Why I Wanted to Quit Social Services For Good.

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It’s not that I no longer care. It’s the fact that I care so much and yet continue to be placed in situations and in positions where I am powerless to actually act on that care. Compassion is one thing, but acting on your compassion is a whole nother level. I hate that in so many systems, the social worker or community worker is placed in a position that they are required to do nothing more than place band-aids on huge, open wounds. They are employed to fill a position to give the illusion that the company is doing their due diligence in serving the people. They are bright, genuine, pure-hearted individuals who want nothing more than to make a difference in the lives of the forgotten and disadvantaged and to create transformation in their community, but, their hands are tied and their voices are silenced underneath businesses that only allow them to go so far. There’s this thing called first-order change, where you treat the symptoms in the community but fail to address the actual causes to these problems.

This is 90% of social services that we see in our communities. We see metaphorical band-aids, we see welfare programs, we see people giving away toys and bikes, we see free food programs, we see community centers for after school programs, and we see great fitness programs. These events make my heart beat. However, after years of doing them, I became disgruntled. Working in the same community, doing the same thing for years, you begin to wake up to the real problems. I began to hate giving away free books when I knew that the kids literally could not read. The issue was bigger than the kids don’t read in this community, I wanted to know why the hell these kids are all in the way in Middle School, and can’t even read elementary books. Where did we fail them in the system and why are we allowing it to continue? I grew tired of sitting through wack ass, dry ass therapy groups for teenage girls that did not heal their real issues and where we discussed concepts of freedom, when they truly were oppressed and being pimped by the system. Yes, I loved them, but in my position, there was only so much I could do. I wanted to truly love them, but how could I when the system I worked for was corrupt and broken? How could I help the people I saw everyday when the system I worked for scrutinized me and stepped in front of me when I tried to get to the root of the real problem?

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Second-order change focuses on changing the systems that create the problems rather than just addressing the problematic symptoms. This is where I realized why I was so frustrated in every job I went to. This is where I realized why I began to even question if this is the field for me anymore. This is where I realized why I was feeling like I spent all those years in school for nothing and you know what maybe I don’t want to help people anymore. I was burnt out. I was burnt out from wanting so much for my community that I served and yet did not have the  power to do anything substantial about it. Imagine having a single mother sitting across from you at your desk crying and pleading with you to help her, you want to, she has a simple request, but policies and procedures prevent you from offering her anything more than a band-aid response to something that requires surgery. Imagine having an elderly and utterly helpless man sitting across from you sincerely needing help, you care about him but sadly the big pharmaceutical companies, money hungry insurance companies and your corporate office cares more about dollar bills and numbers than his life. Imagine being caught in the middle of two vastly different worlds. Imagine applying for a position thinking that it will put you in a position to change lives when it actually ends up just making you a pawn in a sick and twisted game. I want out.

I desire to create real, lasting change. I desire to be 100% for the people. I desire to work freely out of my compassion with no politics and corruption involved. I want to fix the broken systems. To be honest though, I’ve grown to believe that these systems aren’t broken, they were created strategically to take advantage of and exploit the poor, the overlooked and the hurting. These systems were not created in our favor and it shows. How can I call myself an advocate, a social worker, someone who seeks justice, if I am forced to look at people in need everyday and tell them, “that’s just the way it is”, and offer them a subpar service to appease them only for a moment? How can I sit idly and watch injustices happen all around me, directly affecting the people I know that I am called to fight for? How can I just “do a job” that my heart is no longer in? How can I do mundane work day in and day out knowing that I’m not healing the roots of the issues but merely just handing the community medicine that covers up symptoms? It’s like we are offering our people medicine to treat the SYMPTOMS, but the illness still runs rampant. We offer them more and more medicine…when can we truly heal them?

This is the revolution that needs to happen in the social service industry. We need to heal our communities. We need to dig deep, work together and aim to change the SYSTEMS that create the problems that we see. If we are not aiming at rectifying the systems, we are not truly healing the people we serve, we are just making them comfortable inside of a broken system set up for them to fail.

Why The Women's Movement is Not Strong Enough to Change The Culture.

If you think about the history of the women’s movement in this country, it’s full of divisions. Sometimes [fractures] allow movements to develop more organizations. They allow people to find the groups that have the beliefs, the strategies, and the ideologies they’re most comfortable with. But sometimes, the divisions rob the larger movement of its momentum.
— Jo Reger, a sociology professor who researches social movements and gender at Oakland University.
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This current women’s movement is not yet strong enough to change this culture, here’s why…

While the world celebrated and were fascinated by each year’s Women’s March, my emotions were as divided as I saw the movement being. A part of me was wide eyed and inspired by seeing so many women out together standing for something but when I took a closer look, it was hard for me to see what they were standing for. I saw women going all in for abortion rights next to black lives matter next to women who just wanted to show off their titties in public next to women going all in about Israel next to women marching for immigration next to women marching for women’s right to f*ck whoever she wants and not be shamed for it next to women who were marching against Trump’s sexist statements next to….well you get the point. It was easy for me to say “I agree with this group, but I cant rock with this group” in the march that was about “unity”. It seemed that it all fell under the Anti-Trump and Anti-This current administration umbrella, but it seemed overwhelmingly that the women marching were not unified for one purpose and one vision but rather coming together to loudly yell their own agendas.

This is a reflection of the women’s movement today, all these women yelling loudly about their own personal agendas and preferences. Feminists range from women who are against sex workers to those that embrace and serve them, women who are for abortion and those completely against, women for black lives matter and those that could care less, women who hate men and women who want to come beside them and match their strength, women who only want to push LGBTQ rights, women who blame men for everything, women who want to fix the wage gap, women who make up lies and blow things out of proportion, women who have true stories but are scared to speak all the way to little girls who see the state of this world and want it to change for them. When someone labels you a feminist you kind of have to clarify what KIND of feminist you are now days. It makes some discard the term all together.

In order for this women’s movement to be strong enough to change this culture, there has to be one underlying, undying and clear vision and purpose. Yes, women can still have their own agendas in their own life, but for the sake of the movement there needs to be one. Not only that, but (hardcore feminists bout to kill me) MEN need to be embraced and involved. When men and women stand side by side, we multiply our strengths. When we are pit against each other, cut each other down and try to take each others places, we subtract and divide our strengths which was never God’s perfect design. Yes, the Women’s March can be female led and female executed, but can our men scream out what we are crying with force along with us? Can they be enlisted to surround and protect us on the outskirts of the march? Can they promote and co-sign our stances and efforts? Can they use their power, their gifts, their creativity and their platforms to bring light to what we stand for? Yes. That is what I believe would take it to another level. If women would come together under ONE UNIFIED AND CLEAR objective, and allow men to multiply our strengths and not tear them down, exclude them and try to take away their strength….this movement can be phenomenal and change history forever.

Yes, there are men who abuse their power and are sexist but it is not all men. There are many men who can do the women’s movement much justice just like a husband operating in love can come alongside his wife and support her, strengthen her, protect her and ride for her. Yes, there are so many different issues that plague us as women, but there is one that I know we can all agree on and proclaim loudly to the nation. The Women’s March, this year, is beginning to see this and have excluded many organizations that do not stand for the greater good of the movement and have also began to question the true motive and how to make it less divisive aka more powerful.

The women’s movement has become something that companies and organizations have used to capitalize on, trivialize and toss away. & It is easy for them to do this because of the division, the unclear vision and the awareness culture where people just want to hop on a trend, make one post and think they did their world changing duty. Social justice movements should never be dumbed down for this very reason. We cannot allow the media and the big machines to come in and hi-jack our voice, our struggles and our movements. We must remain as pure and grassroots as possible. We must not allow them to take away our power or cover it up. The Women’s Movement is strong enough to change the culture, and it will, it just takes us to wise up and rise up. Do it the right way.

When Your Fire Dies Down

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I believe it’s all a scheme.

They run you through the system to get you acclimated, punish you when you do not conform, offer you salaries to become a part of their machine and then kill the world changer inside of you. They continue to blow smoke to make you feel that you are making a difference but really the system only allows you to do so much. You know what needs to be done to truly change the world, but they only allow you to go so far. Then you get desensitized. Then you get discouraged. Then you get numb.

You drink your coffee in the morning to be numb enough to deal with what you have to do that day then you drink at happy hour when you get off to ease your mind from what you dealt with. You continue the cycle. Your fire has died down. Can we replace that coffee in the morning that numbs us with something that fires us up about the change we are called to make in the world? Can we replace that happy hour with an hour dedicated to writing out our plan, working to make it happen or even meeting with other world changers to strategize on our next move? Can we quit the zombie like trance Monday-Friday and wake up to our calling again?

Our fire dies down. It happens. The stresses of life like paying bills, raising kids, car accidents, setbacks, homework assignments, stressful jobs, having to do things you hate for money, housework, family dynamics, relationship problems, unmet personal desires and health issues all work together to snuff out our flames. But maybe we can use those exact things to push us harder. When you hate where you are, see it as the enemy’s direct attack against your purpose. He wants you to be distracted. He wants you to stop. He wants you to give in to the system.

But we won’t. We know that we were created to create a revolution in our culture. We refuse to get sucked into just living and getting by. Yes, our fire sometimes dies but when we recognize that it has, we are gonna work relentlessly to turn it around, using everything that is waged against us to create something new.

I wanna raise pulses
La chica with the most-est
Not in the mood for the average Josephs
Coming unglued, baby this is explosive
I wanna raise pulses
— Karmin- "Pulses"

People Are Not A Business.

An investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and The Texas Tribune found that nearly half of the $3.4 billion paid to those companies in the last four years went to homes with serious allegations of mistreating children.
— Texas Tribune June 2018
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In health care or in any kind of social work, you tread the dangerous line between loving and helping people and viewing them as numbers for benefit of the company. I've seen too many workers who love people, become desensitized and jaded from years in their field. Now they have gone from looking at people as actual human beings to looking at them as numbers, statistics, dollar signs or something to be manipulated or controlled. How is it that most facilities that dehumanize people in one way or another get millions of dollars in government funding? How is it that the people and companies and non-profits and ministries that truly care and want to heal, uplift and make a deep impact on lives are severely under funded or not funded at all? To be a major player in this game do you have to sell out for figures? Do you have to be a part of lies? How can we be so numb?

Abuse, neglect and injustice does not only happen in foreign countries or in shocking documentaries. These things happen in our cities, in our communities and on our streets. If the people who care sit back and allow these things, then who is left to fight? It's our responsibility to make things right. We need a social revolution. We need teachers, nurses, social workers, doctors, administrators, behavior intervention specialists, therapists, marketers, owners, investors and just PEOPLE that care....really care....and who think and move different.

Shiloh already had a reputation for mistreating children. In December 2014, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, called for Shiloh to be shut down, citing reports from the Houston Chronicle of “physical violence, unreasonable and excessive use of physical restraints, administering emergency medications without notice to governmental authorities, and several deaths of minor children while in custody,” she said in a statement.

But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continued sending children and funds to Shiloh – a total of more than $19 million after the congresswoman called for its closure, according to federal payment records.
— Texas Tribune

I can't continue to witness multi-million dollar corporations and facilities pass themselves off as "helping" or "providing services" for the public when they really only tolerate the people and focus their efforts on making their pockets fatter and covering their dirt to continue on with their charades. When will enough be enough? When will the real ones rise up and make changes in their industries? Be the ones who come in to shift the entire energy of what's been going on. The millennial's are coming in to run sh*t now and we are not your average generation, we aren't just here to get by or collect a check, we are raw as f*ck and we are here to make change by any means possible.

What are your thoughts and what are your plans to turn this sh*t upside down? Don't for a second think it isn't possible. Revolutionize service. Bring the heart back.

I ran across the quoted article while searching for a children's shelter to donate toys to. In the midst of thinking I can make  child's day by simply organizing a huge toy drive, I must remember there are deeper and larger things that need to be addressed as well.

Do it Right. Heart over Hype.

This past weekend, I attended the Ladies on The Mic Showcase in Dallas, Texas. It's always refreshing to be in a spot where dope female lyricists can rock the stage and have the men and women rockin with them, being inspired by them, and digging their LYRICS AND SKILLS and not just the outer shell of their beauty and sexuality. It takes me back to the first time I saw MC Lyte on stage, I looked around at all the men vibing with her and having true RESPECT for her, which was such a huge difference from the responses I noticed society had with newer female artists. Below is a cell phone video I recorded of Rah Digga dropping gems for the women in the game. It's important to learn from and study the OGz in the game. What Digga expressed was the same message that has been brewing inside me for so long and what Diva Demeanor is about.

This happened in a Dallas bar on the bottom floor (hence: underground) and the only ones in attendance were those who were curious or those who knew of these artists and had a deep and undying love for the true hip hop culture. Such a pure crowd. Meanwhile, others danced, drank and partied upstairs unaware of the history and substance going on right underneath their noses. I love the underground and grassroots feel of things. If we are being real with this, we would treat it as such. We wouldn't care so much about a huge production and paying big names for press and media coverage. We wouldn't spend so much time chasing fads, trying to look famous and glossing up our image for the masses. Is our shit even for the masses? No. It's for us. It's for the culture. If we are real about this, we would promote and share these simple cell phone captures of the beauty and power going on in the underground that can radically shift our culture to the place we desire. I see so many movements that claim to be grassroots or underground but operate like the mainstream. I don't believe its intentional. I believe we are trying to get our messages out and trying to be as big and visible and impressive as possible. But let's not forget that our power forever lies with the people, with the community, with the heart and with the message. Digga says it beautifully. In everything that you do, make sure you keepin it as gutta as you can. Stop allowing what the "mass corporations" (*cough* instagram models, gurus, people selling dreams in virtual courses, people telling you to pay for views, people telling you how to finesse the system) sway you. Stand firm in your truth. Be as grassroots and untouched by those greedy, slimy ideals as possible. Do it for the people. Do it from the heart. Hip hop needs to remain heart over hype. Real over manufactured. In whatever it is that you do, whatever unique contribution you bring to the culture, stay true.

Your Culture is Rich but you are Broke.

The same braids, door knocker earrings, extravagant acrylic nails, and styles of dress that are deemed “ghetto” or “hood” on our people in our communities is deemed “trendy” when it is in mainstream and on runways, not only that but it is making these designers RICH or should I say RICHER. The problem isn’t that our culture is going mainstream and is making money…..the problem is WHO is taking it mainstream, WHO is making money off of it and WHAT are they turning it into.

This is so reminiscent to the Mother Land….Africa, rich in all things. Do you hear me? That land is RICH!!!! It is naturally rich. Rich in diamonds, gold, oil, iron ore and so many other NATURAL resources but the people do not benefit from their own riches. Because of colonialism, other countries come in and make money off of THEIR natural resources. Yes, they take them and get rich off of them. Doesn’t it sound like what’s happening to our culture? They are taking what we created, how we express and uplift ourselves naturally, who we are naturally and they take it and turn it into a machine that makes millions for them.

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It’s not about a salary it’s all about reality
And Hip Hop is the reality that creates all these salaries
HIP HOP, HIP HOP, HIP HOP
It’s in the academies
Hauled from the streets of the hood & every family
— Grandmaster Flash ft. KRS ONE "What If" (2009)

Our culture is rich. If you truly research hip hop as a culture, its origins and its purpose, you will immediately feel the richness of the culture. But do you see richness in material terms in the communities that started it? Even hip hop in terms of music has been taken over and exploited for profits, “Hip Hop is currently being used by large corporations to be exploited for profits, reinforce capitalistic ideals as well as a tool to adversely affect Black and Latino Youth. Once corporations began to see the earning potential of rap music, the exploitation began.” (https://itzarap.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/corporate-exploitation-of-hip-hop/)

I used to say, “With a land as rich as Africa, they can take care of themselves, use their riches to bring more money to their people, they can take over, they can be the source, they can get rich off their own supply. Do they know who they are? They are great!” Yea okay but instead of trying to fix someone else’s mess, look at your own. Look at our culture. Do you see what you possess? Don’t you see that everything you create and everything you are is GOLD? They see it. They see it and they are tapping into it. They are taking who you are and what you created and using it to make them rich. They are taking (see: Swagga Jacking) your gold and capitalizing off of it.

In what ways can we use who we are and what we created to bring riches back into our own communities? How can we use our culture to uplift our communities to combat how they use it to poison and destroy our communities? How can we use our culture for its intended purpose to combat how they use it for their own agendas? How can we begin to embrace the richness of our culture and turn it into richness in our communities and for our people? Don’t just think about it…do it.

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Let me get this clear, today you have a real choice
Because of Hip Hop’s existence you have a real voice
— Grandmaster Flash ft. KRS ONE "What If" (2009)

Hip Hop was created because we were marginalized. They kicked us out and pushed us to the side. We created our own style and our own sound, with hip hop, we could finally be ourselves. Hip Hop gave us a platform and a voice. Hip Hop was never created to be this multi-million dollar industry that pumps violence, misogyny and materialism into our communities. It was created to be our voice, to give us a space, to make room for us and to uplift us. They can try and commercialize and exploit it but they can never jack the true essence of it. That is something that we must hold onto and that we must nurture, cultivate and use for our own betterment. Our movement will most likely be underground, untouched by their greedy hands, and it will be the change that we all want to see.

Sade in the 90s.

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See I used to give a fuck, now I’m jaded
I’m allergic to the bullshit

What things in your life can you say this about? Maybe, you used to care what everyone said or thought about you but you've grown to the point that you're completely jaded and could care less now. Maybe, you used to find yourself devastated that something didn't work out or that people were trying to take advantage of you.....maybe you still do. Can you begin to be extremely allergic to the BS and just live YOUR best life?

You can clearly see my vibe is tremendous
But you won’t see through the tints in my Tesla
I be blocking out the world, it’s a mess, yeah
I’m allergic to the bullshit

Yes! Your vibe is tremendous! You are dazzling, magical, full, whole, powerful and exactly what this world needs! But you HAVE to block out the world's garbage to keep your magic and your vibes high. Be so f*cking fly that the haters, users, manipulators, nay-sayers and enemies of your soul can't even see into your life clear enough to sabotage anything. This world is a mess sis, but like we acknowledged earlier, you're allergic to the BS, achoo, so stay in your own clear space and avoid the mess like the plague.

No trouble ever stayed long enough
Thank God every day for my come-up
Somebody tryna slight me, it’s all love

Blessings! Your struggles & your troubles are only there to mold you and shape you into the diva you were meant to be. Worship God every single day for bringing you to this place and for creating you to be great. When the enemy comes in and tries to rock you and when those haters try and slight you.....continue to show nothing but LOVE. That's the high road, that's counter cultural, they don't know what to do with it, its makes them hate you (love in disguise) even more and that's what divas do.

When I do it like it’s roulette, roll it, burn it, lose it
Hit that black and red, keeping spending decks, I keep it moving
Put that shit behind me, keep my diamonds blinding
Gotta keep it suave like I’m Sade in the 90s

Nuff said! This life is a gamble, you win some you lose some but don't allow those things you see as losses stop or deter you! Keep it moving, keep YOUR SOUL, above anything, shining so bright that its BLINDING...this is what sets you apart and this is what truly makes you glow. Cultivate your soul, detox it, nurture it! Keep it suave, keep it smooth, keep it sexy, keep it original, keep it soulful, keep it classy, keep it timeless and keep it tasteful just like Sade in the 90s!

Front Row Seats.

BIG MOOD when they treated you like a Soundcloud artist, not knowing you about to make MAJOR moves:

They treatin you like you're regular
They reject your resume
They don't respond to your posts or messages
They won't check out your work
They disrespect you
They trample on your ideas
Its because they don't know
They don't see the greatness inside of you
But maybe God didn't create your greatness to be seen so soon
& maybe you needed to be rejected to gain your strength
Maybe you don't need their acceptance
Maybe you need to stop begging for their help
& tap into the magic you have WITHIN YOURSELF.

Diva, go out and kill it.
Show them better than your mouth can say.
Rise up on your own and pave your own way.
You're far from regular, baby.
Tap into your inner Diva right now
live like that forever.
You're about to level up
put on your best show
all your naysayers are sitting in the front row.

Cultivating Conviction

 

This is an excerpt from a youversion devotional I am completing now called Favor with Kings. I felt that I needed to add no words nor did I need to re write this piece, this is perfect for us #WorldChangingWomen. 


Sometimes one intentional action leads to a variety of positive outcomes. You might have been stuck at every turn yesterday. But one simple tweak today might throw open multiple doors that were previously barricaded.

As a result of my meditating on Nehemiah, I decided to fast and pray. I walked the streets and beaches of Huntington, inviting God to increase my conviction for the people in the community. I made introductions, asked questions, listened, and learned. In a short amount of time, I knew this was my path.

And I found that after I committed to the path, new passion filled my heart.

Feelings follow actions. Even if you don’t feel it first, when you believe it and decide it, feelings will follow.

It’s similar to being in love. If you live only by what you feel, you’ll get married in a month and divorced in a year. If you learn that you can make choices that cultivate emotions, you’ll have the best marriage around.

Here are a few things that I’ve discovered cultivate strong convictions:

1. Hang around people with strong convictions. Conviction, like energy, is contagious. The more you’re around deep convictions, the stronger your own certainty and clarity will become.

2. Deepen your understanding of the realities for real people living actual lives. The more you know, the more you need to do something about it. When the people have faces (and are not just statistics), it triggers genuine compassion. When cities have personalities, you care. When organizations embody a bigger story of teamwork and collective compassion, you’ll be moved to make a difference.

3. Develop a morning ritual. Your day will go better if you begin with intention, clarity, and purpose. Focus every morning on what matters most. You can print a free PDF of my daily scheduling tool and personal daily rituals at FavorWithKings.com/resources.

4. Pray. Fall on your face somewhere private and don’t get up until your heart breaks. Leverage points 1 and 2 in this list and let the God of creativity and compassion break your heart into an outpouring of love in action.

As Nehemiah prayed and fasted, his feelings and convictions intensified.

First find your why, then find your way.

(Power) less.

Powerless.
Have you ever had such a heart for the people, such a desire to bring about needed change in a certain area but lack so much to make it happen? You need money, you need a building, you need books, you need connections, you need a sound system, you need donors, you need a lot that you do not have. Its easy to do wrong but it is so much harder to do right. It is extremely difficult to bring about positive change in lives and communities because of the deep depravity that exists within them teamed with the system that is designed to keep them oppressed holding them captive. You will be fighting a physical and a spiritual battle if you want to do this. 

"I want scholarships for all low income students that I mentor." Where will I get hundreds of thousands of dollars?

"I want to build a school with educators that actually care and will teach our kids in unique ways that they actually learn and grow. I'm tired of our kids being in the worst schools because of their neighborhood." Where will I get the team and money for that?

"I want to reform the criminal justice system in America, people are being treated like cattle and not like human beings and no judgement is truly fair." But how?

I've heard people say all these powerful ideas but lack the actual power to bring them about. You may feel the same way. Yes, it seems impossible and yes it will be extremely difficult. The road to that reality will be full of opposition, set backs, disappointments and obstacles. Something this great will never come easy. But it will come. We can tap into our true power within, our true power that comes from God. With a direct connection to him, we will make it.

We have to start somewhere. I always feel that I am running out of time. Your 20's is your most trendsetting and inspirational time period, yet we spend our 20's broke and full of ideas. Our 20's could be truly powerful if we match our trendiness and "cool points" with the youth with a million dollar budget to be able to live out those dreams we have for them. What if we are past that point? Do we give up?

It's time to just give IN, and go all in. There has to be a way to get the resources we need to do the good that we know is needed. We all have to do the research and the foot work. We all have to network, we all have to pray for doors to be opened, we all have to sacrifice and put our own money up, we all have to set up meetings, and we all have to use our power on social media platforms for good.

We feel so powerless.
But I don't think we are truly powerless.
I don't think we need to create power out of thin air.
I believe the power is already there.
We have to use it.
Even when we don't feel it.