S.P.E.A.K.N. gibberish

Social. Political. Educational. Artistic. Keen. News-Worthy.

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I agree with Raven- Symone on the American part. My reaction is to her not wanting to label her sexual identity. Raven said she’s “tired of being labeled”, but even being called “American” is a label. There’s nothing wrong with labels in themselves.The problem with labels is when they are used against ppl negatively. She’s tired of being targeted. She doesn’t want to be judged. I get that.

Filed under raven symone oprah interview sexuality labels american african american asian american hispanic american sexual identity social political

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Women ‘Universally Fear for Their Safety’ in Alabama Prison

Source: ABC News/ Jack Cloherty, Mike Levine, and Pierre Thomas

A Justice Department investigation accuses Alabama officials of violating women’s rights by fostering an environment of rampant sexual abuse at the state’s Tutwiler Prison, where inmates “universally fear for their safety” and officers allegedly forced women to engage in sex acts just to obtain basic sanitary supplies.

The nearly 900 women incarcerated at the maximum-security prison live “in a toxic environment with repeated and open sexual behavior,” the Justice Department said in announcing its findings today into the Wetumpka, Ala., facility.

As part of the alleged abuses, male officers openly watched women shower or use the toilet, staff helped organize a “strip show,” prisoners received a constant barrage of sexually offensive language, and prisoners who reported improper conduct were punished, according to the department.

Read the full story here.

Male privilege society strikes again. What do you think?

Filed under news womens rights male privilege alabama prison sexual abuse sexual harassment intimidation

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Cherry Medicine :: Necessary Evils

To me, it was nasty and cruel and one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. But Mama said it would make me better so I had to go through with it. She sat carefully on the side of the bed and poured a liberal amount of medicine into the biggest spoon I’d ever seen. I couldn’t help but gag.

"That’s too much," I said whining.

But Mama kept on pouring.

It was thick and slow and smelled like imitation candy. If I had a choice, I’d much rather stay sick. I hid my face under the blanket and attempted to stifle a cough.

"Come from unda there now," Mama said. "Sometimes you gotta do thangs that ya don’t want ta do. That’s life honey. You may as well learn that now. Now, open up."

I clasped my lips together as tight as I could, but Mama forced the spoon in anyhow, spilling half the medicine on my shirt.

"See what you made me do?" Mama asked impatiently as she poured more medicine into the spoon. "Now open ya mouth this time and stop being silly."

I hesitated but soon complied, scrunching my face in disgust.

"That wusn’t so bad now, wus it?", she asked.

"It was awful," I said, whining.

"Well, maybe next time you’ll do as your told ta keep from gettin’ sick. Now rest up," Mama replied as she tucked me under the covers. "It may have been bitter ta take, but eventually, it’ll make you stronger."

Life lessons

Filed under life lesson cherry medicine fiction folktale social

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Note to Self: 13 Unforgettable Lessons Learned Since My Move to NYC

1. I AM COURAGEOUS. Not long ago, I packed my entire life and moved across the country to New York City without a job or a place to stay. I said “goodbye” to comfort, security, and reason. Now, I know I can do anything.

2. I AM INSANE. Not long ago, I packed my entire life and moved across the country to New York City without a job or a place to stay. I mean, really, what was I thinking?! This is not the movies. But now I know I am a survivor.

3. I AM DISSATISFIED WITH NORMALCY. Working to afford the things I love doesn’t satisfy me. I don’t want to dread Mondays and spend my days yearning for the weekend. I’d much rather turn what I love into a living.

4. FORGIVENESS TAKES LESS ENERGY THAN BEING ANGRY. Run/ dance/ shout/ paint/ write/ pray/ laugh away the pain. Release the humiliation. Forget revenge. Fight your hardest. Just please, lighten the load and Let. It. Go.

5. CRYING DOESN’T EQUATE TO WEAKNESS. Sometimes an emotional release is needed. Words can be too messy, but tears have a way with cleansing.

6. SOMETIMES NO ONE WILL UNDERSTAND. And that’s ok. I realized as long as I have a clear idea of what I want and need, others’ thoughts on the subject don’t matter. I have to do what’s best for me.


8. I DESIRE PEACE & HAPPINESS ABOVE ALL ELSE. It’s been a rocky first year in New York, but the times I cherish most are the quiet moments spent crafting or reading a book in the park. Quiet time is a must for my sanity.

9. SAVE. SAVE. SAVE! I started out saving $7 each week just to form the habit and I gradually increased my weekly savings to a reasonable amount. Go me!

10. KEEP MULTIPLE BANK ACCOUNTS. This has saved me SO many times. I have a savings, one strictly for student loan payments, one for other bills and one “Yes! I found $20 in my pocket” account. This has allowed for much damaged control in my spending.

11. MAKE THE MOST OF EACH EXPERIENCE. Don’t be so hesitant to smile at the cute stranger on the subway or introduce yourself to the GM in the cafe. Nothing bad has resulted from these things. You’re already in the game Janell. It’s time to make a move.

12. I OBSESS OVER THE FUTURE. But that’s not my place. My place is right here, right now. Enjoying the moment. The future comes every second whether I’m prepared or not, but I need to make sure my past will be worth remembering.

13. THERE’S STILL MUCH LIVING TO DO. Unfortunately, my growing pangs aren’t over. I have many more mistakes to make, problems to correct, and things to figure out. I’ll never know everything, but, since I am a fighter, I’ll also never give up.

Bring on the new year!

Filed under life lessons new year resolutions new york reflection note to self about me quotes about life pursuit of happiness 2014

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Love Notes to Strangers

Have you ever felt love? I’m talking unconventional, noncommercial, unsolicited LOVE… for a STRANGER?

Well, I have.

Every time I see a homeless person or a mother looking stressed toting multiple screaming kids on the subway, my heart goes out and I want to cry. I feel prompted to help in some way. And until today, My solutions have only been monetary or in the form of a smile and a silent prayer. Just now, I’ve stumbled upon a more direct plan of action in the form of an organization called More Love Letters. An amazing young woman named Hannah Brencher began writing love letters to strangers as a way to deal with her own inner struggles and negative feelings, and from this thoughtful gesture a movement was born.

More Love Letters is like the cupid of encouragement and inspiration. People around the world can sign up to write anonymous love notes with uplifting messages and leave them in places for strangers and acquaintances to find.

And people are doing it.

Imagine that. Somehow, an entire group of selfless individuals have emerged from a generation mostly seen as self-absorbed. These love warriors, if you will, have consciously decided to spread tangible positivity just because they understand the strength of a few kind words. These love letters are proof that humanity isn’t completely lost and that people still care. People actively love. In this instance, the only requirements to said expressed love are a willing heart, a pen and a pad.

This may not seem like much, but it could be everything to the person receiving the letter. I’m willing to bet any homeless person or stressed individual will gladly appreciate such a kind gesture. And although this isn’t a romantic affair, I’m definitely in hopes that these love letters will produce some happily ever afters. Kudos to Hannah!


Filed under social keen love love notes love letters More Love Letters Hannah Brencher kindness happiness happily ever after

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Sometimes, my words fail me. Right now is one of those times. I really want to say something clever or be poetic or provide some comic relief, but the only productive thing I can come up with is prayer. Prayers of inquiry and thanks. 

God, no matter what, You are good.

Sometimes, my words fail me. Right now is one of those times. I really want to say something clever or be poetic or provide some comic relief, but the only productive thing I can come up with is prayer. Prayers of inquiry and thanks.

God, no matter what, You are good.

Filed under reflection thankful thanksgiving prayer god