Bank Black…Plan Green

Preface: This blog went from a notion, to a thought, to a passion, to a mental nagging. It was just going to be a bullet point format to put on flyers at the next event in my city. But as usual it morphed in and out of what it was originally intended to be.

I decided to just get to the point and if my readers, have questions, they can ask me.

The Black Community is undergoing what I like to call Self-Reconciliation. We are taking some steps in directions that haven’t been charted before. More recently there’s been a shift in banking by the BC. Many of us are moving our money from larger commercial banks to Black Owned and Operated Banks.

This move was largely prompted and endorsed by celebrities, rappers, and well-known community activists across the nation who have a vested interest in seeing the African-American’s exercise their economic muscle. Blacks have more equity in the us economy than we have to show for it. We spend more money on disposable and retail goods than we do on saving, investing, and education. Dont Take My Word For It

Thousands of black people have opened accounts at black owned banks and deposited money into these accounts. This has gained so much attention and action that its coined several hashtags around social media #moveyourmoney #bankblack #blackdollarsmatter I Dont Make This Stuff Up

Not only do I support this trend, I hope that it becomes less of a trend and more of a way of life. Dont get me wrong and please dont misunderstand this.

People tend to call the BC racists for supporting its own but this is never called into question by non blacks when they show a lack of support for blacks. Hispanics are notorious for joining forces to strengthen their communities and extend their financial means. They open stores and do business with one another on a regular basis. They sell products that cater to their ethnic needs and wants. I’ve always admired this orientation of Hispanics and Latinos. So to see my own community take up the same flag and do the same is a proud moment.

Sometimes its easy to get caught up in the festiveness of the moment. Its easy to lose sight of the end goal of your effort when you’re busy celebrating the catalyst. No doubt, the BC is proud of itself. However, lets be proud with a plan.

I want my community cohorts to know that supporting Black Banks is just the beginning. There’s so much more to be done to keep the ball rolling and see this through. It doesn’t stop at funding black banks. It also involves those banks’ ability to lend to its surrounding communities in healthy financial way.

As these banks acquire more money to lend, it allows for more borrowing to take place. That borrowing SHOULD be done to facilitate business growth and development in the Black Community. This is the start of a positive domino effect. With more businesses in the community comes more jobs in the community. More job means more income, home ownership, and a host of other benefits to strengthen the whole BC. The financial stability of this movement will be felt 10 fold…if its properly executed.

The Federal Reserve (Learn how banks work)

We must keep in mind that, the Federal Reserve who itself has no governing authority, has oversight of all banks. Black, Green, White, Yellow, etc. So if and when it feels that these transactions are becoming a threat to the banking system as a whole…i.e. if the larger corporate banks begin to feel the impact of the millions of dollars leaving its branches, the Federal Reserve will respond accordingly to right the ship of its largest constituents. And this response may be to the detriment of BlackBanks. I wish I could pinpoint exactly what the Federal Reserve could do but I cant. And thats because they are virtually untouchable. Although its Board of Governors are nominated by the President. The FR doesnt take orders from either branch of government. It isnt swayed by voting trends and political press. This type of freedom is very powerful.

Black Bank Survival (Understand what it takes to keep Black Banks Profitable)

And by “keep in mind”, I mean, don’t let this be the only tool of choice in this mission. Among the support of black banks, we have to maintain that sentiment by operating healthy businesses that are funded by the loans extended by these banks. If the businesses funded by these loans fail, the loans will likely default, and the banks will be overextended. Thus putting them in a position to be bought out by larger corporate non-black banks. When larger banks buy out smaller banks who have extended more money than they are receiving in return in loan payments, they have the right to restructure the loans. Sometimes the restructuring is expensive and predatory. If a business cannot pay its debit, its likely bought and sold. If the aforementioned occurs in the Black Community, it will have a much more violent effect than it ever has before. We dont want these banks to fail. We want to keep them thriving. Keep Black Banks Alive

Black Businesses (Patronize the businesses that are funded by Black Banks)

The Black Businesses also have to be patronized on a consistent basis. Again, let me reiterate for those who like to pull the race card against Blacks–this is not a directive to discontinue spending at other businesses. This is a request to spread the love. Spread your dollar around the market that supports you. How many times have you been in Target looking for ethnic hair care products? How many times were your successful at locating what you needed? Black businesses offer the goods and services that are sought by black consumers. (This topic is another blog itself)

Local Voting (Learn how local voting affects local commerce and livelihood)

Local voting is also important in this equation. The Presidential elections always garner more attention because the media covers these elections more heavily. But, the elections that are happening right in your zip code, city limits, state boundaries, etc are the ones that count the most. The repercussions of city councilmen, senators, mayors, and governors are felt by local citizens more immediately than those of the federal level. These individuals are also the voice of the people when in the front of congress. Vote for the local leaders that are going to speak your language. This is important when the schools in your neighborhood are inadequate for providing a safe and productive environment for your child. This is important when liquor stores pop up on every corner of your city. This is important when property taxes take a hike but the city services are mediocre. This is important when laws are passed concerning your city’s business laws, consumer protection, financial obligations, etc. Local Elections are SO IMPORTANT

Ball Soft (Reduce Retail and Disposable Good Spending)

We all like to live nice and look good but too much of anything can be a bad thing. Its no secret that the BC spends gross amounts on shoes, clothes, and designer brands. We spend ridiculous amounts of money on vehicles, recreational activities, etc. We also have to spend smarter. In Comparison…Black Spend Differently and Not Always In A Good Way We have to spend less on things that are disposable and depreciate quickly. Its okay to live comfortably but if you arent investing in yourself, your family, and your future, the present luxuries wont mean much tomorrow.

The BlackDollarsMatters Movement is gaining nationwide attention and is growing in active masses. Let us learn how to extend the trend and paint the outcome with longevity.

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All Summer16

The Summer of 2016 started off with a bang in more ways than one.

April left us reeling from the death of Prince. And, the May offered no condolences, dealing blow after blow, in no particular order but each one equally horrendous:

A shooter killed more than 40 people and injured even more at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

(http://www.npr.org/2016/06/16/482322488/orlando-shooting-what-happened-update)

Actor and activist Jesse Williams gave a riveting speech at the BET awards that was so relevant, it prompted some to petition for him to be fired from his job on the hit TV Drama Grey’s Anatomy.

(https://www.change.org/p/boycott-abc-network-and-sign-petition-to-fire-jesse-williams-from-grey-s-anatomy-for-racist-rant)

The nation learned that the #FreddieGray trials were resulting in no convictions against the law enforcement officers that were involved in his arrest; the arrest that resulted in his death which was subsequently ruled a homicide. The lack of convictions was just the continuation of many shocking results of the matter as the remaining charges were dropped against the other officers who where involved.

(http://www.blackreport.com/archives/2016/07/27/remaining-charges-dropped-against-police-officers-in-freddie-gray-case/)

The bones of the #SandraBland case continue to fall from the closet after her death was ruled a suicide last year. Officer Michael Kelley has recently admitted that he was warned not to speak out about some very important facts regarding Sandra Bland’s case. He also revealed that his career was threatened and was told that he would face repercussions if he spoke to Bland’s family attorney.

(http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-officer-in-sandra-bland-case-20160729-story.html)

We also learned–that police officer Eric Casebolt of McKinney Texas would not face assault charges for his behavior towards a 15 year old teen at a pool party in June of 2015. Officer Eric Casebolt was recorded behaving recklessly while responding to a disturbance at the pool party. He is seen waving his weapon around at the crowd of people and then slamming a black teenager to the ground while subduing her with his knee in her back under his body weight.

(http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2016/06/grand-jury-declines-to-indict-ex-cop-involved-in-mckinney-pool-party.html/)

During a protest in response to the continued racial tensions and police brutality across the nation in Dallas, Texas, a man opened fire on police officers killing 5 and wounding others, including a protester. A brief standoff ensued however it was quickly ended when the suspect was disarmed and killed by an explosive detonation by Dallas SWAT. The media was intent on blaming the outcome of the protest on the #BlackLivesMatter movement while ignoring the very reason someone saw fit that such a movement needed to take place.

(http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/dallas-county/breaking-shots-fired-and-officers-down-at-downtown-dallas-protest/266881573)

As a Dallas native I can say this was very much so a sad, horrific, and tense time. My twitter feed was on fire, the text messages wouldn’t stop coming, and my spirit was on the ropes.

Trying not to give in to my emotions, I left for work the following morning with an intent to maintain a silent protest in hopes that I would be able to get through the day with my office door closed while never speaking a word of the incident to my coworkers. I wanted to just close off and lament the catalyst that started it all: the unresponsiveness of State and Federal Government in cases involving blatant police brutality, racism, and racial profiling. Not to mention the casual feigns of ignorance when it comes to identifying #whiteprivledge

No less than 30 days after the shooting involving Dallas Police officers, two black men #AltonSterling and #PhilandoCastilewere were shot and killed (roughly 24 hours apart) by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and St Anthony, Minnesota.

(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/07/06/alton-sterlings-death-appears-to-be-another-police-shooting-that-was-both-legal-and-preventable/)

(http://www.democracynow.org/2016/7/7/you_shot_four_bullets_into_him)

Needless to say, the pattern is more than obvious but the powers that be seem to be blind and deaf. As both are being argued as legal, justified, as well as preventable.

To make an already outrageous and genocide-eque situation worse, another black man, Charles Kinsley was shot by police in Florida while unarmed, with his hands up.

(http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/07/black-fla-therapist-who-was-shot-by-police-reunited-with-autistic-patient/)

For my entire life, as long as I can remember, Black People have been fighting to receive equality of the most basic means and this struggle has only gotten more intense, more severe, more life threatening, more bloody, and has encouraged groups on either side to rise up their bands to do something about it.

The Black Community has responded with strategic action plans that have gotten the attention of celebrities and professional athletes and resulted in thousands of groups forming to promote and influence change in their communities.

Social media has been flooded with black posters sharing their ideas on resolving the issues and affecting change. There have even been suggestions of boycotts, all black market co-operatives, legal action committees, protests against specific businesses and politicians, and well as the encouragement of more black to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms to protect themselves and their homes.

To paraphrase a quote by one of my favorite singers, Sam Cooke. A Chang Has Come…

 

 

 

 

The Responsibility of We

 

I’ve been mentally volleying with this thought for several months.

We have a responsibility to engrain into our children the ideology, the premise, the purpose, and the will to work for and build for themselves.

Growing up, I was taught many valuable lessons; but the most prominent lesson was being taught to get a good job and keep it. I wasn’t taught to start my own business and create opportunities for myself. I wasn’t quite informed that when I work for another person or another company or for anyone in which the income does not come directly to me from my own efforts, I am working for someone else. My labor is benefiting someone else long before its benefiting me.

Albeit some 15 years later, I’ve realized that a stronger US starts with a stronger me, which leads to a stronger WE.

We have a responsibility to strengthen ourselves and our children which inherently strengthens our communities and our culture as a whole.

For a litany of reasons, I wanted to teach my daughter how to survive by her own means. I wanted her to know that her ability to feed and clothe herself should not hinge on whether or not someone will hire (and fire) her. I realized the best way for me to give her this experience and teach her this process was to actually perform the act and be the example.

I started a Small Business a few months ago. I came up with an idea that supports the things that she likes to do which also provides a community service component. I’ve been working at breathing life into this concept from the birth of the ideas, to the legitimizing of the entity, to the writing the business plan, to acquiring funding, etc. I’ve made her fully aware that I don’t know EVERYTHING, I didn’t know the half of what going into business ownership when I started. I’ve shown her that she doesn’t have to know everything, she just has to know what she wants to do and be willing to research the answers she needs and network with the appropriate people.

Business Ownership is not an easy feat and everyone may not be successful at it; but it entails an immeasurable reward that provides revolving benefits.

 

The Journey of ADD

Ive known for quite some time that Ive suffered from some form of attention deficit. Ive always been easily distracted but my energy levels have always allowed me to keep up with my mental pace. As Ive grown older I found it more difficult to control. I researched Adult ADD extensively and Ive known people who also suffer. When I learned that it can only be treated and not cured, I was more reluctant to see a doctor. Treatment usually equals some form of daily medication or infinite trips to a therapist. Neither of which interested me. So, I trudged on with my difficulties thinking that I could hope and discipline myself into control. I think it really hit me in my early 20s when I was trying to take a licensing exam and I had put in countless hours of study and I couldn’t pass the test to save my life. I was frustrated. I was studying. I applied myself. I sought every study tool known to man. I tried changing my lighting during study. I changed my eating habits. I bought different materials to help me organize. Nothing worked. I was always too distracted to retain what I had studied. I had to take the test several times. It was embarrassing. I finally passed the test. With a combination of memorizing patterns and best guesses I passed but that wasn’t the cure nor was it a standard that I could apply overall.

In other areas of challenge, my distractedness also affected my personal goals and personal endeavors. I start projects but I can’t focus on them long enough to complete them. This bothers me a lot because I feel that I can be much more productive and dynamic in my pursuits if I could focus longer. After rounds and bouts of frustration I finally decided to look up a doctor. I was once again reluctant to find out this doctor only treated ADD with prescription drugs. Any coaching or therapy is referred to another facility. In an effort to help myself I decided to go ahead with it.

Upon my first visit I spoke with the doctor, took a few tests, blood work, sensory, etc. I also had two test to give to people that are familiar with my behavior. One that was all wrapped up, I was provided a prescription for Metadate.
The first dose of this medicine gave me the worst migraine ever. I didn’t take anything to combat the headache because the medication leaflets were explicit in not mixing drugs. I called the doctor’s office to report my side effects and to find out what I could do. By the time they called me back I had already left work because I couldn’t stand the pain and looking at the computer. I was initially able to take ibuprofen but I didn’t take any more of the Metatdate. I made another appointment to see the doctor.

Back to the drawing board…we tried a different medication at a lower dosage. Vyvanse…took some adjustment but I saw some short-lived improvement. Back for the follow-up appointment, it was determined that the dosage should increased for a more lasting effect.

Present day and about a month in on the Vyvanse, Im doing much better but not great. My mornings are much more productive than before. Im able to attain greater focus for longer periods of time but I still struggle here and there. I hate to be interrupted because it is a chore to get back into my groove. Im learning what rocks my boat and what helps me set a steady course.

Being more organized definitely helps me. I use reminders and calendars so that I don’t forget things. And Im getting good handle on what works. Im an adult woman. I can only imagine how children are stumbling their way in and out of this situation. They aren’t able to communicate themselves as well as adults and they may be highly misunderstood.

All things considered. Im glad that I went to a doctor to get a glimpse of what goes on in my brain when Im distracted or frustrated. It’s a very in-depth synopsis to understand the test results of ADD but it’s worth knowing more about yourself and how you respond to your environment.

 

 

Be Prepared…

Remember that song from the Lion King movie? It was catchy. I remember it and I still recall it on a regular basis.

Here I sit at 3:14am…I have a 7am appointment. I didn’t prepare my clothes before I laid down so now I’m trying to Jedi Mindtrick myself into having some modicum of an idea of what to wear so that I can go right to it.

I could stop writing this blog post to do so now but for some reason I don’t want to. Even though I know it would be proactive and consumer less of my time…part of me would rather lay here scrolling my thumb across my phone instead of doing what’s necessary.

Do I thrive on procrastination? Does it in some way give me a euphoric feeling?

Why did I procrastinate?

What does it mean to be a single parent?

As a freelance writer—and I use the term loosely, I abhor lists. All of those cliché standard lists that start with titles like, TOP 10 tips, 14 Things, 12 Ways, 4 Items, etc. I once viewed them all as cheap and uncreative ways to fill a page. But…I now read them and I do so frequently. I’ve grown quite fond of them. Because I have a short attention span, if there’s important information that I need to know and I can receive it in short numbered or bullet format, Im more likely to continue reading it.

When I started this project I wanted to write a powerful, demonstrative piece of work. I wanted readers to gain something. I also wanted to share a piece of myself without exactly throwing myself on stage to be picked apart (that usually happens to writers who offer a first person POV). So I started penning the thoughts and the ideas began to fly in faster than I could write them all down. I have no clue what I did with my digital voice recorder and I wasn’t thinking of using my phone at the time. So what did I do? I started a short abbreviated list. That list morphed into an outline and that outline became a flowchart, and that flowchart finalized itself into a list again. What a transformation!

In the words of everyone who has run out of ways to preface their catastrophe, Just Roll With Me On This One.

What does it mean to be a single parent? It varies. It varies on who you ask and at what stage of parenting they’re in but below are a few of the many highlights.

What does it mean to be a single parent?

It means:

  • Being the first and possibly the only person to be asked difficult questions. THIS IS A LIST THAT CAN LITERALLY GO ON AND ON. AND IT DOES!
  • Being your child’s teacher and parent. Learning starts at home. And let’s face it. Public school is NOT what it used to be. When you’ve worked all day and come home to your child—unless you have the funds to hire a tutor, you have to be their teacher at home. Helping with homework, projects as well as participating in their school. It’s a lot for one person. It’s a lot for two people but it’s easier to tackle as a team.
  • Being the only fighter… as your child’s parent you are their first advocate and protector. You are responsible for their well-being and defense. When they are under attack, so are you and you must fight. Even when you know you cannot win, you have to show your child and the rest of the world that you are willing to stand and defend your child at all costs. Even when your child is wrong, you have to fight for the lesson to be learned from their mistake.
  • Always being the bad guy. The word NO is hard for some people to say. Its especially hard to say to your child(ren). That difficulty intensifies when you are the only person saying NO. You have to be the bad guy by default. No one wants to be the bad guy and they definitely don’t want to be the bad guy all of the time.
  • Being the sole financial provider. Money doesn’t flow from faucets. Even if you are financially well off, being the parental money tree gets old. Children aren’t free to maintain. As they grow, so do their needs and wants, most of which require financial support.
  • Being afraid that you will fail… We all have fears, whether we admit it or not, we all have them. My biggest fear is failing as a parent. Who/what determines if you failed or not? Ive summed it up to the simplest outcome possible for my own standard and that’s my ability to raise a child that can function on his/her own, respects a peaceful higher power, can defend themselves, respect and values the lives of others, and can provide for themselves. Raising a child that does not have these qualities at a bare minimum (without a disability preventing them from doing so) equals FAILURE—at lease for me it does. My underlying fear of failing as a parent is raising an ax murderer…or a murderer in general. No one wants that.
  • Being a loner by force…Single Parents aren’t contagious, for some odd reason people seem to think that when you become parent, especially a single parent, you are a leper. They stop calling because “I didn’t think you had a babysitter”, “I thought you’d be busy”, “I didn’t think you wanted company around your kid?” All of those things equate to them distancing themselves and the distance feels like they are avoiding catching what you have. They probably have good intentions but they fall short.
  • Being stereotyped. Its an annoyance for most people but being stereotyped as a single parent has to rank very close to the top of the list. Society often views minority mothers and fathers as societal and economic burdens. Their first thought is often that he/she has had children out of wedlock, as a teen, etc and he/she is living on government assistance. They are rarely viewed in a broad spectrum. This stereotype follows minority single parents from work, to school, home, in public, and even church—the one place that you’d think people are the least judgmental.
  • Being the only influence. This is difficult because as a parent, making a mistake in front of your child(ren) is a vulnerable experience. Your children are watching and you don’t want them to mimic your behavior or lose faith in your leadership. But mistakes happen and its not the end of the world even if your children see you fall. The win is not staying down after you’ve fallen but showing them you can get back up and hold your head high.
  • Being the energizer bunny. Sometimes you have to keep going and going and going and going, going to work, school, practice, home, work, school, doctor, home, store, kitchen, cooking, spending. Sometimes your life can be a series of commas, ellipses, and no periods, indentions, and no breaks. If you do manage to get a break, its likely not a scheduled break or opportunity to relax and decompress its likely because you succumbed to the exhaustion and you’ve completely broken down. In which case it’s not called a break but a BREAKDOWN.
  • Struggling to fill a void that you cannot fill. When one or both parents are missing and you happen to be the single parent of the aforementioned’s offspring, you have some pretty big shoes to fill. You’re in the middle of a very difficult algebraic expression….solving for the missing variable. You cant make AWOL parents reappear if they don’t want to and you cant restore the hearts of the children that long for their presence. You can only do your best to fill them with the love you have for them and hope that it’s  enough.
  • Have a cape…somewhere somehow, you must become a superhero at the drop of an icecream cone. Children have high expectations, when you’re the ONLY one…sometimes you have to make miracles happen. Halloween, no extra money for a costume. You’ll likely have to sew one and hope it turns out like the one in the book/store. Bake those cookies just right. Make the pain go away, and you better not show an ounce of fear. You must save the day, cape on, chin up!
  • Having to prove yourself as not being a statistic. This one kind of doubles along with the stereotype. But parenting is hard and that difficulty multiplies when you’re the only one and the world is looking, watching, waiting for you to screw up so what do you do? You work your ass off to prove them wrong! You will not screw up. You will do whatever, however, and as much as needed to show them that single parenting does not automatically equate to a catastrophe of reproduction.
  • using your vacation days as “my son/daughter is sick” days because there’s no one else to stay home with him/her
  • explaining yourself as a single parent. Maybe you chose to do so, maybe the relationship didnt work out, maybe you and your spouse are divorced

Single parenting is a world of its own but its not all bad. While it may often seem like the dark cloud is always hovering above, the sun that shines between the cracks in those clouds is absolutely life changing and beyond rewarding. Parenting is difficult by virtue of its hard work and uncertainty but Im sure several parents (no matter what their situation) would agree that the job its best done as a team.

It takes a village to raise a child. ~African Proverb

Nothing is something to do.

During my lunch hour today, I decided to attempt sitting quietly in my car with my eyes closed. The entire 5 minute chore went as follows:

*bright idea to sit quietly enters brain
* sets the timer on my watch for 5 mins. Yes 5 mins. I’m honest with myself, sitting still is not a strong suit. I decided to start small
* close eyes and take a breath
* open eyes, are the doors locked? Checks doors
* close eyes
* open eyes, there’s a car driving by
*close eyes
*open eyes, its getting hot in the car, i should turn on the a/c
*closes eyes, not quite, glances at watch…2 plus mins left
*really closes eyes and wonders how much time I really have…buzzz buzzz timer on the watch.

In conclusion: FAIL