A reflection of the 2008 Election

In 2008 on Election Day, I worked with Howard University’s News Service to capture the voting experience in Washington, D.C.  I arrived at Gage Elementary School, which is now closed and turned into a dog park (gentrification of course), before the polls open to interview the line that waited outside.  The line consisted of blacks, whites, college students and retirees.  Vans even unloaded voters who needed assistance getting to the polls.

It was a beautiful day and I witness people go through great lengths to cast their vote.  It reminded me of people who went great lengths to have the right to vote during the Civil Rights era.

After I gathered the information that I needed, I sat in the lab and wrote two articles about Election Day 2008:

Military: Political Views Not Uniform

Reflections of the Dream

Later that night I went to the Blackburn Center at Howard University to watch the election results.  There was an air of nervousness 45 minutes before a winner was declared.  I stood with my friend Erica holding her hand tight waiting for the announcement.  When they announced Barack Obama was the winner a deafening noise of celebration rung through the campus.  We chanted with the rest of the student body and sung songs like “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “We Shall Overcome”.  Tears of joy ran down our faces it was a great day!  It was a day that I will always remember and I hope today will be a day just like it.

The videos below are great representations of my 2008 Election Day experience, I make a 10 sec cameo in the ABC clip (3:30 mark).

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4 Years Later

In four years I’ve witnessed and experienced many things that influence the choice that I made today.

No everything is not perfect but we are on the right track and I think it would be a shame to steer off course now.

I’ve been a victim of this cruel economy that undermined my skills and collegiate education.

I’ve been poor, unemployed and then underemployed.

But with the rain, I’ve seen a promising rainbow.  I’ve seen an increase in jobs and an increase of my peers obtaining them.

I’ve seen my friends return home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’ve seen my immigrant friends attend four-year universities.

I’ve been able to maintain healthcare benefits even when I was not working.

I see progress but it takes more than four years to turn this economy around.

I want us to move FORWARD as a country and I pray that you all make the decision to keep our President in the White House and allow him to finish what he started.

#AugustWritingChallenge – Day 24 – Courage

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

Maya Angelou

It is courageous to tell the truth.  It is always easy to tell a lie, but to be honest is extraordinary.    I love honest people.  I love their ability to be honest with themselves and with others.  I especially love those who have the courage to me different but honest with one they really are, honest with what they believe and honest with with what makes them happy.  They never conform to what people think they should be or do what everyone else is doing.  I wish I had that courage,   like those men and women who decided to be openly homosexual in the United States military.  Or what about the college graduates who start up their own entrepreneurial endeavors instead of working for “the man”.   And just like the 18 year olds who leave their hometowns to live in a new city or country with no family or friends to support them.  Not too forget all the young lovers who do not see age or race, but only see the person that makes them happy.  And I have a special place for the active citizens in this world who serve their communities without gaining a dime and who are passionate in taking a stand for what they do and do not believe in.

I love witnessing this courage.

#AugustWritingChallenge – Day 23 – Envy

There was a girl that I called my best friend at one point in our lives and one day she pulled me to the side and told me that she envied me because I was smart.  I blamed myself for her feeling that way and I tried everything in my power to make her feel special for her individual talents.  However, deep down I knew we would never be best friends again, because no matter what I did she would always feel that way.  To this day, I do not think she realizes why our friendship did not work.  We have not been friends for years now and there is a strand of envy still standing between us.

Envy is the root for most teenage drama.  It is what made my middle school and high school years one crazy ride.  What I could never grasp is that everything that people envied me for they could have obtained on his or her own.

The green-eyed monster comes out of most teenagers and some people seem to never shake the monster out of them, as they become adults.  It can become quite tragic.  Envy is a terrible thing to hold in one’s heart.  Just let it go.

#AugustWritingChallenge – Day 22 – Crime

I am a victim of theft.  It’s happen to me twice personally and several times professionally.

I never could wrap my head around why people steal.  I believe that if you live right and work hard, you will be blessed.  Very simple, indeed but in the world of instant gratification people will go great lengths to get what they want or need.

My parents are hard working people.  They never cheated the system and they were always fair.  I am a hard worker and I never cause them any problems therefore whatever I want or need they provide for me.  It seemed simple to me until I was exposed to a different reality when I left home.

Growing up in Clarksville, I heard about my peers robbing houses or stealing from the mall.  They would take things like underwear or jewelry from stores like RAVE or Claire’s.  From houses they would steal shoes and electronics.  What was interesting about the kids, who stole, was that their parents worked hard and if they asked for those items they would get them.  I, also, worked at a store in the mall and I witness men and women scheme to steal from my store.  There was a time when I chased two women out of the mall for trying to steal.  Why spend so much time on becoming a professional thief, when you could use that time to go to school or get a job? I just did not understand. Then I left Tennessee for D.C. and noticed that people started stealing lives.  Killing is stealing to me and not only was it prevalent in D.C. and other major cities, but my hometown started to see a lot of it, too.  Then I left D.C. for New York where corporate America was stealing from the rich.

Stealing has no ethnicity, religion and no economic disparities.  Many people are doing it and for all the wrong reason.

Below you will find the video for “Stole” by Kelly Rowland:

#AugustWritingChallenge – Day 21 – Pain

“Et tu, Brute?” – Julius Caesar (III, i, 77)

Even though scraps, bruises, headaches and illness can cause me pain.  The worse pain for me however, is the heartbreak of betrayal.  There is nothing worse than having a love one betray you.

That time of pain is hard to get over and hard to mend.  Loyalty is gone, trust is broken and the relationship has ended.  But how do you deal with the pain when it’s family?  When your blood and their blood are the same and that fact is something that you can’t erase or walk away from it.

 I’ve experience pain from former friends’ betrayal and even though they created unnecessary drama, it was always easy to walk away.  However the recent pain that I’ve experience from family still pesters me like an annoying fly.  I can leave the room where the fly is, but it will eventually make its way to where I am again.  

My love is still there, but so is the pain.  I guess the saying, “pain is love” is true in this instance.

#AugustWritingChallenge – Day 20 – Message

As of late I have been receiving the message of timing and perseverance.  It’s amazing what I will find on my Tumblr’s dashboard.  It’s great to know that I am not alone in my feelings.  You are all being used to show me what I need to know.  Below are some of the messages of strength, patience and faith that came across my dashboard recently:

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.

Mahatma Gandhi

Learn to balance a dream and a job until your dream becomes your job.

No course, no degrees, no external validation will ultimately empower a person. That shift in thinking happens internally. The more we examine our strengths and weaknesses, like any good warrior who is preparing for battle, the more we know who we are.

Ambika Wauters

If you’re feeling frightened about what comes next, don’t be. Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and your mind as you create your own path towards happiness, don’t waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment, as it comes; because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart… where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again.

Everwood

I received my 100th rejection on Friday.  It’s nothing new, but the way I deal with it gets worse each time.  It’s only this way because I’m trying to figure it all out, but there is nothing to discover.  It’s clear that it is not my time.

I do believe God has something amazing planned for me.  I just need to wait on Him and he will reveal it all.  It’s easy to say but yet I stray from remembering this.  I can attest to His power because I am alive, I have the necessities in life and I am loved. I’m blessed.

#AugustWritingChallenge – Day 19 – Craving

I have this craving for cupcakes.   Chocolate, yellow, vanilla, strawberry, banana, red velvet, lemon and you name it.  The idea of a cupcake is one of the best creations known to man.

The petite convenience is one reason I crave them.  I do not need a fork or plate.  I can walk around and enjoy the spongy moist cake with the sweet creamy frosting on top.

I am not as bad as I was last year.  At one point I needed to visit a shop once or twice a week.  Now my visits are once or twice a month.  It’s only because I do not live or work by a cupcake shop.  I’m sure that once I change both locations, I’ll be able to control my craving.

#AugustWritingChallenge – Day 18 – Infatuation

Everyone always made infatuation seem like a short-term frivolous moment of craze.  Often described as a surreal experience that was broken by a moment of clarity.

How do you know it was just infatuation?  It could have been real passion.  It could have been real love.  Does infatuation become the excuse when it does not work out?

It always seems like it’s the case.  Especially, for those who jump to one relationship to another.  Short-lived romances become infatuated mishaps.

Some websites claim that “when infatuated…we’re miserable when they’re away, almost like we’re not complete unless we’re with them. It’s a rush and it’s intense. It’s difficult to concentrate.”  Now doesn’t this sound like all of the love songs that we hear on a daily basis?  The “I can’t eat, sleep or live without you” songs.

 Clearly, songwriters have us all fooled.  I blame them.

#AugustWritingChallenge – Day 17 – Getaway

I’m always planning my next getaway.   My Labor Day weekend trip is planned, my birthday is locked and I need to start planning my trip to homecoming and a visit to Tennessee.

It is necessary to spend some days away from reality.  Everyone needs a break from work, school and drama.  It’s always a great experience being around good company and enjoying a change of scenery.

My parents were not adventurous growing up.  Our family vacations were to see other family members in South Carolina or New York.   However, I did get my fairytale at Disney World.

Once I started college and mingled with the other students, I realized how behind I was in my travel aspirations.  I felt uncultured next to my peers who have spent time in all four corners of the world.  On the other hand, I know people who have never flown on a plane, which limits their travel opportunities.  I also know people who have never left Tennessee or the Tri-State area.

Now that I am an adult with my own money, I am making it a priority to see this world one city at a time.