Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ready Or Not: They're Ready, They're Coming!

At least twenty protesters participated in the die-in front of the Office of Police Complaints by McPherson Square

One by one they dropped to the ground with signs saying "Black And Brown Lives Matter" and "Demilitarize the Police".  They laid there for four and a half minutes in front of the McPherson Square Metro. The four minutes represents the four and a half hours the body of 18-year-old Michael Brown lied dead on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri.

This was one of the many protests that are happening across the country after the public heard Ferguson's police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted.

The DC Chapter of the Black Youth Project 100 will hold protests for 28 hours.  BYP100 said every 28 hours a black person dies at the hands of a vigilante or a police officer. The activist group will hold two more protest today while handing out letters that ask for a police review board.

Khadijah McCaskill the organizing chair of the BYP100 said the letter has a lists of demands that BYP would like to see implemented at the Office of  Police Complaints.

Jonathan Lykes explains the Black Youth Project 100 and the institutional policies and systemic racism the affects

"One of the main complaints and one of the main demands that we have is to create a citizen's review board or rather reinstate it because it was there before," said McCaskill "We'd like the citizen's review board to be reflective of D.C. as a whole, add communities that are adversely affected by police brutality."

McCaskill said in order to help eliminate incidents dealing with police brutality the black youth must "stay awake" and become aware. She said they must realize that this is "a movement not a moment" and that this movement requires a lot of persistence.

This is the letter of demands to the executive director of the Office of Police Complaints, Michael G. Tobbin

 Jonathan Lykes held a bullhorn while explaining the demands that public officials need to meet in order to keep black youth safe. The groups call and response could be heard loud and clear. They said "We're Ready, We're Coming". Two of the members of BYP100 delivered the letter during the demonstration. Some of the agendas in the letter included demilitarizing law enforcement, increasing community oversight and accountability over law enforcement.

"We understand that this is a long-term strategy to undo the systemic and intuitional racism in our society. Point Blank. So that's what we're hear to declare, the love and the appreciation of black life. And we're here to call out institutional policies," said Lykes.

BYP100 said they are a non violent organization and they are strategic. The organization started at the Metro Police Department early this morning and they will go to the city council in the afternoon.

There will be protest in Mt. Vernon Square at 7p.m. Protestors will march from Mt. Vernon Square to Chinatown.

Video of Jonathan Lykes talking in front of Office of Police Complaints after delivering the letter to Michael G. Tobbin's office.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Macy's and Misty!

Reporter Allison Seymour discusses the artist Mali Music and being an underground artist. 
Misty Copeland introduces the next act on stage.

                                    The crowd watches the  Ballou High School Marching Band
                                  before counting down the unveiling. 

The crowd gathers around the stage waiting for the special guest, Santa Claus.

Macy's warmed Washington, DC's cold 
weather with the Holiday Window Unveiling. Families gathered around the Macy stage holding holiday balloons and dancing to the music of  Bystorm/RCA recording artist, Mali Music and contestant from season 6 of "The Voice," Ddendyl.  The hosts included FOX 5 Reporter Allison Seymour and American Ballet Theatre Soloist, Misty Copeland.  

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Chatting 101: Intern Lunch with CEO Michael Elliot

This morning, all of the ONE Campaign interns were invited to an intern lunch with the CEO, Michael Elliot. The lunch was insightful and Mr. Elliot discussed some of the things college professors may not hone in on when talking about success in your career. Elliot's mentions three important things that seem to be overlooked, but they make a big difference in your career choices. He said, sweat the small stuff, luck is important and remember to pay the rent/mortgage.

Sweating the small stuff is understanding the little things that will be important to you in the workplace. The small things include the size of your workplace(large or small company), the timing of your commute, work attire and what you want your office to look like. These so called "small things" could make or break a job choice. It's almost the same things you think about when choosing a college. It's similar to wanting a small classroom setting, choosing live close to campus and wanting to be at a campus, which has activities nearby. It's the exact things that make you choose one college over the other. These small things that people overlook can be the reason they may loathe their job or they feel as though they don't fit it.

Secondly, luck also known as coincidence. My supervisor discussed this with me yesterday. How it was luck when I asked about her job. Sometimes you meet the right person and they can open your eyes to a world wind of opportunities. My proffesor told me you have to be ready when you see an opportunity. Mr. Elliot added, that not only luck would get you to your next opportunity, but also being prepared. This personally resonated with me because there are plenty of times there's an opportunity being offered, but the timing of not having your life in order can stifle it. You can be so close, but you're missing other experiences that will make you the perfect fit for a job. Be prepared for the next opportunities you want and own your opportunities and be exceptional in the job you currently have. That's when luck happens, when you're ready to receive your next task in life because you are prepared to tackle it based on your past experiences.

Lastly, pay your rent/mortgage. This one is in my opinion most important because you always need to have your priorities in order. You can not fall behind in this area because it may put a hold or a burden on other tasks. But I also believe you shouldn't let the lack of money influence your dreams so much until they never become a reality.

The "Learning After College" Phoenix

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Monday Morning: First Day

Hello Everyone,

Tomorrow will be my first day as the communications intern for The ONE Campaign. I'm excited and ready to learn more about the company and help them grow. Wish me good luck! Also, I will try to blog once a week about my experiences and adventures in D.C.

The "Intern" Phoenix

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Returning To D.C.

Hello Everyone,

As you guys may know, I'm a Florida A&M University alumna. Upon graduation, I've applied to full-time jobs, paid internships and fellowships. I enjoyed living in D.C. last summer and I can finally say I will be returning to the city this year. I have just accepted the communications internship with The ONE Campaign. I wasn't expecting this organization to pick me because I was a little discouraged about other internships/jobs turning me down. I'm really excited to intern for The ONE Campaign and I look forward to helping this world become a better place through education and awareness.

I'm hoping to grow as a person and to make lifelong connections. The hardest trial in life, especially in the age of technology is to be present. I vow to be present and open myself to all opportunities even the ones I feel I may not be ready to receive. The world does not wait to give you opportunities when you are ready. No one is ever truly ready, but they become comfortable and they understand the challenge. With understanding a challenge you must be able to find courage and be brave to accept a challenge. I encourage everyone today to take a leap of faith and apply positive energy and beliefs to actions that you would normally stray from because that represents growth. You have to push yourself in a direction that you have never been.

As the rapper/singer Drake says, "When's the last time you did something for the first time?"

*Also if anyone knows of places in D.C. for rent near McPherson Square, let me know.*

The "Back to D.C. Living" Phoenix

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Osceola's 9/11

The red, white and blue flags covered the grassy areas and cars were bumper to bumper. The parking lot of  Orlando, Florida's Valencia Community College was filled. Students and residents took pictures and recorded the third annual  9/11 Remembrance Ceremony on the Osceola Campus.


At least nine tents with a total of 400 people filled the courtyard. Everyone was in unison and respectful for the lives lost on this tragic day in New York City. Thirteen years ago the world watched a horrific tragedy unfold on live television. About 3,000 flags represent of lives lost and broken hearts that were affected by this attack.

As people mourned and paid their respects, the sky open up and drizzled rain. Then it began to pour as reporters ran under tents to save equipment. Heavy rain didn't seem to faze the enthralled crowd who stood in solidarity to pay homage. The solidarity mimicked the painting displayed of the Twin Towers, which said L is not for loss, L is for legacy. The marines stood tall as the rain poured and the reef withstood the windy rain.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ezcema in Kissimmee

Moving back home has been bitter, sweet. It's great to be home with my family, but it doesn't seem to be good for my health. Every time I come back to Kissimmee my allergies flare up. Instead of having healthy skin that's smooth, clear and with a hint of a glow, it's dry, patchy and flaky. Most importantly, it's extremely annoying. The swelling of my skin fluctuates instantly, from minutes to hours in changing from moisturized to dry. With instant changes you would think if would be easy to find the triggers, but it's actually harder. 

One day I'll eat a salad from the mall with spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, beets and it will leave my skin clear and moisturized. The next week that same salad can trigger after effects of morning dryness. It's a daily battle of what can I eat.


Lately, I have been drinking tea, which usually helps with getting rid of toxins. A detox for me is long overdue. Green tea by Yogi always clears my skin, but I used the last tea bag. When detoxing the liver is a vital organ that helps remove waste. I knew my liver was probably overworked and it was not functioning properly. I starting drinking a liver detox tea by Lifestyle Awareness and Everyday Detox.

I mixed both teas together and the results are fascinating. My skin began to change and cleared up in about an hour. I took a shower and my skin was moisturized, no longer patchy or flaky. Even though the tea produces astonishing result by classing the liver, i still need a heavier detox. My body is still backed up with toxins because it fluctuates between clear and dry. 

I've decided to eat mostly vegetables I cook from home. I will monitor the results and post the results, If you guys have any suggestions on green foods, which help with detoxing and eczema, please comment.   

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Homemade Hair Milk: Natural Ingredients For Hair Milk

I've been natural for about nine years and I've discovered some staple products. These products give my hair so much shine and makes it easy to style. But what happens when allergies are hindering my beauty regiment. Health is more important than beauty and I had to learn that lesson the hard way. 

Carol's Daughter Hair Milk has been one of my staples for three years. If anyone on campus (Florida A&M University) would ask me, "How do you twist your hair?" then I would reply, "Have you heard of Carol's Daughter?" It would just roll off my tongue effortlessly and I genuinely loved giving recognition to an African-American business owner who makes products for African-American hair textures. 

It was a way for me to give back to my community. I remember when Carol's Daughter started to expand and her brand was becoming well-known through artist endorsements. I was excited because I was growing with the company and I believed I help with spreading the word. 

But I do believe with all the recognition the product had ingredients or process changes. My body has a way of telling me about little changes and I react to them quickly. So, as soon as the hair milk increased in price for the same bottle and the smell of lemongrass was stronger, I knew something was different. I couldn't put my finger on it, but my hands started itching after I twisted my hair. My hands, the night after had small bubble marks with liquid. After the bubbles burst they would create red marks. Some spots on my hands were rough and dark with scaly skin patches. It was a disaster, but my hair looked healthy, while my hands were dry and brittle. 

I checked the ingredients and compared the old hair milk to the new one, everything was the same. Gloves became my best friend as I twisted my hair. They were the protectant from the damaging hair milk. I tried every situation except for stop using the product. It was hard and my hands were looking worse than usual. The side effects of the hair milk lasted longer every time I used it.

If I gave up the product, then how would I do my hair? I tried Shea Moisture's Hair Milk. It had the same effect but less detrimental and itchy. I searched YouTube and Google for recipes to make natural hair milk. A few pages on Google had too many ingredients and others had breakdowns that were too in depth. I needed a quick recipe. I combined oils I knew my hair was used to with oils suggested on social media.

At first, I was unsure if this would work. I thought all of the oils and butters would probably create a mess that wouldn't resemble hair milk or my hair would have a greasy texture. But I was wrong, my mixture came out perfect with the same effects as Carol's Daughter. I had shine, soft twists but great looking hands. 

If you have allergies or you're tired of being a product junkie use this recipe I have discovered.

*All products are unrefined, raw or organic*

1. Cocoa Butter 
2. Shea Butter
3. Olive Oil
4. Coconut Oil
5. Argan Oil
6. Sweet Almond Oil
7. Rose water with glycerin

Mix all of these oils and butters until it becomes a milky consistency. Butters must be melted down before adding the rest of the oils. It's best to let ingredients cool for about 30 minutes to an hour. The cooling method allows the oils to solidify and become thick. You must stir the liquid until it becomes milky. I store my hair milk in a travel size bottle. If you're storing this in a bottle it's best to get a funnel to avoid a mess.


The "Healthy Living" Phoenix        

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Friday, June 20, 2014


The 18th annual American Black Film Festival had over 200 people lined up in New York’s Metropolitan Pavilion. BET Network’s presented “The Leading Man Panel” in support of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. The male actors discussed their journey and the images of black men in Hollywood.

The film festival was packed for the second day with mostly women waiting to hear from the male panelists. The moderator Marc Lamont Hill introduced actors Omari Hardwick, Morris Chestnut and Stephen Bishop. 

Morris Chestnut alongside Omari Hardwick discuss who they are and whose they are.

The panelists discussed the questions they face as African-American male actors in Hollywood. Bishop said as an actor the question is "Who are you as a man and what you're willing to do as a character." Hill said the types of roles the actors are faced with seem to be stereotypical to the black community. The actors agreed stating the movies that glorify gang culture are the ones that make the most money in Hollywood. Hardwick said the industry can bully you and that acting is a little submissive. "As I man I've seen it. Even though it's apart of the black experience you have to say no,"said Chestnut. 

Hill dug deeper and explored the gap between the older actors and the actors who are up and coming. Bishop said in the African-American community we don't reach back and help others after we have made it. He quotes lyrics from Lil' Wayne's Tie My Hands, "But they talk that freedom at us and they don't even leave a ladder, damn.

Marc Lamont Hill alongside Morris Chestnut and Omari Hardwick discuss the roles of actors in the community

The actors say they are looking for help from seasoned actors and sometimes that is the hardest thing to find. The veteran actors sometimes look at the up and coming actors and believe they are not doing enough to uplift the community. Hill said the older actors were more than just artists and they impacted the community. "We have a whole generation of elders who are becoming ancestors quickly. They weren't just celebrities they were freedom fighters," said Hill. The panelists were asked if there’s a correlation between an actor and a freedom fighter. "You can't be a great actor if you're not an activist," said Hardwick.

Stephen Bishop talks about using social media to voice opinions on injustices.

Bishop said he always speaks out for injustices or on racial issues. He said, “You can tell if you follow me on Twitter. I always say something.” The panelists agreed the legacy of seasoned actors must be recognized and not lost because they have broken boundaries. “We have to make sure the legacy they’ve earned for us doesn’t get lost,” said Bishop.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

When I Heard Maya For The First Time

My mother loves audio books and as a child I remember going to the Yonkers Public Library picking out books. I'd be in my section of the young children books and she'd be in her own section. This had to be in the 90s because I heard Maya Angelou for the first time on a cassette. No one's voice made me feel so much emotion. I laughed, I was fearful and I was sad when I heard her story. I remember Maya telling her feelings and not holding her tongue. She was sharp and that's when I knew she'd be one of my favorite writers. She was bold, as she told her story of living in poverty with her son and she was strong when she realized she had to make a change. She was an artist,  a singer, a dancer and a writer. She was legendary because she broke boundaries. How was so fearless? Oh, and she was intelligent. She was everything I wanted to be and I admired her for being comfortable with herself, an inspiration and wisdom like no other.

So, today when I read on CNN and social media that she had died at 86 years old, I was hurt. But I knew she had lived her purpose and she had touched souls and she had given joy. She helped cultivate minds and enhanced people spirits. Most importantly, she taught people how to live.

When I heard Maya speak in the Al Lawson Center at Florida A&M University, I was proud. I wanted to write everything. My phone's recorder wasn't that good but there's one message I will never forget. "Be present,"she said. This is the most important message you can give anyone to help them live a more fulfilling life. Being present means you are in the moment without interruptions from your past or your future. You have the ability to soak up all of the knowledge and lessons you are meant to receive in that moment. How many people in this 2014 actually live in each moment? How many give 100 percent in each moment? You accomplish more when you focus on what's in front of you and you reap benefits when being present.

So in honor of a woman who lived life without boundaries and touched lives, Lets be present!


The "I'm working on being better" Phoenix 

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Graduation: Bachelor of Science in Journalism

College is a place like no other for a young mind. As I stood in the Al Lawson Center at 9 a.m. on Florida A&M's campus, I realized I had closed a chapter in my life. There would no more classes at 8 a.m., no more handing in assignments and praying that no one noticed you wrote that paper an hour ago. All of that support, nurturing and guidance would be a phone call away and no longer in a classroom setting. This all hit me at 9a.m. in the green gown, which was now ripping because my jewelry kept getting caught after I paid about $80.

But the ripping of the gown is not the point. The real lesson here is what do I do now after 9 a.m. The class work is over, News 20 at Five is over and the grades are in. I am done with college. I realized I had applied for jobs, but I wasn't thinking about how much I really needed a job right now. Not even, a job but a career. There's the question of where do you see yourself in five years. I realized at this moment how important those questions are and how real life is because the real world hits you fast. You have to plan. You have to know and you have to be open but assertive. So, this is a question for all of my college grads who graduated today or graduate sometime this month. Are you really ready for life, adult life or are you just excited to have a degree?


The "FAMU Alumna" Phoenix

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Sixty-three percent of U.S. graduates are not prepared for the global economy, according to Florida A&M English professor and Quality Enhancement Program director, Dr. Genye H. Boston.

Critical thinking is being able to look at something, analyze that information, process it and make a decision.

Boston said employers are looking for college graduates who can think and read critically.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers are looking to hire people who can effectively asset problems and find solutions. Having critical thinking skills shows that someone has good judgment and communicates ideas while making decisions.

Over the next two weeks, The Graduate Studies and Research office will conduct seminars to help students prepare for professional development. Boston’s seminar on Thursday focused on how to critical think and read for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

“This class is fundamental because critical thinking isn’t something that is typically taught,” Boston said. “You know if you look at most degree programs, undergraduate degree programs there’s not a critical thinking major.”

The answer to why so many American students don’t think critically has fallen on their education system, according to Richard Arum’s book “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.

But Boston said there are many factors that contribute to American students lagging behind.

“I think it’s partly due to reading and reading comprehension may not have been really emphasized at the secondary level for some students,” said Boston.

Boston noted that another factor might be that Millennials do not read as much as prior generations.

Critical thinking is a big factor when taking the GRE especially critically reading. Students must understand that in order to earn a good score on the GRE test they must study and understand the material.

“I don’t think students familiarize themselves with the test or how it formatted and that can really pose a problem,” said Boston.

About ten students attended the seminar and they said it helped them study and understand how to answer the questions on the GRE.

Sergelyn Saint-Jean, a FAMU senior social work student from South Florida said, he feels confident that he’s ready and plans on taking the GRE next week.

“I was happy that I was there because I just got the booklet and the CDs but I hadn’t got one-on-one training yet,” Saint-Jean said.  “So, I learned a lot.”   

Boston gave tips to students when about how to break down and analyze questions without getting confused by the answer choices.

Merissa Evans, a graduating political science and pre-law senior from Monticello, Fla., learned it’s important to skim through the questions before you read a passage and look for key words when reading.

“You should skim through the questions so you could see what they’re looking for because they try to throw in a lot of distraction choices during the question,” said Evans.

In order for students to select the correct answers on the GRE they have to be an effective thinker. Boston goes in depth to the main problems students have when they don’t know how to think critically on standardized test.

“Some of the major challenges when critically reading is understanding the question, retaining information, understanding vocabulary and reading comprehension,” said Boston. “It’s one of the skills sets you’re forced to enhance. ”

The next seminar “Higher Learning and Education” is on Feb. 11 in the Coleman Library, room 410 at 2:30 p.m.

For more information on the Graduate Studies and Research office go to, http://www.famu.edu/graduatestudies/m/

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