Giving Voice to “A Quiet Desperation”

Cross Pollination Pages is a bi-weekly series featuring guest posts and articles written by other light beacons and hopes to connect ideas and people together in ways that wouldn’t have been possible.

Today’s episode features Marita Golden, an award-winning novelist and nonfiction writer. Her latest novel, The Wide Circumference of Love, is about an African American family dealing with Alzheimer’s. I was inspired to share her email message below, as my father made his transition in 2015 from Dementia. Enjoy and Share!




Dear DeBorah,

Because I know that you share my concern about the devastating impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on the African American community I am sending you an early copy of my Washington Post Magazine story “A Quiet Desperation” which investigates WHY African Americans are twice as likely as whites to develop Alzheimer’s and profiles a family impacted by the disease. The article will be published Sunday, June 4th.
Please read and share with your friends and family. We need to get a meaningful conversation started! Click here to read the article. Thank you in advance!

Raven the Talk Show Maven’s Mother’s Day Crusade

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Raven Blair Glover, The Talk Show Maven is on a crusade to make sure those that still have their Mom’s in their lives make the time to do an interview with their Mother for family history, sharing with the future generation, and for YOU to watch once you’ve lost your Mom. Raven will be interviewing me live on May 10th, as well as a host of other amazing mothers! Watch this inspirational video to learn how you can participate on the Radio Network.

Chioma in the Congo, Bringing Back Our Wealth

I would like to introduce you to my friend Chioma Oruh, a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Howard University. She is working on a dissertation on the rape crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I first met Chioma aka “Dr. Chi Bornfree” in 2006 in Palenque, Mexico at a Beyond the Global Divide (BGD) conference that brought together youth and Indigenous Elders/Wisdom Keepers from all over the world to exchange knowledge. What I remember most about her was her passion!

Beyond the Global Divide (BGD), an initiative of the Spirit of Truth Foundation, is a meeting comprised of youth and Indigenous Elders/Wisdom Keepers from all over the world to exchange knowledge. – See more at:

Beyond the Global Divide (BGD), an initiative of the Spirit of Truth Foundation, is a meeting comprised of youth and Indigenous Elders/Wisdom Keepers from all over the world to exchange knowledge. – See more at:
Beyond the Global Divide (BGD), an initiative of the Spirit of Truth Foundation, is a meeting comprised of youth and Indigenous Elders/Wisdom Keepers from all over the world to exchange knowledge. – See more at:

Chioma just completed a #BringBackOurWealth campaign and raised $1,050 of the $3,000 goal set for her trip to the Congo, July 1-14, 2014. She will meet with the community she’s researching in the Goma region of the Congo, as part of a delegation with the organization, Friends of the Congo. As a daughter of Africa, she didn’t want to go empty handed, so 90{f427030ed59a4fe787ee6319671b725563b9dcfd675eafcbb850bdb2cc0b28df} of the donations raised will be split between two grassroots organizations: The Association of Widows and Youth For A New Society, both of these organizations are doing great work in varying capacities to address the issue of gender-based violence (1 in 4 women are reported to be raped approximately every 5 minutes) and political destabilization of war in the Congo (over 6 million people have died since 1998 due to continuous warfare).

Here’s What I’d LOVE for You To Do:

* Watch the videos and read her post below to learn about Chioma, the conditions in the Congo, and the wealth building project she is doing in partnership with local organizations to build economic sustainability on a grassroots level.

* Visit or follow her blog, Dr. Chi Bornfree for updates, pictures, interactive videos, and an analysis of her experience.

* Learn more about  Friends of the Congo.  You can be confident that all donations will be given to the right grassroots organizations that work directly WITH the impacted women rape survivors and their families.


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Interview with Mama Marie Chimanuka

On Thursday June 26, 2014, I had the honor of visiting with Mama Chimanuka of the Association of Widows located in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thanks to Maurice Carney, Executive Director of the Friends of the Congo, this connection and interview was made possible. As a result of this contact, I will be spending a few days with organization member of the Association of Widows when I arrive in early July 2014. Please listen to Mama Chimanuka’s testimony of the daily impact of the ongoing war in the region and the great strides her and her comrades have taken to not only survive but to help orphaned children and widows of their own community. Additionally, the Association of Widows continues in its effort and in collaboration with the Friends of the Congo are launching an economically sustainable project to sell African print shirts. More details on this project to come in the future and also more videos and testimonies from my visit and promotion of the #BringBackOurWealth campaign. There is less than 24 hours to donate to the campaign, please contribute today.

Remembering Maya, Remembering Mama

Tuesday Tribute

After I read this post from veteran blogger Awesomely Luvvie, I immediately recalled Oprah’s 2013 interview with Maya Angelou discussing her 34th book about her mother. Then at age 85, Dr. Angelou talked about her special bond with her mother, Vivian Baxter. My mother was alive when I watched this interview, and I remember thinking how much the relationship between Maya and her mama reminded me of my relationship with my mother. Like Maya, my mother also wanted a daughter and almost gave up, before I arrived on the scene as her “only daughter” as she was fond of saying. So, as I salute these Shining Sistahs with Swords , these phenomenal woman of wisdom, I am especially reminded of how powerfully potent the last quote in this post truly is. Enjoy!

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Maya Angelou: Rise in Power After Living in Purpose

  May 28, 2014 | Luvvie

Maya Angelou Pic

Maya Angelou is gone and I was not ready. I wasn’t ready because I just figured Mother Maya would stay to give us more words. I figured she’d stay forever and just continue to be magic. I’m so selfish because she’s given more than enough.

I don’t think I have the right words to speak about Marguerite Johnson the Beloved. I don’t know if there is a right way to memorialize someone whose words are like life’s manual. What do you say about the woman who touched nations? What can articulate the impact of her being? I don’t even have the vocabulary for it.

Maya Angelou didn’t write poetry. She WAS poetry. Her whole being was in beautiful prose.

Maya is (not was) a Queen, especially to us Black girls. In her struggles you saw yours but in her power, you also found yours. In her vulnerability, you ached to let yours show and in her confidence, you fist pumped because yours could look like hers.

She told us revolutionary things, like we are worth love in every way. We can give it, we can receive it, and we can wear it like a coat and not be ashamed by it. That woman sat there and told the world “You will love me, even though you might not want to. You will deal!” And people did!


I can barely memorize 2 phone numbers but I’ve memorized plenty of things Dr. Maya Angelou said. Her words are like music because when you hear them, they speak straight to your heart. Before your brain even registers it, your chest swells. And your soul says “YESSSS! I needed that.”

As a woman, as a Black woman, as a writer, Maya told me I owed it to myself to live life loudly and boldly. It wasn’t just something I should do, it’s something I MUST do.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”

Maya Angelou walked in her purpose. That’s clear. So mourning her is really for our benefit. She did what she needed and wanted to, like Nelson Mandela and the other greats before her. She will never really die because she left her spirit behind in the work she’s done.

Watch the video below (from Maya’s LifeClass on OWN), and get your entire LIFE from Mother Maya’s wisdom.

My favorite quote from here is: “I have to know that the brute, the bigot and the batterer are all children of God, whether they know it or not.”

There’s power in knowing that you lived life well and good. Maya did that, and the caged bird is free.

What great things can be said about Maya Angelou that’ll suffice? None of it will be enough. But we speak her name with the utmost respect. Mother, Poet, Activist, Writer, Giver of Verbal Life, Dream Enabler, Giant, Goddess, Queen, Matron Saint of Get Life Right.

Mother Maya, girl. Listen. You phenomenal portrait of poise. You bombastically brilliant, bright, blazing symbol of bravery and goodness. You epic, life-affirming, life-changing, life-loving, life-living, luminous luminary.

Stay rising, sis. You did so good and we thank you for it. Rise rise rise in power.


Finding the Funds to be ‘First in Flight’

My good friend Christine emailed me asking for assistance so her adopted son Rainstar (Dominica’s first Kalinago Indian pilot) could manifest his desire to become the first commercial airline pilot. At 27, Rainstar has already made history. When he was only 16 years old, he was featured in the documentary film Celebration of Flight, where he partnered to build an airplane from scratch with the 78 year old retired Swedish pilot, Daniel Rundstroem.

Please take the time to hear his story and if you like what you are hearing, put your money where his heart is and Go Fund Rainstar. Below is a re-post from The

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Dominica’s first Kalinago pilot excels seek public support

By Thomson Fontaine
February 24, 2014 12:05 A.M

rainstar luke

Rainstar Luke at the controls.

Salybia, Dominica (TDN) — Dominica’s first Kalinago to become a pilot is well on his way to earning his wings as a commercial airline pilot. For Rainstar Luke it has been and continues to be a long and determined struggle but the proverbial light at the tunnel’s end is already in sight.

Rainstar was born in Salybia, part of the Kalinago Territory on the South West coast of Dominica comprising a 3 000 acre swathe of land set aside for the Caribbean’s last remaining indigenous people.

As a child he was adopted into the loving family of Matthew and Christine Luke. Growing up on the family owned oyster mushroom farm, one of only a handful in the Caribbean helped Rainstar develop a very strong work ethic.

It was there during his formative years that he developed a keen interest and fascination with airplanes. “As a child everyone bought me model and toy airplanes, which helped develop my interest in aviation”, Rainstar fondly recalls.

“I was very fortunate to be always in the right place and time to meet and network with persons who shared my passion for escaping the bonds of mother earth,” he notes.

Rainstar’s first opportunity to sit in the cockpit and feel the controls of an aircraft came at a very young age. Family friends Mark Ellison and Cheryl McPherron who flew frequently between Dominica and Florida in their twin engine Cessna 421 made that possible.

They also provided him with books and aviation magazines and shared their knowledge of airplanes. “I fell in love with flying and awaited every opportunity to be in the cockpit. Flying brings me a sense of peace by focusing on the task at hand, being situational aware,” Rainstar stated.

Before pursuing his lifelong love of flying, Rainstar would make aviation history in Dominica. He partnered with Daniel Rundstroem, aged 78 a retired Swedish airline pilot residing in Cochrane and who owned a Thorpe 2 seat single engine aircraft. Together they built an airplane in Daniel’s garage using a Vans RV-8 kit.

Rainstar listened in awe to Daniels aviation stories as he spent his weekends and holidays working on the project. Daniel would eventually name the plane after him in honor for his dedication to the project.

Upon completion of the project, they traveled to Sun N Fun the second largest airshow in the USA to participate in the 100th anniversary of powered flight celebrations. Their feat would be chronicled in a documentary film ‘Celebration of Flight’ by Lara Juliette Sanders a German Director with Lombardo Films GMBH.

The retired pilot had flown all over Europe and Africa and counted the King of Yemen and Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia among his VIP passengers.

“Daniel was an inspiring mentor who provided me ground school lessons on air law, weight and balance, and weather theory which would later help me in my college courses,” he noted.


rainstar luke

Rainstar with his mentor Daniel Rundstroem works on building the aircraft.

“I learned age does not matter when it comes to accomplishing your dreams, your passion is the best motivation. I learned through our challenges we faced on our project that a positive attitude with perseverance leads to a productive outcomes,” he continued.

Soon after graduating high school in 2003, Rainstar enrolled in the ‘Professional Pilot Program’ at the Aviation Institute\Broward Community College where he first soloed. He later transferred to Phoenix East Aviation to complete his private pilot’s license.

In August 2008 he enrolled at the First Nations Technical Institute in Deseronto, Ontario, Canada in the aviation fixed wing diploma program. Two years later he received his Transport Canada\US Federal Aviation Administration commercial pilot’s license and multi-engine rating.

Unfortunately for Rainstar lack of funds forced him to discontinue his training, which would have allowed him to receive his ‘instrument rating’” to complete the requirements for an aviation diploma and eventual graduation.

Consequently, his present license as a commercial pilot is restricted to no commercial passenger flights more than 50 nautical miles in the day and no night flights. These limitations make him uncompetitive for hire at the present time.

To complete his training, and to remove the limitations on his license, Rainstar requires at least $15 000 USD. He views this as just another challenge of the many that he has had to overcome.

“I started this journey and I want to finish it to show all those who previously invested in me that I can achieve my dreams. I would like to serve as an inspiration for young Kalinago women and men to become involved with aviation as a career.

“My goal in life is to show that you can overcome challenges to become successful. Flying for me brings excitement and challenges, once the wheels leave the ground we are free from the bonds of earth with an amazing view. It brings a thrill and sense of happiness to me; being a pilot it is what I love most,” he notes.

Rainstar plans to enroll in Cornwall Aviation by June 2014 to complete his training. In an effort to raise the requisite funds he is appealing for support from the general public and have established a crowd funding website at GoFundMe .

He can also be contacted by email at or by cellphone at 202 603 0694.

The aspiring pilot is anxious to complete his training and begin to give back to his country and the many people that have helped him along the way. “My long term vision is to use my skills and talents in aviation to help my Kalinago Indian tribe and country Dominica develop in the aerospace industry. I believe there is a lot of potential to develop the aviation infrastructure and businesses,” he concluded.