Say her name: Chikesia Clemons

Chikesia Clemons is a black woman convicted of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest because she refused to pay unwarranted additional charges for plastic ware (yes plastic forks and knives) at a Waffle House and demanded the contact information of the District Manager. Women, Black women especially, are being disrespected and devalued in this country at alarming rates. The accomplishments of the past 60 years are quickly eroding. She was found guilty, sentenced and fined. Watch this video.

When did it become commonplace to belittle her request, call the police to report her complaint and now the courts continue to legitimize this violence? What are they hoping her? Black compliance? Does the criminal justice system believe that with these continued convictions, it will ensure minority’s silence and black compliance?

#confused

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.

 

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!!!

 

Put God First

10695039_10204683380864339_793525817_n-e1518187998456.jpgWednesday, February 8, 2018, I attended my first Paparazzi Regional event called EmpowerMe Pink in Phildelphia, PA.  There was a lot going on in Philly that day: there was a MASSIVE parade for the Eagles who won Super Bowl LII.  People were everywhere.  The city shut down 5 miles of streets and people were required to take public transportation just to get into the city.  There were no cars, trucks or SUVs on the street of Phildelphia that day!  Just hundreds of thousands of people celebrating a long awaited victory for a team that they never gave up on.

The Eagles were not the only champions in town that day.  Thousands of Paparazzi Independent Consultants traveled to Philly by car, bus, train and plane to hear from the champions, like Trent Kirby, Chani and Ryan Reeves,who started our company and share with each other stories of success and hope!  For me, it was AMAZING.  I was reminded of the power of hope, the importance of consistency and the hard work of discipline.  Most of all, the meeting confirmed my goals, my heart’s desire, is waiting for me to attain it.  Nothing and no one is holding me back but me.  That stops now!

Everything I am, all that I have, all that I’ve accomplished, all that my children accomplish is by the Grace of God.  I was reminded of a commencement address that Denzel Washington gave at an HBCU recently.  I went back and listened to it this morning (following one of the tips that Trent taught us to start each day listening to motivational videos).  Now I’m sharing it with you.

Denzel Washington – Put God First

Be blessed and make today GREAT!!