Archive for May, 2011

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Message to College Graduates

May 21, 2011


I would like to congratulate Skidmore College graduates and college graduates in general. You’ve earned this moment. Don’t let anyone devalue you or your education. What you’ve learned inside and outside of the classroom are everlasting lessons that will be key in your new experiences. As Malcolm X once said, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

Own your education. Use your education, inside and outside of the classroom, for the greater good, not just for your own financial gain. Help your fellow brothers and sisters anyway you can. Inspire them. Empower them. Become an ally. I’m your ally. I’m here for you! Feel free to reach out to me and I’ll help you anyway I can.

Join me in the fight to save our brothers and sisters who are on the edge. I need your voice. I need your help. We can do this together. All of us can help. Every little bit makes a difference. And now I leave you with these final words.

Stay strong. Keep it pushing. Peace be on to you, brothers and sisters. God bless.

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I Am Poem

May 16, 2011


Here’s another email topic from my exchanges with my mentee. Little by little, I’m trying to write more. Lately, I’ve been inspired to write a book which is something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school. Here is my poem:

I am strong and peaceful.
I wonder what painful things kids cry about at night.
I hear those cries.
I see kids’ tears running down their face.
I want peace for all of the young children.
I am strong and peaceful.

I pretend wipe the tears away of the kids who cry at night.
I feel the pain the kids feel at night.
I touch the sun to bring it down to brighten up the kids’ night.
I worry about these kids.
I cry for these kids.
I am strong and peaceful.

I understand what it is like to be a child crying yourself to sleep.
I say to these kids that there is a better tomorrow.
I dream of a better tomorrow for them.
I try to make that better tomorrow a reality one kid at a time.
I hope for a time where no kid cries his or her self asleep.
I am strong and peaceful.

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If One of Us Falls, We All Fall!

May 8, 2011

The Key to Our Future


In my email to my mentee last week, we had to write a speech about the problems in our community and what could be done about it if we were Mayor. I wrote about where I live now. If you read it, I went a different route with my speech. I’m not sure if I mentioned that I live in the community where I work. I work for a nonprofit helping the less fortunate get health insurance. So I’ve seen and learned a lot in my year of living and working in Bushwick, Brooklyn/Ridgewood, Queens. In writing this, I was inspired by Saul Alinsky’s Reveille For Radicals and Rules for Radicals.

Here is my speech:

The biggest problem in this community of Bushwick, Brooklyn/Ridgewood, Queens is the lack of jobs. This is a serious problem because people are having to choose between paying their rent and bills or feeding their children with the little money they get from unemployment, their low-paying job or public assistance. More and more people are signing up for public benefits. Public benefits are a great safety net, but it isn’t enough to get by. With the rising cost of food and rent, public benefits are just a drop in the bucket.

We must hold our elected officials responsible. They hold the key to enhancing our daily lives here. You have to protest as an united front in front of their office in this neighborhood. What I mean by united front is all of the small businesses, unions, interest groups, nonprofits, churches, etc. We are all suffering. If we don’t have jobs, how can we buy the clothes in your store or tithe to the church? If we can’t buy things, how are people suppose to get more hours and a liveable wage at their job?

You have to engage in conversations with the officials. If they won’t help you, you must vote them out and vote in one of us. What do you demand from them? We must demand for tax breaks for small businesses in the community for hiring our own people. We must demand the officials to bring companies to do business in our community and to hire us. We can ask companies as well such as Starbucks. Now, some of you might be worried about having these big businesses here, but we have a lot of empty spaces that aren’t being used. Why not use them up for our benefit? Why not have variety? What not have affordability as the businesses in this neighborhood compete with one another?

We must get our GEDs, High School Diplomas and College Degrees. Doing this will make us more knowledgeable of the system. Education is key to our survival. It will make our living situations better. We must find resources such as outside scholarships to pay for college. We must talk to our officials about making higher education affordable, holding public school teachers accountable, having better supplies in the classroom, hiring passionate teachers and school officials who are just like us and having more social/academic programs to keep kids off the streets.

We can do this. I have so much faith that we can do this that I am putting as much money as I can into our campaign for things like metrocards, supplies, snacks and water. I ask the churches, unions, nonprofits, interest groups and small businesses to provide what they can wither it be funds and/or space for our meetings.

Brothers and sisters, when one of use bleeds, we all bleed. When one of us dies from hungrier or cold from a lack of shelter, we all die. Let’s lift each other up. Let’s stand side by side and hold hands as a united front. Because if one of us falls, we all fall!

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Where I’m From Poem

May 1, 2011

It's a jungle out here!


I’m sorry for not posting much. But I do intend on posting more. You can catch me in small doses on Facebook and Twitter. I’m in a mentoring program where I email my mentee once a week. The program has set topics every week. Last week, we had to write a short poem about our neighborhoods. I wrote about my old neighborhood, East New York, Brooklyn. It’s only been less than a year since I left there. I still have family there, and I attend church there, The Church of the Holy Redeemer. At the church, I co-led a Youth Ministry group called Youth Experiencing Salvation (Y.E.S.). So it’s safe to say that my connect to East New York is still strong, and it’s going to get stronger as I get more involved.

Here is my poem:

Where I’m from sounds like pain.

Where I’m from tastes like blood.

Where I’m from looks like death.

Where I’m from smells like garbage.

Where I’m from feels like winter.