Friday, July 15, 2016

Live A Day in the Someone Else's Shoes

Hi Beautiful People,

Let me start by saying that this isn’t one of my typical blog posts.

My loyal Singlenfab followers know that the sole purpose of my blog is to give you an inside look "my perspective" on what it's like being Single in L.A. "adventures and struggles." It is strictly for entertainment purposes.

However, in light of the most recent shootings that have occurred my heart is heavy and I want to take this opportunity to use this platform to share what it's like to Live a Day in the Someone Else's Shoes.

I would have posted this Blog sooner (it took me an entire week to write it) but I was experiencing such a range of emotions that it prevented me from being objective and I couldn’t identify the right (appropriate) words to express how I was feeling at the time.

I've had several conversations with close friends and family, especially my sister Keesha and brother Bruce a "fellow social worker", trying to process what the hell is going on in our society right now! So I'm just going to share with you some of my concerns and leave it up to you to decide whether you agree or disagree.
Let me start by saying that the African American community is historically known for rallying together in times of need to address civil rights and social injustice. If we are all human beings and equal to one another why is it that minority communities always need to fight for rights that are naturally given to "others"?
If you do your research The Black Lives Matter Movement never stated that no one else's lives mattered but wanted to bring attention to the “broken” justice system.

“Black Lives Matter was founded by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi as both a hashtag and a political project after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin. Distraught at the verdict, Oakland, Calif., community activist Alicia Garza wrote an impassioned Facebook plea ending with the words "black lives matter." Patrisse Cullors, a community organizer from Los Angeles, shared the Facebook post and put a hashtag in front of those three words. The ideals expressed — the economic, political and social empowerment of African-Americans — resonated nationwide. Since 2013, Black Lives Matter has moved from social media platforms to the streets, morphing into an organization and a movement that gained national recognition during demonstrations after the 2014 police-involved killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Black Lives Matter is not inherently anti-police or anti-white, nor does the phrase Black Lives Matter mean other lives aren't important. The most important directive of Black Lives Matter, is to deal with anti-black racism, to “push for black people’s right to live with dignity and respect” and be included in the American democracy that they helped create.” (USA Today article, Ryan Miller, 7/12/16).

You don't have to agree to the hashtag created and how each chapter chooses to protest but understand the reason why it was created in the first place.

Not all police officers are corrupt, but there are way too many that are using their badges as a form of power and control. Police brutality needs to be addressed.

For BLACK mothers and fathers to have to worry about whether their child is going to make it home because they're afraid they will be "executed" by a cop is absolutely insane! This doesn’t automatically mean that their children don’t know how to react to police when they are approached. But ask yourself why is this particular group of people constantly being put in the position of being questioned?

Try being racially profiled on a daily basis solely on the color of your skin, based on the type of car you drive, because of the neighborhood you live in or happen to be driving in, or that you are being told you "fit the description". Why is this experience "the norm" for black people but for no one else?

Just take a minute and ask yourself if you'd be okay with being treated like an African American in 2016? Professor Jane Elliott video (only 47 seconds).

You never know what another person is dealing with until they tell you, so don't assume you know. Once you know then your whole perspective will change.

Do I believe people who commit crimes should be punished Yes! Do I want to be protected from those who are truly "criminals" and don't have any regards to anyone else's life Absolutely!

But please explain to me what egregious act was Alston Sterling committing in front of the store that put others lives in danger that warranted he be shot multiple times? Philando Castile was cooperating with police, informed them he had a gun in his possession (with a permit to carry) and died with his girlfriend and a child in the car?!

Yes, there is a lot of information we do not know but what if this was your relative? Wouldn't you ask what other ways they could have handled these "alleged" suspects? Was killing these men absolutely necessary??

Take a moment to view this Deadly Racial Double Standard video! Several different scenarios showing white men armed with weapons being approached by police officers but not killed.

Please don’t assume that just because a person of color was pulled over by a police officer that they are not a law-abiding citizen. Just because they may have a criminal record doesn’t mean that they are "actively" committing a crime. Why is it if a black man asks questions about why they were pulled over, what they did wrong, or if they are being detained all of sudden they are labeled as "aggressive" or "resisting??" How many times is it going to take for you to get pulled over before you become frustrated, annoyed and feel disrespected?? Oh you don’t know…why....because it doesn’t happen to you.

Overall my goal is to make sure people understand that clearly no one life is valued over another but when one group of people are dying, at an alarming rate, at the hands of police officers and they are not being “indicted” we have a "serious problem" with our justice system!

Let me be clear! This world has a history of hatred for those who are "not white." So when I hear people say that this world is made up of “people” and we are all apart of “the human race” I agree with them and then I correct them and let them know the REALITY. Those of us who walk around, that do not look white, are constantly being judged solely off the color of our skin and the stereotypes that come with our race because there are people out there who’ve been taught to hate. …we are not being judged on our religion or our sexual orientation because those are the things they don’t know…until you tell them. Because “hatred is taught” please know that there are still people all over the world who continue to teach it, hence the problems we have today. So forgive me for kindly agreeing to disagree with you because my experience will ALWAYS be different from yours.

Important Side Note - My comment about religion and sexual orientation is not an attempt to ignore the recent acts of violence that have been inflicted upon the LBGTQ community, Muslims, Latinos or any other minority population. It just further proves my point that IGNORANCE & RACISM is alive and well in our society. Donald Trump is a perfect example of it!

Are there great police officers out there in the world doing an excellent job, most definitely! I've worked with a fair share of them in the Los Angeles area. I was a social worker who knocked on people's doors and removed abused or neglected children from the home, when absolutely necessary, with police officers right there to protect me. But I did it without passing judgement on the family I was investigating, I didn't demean them, I didn't assume what was being said about that family was true, I gave them the opportunity to explain their situation. I de-escalated situations and the police officers were present to watch me do it. They've told me several times they couldn't do my job and in return I acknowledged their courage for putting their lives on the line every day they put that uniform on.

However, I strongly believe that there are certain situations, when appropriate, that it's okay for an officer to have a conversation and ask a few more questions that doesn't come off as threatening to the person they are addressing.

But let's admitted it, there are several officers out there abusing their power and making "life threatening/deadly" decisions without giving black men the benefit of the doubt. I understand that officers are trained to be on "high alert" but they desperately need anti-bias and cultural diversity training.

Let me be completely honest, you chose to be a police officer we didn't choose to be black.

Unfortunately, "my people" don't always give a good impression of themselves and feed into the stereotypes we are so adamantly fighting against. Yes I am acknowledging that at times we do act a damn fool and it becomes a reflection on all of us. As a result, our whole entire race is judged off of what these particular individuals do. (Black folks you know what I'm talking about. Just look at World Star Hip Hop and Love & Hip Hop, we need to boycott all those damn shows).

At the same time, we as a community need to take responsibility on educating our children on appropriate behavior. What happened to "it takes a village to raise a child?" I work with youth and I've seen a major change on how I was raised when I was growing up and there are definitely some kids out there who need "ass whippings" and "home training" (don't use any objects and don't leave any marks or bruises, lol, just kidding) I'm just saying we need to get back to "raising our kids" (the ones that need it the most) in an effort to prepare them so that they are aware of what they're about to face in the Real World.

So take a moment and think about what it feels like for a whole race to be judged off of a few “bad apples” in the bunch. This is exactly what happened to the police officers in Texas. They died at the hands of a vigilante who sought revenge for exactly the WRONG reasons! Violence begets violence so if our society continues down this path what do you expect is going to happen?? It doesn't make it right but you can only keep your foot on someone's neck for so long until they decide to fight back.

Police brutality doesn't only happen to black people it happens to non-blacks too, the only difference is it only becomes an outrage if it directly affects YOU.

We have to come together as a people and fight for what's right when you know what is happening is wrong whether it directly affects you or not. We have to educate one another and understand each others plight "no matter what the cause is." But until we do...this society will continue to deteriorate and regress.

If you were able to get to the end of this Blog entry THANK YOU for taking the time to read one person's heartfelt opinion/thoughts on the struggles of what black people have dealt with, continue to deal with and will fight to overcome in American society in 2016.

We've come a long way but we still have a long way to go!

The Adventures of SingleNFabulous 
will continue to support #BlackLivesMatter because it affects me, my family and friends directly, 
but I also truly believe that #AllLivesMatter!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

4th of July Weekend Activities

Hi Beautiful People,

I've been looking forward to this 3 Day Weekend since the last one, lol, because I've been trying to focus on gettin' My Life! Sometimes I just need that one extra day off to relax and be productive without any pressure. So guess what I'm doing...writing this Blog (wink). 

I must say, I am SOOOOOOOOO sad that I didn't get to go to the Essence Festival this year! I haven't been in a couple of years and I'm starting to go through withdrawals. But I also knew that this would be my year to lay low because I really needed to refocus on reviewing my financial & career goals and commit to living a healthier lifestyle.

We are halfway through 2016 and I'm beginning to feel like things are starting to fall into place. 

Since I changed job locations from Los Angeles to Santa Monica I've been blessed to find a co-worker, my girl Jessica, who is my "no nonsense accountability partner." We both know what we need to do we just need to commit to doing it.

Unfortunately, she is going to kill me because I went rogue this holiday weekend and indulged in all kinds of Food & Drank!! Lol

Sidebar - Ok so here's a little back story... Jessica and I both agreed that we were on a mission to loose weight. So 2 weeks ago we committed to making adjustments to our eating habits. She chose to do the Atkins diet, it has a lot of restrictions and is no joke but it fits her personality. When she commits to something she does it at 100%. Which is why she's a great person for me to partner with. When I make decisions about what I'm going to eat I hear her in the back of my mind and it motivates me to make the right choice or there will be consequences (Jessica don't play, lol).

I chose to get my meals prepped by EatNakedLA because I just don't have the time, the energy or knowledge on trying to figure out how to make healthy meals. So I'm leaving it to the professionals. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...Lol.

We also agreed to exercise during the week to keep us motivated. I can honestly say that I've done pretty good these last two weeks and my body feels much better. I've never had a problem committing to changing my eating habits, I have a problem with discipline and maintaining consistency. So I'll keep you posted on how I'm able to maintain this summer. I'm definitely on a mission...this weight has got to go Permanently!

Okay so back to my 4th of July weekend activities. Me and my road dawg Timi were planning to get into as many events as we possibly could but this time it involved partying with other people. Now Timi knows me very well and I'm real particular about who I hangout with because everyone isn't always on the same page. So this weekend was going to be REAL interesting.
First stop - Saturday The DoOver
Now we've never been to the DoOver before but I heard it was real cool so we thought we'd go and try it out. Timi and I met 2 other ladies at this spot and found the line outside to be out of control when we arrived. We started to have second thoughts about going in but when the line started moving we discovered the wait wasn't that bad. We got in and it was packed with a mix of all types of people. Unfortunately it was more young people then it was grown folks. We checked out the whole place long enough to have some tacos and a drink. Everyone in our party wasn't too impressed with the DoOver so we all agreed to check out the next destination...

Second stop - The Perch
Timi and I have never been to the Perch either so I guess this was a good time to go. We proceeded to go to the rooftop where we joined a small crowd of people and observed a beautiful view of downtown Los Angeles. Unfortunately there was no place to sit so we weren't motivated to get a drink and just stand around. Around this time we were getting hungry and it was about time for us to find some food. Since the last time Timi and I went out we tried to go to The Cork and were unsuccessful this was the perfect time to try try again, lol...

Third stop - The Original Cork Bar & Grill 
Good food, good music and strong ass alcoholic beverages! The seafood platter was excellent and a perfect way to end our night. 

It was at this time that Timi and I confirmed who all was going with us to Sangria Sunday the next day! I had already reserved a table for bottle service online that allowed 6 seats at our table. We had already confirmed, Me, Timi, my sis Keesha and Rhonda were going for sure. Timi also had a friend that confirmed she was going too! We just needed one more person. We had one more potential person who might be able to go but it was guaranteed. Whether this one additional person came or not we'd be able to handle bottle service with just 5 people because it wasn't that expensive (I've seen higher tabs). But of course it would be too much like right for everything to work itself out the way we planned it...

Sidebar - I sent everyone the detailed information on how much bottle service cost and clearly stated we need people who are not going to trip on spending money, willing to drink and ready to Dance! But of course no one can predict what someone else is going to do??

So Saturday comes and out of nowhere we had someone bail on us at the last minute...Are you fucking kidding me?? (excuse my french, but I was livid)

So let me be clear...we didn't have 6 people, but we had 5 and now we are down to 4, really? I hate being left at the mercy of someone else who commits to do something and then bails. This is why I keep my circle small and don't like dealing with anyone else that I'm not familiar with. 

Now that bottle service has increased per person it's no longer an option and we are paying $20 a head to get in with nowhere to sit...I'm pissed.

Well we still went because wasn't nobody gonna rain on our parade. My sister decided not to go because she just doesn't like to deal with bull$hit and she said that she will go with us next time when it's our own crew doing bottle service! So Timi and I met Rhonda at OHM Nightclub for Sangria Sundays. By complete accident we met a girl named Latasha while standing in line. Latasha turned out to be real cool and she just so happened to be at Sangria Sunday solo. We all ended up hanging out together. Latasha was able to get the hook up on a small table (no reservation needed) in the lounge area with "live music" and we ate, drank and danced. The crowd was "interesting" you know there's always some characters in the crowd but we had a good time anyway. We definitely have to find more spots to go to that exposes us to a more "diverse" crowd of people. 

As usual no luck with any potential men. I don't know what it is but I'm just going to continue to "do me" and keep going out and having a good time.

Stay tuned for more Singlenfabulous Summer Adventures...