WE sit down in order to Stand Up!

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Colin Kaepernicks protest of the national anthem is nothing new. I’ve always sat down during the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem. He is protesting the police brutality in communities of color. Have you read the DOJ’s report on Baltimore police department? I encourage you to do so. I have a link on this blog.  

African-Americans have routinely sat down in an effort to stand up for what we believe was right. I don’t speak for all black Americans, but we don’t have this allegiance to the American flag. After all, black folks were enslaved and are continually oppressed in the name of the flag, Native Americans were slaughtered and nearly wiped out in the name of acquiring this land in the hopes of having this flag.

 The American flag is steeped in ideology that often does not apply to people of color. People of color were not even seated at the table when the “founding fathers” wrote the United States constitution.

 Why are folks so offended when black and brown take a stand for a cause their passionate about? Do we not have the freedom of spech and to peacefully protest. I took a poll and listened to allot of black talk radio and we are no offended by what Collin did, most of us have taken this stand at one time in our own lives. I think the outrage has more to do with the semblance of power and that other people of color may take a simiar stand. Afterall, we are all about signs and symbols. Black were not even allowed to fight in our armed forces until 1776 due to an increase in shortage of volunteers. Black folks werent even allowed to attend higher education until 1856, schools werent desegregated until 1954, couldn’t vote until 1968, suffered from unfair housing practices until 1968 and were enslaved from 1619-1874.

The educational gap between black and brown students in 2016 is still disportinally high considering black people only make us about 13% of the US population. According to a Forbes 2015 article (2011 figures) the typical black household now has just 6% of the wealth of the typical white household; the typical Latino household has just 8%. In absolute terms, the median white household had $111,146 in wealth holdings in 2011, compared to $7,113 for the median black household and $8,348 for the median Latino household. Overall, black homeownership is only at 43% compared to white Americans at 63%.

 One of the greatest tragedies is that Native Americans are not even represented in almost any of the studies. A big reason for that is that blacks and Hispanics have far less wealth to start with than their white counterparts — a concept known as the racial wealth gap. On average, blacks and Hispanics fared worse than whites in almost every category. Part of the reason, is that people of color are more likely to work in low wage jobs and they are also more likely to get paid less than their white counterparts in many industries.

 Rent is another factor affecting families. If a family is paying more than one third of their income towards rent, they are considered “cost burdened.” Nationwide, 46% of white families are cost burdened compared to 57% of black families and 56% of Hispanic families.

 Many black and Hispanic families live in cities like Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, where the housing markets weren’t impacted as severely by the housing meltdown as those in other cities and rental prices remained high. Wages, however, did not keep pace with the soaring costs of rentals.

 I digress, African-American men and women have a host of reason to sit in protest of the American flag. Many atrocities happened and continue to happen under the guise of the symbol of freedom, but freedom for who? Black and brown people were still slaves in 1814 when the national anthem was written, we were viewed ad property or chattel.

 Why would any black American stand up in allegiance to the flag or the national anthem?

 

The Pursuit of Happiness

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We often get caught up in delusions of grandeur, disillusioned by fairytales. I have good and bad news. Happiness is a new human concept. For centuries humans most important task was survival. It appears we have become so consumed with the “idea” of getting to or maintaining a sense of happiness, but at what cost and what constitutes happiness?

Happiness means pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, and light heartedness. Lets ask ourselves are we living up to the full meaning of happiness. Are we content, satisfied, cheerful and light hearted? The modern concept of happiness is diluted to acquisitions of a people, places, and things. True happiness is a joyful spirit regardless of the people places, and things in our lives. It means be in spite of.  The world has become a place preoccupied by the next moment, instead of relishing in the current one. How often do we say ” When I get this or that or become that or go there”? You don’t get to it, you are it.

I believe that in order to be happy, one must surrender to ideas, certain perceptions and beliefs we hold near and dear, and to an extent the future and possibilities. I’m not advocating for hopelessness. I say this because the future may never come, our idea and beliefs are just that, an idea and a belief, neither is quite baked in reality.  The good news is, today is a new day and happiness is available to everyone. It doesn’t cost you anything, just a renewed outlook and content in the now.

Black Lives Matter!!

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Please read the Department of Justice’s Baltimore Police Department findings

https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/883366/download

For the record, Pro-Blackness doesn’t equate to anti-white nor anti-police sentiment. We shall begin with protest. Protest brings the media to the cause,  it enforces coverage. Secondly, we exercise our civil rights by voting at the ballot box, the most effective way to affect change in America. Elected officials must address issues of gun violence, not just police brutality, but violence as a whole and how it affects the American community. After all, aren’t they paid to create policies for their constituents.

Race is so tightly woven into the fabric of American culture and social structure. There’s a deep under current bubbling to the surface in this country. America can no longer avoid it’s ruthless past and current truths. Just as we hold others accountable we must also hold ourselves accountable,  if black lives matter then black lives should also to matter to other black lives.

Police brutality and black on black crime are not intertwined there are two completely different crises affecting black America. The difference is  police officers are sworn to protect and serve communities, so we ought to hold them to higher standards. The badge should not warrant immunity for police officers.
 We must ask ourselves are we part of the problem or part of the solution? Race in America is a dark family secret, there are too many wounds America has to come to grips with. Our great nation created racial tension and racial inequities.  After all, America’s very foundation is based on divide and conquer which creates inequality, social and civil injustices.

 

Perhaps, Our President said it best,

We know these things to be true.  They’ve been true for a long time.  We know it.  Police, you know it.  Protestors, you know it.  You know how dangerous some of the communities where these police officers serve are, and you pretend as if there’s no context.  These things we know to be true.  And if we cannot even talk about these things — if we cannot talk honestly and openly not just in the comfort of our own circles, but with those who look different than us or bring a different perspective, then we will never break this dangerous cycle.We know these things to be true.  They’ve been true for a long time.  We know it.  Police, you know it.  Protestors, you know it.  You know how dangerous some of the communities where these police officers serve are, and you pretend as if there’s no context.  These things we know to be true.  And if we cannot even talk about these things — if we cannot talk honestly and openly not just in the comfort of our own circles, but with those who look different than us or bring a different perspective, then we will never break this dangerous cycle.

~ Barack Obama

Chicken Strawberry Salad with Honey Goat Cheese

This salad is refreshing, filling, and most of all, good for you. So easy to make, and a great go to meal.

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Ingredients:

  • cucumbers
  • strawberries
  • red onion
  • honey goat cheese (Aldi) $1.99
  • grilled marinated artichokes (Trader Joes) $2.99
  • red peppers
  • spinach
  • grape tomatoes
  • garbanzo beans
  • sunflower seeds

I baked the chicken with thyme, curry, cracked black pepper, turmeric, fresh garlic and garlic salt.

Bon Appetite!

Can I get an AMEN!

jw

I want to thank my parents for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, they made sure I learned what the schools are afraid to teach us.

“This award is not for me,” he continued. “This is for the real organizers all over the country, the activist, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. It’s kinda basic mathematics: the more we learn about who we are and how we got here the more we will mobilize.

“This award is also for the black women in particular who have spent their lives nurturing everyone before themselves — we can and will do better for you.

“Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours. [Standing ovation.]

“I got more, y’all. Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear any more about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television, and then going home to make a sandwich.

“Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012 than 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner, Sandra Bland.

“The thing is though, all of us here are getting money, that alone isn’t going to stop this. Dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back to put someone’s brand on our body — when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies?

“There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There is no job we haven’t done, there is no tax they haven’t levied against us, and we have paid all of them.

“But freedom is always conditional here. ‘You’re free!’ they keeping telling us. ‘But she would be alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.’  Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but the hereafter is a hustle: We want it now.

“Let’s get a couple of things straight. The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander — that’s not our job so let’s stop with all that. If you have a critique for our resistance then you’d better have an established record, a critique of our oppression.

“If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do: sit down.

“We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil — black gold! — ghettoizing and demeaning our creations and stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.

“Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real. Thank you.””for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, they made sure I learned what the schools are afraid to teach us.

“This award is not for me,” he continued. “This is for the real organizers all over the country, the activist, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. It’s kinda basic mathematics: the more we learn about who we are and how we got here the more we will mobilize.

“This award is also for the black women in particular who have spent their lives nurturing everyone before themselves — we can and will do better for you.

“Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours. [Standing ovation.]

“I got more, y’all. Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear any more about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television, and then going home to make a sandwich.

“Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012 than 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner, Sandra Bland.

“The thing is though, all of us here are getting money, that alone isn’t going to stop this. Dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back to put someone’s brand on our body — when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies?

“There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There is no job we haven’t done, there is no tax they haven’t levied against us, and we have paid all of them.

“But freedom is always conditional here. ‘You’re free!’ they keeping telling us. ‘But she would be alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.’  Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but the hereafter is a hustle: We want it now.

“Let’s get a couple of things straight. The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander — that’s not our job so let’s stop with all that. If you have a critique for our resistance then you’d better have an established record, a critique of our oppression.

“If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do: sit down.

“We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil — black gold! — ghettoizing and demeaning our creations and stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.

“Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real. Thank you.”

Sometimes You Gotta Go Back Home

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We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity~ Barbara de Angelis

LeBron finally did it! He put the Cavs on his back and clinched the 2016 NBA  Finals Championship for his hometown of Ohio. He officially cemented his legacy. What a game, a nail biter, intense. I was elated. It felt like the night Obama was elected!

Let’s dig deeper. LeBron knew it wasn’t going to be easy and haters went in. The Cavs came back from a 3-1 deficit, no other team in the history of the NBA Championship finals ever rebounded. Their backs were against the wall. According to Vegas odds, they only had a 14% chance of winning game 7. Focus and dedication ultimately won. The Cavs win is not just a historic win, but it is a dream coming into fruition . It’s an amazing story about life, loss, and redemption.

Even when your back is against the wall and all the odds are against you, you can do it! When life isn’t working out the way we expected, let go. At times you may have to go back, in order to advance.

What may appear to be a step backward may actually be preparing you to propel forward.

Life is a series of tests and lessons that will always manifest into blessings if you are paying attention and present in your own life. We have to learn to step out of the way and allow the universe to move through, shake things up, and clear the way for personal progress.

When it is your time, nobody can steal your moment away. Lets find better solutions in order to adapt to  adversity. Accept the challenge to remain focused and mute the nay-sayers.

When you conquer aspects of life once uphill battles, you will learn not to take ANYTHING for granted. I mean anything, not the rising and setting of the sun, breath in your lungs, the sound of birds chirping, family, friends, your job, and the sheer excitement of being alive. When it’s all said and done, isn’t that all that really matters?

Congratulations LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Here We Go Again

orlando

I already knew we were in trouble when precious children were slaughtered in an elementary school.

If our elected officials refused to act when our most vulnerable and innocent were gunned down, we were headed for disaster. Gun violence has since and will continue to ravage our communities.

A senator said “I served in Iraq, so I know first hand what gun violence does”. Um, excuse me sir, but you don’t have to leave the country to witness the aftermath of gun violence. Perhaps you should leave the comfort of your community and the delusion in which you orbit around.

Every 17 minutes an American citizen dies from gun violence.

We are pathetic as a nation! Come on people when are we going to realize that WE THE PEOPLE is an idea. It sounds good, looks good on paper, but fails in comparison to reality.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m patriotic. In the sense that, yes I am American and I love my country, the problem is she doesn’t love me back. What does that become, it becomes a dysfunctional relationship.

I want to explore beneath the surface for a moment. It takes a mentally unhinged and an emotionally disturbed person to commit such atrocities. A person who kills someone in cold murder for any other reason but self defense is a coward.

Its imperative we teach our children the value and process of conflict resolution. Not conflict resolution in the textbook sense, internal conflict resolution. We do to others what we internally do to ourselves!!! You cannot give what you don’t have.

It is absolutely imperative that we learn to deal with ourselves. You see the citizens of a nation take on the characteristics of that nation. In America, we have completely ignored the violent past. We have committed great acts of violence upon our own and other nations. We continue to do it today. But we don’t acknowledge it, we sweep it under the rug and keep it moving. But the pain lingers and eventually manifests into anger.

That’s what we the people have done as well. Now there’s an undercurrent rising to the surface. We the people are awakening and forcing the nation to reckon with its own self.

That’s exactly what society has to do, maybe America should lead by example and face the music, rectify its demons.

I believe “terrorists” hide behind their supposed ideology to distract themselves from themselves. That’s what folks do! They are angry, unhappy, and often mentally ill. No sane person can become radicalized.

Not only do we have to become hawkish on guns but we have to address the mental, emotional and social component of violence.

People are not born violent, they become violent…over time.

Just Like Water

This song is the perfect interpretation of soul music. It touches me deeply and describes exactly my experience.

Just Like Water By Lauryn Hill

Moving down the streams of my lifetime
Pulls the fascination in my sleeve
Cooling off the fire of my longing
Boiling off my cold within his heat
Melting down the walls of inhibition
Evaporating all of my fears
Baptizing me into complete submission
Dissolving my condition with his tears

He’s just like the water
I ain’t felt this way in years
He’s just like the water
I ain’t felt this way in years

Coursing through my senses, he’s prevailing
Floating through the space of my design
Drowning me to find my inside sailing
Drinking in the mainstream of his mind
Filling up the cup of my emotions
Spilling over into all I do
If I only I could get lost in his ocean
Surviving on the thought of loving you

He’s just like the water
I ain’t felt this way in years
He’s just like the water, the water
I ain’t felt this way in years

Bathing in the fountain of his essence
He causes my expression to remain
Humbled on a mountain by his presence
Washing my intentions with his name
Sealing off the floodgates of his passions
Saving all his liquid for his own
Moisturizing me to satisfaction
In my imagination? No no!
He’s pouring out his soul to me for hours and hours
Drawing out my nature with his hands
Yearning I’m so thirsty for his power
Burning to be worthy of his land

He’s just like the water
I ain’t felt this way in years
He’s just like the water
I ain’t felt this way in years

Cleaning me
He’s purging me
And moving me around
He’s bathing me
And he’s claiming me
And moving me around
Around and around and around
And around
Watching me, claiming me
Moving me around
He’s purging me
He’s been cleaning me
And moving me around
And around

Nuff Said

A Vision

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“When you shift to an abundance mind-set, you repeat to yourself over and over again that you’re unlimited because you emanated from the inexhaustible supply of intention. As this picture solidifies, you begin to act on this attitude of unbending intent. There’s no other possibility. We become what we think about.~ Wayne W. Dyer

Have you set your intentions for the year?

I created my first vison board in 2014 for 2015. I’m a visual person and it’s important for me to see what I want to achieve in my life. Its a great tool I use to discover what I want out of life that isn’t material. My focus was and still is on my internal life, how I want to feel and who I want to become.

Once I set the intent, I started finding quotes and pictures of exactly what I wanted. It also serves as a daily reminder of MY vision. When 2015 came to an end I reflected on what I wanted, what manifested, and revisions. I can honestly say my life lived up to my vision for the most part. In the areas it didn’t, I ultimately found clarity and peace.

Its great seeing the vision for my life change literally right before my eyes from 2015 into 2016. The universe will give you exactly what you put your energy into whether good, bad, or indifferent. So today if you haven’t already, set your intentions for your life and the year get started. After all, we only have one life and it’s critical that we get the most of this opportunity for however long that opportunity is given.