Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I'm With Her!

It's time for us to accept that women are next in line to run the world. . . and I'm here for it. 

One of the greatest roles in my life has been to be the Chairman of a foundation supporting grandparents raising school aged children in honor of my great grandmothers; Lillie's Foundation and a stellar, innovative, all girls Charter school building tomorrow's global leaders; Ivy Preparatory Academy. It's a great privilege to honor, support and empower women, especially the Black, Brown and mixed raced women who have led, taught, carried, motivated, birthed, reared, protected, celebrated and created our people. 

Here's why I'm with her! 

  • Women leadership matters
  • Women bring a different perspective to the table 
  • Women think critical about dollars and cents 
  • Women think about the entire picture in a more critical way
  • Women understand the importance to removing barriers that impede upon the success of all 
It's important for us to train our young boys and girls to work together, support and celebrate each other. It's equally important for us to show that gender doesn't automatically qualify you to hold a certain role or have a certain degree of power. Empowering women to be leaders doesn't take away the influence of manhood. 

Our young girls are tomorrow's global leaders and we want to see our sisters, daughters, nieces, god children, students and friends break through the glass ceiling and surpass the successes of our past and present. In order to do that, we have to be intentional about how we build success pathways but that requires us to be present, engaged, resourceful and consistently in-tune with their dreams, hopes, fears and aspirations. This is why at Ivy Preparatory Academy, we are #IvyStrong; and it's why I'm with her! I believe in our girls. 

Check out how we're building tomorrow's global leaders, our girls! #Ivy 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Institutionalized Slavery: The American School to Prison Pipeline

Companies that supported Jim Crow, pay women less than men, have discriminatory hiring practices against those who look, speak or are culturally different also support the school to prison pipeline. "Poverty and prison are a billion dollar industry!" Therefore there's direct connection to companies that won't hire felons once they've served their time and reenter society, yet they are apart of the problem that causes innocent people to get trapped into a system for rehabilitation of criminals just to fill a seat. Imagine if we were more intentional about filling the seats in classrooms that we are about filling beds in prisons.

In order for more of our children to find academic success, stakeholders need to be equally engaged, empowered and educated on and in the policy making process. All stakeholders, not just the middle and upper class citizens, but all stakeholders. If policy makers are looking to implement policy around attendance but don't talk to communities with equitable transportation resources or parents working 2-3 jobs, then the intent is for their child(ren) to become a statistic. It's time out for us to implement policies that protect some and police others. 

On the grassroots level, we must find ways to unlock those students who have been and targeted on the prison track. We must also create healthy transitions and success plans for students who struggle with certain academic areas, those who don't want to go to a four year college and the youth and adults who have served time. The revolving door and reentry to prison can be closed by the people. Public policy has a stamp on human life! Attendance, suspension and even discipline policies all have bias. They are designed to fix a targeted problem that our schools are being the driving mechanism driven by the our societal prejudices. We have to be mindful of our unconscious bias towards those who look like us and those who don't.

The United States has 25% of world's population in prisons.
The United States has over half of it's prison population Black or Latino, large numbers of males.
The United States has 2.3 million citizens are housed in prisons. 

We spend more money on citizens in prisons than we do on children in schools, seniors in nursing homes, veterans in hospitals or homeless families in shelters. If you want to know the intent, follow the money. It's clear that the wealthy are still racking in dollars off the backs of those they disenfranchise and leave us scrambling for the change. It's time for the disenfranchised citizens to do what Dr. King was calling for before this country and it's politics killed him. Organize, unify and educate in order to break the inequities in our economic, education and justice systems.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Going 1/2 Crazy

It's often hard to balance the stress brought on by societal pressures. No one is exempt for dealing with life but how we survive is based on what we do to maintain balance  That is why every day I start my mornings off in thanksgiving. How you start your day is important in helping you maintain balance. Despite the things that happen along your journey, it's important that you control your settings; mind, body and soul. In order to be in control of your spirit, mind and body you must realize that the only the you can control is you. You are responsible for your choices, decisions and actions. What makes you smile is knowing that regardless if the ceiling collapses, your foundation is intact.

"No matter what they take from me, they can't take away my dignity. Because the greatest love of all is happening to me, learning to love yourself, is the greatest love of all!" There are three things necessary to maintain mental wellness. Self awareness, self respect and self empowerment. Being aware of who you are builds self acceptance that drives self respect which enhance self empowerment. Too many times we rely on society and other people to validate who we are. We give society, which determines the value of life based of the color of your skin, wealth and social class. If you don't take time to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul, then you won't be strong enough to survive.
Most people allow the media to dictate what they wear, believe in, listen to, like, aspire to be, etc. We allow outside influences to tell our story not realizing that who tells the story has the power. I am a firm believer in counseling and therapy because it helps us balance the pressures of life we face while maintaining the ability to tell our story. Having spiritual, marriage, anger management counseling, advisors, mentors, therapists or a close confidant provides a safe space to share, release  It's amazing how people would prefer not to seek wisdom but rather post about their challenges on social media and gain likes but not liberty. There's a difference in how you share your story that determines if you reach self actualization. How you tell your story matters.