by guest blogger, Kai Wall
Recently, I stood my ground against individuals who were in positions of authority over me. They were disgustingly abusive, frighteningly racist and seemed to expect me to respond to their frequent attacks on my dignity with a compliant timidity. As it seemed with Sandy Bland when she encountered the rouge state trooper in Waller County, Texas my initial thoughts were these people have got to be kidding. The experience was surreal. As things escalated I used my intellect, reasoning and "strong black woman attitude" as my tools of protection. My tormentors only became more venomous, just as the trooper had become with Sandy. As I witnessed Sandy's encounter, specifically the contrived stop followed by his mean-spirited, condescending tone and confrontational attitude, my barely healed wounds began to reopen. When he pathologically informed her he would "light her up," I felt terror because that was the message I more or less received at my point of no return. My spirit meshed with hers as I understood the doom that awaited her. My tears flooded as I knew she would not be okay. My heart ached as I knew she would not make it out of this one alive. As I returned to a clear state of consciousness I thought I am wounded. I've been greatly harmed, but I am still alive, while Sandy is not. I owe it to her to pick up the pieces and become whole, because I am still here. I have a chance to begin anew, while Sandy's fate has been permanently sealed. Sandy, what happened to you was not fair. The irony is not missed that your death was caused by the very same conditions you fought so valiantly and honorably against. I will pick up the pieces not only for myself, but also for you. Your death will not be in vain. ©2015 KCW
“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Oftentimes I highlight the work and service of women under the category: #sheSpeaksUP! Today, I highlight someone who speaks up not only in her accomplishments, but her service to her community:
Upon meeting Karen Cecile Wallace, I knew she had IT. What is IT? It is that 'thing' I encounter upon meeting people who are selfless and work to build a better community locally as well as abroad. They have a story and through their service, we listen.
Karen is a part of floWERS! (focused ladies of Worth, Excellence, Resilience and Strength!) She is the epitome of what floWERS! represent: Ambition. Service. Drive. Selflessness. With a significant amount of pro bono hours (free legal service hours to the community), she continues to give. Karen has a background as an adjunct professor, youth mentor and a corporate attorney. Her foundation in public policy and nonprofit organizations prove she has what it takes to accomplish the mission of her latest endeavor: The Violence Prevention Funding Campaign.
Karen currently resides in her hometown (Chicago) and is a member of Trinity United Church of Christ. She is highly regarded in the Cook County Bar Association and has worked with various school systems, organizations and churches in her community throughout the years. Along with the heart of teaching, advocating and mentoring, Karen’s work is admirable and meaningful. She gives back with excellence. Just recently Karen launched the campaign fund for violence prevention in Chicago that I will follow and update you about toward the attainable goal of $200,000.00.
We need your help. With its crime rate, Chicago is seen as the most unsafe city according to a recent study.
There is always hope. By the time you read this, I hope you join me and Karen in doing more for your local communities as well as giving back in service to other communities. As we often see, in times of injustice (e.g. police brutality in the Black community), many people hark upon the 'lack of attention' that ‘black on black’ crime receive throughout the nation. Usually this argument is counterproductive as well as a distraction. It seeks to support the notion that no one cares about the violence happening in our own communities which is untrue. It further gives rise to questioning community activism in these areas. Please note that nationwide, there are several organizations, churches, activists, community leaders, teachers and parents serving in this capacity. Let’s not discount their work and service, but join them in the fight against violence while speaking against different injustices.
Now, let me tell you about Karen’s campaign that I wholeheartedly support. Karen is seeking funding for an initiative that will help different churches and organizations with established programs for the youth in Chicago. The purpose of this campaign is to reduce gun violence in the city. Contributing to this campaign will help fund these established community based violence prevention programs that have a proven track record and assist them in expanding the reach of their programs. With her experience and commitment, I know that Karen and her committee will be successful in finding the organizations and churches to assist through this heartfelt mission. They will conduct due diligence in researching these programs by identifying groups that have been effective with their violence prevention programs. The funding will essentially help improve the lives of both boys and girls. The approach of the programs may be anywhere from home and school visits, mentoring and other types of outreach.
What you can do to help?
So... the other day I was in a group discussion about sexual assault on campuses and how (in 2014) many colleges still handle complaints irresponsibly. Many colleges opt to handle the cases internally (not wanting to receive bad press I suspect.) Therefore, they prefer keeping it 'hush-hush' while placing much of the burden and shame on the victims. You know, "she wasn't supposed to go out with him after a certain time of night or invite him into her dorm and everyone knows she wasn't supposed to wear THAT on the date." It is a sad state of affairs. Again, in 2014.
I'm so glad that a group of students have joined Columbia University's Emma Sulkowicz in bringing awareness to this issue. She is a survivor herself and what began as Sulkowicz's project for school has the power to become a movement on campuses nationwide.
According to Columbia Spectator, "The collective carry was organized by Carrying The Weight Together, a group of students and alumni who want, according to the group's site, "to help Emma carry the weight of the physical mattress, give her and other survivors of sexual assault in our community a powerful symbol of our support and solidarity, and show the administration that we stand united in demanding better policies designed to end sexual violence and rape culture on campus." Emma plans to carry the mattress around on campus until her alleged rapist is no longer on campus. Read and see more (tweets and activism) on The Huffington Post about support for Emma Sulkowicz.
"Protest is the language of the unheard."
America. Land of the free. Home of the brave.
Martial law. Protest. Another Movement.
In times like these~
Not only should we pray for peace,
but pray for justice.
Protest is the language of the unheard.
For it is only with justice,
we will acquire true peace.
Therefore, without justice...there is no peace.
This is HUGE! Let me calm down first. Wow. In the words of the elders, if you lie-you will cheat, if you cheat-you will steal and...you know the rest. Well, in wow and WHOA news: the great grandson of Anna Short Harrington, the woman who became known as "Aunt Jemima," filed a class action suit on behalf of her heirs. He claims that the companies lied about their great grandmother's role with the company as an employee and exploited her image among the images of other women. He further alleges that for over sixty years, the company refused to pay an "equitable fair share of royalties." Allegedly, the company received a certified death certificate for Harrington that listed Quaker Oats as her employer. Previously, the company claimed they had no employment records of her or images of her (although they deposited her image with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office according to claims in the lawsuit.) Here's a brief timeline:
In 1935, Harrington took on the role of the pre-existing Aunt Jemima.
In 1937, the company originally registered the trademark.
In 1989, Quaker Oats updated the image to that of Harrington's youngest daughter. This is the image we see today.
There are also claims of racial elements as well as allegations that several recipes and menus were stolen from Harrington and the company easily persuaded her to move forward without representation of an attorney for her interest. Again, wow. Although these are only claims (for now), it makes me wonder about other companies! Let me know what you think in the comment section below and read more about the lawsuit on The Chicago Tribune.
Thank you for stopping by.