Living Life Purposefully

Where Purpose Meets Passion

Monthly Archives: September 2011

My Personal Fear of Raising a Troy Davis

Tonight, many in the world wait with baited breath as t the fate of a man whose guilt is not conclusive. Troy Davis has become the symbol of a miscarriage of justice. Davis, a 42 year old Black male, was convicted of murdering police officer Mark MacPhail. The case is quite controversial because no evidence linked Davis to the murder and the a guilty verdict was brought forth on the basis of eyewitness testimony from 9 people. However, 7 of the 9 people are now saying they lied or were coerced into giving a statement implicating Davis in the shooting. Two people have even named another person.

For many in the Black community and those in the South, this brand of justice is nothing new to us. Personally, it brings up a fear of mine — the fear of having sons.

More importantly, the fear of having Black sons.

As a young woman who is seriously contemplating having children in the future, no one should have to consider, “How do I teach my son the proper way to react to police?” or “When should I give my son the talk about the appropriate response to an office of the law demanding a search of their person or property?” This is my fear of hearing a doctor or doula report to me, “Congratulations! It’s a boy.” In that moment, I imaging that I would feel overwhelming joy and a comparable amount of apprehension.

One of the most unfortunate circumstances of our nation is that we live in a period of idealized “post-racialness.” In this time, people want to point out the advances we’ve made as a nation, and sometimes as a people, as evidence that race no longer plays a role in interactions between citizens and the law. People want to point to a nation of wealth and say the “have nots” have little because they don’t want more. People of color (and other groups of less privileged people) are facing the weight of not-so-invisible but never acknowledged oppression.

In this nation, young men of color are automatically painted as deviants. Laws and rules are written with much discretion and what has been passing as discretion is actually undercover and internalized prejudice. How do you raise a Black man in this environment?

Our boys are educated in a system that utilizes reading test scores from the 3rd and 4th grade to project the number of people who will lose their basic rights after becoming part of the prison populations. Our boys are introduced to the juvenile justice system through Zero-Tolerance Policies (or what are passing as ZTPs) before getting to high school. In this society, they are expected to embody stereotypical caricatures that seek to label them as the “bad” guy and their authenticity of Blackness is questioned; meanwhile, these very same caricatures make them targets of society. We live in a time and place where many Black would be given a sentence of death just because their innocence must be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt — and there will always be a shadow of a doubt.

This is why I fear raising a “Troy Davis.”

~Miss C Jayne

— If you have the time, take a moment and say a prayer on his behalf that clemency is granted. If you’re unwilling to do that, then my hope is that you at least examine your prejudice as to why you wouldn’t pray for a man who isn’t guilty. Then do your part to ensure that this injustice doesn’t happen to another man.


Generational Curses: Are You Carrying Any Baggage That’s Not Your Own?

This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a Women’s Retreat in connection to my church. While there, I spent the majority of my time with other Young Ladies aged 13 – 21 at the insistence of the older women of the church. At 25, I was pretty apprehensive because I’m an “adult” now and I shouldn’t be around the babies, right? Right…but wrong. During our main sessions on Saturday, we shared all our personal experiences and the things we were struggling with. The walls came down; and as young women shared what they were going through, tears fell. After about the 8th young lady shared her story and struggles, I realized immediately why I was placed there.

I was to take a lesson about “Baggage” to our Elders…and to as many people who would pay attention!

How many times have we gone encountered a new situation in Life that brought up an old hurt? If you’re like me, more times than you should have. And if you’re also like myself, many of those old hurts were something passed down to you. This is what a Generational Curse truly is — it is something that festers within your family for years and is passed down just as eye color and hair curl pattern — often without us knowing it.

When I shared what I had learned with my Sunday School class (the Ladies of the church that were 21 to 59), I compared Generational Curses to going on a trip and having too much baggage. How many times have you found yourself at the ticket counter only to weigh your bag and be told, “It’s too heavy. You’ll have to pay a fee for every pound you’re over.” And how many times have you paid that fee, or adjusted your bag so that it wasn’t “over” and you could take your stuff with you?

But more importantly, how many times have you turned to, or been turned to, and asked to carry that weight? Weight that wasn’t YOUR own…but was given to you nonetheless.

You, or someone you know, took that extra weight on a trip knowing it wasn’t supposed to be there — there was no need for it. Well, I’m here to tell you to lighten your load! Go through it and get out everything that you aren’t using and isn’t building you up. Get rid of the hurt and the pain. Start talking. Fling open those closet doors on situations that your family thinks you know nothing about and as you start talking, expose those skeletons. Then when you’ve exposed the skeletons, seek closure. Realize that the closure you want may not be the closure you receive. Your goal should be to get to a point where you share your story and the hurt isn’t readily apparent.

Do it because you need to! For your safety, sanity, and salvation, expose it all and rid yourself of that dead weight. Then when you find your healing, share it with someone else that may need it.

A Cure isn’t any good to a People when the human next to you is ailing.

I really hope that someone takes heed to my words, especially if you have children. That baggage that you’ve given to them, knowingly or unknowingly, is killing them. We have young people in the streets who are losing their lives because they’ve been hardened by the Life you gifted to them — the good, or what you thought was good, and the bad. You have children struggling with adult situations with no coping mechanisms and it is killing them.

So get rid of the bag. Stop stunting your growth and hindering your children’s progress. Besides, aren’t you tired of paying the baggage fee in life?

You should be.

Help Youth in New Orleans by Voting for Project Excel in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge

Project Excel is in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge.

Project Excel, a youth tutoring and enrichment program focused on the long-term academic success of youth in under-resourced areas of New Orleans, is an organization that sprouted in 2008. In the wake of school-restructuring post-Katrina, a Ninth Ward church organization, Compassion Outreach of America, decided that their community needed to gather volunteers to staff the nearby elementary and high schools, to provide tutoring, hallway monitoring and cleanup, teacher appreciation, and other services. Between 2008 and 2010, the program provided on-site tutoring services to Frederick Douglass High School and off-school site services to Charles Drew Elementary School.

Currently, we (Project Excel) are facing restructuring efforts ourselves that started with the hiring of a new Program Director. We are moving in a new direction while maintaining our grassroots approach to youth development and academic support to make an impact in struggling New Orleans schools.

Now Project Excel wishes to continue to make a difference by building a multimedia arts center for youth in the 9th Ward of New Orleans…and we want YOUR help!

Here’s what you need to know:

Project Excel is in the $50k group.
We are hoping to receive $50,000 from the Pepsi-Cola Corporation but they only award 10 of these a month. With our $50k, we’d use the money to renovate a building, lease the space for a year, and purchase the much needed supplies. The great thing? You can vote once a day EVERY day for our idea.

Make Sure You Vote Every Day!
Voting takes place from September 1, 12 pm ET – September 30, 11:59:59 pm EST with finalists being announced on October 1st.

Ways to Vote!
For the next 25 days, you can vote one of three ways!

  1. Vote online at by using your FB login. You can vote every day!
  2. Text 108737 to 73774 (remember that standard rates apply for this method).
  3. Buy specially marked Pepsi bottles and give a power vote to Project Excel by entering the code online. This method is called the power vote method and can give us 5 to 100 extra votes!

You can help us reach our momentous goal by voting for us in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge and we sure hope that you will!

~Project Excel

For more information on Project Excel, visit us at: Project Excel NOLA