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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

#WakeUpAmerica, Please

To those who are still asleep or in denial in America, history is repeating itself! There are many, many people agitated by Kaepernick and other athletes for not standing during the national anthem/saluting the flag at football games. I’ve read comments saying “He needs to shut up and play football”, “This isn’t the proper forum for that”, “Patriotism before humanity”, “If you hate America so much…leave”, etc. Let’s get one thing straight: the silent protest during the anthem has nothing to do with the US military or its veterans. It has everything to do with America’s treatment of minorities, specifically people of color. In order to have this conversation, you have to leave that at the door.

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Where and when is the proper forum for protesting? Should it be where people can ignore it by changing the channel or walking away? Should it be done only when everyone approves and no one is offended? Protest is most effective when it’s peaceful and presented on a broad spectrum. It’s meant to ruffle feathers and make one uncomfortable as it exposes social issues/injustices and question our way of thinking. There are some that believe sports shouldn’t be weaved with such issues. But guess what: this is America. In this country, we all have the freedom to express ourselves. I understand those who are unsettled, or angered, by it don’t want to be reminded or challenged. And that’s a problem. You need to be reminded and challenged because that’s the only way to bring about change and stop HISTORY FROM REPEATING.

JFK tried to talk MLK out of the March on Washington because it wasn’t the right time. Ali was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to 5 years in prison, fined $10,000 and banned from boxing for 3 years because people believed him unpatriotic. Many thought it improper for Rosa Parks to refuse to surrender her seat to a white passenger. Before the SCOTUS’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, desegregation was unthinkable. Many people felt it wasn’t the proper forum for Blacks to have lunch counter sit-in protests through the 60s. And now we’ve come full circle to the #BlackLivesMatter movement and athletes’ silent protests. People are still responding with the same rhetoric. #WakeUpAmerica

One might argue that Kaepernick is no MLK, Ali or Parks. However, they weren’t revered by the nation when they stood up for what they believed in, much like Kaepernick now. His protest is for people like me, much like MLK protesting for my grandparents, parents and future generations.

For those calling any athletes unpatriotic and disrespectful of the flag, that’s the furthest from the truth. You see, America has a history of ignoring the real issues and like to place blame or distract from the point, and objects when Black voices demand equality. Being patriotic goes beyond standing for an anthem, saluting a flag or voting for a president every 4 years. Side note: You know how Hitler began? Mandating patriotism. #FoodforThought

Don’t you see the problem? If you don’t then you’re doomed to keep the vicious cycle going. Yes, we all matter but it’s a fact that I live in a country that discriminates and displays bigotry against me routinely. And this is due to the melanin in my skin being darker than my white counterparts.

Pause and examine why you’re angry, or fearful, about the protests and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Understand that people of color aren’t trying to start a war. We want awareness and change. Identify with us. Walk with us. Recognize our struggle and value. Make the change with us.

Remember: the man who doesn’t learn from the mistakes of his ancestors is bound to carry their scars.

#FoodforThought

#YouBetterRecognize

#StopHistoryFromRepeating

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Sometimes You Just Need a Break

As I sit in my boyfriend’s den, waiting to begin my vacation, I reflect on the importance of time away. For the first time in years, I’m taking a vacation and this will be the first family trip I’ve planned for my son and me.

With being a full-time mom, work being hectic, spending time with the beau, and fitting writing in between it all, it’s hard to focus on decompressing. The last few weeks have been stressful and vacay couldn’t come at a better time.

So, remember dear readers, always take time out for your peace of mind. Whether it’s a vacation or a stay-cation, it’s worth every second!

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Enjoy!

~Anita

Follow Anita on Twitter and Bloglovin’: @Emranija & Anita Young

Misconceptions About the Homeless

Hello readers,

Today’s blog airs more on the serious than light-hearted side. During my senior year in college, I had to volunteer for a local non-profit organization as part of a class requirement. Daily Planet, a Richmond-based outreach resource for the homeless, was my assigned organization that forever changed my viewpoint on being homeless. That learning experience helped to dispel many misnomers I had about the issue.

In today’s society, there is a perception about homeless people that is sustained by a collection of myths and assumptions, a majority of which are wrong. These misconceptions seriously hinder the attempts to help those in need. However, after the mortgage crisis in 2008, it seems that many people’s views have changed because thousands of Americans were made homeless due to the crisis.

Here are the most common misconceptions about the homeless:

homeless family

  1. Are All Criminals or Drug Addicts

Most homeless people are arrested for status crimes. These are crimes that include loitering, sleeping in public, or trespassing. The National Coalition for Homelessness (NCH) 2009 report stated that 39% of homeless people depend upon alcohol and 26% “abuse other drugs.” While close to half of homeless adults in the United States struggle with addictions or have struggled with them in the past, many don’t have a substance abuse problem.

  1. Are All Mentally Ill

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 to 25% of the U.S. homeless population suffers from some form of severe mental illness while only 6% of Americans are severely mentally ill. [1] In a 2008 survey performed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 25 cities were asked for the three largest causes of homelessness in their communities. Mental illness was the third largest cause of homelessness for single adults (mentioned by nearly half of the cities). For homeless families, mental illness was mentioned by 12% of cities as one of the top 3 causes of homelessness.

  1. Are All Too Lazy to Work

The movie The Pursuit of Happyness is a prime example that homeless people aren’t lazy. Although this biographical film highlighted the highs and lows of Chris Gardner’s struggle while employed, the stigma of laziness still seems to be stamped on homelessness. 44% of the homeless who have jobs can’t escape it and climbing out of homelessness is virtually impossible without a job. For those with limited skills, job opportunities that pay a living wage are very hard to come by. In addition, many have obstacles such as limited transportation and access to educational and training programs.[2]

  1. It’s Due to Poor Choices

There are two trends largely responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20-25 years: a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a coinciding increase in poverty. [1] NHC found that home foreclosure, poverty, eroding work opportunities, decline in public assistance, domestic violence, mental disorders, and addiction disorders are the leading causes of homelessness. Many of these factors are not by choice which dispels the myth that one chooses to be homeless.

 

Figure 1 shows the population breakdown of the number of people in families with children making up 37%, a total of 236,181 people in 77,186 family households. Of the individuals, 17% is chronically homeless (107,148 people) and 46% is non-chronically homeless (292,688). [4]

FACTS about Homelessness*:

  • Homeless people commit less violent crimes than housed people.
  • Many women and children are living without homes.
  • Families constitute a large and growing percentage of the homeless population.
  • Homeless people do work, and a relatively small percentage of them receive government assistance.
  • According to the Urban Institute, about 28% of homeless people have more than a high school education.

*National Law Center On Homelessness and Poverty: Myths and Facts about Homelessness

 

Figure 2 shows the ethnicity affected by homelessness, National Coalition for the Homeless July 2009.

 For more information on homelessness and how you can fight against it and its stereotypes: National Coalition for the Homeless

 

Enjoy!

~Anita

Follow Anita on Twitter and Bloglovin’: @Emranija & Anita Young

 

Resources:

1National Institute of Mental Health, 2009

2Long, Rio, & Rosen, 2007

3Statistics used from Homelessness Research Institute January 2012 report.

Want More Stress? Try Being a Parent to a Teen

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So, I was listening to NPR this morning and heard the following piece about stress for parents of teenagers. Good lord I hope I don’t have an emo, disrespectful, or ungrateful teen.

What do you think about this article?

Stress of Parenting A Teen

Employment Frustration

Good day fellow Earthlings:

Don’t you hate it when you research a company then go on an interview and follow-up with a thank you letter/email to only be ignored by the once potential employer? Me too.

This scenario happens a lot for us employment seekers but it shouldn’t. Read this LinkedIn blog that address why employers should be courteous and give an interviewee proper closure: The Worst Hiring Mistake Any Company Can Make.

Enjoy!
~Anita
Follow Anita on Twitter: @Emranija

Status

Long Time, No See

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Hello Lovely Folks!

I know it’s been awhile since my last post (6.5 weeks to be exact) but I’m gradually making my way back to the blog scene.

The long of the short is that I’ve had a lot of life changes come about. Apparently, being a full time working mom/daughter/girlfriend has it’s drawbacks. Hopefully, I haven’t kept you all waiting too long. So, please forgive my brief absence.

I’ve been inspired to write a heart-churning piece and it’ll take me a few days, but I’ll deliver.

TTYS

Enjoy!
~Anita

Follow Anita on Twitter: @Emranija

From NPR News: Student Debt Weighs Down Women More

Student Debt Weighs Down Women More. Blame The Wage Gap http://n.pr/1grnwKZ

5 Things You Should Do This Spring

Spring brings out action.

Spring brings out action.

Happy First Day of Spring Everybody!

I truly love this time of year because nature is beginning to blossom and warm up again. With the spring equinox upon us, it’s a great time as any to spring into action ourselves. I came up with five things you should do in the springtime:

1)      Do some spring cleaning: Whether it’s your house, car, wardrobe or Facebook… we are all in need of a little cleaning. So why not simplify your life and free it of that clutter?

2)      Spend more time outside and less in front of the TV: With the temperature slowly rising, pick an activity to do outdoors. Fly a kite, play baseball, ride a bike, run or walk a marathon, even reading a book outside will count!

3)      Start a garden: Whether it’s a vegetable or flower garden, this time of year is perfect to get your green thumb crackin’. Personally, I’m more partial to fragrant flower gardens.

4)      Shop at the farmer’s market: If you’re not into planting and tending your own garden then the farmer’s market is the best next thing. It’s a little pricey, but the payout is worth it in the end. Remember: Support local businesses and buy locally.

5)      Take a mini-vacation: Oh how I love a vacation! And a mini-vacation is just as wonderful. Even if it’s as simplistic as a picnic at your nearest state park or grand as having a spa weekend. A mini-vacation is a great refresher.

I hope my five ideas were helpful to you for spring 2014. Have fun trying them!

Enjoy!

~Anita

 

Follow Anita on Twitter: @Emranija

What I Learned About Love

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Love is always on the horizon

Love first happened to me in my early twenties. I thought I knew everything about it because I was an adult and it was my first real relationship. Man, did I go through some trials and errors to find out differently. A decade, one kid, and several life lessons later, I’ve found that there are many layers to love.

My first time truly falling in love I became enthralled with the throes and heart trimmers that came along. It was an amazing and unique experience; however, I chose to overlook the pitfalls of selfishness and dishonesty because I thought that was what you did in love’s namesake. I loved unconditionally, but, eventually, it ended with a painful reality. Lesson: Love can easily turn into heartbreak and betrayal.

When my son was born, the first thing I did was cry. It was a magical, overwhelming moment that words couldn’t describe. I just know that my heart was so full of love which transcended any human comprehension. Through the adventures of parenthood, I’ve found that a child’s genuine love can make many things in life seem trivial. This kind of love makes you see the world in an unorthodox way.

The saying “you can’t choose your family” is definitely true, but often times there’s a reason for the family you were born into. For every relative that I haven’t meshed well with, there is another that I’ve established an amazing connection with. Through the joys of sibling-like relationships and heartbreak of disappointment, I’ve learned family will always be your first test of love and loyalty.

The honesty and natural growth of friendship that I’ve received in my lifetime is immeasurable. There’s over seven billion people on this planet and only a scant few have become my close friends. They accepted me and allowed me to be who I am, in all my imperfection. The impact of their love and sincerity has forever changed my life. I’ve learned to cherish my friends because a great friend is difficult to find.

Now that I’m in my early thirties, my perspective on love has positively shifted. I’ve learned that love comes in many forms, but it’s up to me to value it while I have it. There will always be givers and takers in relationships, yet I have influence on the balance between the two. In love, I’ve encountered a blissful passion beyond compare and a darkness that knew no bounds in sadness. Love and I had our falling out, and it lasted for a while. Ultimately, I’ve learned that if I don’t give it another try then I won’t know the next great love of my life. With one new relationship on the horizon, I pray for an absolute and complete love that will last for as long as it needs to.

Enjoy!

~Anita

Follow Anita on Twitter: @Emranija

Moments in History: Loving v. Virginia

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The Loving Family

Did you know that Richard and Mildred Loving broke down racial barriers with the landmark civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia? Growing up in Essex County, Virginia, I didn’t realize that I lived minutes away from the Loving family, who lived in the neighboring county of Caroline. They were instrumental in legalizing interracial marriage (specifically between blacks and whites) throughout the South.

Mildred Jeter was born on July 22, 1939 in Central Point, Virginia. She was of African-American and Native American ancestry. Richard Loving, who was white, was born October 29, 1933 in Central Point as well, and he first met Mildred at her school. Eventually, the two quietly started dating despite their six-year age gap and, when Mildred became pregnant at the age of 18, the two decided to get married.

In June of 1958, they married in Washington, DC because the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 prohibited interracial marriages in their home state. They returned to Caroline County and were arrested. In 1959, they pled guilty to violating the act and were given a one year suspended sentence under the condition that they leave Virginia and not return for 25 years. They challenged the law and, in March of 1966, the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the law. By June 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled the law unconstitutional. Because of this ruling, the 16 states that still had anti-miscegenation laws on their books were forced to repeal them.

On June 29, 1975, Richard Loving, 41, was tragically killed by a drunk driver while his wife lost sight in her right eye. Mildred Loving passed away from pneumonia on May 2, 2008, at the age of 68.

Richard and Mildred became reluctant activists in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and forever changed the view of many on interracial marriage in the South.

Enjoy!

~Anita

Follow Anita on Twitter: @Emranija

Resources:

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia)
Biography (http://www.biography.com/people/mildred-loving-5884)

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