow man because of differences in color.

Imagine the possibilities if we could — if we would — appreciate the richness of different colors in people, just as we appreciate the richness of color in nature and in our own creations.

Imagine if we understood that every child, white, black, brown or yellow has the same needs: caring parents, safe neighborhoods, good schools, an opportunity to dream and to become whatever they dream of becoming.

Imagine if it was natural — a matter of unconscious practice — that every human, no matter their color, was given the benefit of the doubt and treated equally when he or she applies for a job, submits an application for college, applies to buy a house or rent an apartment.

If people of different colors were regarded with the same reverence and respect as the colors in nature, there would be no need for affirmative action, equal rights, equal employment protection, fair housing and other laws. Imagine if we weren’t required by law to do the right thing toward each other, because it just came naturally.

The economic, social and educational caste systems created around color and because of color have done as much to imprison and deprive the perpetrators as the perpetrated.

Great strides and gains may be made if we would only try to better understand our conflicting feelings around color, beginning with the simple acknowledgment of the common color that runs through our veins and binds us all with the gift of life.

Just imagine what might happen if we ceased to allow insignificant differences in skin color to confuse and compromise the quality of life we share as neighbors, colleagues, fellow travelers on the world stage. Just imagine.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Janice S. Ellis, Race Relations, RiseUp magazine

>The Issue of Race

>

While thumbing through the Sunday edition of the NY Daily News I came across a special pull out section that I had never scene before, it was titled “Rise Up”. Having read the rest of the paper and needing something else to pass the time with I decided to take a look at it and I am kinda glad that I did. I found the contents to be an honest and interesting look at race in our country.  

It seems that the magazines purpose is to address the issues of race in our society by understanding our differences, bridging our divisions and celebrating our commonalities. 

I thought that with the recent controversey surrounding Art Gallagher and his attempt to re- introduce the “N’ word into our everyday vocabulary over at his blog, MoreMonmouthMusings, that I should pass along a true representation of how race can be addressed in an intellegent way as opposed to the clumsy and offensive attempt by Mr. Gallagher.

RiseUp’s Founder and Publisher, Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D. had the following to say in her Publisher’s Note column. I found it to be thoughtful and thought provoking. If Art Gallagher can understand what she has written here maybe he wouldn’t be trying to justify the use of such a hateful and offensive word like Nigger! :

“No matter the outcome of the presidential election, one thing is certain, the issue of race will be front and center over the course of the campaign, whether it is openly discussed or remains — uncomfortably — the elephant in the room. The candidates will likely work hard to avoid making race an issue. But on talk shows, in coffee shops, bars and barbershops, and around the dinner table across America, it will surely be a topic of lively — or perhaps heated — conversation.
Such conversations beg for candor.

As we come face-to-face with the powerful influence of race, it will serve us well to truly look at the history of race and racism in America. We must, if we ever hope to achieve a society where race is a non-issue. A society where the question, “Is America really ready to elect a black man or woman, or a brown man or woman president?” seems silly. When the contributions of all Americans are chronicled and commemorated in the same history books. When the rich, complex and complete American story in all its shame and glory is taught and told in classrooms and living rooms everywhere.

But today is not that day. We must acknowledge the role race still plays in American life and engage in constructive, liberating dialogue to minimize, mitigate and ultimately nullify its destruction effect. We must peel away the layers — much like an onion — letting the tears flow, if need be, to get to the heart of things.

Let’s look a little closer at a layer at the very core of our beliefs about race and racial differences: the family unit. This will require an open mind and some painful admissions on everyone’s part about American families — both black and white.

Black and white families in America have traveled different and widely divergent paths. One of privilege. The other of paucity. One is carried forward by a history in which the presence of both parents has been valued and promulgated. The other is burdened by the history of slavery in which the family unit was raped and destroyed; separating mother from father; father from child. One has experienced freedom of movement within society, with automatic acceptance. The other has faced constant rejection, both blatant and subtle.

One has enjoyed a certain level of economic prosperity. The other has too often found itself trapped in a perpetual cycle of poverty. One has benefitted from good schools and educational opportunities; the other subjected persistently to sub-standard learning environments. One lives in a neighborhood free of blight and crime; the other constantly plagued by both.

These realities shape our fears, resentments and biases, and keep us wondering why.

Why, black folks wonder, do some white teenagers from comfortable neighborhoods build bombs and go on shooting rampages, killing their fellow classmates, teachers and family members? Why, white folks wonder, do some black teenagers sell drugs, rob the elderly, and shoot fellow teenagers for money or a jacket?

Black folks think affirmative action and set-asides are needed to level the playing field. White folks think such measures are reverse discrimination.

And, of course, there are black and white folks who think none of the above. They understand that we all are the sum total of our experience that begins with and is shaped by the family of which we are a part.

There are black and white folks who share an immovable faith in the human will and the spirit to overcome adversity and impoverishment. There are black and white folks who fervently believe that some day race will not define how we see each other, how well we work together to build stronger families, stronger communities and a better America.”

Click on the headline to be redirected to RiseUp.com

Leave a comment

Filed under "N" word, Art Gallaher, Janice S. Ellis, MoreMonmouthMusings, Race Relations, RiseUp magazine

The Issue of Race

While thumbing through the Sunday edition of the NY Daily News I came across a special pull out section that I had never scene before, it was titled “Rise Up”. Having read the rest of the paper and needing something else to pass the time with I decided to take a look at it and I am kinda glad that I did. I found the contents to be an honest and interesting look at race in our country.  

It seems that the magazines purpose is to address the issues of race in our society by understanding our differences, bridging our divisions and celebrating our commonalities. 

I thought that with the recent controversey surrounding Art Gallagher and his attempt to re- introduce the “N’ word into our everyday vocabulary over at his blog, MoreMonmouthMusings, that I should pass along a true representation of how race can be addressed in an intellegent way as opposed to the clumsy and offensive attempt by Mr. Gallagher.

RiseUp’s Founder and Publisher, Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D. had the following to say in her Publisher’s Note column. I found it to be thoughtful and thought provoking. If Art Gallagher can understand what she has written here maybe he wouldn’t be trying to justify the use of such a hateful and offensive word like Nigger! :

“No matter the outcome of the presidential election, one thing is certain, the issue of race will be front and center over the course of the campaign, whether it is openly discussed or remains — uncomfortably — the elephant in the room. The candidates will likely work hard to avoid making race an issue. But on talk shows, in coffee shops, bars and barbershops, and around the dinner table across America, it will surely be a topic of lively — or perhaps heated — conversation.
Such conversations beg for candor.

As we come face-to-face with the powerful influence of race, it will serve us well to truly look at the history of race and racism in America. We must, if we ever hope to achieve a society where race is a non-issue. A society where the question, “Is America really ready to elect a black man or woman, or a brown man or woman president?” seems silly. When the contributions of all Americans are chronicled and commemorated in the same history books. When the rich, complex and complete American story in all its shame and glory is taught and told in classrooms and living rooms everywhere.

But today is not that day. We must acknowledge the role race still plays in American life and engage in constructive, liberating dialogue to minimize, mitigate and ultimately nullify its destruction effect. We must peel away the layers — much like an onion — letting the tears flow, if need be, to get to the heart of things.

Let’s look a little closer at a layer at the very core of our beliefs about race and racial differences: the family unit. This will require an open mind and some painful admissions on everyone’s part about American families — both black and white.

Black and white families in America have traveled different and widely divergent paths. One of privilege. The other of paucity. One is carried forward by a history in which the presence of both parents has been valued and promulgated. The other is burdened by the history of slavery in which the family unit was raped and destroyed; separating mother from father; father from child. One has experienced freedom of movement within society, with automatic acceptance. The other has faced constant rejection, both blatant and subtle.

One has enjoyed a certain level of economic prosperity. The other has too often found itself trapped in a perpetual cycle of poverty. One has benefitted from good schools and educational opportunities; the other subjected persistently to sub-standard learning environments. One lives in a neighborhood free of blight and crime; the other constantly plagued by both.

These realities shape our fears, resentments and biases, and keep us wondering why.

Why, black folks wonder, do some white teenagers from comfortable neighborhoods build bombs and go on shooting rampages, killing their fellow classmates, teachers and family members? Why, white folks wonder, do some black teenagers sell drugs, rob the elderly, and shoot fellow teenagers for money or a jacket?

Black folks think affirmative action and set-asides are needed to level the playing field. White folks think such measures are reverse discrimination.

And, of course, there are black and white folks who think none of the above. They understand that we all are the sum total of our experience that begins with and is shaped by the family of which we are a part.

There are black and white folks who share an immovable faith in the human will and the spirit to overcome adversity and impoverishment. There are black and white folks who fervently believe that some day race will not define how we see each other, how well we work together to build stronger families, stronger communities and a better America.”

Click on the headline to be redirected to RiseUp.com

Leave a comment

Filed under "N" word, Art Gallaher, Janice S. Ellis, MoreMonmouthMusings, Race Relations, RiseUp magazine