Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

For Such A Time As This...Harold Moses Love, Jr.

Harold M. Love, Jr. (Rev. Harold Moses, Jr. as folks remind me on 760 AM) was told some time ago to “wait his turn” when he sought counsel about running for public office. The son of a politician and minister, Love had been on the campaign trail before. Love was very familiar with “don’t upset the apple cart” rhetoric that can behoove younger, ambitious potential candidates who are deemed a threat to the established older black (and white) incumbents.

But after much prayer and internal wrestling, he threw his hat in the ring to run for the Tennessee House 58 District seat. His campaign captured the attention of those who were desperate for a change and needing to see a leader who put service above self. Constituents had voiced wanting leadership that was hands on and capable of being engaged.

Many had not forgotten Love’s non-stop heroic efforts to serve and meet the physical and spiritual needs of those who were flooded in the West Hamilton Road area during the historic flooding of Nashville in the 2010. The West Hamilton area was off the media’s radar. He helped steer efforts to bring food, water, and clothing to those in need and to help many with the endless FEMA paperwork process. His work in the community was often overlooked but was rewarded overwhelmingly by Nashvillians who voted Love 2010 Nashvillian of the Year by the Nashville Scene.

Love’s ability to navigator the often complicated political,community,and social unwritten, code speak rules, while remaining true to himself is what many find intriguing about Love. Even Love’s critics have taken note. His devotion to Tennessee State University, during good times and bad, keeps him busy trying to keep positive news about the school at the forefront in spite of the never ending negative press it gets because of the mountain of internal conflicts. His involvement in many civic groups keeps him in the community, out front and behind the scenes.

I do not buy the ‘anyone but Mary’ mantra that was chanted by some during this campaign season. Anyone is never worthy of getting votes. In a year of one of the most divisive political seasons that I had the displeasure to cover nationally, regionally, and locally, it is good to see someone who understands the game of politics but has the greater good of the people as the motivating reason to run for office. That is rare in today's politicians. Two years will come and go quickly. Rep. Harold M. Love, Jr.'s leadership will be a breath of fresh air. At this time in Tennessee state politics, his leadership is needed.

Heritage, History, Quilts, and My Grandmother

Where did my summer go? The time flew by quickly but I am basking with the memories that I made with my grandmother over the summer. My initial summer plans were drastically altered after the Frist Center for the Visual Arts opened the Creation Story: Gee’s Bend Quilts and the Art of Thornton Dial. I went to media day with the expectation of seeing another great exhibit by the museum that I love dearly.

I had not expected to experience, at the media preview, the tidal wave of emotions that overcame me when I walked into the exhibit. Seeing the proud work of the women of Gee’s Bend hung throughout the Ingram Gallery, watching Mr. Dial sit quietly with his family, and reading the stories that accompanied the work of Bill Traylor left me in awe and grateful to the organizers of the exhibit. Each piece of art work spoke to my heritage of being raised and influenced by strong willed women in Mississippi who made a way out of no way; who saw beauty when others saw thrash or garbage; and who pushed the importance of reading as if your life depended on it. Many times, it did. By the time I made it through the colorful historical quits, Thornton Dial’s huge pieces, and the drawings of Bill Traylor, my eyes fought and lost the battle with tears. My face was revealing my internal conflict.

My tears flowed freely for people who are hidden away in rural communities all over the South. My tears were for those who created masterpieces with no formal art training, even less education. My tears were for the stories that were being told through art that embraced history and culture with abandonment. All of the art made me proud of being born and raised in the rural South. But there was a special bonding with the quilts that happened instantly. The quilts whispered my name as I stood in front of them admiring the delicate but strong workmanship. At one point, I closed my eyes tightly and visualized my grandmother sitting in her favorite chair stitching fabric together chatting away as she blocked out the world that could be cruel to a group of people tucked away in the middle of nowhere.

The exhibits awaken in me a deep longing to see my grandmother immediately. I called home several times after the media preview discussing the exhibition to my grandmother. I could hear the smile in her voice as I described the quilts to her. My grandmother added to my excitement by sharing about her grandmother who quilted also. My grandmother’s grandmother, named Big Mama, was dearly loved by our family. Her long snowy white braided hair was as famous as she. Big Mama had lived with much notoriety being one of the oldest Mississippian living for several years. She lived to the ripe young age of 109! One of Big Mama's quilts is at the Smithsonian Institute. The story of my grandmother's grandmother and my grandmother's mother history of quilting is written about in the book A Communion of Spirits by Roland L. Freeman.

My grandmother, her mother, Ma Dear; and her grandmother, Big Mama; were known quilters in our small community. My grandmother shared with me how Big Mama taught her to quilt and Ma Dear taught one of my aunts to sew. My grandmother tells me that every time we are together. But each time, I listen as if I heard it for the first time. The more my grandmother talked about her grandmother, the more I prepared for a trip home to visit my grandmother. It was two weeks from the opening of the Frist Center's Creation Story until I laid eyes on my precious grandmother.

When I walked into the nursing home where my grandmother resides, she was sitting with her back to me in the dining hall. I sneaked up behind her and whispered in her ear, “surprised!” She looked up at me and said with conviction, “I knew you were coming home!” Giving her a big hug, I realized that not only are we alike in many ways, but we have a wireless connector that speak the unspoken between the two of us. “I could hear it in your voice,” she said with a smirk. My visit home was timed perfectly to celebrate her birthday.

I spent the next few days tending to my grandmother’s every whim, spoken and unspoken. Nails manicured, new clothes, pearls, and a new do were all on the list of fun things to do with my grandmother. We celebrated her birthday in style. I invited everyone in town to come, and it felt like all they showed up. My grandmother loved the attention and was glowing from the kind words shared by many at her birthday extravaganza.

Over the next few days, we discussed quilting, “po’ people luxury items”, politics, and other colorful topics that keep me writing for years to come. She shared Ma Dear and Big Mama stories as well. Town gossip was not left off the list. We laughed at the unrepeatable and shucked and jive like two hens. My days with my grandmother came to an end much too quickly.

As my attention turned to the long goodbye, my grandmother told me, “Take what is yours back to Nashville.” Yours was a Grandfather clock that my grandmother had promised me throughout my childhood. She had mentioned the clock to me on several occasions over the years but I usually declined stating that I would get it when “that” happened. Thinking about losing my grandmother and gaining a clock was not something I found easy to talk about. The clock was not a material possession for me but a reminder of the precious time spent with my grandparents over the years and the quality of time they invested in their grandchildren, not one, but all of us.

After seeing the Gee's Bend exhibit at the Frist Center, this visit home was different. The Gee Bend’s Quilts reminded me of the importance of cultural heritage and an appreciation of family keepsakes. I called my aunts to discuss the clock going back with me and to my joy all cheered that I was finally taking possession of the clock. As I kissed my grandmother good-bye and hugged her not wanting to let go, I told her I was getting the clock. She smiled brightly and said “Don’t forget to grab you a quilt from the closet.”

As I entered my grandparents’ home on the way out of town, memories of my grandfather and grandmother came flooding back. I sat in my grandfather's chair remembering him and choked back tears at the thought of facing life without my grandmother. My aunts had cleaned and neatly organized my grandmother’s treasures. I walked over and touched the clock. The power of years of patriarchal and matriarchal love permeated me. I went into my grandmother’s bedroom and in the corner were hats that she had worn over the decades in decorative hat boxes with my name on them. Some were hats that I had given her as gifts over the years. Along with my grandmother's hats were my grandfather's fedoras he had worn daily. The boxes of hats left me stunned. I cried as I loaded the items into my truck. The priceless clock was wrapped tightly and secured. The hat boxes and bins covered the entire back cab.

My grandmother words to me before I left the nursing came to mind. I ran back into the house and opened one of her closets filled with clothes and coats. At the top of the crowded space were blankets, quilts, and comforters. I smiled to myself as I thought about my grandmother being a woman of meager means but was known for having “nice things”. I slowly unfolded a quilt from the shelf. Volunteering at the Frist made me instinctively looked around for a pair of white gloves as I handled a masterpiece. What a priceless gift I was given, a much used and very faded quilt from my grandmother.

I was deep in thought as I made my way back to Nashville. I was mentally planning another visit to my grandmother sooner than usual. I wanted to spend as much time listening to her stories and laughing about the unrepeatable. My truck was loaded with treasure rich with family history. I could not wait to get them home to start telling stories and gathering family keepsakes to pass along to my children's children.

The grandfather clock represented precious commodity call time, it's priceless value, and how everyone’s life is measured. The hats showed me how my grandparents were still giving me their best even though one is no longer with me. My grandmother’s quilt gave me a sense of responsibility to document the history and culture of my family and my community.

When I returned home, I saw the Creation Story exhibit again (and again and again). Each time I left the show, I was reminded of the power of God and how he created the women in my life who are unique and wonderfully made. My great-great grandmother, great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and aunts all made a way out of the no way and have given me spoken and unspoken directions all of my life. Like the Gee's Bend Quilts on display at the Frist Center, the women in my family are truly works of art.

The Creation Story: Gee's Bend Quitls and the Art of Thornton Dial and Bill Traylor
Drawings from the Collections of the High Museum of Art and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

May 24-September 3

For More Info on the Folk Art Exhibit at the Frist Center click here and here.

Photo Credits: Genma Holmes

Friday, August 17, 2012

Living Your Best Life at East Side Story Book Store with Authors Christopher Scott and Eric Higgs

Now that one of Nashville largest outdoor festivals, Tomato Art Feast, is over; Genma Holmes invites you to come back to "east side" to enjoy the shoppes and food venues in the area.

Join Living Your Best Life at East Side Story Book Store, 1108 Woodland Street, as we spotlight a local author and his brother and trendy Nashville entrepreneurs who think outside of the box with businesses that have revitalized a community by thriving economically.

On Saturday, August 17,2012 Christoper Scott, co-author of Honor Thy Mother, Find Thy Father, along with his brother, Eric Higgs, will share a powerful story about reconciliation and redemption. Honor Thy Mother, Find Thy Father is a true story of two brothers who set out on a journey to find their father. In the process, they found each other, other siblings, and a deeper sense of self. Christopher and Eric were also able to answer questions about who they are and where they came from. A story steeped in love and forgiveness, they will talk about how their lives have changed, for the better, since meeting their father and the challenges they encountered on the road to forgiveness and wholeness.

Living Your Best Life, is a radio show that empowers, inspires, and motivates one to live their BEST life. Living Your Best Life can be heard on 760 The Gospel in the Middle TN Region, Inspirational Networks, military bases, and UStream.TV from 9-10AM CST.

More About Christoper Scott

Christopher R. Scott currently serves as President\CEO of Point of Contact Concierge Services in Nashville, Tennessee. Point of Contact provides temporary personal assistants and service to company executives, celebrities, professional athletes and clergy, on both a national and international basis.

Over the past two decades he has honed his strong communications skills and acquired invaluable human resources (HR) and recruiting experience. In addition to Point of Contact, Christopher has held positions with Kelley Services, Randstad Staffing, Nursing Resource Solutions and Anthem Career College.

Christopher’s passion is helping men see and reach their full potential and has reached out to the community as a volunteer, donating countless hours working with the Nashville Rescue Mission and many other transitional homes for men.

Christopher resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Tonia and has four children, Christopher (CJ) 25, Desmond 22, Jeffrey 21, Trenity 12.

More About Eric Higgs

Eric D. Higgs currently serves as the Marketing Director for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center,in Cincinnati Ohio. The mission of the institution is to reveal stories of freedom’s heroes from the era of the Underground Railroad to contemporary times, to inspire you to take courageous steps for freedom today.

With 17 years P&G professional experience, Eric’s career has spanned a variety of assignments and disciplines including Marketing and Product Supply. Eric started his career at Procter and Gamble in 1994 spending 10 years in manufacturing and engineering working in several locations in the US and in Canada. Eric moved to Marketing in 2004 and has served in many roles including: Associate Brand Manager for Bounty; Brand Manager for Ethnic Scale where he helped to launch the “My Black is Beautiful’ initiative, recognized by Ad Age as Ten Most Influential Marketing programs; Brand Manager for the $2B NA Bounty business, delivering 2 consecutive years of record business results, and most recently he served as the Associate Marketing Director for Global Fabric Care Innovation. He holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana (1994) and a MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University (2004).

Outside of work, Eric is involved in several activities ranging from social to philanthropic. Eric currently serves on the Fuqua School of Business’ Minority Alumni Board and the Fatherhood Initiative for the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc, – Beta Iota Chapter in Cincinnati. Eric is a passionate football, basketball, baseball and Destination Imagination Coach for his three sons.

Eric Higgs is a Chicago native but proud to call Cincinnati & Mason, OH home. Eric is married to Jennifer and they have three sons, Isaiah (13), Elijah (11) and Noah (7). They attend New Jerusalem Baptist Church.

More About East Side Story Book Store

Nashville is rich with talented writers who can ignite, teach, and encourage the spirit of writing in others.

East Side Story will provide a platform for Nashville writers to tell their best story. This quaint bookstore is located in the Idea Hatchery next to the Arts & Invention Gallery at 1108 Woodland Street (Unit B). Doors opened on August 11th, 2012 during the popular Tomato Art Fest!

If a local author is interested in submitting work, or supporting the mission of East Side Story, please contact Chuck Beard at 615-915-1808 or @eastsidestorytn on Twitter.

Store Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 1-6pm | Saturdays, 11-5pm

Saturday, August 11, 2012

East Side Story Book Store is Open for Business

Watching a friend open a new business has got to be one of life's greatness moments. Watching Chuck and Emily Beard open East Side Story, a new book store in East Nashville, is more than a great moment. It has been another adventure in my life with the Beards. I am not quite sure when our mutual love of all things art and networking with each other became a deeper friendship. Somewhere between volunteering and creating, we became family.

The Beards have decided to become business owners that will encompass all of their talents into one brightly blue painted store at The Shops of Woodlands. Emily's artwork, t-shirt designs, and jewelry are neatly arranged on stands and bins. Chuck's first book, Adventures Inside a Bright-Eyed Sky, is stacked in a bookcase that features Nashville authors from every genre; Romance, How To, Children, Horror, Weight Loss, Man Hunting, Women Loving, No the Hell You Didn't, Business Owners, Pray For It, Claim It, You Name It. Every subject is at East Side Story. All written by Nashvillians. Who knew Music City had so many published authors! For a minute, I could have sworn I had stepped into a songwriters showcase with no sheet music or musicians. The pages of hundreds of books were singing softly, "Read me, Genma, read me"!

I responded to the chorus I was hearing in my head by dialing as many authors that I knew to get over to 1108 Woodland Street before dark and by picking up several items to purchase. Chuck's decision to carry only local authors was a brilliant idea. I am certain the authors will return that loyalty by sending book lovers to East Side Story. Can you see entrepreneur of the year award already? I do!

As I took in the beauty of the scenery and admiring the hearts of new entrepreneurs, I could not help but swell with pride. I am so proud to know two love birds that compliment each other so well who are on a new journey in their life. I am so thankful and blessed that our paths crossed.

East Side Story opens for business officially today, Saturday, August 11,2012 at 9:00am at 1108 Woodland Street, Nashville, TN. I hope to see you there!

Chuck Beard on Living Your Best Life Radio discussing opening East Side Story last month can be found here.

Serial Entrepreneur Dana Body On Living Your Best Life With Genma Holmes

Join Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes and Mocha Market Magazine as we spotlight young, talented, and out of the box thinkers who are business and social change agents. From serial entrepreneurs who will not allow “no” to be a stumbling block on the road to success to leaders of organizations who challenge the status quo by leading by example to military men and women who are taking their military training that helped rebuild foreign countries and now applying their skills in their communities and in the marketplace. Tune in to hear best practices, how they became overcomers, and how they turned missteps into opportunities.

On Saturday, August 11, 2012, we will hear from the talented Dana Knight Body, founder and owner of Wifed Up clothing Line. Wifed Up is a new and edgy clothing line that shares positive messages about being the "Mrs." and promotes being happily married to the one you love. Dana, also a mother of two, will give us insights on how to go from idea to implementation. We will hear the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur and how to stay focused when others may not see your dreams and goals as clearly as you do. Dana will also share about growing up in a household filled with family members with many creative gifts.
Living Your Best Life, is a radio show that empowers, inspires, and motivates one to live their BEST life. Living Your Best Life can be heard on 760 The Gospel in the Middle TN Region, Inspirational Networks, military bases, and UStream.TV from 9-10AM CST.

More About

Wifed Up Clothing Line was founded in 2010. With a mix of soft fabrics, unique designs, poetry and lots of love, Wifed Up offers a fashionable voice for well deserving wives. Wifed Up promotes a "better life with a wife."

Dana Body, Founder & Owner of Wifed Up, has been married for 10 blessed years. With a Business Management degree from Alabama A&M University, she developed a successful career in Human Resources. As Benefits Manager for a restaurant chain, she handled health benefits for 23 locations over five states.

In 2009, Danna began noticing a blatant disrespect for the sanctity of marriage. There was a huge media frenzy around countless women that had affairs with married celebrity men. Long gone were the days when the woman on “the side” stayed in the dark. Being the other woman had gone mainstream. With lucrative tell-all book deals, TV and radio appearances galore, along with magazine features and photo shoots, pop culture had embraced the "business" of having an affair with no shame or ramifications! Dana noticed this frenzy overshadowed positive images about being married and raising a family.

Dana grew up with loving parents who have been married for over forty plus years. Only death separated her devoted grandparents. Dana saw firsthand the benefits of a healthy marriage that she wanted to model in her own marriage. Dana firmly believes that marriage is one of the foundations to rebuilding her community. She looked at ways to share the positive messages of being married in today's break-ups-makes-money driven media market place. After much research, she used her fashion savvy and entrepreneurial skills to launch Wifed Up.

Wifed Up strives to help showcase the beauty and importance of marriage while celebrating the backbone of the family unit which is the wife with her embellished and carefully worded tees. Dana's life shows us that a wife can remain beautiful over the years, still be her husband's best friend, and how a couple can raise children with the love, support and guidance needed today. So get Wifed Up..."better life with a wife".

Text INSPIRE to 99000 to win a free tee

Photo Credits: Wifed Up
Special Thanks to Dr. Barbara Bah Jones who put me in touch with this dynamic young lady.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Ty2 Foundation on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes


Audio of recorded show on Ustream can be found HERE

Join Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes as we profile organizations, leaders, and individuals who lead by example. With acts of kindness and charitable giving that help countless lives daily, these organizations and leaders embody "Be the change you want to see in the world".

On Saturday, August 4, 2012, we will hear about the extraordinary life of Ty Osman, II. Ty, affectionately known as "Ty2" or "lil' Ty" to many, succumbed to injuries he received on March 2, 2012. Ty, a freshman at Harding University, had gotten out of his vehicle to check on friends who had been rear ended by another vehicle. When Osman exited his vehicle, his vehicle was hit by an oncoming car. The news of Ty's death traveled around the world. His family, his church family, and friends from every corridor of the globe have been profoundly impacted by death.

Ty, the beloved son of Ty, Sr. and Nancy and brother of Adair and Kendall, had a true servant's heart. He loved people. While Ty's life here was way too short, he gave everyone around him examples on how to be a friend. He excelled at treating people right. Rich or poor, young or old, no one was a stranger to Ty. He loved being outdoors, enjoying the simple beauty of God's creation. He loved to hunt and fish as well. Ty enjoyed all types of sports from football to bowling. He ran track for Brentwood High School. Ty was known for his work ethics; he showed up early and stayed late. He touched the lives of so many with his never-ending smile and constant compassion for living life to the fullest. Before his death, Ty chose to be an organ donor. Because of his decision, eight individuals received life saving transplants after Ty's death.

Today's show will feature family friends who knew "Lil Ty's" heart for others, and how the Osman family have chosen to keep Ty's light shining brightly through the work and mission of the T2 Foundation. Listen as Terry Smith, a life coach and close personal friend of the Osman Family, give words of wisdom and comfort to those who may have loss a child or dealing with indescribable pain. Hear Gregg Turner, a partner at Solomon Builders, share about the work of the The Ty2 Foundation and his relationship with the Osman Family. Brant Bousquet, executive director of the Hard Bargain Association, will talk about the Ty Us 2gether service project that will benefit the Hard Bargain Neighborhood in Franklin, Tennessee.

Living Your Best Life, radio that empowers, inspires, and motivates you to live your BEST life, is heard on 760AM in the Middle Tennessee Region, the Inspirational Network, military bases and lived streamed at Ustream.TV from 9-10AM CST.

More About the Ty2 Foundation

The Ty2 Foundation has been created as a lasting memorial to the life of Ty Osman, II. Ty had a servant's heart and was a light to everyone around him. The foundation will allow his light to continue to shine and will serve the charities that profoundly impacted his life.

Ty's departure leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of those who love him, but also in the places and situations where he loved to work. Every kind word, every prayer spoken on behalf of him and his family is so deeply appreciated. But Ty's work isn't done. In his honor, the Ty2Foundation will make contributions to make sure that the good work continues. As an organ donor, Ty showed his care for others. Even through his death, he chose to give a better life to those around him. This foundation will carry that beautiful spirit far into the future.

Ty, Nancy, Adair and Kendall have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support they have received. This foundation has been established as their way of giving back. Many people and organizations have already stepped forward to provide support. This site will frequently provide updates about the foundation's efforts to honor Ty's life, while giving the glory to our Lord.

More About the Hard Bargain Association

The mission of Hard Bargain Association (HBA) is to impact lives and preserve history by restoring existing homes, building quality affordable housing, and revitalizing generational neighborhoods.

HBA is a grassroots, non-profit organization seeking to restore and redevelop Hard Bargain, a historic African American neighborhood, which has fought for over 100 years to be preserved.

The neighborhood is located on 15 acres, two square city blocks in downtown Franklin, Tennessee and totals over 80 households which are predominantly low income (60% or less of the median income of the Nashville Tennessee Metropolitan Statistical Area- MSA.)

By providing affordable homes for purchase, repairing existing homes and structures, and beautifying public spaces, our vision is to help transform the neighborhood into a vibrant community to be proud of for generations to come.

HBA is working together with the residents of this historic neighborhood to restore and rebuild it into what their vision is for the neighborhood and its future. We do this by having regular community meetings, design workshops, and having residents of the neighborhood on our board of directors and advisory board. Volunteers help in various ways including doing rehab projects on homes (repairs, painting, roofing, etc…) landscaping, gardening, clean up, fundraising events and other volunteer projects.

The emphasis is on restoring the current community and not allowing gentrification of this historic neighborhood. HBA repairs existing homes and offers quality, affordable homes for purchase to people who have not been able to attain the dream of home ownership. This is possible with the help of donated services and materials, volunteer labor, and financial contributions.

We looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:10

Solomon Builder's Culture

Strong values, broad experience and superb work ethics are only a few of the great characteristics that are shared by the family at Solomon Builders. From day one, their goal has been to find the “best of the best” people in this industry. Undoubtedly, the foundation and success of any company is the great people that make up that organization.

Photo Credits: Ty2 Foundation and the Osman Family
Hard Bargain Association
Studio pics of Terry Smith, Gregg Turner, and Brant Bousquet GSH Media

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nashville Politics: More Campaign Signs Than Voters

After several weeks on the road, I was thankful for being home long enough to make a trip to Howard School to cast my vote early. Voting on the first day of early voting has been a tradition for me. This year was one of those rare occasions because of my travel schedule; I was not able to vote on the first day. Voting early has been one of my ways of showing respect and honor for my grandfather’s lifelong civil rights activism. I made a vow to him once; I would never take my right to vote for granted. I must admit during my early years of voting, I was more concerned about not disappointing my grandfather than cherishing my right to vote. But by the time I became a young mother in my early twenties, voting became an act done because of my own value system that was developing. I am thankful for the foundation that my grandparents and parents helped form and the seeds that have taken root that has shaped me to believe that there are very few, if any, excuses for not voting.

When I arrived at Howard School, the parking lot was overflowing with campaign signs. Every political candidate on the ballot had at least two to three signs. There were also signs for the signs to remind the folks on the signs running for political office not to get their signs too close to the building where folks must vote. There were signs pointing the way to vote for those on the signs. Upon entering the building, there were more signs showing you where to stand in order to cast your ballot for any number of the sign owners.

With all the signs outside, one would think I would have been in a line around the parking lot. But instead of bodies of eager voters, there were only signs begging people to cast their votes. There were even more poll workers and employees than voters as well. As my heart filled with dismay, I could not help but ask one of the staffers about the early voter turnout traffic with so many signs outside. With a sigh, the staffer informed me that “the signs outnumbered the voters every day”. Those words hit me like a ton of bricks as I felt tears swell in my eyes. I tried hard to not cry on the spot as I began thinking of those who had fought and died for so many to have the privilege to vote.

My moment of sadness turned to disdain quickly when I thought of the number of individuals that have given interviews about voter suppression, yet the potential suppressed did not bother to show up to vote. Do I think it is right to find every nook and cranny by every barely gray and crooked endeavor to make it difficult for those to vote? No, I hate it with a passion. Do I believe in purging voters from voter rolls to swing voters one way or another? Absolutely, not. But I am surely not supporting individuals, groups, and organizations who sit back and not address constituents of any given community who will not show up to vote even if their lives depended on it. It is time to have candid conversation without any filters.

I "vote my interest". My family and friends hear me say this often. I vote for individuals who are concerned about what matters most in my life. Period. Nationally and regionally. National races are important but at the end of the day, folks elected to local and state offices affect my life and business more profoundly than those who go to DC. What do politicians in DC do anyway? Nothing. Absolutely, nothing.

In Nashville, sadly, local races rarely get large voter turnouts. The reasons are varied as the stars above. But when one deliberately chooses not to vote, your voice is useless in society in my opinion. Not voting is not limited to economics or race. I know many wealthy individuals, shamefully, who do not vote. And in the same vain of shamelessness, I also know far too many voters of color (who would not have been able to vote forty years ago) who do not vote as well.

I believe strongly voting comes down to an individual's value system about life. If you value voting, you vote. When you do not value voting, you will not show up to the polls even if your Mama was on the ballot.

Often times, those who value voting the least, voices need to be heard the most in a country that will overlook the voiceless quickly.

Below is a summary of the early voter turnout for Metro Nashville-Davidson County. Numbers don't lie.
Hopefully, on Thursday, August 2, 2012, the numbers would not look as dismal. In the meantime, pray. Please.
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