A Focus on Dignity and Non-Violence at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.

What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.

I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.


I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.

These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.

                        

When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.

We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.

We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.

We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.

We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.

I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
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Trump the Chumps: Part Two

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

Are you ready to pick up where we left off ? Let’s go!

First let me say…OUR President announced late last night that the U.S. has confirmed that they killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan after OUR President gave the okay to engage in combative measures to eliminate Bin Laden and his associates as a threat. So…uh Donald Trump and all of you small-minded morons out there so concerned with OUR President’s birth certificate, maybe now you can see what pressing issues that he found more important to follow up on instead of tracking down his birth certificate from the 60s. Now this is a perfect segue into part two of my post on Trump the Chumps…

I want to see Trump’s transcripts from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Matter of fact I want to see his transcripts from Fordham before he transferred to Wharton. I want to see his academic honors he claims to have earned while attending the New York Military Academy (when he was acting up as a teenager as his parents sent him there to get his attitude problem adjusted). I want to know what gives a person who comes directly from Scottish (mother) and German (father and paternal grandparents) roots the right to question someone’s heritage and citizenship.

I want to know what a person who claims to have an interest in the U.S. economy, jobs, business development, and competing in the global marketplace- and says that OUR President is doing an awful job (the worst of all presidents he claimed) can do anything to turn our country around when in 1991 he filed for corporate bankruptcy (and almost filed for personal bankruptcy); watched banks and bondholders lose hundreds of millions of dollars while he restructured his debt to avoid losing more money in court. What can this man say when in 1992 his Trump Plaza Hotel was forced to file a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy?

Two years later Trump lost the Trump Shuttle, was forced to sell a parcel of his West Side yards to Asian developers without retaining ownership- only allowed to keep his name on the buildings that were built on those yards so a premium could be charged for them. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the breaking point when he became fixated on Asians, more specifically the Chinese as being enemy number one.

I want to know why Trump feels he’s qualified to run this country when in 1998 his Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts were profitless and could barely pay the interest on nearly $3 billion in debt; which kept them from making necessary improvements on the properties. I want to know how he feels he is capable of running our country and reducing our deficit when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought a financial-reporting case against Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc in 2002 alleging that the company had misleading third-quarter 1999 earnings release statements. Then two years later the company announced they were restructuring their debt reducing Donald’s individual ownership from 56 percent to 27 percent, and giving bondholders stock in exchange for surrendering part of the debt.

So who’s company had to file for bankruptcy November 2004? Trump’s. So who relinquished his CEO position but retained his role as Chairman of the Board? The Donald. So after re-emerging as Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings in 2005 and appearing to be on the upswing even with legal issues who then had to file for Chapter 11 again on February 17, 2009 after the “Chairman of the Board” said he would resign from the board four days earlier? Trump Entertainment Resorts.

How is Donald John Trump, Sr. qualified to be the President of the United States? Does he think it’s because he knows how to say, “you’re fired” and he thinks that shows signs of a strong leader? Maybe it’s because while he was a student at the New York Military Academy he was the captain of the baseball team in 1964 and received the Coach’s Award that same year. Or maybe it was because his senior year there he was promoted to the Cadet Captain-S4 (Cadet Battalion Logistics Officer). For those of you who don’t know what this title means- The Donald was “responsible for the maintenance, security, record keeping, issue, and turn-in of all U.S. government property (except ordinance).” That is definitely grounds to claim a stake at the presidency isn’t it?

His attack on OPEC and belief that as President he could force them to do what we say and “stop robbing us blind” is supported by what experience exactly? Does he think his real estate career has laid the foundation for dealing with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries?

Maybe Donald thinks he’s better suited for the Presidency since he knows the viewpoints from all sides since he’s been a supporter of the Reform Party, Republican Party, and the Democratic Party. Donald needs to choose a party first, commit to it, and I would suggest having had experience voting in primary elections- since according to an April 23rd report by New York-based TV station NY1 (and confirmed by a city board spokeswoman) Donald hasn’t voted in a primary election in New York City for 21 years.

I want to see Donald’s tax returns for the past four years. I want to see his academic achievements highlighted for verification. I want to see the report his “people” gave him when their intel said that OUR President’s birth certificate did not exist and then eluded that it was because he was Kenyan born.

I mean seriously, Donald’s foreign policy concept is imperialistic and pimpish. I thought our country is pushing an anti-bullying movement with our children- but we’re still saying, “do as I say not as I do”. He told CNN last week that we should have told the Arab League that we would go into Libya and take Gaddafi out of office for $5 billion and then we could go in there and get their oil. He then also found a way to attack China and place some blame their way because they haven’t sent their military troops to Libya.

Yes, China’s cleaning our clock economically and academically- how is that their fault that we got caught slipping on innovation and education? Donald why don’t you invest in our schools, bring in more textbooks and supplies, fund before-and-after school programs (in underserved and underrepresented cities) that offer tutoring as early as 6am and as late as 7pm during the week, and weekend programs open from 8am to 6pm?

I would also say this- the man who is so concerned about our economy, jobs, and competing with China whom he calls our country’s “enemy” should take the $100 million he offered to donate to the White House for a stinking ballroom and instead inject that into our economy for a booster shot and job creation. If he’s so concerned about jobs and says OUR President is incompetent at creating jobs, then The Donald should start hiring U.S. citizens in all of his companies, and since he has the money supposedly, why doesn’t he open more businesses to answer the supply and demand needs which will help to trigger positive consumerism trends in those states?

Let’s be real shall we…Donald Trump is the epitome of the capitalist that people detest- he is all about money and how he can acquire more only for himself, and not concerned with job creation except to help him achieve and maintain his financial wealth. I want to know as he’s attacking OUR President about our country not having enough U.S. based companies and U.S. made products, how many of his employees in Dubai, Turkey, South Korea, Canada, Scotland, and Canouan Island are U.S. citizens? How much of the generated revenues from these locations are being re-distributed back into the U.S. economy? I want to know what U.S. products he is helping to produce that are being exported to other nations to help boost our economy and help to pay down our staggering debt?

Let me say in closing that I see that Donald’s son Eric has a foundation- The Eric Trump Foundation for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital- but where’s Donald’s foundation? I researched and discovered on Trump’s website that “The Trump Family is proud to participate in and provide support for…” The Eric Trump Foundation, Girl Up United Nations Foundation, New York City Police Foundation, Operation Smile, and The Police Athletic League (PAL)…I will let you reflect on that for a moment and not to diminish the contributions made by and to these great organizations but just ask yourself where the support of education and job creation is present by the Trump conglomerate!

Then I want you to think about this…OUR so-called “incompetent” President has done something no other President before him has been able to do and that was whoop up on, defeat, and bring back the body of Osama Bin Laden snatching that magnet of fear out of the world. You may be able to huff and puff, and fire a bunch of people Donald, and Sarah Palin may be able to hunt deer and elk in Alaska but NONE of you fools have what it takes to deal with ordering the elimination of Bin Laden while being under attack from hate mongers who question your patriotism, nationality, citizenship, loyalty, and religion every single day; while also trying to bring up the spirits of the country, rebuild our schools, produce jobs for the unemployed and underemployed, and deal with back-to-back crisis situations affecting our country domestically and abroad- while raising a family and trying to be a loving and attentive spouse. Let’s not discuss your family lives and careers!

To my readers let me say…you know that I await your feedback!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

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>When Will Men Learn?

>Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray is yet another example of male ego, pride, arrogance, and self-centeredness amplified and out of control. He is also an example of what happens when you become greedy, and suffer from what I call the “31-flavors syndrome” which is simply this: you aren’t content with one woman…no, you have this urge to dig in deep into other flavors out of greed, curiosity, and plain ignorance.

Photo Credit: icecreamfranchise.org

You loved Chocolate. You couldn’t live without Chocolate…until you saw Pralines and Cream. You secretly would sneak away to get a taste of Pralines and Cream- because it offered something Chocolate just didn’t and couldn’t. Then you got a whiff of Rocky Road and lost your mind- you just have to taste that too. Before you know it you’re trying to dip your spoon into several flavors and are no longer satisfied with just one. Matter of fact you begin to neglect Chocolate so much that eventually you convince Chocolate that it’s their fault you no longer have a taste for it. Now Chocolate just lives to be relevant in your life on any level.

What men fail to realize is the temperament of women, and the reality that we are descendants of Eve- and you remember what came of her and Adam after moments of speaking to the snake and biting that apple! Nothing good comes from it. Nothing good comes from crossing a woman, and nothing good comes from dealing with a woman who truly has nothing to lose if all goes wrong.

Men can be highly successful in their careers and then be almost brain-dead in their love lives.

Image Credit: mybrainsonstrike.hyper-blogger.com 

Dr. Murray- married, had not one but three mistresses- so should he be surprised that the prosecution would track them down and have them testify against him? Did he think that fathering their children and taking care of them would gain and maintain their loyalty? Let’s be clear, women are very cunning, intelligent and clever. The whole time you think you’re playing her, she’s actually playing you dummy!

Remember Tiger Woods situation? One mistress got ticked off when she realized she wasn’t the only one. She was cool sneaking around with him for years while he cheated on his wife- but she wasn’t about to share him with other gold-digging home wreckers! In her mind she was next in line and she wasn’t about to compete with one or twenty other women for the position. He made her feel special. He shared intimate details with her. He talked about his issues with his wife with her. He told her he missed her and couldn’t wait to see her. He snuck out to be with her when he should have been with his wife and kids. Millions and millions of dollars later, Tiger is wife-less and that first mistress holds what position? Hmmmm….

Dr. Murray isn’t a young man of 25 or even 35 like Tiger. Nope he is 57-year-old man (and thus should know better), married to his medical-school classmate (so she wasn’t some airhead with a great ‘rack’), and has fathered several children with several women while married. He was making a living to support women and children that have nothing to do with his marriage.

I have a nickname for men like him, besides ‘idiot’- he’s a “Captain Save-a-Ho” (excuse my language). Men like Murray are so full of themselves and so caught up in women oohing and aahing over them that they don’t see the huge grave they are digging for themselves. These men are so desperate to play ‘daddy’ to women who are missing father figures (for whatever reason)- that they fail to realize that they can never measure up to what once was or never has been. Stop trying to fulfill a fantasy as sick and twisted as that!

Image Credit: brandoncarter.com

Talk about bad karma! He’s being pimp-slapped by his own vices. He wanted to be the center of these women’s lives, he wanted to be their savior, and have them dependent upon him. He paid for what they needed, he probably gave them plane tickets to travel various places, took care of their bills and rent, and made sure they had nice clothes to wear. I wonder how he’s liking that child support now?

Many of you who know me know I have another favorite line I love sharing with people who spend their lives manipulating, lying, and cheating- “is the screwing you’re getting worth the screwing you’re gonna get?” because now Murray has to look back at these women, and the ones he had relations with (but never got pregnant) and ask himself, “was it all worth it? Was playing daddy to these women really worth what I’m getting now?” He was so busy trying to be ‘the man’ with his $150,000 a month lifestyle, and busy juggling his wife and several other women and children at one time, that he didn’t see the trap he was walking into. These same women he cheated on his loyal wife with are now testifying against him and helping to nail down his coffin. I wonder which one will throw the final handful of dirt over his ‘grave’?

I also wonder how his wife feels? Understand she isn’t and wasn’t stupid. She knows exactly what ‘Mr. Brainiac’ was doing. Like I said, women are very intelligent and cunning. She probably thinks like I do, “give him the rope and let him hang himself” as she holds her head up high with the dignity God gave her. She looks at her husband and shakes her head with a smirk on her face and hypothetically says to herself, “he could have had the world with me. He could have had whatever he wanted if he only gave himself fully to me and not those other huzzies. Why didn’t he just divorce me and let me live my life so that he could live his own freely with whomever he chose?

This is deep. The whole time he was betraying his wife behind her back, he was busy telling her (most likely) that he was faithful; that any doubts she had were in her mind; that she was overreacting; that she should be honored to be his wife; how much money he spent on her; how many women would love her position; and the most hilarious phrases (that I’ve heard from several men in 15 years), “I don’t have time to be with another woman, I’m too busy“, “I’m not doing for anyone else what I do for you” or, “you get what no one else gets“. Those make me laugh and want to vomit all at the same time. At the same time you’re trying to reassure her she’s the only one you’re actually telling her she’s not…idiot!

What men fail to realize is that giving of time, attention, and affection is actually worse than giving of money, trips, and gifts to another woman.

Emotional intimacy is something that should be shared and reserved for one woman, not multiple women. I’m sure other women would agree with me that the thought of their man/husband sharing private details, hopes, dreams, aspirations, fears, plans, ideas, etc with another woman is more of a betrayal than having sex. Spending quality time with another woman that you could and should be sharing with your wife/woman tears a woman’s heart.

Image Credit: ehow.com

Don’t get me wrong- sex of any kind with another woman can make you want to Rambo him and the bimbo- but research has shown that more couples don’t make it past infidelity because of the connection the spouse shared with the person he/she was cheating with. We can get past the sex, but the thought of long talks, laughing, sneaking around and talking on the phone, emailing and texting each other, and making plans for a future together is something most folks just can’t get over.

Photo Credit: usernetsite.com

Dr. Murray along with other selfish men of the world don’t see that, care not to see it, and most likely are insensitive to it unless it happened to them. Instead of giving his all in his marriage, or doing the dignified thing and simply divorcing her when he no longer wanted the marriage- or felt tempted to sample another ice cream flavor- he humiliated her in front of others- in front of the world. Instead he now sits in court looking lost and pitiful with no where to go but farther down that abyss of shame and darkness.

This is what happens when it’s all about you; when life revolves and stops according to you and your rules; when you think that you are above the laws of the land and the laws of God; when you think you have this ‘game’ figured out and mastered. This is what happens when you trade humility for power, and self-respect for a cheerleading section. This is what happens when you take your eye off your queen for the show girl who will twirl and shake her thing for dollars, and tell you anything you want to hear. This is what happens when you would rather invest your time and money in trying to save the woman who needs a daddy, instead of investing it in a woman who can be your partner for life- and only needs your love.

How many more of you men need to learn this hard lesson? How many of you will keep trying to convince yourself that, “it can’t happen to me“, or “Tiger, John Edwards, Dr. Murray, and the others were just stupid and sloppy- I’m smarter than them“?

I wonder which of you I will be writing about this year!

Get it together fellas. Love your queen or let her go- don’t risk losing everything trying to juggle two, three, or eight women. It’s really not worth it.

To read the full story from the L.A. Times about Dr. Murray visit: http://lat.ms/ejpw08

Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>The Complexities of Relationships: Part Two

>Yesterday I posted part one of this series on relationships. The topic hit me and I felt it important to share because we are all supposed to strive to be better, do better, and live better lives on a daily basis. An acquaintance of mine said, “if you keep yourself in check then no one else has to”. So by sharing this tidbit of information I can ‘check’ myself and maybe you will humble yourself enough to do the same. So let’s pick up where I left off….

CONTROL, INSECURITY, LOW SELF-ESTEEM, EGO, PRIDE

Uh oh towards the end of my post yesterday did I touch on another sensitive term, insecurity? In our double-standard world only women are to be insecure and have low self-esteem. Yet any time a man feels the need to keep people around him constantly (entourage), attempt to make his woman jealous by giving out his number, constantly flirting, and having lunch or dinner with other women- he is insecure, and dare I say, has issues with his self-esteem, as he always feels the need to prove he “still has it”…here comes the ego! 

When a man finds it in himself to consistently make sly, negative remarks about the men who find his wife/girlfriend/lover attractive, possibly even making it his mission to confront the other men, he is insecure. The same is true of women who do these things. If your significant other does not respect you enough to respectfully and firmly push away the advances of other interested persons, then you need to be with someone else. You should not have to confront another person. Your issue is not with them, it’s with your significant other. No one should be playing these games. We’re called ‘grownups’ for a reason people. Let’s grow up! 

A person who is secure with “self” and has healthy self-esteem is comfortable alone, they don’t need others to validate them. They don’t need to always be around someone or be the life of the party all of the time. They also don’t need to play games. They love without always looking over their shoulder waiting for the other person to stab them in the back. They love without expecting anything in return. They freely practice the art of reciprocity. They don’t need to frequently or constantly tell their loved ones how much they have done for them or how much they spent on them. Relationships soon turn into conditional arenas when we start playing that game.

I gave back an expensive piece of jewelry and purse to a man who gave them as “gifts” but clearly attached conditions. In his twisted mind his wealth gave him certain rights when it came to other people, especially me if I was going to be his girlfriend, ‘woman’, or whatever title you want to use. In his mind he was doing me a favor, he was giving me something. Boy was he surprised at my reaction. No woman had ever given back a gift and walked away from him. That surely bruised his ego!

Several years ago I called off a wedding three months before we were supposed to say, “I do” because of similar reasons, a man thinking I was merely his trophy he could take off a shelf and show off when he wanted, then he could put back on the shelf when he wanted to run off and do his own thing. He felt that because of his fame and wealth in some way he owned me, I was his. I should feel lucky to have him, “do you know how many women want your position?” he would ask. He was sadly wrong about me! 

I did not blink when I handed back those items, nor did I have second thoughts about calling off my wedding. I walked away and never looked back. I cannot be bought or sold. I will not lose myself to any person, because I belong to and serve a higher being. I’m not angry, bitter, or sad…I’m simply content in my place and space, and I would rather be alone than lonely and a disappointment to God.    

Tomorrow I will continue with Part Three of this series. I look forward to your feedback…let’s continue a healthy dialogue! 

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.