Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 State of the Union Address re-cap


Never have I felt more empowered! All I could think of after the State of the Union Address was .. 'I HAVE TO DO BETTER!'

One thing that I like about President Obama is that he talks to the hearts of the people. He personalized so many of our lives by highlighting stories of people who share the same burdens as us. I can also appreciate his acknowledgement of the troops with his statement ‎'The Americans who've bore the greatest struggles are the Americans who serve our Country'.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Obama stress the need and importance of our teachers and education when he said ...

'If we want to win the future—if we want innovation to produce jobs in America—then we also have to win the race to educate our kids'

'If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child—become a teacher.'
Although I was excited to hear education being pushed, Obama made a profound statement that left me a little unsettled. To hear Obama say that non-Americans value and take advantage of OUR education more than we do, hit a nerve! I applaude the students that come here from China, India, Africa, Spain and countless other countries to pursue higher education but it saddens me that those of us who were born in this very country could care less about the education being offered. This is extremely true for African Americans as we have high drop-out rates and under perform in almost all categories. The fact that WE aren't taking advantage of an education that came with a price for us sickens me.

The price you ask? The price that was paid for through our ancestors' blood. I could care less if people are tired of hearing this statement, if it sounds clichĂ©.. it needs to be said! REMEMBER, we (blacks) were not supposed to read! We were not supposed to be educated! They were not going to teach us! Our ancestor's had to learn in silence, in the still of night while their slave masters were asleep, fellow slaves had to teach each other how to read. They marched, fought and were killed for the education that is offered in our own country today and some of us wont even give it a second glance. Let's WAKE UP! Show those who came before us that we appreciate their struggle; show them that their work was NOT in vain! I am nearly embarrassed myself, being 25yrs old and not having my degree. I was blessed to be able to start my career 6yrs ago and I have not had to worry about a degree, while some of my friends have their degrees and cant even start their career because they have yet to be employed. After hearing what I heard during the State of the Union Address I am convinced that I must attain the HIGHEST level of education possible! For me, that means having my doctorate and I don't care how long it takes, even if I'm 60+ years old I WILL pursue that! I encourage you all to do the same. After all, what could it hurt?!? If someone comes and robs you of ALL that you own, the one thing they can't take is your knowledge, and that is PRICELESS!

Know this, Obama did not fall into the Presidential position by happenstance, he took deliberate steps of action in his education, personal and professional life to get to where he's at now.

The underlying message
This is where the saying 'two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different' comes in. While many of us watched the State of the Union Address, we all took away different things. I found a re-curring theme and underlying message that may not ring true for you, but rings true for me!

ENTREPRENEURSHIP!


‎'We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer' - Barack Obama


Yes folks, it's time to build our own! Obama mentioned a lot of things about 'innovation'. Innovation can be defined as 'a new idea, a new method or device, something someone creates.' I am constantly telling people there is NEVER a shortage of opportunities when you create your own. Obama said it himself Tueday night, jobs are extremely competitive now because there's a LACK of them! If you want to be employed, employ yourself! If we learn to create for ourselves we can most definitely sustain ourselves. We lose when we become overly dependent. I started my own business because people kept calling on me to do things that I love, but that I also could be getting paid for. But now I see that not only is my business a means of extra income but also something to fall back on in the event that I am ever out of a regular 9-5. I took the little knowledge I had about starting a business, researched it and BAM! I'll be launching at the beginning of Feburary! It's not rocket science, your hobbies, things you're good at, things you love doing, can be turned into a profitable, lucrative business! (and if you need assistance putting that together, contact me. it's a part of the consulting I do)

To sum all of that up; If you want to see jobs, create them! We can do any and everything we want if we expand our vision.
Thank you Obama for renewing America's hope, now it's up to us to put things in motion. I saw a lot of excitement on Facebook and Twitter during the Presidents SOTU, don't let that fire die down! Obama was right when he said 'we do big things', lets continue make that statement live!

If, for whatever reason, you missed Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address, watch it here (includes text)
Barack Obama 2011 State of the Union Address

What did YOU get out of the State of the Union Address? Feel free to share your thoughts :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK, I am a manifestation of your dream!

If you never take anything else away from this blog or who I am, take this...

I believe in many things but there are two that are of utmost importance to me: Serving God and serving my people/my community! I am under the impression that it's never really been about us, it's about something/someone greater than us. Our mindset is always, 'what can people do for me, how is that going to benefit me, what can I get out of it?' It's not about what they can do for me but what I can do for them.

I'm sure plenty of bloggers will cover MLK's "I Have a Dream" and highlight all of his work and that's fine. I think that we all know enough about MLK so I want to spend more time highlighting his method of action and his service to people

One of the things I love so much about MLK is that he tapped into Social change, Economic development, Educational reform, Voting rights, Equality, Women's rights & more. He gave us an example that we don't have to limit ourselves to one ideal, our lives can serve more than one purpose if we expand our minds. MLK was also innovative in the execution of his dream, he was powerful and effective because he fought with his MIND and not his fists/weapons. We too, can be great if we fight with our most powerful, invincible weapon; the mental (our minds)!

MLK shared his dream years ago and some of us are merely draggin on the coattails of it! It is my belief that we should either be carrying MLK's dream, or living out our own. Remember that it's great to dream but if you don't wake up and pursue the dream, it's pointless! LIVE your dream! 'Live' is a verb because it's a word of ACTION which means you have to do something. MLK moved his dream beyond sleep and into action, there's no reason that we can't do the same!
  
Our platform for social change has been enlarged. With the advancement in technology there's no reason why our voices cant be heard. Look at what MLK did with the little tools he had, now imagine if he had social media back then, he would've moved mountains! He may not have had the opportunity to utilize the tools we have but we can continue to live & carry on MLK's dream using our voices + our various platforms. Dont forsake social media!

I attended the MLK All People's Breakfast this morning and the Keynote speaker, Jehmu Greene said something that rang true for everyone, 'these social media tools allow you to become the media you want to see'.

This is my MLK challenge to you: Don't let today be the only day you tweet or post MLK quotes, take the dream further than your social networks! Move beyond your comfort zone, step out from behind your computer screen & cell phone. Take MLK's dream to the streets, let people SEE you LIVING the dream, because merely quoting MLK one time a year is not enough!. 

Injustice, poverty, and racism are just as alive today as it was in the 1950's/60's, MLK did his part! The question now is, what role will you play?

This year and day, January 17, 2011, marks the 25th Anniversary of MLK Day! In 1994 Coretta Scott King wanted more of a spotlight on MLK's service to others, she called for a different approach to MLK Day and she asked to take the focus off of his life and into his work to encourage everyone to follow in her late husbands footsteps and serve others! The outcome; MLK Day was declared as a National Day of Service. Join me as I plegde to participate in the MLK 25 Challenge! In honor of the 25th Anniversary of MLK day, committ yourself to doing 25 acts (for others) throughout 2011!

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "I just want to do God's will"

*For more information about the MLK National Day of service, MLK 25 Challenge and highlights of various service events happening today visit their website Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of service or follow them on twitter @MLKday

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Remembering Haiti, One year later

January 12, 2010 ....

Like most, I will never forget hearing the number 7.0, that was the magnitude of the earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010. 230,000 were killed, 1.5 million left homeless. I remember going to ALL of the major news sites: MSNBC, NBC CNN, BBC etc sitting at my desk CRYING! My heart ached for the people of Haiti and those that had lost their lives. From the comfort of my office and home I sat and watched as thousands of people were dying and had lost their only comfort. It was then that I prayed that one day God would position me so that when disaters like this strike I can pick up and go! Well that day has come thanks to an organization called Help Us Save Us and its' founder Fred Joseph Jr.

I will be leaving on July 14, 2011 to go to Haiti with Fred and some people from his organization to help rebuild the Country.

I've been blessed to have connnected with Fred, he is quite an amazing man! A week after the earthquake Fred flew down to Haiti to volunteer to help people, he agreed to share his experience with me.



Fred speaking to the people of Haiti

 "I still remember staying up all night, not being able to sleep and my mom telling not to go. God said 'I'll send you Fred, and I'll pay for your expenses, I am not worried about HUSU' that was on January 18, 2010. On January 19th, 2010, I flew to Port-Au-Price, Haiti to give aide to the people. I stood alongside doctors, nurses, and government officials and assisted with amputation, surgeries, and search efforts. You haven't heard a woman cry until you hear a Haitian woman cry! On Jan 20, 2010 the grounds started to move, and everything around me started to fall it was the most scariest thing I've ever been through, it was good vs Evil, forces of life vs. forces of death, and, at this particular moment, Haiti vs. those that sought to exploit her in her vulnerability. In the stillness of the nite, I still ask myself how many people have died since I left the compound–where I served as a translator and volunteer. HUSU is not just Haiti; We will expand to Dominican Republic, Trinidad, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Sierra Leone, Angola, and more."


I could pull hundreds of pictures off the internet of Haiti's aftermath, but Fred was gracious enough to share his personal photos from his trip a week after the earthquake.

Family in disbelief
                                                                  

The Trauma Center





Bed time in Haiti
 


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The hospital was full so they moved patients outside
 


Fred with a patient that had an amputation w/o anesthesia

Fred, you are a beacon of light in the midst of darkness! Thank you for your willingness to want to help people in need, your story brought tears to my eyes and has moved me to step out beyond my comfort zone and do more for others! May God bless you and your organization as you all continue to bless others, see you in July!


This post serves as a reminder of what happened in Haiti on January 12, 2010, I know that I will NEVER forget and I hope that you don't either. When you complain about how cold you are while you're driving in your car or sitting in your house, when the hardest questions in life are deciding what to eat for lunch, when you have trouble picking out your outfit for the night or complain about how much you hate life, remember the people in Haiti. There are some that are STILL sleeping outside today! If you are alive, have a roof over your head, food to eat, believe me when I say you are living in luxury! Let's start living a life of gratitude, be thankful for everything!


Help Us Save Us is a non-profit organization that maintains with the help of caring individuals like you! If you'd like to get involved with Help Us Save Us you can contact Fred Joseph Jr at Fred.Joseph@helpussaveus.org and you can follow him on twitter Fred's Twitter as well as the organization Help Us Save Us on twitter

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

2011 Reading Challenge

Let's start this new year off with a challenge, an exeptional one might I add!

I follow an organization on twitter called 'Black Positive Image' and they thought it would be a great idea to start 2011 off with a reading challenge, when I heard about the challenge I just had to jump on board! We are using the site Shelfari to keep track of the books we read. This site is awesome, like an online bookshelf but for everyone to see. You can post books you've read in the past and books you plan to read as well as make recommendations and provide book reviews. This site is also a good tool if you plan on starting a book club as you can create 'groups'.



The goal is to read 100 books in a year. Now granted thats a pretty hefty goal considering that we only have 52 weeks in a year but even if you read 50, I think thats commendable! I have at least 20 books lined up and that's just from going through my house and pulling books that I always said I'd read but never got around to it, off the shelves. If you don't have any books go to your local library and check out some books or order some used ones online so that you don't have to spend much money.

If you plan to join be sure to create a page on shelfari which is free! Make sure you add me on there --> Kim's Shelfari page

In the event that you don't know where to start with the reading challenge, I figured I'd take this time to highlight and recommend a book that changed my life in 2010

I could talk for days about this book but I'd rather recommend it and let you all tell me how you liked it!

Now for the good stuff...

I'm finally getting around to doing something I've wanted to do for a couple of years which is... reading the Bible in its entirety! I know it's only the 4th day since I've been doing this but I have found it so much easier to read it with this guideline --> Read the Bible in a Year. The beauty of this is that you can choose which translation you want to read (whichever will better help you understand it) and you can read it anywhere that you have access to the internet, even at work! It's not to late to start now and catch up!

HAPPY READING!


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