"Find the Flower that Blossoms"

"Find the Flower that Blossoms"
The Must read for 2011!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Check out my website!

I have a new website with a new blog attached to it! Visit me at www.abetterworld.me for updated blog comments and additional information about the fight to raise human consciousness!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Truth Hurts

So now that people are reading and finishing the book, some of the feedback I'm getting in these parts is about how intense the book is. People are saying they just can't believe the type of racism described in the book actually happens. Ok, I understand that. People don't know. That doesn't bother me, but what does irritate the you know what out of me is how arrogant some people are about racism. I don't claim to be the world's top expert on the subject, but I have studied and experienced it for my entire life. I have worked to eradicate it. I have earned a qualified perspective on the topic so what irritates me is when I express that qualified opinion and people who have absolutely no credentials immediately disagree with whatever I'm saying because it doesn't fit their Disneyland image of how they want to see this nation. My question for these people is if you haven't experienced it....If you haven't studied it....Where the hell does your information come from? Please don't say from people of color that you know because if they're giving someone as ignorant as you an opinion you can rest assured that its because they don't know anymore about the topic than you do. Stop doing that. You look and sound stupid. It would be the same as me arguing with a woman about pregnancy. Get a book, no...Get a number of books...Better yet, get a number of books, then do a number of seminars, get some degrees, than do work around the issue for a number of years.....Then you can come back and talk to me about it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spreading the word

It was fun being on television this morning talking about these issues. I hope from here to be able to generate some speaking engagements to get the word out further. There are so many reasons people can benefit from raising their consciousness around diversity issues. Its beneficial from a business as well as social perspective.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm appearing on "Good Morning Central Oregon"

Tuesday, March 22, at 6:30am. Channel 11 in Central Oregon through Bend Broadband. DVR, Tevo, check it out and let me know what you think?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why is the topic of racism like a powder keg?

There's probably no other topic that gets people more defensive and upset than the topic of racism in America. I would love to hear feedback from people expressing opinions why they think that is.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Article in 3/17/11 "The Source Weekly."

Black in Bend: Ahjamu Umi’s new novel tackles the issue of race in Central Oregon
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 13:42 Mike Bookey
We don’t talk about it. We, at this newspaper, don’t often write about it. But here it is: Central Oregon is a very white place. It’s possible, if not easy, to go through an entire day in Bend only seeing a few non-white faces. For those from larger cities, this can be weird. For those who’ve grown up here, it’s just life as usual.
But for Ahjamu Umi, this phenomenon is something he deals with every day – because he’s black and very few of his neighbors share that quality. Race in Central Oregon is also a big part of Umi’s life for another reason. He recently published a novel, Find the Flower That Blooms, which addresses race issues through the eyes of a woman living in a semi-fictional town that we know in the story only as “Central Oregon.”

In the book, Ashley, a young white woman with a black boyfriend, is attacked because of her relationship. And during one of the attacks, her best friend is killed, something she continues to struggle with, leading her down a path of self-destruction, even after the couple, now married, moves to California, that eventually lands her in a coma.

Interestingly, the book is written from Ashley’s point of view, which proved a challenge for Umi, but does bolster the narrative and makes Umi’s creation all the more impressive. But when it comes down to it, Umi says he’s closely associated with this narrator.

“Ashley, the female character, in a lot of ways, she’s me,” he says.

With Find the Flower, Umi, who has also lived in Ghana and spent time in Libya, wanted to create a dialogue about race in our region, something he recognized as being absent when he moved here to take a banking job about three years ago. He hardly views Bend as an ignorant city, but says the problem lies in the way we talk about – or don’t talk about – race.

“There’s this thing going on in Bend where it’s really popular to say, ‘I don’t see race.’ It’s coming from this concept that we’re in a post-racial society,” says Umi, “but the first thing you see when you talk to someone is what color they are.”

And people do notice what color Umi is and that’s something his wife, Jennifer, who is white and a Bend native has had to adjust to. The two met at the downtown Bend hair salon where she works and quickly hit it off. It took some time for Jennifer to get accustomed to so many people turning their heads when they saw her and her husband entering a restaurant or driving down the street. Some stare and others have asked him bizarre questions about his ethnicity.

He doesn’t blame people for that. It’s ingrained in our society and we might not even know it, he says. But it’s something we can work on and discuss.

“The thing that’s really sad is that there are some really good people in Bend and for the most part people are cool, but these are the things that are systematic in the society. You can’t escape them. To me, it really corrodes the healthiness of the society. It’s one of my missions to expose it,” says Umi.

Since growing up in San Francisco, Umi has worked with different groups to help communities deal with issues of race and violence. In the past, this meant mediating between gangs in the Bay Area and also mentoring youth, something he still does here in Bend. Before 1984, he went by the name Richard Dewhart, but then became Ahjamu Umi, which translates to “he who fights for what he wants.” When he lived in Sacramento, Umi was also involved with the Congress of African Peoples, a group that gathered to assist African Americans in the region share experiences and ideas.

But here in Bend, he’s still looking to get some sort of dialogue started, and has done some of that with his new book. The novel, however, is just the beginning of what he sees as a push toward a more open and accepting society here in Central Oregon and beyond.

“Everyone keeps acting like [race] is a non-issue, but it’s imbued in every part of this society,” says Umi. “There’s a lot we can do to correct that, but we have to agree to engage in a real dialogue. And that doesn’t mean finger pointing.”

Find the Flower That Blooms
By Ahjamu Umi
Available at Barnes and Noble
or barnesandnoble.com.

Written by :
Mike Bookey

Article about the book

The Source Weekly, a news magazine in Bend, Oregon, wrote a good piece on the book for this week's edition. You can locate the story by following the link below:


Also, if you are in Central Oregon, look for me on "Good Morning Central Oregon" on Tuesday, March 22, 2011. Please check local listings for time and station.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Where do we go from here?

Now that my first novel is completed, I'm focused on building my speaking/presenting business. The name of this business is Honoring the Ancestors with Correct Information (HACI). I admire, respect, and have been heavily influenced by ancestors such as Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Che Guevera, Ruby Doris Robinson, and many others. These people risked their lives, and even died, to build a better world. Now I have the privilege of building this business by talking about and helping people understand the things that will save humanity. Contact us about hearing what we have to say. Positive thoughts, inspiring ideas, and practical solutions to move your life forward on an individual and collective basis. I'll continue to speak, write, and be a voice of consciousness and reason until I take my last breath.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On my way!

I just completed my first interview about the book in The Source Weekly. A newspaper in Bend, Oregon. I also found out last week that the book has been selected to go on the University of Wisconson's "Go Big" reading list for 2011! The book has landed in Barnes & Noble in Bend. T.V interview in two weeks.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What do you think people?!

I'm about to start speaking around about this book. I have a few gigs booked already and more are on the way. My plan is to talk about the issues I believe the book brings up such as the fact there is no such thing as a post race society. Race is probably the very first thing people notice when they see someone so it's crazy for people to always suggest "I never see race." If you couldn't see it, you wouldn't be able to say that.

Instead, I'll be talking about the ways attitudes about race manifest themselves in present day society. It's a real subtle thing nowadays. If you aren't trained, you won't see it, but like the fox on the prowl, just because it's smooth doesn't mean it ain't deadly.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Moral of this Story!

We live in a society where money is more important than people. No one who's paying attention can dispute that. As a result, people have become devalued as commodities. We are devalued all day at work, treated like idiots. Our interactions within society reinforce the same thing. We receive shody service which perpetuates the same concept and we receive that bad service because the person(s) providing it get treated terribly. Even in our families we experience dysfunction on a normal basis, especially in our romantic relationships which contributes to this problem. Consequently, after experiencing all of this stress, people just need a way to get through the day. Alcohol, pills, meth, crack, powder cocaine, food, gambling, and sex are some of the vehicles available to us to numb the pain. Ashley, my main character, chose alcohol, and then sex as her numbing agents. This book and her existence in it are simply the story of how we destroy ourselves daily in an effort to simply survive. There's got to be more to life and there is. Contact me and let me share my ideas with you!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The book is finally here!!

I typed my very first words to this novel on Saturday, August 21 or 22 (can't remember) 2009. 525 gruelling days later I'm sitting here looking at a copy of this book and it's overwhelming!! It's hard for me to look at it because I'm only used to reading the book on my laptop. It looks so good! So professionally done and the print is so easy to read! Even though I've read it literally about 250 times, I still want to flip through the pages and relive the experiences I had while writing certain sections. This was my goal and I'm partially there. I don't see it as an individual accomplishment though. Many people have helped me get here. Some more positive than others, but even those that challenge you help motivate you to achieve whether they are your worse enemies or your closest loved ones.

I'm on a mission to make the most of this book. Not just to earn income, but primarily to use it as a platform to talk about the issues contained within it. I'm humbled at having this book published. My thanks goes to those who came before me and sacrificed so much so that I can be in this position. Ashay!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Book going Mainstream?

Ok...I got the word last night that Barnes & Nobles.com, Amazon.com, etc., would be listing my book which means you can go to either of those sites, type in either my name, the book title, or the book IB # and "Find the Flower that Blossoms" comes up. You can order the book directly from any of those entities now. How do I feel about that? Outstanding! I know I need the exposure and I feel like once people know about this book, they will buy it. Once they buy it, they will read it. Once they read it, they will be impacted! The book raises a lot of important questions and I look forward to facilitating many dialogues!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Role Race Plays in our Everyday Lives

Without even talking about the institutional racism that functions as policy in this society, just take a look at the little subtle things that perpetuate White supremacy. For example, yesterday my wife and I were walking through the personal products section at Target so I could get some shampoo. We came to the hair section and I noticed a sign that said "Ethnic Hair Products." I laughed when I saw this sign because all people have an ethnicity whether it's Italian, Swedish, German, Yoruba, Mandinka, Wolof, Mexican, Dominican, Vietnamese, or Arab, but in America, the term "Ethnic" is reserved for people of color. The inference here is that people of color represent a different category of people. This view of course assumes Europeoans, or White people, are the standard version of what a person should be and everyone else is different, or really less standard, or really less valuable, or really less relevant??

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Race in America

Since today is Dr. King's birthday I thought it appropriate to raise the question of who this man actually was. The mass media works very hard to present him solely as a voice for racial peace. Accepting people based on the content of their character is important, but that was only one aspect of Dr. King's work. His true contribution was a message of justice for the impoverished throughout the world from exploitation by multi-national corporate dominance. A part of this message includes King's uncompromised opposition to the Vietnam war because it typified the corporate agenda while sacrificing millions of Vietnamese people as well as 55,000 U.S. service people.

It's important to understand this aspect of Dr. King because the corporate media doesn't want you to know this about him. They are afraid that if you know this you will then start to question how they can advance the Iraq/Afghanistan/North Korea/Iran war agenda while trying to convince you they are in support of Dr. King's dream. Make no mistake about it. If Dr. King was still just talking about White kids and Black kids holding hands, he'd probably still be here today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Is Love Colorblind?

My book is about the test of love between an interracial couple, a Black man and a White woman. Is it possible for two people to love one another regardless of their ethnicity or is it true that one or both of the people in such a relationship are primarily acting on stereotypical whims and are not really capable of truly loving one another?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sex Addiction

What exactly is sex addiction? Maybe the best way to understand it is to see it the same way we look at alcohol abuse. A person with self esteem issues, or depression, or uncontrollable anxiety, etc., looks for something that can provide them an escape or relief from the trauma of constantly feeling inadequate and depressed. That relief comes in the form of masturbation and/or sexual activity with another person. The sexual activity provides a sense of excitement and distraction for the person and their anticipation of achieving sexual gratification provides them with the euphoria that they find impossible to accomplish in every other area of their lives. Then, on top of that, you have many people who also have an emotional dependency component where they become obsessed and co-dependent with the person they act out with.

What is your view and/or experience with understanding this addiction?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

White People in Africa?

As people ask me about the book and how it ends, without giving it all away, I've told people that the main character, Ashley, and her husband Adisa move to Ghana, West Africa. Everyone I've mentioned this to has had somewhat of an awkward response. I'm not sure, but some of that may be because my main character is White. Since the overwhelming majority of people here know absolutely nothing about Africa, I think it's difficult for most people to see a move to Africa as realistic. A big part of making that a part of the story is to contribute towards eliminating negative and ignorant opinions about Africa. There's no justification for being ignorant about Africa. She is the mother of world civilization. She's the first place mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 2, verse 13), and she is the creator of some of the world's first civilizations. She is also the mother of some 50 million inhabitants of this country. If you want to decrease your ignorance about Africa history, try picking up some of the following books:

The World and Africa - W.E.B. Dubois
Africa, Mother of World Civilizations - Dr. Ben
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa - Walter Rodney
Neo-Colonialism - Kwame Nkrumah

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Interracial Relationships in 2011..Is it still a big deal??

Well of course it is and if you question that all you have to do is live somewhere like Central Oregon like I do and be in one of those relationships. In the 2000 Census, Deschutes County where I live had the lowest percentage of African (Black) people of any county it's size in the U.S. What that means is every time my blond, blue eyed wife and I go out, we get stares. Most of the stares are out of curiousity, maybe one or two are antagonistic, but whatever the motivation, everyone stares, but that happens in San Francisco and L.A. too. I would love to hear other people's experiences around this issue.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What's happening for 2011?

It's another year. What's that mean in practical terms? Well...What we know is the majority of the world lives in poverty today and the outlook for most of the world's folks isn't very favorable. The haves are consolidating their control over the worlds resources and if you don't believe that, check out the fallout from the BP oil spill. That is going to play out like those scenarios always play out...The rich will continue to get rich and the working poor will suffer, suffer, suffer.

What do people think will be in store for 2011?