Can you believe 2016 is almost over? If time went this fast when I was growing up, I could have made it through all 12 years of schooling in a single year (LOL)!

I started off this year attending a meeting regarding HB 4356, sponsored by state reps LaShawn Ford (8th) and Mary Flowers (31st), to allow the recall of the mayor of Chicago. The bill is “stalled” in the Rules Committee and is an issue I will take on sometime in 2017.

In truth, every election is an opportunity to recall any elected official if people take seriously the need to vote.

I am still working around my house doing maintenance projects. I have the best handyman in Austin and his ability to fix/help with my projects has been a blessing — along with his reasonable prices.

African Americans are underrepresented on the CPD. Every time a new police exam is offered, blacks should be first in line to take the test to get a job that pays well and can give us officers who understand black culture, and especially black language. We cannot change the culture of the CPD by sitting on the sidelines.

As always, Black History Month leads to lots of knowledge and misinformation. When all is said and done, it is up to each adult to take the time to learn black history and share it with the younger generation.

I became enamored of Spanish-language telenovelas (mini-series), in spite of subtitles. I highly recommend that people watch Celia, about the life of singer Celia Cruz. To see a love story featuring a black person that goes on for 70-something episodes is heartwarming. And if you watched Narcos, the mini-series about Pablo Escobar, El Patron Del Mal, you would find aspects of his notorious career eye-opening and a wonderful addendum to what one learned watching the American-based series.

This past year, I asked the question, “What is racism? What is racist?” That term currently is bandied about by folks whenever anything happens that is not to their liking. The more freely the term is used, the more it becomes meaningless. It is a subject for deeper analysis and one in which we should be engaged all the time.

I said the time was ripe for State Attorney Anita Alvarez to go. The voters used our version of “term limits” to end her reign. Goodbye and good riddance.

I have gone to more funerals this year than in my entire life up to this point. Losing those we love hurts. Losing them to sickness is painful. Losing them to old age is expected. Losing young people to gun violence is a situation we need to cure from within our own households, blocks, and neighborhoods.

Every year, St. Sabina hosts a speaker series. This year I got to hear from Jim Brown and he was fabulous. His message then and today still rings clear. As a community and as a people, we need to address the symptoms of our problems and not the excuses!

Making excuses is the American way. Illinois ended the death penalty but the criminal element that lives, walks and breathes among us continues daily. The 13th Amendment still allows slavery as punishment for a crime and those whose criminal activity would make them eligible for “life in prison” should be sentenced to “enslavement!” I wonder if our criminals, including those whose job it is to enforce the law, would be so quick to commit carnage if they knew they could be “enslaved”?

Lastly … a black woman did not write The Matrix or win a billion-dollar lawsuit. The story of Sophia Stewart’s allegations flairs up, and then disappears, every couple of years. In the meantime after having done extensive research on the issue, I can attest that it’s a lie, it didn’t happen and hopefully we can put that rumor to rest.

More year in review next week.