Three Suggestions for Law Enforcement: My Two Cents On The Tragedies

 

Not all white people are racists.

 

Every muslim isn’t radical.

 

All black men aren’t gangsters.

 

I was wildly aware of race at a very young age because I grew up in a all white suburb. Playing at the pool and being asked about my hair, watching Roots in 7th grade social studies class. Having to answer questions about my race at the start of those stupid standardized tests were constant reminders that I was different from everyone else. I’ll never forget going to a 5th grade graduation party at Scott’s house and Robby yelling, “WHY ARE WE LISTENING TO ALL THIS NIGGER MUSIC?!” That was 5th grade! That was when I knew for sure I wasn’t like everybody else and never would be. Of course Robby was an outlier. My next door neighbor a white woman who still proudly wears her badge as my ‘second mom’ told me as soon as we began to converse about race that “everyone doesn’t think like that.” I carry her words with me around the world and still value her reminding me that hate is held in the hands of very few.

 

Growing up I never feared the police.

 

As a kid, I had nothing but glowing examples of what it is to be law enforcement. My AAU basketball coaches from 7th grade until 12th grade were Wake County Sheriff Deputies. These men served to the community by maintaining peace in the streets, providing for us financially as we traveled playing the game we love, and countless hours helping us practice and providing transportation wherever we wanted to go. It was the coolest thing in the world to get picked up from school early in a squad car to ride to Greensboro for a basketball tournament. My respect for the law continued once my sorority sister decided to join the force bringing beauty and brains to her department. For so long I saw the police through eyes of admiration because of these personal experiences. But it only takes one bad apple to spoil a bunch.

 

What goes up must come down.

 

As I’ve grown, explored, and left the safety net of the suburbs I’ve watch police around America muddle the respect I had for law enforcement as a child. Once in West Memphis, my cousin Brandon and I were pulled over, thoroughly searched and sent on our way. I was freaked out but Brandon found it routine which literally made me sick to my stomach. A few summers later, in Oakland my cousin Raymond was detained for ghost riding his whip. After being released with no resources to contact family or water in the heat of the summer he died of complications from the trauma of the incident. In both instances I was slow at the time to immediately condemn the police because I believed they were better than the picture painted. I knew officers of the law that upheld it well and I made up my mind that that’s how most officers are. But what I’ve seen in the media and heard from older people in my community has left me feeling like I can never call the police again.

 

The final stroke.

 

One interaction, one bad cop. There is a person in my life that is a police officer. Trust me when I say I would NEVER engage with this person but life has dealt me a hand where I must. This cop is the epitome of what I see is wrong with law enforcement in American. Whenever we speak he is immediately hostile. He constantly treats me like a suspect. He assumes that there is always a problem. He lacks empathy and ignores anything that has to do with feelings or emotions. Every time I have to speak with, see, or engage with this person there is a strong unnecessary distaste that he brings to every conversation. I blame this person’s unpleasantness sheerly on the fact that he is an officer of the law. His engagements are negative, he elects to stick with fear and intimidation over kindness and fairness. He wears his job on his sleeve and I see in him all the reasons why people don’t respect, honor, or appreciate law enforcement. It is sad.

 

Do better.

 

There must be a fundamental change in the way law enforcement officials engage with the community. Everyone is not a suspect. Everyone is not out to cause problems or to do harm. I am not a cop and can never speak to their experiences however, I truly believe the majority of people officers come in contact with want to go home at the end of the day just as bad as the officer does.

 

I’m not just here to complain.

 

Three Suggestions:

  1. Every cop should treat non-violent situations as though they were dealing with people they love. How can you claim to serve a people you do not care about? Cops must care more about the people and treat them as such. Fake it till you make it.
  2. Cops should have a shelf life. It’s fine to build a career but cops need to rotate around the department. Do different things. The job is grueling. Simmering in a pot of violence for years and years will only result in burns.
  3. Stop acting like there isn’t a problem.

 

 

 

Caroline Kennedy noted, “America was founded on ideas and values – freedom, equality, tolerance and diversity. The fact that ours is the oldest written constitution still in use is a testament to the enduring power of those ideas, and to the skill with which the founders framed them. It is easy to take this heritage for granted, but these ideals have survived only because individual citizens in war and in peacetime have sacrificed and struggled to breathe life into the words of the sacred text and to define those words anew for each generation.”

 

 

Guilty Green


I moved to New York to grow but there is no room. That rose that grew from concrete in this city was picked, packed, and sold to someone who could never understand the beautiful struggle it endured to bloom. Here I am halfway and I can confidently conclude this corner of the world is another fool’s paradise rated by Michelin stars and one’s ability to bullshit on command.

I’m not hating, I’m observant. Thankful for the questions and Answers.

It’s a burden to be in the know or not. The jungle catches you off guard like winter, winter, winter, summer. Forced connections, always touching someone or something because quite frankly there isn’t not enough space.

Learning from the past we persevere together despite living in our compassionatless bubble. Is Port Authority Ellis Island? Is this the Brooklyn Renaissance? Brilliantly we wound each other.

Temptation is never far like a shadow or a ghost. We applaud our own creativity as we fight against what is normal and what is acceptable. Why you ask? Why not? What’s not a good reason to fight when one feels the need to be free?

Still stubborn and driven. I understand and appreciate the mission. Afterall, wouldn’t you rather try to cross The Bridge of San Luis Rey and be on your way or sit in the same spot dreaming of that very day?

 

Love The Hair You Wear 2 + Ofasho


Love The Hair You Wear 2, a labor of love went down in a major way on 6.26.16 at Blind Whino in Washington, DC. with panel discussions, demonstrations, drinks and high quality vendors. Check out the natural hair insights for men and women and follow Love The Hair You Wear on Facebook for details about more events.

 

 

Nike SB + OFASHO


Nike is showing New York a lotta love this summer. The sport giant upgraded a Greenpoint skatepark then hosted a block party with all kinds of giveaways to celebrate the reopening. Skaters were impressed and appreciative of the fresh space, which Brooklyn News12 reports cost Nike SB over $300k. Check out the new McCarron Skatepark in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on ‪#‎GoSkateboardingDay‬ featuring an official OFASHO beat.

You Can’t Hide Heart


You Can’t Hide Heart

Will I ever write a poem as beautiful as Maya’s?

Will I ever hit a note as high as Mariah’s?

Will I ever love a King like Empress Menen?

If I hold my head high past the flying fruit like Ruby will I ever get in?

Must I continue to sail the high seas like Ida B to tell my horrific story?

Or should I swing a racket next to my sister to earn power and glory?

Maybe I should pick out my crown like Kathleen and ball up my fists?

Or rock a beret like Queen B at the half and stunt on the risk?

So many questions but for me the answer is this.

All the spirits whisper, grab a pen and work your wrist.

Dream #14 : Too Large For Life

I could always hear him before I saw him. Gus rode a motorized scooter. Not sure if he needed it but he was far too lazy of a person to walk if there was another option.

It was the same every Saturday. The market was my outlet for selling my growing collection of oversized junk. I’d collect all week and sell on Saturdays. Since I’ve been out I realized I couldn’t stay away from sales. That’s what I know. Plus, it’s an honest career. Can’t say the same of what I sold in the very same streets in prior years. The market is like night and day from the life I knew before.

Instead of junkies its hipsters waiting to uncover something strange to add to their collection of obscurities helping to define their undying need to be different. After the perfect pitch and a fabricated informal backstory I reel them in my booth, tell more of my perfectly pitched tale, and then count their cash.

Gus loves to ride over to my booth and give me headaches in front of my customers. I guess it’s his way of pushing my buttons, ensuring that I’ve been rehabilitated and won’t snap. Little does he know I do my dirt in the dark.

Gus also claims the dog shit in the courtyard came from Max. However, he can’t prove it. So I won’t be scooping that load of shit. No sir not me.

Emo

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I wonder what the world would be like if we were identified by the emotion we show most often. Our conversations would be like “Hey Hater, have a seat right over there” or of course positive emotions like, “Wow Confidence I’m so proud of you!” Even, “Hey Lonely, come here I have something special for you.” Would we be happier as humans if our emotions were better understood by the people around us? Can emotional intelligence make the world a better place? I think so, because if someone texts you, “Hi Lover, what time do you get off work?” You’ll be a more pleasant person for the rest of the work day. Snow White and her dwarfs really were on to something.

At the very least people would be forced to accept what they project. It might be what we need as a human race. It could lead to a better understanding of ourselves as human beings. It is amazing how many people in this world never study their reflection. To some the man in the mirror is the only man in the world. Their actions lack retrospection; they never consider stepping outside themselves for perspective.

I learned perspective growing up in North Carolina. Every year March Madness shuts down the state. Rivalries are real amongst neighbors NC State, Duke, Carolina, Wake Forest, and more. Regardless of what set you claim, excuse me school, one part of March Madness is universal. No, not filling out brackets, not Future’s interpretation, “I’m ballin like it’s March Madness.” I’m referring to legendary NC State Basketball Coach Jimmy Valvano and his famous ESPY speech, “Don’t ever give up.”

I remember Jimmy V’s advice vividly, “To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

The world would be different if emotions were apparent. To me emotions make the man or woman or child. If we can find ways to share what we feel and staying in control like Coach V said, “you’re going to have something special.” Show the world the strongest you and try not to hurt anybody in the process. Emotions are essential and being aware of your emotions can save and serve you at the same time.

Dream #13

More Dreams

 

A few days ago spring began. Josh and Justin went to pick up beer from the store. They always get the same beer, High Life; from the same store, Tony’s. These men are creatures of habit. Josh repeats the same idiom every time the homies pop their first can, “It may not be the highest grade in the dispensary but this some good beer.”

 

Justin co-signs with this infamous, “Right on.”

 

Josh exhales, “Did I tell you about my dream?”

 

Justin, “Nah, but I love a good dream. What happened?”

 

Josh shrugs nonchalantly launching into the tale:

 

I really don’t know where to start but the weather was strange. The earth quaked at least six times and it rain a lot too. I could never tell the difference between things I thought and things I actually said. It was so confusing but I didn’t have time to be frustrated since I had so much to figure out. Oh and my abs were super tight. I don’t know why. Maybe I was worried but I remember how sore they were and I couldn’t figure out why. This was confusing too but I had to keep going. Even though I didn’t know where I was going. Isn’t that funny? Just like in life when we don’t know where to go but we keep going. Dreams are the same.

 

Justin co-signs, “Right on!”

 

Josh jumps back into his dream:

 

The rain turned into snow but I wasn’t cold. I told my feelings to turn off when the sun went down. I only felt determined but I never really knew why. There was a woman I remembered from when we were kids. She was tall and she was glowing in the dark. People were lining up to talk to her but I kept walking because I couldn’t remember her name. Everyone that spoke with her left with a smile and I wanted to go to her, but I forgot the lesson I learned and I was too embarrassed to stare until it all came back to me. I was afraid I’d waste too much time and wake up never figuring out where I was meant to be. Then these thoughts surfaced and I couldn’t help but repeat them in my head over and over, “Am I here greet destiny? Will I always walk alone or will someone stand next to me? Am I here greet destiny? Will I always walk alone or will someone stand next to me? Am I here greet destiny? Will I always walk alone or will someone stand next to me? Am I here greet destiny? Will I always walk alone or will someone stand next to me?” There were no hints and no clues. Just time passing quietly.

Josh pauses and takes a few sips from his beer. Caught up in the suspense Justin inquires, “So what happened next?”
Josh replies, “I don’t know. I’m not sure if I don’t remember or if I woke up.”

Nike Gift Inspired By ‘Margot Vs Lily’

 

Nike can’t lose. They “Just Do It.” And that’s me all day, I relate. As a blogger, several relationships are essential. The relationship with my readers first and foremost, second my content contributors because I love prompts that inspire my writing, and third my strategic partners. One strategic partner that came about to my delight is Nike. In my opinion, the Nike brand is innovative and super inspiring. I love learning from their influence on sport, hip hop, and popular culture. Not only do the good people at Nike invite me to exclusive events but they also send me gifts! This is a particular delight because the older you get the fewer gifts you receive so this relationship is super special. Recently, I received a gift in the mail. Here is a bit of background:

On February 1st, FrontRow by Nike Women unveiled a Nike Original Series ‘Margot vs Lily.’ The series follows two sisters pushing each other far outside of their comfort zones following Nike Women’s #BetterForIt campaign. I’ve be thoroughly enjoying the series! Check it out here.

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The synopsis: Meet Margot and Lily, two sisters who couldn’t be more different. Lily is the athlete: as in legit star-trainer status with 900,000 YouTube followers. You’ll find her counting dumbbells in her sleep. Then there’s big sister Margot. The quick-witted friend you always want around—until the punch line is you. This time the joke’s on her because she was just fired. And no, she doesn’t want to talk about it. 

When it comes to sibling rivalry, they go all in. Which is why when Lily challenged Margot to a bet on New Year’s Eve to start her own fitness channel with 1,000 subscribers. Margot threw it right back that Lily needs to make three real friends.

Want to know who wins the bet? Set a reminder and tune in on Mondays. Each week on FrontRow by Nike Women will bring you a fresh episode of all-hands-on-deck drama and sweatspiration to rival your trainer. But it doesn’t stop with the show. With access to all-star athletes, on-the-go workouts and killer looks you can shop without pressing pause–no matter which sister conquers, the real winner is you.
Thanks Nike! I love my Margot v. Lily gift box. You’re the real MVPs. 

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Seafoam Black

New York makes me feel so seafoam black in the wintertime.

In this climate no matter what you choose you lose.

So I wander the world seeking various forms of warmth and empty spaces.

Here I am.

Who wouldn’t want to escape? Oh the prices one pays to follow a dream.

What would it cost to skip a step, or two?

Leaving memories right where they are when they hurt.

Learning by backtracking like The Almanac.

Now, I’m looking back on moments I couldn’t wait to complete with nostalgia and mental screenshots of how you looked at me. ‘Faded pictures in a broken glass’ or something like it.

Here we are. 

Next to you I sit, breathing in harsh realities exhaling my own interpretations of the truth with glitter sprinkled on top like greatness.

What a rush when you win.

What a rush when you have the opportunity to begin again.

What’s the rush?

Next To Me
Jheri Hardaway, Next To Me