YAY for Malala: Honoring My Mom Day 13 (or there abouts)

teacherAs a woman of color living in American I never take my education for granted. The two oldest siblings in my grandmother’s family were the only two who were allowed to & able to go to college. They are proud Tuskegee and Fort Valley State graduates. My mom, who did not grow up in the south but still faced obstacles as her New York guidance counselor told her she should go to trade school. She ended up earning a Master in Social Work degree from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). My path was made easier through the scarifies and struggles of my grandparents and parents, although not without challenges. Like many 1st year students I goofed off a lot and skipped some classes and that first report card shocked me back into shape!

Each academic year in one of my books I put a picture of Charlayne Hunter-Gault;  in another book I put a picture of the Little Rock Nine; and in another book a picture of James Meredith.  The pictures are my inspirational reminders.  I think I am going to add a picture of Malala Yousafzai.

Today I sent all my students an email and challenged them to:

  1. appreciate fully the privilege of an education,
  2. come to class prepared,
  3. not procrastinate,
  4. be engaged and proactive learners,
  5. think critically,
  6. inspire someone else to pursue a higher education or complete high school,
  7. pledge to tear down any obstacle they see for others in receiving an education, and to
  8. hold me accountable for facilitating discussion and learning.

I, in return challenged myself to give them 100%+ each day I meet them and to hold them accountable for being responsible for their own learning.

We should ask ourselves “What would Malala do?” http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/10/10/355054344/pakistani-teen-malala-yousafzai-shares-nobel-peace-prize?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=2034

Advertisements

Honoring my mommy: Day 10 of 75

image

1.  Every 67 seconds someone is diagnosed wirh with Alzheimer’s.
2.  Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
3.  Women make up two thirds of people living with Alzheimer’s.
4.  African Americans and Hispanics are at higher risk than Caucasians for developing Alzheimer’s.

Read more quick facts here: http://m.alz.org/facts-and-figures.asp

With the support and strength of family & friends today I walked 3 miles to End Alzheimer’s. It was such a beautiful event. Flower pinwheels in different colors for you to decorate & plant: orange for those supporting an end to Alzheimer’s, yellow for caregivers, purple if you’d lost someone to Alzheimer’s, and blue for those living with the disease. There was exercising, music, crafts, ringing bells, cheering young people, families, dogs, and tears. It was cathartic. I’m prepared for next year!

image

Honoring my mommy: Day 10 of 75

image

1.  Every 67 seconds someone is diagnosed wirh with Alzheimer’s.
2.  Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
3.  Women make up two thirds of people living with Alzheimer’s.
4.  African Americans and Hispanics are at higher risk than Caucasians for developing Alzheimer’s.

Read more quick facts here: http://m.alz.org/facts-and-figures.asp

With the support and strength of family & friends today I walked 3 miles to End Alzheimer’s. It was such a beautiful event. Flower pinwheels in different colors for you to decorate & plant: orange for those supporting an end to Alzheimer’s, yellow for caregivers, purple if you’d lost someone to Alzheimer’s, and blue for those living with the disease. There was exercising, music, crafts, ringing bells, cheering young people, families, dogs, and tears. It was cathartic. I’m prepared for next year!

image

Honoring my Mommy: Day 9 of 75

PedometerToday I walked. When I was in my 20s I was an avid exerciser. I went to the gym 3-5 times a week and exercised at home. Then I got busy…and lazy. My mom smoked until I was 8 years old. She never ate breakfast. She usually skipped lunch. The only reason she occasionally ate dinner was if we implored her or she was out with friends. Her friend from elementary school says that my mom was never much of an eater. Her only exercise was when she was shopping (walking the malls and stores). I remember her favorite foods: potato chips, snickers bars, butter pecan ice cream and Pepsi.  She was just like her dad, my grandfather. Habitual snackers and not full meal eaters.

She was a slender size 6 most of her life. But she was not healthy. In addition to battling Alzheimer’s she is a breast cancer survivor and the cancer came back aggressively in 3 organs as her mental state was declining. She died from complications related to untreated cancer and dementia.  I know a few things about cancer and prevention through eating and exercise.  I don’t know much about Alzheimer’s. I know she and grandma both suffered from it and I want to fight it. I also want to set a good example for my active son by eating well (which we do) and exercising (which he and hubby do, but I do not). Today was a very small step in that direction. Here’s to the beginning of getting physically active and being more healthy! Tomorrow another mile in the fight to End Alzheimer’s!

Honoring My Momma: Day 8 of 75

My mom loved bright colors, primarily orange and yellow. When I was a little girl she used to do dried and silk flower arrangements. I’m sad we never took pictures of those arrangements and this was waaaaaay before the internet, Pintrest, Facebook, etc. so there’s no record of her beautiful work.

I wanted to honor her this year by planting some flowers that will remain a constant reminder of her beauty.  I’ll be going on Saturday to a friend’s house to gather some plants & flowers for our front yard. J bought these orange and yellow mum planters for the front steps and the others pictures are just bright flowers (1 vase in our house).

Flowers and bright colors can help brighten a mood or lighten up a mood. If you know someone who suffers from depression or seasonal affective disorder (as the days get shorter) but her or him some bright flowers. Enjoy.

Orange Mums

Orange Mums

20140914_091125sunflowersorange flowers

If you missed the first post, this is what I am doing: “I figured out that the semester has 75 days, give or take a few days.’ My mom would have been 75 this year. Beginning on Sept. 2nd I’ll be honoring my mom by posting M-F Sept. 2nd thru Dec. 12th some photo, poem, story, etc. that in some way honors my  mom.”  It has not really been M-F but it will be 75 days by the end of the year (I’m an imperfect busy mom & wife)!

Honoring my momma: Day 7 of 75

image

I have lost track of what day I’m on and I’ll get back on track this week! I’m leading a team on Sunday which I spontaneously called “Sunflowers for Rae.” My mom loved flowers and bright colors so the name seemed appropriate. I raised $400 which I think is awesome considering I am NOT  a fundraiser type of person. I’ll soon be partnering with the NH/MA offices to do outreach and education to communities of color on Alzheimer’s.

Honoring my mom: Day 5 of 75

I started to blog about my Sunday sermon (stay tuned…) and then I heard this story on NPR this morning:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/09/09/345297939/misty-copeland-on-broadening-beauty-and-being-black-in-ballet

My mom never uttered the words “only white people do that” nor “black folks don’t do that.” That is not the type of house in which we grew up. Those who have known me since elementary school will tell you our house was the household version of the United Nations.

We participated in any activity we wanted to – ice skating, Girl Scouts, swim, hiking, camping, tennis, gymnastics, whatever. My sister…well, her participation was half-hearted because she just didn’t really like most of those activities when we were younger (lol) it had nothing to do with her being Latina! No one in our home ever said we couldn’t do something because of our racial background. And if someone outside our home dared to say something of that manner, mommy set them straight immediately!

Encourage your children AND yourself to try anything that seems interesting to them and to you. Don’t get stuck by who you see or think you don’t see participating. You’ll miss out on a lot of fun.