Today I shared the message below as a reflection for my Breaking Bread With Natasha post. It touched me so deeply that I was moved to share this beyond my spirituality blog, because the words are not religious, they are based in an energy that crosses all faiths, religions, and beliefs. 

Even if you don’t believe in God, omitting the name and reference in my message still doesn’t change the message—we need to all do our part to help ourselves and help our human brothers and sisters (no matter what their skin color, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other demographic marker that separates us). 
We all live on Earth, and 99.99% of us will most likely die a human death on this planet, so we need to make the most of our circumstances and do our best to protect our home and each other. Below, read my message shared earlier today, and if you want, thoughtfully respond. Thank you. 
Some people negatively fixate on the super wealthy as the creators of our worldly pains and issues. But the “crabs in a barrel” and the “move out of the hood” mind sets have also plagued our families and communities. How are any of these groups truly different?

We would rather hold on to our full dollar when we only need 75 cents, than spare a quarter to someone who needs 50 cents. 

Our self-absorption, even at the bottom of the barrel, means that we will stand on the backs and heads of others to elevate ourselves, rather than creating a human ladder or pulley system that lifts all of us out of the barrel. We’re always fearful of being left behind by the first crab who exits, and we’re terrified to be the last crab at the bottom. So we viciously attack, climb over, and do whatever it takes to get out and never look back. We end up acting like the first crab we feared. 

Socioeconomic and racial tensions (primarily caused by socioeconomic conditions) are boiling as we enter the summer season. The heat clouds our thinking as we exist in what feels and looks like stagnation. We want someone to blame, so we childishly point the finger at others. We need to accept the fact, the truth, God’s Truth–that we’re all to blame for what’s happening in the world today. The only innocents are the babies and children, and those individuals born with mental challenges that restrict their active involvement in their or our destruction. 

The rich person in their greediness is no more guilty than the poor person in their greediness. Neither are sharing God’s gifts. The careless spending by the wealthy is equally appalling as the careless spending by the impoverished. Both are arrogantly wasting God’s blessings. 

The wealthy person passing by not willing to help the homeless person asking for food, water, or shelter, is equally at fault with the poor person who doesn’t tell (or take) the homeless person to a source (that they have also used or heard of) that provides food, water, or shelter—or worse, they don’t stop to share a portion of their own. 

The poor person blames the wealthy person for being far-removed, yet the poor person ignorantly feels content in not opening up and giving what God touches their heart to give–because the poor person hasn’t yet learned how to properly sow. Our unwillingness to give freely is equally sinful, no matter what your financial status declares. 

Why complain that all you have is bread and water, but then choose to watch your bread go stale rather than sharing some of it with someone else in your same situation or worse off than you? 

Why complain about one source of violence in your community, but not stand outraged by all types of violence in your community? If your neighbor is murdered by another neighbor, your outrage should be heard as much or even louder than your screams over the murder of a neighbor by an outsider (or the murder of and by outsiders). 

Is the raping, beating, and theft of your neighbors not reason to stand for justice? Are people who look just like each other, hurting and killing each other, not a reason to stand up and say, “no more” and mean it? Why are we only outraged when the perpetrator doesn’t look like their victim?

We are all God’s children and we waste more of our precious time finding ways to remain divided (and creating a broader space), than we embrace ways to come together to reflect His Truth. When will we stop frolicking in wickedness and instead turn to the Light?


Copyright 2015. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved. 

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

The debate continues about the unemployment rate, job creation, and the potential boost in our nation’s economy. The Los Angeles Times shares all sides of the debate in last Saturday’s business section.

Although the national unemployment rate is currently at 8.1% (which is almost double in Black and Brown communities) the L.A. Times reported that this rate is not solely because more jobs are being secured by workers —since only 115,000 jobs were added in April (after winter gains of an average of $252,000 jobs December through February)– but rather because more people are discouraged and dropping out of the labor market.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington was reported as telling the L.A. Times that workers are dropping out of the labor market because they no longer believe that there are jobs out there for them. In April the numbers shrank by 342,000 workers. That’s 342,000 that are reported to have lost hope in securing a job.

President Obama sees and reports things differently and more optimistically. He reminded people in his speech last Friday at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, that we are surviving the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, have created more than 4.2 million jobs within the last 26 months, and 1.6 million of those jobs were created just within the last 6 months.

Obama’s chief economic advisor, Alan Krueger told the L.A. Times that the jobless rate fell a full percentage point since last August, and that nearly three-quarters of that drop was due to increased employment. Dean Baker however said that some of the three-quarters was attributable to adjustments in the population.

Analysts claim that the warm winter weather we experienced across the nation has impacted the reported rates of job growth, as certain industries, such as construction—that were booming in December and January, have since seen no increase in jobs.

However, car sales are strong, manufacturing continues to perform well, there is growth in the demand for growth, consumer spending is up, and there is an improvement in the housing market that once was severely depressed.

The L.A. Times makes a point of reminding and educating readers that our country’s economy is vulnerable to various “shocks” such as high oil prices, China’s slowed-down economy, and the debt-strained problems of Europe. When the rest of the world is suffering, our country is hit hard also; and vice versa. We’re literally in this together.

Let’s also not forget that more than 90% of the companies in our country are small business enterprises, with less than 200 employees, yet maybe 90% of job seekers are applying mostly to large corporations—less than 10% of the businesses in the U.S.

Who’s helping to equip these small businesses with the resources to hire more employees?

Who’s reminding and educating job seekers about employment opportunities with small businesses?

Who’s bridging the gap?

We must realize that our economy is impacted by other world economies and “shocks”. We must focus more on the things we’re for and less on what we’re against, and then help to bring about a progressive movement towards solution rather than allow a spiraling effect that will lead to ultimate failure.

We should also be grateful for our country and the numerous resources here. Let’s consider if we lived in Liberia where the unemployment rate is a staggering 85%. What if that was our reality?

Let’s look for solutions rather than people to blame. Let’s look for business opportunities and leverage our strengths, rather than examples of our weaknesses and failures.

What can we do individually and collectively to bring about positive change and to be the change we want to see in our nation, and in the world?

What can you do to help with unemployment in the United States?

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Source: Don Lee. Los Angeles Times. Job weakness feeds fear of a slowdown. Business section. B1, B4. Saturday, May 5, 2012.

Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. Foreman & Associates, LLC. All Rights Reserved.