Know Your Worth

When you know your real name, nothing can stop you—not family, friends, haters, trials, or tribulations. Know your worth and then live! #Roots #KuntasKin

Honoring Our Soldiers 

Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Learn more by visiting the History Channel’s website

Lift Off

Education is no equalizer —

Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.

So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices

Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.

Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.

I’ve been a Black hole in the classroom for far too long;

Absorbing everything, without allowing my light escape.

But those days are done. I belong among the stars.

And so do you. And so do they.

Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness

For generations to come.

No, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.

Lift off.

—Donovan Livingston

I had the opportunity to watch Donovan Livingston perform while I was at the 2016 Alumni of Color Conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I was amazed by his talent then, but now I’m left almost speechless. There’s not too much that I need to preface this video.  

Keep Pressing

This week has been rough. Maybe I’m over being sick, or it could just be all these rainy days. I thought April showers were supposed to bring May flowers, but I feel like I’m back in London with this weeks of rain. Those of you that personally know me know that I am usually an optimist, sometimes to a fault. I believe in the power of positivity, and I am built on a firm foundation of faith. Well, I guess I needed a gentle reminder about keeping negative thoughts away. One of my beautiful Sorors posted the video below on Facebook early this morning, and I had to share. 

Whatever you are believing in, dreaming about, or striving for, don’t give up now. You have pressed through too many challenges and shut down too many naysayers to stop now. Many times, our hardest test is right at the end of the journey. We are in the midst of graduation season, and you know right before you can get that degree, you have to pass that final exam. So don’t give up now. Get ready to celebrate your graduation! 

We Should All Be Feminists

Gender matters everywhere in the world. And I would like today to ask that we begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

#BookNerds Unite

Kids can earn free books this summer. The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Triathlon  gives children a free book when they read 8 books over the summer. Opening ceremonies begins on Saturday, June 4 at your local store. Learn more here.

Police Brutality of Tacoma Teen

Can somebody please explain to me why this girl was tasered and beaten? I don’t see where it escalated to that point, and he could have taken her down without incident. This is beyond ridiculous! The police officer should be suspended immediately and fired after a quick investigation. ‪#‎SayHerName ‬‪#‎SaveOurGirls‬ ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬

Saving Our Girls

My heart aches for our girls on a daily basis. In the past month, we have heard of two major beatings with deadly consequences. The first was the untimely death of 16-year-old Wilmington teenager Amy Joyner-Francis, and the second was the sad death of 17-year-old Brooklyn teenager Ta’Jae Warner. No matter what the circumstances were that led up to these fights, I know one thing. It was not worth it. Two young ladies are dead, and many others are facing time in prison.

We have to come to place where our girls understand that fighting is not worth it. They need to learn to love themselves enough to walk away. A split-second decision can have life-changing consequences. We need our girls to understand their value…their true worth. A boy isn’t worth it. An Instagram post isn’t worth it. A side eye…a look (or lack thereof)…shade. None of it is worth it.

How can we get our girls to understand that it’s not worth it? By truly developing and building their self-worth and self-confidence…their true self. For the past few years, the country has focused on the boys and building them up. President Obama even launched the initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Yet, I feel that our girls have been left behind. Not as many people seem to be concerned about their outcomes because, oftentimes, their issues are shadowed by their male peers, but I hope the tables are turning. In March, the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls was announced, and it is supposed to focus on the barriers faced by Black women and girls. However, it may be years before we see the impact of that caucus.

Therefore, we must take it upon ourselves to rebuild our community and our girls. This goes beyond each one, teach one. Why not teach two or three so that no girl is left behind? I know that I can’t do it by myself, but I can do it with a legion of motivators, galvanizers, conquerors, leaders, and builders. Together, we can build their self-worth, and our girls will be able to discover their true selves.

Asian/Pacific Heritage Month

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May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Like most commemorative months, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress. In 1977 Reps. Frank Horton of New York introduced House Joint Resolution 540 to proclaim the first ten days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week. In the same year, Senator Daniel Inouye introduced a similar resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 72. Neither of these resolutions passed, so in June 1978, Rep. Horton introduced House Joint Resolution 1007. This resolution proposed that the President should “proclaim a week, which is to include the seventh and tenth of the month, during the first ten days in May of 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978 to become Public Law 95-419. This law amended the original language of the bill and directed the President to issue a proclamation for the “7 day period beginning on May 4, 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress passed Public Law 101-283 which expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

This information has been copied from the official Asian Pacific Heritage Month website hosted by The Library of Congress. Please visit the website for information about events, exhibits, multimedia resources, and more.

House of Cards: The Reality Show

This election season has been a page turner for a wannabe political aficionado like me. If you would have told me that Donald Trump would be the last candidate standing, with Ted Cruz still thinking about returning for the nomination, I would have laughed in your face. In fact, I would have already been cracking up when a primary candidate had selected a running mate before he had won the party’s nomination.

The other party has not been without its laughs—especially when it comes to pandering to votes of anyone who is not a white male. In a fight to show diversity and inclusion, the nominees have said and produced some highly laughable things. I still can’t believe Hillary’s campaign added Rosa Parks to her logo, and I’m speechless about her hot sauce swag.

Elections 2016 has gone beyond House of Cards. You can’t make this stuff up…can you? Although I can act like we are living in a reality show and soon the director will yell cut, I know that I am not receiving a pay check from Andy Cohen or Simon Cowell. Therefore, this is our new reality.

Many people, have quipped that if Hillary wins, they are not voting in the general election; and if Bernie wins, the same goes for them. Why would you throw away a freedom that so many have fought for in childlike temper tantrum? Consider that the 2000 Presidential Election only had a 51.2% voter turnout, and George W. Bush won by 5 electoral votes. Our history books could have been written differently if the other half of the country decided to get off their butts and vote. Don’t lose your voice by not voting.

The other thing that I’ve heard is that if Donald Trump wins, people will move out of the country. I have to admit that I was one of those people. Now, as the election draws nearer, I refuse to let some man make me move out of this country. I will continue to use my voice to speak against his negative views and use my time to fight divisive, elitist, misogynistic, and racist policies. Donald Trump would hope that people like me would want to move out of the country so that he could make “America Great Again.” While some of my ancestors may have not chosen to come these lands, others were the first residents. That means this country belongs to me. You should also see that this country belongs to you. Do not force yourself out. Fight for what is right and then limit his term to only four years.

Whether you consider these elections a joke or not, take your vote seriously. It’s the one part of this reality show that you can help script.