I Care

I care for Sandra Bland. I care what happened to her. I want to know what happened to this young woman. I want to know if she did in fact take her own life or was she murdered. The questions are many and the answers are few, but if it was your child, your sister, your mother, your wife or your friend wouldn’t you want to know? Wouldn’t you want to know the truth?

Yes, you would. I’m no expert on jail house protocol, but I thought that jails have procedures in place to prevent people from hanging themselves? With a plastic bag too? I’m not saying that it’s not possible, but I think a full investigation of her death is warranted. Too many questionable acts of violence against my black brothers and sisters. We can’t take no more.

We do know that the FBI has joined the Texas Rangers in investigating the circumstances surrounding her death and that the arresting officer violated the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy. He’s on administrative leave. According to the officer she was charged with assaulting an officer when she became argumentative and uncooperative. Umm, I would too if I was asked to get out of my car because I didn’t want to put out my cigarette. It’s not against the law.

Here is a clip of the video from the arresting officer’s dashboard camera:

Here is the video that a good Samaritan shot of the arrest:

The official video from the trooper’s dash camera leaves more questioning. No editing was ever mentioned and it appears to have been edited. How can people trust those in charge when there seems to be a cover-up? What happened to Sandra Bland? The LA Times author, Ryan Parker, discusses some of these seen anomalies by stating that:

In the video, which is more than 52 minutes long, there are several spots in which cars and people disappear and reappear. When it released the video, the Public Safety Department did not mention any editing. The audio ends more than a minute before the video images do.

One of the more conspicuous anomalies comes 25 minutes and five seconds into the video, when a man walks from a truck off screen and then reappears suddenly at the spot where he began walking. The image flutters for a moment before resuming. – Ryan Parker

Was she argumentative? Yes, as the video clearly shows. But, is that against the law? Is there a crime to be argumentative with an officer? No. However, did she deserved to be slammed to the ground? Did she deserve to hear the officers tell her “good” and “I don’t care” when she told them that she had a medical condition – epilepsy. No.

Here is a photo of Sandra Bland. She was 28. Let’s remember her. Let’s not forget that we need answers to her death. We need to know that there was no heinous and illegal acts of violence that were committed. I am my sister’s keeper and I am saying…we need justice.

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Until next time loves!

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Baltimore Blues

I am hurt over the destruction that is occurring in Baltimore. We have to be an advocate for change and nothing comes from rioting. I understand the injustices that occur in our community. I am a black woman raising a black son, but to sit here and destroy your community serves no purpose. I will not co-sign with someone who says it’s anger manifested and it serves a purpose. It does not. Because those same folks are sitting at home typing on their computers unaffected. They are not going to bring their happy butts down to Baltimore to clean up what you messed up. Stop fooling yourself.

I grew up poor. I’m not rich. Just because I don’t live in Baltimore doesn’t mean that I can’t empathize with your struggle, but burning down your community is not the answer. Haven’t we learned from the Detroit Riots, Rodney King Riots, Newark Riots and Watts Riots? What happens? The same issues you are supposedly fighting against still continue only you’ve brought down your property value and oops, no one vacations in Detroit. Money is lost. Everything in America is about economics. Will the 16 CVS stores that suffered reopen in the affected neighborhoods? Maybe or maybe not. What if they make a decision not to reopen? How will residents get their prescriptions? Not just the young people, but the elderly who walk to their local CVS? To assume people have insurance to rebuild, buy another car or fix their property damages in an already dilapidated area is to assume from the comfort of your home that they may not truly be poor. Because a lot of poor people are in essence “riding dirty” and don’t have insurance.

baltimore-riots-10People know better which is why I support the mother that whooped her son’s butt. I’m a mother. I didn’t raise you like this. Read a book and learn from our history. Are you a rioter or are you a social agent for change?

Note: To see the video, please click on the title of the post if you are viewing it in your email.

Imani Cezanne “Flowers”

Wow is all I can say!

I am so moved by this poet’s words that I had to share this. It touched my soul. As someone who is plus sized, grew up without her father, dealt with sexual abuse and all the manifestations of that trauma and life…food became my solace. It comforted me. It didn’t hurt me.

Some people may never understand the true pain of an emotional eater. We judge. We laugh. We act like they don’t exist. We was me when I used to hide behind big clothes to not be noticed. I tried to stop eating. To do fad diets. No results. I had to change me. I had to get to the root of the problem.

I did. I was camouflaging the pain. It is only then that I was able to understand what I was running from and how I could change. I have lost weight (45 pounds to be exact). It is a journey. It is something that I will never stop living. Each day is a gift and I understand it. I don’t use food as a crutch anymore. But, I will never forget.

Parental Privilege: Spanking or Not

I’ve read many posts on whether or not you should spank children. Not just in light of the Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings player), whose case unfolded last week, but in general. My opinion is simple….YOUR CHOICE. I can’t tell a parent how to raise their child or how discipline should be handled in their home. The reason is that I am not in your shoes and I know for a fact that you have to find what works for you and your child. Now, before you start thinking I’m an advocate for child abuse. Let me be clear….I’m not. I don’t condone violence of any kind and especially towards children.

There is a difference and in my opinion, a big difference between child abuse and spanking. Child abuse is defined as:  mistreatment of a child by a parent or guardian, including neglect, beating, and sexual molestation. Spanking is defined as: to strike (a person, usually a child) with the open hand, a slipper,etc., especially on the buttocks, as in punishment. Now that we are all clear on the definitions, I want to reiterate that I don’t condone child abuse or violence in any form. As a parent myself, I think it is imperative that we find forms of discipline that work to mold healthy and productive citizens. However, I hate the argument that because I believe in spanking that I am destroying my child and he will grow up to beat on others. That statement in itself is flawed because I don’t beat my son. I spank him if it is a spankable offense. 

What is a spankable offense? An egregious offense where he knows better or running in traffic. Not much would ever be considered spankable because he’s only six. However, I implore the 3 warning rule in my parenting. This is where I give munch 3 chances to correct the behavior on his own before consequences are handed down. This is not a spankable offense. This means it is timeout in his room with no television, an hour of French work, no Ipad, etc.

As a child growing up, my mom employed the same techniques. Altering the punishment to fit the crime and not spanking out of anger. Did I get whopped with a switch (absolutely! I’m from the south)? Do I do it? No. Do I believe her spanking me has damaged me? No. There were other things that were more harmful than her spanking. But, I never believed that she enjoyed spanking me or my siblings or assumed that her spanking was detrimental to my psychological or emotional health.

I grew up in an era of spank first and talk later. I can’t judge Adrian Peterson on the crime he’s accused of, but I can tell you that it breaks my heart to see the photos of a four year old boy who was whopped with a switch and it left marks. I’m heartbroken. Too much force was used on this child. No four year old child should ever have to endure the feel of a switch. It’s obvious that Adrian is strong, so I question whether or not he could have used his hands instead of a switch. But, he didn’t. So, he has to know that his choice was poor.

Adrian has a right to discipline his son. Society may so no. We want people that spank their children to go to jail. Some punishment should happen, but I ask you about this child (also from Minnesota) that was 9 year’s old that was suspended from school and boarded a flight to Las Vegas, Nevada last year. Apparently, the parents have asked for help with their child and never got it. He had prior trouble because he had stolen a car. A 9 year old stealing a car? Wow!

The parents were told that he was a minor and hadn’t done enough bad things to qualify for the help that they were requesting. The father sobbed as he recounted how he asked the officer to watch him spank his son. The officer said if he saw him hit his son he would be arrested. He sobbed saying that it was a double jeopardy damned if I do damned if I don’t situation. The father said,  “If I whoop my son, I will get locked up. If I keep on letting my son do what he’s doing, I get in trouble.”

I felt the father’s pain and I ask you, what do you do when you know you can’t spank your child and no one is helping you? There are rules to everything in society. How are we taught these rules? What are the consequences of those rules? Even adults make mistakes and don’t learn the rules, but spanking a child to help enforce the rules that you are teaching is acceptable. But, child abuse is not. We may not agree on how to raise our children, but I think we can all agree that we don’t want chaos in our society because no one can follow the rules.

Child Abuse Photos from Peterson case
Child Abuse Photos from Peterson case

I Remember

I remember seeing domestic violence first hand as a child. I remember the sounds of fists flying and blood curdling screams. I remember. I remember broken glass and bruised body parts. I remember crying and wanting it to end. I remember.

By now, you all have seen the Ray Rice video that was posted by TMZ on Monday that showed Ray knocking out his then fiancee, Janay Palmer (now wife), in an elevator in Atlantic City last February. I was heartbroken. I talked about domestic violence a couple of months when Stephen A. Smith made that asinine comment about provoking violence. It seems that I need to say more.

How about this? Safe Horizon states that:

  • Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
  • Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
  • Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner

The Families Suffer too:

  • Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.
  • Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates (30% to 60%).
  • A 2005 Michigan study found that children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems, including becoming sick more often, having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and lethargic.
  • A 2003 study found that children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death.

I Remember

The Ravens dropped Ray Rice from their roster and he is no longer employed after the video was posted. Now, there is a question of whether they had seen the full video prior to the two game suspension or were they just doing it after the full video was posted and everyone was outraged. No one knows. That situation is still being fleshed out and will come to light shortly about who knew what when, but what was surprising was the Instagram post by Janay.

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Wow! Is Janay really worrying about Ray having to get a job after knocking her out? I know she didn’t want her life thrust into the public, but when you marry a professional athlete and he knocks you out in public, you can’t hide. Think Rihanna and Chris Brown. Rihanna probably wished that her abuse wasn’t made national news, but remember what the Bible says:

For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.  Mark 4:22 (NIV)

I can’t imagine the humiliation she feels, but this situation right here needed to come to light. We needed to see this so that we can shed light on the fact that 1 out of every  4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. We need to talk about it. We need to get help and we need to hold each other accountable for our choices. Choices have consequences. Good or bad, you must live with the decision. I know that if Janay had a clock she would love to rewind the events that occurred that fateful evening, but she doesn’t. She will always remember.

My advice is simple: Stand up. Be accountable. Get help. Use this tragedy for your triumph. Teach others and know that you will always remember.

Raped Again: When Fools & Social Media Mix

The story of a 16 year old girl named Jada came out last week.  Have you heard about it?  Well, if not love, sit back and let me tell you how our society continues to have no sympathy for our young women and girls that are raped.  It is an atrocity when we as a country have an attitude of not believing the victim of rape and supporting the rapist.  Where does that happen?  In America. The home of the free and the brave.  But, is it brave to post and ruin a minor’s life by raping her and posting it on social media? Is it brave to make fun of a rape victim and strike a #jadapose on twit videos?  How about saying that you only gave her Ciroc and you have bail money?  Isn’t the legal drinking age in this country 21, not 16?

Are you disgusted yet?  Mortified?  Me too.  Here’s what we know…Jada went to a house party with some friends from school a few weeks ago.  Someone handed her a cup with something to drink and she didn’t remember anything that happened next.  She fell unconscious, was stripped naked and allegedly raped. Then pictures of her naked, unconscious and laid out on the floor began to appear on social media.  It of course went viral which is where the hashtag #jadapose came in and people began to mimic and mock her assault.

When is violence against children ever acceptable?  So few women ever report their crimes.  It is sickening to know that in this country alone, 60% of sexual assaults are unreported each year. Why do women not report their sexual assaults?  Mainly because who would believe them.  Fear?  Fear of being assaulted and raped all over again.  Fear of having to replay the nightmare that you’re trying desperately to wake up from. Fear of being called a “whore” or being told “she asked for it”.  Our bodies are not our own in a country that allows women and girls to be victimized with no action that is taken.  What’s worse is that in a day and age where we have social media, you’re being forced to relive your worst fears while people mock you in ignorance.

Jada is trying to reclaim her life after this horrific incident.  She wants her rapist to be brought to justice and arrested.  This video surfaced last week on World Star Hip Hop that showed one of the rapists admitting to taking the pictures of her naked, but he stated he didn’t “hit it”.  Apparently, he had a threesome with two other girls who were 14 and 15 at the party.  I pray that it is enough to get this foolish young man arrested and into some counseling.  It really is tragic.

I don’t ask for much out of this world.  I guess decency is too much.  Commentators have said that she was doing something she shouldn’t have been doing and it’s her fault.  Wow, really?  I am heartbroken to know that Jada has to endure this kind of pain over and over again in the media for the rest of her life.  But, I am prayerful that she knows that she can now turn this situation into a healing one for herself and many others. She was a victim, but her taking back her life shows that she is a survivor.  I am a mother and I feel for Jada and her family, but I vow to stand with her and let the world know too, that #IAMJADA