The Case of Korryn Gaines

Good evening lovely people,

let's dive right into it.
I just watched a 25 minute video of Korryn Gaines' traffic stop incident and my heart is broken.
My heart is broken for her children, especially for her son. It is broken, because Korryn is a byproduct of the racial tensions in America. I am heart broken because some time after the traffic incident (weeks, months?) Korryn Gaines lost her life in her apartment and it is upsetting that most of us feel like we will never know the real story about that standoff. Not everyone is equipped to stand up to injustice and racism in a peaceful and LOVE promoting manner. I believe Korryn Gaines just didn't have the right approach in that incident. I would probably perceive both differently if her children were not involved and in the vicinity. I would be more receptive to try and understand her reasoning if children were not in the equation.

In my opinion, Korryn really thought she was doing what was right, but in my heart of hearts, I think she was

driven by frustration and anger. I mean, there definitely is A LOT to be angry about in today's racial climate. It is at a peak and everyone seem to have their two cents in the matter. It is very easy to be caught in anger. When you don't feel safe, when you're constantly judged by the way you look. When people that could be your brother, father, uncle, sister, keep getting killed in injustice; When a job interview is decided the minute they realize you're black; when you are more likely to be pulled over and shot because of the colour of your skin, Some people might be caught in a place where they feel like they have nothing more to lose. Like they say, the most dangerous man/woman in the room is the one who has nothing to lose. Maybe Korryn Gaines felt like she had nothing left to lose. Maybe she believed she was fighting for the cause. To me, fighting for the cause is not the issue here. How she went about it is the issue. In any type of confrontation, if you start off angry, it will escalate, eventually. In the case of the traffic stop, the police officer kept calm, he tried to de-escalate the situation ( although I did not miss the sarcastic remarks from some other cops...).

However, I couldn't believe she put her son through all that. First telling him to resist and run from the police. Instructing him to never back down and to fight them, this is a toxic way to raise a child. What is the difference between that and a white parent teaching a white child to not respect a black lives matter activist for example. This is a five year old boy, he definitely didn't need to carry that burden, and all burdens that came after. This boy had to film his mother, getting arrested, he had to "stop crying" and his mother told him to never back down. He later had to witness the shooting of his mother.

Listen, I do not stand for racist cops, I am against power hungry and violent cops. I do not stand for oppression and a police state. I also don't think every police officer is all of those things. I think a lot of people will have numerous opinions on what happened with Korryn Gaines, however, she cannot die in vain. so I am asking this question... What questions do we need to ask ourselves? Why are people revolting and feeling the need to stand up and fight? Why was there not a body camera that shows what happened in that apartment, why are people still getting killed? why is there no indictments when police officers kill black people? why in 2016 are we still asking these questions? Why does a 5 year old have to deal with these issues??????
Please don't turn a blind eye because you think the issue does not concern you. This concerns all of us humans. We all deserve the same rights, the same respect and the same equal and just treatment under the law. Conversation is key right now. We need to talk about this. We need to talk about things that matter and hopefully, we will go in history as a generation that sparked this big change. A generation that demanded REAL justice and equality for all.

This is the Case of Korry Gaines According to Jenni.

Thank you for carrying this torch, now pass it on!


The Fear Of 13

Last night I watched one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. One of my top 5 favorites for sure!

The documentary is about Nick Yarris, a man who was convicted of murder and who spent more than 20 years of his life on death row for a crime he did not commit. Mr. Yarris proves to be a born story teller. In the first 10 mins of the documentary, I was glued and riveted to the screen and kept saying to my boyfriend.." this man can tell a story!" He does more than tell a story; He paints a picture. A moving picture.

Who is Nick Yarris, you might ask. He is a man who found an element of his salvation and a way to keep his sanity in a passion for literature. He would read Kipling, Elmore Leonard, and Dashiell Hammett, falling in love with adventure yarns and extending his vocabulary at every opportunity.  In the documentary, he recounts counting the days in the numbers of words he learned, including triskaidekaphobia - the fear of thirteen.

A Soft-spoken man who is articulate and poetic in his story telling, Nick paints pictures with a true artistic brush, describing and even adding his own sound effects for dramatic effect . He puts you vividly in the moment as he describes the all-consuming silence of two years in solitary confinement or the twenty-five days he once spent on the run as an escaped prisoner.
Later in the story, after he has told you about his prison life asyou grow to know and like Nick, he dives deeper into his life. I do not want to spoil anything so I'll leave you with this:

The fear of thirteen is a true life story, almost fantastical and the tragedy within it is heart wrenching. I admire Nick Yarris' sense of self. Faced with insurmountably life challenges, this man went on a journey of self discovery. His self awareness is a beautiful and inspiring thing. From this story, boys and men will see that is is okay to be vulnerable, to look within themselves and accept their true selves. On a side note, there is nothing sexier than a self aware man. Also, I relate to his love of books and language.
The uplifting quality of this man's story is the reason why I recommend this documentary to everyone I know and those I don't know.

Some Paraphrasing from Allan Hunter.


LOVE TRUMPS HATE: The shooting of police officers in Dallas

I just found out about the cops that were gunned down in Dallas and I feel like crying. I am appalled because this is not the solution to injustice.
Responding injustice to more injustice is not the answer. We do not need a race war in America! I completely condemn whoever was involved in shooting down the police officers. What is the difference between your actions and that of the victims of racial police brutality? What is the difference between being driven by hate and prejudice? All cops are NOT racists, prejudiced and unfair. All black people are NOT driven with hate, prejudiced and rash. Look at it like this. I your 2 children are fighting, do you scream, "FIGHT, FIGHT" or do you de-escalate the situation and ask the older one to give in or take the higher road for example?
We need to come together instead of divide ourselves. We CAN bring awareness by speaking up and doing peaceful marching protests. as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, "We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.

Image from Denver post

In Stride Toward Freedom, Dr Martin Luther King Jr urged nonviolent resisters to paraphrase Gandhi and say:

We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not hate you, but we cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children; send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communicates and drag us out on some wayside road, beating us and leaving us half dead, and we will still love you. But we will soon wear you down by our capacity to suffer. And in winning our freedom we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process.

Here are some of Dr King's fundamental principles, along with his six steps for nonviolent action:

Nonviolence is the way of the strong.
Nonviolence is not for the cowardly, the weak, the passive, the apathetic or the fearful. "Nonviolent resistance does resist" he wrote, "It is not a method of stagnant passivity. While the nonviolent resister is passive in the sense that he is not physically aggressive toward his opponent, his mind and emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade his opponent that he is wrong. The method is passive physically, but strongly active spiritually. It is not passive non-resistance to evil; it is active nonviolent resistance to evil."
The goal of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation.
"Nonviolence does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent but to win friendship and understanding," King teaches. "The nonviolent resister must often express his protest through noncooperation or boycotts, but he realizes that these are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. ... The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness."
Nonviolence seeks to defeat evil, not people.
Nonviolence is directed "against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil. It is evil that the nonviolent resister seeks to defeat, not the persons victimized by evil."
"Not only did King depersonalize the goal of nonviolence by defining it in terms of reconciliation rather than the defeat of the opponent, but he also depersonalized the target of the nonviolent resister's attack," Watley writes. "The opponent for King is a symbol of a greater evil. ... The evildoers were victims of evil as much as were the individuals and communities that the evildoers oppressed."
In this thinking, King echoes St. Paul's admonition that our struggle is ultimately not against particular people but systems -- "the principalities and powers."
Nonviolence includes a willingness to accept suffering without retaliation, to accept blows from the opponent without striking back.
"The nonviolent resister is willing to accept violence if necessary, but never to inflict it," King writes. "Unearned suffering is redemptive. Suffering, the nonviolent resister realizes, has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities."
That is a tough pill to swallow, but King insists there is power in the acceptance of unearned suffering love, as the nonviolent resister Jesus showed on Calvary and Dr. King himself showed in his own life and death.
Nonviolence avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. It practices agape/love in action.
"The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent; he also refuses to hate him. At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love."
Cutting off the chain of hate "can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives." Love means "understanding, redemptive goodwill toward all people."
For King, this agape/love is the power of God working within us, Watley explains. That is why King could exhort us to the highest possible, unconditional, universal, all-encompassing love. King the preacher believed God worked through us when we used the weapon of nonviolent love.
Nonviolence is based on the conviction that the universe is on the side of justice.
"The believer in nonviolence has deep faith in the future," King writes. "He knows that in his struggle for justice he has cosmic companionship. There is a creative force in this universe that works to bring the disconnected aspects of reality into a harmonious whole." King's philosophy, spirituality, theology and methodology were rooted in hope.
These core principles explain why, for King, nonviolence was "the morally excellent way." As he boldly expanded his campaign from Montgomery to Atlanta, Albany and eventually Birmingham, he demonstrated six basic steps of nonviolent action that could be applied to any nonviolent movement for social change. As explained in Active Nonviolence (Vol. I, ed. by Richard Deats, The Fellowship of Reconciliation, 1991), every campaign of nonviolence usually undergoes these basic stages toward justice, and they are worth our consideration:
Information gathering. We need to do our homework and learn everything we can about the issue, problem or injustice so we become experts on the topic.
Education. Then we do our best to inform everyone, including the opposition, about the issue and use every form of media to educate the population.
Personal commitment. As we engage in the public struggle for nonviolent social change, we renew ourselves every day in the way of nonviolence. As we learn that nonviolent struggles take time, we commit ourselves to the long haul and do the hard inner work necessary to center ourselves in love and wisdom and prepare ourselves for the possibility of rejection, arrest, jail or suffering for the cause.
Negotiations. We try to engage our opponents, point out their injustice, propose a way out and resolve the situation, using win-win strategies.
Direct action. If necessary, we take nonviolent direct action to force the opponent to deal with the issue and resolve the injustice, using nonviolent means such as boycotts, marches, rallies, petitions, voting campaigns and civil disobedience.
Reconciliation. In the end, we try to reconcile with our opponents, even to become their friends (as Nelson Mandela demonstrated in South Africa), so that we all can begin to heal and move closer to the vision of the "beloved community."
Dr. King's principles and methodology of nonviolence outline a path to social change that still holds true. In his strategy, the ends are already present in the means; the seeds of a peaceful outcome can be found in our peaceful means. He argues that if we resist injustice through steadfast nonviolence and build a movement along these lines, we take the high ground as demonstrated in the lives of Jesus and Gandhi and can redeem society and create a new culture of nonviolence.
"May all who suffer oppression in this world reject the self-defeating method of retaliatory violence and choose the method that seeks to redeem," Dr. King concluded. "Through using this method wisely and courageously we will emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of 'man's inhumanity to man' into the bright daybreak of freedom and justice." Amen.
May we all find the strength and wisdom to stand and bring awareness in a way that will NOT promote, support or tolerate violence.

*quotes and info from John Dear for the NCR online.



A human being is dead. A man is dead. A father is dead. A black man is dead. 

What excuse is there this time? He had a gun on his person. He had a criminal record and he was selling CD's at the corner store. Now, according to Witness statement to the Advocate, the police officers were very aggressive since the beginning. Sterling did have a gun, but he was not holding it or reaching for his pockets during the incident. In fact, if you watch the video, you will find that Alton Sterling is grabbed and tackled into the hood of a car by one officer, before being slammed to the pavement. You then see another officer kneeling on Sterling. As I watched the man on the pavement, I couldn't imagine staying still while I was being crushed by 2 officers, possibly and very probably restricting my airways. Anyway, after a few seconds of Sterling being restrained, one of the officers yells,''he's got a gun!". The officer kneeling on Sterling then draws his weapon and one of them says, " if you fucking move, I swear to God!"
One of the Police officers is heard saying something unintelligible, followed by two shots and the bystander recording the incident drops the cell phone. Three more shots are heard after a brief pause.
Sterling was pronounced dead at the scene. He was shot multiple times in the back and chest.

I cannot believe another life has been lost in these circumstances, AGAIN! This is NOT aaceptable by human standards. This is a death that could have been avoided. This is a death that didn't have to happen, just like Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, etc. and these are the ones who made it in the news. Imagine those we don't hear about?

How did I find out about this? scrolling through instagram this morning, I started noticing yet another hashtag. I thought to myself, what is this about, I hope it is not what I think. I decided to research further about this Alton man everyone was talking about. I wanted to read about the circumstances surrounding his death before watching the video because I didn't want my emotions to overrule the ''reality'' of the situation. After reading countless articles, I watched the video and let me tell you, I felt sick to my stomach.

I don't care about the criminal background of this man, all I care about is the human being restrained on the pavement who clearly did not have to be shot in cold blood. This once again makes me think of the big problem we have in this society. (Not that I need a reminder). People are going to start saying how black people are once again playing the race card. They will say, "oh these people are always looking for something to complain about". People will plainly ignore it and go on with their lives because it does not concern them. Racism and prejudice is not a factor in their lives and so they ignore these things that happen. IT HAS TO STOP. People need to band together and understand this is not just a black problem. It will not change unless everyone becomes conscious. This man did not die because he had a gun in his pocket, which by the way is acceptable and lawful within the Louisiana/New Orleans gun laws. That was just the excuse for his death. He died because those officers handled him with prejudiced hate. he died because they did not use the same courtesy they would use on a white man. He was not human enough or important enough or white enough for them to consider going a different route that would have preserved his life. There I said it, and instead of getting upset about it, and refusing to face the truth just like people got upset at Jesse Williams last week, think about why this keeps happening. Think about why there's no convictions for all these officers who are essentially murderers. This will keep happening unless the police officials stand up and say, This is UNACCEPTABLE and CONVICTABLE behavior.
Rest In Peace Alton Sterling.


Strive for self discovery

Today I feel stuck in a never ending self discovery space.

More and more, I discover myself, I feel more aware of my surroundings and I know who my real friends are. at 18 years old, I thought I knew everything. When you're younger, you think you know everything. I know so much of who I am now that it seems like back then I was just a little girl. I was just a naive little girl. Sometimes, I miss my naivete but I now know that I will never stop to learn.

Thinking back then... I was in a relationship I didn't want to be in. I did not feel the same way as the guy and I was always thinking about someone else. I had a hard time saying no at the time. All I wanted was for someone to read my mind!! aha! 

Every time I was with this ex of mine, I knew I had to talk to him and let him know I really didn't feel the same way as he did for me. I always ended up caving and feeling scared of expressing myself and hurting someone in the process. It went on for months and in the end, I just broke down and did it. I regret not doing it sooner. I enjoyed the companionship but I did not have the same feelings in the end and I wasted his and my time.
Now, I am not afraid of living as my true self. I am not afraid of expressing myself and I definitely am not afraid of saying no to anyone!


Interview With Calgary Journalist Fashion Blogger Kim Jev

This is my interview with a woman I’ve admired for a while. She is a great example for women in our generation. Her authenticity and character truly translates through what she does.

I am looking forward to witness and follow this great career woman's evolution through years to come.

Hi Kim, It is such a pleasure to interview you! We run in the same circles and I always had admiration for you.

-          What is your full name, age, your origins?

My full name is Kimberley Jev, I’m 29 and my roots are Nigerian.

How did you start blogging? What do you think of Blogging in Calgary?

I actually started blogging on a blog site named Xanga back in the day, however I started blogging on Blogspot when I started following the fashion beat in 2007. Blogging in Calgary has really changed, it started with a few and now I see many new fantastic blogs popping up! It’s great!

-          Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?

I graduated from Mount Royal University with a major in Communications specializing in Journalism and CalgaryFashion.ca was created to follow the fashion news in and around the city.

-          Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging?
Determination and perseverance!

-          How would you describe your blogging style?
We take a very journalistic approach to blogging; stories are in-depth and cover a wide variety of topics related to art, music, fashion and lifestyle.

   What others things are you passionate about?
Music, Dance and Hula Hooping.

-          Tell me about your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement is just getting Calgary Fashion to a level where it was recognised as a trusted news source for fashion and lifestyle in the city. Winning the Media Personality of the Year in 2013 was also my proudest achievement.

-          Where do you find inspiration? ( It can be a person or something else you do)
I find inspiration from travelling, I love visiting new places and taking in how life works in different environments.
-          You are an inspiring woman. Truly. You recently lived through a tragic event, how do keep going? What inspires you to keep going on? ( if you feel comfortable with talking about this of course)
Despite things being tough for me this year, I take each day as it comes…I’ve really had to be patient with myself, I’ve really had to work on telling myself that despite things not going the way we wish them to go, there is always a reason for everything and it is important to treasure the good times and the bad times we may face in our life. It’s not the easiest thing to do but I just take it one day at a time.

-          What is your message for young women of your generation?
Believe in yourself, the world is truly  of achieving all of our deepeour oyster our ancestors have fought hard for us as women today and we are in such a vibrant time where we are capablest desires.

   What is next for you in life?
At this time, there is no plan, I’ve taken the year off to really reconfigure things in my life…as I said, I’m just taking it one day at a time.

Here are Kim’s Social media addresses

Website: www.CalgaryFashion.ca
Twitter - @calgary_fashion
Instagram - @CalgaryFashion

Thank you so much for taking the time. 


Power Couplin'

Hello Lovely People!
Hope you are all having eventful weekends... in a good way...

Here is a not so new concept ...Power Couple: I have heard of this term before but always thought it was a bit cheesy. It kept coming up during our vacation trip a week ago and now I see it differently and I can even relate to it.

I have been with my man-friend for a long time now ( I can't say boyfriend, i'm not 15 anymore haha, and I keep wondering where is the ring? lol hint hint). For that long while, I have grown tremendously as a person and as a half in the relationship. We have gone through ups and downs and come out of it all stronger.
Our relationship is not perfect by all means but it is real. We have the same end goal and we work together at it. We haven't always been like this though.
A relationship takes a lot of work. In the past, whenever we had a tiff whether big or small, I would get mad and just close up. I think he did the same. Our egos constantly got in the way of growth. We spent more energy fighting against each other than being a team. What I have realized now is that once we decided to drop the ego, things have changed for the better. We still bump heads and probably always will... it's still us ( and frankly making up is fun *wink-wink*); however, we now are less strung out and more open to understanding each other. We both know we are different. We know each others flaws and weaknesses and instead of focusing on changing one another, we focus on completing one another. Our differences have become our strength as a unit. What I lack in someways, Lloyd has and what he lacks, I have. We both want to accomplish greatness in life and we support each other to get there. This is what makes us a power couple. Nothing can get between us. We got to a point where trust and love is more important than anything. What we have built and invested together is bigger than anything outside of us.
This man is who I see myself with at my worst and my best because I know he accepts me however I am.