Addi Banks conducts Race Relations workshops that are guided by principles of Love and Respect. Born in North Carolina, she is a proud Air Force Brat. She has worked in social services fields as Case and Project Manager, Mental Health Counselor and Work Readiness Specialist. Ms. Banks founded Read Seed, Inc. an early childhood literacy nonprofit to build book ownership for low income children. She successfully executed an H-1B application during this time. A proud  graduate of Northern Michigan University and NC State University where she received degrees in Sociology. She taught the subject at Shaw University Cape and several NC Community Colleges. She is currently owner of ASB Marketing “teaching the world Black History” and promotes Race and Culturally relevant teaching materials for Black parents and educators at ABanksConsulting. Find her history videos at ASB History YouTube Channel and daily history posts at Know Black History Podcast at Patreon.

I’m the only Black person at my high school reunion. We stay in touch online and meet periodically, having a great time remembering our years at Gwinn High School in Upper Michigan near K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Many of our fathers served there. We were the melting pot with ethnicity and religious groups represented, Southerners who suppressed racial bias and Northerners who had never seen a Black person before me. One of my dearest friends was Mexican American as was one of the most popular students in our class. The military enforced a No Open Racism Policy and insured consequences for failure to "get along.”

My life began in the segregated South where in my family farm community of Black people were fictive kin all, practicing expected  obligations to ensure that all of their children were respectful, had good manners, attended church, learned Bible verses, and achieved academically. They invested in us because we represented our Race to the world. They quietly detested having to order food at outside windows at white restaurants, while still having great pride in who they were. Giving back was a way of life.

Understanding race and identity in America takes far too much time in the developmental stages of young Black ADOS. The need to find a comfortable identity in a society built on our marginalization costs us dearly. Being an AMERICAN, our desired goal since slavery ended is still relevant today. While whites and ethnic immigrants hit the ground running toward making their mark on success, ADOS forfeits early starts to ascertain who they are before  attempting the race to success.

We ask "What do you have to do to prove that you are worthy enough to be a 1st Class Citizen in America, when we have fought in every war, contributed life changing inventions, added to science, literature, music, arts and intellectual thinking, created American-ness itself and still are faced with – But, you are still Black." Changes? YES indeed. Black History month, statues around the country honoring great Black Americans, hundreds of US stamps commemorating our history, making us proud. But the wealth gap tells the real story.

Americans still feel awkward talking about race together even when everybody is a "race expert” in their own minds and opinions. But, talk we must. Begin where we are. Say what is honest. JUDGE NOT.

I'm frustrated by people expressing how they feel and are then labeled “HATERS” and Hate Crime threats are hurled at them. Why a hate label? Why not a difference of opinion from different experiences label? We tell each other what to think because it suits our cause without regard for their cause or concern and then we get angry when they don't comply with us. This will never move us toward tolerance, love and respect. We must understand history and systems that dictate the rules of engagement in a biased and authoritative environment.

                           The Golden Rule should always lead us.

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