Aisha’s Answer to Regret: #TuesdayTwo

Early this year a friend of mine died in a tragic accident while she was on vacation. After her death I became very angry about a lot of things – and quickly realized that I had a pound of regret I was carrying around. During her funeral, the minister challenged us to let go of any regret we had and to put it aside. I burst into tears realizing that I felt horrible that I didn’t get a chance to thank my friend for all she had done for me and for my children. I didn’t get a chance to remind her that I thought she was the bees knees and super funny. Sure, we communicated most days via social media “likes” and high fives but I did not have a VERBAL conversation with her in way too long. And, I would not be able to do it anymore.

At that point… Tuesday Two developed. Tuesday Two is one way that I decided to answer my issue of regret and to learn from my mistake. Every Tuesday I CALL (not text, not email, not IM, not tweet, not post)… I CALL TWO people that mean the world to me but I don’t often have a conversation with them and I tell them TWO things that I love about them. It’s pretty simple.

I chose Tuesdays because of the alliteration. Sometimes… I just forget things, including doing my Tuesday Two, but the moment I think of it being Tuesday or think or say the word Tuesday I think of my Two. The responses have been amazing – ranging from people crying to laughing to saying – they really needed the call at the moment, it changed their day. It also helps me to reconnect with people in a genuine way. It’s been therapy for me but has also had an impact on the Two people I call.

A few people have asked me about Tuesday Two so I decided to blog about it because – it’s had such an impact on me during my grieving process and has helped me refocus and reconnect with people I love and care about. Social media is great – I have no issue with it, but it simply can’t replace the phone call that you need to have. I hate talking on the phone but it’s necessary.

If I can help it – I don’t want anyone I love going to the grave without them knowing how I feel about them and what I love about them. 

Til Next Tuesday…

But… really, why wait? If someone is on your mind today, call them today, tomorrow is not guaranteed – the only thing we can control is how we treat each other here and now.

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Work Hard! Dream Big! Lady C’s Lunch With a Black Rockette

A few weeks ago Lady C went to see the Radio City Spring Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. We’ve been to the Christmas Spectacular several times, we’ve had dinner with a family friend that is a Rockette, several of them signed a souvenir doll for Lady C when she was a baby and we have even done a backstage tour but… she never met a black Rockette and didn’t know they existed.

After the Spring Spectacular, Lady C came home with a question that rocked us. She asked her dad:

Can I only be a Rockette if I am tan?

If you’ve read our blog before, you will know that we’ve explored the topic of race and color with Lady C. She uses the term tan to refer to white people… which includes her little sister… (and that’s a discussion we are still working on… that her sister is not, in fact, white).

Man, we were devastated.

Here we are… a family with a mother with a law degree, a dad with a Masters degree, each of us with careers that make us proud.

Here we are, a family that watched the inauguration of Barack Obama while Lady C was a baby, in utero, and we cried because our child would only know a world with a black President.

Here we are a family who felt like we could tell her she could be ANYTHING …. and it would be true.

But here we were with a five year that feels like she cannot do something because of her brown skin.

Whoa!

This moment was so timely because there was a lot of social media discussion around Black Girls Rock, First Lady Michelle Obama’s appearance and whether the Black Girls Rock movement is a racist one. The fact of the matter is that ABSENT representation is just as detrimental as NEGATIVE representation on the self-esteem, aspirations and ambition of young children. They need to see it to believe it!

So what did we do? We did what any rationale person would do… we cried to our mommy. Lady Cs grandmother, GG, has had a part time job at Radio City for years and a great relationship with many Rockettes.  So GG asked Danielle who is not only a black Rockette but was one of the marquis ones for marketing during their most recent season.

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That’s Danielle!

Danielle agreed to meet Lady C and they had a fabulous lunch and even did a kick line together. Danielle told her about her career, when she started dancing and about other brown women dancers. Apparently Danielle is now invited to Lady C’s sixth birthday party… ha!

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Danielle and Lady C

wpid-0422151655c.jpgWhen she got home I asked Lady C about her experience and whether I could record it for other little black girls. She agreed.

Here it is…. enjoy.

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Lady C’s video message

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Our Children Marched Today Because…

Today our family marched with thousands upon thousands of other concerned citizens in New York City to protest against police brutality. We saw other parents walking with their children but by and large it was rare to see young children at the event… which is understandable. During the march, we received accolades and quite a bit of attention for having our children with us. Bringing a five year old and 20 month old to a protest march is an interesting decision…

Here is why we did it:
– we wanted them to experience history while it occurred 
– we wanted to reinforce what Lady C (our five year old) learned about civil rights and civil disobedience in school
– Lady C learns a lot about justice but it is equally important that she learns about INJUSTICE

This was a learning moment and teaching opportunity. For weeks now, we have been trying to think of a way to discuss what is happening in the country and have been at a loss. We’ve read blogs and articles and gathered children’s books that discuss race and civil disobedience. In reality, we were over-thinking it. Once we decided to attend the march we had to confront the issue of discussion. And just spoke from the heart.

We asked Lady C to tell us about what she learned about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. She said they wanted people to sit wherever they wanted on a bus. We told her that one of the ways they made their opinions known was by marching with other people who shared their opinions. We told her we wanted to do the same to let the world know that we do not agree with people being treated unfairly. We decided not to delve too much into the particulars of the most recent cases and kept it very general.

We prepped by packing snacks, loading up on clothes to stay warm and Lady C made a sign for the event and sounded out all the words to create the sign.

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Lady C and Lady H even marched through the house to rehearse. And… We made sure everyone had an empty bladder before we left the house… Very very important.

When we arrived, Lady C was amazed by the crowd and we asked her how it felt to see so many people gathered to express how they feel. Her response: “happy”.

She joined the chants, held her sign with pride, asked questions and generally was a great sport.

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We left the march early and on the way home she continued to chant.

We hope this experience teaches Lady C about social action, using your voice and opens her eyes to the power people have when they come together for a united purpose.

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Adopt a Class, Adopt a Teacher

Photo-02Every year we hear the stories of teachers in our community struggling to keep supplies in the classroom by using their OWN money to purchase items for their students. Each year, we support one of our family members who is a teacher through her online fundraising link. Since we have a blog now, we decided to share the names and addresses of teachers throughout New York city who could use support of others. So – if you are reading this blog and want to help – PLEASE DO. Let’s do some social good together. In a country as prosperous as ours, there should not be a struggle for children to have PENS AND PENCILS!

Pick, a teacher, pick a class, pick a school and support. And don’t hoard the knowledge – share this blog, share this list and let us know when you’ve completed your Social Good in the comments below.

These teachers thank you in advance!

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Teacher name: Nadine Pearson

School: PS 290

Link to Donors Choose Page (click link to donate to this class).

NOTE – HAS RECEIVED DONATIONS *YAY*

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Teacher name: Alison Best-Adams

School: Boys and Girls High School, 1700 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11213

Drop off information: Drop off materials to the High School on September 2nd from 1 pm to 3 pm

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Teacher name: Juliet Duggins

School: Jordan L. Mott MS 22X, 270 East 167th Street, Bronx, NY 10469

Drop off information:  Mail c/o Juliet Duggins or dropped off between 8 am and 3pm Monday-Friday

Supply requests: 2 inch binders, loose leaf paper, pencils, pens, composition books

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Teacher name: Deirdre O’Bryant

School: C.S. 21, 180 Chauncey Street, Brooklyn, NY 11233

Drop off information: Mail c/o Deirdre O’Bryant

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Teacher name: Aida Crowley

School: C.S. 21, 180 Chauncey Street, Rm 211 Brooklyn, NY 11233

Drop off information: Mail c/o Aida Crowley or drop-off on September 2 all day

Supply Requests: pens, folders, 2 inch binders, sheet protectors, electric sharpener

NOTE: HAS RECEIVED DONATIONS *YAY*

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Teacher name: Maria Lebron

School: C.S. 21, 180 Chauncey Street, Rm 302 Brooklyn, NY 11233

Drop off information: Mail c/o Maria Lebron

Supply Requests: folders pens, crayons, markers, dry erase markers

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Teacher name: Phoebe Eligon-Jones

School: Benjamin Cardozo High School

Link to Donors Choose Page (click link to donate to this class).

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Teacher name: Janelle Rollocks-Flinch

School: TYWLS of Brooklyn, 32 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Drop off information: Mail c/o Janelle Rollocks-Flinch

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Charitable Organization: Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, 2010 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11233

Drop off information: Send donations of any and all supplies to the attention of Naomi Hopkins

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Teacher name: Lenise Rogers

School: P.S. 40, 265 Ralph Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203

Drop off information: Mail c/o Lenise Rogers

Supply Requests: Pencils, composition notebooks, folders

NOTE – HAS RECEIVED DONATIONS *YAY*

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Teacher name: Lisette Caesar

School: Mosaic Prep, 141 East 111th Street, NY, NY 10029

Drop off information: Mail any time – supplies needed all year round

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Principal name: Cynthia Rochez

School: PS 50, 433 East 100th Street, NY, NY 10029

Drop off information: Mail any time – supplies needed all year round

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Teacher name: Shana Alston

School: Providence House (pre-school), 703 Lexington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221

Drop off information: Mail any time – supplies needed all year round

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Principal name: Celeste Douglas Wheeler

Drop off information: 125 Stuyvesant Avenue, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11221

Supply Requests: Pencils, binders, loose leaf paper, composition notebooks, folders

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Vice Principal name: Cluny Lavache

School Name: Bedford Academy High School, 1119 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216

Drop off information: Drop off August 26-28 from 11am to 2pm

Supply Requests: loose leaf paper, dry erase markers, pens, pencils, composition notebooks

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Teacher name: Aisha Harrison

School: Academy of Urban Planning, 400 Irving Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Drop off information: Drop off on 9/2 or 9/3 between 8:30 and 3 pm or year round

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Teacher name: Ebony McLean

School: Madiba Prep Middle School, 1010 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221

Drop off information: Mail c/o Lenise Rogers

Supply Requests: Binders, loose leaf paper, pens (blue and black ink), pencils