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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BRING ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR, YOUR HUDDLED MASSES, YEARNING TO BE FREE

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“People died for rights to be and stay protected.”


For the longest throughout American history we have always had people coming into this country from some place else. They arrive to escape war, famine, poverty, and religious persecution. America is just that place where they can be themselves without fear of persecution. America is that country where their hard work and determination will speak for how far they’ll go in life. But my question to you is have America, or are we starting to lose the allure about this country? Are we becoming what all these other nations have been which brought people here? If so, why have we changed or why are we changing?

In my opinion, we have not fully changed, but we are changing as a nation. The image of your children coming to this country pursuing their endeavors is diminishing because the people who have been here for so long feel slighted. Their feelings are that if these groups continue to flock over here then what is left for them. But if this new group just emerged, Image result for us immigrantshow is it possible that they have replaced you? They can’t replace you if you are already here working. But they do replace you, and part of that is not necessarily because jobs are leaving the country. One aspect has to do with politics. The political landscape in America plays in a role in their success.

You might ask how; how does politics play a role? Because they don’t look at America as Democrat or Republican. To them, it is a land of great opportunity despite whose in power. They understand that American Related imagepoliticians are policy makers not job creators. So they’ll only make it easier or harder for an organization’s ability to hire. Meanwhile American born citizens are looking for a party to make their lives better. Hilary was supposed to make life better. Then some say Trump is the winner, he’ll fix it. But in reality neither will. They just create the policy for you to make your own life better. So immigrants understand they must work and not sit back waiting for work to come to them. They go out and create opportunity.

Another aspect of why immigrants are more successful than Americans is because they also are willing to learn the new thing in our society that is where success lies. Meaning, if tech is the new America, then it’s tech they learn. We, being born here, say we prefer the same old method because we don’t want to learn something new. We get complacent where they don’t. Mainly because complacency where they come from is complete failure. And, they have fought so hard to get here, why. Why spend years getting here, just to be lazy when you get here. There is no expectation of being handed anything, just move out the way and let me create my own lane.

See, in the end, people yearning for freedom is what makes this country great. Because in return, they contribute on such a large scale. In the medical field today, so many Indian Americans dominate the field. Not because they are born that way. They are raised to pursue careers in areas Image result for american identitywhere people are needed and where there is job security. Meaning a great garbage truck driver can be replaced, but a great physician can’t. People need doctors, but you can remove the human element eventually from picking up trash. So in opinion, we should always remain open to those legally going through the process of being an American. Because once we lose that, we lose part of this nation’s identification.


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JUNETEENTH DAY: WHERE ARE WE NOW FROM THEN

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“The descendants of blood, sweat, and tears, still going strong.”


Today marks the 152nd anniversary in which the first Juneteenth Day celebration was held in Galveston, Texas. And for those of you that are unfamiliar with Juneteenth, it is the celebration that marks the freedom of slaves in the United States. And in this time period, so much has taken place in the United States. From leaving slavery and entering Jim Crow south to electing the the United States first Black president into office. There has been a lot of ups and down over the past 150 years, but what has changed? Recently, there was an acquittal of yet another police officer for shooting and unarmed Black male.

But, the question I want to ask for this post is, what further must be done to insure that we are not relegated to the past. Now I know slavery is a jump, but man has a way of repeating history. And it may not even be us, but someone else. Which is why the conversations should always be around because once we forget, it is bound to happen again. I know for a fact I don’t want to wind-up back in subjugation. Now, some may say, that is just ludicrous. We are in a different time period than the past, and another slave trade could not possibly happen. Yes, that is true, I don’t see another slave trade in America, but what about somewhere else?

What about sex slavery? Sex slavery is not only still a big issue, but there has been cases of this in United States. Holding people against their will and making them sell themselves in the form of sex for payment. The person gets no money and the other using them takes everything. Yet even though this is a problem, it is not the biggest concern of Black people or anybody else for that matter in America. So concerning Black people in America, what does our future hold for us? Will things get better in the community or will they worsen?

I have been taking notice to the state of Black America, and I would love to think that the community is getting better. But it’s hard to see because in the now, it doesn’t seem that way. It seems as if the issues are worsening, especially with the slow economics of America. I don’t like being pessimistic, but it’s tough to say. And in the end, that is the reality as it pertains to our future. Because there are so many White men and women struggling themselves, so I know we are having hard times. But hopefully I am just being paranoid, and the future holds something for us. If not, we could see a role back of everything we have fought for in this country.


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MEMORANDUM: WHY WE SHOULD APPRECIATE OUR TROOPS

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“Stand with them, not just for them.”


Tomorrow is Memorial Day, which is the celebration for our men and women who wear the uniform of our armed forces. The men and women who perform a thankless job for protecting this country. Those who are called to war, not because we tell them to do so, but because they feel it is their core belief. And like I said before, a thankless job. Whenever a professional sports team win a championship, there is a celebration in the streets. Yet when our armed forces return home, it’s usually a family member to greet them. We rarely celebrate their coming home, why? Why do we just take it for granted?

When these men and women return home we look at them like, “Oh, that’s what you’re supposed to do for me.” “You’re supposed to want to die for me living in the comforts of my living room.” All the while, they are being shot at in some foreign country they’ve never been to; on terrain they’ve never seen Image result for troops homebefore. But nonetheless, they do their duty and come home. We give them half off on a Memorial Day brunch and say we did our part. But what about a little more. Why not take this time instead to push for programs that will aid in their matriculation back into society? They most likely have spent time, for the ones who fought, shooting and killing. Now they’re supposed to come back home and live a normal life.

How do we expect them to live normal if we don’t assist? Their duty has been to fight, but what is ours? If someone is willing to say, “I am fighting because it’s my duty.” Why not help them out with something? I’m not saying it necessarily has to be of monetary value. I’m talking more of Image result for homeless troopspsychological treatment. Because if their minds are right, then they can earn their own livings and live a normal life. If any candidates are qualified for free health care it should be armed forces who fought in foreign wars. And that help should be mental. Or better yet, someone who lost a limb and is now disabled. They walk the streets, and people stare, not knowing what they sacrificed.

And the other reason why they deserve it is because we spend so much money on foreign aid to other nations. Yet we let the men and women who give their lives fighting for us nothing.  If a hurricane wipes out a village in some foreign land we hold telethons and major events. But none of the like when troops come home from war. So, in the end, we should take care of our own before assisting others. In America unless there is a draft, you have the freedom to join willingly. That shouldn’t mean, you join, it’s your problem. Why do we treat it like it’s a punishment instead of something to commend. It not only should, but must change. Otherwise we lose a piece of our identity as a nation.


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DIVERSITY: ARE YOU REALLY OPEN AS YOU THINK YOU ARE?

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“We are not as open you may might think?”


The topic of diversity today has recently been on the forefront of the fight toward equality in America. Everywhere you turn, you hear we need more diversity, we need more diversity. We need more representatives of people in varying ethnic groups. Then we say, well what about women of all ethnic groups. And you also hear, we need more representation from the LGBT community. And lastly, of course you have the religious side stating how much they need the freedom to worship how they please. But how much diversity does society really want? It sounds good to say we are all tolerant of another group of people. Yet, are we really tolerant, or is it just another buzz word that will eventually go away.

Let’s observe what it means to be diverse in America. That term diversity is ambiguous depending on who is formulating the opinion. If you are speaking with a liberal White female, the topic of gender is the diversity argument. If the person is an African American man or woman, then diversity might fall along the lines of ethnicity. If the person is gay, then there need to be more LGBT geared initiatives. And if you are Muslim, then religion is big on your list. But how far do people really want to stretch their diversity? We all have these open views until it’s time to make a few choices in life: dating, raising children, choices for college, and choosing what neighborhood to live.

For starters, let’s observe the dating scene. People always say diversity, then when choosing to date outside of their ethnicity, the diversity claim starts to come under question. When it comes to employment we jump for joy, but not dating. And I know we have become more relaxed to the idea today than the past, but don’t be fooled, it’s still a problem to a lot of people. If we’re going to talk diversity, why not go all the way. We just had Barack Obama, our former President of the United States, who was a product of a biracial relationship. Yet there are still have people who even voted for him, preaching diversity, would prefer their children marry within their own ethnicity. That hypocrisy is hard to understand. But does it only extend to dating.

No, when it comes to raising children we are complete opposite. We are these liberals, until they are born. Once children are born, then everyone of us becomes raging conservatives. Living here in New York City, there was a story on the news where parents in Brooklyn were worried where their children would be going to school. None of them were screaming, “Yes, our children will be in a diverse school.” They were shook by how their children would be effected going to school with kids from the inner city communities. But why not send your children to the school? Because they’ll get a real diverse experience: lower, middle, and upper class students. A kid from every ethnic background. Yet it’s tougher than that because reality set in, and you know how detrimental it is to send your child to a rough school.

Well, what about education, and I when I say education, I mean college. We really hear liberal views coming from college. But I have heard in the Black community the idea of maintaining the HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). But if we are on the diversity wave, there is no use for the HBCU’s. Why, well, HBCU’s were for a time when Black kids could not attend predominantly White institutions. Now, we are able to enroll at schools where we were once rejected from. So, the HBCU’s are now failing because of the lack of enrollment. Meaning, if you are from California and want to go to college, you can attend UCLA, USC, Cal U, or Stanford. Why travel all the way across the country to the south when a state school is right there; and the damn good one at that. So, diversity opens the door, yet it closes others.

But there is still one more area where we preach diversity, and that is living arrangements. We all talk about living in diverse communities, yet cautious to actually move to them. Like I said before, I live in New York City, and there is diversity in The Bronx. But so many people don’t want to move there. As a matter of fact, these same open liberals. Why not, The Bronx and Harlem are very diverse communities. Yet, the energy of the environment has a lot of people nervous. Me, I like the neighborhoods, but I see the caution on so many faces. Faces that have attacked Trump for his comments, don’t want to live around certain groups in certain neighborhoods themselves.

You see, in the end, we all say the words, yet how many actually live that way. Diversity is one of those overused words in America today, but when we actually make a move, then people become irritated. As a matter of fact, some of the same people who push the agenda. I myself am not against diversity, my only opinion is people want you to believe when they don’t. I say be the example, and be the first to jump out there. Don’t just state a feeling, live it.


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