Seattle, WA
Poet, blogger, lawyer, educator, sista, sister, aunt, daughter, mentor, friend, dog owner, lover of music and all things gluten free... Writing about all of this and more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Telling our stories

I recently watched a great video about education paradigms. It's a short segment and definitely worth the time. As I scribbled some notes down while watching the video for the first time, what kept replaying in my mind was the question: What is the education story of our day?

As the video discusses, back in the day the story went something like this: Education is the great equalizer. You go to school, study hard, and graduate, and you will get a good stable job and be able to make a living to support yourself and your family.

Today we know that that a) doesn't always happen, or doesn't work the same way for all people, b) isn't the only way for a person to achieve security, and c) doesn't carry the same appeal to young people who are thinking differently about the future they want.

Given that, what is that story that we tell our kids to get them excited about learning and getting educated?

What is the story that they tell us about what they want out of their education experience? What do we tell ourselves that gets us motivated to think bigger and more creatively about our approach to education? What are the outcomes we want and how do we then track back appropriately as we design new systems of educating our youth? Final question, what do we need to do to fill in this story about troubles, challenges, and deficiencies in our existing education system, with equally important bits about solutions, successes, and newly discovered resources that are making things better for people?

As these things go, with this on my mind I found myself involved in two very interesting, related conversations. With one friend we discussed the power of storytelling and the need for educators and other education advocates to find and share powerful narratives about successful education efforts and the underlying values that fuel this movement. With another friend we discussed the importance of examining these very values that draw us into the education reform conversation in the first place. Understanding these values is what helps us unearth both the things we're trying to do, the things that fall outside of our work, and the proper methods for accompishing our goals.

Serendipity. You know things are going well when the universe drops gems in your hand. Specifically, just randomly on twitter I came across this great resource created by The Black Girl Project. It's an e-guide to college and what I like about it is that it takes me back full circle to the lingering question I had from watching the video about our education story. This project and its contributors are re-writing that story as we speak.

Here's the video I'm talking about:

As I gear up for the school year and my upcoming work helping students prepare to apply for, get into, and then stay in college, I've got my pen in hand to put my two lines into the storytelling piece as well. And perhaps more importantly, I hope to help more of our youth contribute to that storytelling process too.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are you the person the person you are looking for is looking for?

I know, that's a mouthful. But it's worth repeating to yourself. Are you? Are you that person who your ideal mate would be looking for?

A few friends of mine have gotten married this year or will be getting married soon, and I never lose my enthusiasm for these new unions. It's a beautiful thing to see, especially since we see, hear, and sadly also experience so many stories of love not working out. It's good to be reminded that good love is happening around us every day. But as romantical as these weddings are, we all know it's not like the fairy tales. I ain't saying nothing new when I say that those unions that are really, really good, are the product of a lot of thoughtful work, reflection, sacrifice, and investment.

I recently had a conversation with my cousin about The List. You know what that is. Most of us have one even if it's just a mental checklist. Some of us even have several editions of it, printed up, laminated and taped to the fridge or bathroom mirror. (I don't, but hey, no judgment! Visualize!) The List is a person's requirements for an ideal mate. What is she looking for in a partnership and in a partner?

Crafting such a thing is, I'd argue, a great tool for helping make sure you are seeking out the right types of people, making the right choices, etc. But as my cousin and I were discussing, it's just an outline and in real life modifications, amendments, and redactions take place. And some people go just plain overboard, with height and weight specifications, what his fingernails must look like, precise income ranges, even skin tone. I just think that's too much! But I do think the exercise of identifying what you want/need can be good if done practicably and sensible.

At the same time, how many of us flip it and ask ourselves how many of these must-haves we actually have? You know, so that the person who fits our needs would actually give us the time of day when they met us? In other words, how often do we ask ourselves if we're that great catch that we're seeking?

I'll never be tall (Mom, why didn't you give me your height?!?) so there are obviously some things on my list that I will never fulfill myself. Lots of those things are silly anyway. I mean, if he's got everything I'm looking for except for height, I think I'll be alright. But the true character traits--humble, hard working, passionate, kind, driven, compassionate, giving, God-focused, intelligent--now those things are worth some self-assessment. As another friend recently said, it's more important to work on being the right person, than to focus on finding the right person.

You know what's even better than our lists? God's list. I've heard this passage frequently, you know with all the weddings and what not, but 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 provides a great one:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Pretty good list to me. What do you think? What are we doing to make sure that we fit the bill too?

For more, check out this "Are you the person the person you are looking for is looking for?" sermon and this "Be the person you are looking for" blog.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Throwback

Here's a throwbaaaaack. I think I wrote it about 4 years ago.

my brother
uttering mothering, almost smothering, words
sending my heart fluttering like butterflies tumbling down to absurd depths
then taking flight
racing, beating, tracing light
shaking, making, creating right
when wrong seemed all there could be
but starry nights and the heights of flying eagles remind me i'm still free
and fresh mountain air in my lungs remind me i can still breathe
though i may drown
cuz you be so way down deep in who i'm is
like from since back when we were two little ashy knee'd grinning kids
so much a part of me that you're like my heart to me
or maybe a twin soul, living whole and yet apart from me
but still connected...
please know i don't forget it
and it will not go neglected
that little yellow flower that you planted in my heart with your words

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More awesome, inspiring stuff.

A few posts ago, I shared links to different awesome, inspiring stuff. More please? Yes, thanks.

I love music that celebrates Seattle, blackness, hip hop, and/or reminds me of 1996-1999, the years when I discovered my love for soul music, first in the form of hip hop and later in the forms of jazz and r&b/neo-soul. Some joints that are relatively new or brand new, and which have that same old life-breathing effect on me include The Physics Three Piece Album
and also this song:

Also, because I am one, and because it's just smart and funny and relevant and unique, I totally heart the Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl web-series. Am I semi-obsessed? Sure, whatever you like. This is my favorite webisode I think:

Watch, listen, love it. Have a great day!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Happy Birthday Dad! You would be 60 today. I love and miss you!

Dad, Tori, Bill, and Me in front of the White House. Dad trying to regulate against someone trying to get in the shot.