Thursday, November 19, 2020

How Two Senate Races Became a Battle for Your Soul


By Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired

AMWS, November 19, 2020, Atlanta – Better angels prevailed over outside agitators as the Georgia hand recount confirms a Biden win here. The latest hurdle in Election 2020 prayerfully brings #WeThePeople closer than ever to the Peach State reality -- #GeorgiaOnMyMind.

At dawn’s early light, a battle for Georgia’s soul is being waged with almost enough campaign spending to achieve #NoPoverty2030.  With plagues of Biblical measure at stake, no doubt, at least half of America is looking to Georgia for something other than business as usual.  According to Pew Charitable Trusts, 76% of Christians in Georgia believe in Hell.  Security of their own souls is crucial to recovery for the rest of the nation.

Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, has been facing the worst kind of voter intimidation.  The pressure between doing the right thing politically and doing the right thing is growing old—right alongside America’s intent for its post Civil War Reconstruction.   American history today in Georgia depends on the version to which one might subscribe.

Country artist Charlie Daniels perhaps foretold events of today in his prophetic country hit, The Devil Went Down To Georgia.  In the end, “Johnny” wins the battle for the soul, at least from the perspective of the storyteller here.  

“Johnny, rosin up your bow and play your fiddle hard, 'cause hell's broke loose in Georgia and the devil deals the cards. And if you win you get this shiny fiddle made of gold. But if you lose, the devil gets your soul.”  

Battles for the soul of a nation have been fought and loss throughout Georgia’s history.  But unlike other less fortunate venues, Georgia discovered a bridge.  The multitalented Ray Charles set a tone for healing through his 1960 ballad.  Georgia on My Mind, (lyrics by Stuart Gorrell, a banker, and music by Hoagy Carmichael, an actor) endures as one of America’s best loved songs.

Georgia on My Mind has been recorded by many outstanding artists, but the rendition by Charles, a native Georgian, has been embraced throughout the world.  On April 24, 1979, "Georgia on My Mind" became the official state song of Georgia, replacing the song, "Georgia."

Repair from political conflict begins where a hopeful nation looks for it. In the past, a faithless elector might demonize political opposition without ever considering the history that got us here.

Georgia’s history presents a pathway to America’s future, but only with a little fact checking sprinkled along the way. Republican David Purdue is cousin to former Governor Sonny Purdue.  Georgia elected Sonny as a Democrat in 1991, 1994, and 1996. Then Sony switched party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1998 and was re-elected to the State Senate as a Republican. Democrat Jon Ossoff challenges Purdue to some down-home fiddling that could change the majority in the United States Senate.  Jon Ossoff’s election levels the Senate at 50-50, kicking off an honest attempt at being better.

The second of two senate special election races pits Raphael Warnock against incumbent Kelly Loeffler.  Warnock has served as senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta since 2005. He came to prominence in Georgia politics as a leader in the campaign to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Loeffler is married to Intercontinental Exchange founder and CEO Jeffrey Sprecher. In August 2020, The Washington Post reported the couple’s combined net worth at $520 million, making her the wealthiest U.S. senator. The Bloomington, Illinois native bought a minority stake in the Atlanta Dream of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).  She publicly objected to players wearing shirts with Black Lives Matter and Say Her Name printed on them.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to the U.S. Senate seat she now holds. During the 2016 election, as Secretary of State, Kemp rejected help from the Department of Homeland Security to guard against Russian interference. During the 2018 election, Kemp held up more than 53,000 voter registration applications, with nearly 70% of the voter registrations belonging to African Americans.

Jefferson Franklin Long (March 3, 1836 – February 4, 1901) was the first African-American congressman from Georgia.  He was the only African American to represent Georgia until Andrew Young was elected in 1972.  If elected, Warnock will be the first African American to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate. 

In the song, Devil Went Down To Georgia, observers might see the Devil betting a hometown favorite named Johnny a golden fiddle against his soul. It becomes clear that Johnny’s soul is symbolic of something more—perhaps the soul of the South –perhaps the soul of a nation. One might note from Daniels’ perspective on preposition, the Devil didn’t go up to Georgia, as if from hell; he went down to Georgia, as if from the north.

Battle For America’s Soul

 “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10-18

Be Strong, Be Ready, Be Prayin’

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

How Do I Benefit Financially From YouthUSA

By Stephanie and Eric Stradford

AMWS October 7, 2020, Atlanta – Since 1996, the YouthUSA brand has promoted an inclusive vision of the future for historically disadvantaged Americans.  The charity honored ten “winners” at THE ANNUAL YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS.  Their most frequently asked question has been, “What did I win?

VISION:  Each YouthUSA winning application included a winner’s “Money-n-the-Bank,” a written plan with seven specific categories for developing a whole person’s vision of the future.  

PROVISION:  The authorized application supported circular capacity building, addressing a universally documented need, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”  Each of twenty caring adults invested $5 toward a $100 Individual Development Account (IDA).  YouthUSA developed and proposed regional technical assistance conferences at the beginning of the Bush #43 White House administration.

According to Linda Ivey, a development specialist with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), the U.S. government had committed to helping poor families be less poor by passing the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Assets For Independence Act. 

The act authorized public funds to achieve Economic Inclusion.  NCRC advocates compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977.  In 2016, YouthUSA corporate leadership reached out to elected officials via the National Black Political Convention, sponsored by the National Policy Alliance.  In 2017, under the Trump Administration, no funds were appropriated for the Assets for Independence (AFI) program.

COMMON VISION:  During the year 2030, qualifying YouthUSA Beneficiaries will inherit a global vision of the future.  #NoPoverty is 1 of 17 Sustainable Development Goals embraced by 180 nations around the world.  YouthUSA quarterly meetings support self-paced LEARN-2-EARN training in which beneficiaries demonstrate their readiness for economic leadership.


When:           OCTOBER 24, 2020 – 9:00 A.M. ET


Who:             YouthUSA invites beneficiaries, directors, and stakeholders to its annual appropriations meeting.  Each year, YouthUSA engages the Corporate Village in identifying needs and means for the upcoming year.  The corporation is committed to reinvest $50,000.00 toward its 2021 program budget.

What:             Achieving #NoPoverty by 2030 requires Economic Inclusion. 

Why:              …In America achieving #NoPoverty requires demanding that the rich “become even richer at a slower rate.” It takes a Whole Village!  A Whole Village requires an attitude of community and not chaos.  And, it takes whole people to see that nothing is impossible.   As we know, Cheerful Giving is often impacted by one's economic reality.  

How:              GrandMentors’ Trust presents a model for cross-generational inclusion.  Collaborative development of a replicable Living Trust invites learners of all ages to ENVISION 2030 as an economically inclusive community.  ENGAGE NOW!



Generation A (8-14 in 2020) will be age 18-24 in 2030.  Begin NOW to identify a “Whole Village” of 20 caring adults (age 25 or older) and your written goals.  Start saving a minimum of $5.00 per week from allowances, birthdays, gifts, etc.  You can be banked within 30-days.  By 2030, you will have saved a minimum of $2,600 PLUS INTEREST in an emergency savings account.  Each year increase your savings and seek supporting matches from your Whole Village or other resources.  Take financial literacy classes with your CAM and/or members of your Whole Village.  Learn how to budget and stay debt free. 



Generation Z (15-23 in 2020) will be age 25-33 in 2030.  Generation Z should include at least 100 YouthUSA economic beneficiaries earning at least $50,000 annually.  The 100 should be working with at least 1,000 caring adult stakeholders in a global vision to end poverty.  If you bank a minimum of $25.00 per week, by 2030, you will have saved $13,000.00 in your emergency savings account.  Each year increase your savings and seek supporting matches from other resources.  Review financial literacy tips, modify your goals and carefully manage any debt. 



Generation Y Millennials (24-39 in 2020) will be age 34-49 in 2030.  By age 49, your retirement investments should be secure, on track for your future and no debt except maybe a mortgage.  This group should include trained, trustworthy trustees of Living Trusts established to sustain engagement in a global vision to end poverty.  Your goals are clear, you have a definitive plan and a specific course of action to reach your goals. 



Generation X (40-55 in 2020) will be age 50-65.  This generation should include at least 100 YouthUSA investors with a retirement savings of $1-million or more and zero (0) debt.  That means no mortgage when you retire.  Administrators teach others how to save, live within their means, adopt a debt-free lifestyle and invest in social enterprises.  



Baby Boomers (56-74 in 2020) will be age 66-84 in 2030.  This group includes 100 Trustors in Living Trusts collectively valued at $100 million.  The wisdom of this generation should be transferred to younger generations so that #NoPoverty is a reality in 2030.


GrandMentors' Trust

Silent Generation (75-92 in 2020) will be age 85-102 in 2030.  This group includes seniors reinvesting value and “values” in 100 Living Trusts collectively valued at $100 million.  They included the “talented tenth” who were encouraged to get a good education and your reward is a good job.  GrandMentors’ Trust includes The Evelyn Walker Armstrong Charitable Remainder Trust, The J.D. and Laurena Walker Fund, The Reverend James and Alma Stradford Family Fund, The Montford Point Gold Medal Marine Trust, and any Living Trusts established through the NATIONAL LEARN-2-EARN PARTNERSHIP.


Greatest Generation will be 103 or older in 2030.  This generation should include endowed trusts established to achieve Economic Inclusion.