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Showing posts from July, 2013

Pony Pasture Rapids

Since moving to Richmond a year ago, I've really enjoyed being so close to the James River and all of the small parks and waterside spots that offer a piece of nature right in the middle of the city. Going down to the rapids and listening to the never-ending rush of millions of gallons of water is at it's very least, relaxing.  Taking a break from life's issues and going down to admire the ducks, the rocks, the fallen trees, the grass that seems to grow up out of the middle of the river and even the people as they swim, raft, wade and fish, is all part of it's magic.

Today, after my man got off work, we took a trip down to Pony Pasture Park.  We'd been there before, walking the trails just to get some exercise. But this time the water level was a little lower and many of the river's rocks were exposed, offering a much more interesting panorama than we'd experienced down there before.

Enjoy the pictures I took. Hopefully we'll go back down there this we…

I hate hearing how "articulate" I am

"You're so articulate."
Whether you realize it or not, that's an insult.  What it means to me is that you don't expect much of people who look like I do. Basically, you think all other Black men are fools, or that we speak like runaways or hiphop minstrels?  
I speak in the way my parents sent me to school to learn.  I don't mask my accent or words that I might use among my own people.  I speak how a gentleman should, despite the color of his skin.  The fact that I'm Black should never give you a free pass to assume that my language skills would be any less impressive than yours.
I did not come here on a boat.  Neither did my parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents.  We're all American-born.  I wouldn't call us Americans, simply because everything I've taught and learned has shown me that we're not treated as such. Even my own life's experiences have allowed me to see the subtle differences between my class and yours.

Ban The Box. But is that enough?

I've written before about my background and my experiences with the law, and most of my readers already know that I'm a convicted felon.  I try to stay informed on news that relates to felons' rights and how local, state and federal government is acting to address the problems of mass incarceration, recidivism, and the restoration of rights of persons who have completed their respective sentences.

 Recently, I came across an article in The Virginian Pilot about the city of Norfolk deciding to remove the question of a person's past criminal history from initial employment applications.  This has taken on the name of the Ban The Box Movement across the United States. Of course, I was happy to hear that step being taken by Norfolk, following my hometown of Portsmouth, VA, which removed that question from it's employment applications back in April.  The city of Richmond has also joined the Ban The Box movement, and they've taken the question off of their city emplo…

My mornings are so boring.

Every morning I wake up when my boyfriend leaves for work. I have a few responsibilities that keep me busy: taking out the dog, watering the plants and cleaning up whatever mess we left the house in before we went to bed.  Sounds like a lot, but it really is not.  After about 30 minutes, I'm sitting in front of the television or on the laptop bored out of my mind, looking for something to do to keep me occupied and productive. Most times, I fail at that though.

I've been looking for work, a job that's not too serious, but something that I can at least go to and feel like I'm doing something somewhere.  I've been looking for volunteer positions, but I've found that they are even more difficult to come across, especially for someone like me who has a criminal history.  And sitting at home day after day watching uneducated and unqualified people go to jobs that they may or may not love, really makes me more and more depressed as the days go on.

In a few days I'…

Why? Mama, why?

So, yesterday I got a small envelope from my Aunt Bert. Initially, I got excited because I thought it might be some cash because there was no reason for her to have sent such a small letter in the mail when we talk every other day anyway. But, when I opened it, I found a letter from my mom, Patricia, and it was not one bearing good news.

My mother and father have both battled drug addiction and other legal problems related to that for many many years, my entire life to be exact.  I've never lived with them in the same household so it has never really presented itself as a serious problem for me, or at least I didn't allow it to look like it was to the people around me.  The truth is, yes, it hurt to have your parents locked up for any reason. Even if it's their fault, it still hurts.  Well, that hurt that I thought I'd left behind and wouldn't have to feel anymore came back when I read that my mom was locked up once again.

Although I was sad to hear that news, I ca…

My feelings about the Zimmerman verdict

How am I supposed to feel? I didn't know Trayvon or his family, but his life was no less important than if I would have.  For over a year, I have followed this trial in hopes that justice would come from a system being watched by the nation and the world.  But, in another disappointing decision by the court system, true justice has escaped us in lieu of twisted words and one-sided testimonies.

My heart and soul cracked when I heard the words, "Not guilty" uttered by the clerk in that courtroom.  It shocked and sickened me all at the same time.  In my mind, I couldn't understand how anyone could not see what I and almost every other Black person was seeing.  I felt let down.  But, I also understood in that instant what it meant to be a Black man or a Brown boy in America.

I can't say that my life today is really much better than the lives that my grandparents led when it comes to how race plays a part in how we are seen by the nation we called home.  No, I've …

Justice for Trayvon

I've been watching the Zimmerman/Martin murder trail since it began. At times it's been difficult to watch but it's been interesting either way the tide has seemed to flow in the case.  I am sure the nation and the world is still tuned in to the case and the upcoming verdict, but I hope we as a people have not forgotten how much attention we had to bring to the case for it to even be brought to charges and a trial.  I simply wanted to share a few images that I felt were powerful reminders of the kind of support we should still be showing to the family, and for the support of finding justice.

Oh, you feel me?

"I feel you."

I'm so sick of hearing that.  No, nigga. You don't feel me. You don't feel anything about my situation or my life because you're not living it.  There's no way you can feel me if you're enjoying the benefit of being able to bring home your own income or paying your own bills on time with your money.  If you are doing that, then you don't know how I feel.

Right now, I feel like shit. Not being able to do anything for myself other than sit here and apply over and over for jobs and programs that I have convinced myself I'm not good enough to get.  It's a bitch living in a world where you truly don't feel you belong anywhere other than behind bars or in a mental institution.  And even if they were to lock me in jail, the bad part is that I've never done anything that would allow them to lock me up for life, but as soon as I'm back out I'm subject to being perpetually punished for my mistakes throughout the rest of…