Posted in black lives matter

Being strong for self and others….Meet Marlon

I have learned that people come into your life for a reason. While many of these people you will not see day to day, they leave you with lasting lessons. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up over twenty years ago; well I was going to be a dentist.

I realize that dream was there to keep me centered and focused. The first real professional I saw was a dentist that came to my school and spoke to us when I was in elementary school. I don’t remember much of what he said, but he didn’t look like me. He didn’t look like many of my classmates. He was different and at this time, those kids that sat with me in the auditorium probably couldn’t see themselves with his white coat and having the knowledge to talk about our teeth.

As I have grown and walked through my jungle, I’ve come across so many that have inspired me without even knowing. It might be because of the way they carry themselves, the knowledge and confidence that they have or a combination of things.

One of my first “big girl jobs” was as a mental health technician. I honestly cannot remember a whole lot about that job except being around kids that desires love, and so many things that we take for granted daily. I recall a story of a young boy being molested by his male family members. I recall a story about a young girl having a baby by her dad. I recall stories of teachers having improper relationships with their students and when I worked at this particular job, I met a young man who helped me to understand… he taught me how to give without giving too much of myself. He taught me how to listen.

I was impressed by watching him as my supervisor handle such hard and harsh caseloads. He did it with ease and he not just gave love to the kids we served, but he taught them laughter and he taught them how to smile… for many it was possibly the first time that has smiled in a long time… and laughter is extremely contagious….

Growing up, I didn’t have many Black make figures in the school house and many of the kids we served together probably had that same issue and this is why he has stood out to me. I watch his Facebook page (I’m not a stalker…🤦🏾‍♀️) and I see his positive messages.

This is another person everyone needs in their space even if it is for a short period. I have no pictures of us together but I remember the last time I saw him chatting in the parking lot of I believe it was Food Lion/ nail shop and he and I were able to exchange pleasantries.

Thank you Marlon for teaching me to smile and laugh through those tough moments and giving those kids the same thing…

He answers questions that can help us all:

1. How do you describe yourself?

Dependable and loyal

2. What do you do for a living? How did get into this field?

QP in mental health field

What do you do to promote positivity amongst your race? Do you think it’s necessary? Racism doesn’t exist, right? (I’m being extremely sarcastic here).

I support my own and I encourage us to develop partnerships with each other rather than compete. Oh it exist in every area of life and institutions.

Are their challenges as a black man in this field?

Yes but we are in demand. The challenges comes with being paid what we are worth. Black men get results across all races in this field but the compensation can be weak at times. It feels like economic slavery but if you are strategic and good at what you do you can break the ceiling.

What are challenges that you have had as a black professional man?

Finding my place in this field because I’m not licensed(tried that route but that’s another story for another day) the opportunities are limited.

What are ways that you have overcome obstacles that have been in your path?

Being attentive, and innovative with interventions. Also being relational, once you win people to yourself you can give them the tools to be successful

What is your day to day mantra?

My mantra is a quote by D.E Hoste. The man who does not learn to wait upon the Lord and have his thoughts molded by Him will never possess that steady purpose and calm trust, which is essential to the exercise of wise influence upon others, in times of crisis and difficulty.

How do you manage everything that you do?

Just do it. And what I don’t get done today I start tomorrow

What or who inspires you?

Inspirational well-known speakers from politics to religion/preachers but my greatest inspiration would be LOVE. Love can fuel a passion to move pass anything if you allow it.

Any advice for young men who are facing challenges being black and trying to move up?

I tell young men this in a question form. What problem/issue do you wanna solve? Once they answer this and move towards the solution they will not only move up but bring others up with them.

Any last words for our readers?

Last words. In life it’s great to have mentors but choose your own path, because you have to live with the roads you travel. Also remember these two sayings in its entirety 1. Misery loves company but so does pleasure. 2. Perception is reality when its unchallenged. These two things require your thoughts to go beyond what you heard or what was taught. It is extended intelligence that keeps you from accepting half thoughts or half truths.

He is amazing!!!

Posted in black lives matter

Uneasy and unsure??? Read….

Feeling a bit uneasy or just unsure? It’s ok, we all have those moments. I’ve been blessed today to have several call or have face to face conversations about Habakkuk? Do you remember this biblical story?

My dad called me today jokingly asking where was I fleeing off to this weekend? He made some “old-man” comment that I cannot remember, but I told him and he told me he is proud that I don’t let things hold me back. I’m his only child. My mom called right before my dad. We have had a true mother/daughter “love, love, we work each other nerves sometimes” relationship.

It was as if they had spoken to each other before they called me, but they hadn’t. Both of them along with several others out of no where referenced this book. I’m not even sure if my parents have talked since they dropped me off for college 😳🧐🤔….

The most interesting thing, this book is not one of the popular ones that I hear in church.

My devotional sent me there first thing this morning (check out the last chapter of Patrica Shrivers book, Discerning the Voice of God) and as I sat outside my house (which I never do very late) my neighbor walks over. I have not seen her in months! She too mentions things out of this very very short text…

So just remember to be still and learn to listen and most importantly have faith about everything! The way my life has been set up, I have no choice and I am definitely a walking testimony. My testimony is so amazing to me because I have been a witness to seeing so many blessings!

So as you challenge that murderer, that rapist, that child molester, that bad lawyer, that bad doctor, that horrible group who disrespected you, remember that what HE does is none of your business because HE will always love you!

Be blessed today and everyday and read Habakkuk 2:2-3.

#ThisThingCalledLife… it ain’t none of your business so be patient!

❤️

Posted in black lives matter

Objectivity….or something like that…could prevent ignorance…🤷🏽‍♀️

I realize that everyone has their own truths, but many truths are centered around a persons ignorance. I once spoke with a person that had never left their community. They only hung out with people like them. They only spoke to people of their same caliber (🤷🏽‍♀️) and they only did things with the same group of people. They never ventured off to meet new people (my rant…. I think of Mark, my homeless friend, Nathaniel my old man mall buddy who is also my email pen pal, the various people I meet on solo trips, and even my new blog buddy Funmi who I am collaborating with on a blog… what a boring person to never venture off..)

They were never able to learn of anyone else because they never branched out to hang or meet other people.

I met this particular person on one of my many solo trips. They were with their group and this was their first trip. They all obviously went on this trip together and they were pretty much in awe with so much. I was sitting alone and I cannot remember how we started talking…. oh yeah! It was my hair.

I had locs (some say dreads) and one of the people they were with asked if they could touch my hair. Unlike this picture,y locs were down my back. I shook my head because this was a normal question for me. They wanted to know…

Did I wash them? Was it all my hair? How did I keep them like this? And I was ok with the questions because in my mind it allowed a person to get answers to questions and learn new things.

But I remember this person saying, oh yeah gang guys …. gang guys …..YES that really sis come out his mouth ….. like really… yes they really said this and drug dealers have that hair style. Hmmmmmmmmm….. I kept my mouth closed and obviously I remembered it just for this blog

As much as I wanted to say something, I couldn’t. The older I get, I’ve realized that most people really do not care about a rationale response. And this goes back to my first sentence.

When you are unaware of things or people that are not your norm, you become defensive and you become so curious that it blinds you….. therefore it could lead to ignorance. When the truth hits, many are not ready for it and will find things to walk around it and make attempts at being blameless. This is what I’ve seen and to be my truth. After living in multiple places, I’ve come to see the reason why many behave the way they do… they are oblivious to things because branching out is not an option for them.

I’ve had the opportunity to live and be amongst many diverse people. I recently had a friend share her sentiments after reading one of my posts. She shared her thoughts as a mixed woman by saying “people will never fully embrace what they don’t know because of fear.” It also reminds me of this clip from DL Hugley in which he states that the “most dangerous place for a Black person to be is a white persons imagination” (https://www.google.com/amp/s/abcnews.go.com/amp/Entertainment/dl-hughley-discusses-black-communitys-relationship-police/story%3fid=56508770) ..Thanks LISA❤️

I laugh at this as one of my sorority sisters and I talked about this because as much as we want to stop believing race is an issue,it is. It’s that constant elephant in the room. It’s that constant thought of what my hair feels like and whether I wash it…it’s basic curiosity; that leads to something that can be dangerous…

Many see it even if they want to pretend as if they don’t. I’ve been fortunate to have conversations about privilege with people who are comfortable and are aware of it. I’ve been able to have convos with people who have had to apologize because of their ignorance. We make perceptions based on few words. We make perceptions based on difference. As a matter of fact a friend just made a great observation about how we are taught long before we understand race and difference. We are taught how to group things that look just alike….remember that in kindergarten 🧐we are asked to group the same colors together, shapes together, and other things….this subconsciously affects people because they use this as a way to separate themselves … NOT everyone…

The other day a friend of mine who is a psychotherapist told me,

“Wow you have very high emotional intelligence” (KR) because of how calm and clear headed I am. I think and observe and listen so much that I realized it’s not worth me getting mad. It takes a lot to move me, but I do pray to stay so calm. Now, I have become flustered, and when this happens, I sit and try to rationalize, but as I have gotten older, I see many will never be rational. Many cannot see beyond their world. They cannot open their minds to even understand the significance of certain things.

I once had an older gentleman who had always wanted to be a college professor. At this time I was one, so invited him to come and speak to my students (I told him he could be the professor for the day and man was he so happy!!) about a particular era that he grew up in (40’s…50’s…and every time era as a black male…). He actually went to the library to do research his daughter who is my friend shared. He was 84 (his birthday was the day he came to speak) when he spoke to my diverse students. He shared with them what history or literature books could never teach anyone. He had practical experience.

He shared how he and so many others that looked like him were treated. He had many questions from my students post his speech and right before we sung happy birthday to him. There questions centered around understanding why are people so hateful and seemingly clueless. Why are people still encountering a lot of what was suppose to be over….. 🤷🏽‍♀️His practical experience assisted my students to see the connection between the pieces of literature that we read. His practical experiences were better than just reading to understand what was comprehended, but it helped my students see that the nonfictional texts and speeches that we read were memories of someone.

He shared everything from being a Vietnam Vet to living in the south and driving trains for a living. He discussed the challenges of being able to get an eduction and even shared stories of the marches. He help me to showcase the importance of teaching across curriculum. I invited my Humanities and Technology students along with World Literature Classes and African American Studies and other courses that were interested in listening. Each of the students (I’m hoping….I’m being very bold to say all) were able to hear an older gentleman who lived a life of memories that we were just reading about! How amazing!! His life helped bring our reading and even conversations together.

Regardless of the background of my student, I’m sure they felt a connection to someone that they ordinarily would have never made time to speak with. This is what #LifeIsAbout…. using the world and people around us to learn

Every time I travel, I pick up post cards. I mail them out to my penpals and when they write back and ask how was that trip, I share my cultural experiences. To be able to discuss these experiences are nothing short of amazing. I never go into a situation with preconceived notions.

So as you begin your summer and begin to travel, take a moment to embrace something, someone, or a place that you have never thought about embracing.

Take a moment to genuinely speak with someone that you would

probably never engage in a conversation with. Take a moment to step in others shoes and be objective enough to see the world is bigger than you.

Last year, a student asked if I would eat alligator and I looked at him with a disgusted face….He cooked some and shared it with me and although I was not a big fan, I kept my options and my mind open. We swapped food throughout the year, and we learned to appreciate what we like, but we also learned to appreciate what others liked without giving them or their items a chance….

And we did it without preconceived notions or looking down at one another….I realized there were just some things that I preferred not to eat and vice versa …. and if we all did this, it would make the world a better place….

we swap ideas and learn from each other…

With an objective mind and a pure heart❤️

Posted in black lives matter

We need to emphasize who we are… Meet Mr. Alston👋🏾

There are some people that you just know are destined for greatness. There are some that you just stand back in awe and admire. There are some that just possess that….I’m greatness in the making. Mr. Alston is that person.

From the way he carries himself to his powerful thoughts and his ability to always push himself, while bringing others up with him, he truly amazes me.

When I first truly had a chance to meet him, I was impressed. He impressed me with me…. with his leadership, his confidence, and his push to always be better. He further impressed me because he is constantly growing.

I am honored to say that I know him and be a part of what he has branded. I always share how amazing my circle is and it’s because I have people like him in it.

As you read about him, I’m certain you will understand why he has conquered so much. He is what our young people need to see and emulate to understand that anything is possible. The way he balances his life makes me feel as if I need to do more and do better with my time management 😳

He and his wife are humanitarians and entrepreneurs that are going to be prominent figures in our society soon. He is just an overall good person who understands #ThisThingCalledLife and how his voice and calling are needed in many of our communities! His motivation to bring like-minded people together and assist with encouraging all is beautiful.

We all need a Mr. Alston in our life…

Or two… (they got that…)

Please take time to read about Mr. Alston. When I think of the definition of perseverance, he comes to mind. When I think of the term selflessness he also comes to mind. He gives back to assist the youth, he is passionate about growing as a people, and he does this with humility and ease. Again, I am proud to say that I know this young man!

Here is D’Javon Alston🙏🏾

How do you describe yourself? 

I describe myself as a determined (to achieve my goals) builder, engineer, and leader.

 

What do you do for a living?  How did get into this field? 

I am a Systems Engineer contractor with the US Air Force. I went to school and obtained my BS and MS in Industrial & Systems Engineering, which led me to a career in the field. This specific job opportunity opened up through networking.

What do you do to promote positivity amongst your race?  Do you think it’s necessary?  Racism doesn’t exist, right?  (I’m being extremely sarcastic here).

I talk about how amazing we are all the time. I started a network to unite us like-minded professionals to build mutually beneficial partnerships and take next-level action to address our issues, and propel and expedite progress for our people. I post affirmation and uplifting posts on social media about my race very often.

YES, It is very necessary. I feel when you have the whole world (whites, asians, and latinos included) look at your race as inferior; degrade, condescend, dehumanize, and disrespect the color of your skin and who you are because of it, it trickles down and affects our people’s psyche, where we believe what they say and believe. It is imperative that we put the emphasis on who we are and celebrate it! 

 OF COURSE IT EXISTS! 

Are their challenges as a black man in this field?

Yes, as I feel there are challenges for black men in every field, especially corporate America. A challenge that you are prejudged. And when you show how good you are, it’s a surprise. You’re expected to have a certain tone, and if you get a little to passionate, it can be misconstrued as angry or aggressive. So some walk on eggshells trying to to offend. Everything you do is under a microscope.

 

What are challenges that you have had as a black professional man?

I wouldn’t say it was a challenge because I am a black professional man, but it was originally a challenge not to use my typical vernacular and slang. I felt that I had to talk a certain way around the others. I grew out of that. Of course I don’t use all slang, but my work speaks for itself, and I am not focused on impressing anybody with words.

 

 

What are ways that you have overcome obstacles that have been in your path?

Stay focused on why I’m doing what I do. Learning more of our people’s history about how great we are, were, and always have been has given me a next-level confidence. So I steamroll over obstacles, knowing that the tough time is only temporary.

 

What is your day to day mantra?

If once a task has begun, never leave it until it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.

   Stay focused. 

   Planning is action. 

How do you manage everything that you do?

I stay busy. That’s how I like it. Being involved in multiple things keeps me on point. I manage it all by simply blocking time to work on all my endeavors. I get off from my 9-5 and go to work on my other goals from 5-9 and after!

 

What or who inspires you?

My Wife (she’s the hardest worker I know).

   My little brothers (my mentees), just as much as I give to them in mentorship, it’s mutual.

   My friends (I know some amazing people doing amazing things!)

   My family (I do it for them)

Any advice for young men who are facing challenges being black and trying to move up? 

Stay the course. Have no doubt that you are great. That as a black man, they fear your greatness. Never let anybody tell you otherwise. Link with other young black men who can motivate you and you can motivate; we can get so much further when we work together. Seek mentors who you vibe with and have been there/done that. Forget what other people think! Make yourself happy. APPRECIATE YOUR STRUGGLE! It makes you who you are. If it wasn’t for the struggle, you wouldn’t be who you are today. You needed it. It’s not suppose to be easy. Push through, knowing pain is temporary. Have no doubt that you will reach your goals. Speak it into existence. Work hard. And watch God give you everything you’ve asked for.

Any last words for our readers?

Be Strong. For we’re not here to play, dream, or drift. We have hard work to do and heavy loads to life. Shun not the struggle, for it’s God’s gift. Be Strong.

Thank you Mr. Alston 🙏🏾

.

Posted in black lives matter

Being a black man in education…

As I read my devotional today, I was reminded that our paths are already destined. I was also reminded that we have people that come into our lives at the right moment.

We have those people who experience all sorts of hardships, but with ease they grow. They don’t just focus on their growth, but they also make sure others are growing too. They can even see things in you.

Many of my mentors have been Black males. Maybe it is because they are like that father figure… in this case, he swears that he is my dad. He is only about five years older, but he has been that big brother, father figure all of my adult life.

This particular person is Charles. I met him my senior year in high school and fast forward almost 20 years later, he has never let me down. We have had our moments where we both have to take a step back, but without a doubt do I know he has been placed in my life for a reason.

You have those people that say one thing and mean another, but not him. He says it and he follows through. Even when I can’t always see what he means or says, he has been a constant in my life. We have been able to see the joys of falling and rising through our many situations in life.

He was the first person to truly help me get my foot into he world of teaching. I didn’t like even want to teach and he pushed me and I swore he was wrong for even thinking I was going to teach some kids… naw… I’m going to dental school… and I even went to get a post- baccalaureate in Biology (another accolade … prob can look that one up too…🤦🏾‍♀️) because I was going to be a dentist. He knew that was not the case.

He believed in me then and now and he always shares with me just how amazing and proud he is of me. He is one of those people that I look up to. He is an amazing father, husband, and friend and each time I am in his space I applaud him.

His upbringing was similar to mine. His aspirations and his humility, and his drive to always help in any capacity is mind-blowing. He is always doing something; whether it is going to his weekend drill, going on Boy Scout trips with his sons, going to eat dinner weekly with his daughter, trying to find ways to be a great husband, or while balancing taking care of our future.

Even when I’ve been confused and even upset with him, he has shown me the truth behind friendship. I still remember one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done when I was in college and how he effortlessly came to save me. We talk about that very often with him saying “sometimes my kids don’t listen, but I’m glad you did my child.” He thinks he is my dad and if he really was, I know he is extremely proud of me because he says it all of the time, but I’m very proud of him too.

When you grow up in certain environments, it’s always amazing to see the growth!

As minority men, they have extra weight on their shoulders and the entire world does not always see this.

This week we will take a look at minority males in all aspects!

First, we have Mr. Carter!

What does it mean to be a Black man?

It means always being a King that has to fight for his thrown. It means always having to be ten times better than our anglo saxon counterparts.

Do you feel that your experiences differ from others in the majority?

My experiences differ from others in the majority because I have to fight ten times harder to be successful And remain that way. The majority doesn’t have to be perfect and explain themselves frequently even though they know they are right in their hearts.

What inspired you to move towards your career?

I was inspired to move towards my career because education is the only thing people can’t take away. I also traveled the world in the military coming to the conclusion that children are the future of every country.

Do you think it’s necessary for us to point out that we are Black?

A black man in education is powerful beyond measure. Little black boys and girls can see us as leaders instead of the thugs and brutes the media displays us as. Children need to see themselves in all positions of honor to help them believe their dreams are possible. Educators are the gatekeepers of knowledge.

Do you see the need to encourage one group more than the next?

As a black man, I encourage all. I encourage African Americans in a different way than caucasians. African Americans are encouraged to rise above their history and stereotypes. Caucasians are encouraged to put themselves in the shoes of others and understand “White Privilege.”

What is your mantra?

My mantra can be summed up in the “Golden Rule.” Treat others how you want to be treated and mankind would be better.

This latter mantra is important and this is one of the many things that I have learned from Charles. Whether it is something big or small, you have to always be mindful of how you treat people. It’s important because you never know what child is looking up to you and/or which child has a goal and need that extra push.

Thanks Charles!!!!!