Tag Archives: News

COVID-19 and Our New Reality

This past week has been hectic. The news of COVID-19 has been non-stop. The panic is all around. I’m good though. No need to panic. I am fortunate to not be out of work. Schools across the country have shut down. Businesses are closing or reducing their hours. Restaurants are changing to delivery and take out service. Conventions have been cancelled. TV shows and movies have halted production. The world has essentially stopped.

There is good reason for all these changes though. Trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 is a top priority, as it should be. Unfortunately, many people still aren’t taking this seriously. Even though I am not panicked, I am taking appropriate precautions. Whatever happens going forward, we have reached a new reality. COVID-19 has already changed life as we know it and will continue to.

 

Parts Unknown: Anthony Bourdain and Me

I am 26 years old today. I woke up at 8 am EST, to get ready for work. I turned on the television and a breaking news segment appeared. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s face filled the screen. The words came out too quick, Bourdain had died by apparent suicide in a Paris hotel. He was 61 years old. This just three days after fashion designer Kate Spade died by suicide. The Center for Disease Control also released a report this past week saying that suicide rates have increased more than 30% between 1999 to 2016. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and is one of just three leading causes that are on the rise. Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade were just two celebrities who have died by suicide in recent years. The list includes Chester Bennington, Dave Mira, Robin Williams, Lee Thompson Young, Don Cornelius, and Chris Lighty. It goes to show fame does not make one immune to suicide or mental health issues.

I am 26 years old today and I did not think I’d be here. Suicide has been a persistent thought for the past few years. When I started this blog back in 2013 I had just come out of a dark period. I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life and felt pressured to make a decision that everyone would be happy with. I felt as if I was just going through the motions and not really living. Seeking treatment had crossed my mind at the time, but the stigma surrounding mental health and worry about how others would feel, kept me silent. I poured my heart into my journal and on here, put a brave face on for the world, and kept going. I was not even happy, I just plastered on a smile and tried to make sure everyone else was happy even though I was miserable. By 2015, I had a plan for how I was going to die. Things had been up and down to that point and I was tired. I felt alone and that no one cared or understood. I could not talk to my family and I did not want to burden my friends with how I was feeling. I did not go through with my plan.

I am 26 years old today and I woke up to the news that Anthony Bourdain died by suicide. It is 2018, and people are still dying by suicide. People are still worried about how they will be treated once they disclose that they struggle with suicidal thoughts and depression. There is still stigma and fear. I am 26 years old today and I have come a long way, but I know I still have far to go. May the families of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain find some peace. If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741-741 to reach Crisis Text Line.

March For Our Lives

On February 14, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School became the latest site of a mass shooting. A former student walked in with an AR 15 rifle and 17 people lost their lives. On Valentine’s Day, parents learned their children would not be coming home. The shooter was captured a few hours later.

In the days that followed, it was found that the shooter was known to police for multiple domestic violence incidents. He had been expelled from Stoneman Douglas a year prior, and the FBI received a tip that he was dangerous and had a mass of weapons.

The survivors banded together and began speaking out against the tragedy. These 14 to 18 year olds just watched their friends and teachers be gunned down as they hid in closets and under desks. They demanded that adults do something. They demanded that the politicians get out of the NRA’s pocket and do something about these tragedies. Some adults heard them, some didn’t. These students are tired. We should all be tired.

Something should have been done after Sandy Hook when 20 CHILDREN lost their lives. Yet nothing was done. Something needs to be done. This has to stop.

The kids of Stoneman Douglas organized a national walk out on March 14, one month after the shooting. Students from across the country participated in the walkout. Some students have been featured on national news outlets, such as CNN, NBC, and CBS. Good Morning America, 60 Minutes, and the Today Show have interviewed some of the students over the past month. Celebrities have taken up the call in supporting the students, although in an interview with 60 Minutes, the students made it clear that they were still the leaders of the movement and would not be overtaken by politicians or celebrities.

This upcoming Saturday, March 24, students, teachers, parents, and community members will march in protest. Participants will march in protest of the inaction of political leaders, in protest of the violence in the streets, in protest of the uniquely American tragedy of mass shootings. While the current administration wants to arm teachers, we will be marching. Teachers do not need guns, they need books, pens, pencils, paper, and better pay. Students don’t need metal detectors and security guards, they need to learn in the safest environment possible, not a pseudo prison.

On March 24, we will march. We will march for our lives, we will march for our children, we will march for our future.

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March For Our Lives Official Logo

Seven Banned Words

So we have come to the point in this administration where they are asking the CDC to remove and omit words that are deemed too controversial. As if attacking the press and repealing net neutrality was not enough, this administration is doing all they can to eliminate people. Two days ago, policy analysts at the CDC, Center for Disease Control, were told that they could not use the words: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “diversity,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based” in their upcoming budget proposal reports for 2018. Alternative word choices were presented, such as “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” instead of using the words “evidence-based” and “science-based.” Members of the CDC responded with anger of course, and Matt Lloyd, spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, stated “The HHS will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans,” and “HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.”

Five of the seven words are all words used to describe and discuss marginalized populations: people of color, women, children, the poor, and LGBTQ individuals. Banning the words “evidence-based” and “science-based” is a direct attack to the science community by an administration that has aligned themselves with Evangelicals and climate change deniers. The proposed ban of these words drastically limits the work scientists can do and hampers the research that can be garnered from these words.

For example, a researcher may want to study the effect of Zika on developing fetuses, they need to be able to use the word “fetus” in their research. Their budget proposal will be denied because of their use of the banned word. This denial prevents the researcher from getting funding for the research, which will negatively impact pregnant women and their unborn children who may have been exposed to Zika.

For each of the seven words, you can think of a scenario where banning the word from research would have damaging effects. If we enter a world where research can be stopped or denied funding because researchers are using words this administration finds “controversial” we are in very dark days.

As the year ends, we are faced with more problems than we have solutions for. What will research look like if this word ban is put in place? How much will marginalized people and communities suffer because of this ban? What is it that we can do to stop this mess?

11 months in with this administration and I am concerned for the future. I know everyone is waiting on Robert Mueller’s investigation and the 2018 midterm elections, but so much is going on and who knows what will happen next.

A Reader’s Journey & Updates

It is October. We have two more months left in 2017. There is so much more to read and worlds to explore. Earlier in the year I told you all about completing my reading challenge, which I was very excited about. Since then I have read more books and I just bought a few more to finish out the year.

I just finished reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Originally assigned as part of a class, I did not have much expectations about the material going in. I had heard about the book as well as his other books throughout the years, but I had never read it. As I began reading the book, I connected with what he was saying and started to look at it as less of a required reading text, and more as a good addition to my growing library. This book is not a quick fix problem solver, the concepts presented in the book are not new or inspired by the latest self help logic. The 7 habits are based on fundamental principles from years ago. Covey did not come up with these principles himself. Reading this book has helped me look at change and the process of change in a new light. Effective personal change will require more of me than just smiling and having a positive attitude. I will need to continually look deep within myself and re-evaluate my deepest thoughts and feelings. It won’t happen over night or within the course of this semester, it will take considerable time and effort. This is a book I will go back to again and again.

Now that I finished this book, I can start reading the other books I bought. I finally bought The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas which I am really excited to read. They are also turning it into a major motion picture in the coming year. It will most likely be my next read. I bought Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, a 2017 Oprah Book Club selection, Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which was made into an HBO film earlier this year starring Oprah & Rose Byrne.

I also got some free books from my school’s book giveaway. I may read one this year, might save them for next year. Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried, Plainsong by Kent Haruf, Hard Times by Charles Dickens, and Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz.

As we close out the year, I look forward to reading and possibly reviewing these books.

In other news, America is still being flushed down the drain by 45. We might be on the verge of a war and if we survive we can tell our kids it all started with a tweet. There was another mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas, that killed 58 people. Still no gun control legislation, but that is because the current administration was too busy blaming Puerto Rico for a hurricane, rolling back protections for Trans individuals, and eliminating birth control from employer health plans, but at least they had time to send (tweet) thoughts and prayers.

Music wise, Sam Smith will be releasing his second album, The Thrill of It All on November 3 and I intend to purchase it. Beyonce had twins, remixed a song in Spanish and sent the proceeds to Puerto Rico. Cardi B got the number one spot on Billboard for “Bodack Yellow” beating out Taylor Swift’s “Look What U Made Me Do,” the Black delegation rejoiced.

From my TV screens, TGIT has returned in full force, Amelia has a brain tumor, Olivia is finally at the top of the food chain and more like Eli Rowan than she cares to admit, and Annalise got her license back while firing the Keating 5 and Bonnie. Queen Sugar returned for their mid season premiere with Kofi still fine as ever, Lucious has memory loss on Empire, Star and the crew are still turning out bops but cannot for the life of them get it together outside the booth, we still do not know for sure how Jack died on This Is Us, and everyone can say with absolute certainty that white folks are indeed crazy as evident from AHS Cult.

We have two months left, only God know what will happen in that time. Happy October and enjoy your Pumpkin Spice Lattes.