Civil Rights Act & Voting Rights Act

Following the Civil War, a group of constitutional amendments worked together to establish the beginning of civil rights in America – the abolishment of slavery (13 Amendment), the citizenship of former slaves (14th Amendment), giving all men the right to vote regardless of race (15th Amendment), and giving women the right to vote (19th amendment).

Nonetheless, many states [particularly in the South] used poll taxes, literacy tests and other measures to keep African-Americans disenfranchised from exercising their right to vote and prospectively deny them citizenship. The enforcement of strict segregation was enacted through Jim Crow laws and condoned violence from white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

The U.S. Congress did not take the initiative to make improvements for African-Americans for equality or fair treatment under the law. Finally, in 1957, a Civil Rights Division was established in the Justice Department, along with a Commission on Civil Rights to investigate discriminatory conditions. In 1960, Congress provided for court-appointed referees to help African-Americans register to vote. However, these bills were heavily watered down to overcome southern resistance and gain some momentum in the civil rights movement.

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RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race

In this special four-episode event, three different RuPaul’s Drag Race fan favorite celebrities are challenged with being given a drag transformation. Their drag mothers, played by previous Drag Race stars, teach them the basics of getting into drag and owning the stage. Then the celebrities battle it out in classic competitions (known as “maxi challenges”) for the title of America’s Next Celebrity Drag Superstar as well as win $30,000 in prize money for a charity of their choice.

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My Coming Out Story

When I was in second grade who I had the biggest crush on this girl in my art class named Chelsea. One day after school, she pulled me aside to the end of a hallway near a stairway and kissed me on the cheek. I was surprised when she told me that she liked me too. I didn’t expect it at all. This was great news though. The only down side was that she transferred schools shortly after.

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The Future of Gender Neutral

When I was in college, I took a course called “Feminist Philosophy.” I found myself looking through some old essays and projects when I came across a hypothetical scenario that asked us to describe what society would be like if gender neutral was adapted as a social norm. I remembered this day in class, the other students proposed their ideas of what it would look like considering that gender norms would no longer exists, how women and men would now be viewed as human instead of gendered, how the fashion industry would change, how economics and politics would change for both the better and for worst because some people like change while others are stubborn to it. This one hypothetical brought about a conversation of unity, humanity, and belonging.

The acceptance of gender neutral as the social norm could change the world as we know it. It made me wonder if we would become more humane or if we would just find something else to disagree with.

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He Said, She Said, They Said: The Importance of Pronouns

He said, she said, they said, ze said, xe said, it said, I said, we said, whoever said what they said when they said it, must be addressed properly by the pronoun that they, ze, xe use for identification. Most people tend to judge a person’s gender by their own assumption of biological sex based on physical appearance. However, that is not the best way to identify other human beings.

Let’s start with the a basic understanding: There is a difference between gender and sex. If you don’t know the difference, then you’re about to get educated. “Gender” is how you identify yourself, whether it is masculine, feminine, non-binary or gender fluid. “Sex” is based on your biological, reproductive organs: male = penis and female = vagina + enlarged breasts. Continue reading “He Said, She Said, They Said: The Importance of Pronouns”

History of the Human Rights Campaign

In 1980, one of the most exemplary nonprofit organizations was established, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Their mission statement is to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. The HRC continues to make strides in accomplishing this mission statement by providing a strengthening system of support, employment, and advocacy to the revolution of gender identity and sexual orientation. The HRC has a well-known national presence and has been paving the way for the last 40 years.

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The Stonewall Uprising

History of the Stonewall Inn

In the mid-1960s, the Genovese crime family owned most of the gay bars in Greenwich Village, NYC. In 1966, they purchased the Stonewall Inn (a “straight” bar and restaurant at the time), renovated it, and reopened it the next year as a gay bar.

Stonewall Inn was registered as a type of private “bottle bar,” which did not require a liquor license because patrons were supposed to bring their own liquor #BYOB. Patrons had to sign their names in a book when entering the club. The Genovese crime family was infamous for bribing NYPD to ignore activities occurring within the club. The club welcomed drag queens, it was a night home for LGBT runaways and homeless youth, and allowed dancing (which was not common for gay bars at the time).

Nonetheless, getting raided by the police was per the usual. Corrupt cops who were bribed would normally tip off the Mafia owned bars and clubs, which allowed them time to stash alcohol being sold without a liquor license and hide or remove any other illegal activities. But the night/early morning of the Stonewall Uprising was something completely unexpected.

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Black Excellence Matters – A History of Firsts

This blog is dedicated to my nephew, Kaden and my best friend’s daughter, Malia. I don’t have any children of my own yet but you both have inspired me to create a history of first for African-Americans in America. I gave you the book, “ABC’s for Boys/Girls Like Me,” because even though you know your ABC’s it is important to learn and know what the black men and women before you have accomplished so that in times like this you won’t be afraid of your blackness, you won’t disown yourself or your family because the world has, and instead you will believe in yourself, protect your loved ones, and be the best you can be every single day. I know you won’t be children forever and you’ll have to face society one day, I just want you to be prepared, be resilient, and be compassionate.

I love you both, my black prince and black princess. XXX – Titi B, Brittany.

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Juneteenth Celebration

Juneteenth is currently an unofficial American holiday celebrated on June 19th to commemorate Union General Gordon Granger’s reading of federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on 19 June 1865, proclaiming that all enslaved persons in the U.S. state of Texas were now free. This came two years late of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation dated January 1, 1863.

After recent rising racial tensions, protests and riots throughout the U.S., there is a decision on the table to be discussed and to be made: Will Juneteenth become an official National Holiday? We are still seeking justice for those African-Americans killed at the hands of police brutality and racial inequality, such as, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others, but is a national holiday enough to repair the damage that has been caused? The answer is no. The work is not done and if you ask me, a national holiday to recognize our freedom in a system that has kept us oppressed for over 157 years, WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH! (but it’s a start, recognition is step 1 in the right direction).

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Do the Right Thing – Fight the Power

Spike Lee’s film, Do the Right Thing, depicts racial tensions on the hottest day of the summer in Bed-Stuy “do or die” Brooklyn, New York. The film addresses topics in black culture such as fashion and style, mental illness, racial stereotypes, boycotting and police brutality. It is important to note that the portrayal of African-Americans is illustrated in both a literal and figurative manner to display the history, art and culture of the black community during the late 1980’s and until this day. I invite you to join me on an exploration of the story line, character displays and messages conveyed throughout the film.

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The Hate U Give: Summary & Analysis

The Hate U Give is a film based on the bestselling novel by Angie Thomas. The film first premiered in October 2018 and grossed $29.7 million in the United States and Canada. It is about a black teenager named, Starr Carter, who is code switcher travelling between two worlds — the black ghetto streets where she lives and the preppy white school that she attends. The balance between the worlds is shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Starr faces pressure from both communities: to find her voice and stand up for what’s right or to let it go and act like it didn’t happen and won’t happen again.

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A Brief History of Race Riots in America

On May 25, 2020, an African-American man named George Floyd died at the unjustified use of excessive physical force by 4 police officers: Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, and J.A. Kueng (seen kneeling on George for nearly nine minutes) and Tou Thao (officer on the scene). On Thursday, May 28, 2020, the news went viral and the Minneapolis Third Precinct was set ablaze by protesters. The next day, Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other 3 officers have been fired but have not received charges yet, despite the family’s wishes and protesters’ demands. To review where the officers went wrong, please review the Minneapolis PD Policy & Procedure Manual; I recommend starting with Volume Five: Code of Conduct and Use of Force.

In the last seven days, I’ve been presented with an overwhelming amount of information regarding the riots/events related to George Floyd’s death and it’s breaking my heart every day to see my people being violated on so many levels… [TRIGGER WARNING] From a grandmother who was shot in the face with rubber bullets in San Diego, a man tear gassed in his car with his pregnant wife in Denver, and right here in Brooklyn where Assembly Woman, Diana Richardson was pepper sprayed in the face – she had this to say: “This is uncalled for. I would never come out here to be in a position like this. I’m actually out here to assure the peace is [kept]”… I don’t know how much more I can take of this violence against my people. To everyone reading this, I want to remind you to stay strong. It’s going to get worse before it can get better “And even though you’re fed up, you got to keep your head up” 

In this blog, I want to share a brief history of race riots in America. Most of these riots were started by White Americans against African Americans, in an effort to remove black people from their neighborhoods, destroy their land and property, and violate their rights to freedom. I will also be addressing some of our historically worthy protests and riots where we fight back for the unjust crimes committed against us by fellow civilians and government entities. Here is the list:

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Lost-n-Found Youth in Atlanta, GA

A major problem within the LGBTQIA community is that families and friends aren’t always as supportive and accepting as we would think they would be. This leads to interpersonal conflict through political debates, personal opinions, and can cause psychological trauma to the LGBTQIA individual involved because they feel unloved and shunned by the people closest to them. The issue that follows is homelessness.

The homeless LGBT rates have shot up making it difficult to find shelters that accept and respect them. These LGBT individuals experiencing homelessness are often at a heightened risk of violence, abuse, and exploitation compared with their heterosexual acquaintances. According to the National Homeless website, 40% of the homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT individuals and out of that 40% only a short percentage of them are eligible for the services as listed below:

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BlacKKKlansman: Film Review

It’s the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Through his determination to make a name for himself, Stallworth sets out on a dangerous mission: to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The young detective convinces a colleague, Flip Zimmerman (played by Adam Driver), into joining him on the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group. Check out the film trailer below: 

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Hugh Hefner’s Legacy: Playboy, Activist, and Rebel

On September 27, 2017 Hugh Hefner died at the age of 91 in the Playboy Mansion. It is said that he died of natural causes. He lived a good, long life as the man who built the Playboy Empire, established in 1953. The first issue of Playboy was published in December of that same year with no cover date because Hefner was unsure if there would even be a second issue. However, with Marilyn Monroe on the front cover sales sky rocketed, selling more than 50,000 copies.

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