Monday, December 29, 2014

Silence Supports a System That is Not Designed to Protect All

What do we tell our youth about their safety?

I'm sitting across from this family on the train. A young, probably 30something couple with their young son. He's clearly a young, sweet, well-mannered kid. He's wearing a baseball cap and athletic wear-the same things that Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin wore. I couldn't help but to feel a pang of deep hurt watching him sit between his parents. How are they beginning to train him to take care of himself? If the people/systems set in place to protect him are continuously showing themselves to not care about his safety, how will that affect his psyche and attitude about the value of his own life? What do you say as a parent to make him feel safe when the reality is, he isn't? I think of my nephew. What are my brother and my mother telling him? It's such a sorrowful, real thing. We have to train our children to code switch to the next level now. It's beyond having a "phone voice" or being taught-as I was-how to deal with police/authority figures. We have to train our children to appear to be different. Dress a certain way and speak a certain way , or you'll be viewed as a threat and very likely killed for walking down the street. Reality. Not exaggeration.

I'm outraged and I don't know where to direct it. Why are the lives of my people not worth anything? Why do our children have to grow up looking over their shoulders at every corner, distrusting those put in place to protect them? Why do our children have to grow up being told on a deep, intrinsic level that who they are is not ok?

This affects us all. It's not ok to rest behind apathy or privilege. We all need to be thinking about the messages we're sending to the next generation by our silence/tolerance/outrage or however we decide to proceed. Staying silent is the equivalent of telling a black child that it's not ok to be who they are in America. That's the real. Silence supports a system that is not designed to protect all.

What's the next step? I'm not sure. I think it has to start with us all being disgusted and outraged. It starts by checking in whatever privilege we can hide behind to have honest, courageous, and sometimes scary conversations about why this shit is happening. It has to go beyond facebook. It has to permeate into our living rooms...into our chats over lattes...into our consciousness overall. The cost of staying apathetic is way too high now.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Channeling the Fire: Healing in the Wake of Ferguson

What’s next? Join me in this 4 part series to unpack and dissect what to do now in the wake of all that’s happened in Ferguson/the Eric Garner decision/Tamir Rice/far too many others to name.

We’re at a crucial convergence of tipping points in this country. Now more than ever we are seeing and feeling the need to think critically about race relations, our failing justice system, and our roles in allowing oppressive systems to exist. Furthermore, we’re all in mourning. We’re all hurting and wondering what to do to heal. So What’s next? Join me in this 4 part series-beginning THIS SUNDAY DEC 14th-to unpack and dissect what we're feeling and how to move forward in the wake of all that’s happened. 

My goals in this series are to find healing, to find solutions, to build community, and to whoop racisms ass.

Topics being covered include:
1.) Dealing with and Expressing Grief (12/14)
2.) How to be an Ally: creating coalitions across color lines (12/21)
3.) Dealing with Distrust: Us and the police 12/28)
4.) Turning Rage into Action (1/4)

Donations will be accepted. A portion of the proceeds collected will go to funding Ferguson businesses seeking help in rebuilding.

Have questions? Want to secure your spot? Register at with your name, e-mail address, and what sessions you’re interested in attending.

Who?: Life coach/educator Diana Noriega and Eric Fleming (
What?:Channeling The Fire:Healing In the Wake of Ferguson
When?: Sundays starting 12/14. 4pm-6:30pm.
Where?: Shambhala Yoga and Dance Center. 1000 Dean. Suite 311

Friday, December 5, 2014

Screaming Inside: Showing Compassion in Moments of Grief

I’m in a terrible place right now guys. Just sayin'.  I’m a big ole' convoluted mess of anger, profound hurt, and despondence-so much so that I’m even having difficulty putting thoughts into words right now. The recent-and all too frequent-murders and non indictments happening in the world has left me feeling like absolute shit. I wrote this in my journal last night:

My chest is constricted.
It feels like a tear-a rip with each breath
Inhalations exacerbating the “I can’t do this” of the moment
Screams being contained by the most fragile of cages
Ready to fight at the blow of the wind
I will really fuck somebody up right now
Don’t look at me the wrong way-hell, don’t even look at me. How ‘bout that?
So hard to put on a happy face and tap dance around the rage behind the mask.
It’s seething
A slow burn ready to blow at any moment
I just need a break
I need a shift
Something’s gotta happen
It’s GOT to!
I’m on that fucking edge and a muthafucka betta not push me

We’re in a collective period of mourning right now. We’re in grief. People say “You never know what someone else has on their plate/is going through.” In this case, yes we do because we’re feeling the same thing. We’re all walking around with this anger and sadness and confusion with no where to necessarily direct it. We’re either turning it inward in a harmful way, stewing in it or projecting onto someone else. Being cognizant of that, my immediate thought/question is how are we taking care of ourselves? How are we taking care of each other?

With all that anger that I felt yesterday when I wrote that, I wonder how it would’ve been different had there been someone there with me to bounce my feelings off of, or to just offer a hug. I think in such a huge period of mourning, it’s important that we step up and take care of one another. Just as much as you’re going through, acknowledge that people sitting next to you on the train or that you see at work everyday are going through too. Think about what you need in moments like this. I guarantee that someone around you needs the same or something similar. Be kind to one another.  Maybe send a nice text to one person during the day letting them know that you’re there for them. Maybe give out a few more hugs than you normally would. Check in with roommates and loved ones. Ask them how they’re doing. We need it now! How are you taking care of the people around you?

How are you taking care of yourself? Are you journaling? Are you sitting in nature? Are you listening to show tunes and singing in the kitchen? (Shout out to my roommate) As important as it is to invest energy into creating change-and protesting if you decide to do so-it’s just as important to be aware of all that you’re feeling and to give yourself kindness and love. We’re going through a lot right now. Show yourself some compassion. Find those things or people that soothe your spirit and allow it to breathe.

So what are you going to do? I challenge you to do one thing differently today for yourself or for aloved one. What's one thing you can do to offer the compassion you deserve?