It goes in cycles but seems never ending. Every generation of African Americans has that moment where the anger boils over like fire because the racism and hatred just becomes unbearable. It’s got to stop but we know it’s never ending. Watts Riots – 1965 LA Riots – 1992 Ferguson Riots – 2014 Minneapolis Riots – 2020
I’m 47 now, but 23 years ago, 1997 to be exact, my senior year, a group of students from #KentStateUniversity , got on the bus headed to the first ever #MillionWomenMarch in Philly, PA, accompanied by Dr Adilene Barnes-Harden (pictured with us in the Kente cloth outfit, I’m next to her, holding the sign) . During my time at Kent State, I switched my major about 5 times, had some interesting experiences (we’ll just leave it at that, thankfully before the Facebook lol) , and I had some very awesome professors, especially in the Department of #PanAfricanStudies . If there was anything that was constant during my college years, in between all of the fun, it was the classes I had the privilege to take at Kent State. One of my favorite and one of the best professors EVER, was Dr. Barnes-Harden who taught The Black Woman, The Black Family, and other courses that changed my life! She was so raw and so real in the classroom and inspired us as black students on campus! She has transitioned, gone but definitely not forgotten. Ashe! RIP #KentStateForever #PAS #BlackStudies #PeaceAndLove
I was a huge Nike fan back in high school when I ran track and played volleyball, but it’s been a while since I’ve bought a pair of the sneakers with the swoosh. In 2019, Nike created a huge endorsement/marketing/sponsorship deal with activist football player, Colin Kaepernick. With one fell swoop, many of us pledged to make our next pair of sneakers, a pair of Nikes.
Since the dawn of the 21st century, it seems that becoming an activist has become extremely easy. No longer is it a requirement for people to march in the streets, like in the 60s, unless they want to. Activists today, have a choice as to how they want to participate. Activism today, can be something as small and easy as signing an online petition to boycotting a particular company because of their CEO’s political affiliation to protesting in the streets in Ferguson, MO or Minneapolis, MN, against the injustice of police brutality against black men and women.
Activism also affects different age groups in different ways. For example, I was a super student activist in college at Kent State University, in Ohio, in the 90s, during the time of the Rodney King case and O. J. I marched, I participated in sit-ins, walk outs, letter writing, rallies, etc. Today, I’m in my 40s and while I’d love to march in the streets, my activism leans more towards attending council meetings, putting my signature on petitions, participating in virtual rallies and other events, and giving monetary funds, when and where I can. Either way, whatever you choose to do, it all counts towards the efforts of standing up for issues of social justice, as long as you stand up for something.
So, with that said, it’s almost time for me to get a new pair of workout sneakers and you can best believe, my next pair will be Nike.
As we wrap up the #4thOfJuly and I watch the fireworks on TV and hear what have become American anthems, songs like America The Beautiful, that have been sung by artists of all races, played by military bands, orchestras, kids, choirs, and the like, I can’t help but to think, because we are America, yes, this great nation we belong to, with freedoms not allowed in some other countries and with all of its hypocrisies, contradictions, and Institutional – isms, there is no place I’d rather be, because, despite #AmericanHistory, it’s still a place where we can celebrate how this nation came to be (even with all of its inaccuracies, as we strive to correct it together), acknowledge where it has faltered in its oppression of others, and still be a country that can come together as a community to protect and save lives through a pandemic (despite the leadership), and still, as a part of its history, birth movements over the years, that demand changes from the same nation like The Civil War to end slavery (which the Union won for the record), like the Women’s Rights Movement to get women the right to vote, own property, to work, etc, like the Civil Rights Movement spearheaded by African Americans in America who just wanted to continue to fully remove the shackles of Jim Crow and gain equal rights, under the law and Constitution, as well as the right to vote, which then sparked other oppressed groups like the Native Americans, LGBTQ, Latino and Immigrant communities, Gun Rights movements, Environmentalists, and more. So it’s only predictable, given the backdrop of America and its history of the quest for freedom and oppression simultaneously, that the #BlackLivesMatter movement exists because, like the past, the need for justice repeats itself. So to those who wish to listen to the negativity and those who want you to believe that BLM is a terrorist group, then if you know anything about America, you know that the KKK is also a terrorist group. For the record, the KKK killed and lynched hundreds of people based solely on the color of their skin, just because, and mostly got away with these atrocious crimes. Now, if you can live with the thought of the KKK and BLM having the same social label, then you need to check your definitions of what a terrorist is, because the last time I checked, the BLM hasn’t killed anyone, only fought for justice peacefully, for the unlawful deaths of black people in America by the hands of our law enforcement, who, by the way, are supposed to protect us all, not just a few. So before you write BLM off, just remember, if freedom is what you celebrate today, you must understand that both the celebration of freedom and an effort to move the needle of what it means to be free forward, can indeed coexist, because, well…. This is America. Right?!?… Right! #PatriotismIsForEveryone #EqualityIsFreedom #socialjustice #NoJusticeNoPeace
LATEST EPISODE. Pandemic vs Pandemic. Commentary and discussion on the continued stress of the Coronavirus combined with the nationwide movement and protests against police brutality in America. How are we dealing with both of these pandemics? How are we dealing with a lack of leadership from the White House? Take a listen to my opinions on all of this. #theclique #podcast #40AndOver #GenerationX #the40andoverproject #Pandemic #Protest
May 13, 2020 marked the 70th Birthday of the musical icon, #StevieWonder. As a person who grew up in the 70s and 80s, his music was a part of the soundtrack of my life. Some of my favorite songs are Sir Duke, Master Blaster Jammin, Living For the City, All I Do, Ribbon In The Sky, just to name a few. What are your favorites? #HappyBirthdayStevieWonder #OldSchool #the40andoverproject #theclique
If you are my age, 47, and if you especially attended Kent State University, you for sure, know the date, May 4th, 1970. That’s the date that four students at Kent State, were shot and killed during protests over the Vietnam War. As a student at Kent State University, every year, the university provides a retrospective of that day. If May 4th fell on a weekday, like today, classes would be postponed at 12 noon so that students could participate in educational remembrance events and activities with special guests, etc. I remember being a student on campus during the 25th anniversary, featuring the show 20/20 as well as the 60s singing group, Peter, Paul, and Mary. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that fateful day. This date will forever be seered into anyone’s mind, who has been connected with Kent State University. It’s also important to the larger history of protest and unrest in America, particularly that of the Civil Rights movement, since Black students were also in the middle of their own protest for equality on campus during this time. 1970 also marks the only other time that state universities in Ohio were closed for the remainder of the semester (much like the shutdowns for our current Coronavirus Quarantine situation). As a result, just like now, I learned during my professional work in Alumni Relations, the Class of 1970 at many universities in Ohio, did not have a formal graduation. As a Class of 97 graduate of Kent state University, I am always cognizant of our controversial history, but I realize that, this history, is part of what made me an active and aware student, made me a student activist and advocate for change, and what made me a proud alumni #KentStateForever
I encourage you to visit the link here to find out more about the history of Kent State and May 4th, 1970. A tattered history. #50yearslater #KentStateUniversity #MyAlmaMater