“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” – Maya Angelou
2018 hasn’t been my best year. Learning to live on without my mom has not been easy. I’ve had good days and I’ve had days where I stayed in the bed with the covers pulled over my head. I’ve learned to go with the flow and live in the moment. If I feel like crying, I go ahead and cry. I’ve learned to embrace and acknowledge my feelings, so I can move forward.
2018 has been the year for dealing with my emotions. I used to bury my emotions. Burying emotions is not good, and only leads to an explosion. An explosion affects everyone that has any contact with me. I no longer wanted to be that explosion.
Choosing not to be that explosion led to me having to deal with some things in each area of my life. I chose to deal with every area of my life and in the process learn to handle the outcome.
I’m stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. 2018 has been about being better: a better me, better wife, better mother and better friend.
Every valley and mountain has molded me into the woman I am today. I’m looking with expectation to 2019. Yet striving to BE BETTER!
I remember as if it were yesterday. The moment I fell in love with Black History. I was born in Chicago, IL and grew up in Cairo, IL. My first vivid memory of even receiving a glimpse of what my ancestors went through is when I saw Roots on TV. Roots provided a foundation for the treatment of Blacks in America. I was horrified and angry at the images that were seared in my brain.
Fast forward to what I was taught in school. Black History was not focused on as much as it should have been in school. I remember being taught year after year about the same few icons of Black History: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman. That was pretty much all we were taught. While in high school I had to read an autobiography of a person of my choice and write a book report about the person. I wanted to write about a woman and decided to research and find a Black woman. I read some information about Mary McLeod Bethune and wanted to find out more about her. After reading about her life, I thought I could achieve whatever I wanted to achieve. I fell in love with Black History!
I searched and found more and more books about Black History and the achievements of Blacks. I read about Fannie Lou Hammer. When I read her story, I vowed to always vote! I would never belittle the privilege that my ancestors sacrificed their very lives for me to be able to simply cast my vote. The trial of the men that murdered Emmett Till instilled in me a willingness to perform my civic duty and partake in jury duty. Never will I miss the opportunity to make sure there really is a “jury of your peers” available to hear your case! I fell deeper in love with Black History!
As I continued my research, I learned of the great Black Kings and Queens and of the various inventions that were created by Black people! My self-esteem increased even more. I read Malcolm X autobiography and knew being militant resonated more with me than practicing civil disobedience. I refused to be mistreated and when presented with racial situations I spoke up and demanded to be treated like everyone else!
Today we have a school of thought that our children need to learn about some other aspects of Black History and we should be passed focusing on slavery and Civil Rights. Well, guess what?! Those aspects of our history are still relevant today because there are those who still only see us as slaves and living beneath them. We have to teach all aspects of our history until everyone understands the ramifications of slavery, racism and prejudices. Slavery and Civil Rights history needs to be taught until racism and hate are torn from the foundation of our nation.
PBS has programming this month that will provide a broader knowledge an appreciation of the contributions from African-Americans. You can view the listings HERE
Yes, all those years ago I fell in love with Black History! When did you fall in love with Black History?
Most people do not understand the depth of systemic racism and how it is embedded in every organization in this country. Let’s look at the latest news of the shootings and the killings this past weekend in Chicago. Any shootings in Chicago somehow become front page news everywhere.
The stories are written in a manner to let you know the shootings happen in a predominately Black neighborhood. As big as Chicago is the media would want us to believe that there were only shootings in predominately Black neighborhoods this weekend. The truth is violence doesn’t just happen in predominately Black neighborhoods. No neighborhood is exempt from violence.
The violence that happens in Black neighborhoods is the news that makes a good headline story. Also, consider those doing the shootings don’t always live in the neighborhoods where they are shooting. When you see or read the news about these shootings, what do you think about the people that live in those neighborhoods?
The news is designed to make you think negatively about Black people. If the media wasn’t designed to have us think negatively about Black people, we would receive a balanced news report. The good things that are happening in Black neighborhoods would be just as prevalent in the news. The good news stories are few and far between and are not given as much air time as the negative news stories.
The people in Black neighborhoods are not as silent as they were in the past. People do speak up. People are going to jail for these shootings, but we rarely hear about this.
When the news is about predominately White people, we are not given context clues to let us know where the violence happened. We don’t quickly receive a picture of the offender. There are always excuses as to why the person did what they did. The offender is painted as the good boy or girl that has some mental issues or he or she is going through some difficult times.
Please be a critical thinker as you listen or read the news. If you don’t you will think negatively about Black people that happen to live in the neighborhoods where shootings occurred, and you will say some of the same biased, racist remarks that others say about Black people.
Almost every time another Black man is murdered, I think about when the Harvey police pulled my son over and pointed their guns in his face! He had done nothing wrong. He had just left Ingalls from visiting his dad after his dad’s surgery.
I think about how they could’ve murdered my son for nothing!! We would’ve probably never found out what really happened because folks were not recording like they are today. They would’ve tried to paint my son as a criminal. God protected my son that day!!
I have been mostly reflecting and not doing a lot of talking about what people should or should not be doing. I don’t have the answers and neither do you.
I know I’m tired! I’m tired of Black people being murdered by police. I’m tired of encountering racist behavior from others. I’m tired of white privilege. I’m tired of us being mistreated because of the color of our skin. I’m tired of having to navigate through this world in defensive mode ALL THE TIME!
I’m tired of folks who sit on high horses like they do everything right and use their platform to bash others for the choices they make. I’m tired of folks comparing what’s happening to the crime that happens in communities. It’s not the same! If I kill someone, I’m going to jail. Police don’t seem to have that same understanding.
I’m tired of folks want to speak out about how wrong the rioting is, but didn’t speak out about a Black man being murdered. I’m tired of folks who love Black culture, but don’t like Black people. I’m tired of these protest calisthenics: make your profile picture Black, don’t buy anything on this day, boycott this company, cancel this person and NOTHING has changed!
Black people are still being murdered by police, Black people are still being murdered by the local neighborhood racists, companies are still producing racially insensitive advertising and products, we are still being followed around stores, we are still being questioned about why we are in certain spaces, we are still being falsely accused and imprisoned, and we are still having to fight to wear the hair that grows out of our heads! I AM TIRED!
To every teacher that reads this Happy National Teacher Appreciation Day! Thank you for being the catalyst that turned on the lightbulb of learning! Many years from now your students will remember how you cared and what they learned from you.
Teaching is a superpower!
My favorite teacher was Mrs. Champion. She was my 8th grade teacher. She’s gone, but she will never be forgotten. She was the one that turned on my love for learning and taught me to always do my best. Mediocre was unacceptable! She has left a lasting imprint on my life. Even after I graduated, she still cared and wanted to know what I was doing. She bought my son a baby shower gift. Thank you Mrs. Champion for everything!
Rejection – I have experienced several rejections in my professional life. Rejections that I still don’t fully understand why I was rejected, but God knows why I was rejected.
Great personal loss – A few people that impacted my life I didn’t expect to be gone are gone. It still doesn’t seem real that they are gone. I’m so grateful that these folks left their imprint on my life and will forever be missed.
Difficult decision – I had to make a difficult spiritual decision that I didn’t foresee having to make. If I would’ve been told in 2017 or 2018 that this decision would be made in 2019, I would not have believed it.
New life – Excited about my next grand-baby!
Fifty – I turned 50! I see this age as new beginnings, new experiences, and new goals.
Finishing what I started – I started working on my PhD and then had to stop. I had resigned myself to never completing my PhD – but God! 2020 will include me beginning to finish what I started!
This year has been filled with the good, the bad and the ugly. Some things were set up to knock me down. I stumbled and tripped, but I didn’t fall! Some things were set up to destroy me l, but I was not destroyed! I know that God protects and cares about me. God favors me and is expecting great things from me!
Giving respect to Native Americans. The people who were in America when Columbus made his arrival. It’s time they are celebrated for their contributions to American history and culture. No longer should American history be only told from an European viewpoint. The entire history must be told!
Racist – One who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea.
Antiracist – One who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.
The above definitions of racist and antiracist from Kendi’s book were interesting to me and helped me understand how detrimental racism is in our world. We don’t want to accept it, but it’s true that the very foundation of America is built on racism. There are laws that still exist that were established to block the progress of minorities.
I have read other books that discuss racism. However, I like how the author traced his own growth throughout the book. The author was able to tell life defining stories of his own to bring to life the various categories of racist in the book. When the author discussed combating racism in the same manner that we combat cancer, this resonated with me. We have to be willing to kill racism at the root, and to kill something at the root most of the time requires a surgical procedure. We have to ask ourselves what are we willing to do to root out racism.
I would encourage anyone who wants to be a better human being to read this book.
I can’t remember the last time I received interview feedback that outlined areas of opportunity that were valuable in helping me prepare for the next interview. If I have received any feedback, it has been vague and provided no value for my career growth.
This article provides helpful information in providing interview feedback.
If you have decided not to hire someone, you should have valid reasons for not hiring them. If you can’t write out clear reasons for not hiring them, you need to consider that your reasons are not valid and are subjective. Your reasons should align with the job requirements and experience that was outlined in the job description. When your reasons align with what you requested, you will hire the best qualified person for the job.
In my job seeking experience, I have encountered those that do not know how to conduct an interview or provide valuable feedback. It’s unfortunate that so many times these are the people who are making hiring decisions. Companies should consider sending out surveys to interviewees to receive feedback about their interview experience. Most companies would be surprised!
We are consumed daily with so much noise that we can’t take the time to think. Think about our goals, plans and dreams for our futures. We are inundated with so much that’s nothing but noise. I call noise anything that doesn’t allow you to focus on what you should be focusing.
We have to carve out time for ourselves to just think. My best thinking and ideas happen while I’m walking. I love walking. By my job there’s a forest preserve trail that I walk to clear my mind. As I’m walking, I look at nature and I’m just in awe of what God has created. I’m able to hear. Hear from God, hear my thoughts and plans. I have a peace that I can’t explain while walking. Walking centers me.
I notice things that I wouldn’t normally notice because I’m moving too fast or focusing on the wrong things. On one of my afternoon walks I met my friend below.
I couldn’t even remember the last time I saw a turtle. A turtle! He was just moving along as if he didn’t have a care in this world. I thought to myself I need to have the attitude of a turtle – moving at my own pace and not caring about what others are doing. Focusing on myself and making sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.
Below are some other picture I’ve taken on my walks:
Let’s talk. What works best for you to clear your mind?
I started the morning of Chapter 50 eating breakfast with family and friends. I want to thank you for all the birthday wishes that were received in every form.
I wanted to go somewhere that was on my bucket list of places to go and never been before for my 50th. NOLA was my choice. I wanted to celebrate with my family and friends. Everyone couldn’t make it, but I’m having a blast with everyone that was able to make it.
I’m excited about my future. This birthday has been one of my best! I received one of the best gifts ever! Fifty looks good on me. I mean I do look good period! Here me roar – ROAR!! I love me – flaws and all. My theme this entire year is BETTER! Every day I’m striving to be BETTER.
I have another item I want to check off my bucket list this year – learning to swim. I’ll be finding a class to help me on my quest to be BETTER!