Plans make God Laugh

They say that if you want to make God laugh, then make plans.I had both plans and a vision for 2017.My plans included spending 2017 in Mexico to reconnect with my culture, to try to regain what I've lost in the two decades I have lived in the U.S, and to find the pieces of myself that I thought I could only find in my homeland. I was going to write an "Eat, Pray, Love" sort of second book, it was going to be equal parts memoir, history and culture. If I got lucky, maybe I'd even mend my broken heart and find find love, what would it even be like to date a Mexican in Mexico?!It was going to be called "From, From: ...." (The ... would be filled at the end of my journey).Then, in April, I walked into love with a man that I still cannot believe actually exists.A man that shares my values and culture (I had never dated a culturally Mexican man).Being Mexican with him is beautiful; we go eat tacos at the Piñata district after church on Sundays, not as a field trip, but as a way of life.There are a million things we never have to explain to each other.At the same time, there is so much we teach each other about Mexican culture and how diverse and dense, and rich it is ( he is from the north (del Norte) and I am from the south ( pa ya del D.F).Then I realized how much of Latino history in the U.S is hidden, how vital and integral we have been to this country and how little it is known or celebrated.We have so much material for Oscar-winning movies, best-selling books, critically acclaimed documentaries, so why are we not doing and achieving those things? We were there during every single historically important moment in U.S history, so why do not even Latinos know about it? And then, Donald Trump won the November election, and my plans were out the window.I certainly cannot leave the U.S now, not even for a year. Oh no, there is much work to be done, here and now.So my plans have all changed for 2017.But my vision, my vision was constructed with prayer, with deep reflection and truth.So while my methods had to be adapted, I am on a mission to reconnect, discover, and grow.2017, I am excited to receive you.

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Soaring through the Sky

I have always been afraid of physical heights, but my spirit has always wanted to soar through the sky. I've wanted to go skydiving for many years but for one reason or another it had never happened. Finally, this weekend, I jumped out of a plane 18,000 feet above the ground. The free fall lasted 90 seconds. It was truly one of the most incredible experiences of my life, an indescribable feeling of dread, peace and freedom all at once. Once the parachute was opened, I felt like I was standing still, floating, in the sky. I don't often have a feeling of pure stillness, my mind is always thinking, planning, preparing, but for a few seconds, as I made my way back to the ground, my mind stood still. Being up in the clouds, being able to look at God's creation from the sky, a view I will never forget, was truly one of the most beautiful privileges of my life. 

Life has once again shown me that everything happens when it's supposed to happen, not a minute before, not a minute after. I flew through the sky at the precise moment I was supposed to. 

Always grateful, always in awe of the beauty and the force of nature. As we were going up, a fire was breaking out nearby. Many acres of land, and many homes have been lost to the fires in California. The sky was almost red in some places, the smoke penetrated my sense of smell. The fire, the height, the entire view put everything in perspective. The world is a much bigger, complex space than what happens in our lives every day, and yet, we still matter. Our lives matter, our dreams matter. I landed on the ground proud of myself for taking the leap despite my fear. I landed on the ground with a whole new perspective. I landed on the ground ready to soar to new heights this fall. I am three weeks away from another monumental day in my life- the release of my first book, My (Underground) American Dream. I am ready.

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Una de las fuentes de talento más diversas de EE UU, desaprovechada.

Desde el gobernador de Michigan, Rick Snyder, hasta el CEO de Dow Chemical, Andrew Liveris, casi todos los panelistas en la reciente cumbre “Frbes Reinventing America”declararon que mientras la inmigración es un factor clave para el crecimiento económico de los Estados Unidos, es a menudo subestimado. El gobernador Snyder lo dijo claramente: “Tenemos un sistema de inmigración defectuoso; es algo estúpido”. Me dio mucho entusiasmo que tantos líderes de gobierno y del sector privado reconocieran la correlación entre la inmigración y la ventaja competitiva de nuestra nación.

No obstante, me quedé con la duda de por qué nadie habló de la fuente tan increíble de talento que representan los estudiantes elegibles para la Acción Diferida Para Llegados en la Infancia (DACA, en inglés). Este programa federal­­ ya en su tercer año y con una expansión bajo consideración por los tribunales federales­­ permite a los jóvenes que llegaron a los EE UU antes de cumplir los 16 años a trabajar legalmente y ser exentos de deportación. Estos permisos son renovables cada dos años a costa del solicitante. Si las compañías de verdad toman en serio tanto el talento como la diversidad, deberían de reclutar a los beneficiarios de DACA. Si no lo hacen seguirán pasando por alto algunas de las mentes más brillantes de la nación.

Son cada vez más comunes las historias sobre jóvenes indocumentados que alcanzan grandes logros. Noticias como la de las gemelas indocumentadas qe fueron primeras en su clase graduada y que ahora estudian en la Universidad de Notre Dame; el inmigrante mexicano que co­fundó una de las cmpañías más grandes del mundo de aeronaves no tripuladas;y el pimer estudiante indocumentado de medicina en la Universidad de California en San Francisco, son ejemplos del intelecto y el valor que distinguen a los jóvenes indocumentados en los EE UU.

Las compañías estadounidenses siempre se quejan por la falta de visas H1­B (visas para no inmigrantes diseñadas para que los empleadores puedan reclutar y contratar a profesionales extranjeros en capacidades técnicas). La expansión de ese programa es necesario, pero también es necesario aprovecharse del talento de los estudiantes con DACA, representado por jóvenes que llevan la mayor parte de sus vidas en nuestro sistema educativo y consideran a los EE UU su país.

Cada año se gradúan 65,000 estudiantes indocumentados de la preparatoria. A pesar de enfrentar grandes retos, muchos estudiantes DACA se gradúan exitosamente de la universidad solo para encontrarse con políticas corporativas de reclutamiento que los excluyen. A estos jóvenes que buscan trabajo­­ quienes tienen número de seguro social y permisos para trabajar­­ se les hacen responder a preguntas ambiguas o imposibles sobre su estatus migratorio, como por ejemplo: ¿es ciudadano de los EE UU, residente o necesita patrocinio de empleo? Estudiantes DACA no califican bajo ninguna de estas categorías y se quedan con muy pocas opciones para explicar su estatus legal mientras que compiten con cientos de otros solicitantes.

 

Los departamentos de recursos humanos de las grandes corporaciones no están al día de cómo incluir a solicitantes que tienen DACA y muchas veces ni conocen el programa, a pesar de su prominencia en las noticias nacionales ya por tres años. En julio del 2014, Rubén Juárez, un mexicano beneficiario de DACA, dmandó a Northwestern Mutual tas que le denegara una oferta de empleo por no ser ciudadano o residente permanente. Un juez recientemente rechazó la moción de Northwestern para desestimar el caso. Aunque la demanda se resolvió en privado, esa orden judicial manda un mensaje claro a las compañías que no pueden discriminar entre distintos estatus legales.

¿Cuál es el resultado de las prácticas actuales del sector privado? Programas de reclutamiento rechazan a candidatos viables y como resultado, sufren tanto estas corporaciones como la economía estadounidense en general.

Los “DACAmentados”, quienes a pesar de los retos se gradúan de universidad muchas veces sin asistencia financiera o apoyo familiar, también pierden oportunidades valiosas para su desarrollo profesional que sí están disponibles para sus colegas. Por ejemplo, algunos de los programas de desarrollo profesional y de mentoría para estudiantes minoritarios más importantes, como por ejemplo Sponsors for Educational Opportunities, INROADS y CODE2040, no dejan claro si estudiantes DACA cualifican para sus programas. Aun cuando los programas aceptan a estudiantes DACA, sus requisitos de solicitud son sumamente difícil de encontrar. Cuando llamé a uno de estos programas para preguntarles si los estudiantes de DACA cualifiquen, la respuesta fue, “qué es DACA?”.

Como muchos estudiantes DACA, no tuve el beneficio de padres que conocieran el proceso de solicitud para universidades ni cómo navegar el mundo empresario. Sin embargo, tve una carrera exitosa en Wall Street y me hice vicepresidenta en Goldman Sachs a los 27 años. No hubiera sido posible todo este éxito sin los consejos que recibí a través de programas de desarrollo profesional. Las entrevistas de práctica, talleres de “Vestirse para el Éxito” (Dess for Success,en inglés) y entrenamientos con el programa Dale Carnegie, y los mentores que ofrecían estos programas, fueron factores cruciales en mi éxito profesional.

A pesar de los obstáculos que enfrentan los DACAmentados­­ el rechazo de las universidades, los retos financieros para estudiar, y el estigma de ser indocumentado­­, mantienen una pasión por el éxito y resultan ser algunos de los jóvenes más talentosos de nuestra nación. ¿Qué compañía no quisiera a estos jóvenes como empleados?

 

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One of the Most Diverse Talent Pools in America, Untapped

From Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder, to Dow Chemical’s CEO, Andrew Liveris, almost every single panelist at the recent 2015 Forbes Reinventing America Summit declared immigration a key asset to growing America’s economy and an often undervalued resource. Governor Snyder put it simply: “We have a broken immigration system; it’s dumb.”  I was thrilled that so many government and business leaders recognized the correlation between immigration and our nation’s competitive advantage.

However, I was left wondering why no one talked about the amazing pool of diverse talent among students eligible for Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The federal program - now in its third year, with an expansion currently being debated in federal court - allows young people who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 to work legally, be exempt from deportation, and is renewable every two years at the applicant’s expense. If companies are serious about talent and diversity, they must recruit DACA recipients - or continue to overlook some of the nation’s most brilliant minds.

Stories of undocumented young people achieving great success are becoming increasingly common. News of the undocumented twin high school valedictorians who now attend the University of Notre Dame, the Mexican immigrant who co-founded one of the largest drone firms in the world, and the first undocumented medical student at U.C. San Francisco illustrate both the intellect and drive that is brought to the table by young undocumented Americans.

U.S. businesses often complain that more H1-B visas are needed (non-immigrant visas designed to allow employers to recruit and employ foreign professionals in specialty occupations). Expansion of that program is necessary, but so is tapping into the DACA talent pool, represented by young people who have been in our education system most of their lives and call this America home.

Every year, 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school. Despite huge barriers, many DACA students go on to graduate college successfully, but later find that corporate recruitment policies throw down the gauntlet on their admissions process. These job seekers - who have a social security number and work authorization - must answer ambiguous or impossible immigration status questions: U.S. citizen, resident, or needs employment sponsorship. DACA students do not fall under any of these strict categories and are left with minimal options to explain their unique status while often competing with hundreds of other applicants.

Corporate HR departments are not up to date on how to include DACA job applicants or are many times not even familiar with the program, despite its prominence in the national news for three years. In July 2014, Ruben Juarez, a Mexican-born DACA recipient, sued Northwestern Mutual after the company reneged his employment offer because he was not a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident. A judge recently denied Northwestern Mutual’s motion to dismiss the case, and while the case has since been privately settled, the ruling sends a strong message that companies cannot pick and choose which work authorizations they will honor. 

The result of these practices? Recruiting programs turn away viable candidates, and both individual companies and the U.S. economy lose out.

The DACAmented, who above all odds graduated from college often with no government financial aid or family support, also lose out on professional development opportunities offered to their peers. For example, some of the top career and mentorship programs for minority students such as Sponsors for Educational Opportunities, INROADS, and CODE2040, do not make it clear if DACA students qualify for any of their programs. Even if they are welcome, some of these program’s websites make it uniquely difficult for DACA beneficiaries to get basic information and apply. When I called the office of one of the programs and asked if DACA students qualify, the answer was: “What is DACA?”

Like many DACA students, I did not have the benefit of parents who knew the college application process or how to navigate entry into the corporate world. Yet, while undocumented, I built a successful career on Wall Street, becoming a vice president at Goldman Sachs by 27. My success would not have been possible without the guidance provided by career development programs.  The mock interviews, Dress for Success workshops, Dale Carnegie training and mentors that these programs offered were instrumental in my career success.   

Despite the many obstacles the DACAmented face - being turned away from higher education, financial issues, and the stigma of being undocumented- they maintain a drive to succeed and are some of our country’s most talented young people. What company wouldn’t want this type of employee?

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A Confession.

I must confess that for a long time, I struggled to understand how LGBTQ could be.  I thought my Christians beliefs were are odds with understanding LGBTQ people.  Sometimes, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it.  I've asked a lot of personal, probably inappropriate questions of my LGBT friends, and they responded so openly and so kindly, and never took offense- I was trying to understand.  Now, I don't really need to understand or know how, or why.  I just know that God loves people, he made us all, we are all human beings.  Our souls are what lives forever, in all eternity.  Our souls don't care where we were born, who we love, what body we have, what passports we have.  The turning point for me was people, the stories of people who had suffered so much.  The stories of people who had to live in the shadows, in a closet, afraid to show who they really were.  The stories of PEOPLE. 

Our immigrant communities are some of the most anti-LGBTQ communities out there and we must change that.  We must change that because if we don't want the color of our skin to define us, if we don't want pieces of paper to define us, then we cannot define others by outward things either. 

We must create in our communities understanding and acceptance of ALL people.

Please go read this beautiful post by Laverne Cox. 

"This is why we need diverse media representstions of trans folks to multiply trans narratives in the media and depict our beautiful diversities....

I have hoped over the past few years that the incredible love I have received from the public can translate to the lives of all trans folks. Trans folks of all races, gender expressions, ability, sexual orientations, classes, immigration status, employment status, transition status, genital status etc... The struggle continues…"

http://lavernecox.tumblr.com


I HAD to Be a Part of This!

Today marks my one year anniversary with Define American!  

On April 17, 2014, I watched Documented for the first time.  Half-way through the film, I looked over at my boyfriend full of tears and I said, "I have to be a part of this".  A month and a half later, I was hired as the Director of Development for Define American.  

I could have never imagined how much my life would change in just one year.  My role has changed, I live in a new city across the country and every day I thank God for the opportunity to live out my dream. 

The road ahead of me is a tough one.  We have a long way to go before ALL Americans recognize immigration as a humans rights issue.  We have a long way to go before ALL immigrants take back their dignity.  We have a long way to go before we are recognized as Americans, even before a pieces of paper say that we are.  My heart has been broken over and over again in the past year, and at the same time my heart is continually renewed with hope.  

I could not ask for smarter, stronger, kinder people, than the people at Define American, who every day give everything to make the road smoother.  

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ALIANZA

I had the pleasure of meeting the students of ALIANZA at the International High School in New York last week.  ALIANZA is a group of 16 recently arrived immigrant students from Mexico, Central and South America, 9-12th grade. Some of of the students crossed as unaccompanied minors, while others came to the U.S to reunite with family after decades of separation. They all share a common goal: to graduate and conquer their dreams.

Many of these students, especially the male students, are financially responsible for their families in the U.S and often send remittances to their home countries as well.  Can you imagine being 16 years old and being financially responsible for your family?  I cannot, it breaks my heart.  When their teacher shared with me some of the circumstances these children have endured, I expected to meet very different students. 

What I encountered where children full of hope and energy.  These sixteen students reminded me of how much the human spirit is able to endure, conquer and overcome.  

I thank them for allowing me to sit in their circle of trust, for their honest and tough questions and for giving me sixteen more reasons to keep fighting for equality and dignity for all immigrants.  

I must also express my gratitude to their teacher, who reached out to me to come speak with them, and to all teachers who make a huge difference in young people's lives. 

ALIANZA students holding the 'The Pledge' for immigration fairness.  

ALIANZA students holding the 'The Pledge' for immigration fairness.  



 

Redeemed

I am a woman of faith, of Christian faith to be precise, most importantly though, I just love God.  I love his faithfulness and his love for me.  I went through some pretty dark moments of uncertainty, some serious heartbreak, and through it all God continued to show me love.  God carried me through every single moment.  Faith really is believing without seeing, and I needed a lot of faith with each step I took.  I didn't know if I was going to be able to attend college until three weeks before I set foot on the UT campus.  I didn't know how I was going to pay college when the City of San Antonio built a museum in the place where I sold Funnel Cakes.  I didn't know how I would get a job after college.  There were a lot of things I didn't know, but I have always known that God, my saver, my redeemer has called me by name.  God, my redeemer, has ordered my steps.  

The way I wake up every morning is with my arm by my head, and the first thing I see is "Redeemed." It reminds me each morning that no matter what happens, God has me.  

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The thing about coming out.

As someone who was undocumented for over a decade, I know a thing or two about keeping secrets.  I was afraid of letting people fully into my life, even my closest friends.  I had to compartmentalize every area of my life, and as much as I wanted to be myself with my friends, I was afraid.  I was afraid they would look at me differently, I was afraid they would reject me, I was afraid they would feel sorry for me.  

There were vacations I couldn’t take with them, not even to Puerto Rico, I was too afraid.  I would show up late or early to outings since I used my Mexican passport as I.D., and that always raised questions- why didn’t I just use my license?  I could only make up losing my license so many times.  Slowly, but surely all those secrets, all those slight modifications to daily life starting taking a toll.  It was as much an emotional toll as a physical one.  I had chronic back pain, such awful pain that I would lay on the floor for hours at a time.   I tried to live a normal life, but I had lived so many years with tiny little lies, that I didn’t even know what was really normal anymore.  I didn’t really know who ‘myself’ was.  

Slowly, I started letting people, I would have broken otherwise.  If I regret anything, is not letting my friends in sooner.  I had dinner with a dear friend, who was also my roommate in New York, last night and it felt so good to finally be able to tell her everything.  I am sure so many of my ‘quirks’ finally made sense!  I wanted to say sorry for taking so long, but she understood— real friends always do.  

I have come to realize that the most beautiful thing in life is for someone to know you, to really know you.  But before others could know me, I had to figure out who I was.  Beyond the papers I didn’t have, beyond the things I had to do to survive, beyond what I had, and what I didn’t have.  

I’ll continue to discover me, but I am so thankful that this crazy journey has taken me this far— to a place where I know me and others know me too.  

When?

I just finished updating my status with the Social Security Administration as that of a U.S citizen. Next Tuesday when I travel to my homeland, Mexico, I’ll be using my U.S passport for the first time. I didn’t think these things would make a difference in how I felt, I already felt American for a long time. But these documents, these pieces of paper, do make me feel different, they make me feel legitimate, they make me feel like I belong. At least today, that’s my feeling. I also see the unfair and arbitrary nature of our immigration system. There are still 11.5 million undocumented Americans who wait for a path to citizenship, I am not any more deserving than any of them. The President’s executive action is a step in the right direction, it protects families from being separated, it offers people a dignified way to work, to be seen, to come out of the shadows. But it is not enough. Undocumented Americans have called the U.S their home for an average of 10yrs (I waited 20yrs), when will we recognize them as our own?

Follow up to: I don't have to be a Black Men to Care.

My last post on “I don’t have to be  a Black Men to Care,” created quite the reaction and comments from a couple of passionate people of perhaps opposing views— I appreciate their thoughts.  I can’t quite say for sure that we were saying completely different things, but we certainly disagreed on some things.  A few thoughts came to mind:

1.  People thought I was pointing fingers- I can see how that might be the case.  But that was not my intention.  If I was pointing fingers, it was at our culture, and we are ALL part of our culture.  

2. Culture will not change it all, just like laws haven’t changed it all.  This is true, and nothing more true than the family having to change and stick together and teach our kids different values. 

3. There was one comment in particular that really struck me.  But, I’ll let Benjamin Watson’s amazing response express my sentiment.  ”I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others”.  

4.  I also will let Benjamin Watson, make two more points for me:

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

5. Maybe I should have just brought attention to Watson’s response, because it was spot on.  and shut up.  LOL. 

6.  My new friend Pita had an amazing response-  She’s freaking awesome, and super strong. 

The reality is…WE WERE NOT THERE.
We were not there to see if Darren Wilson acted within he’s rights and was defending himself. We were not there to see if Michael Brown provoked the officer. We don’t even know how we ourselves would react in that si
tuation….We will never truly know what exactly happened. All we do know is that a young man’s life was lost and another man’s life will forever be altered. Families torn apart.

Ignorance, hatred, bigotry, ambition, kindness and compassion are all qualities that all people are capable of. Not one race encompasses one quality more than any other race. People make good decisions and bad ones. Some find it difficult to obey authority…some don’t. Some authority figures abuse their power…some don’t. 

Some are getting so mixed up in the details of what happened to try to justify their side. To make it cut, clear and dry. Maybe its not that simple. Maybe its a gray area. Why do we do this? To make ourselves feels better that we have placed that topic in a box and have checked it off. The same we do with the characterization of races and the qualities that they hold. As humans we are capable of holding/believing in different ideologies that contradict each other. I do believe the officer was acting in self defense but i also strongly believe he was using EXCESSIVE force. I don’t agree with the riots but understand the sentiment behind it.

I do believe that is what Julissa Arce was hitting upon in her blog. This gray area. We are all entitled to have our own opinions, whether we like it not. 

There is a lack balance in this country in regards to race and race in the media. I agree that the media has become one dimensional. Extremely one-sided. You will never see “Police Officer Killed While Investigating Robbery” making headlines. The same way you don’t see missing children reports of black/latino children on the news. You see reports of white children. Black men make up more than 40% of the prison population. Hispanic men follow in close second making up the other 40%. Racial profiling is contributing to the disproportionate number of incarcerations. The majority of crimes are not committed by minorities, and most minorities are not criminals. More minority arrests and convictions perpetuate the belief that minorities commit more crimes, which in turn leads to racial profiling. You won’t see this making any CNN news headlines. Race is an issue in the Brown case. It’s an issue in this country. The fabric of this country is tightly woven with the contradicting ideologies that all men are created equal but one was able to own slaves. It’s not more difficult for blacks or more difficult for hispanics. IT IS DIFFICULT FOR ALL MINORITIES!!! Just different obstacles for each race. To ignore the racism issue and say its media pushing it out, is being blind of the close ties this country has to racism. Ignoring that makes racism live. 

What the Brown case and riots have done is create a platform to talk about racism. Hopefully enlighten others who might not be so knowledgable…or maybe change the hearts of others. You can’t change something until you recognize the problem. There is a bigger picture.

Now back to checking on that turkey. 

I don't have to be a Black Men to care.

Some people might say that I have no place commenting on what’s happening in Ferguson because I’ve never had to spend a day as a Black men.  But I don’t have to be a Black men to empathize with the pain of Michael Brown’s family.  I don’t have to be a Black men to recognize injustice. I don’t have to be a Black men to be disgusted by what is happening in our county. I don’t have to be a Black men to know that Black lives matter.  In fact, I think that if only Black people cared about Black issues, and if only Gay people cared about Gay issues, and if only undocumented people cared about undocumented issues- we would never see any change or progress.  The rest of what I am about to say is just from me, Julissa.  Not Julissa as an immigrant rights activist- in fact, I can’t even call myself that, because I have yet to do very much on that front. 

Darren Wilson not getting indicted is cause for protest.  I am not saying he was guilty or not guilty, but there was certainly enough of a question mark to warrant further investigation.  

Michael Brown robbed a convenience store, but he was not in some crazy police chase because he robbed said convinience store.  He was walking in the middle of an empty street- jaywalking.  We’ll never know the full details of what happened that day.  What we do know is that an 18-year-old Black teenager was shot…. SIX TIMES, by a White cop. 

Maybe, just maybe, Darren Wilson was fearful for his life.  But to me, the real question is WHY?  Would he had even stopped and told Michael Brown to get off the street if Michael Brown didn’t look the way he did?  Would Darren Wilson have pressed the issue? 

Now, I am going to say something not-so-popular.  Michael Brown punched the cop, he put himself in danger.  BUT here is the thing, he didn’t deserve to be shot.. SIX TIMES.  AND… why should it be a life-threatening danger in the first place?

The reason Darren Wilson might have been scared for his life, and the reason Michael Brown’s actions were life-ending, and the reason Wilson wasn’t indicted is because our culture tells us so.  

Everything we read on the news, the TV series, the films we watch, the music we listen to— It all tells us to be scared of a Black Teenager, it all tells us that a White Cop is acting in self-defense.  I love what Benjamin Watson had to say, “I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios”.

Laws have made it illegal to segregate schools.  Laws have made it illegal to discriminate based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.  Laws are suppose to protect us from these type of injustices, but as evidenced by what is happening in Ferguson- laws have failed us.  Not just once, many times. 

Policy can change, but until our culture changes, these things will keep happening in all of our communities.  We have to reject what we see on TV, question what the news tells us.  We must tell our own stories, write our own films, and change our culture.  We must reject what is told to us about us.