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Showing posts from February, 2014

History Doesn't Come in Colors

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Well, here we are.. Last day of the month.. Last day of the Black Love Challenge. After reflecting, I am proud to say that my greatest area of success from this past month was witnessing my students gain a sense of pride within their own selves by learning about some of history's most influential people. Some of the writers and activists that I taught them about were folks that I wasn't even exposed to until I was an adult. That's the greatest reward of being a teacher: Making the youth better people than we were at their age and having the faith that every seed planted, will allow each one of them to become some of the world's greatest adults in the future, just like the ones that they learned about. I know they were just as inspired as I was throughout this month. After all, it was one of my students who actually reminded me that I am giving them the tools to finish the work that we start as educators. It's not just about learning about black people during Black …

Day 27: Fight Through Anything to Live Your Dreams

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As I Grew Older

It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream. But it was there then, In front of me, Bright like a sun My dream. And then the wall rose, Rose slowly, Slowly, Between me and my dream. Rose until it touched the sky The wall. Shadow. I am black. I lie down in the shadow. No longer the light of my dream before me, Above me. Only the thick wall. Only the shadow. My hands! My dark hands! Break through the wall! Find my dream! Help me to shatter this darkness, To smash this night, To break this shadow Into a thousand lights of sun, Into a thousand whirling dreams Of sun!

Langston Hughes 

Journeying Toward the Light

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I drew this picture yesterday with oil pastels. I was mimicking a piece from Jacob Lawrence's Migration of the Negro Collection of 1940. 
My version of the picture is the titled, the Migration of the Lost Youth.. Together we are moving onward and upward. I am guiding them to the Light.
It's symbolic of my journey as a woman and an educator. 
I've come a mighty long way.... and I still have a long ways to go. 
I am forever praying that the Creator continues to give me the discernment to know His voice from my own,  guide my steps so that I may fulfill His will,  and allow His light to shine through my work. 
Amen

Day 26: For Each of You by Audre Lorde

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Be who you are and will be
learn to cherish
that boisterous Black Angel
that drives you
up one day and down another
protecting the place where your power rises
running like hot blood
from the samesource
as your pain.

When you are hungry
learn to eat
whatever sustains you
until morning
but do not be misled by details
simply because you live them.

Do not let you head deny
your hands
any memory of what passes through them
not your eyes
nor your heart
everything can be used
except what is wasteful
(you will need
to remember this when you are accused of destruction.)
Even when they are dangerous examine the heart of those machines you hate
before you discard them
and never mourn the lack of their power
lest you be condemened
to relieve them.
If you do not learn to hate
you will never be lonely
enough
to love easily
nor will you always be bravealthough it does not grow any easier


Do not pretend to covenant beliefs
even when they are righteous
you will never be able to defend your city
while shouting.

Remember whatever pain you…

Lead. Learn. Love.

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It's not enough  to just be happy  to be here.  How are we going  to go farther  than this?  Pray.  Prepare.  Work.  Learn.  Love.  Laugh.  Repeat.

Honored to be one of tonight's panelists in a discussion with teachers from California, Detroit, Philly, and NYC for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans on the Current State of Black Teachers. I'm am humbled and ever so grateful for this opportunity.
Some of the topics we discussed were:

-Why is it crucial for our students to have African American teachers? -How do we attract and maintain more teachers of color? -How do we celebrate our teachers of color who are helping their students achieve everyday in their classrooms?  -What are some resources for classroom teachers now or folks who are interested in teaching in urban communities? 


 The link will be available soon! I will be sure to post it for you all! 

Lead. Learn. Love.
V

Day 25: Wole Soyinka

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"The hand that dips into the bottom of the pot will eat the biggest snail." -Wole Soyinka 


Did you know, in 1986 (a great year by the way) Nigerian native, Wole Soyinka, was the first black African to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature? 
He is an activist, playwright, poet, and professor. 
In 1965, he actually took over the broadcast station in Western Nigeria and demanded a cancellation of the elections. In 1967, he found himself arrested and imprisoned in solitary confinement for two years, during the Nigerian Civil War. While in prison, his writing and opposition of Nigerian tyrants grew stronger than ever. 

He soon fled from Nigeria to move to the United States, where he became a professor at Cornell, Emory, Yale, and Harvard University. 
He became widely known for books such as "Of Africa" and plays like, "The Lion and the Jewel". 

His life's work is not complete, as he is still alive and well today. He is currently a lead professor at Loyola Marymount…

Day 24: Lady Sings the Blues

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I was twelve years old when I first discovered the blues of Billie Holiday. To tell the truth, I can't remember if I chose to do my Black History Month report on her because I liked her name or if my always-vivacious teacher, Mrs. Barbaro, assigned her to me. All I know is, this was my first encounter with Lady Day  but it wouldn't be the last. 

Anyone who was in my seventh grade Social Studies class back in 1998 can probably still recall the way I shimmied into the classroom with a black and silver sequence-filled, floor-length gown, tennis balls in my bosom to help fill out the over sized gown, three white carnations that laid perfectly above my ear, and the shiniest finger waves that my grandmother took her time to do for me, the night before my presentation was due. I looked just like the cover picture of this post! 
It was a performance my teacher still can't forget. I sang, "'Taint Nobody's Business If I Do" as a I swayed and rag-time danced all around…

Don't Expect Flowers on the First Date

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Last night I had an amazing time with a new friend.. 
While roaming around NYC, we passed a quaint fresh floral shop that had tulips, roses, gerberas, and lilies that looked like The Creator hand picked himself.. I just knew this guy would get me a bouquet of tulips because those are my favorites... I mean, he had just asked me which flowers were my favorites earlier in the evening.. so of course, now that we stumbled upon them, he should get them for me right? Well, he didn't ..and I'll admit, I was disappointed in him for not being as cliche as I wanted him to be... I thought, "This isn't going to go much farther than tonight. I can already tell that this isn't going to work! This guy can't even maximize on the opportunity to make me smile by doing something as simple as getting these flowers that he knows I like!" ...but y'all know, I'm a lady, so I didn't say anything. I just smiled and continued to go with the flow. 
We continued wandering …

Day 23: Beauty Lies Within - Ruby Dee

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The kind of beauty I want most  is the hard-to-get kind  that comes from within- strength,  courage,  dignity. 
-Ruby Dee

TwoLips

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the quiet nights aren't as quiet as they may seem  surrender to love  because being loved is your number one dream  and who are they to tell you no  don't listen to anyone but the one who holds you close  not his voice  but his eyes let them talk  listen to his heart  as it beats  as you lay on his chest  that rhythm was made for you  you were made for him  efflorescent memoir  of  closed tulips  tu lips  two lips  kiss  as our love blooms  reaching an optimum stage of development  efflorescently. .. .

Favorites

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Yesterday was a day of my absolute-number one-favorites things-that make me smile from the depths of heart-in the whole wide world! 



Had a great PYNK event with my favorite girls 💜

Explored nooks and crannies of my favorite city 🌸










Indulged in some of my fav foods 😊

Day 21: Ignorance is a Cure for Nothing

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Now is the accepted time,  not tomorrow,  not some more convenient season.  It is today that our best work  can be done  and not some future day  or future year.  It is today that we fit ourselves  for the greater usefulness of tomorrow.  Today is the seed time,  now are the hours of work,  and tomorrow comes the harvest  and the playtime. -W.E.B. Du Bois 



After the Egyptian and Indian,  the Greek and Roman,  the Teuton and Mongolian,  the Negro is a sort of seventh son,  born with a veil,  and gifted with second-sight in this American world, —a world which yields him no true self-consciousness,  but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world.  It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness,  this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others,  of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.  One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro;  two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in o…