Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest. -MLK
A mural depicting the life and times of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds all of the protests for justice during the Civil Rights Movement. It adorns a building outside The King Center in Atlanta, GA.
Protests. This word carried much weight in the latter part of 2015, evoking emotional responses and heated debates between friends, loved ones, acquaintances and social media frequenters. Social justice advocates declared that we were in a revolution. The skeptical questioned if these gatherings were necessary and actually impactful. The optimists argued that mere social awareness was a success. The unbothered pretended no one was talking.
The clock strikes 12. My body is present in the new 2015 celebrated in with champagne toasts and a freshly dropped ball in Times Square brought to my couch via television satellite magic. My mind has been teleported to 2012- “our first real date.” I had just returned back to where everything is bigger, eager to slip out of the blanket of panic I wore hours early due to a delayed flight and into a dress fit for the downtown festivities to come.
This would also be the first time I would be a part of the cliché ringing in the year in the arms of someone who loved you- or in our case, someone who was going to grow to love you. Although we didn’t symbolically kiss when the fireworks sounded, I was wrapped in your arms. The crowd around us was large, yet the moment still seemed personal, only interrupted when the rest of our friends joined up with us. Moments later, we rode the bus home with me asleep on your shoulder. The perfect ending.
Free to be me t-shirt available in sizes small-2XL on Redbubble. Click for more information.
As an artist I am always looking for ways to inspire others with my work. This venture is my way of bridging the gap between my photography and the fashion world. With digital art, I take my images to create daily wearable inspirations of faith, hope, love, peace and joy for young, fashionable women.
A few weeks ago I turned 25. As this life landmark approached, instead of growing excited for this momentous day, I found myself indulging in many sessions of self-doubt. I doubted my worth because I was a young lady in my mid-20s who had not reached a single of my goals. As a matter of fact, I was unemployed without any career prospects, living with my parents, surviving off rice because groceries were outside my budget and unable to pay for “the simple things” like gas.
Time waits for no man, I was once told. Yet, I didn’t heed the warning and kept blasting through life at full speed. I was stuck staring in front of me, eyes blinded to what was around me me, because ahead of me was my destiny. I wanted what was mine.
And then there was the fact that I could be sitting still in the same location as a group of people and be more present in cyberspace than I was in that room- laughing at at video, updating my status, liking photos or smh-ing at the latest twitter ignorance.
This morning I awoke to a message:
Espero verte algun dia de nuevo. Sinceramente, tenia ganas de besarte, al menos jajaj. Pura vida..
Un abrazo y que tu estadía en Costa rica sea genial
The translation: “I hope to see you one day again. Honestly, I desired to kiss you at least, haha. Pure life.. A hug and a cool stay in Costa Rica.”
At 5:30 in the morning, my heart fluttered. Not because I shared the same sentiment as this guy, but because it felt so good to be desired!
While thumbing thorough my notebook I came across this letter…
This place where I am is so beautiful. It’s a lodge with nice little cabinas. On my right is the river where I sat on the dock and watched the current and listened to fish jump up around me. On my left just behind the trees is the beach. I got up early and walked here, where the first thing I saw was a group of cows relaxing in the sand. “How strange!” I thought. The property owner has a German Shepherd which managed to follow me to the beach. He’s been my company all morning which is good because although I am here with a group, I am alone in that no one else from my job came. It’s pleasant this way in that I am meeting new people, but I can also get time to myself.
The great thing about art is that it evokes emotions and everyone who looks can see a different meaning. This commenter saw this photo and immediately felt angered because to them it depicted poverty in a way that was glorifying. For me, it was something different. I was captivated by a house that should not exist. It was built with simple materials, and has obviously survived a beating that comes from existence. By all definitions, it should have been defeated and washed away. Yet it’s still standing, revealing a complexity that goes beyond the exterior.
Over a two week period, around two million people walked from their homes in Costa Rica to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago. Once in Cartago they went down the aisle to the alter on their knees. One lady, who came from Nicaragua, carries a picture of her daughter who has passed away.
Ouch, was all I could think as a pain surged from my knees up through my thighs. Like thousands of Ticos, I was crawling from the entrance of the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago, Costa Rica, to the alter. I approximated that the journey was 100 yards total, and I myself had only inched my way a couple of feet. The sensation from compressing my knees on the hard pavement told me to give up, but I could not disrespect the holy place in such a manner. After all, I was surrounded by older people who had spent the entire morning walking to the basilica, and despite aches in their feet, still had the energy to finish the path. I, myself, had only taken the bus. Every time I stopped, I felt the lady dragging her baby in a stroller along with her run over my heels, urging me to move forward. Placing my agony aside, I progressed, remaining tranced in the atmosphere.
A refelction on my year of service… This Blog Does Not Represent the Ideals of City Year
City Year taught me to keep dreaming. Things may go wrong and fall apart, frustrations may run high, and plans may change. But in the end, as long as you don’t give up, everything works out in the end- often times far better than you could have imagined.
Four hundred thirty-two thousand minutes. Fifteen hours of ABC coaching per twelve or more focus list student. Seventeen hundred documented community service hours. That’s how you measure 10 months of service.
Spirit break after a powerful round of PT, and reading the daily briefing. After a while City Year culture became a way of life.
It encompasses data, dosage, tracking, khakis, teamwork, red layers, early starts, jolliness and power greeting. Its cover also reveals late evenings, frustrations, elevator speeches, Leadership and Development, service projects, stipends, LACY, tutoring, mentoring, and role modeling. Service beseeched us to answer Gandhi’s call to be the change we wish to see in the world, and Martin Luther Kings Jr.’s challenge to be great, because we could serve. Service also stirred our own devotions to the education cause- a devotion we belted loud and proud in our I Serve statements. Now that graduation has come to turn that signal light that has so long been green to red, we can take our well-deserved break and find comfort in knowing We Gave a Year and Changed to World.