With our current media landscape it is becoming significantly more challenging to teach middle school children to understand their emotions particularly empathy. With our current culture of bickering and “hitting back” the trickle down effect is real! Students have to digest the fact that what they see on television (reality TV and our reality TV president) are not real. This is compounded by the fact that young scholars must digest that what they see on the internet is not real either. This reality can be even more disheartening for students like mine in Spanish Harlem that are not motivated by their day to day environment, in fact some are drowning in it.
The best way I’ve found the help children understand emotions is by highlighting their interactions with each other. I find myself asking them after every significant comment or experience, “how did that make you feel?” Some scholars are to the point now where they communicate this information without being prompted.
One memorable instance of students demonstrating empathy occurred in my history class. Despite redirection one scholar continued to disrupt instruction. As I continued to deliver the lesson I noticed another student losing focus due to the disruption. I gave the distracted student our nonverbal sign for persevere. I allowed the student to carry on hoping he would grow tired of the class ignoring the attention seeking behavior. I was surprised moments later when the distracted student turned to the disrupting student and said calmly, “I feel like you’re distracting me.” This simple comment to me was an emotional breakthrough. Neither child grew hostile, frustrated, or out of sorts. They communicated effectively and I was able to move on with the lesson. Media in America has created a tangible rift in our emotional intelligence but by teaching children to communicate effectively we can help them better understand their emotions.
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?
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.
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.
MOB #3: Silicon Harlem
I was honored to attend and participate in the 2015 Silicon Harlem Tech Conference at MIST in 116th street. I don’t go to Harlem often but when I do it’s to discuss making the world a better place. And to eat Amy Ruth’s!
Silicon Harlem is a social venture that has been designed to transform Harlem in to a technology and innovation hub. This includes establishing co-working spaces, gigabit infrastructure, securing investment capital, and hosting monthly meetups. I was reminded of how essential it is for technology savvy individuals to work towards bridging the enormous digital divide.
Member of the United States House of Representatives Charlie Rangel was honored with the IP (Innovative Person) Award. Representative Charlie Rangel is a veteran of the US Army and the Civil Rights Movement. Since 1971 Congressman Rangel has represented the 13th Congressional District of New York. Harlem is his home. Representative Rangel articulated the mission flawlessly when challenging our leadership “to treat technology and science with the same urgency as health care … the more you do for a community the more you do for yourself.”
Congressman Rangel was not the only government representation at the 2nd Annual Silicon Harlem Tech Conference. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is also fighting to make technology accessible, fast, and affordable.
Huge shoutout and thank you to Silicon Harlem.
It’s still Brooklyn over everything though….
10/10/15 I ventured to DC for the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March. It was quite the adventure. Leaving New York’s Chinatown at 11pm and arriving in DC’s Chinatown at 4am. DC felt cleaner and quieter than New York and I was ecstatic to leave to concrete jungle for a day.
My homies from Southeast Raleigh High School came through on the logistics tip, scooping me from the train and providing a bed for a quick nap. Vecoya, Jamesha, B. Wash, Todd, C.Rob, and Justin all of you are tremendously appreciated. Teamwork truly makes the dream work. Dressed in all Black we made our way to the Mall.
The sea of Black clothing increased as we grew closer to the lawn. It was beautiful. Black, White, Asian, Native American and everything in between. People of all colors and kinds gathered peacefully for the occasion determined to be apart of making the world aware of the injustices faced by people of color. My purpose in attending the Million Man March was to witness greatness and to share my solution.
I believe we can change the status quo by paving paths towards financial freedom. Generational wealth and opportunity will make a major difference in the progression of the Black community. Life insurance is a security measure that will ensure generational wealth. For less than $250 a year breadwinners can ensure in their absence bills will be paid, food will remain on the table and other ambitions like entrepreneurship and education can be achieved. So my message at the Million Man March was ‘Black lives matter and they carry value like all lives do.’
Leaders in the home strongly shape our family and community structure. Preparation makes the difference between leaving bills behind or setting families up for a fruitful future. As we begin to value our lives so will society.
Think about it.
Imagine if companies like American National Insurance had to pay out insurance policies for all the Black men killed by the police. So far in 2015, U.S. police killed 776 people, 161 of whom were completely unarmed at the time of their death (click here for more details). If these lives were insured with the lowest policy of $50,000 families would have collectively received $38,800,000 to bury their loved ones and continue their lives. Some victims were insured, some generated funds through the media, some created GoFundMe pages.
We have to do better.
‘This is not a moment, it’s a movement.’
NCMAE #5 – Bennie Louise Carter
Sometimes I wonder if anyone will think about me when I’m dead. I think about my paternal grandmother Bennie Louise Carter and wonder did she ever think the same thing. I wonder if she wondered? And I wonder if she knows how much I think about her.
I ask a lot of questions, always have.
When questions about Bennie Louise went unanswered – well not unanswered, just not answered to my satisfaction I grew frustrated. My Dad and Uncle Vonzell always said “she lived a fast life” but that didn’t tell me what I wanted and needed to know. This information didn’t satisfy my curiosity about someone who has impacted the very fiber of my being. I’ve been told I look like Bennie Louise, that I smile like her and that I share her thirst for exploration.
I dug deeper.
My grandmother’s sister my Aunt Ida B. told me stories of growing up with Bennie Louise in Memphis, Tennessee. She had beautiful memories of her sister and smiled whenever she spoke of her. I hung on to Aunt Ida B’s every word as she shared stories of the two fishing in the Mississippi River and sneaking out together drinking corn liquor from a bucket with a wooden ladle. She loved her sister and I loved the stories.
I still needed more.
I couldn’t grasp my Grandmother’s character. I continued to wonder what she valued? What motivated her? It’s wild how the past can influence so many elements of the future.
What I knew hurt.
My Grandmother Bennie Louise Carter was murdered in Richmond, California in the late 1960’s.
To add insult to injury.
Before the family was able to place headstone on my grandmother’s grave the cemetery office holding the records on grave locations burned down. The location of her remains were lost forever and she rests lost to us and alone with no flowers and no visits.
I persevered in my quest for knowledge.
Here in Brooklyn a huge part of my support system is my cousin Cristala and her beautiful family. Cristala’s mom came to visit recently who I lovingly call Auntie Kay. Auntie Kay wanted an update on my life. I had visited several different countries since she and I last spoke. After the update she beamed with pride and asked me about my plans for what’s next. I continued to fill her in. Then Auntie Kay made an offhand comment that shook me to the core.
The story as my Aunt tells it…
“You know I married your cousin Lacy (my Dad’s first cousin) too young and I’ve been around your family for a very long time. I’m not surprised by your initiative and success. You have an ability to plan and prepare that has led you on this phenomenal path that you’ve really just begun. Bennie Louise was the same way. I remember when she passed. I was there for the reading of her will. Your Grandmother was prepared. Bennie Louise set aside money for Jerry (my dad) to go to Salesian High School. She planned ahead. You are your grandmother’s child”
I finally heard insights towards what Bennie Louise Carter valued.
Her family, her sons and their future were clearly a priority. Money from his mother assisted my Dad as he attend one of the top private schools for young men in northern California Salesian High School. My dad lettered in three sports (football, basketball, and rowing) and obtained a full athletic scholarship to Southern Illinois University. My Dad played four years of division one college football and earned a BA in Speech Education. Upon leaving SIU my dad obtained a MA in Sports Administration from Grambling State University, while coaching with the legendary Coach Eddie Robinson. He went on to coach college football and became an award winning NFL scout. My Dad is an amazing father who has always loved and believed in my every dream.
I come from people who care and prepare.
Yes my grandmother ‘lived a fast life.’ She also created life and put those lives on a path to a fruitful future. She did that! I’m certain she is smiling down on what became of the lives she created.
As you have noticed by now, here at MsJheriWorldwide.com we continuously innovate. In efforts to encourage a spirit of entrepreneurship in the global brown community we will be spotlighting minority owned businesses from around the world!
M.O.B. Spotlight #1: The Harlem Film Company
I was recently blessed with the opportunity to connect with Cheryl Hill. Cheryl is an executive with The Harlem Film Company and a veteran of the film industry. I was invited to the premier of the company’s first film Chapter & Verse directed by Jamal Joseph.
No one in this world is more attractive than a proud Black man. However, that magnetic pride can also be an Achilles heel. Such was the case for Sir Lance Ingram of Harlem in Jamal Joseph’s Chapter & Verse.
Lance a former gang leader, came home from prison after ten years to find himself trapped in a halfway house and an unfulfilling job. It was a struggle to adapt until he came across a few trustworthy individuals. A kind aging grandmother Ms. Maddy (Loretta Devine), a childhood friend Jomo (Amari Hardwick), and his parole officer Mr. Morris (Gary Perez).
Ms. Maddy stole the film by instilling in Sir Lance hope, joy, and a sense of family. He smiled again after they connected and blessed her last days with smiles and other necessary vices. Waking up and living wasn’t such a chore with Ms. Maddy and her family in Lance’s life. He became a better man knowing he was working towards preventing others from taking his path in the streets. Of course outside influences made staying on the straight and narrow path damn near impossible, but Sir Lance tried his best.
In the midst of Sir Lance’s internal struggle there were seriously hilarious elements to this film. A blind man demanding to see ID, a quick-witted grandson outsmarting the lead character. By far the best line in the film was Jomo’s loaded inquiry to Yolanda (Selenis Leyva) when she offers to let Jomo inside “in your apartment or in your world?” Well Amari since you asked….
Please go see Chapter & Verse when it comes to a theater near you. This film was fantastic, well structured and super engaging. I recommend everyone watch Chapter & Verse to better understand this concept that the same village that raises a child must never disregard or alienate the individual. Just like Tupac said, “America eats its babies. No matter what y’all think about me I’m still your child.”
We have to work together to make sure no child is left to their own devices. We are responsible for our own decisions however, ‘the only difference is opportunity.’ We have to make a way for our brothers and sisters regardless of age, sexual orientation, ability or past convictions to continue to live and lead meaningful lives.
Huge shout out to The Harlem Film Company, Cheryl Hill, and Jamal Joseph! Keep holding it down.