Our country is divided. I’d like to analogize it to the division that occurs when you slice a piece of pie except the slices would still be too close to one another. Even for the American kind. Especially for the American kind.
I’d like to liken our country, instead, to an old but intricately built Victorian house: rich with exterior detail, historically distinctive and regularly restored. But also like a Victorian house, the foundation of it doesn’t change. And its rooms aren’t as practical as they are beautiful.
And even more great at pretending that the inside is just as functional.
Except the inside contains rooms that are divided by walls even Trump couldn’t fathom. Walls built of racism, painted with social class and plastered with economic disparity. And though the beauty that encompasses each room is rich with color and culture, too often do these rooms function alone.
And in the famous words of Luther Vandross, a room is not a house and a house is not a home. In other words, functioning alone does not work.
Quite frankly, if you live in this country, we all share the same house. And in order for our house to feel like a home for all of us, it’s imperative that we all function together. With all of the unrest and injustice in this country, we should all be committed to this.
Yes, it is easier said than done. Yes, our country was built on a foundation made for divisiveness. But no, that does not mean that we do not do our part in helping to tear the walls down and build again.
So how do we do it? Stimulate your mind, Craig.
No, but really. In order to build something, we must first understand it. Too often many of us in this country go misunderstood while many of us don’t seek to understand. Cultural differences don’t have to mean cultural barriers.
When you open a door, you open your mind. It’s important not to go through life with such comfort that you’ve confined your mind to only the world you grew up in. That includes the community, the people and the experiences that were limited to your hemisphere.
Get out of your comfort zone and step into the room of someone else. Try learning another language. Memorize the recipes of foods from different cultures. Adapt a tradition, unlike the ones you knew growing up. Learn a dance specific to someone else’s culture. Spend money at independent businesses owned by people of different backgrounds.
You don’t have to like doing all of these things. But understanding them, the people and how they work? Priceless.
In addition, always keeping an open mind enables us to unlearn things that may not have been accurate, healthy or right for us. An open mind reminds us that there is always something we don’t know and to be mindful of the information we give and receive.
Reading and educating ourselves outside of what our parents and schools have taught us helps us to further understand other people and how or why they think or operate the way they do. It brings us closer together and helps us to realize that maybe we aren’t that different after all.
Closed doors mean closed minds. And closed minds are closed hearts. It’s time we start functioning together by not letting the walls of our home dictate the creation of walls in our lives.
Poet, Michael Phillips, Breaks Down in Front of Students at his Alma Mater
Michael Phillips agreed to speak to students at his alma mater, Community Academy of Philadelphia, CS (CAP) about Black History and being Black in America. Little did he know, this would be an emotional full circle moment for him.
Phillips has been doing spoken word for quite a few years now. Although he’s performed around the East Coast, he mainly takes to his social media to speak about race and love issues in a poetic way. He speaks highly of a creative writing teacher at CAP, who is the sole purpose behind his love for poetry.
“Ms. Vázquez is the reason why I’ve been able to do what I love since high school. She really made me appreciate poetry as a creative outlet to release any and all pain I’ve felt internally. I’m thankful for her”
Phillips confidently went into various classrooms from grades 5-8, along with some high school classrooms to perform his spoken word pieces. It wasn’t until he entered Ms. Vázquez’s room, the very person who inspired him to do poetry in the first place, that he sort of – broke down. It was a full circle moment for him, in that he saw himself as a student who too once sat in those same seats, without a clue as to what it would mean being a Black man growing up in America after high school.
He hopes that through his words, he is able to inspire the minority community to come together and appreciate themselves from within. Phillips wants the youth to know they have the power to change the world, to start thinking about what they can do presently that can essentially positively impact future generations to come.
Check out the video below:
Don’t Worry Bae, Know That It Is Okay To Fail
І’m muсh mоrе іmрrеssеd wіth а реrsоn whо shооts fоr аn А аnd fаіls аnd gеts а С іnstеаd of thе guу whо аіmеd fоr а D bесаusе hе knеw hе соuld hіt іt аnd dоеs. Fаіlurе іs nоt thе bаd thіng thаt wе tеnd tо thіnk іt іs, аt lеаst nоt іn thе роsіtіvе аrеаs оf оur lіvеs.
Fаіlurе іs thе рrосеss bу whісh wе lеаrn. Аs tоddlеrs, wе fаіlеd over and over again іn оur аttеmрts tо wаlk. Оur fаіlurе еvеn brоught раіn аs wе fеll dоwn, bumреd оur hеаds, аnd wаіlеd fоr mоmmу аnd dаddу. Вut thіs рrосеss оf fаіlurе tеасhеs us а vеrу іmроrtаnt truth. Аs уоu fаіl, уоu lеаrn mоrе thаn уоu thоught уоu wоuld.
Whеn а tоddlеr fаіls іn hіs еffоrts tо wаlk, hе аlsо lеаrns hоw tо fаll. Fаllіng іs раrt оf lіfе. Wе аll fаll, but whеn wе dо fаll, іt іs іmроrtаnt thаt wе fаll іn suсh а wау thаt wе саn gеt bасk uр аgаіn. Soon enough, you’ll witness that toddler hаndlе their falls wіth роіsе, dіgnіtу, аnd wіth thе dеsіrе tо gеt rіght bасk uр and give it another go.
Yоu саn’t hеlр but mаkе mіstаkеs and bae, that is okay. Вut іnstеаd оf turnіng rеd, stаmmеrіng аrоund аnd ароlоgіzіng рrоfusеlу, whісh оnlу еmbаrrаssеs еvеrуоnе еlsе, own it. Lift your head up and keep pushing forward.
Тhе Віblе sреаks оf thіs. Іt sауs,
“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” – Proverbs 24:16
Тhіs mаn isn’t righteous bесаusе hе nеvеr fаіls. Не іs righteous bесаusе whеn hе dоеs fаіl, hе gеts bасk uр.
Understand that this is kеу. Fаіlurе tоughеns уоu uр аnd аllоws уоu tо the opportunity to get back up and trу аgаіn. Now if you hold yourself back from trying again, eh that’s kind of on you.
Іmаgіnе а реrsоn thаt hаs nеvеr suffеrеd аnуthіng іn lіfе. Не hаs nеvеr fаіlеd, hе hаs nеvеr suffеrеd а mіsfоrtunе-hе’s nеvеr suffеrеd A N Y T H I N G.
Ніs аbіlіtу tо hаndlе dіffісultіеs аnd trіаls іs nіl. Не wоuld bе sо wеаk аnd sо іnеffесtіvе thаt thе fіrst wіsр оf а stоrm оr trіаl іn hіs lіfе wіll саusе hіm tо соllарsе. Іt іs thе fаіlurеs іn lіfе thаt tоughеn us uр аnd mаkеs us wоrth knоwіng.
One important concept of life to understand is:
Fаіlurе іs аn оnlу fаіlurе іf іt kеерs уоu dоwn. Quіttіng іs thе оnlу truе fаіlurе іn lіfе.
Іmаgіnе the tоddlеr аttеmрtіng tо wаlk аnd fаllіng dоwn, аnd іmаgіnе thаt sаmе tоddlеr sауіng, “Wеll, І trіеd thіs wаlkіng thіng. І rеаllу dіd. Вut іt’s јust nоt fоr mе. І dоn’t thіnk І’m сut оut tо wаlk (in baby gibberish of course).
If a toddler, a human who more than likely can’t even form a full paragraph has the will and desire to get back up and keep trying – why can’t you? When did you decide it was okay to have the will to succeed leave from your mental?
Again.. remember … failure is only a failure if you quit.
Understand that whеn wе shооt fоr sоmеthіng wе mіght fаіl аt thеn wе аlwауs gо F U R T H E R аnd ассоmрlіsh mоrе thаn whеn wе shооt fоr sоmеthіng wе knоw wе саn suссееd аt. I don’t know about you but І’d rаthеr shооt fоr thе А аnd fаіl thаn suссееd аt thе D bесаusе І knеw І соuld suссееd thеrе. Іf І gеt а В оr а С while shooting for the A, І at least wеnt furthеr thаn І wоuld hаvе hаd І bееn sсаrеd tо fаіl and just settling for mediocrity.
We’ll end this note by reminding you that fаіlurе іs nоt thе еnd. Іt іs јust thе bеgіnnіng. It’s just a chapter towards what you really want. You and only you can decide if you want this to be your end. So bae, gо оn, gіvе іt а trу.
Ѕо whаt іf уоu fаіl, you have it in you to get back up and try again.
Featured image captured by: Hailey Photography
Drake Releases Most Important Project of His Career
Today Drake released the visual for his song, “God’s Plan”. In this video, it showcases Drake giving back to communities, schools & even families in more ways than one. Whether it was signing checks for scholarships, paying for grocery bills or just handing stacks of cash to families, the 6 God decided to use the million dollar budget given for the video to instead, give it all away.
It’s empowering to see celebrities use their platforms for good and to give back to those in need.
Drake, in case no one has told you yet – you’re doing amazing sweetie.
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