Staying on Track

huff-bio
                                    New Bio on HuffPo

Before we all die I just want to say…

I like to give background information on some of things that I’m doing. It puts me a space where I can share my thoughts while keeping myself on task. I’m taking my renewed interest in posting for The Huffington Post seriously. I truly believe we all have a role to play in all this. My article last week came from a place of deep contemplation.

I wanted to make sure that my return to that platform was, at the very least, interesting. I know that there tons of people blogging and writing about the exact same things that I want to so I have to put in more work on my posts then I commonly do for this blog. There is always the chance that anything written on the HuffPo can become viral and I want to make sure that my best writing is on display.

When I finally hit submit on my last post I realized that 2016 went by and I didn’t write anything for the Huffington Post. Before this I had a feeling it had been awhile I just didn’t think it was THAT long. Perhaps I silenced myself thinking that my voice was as important anymore or maybe I just simply got lazy. Whatever it was I was smoking in 2016 (in terms of this excuse), I was delusional.

I’m now at a point where I will write how I feel about 45. My goal is not to try to convince his supports (because I don’t give a shit about them), it’s more about pointing out shit that is so amazingly clear to me but perhaps not so much clear to others. This will be my continuing contribution to the resistance.

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Looking back at MY 2012

“Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path” – Morpheus

I always try to take one look back before I proceed into the future. 2012 has finally come to an end and I cannot help but be amazed of how I ended up exactly where I wanted to be. I will say that as much as I wanted this to be a good year, I wasn’t so confident that it would end that way.

The first thing I decided to so was to take more risks. The truth of the matter was that at this time last year, I knew I needed to change my life before I went spiraling down in a flame of debt and foreclosure. What I learned from my woman was that taking risks shouldn’t always be that scary. After a afternoon of learning how to ice skate –without falling once, I realized that I needed to invest in myself and take those risks that may turn my life around.
At the same time I realized that this blog was becoming a venue for me to complain and talk about things I would love to do but never follow up on. I was done with that. I need to stop talking and just do. The result ultimately ended up with me having less blogs than I anticipated but, the major goals I set were completed. Yet, as a writer, I did get more exposure than I ever thought I would with being selected as blogger for the Huffington Post. Yes, I feel like I keep saying this but I still find this to be amazing.  I wrote 4 articles and acquired a great deal of fans on that site.

Although, there were some bumps along the way, my second blog for the Huffington Post received some comments that I was not excited about. Looking back at it, it wasn’t that big of a deal but, I did feel a certain way about it. I craft my words carefully (which is why I was called a Word Ninja) so that people can understand where I’m coming from. Usually, there are people who take my words to mean something entirely different (I’m still getting used to that). There was also the time in which the Huff denied a post from me. That was particularly hard to swallow, but I got over it.

I still believe that this was a banner year for racism. Despite the fact that Barack Obama won a second term, I believe we have seen so many signs of racism in the country that it is almost laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. The death of Travyon Martin really took its toll on me when it happened. I think there is a lot to be said about the gun laws in this country and while I wrote nothing about Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings…I think eyes need to opened when comes to which populations are being effected by certain laws. I think more importantly it is the perception that people have that really shows how “tolerant” we are of other people. This does not mean I have strong words for just white people….my own people can be ridiculous too.

Of course with the things that I say or do, come people who have either a difference of opinion (which is fine) or people who downright cannot deal with me. This year, I have learned to take the good with the bad. Let those fester in there thoughts while I continue to move forward. I can spend a whole blog post on the telling of stories about people and incidents that happen earlier in the year that will be completely hilarious. However, in doing so, that will make them look bad. I am determined to be the better person always. I think I have succeed in that one thing before I left Syracuse.

There were several proud moments for me this year, but nothing did it more than me getting an A in my graduate course in the spring semester. Another reason for the lack of blog posts was the simple fact that I was taking a class. The reason why this was big for me is because I never got an A in any class in my college career. I think I did pretty good on this.

My, departure from Central New York involved risks has I mention above. I was lucky enough to sell my house and get an apartment for a short amount of time. There was also so much risk in just keeping the faith and hoping that my job search would find me something. I’ll be honest, there was one point where I gave up. With my last job application submitted, I told myself that it was either now or never. If I do not get a job in NYC, I would have looked into Grad School in California. I had schools already picked out when Barnard called for the interview.

I will never forget that afternoon when I was told that I was hired. With my return imminent, I thought about all the things I would do when I got back home. But, I had to ultimately say goodbye to good friend. Yes, it was hard to say my goodbyes to colleagues, friends, and students but it was the hardest to say good bye to Rocky. I still love and miss that dog. He has remained in Syracuse with the x-wife. I still think about him everyday. Sad to say that all good things come to an end…SU will always be in my  heart.

However, I did learn that everything is truly connected. In the wake of my decision to move, my mother suffered a heart attack. This required her to have a quintuple by-pass surgery that we all were very nervous about. Of course, Columbia Presbyterian is one of the best places she could have very gone to, there is was always that horrifyingly small chance that something may go wrong. The good thing is she fully recovered which made my return even more glorious.

The rest of the year was filled with apartment hunting while being broke, Obama was re-elected, Sandy damn near destroyed lower Manhattan, my Macbook broke, and I am near obesity.

I think this was a good year. Very successful. Next year will be better. I will share a toast tonight for my friends, family, and to all of you who continue to follow me. Happy New Year! 

Goals for 2013

I will have to admit that 2012 was really good to me. I dare say it was one of the best years that I’ve had in a very long time. While it had it’s up and downs, I attribute my changes in life to the fact that I set goals for this year. While that might be a bit cliche-ish in the realms of Higher Education, it does indeed work when a plan is laid out.

If you read last year’s post, then you will know that I no longer set resolutions for the New Year. That whole business is done. I will set 10 goals as I did a year ago and try to accomplish as much as I can. I completed 60% of my goals for 2012 and I will try to do better in 2013.

One of the things I am most proud of this year is joining the ranks of the Huffington Post. However, I haven’t written anything for them since May and it has been very noticeable to me. I need to refocus and write more Huffington Post Articles. While I personally feel that I have no excuse for the drought, I know that May was the beginning of all the major events in my life.

In general I need to write more. I have been very passive about writing for many different reasons and yet I also feel limited in the venue in which I present my blog in. I have decided that is it time for a change in websites. I plan on doing a site switch early in 2013. In the effort to gain more exposure for myself I created an additional site on wordpress that has remained unused. I will follow up on details when it become ready. I will still keep this site however.

Writing remains important to me and when my Macbook crashed, I felt very fortunate that I backed up all my writing before the hard drive had to be replaced. One of my goals that I failed to deliver in was to self publish my poetry. To be quite honest, I never had the money to do this. While I was investing in myself, I had to sacrifice a few goals. Now I need to put this back on the table and get this done.

Speaking of money, I believe I am in a great position to finally get my financial life in order. I’m making debt reduction the highest priority in 2013. All those years of owing people are done for me. I am not saying that I am making crazy amounts of money because I’m not, but I am finally comfortable with my income. Now, I can get rid of bills that have been plaguing me for awhile. One thing that a divorce does is really kill your finances and now after 3 years, I am ready to put myself in a better position.

With putting myself in a better position financially, I also have to find an apartment. My situation has always been temporary and now that the holidays are almost over, I can concentrate on this very important goal. I love Washington Heights and remaining here would be ideal, but who knows where this search will lead me. I do not want to be too far from Barnard College so being on the west side of Manhattan is critical. At the end of the day, I can live someplace that is quaint and affordable. I would like the neighborhood to be decent. I think I can manage that.

My health remains very important to me. I need to find a PCP and a dentist.  I already replaced my glasses so I can check that off the list. However, the most important thing to me is to lose 20 pounds this year, preferably by the summer. This is not as vain as it sounds, while I want to plan to go somewhere warm, the idea is just to be as healthy as possible. I will admit that clothes seem to fit better on me when I do not have a gut blocking the way. I have several things planned to main my health including a 5k run.

I also need to go to some games in 2013. I am not just talking about Met games or Knick games. I am not adverse to going to Yankee games. I have not been to the new Yankee Stadium. I have not been to the Barclay Center either. I think going to sporting events is a crucial part to being a New Yorker. There are tons of things to do in this city and going to games is one of them. I am also looking forward to the All Star Game in Citifield in July and the last Big East Tournament that Syracuse will play in March.

Some how, with all this going on, I would like to start the Master’s Program at Columbia University in the fall of 2013. I am waiting for the fall because I am not sure how busy this upcoming spring semester will be. This also gives me more time to research what I need to do. I am still aiming for sociology at this point but, with all the programs that CU offers, I need to look closely at my options. I am not going to forget my ultimate long term goal of getting a Master’s Degree.

Finally, the one thing that Christmas as reenforced with me is that I need to spend more time with friends and family.  I have always been that person to get caught up in what I am doing. Sure, I can multitask all day, but sometimes I seem to forget what is important. In many cases, I have a bad friend to many people or a bad cousin to others. Overall, I think I need to recalibrate the way I spend my time and with whom. I am grateful that I am with a woman who understands my need to sort of be everywhere with my family and I think there is going to more times when it seems I am spread thin, but it is family so it ends up worth in the long run. In terms of friends, my mission is to reconnect. That will mean lunches, dinners, drinks, and possibly parties…clearly this is not a bad thing.

My goal is to do 90% of the list above. That may sounds ambitious since I really want to do a 100%. However, I know from experience that life changes and shifts from month to month. I am ready for 2013 and everything that comes with.

Students in Hoodies: This is what Democracy Looks Like.


This entry was denied by the Huffington Post. So I just copied and pasted my entry.

I feel the need to apologize. I have been writing so much about Trayvon Martin in my own blog but it has taken me more than a week to calm down and address this audience without anger or frustration. As an Afro Latino, this issue hits home on so many levels.

I am very proud to be a Syracuse Alum and staff member. On March 26, I was even prouder. A group of students finally galvanized to action by having a rally on the steps of Hendrick’s Chapel on a cold Monday night. This is not just a black or white issue; this is an issue of justice. We stood in solitude with our hoodies on for Trayvon Martin.

As a person of color, I know that there are things that I should except, like the possibility being pulled over for no reason or being followed in a store. But nothing prepared me for this: a seventeen-year-old unarmed boy killed by a self appointed neighborhood watch captain. Then, even more appalling, I hear that George Zimmerman claims “self-defense,” when the only items in Trayvon’s hoodie were  a pack of skittles and a bottle of ice tea.

Without mentioning the race or ethnicity of either person, anyone of us would just assume that the killer would be reprimanded, if not sent to jail.  It is only after realizing that Travyon is black and his killer is “white” Hispanic that questions are raised as to why Zimmerman has not spent a single minute in jail.  Let’s face it, had the shooter been a Black man he would have at least seen a few nights in jail despite Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. Yet, this had become a black and white issue for so many of us. Is it because more Latinos are considering themselves white as seen in the 2010 Census?

Perhaps it speaks to the general ignorance that people like Geraldo Rivera have, who think that a hoodie automatically represents something sinister. Is there a general perception that all black men are trying to perpetuate themselves as gangsters by wearing such apparel? Sure, it is annoying to see men wear sagging jeans with no belts.  I consistently tell students to pull up their pants, but does that justify thinking the worst of them? Yet, it is ok for a self-appointed investigative reporter to make a blanket statement about how Trayvon’s hoodie is the reason for his death. Should he know that it was raining the night Trayvon was killed, making it a perfectly reasonable chose of attire? Or perhaps it speaks to his fear of Black people in general?

It was indeed a show of solidarity when more than 100 Syracuse University students, staff, of all races, came together in a peaceful rally chanting “this is what democracy looks like.” This goes far beyond the hoodie, far beyond Geraldo, and far beyond the increasing number of reports of this teenager’s past. This is about justice. This is about an unarmed kid being killed for looking suspicious. It resonates with these students because anyone of them could have been Trayvon Martin. What gets under many students’ skin is the media’s attempt to show “a different side” of this kid by painting him as a criminal, in an attempt to justify his murder. Is that what a black or Latino Male student has to think about when walking across the quad or walking in the streets of Syracuse on cold rainy night? He has to worry about every mistake he’s ever made as a child?

So what is next? We can rally and protest this issue until George Zimmerman is behind bars, but then what? Don Sawyer, director of the LSAMP program, gave one of the best suggestions during that rally.  He suggested that the only way to promote change is to mentor a younger person.  True change comes when people are willing to commit to change and spread it to others. It is not about what we wear or how we are perceived, it is what happens when this done.

We must be the change we are looking for. That change can begin start with mentoring a young student in need. That change can begin when we continue to fight injustice and not allow ourselves the complacency to believe that race does not matter. For as long as George Zimmerman remains free we will always be remind that we as Black/Latino men and women will always be judged for what we wear and assassinated later for our exercising our right to wear whatever we want.

So what does democracy look like? Is it college students rallying as the media kills Travyon Martin over and over again, promoting the insecurities  young Black kids already face? What does justice look like? I am not sure; perhaps the hoodie of the justice system is covering the eyes of those who are apparently “standing their ground”.

Trayvon…

As I write my next blog for the Huffington Post, I feel obligated to say how angry I am becoming. There are so many things that I am seeing and reading about this Trayon Martin tragedy that it just makes me sick. This whole situation where George (Jorge) Zimmerman has not seen a minute of jail time is unacceptable.

I am angry because I feel that not of the right enough people take this seriously. Of course, most people of color take this serious because bottom line, Trayvon could have been anyone of us. What gets under my skin is the media’s attempt to show a different side of this kid by making it seem as if he was a criminal. This is making it seem as if his murder could have been justified although he was unarmed. Not to mention that he was 17 years old! 
Let’s think about Zimmerman. Yes, he is Latino and should I really talk about how racist my brethren can be? I talk about Afro Latinos all the time and the prejudice they face in this country as well as other countries. I would not surprised one bit that he may consider himself white as many Latinos have under the 2010 census. It has been my experience that many of these “white” Hispanics strive to gain the same level of acceptance and privilege that many white Americans have. So many adopt the same racist fears and attitudes of bigoted white people.
The problem is this notion that black people are criminals. Zimmerman thought that Tayvon was up to something and the fact that no one really questioned this is indeed sad. The fact that the Sanford PD has not arrested him is so troubling. This is old news at this point but I feel the need to talk about this because this it has been weighing on my mind even before my trip to Boston. In fact, it has been bothering me so much that I cannot finish my original blog I had set for this day.
Then there is Geraldo Rivera, who made this situation worse with his stupid comments. I just need to get this initial blog out because I feel very unfocused, which brings me to my Huffington Post article. SU students, faculty, and staff got together for a rally today. It was comforting to see that we can come together for a cause. Now it is up to us to do more. I will be addressing all the above issues in a more structured format.

Don’t Confuse Your Life Task With Your Day Job

“We must learn to lift as we climb.” – Angela Davis

It’s not very often that I am caught off guard about something. I tend to regulate my emotions to the best of my ability and yet, despite that you can still see my heart on my sleeve. When I took the offer to write for the Huffington Post, I will admit, that I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into.  I knew that my potential audience would be bigger and my name would get out there more, but I didn’t know what to expect in terms of feedback.

It was my girlfriend who told me that I needed to be very mindful about potential comments that I may receive, after all, I do not get very many on this blog and I have become quite used to that. But, she was referring to people who would not agree with my view on life. What she was trying to do was prepare me for potential negativity with the things I write. 

There was a lot of thought put into what I was going to write about in the Huff Post. I wanted to make sure that I was going to be ok with the angle I decided to take, which of course is all based on my time working at Syracuse University. I really wanted to get into my observations and my feelings with working at SU as well as getting to know the students. I wanted to be able to reflect on my experiences as a former student and current staff while giving the reader a glimpse of what I see and do.

I have taken pride and often times I have been humbled by the show of support by fellow alumni and staff when I debuted a couple of weeks ago. There was nothing better to me than to be recognized for my ability to write. I also wanted to use my gift to highlight those who work in the trenches with me. So this is not only meant as a tool to talk about students but the wonderful staff as well. That is what I based the second blog post on. I started looking at things differently after that blog was published.
I have made it a point not to be overly critical of my own work. I go into this whole writing thing knowing that I can always improve because typos are the bane of my existence. I can take people arguing with me when I post something controversial. I know that not everyone wants to hear what I have to say when it comes to Racism and I am ok with that. But, in this particular case, I am writing about my students, the ones that I have a love/hate relationship with because in many ways (and i hate to admit it) they are the closest thing I will have to younger siblings. 

So imagine my surprise when the comments are negative. By no means am I that sensitive, but I was completely caught off guard by the type of responses. I find it funny that I can talk about something that I feel we need, which is more Latinos in Higher Education, and to insinuate that everything that I am saying is borderline racist is laughable. Of course, I made the choice of engaging one person when I just should have let it go as many of my other friends told me. But, what got me was the fact that there were people liking these responses. It made me question a few things.

Cornel West came to Syracuse University this week too. He spoke about the new youth movement and how America’s youth are poised for action. He said that at any moment we will be witness to a time period where people will begin to mobilize for justice, much like the Occupy Movement. He talked about leadership and being able to tell the truth and take the truth, but the one thing that I found to be most profound (and there were many) was when he gave advice to students who are looking to make in the word, Have the courage to be yourself. Don’t confuse your life task with your day job.” That in itself made me realize that I am doing exactly what I want to do no matter what anyone thinks.

However, it was all brought together by my students. I had 3 students this week ask me for personal advice; things that they cannot ask anyone else. I had one student break my heart when he told me that he felt defeated. He knows what he wants to do but has no idea how to get there. He is convinced that his poor grades will make him a laughing stock. This kid told me that no one knows his story and the hell he has been through in life and all he wants to do is just help other students. What do I tell him? Do I tell him that he is a fuck up? Do I say “pull up your bootstraps, hard work will get you what you want!”

Yes, he needs to put in the work…but how do I help him find his motivation? By doing my job, that just happens to be my life task.

Leap Day Prose

I feel that I doing myself a disservice if I did not write on Leap Day. It just marks to me that the last time there was a leap year, I wasn’t writing at all. There is also a part of me that reflects on my life four years ago. While I will not get into that, I am just amazed how different my life has changed within the last four years.

Black History Month is just about over. The Latinegr@s Project has done a fabulous job in highlighting Afro Latinos. There seems to be an issue with Latina Magazine again in their definition of Afro Latinos. One person in particular has taken an issues with them and my team will be coming up with a statement about all this shortly. I am not getting into this now, but I am just relay that this is on my mind.

Women’s History Month starts tomorrow and I have not done anything for that in the past, however, that will change this year. I have many things on my mind when it comes to misogyny that I need to just get off my chest. I have been saying a few things on Twitter about domestic violence and the use of the word rape. There comes a point in time in which men need to stand up for things wether it be racism, sexism, or homophobia. I plan to have my say in March.

Then there was my debut in The Huffington Post this week. I am overwhelmed by the show of love from my peers and I will strive to make them proud. It took me a weekend to write and then another day to get it edited by my lovely girlfriend. I think she did a great job as a copy editor and pushing me to get to my point. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure what my point was going to be when I started writing it. My plan is to blog once a week.

What I did learn from all of this is that I need to continue to elevate my game to higher levels. I need to push the envelope on conventional thought. My blog for the Huff is meant for me to talk about issues involving my time at Syracuse University. I want to treat that as my professional blog and I intend to do so by highlighting things around me.

Finally, I think a lot has to be said for karma. My last post a few days ago talked about how things happen for a reason. Well, up to this point, I had not expanded on any of the risks I am taking but I found it to be very interesting that one of my roommates is moving out. He got a job in Detroit and is leaving by the end of March. I am happy for him, but why is this interesting? Simply put, I a securing a deal to sell this house and I was going to tell my roommates about it in a few day so they can prepare to move. Amazing how life works huh?

Things are Happening! (The Alchemist Edition)

I cannot stress this fact any more than just coming out and saying it: Everything happens for a reason. I started out this year with specific goals and not only are they happening but the it seems that this road is continuously being paved with more opportunities for me to take advantage of. I cannot help but wonder if these new things that are occurring are a result of pure coincidence or a result of good karmic work being put in.

I have often talked about good omens and following signs when you see them. I often think about The Alchemist and how sometimes the most important thing to do is wait while the universe conspires to work things in our favor. However, if and when those times of waiting do happen, it is how we prepare ourselves that separates those who take advantage of opportunity and those who freeze in fear of the possibilities. 
I chose to take some risks because I cannot continue live a life in stagnation. Looking for good omens and creating opportunities all plays a part in risk taking. The best part about making no more excuses is that everything seems to move at a different rate of speed. When we hold yourself responsible for your own successes and failures, life becomes different. I can sit here and say that perhaps it is my fault that I have not left Syracuse. Sure, the first thing to say is that the job market sucks but what am I doing to adjust to those changes?
So when I decided to use my time in waiting to better myself, things around me begin to change. I am more busy and opportunities seem to pop up whenever. What I am happy about the most (besides dating a totally hot woman), is that I am done talking about what I am going to do because I am doing it. That subtle difference of knowing the path and walking the path produces results that only I can measure. 
The excitement of being a blogger for The Huffington Post has not worn off. It took me all of yesterday to finally narrow down what I am going to write about. For me, my inspiration always seems to hit me when I am about to go to bed. So at about 4:00am I wrote half of my article. I look forward to submitting this entire thing tomorrow and then letting all this soak in. 
Of course, I am writing more now because I need to. It is funny how that works.

Crossing The Threshold

I have been writing this blog for 3 years and I feel that have done my best to get my name out there. I have joined groups, blogger circles, and various other sites in order to promote myself. Yet, I feel that I’ve always been below the radar when it came to writing blog posts. I’m not in it for the money but as a blogger, I want to see some progression. One of those points, if not the key point, of progression as a blogger is The Huffington Post.

I have viewed The Huffington Post as a symbol of “making it” in the blogging community. I know people who have written for them and have always wanted to get my chance to do that. I feel like “The Huff” is a bigger stage and to a person like me who would love to have bigger audience, this is indeed a grander stage. Today, I was informed that I will indeed have my chance to write for them!

It is funny how fast things seem to happen. Yesterday I received an email from my good friend (and former student) Victoria that the Huffington Post is setting up a college blogger initiative and they are looking for students, faculty, and staff to write about anything that has to do with campus life. She thought I would be great and responded. Today, I was told that I they would love to have me and like that…I am in! I am now a blogger for the Huffington Post!

Excited cannot even begin to describe how I feel. I’m trying not to be too hype about it because I have a lot of work to do. I have to figure out what to write and my skills as a writer have to be on point. Do not be mistaken, I am not nervous because it is game on. The lights are on and I am ready to showcase my abilities.

I also feel that this is a culmination of my past efforts. I have to submit a bio. I wrote several times in the past on how difficult it is to do that, but I did get it done (and now I have a reason to update). So now, that is one less thing to worry about. Then I have to submit a picture and that makes me laugh too because everyone asked me why in the world would I need to do a photo shoot? Well, it seems that the things that I have prepared for, has benefited me. 

I will be writing my first blog for them this weekend and we will see what happens from there. I have also made sure that I have someone besides myself reading what I write for grammatical purposes. I have always felt I needed an editor because I just cannot seem to catch all my mistakes. In any case, I am extremely happy on how all this has turned out and I want to think all of you for your continual support.

I also want to send out a thank you to Victoria Chan for sending me that email. I wouldn’t have been in this situation had she not thought of me (I owe you Bubble Tea).