Op Ed: Invoking the King

Over the last three years (and the hundreds prior) we’ve witnessed crime after crime of police brutality and ending in loss of life without repercussion for those who chose to take liberties.  

We’ve witnessed shootings, trials, protests, riots, and more.  

It’s almost too much to bear.  It is too much to bear.  

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Dear Summer…

Another summer is nearing its end in the South.  And while the thermostats still read in the 90s during the day, you can feel it beginning to cool faster in the evening.  A breath of relief as the wind blows past, and the fabric of clothing starts to unstick from the skin.  The heat has been insurmountable this summer, seeping and expanding into every facet of life.  From the devastation of the senseless murders of Philando Castille, Alton Sterling, and the Dallas police, to the smoldering election campaign as the nation finds itself divided between parties and candidates, to the insatiable appetite for summer love and lust that humans seek along beaches, pool parties, and cook outs.

Finding a way to touch the human spirit with images representing what few words could contain, the ZuCot Gallery in Castleberry Hills has put on an amazing exhibit titled, “Dear Summer…” which brought in artists whose works were meant to speak on, reflect in remembrance, and encompass what this summer has said, done, and where to go from here.

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The Benefits of Giving

Twice in my life I can recall going through serious bouts of depression.  One was between the ages of 13 – 17.  My father calls it The Dark Ages, or in layman’s terms: Puberty.  The other was when I was living in Tennessee and within the same year I lost my first great love to another person, and my best friend to heart failure.

There was nothing to help me through puberty but time and some very patient parental units.  In Tennessee I had an awakening.  After spending months under my bed with a never ending bottle of E & J (please don’t judge) I finally saw glints of light coming through the blinds.  I realized the world was still spinning, with life and love continuing to grow, and that no one could help me as long as I continued to live as a hermit.

However, since I didn’t know how to ask for help, let alone how to accept help, I thought I could help someone else.  I recalled in high school going to Trinity Methodist, across from City Hall in downtown Atlanta, where once a month I prepared and served dinner to homeless men, often whom were struggling with addictions.  And I remembered always being happiest when I was serving others.  These men were inspiring and made me want to be a better person.

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Eat Your Way Around the World: And Never Leave Buford Highway

I love living by Buford Highway.  The Pink Pony and Buford Highway Farmer’s Market alone are two reasons I wouldn’t want to leave.  But more importantly, everything that is in between these two destinations.  I can pick almost any country and find a specialized restaurant that serves that food.  So with that, here is a list of top restaurants I strongly recommend ranging from the North Druid Hills Road intersection to the perimeter.

Bon Apetit!

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The Art of Walking

Have you ever braked to let someone cross the street in front of you only to have them stroll or sachet, taking their sweet time while your knuckles clench the steering wheel as you rapidly lose patience and grind your teeth?  We all have.  If you ride with my friend Eric you will hear him say (not-so-under his breath), “Knees to chest, friend!  Knees to chest!”

Recently I attended church with Eric’s girlfriend, Lora.  As we were making our way out of the sun-filled parking lot, we found ourselves stuck at an intersection witnessing what Lora described as The White Woman Waddle:  The Ultimate Display of Entitlement.

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Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery

January was National Human Trafficking Awareness month.  I was fortunate to be invited to a panel discussion through Ellevate, a professional women’s networking group, that helped to shed much needed light on this issue.  The fact that hit home the most for this writer was that of geographical rankings for human trafficking, the city of Atlanta was in the top 14.

In 2012 the International Labour Organization estimated 20.9 million victims worldwide, and 26% of them children.  In 2013 at Trafficking In Persons Report it was up to 27 million.

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Get Out & Celebrate CULTURE!

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.  – The History Channel

There are a lot of ways to celebrate Black History Month.  Eating foods that reflect either African American or simply African cultures (like Ethiopian, mmmm, check out Desta on the north end of Briarcliff), purchasing your newest Dashiki (I wish I could pull that look off, it really does look like the most comfortable outfit ever), or reading books on or by influential African-American leaders. But in Atlanta in particular, there is also a lot to DO!

We urge you to get out there Atlanta!  Mix it up, attend a lecture, participate in a march, visit a church, meet new people and celebrate as a community the differences between us that we need to revel in and embrace to become a better human race.

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Shop Local for Black History Month

It’s February!  And for Atlantans that means several things: bracing for that last cold snap we know is going to happen at any minute (Or maybe not, who knows?  Certainly not that oversized rodent who acts as the witch doctor of weather predictions.), Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, and this year Leap Day.  But covering every day this month is Black History Month.

I loved this month in school.  I loved learning about a new influential person each day who overcame odds to make a difference for their community and brethren.  Which leads me to wanting to make a difference in my community.

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How Disney Prevented Me From Finding Prince Charming

Cinderella
Cinderella Dancing with Prince Charming

Almost every girl in any first world country grew up on tales of Disney.  A fair maiden princess who can’t help becoming a damsel in distress, held hostage by an evil witch or stepparent, and had to be rescued by Prince Charming.

A friend and I were discussing this on a Sunday afternoon drive.  How Disney gave us young girls a dream to believe in.  To be pure of heart and body and our prince will whisk us away to a happily ever after.  And it was then my friend made an astute observation:

Why is the prince CHARMING?  Charming isn’t necessarily a good quality to have.

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Pucking Fuppets

With the holidays whisking us through the end of the year in a blur I wanted to make sure I did a really cool spot for some holiday fun.  And while the Atlanta Ballet gives a great Nutcracker, and I never tire of A Christmas Carol, it all seems so…typical.

But you know what’s not typical?  Puppets.  Specifically puppets who curse like sailors, drink like fishes, and attempt more over the shirt gropes than your 12 year old nephew on…well…probably anyone whose wearing a tight sweater (hormones, am I right?).

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