Tag Archives: Community

Financial Planning; Short Term Plans, Long Term Actions.

Financial Post 2

Financial illiteracy has plagued and largely impacted the African-American community for many generations. Most of us are lacking when it comes to the understanding of how money works and how to efficiently manage and build wealth. Our impoverished communities continue to rest in this state because there is no transfer of wealth. Wealth continues to be held and dominated outside of our communities because of our low receptivity to financial literacy. Though the tides are beginning to turn on this matter as awareness grows, we as a people still have quite a ways to go. How do we regain prosperity? How do we bring it back to our communities and families? How do we protect it and keep it? How do we go from “new money” to “old money?”

Every great accomplishment begins with careful and strategic planning. While planning may be the answer, it may NOT be the solution. Integrated financial planning as the answer only becomes the solution when it is followed through. You need a plan, it begins with a plan! Wealth building is an ongoing process of structured forced, systematic, efficient and consistent saving habits.

While having a generous income does help, it is not entirely about how much money you make or the lack there of. It is about having the discipline to start today with a meaningful amount that you can commit to monthly or annually regardless of your economic status. Truth is there will always be a reason or rather an excuse NOT to save or invest. You have to conquer that need of immediate gratification by giving up the things you want now, to invest in what you will need in the future. Don’t put it off any longer because there is a huge cost in waiting. Time is our most valuable asset as well as our biggest liability. Due to compound interest of returns over time, essentially the more time you have or the sooner you begin to save, the less it will cost you to achieve your financial goals.

Find a trusted and competent advisor to help you with your financial planning. Google makes it very easy to self-educate, so I am sure that most of us are well capable of doing our own planning. One of the biggest reasons that I recommend you leave it to a professional is that we all have emotional attachments to our money, believe it or not. When it comes to money most of our decisions are made based on emotions and feelings, rather than logic. I have found it to be very helpful to have a fellow colleague as my advisor even though I am in the profession as well. It gives you someone to hold you accountable and to help take out the emotions to make sound financial decisions.

This is my last bit of advice and what I believe will catapult your finances to new unseen levels; pay God first. First and foremost, even before you save or spend, pay God what is due to him. As a devout Christian, I believe that being a faithful tithe payer is imperative to our financial success. With EVERY increase the bible says to give10% to the house of the Lord. In fact it is one of the few areas in our lives that God says “TEST ME!” (Malachi 3:10).

Financial Post

Questions & Inquiries

Laud K. Anderson

Website: Laudanderson.nm.com

Email: Laud.anderson@nm.com

Phone: 732-310-6697

Pray, Plan, Persist

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Orisha On The Horizon

The year is 1619. On a voyage across the Atlantic ocean towards Jamestown, Virginia, captured African slaves carried with them a disabling sense of loss and a nagging uncertainty about their forthcoming destinies on their journey to the new world. Among the pain these resilient people also held onto various spiritual traditions and ways of relating themselves to the world from their perspective homelands which helped them sustain some sense of sanity within the hellish conditions they were forced to endure.

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Amidst European Christian and Spanish Catholic indoctrination, enslaved West Africans who were transported to various parts of the Americas had enough dignity and audacity to secretly practice various indigenous African spiritual belief systems against the will of their captors. Most prominent of these indigenous beliefs was the worship of Orishas, a Yoruba practice known as Ifa, with origin in present-day Nigeria and surrounding areas. Ifa is a potent method for displaced Africans to rediscover their true identities, claim access to birth-right cultural memories, and empower the world with a religion rooted in humanism, ancestor reverence, and the preservation of Earth. Ifa evolved over time into several distinct spiritual systems known today as Regla De Ocha (also known as “Santeria”) in Cuba, Candomble in Brazil, and Haitian Vodou.

Ifa stands out from the reigning religions of the day, some of which encourage separatism, because of its humanistic aspect. Practitioners of Ifa place all power into the people. While the Orishas are worshipped, it is clear that they are not merely outside entities, but symbols of nature and representations of ancestors. Here is where the value lies, because unlike most European religions where energy is invested into mere ideas, Ifa seeks to empower the individual, the community, and the world at large.

The rediscovery of our true spiritual traditions, rooted in West Africa, begins with the resurrection and globalization of the Black gods known as Orishas, who were almost successfully wiped clean from the communal memory banks of enslaved African peoples by colonizers. Profoundly described by Wole Soyinka as “paradigms of existence,” the following mythical symbols are, in my opinion, the most beneficial to know: Osanyin, Oya, Oshun, and Yemaya. Each of these Orishas teaches a valuable lesson through their various stories and what they represent which can prove to be useful in the evolution of oppressed Black peoples across the globe.

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During these times of critical health crisis’s and medical apartheid within the global Black community, a proper knowledge and respect for the healing powers of nature is necessary. Osanyin, known to be the god who has dominion over wild plant life, especially herbs, serves as a bridge into ancestral medicinal wisdom. Consider him Father Nature who rules all flora and fauna. The spirit of Osanyin can be found at the core of Blacks like famous botanist George Washington Carver, urban gardener and food activist Ron Finley, and the many other “healers” around the globe. Osanyin’s ashe, or life force, peaks Black interest in the field of medicine in addition to the cultivation and nurturance of plants and herbs. All of which are needed today with the spread of HIV/AIDS, Ebola, mental health disorders, and preventable diseases like diabetes that plague the Black community.

Yemaya and Oshun are two goddesses embody the power of motherhood, protection, and hold the memories of our fallen ancestors. In the Yoruba tradition where spiritual baths and cleansings are commonplace, water, like herbs, is a constant necessity. Though both embodiments of water, each Orisha has a distinct purpose when called upon. While Yemaya reigns over the oceans, full of purifying salt water, Oshun is the essence of rivers and fresh waters.

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It is widely known that Black women are among the most oppressed and disrespected individuals in the world. “Misogynoir,” a term coined by Myo Bailey, is used to describe how racism coupled with misogyny specifically affects Black women. Faced against powerful forces such as racism and misogynoir, the goddess image can be extremely empowering for Black women of the Diaspora. Yemaya and Oshun are not passive mothers. They can be gentle, but are fierce protectors of women and children. These goddesses, as well as Oya, divinity that guards the cemetery, are warrior spirits who not only give birth to nations, but are just as powerful as their male counterparts. Having female warrior goddesses to turn to in moments of strife and hopelessness, for Black women, can prove to be affirming and earn them proper respect from all others.

Ifa is a beautiful religion rich in ritual and adornment, but what’s most important is the devotee’s connection to spirit, the earth, and a respect for the past. Ifa forces its followers to open up to the worldwide community, being a religion of undoubted acceptance and care of fellow man, regardless of sex, gender, religious affiliation, or race. At the core of worship, Ifa would be most rewarding as a dominant force in the world because of its promotion of healing, loving, and respect, for self and others. As a people so stricken with pain, these Yoruba religious practices maintained and taught by those dragged unwillingly across the Atlantic ocean, provide for Black people a home in foreign lands.

Change is spreading across the Diaspora like germinated seeds blowing in wind produced by Oya, searching for fertile ground in which to settle. My ancestors and I share a common surety about the rising of the Orishas, who, like the Costus Spectabilis, are destined to flower in the minds and spirits of reawakening oppressed peoples.

FW.289 Yellow Trumpet, Costus spectabilis, N Zambia

“All About Love: New Visions” (bell hooks) Final Discussion

Hello everyone! Thank you soooo much for participating in our previous discussions on bell hooks’,  All About Love! This space is solely created to get in depth with the final portion of the text. On twitter, we usually send out a series of tweets tell you how we feel about the book, but we never really get to know what’s going on in your head too much. So, we want to try something a little different. We are going to pose a few questions about the book to start the discussion off, but we want all book club participants to get the discussion rolling and connect with each other! Answer a question, comment on an opinion, create your own question, do it all!
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Questions to ponder:
Chapter 9: The Heart Of Love
-Hooks discusses the idea of “privilege of power” through the patriarchal system. In what ways does patriarchal thinking affect both men and women in relationships? Have their ever been a time when you felt that a relationship was hindered because of a reflection over power or control?
“To know love we must surrender our attachment to sexist thinking in whatever form it takes in our lives.”
Chapter 10: Sweet Love
“Sexual pleasure enhances the bonds of love, but they can exist and satisfy when sexual desire is absent.”
How do you feel about hook’s strong statement? How can this be applied to the normalcy of casual intercourse?
Chapter 11: Loving into Life and Death
“All the worship of death we see on our television screens, all the death we witness daily, does not prepare us in any way to face dying with awareness, clarity, or peace of mind. “
We never really talk about love and how it correlates to death. So how did this chapter show realization to your personal lost loved ones and the fetish that our society has over death?
Chapter 12: Redemptive Love
Probably our favorite chapter, learning how to heal a broken, misused heart to love again.
“No matter what has happened in our past, when we open our hearts love we can live as if born again, not forgetting the past but seeing it in a new way, letting it live inside us in a new way.”
What stuck out in this chapter for you? What have you learned about redeeming your own past for your own hearts sake?
Chapter 13: When Angels Speak of Love
Love and spirituality: How can those factors relate to each other? And more importantly, why is love the central commonality in all spiritual intents and religions?

Feel free to answers the questions or post final thoughts on the book in the comments section below or tweet them to us on twitter! (@AfroMadu)

Am I My Brothers Keeper?

I was recently at an event at my University about use of the N-Word, when a question was raised: Why do we greet each other with ‘Whats up Nigga?”, when it used to be “Whats up BROTHER?”. The host responded saying that it was just a change in the times. I respectfully disagree. There is no way that time has changed the word Brother to Nigga. The times are the same it is our mentality that changed. Personally I still refer to many of my peers as Brother, so am i behind on the times? I think not.
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As a people we have somehow fallen into a mindset that we are no longer apart of a large family fighting the same battles. We now see each other as competition, incapable of compassion for this pseudo-enemy that we have fabricated in our minds. There was a time where everyone was referred to as your Sister or Brother, now if you say it, you are looked at as eccentric. As if just the thought of you being equal with another person of color is this obscure concept to be shut down. There is nothing wrong with climbing a ladder and reaching down to help someone that slipped.
Unknown-28“Nigga” displays a sense of inequality no matter how you spin in. When we get out of the ‘crabs in a barrel’ mindset as a people we will then be able to thrive. Someone somewhere instilled the thought that if you do not make it on your own then it does not count, however that is not now nor has it ever been the case. Most of us do not have trust fund or any huge bounty awaiting us to come of age, all we truly have is each other. If you look at the news they do not care, where you are from or what you have as far as they are concerned we are all the same. It is not just the hoodlums that are being murdered by those sworn to protect, it is the student, the teacher, the lawyer, whoever unfortunate enough to adorn the influx of melanin that was bestowed upon us in the womb.
If we do not see each other as equal then why the hell should those in power? Last time I check there was no identifier that makes you better than another, so if you are on a pedestal, I pray it is so you can kneel upon it to gain the leverage needed to pull up another. The shines of your success will never, dim that of another’s but if you cross the path of another who has yet to find their light, then by all means use your light to illuminate their path so that they too can become a lighthouse to the many lost ships out there. So in short, Yes, I am my Brother’s keeper. And my Sister’s as well.
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As Always I Love You, God Loves You, LOVE Yourself,
Man of Madu

Kwanzaa: Imani, Believing in Yourself and Others.

“To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.”

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To wrap up our glorious Kwanzaa celebration and the start of the New Year, Imani reinforces the six other principles that were previously discussed. All of these principles are helpful and go to know, but without the value of Faith, the foundation of change and growth is non-existent. 

Having faith is usually connected with religious purposes but in this case the idea of understanding who you are, along with the people in your community, helps the consistent sense of confidence needed in order to rise up oppression. Not just believing is crucial, but instilling and reinforcing the faith and hope that you have for the community can set the bar higher for better expectations. Having and keeping faith within yourselves and your neighbors will only bring great things for your plans and ideas to uplift Black people and all humankind. 

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AfroMadu challenges you to keep faith alive. No after how rough the situation is, or how tough the road to an idea or plan that will be beneficial to the community, keep your heads up and continue fighting!!! 

Imani: Faith. 

Kwanzaa: Nia, Your Purpose.

“To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.”

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Day five of Kwanzaa focuses specifically on purpose, rather the reason for your existence. We can look at Nia in two forms, individualistic and collectivistic. To understand your self-purpose first, can help you understand your purpose in the community. Each person plays a vital role in the building and shaping form to the community and not understanding your own purpose can  be detrimental to your future.

To begin, we should all search for our purpose on Earth. Whether it is writing, reading, teaching, leading, caring, etc. This role should continue to be the overarching theme in our everyday lives. Whether it is finding mentors in the field, reading to become a better person, or striving for credentials to make you more knowledgeable, being a better you is ultimately the principle of purpose. Finding your true meaning and working towards it.

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Once your purpose is revealed, it is important to help others find theres. This includes community service, helping the youth, and even helping your peers. Not only are you fulfilling your purpose, but helping others allows them to continue their path of purpose as well. Like a domino effect!

AfroMadu challenges you to find your purpose on the fifth day of Kwanzaa. It is time to sit down and critically asses your life long goals and your purpose in life. What a great day to close up 2013!

Nia: Purpose

Ball, You Aint Never Lied!!

AfroMadu is using our voice to attempt to put an end to obesity in the youth as well as the African-American community. So I am going to try to preach on some Basketball Court Etiquette. With these steps you will not only be ballin but also make some good friends. Now I LOVE Basketball it is like poetry in motion to me, and I take it very seriously, as do those you will be playing with. A lot of these rules apply to any interactions with large groups so pay attention.

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1. Bring Your Own Ball: If you go to a court there is a high possibility that there will already be a game in progress. Now is the time to silently plead your case for “Next”. While on the sidelines, dribble constantly, if you know some fancy stuff, show off! Now this is not a try out for an And 1 mixtape so leave all the ‘under the shirt wrap around’ nonsense at home. You look like a clown, this is serious. Personally I, just do some simple stationary crossover moves maybe a behind the back and leave it at that. Nothing is worse than trying to show off and having the ball roll into the middle of their game, you will be the wrong kind of attention.

In a business setting, you do not want to show up to a board meeting without your own pen and pad, but at the same time you do not want to show up with ALL of your gadgets because it makes you look like a douche.

2. Be Patient: The average game is played to the low teens, 11, 13, 15, but on occasion there is a game to 21 so be patient. My biggest pet peeve is someone asking me every basket what score is, while I’m trying to play D or set screens…etc. Also the rule of the ghetto is you have to win by 2, so keep that in mind while you are waiting. Make use of this time introduce yourself to everyone else waiting to hit the court because they are most likely apart of your community and who knows they might be your teammate in 10 minutes. If they are playing half court use the other half to warm up, jumpers, layups all that fun stuff.

In the real world you NEVER know who you are talking to so it is always imperative to show yourself in a positive light. At that internship anyone could be anyone. In an elevator you could be next to the window washer or the head of HR so you can not be shy.

3.Be Confident: Make it known that you got NEXT! Do not be overlooked as a spectator. You have to be sure of yourself! If they ask if you nice, you immediately answer in the affirmative. No one wants to play with someone who does not know whether or not they have talent.

If you were the Head of a company would you hire someone who was unsure of themselves, I wouldn’t.

4.No Your Limits: You have to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. I am 5’11, so I am not going to ask for no alley oops! Also Im a somewhat big guy, so if I get the ball in the open floor, Im not going to try and cross nobody, I will pass or pull up! Also I know I’m a defender so that what I try to display the most. You have to know where you shine, so that next time you hit the court, they tell you that you have next, you don’t have to ask!

Every interviewer will ask you your strengths and weaknesses, you have NO weaknesses! You rephrase your strengths to answer the question. If you are ambitious, then your weakness is you often push yourself to your limits in order to complete multiple assignments to a level that is above average.

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Use these tips to get healthy and hired!!

As Always: I Love You, God Loves You, LOVE Yourself,

Man of Madu