My photo
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it; I believe it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

There's No Superman - Only You and I

Last month I received an email about the Schott Foundation's report, a detailed 50-state analysis of Black males and the US public school system. I won't go into all the details, thought one point does stand out for note: schools across this country fail over 50% of Black males - but if you are like me, raising a young Black male in America - then you know this stat all too well already.
I strongly encourage any and everyone who cares about young people, about the education system, about the future of this country, to read this report. And then go advocate, advocate, advocate. We can't wait for Superman - he (much like Santa Clause) does not exist. All we have is you and I - but then, that's really all we need. Peace.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The photo is Porter Library - normally the scene of learning and exploration. Last month it was more like a scene from the movie Higher Learning. I am sad, but not surprised, to note that yet another young black male (Mr. Reginald Latson) was profiled as a possible criminal, and as a result, is now dealing with life-altering events courtesy of the justice (just-us?) system. Read here for more information. As I noted on one of my Facebook status updates, the details in the case are conflicting, but what seems clear are the facts that Mr. Latson was NOT armed with ANY weapon, and he is in an AUTISTIC individual who should not be held in a jail/prison general population due to his mental condition. My opinion at this point is that the individual who phoned in this tip, "there is a suspicious black male walking around and he could be carrying a gun" should be held accountable. This call resulted in eight area schools being put on lock-down, a police 'manhunt', and an innocent individual's life being turned upside down. WHEN will people stop assuming that all young Black men are suspicious??? For the love of peace, can we please turn off the stereotypes!!!

I will track this story till its conclusion, and find a way, some way, to help.

Peace, Najmah.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


...and the living ain't easy but I'm still blessed. I received an awesome birthday present last week - my dissertation proposal was approved! It's over the hump, through the tunnel, and on to the finish line for me folks. Lord willing, I will be finished by the end of this year. Then, maybe I can make more than one post per month on my blog...

Peace, Naj.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monthly Blog???

Well, I have made exactly zero posts since last month, and this month is almost gone! I have had a lot to say, but not nearly as much time to say it. Quick update - my prospectus (1st three chapters of the dissertation) is complete and I am scheduled to defend to my committee in June! Happy Birthday To Me!!!

Also, my son is starting a blog ( to chronicle his four years at the Governor's School. I can't wait for it to get up and running - he is very excited about it, and I have a feeling that he will update his more regularly than I...

Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending an event, An Evening of Elegance - Celebrating Petersburg's Young Women. This was one of the best evenings I've had in a long time - so inspirational to witness the support and testimony given to the future of womanhood in our community. The photo above is a book that was mentioned during another event celebrating and encouraging youth - it seems to make the most sense when adults who have been there and come through, tell and show young people who are going through similar things. Props to the Health Department, Triangle Center for Development, and all of the other partners and sponsors for doing more than just talk about the high teen pregnancy rate in our city!

Last week, during a meeting at work, I wrote down what will probably become my mantra going forward - "steadfast commitment to learning and self-development is the remedy to entrenchment and stagnation."

Peace, Naj.

Friday, April 2, 2010

He's in!

I know this post is waaaaay late, but my son got into the Governor's School!!! This year of hard work is truly going to pay off handsomely...more soon!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Listen To Your Elders...

Today I received a wonderful nugget of wisdom and encouragement - during a meeting at work of all places! :) I won't go into a great deal of detail (because I ain't got time man!!!) but let's just say I am waiting for the PBS/Award Winning Special on Indigenous People, and I am waiting on the prophesy to fully unfold. My God it is a great and special thing to have elders. Listen to them.

BTW - don't let the fact that I have not posted in over a month lead you to believe that I have been slacking off. On the contrary - I am MOVING. I will post an updated page count on my dissertation by the 15th. Also, I pray to have very good news regarding my son's application to the Governor's school by then.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

94 pages.

94 pages down. 56 pages to go. Let's get it!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Got me working day and nite!!!

This dissertation has me working day and night - OMG! For the past two weeks, I have been up till the 'wee hours of the morning, making all KINDS of progress on the revisions to my first three chapters. I am so close I can taste it!!! My son is helping me out too - this Thursday I was too tired to read some research that I printed out - so he read it to me! He kept saying, whoa, that is a BIG word:) But he made it through about five pages and it was all I needed! Lord willing ('and the creek don't rise') I will have a polished product to deliver to my Chair this Sunday - and that's tomorrow so I'd better get off this blog and get back to working!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yele Haiti.

"Yele was coined by Wyclef in a song and means "a cry for freedom." The logo means STOP THE VIOLENCE with one hand, PEACE with the other... while the heart is LOVE".

On Tuesday, Haiti, the first black nation to gain independence in 1804 (from France), has devastated by a 7.0 earthquake. Today, the images of destruction and despair dominated the airwaves. Words are insufficient.
I stand in proxy tonight for the mothers who have lost children today, who have no idea how they will provide for their loved ones today, tomorrow, next week. May we all stand in prayer and take action. Please, Yele Haiti.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Today my son got an interview letter from the Appomattox Regional Governor's School! He is auditioning for a spot in Literary Arts and I just pray that he gets in. I like k12 and all, but ARGS has so many opportunities for students and I know that he will do very well there. Right now, he is working on his second drafts of two poems, one short story, and a memoir to complete his portfolio. I don't have anything to compare his writing to on an eight-grade level, but I think he is pretty talented. His writings are very creative and amusing. Let's hope that the interview panel sees his potential for greatness!

Speaking of greatness, I met with my Dissertation Chair today and it was so encouraging. She read my first three draft chapters and gave me the best suggestions to make it better. She says that I am on the right track and can finish by summer!!! Look out academia, here I come...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Well, my son is having some difficulties with some of the lessons in Algebra this year (school year). I wonder who ever thought of Algebra, and why??? Do I use this tool in my daily life? No. Believe it or not, the photo above is a a page from an Algebra textbook Kitab al-jam’wal tafriq bi hisab al-Hindi ("Book on Addition and Subtraction after the Method of the Indians"). From what I can tell (and my son would back me up on this I'm sure) the books have not gotten much easier to understand since 750-850AD! It is a good thing I have the answer sheets for my son's classwork, otherwise we would be in BIG trouble...
But I have to believe that there is a good reason it is in the grade curriculum...I guess. For those of you who have 8th graders like me, and particularly for those of you who are home schooling, I know you feel my pain! I am thinking about getting a professional tutor, just to make sure he can pass the SOLs. I called Huntington and would you believe those folks charge $43 an hour!?!? For tutoring! Man, I must be in the wrong business! Now I REALLY wish I was better in Algebra - I could open my own tutoring business AND help my son with his classwork.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Music and Mentoring

Tonight, after a very peaceful and productive start to the first workweek in 2010, I have music and mentoring on my mind. To begin with, my sister purchased an iPhone (3G 16GB!) for me during the holidays and I have got to say that I love it. Almost more than shoes. Not only do I have my vast personal music collection (ranging from Tracy Chapman to TI, from Shirley Cesar to Carlos Santana, from Adelle to At Last and back to Sam Cooke...well you get the idea - I LOVE most any kind of good MUSIC) neatly arranged and available at my finger tips...I also have my latest and greatest infatuation - PANDORA (thank the good Lord for the music genome project for giving the world such a gift) everywhere I go. I am listening to the smooth sounds of Sade and others inspired by her genius as I type. I think I might just make it through another year at work after all!

I also have mentoring on the mind. January is national mentoring month and I can't wait to get my girl scout troop back in action - we have been on hiatus since September but we re-grouped in December - just in time to see Princess & the Frog as a group - it was great. And with our First Lady Michelle Obama ("Lady O")as Honorary National President, I have one more great thing to encourage our young ladies...maybe we can arrange a visit to the White House next year (you know it takes that long to get a sponsor and get clearance for all of the girls)...yes, that is exactly what we will do. In the meantime, I am open for great scouting ideas for our troop...and yes we ARE selling cookies so be generous - we want to donate some boxes to our faithful troops over seas and go to Great Wolf Lodge!.

That's all for tonight - peace.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bonne Anne!

Well! It has been since OCTOBER for my last post. As you can probably imagine, I have been BUSY BUSY BUSY. Updates: K12 still rocks - my son and I are really getting the hang of pseudo-home schooling. I can't tell you how much work it is - but how worth it. My first three chapters of the dissertation are finished - in draft form at least! I am now working on the focus group and survey protocols. I can't WAIT to be finished.
Disney released the Princess and the Frog and it is a HIT in my book - very well done and my son agrees! In one year we have a black Princess on the big screen and a black Queen in the White House - my goodness how the times they are a'changin!
My eight siblings and I have a family retreat last month to close out the year on a HISTORIC note...more coming on that so stay tuned. FAMILY. Live it. Love it.

I am looking forward to each blessed day in 2010 with baited breath and tip-toe anticipation; whatever the Lord has in store for me - IT IS GONNA BE NICE!