Voices must be heard! "We are tired of systematic
Oppression!" It is
Time for us all to
Vulnerable must have
Value our differences by
Observing and learning from them. Let's seek the
Engage in the change for a better US.
Get Ready to V.O.T.E.!
Are you registered? Are you required to have a valid I.D.? Do you know where your voting site is located? **Make sure it has not moved since last time** Will you be voting by mail? Have you requested a mail-in ballot? Will you have early voting? Now is the time to figure out the logistics of your vote. Voter suppression is real. When we don’t vote, we risk the well-being of us all – but especially the most vulnerable of us all!
Need more information about voting in your area, look for answers here.
V.O.T.E.: Voice Our Truth Everywhere
Our Voice, our vote. Do not let anyone take either away! Your vote matters. Your vote makes a difference. It is your right! Let’s voice our truth at the polls! Let’s vote and make US better than it has ever been.
There are many songs by the legendary Bob Marley which often brings me to tears. After hearing about Trump’s “Mount Rushmore” speech, one song, in particular, has occupied my mind space. The toward the end of the song Babylon System, from the album Survival, the phase “Tell the Children the Truth” repeats. Mr. Marley’s pleas to be honest with the children is still painful to hear, as I witness a “president” who refuses to tell the truth about America!
In his speech, Trump portrays this idea that schools are vilifying the heroes that built our country. However, I have witnessed the exact opposite. I have donated to many book projects for teachers, classrooms, and schools over the last couple of years. Looking at those books, I do not see “our heroes” being vilifying. Instead, I see our heroes becoming more inclusive.
“Our children are taught in school to hate their own country and that the men and women who built it were not heroes but that were villains.”
Trump, Mount Rushmore, July 03, 2020
When our teachers expose students to the US enslavement of Africans and their descendants, they teach that those Black Lives Mattered. They teach about men and women who literally built our country. Men and women who were literally vilified – not even recognized as human for a time!
When our teachers teach about the land stolen from the Native Americans, and the immigrants whose labor also built America, they teach about the truth that Trump and his followers would rather forget. The US was built by many, but greatly profited only a few. To keep that balance of imbalance, those who invested the most blood, sweat, and tears were made the enemy of the US. This is not hate speech, it is truth.
A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View
The history of America gives witness to the fact that wealth and power has always been more important than its people. There is a lot to be mad about when it comes to our history and the impact that it continues to have on so many today. If you are angry, make sure you are angry with a purpose! Seek knowledge. Have real conversations. Move with kindness. Have compassion. Tell the Truth. Do NOT just get MAD. Get MOTIVATED. The difference starts at home.
Since the closing of school in March, I have thrown away several books that my young son, Hadith, destroyed. Hadith is big on hand fidgeting and it has become clearer in the last few weeks just how much he enjoys turning, flapping, and overall manipulating paper products with his hands. However, his paper play often ends up with torn pages and strips of paper littering the floor. Then I remembered. . . Indestructible Books!
It was last year, in 2019, when I first saw an indestructible books. We were at the local Special Olympics spring games and Hadith’s class was participating. This was a huge event since schools from the entire county attended. While waiting for schools to and getting ready for the opening parade, my son became a bit unsettled. That is when his teacher handed him an indestructible book that he happily played with for a time.
Unexpectedly, this memory flashed through my mind last week as I thought about his “relationship” with paper. I thought that maybe having indestructible books at home would fulfill his hand fidgeting need and reduce the incidence of other books and papers being destroyed. I immediately ordered several books, two of which were delivered this week.
What are Indestructible Books?
The books I purchased were published by Workman Publishing. They are advertised as chew-proof and rip-proof. The 100% nontoxic, paper-like material is even washable. They do seem to hold up pretty well. The one that my son plays with at school is over a year old and still in tact – which is really good! Most reviews on Amazon were also very positive.
The books are simple stories. They introduce concepts (such as counting, shapes, or numbers), nursery rhymes (such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat and the Itsy Bitsy Spider), places (such as the city, the farm, and the neighborhood), and more. These are great for story time with a young child. However, they are also great for an older child who may need the sensory input (without the mess).
Celebrate Often: Indestructible Books
Having an Autistic son with developmental and academic delays, who is also very curious, creative, and spontaneous can be quite the challenge and quite the adventure. When challenges occur, being able to find creative solutions are important. Chewed up, torn apart books have been a problem in our house. Will indestructible books be the solution to that problem? Maybe not completely, but I believe they will help drastically. We will let you know how it is going in a few months.
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During this time of change, many desired items have suddenly become unavailable. My recent visits to stores have shown that most food and beverage have returned to the shelf. Plenty of water, eggs, bread, and milk are available again – with new purchasing limits to help keep it that way. However, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer are still of low quantity or nonexistent. Now, with the CDC’s (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) recommendation to wear face masks in public, we add an additional item to our hard to find list. Here is some advice and help for finding/making three of these important items.
1. Face Masks/Coverings
On or around April 3, 2020, the CDC officially recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public settings since other social distancing measures could be difficult to maintain. Due to the increase demand of face masks and coverings, many people are using a more accessible Do-It-Yourself (DIY) option. Check here for DIY instructions from the CDC.
According to a recent Business Insider article, CEO of Suay Sew Shop, Lindsay Medoff, says a cloth mask is not enough.
Medoff and two friends were appalled by the dozens of mask patterns calling for cotton, a highly breathable, permeable fabric, and became obsessed with finding a fabric better suited for the job.
After testing many materials, Medoff concluded that the ideal material is the stretchy blue shop towels. If you are going to use a cotton mask, insert one or two blue shop towels for filtration. You could also make mask out of the blue shop towels. The video below is shows how to make a No-Sew shop towel mask.
I altered my mask to use 4 rubber bands and 2 additional paperclips to secure the mask around my head versus around my ears. I will also insert an additional towel within the mask.
2. Disinfecting Wipes
When is the last time you went to the store and saw disinfecting wipes for sell? It has likely been at least a month. Although I purchased a few containers before the panic began, my supply is running low. I, therefore, started looking for alternative solutions. Here is one useful recipe! It calls for “rags”, but you could also use high quality paper towels. *You may want to adjust the amount of mixture depending on the amount of “cloths” you have available.
1 cup water 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol 1 tsp. Dawn dish soap (only use Dawn) 2 Tbsp. ammonia (optional) 24 rags – cut into squares. (I cut them to about 4×6 inches but whatever size you have available or whichever size you need will work. I also use old washrags that have seen better days.)
Mix the ingredients and pour over the rags.* Then, when you need to clean your bathroom, use them as you would the disposable Clorox wipes.
Note: This mixture does not include bleach. For anyone using bleach to clean, remember that bleach does not mix well with others, and is dangerous if ingested. Please be extra careful when cleaning with bleach.
3. Hand Sanitizer
I recently received an article about a few Black-owned companies selling hand sanitizer. I was ecstatic to see a hometown favorite of mine, Hairizon. Hairizon is beauty bar based out of Durham, North Carolina. Check out this article to find other companies who may be able to help with your hand sanitizer needs.
I found a homemade recipe for hand sanitizer, but it came with an warning. See the article for further information.
A word of warning
Hand sanitizer recipes, including the one below, are intended for use by professionals with the necessary expertise and resources for safe creation and proper utilization.
Only use homemade hand sanitizers in extreme situations when handwashing isn’t available for the foreseeable future.
Don’t use homemade hand sanitizers on children’s skin as they may be more prone to use them improperly, leading to a greater risk of injury.
3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)
1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to help keep your hands smooth and to counteract the harshness of alcohol)
10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead
Pour all ingredients into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout like a glass measuring container.
Mix with a spoon and then beat with a whisk to turn the sanitizer into a gel.
Pour the ingredients into an empty bottle for easy use, and label it “hand sanitizer.”
Versus making your own hand sanitizers, try one of the companies above. If you are not an essential worker, stay home as much as possible and use good, “old-fashion” soap and water!
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