Tuesday, November 03, 2015

What am I willing to sacrifice to save someone other than myself?

While listening to NPR this week, I learned of an incident that took place at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina. In the center of this story is a black, female student, an administrator, and a police officer, who may or may not have used excessive force. Upon hearing the story, I initially did not form an opinion or offer any input regarding what happened. My thoughts were simply that this case involved a student who was being disrespectful to both a school administrator and a police officer, and in response to that disrespect, and disobedience, the police officer used what some believed to be excessive force.

 A couple of days after hearing the story, I overheard the incident being discussed. By this point, I had heard the story, but had not actually seen the video. Therefore, I did not feel that I had enough information to join the discussion. I wanted to know more about this incident that seemed to have captured the country's attention, so I went looking for this video. I found it of course on YouTube.

The video captured my attention, and wouldn't let go. I found myself watching the video over and over again. While watching the video however I believe I came away with a different concern than most who had seen the disturbing piece. Whereas many who commented on the video, they were shocked and disturbed by the manner in which the police officer handled the student-hurling the young girl across the room. Sadly, I am no longer shocked by police brutality; I expect it and I'm not surprised by it.

 I found myself more alarmed and concerned by the lack of reaction by the other students in the class. Their demeanor as they sat and watched this unfold, no outrage, no pumped up fist, no screams and sirens to "stop" this unjust treatment. They sat as if this was the norm. I was saddened to see their responses. Saddened to see this generation of young people sitting in their chairs while injustice circled them because they feel they have no voice, no power. I thought about the Civil Rights Movement, and how it was led by young people. That movement flourished not because the populace felt African Americans were entitled to the rights they were seeking, it flourished because young people (who I'm sure felt afraid and powerless) were willing to stand up and be humiliated, to be kicked and punched, spat on and hosed down, to be maimed and to die to stop the injustice against a larger population.

While discussing this story, a friend of mine helped me see that if we are not willing to die, how and why can change occur? I think back to Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman who was stopped for a traffic violation on July 10th in Texas. It is blatantly obvious that she was arrested because the officer did not like her tone or her attitude. She later died in her cell. I wonder whether we would have heard her name, or the story behind her death had she not lost her young life while in police custody. Her story would have been lost amidst the thousands of others that happen each year in this country. I do not know if she committed suicide or if foul play was involved, what I am saying is only when the worst happens does society pause to say, What is going on? What can we do to stop this? What am I willing to do to stop this?

During this incident, one brave student stood up and objected to that girl being tossed around like a rag doll. Perhaps we need to be more like that one brave soul!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 in Review

I reviewed 2013 and thought I should provide some follow up in the beginning of this 2014 in review. I ran my second half marathon the Publix Half in March with two really great friends Cynthia and Symet. I even got to run the Beltine Southwest 5K in July with my brother and nephew and my mom cheered us on outside of my house since the race crossed in front of it. It was a lot of fun. My weight goal has come and gone and will come back again. I think my motivation has faulted because U.S. Public Health Service has not opened up to MPH’s as of yet, however I am still hopeful. I did apply to a doctoral program however amazingly did not get accepted I am still kind of befuddled by that. Not that there are not many other great students out there but I really felt the school was a good fit for me. However as I reflect on my financial goals and life ambitions right now maybe the timing is just a little off. When it happens it happens and on better terms than the ones I am working with. Ok that is it for the follow up from last year’s post. In January I acquired a new debt a VW Tiguan ughhhh because my Passat decided it had done all it could. I actually ended up buying two Tiguans in less than a month because I thought it would be cool to return to a manual shift however the constant shifting in Atlanta traffic had me thinking twice about that especially with the triggering of injury from my bike accident. The Tiguan did get me thru the Snowpocalypsethat we had in Atlanta that had some people stranded all of over the city. I was so oblivious to this that I actually went to VW that day after work closed early to get some service done then left there and slowly drove to pick up Patches from the groomer and then eventually headed home never knowing that people were having trouble getting around the city. God winks at our foolishness and constantly protects us from our own decisions. For March, I got braces and went to New Mexico for work. New Mexico was OK, it will not be added to my list of places I want to live or visit again however I count everything as an experience and that it was. On the braces front, I have battled with the decision for a few years now. When I was a teenager I remember specifically making the decision with my mom’s support, that I did not want braces because I did not want to conform to society’s idea of beauty ( that being not having a gap) but wanted to define beauty for myself. I still feel that way however made the decision based on what I want now and that was for my gap to be gone and amazing it is in less than a year however I still have another year to finish aligning everything up. Well April celebrated my one step closer to 40th birthday. My mom, Patches and I all had a day of pampering. I went to Alumi at Oakwood which was fun and got to run the Alumni 5k with Cynthia. My mom got ordained as an elder which in the Adventist church, which is a BIG deal. I am glad the church made it a very special occasion for her and the other two ladies. May celebrated the birth of my niece Myla. June I crashed my Mom and Luther’s vacation in Orlando. We all had a nice time. In July I finally ran the famous Peachtree Road Race with Cynthia, we un- expectantly became each other race running partners this year. I will definitely run this again and plan to in 2015 along with the other two races that result in the runner getting a unique medal. I am all about the bling! As I review my pictures from August nothing to significant happened. My finale races for 2014 were in September. I had a girlfriend weekend of running. Symet came up and ran the Diva 5k with me on Saturday and Deanna joined us on Sunday for the Black Girls Run 5k. Both were a lot of fun however drastically different. I would definitely run them both again for totally different reasons. I began October fulfilling an overdue desire to visit Ashford, NC to visit Biltmore Estates and stay in a Bed and Breakfast. It was a really great weekend. It was empowering in so many ways. I had postponed taking this trip for so long thinking it was something I wanted to do with a very significant other or my husband. I am sure I would have enjoyed it in a different way with a man but I enjoyed it just the same. I have decided to stop postponing what I want to do waiting on somebody else, I know he will come but until then he shall find me occupying my life doing what I enjoy! November and December wrapped up the year with the usual Thanksgiving and Christmas activities. For my holiday party this year, my friends and I volunteered at Open Hand preparing meals for terminally ill persons. It was a lot of fun working for a great cause! My year ended with a service at church and walking Patches under the starry night. Some overall highlights and things to look forward to in 2015, I committed to practicing Yoga regularly however have not reached my goal for 2014 however 2015 is going to be a different story I aim to perfect my headstand and really work on my core strength, I need a nice defined tummy. No desire to be skinny but definition is a beautiful thing along with running a mile and not being out of breath. Patches has had a number of health challenges this year that has brought me to terms with her mortality. Not that I did not know she would eventually die however I have come face to face with how I will feel about her death when she does. I know that she is a gift from God and when He decides she will leave the earth He would have prepared me for it. As anyone that knows me well knows, friendship means the world to me. I am grateful to God for continually answering a prayer of a little teenage girl over twenty years ago by continuing to renew, strengthen and maintain life long friends, who I count more valuable to me than some I share a blood line with. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 Thanks to each of you - friends and family for making 2014 a great year and I am EXPECTING God to do greater things in 2015!!!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Something that makes you say uhmmmmmmmmmm

When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it's all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they're not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before." "So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he's the first black person that is qualified to be president. That's not black progress. That's white progress. There's been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let's hope America keeps producing nicer white people." by Chris Rock