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poetry

Cornrows n Quilted Skirts

Cornrows n Quilted Skirts
That part of you that shines
Hair in the wind
A smile to the sky
Laying down your strife
Throwing off those heels
Sand between the toes
No doobie for you
But you’ll hug the trees
No longer the hustle
The nine to five
Just say good bye
Cornrows n Quilted skirts
A natural high
Arms out like wings
The heart finally sings
You’re Woodstock revived
Oh Lord, you’re one of them
But you don’t care
Just happy life no longer hurts
Cornrows n Quilted Skirts

Uncategorized

The Divided States of America

As a mom of a biracial 19 year old son who is just starting his path into adulthood, my intense worry for him has me in freeze mode sometimes. As a white woman watching what is happening, I could not imagine the pain, anger and sadness the black culture must be feeling. To be judged by the skin color you were born with is beyond what I can comprehend. I can not imagine how tired a black person must be from it all. Any human who isn’t seeing the devil making this world his playground is in serious denial. I don’t write this to claim an individual’s experience with racial injustice. I write this because all humans must start having more compassion with action. People shouldn’t only care when it affects them directly. People should care that it is happening to others too. I am so so sorry to everyone in the black community. I will pray and ask God what He wants me to do to be part of the solution. Much love to everyone.

Below are poems my son wrote. I hope his poems make us realize how overwhelming these times can be for the next generation.


Stefan Jones

I wrote these two poems to release my frustrations about the racial injustice in this country.

I don’t care if they make you uncomfortable.

You, myself, and everyone else needs to continue to acknowledge the systemic flaws and be proactive about initiating change and progression.

copyright Stefan Jones
copyright Stefan Jones
Inspirational

Wish

In a world where I feel disconnect
Dangling from the sky
Hanging on to what I wished upon
Not feeling the light in this dark place
I reach for relief, only to look down
The vicious circle that continues to spin
I can’t seem to make it stop
Dangling with all I have
If I let go I am at the will
Of this spatial abyss
Only to collapse within myself
Oh wait, it’s no different
Landing on my feet
Or downward to my death
The wish I might
Is not the wish I may
It appears the heavens
Can not hear my cries
Trying to hold on
My arms grow weary
Like my eyes that have seen
More darkness than stars
I just dangle from the sky
Hanging on to what I wish upon

Alive East Bay Magazine

Caring Awareness

I write monthly articles for Alive East Bay Magazine. My goal is to provide positive information, resources and hope for all communities. I hope you enjoy March’s edition. 💚

The month of March always has me in deep reflection. As an awareness month to educate the public about Cerebral Palsy and all that this medical diagnosis signifies, I think about all that my 11-year-old daughter has survived. I think about what emotional turmoil my family and I have survived and about the many families with a special needs diagnosis.

While caring and awareness may be brief for some, the many “hats” that I must wear are the forever symbols of the delicate care I must incorporate, as life is now filled with priorities much different than those of mainstream society. It is a rocky path strewn with emotional, physical, financial, and medical challenges, but these bumps in the road can be faced with help from caring organizations like CARE Parent Network.

Founded over 30 years ago after the implementation of The Lanterman Act (laws to protect and grant equal rights for those with disabilities), CARE Parent Network is a family resource center that provides support for the disabled and the loved ones that care for them.

When my daughter was first diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a medical condition due to injury of the Cerebral Cortex (the part of the brain that controls muscle movement and function), I thought her world had been shattered into pieces, resulting in many future hardships. Families feel lost after being told by a medical professional that their child has a condition that will limit their physical or developmental ability. They can feel alone with their fears as they navigate medical terminologies, paperwork, and life-long commitments to readjusting their daily schedules—let alone the educational options and legal rights of which one must be knowledgeable in order to wear a respectful but firm hat of advocacy. While a parent cares for the child, CARE Parent Network takes care of the family unit, providing a network of supportive and informative options.

Whether through support groups or one-on-one support, CARE Parent Network’s  staff are not only knowledgeable but empathetic, as they are, themselves, special needs parents, like program director Hannah Michaelsen. With a degree in public administration and the parent of a son was with Autism, Hannah was a volunteer for CARE for 14 years before becoming its program director. The most gratifying part of her job, she states, “is to share in a chapter where others are more empowered and confident because of CARE’s existence; to equip the parents to advocate and navigate not only the system, but their daily lives.” Through CARE, doors are opened to compassionate directions of understanding. They help clients navigate the intricate paperwork of IEPs (educational planning and goals) and legal rights, as well as addressing personal concerns and frustrations.  

May the months that introduce awareness also introduce connections that inspire compassion and a purpose to create a sustainable and capable community; one where a disability turns into visibility beyond the fog that can overwhelm us.

The ribbon we wear this month is about being aware that there are people who do care. It is a ribbon worn not just once a year but every day. May CARE Parent Network continue to weave together all ribbons and teach families to wear them with not just pride but unwavering hope.  

For more information, please visit careparentnetwork.org or visit their Facebook group page: Care Parent Network

Alive East Bay Magazine

Breaking Patterns

ALIVE-Media-Magazine-February-2020-Nekisha Pic

I write monthly articles for Alive East Bay Magazine. My goal is to provide positive information, resources and hope for all communities. I hope you enjoy February’s edition. ❤

Just like a national holiday or a particular month that focuses on a person or group of people who overcame enormous challenges changes your perceptions, sometimes you meet someone that unexpectedly adds to that enhanced appreciation of life. A person I met recently, Nekisha Gallon, is one of those people that touches your life the moment you meet her.

With a heart to always strive for a better life than what she endured as a child, Nekisha Gallon is a true spiritual survivor who aims to be a light to anyone she meets. A bright soul I crossed paths with in the past year, we instantly connected because of our experiences with the foster care system. Her story began in 2001 when she was only 11 years old and forced to endure the emotional turmoil as she was removed from her home and placed into the custody of the Contra Costa County foster care system. She endured painful experiences no child should ever have to face.

The oldest of six siblings, Nekisha and her younger brothers and sisters were separated, placed into not just one foster care home but multiple foster care homes. Caught in the crossfire of her mother’s crack addiction, she dealt with multiple instances of sexual abuse at the hands of people who were supposed to care for her. Even with all these tragedies in her memories, Nekisha always knew that God had a different plan for her life.

Watching her mother make diligent efforts to show up for the supervised visits, the devastation and difficulties of her mother’s choices, along with the lack of follow through from the county’s family court system, she witnessed the deterioration of her mother’s mental state. What could have been an opportunity for her mother, Rocquel, to be provided with direction and resources for rehabilitation, sadly resulted in her living on the streets of North Richmond.

Dealing with the world with her heart on her sleeve just like her daughter, Rocquel has endured harassment and insults as she survives sleeping in parks and any abandoned home she can find. Nekisha still visits her in this environment out of unconditional love and a desire to keep her thoughts on what is good in this world and how she can add something good in her mother’s life.

It can be a very cruel world that we live in but there are offsets because of the determination of individuals like my dear friend to keep on keepin’ on. Sadly, growing up in a dysfunctional family environment often leads to a continuation of the dysfunction. However, Nekisha shattered the limitations by graduating with honors from high school and now attends Cal State East Bay, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business. In 2015 she married her high school sweetheart and is a mother of two children, Angelo Jr. and A’Naiyah. Today she works full-time in her own fitness business, “Flexin With Keke,” and is working to raise funds to help her mother with future rehabilitation costs.

You never know what someone has been through and their capacity to make necessary changes, despite pushbacks, so don’t judge a book by its cover because behind that “book” may be loved ones wanting a better path for all involved. Whether a person is part of the mainstream or the struggling homeless, everyone has a story to share. When the day begins and you walk out the door to face it, remember that there are those who have endured or who are enduring a rough path.

The pain of the past can be the lesson that helps us grow and break patterns; to plant the seeds that help the community and many we may never meet. It was such an honor to get to know about Nekisha and her family’s life. Just like her business name, instead of letting the problems keep her down, she is determined to flex through the mess. It is a pattern we all should imitate.

For more information regarding fundraising or to be a physical fitness member with “Flexin_With_Keke”, please email flexinwithkeke@gmail.com