Happy Labor Day!!!

New Year's Resolution

 

As you can see I enjoyed Labor Day, I forgot to publish this! Enjoy Thenessa’s blog – Megan R. Pickens, LPC-S

Labor Day is the day that we Americans celebrate working or being employed…… by taking a day off to not work….yay!!! Sure, my husband and I are thankful to have jobs and be able to provide for our family. So in this respect, kudos to Labor Day…everyone deserves a break. I guess I should not just say Americans as there are a few other countries that recognize Labor/Labour Day as a holiday such as Australia and Canada. Basically, it is a time to reflect how we the common people keep the economy going and America a great place to call home. I’m sure many find a since of pride and accomplishment in living the American dream……essentially doing their part to make America a better place for future generations. What do we normally, do on our day of relaxation and reflection? We prepare a great feast, which is quite American. This is usually the last bar-b-que of the year and is  a lot of work….but hey, it beats being at the office. And, it is an absolute fashion no-no to wear white after Labor Day. Although, I have never read when it is okay to start wearing white again???? Normally, we stuff ourselves and watch the U.S. Open, absolutely love me some tennis.  However, this year we will take time to aid others in need, As a family, we will be helping displaced families due to Hurricane Harvey that are in local shelters. The number of families in need is overwhelming. So we will use part of our day to be of service to others. Yes, the all mighty dollar does keep the economy going but love and compassion for our fellow man goes along way as well.  I encourage each of you to consider taking a hour or two to help someone in need,

Happy Labor Day

Resolutions!!!

Cheers, 2017 is here. Happy New Year to you all! At the beginning of each new year many of us make resolutions. Mostly, resolutions are geared towards your personal needs and/or preferences.  What is going to improve your current lifestyle, to aid in making you the best you, you could possibly be? Our resolutions are to assist us along this rocky journey of self-improvement.  Many of us dive in full throttle and we do great for the first few weeks but then we tend to not see the results we anticipated or we realize that our resolutions are to restrictive and we give up…. back to what we have become comfortable with.  I would like to suggest, instead of making unrealistic resolutions, sit down and come up with your long-term resolutions and then come up with some short-term resolutions that you can use to measure your long-term goals.  For instance, let’s say your long-term resolution is to lose 20lbs…….”now, you and I both know that you did not gain this 20 extra pounds overnight and we should know that you are not going to lose it in a matter of days”….you want to set measurable short-term goals to aid in reaching your long-term goal….like, I am going to exercise 3 days a week for a minimum of 20-30  minutes, or I am going to decrease my sugar or processed food intake weekly.  Giving up everything all at once, is setting one up for failure.  If you are strong willed and can give it up, then by all means do so. Most of us need to gradually incorporate these changes into our current lifestyles. Once you have reached a short-term millstone, reward yourself. You are on the right track and making progress. Now, by rewards I do not mean go and undo all the hard work you have already done to make it this far….just a small reward for reaching a goal. Continue on this path until you reach your long-term resolutions. The key, don’t give up…baby steps!!!

Wishing you health and prosperity in 2017.

Remembering Dr. King

This year on January 16, 2017 we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for his remarkable contributions not only for African- American but for all mankind. Dr. King was a true humanitarian.  His selfless acts along with others provide me with opportunities that most likely I would not have without their stance, blood sweat and tears.  If Dr. King were still alive he would celebrate his 88th birthday this year. Below is an abridged version of an article by the Huffington Post authored by Clarence B. Jones about Dr. King and what he might have done to deal with current issues:

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on His 86th Birthday

This weekend our nation will observe its annual commemoration of this great man’s life. It comes at a time when national and international events have provoked a lot of discussion about what Dr. King would say or do in response to those events if he were alive today.

An entire generation of Americans has grown up associating Dr. King almost exclusively with his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech (which I copyrighted; it is now one of the most valuable intellectual properties of the King estate). Few people today know of his opinions on issues like poverty and income inequality, or of his early support for Israel and his public opposition to the war in Vietnam.

Although I have no polling data to support my belief, I estimate that he enjoyed an approval rating of 80 percent or higher at the time of his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, but that his approval rating had probably dipped to 40 percent or lower by the time he was assassinated five years later.

This blog post addresses some of the important contemporary domestic and international issues that I believe would be of major concern to Dr. King if he were alive today. My statements are not based on what I have read or on what some third party told me. They are based on my personal recollections of conversations and discussions I had with Dr. King one-on-one, and of conversations we had together with third parties, over the approximately seven years I worked with him as a political advisor, personal lawyer and draft speechwriter.

The night before he was assassinated, Dr. King spoke at the Bishop Charles Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee, before a large gathering in support of a strike by sanitation workers for better wages and working conditions. Among other things he said:

We’ve got some difficult days ahead. … Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I am not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.

The contemporary issues that I believe would be of primary concern to Dr. King today, issues that challenge the coalition of support he enjoyed at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and threaten our ability to get to that Promised Land, are (in no particular order):

Systemic and growing poverty among a significant segment of the population.

Dr. King would regard systemic poverty in the United States as morally indefensible and unacceptable. He would publicly align himself with Pope Francis, who, in an address to the students of the Jesuit schools of Italy and Albania on June 7, 2013, said:

The poverty of the world is a scandal. In a world where there is such great wealth, so many resources for giving food to everyone, it is impossible to understand how there could be so many hungry children, so many children without education, so many poor people! Poverty today is a cry. A few weeks later, in an address to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on June 20, 2013, Pope Francis added: A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.

Dr. King would closely examine the amount of money expended on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the cost of maintaining our military bases around the world and compare those expenditures with those allocated toward reducing poverty, increasing affordable housing, and creating employment opportunities. He would put forward an updated version of his “bill of rights for the disadvantaged,” which he proposed as early as 1964. In November 1967 he wrote:

[O]ur country must undergo a revolution in values. The billions of dollars now directed toward destruction and military containment must be redirected toward a bill of rights for the disadvantaged. Such a bill of rights should provide an adequate education, income, home, recreation, as well as physical and mental health care.

Ubiquitous gun violence.

This year firearms are expected to surpass automobiles as the leading cause of death in the United States. Nationwide, young black men have the highest firearm mortality rate; the overwhelming majority of these firearm deaths were from homicides perpetrated by other black men. Dr. King would be forceful in speaking out on the reality of gun violence among young black men.

Efforts to limit voting rights by the U.S. Supreme Court and various state legislatures.

Dr. King would initiate a national campaign to restore the enforceability of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires that certain states and local governments get permission, or “preclearance,” from the federal government before enacting any change to voting laws or practices. As of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County vs. Holder on June 25, 2013, which declared Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act (the section containing the “coverage formula” that determined which states and local governments would be subject to the Section 5 preclearance requirement) unconstitutional, there is no way to enforce Section 5, and many states that would have been subject to the preclearance requirement have since enacted laws restricting voting. In those states Dr. King would seek to mobilize mass support for removing such restrictions.

Continuing police shootings of unarmed black men.

Dr. King would respect, applaud, support, and join the new generation of young people who are forcefully but nonviolently calling for an end of the disproportionate use of excessive force against young African-American men by police officers. He would participate in relevant demonstrations in Ferguson and elsewhere as long as they remained nonviolent. He would say not only that black lives matter but that all lives matter. He would declare that police shootings of unarmed black men require not “negotiation” but immediate cessation. He would say, “Stop killing our young people! They are the most sacred and precious asset we have as a people.”

Mass incarceration of black youth.

According to legal scholar Michelle Alexander, in some inner-city communities four out of five black youths can expect to be incarcerated at some point in their lifetimes. Alexander elaborates in her 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness:

The mass incarceration of people of color is a big part of the reason that a black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born in slavery. … More black men are imprisoned today than at any other moment in our nation’s history. More are disenfranchised today that in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.

The above statements are not intended to be definitive claims regarding what Dr. King would actually say or do today. They are intended solely as projections of what I believe he would say or do today were he alive to celebrate his 86th birthday.

Martin, we miss you.

 

Bullying

Change Is It Possible

Bullying has become an epidemic. It is seen in both children and adults alike. People have begun to use bullying as a way to make themselves feel better about whatever inadequacies they may have. I guess one could argue that it has always been used for this purpose, it is just more noticeable because of the internet and social media. Adults seem to be bullying more than the children, especially celebrities who should be seen as role models. It is very difficult to try and get a child to understand the consequences of bullying when that is all that they see.

Children have always had a certain level of teasing a cruelty, but once again access to computers make matters much worse. 20 years ago a child could be teased on the playground and that was that. They could escape to their home life. With the use us social media though, there is no escape. The ridicule is everywhere and can reach the entire world in a matter of seconds. The epidemic has become so bad that it has formed a new epidemic of suicide. All children are not able to cope with the mass humiliation that social media can bring. It is important that parents understand that depression and suicide are very real and that children can suffer from them just like adults. We cannot write of bullying as a childhood learning experience. I participate in a youth group at my church. In this group there is a young girl who is maturing faster than the other girls. As a result, the other girls, who are clearly jealous, tease here about her figure and call her ‘fast’. They have no proof other than the fact that she has matured faster than them and that the boys are noticing her more. I pulled the young lady to the side to try and talk to her to get a feel of how she was feeling. Her response was’ I’ll be okay I was told to toughen up and that is what I will do”. This broke my heart. Though it is important to have a thick skin this was definitely not what an adult should have told a child. What if she was not able to ‘Toughen up’ and the bullying led to something worse.

It is imperative that we come together in the fight against bullying because if we don’t our children will continue to be lost.

What A Shame!!!

stop2

Yesterday I was watching the news and the following story caught my attention…..my first response…..What A Shame….my second response was young lives wasted lives. According to ABC news two high school students (girls) were arguing in one of the girl’s bathrooms located at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware early Thursday morning. Witnesses report that the argument was over a boy. Yeah, that is an entirely different blog.  Anywho,  the argument escalates into a fight. It is believed that the victim (Amy Joyner-Francis) was attacked by more than one person. The assault resulted in Amy hitting her head on a sink in the bathroom. Amy was airlifted to a local hospital where she later was pronounced dead. How tragic. You send your kids off to school in the morning with the hopes that they learn something. Hopefully, we are instilling values to produce healthy, happy, productive citizens. Yes, I once was a high school student, so I do know the foolery that does occur….seems like it was a lot simpler back in my high school days.  Most importantly, we lived!!! Yes, arguments are going to occur between kids but we have to ask ourselves, “What are we teaching our kids?” When violence is the answer to resolving a problem. What a shame this younger girl died over foolishness. What a shame that the individuals responsible are going to endure consequences they are not prepared for. What a shame there were peers watching and joining in but no one felt compelled to be the voice of reason or to go get assistance until it was to late.  As adults, as parents we have to do a better job of teaching or kids right from wrong. We have to do a better job of teaching them to live to fight another day.

 

http://abc7ny.com/news/16-year-old-girl-killed-in-high-school-assault-remembered/1302551/#videoplayer