If you have ever been incarcerated as a black man or woman in America then you know their is no such thing as Justice in our 'Justice' or judicial system. Everyday minorities in our country are faced with some form of racism and or prejudice. Everyday, that form of racism and prejudice is ignored and swept under the rug. The first step at changing anything is acknowledgement. If we continue to ignore the truth we will live in the dark.
According to the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) African Americans constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population, and have nearly six times the incarceration rate of whites. That's nearly half! Some studies say that there are more black men incarcerated than there are black men enrolled into colleges and universities. I highly doubt that but I'm sure it would not be far fetched considering the circumstances that black men are faced with daily.
We talk a lot about men going to prison when the subject arise but forget that women have to deal with the same dehumanizing punishment. According to Incite National 30% of women prisoners are African American and 16% Latino. Again, that is nearly half of women inmates who are the minority.
After knowing the statistics some may think it's simply ironic however many cases will prove otherwise. Black women just like black men automatically receive a harsher punishment for their crimes. The sentence is not even the worst part. I like to think of our prison system as 'The New Slave Yard' because of the injustices that black inmates go through. Black inmates are spoken to differently, approached differently, and looked at differently than white inmates. I don't have to take a poll because I have lived it.
I have been jailed twice and each time I saw more minorities than I saw whites. I also witness first hand racism, prejudice, and bias that left me sick to my stomach. A prisoner or inmate might as well be a new age slave. They are fed scraps, and revoked of their human rights. Women inmates are raped, abused, and called hurtful names. The mental, physical and emotional abuse itself in the prison system is enough to make a person commit suicide.
Just like slavery.
Often I get asked the question 'Why did you move to Texas?'. My response is often, why not? People are afraid of change so much that they scare themselves out of doing something that would enhance the quality of their lives. I was born and raised in Florida. The beaches I remember like the back of my hand more than anything. You can not be afraid of change, you have to make change afraid of you!
If you have been living in Florida all of your life and you are looking for a change, Texas is not a bad choice. I suppose it depends on why you want to leave Florida of course but overall I think you would be surprisingly pleased.
You may be thinking, Why would anybody want to leave beaches and year round sunny weather?
Fact is most Floridian's who want to move have taken the high road to Atlanta, GA not giving other cities and states a little thought. While Atlanta, GA is also filled with opportunity we do have 49 other states to choose from so why get so complacent! DAllas Fort-Worth area has a very large and growing small business market. There is also a lot of construction and many large company warehouses being built. The money here is endless.
Whoever said everything is bigger in Texas wasn't lying. The roads, trucks, funnel cakes, burgers, night clubs, arenas, football stadiums, and even the high schools are way bigger than I've ever seen in Florida. I know some people who have never been to a different city or state. I want to see the world and change the quality of my life.
Moving to another state may seem overwhelming and costly but I must say that it is well worth it. I don't plan on moving back home anytime soon.
Yard sales are fun, right? Well, at least the making money part is fun. The other half of having a yard sale is like a therapy session in disguise. You sort through all your old belongings and they bring back so many unwanted memories. I wouldn't call it fun but more like therapeutic. Having a yard sale can benefit you in ways you may never even think of. A lot of us need to get rid of things that are blocking us from being successful in our future relationships with others.
You see, a lot of the times we tend to carry around unnecessary baggage. We get comfortable just hanging on to things or memorable items. In our head, we figure that we are holding on to these things because we have ‘rights’ to them or because you think they no longer hold any meaning. In all actuality, we are fooling ourselves. That item is in fact secretly torturing you. That couch you had with your ex, get rid of it. You should get rid of the pots and pans, the book case, the mattress, the watch you received for Valentine’s day, and the shirt from the concert you went to together. Your objective in life is to move forward. You can’t move forward with the past in your present.
I feel everyone should have a little yard sale every now and again. Yard sales bring about a spirit in you that gets excited about finding a home for your used, unwanted, and not needed belongings. You see, people come into our life for a reason or a season and its understood that you still care about that person and may not want to trash those things that bring up those memories. A yard sale is the best way to get rid of those old memories so you can press forward with your life without trashing them. A yard sale also allows you to put a value on those items for you to make a financial gain. If you got nothing else from a relationship at least you can say you gained financially and making money is always a great thing.
You should have saw me at my last yard sale. I was out there like Katt Williams in Friday After Next, "Everything 25% off, everything must Go!, Maybe even you."
I remember it like it was yesterday. I played basketball at Florida High School which is the developmental research school for Florida State University. In 2006 my high school team went all the way to the Florida State Girls basketball Championship and won our first ever State title. With a 103 degree fever in Florida weather I still managed to lace up my shoes that day. I wasn't missing the one game that we worked so hard for all year. You want to talk about a glorious feeling? We started off the year ranked at the bottom of our division. I guess everyone thought we would choke like we did in prior years. The tallest person on our team was a little over 6 feet. I was about 5'6 and weighed in at 115 pounds soaking wet. You can say we were undersized and underrated; We didn't care. As the captain of my team I was taking my girls all the way to the ship and we were winning. We had to win! It was my last year and it would be my last and only chance to leave a mark on this school forever. It came down to just seconds on the clock and the only thing that stood in between winning and losing was the fate of a single free throw. I stepped up to the free throw line with the confidence of my entire team and Florida High's athletics' program on my shoulders. I knocked down 1 of 2 free throws to put us up 1 for the win over St. Petersburg Catholic.
I hit the game winning shot but I didn't win the championship. We had won the championship before we had even played that game. What I mean by that is a single championship game is not won in one game alone. A championship is won in the classroom, in practice, and in the games leading up to the championship. Every individual on that championship team had a role throughout the entire year. As a leader in that role we had to keep each other accountable every single day. Even if we didn't have practice we would go get up a few jump shots on the shooting machine. Even when we didn't have school we would all hang out together doing school work and just bonding. We were winners everyday. When it came down to the championship game it was easy. It was like taking candy from a baby.
I took pride in wearing my uniform. I took pride in saying my school name. I took pride in representing my team and our fans with the utmost sportsmanship and competitiveness.
Eleven years later Florida High girl's basketball team is on the road to yet another Florida State Championship appearance. In 2006 we created a family and a winning tradition for years to come. Congratulations to the girls of the 2016-2017 Florida High girl's basketball team on your road to continuing a legacy. You have my unwavering support and I pass you my tenacious spirit and winning attitude. NOW GO BRING US BACK ANOTHER RING!
"Excuses are tools of the incompetent used to build monuments of nothingness. Those who specialize in them seldom amount to anything and will never dwell in the land of prosperity." - Unknown
An excuse is merely a reason for you to doubt your very own abilities. If YOU do not believe in YOU then who else will? Everyone was born equipped with certain talents and tools to be successful. We must find our purpose and fulfill the dreams that we vision. It amazes me how people can believe in a spirit being more than they believe in themselves. You are a living being; capable of pretty much anything you put your MIND to. People will pray to God for a new car before they actually try to go buy the car on their own. You can pray all day for a new car but prayer with out action is simply powerless.
Despite your environment, your constant trials and tribulations you can succeed. You have to FIRST get rid of the excuses. It's possible! Until you believe that you will see yourself in the same spot. You can't keep doing the same things expecting different results. That is called insanity. Once you start to believe in yourself then you have made the first step in becoming successful.
Everybody says they want to be successful but don't want to put in the work. Nothing in life is easy. If it were easy everybody would be doing it. It takes a tough mind. It takes being aware. It takes discipline and perseverance. The SECOND thing you have to do is take action.
When I first started my only fear was failure. I witness a lot of people start and not finish. I didn't want to be like that. Then I remembered the times in college basketball when I had to run a mile under six minutes. I had never done it before. To me it seemed impossible. I witnessed a lot of people fail at it. I ran my first mile in eight minutes. If I could not complete the mile run under six minutes then I could not practice with the team, which means I could not compete in the games. I had to find a way to run that mile under six minutes. I was on a full scholarship and the last thing I was doing was calling my mom to tell her I couldn't make my mile time and that's how I lost my scholarship. I didn't practice more, I didn't drink more water, I didn't run backwards or barefoot. THIRD, you can't have any fears. I changed my mindset. I got rid of my fear of failure and at that point my vision was clear. I could see my passion for wanting to be a successful leader on the court with my teammates. The second time I ran my mile and from that point forward I always ran my mile under six minutes.
What are your goals and dreams? What do you want to do in life? Why haven't you started? Are you scared? Life is about action! If you want something really bad, you can have it. All of your goals and dreams lie right at your fingertips. Everything you want is within reach. Is it going to be easy? HELL NO! Is it possible? HELL YEAH!
*Special Shout out to Dominique Jackson for commenting and introducing an important topic in our society.
New years resolutions are for people that procrastinate. I mean seriously look how New Years resolutions sound when you say them out loud. "My new years resolution is to lose 20 pounds." So you're going to wait on another year to lose twenty pounds when in that same year you're going to gain twenty more pounds. So in actuality your New Years resolution should be to lose 40 pounds at this point. To me, the whole let's wait till New Years to make changes in our lives is bogus. It's all bark, no bite; all talk no fight.
I'm more of a daily goal person. Everyday that is presented to us we need to find a way to grow and be prosperous in it. We must treat each day as a day that we will seek fulfillment and grace. Life is a daily task. You can't plan to conquer life each year because each year you will fail. You have to plan to conquer life one day at a time. Everyday will a different obstacle that you must overcome and we never know what that obstacle may be.
When Oregon Ducks were about to clinch a National Football Championship a few years back their head coach coined the phrase 'Win the day'. I love this quote because it exemplifies what I mean when I say Happy New Day instead of Happy New Year. If you can commit yourself to winning each day of your life then you will accomplish every goal you set. Most goals you set to accomplish takes more than one day to accomplish anyway. Let’s take college students for example. You can't finish college in a day. But daily you can commit to going to class everyday, being on time, finishing your work daily, and volunteering to help your professor, etc.
Every year we get 365 chances to set goals and accomplish them. Every year we get 365 chances to make things right. Every day of every year I want you all to be great and 'Win the day'. You don't have to wait on next year. Why wait on time when time waits on no man? Happy New Day everyone! Be Great!
When we wake up in the morning the first thing we should do is give thanks. For the past few weeks I have witnessed yet another holiday where people are supposed to be giving thanks for things they have but instead they only want and ask for things they do not have. Here we are again putting to much value in money and materialistic things. Our kids and new generation get a false advertisement of Christmas, Valentines Day and many other holidays. Kids think it's all about gift giving. We take them to the stores with us and shop around for the entire family. We get upset when we can't find what you are looking for and we get road rage and shoppers insomnia; All of which kids are watching and imitating with their kids when they become adults. This has been repeated for generation after generation. It annoys me.
During the holidays I love to volunteer my time and other efforts to those in need. I donated my time to feed the homeless, I donated money to families in need, and I donated old clothes to the Salvation Army. Often times we forget that we just celebrated Thanksgiving where we gave thanks for everything we have now on Christmas we forget that part. My momma use to tell me, "Stop wanting shit all the damn time. People in hell want ice water."
My point is you can want all day long, that doesn't mean you will get it. But when you give, you get something priceless in return. The reward for a generous heart is a merciful soul. Everyday should be a holiday for everybody. People are nicer during the holidays. It should be like that all the time. As a person we should genuinely want to be loving, giving, and happy every single day. Why not? Who wants to walk around being selfish, stuck up, and mad? We should learn to be humble, generous and pass it along to our kids so we break this cycle.
We should have our youth participate in community service during the holidays so they understand life from different angles. You yourself should do community service at least three times a year to set an example. We should also take ownership of our own actions individually. Everyday you should make yourself responsible for putting a smile on and being a more thankful and generous person all together. All of this just makes for good positive energy in the universe.
Be thankful-Give thanks.
There’s been a ton of things I told myself I would accomplish but looking back I never even started trying to accomplish those goals. I was stuck in the mud. I didn’t know how to start or where to start. I was afraid of failing. I was afraid of not knowing and making mistakes that could push me backwards. I was afraid to take risks and seek change. Today I have changed. Today I set goals and I accomplish them without fear of failure.
When you doubt yourself one bit, you better look in the mirror and think again. I know about 100 people including myself that have failed. I know about 100 people that tell me they were going to do something but they never did. Start! Is something my good friend Cyntay told me, Owner of Royal Writes, Inc. You will get to see that exclusive interview later this week. The minute you tell yourself you can’t is the very moment that everyone gunning for your spotlight gets that much closer to shinning brighter than you. After successfully opening 2 businesses trust me when I say the only thing you will regret from starting is not starting sooner.
The fear of starting something new is a cancer. It slowly eats away at you. You continue to WANT to do many new things but you NEVER do it because you never even START! What are we waiting for? I myself have been trying to move out of Jacksonville, FL since 2013. It’s now creeping up on 2017 and I’m still here because of fear of what could take place moving to a bigger city where I know even less people than I do in Jacksonville.
If I never start to move then I will see myself in Jacksonville year after year after year. I have to START. I have to call around look for places to live. I have to apply for jobs, and go visit the place I want to move in order to actually move. On this motivational Monday I want to inspire you to pick up that dream where you left off and finally START. Whatever it takes for you to accomplish your goals just START and START TODAY! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!? GO NOW! This post is over!
I can’t remember a night I had to go without food simply because we couldn’t afford it. In fact, I don’t remember to many times not being able to afford things I needed to survive like food and shelter. I know my family wasn’t the richest but my mom was very good at making us believe that we could have anything we wanted. She worked hard and made sure we had the necessities. I would go to school in nice shoes and clothes. I really wasn’t big on brands. If it were clean I would wear it. My mom taught me that brands are just names. She would say, “they should put my face on a t-shirt and it would sale millions.” Mom taught me to be appreciative and humble.
I was never the kid to crack on people based on their financial situations or the clothes they wear. In fact my heart is very pure. If someone asks me for a dollar and I got it then they got it. If my friend came to school hungry and I had a snack then I’m splitting that snack. It’s always been in me to do what I feel is the right thing to do. After 29 years on this earth and doing all the right things I have never went to a homeless shelter to feed homeless people. I see homeless folks on the street all the time and when I have spare change I always bless them.
Over the years of me giving monetary donations I ask myself well what do I really get out of that? Us Americans put so much value on the dollar. Giving a homeless person one dollar is nothing. Giving a homeless person a hot meal and a smile is more than you will imagine. The day I decided to give my time to the homeless changed my life. I had so many preconceived notions about the homeless and who they are. You never know what someone has gone through in their life to get to where they are. We just have to assess where they are and try to help them rise from the debt they are in.
With every homeless person I met that day I smiled so big and they smiled back. That moment inspired my spirit and I will make this a yearly tradition to go and feed the homeless. I will never be ‘to good’ to give a hand when needed.
I simply cannot stand a Debby downer negative Nancy type of person. Have you ever met a person that just seems to have the worst luck? On Monday they had a flat tire, Tuesday they get rained on, Wednesday they waste ketchup on their new shirt, Thursday they got fired for being late, and Friday they're bank account over drafted. This person usually responds to a week like this with the hash tag #FML.
If you continue to say things like, "Nothing ever goes my way", "My life sucks", "I'll never get that new car", "I'm broke", etc. All of those things will inevitably continue to take place. Nothing will ever go your way, your life will suck, you'll never get that new car and o yea you'll be broke too. A pastor once told me that there was power in the tongue. It makes sense but what I thought about immediately is that before we actually say things it has to process in our brain. We actually think about it before we say it. So if power exists in the tongue then it also exists in the brain. Therefore there's power in your thought process. Think it and it shall be so.
Today and everyday I want you to start changing the way you think. The more you think positive the more positive things are going to happen. If you don't believe me try it for 21 days. Instead of thinking about the money you don't have and saying "I'm broke" try thinking of the money you want and how you're going to get it and say, "I'm rich". Stop thinking of the car you don't have and saying "I'm tired of walking" and think about the car you want and imagine your life in that vehicle. Instead of thinking of every small bad thing that happens like a flat tire is meant for you and instead think about it as a blessing. Maybe it was in your plan for your tire to go flat at that very moment to keep you from getting into a ten-car accident.
All I'm trying to say is things could be worse. You have to start taking your negative situations and making them positive or your life can just continue to suck. At the end of the day at least after reading this you know that you had the choice to be happy and live a fruitful life by changing your mindset. Life happens and yes it can stress you out to the point where you start to feel and act negatively but that doesn't mean you get to actually do it. You better put on your big girl panties and go at life again full force. Having a more positive outlook on life and the things that occur in it will be great for you in the end. It may seem hard but trust me it's easier than you think.
Fun facts about the Author
I chew my ice cream. People do that right?