Twenty years ago today, on December 1, 1998, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved the addition of sexual orientation to the county’s human rights ordinance. The battle many had fought over the past year culminated in victory. A temporary achievement since the hateful Christian Coalition worked to place the decision on the ballot the following year. They lost.
For over a year, I helped increase awareness, raise money, conduct outreach, lobby politicians, debate homophobes, and granted countless interviews to the media. I was called vile names by those professing their Christianity often enough my dislike for the religion became permanent. To this day, any mention of Christian values makes me frown.
On that fateful morning, my boyfriend and I awoke in darkness and were in front of the Commission chambers by sunrise. With hateful chants as background, I spoke to National Public Radio, The New York Times, the Voice of America, Armed Forces Radio, and who knows how many more outlets in both English and Spanish. My fifteen minutes of fame thanks to the marketing people thinking I spoke well and came across as a level-headed individual. Ha! Seeing my name on the front page of the Times and listening to the NPR report the following morning was a thrill. I still have the newspaper and a cassette of the radio show.
However, the most wonderful part of the experience was working with the men and women who made the day’s events possible. Maybe it was not on par with the promise made by the signers of the Declaration of Independence to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor,” but to me it was close. The time and financial commitment made by many propelled us to victory.
Liebe Gadinsky stands out amongst all. The mother of two and her husband became friends, and although we rarely communicate these days, I will treasure the time I spent with them for as long as I live. Liebe and Seth were proof that the fight for our humanity was not limited to GLBT community members, but encompassed caring individuals who felt discrimination was unjust.
Many of you dislike and dismiss political involvement, I read the comments often enough when I posted a story revolving around a presidential campaign. As an aside, my involvement back then influenced much of what I wrote in that book. I would like you all to remember that without drag queens fighting in front of the Stonewall Inn in 1969 or volunteers canvassing throughout Miami in 1998, most of us would be hiding in the back of a closet too scared to live. Go out, give money, volunteer, make phone calls, write letters; do whatever it takes to elect individuals who will not treat us as second-class citizens.
It was the experience of a lifetime and I am grateful I was part of such a momentous event. My participation also allowed me to keep a promise I made when the Anita Bryant-backed forces led to the overturn of a similar ordinance in 1977. I swore that if the issue arose again, I would not remain quiet. I am glad I did not.
I’ll close with Margaret Mead’s words: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has”
Although nearly 15 years old, this New York Times article still provides a good description of my city.
I dug it up after walking through closed-to-traffic Wilton Drive—the town’s main street—during the Stonewall Festival this past weekend.
The outrageous outfits, loud music, and alcohol consumption were still there, but what grabbed my attention was something else. Lots of kids, from infants in baby carriages to slightly older ones walking with their parents—both same-sex couples and heterosexual ones. Corporate America and governmental institutions amongst those with booth displays. Police officers from neighboring cities who volunteered to work the festival to show their support for the gay community. These are all signs our lives as outlaws are nearing the end. That the GLBT community is becoming an integral part of the melting pot. And that it does get better thanks to the struggle of those who came before us.
I suspect some readers may consider the cast I surrounded CJ—the protagonist in my ongoing series—unrealistic. The diverse group of supporting characters could be construed as wishful thinking at a time our country seems divided along so many lines. I beg to differ.
IT IS NOT A FANTASY.
A few weeks ago, I traveled to New York to celebrate my 60th birthday; I was reminded how lucky I’ve been with the people I’ve surrounded myself with. A caring, loving group of humans, the world would be better if we had more like them.
Brunch at an apartment in the Upper East Side, a museum visit to see the David Bowie exhibit, cocktails at a hipster pub in Brooklyn, and ice cream at a place where the line doubled upon itself and spilled out the door. And through it all, constant conversation and laughter.
One person I’ve known for forty years, their spouse around thirty. Another one I met thirty-five years ago when we joined the same board of directors; their spouse I met a decade later. One is a fan of my stories on Gay Authors—my work having fans is the weirdest feeling—and we’ve chatted for a couple of years but this was our first live interaction. The other two—a father and son duo—I met for the first time that day.
The seven individuals I spent time with on that one day are proof the world I describe isn’t fantasy. We were adults and children, men and women, gays and straights, married and single, Christians and Jews, Asian, black, Hispanic, and white, USA and foreign-born.
Many of them had only me in common when the day began. When we parted, contact information had been exchanged by most of them. Those few hours we shared are proof we all can get along. That the melting pot is alive and well. And that when we look past our differences, we might just discover a wonderful person who will enrich our lives.
I know those surrounding me that day have made me a better man and I thank them for it.
Fascinating article about an author rewriting her first book after a barrage of negative Tweets.
The over-the-top reactions by some of her fans don't surprise me. An idiot on GA lambasted me when I had the chutzpah to call out an author he liked. He claimed she was trying. Well, if she was trying then she would have appreciated my telling her what she wrote was crap. She did. And she earned my respect by acknowledging she didn't have any knowledge of what she was writing about and asking for help.
I'm a firm believer in honesty when reviewing. There are a handful of GA authors I don't bother with because they seem to whine whenever anyone says anything about their work that isn't absolute praise. Keira Drake seems to be the type to pay attention to what readers say even if it's not laudatory. Unless as authors we're willing to listen to what others find wrong with our work, we'll never improve. Maybe I'm weird, but I'd rather hear how something I wrote doesn't make sense so I can improve.
So, what do y'all think?
It wasn't the best of years, it wasn't the worst of years. But it was the definitely a shorter year. Okay, fine. It was only 24 hours shorter than the previous one, but it sure felt like it went by in the blink of an eye. I think it's age related.
Two years ago tomorrow, on January 1, 2015, I posted the first chapter of CJ's story. Two years, 119 chapters, and over half-a-million words later, the damn kid's wormed his way into my heart. And apparently, he's had a similar effect on some of you.
Some initial readers abandoned the story; I assume something I wrote didn't sit well with them. Others have come on board, read from the beginning, and are now clamoring for more. To each of you, lapsed, current, and future fans, my thanks. Your reactions, comments, and reviews are treasured. It's gratifying to know I've been able to entertain and at times move some of you, my apologies if I disappointed others at any point.
I'm committed to finishing Georgetown, there are three more books in the works. Regardless of what I may have said, subsequent entries are possible but not guaranteed. A historical novel, relying on actual people, places, and events, is hard to write in the future. Georgetown concludes in May 2020 and I'm finding it difficult to exclude those little things which have been integral to the tale. Let's see how I feel after CJ graduates from college. Some of it will depend on what happens in the White House, Congress, and the State Department. Some, on how loud the characters scream.
What began as therapy for crippling depression has become a joy. I now have a cyber family on Gay Authors, and an imaginary one in CJ, Ozzie, Cesar, Brett, Ritchie and all the others. Both make me smile on a regular basis, something I didn't do much of when I started writing in the summer of 2014. Whatever I decide, please know I've come to appreciate you more than you can imagine and should the story continue, I promise to do my best to remain faithful to you and the characters. Maybe I'll even improve my writing some more.
From me and the Abello-Davenport-Liston-Peterson crowd, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
May 2018 bring you and yours health and peace. Everything else is secondary.
First Amendement to the U. S. Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
... even if the road is often long and painful.
I may have shed a tear or ten while reading this article
American Steel began with a double purpose: replying to selected GA prompts and sharing some of my motorcycling experiences. The collection of loosely-connected vignettes allowed for each chapter to stand on its own while still telling a wider ranging story.
The first six chapters were easy to write. I have the next six outlined and number seven partially written. However, I’m uncertain as to when those will be posted. I’ve tried juggling several stories at the same time before and I wasn’t happy with the results. They all suffered when I spread myself around.
Future chapters will carry a stronger connection to each other and I don’t want to rush them. I’m going to wait until I have them ready before posting. Plus, I’m trying to concentrate on Walls for now. The CJ series is at a point where I want it to be the best I can possibly produce and that takes work.
I don’t know when American Steel will return, but it will. The next chapter will take place in New Orleans and since I’ll be there in the summer, I may wait until then to finish it. You know, I may need to visit a bar or two for research purposes!
Forty years ago today, on January 20, 1977, I stood on the grounds of the Capitol freezing my butt off. The same weather system which had brought snow to my hometown of Miami the previous day had dumped inches of the white stuff on the nation’s capital; the cold seeped through the soles of my shoes making me shiver and bringing my group of friends into a huddle seeking warmth. Try having your feet stuck in snow for hours, when you’re used to warm South Florida winters, and you’ll know how uncomfortable I was. But we were not about to move; we were there to watch the inauguration of Jimmy Carter as the 39th President of the United States. As a freshman at Georgetown University I’d made friends with connections. Those contacts scored me tickets to the Gerald Ford Victory Celebration on election night the previous November. My friends and I milled about the hotel ballroom that night, drinking overpriced cocktails, watching the election results displayed on a screen behind the stage. We returned to our dorm disappointed our candidate had lost. The same congressman who gained us admission to the party on election night, came through with tickets for the inauguration of the man who I’d not voted for. But in the politically charged environment which was a university campus in Washington, DC it made no difference: we were witnesses to the peaceful transition of power from one party to another. An event our nation took for granted after almost 200 years and which many around the world envied. Today I find myself in a similar situation: a man I did not support will be inaugurated as president. I won’t be in Washington this time around, but I’ll be watching Donald Trump’s swearing in as the 45th President from home. Yes, I’ll be watching. No, I’m not happy it’s him taking the oath of office instead of his opponent. Yes, he’s my president. I’m an American first. My concern is for the nation as a whole. I may disagree with Mr. Trump in many areas, I may cuss at him and his policies, but he has my best wishes. If he fails, we all suffer. Some may suffer if he succeeds, but he won the election and he deserves an opportunity to show us what he can accomplish. I will support him when I agree with him, and I will speak out against him when I don’t. But I will continue to believe in the American system of government, flawed as it may be, and will continue to participate to the best of my ability. Because if I don’t, if I abdicate my responsibilities as a citizen, I give up the right to speak up and complain. Change is coming and I hope it surprises me. I hope our nation and our people are better off in four years than they are today. Good luck, Mr. Trump.
"The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation's highest civilian honor – it's a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better," Barack Obama
Asbury Park Press
Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.
This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I’m sorry we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.
But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together –- this vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign. You represent the best of America, and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life.
I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it too. And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort. This is painful, and it will be for a long time. But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love -- and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted.
We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America –- and I always will. And if you do, too, then we must accept this result -– and then look to the future.
Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.
Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things –- the rule of law, the principle that we’re all equal in rights and dignity, and the freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these things too -- and we must defend them.
And let me add: Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear: making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top; protecting our country and protecting our planet; and breaking down all the barriers that hold anyone back from achieving their dreams.
We’ve spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American Dream is big enough for everyone -- for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities.
Our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will.
I am so grateful to stand with all of you.
I want to thank Tim Kaine and Anne Holton for being our partners on this journey. It gives me great hope and comfort to know that Tim will remain on the front-lines of our democracy, representing Virginia in the Senate.
To Barack and Michelle Obama: Our country owes you an enormous debt of gratitude for your graceful, determined leadership, and so do I.
To Bill, Chelsea, Marc, Charlotte, Aidan, our brothers, and our entire family, my love for you means more than I can ever express.
You crisscrossed this country on my behalf and lifted me up when I needed it most –- even four-month old Aidan traveling with his mom.
I will always be grateful to the creative, talented, dedicated men and women at our headquarters in Brooklyn and across our country who poured their hearts into this campaign. For you veterans, this was a campaign after a campaign -- for some of you, this was your first campaign ever. I want each of you to know that you were the best campaign anyone has had.
To all the volunteers, community leaders, activists, and union organizers who knocked on doors, talked to neighbors, posted on Facebook - even in secret or in private: Thank you.
To everyone who sent in contributions as small as $5 and kept us going, thank you.
And to all the young people in particular, I want you to hear this. I’ve spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks -– sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too.
This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives.
To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.
I know that we still have not shattered that highest glass ceiling. But some day someone will -– hopefully sooner than we might think right now.
And to all the little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.
Finally, I am grateful to our country for all it has given me.
I count my blessings every day that I am an American. And I still believe, as deeply as I ever have, that if we stand together and work together, with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions, and love for this nation -– our best days are still ahead of us.
You know I believe we are stronger together and will go forward together. And you should never be sorry that you fought for that.
Scripture tells us: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”
My friends, let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart. For there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.
I am incredibly honored and grateful to have had this chance to represent all of you in this consequential election. May God bless you and god bless the United States of America.
Music's always been important to me. Even though I'm as tone deaf as you can get. While everyone's trying to figure out what a certain candidate for public office meant when he said the shackles had been removed, this is the first thing that came to my mind:
The Victore Calderon remix in his E=VC2 album is even better!
Bruce Sprinsteen has cancelled his upcoming show in North Carolina. He claims fighting bigotry and prejudice is more important than a rock show. I fell in love with him in 1976 when I went to a concert in the school gym. I'm a fan of his music but even more I'm a fan of his political activism.
The hoopla the NFL concocts around the championship game saved the day. The contest itself was mediocre. An overconfident young quarterback was hammered in a way he hadn't been all year, by the end you could tell he had given up. Who doesn't jump on a ball after a fumble?
Payton Manning should retire while on top. He's still a force to contend with at his age, but his best days are over. Remind me again why the Colts released him when they did? The man won his 200th game, more than any other quarterback ever in the league. Classy man headed straight into the Hall of Fame.
The half-time show was filled with subtle reminders Levi's Stadium is home to a team from San Francisco. There were rainbow flags and colors to remind us the City by the Bay has a thriving gay population. There were flowers and tie-dye designs evoking the Flower Power generation and the legacy of Haight-Ashbury. And there was Chris Martin, wearing a GLOBAL CITIZEN shirt during the performance, evoking the area liberal, humanitarian concerns. Clips of previous performances brought a smile to my face, although the back-toback shot of The Boss and The Big Guy was bittersweet. I'll think of Clarence Clemons everytime I see or hear a saxophone for as long as I live.
The commercials? Meh! Nothing special and I admit I missed a few while using the facilitiess.The old line held true: you only rent beer. Maybe it's the Miami Dolphin fan in me, but I did enjoy Dan Marino and Alec Baldwin sparring over their failure to win a championship or an Oscar.
Time to switch my attention to the NCAA--March Madness is around the corner--and the NBA.
When the idea for the CJ series began to take form in my mind, it was never meant to be a coming of age story about CJ. César was meant to be the main character. I wanted to explore how a father and son, both gay, would relate to each other, and to a circle of mostly gay friends.
Although the little bastard stole the limelight, and my heart along with it, the original intent is still very much at the center of the stories. A group of gay friends, unapologetic for their sexuality, interacting in a way not often seen in gay literature. Instead of placing the story in a small town, Washington, DC serves as the primary location for the events being related.
My guys will not hide behind the old ‘my sexuality is private’ line, so often employed by closeted men. They’re willing to show their affection for each other, in private and in public, without shame. Although people tend to align themselves with others with similar traits, the men of CJ are varied. And not only based on ethnicity, religion, or economic status. Monogamy, cheating, drugs, bisexuality and group sex are all part of the story, as they are a part of real life.
This is also not a purely romantic story, romance is part of it but melodrama is not. Or an adventure story, even though a couple of cliffhangers along the way may leave you panting, and ready to kill the bloody author. In the end, it’s still what I initially set out to write. The life and times of a bunch of guys who happen to be gay. And their sexuality most definitely affects how they live their lives.
Winter, the third installment, will begin posting on 1 January 2016. Everyone should by now know part of the story will take place in Australia, with JP, Tom, César, Brett, and CJ spending Christmas and welcoming 2014 there. Their trip will be seen almost entirely from CJ’s point of view; his reactions to the places they visit, and the people they, meet will predominate. There’ll be a few new characters, and a couple of them will stick around long term.
I look forward to hearing what readers like and don’t like. I do pay attention, and more than once, your comments have influenced future events. So please, don’t be shy about telling me what you think. The good, the bad, and the ugly―I want to hear it all!
Kudos to all those brave enough to make the decision. There's strength in numbers.
May I see the day when a person's sexual orientation is no longer newsworthy...
Guess what was added to my grocery shopping list for tomorrow. The American Family Association and One Million Moms are alreadey complaining about the ad, so I think I'm going to support the company supporting real, real, life, and buy me some Star Wars soup!
No matter what our kids and the new generation think about us, WE ARE AWESOME !!!! OUR LIFE IS LIVING PROOF !!!! · To Those of Us Born 1950 - 1979 TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 50's, 60's 70's and 80's!!
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints..
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.
As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.
Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon.
We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight.. WHY? Because we were always outside playing...that's why!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.. No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were OKAY.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem
We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping pong paddles, or just a bare hand and no one would call child services to report abuse.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas..
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. If YOU are one of them, CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.
While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were. Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?
Two years ago today I joined Gay Authors.
I came here following an author from another site who quickly abandoned GA. I stayed behind. I stayed because I'd discovered Circumnavigation and the CAP series. Hooked on the stories, I read, reviewed, and eventually ventured into the forums. My interactions there were less than satisfactory and after a while, I drifted away.
Fast forward a year, I'd started writing a story for myself, never thinking of publishing it, but I did share a couple of chapters with a friend in New Zealand. He asked for more and urged me to post it online. I received the same encouragement from a couple of authors I corresponded with after they read the beginning of Summer.
I came back to GA then, posted a sneak peek and received some wonderful advice and encouragement. My search for an editor for the story took some time but eventually Mann Ramblings agreed to work with me. I can't even remember how that came about (Can you Mann?) but boy did I luck out. I sat on the story for a couple of months while he helped me turn it into something worth publishing, it eventually went live on 1 January 2015. Guess readers liked it, the views, likes, and reviews starting coming in. Autumn, Book 2 of the series has been well received also and once again, Mann is a big part of the reason for that.
While waiting for Summer to be ready, I scribbled a few other things and once again lucked out when Kitt agreed to work with me. A prompt response turned into a short science fiction tale, which left me with a couple of great characters who have now been featured in several other stories. I got big for my britches and attempted an Anthology story.
Although it was well received by most readers, It garnered some sharp but honest criticism from a few experienced hands around GA. Yes, Cia, my butt still smarts from that spanking. But I appreciated those people took the time to read and comment, paid attention to what they had to say, and hopefully my writing has improved because of it.
There have been ups and downs over the past two years. Sometimes I've screamed at GA and its idiosyncrasies, and become frustrated. But I'm still around and plan to remain as long as they let me. I'm looking forward to the coming year. I hope y'all keep enjoying my writing. Let me know if you do or don't. My ego's not one of the fragile ones which will get bruised if you tell me you didn't like something.
OUT Loud At Last is a photo campaign in response to Adam Bouska's NOH8 campaign. We are “removing the tape” and celebrating the legalization of Gay Marriage in the U.S.! I was in NYC when the SCOTUS ruling hit the press, and I immediately wanted to celebrate by having a photoshoot. My Friends Kayla O’keefe and Schyler Conaway helped form the idea of “removing the tape” to reveal a rainbow and show our pride in finally being able to live OUT Loud At Last.
Those are the words of photographer Jenna Pinchbeck, excerpted from an article in Philly Gay Calendar. To read the entire interview, go here:
Pictured is Brian Sims, a Democrat representing Center City Philadelphia's 182nd District in the House of Representatives. In 2012 he became the first openly LGBT person ever elected to the General Assembly in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's 237 year history! :heart:
From Miami Herald Obituaries
By Howard Cohen hcohen@MiamiHerald.com
On Feb. 13, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department honored “not only members of the Greatest Generation” but “the Greatest Generation Plus.” Three South Florida Tuskegee Airmen of the 26 surviving members of the first all-black military flying unit that was formed in 1941 were honored that day at Miami International Airport.
And now there are 25.
Two days before Independence Day, on July 2, Lt. Col. Personal Name Williams died at his Kendall area home near The Falls at age 97. His companion of 17 years, Rosa White, was by his side.
“He made great choices in life,” White said. “This was a man who entered this world under adverse circumstances and encountered numerous others, nevertheless made decisions and choices that resulted in a level of success for himself and a record of providing assistance to others.” Indeed, after serving during World War II — after Congress passed an act in 1941 to compel the U.S. Army Air Corps to train blacks at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama — Williams once again served his country during the 1948 Berlin Airlift and again in the Korean War. “He was the embodiment of patriotism, and like his fellow Tuskegee Airmen, he faced great odds during World War II but completed his mission with a dignity and distinction that is befitting the veterans of the Greatest Generation,” Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González said in a statement.
Born in Washington County, Texas, on Nov. 2, 1917, Williams moved to Richmond Heights, a community in South Miami-Dade established for black serviceman returning from World War II, in 1949. He retired from military service in 1963. He would then reshape his adopted community in Miami. Williams taught physical education at Richmond Heights Middle School. Fitness and education, he decided early in life, would be means to a better future. Within two years, he was promoted to administrator, tasked with integrating Dade County public schools. He retired in 1985. Mentoring children became his life’s passion, according to White.
“He really talked about it a lot,” she said. “He was always concerned about children and the dropout situation. He wanted to see to it that the school system had some programs for these kids who dropped out of schools. That was his big thing.”
But Williams’ role as one of the Tuskegee Airmen eventually brought him overdue acclaim. President George W. Bush presented Williams and the other living airmen the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, inside the Capitol Rotunda in 2007.
“The Tuskegee Airmen helped win a war, and you helped change our nation,” Bush told the honorees.
Two years later, Williams was among the airmen who received a special invitation to attend President Barack Obama’s inauguration. “At the time of the draft, I was a senior in college,” Williams recalled before a group of Miami school children in 2009 while being honored by the Homestead/Florida City Human Relations Board. He told the kids of earning his degree in education from Xavier University in New Orleans in 1941 before joining the military. “All around, there are signs that say blacks and whites. In spite of the difficulties, you still carried out your job.” Williams was first commissioned as Second Lieutenant on Miami Beach in 1942. At Officer Candidate School on the Beach, his classmate was Hollywood screen legend Clark Gable. Williams wasn’t afforded the respect a white actor would enjoy in that era. On graduation day, families rushed the stage to pin the U.S. flag on the graduates’ beige jackets.
But in Miami Beach, in 1942, blacks were not welcomed. Without fanfare, Williams calmly placed his jacket on the sand, squatted before it, and quietly pinned the flag on his jacket.
He was assigned to the Tuskegee Institute, where an army doctor grounded him, citing “poor eyesight.”
Call it just another one of the “oddball things” that happened as he was “trying to get [my] wings” in a segregated country, Williams recalled in a 2011 Miami Herald feature.
As a captain, Williams trained Tuskegee Airmen who flew overseas to escort bomber planes across Europe. No bomber plane would be shot down while under Tuskegee Airmen protection. Though he didn’t make it overseas — “I wanted to go because if you are on the team, you want to play,” he once said — he flew at the Tuskegee Institute and served as a flight instructor until the end of World War II.
“For years, I thought what else could I have done to change the course of events,” Williams pondered in a 2011 Herald feature. “The laws at the time just did not allow for much to happen. But when you look up at an airplane in the sky, you can’t tell if a pilot is black or white.”
In addition to White, Williams is survived by his daughter Catherine. Services are pending, and Williams will be interred at Arlington Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Miami Tuskegee Airmen, P.O. Box 172072, Hialeah, Fl. 33017.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/obituaries/article26699983.html#storylink=cpy
The USA team gets to split $2 million for winning the World Cup. The German team who won the Men's cup split $35 million. A tad of a difference.
Everything I've read tells of FIFA treating the women as the unwanted step-children. From the prize money, to accommodations, to playing fields. The almighty dollar is the reasoning behind it they claim. The ladies don't bring in the amount of revenue the men do according to the ruling organization.
The number of women playing soccer in the US, from elementary school through the college ranks, is astronomical. Yet the high participation has failed to morph into ladies putting their butts on stadium seats or in front of a TV in large numbers. Men, on the other hand, will spend the day watching games and ignore anything else going on around them (or so I've been told when I forget to return calls or be on time while a game's on.)
Is this one of those areas where women are from Venus and men are from Mars? Is parity possible at all?