“…we gon’ be alright; we gon’ be alright. We gon’ be alright; Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright…”- Kendrick Lamar 

I had no intention of blogging again this week. Nonewhatsoever. I’m tired. A good tired but tired. And as of right this second, I have 32 minutes until my kid calls me to watch Jeopardy. So this will be brief.

I was looking for something this week.  I was looking for something that could help me say: you know what, we gon’ be alright. Because, recently, I’ve truly been going back and forth on that. Some days I’m wondering what’s going on in my county, state, country. (Y’all did see that white supremacists marched down the street some days ago, right? And the redistricting debate going on in Howard County? Wow. #dontreadthecomments)

But this week. 

This week some solid things happened, y’all. FOUR. SOLID. THINGS. Four things that made my heart smile. That made me smile. And so I just had to share in case someone else needs to know that we gon’ be alright. (I think.) 

On Monday, a group of thoughtful people and a few elected officials (and candidates for office- pay attention!!) publicly protested the presence of a Confederate monument at the County courthouse. On Tuesday, the monument was gone. Edit: And I almost forgot this piece!! On Sunday, someone covered the thing up. With duck tape. Like all stealth like.  (That’s one.) 

On Wednesday, I proudly presented our new (not live yet but you know I’ll share when it is) diversity and inclusion website to my colleagues at our retreat. And it was well received. That same day, at that same retreat, an incredible panel of campus leaders (professors, a staff member, and students) talked about what diversity and inclusion means at our university. And even challenged us to be better! I’ll blog more about this later (or maybe even talk about it on Elevate Maryland with Tom) but I’ll just drop these concepts for now: critical diversity and diversity mindfulness. Google this stuff, y’all. Read it. Learn it. I haven’t absorbed it all yet but after that panel, I’m thhiiisss close to applying for the Language, Literacy, and Culture PhD program at UMBC. This close. #iwanttolearnmorefromsmartpeople (That’s two.)

Today. Today. Today. Four brave students who I’ve been working with brought the house down at our annual fall meeting. Like standing ovations and everything. (I can’t clearly articulate how great they are so I’ll briefly describe who they are. Also, I have 14 minutes until Jeopardy.) 

Student 1- A young, quiet, beautiful, soulful man who will major in dance (and biology). Dance. A young man. And in his words to me: “I love ballet and have been dancing that style since I was three but I like the way I can express myself with modern dance. I plan to study that and fall back on the biology thing.” #word

Student 2- A homeschooled young lady from Howard County who wants to be an engineer and a role model as a woman in STEM. Her greatest accomplishment thus far? She is a world champion in robotics. World champion. #beast

Student 3- A DACA student from Mexico who decided she didn’t want to “hide in the shadows” anymore. She’s the recipient of our Presidential scholarship and will do great things. I cried real tears when she told me about her journey. And I cried again when she spoke today. I wasn’t alone. She represented all that is right in the world. #inspiration 

Student 4- An African American PhD student who used poetry to explain that he’s more than his MIT and Duke degrees and will be studying health disparities so he can give back. He dropped knowledge today about his experience as a black man. Serious knowledge. #woke (That’s three.)

And then. I returned to my office after the meeting and happened to check my mailbox (I’m bad at this.). There was a card in the box. I can’t reveal what the person wrote because it wasn’t signed (and they may want to remain anonymous) but just know that it’s in the top 5 as one of the nicest things anyone has ever written about me/to me. About leadership and strength and having my back/hearing my voice as we navigate the world’s challenges. Whoever you are, you brought me to tears. I appreciate what you did/said more than you’ll ever know. And when/if you want to reveal yourself, I’m ready to talk…and listen. Thank you so much. (That’s 4.)

Jeopardy started. I’m out. But we gon’ be alright.

“…we gon’ be alright; we gon’ be alright. We gon’ be alright; Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright…”

Pardon any grammatical or spelling errors. I had minutes folks. 

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“One day when the glory comes; It will be ours, it will be ours; Oh one day when the war is won; We will be sure, we will be sure; Oh glory”- John Legend and Common

Heeeyy… it’s been awhile. Busy….Kid. Family. Work. Volunteer stuff. Friends. Dating. Plus I am co-hosting a new podcast called Elevate Maryland with my friend, Tom Coale. And I’m having a lot of fun with that. We get to talk about important issues in our county, state, country and we interview some interesting people from around our state. Check it out.  

But this past week was a tough one for me so I’m banging this out on my phone. 

Folks, what happened in Charlottesville and on the campus of UVA last week was horrifying. Frightening. Terrifying. I mean, armed white supremacists walked through the streets and on the campus of a higher education institution. And they chanted hateful words meant to intimate and strike fear in the hearts of people who don’t look like them, worship like them, love like them. It’s hard for me to even type that. It’s just a lot to process.

And just like when other horrific national events occur, it seems that good people try to figure out what action they can take so that said incident doesn’t happen in their state, city, town, county.  Or they think their state, city, town, county is special so “it couldn’t happen in <insert name of special town here>”. Well, it can and it will if good people don’t stand up and speak out. I’m sure the good folks of Charlottesville couldn’t imagine making national news in the way they did this week. 

So what are you going to do? 

Let’s start local. 

Speak up when you hear your neighbor say something about “that family” or “those kids”.

If you’re in the majority, listen when minorities talk about racism. Just please listen. 

Visit a mosque, synagogue, church. And take a friend. 

Don’t sit silent when your friends, relatives, moms group members say racist, hateful things on social media (or in person!) about certain schools and certain communities and certain people. 

Donate to the local NAACP or PFLAG or a Jewish organization or find an anti hate group and send them a few bucks. 

Invite someone who doesn’t look like you/worship like you/love like you to dinner. And just get to know them.

Push for equity in education, housing, entrepreneurship opportunities, healthcare, politics, etc.  

If you’re in a leadership role, look around the table in the boardroom. Look at the diversity (or lack thereof) of your team or the executive leadership. If it’s not inclusive, ask why not? 

Look at your board…is it reflective of the diversity of your community? If not, make the effort to change it. Now.

Ask your elected officials to remove monuments that celebrate Confederate leaders.

Research candidates for elected office. VOTE.

This isn’t rocket science and I’m not claiming to be an expert…but I do have a voice. And while I’ve not said anything super profound or written some publish-worthy extended essay, I hope this can serve as a reminder that fighting back against hate will require folks to have difficult conversations and some serious self awareness. It may require folks to challenge their current organizational structure. It may mean that you lose some friends (I promise you’ll also gain some) and that some family members won’t speak to you again until Thanksgiving. It will mean you need to reach out of your comfort zone. 

But doing nothing just isn’t acceptable. Silence is not an option. 

“Now the war is not over, victory isn’t won; And we’ll fight on to the finish, then when it’s all done;We’ll cry glory, oh glory; Oh (Glory, glory); We’ll cry glory, oh glory…”

“Baby, this is what you came for, Lightning strikes every time she moves. And everybody’s watching her, But she’s looking at you, oh, oh, You, oh, oh, you, oh, oh, You, oh, oh, you, oh, oh, You, oh, oh, oh, oh”- Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna (and Taylor Swift apparently)

Heeeyyyy…I am a bad blogger. There, I’ve confessed. Junior year of high school has me running. As does everything else. That’s my story (this time).  It’s hard out there for a …. (wink).

Anyways… I had to pull out the laptop and hop all over my famous (lol) list. This is a shorter one this year but I had to shotout my Most Fascinating People in Howard County for the third year.

Five things before I get to the list. 1- Fascinating doesn’t necessarily mean popular. Or loved. 2- It’s my list. 3- If your favorite person or thing isn’t on this list, please read my previous blog posts. They may be on one of those. Or not. 🙂 4- I’m just writing what’s on my mind. It may not be gramattically correct. Please don’t be my editor. 5- The song choice is usually one of the top songs for the year.  This year I went with the number 5 pick. A gem by Calvin Harris. Because I just couldn’t go with a Bieber song. And I gave Taylor the shotout for my friend, Sam O’Neil. Taylor is her fav. Ask her about that.

So here we go:

Main Street, Elliott City

If you don’t know why I’ve listed Main Street, allow me to explain. One summer day in July, 6.5 inches of rain fell in the span of two hours and caused a freakish flash flood that washed away businesses, homes, cars, and, sadly, people. The footage from the storm is actually painful to watch. Painful. Like, you’ll cry.  But, if you’re like me, after you wipe away the tears and check out how the community came together and rallied to support Main Street, you’ll feel good. Real good.  I’ll admit that I’m not expert on all things Main Street but everyone, including me, who followed this story felt #ECStrong. Now head down there and buy some post holiday presents or grab a meal. My favorite place? Pure Wine Cafe (Sidebar- Pure Wine Cafe was founded by PJ Strain, who went to my alma mater, Trinity School. So I’m winning all around when I go there…).

Bonnie Bricker

I met Bonnie a few years ago to talk about her work with children and her book, Zoom Out Parenting: The Big Picture Approach to Raising Children.  We had a great meeting and made some mutual connections but nothing came of it then.

Since that meeting, Bonnie launched a FB page called HOCO School Interest.  And it took off like crazy. Go join the conversation. Seriously.

Her words about the page:

“Our goal is the best education for our students here in Howard County. That takes knowledge. Persistence. Courage. And-Listening to each other. Members are free to post high-quality articles about education policy as well as programs. Information and articles about HCPSS can be shared here. Our members are parents, students, teachers, administrators and Central Office staff as well as Board of Education members and other local politicians. We will treat each other with respect. NO personal attacks and we’ll try to subdue our snark a bit, too. If those restrictions don’t work for you, then this is not your group.”

My words about the page:

HOCO Interest has helped shape the conversation about K-12 education in Howard County.

Need to learn more about the diversity coordinator (wink)? Post there.  Have an opinion about school start times? Speak your mind.  Pissed about the amount of homework your 5th grader has? Type away.

I don’t always agree with the opinions on there, in fact, many times I disagree, but I can’t deny using that page as a resource, guide, and testing ground for ideas.  Even if folks can get a little harsh sometimes.

Howard County voters

You think I’m going to talk about the Presidential Election, don’t you? Nope. Except to say, we did our part. (smirk)

What I’m talking about is the local stuff. The Board of Education election.  Soon after the election, I tweeted something like…If you don’t think constituent services matter, you are sadly mistaken (or something like that). Anyways, my point was (and is) to highlight the importance of listening to constituents. Because if you don’t, they will vote you out office. After frustrations related to transparency, community relations, and accountability, the Howard County voters spoke loud and clear in the 2016 Board of Ed election.

Last year, I wrote this about the (then) four challengers- Coombs, Ellis, Ponnuri, Miller-

“These four individuals are running for the board of education…and I’m not positive but I would guess that they made this huge decision to run for elected office after witnessing the current, very public education challenges in Howard County. I’ve either read about or talked with each of them re: their priorities for our school system and I think they are right on point.  Now can they beat any of the incumbents?  Only time will tell. #payattentionhoco #thisisasimportantasthepresidentialelection #yesseriously”

Hmmm. #listenandact

Councilpersons Calvin Ball and Jen Terrasa

This may seem lazy but I’ve just got two words (and then ask you to read the link for more information): SANCTUARY COUNTY.

https://apps.howardcountymd.gov/olis/PrefiledLegislation.aspx (CB9-2017)

Merriweather Post Pavilion

Local folks have a love/hate thing with Merriweather. People who love it appreciate the fact that we have an award winning arts concert venue in downtown Columbia.  And those who hate it complain about noise. And “those” concert goers. Which is funny because 1- Merriweather predates a lot of stuff. And people. And organizations. And 2- No diss but you moved next to a concert venue.

Well, in 2016, those who love it…well, won. At the end of November, the Merriweather advocates (including my fierce, bearded friend, Ian Kennedy) got an early holiday present when ownership of the venue was transferred from the Howard Hughes Corporation to the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission. The transfer, which was approved by the Howard County Council, supports additional community programming, a parking garage!, additional development in downtown, and so much more.  All good.

(Sidebar- Can you figure out how I feel about Merriweather? #gem)

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-merriweather-transfers-1208-20161130-story.html

Now all they need to do to get my official stamp of approval is to bring John Legend back. (And yes, I know I talk about his music all of the time. #haters)

Opel Jones

I met Opel back in 2014 when he was president of Alpha Phi Alpha and I was president of the African American Community Roundtable. I was impressed by his commitment to our community (that’s always huge in my book) and his dedication to his family and friends (also huge in my book. Bonus- his wife is awesome.).  Soon after meeting, he was appointed to be a member of the Howard County Democratic Central Committee and his commitment to Howard County became even more clear as he began to advocate and fight for things we hold dear in this county- inclusion, equity, education-our values. And he’s done that as both a Central Committee member and a Human Rights Commissioner.

Can’t wait to see what Opel does next in Howard County (wink, wink).

 

Deeba Jafri and Tina Sheets Horn

I love rabble rousers. Especially when they’re women.

I love people who speak up and say something. Those who don’t remain silent in the face of injustice and hate.

I love people who look at an issue or challenge and say- the status quo is not good enough.

I love Deeba and Tina. Well…love is a strong word and I don’t say it lightly..especially about people I barely know so…I really like these ladies.

Deeba. I admire Deeba for standing up and refusing to be silent about the effect that racist rhetoric and hate speech has on our children and our community.  It’s not easy to stand up in front of hundreds of people and speak (extemporaneously!) with raw emotion. And it’s even harder to do when someone is attempting to silence your voice.  And Deeba did. Twice.

Tina. Tina is one of the fiercest Black Lives Matter advocates out there.  You know those monthly vigils that take place on the corner of Governor Warfield and Windstream? That’s Tina. You know the Black Lives Matter- Columbia, MD advocacy group? That’s Tina. Follow her on Twitter if you don’t believe me. Tina stands up for those who have been marginalized and for those who need an ally. And pretty much everyone else in between.

Thank you Deeba and Tina. There are no words to articulate how much your advocacy means to me. #morevoices

Sheriff McMahon

A couple of years ago, the Chief…err Sheriff.. was on this list for his leadership after the Columbia Mall shooting.  I try not to repeat on this list but this is noteworthy.  If anyone can help change the negative image and horrible reputation of the Howard County Sheriff’s office, Chief McMahon can. He is simply one of the best.

Gallant

Did you know that a kid from Howard County has been nominated for a Grammy award in the category of “Best Urban Contemporary Album”? Yeah, me neither. Well, until recently.

You may not have heard of Gallant but he is killing it.  His full name is Chris Gallant and he is the insanely talented son of Chris and Lillie Gallant.  His debut (DEBUT!!) album, “Ology” is up for the award.  He also is touring in Europe and performed at the Library of Congress’ tribute to Smokey Robinson.

The fella can sinnnnggg.  Check out the Grammys on February 12th. And root for the hometown guy for the W.

“Baby, this is what you came for…Lightning strikes every time she moves…And everybody’s watching her…But she’s looking at you…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It is such a shame…You let this good love go to waste…I always keep the top tier, 5 star…”  Hold Up- Beyonce

Those lyrics right there, though. YESSSSSS. (Smirk.)

Beyonce, with the release of Lemonade, has me coming out of blog hiding.  I write a lot for my new gig now (Did I tell you I love it? Lol) and my kid sprints all over the place. So…time. And energy.  And whatever. I’m preaching to the choir, I’m sure.

But I had to write about this.  This new, fiercer (Is that a word?), Beyonce.  This unapologetically Black woman, Beyonce.  The smash up stuff because I’m pissed, Beyonce. LOVING IT.

I get it.

And not because some dude cheated on me recently (That I know of…).  This Lemonade thing is about way more than Jay Z potentially cheating on Beyonce.  It’s about so much more than whether or not we ever find out who “Becky with that good hair” is (THAT line is so good though…And yeah, call her. Humpf.). It’s about more than her “daddy issues”…

It’s about love. And vulnerability (YIKES!). And the struggle of being an unapologetically Black WOMAN.

(And by the way. In some circles, the unapologetically Black woman is mislabeled as the loudmouth. Or the angry bitch. Or the bitter, scorned lover.  I’m so tired of that.)

LOVE

Just listen to the lyrics on Hold Up.  “What’s worse, lookin’ jealous or crazy?…Jealous and crazy…Or like being walked all over lately, walked all over lately…I’d rather be crazy…”

That one line is so deep.  It has to have you searching and thinking about something in your past (or present!).  We have all been there with that deep love. That love that he may (or may not) deserve.  And then something happens. And you question yourself.  Am I crazy? Am I jealous?  Is this my fault?  If only I had….!

And let’s take it a step further.  That love may be for your kid.  Or your friend. Or your community.  And when that love goes bad. Or crooked. Or is disrespected. Or not reciprocated.  Or dies in the street (You did see Trayvon’s mama and the other moms, right?) because someone else doesn’t share that love,  we are expected to pick up the pieces and keep it moving.  Seriously.  Don’t believe me? Take some time to think about the Black woman’s story in history. You can disagree with me. But if you do, I think you should talk with me over some Chai tea.  And then go watch The Help again.

Per Jay Z’s grandmama…”I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up.  I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.”

VULNERABILITY 

Let’s start with Jay.  I know Jay Z may take a hit in this but when have you ever seen a rapper/man show such public vulnerability?  Being sensitive? Check.  Caressing her leg? Check.  That face to face, forehead to forehead thing? (You know what I’m talking about. You don’t even have to speak when that moment happens…)  So yes, he may be in trouble and perhaps he thinks he may lose his marriage but still.  There are men out there who would never be vulnerable in such situations (or any situation) and their stuff isn’t even shown on local TV.  This is on HBO!

And then, Bey.  It’s not easy for anyone to talk about their flaws.  To open up and tell the world (or your three girlfriends…wink) about how confusing your stuff is?  Scary.

I’ve talked before about Brene Brown and her work on vulnerability and daring greatly. She says, “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.”  Uh, yeah.  Read this: http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2013/04/21/brene-brown-how-vulnerability-can-make-our-lives-better/#58643d0960ba.

And so Beyonce puts.it.out.there.  For all of us to see.  She became real.  She’s tired of the BS. And I don’t know about you, but somehow, it became ok for me to be a little more vulnerable. And a tiny bit more open.  And a tad more of an unapologetically Black woman.

Note- Fine, she may not really be going through a struggle with Jay. Maybe this is her art. She sure as hell becomes relatable with this, though.

THE STRUGGLE

It started with Formation.  And folks were pissed.  How dare Beyonce tell Black women to get into any kind of “formation” and march proudly!  Yikes, here come the strong Black women.  And she’s smashing stuff and cursing!

“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman.  The most unprotected person in America is the black woman.  The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”

And so strong unapologetically Black women appear in her short film.

Serena should never have to apologize for her body.  Or make less endorsement money because she’s not “mainstream”.

Quvenzhané should not have to explain her name or her hair.

Zendaya should not have to apologize for this: When asked about what she considers cultural appropriation, Zendaya says, “Well, first of all, braids are not new. Black women have been wearing braids for a very long time, and that’s another part of the frustration… Another problem is it became new and fresh and fun, because it was on someone else other than a black woman.”

No more I’m sorry for saying the right thing about who I am, Black ladies.  No more. Because while I don’t have hot sauce in my purse, I darn sure have it in my pantry.  And probably in the fridge.  And I ask for it (almost) every time I have chicken (There was that one time at the country club when I didn’t…). And yeah, Red Lobster and such.

Did Jay really cheat on Bey?  I don’t know.  But look at the Lemonade story in a different way and you’ll realize that it probably doesn’t matter.    Unless you’re a member of the Beyhive.  Because they are pissed.

Sidenote- Notable quotes.  I had to share a few of my favs.

“I tried to change. Closed my mouth more. Tried to be softer, prettier, less awake.” (PREACH.)

“Why do you deny yourself heaven?  Why do you consider yourself undeserving?  Why are you afraid of live?  You think it’s not possible for someone like you?  But you are the love of my life…”

“Show me your scars and I won’t walk away…every promise don’t work out that way.”

“My grandma said nothing real can be threatened. True love brought salvation back into me. With every tear came redemption. And my torture became my remedy.”

“When you hurt me, you hurt yourself…Try not to hurt yourself; When you play me, you play yourself…Don’t play yourself; When you lie to me, you lie to yourself…You only lying to yourself; When you love me, you love yourself…”

 

 

“Can you help me remember how to smile?…Make it somehow all seem worthwhile…How on earth did I get so jaded?.. Life’s mysteries seem so faded…I can go where no one else can go…I know what no one else knows…Here I am just drownin’ in the rain…with a ticket for a runaway train…”  Runaway Train- Soul Asylum

After a (now deleted..perhaps to protect the child?) post by the Howard County Police Department about a missing thirteen year old child from Wilde Lake Middle School, many in our community sprung into action to try to do what they could to help find the young lady.  There were reposts, prayers, questions, lookouts, etc.  Authentic concern for a child in our own backyard!

According to the police, the young lady returned home.  I don’t know the circumstances but it seems as if it could have been a runaway situation.  Someone even commented on one of the posts that “she has done this before…”

I don’t know if it’s because it is so close to home (my mom taught there for many years, my daughter’s cheer couch was the principal for three years, and I have several friends who have kids who attend the school) or what but this situation really bothered me.   This truly could have been anyone’s kid. Seriously.

On one of the posts, some friends and I asked why an Amber Alert wasn’t issued for this young lady.  Someone in law enforcement advised us that Amber Alerts are only used when a child has been abducted or is endangered.  We pushed a little more… Why wouldn’t we want to issue a broad alert for ANY child who is missing?  Aren’t they all in danger?  (That’s just how Amber Alerts work…)  One of my friends even said, in this particular case, the child is on medication, doesn’t that warrant an alert?  (No.)

So, because this makes no sense to me… (DISCLAIMER- This is NOT a bash on law enforcement at all.  Many of you know I worked very closely with the Howard County Police for many years and I have great respect for many police officers.  Sad that I have to give that disclaimer but you know how folks are….)…I needed to have a better understanding of Amber Alerts.

Sidenote- Google, I love you.

“An AMBER Alert or a Child Abduction Emergency is a child abduction alert system. It originated in the United States in 1996. AMBER is officially a backronym [that’s a new one] for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, but was named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas, in 1996.”

“In the United States, AMBER Alerts are distributed via commercial radio stations, Internet radio, satellite radio, television stations, and cable TV by the Emergency Alert System and NOAA Weather Radio (where they are termed “Child Abduction Emergency” or “Amber Alerts”). The alerts are also issued via e-mail, electronic traffic-condition signs, commercial electronic billboards, or through wireless device SMS text messages. AMBER Alert has also teamed up with Google ]Bing, and Facebook  to relay information regarding an AMBER Alert to an ever growing demographic…”

“To avoid both false alarms and having alerts ignored as a “wolf cry”, the criteria for issuing an alert are rather strict. Each state’s or province’s AMBER alert plan sets its own criteria for activation, meaning that there are differences between alerting agencies as to which incidents are considered to justify the use of the system. However, the U.S. Department of Justice issues the following “guidance”, which most states are said to “adhere closely to” (in the U.S.):

  1. Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place.
  2. The child must be at risk of serious injury or death.
  3. There must be sufficient descriptive information of child, captor, or captor’s vehicle to issue an alert.
  4. The child must be under 18 years of age.”                                                                     Source- Wikipedia (I know..but it’s quick.)

Ok.. Got it.  So we certainly can’t have an Amber Alert for suspected runaways or if the above criteria isn’t met.  We would be getting  alerts all day! Doesn’t make sense.

BUT.  Why can’t we have some sort of local alert when a child is missing. If the situation makes the Howard County Police Facebook page, then I’m assuming it’s a big enough deal to alert the community in a broader way. (Note- My friends who have kids in school at WLMS told me that the school didn’t alert parents or students.  I’m not trying to be funny but kids can find other kids in about ten minutes.)

Let’s utilize NotifyMe Howard.  Certainly alerts about missing children are just as important as weather updates and water main breaks, right?  Let’s utilize the text/email system through HCPSS.  Certainly alerts about missing children are just as important as school closings, right?  These two things are just a start.

This is Howard County folks.  We can be a model community on this.  Because any missing child is a priority, in my opinion.  We are a community of action oriented people.  Let’s work together to bring kids home safely…runaways or not.

I will be sending this to the county council, chief of police, superintendent, board of education, and board of education candidates.  If you support this idea, please repost this and send it to those folks as well.

And please invite me to the press conference when this gets changed. (smile)

Oh…A friend said let’s call it the CDR Alert.  Thanks but I think we should call it the Jaylen Alert.  And let’s tell that young lady (who this post is referencing) that she sparked a HUGE change in her community.

“And everything seems cut and dry…
day and night…
earth and sky…
somehow i just don’t believe it…”

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday… Happy Birthday- Stevie Wonder

I know you were singing that tune along with me.

Sooo…KID, you are 16.  How did that happen? HOW DO I HAVE A 16 YEAR OLD!

I’ll try not to embarrass you too much with this post but I get to do this once per year.  It’s called mother’s rights.  Last year was your first one on the blog.

Before I start with a list (I’m big on lists right now) of things you love/dislike, I’ll say this (and try not to cry while I type).  This has been an interesting and challenging year for us but I know we can overcome anything.   You are only 16 and one of the strongest and wisest people I know (fact).

It’s been you and me for 14 years now (wow) and I truly love watching you grow into a mature young lady.  Remain true to your values and work ethic.  Trust me, it will carry you far.

Last month I posted something on FB from Humans of New York.  It read: “People always ask me if it’s hard being a single mother. I say: ‘Yes. But not as hard as it would be if I didn’t have her.’”

Sums it up for me.

I love you, kid.

And now the list. And no, this isn’t everything.

Some likes

Justin Bieber (just kidding… I know you only like that one song, “Sorry”.  (wink))

Math

TV shows about science, medicine, or crime

Athletes/ football players (insert mom scary face emoticon)

Good books

Leggings and sweaters

Leggings and hoodies

Leggings and tall boots

Science

Music (that you blast out of your bedroom) and dancing (you’re a great dancer)

Anything by PINK

Singing in the chorus (or maybe just the field trips?)

Netflix

Fairness and justice

Fancy, expensive makeup

Twitter and Snapchat (sigh)

True friends

Kind souls

The newfound old school songs (I was dancing to “At Night I Think of You” years ago!)

UGGS

Track

Skittles

Your beloved iPhone

Concerts!

Sleeping (but not past 6am)

Some Dislikes

PICC lines

Yelling

Mr. D’s English class

Running in the rain

Haters

Losing your beloved IPhone

“That there ought to be a time
That we can set aside
To show you just how much we love you
And I’m sure you would agree
It couldn’t fit more perfectly
Than to have a world party on the day you came to be…”

 

“Ooh watch me, watch me…Ooh watch me, watch me…Ooh watch me, watch me…Ooh ooh ooh ooh”- Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae)- Silento

Two posts in one week.  Whatttt!

This is just a quick one.  My thoughts on what we can leave in 2015 and some things we need in 2016.  What would you add or delete?

Happy New Year everyone!  Here’s to a transformational 2016.

In 2016, can we do away with:

  • senseless murders of black men/women/children!
  • labeling people because of what they look like or who they love or their religion or what they wear
  • Jason Garrett
  • politicians who are more concerned with optics rather than solutions
  • assault rifles (Baby steps.  No, you don’t need them Joe and Jane Homeowner..)
  • the stigma related to mental health
  • the stigma related to hiring ex-offenders who have been rehabilitated
  • weird shortened phrases- I mean ROTFLMAO.  Really folks?
  • mold in schools
  • people’s misunderstanding of Lyme Disease or any other “invisible” health challenge
  • the attack on women and our bodies
  • the use of the phrase “but we tried that and it didn’t work before”
  • the use of the phrase “we can’t do that”
  • bad….relationships, health, manners, eating/drinking habits
  • homelessness (I know, I know)
  • the achievement gap in Howard County
  • being just a “yes” person
  • whatever jinxed the Ravens this year
  • whatever made the Redskins win the division (I kid, I kid.)
  • poor leadership in politics, education, business, nonprofits, sports
  • terrorism
  • man buns
  • women bashing other women
  • the belief that Mark Zuckerberg is going to give you anything because of your FB post
  • nasty gluten free treats
  • the crazy debt that college kids accumulate (please figure this out by 2018. Thank you.)
  • not supporting local owned or minority owned or women owned businesses
  • criticizing football players for celebrating after they score (Come on. Feel free to criticize for poor behavior/off field antics/domestic violence/etc.  But for a touchdown dance? I’m thinking about hitting the dab or quan the next time I do something good at work!)
  • my inability to sleep 8 good hours
  • not following what you’re passionate about
  • teenage bullying…and adult bullying…and  kid bullying
  • the whip and the nae-nae
And can we get more:
  • Faith
  • Love
  • Conversation
  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Listening
  • Money? (smile)
  • Background checks
  • Wins for the Philadelphia 76ers for my bro!  Go Sixers!

“Now watch me whip (Kill it!)…Now watch me nae nae (Okay!)…Now watch me whip whip…Watch me nae nae (Want me do it?)”