Beyond World Borders

“Put brain in gear before putting mouth in motion.” This was one of my father’s favorite sayings.  Yes, he could have said, “Think before you speak.”  However, the words he used created a clear visual picture.  Truly engaging your brain and organizing your thoughts prior to speaking is a skill that not everyone posses.  Responses to recent events here in the United States and abroad have shown the lack of this skill, by some individuals.

Praint pour France.I have many opinions of the recent events in Paris in addition to other events.  Events like the deadly attacks in Beruit the same week as those in Paris.  So often we seek one clear opinion or side.  It is easy looking from the outside in and forming an uninformed & biased opinion; I choose not to do what is easy.

I am fortunate to have a dear friend who has resided in many other nations.  There are others by nature of their profession have traveled specifically to Paris, France.  One such friend has given me approval to blog her words.  Following are the words of Jocelyn Milhous; her bio follows at the end.  These words are in response to many negative and uninformed posts to her page.  Because of insight and experience as a resident in multiple nations, I believe her words spoke volumes.  I thank her for allowing me to share them with you.


If you’re thinking of sending me yet another private message in relation to the terror attacks in France, don’t do it. Don’t try to post to my Facebook page again, either.

When I was in Paris last month trying to catch up with Kevin and attending Sunwoo Jung-A’s concert, I felt as if I was at home. I know the city, from posh arrondissement to poor immigrant district. Our first production partners were French, so I feel a loyalty and affinity for Paris because Parisians helped me advance my company.

I speak enough Arabic to get a meal, a hotel, tally up my profit, and play with children. I studied the language in university. When we lived in Shoreditch in London, we would swing with the Muslim residents as opposed to the newly imported hipsters. Most of the food in my cupboards bears Arabic labels or Arabic writing. I choose a fresh spice from an ‘ethnic’ market over that soulless stuff mass-marketed in glass jars. I don’t care about a uniform on the outside. I care about a vibrant inside.

I hold an American passport with English, Dutch, and Swiss residency permits.  I am American. I keep an American passport. I call myself an American. I vote in every U.S. election no matter which country I live in at election time.  That said, I have not been in the US since 2008, and that was for a two week trip because the U.S. drives me nuts.

I am a migrant. I am a ‘highly skilled migrant worker’, but I am a migrant.  French, ‘Arabs’, migrants, and Americans are in my heart. I love them all. They all drive me crazy. Human relationships are like that. I can’t relate to your generalizations about races, migrants, and countries because I know individual humans, not sweeping generalizations. When I get mad I don’t dislike the French, I dislike Ceci for very specific reasons relating to our interactions. When she gets mad, she gets mad at Jocelyn. She does not get mad at all Americans. Why? Because we are adults with reasoning skills and logical brains.

Don’t message me your anti-American sentiments, and stop trying to post those incendiary articles on my page. You are worried about French people in general. I am worried about specific French friends. I’m worried about the one who messed up his ankle trying to help kids at a soccer game run from bullets. I’m worried about the investor who went to Paris when we chose to stay and watch ‘The Shameless’ yet again. I’m worried about E.’s staff who are of Middle Eastern descent who will get uneducated hate thrown in their direction because they’re the ‘wrong’ colour and have the ‘wrong’ god. I’m worried about the people who fled war-torn countries who will now face even more closed borders and unrivaled hate. How much more unfair will life get for these people who, at the end of the day, just want a job, a home with walls and a roof, and a safe place for their kids to be educated just like they used to have at home before war broke out?

My relationship with America is very conflicted. You are a simpleton if you believe that one thing or one country led up to yesterday in Paris. There are a million things that every one of us in every country should have/would have/could have said about events and political choices that led to Friday night, but we didn’t say it loud enough, often enough, or at all. The only place blame has in this is at the feet of the ones who actually planned it and did it. Blame moves nothing forward, and boxing me into some pro-American corner that I have never solely believed in because I have an independent functioning brain is NOT the answer, nor is it blaming the French, ‘Arabs’, migrants, gun control laws, or any of the idiocy YOU types are coming up with.

If you have nothing to say that contributes to forward momentum then please shut the hell up. You know me, and you know that I do not give a crap what someone else thinks, even when it’s in my best interests to pretend that I do. I do not respect you, your politics, or your particular brand of racism because if it’s ‘them’ today I can guarantee that it will be my kind tomorrow – that’s how racists like you operate.

Sit down, shut up, and think. Everyone else I know is thinking and reflecting because there are shotguns, bombs, crooked cops, dead nine year olds, and governments blasting citizens with water cannons just for having an opinion – and that’s just last week. Enough. It has to stop, so reflect on how you can be a part of the solution, reflect on how you can sway someone to a peaceful proactive frame of mind. Stop re-posting hate. You’re too stupid to even write your own insults, so you have to copy someone else’s.

Stay off my page with your generalizations, racism, and hate, and consider this goodbye. You don’t think enough to be called my ‘friends’.

Jocelyn Milhous, Contributor


About the Contributor:  Jocelyn Milhous has a wealth of successful administrative and development experience and a dynamic network of contacts in the music, art, and film worlds.

As Exhibitions Manager at the Art Institute of Chicago, she worked with such artists and estates as Anselm Kiefer, Georgia O’Keefe, Helmut Jahn, and the Courtauld Collection, and with arts patrons such as Shell North America, Calvin Klein, Grace Jones and Donald Trump.

In Canada, Jocelyn practiced stage costume design with MuchMusic and provided independent design services to Allanah Myles, Cowboy Junkies, Look People and other popular Canadian bands. She also served as creative sound engineer for CTV, where she worked on many dramas, countless commercials, and the breakout hit Beetlejuice animated cartoon series.

She has since also enjoyed key roles and directorships in outreach, development and fund-raising with the San Francisco and San Diego Operas in her native California, as well as with the Houston Grand Opera, and Chicago’s Lyric Opera. She most recently served as Senior Development Director with the Royal Opera, London. Her recent film and television credits include Naked in London, Eating Dust, and Charles Dance’s Inn at the Edge of the World.

Jocelyn works on a consultancy basis with a number of US, UK and Icelandic-based film production companies, including Virtual Content, Jinx Films, LeftFeetDancing and Kisi Films.  Most recently she is Co-President and Director of Development at 1LnoE Films.  Jocelyn holds a BA degree in Political Science and Drama from UCLA, Berkeley, and a BS in Music Management and Sound Engineering from the Harris School of the Arts, Toronto.


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Together We Stand

The following content was published in The State Newspaper – South Carolina on Tuesday, October 13, 2015:


Disaster, tragedy, and devastation can bring the worst out in people.  Here in South Carolina recent floods as a residual affect of hurricane Joaquin have brought out the best in people.  Just as with other natural disasters or man made tragedy, neighbors near and far came together to help each other.

Photo of the Nick SignWe forgot what divided us and what made us different.  We forgot why we didn’t like the neighbor next door or our co-worker.  We forgot that the guy whose house was filled with flood water is a Clemson graduate or a Carolina graduate.  We forgot about the unimportant things, we even saw pass skin color.  We remembered one thing that we are all human beings going through the same tragedy.

We watched the news and shared on social media.  We answered the call to help by giving blood or helping find shelter.  We gave information about where to get bottled water.  And we prayed.  We even stopped for a minute and not complain about our legislatures.  We waved hello to the power company van and told the phone company technician thank you.

During natural disasters we find our greater selves.  We rise up to be and do what is meaningful.  We let first responders know about the elderly neighbor that may be trapped in her house, the same neighbor we called nosey last week.

Eventually the rain does subside and the sun shines bright again.  We must remember the core of who we are to continue to get things done without the need for tragedy or natural disasters.  We see all around the nation and the planet when people need help we answer the call.

Times like these I always hear the John Lennon song “Imagine” playing in my head.  Ultimately if we seek to remember what makes us similar and not focus on our differences, we will be better for it.  Let’s stand together and not merely imagine unity but keep it going when the sun comes out.


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A Brother Remembers – USS Cole Attack

Joyce M. Rose-Harris:

This post was originally made on October 12, 2012. It includes a letter from the brother of Seaman, Cheron L. Gunn killed during bombing of the USS Cole. On this the 15th Anniversary, I repost so that we do not forget this terrorist attack.

Originally posted on PaisleyPerspective:


On October 12, 2000 I like the rest of the world learned about the attack on the USS Cole while docked in Aden, Yemen. 17 naval personnel were killed and 39 injured as result of the bombing that blasted a 40 by 40 ft. hole into the side of the ship.  My heart went out to the families just as it did with any massive tragedy orchestrated by man. I thought it a senseless attack but overtime the attack went to the back of my thoughts. However, there were 17 families whose lives were forever changed by the event a world away.

Cherone L. Gunn
(b. 1978 – d. 2000)

In May 2007, I crossed paths with a man by the name of Anton Gunn while attending the 2007 Black Expo in Columbia, SC. He was the first employee hired in South Carolina as State Political Director for the…

View original 795 more words


On September 11, 2001 the U.S. was devastated with terrorist attacks in New York City at the World Trade Center and Washington, DC at the Pentagon. There was also the downing of United Airlines flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It is suspected that the White House was the intended target of flight 93 hijackers. Those individuals who perished that day in the buildings hit as well as the airplane passengers, where living their lives as normal.

9/11 Sites CollageThe attacks on September 11th were orchestrated by leadership of al-Qaeda. Leaders against U.S. foreign policy. I am not by any means an expert on U.S. foreign policy but I do know that intolerance brings pain, confusion, and destruction. When we don’t seek to understand the intent of others whether a nation or individuals, chaos is ultimately created.

Within my household as a child I was raised Christian. Those beliefs are still what I follow. However, I believe ultimately that love which is a strong concept should be shown. Intolerance is in essence a degree of hate and hate can destroy if left unchecked.

Today as we seek to remember those who  perished due to the attacks on September 11, 2001, let’s be more tolerant. Specifically tolerant of those different then ourselves. It will never be easy to embrace those organizations and individuals responsible for such devastation on a clear Tuesday morning.  However, within our nation there are things that currently divide us. Seek out someone of different faith or belief and listen to their side. Then share yours and seek middle ground. Only with tolerance can we rise above our differences.


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Favorite Teachers

Through the magic that is Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with teachers from elementary and high school. Via email, I have also reconnected with my favorite college professor. The Wednesday after Labor Day was always the first day of school for me. Overtime this has shifted for students but I always have a fond memory of the day. It was a time of new notebooks, fresh pencils and a mind eager to learn new material.

My High SchoolTeachers are the mortar of society. A good teacher helps to bind knowledge within us. Excellent teachers allow us to ask “why?” and then allow us to think through to our own conclusion(s). When we veer off the path a good teacher will guide us back and orientate us in the right direction. In a society that is becoming more sensitive and so focused on being politically correct, teachers must walk on egg shells. Intellectuals must dip around everyones political and religious beliefs. Our society has forgotten that differences of opinion are okay and something to respect.

During my youth and early adulthood, I was fortunate to have a number of intelligent teachers. Teachers who some had the same beliefs as my parents but others who saw the world differently. These teachers especially those with different beliefs opened up the world and intellectual thought as well as conversations at home. There are four teachers who stand above the rest, those who pulled the best from their students. My 4th grade teacher is by far my favorite teacher. And in part learning of her death almost two years ago is what started my quest of finding my favorite teachers.  My 4th grade teacher is whom taught me about the art of poetry and ignited that passion, so she will always be near and dear to my heart.

It is very difficult to whittle down who were my favorite teachers in high school. I learned a great deal from all my teachers. There are a few that stand out as least favorite but even they taught me something. Through gritted teeth and determination I passed Trigonometry and Physics both taken in Junior year. And I still was successful at my goal of induction into the National Honor Society. But I digress, let me focus on the favorite teachers who also pushed and inspired me.

School DaysWorld History during my Sophomore year of high school helped open my eyes to what was occurring outside of the borders of the United States. I learned to follow global affairs, in this class taught by a man who would sit on his desk with crossed legs and pull the best out of his students. He let us know that it was okay to ask why apartheid faraway in South Africa impacted me? He like so many of my high school teachers motivated us to venture out around our city to learn outside the classroom. These projects were usually called extra credit; however, visiting The Peace Museum or seeing the movie Gandhi about the life of Mohandas Gandhi, East Indian leader who stood against British rule, were up close looks in world history. Entering bravely into a citywide Historical Society competition and earning an honorable mention helped build research skills that I use today.

In addition to World History, being able to help create a book that would be cherished for years into the future was rewarding.  As a yearbook staffer, under guidance of who would become my Senior year A.P. English teacher was rewarding. Laying out pages, carefully creating memories was always a joy and never felt like work. Shifting through photos making sure there was no white space in layouts, looking for typos and making sure just the right balance existed for all classes were task I enjoyed greatly. Looking back, I would probably have carried those skills into the real world and maybe in a small way, I have with PaisleyPerspective.

During college being one of the few African American U.S. citizens majoring in Applied Mathematics, I sometimes felt alone in classes. But my Differential Equations professor made me realize there truly are excellent professors and awful ones. He was on the end of excellent, I proudly earned a 98% average in a class that buckled the knees of the smartest students. I recently learned that he is now the head of my college mathematics department.

I could keep writing about those teachers/instructors I have encountered in my workplace. There is something special about someone who can share knowledge with you. And not just share it but do so well and with compassion. Being an excellent teacher is a special gift, actually it is a calling. It is not just about being off during summers with year around schools that is occurring less these days. It is about reaching a students mind and knowing what you need to do to engage them. There is discussion about common core in schools and the what and how things should be done. I don’t know about all of that but I do know that a good teacher can break through and leave a positive lasting impression even well over 25 years.

To every person who may be a teacher or work with a teacher I pray you have a safe school year. Yes, I said pray because I believe in prayer and this is my blog. May you and your students understand each other and make new learning discoveries throughout the school year.


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First Days

BackpackTear streaked faces with runny noses along with convulsive crying are a constant on the first day of school for many parents of five year olds.  Parents don’t fear it will be okay, I know you’re nervous.  Oh you thought I was talking about the children…well they too have their moments.  However most often it is the parents who are the most devastated that their little baby is now truly a big kid.  Sadly, what was often thought the safest place for children has become a place of uncertain safety, adding to parents fears.

I clearly recall my first day of kindergarten.  During the walk to my school, my mom kept reassuring me that I would have fun and learn new things.  When we arrived to my classroom, I encountered a new class mate who was crying her eyes out.  She was worried her mommy would not come back.

My mom advised me when she was finished speaking with the teacher, she looked for me.  She was happy to see that I was comforting another child and quickly slipped out the door.  I do remember looking up and seeing that she was gone and feeling a little bit panicked but remembered what she told me.

Through the years my mom and I would talk about my first day of kindergarten often.  She was always so proud of me and the fact that without hesitation I was comforting a new classmate.  My mom believed that was an indication she had instilled in me the need to be compassionate toward others.

First days can be tough and scary.  They involve getting to know new people or places.  We are taken outside of our comfort zone and put into unfamiliar territory.  Whether we are a 5-year-old, new to the school system or a 14-year-old going to high school or 18-year-old entering college, it can cause internal angst being put into new situations.

Another first day of school significant in my memory is high school.  Being an only child, I let Seventeen magazine be my guide for all things related to teen fashion and lifestyle.  Starting at around the age of 13, I purchased the latest edition of my favorite magazine monthly…by the end of each month the pages were dog-eared.  My outfit for the first day of high school was inspired directly from the pages of Seventeen.

However, on this the day when I felt very grown up it wasn’t my outfit that received all the attention.  Walking to my school a fellow male classmate looked at me and laughed.  Yes, he laughed at a 14-year-old female who was trying to find her way in the world.  When asked what was so funny, he replied “your cheeks”.  I was devastated.

The first minute I had the chance, I looked at myself in a school bathroom mirror.  Even in the awful contraption that was suppose to be a mirror, I realized I had applied way too much blush.  I did indeed look funny and started to laugh at my own reflection.  I didn’t wear much makeup after that day…nor do I to this day except for special occasions.  I have since learned the proper method of applying blush but still very seldom wear it.

First days can be scary days indeed.  They can provide us with queasy stomachs make us want to run and hide.  However, we become a little stronger and a little more knowledgeable dealing with situations that are new to us from these experiences.  All our lives there will be first days.  First dates are first days with a new potential partner.  There are those first days on a new job, when we feel a little unsure of ourselves even if you possess years of professional experience.  I can only imagine the first day for a surgeon.

Across the United States and in other countries around the globe there are many first days occurring.  New graduates starting their first professional job or new students starting their first day of school all may feel nervous.  Innovators developing start up businesses.  As I told my new classmate a long long long time ago it will be okay…you will do great.


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Built By Bullies

bullyingMy first encounter with a bully was when I witnessed a classmate have milk poured on their head.  I was 5 years old and waiting for my mother to pick me up from half day kindergarten.  I recall thinking that the act was mean but the kid who did it was much older, so I stayed silent.

I recall one day during class when another classmate, lied about sharing a snack with me.  Because of the lie, I kicked her right in her shin.  Our teacher believed me but I still was punished because kicking is not nice nor was it allowed.

Both of the incidents mentioned helped me to understand that I never wanted to be a bully nor mean person.  Overall I was a compassionate child who cared about others.  I didn’t like to share but if I had to I would.  I also would stand up for someone who was wronged.

Move from kindergarten to 3rd grade at a new school.  In addition, a new school where I started after the school year had begun.  Due to a change in my family dynamic my mother didn’t register me into school until October of that particular year.  I often think had home schooling been popular she may have chosen that option.

When I began at the new school, I had what were considered fancy clothes or rich girl clothes.  All of my school clothes were sent from my grandmother.  A huge box filled with dresses, pants, tops, under garments, shoes, and even hair bows came each year.  All of my clothes were brand named.  Oh did I mention that my school was in a neighborhood that had multiple incomes including those in public housing.

One day when I was late getting to school, I decided to run away for the day.  Not from home but from school.  My plan was to visit a family member who lived on the other side of the city.  In my 8-year-old mind, it seemed like a good idea.  I was blessed that God sent an angel that day.  A woman working the ticket booth at a parking lot saw me and stopped me.  She called my school after I told her where I attended.

During the drive back to school with one of the school social workers, I explained I had run away because girls were mean to me.  So when I we got back to school all the girls of my 3rd grade class were hauled into the counselor’s office.  Having to face these girls was scary but that was one of the building blocks that made me face my fear of bullies.

Throughout elementary school there was one of the main mean girls that consistently picked on me.  She would taunt me and do what kids do to make life miserable.  I use to dread going to school and my mom having been a shy child understood.  My dad taught me how to defend myself and I eventually did punch one male bully in the gut.  This stopped him from bothering me.

The crowning point of me dealing with bullies happened one day on the playground during recess.  I was in the 7th grade at this point.  My arch nemesis was pushing me literally and figuratively.  Maybe it was my budding pre-teen hormones or maybe she had pushed me once to many times but I went off.  I spewed every curse word I had ever heard my dad or older cousins use directly at her.  The bully who had taunted me for years looked completely and utterly shocked.  Then I said, “okay let’s do this.”  I raised my fist up and made my stance firm like my dad taught me.  She backed down and after that moment never bothered me again.

Standing up to my childhood bullies was tough but it helped make me the person I am today.  I am stronger and more confident in the issues I can conquer.  Life is not always filled with people who we like or with whom we agree.  Until recently, I still held angst toward the mean girls from elementary school but now I know they helped build the activist that I am today.  Along with loving parents and good friends, I am a person who believes in helping people no matter their situation.

My journey through the maze of childhood bullying has helped build a confident, determined, and defender of those less fortunate.  I know my 8-year-old self would be pretty proud of the woman I have become.  However, every child is different and these days with social media bullies have new resources.  In the end any person child or adult who bullies needs to be confronted.  It is amazing how quickly bullies back down when you call their bluff.

For information about bullying and how to handle it go to


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