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Archive for May 2012

Bittersweet Holiday

This Memorial Day weekend, my family honored my cousin by having the road my Grandmother, Aunt and Uncle and his family live on renamed for him.

This was a huge deal because my cousin was a staff seargant in the Marine Corps. He gave his life in Afghanistan about a year ago - he was 34.

The saddest part is that he left three young sons who are about three years old, two years old and five months - his wife was preganant with the youngest when my cousin was killed. So although his children may never have any memory of their father, hopefully seeing that he has a street named after him will give them some understanding of how special he was.

The street renaming ceremony gave me the opportunity to try out my new camera while documenting the event (I want to create a keepsake from the ceremony to give to my family. I plan to put the photos on a DVD with voice overs from family members I interviewed after the ceremony.) This is one of the favorite shots I took.

Military members from all around attended the event; many didn't even know my cousin, but they came out to honor a fallen comrade. During the ceremony we honored service members. This shot is of the Marine Corps color guard and a wounded veteran making their way to the stage to receive recognition for their service. It was a very touching moment, and I have to say, as someone who's just getting into photography, I'm proud of myself for capturing it.

Although I don't support war, I do have a lot of regard for the people who serve in our armed services. Happy Memorial day everybody.

Follow-up: Open Letter to Elected PG County Officials

On Monday, Newsweek released a list of the top 1000 public schools in the nation.

Twenty-three Maryland schools made the list. While at least seven of these were in Montgomery County, not one PG County school made the list.

Again, how does this disparity happen when PG County has a higher taxation rate than Montgomery County??

Best High Schools in America 2012: Newsweek Releases New Rankings

Open Letter to Elected PG County Officials

Prince George’s County needs to invest in itself. As our elected officials, you are charged to lead this effort for the betterment of our county’s future.

I live in a community in PG County that has approximately three school bus stops. This means, I have the opportunity to observe many youth as they make their way to and from their respective schools. I understand schools are relying more on technology and less on textbooks, but an overwhelming majority of the students are boarding buses with no book bags, laptop bags or iPad/tablet cases. This begs the question, what resources do our youth have and what are they studying?

Residents of PG County pay more property tax than residents of Montgomery County, yet Montgomery County can afford to properly supply its students with resources, current technology and education that prepares them for higher education.

By mismanaging our tax dollars, you’re creating obstacles our youth must overcome in order to compete in today’s educational system and later, a job market that is steadily evolving to completely exclude applicants lacking higher education.

Our youth may not understand the gravity of the injustice being done to them, so it’s their parents’ responsibility to push for their children’s fighting chance at a decent life. Unfortunately, many parents are stuck in cycle of trying to obtain or maintain a decent job in hopes of making a better life for themselves and their children. Oftentimes, this cycle involves trekking across town because professional jobs in PG County are seriously lacking. This leaves little time for PG County parents to seriously pursue the matter of their children’s education. Simply stated, we need better jobs in PG County. Family structure and our youth’s future depend on this.

If Montgomery County can do it, we can do it. We have the resources, now we just need leadership that cares enough to demand change. Please take these items on for action.

Playing the Race Card

As humans, part of our social nature is to search for similarities in each other; something in another person, with which we can relate and bond over. I think that's why any 'ism' feels like it's going against the grain.

To maintain an 'ism,' extreme, conscious measures need to be taken. Unfortunately, this is mostly achieved by putting another group of people down to elevate one's sense of worth. For instance, classism often comes by living in excess to highlight the divide between those who have and those who are less economically fortunate. And racism comes at the expense of the minority. I don't understand racism, so I can't explain what racists are trying to bring to our attention. They're better people because of skin color?? I almost feel bad for them because they think they have nothing better going for themselves than genetics.

This sense of superiority is as contrived as the measures taken to deny it. One of the tactics that bothers me most is when people use race as an adjective. Especially when it's done for nothing more than political reasons. As in, "Our county was built around such-and-such lake which was discovered by so-and-so, the first African-American man to drive a car." Get where I'm going?? One thing has nothing to do with another. This is just another form of, "Some of my best friends are black." The issue of race is often squeezed in for selfish reasons - to show you're dealing with good people because they like brown people.

And it's condescending. With all the contributions brown people have made, why are we relegated to getting pats on the back for the mundane while our major contributions are downplayed. What if the situation was reversed?? I don't ever recall seeing a historical reference to "so-and-so, the first white man to use a gas mask." Sounds ridiculous, right?? So why do we accept it??

And not only do we accept it, we've adopted it. How many times have you caught yourself saying something like, "Hey, there's some white girl looking for you."?? It's easy, but it's lazy.

Let's do better, but also, let's expect better. If people insist on using race as an adjective, let's make sure it's an educational sense and therefore in everyone's best interest.

Inspiration to Demand Better: A list of major inventions by African Americans

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