All posts by Naquesha R

How Black Men 100 Of Chicago, Inc. Is Changing The Lives Of Chicago Youth

When you think a Chicago youth what do you picture? Growing up on the West Side of the city it’s not always pretty. Some people may think of drugs, gangs, and teenage pregnancies while others see hope, future, and stability. 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc. sees possibility. Possibility in guiding local youth on the West and South Sides to be the best they can be.

100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc. started in 1994 when a group of men wanted to help guide youth, focusing on young men in the city, in positive directions through educational opportunities and mentoring. Programs that the organization provide encourages young black men in the city to achieve and think of themselves as more than where they come from.

Programs

100BMC Youth Images, Photography by LeVern A. Danley III
Photography by LeVern A. Danley III http://www.LeVernDanley.com

Mentoring, a large component of the program, happens on a weekly basis where mentee and mentor relationships are formed. This program aligns with the school year to provide services to young men during their academic year.

Scholarship fair and fundraiser are to help young men to be exposed and afford college. For more than 15 years, the scholarship fair happens during the fall where youth and their families get a chance to see colleges and universities from all over. This event provides youth with information for  post-secondary education, provide millions of dollars in grants and scholarships, and offers for enrollment to eligible students. In addition, the scholarship fundraiser is monies gathered by 100 BMC to support graduating men from high school and their mentoring program to pursue post high school education.

 Why Is This Needed

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Before 100 BMC, I have never been exposed to an organization that particularly focused on black men. There are a lot of controversy that seem to surround black men but, here is a program that provides a helping hand. This guidance comes from other black men who may have shared similar struggles and can advise on how to overcome them. The program also provides young women with the opportunity of mentorship and guidance into young adulthood.

In order to see a change in youth residing urban Chicago areas, there has to be an example and what 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc. is doing is only the beginning.

 

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Workshops on Racism: Are They Really Effective?

In present day society, racism is playing a major role in how we look at the world. For the U.S., it has spun into several groups to arise from Black Lives Matter or White Nationalist. Because of this, there have been many debates about racism and inequality that sometimes become extremely violent.  Columbia College Chicago decided to do something about it by creating a five-year strategic plan to undo racism, according to the Columbia Chronicle. The institution started a series of workshops in August to bring awareness to racial issues and discuss them and will continue them throughout the year. I think what Columbia is attempting to do is great but, there are several problems with these plans and how they can affect students and staff on campus.

 

First Off, You Cannot Undo Racism

This was the initial issue I saw with the program. Knowing the goal of the workshops is very important and Columbia is already exemplifying that they don’t really have one. The U.S. entire existence stems from racism and oppression and unless you have a time machine, there is no undoing it. Bringing awareness to the issues and moving forward by understanding is what the program should be geared towards. If awareness is the message being conveyed, then I understand but, if the outcome is to undo racism, this program will go on forever and see no progress.

 

Racism Doesn’t Stop At Teachers

When looking more into the program, I came across who were able to attend these workshops. The sessions are only open to full-time and part-time faculty. This excludes all students who attend the institution. Staff will be able to take what they’ve learned in the workshops and apply within the classroom. There is no explanation to why it excludes students but, it does. This strategy does not benefit the institution because it eliminates the main component, the students. If the program cannot offer opportunities for everyone because anyone can be involved in situations of racism, there is no purpose for it.

 

This Is A Blatant “Covering Our Ass” Situation

Earlier this year, Michael Fry, associate professor within the Television Department, resigned from Columbia College Chicago due to racial discrimination within the department he worked. The college newspaper shared his experiences as he talks about facing over ten years of discrimination. It seems very coincidental that Columbia creates this program several months later. Is this program really here to help or a way to protect the college? I think if racism was really at the forefront of the institution, this plan would have been in the works years ago not right after a race incident surface on campus. As stated earlier, it’s only offered to faculty completely disregarding students which would be ineffective to creating awareness on campus. There was a workshop offered in August but only a selected few students were able to attend, according to Columbia Chronicle. Only a select few does not change the dynamics of racism and certainly don’t undo it.

I’m all for bringing awareness to racism and trying to eliminate it on campus however, provide that opportunity to everyone and have clear and possible goals.

 

 

4 Ways To Love Yourself Before A New Relationship

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We’ve all been there. You know, dating numerous times and it doesn’t work out or being in a long-term relationship and it suddenly ends. This can leave you with extreme heartache, a whole bunch of insecurities, and just feeling like crap about life. I know what it is like to want to find the strength to move on with your life and I’m going to tell you how I did it with four ways to love yourself before a new relationship.

  1. Spend Alone Time With Yourself.

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According to Psychology Today, there are seven  stages to grieving a relationship and this is step seven, “redirected hope”, or what I call moving on with your  life. Some people discourage spending too much time alone but I find it really helpful when learning more about yourself. I found that spending time with people took my mind off of the situation for a few hours then when I’m alone, I’m usually crying myself to sleep. Being alone also gives you time to figure out what you want when it comes to relationships going forward.

  1. Compliment Yourself

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Admiring characteristics about yourself is a way to realize your worth and what you will and won’t accept in a new relationship. After a three-year relationship, I realized that I had good work ethic and I will no longer tolerate relationships where I was the only one who had it. Even if the compliments are as simple as looking good for work or loving your hair, they all count. I’m not saying be over the top narcissistic, but one a day should work.

  1. Take Yourself Out

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This is similar to spending time alone with yourself but in public spaces. For a long time, I found going out alone to be awkward and lonely. But, as time went on I realized I had a really good time with myself. It does take courage to step out alone but it definitely reassures that you can be your own party. You can do all types of activities such as going to the movies, going on picnics, shopping or going to dinner. Elite Daily states that relationships with yourself is crucial to building healthy relationships with others.

  1. Develop New Hobbies

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Finding new interests was the most effective for learning to love myself. I realized that there was nothing that I liked to do and that caused me to be entirely too wrapped up in relationships I previously belonged to. Trying new things developed into hobbies for me that I even do today. After a breakup, learning to DJ was something that I developed an interest for and I use it as a skill in my career. This also gives you something to do in spare time when you may feel a little lonely. Lifehack.org list 50 possible hobbies that you can try and can bring you closer to loving yourself.