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Truly honored

Truly honored to be a recipient of MAD 2014 Daring To Make A Difference Award which will be awarded by the Mid-Atlantic (MAD) District of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club (NANBPWC) Incorporated, on March 15, 2014. Feeling blessed! I still have so much work to do!

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Bars

For the grapes that didn’t make it off the vine, for the tapes that didn’t make it off rewind, & for folks who refuse to be reminded, that all love, is crystal clear until it’s blinded.

Some days, I pray that no one will ask me the dreaded question. “Are you alright?” Some days, that question reveals just the opposite. It’s much easier to move through the day without having to answer that. More than a loaded question, the weight of the answer is far too much for one to bear. So, don’t ask. Accept my smile as an indicator of hope that if it isn’t alright, it will be.

If I asked you to list the amount of people who make you, or have made you sad, I’d imagine that list would be endless. But, if I asked you to compile a list of those that make you insanely and innately happy, how many faces would appear in your mind’s eye and work their ways down to curl the corners of your mouth upward?

The feeling of making someone else’s day has to be the most magic feeling. I am working on an episode of my web series Misled. The next episode focuses on Mental Health in the African American Community. The subject of the episode, Stephanie, suffers from bipolar disorder and agreed to discuss her struggle and victory in fighting the disease. She was so nervous about doing the interview and even more so after friends and even her close relatives told her she would be exploited and perceived as a crazy lady for the world to see. I did all that I could to assure her that I am not in the business of exploitation and would never do that to anyone. She has kept in touch with me as she anxiously awaits the release of the episode and has shared with me the mumblings of her relatives who have called her a liar and don’t believe an interview ever even took place. In an effort to promote the show, and put her naysayers to rest, I put together an episode teaser for her to show them.

She was so excited about the preview video that she told me she cried joyful tears and felt extremely blessed by me. Me.  I don’t feel remotely entitled to all of that gratitude but I must say that it feels amazing. All I want to do is tell the stories of the underserved and silent and show the world what compassion is. Even though I haven’t gotten hired by HBO to do it yet, it feels good to be doing it, on my own.

You can check out the video right here.

Dreamcatcher

I just had this thought while watching Dr. King’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech. The things he is speaking about– justice for black people; that one day we would have the rights to vote and walk freely without segregation, etc. I sit here and I’m grateful that these things have now come to pass, but it wasn’t until just now, just now, when it clicked. This march, and the actions of the hundreds of thousands of people that preceded this march, at one point, were just leaps of faith. These things were just small footsteps with faith but they set the blueprint for the freedom that we have today, and an anchor for which we can hold onto as we continue sailing through to true justice for ALL people. Dr. King had hope, and a dream and power to move people’s hearts with peaceful determination. But, he had no idea what would happen, just faith, a faith that saw that at the center of all people there is good.

 

There are people –black people- who say there will never be true justice in the legal system for the African American woman or man. I don’t doubt that there were once people who thought they would never walk onto a bus and sit down where they pleased. I don’t doubt that there was a child who sat quietly in her classroom accepting that she would never sit in the same classroom with a white child. I don’t doubt that there were people who didn’t care either way. But, if one could dream–if one could dream of true change- change in a country founded on the oppression of the very people who built it, now that’s remarkable.

That dream made provision for my dream. So, maybe it isn’t far-fetched to see a world where a young black man walking from the store with skittles won’t be judged by the color of his skin but the content of his character, or to imagine an education system that doesn’t clear a direct path to imprisonment or death for young brown men. Maybe, just maybe, I could have a dream too.

The Nile

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I lied. To myself. But, I guess it wasn’t really a lie because I was thoroughly convinced that it was the truth. I guess that’s what it takes to pull it off—a lie, to yourself, I mean. You’d have to be completely convincing so that you’d believe it. That’s the trick. It’s all a mind game. Most things are. Fear, doubt, uncertainty; they’re all lies we tell to ourselves- prove to ourselves even. And if thoughts become things then it all makes sense.

If we stop thinking in lies and start living in truth- and visiting but not dismissing the ugly parts of truth, somewhere, somewhere in there, there’s clarity. I couldn’t tell you where though. How ironic.

You know that river that flows through Egypt? Well, turns out, it’s not just a river.

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I, like many of us have been tuned into the George Zimmerman trial since it began. I almost typed “Trayvon Martin” trial because, at times, it was hard to understand just who was being tried. Today jurors in the case heard the closing arguments for the defense and the final rebuttal from the state. The defense rode on the platform, if you would call it a platform, that Zimmerman had every right to act the way he acted, that he was a regular man with aspirations of protecting and serving his community but was attacked by a young man who refused to “run away” upon being followed. The defense went as far as to say that Martin had plenty of time to run— four minutes. Defense attorney O’Mara went on to list all of the things one could do in four minutes, but that Martin chose to stay put. My question is, why would a person run if they’re guilty of nothing? If I am minding my business walking to the store and I notice a man following me, am I to assume he is going to kill me?

I understand that the defense attorney had to do his job and try to convey to the jury that, all things considered, Zimmerman acted logically considering these circumstances, but there were times during his argument where I wondered if even he, believed himself.

“When I first got this case, I thought it was going to come and go in 20 minutes,” Defense Attorney O’Mara said.

These were not his best moments. Many times during his argument, O’Mara sounded insensitive, condescending and even patronizing in his attempt to get his point across; certainly not a good technique when speaking to a jury of women.

This trial has ignited quite a movement via social networking, as many know. I have seen countless tweets refuting the support behind the #ZimmermanTrial and the apathy about the young black men dying in our own communities. My problem with this is that no one black man’s death is more important than the other. This case was yet another reminder of the racist society that we live in, not an attempt to diminish the violence that runs so rampantly in the African American community. We have to fight one battle at a time, or get enough warriors together to fight them all.

Trayvon’s parents decided to reach out to media to bring about some justice for their son. If every parent of every slain teenager in Chicago, Philadelphia, or Atlanta made it a point to speak out on their child’s behalf, would we still be marching to our city courtrooms or wearing hoodies to show support? Don’t answer that. That answer is too complex. If Troy Davis, Caylee Anthony, and Trayvon Martin have taught this country anything, it’s that some of the laws and the policies that are effective in this country are not JUST at all. Getting upset has to do more than a hoodie and a march. Getting upset has to send you to your local politician- has to send you to your post office with your petition- has to encourage you to get up and DO SOMETHING about it, or else, we’ll be back here, not long from now, protesting about another person killed in cold blood because of a culture that ignores hatred if it doesn’t directly affect them.

 

Disclaimer: (I wrote this post on my lunchbreak so please excuse typos and punctuation!)

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