Reach Across the Aisle

I love to write. 

I’ve been avoiding it for quite some time. I feel like everyone is writing and stating their opinions about one thing or the other. Why do I even want to throw my words out there in the sea of other words?

BUT I can’t shake it.

There is something powerful about words. How they change and transform hearts or in some cases, tear them apart.

I am more aware of my words now as an adult. Right now, we are facing great turmoil in our country. And once again people around the world are uniting in solidarity with different countries who have experienced horrific acts of terror. We can use Facebook to state our opinions and get in debates about how things could have been prevented. We can debate about which tragedy was overlooked and not covered by the media. We could debate about IT ALL. But I am wondering what use is it to talk about what COULD happen or SHOULD of happened or what DIDN’T happen?

Right now, people are traumatized, grieving, and fearing for their lives. They are experiencing deep pain. Tragedy is tragedy. Its awful. To see innocent people dead because of an act of hatred is heartbreaking. Let me tell you, there is more hope and power in our unity than us being divided. We are more powerful together than we are a apart. If we can learn to stand united even when we do not agree, we will be stronger. 

Let’s choose to listen, instead of shout.

Choose compassion, over hate.

To love unconditionally.

Maybe we should reach across the “aisle” and join hands in solidarity, instead of focusing on what divides us. 

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. Martin Luther King, Jr.

xoxo

signature-wordpress

Being Black in America: Yes, Another Blog About Race

With all the events going on in our nation, surrounding police officers and the black community, I’m even more aware of my hair and my skin color-my brown skinimage1 (4)

As a kid I was too busy trying to fit in. Trying to be white. Trying to reject my culture. I got my relaxers in hopes that my hair would move and shake like my white friends. I was called a “black white girl” and for years I was proud of that. I fit in. I was the exception to the their perception of black people. I was black but not one of “them” (the black people everyone is “scared” of). I made it a point to say that I was embarrassed when a black person was being “too loud” or “doing the most”. I wanted so desperately to be accepted that as a kid I tried to reject my culture. I was “In” and “they” (the ghetto black people) were out. Somehow, white people loved me and I celebrated that. When I got to college, I was rudely awakened to the fact that white people thought I was some anomaly. I realized, being told I was a “black white girl” was an insult. A way to say I am just good enough to fit in and be accepted by white people. I’m sure they didn’t mean it that way, or at least I hope they didn’t, but it hurt. I could count the number of black girls on our campus with my two hands. Over time we got more black girls but truth be told, I found my people in college. I realized we needed to stick together. I made white friends too but my friendship with black people became life giving. We had common ground and didn’t need to search for it. Today, I celebrate my blackness, my culture, my hair, my people.

Wether you choose to acknowledge it or not, people of color know that society believes white is better. Just look at this video. 


My dearest and best friends are white and we have had some hard conversations about the things going on in our nation. Let me tell you, it’s not easy for me to truly share how it feels to be a black face in a white place. We adapt to white culture daily.  I cannot tell you how hurtful it is to see hateful comments about black people and how “unruly” we are. Seeing comments that justify Dajerria Becton being slammed on the ground by a cop because she “mouthed off”, yet a 21-year-old white male gets a pass and sympathy after he brutally murders 9 people. I am baffled by this.
I am convinced the only way true change will happen is when people allow the love of God to fill their hearts and minds, as well as, open dialogue and education about racial disparities. If you don’t believe in God, I still believe that everyone has a conscience and can support and advocate for humanity. Simply because it’s awful to let hate fill your heart. We can lobby for a change in legislation but that will not change the hearts of men. The hearts of men like Dylan who wanted to start a race war. Only God can change hearts. I’ve been doing a lot of self-examination because this stuff is hard to digest and process. I think if more people tried to self evaluate and open up their perspective to see where people of color are coming from, then maybe more hearts would join in unity. That may be a long shot but I am hoping it can happen.

We just want to have equal rights. Dylan gets a trial but what about Eric Garner? What about Michael Brown? John Crawford III? Ezell Ford? Dante Parker? Tanisha Anderson?Akai Gurley? Jerame Reid? Walter Scott? Freddie Gray? Their fate was decided by a police officer not a judge or jury. None of them got a chance to set foot in court. They just got killed. Dylan kills 9 people and they escort him to the car with a bullet proof vest on. If you don’t understand why black people are crying out for justice then you are choosing not to see. It’s plain and clear. America needs to change.

I will speak out and call out injustice because we aren’t yelling loud enough yet. Some people stopped using blatant racist rhetoric because it became unacceptable but the same language strategically morphed into political rhetoric. The media has made it seem like people of color are lazy and stealing all of the government assistance money and don’t work but guess what? U.S. Department of Agriculture data from 2013, which administers welfare, 40.2 percent of SNAP recipients are white, 25.7 percent are Black, 10.3 percent are Hispanic, 2.1 percent are Asian and 1.2 percent are Native American. If you don’t believe me watch this documentary by Tim Wise, it’s free, you have no excuses, watch it.

We will not be silent. #BlackLivesMatter

Thank you MLK

Thank you MLK for paving the way for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

For paving the way for me and all the other black men and women in this country.

For putting up a good fight and promoting non-violence.

For being the original leader of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, because they do matter.

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.-MLK

You and many others went to jail for our people.

You and many others led the way and got beaten for our freedom.

While we have come a long way, we still have work to do.

Its in times like these that I wish you were here.

Times where the church is needing healing.

Times where Facebook can be platform for division and not much change.

Times where young unarmed black men are being shot and no one is held accountable.

Times where it would seem that the police and the black community are at war.

Times where the people of all colors are demanding justice.

Its in times like this, where I feel like the movement stopped when you died.

Our people lost hope and got discouraged.

Our people gave into mental slavery.

In some ways, it feels like we are back to the 1960’s Riots.

In spite of the statistics and facts, we are still pressing on.

Some may never truly understand what it means to us have a Black President.

Some may not understand this movement.

To the white brothers and sisters, that stood and continue to stand with us, thank you. I know that some of you did want to help MLK’s dream come true.While in someways that dream was fulfilled, in other ways his work did not get finished,there is more work to be done. Will you still stand with us?

Thanks to MLK breaking down walls, some of my best friends are white.

Color does not divide us.

I pray we as a black community can continue the work MLK was after.

I hope, we can have hard conversations without fear of what people will think about us.

I hope, we will have the boldness to stand up for our rights and use our voices, intellect, and determination to make a difference in our communities.

I know, we can build a bridge and tear down walls of deep seated racism and prejudice in this country.

That starts with you and me and the church.

To the church: As MLK said, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.”

 May we open our hearts and minds.

Speak with love and compassion.

But may we NOT remain silent.


The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, 

begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. 

Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.

Through violence you may murder the liar,

but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.

Through violence you may murder the hater,

but you do not murder hate.

In fact, violence merely increases hate.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

signature-wordpress

Change=Work

Have you all seen this vine(https://vine.co/v/OvV1WMBqKVj)? My future brother-in-law sent us siblings this video via text and I cried laughing. He talked about how he was nearing the finish line for finals and barley making it. As much as that video made me laugh its my reality too. I have been juggling quite a lot. I’ve been feeling like my dreams are too lofty. My goals are too high. How will I ever accomplish these things? Its that place where you want to pursue your dreams but you have hit a wall or “writers block” of sorts.

The kid in the video wanted to stop. He did for a second but he kept going anyways. He did not stop! I think the same needs to ring true for our generation on many levels. We must press on towards our dreams and goals but with all this talk about equality, justice, and change, we must be ready to do the hard work. Change does not come easy. We will be uncomfortable, we will get tired, we will want to give up, but if we want to make a difference for our children, we have to suck it up and not just write about it on Facebook. We have to get to work. Getting to work looks different for each person. Maybe you need to finish college? Maybe you need to write a letter to your state representative? Maybe you need to find out who your state representative is?Maybe you join an advocacy group? Maybe you need to go to law school or become a doctor? Maybe you need to invest in your children or husband? Maybe you need to start a business/non-profit? Maybe you need to write a book? Maybe you need to get your Masters degree? I digress.

hong kong protest

The hard truth is, it takes work to see change happen. If you believe you are called to step up and be apart of bringing any type of change/influence to your home or community, it will require work and sacrifice. Bottom line. It will mean saying no to hanging out with friends, No to that vacation in the middle of finals that you haven’t studied for, No to going to the movies, just plain old NO. When you are endeavoring to do something great or out of the ordinary, you can’t let FOMO [Fear of Missing Out] get in the way of your progress. FOMO will prevent you from making progress. It will hinder you.

Doubt and fear is your enemy. They never want you to win. In fact, against them you stand no chance when you give into their lies. To “them” figuratively, you will never be great. You will never have a good job. You will never reach your financial goals. You will NEVER. You will NEVER because you aren’t good enough, brave enough, strong enough, smart enough, or capable enough. You don’t have what it takes. You have no connections. You have no money. You don’t have the tools necessary to succeed. You will FAIL and they know that will be true the minute you decide to wallow in their lies.

Doubt and Fear, how I hate you. I hate you because I give into your lies sometimes. I question my abilities and I stop working hard because you tell me I CAN’T and I WON’T and sometimes let myself slip; I start to believe you. 

To my friends writing/speaking/listening on the front lines about racial tension and trying to be apart of the solution: I applaud you, please keep fighting. To my friends starting non-profits/business/etsy shops/etc. keep going, keep designing, keep networking. To the mommies and daddies getting little sleep and making a sacrifice so this next generation can be graced with a child who has character and integrity, thank you. We are all working hard together. Now is not the time to get relaxed. Now is not the time to stop dreaming. Now is not the time to say “maybe one day”. Its time to hit the gas, not press the break.

Don’t let logic get in the way of doing something you have never done before. In the words of Nike: Just Do It.

XOXOsignature-wordpress

Grand Jury

As I watch the state our nation is in, most of the time I am moved to tears. I begin praying and feel at a loss for words. For weeks now I have been feeling the weight of this question: “what can I do?” How can I be apart of bringing change? Does my little voice really matter in these big conversations? In a sea of opinions and articles, is another voice necessary? It seems as if everyone is screaming a lot of things from several different angles. Instead of me going into who is right or wrong, I have been learning to focus in on what I CAN do. What is it that I can do in my community now to make a difference? One area I was curious to learn more about was the process by which ordinary citizens like you and me are selected to participate in the grand jury.

We have seen how grand jury’s have played a huge role in many of the recent court cases. Did you know that in Houston you can apply to be a grand juror? Each city in Texas has a similar but varied selection process. Explore the websites to learn about the process in more detail. Remember in order to participate, you must be a registered voter.

Houston: http://www.justex.net/grandjuryinfo/faq.aspx

“To be considered for the next grand jury, you must fill out the grand juror application, have it notarized, and mail it in to the Administrative Office of the District Courts, 1201 Franklin, 7th Floor, Houston, Texas 77002.  If you do not truthfully answer the questions on your application, you could be prosecuted for criminal offenses.”

Dallas: https://www.dallasda.com/division/intake-grand-jury/

Austin: http://www.txwd.uscourts.gov/Jury/Offices/austin.asp

For ATX: “Federal law requires that a grand jury be selected at random from a fair cross section of the community in the district or division in which the federal grand jury convenes. Thus, all citizens have an equal opportunity and obligation to serve. Pursuant to law, the names of prospective grand jurors are drawn at random from lists of registered voters or lists of actual voters, or other sources when necessary, under procedures designed to ensure that all groups in the community will have a fair chance to serve. Those persons whose names have been drawn and who are not exempt or excused from service are summoned to appear for duty as grand jurors. When these persons appear before the court, the presiding judge may consider any further requests to be excused. The judge will then direct the selection of 23 qualified persons to become the members of the grand jury.”

Education is so important. The more we are educated the more efficiently we can advocate for others. If we want to see change in our judicial system we need to learn more about it. All my lawyer/law student friends: tell me what you know! Your voices are so valuable right now.

May we truly live and love our PEOPLE (neighbors, teachers, friends, and strangers) and our community. What a difference walking in love makes, it changes, everything.

XoXo

Faitth B

DEAR WHITE PEOPLE: Movie Review

It’s no secret that racial tensions are alive and well today. For black people this movie was brilliant and laced with truth and statistics. Why do you think real housewives of Atlanta (all the housewives shows) get so many views? People love to watch that mess and guess what? Who mainly watches it? A Caucasian audience, the same group who purchase 70 percent of the rap music played in this country. The point of Dear White People was to bring the dialogue and stereotypes to the forefront. To expose the fact that black people are lumped into a group and if you divert from that said “group” you are trying to be White or you have to earn your acceptance from the White community by proving that your education takes precedence over the color of your skin.

The movie also revealed the inner tension amongst the black community. Some of us aren’t the next Malcolm X and all White people aren’t bad and awful, nor are they all racist. That would be a narrow view of people. It is ignorant to lump everyone in one group. I’m learning not to label people racist so quickly. I believe a lot of people are uneducated about black culture and therefore make assumptions and statements about black culture based on the news or TV shows. A lot of people do not live in an area where there are black people. So what they grasp of our culture is media based. Unfortunately, the media is biased. As much as we would like to think racism is dead it isn’t. When you turn on your TV and you watch who the reporters choose to interview on local television (Antoine Dodson, Sweet Brown), you know there is an agenda-get ratings. While we all laugh (myself included) and joke, the truth is, people view black culture through that lens. Let a Black person be dressed nice and articulate their words and it’s as if you are apart of a zoo, everyone is fascinated that you have been “tamed”. When in fact, slang was never allowed in my household and my dad was a stickler about our presentation and dressing nicely.

My daddy
My daddy

Honestly, growing up, I did not like my skin color. Lighter the better. I wished God made me light like my dad. I felt the inner struggle of being called “white” because I was educated and articulated my words. On top of that I was homeschooled. Can you just guess how many black kids were at the homeschool group? Like 10 out of over a 100. It was hard to find people to identify with. The reason I personally didn’t struggle that much with being the only black person was because my parents never allowed us to view our skin color as a disadvantage. Truth is, no matter that country or area of the world you are from, in America, people see black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and indian decent,etc. we are all lumped in groups based on looks. No one is going to look at me and see that my great grandmother was half white and we are of German decent on my paternal side, no one will look at me and know that. They just see black and my hair.

Now as an adult, I have learned how to love myself and love my heritage and culture. I have also become quite aware of how differences still exist. While my crew and friends are diverse, the world does not look at me the way they do. We have worked hard to build a friendship. We have worked hard to learn about one another’s cultures and have engaged in hard conversations with one another.

Dear White People was a breath of fresh air for me. One of the opening lines said “Dear White People the amount of black friends you need to have so you don’t seem racist has now been raised to 2.” It challenges popular culture and shows that black young people are trying to hold onto their heritage and be a people who can be proud of who we are and where we come from. I don’t want to give up my culture to fit in. It won’t happen. I’ve spent my young teen years trying to camouflage my heritage. My great grandparents and grandparents fought too hard for my freedoms for me to throw their hard work away. I want to be apart of breaking stereotypes about black culture. The news and mass media paint us in such a negative light. FACT: There are bad people everywhere of every color.

I so desperately wish hair, color and everything else weren’t dividing factors. I wish it wasn’t something that kids got teased over. I wish we could all get along. I wish we could have these hard conversations without fear of retaliation from one side vs. the other. I wish we could unite and learn from one another. I wish people didn’t point out when all the black people are on one side of the room like its a big deal. No one says anything about segregation until a group of black people are sitting together amongst white people and all the sudden we have a non “blended” group. Why is this an issue? Why do we make it an issue? Trust me I wrestle with this because there are things that I have said and done and wondered, why do I think my hair is not as good because it is corse? Why have I thought I’m not as beautiful because my skin is dark? Why have I thought, I don’t want to marry someone dark so my kids won’t be dark and have to deal with being teased? Why? I have a lot of questions and not many answers besides a burden to pray and a heart to see Black people believe the best of themselves and understand that they can accomplish their goals and don’t have to give into the status quo that we are less than, because we are not. No matter what our skin color is and where we are from, we all have purpose and value.

I love teaching and helping. I love telling people about black culture and explaining our jokes and humor. I would teach a class or hold a webinar for people wanting to learn more about black hair and how to do it. Especially for the adoptive moms. Raising a black child can be hard. Trust me, if I have experienced it and felt the differences and feeling out of place and I had two black parents, imagine what a kid who doesn’t have that will feel like? It’s tough and I’m praying for all of you as you navigate tough waters.

Moving forward starts with people coming with open hearts and minds and leaving their backpack full of junk behind (maybe we need to throw out some tables as James suggested). It’s time for our nation to realize that racial tensions and biases still exist. That’s why Ferguson is experiencing so much tension. It’s evident that local leadership must change. Whatever the story, black youth being killed by the police is a problem. We have a justice system to deal with offenders accordingly (I am not going to get into our flawed justice system dialogue, that is a whole different discussion).

Something has got to change. It’s starts with us. It starts with knowing who our local leadership is. Not only that, we need more diversity in politics and we need for more minorities to get engaged in representing the communities. Especially communities whose demographics are predominantly minorities. We need to educate our youth and young adults on the importance of local elections. It’s imperative that we learn the value of voting. 

There was a lot of depth in movie. Although it was presented in a funny manner, the purpose was to make people think. To me it’s great way to begin the hard discussion that needs to occur between cultures. My friend, James Hill said it best in his article “Don’t Invite Me to the Table (Allow Me to Help You Turn it over and Take it out)”

However, I am fervently convinced that we cannot have constructive dialogue until we are first willing to partake in deconstructive dialogue. I believe with all my heart that if our unity is based on a fallacy, blessed be division. Moreover, I am all for inclusion, however, when our ‘inclusion’ is used as a subtle tactic to eviscerate a movement of all its raw and influential potency, it becomes nothing more than a co-opted tool of Satan and must be extinguished at the root. It does us no good to ornately decorate a table in the midst of burning house. We preserve ourselves, not by taking a seat at a table that is sure to be consumed in fire, but, rather, by having enough sense to know that sitting down is not what we need to be doing as the roof is caving in on us.

I understand that removing a table concretized in moral folklore is never easy. Many have taken pride in the so-called table of reconciliation. You’ve told many jokes on this table. You’ve shared countless half-off appetizers on this table. There is no way you can muster the strength and courage to flip over the table of unseen power and privilege. Don’t worry, we see your struggle.

Allow us to help you take it out. We never liked that table anyway.

I am thankful to be apart of a generation willing to get dirty and tear off the roofs of oppression. A generation willing to go to bat for one another. This movement happening in Ferguson, Hong Kong and all over the nation and world is about people of all colors standing up for freedom and saying NO MORE.

hong kong protest

Comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts.

signature-wordpress

Dreaming Keeps Me Awake At Night

One of my friends called me last night with the best news ever. We squealed like little girls for while, bursting with excitement. Do any of you dream with your friends? If you don’t have a few trusted people to dream with it’s quite boring. My old roommate and I have talked about our lives and dreams for years. To see a glimpse and a part of that dream come to life is heart warming. It’s inspiring. It’s worth squealing over. I’ve said it time and time again. My friends are world changers. They have the most giving hearts. I am so privileged to know them.

After dreaming with my sweet friend, I could not sleep. I laid wide awake. So of course I started to write until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. When I woke up, I was plastered to my pillow half-regretting my writing escapade into the wee hours of the morning. Yet, part of me woke up really excited and fulfilled because a dream worth pursuing is worth staying up late for. Dreams are worth believing in. Worth praying over. Worth crying over. Worth fighting for.

I believe Generation Y is a significant generation. We will either make a huge difference or mess everything up. I like to think that we will make a huge impact. I get excited when I see my peers starting a business, creating an app, becoming lawyers and doctors, moving overseas, getting married, having children,starting amazing careers, and writing. We have something to offer this world. We may be young but our age doesn’t define us. We all have something unique and significant to offer.

The next time you feel like you have failed because you don’t know what your dreams are, haven’t found your dream job, or you feel really stuck; remember that you are valid. Keep working towards your dreams and goals. Things take time. Our generation believes in instantaneous success that will involve little-to-no effort, unfortunately, that is a shallow point of view. If you want something bad enough you will work for it. Educate yourself in college or trade school. Get some credibility and knowledge. Learn to present yourself as a professional. Carry yourself with confidence. Write out your goals and things you would like to accomplish. I recently wrote out my #Next5 (Goals I want to accomplish in the next 5 years). If I actually accomplished 3 out of the 5 goals, I would feel really great. My goals are pretty ambitious and a little fear started to creep in but I told fear to shut up.

 

So if you are like me and your dreams keep you awake at night, keep dreaming & drink a lot of coffee.

I’ll be introducing you all to a few of my friends who have big dreams and goals in a blog series called “Not so Ordinary Dreamers”. They are doing great things in their communities. I can’t wait to introduce them to you! Gen Y, let’s stick together.

 

XOXO

Signature WordPress