Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Today in Black History: The Hoodie Culture

The Hoodie Culture

I wasn't always a member of the hoodie culture.  In fact, i didn't own a hoodie for many years never really considering them "my style."  And then i started working for a company where almost everyone wore hoodies at some point or another.  It's amazing to me how quickly i acclimated to this stylistic preference soon having 3-4 hoodies in my regular wardrobe rotation.

And then brother Trayvon Martin was killed wearing a hoodie on his way home from the store late the evening of February 26th, 2012 in Sanford, Florida.  I couldn't believe this young man would be gunned down so senselessly because he had the audacity to walk through a quiet suburban neighborhood.  The hoodie made him look suspicious George Zimmerman would later claim as he defended his indefensible actions that night.  Although Trayvon was unarmed, he apparently still presented a threat to the armed Zimmerman and therefore had to pay the ultimate price of his life.

George Zimmerman was later acquitted for his crime on the basis of self-defense and Florida's "Stand Your Ground" laws and i was fearful that we as a society had crossed into dangerous territory.  How could someone claiming self-defense shoot an unarmed kid and get away with it?!  Had we as a society just condoned the murder of a young man for being black and wearing a hoodie in the wrong neighborhood?  Did this mean all black men should fear for their lives for wearing the wrong clothing in the wrong neighborhood?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Constitutional Breach + alt-J trip part deux + Fortune Cookie Wisdom

Picture Courtesy of "The Times"

A message from an American Citizen:

What do you MEAN you won't execute the order?! You signed the sanctions bill passed by the Congress of the United States of America meaning you committed to the execution of the order. You as Chief Executive don't have the right to ignore an order given to you by the people's house unless by veto. If you choose not to follow orders, you are in breach of your constitutional responsibility to faithfully execute the laws of the United States of America whether you like them or not. But to decide without the constitutional authority to do so that you won't enforce sanctions passed into law by congress and signed by YOU isn't a right you have as president of this democracy. (See Article 1, Section I of the US Constitution)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Puerto Rico: The Fight For Survival + A Trip To See alt-J + OTM

Mural By Axel Void

Puerto Rico: The Fight For Survival

I had the honor of speaking with Loida again about the progress in Puerto Rico. For those of you who don't know Loida Cardona Velasquez, she is a project director at UT and all around bad @ss.  She is originally from Puerto Rico and she and i serve together on the United Way of Greater Knoxville Board of Directors.  She also serves as the media liaison for the East Tennessee For Puerto Rico group and has been my primary source for information about the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

When I called, Loida was home recuperating from surgery on her ankle, but was in otherwise good spirits. She reported to me that after 60 days, her brother now has electricity! She said she's able to speak to him regularly and that she no longer has to send him food.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What I Do For A Living + The Truth About Net Neutrality

What I Do For A Living

I've been asked a million times what I do for a living.  I don't think i'm special in that regard. It's one of the most commonly asked questions when you're getting to know someone. In fact, based on my own experience, it's the most asked question i've ever been asked besides my name. 

And i get it, in America especially, this is particularly valuable information the answer to which tells you a lot about me and vice versa. It tells you what level of education i have received, how much money i make, how much time i have to make friends and so on. Of course this information is generalized and can oftentimes be completely inaccurate, but let us not digress. Point is, it is useful information for us to know about each other and we as Americans have decided it's okay to share.

As of late, for me it's a bit of a difficult question to answer however.  It used to be easy when i worked the standard 9 to 5 (more like 9 to 6 or 10 to 6 depending on the job) toiling away for the "man". For 2 years i worked as a store-level manager for Target right out of college, 7 years i worked in HR for the dreaded 21st Mortgage and for 3.5 years, i worked for AC Entertainment in Risk Management and HR. See, pretty simple, straight-forward sh!t. But now?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Tax Cuts for Christmas? + An Interview With A Friend

Puerto Rico Interview With A Friend

On this Thanksgiving, I wanted to share my interview with a friend who has family in Puerto Rico.  Her family's experience is a reminder that we should be thankful for our blessings and remember those who are less fortunate.  Keep them all in your thoughts and prayers as you give thanks!

One of my greatest regrets this year and indeed of my life is missing my friend Liz's wedding in Puerto Rico this past July.  For financial and other reasons i just couldn't swing it, but in hindsight i should have tried harder.

Fortunately Liz is a forgiving soul and allowed me to ask her some questions about how her family in Puerto Rico was faring in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.  Here were her responses not quite verbatim: