Community support needed to help Scott Crittle purchase special van

Jan. 15, 2010

Reflecting on the past, looking toward the future

Jan. 1, 2010, Pages 1-8

Make a child smile this Christmas

As the Christmas season is here, it is a perfect time for me to focus on the many children who will go without this Christmas year. Yes, it’s true. Many children will not have a requested toy under the tree. They will not have a gift to open on Christmas morning. They will not have new clothes or a traditional Christmas meal to eat. Some of them are right here in Alexandria.

For those of you who had gifts for your children on Christmases past, you know how happy they are on when the jolly fat man in the red suit comes and leaves them what they’ve requested. Many children’s faces will be minus a smile this Christmas. Their eyes will be sad and full of tears. Their voices will tremble with these word as they asked, “why didn’t Santa Claus bring me anything?”

Every child should experience the joy of Christmas, and every child should get at least one toy or gift. That one toy or gift, even something that cost less than $5 could make a difference in whether that child’s Christmas will be a wonderful one or not.

I don’t want any child to be sad on Christmas morning, and I know that many of you don’t want that either. Yet, as we know, there will be hundreds of thousands who will be just that because there will be nothing under the Christmas tree for them. That’s why I am asking you to pick up a small toy, clothing items or nonperishable food item to donate to your religious or charitable organization to distribute to those less fortunate than you.

Organizations such as the Salvation Army would welcome your contribution or donation. You’ll be surprise the difference your item will make the lives of many children. You will turn a sad face into a face filled with a wide smile.

Obama can’t get no respect

Leonard Ford

Comedian Roger Dangerfield’s favorite phrase is – “I can’t get no respect.”

If you take that phrase and change the word “I” to Obama, it would perfectly describe the way that President Barack Obama is being treated by some people in this country. “He don’t get no respect” is exactly what is happening, and has been happening to him since January 20, 2009, when he was sworn in as U.S. President.

What I discovered was a lack of respect for President Obama when I visited the post office in the U. S. Federal Building on Murray Street in downtown Alexandria. I saw the disrespect in the form of an 8 by 10 framed picture of our 44th U.S. president. As I walked away from the service counter of the post office, I remember that I had to ask the clerk a question. When I turned around to go back to the counter, my eyes looked up high to the back wall and caught a glimpse of this very small picture of President Obama. If I hadn’t turned around, I wouldn’t have seen it. I had to stretch my neck to see Obama’s facial features.

I was astounded as to why a very large portrait of him was not hanging up high on the wall where every other U.S. president before him had hung. You didn’t have to look for President Bush’s portrait when he was in office because it was so large that you couldn’t help but see it. Right next to Bush’s portrait was the same size portrait of Vice President Dick Cheney. Both hung in the same spot on the same wall where Obama’s picture is now hanging. If you want to talk about getting no respect, having a large portrait of a vice president who answers to the president compared to having an 8 by 10 framed photo of the president who is the vice president’s boss is taking getting no respect to the lowest point that it can go.

Those of you who visited the Murray Street post office before Obama was elected know exactly what I’m talking about. But to find President Obama’s picture, you will need to bring a pair of binoculars. If you don’t have a pair, I suggest your bring a magnifying glass and a tall stepladder so that you can climb up it to see that it is him. Of course, I’m exaggerating, but you get my point. Go see for yourself when you have time.

And for those of you “anti-Obama-get-no-respect haters” (there are definitely hundreds of thousands out there) who might/will say that I’m bringing this up because President Obama is black, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m bringing it up because a picture so small, of the man, who holds the highest, most powerful office in the United States and in the world, does disservice and shows disrespect to the Office of the President of the United States of America. It’s an issue of respect for whoever holds the office of president, and race has nothing to do with it.

Please go check out President Obama’s picture, and if it bothers you as it did me, please contact a representative of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), and make it known that you are dissatisfied with the small picture of President Obama that is currently on display in our Federal Building here in Alexandria, LA. Please ask that a large portrait of him be immediately hung up and displayed.

For now, I guess having that small picture of President Obama hanging on the wall is better than not having one at all.

Black people are not always right; stop defending them at all costs

Leonard Ford

Black people can be guilty as sin

When President Obama, in my opinion, spoke out of line by saying that theCambridge, Mass. Police Department acted “stupidly” in its arrest of Harvard University professor, Henry Louis Gates, I asked myself: “Why is it that some black people, without knowing all of the facts of a particular incident involving another black person come to their defense regardless of what they are accused?

The evidence against could be rock-solid, and proves without doubt, that they are “guilty as sin,” but yet, there are those “coming to the defense of my brother and sister blacks” who immediately sides with the guilty party(s) mainly because they are black like them.

Here are two examples to prove my point.

When the news came out that Michael Vick was arrested and charged for allegedly  arranging and participating in dog fighting, a majority of black people around this country became quite upset and angry because they perceived that “The Man” (whites) was trying to take a well-liked, highly successful black man down. Michael vehemently denied that he had participated in dog fighting, and his denial had blacks believing in his innocence.

All the evidence was there to show that he was guilty, but despite the evidence pointing to his guilt, some blacks defended him mainly because he was black. But as we know now, Michael came clean and confessed his guilt to knowing all the facts about his dog fighting ring. Boy, was that a shocker to those “always-believe-the-black-person” blacks.

And how can I not mention the infamous “Jena Six” case where blacks around this state and around this nation rallied, and rallied big time, for the cause of six black boys who were charged with attempted murder for their part in a simple school fight. Blacks were outraged that something like this could happen, and just by hearing the news of the charges, they jumped into action to defend these boys without knowing all the facts and circumstances behind their case. They saw black skin color and nothing else.

Every one of these boys proclaimed their innocence, and that’s all it took for some blacks to stand behind them and defend them for almost two years. But when some of these boys began getting into more trouble and began appearing as they were celebrities, some blacks who were there for them in the beginning gradually shifted away from their cause of defending them. Many of them regretted that they had taken off work and traveled long distances to rally for them because they soon discovered that these boys had always being involved in some form of criminal behavior. And as we now know, they were absolutely right to do so because every one of these boys confessed to having a part in the beating of their white classmate.

What I’m saying is just because a person’s skin color is black, and they have proclaimed their innocence, that’s no reason to run to their defense when they have been accused and charged with a crime or anything else.

Having the same black skin color does not obligate us to be our brother or sister’s keeper.

Forget the myth, good black fathers exist

June 15  cover

As we get ready to celebrate Father’s Day, the thought of so many of our young black children not having a father in their lives has me asking this question: “Are there any good black fathers out there?

It’s a legitimate question to ask as many in mainstream America still has this stereotypical view of black men as being shiftless, untrustworthy, uneducated, unemployed, womanizers, dope heads/dope dealers, thugs, criminals, hustlers, and absentee fathers. This is true of a significant number of black men, as the problems of black men in this country have been statistically well documented. However, it is not true of every black man as some believe.

What those statistics don’t tell you and what never seems to get acknowledged is the countless number of black men who embody the essence of fatherhood. In other words, good black fathers do exist in America despite what the media or society would have us believe.

Unfortunately, not enough focus is put on, and not enough credit is given to black men who are good fathers. Along with being good fathers, black men are also nurturing fathers, responsible fathers, caring fathers, loving fathers, and supportive fathers. There are more good black fathers out there than are ever talked about. They very seldom come up in our conversations.

Far too many of us always seem to lump all black men under the category of negativism that is so associated with being a black man in this country.  And that’s because all of us, on a regular basis, have been exposed to the stereotypes of black men. But, in truth, there are many black men who live up to their roles as fathers and providers to their children.

The notion that good black fathers are not supposed to be is wrong, dead wrong. And that takes me back to the question – “are there any good black fathers out there? I know, and can attest to, that good black fathers do exist and are out there in my neighborhood, your neighborhood, and in everyone’s neighborhood across this country. Good black fathers are far more plentiful than one would think. When a black man takes an active role in raising his children, being with them, providing for them financially, supporting them in their activities, helping them with their homework, taking them to the park, library, or doctor, you know that he is a good father. Hey, wait a minute. He’s a GREAT FATHER.

Black men are some of the most dedicated fathers around, and we have many of them right here in Central Louisiana. They are protectors, healers, mentors, role models, disciplinarians, and teachers.  Many of them have endeavored to be the same type of father to their children as their own father was to them.  They are walking the walk of committed fatherhood.

Speaking of a great father, my brother, John Kelvin Ford, is one of the best fathers that I know. He is always there for his daughter, Kelvina. He takes her to the doctor, to her dance classes, and doing just about anything she asks him to do for her. He loves her very much, and there is nothing that he will not do for her. He seriously takes his role as her father to heart. My hat goes off to him for being such a wonderful and caring father.

To those black men who know what the true meaning of fatherhood is, I say “Happy Father’s Day to you, and keep on “fathering” on.

And to my father, Leonard (“Tootsie”) Ford, Sr., who passed away in 1987, I say thanks, Daddy, for everything that you did for us.  You may be gone, but you will forever be in our hearts.

June 15, Pages 1-4June 15, Pages 5-8June 15, Pages 9-12

Leonard Ford: Blacks must focus on the negatives to turn them into positives


For those who keep up with my columns, I know you’ve asked yourself more than once the following questions: “Why does Leonard always seem to write about the negative things that black people do, and why does he find it necessary to do so?” Hey, it’s a legitimate question? I have been asked the questions a few times by some of my readers.

Here’s my answer. I do it to point out the many problems that we black Americans face, both here in Alexandria and around the country. I do it because these are the things that I believe require our attention. There’s nothing wrong with focusing our attention on the positive, but doing so only serves to take our eyes away from our real problems such as black men being absent fathers, black men being in prison, young black men killing one another, black-on-black crime, black female teens having babies, and blacks living in poverty.

How will we ever attack these problems if we don’t turn our attention on them? For these things to get better, don’t you think we need to talk about them ? YES, we do. We have to bring our problems to the forefront. To do that, we have to talk among ourselves and to community leaders, and those local, state, and federal agencies that can address the issues that are plaguing us. We just can’t turn a blind eye to those negative issues and hope that they just disappear.

The positives of our community are more or less where we want them to be because we have put our energy and sweat into getting them that way. Shouldn’t that same energy and sweat be used to turn the negative into positives? YES, it should. That’s why I talk and write, and will continue to talk and write about the problems facing blacks even if I’m constantly being told that I need to stop with the negativity.

We may not solve all the problems that we are facing, but at least we’re thinking about them when we talk about them, which I think is a step in the right direction. I may not, or we together may not solve all the problems that are affecting us in our communities, but at least talking about them is a step in the right direction.

By the way, the next time read a column of mine that you deem a negative portrayal of the black community, you’ll know why I do what I do.

On a positive note, I want to thank Willie Spears, Rosa Fields, the Rev. Joe Green, the Rev. Willie Dunkley, Martin Johnson, Sibal Holt, and Felica and Kelvin Coney for being members of the Advisory Council for the Boys & Girls Club of Central Louisiana. I want to thank them for giving their time, energy, encouragement, and expertise to an organization that has the wellbeing of our young boys and girls at heart. Thanks also goes to Mayor Jacques Roy and Mayor Clarence Fields for their part in assisting with keeping the club open in their respective cities. Each of these individuals have shown that a negative situation can be turned around and resolved when people get together in a positive way to talk about issues that affect our black communities.

See. I can write about positive things the community is doing.