Going to school in America where shootings are the “new norm”.

img_4435These are my girls at school!  Happy-go-lucky and free to be a teen and pre-teen!  They are students, learning, growing, making friends and having fun! img_3188

To my friends, colleagues, and followers: have school shootings in America become the new normal, commonplace?  There have been 288 school shootings in America since 2009.  There have been 433 shooting incidents in America since the Santa Fe, TX shooting on Friday – that just three days ago.  In 2018, there have been 22,190 total shooting incidents in America and 16 school shootings in American in 2018.  Why?

Twenty-three (23) families have changed: 8 students and 2 teachers are dead; 13 others were injured.  One student who was a Pakistani exchange student who came here to study with American students and interact with American families.  Her family will never see her again.  Why is this the “new norm”?

As I sent my daughters to school today, it was like nothing happened on Friday.  It happened and life has gone on.  The same students that I see every school day were at the bus stop.  The country is not having a moment of silence; it is contained to the state of Texas.  If the reports are correct, more students have died in school shootings this year than soldiers in the two (2) wars that America is currently engaged.  So I wondered, is this the norm in other countries.

Based on what I learned, it is NOT!  Again, since 2009, here are the number of school shootings for other countries.  Mexico – 8; South Africa – 6, India – 5, Canada and France – 2, China, Germany, Greece and Russia – 1, all other countries listed including the UK are zero (0).  Let me put it another way, America is 36 times more likely to have a school shooting than any other country in the world!  So this is just the norm in America!

I agree with Arne Duncan, former Secretary of Education 2008-2015, that it is our responsibility as parents to ensure our children’s safety.  The question becomes, how do we do that?  Is it something that we need to do collectively?  Is it even a problem for my community?  We need to have the conversation.  We need to talk about if and how gun violence affects our children, our families, our communities.  We need to discuss options to make a difference, to make our children, our students, our teachers, our communities, our seniors, our colleagues – Americans safe!

Are you willing to have the discussion with me?  Or, are we going to continue to live our lives as if this only happens to other people, until it happens to us?  What are the steps that we can take as parents?  Should we work individually or collectively or both?  What role do the politicans that we elect play?  What is the political responsibility to affect change in this area?  Is there one?  Are the parents of the student who committed this heinous act responsible for providing access to these guns and other weapons of mass destruction?  Let’s discuss, and then take action.

 

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Happy Black History Month

When I opened Google on February 1, 2017, to my delight, Google wished me ‘Happy Black History Month’ highlighting Edmonia Lewis, an African-Native American sculptor born in New York on Independence Day 1844.  On February 1, 2018, Google highlighted Carter G. Woodson, an Black American writer and historian considered the “Father of Black History.”

Go out and learn more about your history.  Lots of times we discuss the great Black Americans who built this country and helped our community begin to grow and thrive.  Now I want you to learn your history.  Who are your parents?  Who are your grandparents?  Where do you come from?  These are my children.  I want them to know where they come, who they are, what great people came in our family before them.

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Our children need to know and learn who the great famous Black women and men in world history.  That is very important.  But just as important is for them to know and learn who the great Black women and men in our family histories are.  Make it a part of our Black History activities.  Talk with your ancestors and learn about your family.  That’s what I plan to do.

This month, I have decided to dedicate time to learning my family history and hope that you may do the same.  Make Black History Month GREAT again!!!

 

What does BLM mean to you? Essay Contest 

Dr. Kennette Thigpen is host an essay contest where students age 10-18 of all backgrounds, races and ethnicities to share what Black Lives Matter means to them. In an effort to not forget our children, the essay contest allows children to share what they are thinking, seeing and experiencing. Let’s here from our young people, our future and allow them to express their perspectives. 

For essay contest details, please visit Dr. Thigpen’s website https://www.drkennettethigpen.org/contest and share with your friends, family and associates. 

Registration starts September 1, 2017 and ends October 15, 2017. 

Christmas 2016

It was the best of times! It was the worst of times. We did an awesome job with the Nativity play at church Sunday morning. It’s been years but I was asked to direct the production for Christmas morning. We were crazy busy and only rehearse that morning before service but it was well received and resounding success. Pictures and videos to come. 
We visited our parents’ homes and decided on IHOP for dinner. Then they announced that George Michael died.

The Smithsonian Musem of African American History and Culture

img_6674-1The girls and I recently visited the new Smithsonian Museum of African American history and culture with a friend and her daughter. It was breathtaking.

The museum is a total of seven (7) floors and chronicles African American history from slavery to the end of the 20th century. The main floor has information, the Museum Shop and a few items in exhibit. There are theee (3) floors below ground and three (3) floors above ground with artifacts, interactive exhibits and awe-inspiring history. You cannot reasonably see it all in one visit. I actually encourage you to plan to go multiple times and experience each section, each part of our rich, varied and profound experiences in America.

Anyone who knows me know that I love being Black. I love my people! I love our culture. I love the dichotomy of being Black in America.  We learn two languages, two definitions of success, two styles of dress, and multiple ways to solve any problem.

However, visiting this newest addition to the Smithsonian museums, I was reminded of just how beautiful and special our (MY) people are. I was just so PROUD to be Black today, in this time, at this moment. It was the best feeling in the world!

Olivia Is Representing Team USA

IMG_5124My daughter Olivia (aka Libby) has been selected for Team USA at the World Championship of the Performing Arts. Dancers, singers, actors and models from ALL OVER THE WORLD compete before 75 judges from the entertainment industry every year to win gold, silver and bronze medals. This year is the 20th Annual World Championships of Performing Arts®, being held on July 8 – 17, 2016 in Long Beach, California. Many cite this event as the official “Talent Olympics” for aspiring performers. Yes, there is an Olympics for performers – Get Excited!

Contestants are expected to compete from over 50 countries, and Olivia Anderson is representing us on Team USA with her sister and brother performers! This is such an awesome opportunity for Olivia and part of her success starts with YOU!  She will have the chance to grow as a professional artist, get scholarships and even earn a role in a commercial, TV show, play or movie!  There are no limits, and we are so proud of her talent and drive to reach this goal!

Please consider making a donation to support Libby. We will use all funds raised to help offset the costs to attend. We will be in Long Beach, CA for 10 days. Costs include the Team USA uniform, costumes, head shots, travel & hotel expenses and the cost of having her coach with her. Our budget is well over $5,000 for this event, and we are asking for your help!   Would you do Libby this favor and make a donation?

Just click this link: Go Fund Me for Olivia Reps Team USA to make a donation.

Thank you!

Misty Copeland is one of my daughter’s sheros.  She admires her life and her story because “Ms. Copeland knew that she was a great dancer and went after her dreams, no matter the cost.  Ms. Copeland did not let anything stand in her way, and neither will I”  (quote from Olivia).   Help us help Libby make her dreams come true!

Misty Copeland

A Snow Day & EVERYTHING is CLOSED!!!

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Here is the view from my front door! Those are two large SUVs covered in snow – Cadillac and Ford Expedition – blanketed by Mother Nature.

The snow has come and it’s still coming. Freezing rain and sleet are expected this afternoon. Amazing!!

There is no reason to list the schools, government offices or other businesses that are closed. Everything is closed. Let me say that again! EVERYTHING IS CLOSED!!!

If you don’t have to leave home, DON’T!!! Unfortunately, I see shoveling in my future, because my husband has to go to work and has a sprained wrist. Wish us luck! I feel like a postman – “neither snow nor sleet nor rain not dead of night will keep me from my appointed rounds.” I may have paraphrased but you get the point!!

Well, let me get to work then back to bed I go – wishful thinking.

Any Left-over Halloween candy?

Hcandy1If you are anything like me, you have buckets full of candy in your house from Halloween. Whether it’s the candy that you purchased – stashed, let’s call it what it is, I stashed it! for a rainy day! wink-wink!!! – and subsequently did not give out, or one of the many buckets per child that came home and was tossed to the side, or the candy that you received from holiday spirit-filled co-workers and friends, whatever the case, you have lots of candy to manage.

Well, today I have a few fun and practical ideas for tackling that mound of sugar that threatens your gums and your waistline before the holidays.  Fun, because your children will see what you’re doing and want to “help” anyway that they can.  What child wouldn’t want their weekly chore to involve putting away the left-over candy?  Check that right off your to-do list!  So, what can we do with some of this candy?

1)  Take a pail to the office to share on the “community table” with a note to your co-workers to, “Enjoy a Treat on My Family!”

2) Start your holiday gift giving early! Decorate old tins and jars in your home with glitter, glue, and other various knickknacks or Pick up a holiday-themed tin (with lid) from your local Dollar store, add the candy and tie a pretty bow around it.  What a lovely gift and it cost you literally pennies to make.

hcandy33) Use the Hershey kisses, Reese mini cups, KitKat bars, Snickers, Butterfingers and more to make cookies and brownies

4) Sticking with another food idea: mix those same chocolate-based products with vanilla ice cream for flavored ice cream.  Now, that’s a treat every child loves!

5) And for those that have lots of those candy corns and mini pumpkins, what better way to preserve those stale treats and keep your child occupied for hours making candy art.  Will they eat some of those treats?  That is very possible, but the artwork will occupy them with something other than the television, and it may end up being decorations for next year’s festivities!!

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This is just some things that I do in my house.  I’ve included links to other bloggers who have great ideas also!!

 

The Anderson Girls Made it – The A Team

Kennedy and Olivia have made the Studio A Competition Dance Team again this year.Image
 
 We are hosting a fundraiser to help raise money to support the girls and the fees for the dance team.
 
Please support Kennedy, Olivia and STUDIO A COMPETITION DANCE TEAM by participating in the Claire’s Gourmet Fundraiser.  You may also make a donation directly to Studio A for Kennedy and Olivia.  Please contact me directly or send your check to:
 
The “A” Team – Studio A Dance Competition Team
c/o The Anderson Girls
5442 Brenbrook Drive
Randallstown, MD 21133
 
Claire’s Gourmet features yummy cookies, great snacks for after school and delicious desserts which are great for the Holiday. The kids can also earn some great prizes.
 
Follow the link below to see the selection of products Claire’s Gourmet offers.
 
 
You can either place an order through me by telling me what you want or you can order online. If you order online, and for Kennedy to get credit for your purchase, please enter the participant code 014023 on the home page.  You MUST enter the code for the Anderson Girls to get credit.
 
You will have an option to ship directly to you or ship to STUDIO A COMPETITION DANCE TEAM. When shipping to STUDIO A COMPETITION DANCE TEAM, your order will be packed and shipped to STUDIO A COMPETITION DANCE TEAM to the attention of Kennedy Anderson with NO shipping charge. In order to ship to the STUDIO A COMPETITION DANCE TEAM  your order must be placed no later than October 27, 2013. 
 
When shipping directly to you, SHIPPING CHARGES WILL APPLY.
 
Thank you for supporting Kennedy and STUDIO A COMPETITION DANCE TEAM.

What is Halloween?

what is halloween

During a time between autumn and winter, harvest and disposal, life and death, we celebrate Halloween with costumes and superstitions.  Halloween is one of the oldest holidays celebrated today with its origins in the 2,000 year old Celtic tradition of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).  Samhain was a celebration held on the night before their new year, November 1, characterized with bonfires, costumes, and fortune-telling. As the Celts became more influenced by Christian mores after being conquered by the Roman Empire and with the influence of Pope Boniface and Pope Gregory III, Halloween came to be celebrated on the eve of All Saints Day or All-Hallowmas, incorporating many of the traditions of Samhain and two Roman Empire traditions of Feralia – a Roman Empire custom marking the passing of the dead, and a celebration honoring Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruits and trees whose symbol is an apple.  So, that’s where the tradition of “bobbing for apples” was derived.bobbing for apples2

Over time, Halloween became a more secular and community-based observance.  With the first immigrants to America, Halloween was celebrated primarily in southern states, of which Maryland is included, due to the strict Protestant principles in colonial New England.  However, as the Irish fled from the great potato famine of 1846, Halloween became more popular blending Irish and English customs with Native American influences.  Overtime, the ritual of Halloween dropped most of its religious and superstitious traits, and it became a national holiday in the early 20th century in America. 

halloween bonfireToday, the American tradition of “trick-or-treating” and dressing in costumes have become a way of life dating back to the holiday’s Celtic, Irish and English origins.  While the holiday has been plagued with vandalism and negative connotations over the years, Halloween relied on the good will of spirits traditionally; now it relies on the “good-will” of parents and community leaders for children to have fun. So as the days get shorter, the weather grows chilly and winter begins, people around the world celebrate with parties, costumes, and sweet treats!

happy halloweenHappy Halloween!! Make it Great!