What’s Really Important

Everyone has become obsessed with Donald Sterling and his racist remarks (which is nothing new) and the elevator fight seen ’round the world with Solange and Jay-Z.  But in the grand scheme of things, these things don’t really matter.  Sterling being a racist is nothing new, based on a housing discrimination suit brought against him.  And the perfect façade the Carters have built has crumpled slightly – boo hoo.

I have talked about missing girls before on my blog before, specifically Mitrice Richardson.  I have failed to talk about the 234 missing girls in Nigeria, who have reportedly been kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram; the group has threatened that the girls will be sold as wives, if they have not been already.   And I have loved seeing the world, specifically Americans, come together to help rescue these children.  Unfortunately, we do not do the same with girls in our own country.

According to The Covering House, human trafficking generates $9.5 million each year in the United States, and the average age of children forced into prostitution is 13-14 years old.  The top areas in this country for human trafficking include Las Vegas, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, and Washington, DC.   Unfortunately, there are not enough resources for underage victims to receive help and assistance if they are able to leave these situations.

Let’s not forget Relisha Rudd, the 8 year old girl who was last seen on March 1.   She was reportedly with Kahlil Tatum, a custodian that worked at the homeless shelter where Relisha lived with her mother and three younger brothers.  Police believe Tatum killed his wife and then killed himself.   Unfortunately, authorities are not close at all to finding Relisha.  They are still looking for her and treating it as a recovery mission.

While I applaud all of us for bringing attention to these girls in Nigeria, let’s not forget that there are girls, and boys, in our own backyard who may be victims of kidnapping and/or human trafficking.  To help end human trafficking in the US, you can contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center to find out about organizations in your city, learn the red flags of human trafficking, meet with your local or state government officials, organize a fundraiser, among other activities.

The only way to end it is if we stand up and are united.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

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No Means No

While driving to work this morning, I listened to the Russ Parr Morning Show during the People Poll question segment.  (I’m a notorious channel surfer.)  The question dealt with the recent news surrounding former NFL player Darren Sharper, who has been accused of sexual assault on a total of nine women in five different states; so far he’s only been formally charged in two states-most recently Arizona-with charges pending in other states, along with Erick Nunez. There are even reports that state some of these women were drugged.  Parr asked, “Do women bare some of the responsibility if they are sexually assaulted?”  I genuinely wanted to hear what people thought, so my ears perked up.  And I was shocked at what I heard.

Most of the callers, especially the women, stated that women do bare some of the responsibility if they are sexually assaulted.  I.was.floored.  I was even more shocked when a victim of sexual assault called in and said she deserved to shoulder some of the responsibility of her attack.  The only person who said anything that made any type of sense was the show’s “intern”, Brittany.  If a woman is drunk, has been drugged, or is otherwise incoherent, she cannot consent, and thus anything that happens to her is rape.

Now, let’s chat for a minute.  Growing up, heck even now at 31 years old, my mother told me to always be careful, be extra cautious when I’m out by myself, and to not go out alone at night.  Essentially, she was telling me to never make myself a target for a predator.  Now, since I am not a parent and I don’t have any brothers, I wonder what the parents of sons are teaching them.  Are they being told to respect women?  To not take advantage of women?  To not attack them?  To leave a woman alone when she says “no”, REGARDLESS of what is being done when she says it OR what she has on?

As I’ve stated in a previous post, we live in a patriachal society, so I doubt it.  At least not to the degree that little girls/women are told to not make themselves a target.  Not to the degree that we are told to not dress provocatively.  Not to the degree that we are told to behave like a lady to not give people the wrong impression.

If I can make an educated guess, little boys/young men are taught to be assertive, go-getters, and to weild as much power and prowess as they can.  And due to no limitations being put on them, they are used to getting what they want.  They are not used to hearing “no”.  And God forbid he’s an athlete AND attractive.  That’s a recipe for disaster.  He’s used to getting what he wants-the girl, the (fixed) grades, the acceptance letter to a big college, and the chance to go pro.

Clearly non-professional athletes are guilty of sexual assault as well.  But some men like to feel powerful.  And when someone, anyone, wants to take that power away, they feel threatened.  And a huge disservice is being done when we make our children think they can get whatever they want.  Why?  Because they become adults who think they can get whatever they want and will take it, regardless of what has to be done to get it.

A friend on Facebook once updated her status to say that we teach our girls about sexual assault and how to avoid it, but are boys taught the same thing?  If not, I implore parents of young men to sit your sons down and talk to them.  Tell them that when a young lady says “no” she means “no”.  Tell them they can’t always get what they want.  Tell them how to protect themselves and to not put themselves in a compromising position.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Here We Go Again…

You know, Michael Dunn may spend the rest of his life in prison, but Jordan Davis still has not received justice. And as Southern Dad pointed out to me this weekend after the jury came back with a verdict on 4 of the 5 counts Dunn was charged with, Dunn’s punishment for his misdeed may not come on this Earth, but it will come from the Lord. While I know he is right, I find it completely unfathomable that he (Dunn) could not be found guilty of murdering an unarmed CHILD but found guilty of attempted second degree murder. As I mentioned in my personal Facebook page, I think the prosecution overcharged Dunn; I think he should have been charged with second degree murder. And Angela Corey, the state attorney, mentioned that the state intends to re-try Dunn for the murder of Davis, but they (the prosecution) will speak with Jordan’s family before moving forward.

Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, has the right idea; she has said that she will pray for Dunn and his family. Would it not be amazing if we ALL thought as she? Without having hate or malice in our hearts. Although the state of Florida plans to re-try Dunn, is it worth it? As long as he does not become free after any appeals, which he plans on doing, he is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison. Should the state use time and resources to do this all over again? I honestly don’t know. Hopefully, if Dunn does appeal his convictions, they will not be overturned, and he will have to spend the rest of his days in jail.

Lastly, I’m going to share some names with you, and I hope you all do a Google search – Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and Hadiya Pendleton. And let’s not forget Jonathan Ferrell and Renisha McBride. Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

And People Wonder Why…

Most of my Facebook friends have already commented on this, but I’ll go ahead and piggy back off of them (If you are one of my linesisters, you know how much we detest that phrase.)  Rachel Jeantel is a 19 year old girl.  Yet, people have been tearing her down.  Some have taken it upon themselves to think “Today’s youth are a mess” and “Why does she sound like that?” and “Why doesnt’ she speak up” and “What’s with the attitude?”.  She may not be the brightest student or the most articulate person or whatever else mean thing you may think about her.  But at the end of the day, she’s a human being.  She’s a young girl that has to deal with the loss of a really good friend.  And she has to deal with a defense attorney that was annoying (to her).  She may not understand the gravity of the situation she’s in.  She may not understand how important her testimony is.  Is that her fault?  Maybe, maybe not.  But if the WORLD is treating her with such disdain and talking about her, no wonder she didn’t want to come forward or want anyone to know her identity.  You people are vicious.  And without a heart.  It’s no wonder our young women have self-esteem issues.  Because instead of offering to help her or find someone to help her, you ridicule and joke and make fun of her.

Focus on the facts.  She stated that when she was on the phone with Trayvon, he stated someone was following him and that he was going to try to lose him.  THAT’S what’s important about what she said on that stand.

I don’t think I need to say much else.  But I felt compelled to write this after seeing a photo posted of Ms. Jeantel comparing her to a not-so-nice and not-so-attractive movie character.  You may get a chuckle and your friends may find it hilarious that you’re making jokes about this person.  But at the end of the day, is it worth this young girl’s (or a young girl that looks like her or sounds like her) self-esteem and self-worth???  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Elle’s Lemon Squeeze

A lot of things have been occurring, in my life and in the world in general.   Some good, some bad, some ok…So, I’ll share with you guys my thoughts on some things that have been going on.  Feel free to share your comments as well!

North West… Congrats to Kim and Kanye, but I am SO upset they named this baby North…like really.  I know I’m not a parent and they can name their baby anything they want but sheesh!  We can just add this to the list of weird baby names like Apple, CoCo, and Blue Ivy.

Not to excuse her behavior, but Paula Deen is a woman of a certain age that is from the South.  Kudos to her for being honest, but boo to her for all of the nonsense that she wanted her employees to engage in.  This is a prime example of people that have lost their minds.  And don’t be confused-just because I understand the era in which she grew up does not mean I condone her behavior.  Let this be a lesson to EVERYONE that racist behavior is not cool, not appreciated, and not right.  And Black people must realize that we must take some responsibility as well.  We need to stop referring to each other as the “n” word, stop referring to women as b*thces and h*es, and just have respect for each other in general.  It’s amazing that we don’t get upset when we disrespect each other but get up in arms when a non-Black does us wrong.

And speaking of the South, let’s discuss the SCOTUS’ decision regarding Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  So they justices decided to put the decision back on the hands of Congress to update the language, which apparently they stated they would do in 2006.  This is just another reason that shows be careful of who you elect as your Senator and Representative in state elections.  Most times, the decisions they make are more important and more impactful than the ones made by the President.

George Zimmerman’s trial started this week.  The only thing I’ll say (at least until the trial is over) is that you have an unarmed teenager that was pursued by an armed grown man.  Even if Trayvon Martin was the aggressor, I understand why.  I would be too, if someone were chasing me.  At the end of the day, Zimmerman decided to ignore the instructions from the 911 operator and chased this kid down.  And not only did he continue to follow him in his car, he got out of his car and ran him down on foot, with his gun in his waistband.  To me, this just means he (Zimmerman) was looking to pick a fight that night.

In recent months, the men that I have encountered/dated have left a LOT to be desired.  At first, I thought something was wrong with me, since I am the common denominator.  I have since changed my thinking and realized it just happens to be the duds that I meet.  So, I toyed around with the idea of asking select friends to play matchmaker…AND even bringing the matchmaking idea to my blog.  But the more I think about it, the more I’m going to be a little more patient.  I may bring it here-I may not.  I may take it to my friends-I may not.  But as of right now, I’ll wait it out.

I just came back from my summer vacation, and I’m kinda sad to go back to work today. 😦  But at least next week is a short work week as well!

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Feel free to comment on anything I haven’t shared.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Links of the Week

Today’s post is similar to “This Week in the News” but slightly different.  This may not necessarily be “news” moreso than just interesting information that I wanted to share.

First, Michelle in Training, a non-profit started by my friend kat calvin and where yours truly serves as the Public Relations and Marketing Chair, was featured in the Washington Post after we participated in Defining Young Black Philanthropy.  I plan on writing a post in the near future on how we (young professionals) can give back, even if we don’t have 6 zeros in the bank.

I’ve alluded to the fact that I’m a natural girl on this blog a time or two (for those of you that do not know me IRL).  I came across this article on Curly Nikki and thought it was worthy of sharing with my readers.  I’m glad Stephanie received the support from her job to transition to being natural; this story can assist women that are struggling with making the decision to stop getting relaxers rest a little easier and feel comfortable making that decision.  I think I inspired a few of my cousins to go natural after I made the transition as a number of them stopped getting perms.  (I could be totally wrong, but I think I may be right. :))

To ensure that you know what’s going in your backyard, you should be well aware of the fact that the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  You should also know the facts surrounding the impending sequester.  As someone that knows people that will be affected, I hope there is a resolution SOON!  Never fret-not all news from DC is bad news.  Yesterday, the statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol.

Some new websites/apps that you should check out include “Around the Way“, an app that will assist you in locating a local black business.  You should also check out Blerdology, a site made especially for the black tech community filled with news, events, and feature stories.

That’s all I’ve got for today.  Feel free to share a story that I missed.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Today’s Black History Month Fact: In 1879, Southern Blacks left economic and political exploitation in what is known as the Exodus of 1879.  This was the first migration of Blacks following the Civil War, and Exodusters settled in Kansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma.

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This Week in the News

I know…SHOCKER!!! When was the last time I did a “TWITN” post??? It’s been a minute.

First, I want to ask that we pray or have a moment of silence for all of the people that lost their lives in the attacks in Libya and Egypt earlier this week.  Hate is such a terrible thing, and I wish leaders would make a real effort to try to eradicate it.

Next, I want to go on record as saying that you people who think O.J. Simpson is Khloe Kardashian’s dad need a hobby… Seriously people???  Yes, Khloe looks a little different from her siblings, but that’s what happens when you have four children with the same parents.  Have you guys ever heard of biology and recessive traits??? If not, look it up, because I refuse to go into detail about genetics work.  I will say I know plenty of families with more than 4 children and not all of the children look alike.  Some are shorter, some have ligther skin, some are a little thicker than most.  It happens….

For those of you that watch “Big Brother”, I know you’re probably salivating at the mouth to find out if Dan will win again.  He is such a sneaky little snake this season!  He has played an awesome game, and if he can convince the jury of that, he has a pretty good shot at walking away with the prize.

Now, while my Jaguars had WAY better stats in Sunday’s game than Minnesota, they weren’t able to pull out a win.  I do hope (and pray) that they get their first W of the season at home…against Houston.  I know it may be a long shot, but Jacksonville is looking MUCH better than they did last year.

Next week, I’ll be focusing on Voter Education.  While I don’t care who you vote for (actually, I do!), I believe that we should ALL be well versed in the rules governing our voting rights.  So be on the lookout!  Enjoy your weekend, and until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!