I Quiet Quit Years Ago

And, I’m Better For It It’s 2013 and I’m 24. I’m staring into her eyes, damp from the freshly drawn tears, and I imagine they must have once been filled with light. I imagine that everyone’s eyes are filled with hope, like those of children, at least once. But, not now. Now, they are weary. Perhaps now,…

I Started a Union When I Was Four

If you asked her, she’d probably tell you some crap about being influenced by the great organizers of the past and wanting to further their legacy. She’d probably relate it back to our family’s humble beginnings and not wanting to see people get taken advantage of. She’d say that she became a labor organizer because…

Let’s Talk About Why We’re Really Mad at Will Smith

And, I’m angry with Will Smith because the man that I followed and admired — the man whose memoir is so vulnerable that it feels as if he’s having a conversation with you from across the coffee table — chose to tarnish his night, his work, and the work of his colleagues with the stroke of his hand.

How Does it Feel to Be Black?

It’s 2022 and I’m still contemplating your question. I stared at you wondering if we’d ever met and we had. We met when we read together in the fifth grade. We met once at the arcade when you told my mom that we should leave and “give other folks” a chance to play. We met…

When Death Knocks

It’s not always what it seems… The three large thuds shook him out of bed. The room was void of light and his eyes could barely adjust. He sat upright, perched on the edge of his bed, and gathered that it must have been the early hours of the morning, long before the sun would…

I Wrote My First Will At Four Years Old

I actually dictated it, but that’s not the point Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash It was staring at me — big, black, and ugly. For years, it was just there, attached, clinging to me like a parasite that lasted long after an international trip. I did what I could to put it out of my mind, but nothing…

We Do Not Exist For Your Comfort

A reflection on critical race theory, ignorance, and maintaining your voice Photo by Khadim Fall on Unsplash I stand at about 5’5’’ with the grace and frame of an amateur wrestler that lifted just enough weights to see some ring time but gets winded before the start of every match. My shoulders are broad and for most…

I Met the Strongest Person in the World

He never needed help Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash “Okay, so we’re all here because of our hard work and of course, the help that we’ve received. And, that’s the message that we want to convey to our students. We’re here to help and at times, you’ll need help.” That statement seemed simple enough. Hard work…

“Write Every Day”

And More Advice That I Don’t Follow Photo by Daniel Herron on Unsplash “I have an idea. I’m going to write a post every week. It’ll be quick — just something to keep the creative juices flowing.” That was me and that was my goal for 2021. “Minute Mondays” is what I called it — quick thoughts on anything that was…

I Got Vaccinated Because I’m Selfish

We talked about our mistrust in the system and our desire to see what happens after obtaining more data. She read the initial reports and concerns with that particular trial. Far from an anti-vaxxer, she just wanted to make sure that benefits outweighed the risks. I just didn’t want to kill my mom.

When People See More in You

I’m a writer and my friends get itPhoto by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels“You’re more than just a social worker though.”His words hit me like a Wu-Tang album. They were hard, raw, and uncompromising. I let them dangle in ether, occupying the void between his end of the phone line and mine.“You know what I mean?” he continued.…

I’m Disowning My God-Children

I’ve had enoughImage by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay“Jayson-Kandace,” look!“Jayson-Kandace, come!”“Jayson-Kandace, we miss you.”My wife and I are a packaged deal, in the eyes of our god-children. We’ve watched them grow up and despite the fact that we are two very different human beings, they refuse to separate us. The boy, a seven-year-old sweetheart, loves to play with…

No One is Going to Die

Self-care isn’t easy, but it’s necessaryPhoto by Sam Owoyemi on Unsplash“No one is going to die.” He said it with enough confidence for me to listen and the head of grey made me believe him.“Listen, no one’s going to die,” he continued. “This job is easy.”It was just four weeks into my career as a social…

I Am

POETRYA Haiku. A Reminder.Photo by Wadi Lissa on UnsplashI am someone’s childPowerful beyond measureI will make it home.

Men, We Need To Do Better

Women should feel free, but we’re standing in the wayPhoto by Imani Bahati on UnsplashIt doesn’t matter what she was wearing. This story would be true regardless of her attire. I would have missed her if it weren’t for the chorus of hecklers that announced her presence. First came the men, at least 20 years her senior,…

I Just Wanted to See My Mom Again

One Day Can Change EverythingPhoto by Andrae Ricketts on UnsplashPicture this: a little boy peering through a closed second-story window at the sidewalk below, focusing on the farthest tip of the street that he could see. He wasn’t fixated on the sway of the trees in the autumn breeze, nor the assortment of passenger cars and…

Boys to Men: Unlearning What We We’re Taught

We’re taught to hold it in or not feel at all. We’re taught that emotions make us weak. It’s time to unlearn that.Photo by Alekzan Powell on Unsplash“Want me to give you a reason to cry?”That was my uncle, and those are the words that reverberate in my mind. I was six years old, frozen, naked, and…

I Don’t Want to Die with My Hands Up

We deserve more.Photo by Kandace RodriguezI don’t want to die with my hands up.I don’t want to die at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve but look away when my life is on the line.I don’t want to lie face down on the concrete with cuffs on my wrists, hoping for someone — anyone to…

Life at a Funeral: The Tears and Joys of Saying Goodbye

Photo by Mrika Selimi on UnsplashI just wanted to eat my sandwich.Picture this: a turkey club with Swiss, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo, between two slices of ciabatta bread, heated until the cheese just begins to melt. It was beautiful and well worth the fifteen-minute wait. The cafe was jumping in the middle of the…

#StopAsianHate Is Our Fight Too

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels#StopAsianHate is our fight too because the fight is against White supremacy.We gathered in the living room of our Airbnb, eyes fixed on the screen. It’s a 2021 graduation and while his school is in Florida, we were in Kentucky, with the rest of his peers scattered around the country. The…

I AM ILLEGAL

Image by Gabriel Miguel Bero from Pixabay I am illegal My skin is a felony and each breath is an additional charge My steps are misdemeanors and each one brings a fine that I’ll eventually have to pay My very existence is wrong I am illegal From birth, I aspire for second class status No achievement…

So, You Want to Be a Cop?

The year is 2021. You still want to be a cop. You also want to be a doctor to cure my mom’s lupus; the president, so that you can help people; and a “gamer kid” with a YouTube channel and a few million followers. I want all of that for you. I want you to…

Never Sext a Stranger

And, other lessons in online datingImage by StockSnap from PixabayI sucked at online dating. Correct that, I sucked at dating. Period. Being a boyfriend was easy. Romantic dates? Check. Remembering special occasions? check. Surprises and fun getaways? Check and check, several times a year. But, leading up to all of that? You got me there. For someone…

Kobe is My GOAT — Don’t @ Me

Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from PixabayDear Kobe,I was only seven years old when I first heard of you.The date was June 26th, 1996, a Wednesday evening in Rutherford, New Jersey. You and an assortment of other prospects were gathered in your best suits, waiting for David Stern to read your names. You know how it went.…

I’m an Angry Black Man

I’ve broken many bones in my life, some of which required a hospital visit, and several months of physical therapy. My scars are like badges of honor and each tells a story about my life. To say that I was a reckless kid is an understatement.I didn’t fear much when it came to physical harm,…

Getting Pulled Over Is A Unique Form of Trauma

It’s about ten on a Saturday night and my friend and I are headed north on Utica Avenue, thinking about what we can get into within the next hour. He only has the car until eleven and just wanted to get out of the house and out of his neighborhood for awhile. He picked me…

White People — I Can’t Come to Your Party Today

Image by StockSnap from PixabayDear friend,I can’t come to your party.It’s not entirely that I don’t want to go. To be honest, that’s only part of it. It’s that I simply can’t.I can’t bring myself to do it.Each and every day, I walk out of my home in East Flatbush and I’m surrounded by people who…