Unequal America

Unequal America

by Aronya Waller

No matter how much we protest, cry, riot, sit, or fight

We seem to be forever mired by this ugly blight

Infected by this dark, dank spirit of hatred and oppression

Wondering if there will ever be freedom in our possession

A country supposedly built on life, justice, and liberty

Yet, we can’t even love, pray, and live in true equality

Rest in peace Nabra Hassanen 

Happy Mother’s Day

Whether you are a mother biologically, matrimonially, or inspirationally, I pray that you are pouring into a child instead of taking out. I may only have one biological mother, but I was blessed to be given a second mother early in life. In addition, I had my grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, cousins, and many other great women who molded me into the lady who I became today. Whether near or far, I know it was their actions and prayers that got me to this point in life. The greatest legacy that we can leave is by positively inspiring and impacting the next generation. I pray that we all are helping our legacies. 

Top lawmaker: Pushing ‘inner city’ kids to college is a waste

This was my Facebook post that I decided to share here. I can’t stand ignorance, especially from elected officials who decide on our children’s futures. 



Senator John Eichelberger, I wonder if you consider pushing the rural kids from your district a waste as well. This is one of the most ignorant things that I’ve heard this year, and that is saying a lot. As the chair of the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee, I see that you need some quick lessons for success. First, don’t equate inner city with minority. That’s an illogical fallacy. If you are too lazy to look up the term, it’s similar to an alternative fact. Please note I said similar…not the same. I don’t know if my the majority of my neighbors would like to be called minorities. Second, what gives you the right to assume that only minorities would succeed in vocational programs instead of collegial curricula? A race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexuality, etc. does not determine academic and vocational success. The success is based more upon the ability to use multiple learning styles, a culturally responsive curriculum, and school districts willing to teach for success. It is time to remove your rose-colored glasses. It is just as easy to use your reports to disparage rural school districts and push students to become farmers and mechanics. Instead of doing that, why don’t you visit each school district to discover and then implement the factors for success?

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Top-lawmaker-Push-to-send-inner-city-minorities-to-college-is-a-waste.html?mobi=true

#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.

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.

#SheWoke: Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls

I don’t know how I missed this last month, but I’m so glad to hear about this historic caucus. It definitely touched my heart and soul to see my Soror,  U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, formed part of this historical coalition. In the wake of Amy Joyner-Francis’ death, we need a caucus to protect our girls and each other. I would love to find out how to become part of this caucus. 

From Black Voices on The Huffington Post:

Three black women in congress made history on Tuesday when they announced the formation of the first and only Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls.

U.S. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.) confirmed the news in a press release issued by the U.S. House of Representatives. The release described the caucus as a group devoted to creating public policy that “eliminates significant barriers and disparities experienced by black women.” 

Demand A Plan To End Toy Gun Violence

Yesterday, I was saddened to learn about the police-involved shooting of a black male youth in Baltimore. On the one-year anniversary of the Freddie Gray riots, I was concerned that this shooting could create another uprising. Thankfully, my former home remained calm.

The youth was brandishing a BB gun, which unfortunately looked like a real gun. When police officers commanded him to stop running and to drop the gun, the youth did not respond to the commands. Ultimately, he was shot twice with non-life-threatening injuries.

This post, interestingly enough, is not about police shootings. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I am a victims’ advocate. In fact, this post isn’t really about the victim. That may be another post or article. Rather, I want to focus on the third party within this sad tale—the BB gun.

In an age where Tamir Rice was shot for playing with a toy gun—one that was even identified by a 9-1-1 caller as probably being fake. Would you allow your child to play with a gun that looks real? In fact, would you play with a BB gun in the streets? I posed this question on Facebook, and most agreed that in this climate, we are all too scared to let our children play with any type of toy guns—BB guns, water guns, or NERF guns. They could be black, yellow, orange, or green. We are all scared of how the community, and in turn, law enforcement will respond when a 9-1-1 call is received about a black boy brandishing a gun outside.

Yet, we have greater problems on our hand. How can we get back to a time when there will not be a fear about our children playing with toy guns? What can we do so that our children are not afraid of police officers? Our children should see the police as their friends and protectors. If we do not see that, how can we expect our children to believe that? We know there are many good police officers in the streets, but people like Daniel Holtzclaw, Brian Encina, George Zimmerman, and Daniel Pantaleo have tainted the profession.

There is no immediate solution. Rather, we must all work together. The community, the schools, the police, and our government officials have to change the underlying tones that are running rampant throughout our cities and suburbs. Until then, I am fearful that we will be sharing many more stories about ending toy gun violence.

 

Idea for featured image from publichealthwatch

Idea for featured image from publichealthwatch

Prayers for Amy

Still praying for the family and friends of Amy Joyner #SayHerName #AmyJoyner #RIPAmy

5 TED talks that will change the way you think about Africa

From the One.org Blog:

5 TED talks that will change the way you think about Africa

We’ve chosen five thought-provoking TED talks that will change the way you think about Africa in just one hour.

From the dangers of stereotyped perceptions of the continent, to entrepreneurship and business, to health and education, these five inspiring speakers have got you covered. Check them out:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – The danger of a single story

Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanise. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.

Continue reading

Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna Accepted At All 8 Ivy League Schools

I had to share this incredible story before I went to bed. It’s always great to end the night on a good note. Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna, 17, who is the class valedictorian, has until May 1 to decide whether she’ll attend one of the Ivy League Schools. She has a 101.6 GPA and was also a finalist in the prestigious Intel Science competition. She credits her success to her parents and teachers.