It’s Monday, and I’m going to jump right into it.  Personally, I believe that many African Americans are still struggling from the emotional, mental, societal, economic, political, judicial, educational, and physical traumas inflicted on us due to the “peculiar” institution of slavery in this Country.  In our desire to grow, many of us decided to simply go.  We left our communities.  We left those who helped mold us.  For some, we even left our institutions of higher education in order to be mis-educated.  Let me be clear, while I am proud that I have the education that I have gained, the lessons I use on a daily basis were taught to me by people that society would deem uneducated.  My Mother was right; the difference between school and life is school gives you a lesson that prepares you for a test.  Life gives you a test that teaches you a lesson.  I have learned many lessons.  Back to PTSD.  The mental health of African Americans is rarely, if ever, acknowledged.  The adjectives often used to describe us are “trouble maker, disturbed, bad, thugs, gang bangers, con-artist, evil, etc.”  Yet, when compared to our Caucasian counterparts, for the same or similar actions, the words used to describe them are “troubled, in need of help, came from a good family, was such a good kid, where did we fail them, and sadly, victim..”  Yes, that is true.  Can you imagine the feeling of always being aware that every system in this Country is not truly meant to protect or provide for you because of the color of your skin?  As an African American Man, I have walked in that reality every second of every day of my life.  Yes, mental health is real.  As I fight for my own mental health, I strongly encourage everyone around me to do the same. Recently, I had a friend ask me whether Dr. King fought for equality or equity.  Hmmm… Equity is a fairly new trend.  Equality, or the need for it, is not.  I will say that equality represents the table and equity represents the utensils.  Until we all have identical or similar tables, then, and only then, can we begin to discuss equity.  In 1954, we took great pride in the integration of schools.  Many African Americans felt that their children would be better educated because they would attend schools with students that didn’t look like them.  They felt that the instruction and the texts would be better because they were being offered to students that didn’t look like them.  They thought that the acquisition of a diploma or a degree from once segregated schools would give their children a “leg up” in society.  Schools were integrated, and many of us were proud.  However, today, the curriculum taught to students remains just as segregated as it was then.  We are graduating classes of “I have no idea who I am, where I come from, and to what place do I authentically belong in this society” every single year.  The parents stand, clap, cry, and celebrate.  The students do the same.  Yet, we continue to have no idea of who we are, where we come from, and our place of authentically belonging in this society.  To educate a child is to expose a child to knowledge.  To train a child is to constrict that child to “certain” information.  Education liberates.  Training limits.  As I have written before, I will say again, the time has come for us to reevaluate our way of thinking.  The time has come for us to break the cycle of being okay with not knowing our true history in order to “fit in or get by.”  The time has come for us to demand acknowledgement, apologies, reparations, restructuring, and true equality.  Crumbs that have fallen from the table have never made me full, and I have never wanted to be in a room full of people that don’t want me there.  I don’t want to be tolerated.  I want to be accepted, respected, heard, seen, understood, and always included.  To this day, I still seek to be American…. Patrick

This week, please do something for someone else other than yourself for no reason at all other than to make their lives better.  Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.  Always Choose Love Because Love Changes Everything…

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