red, white, and BLUES: HOW WE ARE SLOWLY STRIPPING EACH OTHER OF FREEDOM

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“Break free from yourself.”


It has become redundant at this point, but another issue has spiraled out of control regarding President Donald Trump. This time it took place between him and players of the National Football League. This past weekend, he made comments in Huntsville, Alabama before a crowdd of his supporters regarding their protesting on the football field during the National Anthem. And the response was, as you guessed it, swift and wide spread. Because the very next day you saw over 200 players and team owners locking arms and dropping to one knee in solidarity with each other. So the response from those on the opposite side of the the protest say, “Well, we’ll show you by not patronizing football.” And the only issue with that form of protest is the flip side which is to come after you once again. Now as I sit here typing, I can’t help but to be shocked by rights we are taking away from each other. And might ask how are we doing so.

Well, I remember not even a year ago when political commentary Anne Coulter wanted to speak at Berkeley University in California. The uproar over her coming to the campus led to vandalism and rioting. The upheaval caused the event to be discontinued. Then as Colin Kaepernick took his knee to protest police brutality in America, he was ostracized in the same manner as Anne for his freedom of Image result for ann coulter berkeleyprotest. And to me the losers in all this are the American people. Not for going against the two individuals, but the fact that we are willing to attack each other’s rights because we disagree. You may not like what someone says or does, but I was under the impression that as long as no one is being physically harmed what’s the problem. Because we attack everything that is offensive to us, then everyone will be out of jobs. Since what offends us is so broad and ambiguous in our society. What is offensive to you might not be offensive to me and vice versa.

And where does it lead to next. If the people push back against the NFL, and NFL forces players to stop, then what. Now it leaves people on the conservative side open. Because it won’t stop there, it will be this constant ping pong game. And like I said prior, the only people getting hurt are the countless people that represent organizations Image result for freedomsthat don’t make big money who could lose their jobs because of the constant fighting. But that is something that does not seem to sink into the minds of so many people. We hurt those, who for the most part just want to work and make it home to their families. I’m not saying that we should stop giving our opinions, I’m simply saying, everything is not meant to be fighting. What ever happened to the right to be offended. If you don’t like something, disconnect.

And in the end, that is the main problem. People hate to have something they feel passionately about go on deaf ears. But is it real passion, or just a reason to be mad. You never know because no one is honest with how they truly feel. But why are people losing everything they work for because I disagree. I pride myself on being more liberal than conservative. But I am not compelled to boycott someone just because I don’t like what they speak about or protest. We have become our own enemies. With a $700 billion defense budget to protect us against so much, it is internal where the main problems lie today.


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WHEN PERSONAL INTEREST COLLIDE WITH CORPORATE INTEREST

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“Know that you represent them inside and out.”


The above photo is of sports journalist Jemele Hill of ESPN. She recently came under fire for her comments aimed toward President Donald J. Trump. She stated via her Twitter account that she felt President Trump was not only a voice for White Supremacy, but a member of their organizations. It sparked criticism enough to catch the attention of the United States Press Secretary SarahImage result for espn jemele Huckabee Sanders who stated that Jemele’s comments were “fireable.” Even the president himself felt that she should be relieved of her duties for making such comments about him. And it must have struck a nerve with someone because ESPN issued a statement regarding Hill’s comments directed at the president. So they must have really taken issue to the comments that Jemele made to put out a statement. Or was there another reason they decided to issue a statement regarding her (Hill’s) comments.

ESPN is a multinational cable television provider of worldwide sports. And as a company owned by Walt Disney, they are aimed at trying to maintain a certain level of decor on their television programming. Now, Hill has her freedom of speech, but ESPN has the ability to take a stance as well. Meaning that if they truly wanted to, they could fire her. Not on grounds of what she saidImage result for espn because that violates her freedom of speech. But if they feel what she said could cost them in monetary damages then they are in their full right to let her go. Now, those in Jemele’s corner might say she spoke the truth, but here is what you don’t realize. You represent the brand that is ESPN; and while under that brand you have to abide by their rules and regulations. Meaning, if politics are to not allowed then you don’t discuss politics. But if they are allowed , the speech has to be in alliance with company regulatory measures.

It sounds unfair, and it is, but that is what happens when you work for a company. You see, prior, Jemele and her colleague Michael Smith ran a podcast show that became popular. And that popularity opened doors for them in much more lucrative and diverse business environments.But with that bump in exposure comes the rules when playing the game at that level. And what Image result for walt disney company you can say and do on a podcast is not the same as when you are representing a brand like Walt Disney. Yet many still feel she should be able to express herself because it is her rights. And once again, here is where you are put into this weird trick basket which is why people don’t voice their opinions. You can freely say anything you want; but it’s an organization’s right to fire you if you don’t align within their company policies and/or cost them in monetary damages.

And a lot of the sentiment in the sports world is still stemming from the fact that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was shut out of football for choosing to not stand for the national anthem. A move against him that has even sparked protest outside of the NFL’s headquarters in New York City. So with so much going on, it’s no wonder they are trying to distance themselves from her statements. But in the end, Hill is still an employee of ESPN. So for now it’s a waiting game to see the final decision. And as much as I agree with freedom of speech, you have to be willing to also take the lose from a company not willing to continue to do business with you.


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DACA: HOW THIS IS MORE ISOLATED THAN SPREAD OUT

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“What will be the outcome?”


For those of you unfamiliar with what has been going on in the recent news surrounding Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA, it concerns immigration. Former President Barack Obama signed this into action to protect minors for a temporary basis looking to seek work permits/right to stay in America. Image result for daca obamaDonald Trump now wants the bill killed via Congress. A move that has sparked once again, protest across the country. And if you don’t know what DACA stands for, it stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival. Now, with the decision to kill the act, we could potentially see nearly 1 million people deported in America. But is this an America issue, or more of a states issue. Because if you live in certain states, this is a bigger concern than if you live in other places. And nowhere is it bigger than in the state of California.

California has nearly 223,000 people under DACA, which constitutes for 27% – 28% of the DACA recipients. So the protest are massive in California against the DACA end. But not all people are against the move to end DACA. Donald J. Trump still has his strong support that feel that it is not the job of America to care for illegal immigrant’s children. These are also the same people who feel that their jobs are already threatened by illegal immigrants coming into America. Image result for daca trumpNow their children will be allowed to stay and retain work permits in an already tough to find work economy. So my question is, “What will be the decision from Congress?” Will they side with Trump or will they uphold Obama’s previous decision? And once again be another policy that Trump has tried to pass and was unsuccessful. There has been so much going on lately, that I have not had too too much to process this policy in its entirety. But the outrage from the predominantly Hispanic community has been great.

Now before I said California was a major state for DACA. But there are a few other key states that are in the line of fire. Texas is the second highest of DACA recipients, with Illinois, New York, and Florida rounding out the top five states. What sticks out to me besides Florida, which has a lot of Hispanics, as well as New York, and Illinois , is Texas. Texas has been in the news for other reasons outside of DACA; the big story, Hurricane Harvey. Image result for daca cityNow the question remains, “What will Texas do now that this natural disaster has happened?” Families are struggling to regain their footing because of this storm, so what will come of them maybe having to compete for aid from the federal government knowing they are the state with the second highest DACA recipients? This could be another situation that starts to get dicey once the water has receded. Once people have to rebuild their lives in a disaster zone.

But in the end, another major concern is not only the issue of DACA, not just the high numbers centralized to a few states, but the average age of DACA recipients. The average age is about nine years old. A nine year old, that has spent much of their years in America. So now, you’re dealing with children that have no connection to Mexico, a country where the majority are coming from, besides their ethnic and cultural makeup. Young people who could potentially be thrust into a land of high crime and poverty. In a land they know absolutely nothing about because they are now more American than Mexican citizens.


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TAKING RIGHTS: HOW WE INFRINGE ON EACH OTHER’S RIGHTS WHILE FIGHTING FOR RIGHTS

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“You take my speech and I’ll take your protest.”


The Bill of Rights are the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. And slowly but surely we are in a race to lose those rights. But not by way of the United States government. But by way of each other as citizens. We, for some reason in the U.S. today, love to catch each other saying or doing something that we disapprove so the person can get into trouble. Now you might ask, how can your rights get you into trouble? Well, all we need is for you to do something that people don’t approve of first. It doesn’t matter if you broke the law or not, just as long as you got caught.

And this nation of children that tell on each other has taken hold. But more than than that, we have become police in each other’s lives. You say something that is you expressing your freedom of speech, and I’ll expose it. Then you turn around and catch me protesting something you strongly disagree with and then I lose my job for what I believe. That is a dangerous precedent we’re setting is going after people not because they broke the law, but because they say things we disagree with. And the populace just remains quiet, not saying anything or getting involved until it’s too late. Now what do I mean by the title I use, infringing on each other’s rights.

This is what I mean. The NFL have been a topic of discussion since quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to sit out the national anthem. People have gotten made and decided to threaten boycotting if he was accepted back into sports. But now the Neo-Nazi/White Nationalists groups have been standing up for the right to have Confederate statues in the Southern states. Though I’m not a fan of the men and women who are Neo-Nazis, you have no other choice but to allow them access to march. Unless laws are broken you are now infringing upon the rights of others. Now, we may not agree, hell I don’t, but in order to keep everyone in alignment with rights in the this country, you have no choice but to allow access.

Because unpopular and/or hate speech is protected by our United States Constitution. Is this a sick misuse of the rights that we have in this country, yes. But as long as people go through the proper channels, there is nothing that can be done, and maybe should not be done. Because if we don’t, how long before another group says this I disagree with, or this is hate.  And it’s obvious that a Neo-Nazis hate, but in a country where freedoms are open so long as you don’t incite violence. Once that happens you are now susceptible to being stop. In the end, the problem is not just why people protest. It’s the fact that rights are such a grey area in America. Because using logic, sentiment aside, you have to allow for protest, speech, and open press. Even as unpopular as you might see it, you have to protect even hate speech to protect speech as an entirety.


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I OWE IT TO YOU: WHY NEVER FORGETTING THOSE WHO FOUGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS IS IMPORTANT

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“For those who died, I thank you.”


As a young man born in the year 1987, I did not experience those turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement. Now my parents on the other hand saw the tail end, and there’s of course the generations prior. So as a child, I grew up going to school, eating where I wanted, and using public restrooms. Not once did I understand how I got to that point. All I knew is that when someone needed to go to the bathroom, you went. But what I didn’t know until my mother sat down and talked with me, is that it was not always like that in America. And that I should never forget why I am able to do what I do.

And she reminded of this because for the longest there were not only demographics of citizens, but an entire systematic push to keep me from having the basics of necessities. So as I went to school, I always performed well academically because she reminded me at one time how illegal it was for me to go Image result for white onlyto the schools I went to in America. Whenever I used a restroom, she not only told me, but we watched the video footage of Black men and women being attacked just for trying to consume a meal or urinate at public rest stops. So my reason for not getting into trouble is not mainly because of the enforcement of the judicial system, but more so by way of these men and women who died. There are unmarked graves of countless Black people who gave their lives, a lot of which you will never know their names.

So now as an adult, I do so much because they really didn’t have to pave that way. Still today, some of those individuals from that time period are here with us. People who were either teenagers or adults in the fight. And even at times when I see things differently than they do, I can never hate. I can never hate those who Image result for civil rights movementsacrificed so much for me. And no, these men were not the reason I got into my college of choice or landed a job I wanted. But it was because the pressure they placed that made companies even look in my direction. America didn’t want me to have those rights, and had it not been for these men and women, how long would Jim Crow have really lasted. 90 years,  100 years, 200 years; when was the appropriate time to end segregation.

We all would like to think that those types of events had to end, but why? If not for fighting for rights, whose to say? You have of course the critics, yet their voices are to a great degree irrelevant to me. A country tells you to go fight and defend your country, but when you return don’t sit at this table counter. Then you can’t Image result for al and jessesay my country, because in my country you eat where you choose. Otherwise it’s your country, and if I am the lesser, then why are you depending on a lesser to fight for what is yours. So thanks to the men and women who challenged the ideologies of what I am and what was expected of me. For it was you who reminded me before you’re Black, you’re a man, and before that you’re human. You weren’t fighting for my freedom of speech, but my freedom to exist. You did in the past, and still in the present. So despite what the critics think and feel you have my love and respect.

In the end, I dedicate this life of mine to you. Those who fought who are still alive and to those who died in the struggle: Al Sharpton, Alex Haley, Andrew Young, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Barack H. Obama, Bobby Seale, Booker T. Washington, Cornel West, Denmark Vesey, Dick Gregory, Dred Scott, Eldridge Cleaver, Elijah Muhammad, Fred Hampton, Frederick Douglass, Gabriel Prosser, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, Harry Belafonte, Huey P.Image result for black historyNewton, Ida B. Wells, Jackie Robinson, James Baldwin, James Meredith, James Weldon Johnson, Jesse Jackson, Jim Brown, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver, Louis Farrakhan, Madam C. J. Walker, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Mary McLeod Bethune, Maya Angelou, Maxine Waters, Medgar Evers, Muhammad Ali, Nat Turner, Ralph Abernathy, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, Stokely Carmichael, Thurgood Marshall, W. E. B. Du Bois, and many others who were lesser known or even unknown, yet gave their lives for me. I love you, “WE” love you.


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TRAVEL ADVISORY, STAY SAFE: HOW TO BEHAVE VISITING OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY

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“You’re not at home, act like it.”


Recently in the news, another American has been killed overseas, this time in Greece. He was a recent college graduate who was traveling with some friends. They found themselves out on the town in Greece. And the next thing they knew he was in a fight. But not just any fight, a full on brawl country, flag, greecewhere about ten to fifteen people had attacked him. He died as a result of his injuries. Prior to that, a young man died by the hands of the North Korean government after being imprisoned there for trying to steal a poster. So my question to us as Americans is, do we need special protocol when traveling outside America?

Because we have this freedom in America, but that freedom stops at the gate once we board a plane and leave this country. But for some reason that does not seem to sink into our heads. We walk around there in whatever countryarchitecture, buildings, city we’re in like we own the place. Not a care in the world, unaware of the dangers out there for us. And we don’t realize it until it’s far too late. The two instances with the college kid in Greece and the young man in North Korean, they both died. But is there something more to the way we behave as Americans that place us in these types of predicamenst? And my answer to that is yes, we do act certain ways that could put us in a dangerous situation. It all stems from the arrogance of us as people.

Now, I am not saying the Greece situation was arrogance because we don’t know that much from the video released. But the accounts of the people around says the college student was pestering the bartender. The young man took a poster in North Korea clearly when he was told not to do sodark, passport, united states of america himself. A lot of people have stated that these are not reasons to kill someone. Yes, in America it’s not a reason. But in other countries, you don’t know what the daily life is like, you’re just visiting. Or even when you’re given strict instructions, why go against them. It’s almost like you’re asking for something to happen. Which goes back to that arrogance.

There are some countries that if you mouth off to the police, you might get robbed for doing so. Or you might even have to bribe the officer into letting you go. Sounds crazy, but that is the positions you could find yourself in if not careful. Now, there is still no guarantee that you’ll be safe, but still carry yourself with a certain level of decor. Because that land of free, home of the brave exist in this country. The laws and ways of life shift once you leave America. And in the end, that’s what it’s all about. Teaching our citizens that they must be better. Not just because they are representing the United States, but because we want them to be safe.


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FREEDOM: WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU

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“And justice for all.”


We are just a few days away from the 4th of July celebration. A celebration which this year will mark 241 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And in those 241 years a lot has changed in our society that is unrecognizable to that time period. The physical landscape is now being built up and not out. We have gone through a lot of social changes. From slavery to electing the nation’s first African American president. Even politically, we are a nation of Democrat and Republican. Whereas in the past, presidents were a few elected who belonged to other parties. But my question for the topic today is what does freedom mean to you?

When you look at the American flag, which is a symbol of our freedoms, what do you see? How has living in this country shaped your views unlike someone living elsewhere? For me, I base one of my views on America by way of other groups of people coming to America. More people flock to this nation than anywhere else. We have the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in whatever business endeavor we choose to be apart of in this country. So if you want to be a physician, you can be a physician. I you want to become an attorney, educator, or even pursue a career in athletics, you can do so. The choice is yours to choose whatever path you want to take. But my other view of freedom is never going back to the way things once were.

And my feelings are this strong because as an African American I know what the past was socially and politically. And that experience that family of mine have gone through is not a shared experience I want. So, to me, another freedom is not being judged by ethnic identity, but who I am personally. And if you don’t want to take the time to get to know me personally, so be it. But having the ability to involve yourself in my life without wanting or caring to know me is problematic. Especially if you are unsure with your own belief system. But what are some other views of what freedom might be to you?

Freedom does not only extend itself to being able pursue your career interests or choice without racial discrimination. Freedom may also be to date and marry who you want to marry. During President Obama’s term, the United States officially announced that gay marriage was legalized. And for the first time in their lives, you had men and women, who were able to marry their significant others of the same sex. A union that people who were in their 50’s, 60’s, and some in their 70’s were hoping for their entire lives up that point. And that is what freedom may mean to so many of them.

In the end, freedom is up to the person perceiving what freedom is to them. Freedom could be pursuing career interests or marrying the person you’re in love with. And the key word when looking at freedom is the “pursuit” of happiness. Pursuing what you want and then accomplishing the want is the most gratifying feeling in the world.


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