Sound Off: Protesting – Political Power vs. Futile Nagging


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I have refrained from commenting on the recent events in the media (Michael Brown and Eric Garner indictments) for many different reasons, but I have a really pressing question. What is protesting, destroying cities, preventing innocent people and EMT’s, etc. from getting to and from home and work really accomplishing?

Most of what people are protesting are warped laws that allow for legal loopholes (in the cases of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, but not w/Eric Garner) and the fact that America appears to still have a great racial divide. But again I ask, what has all the “shut the city down” protesting accomplished for the issues at hand? There are no laws being changed, no loopholes removed, and no racism eliminated.

However, what has been a result is more overtime for police and more city and national resources being spent to pay for the safety and repair of the cities you protest. Your actions will increase taxes for everyone and it will come out of your pocket. Then, you will protest about how it is even more difficult to live in America as a financially burdened black person. In this situation, empty protesting is not accomplishing the goal of racial equality for all in America as you may think it is.

I am not asserting that protesting does not have a place in society, but without accompaniment of political action it is a weakened voice shouting in the forest. Why not call and protest outside town halls and state houses of your local and state politicians demanding immediate change to the laws that create these loopholes? Why not petition and protest outside your city halls demanding immediate laws be created to change how police are able to arrest and interact with citizens of all demographics? Recall. Reform. Referendum. Amend. Implement. That is the only way you can initiate, create, and enforce change in a democracy. Intimidation tactics of protest and threats of harm and vandalism without those political actions will change nothing!

The protesters of the Industrial, Progressive Era, Civil Rights Movement, and in recent cases like Market Basket challenged change during the day when they sacrificed their jobs and financial security for change. Their economic impact and creation of political traction is what brought about change. Until you will sacrifice your own job and comfort like the protesters you emulate, please stop ruining our cities and bleeding resources that we all will have to pay for. If you are serious about protesting, why aren’t you walking outside your job and protesting during your work hours to place a higher economic strain on business/the country to prompt political reform? Is it because you might lose your job? Have you made one phone call to any politician demanding changes to laws or to create new law(s)? Well, if that’s not the case then don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are like the successful protesters of history.

Political reform is free and easy to create, yet I have not seen one legal change created as a result of all the mania. I understand many of us, of all ethnic backgrounds, have racial hurt and anxiety stemming from different events in our lives, but make no mistake, protesting when it seemingly doesn’t affect your pocket is nothing more than a psychological exercise of tension release. You changed little; you protest at the time that causes the least financial strain on your life; you bleed city resources; you “shut down” cities at a time when most people are already sleeping and most politicians are home; you have changed no laws. Who/what are you really protesting for – equality and change or your own desire to be heard and release frustration? Well we all hear you, and many agree with you, but the truth is that as of right now you have changed nothing for the better in America by the way you choose to “shut down” cities. I also see the signs that “the revolution will not be televised,” but all I see is protest on the TV. Revolution starts in buildings where cameras are not as easily welcomed. That’s the true meaning of “the revolution will not be televised” – change starts at your local, state, and government offices and by means of your economic and political power (and I do not mean by boycotting Black Friday to only increase taxes for Americans during the next week).

Indeed, it does take many different forms of protest and expression to bring about change. One singular stategy is not the answer to such a complex topic of racial discord and inequality. Unfortunately, social media and journalists have chosen to focus more on the upheaval alone than on those that are targeting these issues with both voice and action. My concern is that social media is focusing on mere protesting and resistance as the primary way to communicate that “black lives matter” and there are many uninformed youth and adults that fail to see that protest plus political power equals powerful progress. As stated before, proper protesting has its place, but uncensored emotions and unbirdled tongues will not create racial harmony.

Protest void of subsequent political action is futile nagging.

Be a what?


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#random So often I hear people say “be a man” or “be a woman?” I thought about it again and I am questioning what that really means. Aren’t they already a man or woman by gender? So what exactly are we telling them to be? What does being a man or woman even look like, if there is such a look or action(s)?

It is starting to sound like a redundant expectation of living up to something that you already are. Are we really trying to tell people to be more powerful, confident, more _________ (fill in the blank), etc? Then why don’t we just say that? We tell people to be a noun (man/woman) instead of guiding their behavior toward an adjective like an “admirable” man or an “ambitious” woman, etc. I don’t know about you but I don’t know how to aspire to be what I already am – a woman.

Maybe so many people are walking around the world lost because they are continually given the vague advice of “be a man” or “be a woman.” When I hear someone say that again, I will ask them for specifics.

What do you think? Comment below.

#LifeRant: Social Media – A Tribute to Yosra


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wpid-20140719_124651.jpgOh, the world of social media. People desire tons of followers, but not as many people want to lead.

Selfies, TBT (throw-back thursday), FBF (flashback friday), pictures of friends and family, social gatherings, and loads of other adventures fill Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, and the list goes on and on. I will not lie; I would like more followers too, but recently I have been wondering if I am using my platforms to show and share what is of value or if I am falling into the tempation of sharing what will get more likes and shares. What is valuable and meaningful should become the most liked and shared things on social media; but let’s get real, it often is not. People share what others want to see and hear, and often times that does not equate to the most meaningful message(s).

In no way do I want social media to become so serious that it no longer acts as the escape from life I sometimes so desperately need. But, as a person that works with the younger generation everyday, I can’t help but wonder and be concerned that the majority of the images and messages they consume on social media are not always of the greatest substance. Naturally, I wondered if my contributions to the “look at me, like me, share me, laugh at me, me, me, me” world of social media includes enough of the message(s) that actually makes my “followers” “better.” Then again, maybe that is just too much pressure and responsibility; it’s easier to just encourage people to “watch” me but harder to ensure I am someone worth watching. Or, maybe I am just overthinking all of this and I just need to lighten up. I just can’t help think that technology has advanced to the point that we can keep in touch with our families, friends, and strangers all over the world, and yet most of what the youth sees and consumes is garbage (in my eyes). But, can we really blame them? Maybe the majority of the “loudest” things we encourage the youth to consume and those “loudest” things shared in society are garbage. We encourage people to “follow” us but where are we leading them?

I will never forget watching the social media statuses of 33 year old Yosra El-Essawy (Beyoncé’s World Tour photographer) throughout her year-long battle with cancer, which unfortunately she recently lost. Her positive attitude about cancer, her life, and reference for God was infectious. Even though I never met her in person, I interacted with her through social media with a “I’m praying for you” here and a joke or two there to help keep her spirits up. She chronicled her struggles and shared her fight, but she indirectly always found a way to convey a profound message through her updates. The amazing thing is that it seemed to me that she was only saying what she lived, practicing what she preached, and sharing what she believed long before cancer. She WAS a walking message and touched many lives through her photography, career with Beyoncé, and even in her death. To be honest, she probably would not say she “lost her battle with cancer,” but that she conquered a life worthy of Heaven and God’s embrace. Maybe, Heaven really couldn’t wait for her. I never knew Yosra, but she still impacted my life through her social media.

I am not asserting that we should all be Yosra, or that we should even make social media that “deep.” The question I am really asking is are we capable of showing those we know and those that follow us on social media anything worth “watching?” In a world where we can share our voice with the entire world, we are really quiet. A lot of people have questions – questions about life, love, hurt, complexities, confusion, and sorrow, and they are looking for answers, not just someone to look at. Some people want to be listened to, some people want inspiration, others want guidance, some love and laughter, others clarity about this complicated overwhelming world. Can you be the/an answer? Or, are you only good for a great picture? The answer can be a laugh, a smile, a positive message, hope, or truth. Sometimes people just need to know your testimony, the real you, the unfiltered you, the un-perfect you, the scarred and scared you, and the real “throw-back” story of your journey. They need to know that they’re not the only people with unfiltered, imperfect lives.

When it comes to social media we tend to only want to show off the good and never the bad, well at least I do. We want people to think that we are stronger than we often sometimes portray. But, people are not looking for a person who has lived life perfectly, but rather a person who has responded to life in a manner that made the end result “perfect” for them. You have something to offer whether big or small and it starts with opening your mind to more than the “selfie.” So, make sure that the people who are watching and following you at least leave your online presence with something more to hope for in this world. They’re watching and they’re waiting; maybe you have something they need.

Rest in Peace Yosra!

Let it Go.


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Don’t hold on to things or thoughts that are clearly making you sink. How silly is it that we feel ourselves sinking but refuse to release the weight pulling us down. What’s the worse that can happen – you float? Isn’t it at least better to float than drown? Let it go. No really, let it go.

Loving Those Closest To You


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wpid-20140723_165224.jpgFact: There are usually not that many people who we really share our complete-self with. Everyday we are so boldly confronted with society’s expectations of how we should behave that we learn to leave the house with a brave face, behave according to the norms set out for us by family, friends, and society, and keep most facts private for the sake of not ruining our image. If you’re a man, you have to project to the world that you are strong, confident, and ambitious. You have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders and show women, and other men, that the unbearable “weight” is as light as a feather. If you are a woman, you have to show the world that you too are strong, confident, and ambitious. You are expected to carry the portion of the world that society deems suitable for the “woman,” and in addition, be the nurturer to those men, women, and children around you bearing their own load. Thanks to these demands, after birth we quickly realize that we need to “measure up.”

In all of that chaos, it can be very hard to find trusted people to share the real vulnerable “you” with. That is not to say that the true “you” is too much to handle; it just means that the vulnerable “you” requires delicate care. Since vulnerability requires a high level of trust, trusting that individual comes with the strong sense that they will be there for you – in good times and in bad times. Then again, they understand who you really are and are able to decipher your good intentions much easier than a stranger ever can, right? Exactly. Well, it is also for those same reasons that we are usually more likely to hurt those people closest to us. We believe that if anybody in the world should accept us for who we really are, it should be them; that if you make a mistake and say something the wrong way, or in a manner that is harsher then you would intend, they should be able to decode your feelings. Then again, we spend so much time throughout the day monitoring and creating the world’s view of us that when we come home to our family, friends, and loved ones they should be able to “just get it.”

Well, in the transition between letting down our guard and taking off our armor, it is very easy to hurt those that we love. We wear this massive armor all day, fight to maintain peace and success in our lives, are so tired from facing the world that we become careless in our weariness and may become more apt to make “mistakes” with those we love.

This post is just a simple reminder that the people you love are to be cared for, loved, and cherished just as much (if not more) then strangers. They hold your most vulnerable moments within their heart and for that reason they are to be cherished and loved just as you would love yourself. It is hard at times to give any extra energy to making sure that we don’t hurt our loved ones, especially when we are facing the world all day/week. But, if we are supposed to love our neighbors as our self, how much more should we love those that are closest to us? Just think of it this way, if those closest to you decided to stop loving you it would really be you against the world.

How do you show those closest to you that you love them?

Prepare for Success


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wpid-img_20130917_154940.jpgOne thing that I am always trying to get my students to realize is that they should take advantage of the time they presently have in order to work on building/exercising their skills in their own particular areas of weakness. Of course, getting high school students to see the bigger picture of the seemingly mind-numbing routine of the educational system can be at times a daunting and tiring task. I aim to get them to see that there will come a day when their career(s) or life in general will call upon these skills to perform. Life is lived skill upon skill, lesson upon lesson. However, as most teachers in any field, it is easy to forget all the times in both high school and college when I myself could have used my time more wisely to study harder and learn more; but of course, I preach to them nonetheless… a privilege of adulthood. *wink*

There is a valuable lesson to be learned in all of this for both the youth and adults: Use the time that you have in the present to prepare yourself to respond to the demands and dreams of tomorrow. It might be reading a book to keep your mind sharp for ideas of tomorrow; becoming healthier to be able to endure tomorrow’s journey; resting up today for the times when you might be working extremely hard on a goal; or, saving money for a rainy day or that dream vacation.

We, the “big people,” also need to be aware of the skills/areas in which we are weaker (in the hopes that if we put in the right effort those areas will improve over time). For some of us adults, those area may even be emotional. Maybe we need to become more aware of how our insecurities, poor communication skills, emotional issues, and past disappointments still linger around so that we are prepared to love and nurture those around us (and those that will come into our lives). Whatever the area, pay more attention to who you are, how you became that way, and also how you might change for the better, if necessary.

Use your life’s time wisely to benefit your life (and subsequently the lives of those connected to you) and chase your dreams while you have the time. We are purposed to find success in life but we spend too much time doubting our weaknesses and waiting for life to change; maybe it’s time we strengthen our own weakness and changed our own life. And as they say, “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”… but figure out why before you go acting like a fool by doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. As for me, I will keep trying to practice what I preach.

What are some things you do to grow and become a stronger person (mentally, emotionally, physically)?

Comment below, if you have time of course.



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Being violated in any way, shape, or form changes you. It affects your mind in ways you never thought possible. But one thing it doesn’t have to do is permanently change you for the worse. You may never forget it and you may even think about it everyday; but, you should never let it ruin everyday. Once you’ve taken time to hurt – and yes you will think about it even after that – keep living through the thought. Whatever you do, don’t stop living the life you desire. If you’re having trouble moving on, seek help, talk to someone you trust, and get it off your chest so you can find some relief.

What are some things you do to get over a violation of any kind (friends, family, strangers, etc.)?


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