Uncategorized

Since May 30th, our global society has been transforming itself into a chaotic wake up call with the issue of police brutality and the continuous evidence of minorities not having the same equity of life as those who fall under white privilege.

I’ve had my share of unlearning the white man’s knowledge of American History, and growth over the years when it comes to American History, and I continue to put aside my own trauma and issues to sit and radically listen to my peers to hear their stories and allow them to provide me facts and evidence of their reality, while I proved my own radical listening, empathy, and understanding.

Right now they are tired. They are tired of talking without anyone listening. The are tired of the questions from those who simply have a hard time comprehending. They are tired of the “All Lives Matter” debacle that goes against the reality of blacks being 3x more likely to be shot and killed by police. They are simply tired.

I have a responsibility of a film maker and a film lover, to take the time to put together my top ten favorite strong black lead films and/or series that provide legitimate educational value for those who want a better understanding of the systematic oppression our fellow Americans have suffered through for the past 400 years, as well as, some of the greatest icons in black history that may or may have not been in your history textbooks growing up.

All I ask from this list is be aware of the fictional aspects of the films and take the time to dig into a deeper research of the events within the topics and figures provided with each film. I am asking, for those willing to listen and learn to do with empathy, while watching these stories, and don’t forget the Kleenex, because you will need them.

  1. Roots (Hulu): An adaptation of the 1977 mini-series, Roots chronicles the history of an African man sold to slavery in America, and his descendants. 

  2. Harriet (Rent/Vudu): The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman‘s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

  3. MalcolmX (Netflix): Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

  4. 13th (Netflix): An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

  5. I Am Not Your Negro (Amazon Prime): Writer James Baldwin tells the story of race in modern America with his unfinished novel, Remember This House.

  6. Selma (Amazon Prime): A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

  7. The Hate U Give (Rent/Vudu): Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.

  8. DETROIT (Hulu): A gripping story of one of the most terrifying moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of ’67.

  9. Just Mercy (Rent/Vudu): World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

  10. When They See Us (Netflix): Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they’re falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story.

    Honorary mentions: Marshall (Netflix), LA92 (Netflix), Teach Us All (Netflix), Ali (Amazon Prime), 12 Years a Slave (Rent)…

Here’s what I can’t comprehend with America today. The America I THOUGHT I served. The America I THOUGHT I was taught:

Y’all didn’t have an uproar when Kaepernick was sitting on the bench during the national anthem, but when a Veteran… Yes! A combat veteran. It was not progressive liberals that first noticed and supported Colin Kaepernick. It was a white cis-born straight man, who legitimately served and fought in our modern wars that sat down and listened to Kaepernick and his reasons for not standing for the National Anthem.

Note: I point out labels since everyone wants to stereotype and define one another all day, every day and keep categorizing and segregating when in reality, nothing in this world is honestly black or white, so seriously America shouldn’t be either…

Anyways…

It was Kaepernick’s stance for inequality, a systematic government that has been built to legalize oppression, especially for people of color, who continue to be brutally murdered by opened racists. Point blank.

Here’s a thought, use the same mentality you have in your belief in God that you would of racism… just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Rather than the Veteran screaming at Kaepernick that he’s a piece of shit and unpatriotic, he instead found compassion and empathy, as well as, stayed humane and asked for a compromise for both worlds by asking Kaepernick to kneel to, at least, honor those who served and sacrificed for this nation rather than sit and be fully disrespectful.

It was then when the conservatives and misinformed got all emotional and went fucking crazy and had an uproar. The fact y’all still choose to be blinded by today’s societal issues and continuous murders of minorities. Even having the knowledge of our history of slavery and genocide, and choose to be blinded by the repeating of yesterday’s mistakes, and the snake-like built of our government today over the decades.

I honestly thought this country was better than that, but I was wrong and have not been able to find peace about it considering everyday I have loved ones who have to live in a war mentality and PTSD like myself, when they should not even have to. They really shouldn’t.

In this day and age, we have a whole generation that are products of their environment that want to break their generational curses that has existed long enough for over 400 years, but you are blinded by the falsified freedoms they have had since the Civil Rights Movement, but we all know that that’s an illusion.

The difference with the continuous mentality between me and white veterans like myself and people of color in general is that we chose the path we followed as soldiers. When I enlisted, even under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” umbrella, I did it to risk my life for ALL the people and their freedoms, selflessly.

These particular individuals didn’t choose their skin color nor the thug image that arrogant individuals refuse to see past due to the devil’s advocate of the entertainment industry that promotes this imagery, and of course with the support of the lack of freedom that was built within the system, especially for African Americans and Native Americans.

When is enough enough? Is another Civil War the answer for those who refuse to speak up or stand for their equals? How did a mass group of people, who’s ancestors were once immigrants themselves, decide they were greater and more superior from those who were original citizens and/or forced upon these lands?

When can we actually accept others’ differences, especially after the fact we had various wars over the 400 years of our existence as a nation for these particular reasons. When is the majority of the white population going to finally see that they are not superior to the rest of humanity?

And if you get done with those recommendations and what to learn more and continue to educate yourself, please check the following link for more resources out: Anti-Racism Resources.

Even though my adjustment to civilian life has been a struggle, due to being consumed in today’s society by so many political opinions, and truths being revealed… it certainly has been a hard pill to swallow…

Working DFac (fDining Facility) Guard

While most people gather, illegally and legally, I’ve kept my distance and silence, as well as decompress my mind, to gather my thoughts over this weekend as it reminds me of two things…. 1) my best friend at the time being KIA on June 3, 2007 (three days before my 21st), and the fact that tomorrow is legitimately my fifth year anniversary from being medically retired from the military.

Yet, there is still a pride in me for serving this country for the purpose of the bigger picture and not for myself, but for ALL the people in this country who chooses not to or simply can’t for medical purposes…

I continue to look at the positive things of serving like having the opportunity to embrace and experience so many various cultures and individuals through the battle buddies I’ve met over the years and the various global contractors and local people that I had the opportunity to befriend and worked with while in Iraq.

Local Interpreters, Taji 🇮🇶

Also, without serving, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today nor accomplish the things I’ve accomplished over my adult life…

While the mass crowd defines us a basic stereotype of typical sheep and murderers, I will not let those voices define me nor the good-hearted people I have come to serve and meet, who take the call to risk their lives for their own beliefs of serving…

What comes down to my reality vs. their reality, is that we all have a story, we all have educational value to share through our livelihoods and experiences, and we all can learn from one another… we just need to be able to have an open mind to learn from those who haven’t experienced a similar life than our own and that’s where empathy comes in…

Unfortunately, the majority of us, as humans, struggle with having empathy for the rest of the world, if not, our own country and that’s why we are in the “Divided States of America” we are currently in.

Super Bowl Party. |Chicago Vs Indianapolis|
Go Manning Go!
🏈

The relief of today was fulfilled with distractions and productivity while distancing myself from the crowds and social media, while I regain my attentiveness and confidence with my purpose and knowledge in the world during my five-day weekend and I’m only half way through.

Goofing off before meeting
the Iraqi Army General. 😳

Also, what helped me through today is having one of my battle buddies that I relate to reaching out to me today with his music playlist and amazing descriptive reflection of his day, because he knows how much music and storytelling gets me through difficult things.

Thank you, Deneen, and stay well. 👍🏻

As Governor Evers extends our “Safer at Home” order through Memorial Day Weekend for everyone here in Wisconsin, I figured I take the time to write my day to day work as an essential employee and shifting my job tasks as the new normal is reveled within our work environment as a closed facility.

It’s crazy how a pandemic and quarantine/social distancing life has unofficially changed my day to day job as a security officer in a library environment. Yes, I still do the usual security rounds to check on the building and the equipment to make sure it doesn’t go amiss, but there is only so much I can do when there is no patron to control or look after within the building, and that can get bored rather quickly.

There are other tasks that I continually have to updated throughout the system with lost and found and our bulletin boards that promote events/tutors/etc… but again, when there is no events happening or patrons losing items within the library, it’s all become one and done for me to work on.

I am sure by now some of you are wondering, well then what the hell do you do all day when most of your work is provided based on the traffic of patrons?

Honestly, that’s where my capabilities come in. During this pandemic I have been cross training, more likely crash training, into other roles including circulation (book returns), and helping scanning for the Interlibrary Loans from requests of chapters and articles provided by our libraries on UW Campus to help assist academic staff and students for their online classes.

Even though this is temporary for me, I am grateful to be able to stay flexible with learning and the essential position I hold, so I can ensure the safety of my colleagues within my library system and allowing them to stay home and work and/or taking care of their families during this time; this opportunity in disguise is also allowing myself not to induce into my insanity by being coupe up in my bedroom at the apartment I reside in for too long and limiting my work to just online training for my position. It also assists in me moving around.

With that being said, there has been a lot of twists and turns in my new normal-ish life and this quarantine and social distancing has been a huge testament and continues to be for what I am trying to strive for accomplishments in my life and blueprint the next chapter for this intense novel called, My Life.

I know my current life and work situation is nowhere similar to the majority of the World’s adjustment and life flow, especially for those who are not state employees and/or are essential employees in general. Even though it can be a mental struggle from time to time with this new life, I try to keep the perspective of others who have it far worse than me who’s struggling with unemployment, and especially those who had a worse case or even died from COVID-19.

Writing this helps me realize my situation could be beyond worse than it is, so I am surely grateful even if I do not have all of my shit together and not being able to be with my partner, considering we still live apart and he is part of the high risk population, so protecting him to a level with social distancing and not being together since before I was sick mid-March.

Yes, I was sick prior to the “Safer at Home” which was suspected to be COVID-19. No, I was not tested, but I had similar mild symptoms with being sick for two weeks straight. I guess we never will know if, in fact, it’s true or not. I’m just glad that today, God has given me another day to breathe and enjoy the sun, as well as blessed my illness did not get my roommates sick.

So now you have a small insight of the last month of As the Quarantine World Turns… now onto the sequel.

The pandemic of the Coronavirus has really gotten us in a whirl wind globally.  Within a panic like the one we are experiencing now, it’s easy to forget the things and people you have in your life, and freak out about what you don’t have or wish you could have at this very moment to help ease you through this uncertainty. 

Case in point, I was one of those people at first, but then I spent a whole week at work (essential employee) and was able to decompress this lil ole’ anxiety with a little help from my medications, health supplements, and just being active again to distract me from my overthinking. 

I realize how much my job and being able to stay at home is a privilege in our new world, and I know I can’t take it for granted. I also realized that now is not the time to lack in self-care during your self-quarantine. 

Go out for walks or runs, play your favorite video games, play a new video game you’ve never played before, watch your favorite movies, work on a puzzle or discover a new board game you’ve never played before, start a new hobby, relax yourself in bubble/mineral baths and drink a glass of wine (this goes for you too, men), start cooking and trying new recipes again, buy a new cook book or any book for leisure off of Amazon, spring clean around the house/apartment… 

…these are just a few of the ideas that come to mind through me and my friends for those of us spending a MAJORITY, if not all, their time at home. 

…and if you’re not feeling all that productive right now, THAT’S OK! I made sure to include activities that didn’t involve a lot of energy, but was fulfilling for the soul. I mean, come on… For fucks sake, it’s Monday and majority of the world are like sloths when it comes to Monday. I get it. 

I pray that others in my situation is capable of turning their mindset around, as well as, are capable of showing compassion during this time, instead of being assholes. The world needs a little more kindness now, more than ever. 

Most importantly, what I want you to take out of this blog post…

Please, please, please!… follow the God Damn 6’ social distancing and stay the fuck home recommendation from CDC. The longer we don’t follow the guidelines, the longer we are stuck in the quarantine life. Don’t be that guy or gal.