Change is Good

Last week I read Michelle Malone’s post where she said “Today I challenge you to seek, identify, and track the signs of change in your life rather than ignoring them.” I was inspired. Inspired to do what? To do what she suggested – seek, identify and track the signs of change in your life.

Here’s what I discovered about myself when I set about the challenge. I learned that when I seek ways to change, I actually allow myself to grow. Grow because I realized that I’m never too old to learn and that it’s okay if I change my mind. I’m a woman and I can change my mind as many times as I want. LOL.  That being said. I wanted to share 5 things with you that I learned this last week about myself.

5 Signs that I’m Changing:

  1. Forgiveness. This was a hard one for me, but I’m actually thankful that I’m able to forgive my dad and spend time with him. When I was home last week I took him to lunch, gave him a birthday card with some money and took care of some of his wants. Forgiveness of all the years of pain and absence allowed me the ability to do this. That’s growth.
  2. Listen more. Speak less. Some would argue that I don’t do that, but I promise you that I am doing that. I’m learning that in order to communicate that I need to spend more time listening and truly hearing what is being said. I’m also learning that not everything deserves a response. Sometimes more can be conquered when you don’t respond at all.
  3. Accepting others at face value. I have little faith in humanity. I’ve seen too much. I’ve experienced too much, but I’m learning that I need to trust more. To love more. To believe more. To try and see the good in others up front and accept what they say at face value. At least until they disappoint me. But, learning to have a discerning spirit is important and not trying to just see the bad in people has allowed me to grow and change.
  4. Advise when needed. I’m learning that just because someone comes to you with an issue doesn’t mean that they want you to respond and advise them of what they should do. I admit that I do that all the time. I am learning to advise only when requested and then apply #2.
  5. Spend time freely. As I’ve aged I realized that I do need to spend quality time with my family and friends. I have brunches, lunches and dinners with friends and take trips home to Tennessee to visit my dad and extended family. This is important because it gives Munch and I time to reconnect. I can’t get so consumed with the day to day that I neglect the folks who haven’t seen me.

There is another way that I just realized that I’m changing and I will share that with you later because it is important. It was my Aha! moment. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I operate and all I can say is that I am a work I progress.  I’m still seeking ways to acknowledge my changes becaue it shows that I’m growing. Have you sought, identified and/or tracked your changes?

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Motivational Monday Moment – 8/15/2016

Happy Monday Folks!

I wanted to share my Motivational Monday Moment with you today. Many of you know my story because I’ve shared it openly here on my blog. But, I want to share something else. One of my favorite things to say to people is that “The difference between me and the next person is that I wanted it badly.” 

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That’s my own personal life quote. I wanted it badly. What did I want badly? Life. Success. That simple. I grew up poor. My dad wasn’t around because my momma kicked him out the house. He was an abusive alcoholic so he had to go. Her choice made our lives harder. Her choice to live a life with her children and have peace of mind was worth more than money. But, we needed money. Being poor is no joke. Heck, it isn’t fun.

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So, I buckled down and was determined to not repeat her steps. I was determined to get out of poverty in spite of my circumstances. In spite of the incredible odds against me I knew that I never wanted to be a mother with little education and three children working 3 or 4 jobs to feed and clothe them. Believe me when I say that I understand the sacrifices that my momma made. It changed my mindset.

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I realized that where I came from didn’t have to be where I ended up. I stayed in school. Focused on my grades. Went to college. I struggled. I stumbled. I worked tirelessly without thought. It hurt when I saw my friends all having cars and jobs and their own places. I was a broke college student.

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My momma said to me “You’re working on your degree. They can repossess cars from your friends or apartments for non-payment. They can never repossess your degree if you fail to pay your student loans. They can’t take back your education. You’re investing in yourself. In your future.” My momma is smart ya’ll. She was right. I was investing in myself. I hated catching the bus everywhere, but I was determined to continue to make an investment in me.

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That investment has paid off substantially. I am who I am because I had people that believed in me, but more importantly…I believed in me and I had a God that protected me. I am in awe of how I am now managing a team of 4 people and getting ready to hire my 5th person. I had no prior supervisory experience. God did it!

I remember running for junior class president in high school and I had no prior governmental experience. I woke up deciding that I wanted to be junior class president. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to lead my class.

I didn’t know if I could make it. I wasn’t that popular. I was on the modern dance team so I was popular by default as I’d like to say. I was still a nerd. I was taking advanced classes and some of my closest friends were outcasts like me. How was I going to convince these people to vote on the outsider? I didn’t know. The task seemed overwhelming. But, I believed.

I couldn’t afford the nice poster boards or banners. I couldn’t afford the candy perks. We were poor and I didn’t have a job. I had to focus on school. I remember getting up in front of my class during the elections and told them that I wasn’t popular but I had vision. I wanted to make us the most successful junior class ever. I said a whole bunch of other stuff that I can’t remember, but I had hoped it was enough.

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And you know what? It was. I won. Little ole me. I couldn’t believe it. I went home that night and told my momma “I think they voted for me because I was black.” She said “It doesn’t matter why you got the job. You got it. Now, show them what you can do.” Told you my momma was smart.

I did show them what I could do. Those same words came rushing back to me as I was praying over whether or not I should take this job. I didn’t think I was qualified. But, God. He allowed my momma’s words to come back to me and remind me that “It doesn’t matter why you got the job. You got it. Now, show them what you can do.”

So my dear friends, I tell you these words from my momma “It doesnt’ matter why you got the job. You got it. Now, show them what you can do.”

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Bucket List Update

This is an update to my original post on a bucket list for Munch. I wrote this list over 4 years ago. He was 3 at the time. I wanted to update you on some of the items.

I read on a parenting website about parents creating a “bucket list” of sorts for their children. The “bucket list” is things they would like to do with their children before they become adults. I was surprised at some of the responses from parents from fishing in Alaska to an African Safari to making sure to kiss and hug them every night before they go to bed. So, reading this article got me to thinking…what things do I want to do with Munch before he becomes an adult?

I came up with a list of 21 things that I would like to do with Munch by the time he’s 21. It is in no real order except number one. I would like to accomplish each and every item with him. I know that technically he will be an adult at 18, but we all know that you’re not truly an adult until you can legally take a drink. Here is my bucket list of the top 21 things I want to do with Munch by the time he’s 21:
  1. Tell, show and help him understand about God. I want him to see and recognize that we are not alone and that God is the center of our life and all things are possible through him. He needs to experience the church, the Bible and learn to have unmovable faith in God. Update: Munch is on his way. He accepted Christ as his personal savior and got baptized last year right after turning 7.
  2. Take him to Europe. I love the thought of traveling to Europe to explore the countryside, architecture, the Louvre, the Vatican and all the other landmarks that I have only read about. I want fourteen days so we can spend it on a trek through Europe just exploring.
  3. Take him on a trek through the slave trade. We know we came from Africa, but where? I want to chase our ancestry back to Africa and follow the trail from Africa to Portugal to the U.S. I learned when I was in college that my ancestry could be traced as far back to Portugal. I want to go further.
  4. Teach him to appreciate his heritage and explore many other cultures. I think you become well-rounded when you know many different civilizations other than your own. After all Mahatma Gandhi said, “No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.” Update: We spent a great deal learning about Black History this year. Since he’s learning French we’re going to incorporate French speaking blacks into our curriculum. There is a lot to cover and he’s only 7, but we’ll get there.
  5. Teach him to speak another language fluently. Oh, how I wish I could speak another language fluently. The world is ever changing and the gift of being bi-lingual is one that he will appreciate throughout his lifetime. Update: Munch is in a French speaking school so he actually knows how to speak French fluently now. I am giving him two more years of solely French and then introducing Spanish.
  6. Take him to explore two states each summer. He needs to travel out of his comfort zone and see America the Beautiful. I want to increase his love for this country. Update: We haven’t done this. But, I’m taking him to Florida and Tennessee this year so he will get some exposure to places outside of his normal day to day routine.
  7. Teach him how to swim. This is one item that we will never falter on. I can’t stand the thought of him not knowing how to swim. Update: He’s in swim class and is in level 3. He takes his exam at the end of the month and hopefully will move to level 4. There are 6 levels in the program. Yay!
  8. Teach him how to share. I want him to share not only his toys, but his time, his wealth and his abilities. I want him to know that God loves a cheerful giver and it is your right as a human to help others. Update: LOL. He’s an only child so this is a work in progress. 
  9. Take him to the Caribbean. I want to watch him stick his feet in the water and his toes get sand in between them on the beaches of Mexico or the Bahamas. Update: He’s been to Mexico and I’m looking at taking him to the Bahamas next year.
  10. Take him to Disney World. I think that every child should experience Mickey’s hand on theirs or running through Cinderella’s castle. After all, he looks at my wedding photos (with my tiara) and says, “My mommy is a princess”. Update: He’s going to Disney in November.
  11. Teach him how to fight. I know many of you think fighting is bad and I agree that violence doesn’t solve anything, but I want him to be a strong fighter physically and mentally. I want him to learn how to defend himself against a bully. The best lesson I ever learned is that once you knock someone out, they don’t want to fight you anymore. Update: He’s in Tae Kwan Do, but I will introduce boxing at 10.
  12. Teach him how to love. I think children are taught the fundamental principles of love from their parents. However, now that his dad and I are divorced. I worry that he will not see how adults are supposed to love each other. I guess in the divorce, I want him to know that heartache is a part of life and that you have to keep trying and never giving up on love because God never gives up on us.
  13. Teach him how to forgive. This is one lesson that is often overlooked when it comes to parenting. We are so busy teaching our children not to be bullies, play sports or play an instrument that we forget that they ultimately need to know that forgiveness frees you to move on. If God forgives me for sins how can I not forgive others?
  14. Teach him the importance of family. Your family is what you make it. It’s not always blood, but it could be your friends who become your family. We have a great group of people who love and support us at every turn and we want the same thing for Munch. We want him to see that he needs to strengthen his familial bonds and keep in touch via handwritten letters, emails, calls and visits.
  15. Take him to Spain. I love the country of Spain and even though I can’t remember it much from childhood, I think it is a beautiful place full of great food, people and culture. I want him to swim off the Canary Islands.
  16. Teach him how to cook and sew. I know he’s a boy, but come on. He needs to know how to hem a pair of slacks and cook himself a meal so that he won’t have to wait on a woman to do it. He needs to be self-sufficient.
  17. Teach him the importance of money. I think that all parents should strive to teach your child how to balance a checkbook, credit and debt. It wasn’t a lesson I learned and I had to rebuild. I don’t want him to do a trial and error process. I want him to get it from the beginning. Update: He got his first check from his Grandma last Christmas and I took him to the bank to deposit it. He was so excited. I normally just transfer money into his account each pay period so I guess I never thought how important the whole check and banking thing would be. I’m proud though.
  18. Teach him about politics. Not what political party he should be a part of, but the necessary fundamentals of our government so that he can be a concerned citizen that believes in exercising his right to vote. Update: His dad and I always take him with us to vote. Let him see the democratic process in play. Election day for us is April 26th.
  19. Teach him the lesson of defeat. Life is not fair and you won’t win at everything, but understand that you are the captain of your soul and it’s not always the destination, but the journey. Learn from every loss and regroup. I want him to know that you don’t have to be perfect, just try your best. Update: This is a work in progress. He learned this when it came to getting his first “D” and with losing soccer games. All we ask is that you try your best and your best is always good enough for us. But, this is going to take time because there will be many more losses.
  20. Teach him the importance of abstinence. Abstinence may be a distant memory or myth in some circles and I know he may never listen to me, but I want him to know that his body is a temple and that if he waits on a wife, he will be giving her the best gift ever…the gift of him.
  21. Take him to Las Vegas to celebrate his 21st birthday. I want his last birthday party to be one that I throw for him and 21 of his friends in Las Vegas.
Whew! That is an exhaustive list. I hope that I can cross of all of the things on his bucket list. So, what’s on your child’s bucket list?

Parenting 101: I’m Not Done Yet

Now, that you’ve heard my struggle with Munch’s teachers in my Parenting 101 tips, I want to let you know why I can’t stop fighting. That I’m not done yet. It’s simple…race. Munch is black. I’m black.

I have a black son. A son who was stigmatized by some the minute he was born. Because he’s black. I know that he will be just a “boy” to some, a “nigger” to others and“angry” to many. But, he’s my son. A black boy. He’s not a threat to America. He’s 7.

I grew up in this country. The America I grew up in was filled with many different races, religions and very few hateful comments. I knew I was black. My color didn’t matter to many or so I thought. I mean in the south you’re used to racist remarks, but up north, it’s supposed to be different right?

I remember thinking that if the President got elected that my newborn son would have someone to look up to. That he would see another black man and that the most important job in the world wouldn’t seem impossible for him to achieve. He could really do everything if Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.

He was elected. Racial tensions changed. The country that I loved so much and eloquently studied history on – was now showing it’s true colors. Why? When did the country that I had believed was moving forward begin to move backwards? When did it become acceptable to become a racist and then try to justify said racist remarks in defense of protecting the USA.

From what? Me? My 7 year old son? Heck, I’m trying to protect him. Each and every day that he awakens, I’m trying to protect him from becoming a target. From being ignored. From being disregarded, disrespected or dismissed. He matters. I matter. We matter.

Every day I wake up new statistics show that our little brown babies are being ignored. From being overlooked in talented and gifted programs or from teachers that have low expectations for them. When did this attitude become acceptable?

Three of my favorite teachers from high school still mean the world to me. I owe them so much. They were not only wonderful teachers, they were wonderful women. They shaped my belief that I could do anything. They nurtured and molded me into an intelligent woman that would someday conqueror the world. They were white.

I didn’t really understand the importance of role models at that time or the importance of having them, but I admired them. I loved the way they commanded attention when they walked down the hall. I loved the way they invested in each student. I loved the way they never let me take the shortcut or easy way out.

They believed in me. They helped me believe in myself. Where are these same kind of teachers now? Where are they when it comes to teaching my son? Is it because I was a girl? Nope. I can’t believe that’s all to it.

My shift has changed because I am a black woman raising a black boy in a post Jim Crow era when it seems we’ve moved backwards. Reading that teacher expectations reflect biases hurts me. Not just as a person of color. But, as a mother.

White teachers expect significantly less academic success than do black teachers, a new study concludes. This is especially true for black boys. – Jill Rosen, Hub.com

So, what am I saying? If I’m bombarded with news that your racial biases are likely being played out in the classroom can you understand why I will come to my child’s defense? I know about the school to prison pipeline. I’ve heard about it for years.

Black Americans are suspended and expelled at three times the rate of white students. They make up 16 percent of school enrollment, but account for 32 percent of students who receive in-school suspensions, 42 percent of students who receive multiple out-of-school suspensions and 34 percent of students who are expelled. – Lindsey Cook, U.S. News

When I walk into a meeting with a teacher or educator I’m already feeling defensive. I feel like I have to defend my child because statistically speaking we’re looking at him through two different lenses and one could have racial biases in place. It’s not always true. But, realistically speaking I’ve had to tout my academic successes/credentials as well as naming our family’s successes so that his teachers back off and know that they’re not dealing with another poor black kid.

My expectations for my son are high. My expectations for his teachers and the administration is just as high. If I know that white female teachers ignore, have low expectations for black boys and they are disciplined more harshly why would I not feel the need to hold you accountable in the beginning?

I’m tired folks. I’m tired of fighting and I want some clear and transparent conversations about race and racial biases to be had at the school. Let’s call out the institutionalized racism that exists. Educators should know that black parents are reading and scared that you’re already trying to diagnosis, steer or ignore our children. How can we work together to make sure that we’re all in this together?

That we are going back to the day when it seemed like teachers just wanted to teach you. They were compassionate. They were motivating you. They were supporting you. They knew you.

My President is black. My son is black. I’m tired of fighting and he’s only 7. However, I know that I’m not done yet. I have many rivers and miles to cross. I just want to know that his teachers are crossing them with me and not just standing on the shoreline.

Soap and the Scholastic Book Fair

I love Bath and Body Works Soap. Every time that they have a sale, I rush into the store or order on-line because a girl could never have too much soap. I love the smell of the foaming soap and I like the gentleness of the bubbles as I massage the soap in between my fingers. Pure heaven.

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I love books too. I told you that I’m an avid reader. So does munch. The book fair was at Munch’s school the first week in June. Munch handed me his orange sheet with his book picks. He apparently wanted $56.94 worth of books. What? Nope. I will give you $21.00. Make it work. You have books on your shelf you’ve never read.

I set aside the money for munch’s book selections. He was excited. He likes books and he loves the book fair. He couldn’t wait.

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Now, this is where the story gets interesting. Apparently, I’m not the only one who adores the smell and feel of Bath and Body Works soap. Munch does too. A couple of weeks ago, I reached into the linen closet to open a new bottle of foaming soap. I smiled as I pushed the top down and washed my hands.

Later that day I caught munch using the hand soap after I told him to wash his hands after scratching that ringworm on his face. Munch was acting like the soap grows on trees and I don’t catch it on sale because the money fairy brings me more soap when I ask. I said, “Munch, that’s too much soap. Please use a little. It will go a long way.” He replied, “Okay, mommy.”

Fast forward two days later and I catch that little boy playing with a whole lot of bubbles in the bathroom sink and an empty bottle of hand soap. I was mad. “Munch, why are you using all the hand soap?” He starts to cry. “Those tears aren’t going to work” I yell. “Answer me.” He stutters, “I like the bubbles. I like playing in the bubbles.” He really starts to cry now.

I told him, “Look, I told you to not use that much soap so I am going to take your $21.00 for the book fair and use it to buy more soap since you like it so much.” Overboard? Probably, but I was hot. I like my soap and I was down to my last 3 bottles. I could literally go 2 more months with 3.5 bottles. Not with munch though. He started to cry uncontrollably now. “No, book fair?” he questioned. “Nope, I need more soap.”

I sent him to bed that night early still peeved about the soap fiasco. A couple of hours later I was laying in bed when I realized that I was overreacting. It was only soap. Was I really that upset over it? Yes. Could I buy more? Yes. Did I really have to choose between hand soap and books? No. Isn’t that sort of an oppressive form of parenting? Probably.

The next morning when he woke up, I kissed him good morning and apologized for overreacting. I explained that I liked the soap like him, but that it was expensive and we didn’t need to use so much. I told him that I’m still giving him money for the book fair and he can get whatever he wants with his $21.00. He smiled and said, “I’m sorry mommy. I won’t use so much soap.” He leaned in and hugged me tight smiling. “I’m getting new books” he said. And he did.

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Ah, the joys of parenting!

Brown Girl Blues

The best way to protect young black, brown, men of color, women of color, is to actually stop profiling, stop the prejudice, and stop the judgment first. – Hill Harper

 

Sigh.

There are too many battles with my beautiful brown babies going on. As a brown girl with a brown boy, it affects me. Personally. The latest issue outside of the “I Can’t Breathe” and “Black Lives Matter” movement is the piece I read about how black girls are disciplined harsher than white girls who commit the same crime. Worse than that…darker skinned black girls face harsher or more severe punishment than lighter skinned blacks. WTH?

Yep, that was my reaction. WTH is happening to our brown babies in this country. Really? Are we doing the brown paper bag test on our children? I thought that kind of slave mentality had ended. Apparently not. I am too naive for this country. For those of you unfamiliar with the brown paper bag test it was a test that some blacks used to determine whether admission would be granted in certain circles such as sororities or admission into colleges. If you were as light or lighter than a brown paper bag, you were admitted in. We (blacks) actually used this as a way to determine whether we were beautiful. Based on our complexion. Now others are using it. Today.

A New York Times article entitled “Schools’ Discipline for Girls Differ by Race and Hue” earlier this month just added another piece in a puzzle of growing social issues in which I’m monitoring. In short, the article stated that researchers found that black girls were punished harsher than white girls accused of the same crime and that throughout darker skinned girls were three times more likely to be suspended than light skinned black girls. Excuse me? Yep. You read that right.

To deny that there is such a thing as white privilege is to ignore that racism doesn’t exist. I’m not saying that you are a racist, but let’s be real, you can’t say that you don’t see color and that all these injustices to people of color are a figment of a nation’s imagination. They are not. We need to address the issues of disparity and then try to formulate ways to prevent these kinds of injustices. What about our children? What about our girls?

The fact that the school system is systematically treating girls of different races and then hues differently is a sign that there needs to be change. We can’t continue to hide the fact that racial injustices are occurring all over this country. Even in our schools.

As a black woman, I was fortunate to not have to experience racism in school. I went to a predominately white school at the time (60% white) and my favorite teachers were white. They were the ones who never gave up on me and encouraged me to do better. They inspired and nurtured my love for reading and writing. They helped me pass Chemistry and Physics (by blatantly giving me the answer) because they cared about me. They believed in me. Even when I doubted myself.

There was no color. Just love. Yes, I knew they were white and they knew I was black, but their genuine belief and support in me mattered more than anything. For that, I am thankful.

No, my situation wasn’t the same as these young girls, but that’s because I attended a great school with great teachers and even a great principal. They took the time to learn their students and they treated us equally. Fairly. I couldn’t talk about experiencing racism at school because I didn’t know what that looked like. I never experienced it. I thought everyone had the same experiences as I did. It wasn’t until college that I realized that the world was bigger than my town in Maryland. It was a lot bigger.

College and life shaped my views about the injustices outside of my circle. I grew more aware and socially conscious. I became someone who wanted to seek solutions to the problems that plagued our community. An activist. An intellect. A feminist. A mother. Many titles, but deep down inside…I’m still a little brown girl who hurts for everyone.

One of the best comments I read was by a reader named Kinsey Clark in Athens, Georgia who said the following:

I am a white female, and I was in Georgia’s public school system my entire life. Anyone who argues with these studies is simply wrong to do so. I know I got away with things that my black classmates did not, or I was at least punished to a lesser extent. I hate my white privilege, but I have learned that the best hopes for eradicating it are to accept it for what it is. By denying it, by pretending that I am not lucky to be white in this country, I would be ignoring the problem. I feel too many people don’t speak up against these types of inequalities. I wish I had when I was in school. Racism is still rampant in this country, in ever nook and cranny. It’s simply become so institutionalized in the most subtle of ways, that many of us privileged white folks don’t even notice it. I won’t try to pretend to understand what it feels like to be one who is forced to suffer through it. Yet I will always do my best to put myself in another person’s shoes. I thank the NYT for publishing this article. While protests are roaring nationwide against racist practices by the police, we must continue to shed light on ALL forms of discrimination. The first step to fixing any problem is to let people know the problem exists. I hope school systems will listen and take action.

Insightful huh? Let’s hope that the school systems will listen and take action. For everyone’s sake.

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Good Woman Down

I’m tired. I’m tired of being superwoman. I’m tired of being told that I need to be a hold it down woman for my man, family and business. Truthfully? It’s exhausting. I don’t want to wear my cape all the time. I get tired of trying to save the world. Whose gonna save me?

How many times do we have to convince ourselves that a good woman stands by her man? You are told that you have to be his ride and die and you have to have his back no matter what or you’re not a real woman. You’re not down. You’re not good enough. But, I have a question…should this apply to all men? Shouldn’t we be selective in our search of finding men who will love and want us without jacking us up emotionally, spiritually or physically?

Black women experience intimate partner violence at rates over 30% higher than white women. Yet, we continue to stay. We continue to say that “he didn’t mean it” or “I made him angry”. We make excuses for fear of being ridiculed in our own community because we left him. We convince ourselves that it’s okay because we’ve been told that “he’s a good man, he just has a temper”. But, it’s not true. Fact: He is a bully. He is our abuser. No good man will hit you.

I wanted to remind you that domestic violence affects everyone. It’s not an issue that we only need to focus on when a public figure is accused of a crime. It’s an everyday fight whereby we need to remember the numbers, educate our children and create policies that don’t allow for violence against women. Even in the private sector. I would love it if my employer could create a policy denouncing domestic violence and suspending employees who are accused of crimes. Wouldn’t that be revolutionary? Wouldn’t it show that we’re serious about the health of our employees and their families?

I read this great article last week on the Huffington Post entitled “30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us that It’s an Epidemic” by Alanna Vagianos and cried. Why? Because the numbers were painful.

Did you know my favorite number is 3? Probably not. Many people don’t know that about me. I am one of 3 children. I was a family of 3 and my birthday is on the third. Three is my favorite number. Three is also the number “of women murdered every day by a current or former male partner in the U.S.” Sad huh? Three.

Read the article. Read the statistics. Understand that it is an epidemic. Long before the article, I heard “Good Woman Down” by Mary J. Blige and knew that I would never forget the lyrics to this song. Why? Because her words were truthful and illustrative. They were haunting. Mary sings…

“When I used to see
My daddy beat
My mother down
Down to her feet
I used to say
That ain’t gon’
Never be me
(Never be me)
Now look at you
Bruised up
From him
Girl recognize
You’re better then
Him tellin’ you
That he’ll never hit
You again
Girl don’t cry”

Powerful isn’t it? Mary is taking me back to my own childhood. Violence. 

Now that we are wrapping up Domestic Violence Awareness month, I don’t want us to forget. I want us to remember. I want us to do something. Like the NFL did. They created this video denouncing domestic violence and sexual assaults against women. I love to see strong men standing up for women and women’s rights. No more blaming the victims and making excuses for the aggressors. Hopefully, we can reduce some of these staggering statistics next year, because I believe that together we can make a difference.

 

Check out Mary’s video from the Essence Festival. Start at 4:35 to see her perform “Good Woman Down”