Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  You all mean something special and important to me.  Valentine’s Day is a manufactured holiday, but if you believe in love and its importance in your life, it’s a good time to acknowledge the special connection that you share with the people you love and admire.  Love is an essential part of all of our lives.  And we could not live without it in all its various forms.  Take advantage of every opportunity you can to express how you feel about the people you care for.

Love always,
DJ

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Father’s Day 2016

This has been an extraordinary year, filled with both good and bad.  We said goodbye to Muhammed Ali, who gave us 74 years of the greatest!  Ali, Stevie Wonder, Mandela, and my father have been my guiding lights.  I was blessed to meet the first three briefly in my journey.  Ali and Stevie always treated me with the greatest kindness, which enabled and encouraged me to believe the good things said about them and the outstanding things they accomplished.  Mandela made an extraordinary gesture by acknowledging and greeting me during a major procession when he was being celebrated during his first visit to Los Angeles after being freed in South Africa.  That said something to me about him as well as inspired and encouraged my self-worth.  Gestures make all the difference in who we are and what we mean to other people and society.  Knowing how to accept and interpret gestures makes your relationships more meaningful and satisfying.

My father has made countless gestures to me and my brother and sister in our lives.  They have meant so much to me!  They have given me joy, strength, and encouragement to accomplish.  That’s what fathers and mothers do!  It is important that we do our best to let them know how important those gestures are to us.
AliCirca1980
Last week, we saw the first female presidential nominee from a major political party (which happens to be my party).  I am proud and blessed to have witnessed it.  She’s not perfect and I don’t agree with everything she’s done or espoused, but she is so overwhelmingly the best choice for our country.  What she will be able to accomplish will be of benefit to so many more people than the alternative choice.  She is a good friend, a loyal wife, a doting daughter, a good mother, and she is becoming a great grandmother.  These things will help her to become a great president!  Donald Trump is a formidable man but the President needs to be for the people, for the majority of the people. Hillary will be much better!!

I want to acknowledge the loss of life in Orlando.  This is a country where you should be safe, proud, and able to be who you are and express what you like.  It’s unfortunate that so many of my gay brothers and sisters lost their lives or were injured by doing that.  My prayers go out to them and their families and friends.  Ultimately, memories are what we have to satisfy our feelings of loss and help us to reach our best destiny.

This Father’s Day, remember that we all have fathers and mothers given to us by God and we should try our best to remember them, their love, and their sacrifices and be the best people we can be!

Much love always,
DJ

Celebrating summer birthdays

The summer months are special to me because of the birthdays they include.  Mine came July 2.  We had a great birthday dinner for some friends and family at Harold and Belle’s .  My dad was there, but my mom was missed.  She’s got back surgery on Aug. 27.  I want all of you to think about her and pray for her.  I’m doing good otherwise.  I hope to remain so while my mom is rehabilitating for the next couple of months.  With God’s help and your love, we will be fine.

I went to a party for a UCLA colleague of mine, Jason.  His twin boys turned one year old.  Jason and his wife are great parents!  They have a wonderful network of family and friends.  Jason’s in the education network, with many of his friends.  They all have children.  I’m connected with Jason through my mentor Harry Edwards.  They’re related.  I saw two of Harry’s daughters, his wife and his first grandchild, KJ, at the party.

I missed one on the east coast.  My “adopted” brother and sister, Todd and Tanya,  had a birthday on July 29.  I’m so proud of them.  I saw Tanya and her family this past year, and I look forward to seeing Todd and his family soon.  They’re twins.  We’ve been connected since childhood, growing up in NJ.

This past Aug. 11, my brother Wayne had his 53rd birthday.  He’s such a strong family member.  We’re so proud of him.   He keeps things going.  He keeps his and our family working.  I’m so proud of him and I love him so much!

Birthday celebrations are so important.  We need to celebrate each other’s birthdays and share gratitude for another year together.

I look forward to a new school year.  My older nephew Tommy will be a high school senior.  I’m so thankful to be here and look forward to sharing his graduation with my family in June.  My other nephew Jordan is going to be in the 8th grade.  He’s growing up strong and doing great in school.  I have friends’ kids going back to college, Chris in NJ, Danielle in Boston, Taylor and Richard in Tucson, AZ, Haskel in a pre-med program in South Carolina, and Briana in Washington DC, who will be finishing her senior year at Howard.  My other Briana is going to England for a semester and my boy Theo is going to Switzerland for a semester.  And my boy Malcolm is starting his first year in medical school in Atlanta! This is really the beginning of my year.  With their support, I will stay in touch with them.  I hope to be of encouragement to them and see them become successful.

It’s been an incredible year.  Next time I get to write to you, I want to talk about race relations, police and community problems (starting with Ferguson) and other things.  So much good yet so many problems.  I’m still optimistic that together we can make it better.  So glad it’s football season.  Trojans, Saints, and some of my other teams will take me into the holidays, God willing.

Stay in touch with me.  I love you all!

Mother’s Day, I feel a special connection to it

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All of you that get my messages know how important to me my mother is, and how important my grandmother, great grandmother and sister were. These are examples of women that God puts in our lives to make us who we are, to help us become what we can be, and to make it possible for us to endure the hardships of life. I’ve been blessed to have women like this in my life, as well as friends and (now that I need them) nurses as well that have such a positive impact on my life. I’m sure all of you have and are blessed to know women of similar quality. All of you take some time between now and Sunday to indulge in a bit of commercialism that can only make those women in your life feel as special to you as they are.

I can’t do enough to express the gratitude and appreciation that I feel for my mother and other mothers and how much they mean to me. Since I became a full time patient, I’ve had nurses who are single mothers that have come into my life, working hard to raise their children while taking time to care for people like myself in the process. They have come to mean so much to me. I admire them. They have been blessed to have the kind of father that I have had, a father who has been with my mother for the 56 years of my life, supporting her and helping her to raise my brother, sister, and myself. These women treat me with kindness, work for me with constancy, and have helped me stay alive. They’ve invigorated me and inspired me to feel worthy and to continue to be the best person I can be.

I recognize these qualities because my mother, grandmothers, and sister raised, encouraged and molded me with them. They also showed me the kind of human qualities, energy and receptiveness that make it possible for us to have the kind of relationships that we have. You’re blessed that way too. Believe it, depend on it, rejoice in it, and utilize it! It’ll make all the difference in your life and those lives that you care so much about and that you come in contact with.

I love all of you for being with me all these years in the various capacities in which we are connected. Once again, take some time to indulge in commercialism and make those people that mean the most to you and do the most for you feel special and loved. Try to remember that your friend and brother DJ encouraged you to do so and know that I’ll be doing it with as many as I can right along with you.

God bless all your mothers and sons and daughters. I love you all.

Looking forward to the holidays (with Love and Happiness)

This is my time of year.  55 years old, and I still love Thanksgiving and Christmas.  These are times when love, understanding, charity, and support are at their utmost.  Yeah, it’s commercial, but it’s good commercial.  We need it.  I need it!  I love and need all of you.  I’m so thankful for all the support, continued life, and just being a part of the world, enjoying the good parts and sharing the tough parts together.

So many things are happening in our individual and collective lives.  I hope things get better for the world and our nation.  Too many senseless killings!  So much trouble facing Obama, mainly in his work.  The government shutdown was certainly something.  I hope ObamaCare helps people and turns into something good.  People need health care and security.  It doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to do much more, except manage emergencies and crises when they happen and support people during these times.

I think due to racism, the deck was stacked against him.  The Republican Congress and I am sure even some “moderates” believe that he needed to be kept under control.  But I don’t believe anyone should recommend suffocating a president’s good intentions and ideas.  It’s still been a great experiment and I’m glad that we’ve been alive together in the U.S. to experience the first African American President.  He’s been the personification of grace, intelligence, and dignity.  In 2014, we have the opportunity to give him some help to accomplish some more things and get us ready for Hilary.  I’m looking forward to being here and being with you to work this through.

Congratulations to Cory Booker.  I’m sorry that in this year of great accomplishment, he’s lost two of the most important people in his life, who were there to support and nurture.  He’s going to do good things.  He’s been strong, in spite of his losses.  I haven’t been able to get to him, but I’m still in L.A. with Magic Johnson, one of the great people that I’ve met in my life.  It’s amazing how winning and happiness follow his smile and personality.  The Dodgers did some great things this year.  Who knows what’s going to happen next year.  I’m looking forward to the upcoming  basketball season and enjoying the football season as well.  How about those Kansas City Chiefs!

I’ve been feeling challenged in my stomach, but I still have good doctors and good support from family and friends.  God willing, “every little thing’s gonna be alright.”  So don’t worry.  Keep praying for me though.   I’ve also got some friends going through some challenges.  They’re great people, and I know they’re going to be alright.  I hope to be here to support them and love them through it.  God is good, all the time.  And with sunshine, there’s got to be some rain.

I’m still trying to get some nurses that will encourage and support me getting out and being with my people.  Hope to do some of that during the holidays.  Would love to see some music.  Look forward to seeing my boy Wynton again.  He just had another birthday, and he keeps accomplishing so many things.

Looking forward to seeing people at my place if I can’t get out to see them, and looking forward to staying in touch with all of you.

Thanks for reading me and loving me.  I’ll be in touch.

Much love always,
DJ

Memorial Day Weekend

It’s a great time to remember people that you love and that have meant so much to you.  I have a number of people I think of often and memories and thoughts of them make my life much easier and more comfortable.  I think it’s important to think not only of people that have passed but also people that you haven’t seen lately.  All these memories shape the person that you are.  This is a good weekend to remember the past, acknowledge the present, and appreciate the future.  Take some time to reach out to people who mean the most to you.  Let them know how you feel about them and how much you care.  Share with them the recollections of those who have gone on.  Acknowledge with them the memories you share with them.  I love you all for being in my life and for making it better for me.

Mother’s Day 2013

You guys know that Mother’s Day is my second favorite holiday, next to Christmas.  I’ve been so blessed to have such a wonderful mother.  She’s been the ultimate for me my whole life.  She encouraged me as a child and has supported me throughout my adulthood.  She raised me to have faith in God.  She has helped me to stay alive and to keep me inspired and motivated.  I was blessed to have a great-grandmother and grandmother that supported our family development and helped us all to reach success.  They will never be forgotten.  Were it not for these women, so much of my life would not be possible.

All of us are blessed to have mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and aunts that mean so much to us.  God provided them to nurture and encourage us through life’s challenges.  We may not have all of them, but they all represent a certain kind of support and kindness that helps us make the best of our lives.  They help us to become better people.  I’ve been so blessed to have representatives from all of these categories impact heavily on my life.  I was encouraged by the main man in my life, my father, to revere and support my mother, like he did.  We were taught to be there for that unique person who would provide us that extra sustenance, emotionally and spiritually.

I’ll be 55 in July thanks to my mom and the legion of support that she’s encouraged around me.  I have lived longer than many people in my circumstances.  All of you receiving this message have contributed significantly to my accomplishments and well-being.  I know through our interactions that you’ve had substantial women in your lives that have made major contributions and a big difference.  Please take advantage of this holiday to extend your regards, bestow your appreciation and remember with reverence these women that mean so much to you.

Thank you all for being in my life, and I extend my greatest appreciation to those women that have made you the kind of people that mean so much to me and others.