PODCAST. NEW EPISODE. The Age of Digital Activism

Check out my newly branded podcast and listen to the latest episode, The Age of Digital Activism. Social Activism has taken on many forms in the wake of the many cases of police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. In this episode, I discuss the current climate along with my own activism experience. If you have 40 and over topics you would like to see featured here, let me know by leaving a comment. Thank you for listening!

https://anchor.fm/the40andoverproject/episodes/The-Age-of-Digital-Activism-eivg3s

Back To School Shopping. Old School Edition

As parents prep to send kids back to school (or not) during this pandemic, I thought I would share some memories I think some of you might appreciate.

Back to school shopping back in the 1980s, was an annual event, that involved parents taking their kids to local popular department stores to get the best deals on clothes, shoes, and school supplies for their growing boys and girls for the new school year.

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and shopping local, was a thing, long before it was a thing. My friends and I often wax nostalgic over stores like Gold Circle (which I’m convinced became Target) and Value City, both Ohio and Midwest based chains, that were very popular in the 70s and 80s. Also, I’m old enough to remember the onset of “the mall”, which was a new phenomenon for a generation who was used to the “one-stop shop” department store concept, which, ironically, has made a comeback through stores like Target and Walmart.

Another thing my generation grew up on, was the catalog. There was the JC Penney and Sears catalogs. These catalogs were not unlike the size of a phone book and was very much the precursor to online ordering so your mother either called the 1-800 number to place your order or you pressed her luck with a mail-in order form and pray the item wasn’t on back order by the time the form reached the warehouse.

Also, I would be remiss, if I did not give a shout out to the Sears store, and the Garanimals clothing line for kids. What made Garanimals awesome was the concept they created for coordinating and color matching through the use of animal figures on the hang tags. This, to me, was a genius concept. It was like the Sesame Street of clothing, teaching kids about colors and matching through fashion. I loved it.

Unfortunately, the 21st century and the onset of online shopping, has seen the demise of multiple large department stores and catalogs that were once the stallworth of shopping for a whole generation. A piece of nostalgia, that recently filed for bankruptcy is J. Crew. If you are #40AndOver and attended college in #the90s, you probably remember receiving a #JCrewCatalog in your dorm/residence hall. It was probably the first catalog that catered to the college age student, so unlike the JC Penney and Sears catalogs of our parents and grandparents day. It was a hallmark of life on campus. I never ordered anything from them and I’m guessing not many of my friends did nor this current generation, because, unlike the JC Penney catalog (or Penny’s as my grandmother liked to call them), J. Crew was super expensive so really, most of us just looked at the pictures, it was actually more like a magazine for us, more of an aspiration, if you will, that was delivered monthly to our student mailboxes and front desks in our dorms. As J. Crew goes by way of JC Penney and others, the only thing left will be the memories of a whole generation who defined the what “Back To School” shopping really meant.

#the40andoverproject #OldSchool #memorabilia

black lives matter. again.

Timeline

It goes in cycles but seems never ending. Every generation of African Americans has that moment where the anger boils over like fire because the racism and hatred just becomes unbearable. It’s got to stop but we know it’s never ending.
Watts Riots – 1965
LA Riots – 1992
Ferguson Riots – 2014
Minneapolis Riots – 2020

#poetry #instagrampoetry
#DoBetterAmerica #AmericanHistory

A Favorite Professor

I’m 47 now, but 23 years ago, 1997 to be exact, my senior year, a group of students from #KentStateUniversity , got on the bus headed to the first ever #MillionWomenMarch in Philly, PA, accompanied by Dr Adilene Barnes-Harden (pictured with us in the Kente cloth outfit, I’m next to her, holding the sign) . During my time at Kent State, I switched my major about 5 times, had some interesting experiences (we’ll just leave it at that, thankfully before the Facebook lol) , and I had some very awesome professors, especially in the Department of #PanAfricanStudies . If there was anything that was constant during my college years, in between all of the fun, it was the classes I had the privilege to take at Kent State. One of my favorite and one of the best professors EVER, was Dr. Barnes-Harden who taught The Black Woman, The Black Family, and other courses that changed my life! She was so raw and so real in the classroom and inspired us as black students on campus! She has transitioned, gone but definitely not forgotten. Ashe! RIP #KentStateForever #PAS #BlackStudies #PeaceAndLove

The Million Women March, circa 1997

poetry. on turning 42, part II. circa 2015

42  

A random age  

In random times 

Yet significant  

In this moment  

In history  

And in life  

Forty-two 

2 × 3× 7 

The angle  

Upon which  

A rainbow sits 

So that  

In the right light  

You see hope  

In the eye of the storm  

42 

The number of days  

A password expires  

On a Microsoft domain 

Before you must create a new one  

Restart the tedious process  

Of creating a new set of characters  

That symbolize who you  are

Yet is something you can remember  

Before you forget again  

The older you get  

The more you use the same password  

For multiple tasks  

Because life is  

Too short  

To have to remember  

How to get into your email account 

42 minutes  

The time it takes  

To drill  

To the center  

Of the earth  

Divisible by 

1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 14, 21, 42 

separates life  

Into segments  

Sections  

42 

In spiritual terms

Signifies the essence 

Of making life plans

Decisions

Figuring out 

What is next 

On your bucket list 

42

Superbowl XLII 

With 97.5 million viewers  

The year Jordin Sparks  

Sang the National Anthem  

And the year I made the decision  

to take a leap faith  

Figured out  

God had my back  

After all  

4 + 2 = 6 

The number of times  

My heart has been broken  

42 

broke barriers  

in the form of Jackie Robinson  

Baseball  

My grandfather’s favorite pastime  

Boring to me  

Yet symbolized so much  

To a race 

A country  

A sport  

Everyday  

42 children 

are diagnosed with cancer  

Such little bodies  

Such little time  

So unfair  

Yet so biblical  

Little children suffer  

God beckons  

God protects  

42 is the  answer given  

When a Google search  

Is completed  

Using the terms   

“The meaning of life ” 

That you can  

Find the answer  

To these questions  

On Google  

Is a challenge  

In itself  

The Age of Digital Activism

I was a huge Nike fan back in high school when I ran track and played volleyball, but it’s been a while since I’ve bought a pair of the sneakers with the swoosh. In 2019, Nike created a huge endorsement/marketing/sponsorship deal with activist football player, Colin Kaepernick. With one fell swoop, many of us pledged to make our next pair of sneakers, a pair of Nikes.

Since the dawn of the 21st century, it seems that becoming an activist has become extremely easy. No longer is it a requirement for people to march in the streets, like in the 60s, unless they want to. Activists today, have a choice as to how they want to participate. Activism today, can be something as small and easy as signing an online petition to boycotting a particular company because of their CEO’s political affiliation to protesting in the streets in Ferguson, MO or Minneapolis, MN, against the injustice of police brutality against black men and women.

Activism also affects different age groups in different ways. For example, I was a super student activist in college at Kent State University, in Ohio, in the 90s, during the time of the Rodney King case and O. J. I marched, I participated in sit-ins, walk outs, letter writing, rallies, etc. Today, I’m in my 40s and while I’d love to march in the streets, my activism leans more towards attending council meetings, putting my signature on petitions, participating in virtual rallies and other events, and giving monetary funds, when and where I can. Either way, whatever you choose to do, it all counts towards the efforts of standing up for issues of social justice, as long as you stand up for something.

So, with that said, it’s almost time for me to get a new pair of workout sneakers and you can best believe, my next pair will be Nike.

#ColinKaepernick #NikeAd #TakeAKnee #StandForSomething

4th of July Freedom

As we wrap up the #4thOfJuly and I watch the fireworks on TV and hear what have become American anthems, songs like America The Beautiful, that have been sung by artists of all races, played by military bands, orchestras, kids, choirs, and the like, I can’t help but to think, because we are America, yes, this great nation we belong to, with freedoms not allowed in some other countries and with all of its hypocrisies, contradictions, and Institutional – isms, there is no place I’d rather be, because, despite #AmericanHistory, it’s still a place where we can celebrate how this nation came to be (even with all of its inaccuracies, as we strive to correct it together), acknowledge where it has faltered in its oppression of others, and still be a country that can come together as a community to protect and save lives through a pandemic (despite the leadership), and still, as a part of its history, birth movements over the years, that demand changes from the same nation like The Civil War to end slavery (which the Union won for the record), like the Women’s Rights Movement to get women the right to vote, own property, to work, etc, like the Civil Rights Movement spearheaded by African Americans in America who just wanted to continue to fully remove the shackles of Jim Crow and gain equal rights, under the law and Constitution, as well as the right to vote, which then sparked other oppressed groups like the Native Americans, LGBTQ, Latino and Immigrant communities, Gun Rights movements, Environmentalists, and more. So it’s only predictable, given the backdrop of America and its history of the quest for freedom and oppression simultaneously, that the #BlackLivesMatter movement exists because, like the past, the need for justice repeats itself. So to those who wish to listen to the negativity and those who want you to believe that BLM is a terrorist group, then if you know anything about America, you know that the KKK is also a terrorist group. For the record, the KKK killed and lynched hundreds of people based solely on the color of their skin, just because, and mostly got away with these atrocious crimes. Now, if you can live with the thought of the KKK and BLM having the same social label, then you need to check your definitions of what a terrorist is, because the last time I checked, the BLM hasn’t killed anyone, only fought for justice peacefully, for the unlawful deaths of black people in America by the hands of our law enforcement, who, by the way, are supposed to protect us all, not just a few. So before you write BLM off, just remember, if freedom is what you celebrate today, you must understand that both the celebration of freedom and an effort to move the needle of what it means to be free forward, can indeed coexist, because, well…. This is America. Right?!?… Right! #PatriotismIsForEveryone #EqualityIsFreedom #socialjustice #NoJusticeNoPeace