Archive | May, 2008
23 May

OUR HEALTH IS OUR WEALTH: A RALLYING CRY TO BLACK WOMEN EVERYWHERE TO MAKE HEALTH OUR FIRST PRIORITY!

by Lisa Peyton-Caire

Those of you who know SisterSpeak Online well know our motto when it comes to health; our health is our wealth. As we pursue our life’s calling and our various endeavors, we must first take stock of the fact that without good health our dreams and aspirations are merely fragile fantasies. Poor health can and will derail the best and brightest of plans.

I struggled to write this introductory piece for our Special Health Series for one simple reason; my aim is to inspire, not to frighten or to dampen the spirits of you our readers with glum statistics and depressing bylines.

Yet, I know that truth must always be the ultimate guide in shaping the messages that I personally, and SisterSpeak Online specifically deliver to those who choose to listen. Ultimately I decided to say what was on my heart and to trust that the message I intend to convey is received in the spirit of love, care and urgency in which it is offered.

Having said that, there is one message I want to blazon into our collective consciousness:

As Black women, we MUST make our health our first priority. The stakes are too high if we don’t.

I make this plea to you from a deeply personal place. Most of you know by now that I lost my mother, Roberta Peyton, to heart disease and a string of related complications. Today, Thursday, May 22nd marked the second anniversary of her passing. I cannot convey in words alone the impact her abrupt and unexpected departure has had on my life and of my extended family. She was the glue that bound the entire family together; a vibrant, colorful, and constant source of wisdom, encouragement, and love. I talk about my mother frequently not only to keep her name and memory alive; not only because of the foundational impact she has had on my life; but also in a passionate effort to empower women like her, like me, like you; women of all ages, young and old, to write a new story for ourselves in terms of our health and longevity.

My mother’s story has become all too common; middle aged black women between the ages of 45-65, battling a laundry list of diagnoses and toting overstuffed bags of medications in the prime of their lives; hard working, enterprising women who have worked all of their lives to raise their families, who have contributed to the life-blood of their communities and country through committed service and labor on their jobs and chosen professions. Women like my paternal aunts, Lois Alston, Barbara Jones, and Marguerite Green, beautiful, loving women, pillars of strength and stability, all deceased from heart attacks in their prime. My mother-in-law Corrine Caire is counted among them as well, passing a year before my mother from a mutliple diagnosis of diabetes, liver cancer, and lymphoma. She too was 64 years old. These losses have exacted a heavy toll on my family and I refuse to be the next victim, to bury another premature victim, to attend the funeral of yet another Black woman expired before her time.

Oddly, in an age of unparalleled medical advancement, innovation, and obscene profits in the medical establishment, Black women are dying in record numbers and at younger ages from largely preventable diseases. Many of us who are left behind find ourselves living in a state of chronic disease and illness, whether physical or mental, with little guidance or support on how to reverse the trend.

Today, Black women account for roughly 7% of the U.S. population, yet we are overrepresented in all major categories of disease and illness including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, obesity, and reproductive disorders. But I’ve heard this enough! You’ve heard this enough!

It’s time to rewrite the script! This need not be our destiny!

As we emerge from the recent Mother’s Day weekend, as we celebrate our birthdays this year, 2008, the year of New Beginnings, let’s do so with a mindfulness that our role as mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, caregivers, guides, mentors, and elders in our families and communities are too precious to be cut short by disease and illness. Let us declare once and for all that our many gifts, dreams, and aspirations are worthy of being seen through to fruition. Let’s decide on no uncertain terms that our lives are worth fighting for and the best way to fight is to care lovingly, consciously, consistently and unashamedly for our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our spirits. We deserve it ladies. We are worth it. And there are more resources available to us than ever to get us moving in the right direction.

I hope our Special Health Series over the next several weeks will get us all jumpstarted.

To our healthy future…for Roberta’s sake, Barbara’s sake, Lois’ sake, Marguerite’s sake, Corrine’s sake…for our sake.

In Sisterly Love,

Lisa
Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Barack Obama Draws Largest Campaign Trail Crowd in Portland, Oregon

19 May

Barack Obama in Portland, Oregon on Sunday, May 18thThe photo to the left (by Chris Carlson/Associated Press) requires little explanation. This is the crowd of 75,000 supporters & curious observers, I am sure, that Barack Obama drew in Portland, Oregon on yesterday.

This overwhelmingly white audience of onlookers proves one critical point that I hope corporate owned media, politicos, and other naysayers will finally accept…Barack Obama is undoubtedly an electable candidate; and, he pulls white voters for the same reasons he pulls the majority of Black voters…he’s intelligent, experienced in unique and substantive ways to lead the nation, appears genuine in his intentions, and inspires real hope that America can be better and do better at home and abroad. This crowd like me and millions of other Obama supporters are willing to take a chance on a candidate who sees and feels what we see and feel in our hearts and minds, irrespective of race or ethnicity, that a more beautiful, more just, more responsible, more inclusive, and more united America is possible and neccessary.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/19/us/politics/19oregon.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&ref=us&adxnnlx=1211210018-0RGoxiSbiWlx1DNR7jAFeQ

A Thing of Beauty

17 May

“What Beauty”, originally uploaded by ardumpln1.

Orchids happen to be my favorite flower…there’s just something about them that I love instinctively more than any other flower. If I could have my way, I’d surround myself with hundreds of them daily, just one glance at their beautiful color and petals enough to ease all troubles. What beauty there is all around us if ony we opened our eyes to see…

Reach for Purpose

17 May

I came across this Adinkra symbol today on flikr and wanted to share it with you as I believe firmly that we are all here to uncover, follow, and fulfill our purpose. I’m also ever amazed at the astounding wisdom our elders have left behind to help us on our journey.

Today, if you are feeling a bit off course in life and struggling to find your place; or if like me, you are bursting at the seams with creative energy so powerful that you know not where or how to get started in the midst of your busy daily life of responsibilities and obligations, just breathe. Take a moment to sit back and close your eyes in quiet solitude, breathe, and visualize where it is you want to go, need to go, must go to fulfill the desires of your heart.

Seek counsel from your spiritual source, surround yourself with positive people who affirm and uplift, then make small choices and decisions each day that get you one step closer to your desired destination. It will happen!

Most of all, never let go of the vision and know that the One who planted the gifts within you intends for you to share them with the world, great or small.

Focus on History

17 May


Focus on History, originally uploaded by MettaMomma.

I found this photo on Flikr, the work of a wonderful photographer I only know as MettaMomma. The photo shows a slave hut on the island of Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean.