We are all Prejudice

Racism, homophobia, sexism, ageism... PREJUDICE. 

These are all words that we are afraid to discuss. We are afraid because these words ignite intense emotions in all of us. However, it is essential that we have open, honest and nonjudgemental conversations about all forms of prejudice. 

If we are not discussing the prejudice around us, and even within us, how will we be able to progress?


When you envision the "All American couple," what do you see?


Have you ever had Prejudice Thoughts?

If you heard there was a terrorist threat, would you assume the suspect was Islamic?

Have you ever told someone they throw like a girl?

Are you afraid or uncomfortable when walking past the homeless?

When you imagine a drug dealer do you think of an African American or a Latino?

Do you get uncomfortable if you see someone of the same sex kiss?

Have you ever given a Middle Eastern a second look at an airport?

Would you be surprised if the CEO of a Fortune 100 company walked in and she was a woman?

When you envision the "All American couple," what do you see?


If he was white, would I have done the same? No. 


My Guilt of Prejudice

As someone who is passionate about human rights, I have never considered myself a racist, homophobic, sexist, or ageist. However, this doesn't mean that I don't have prejudice inclinations. 

I first realized my prejudice when I began my now four-year relationship. 

When my boyfriend and I started dating, I knew I had to tell my parents, but I also felt the need to ask for permission… Why did I need permission? Because I wanted to make sure that my family would be okay with me dating a black man.  

I told them his name and specified his race, then asked if that'd be a problem with my grandparents. Why did I feel the need to do this?

If he was white, would I have done the same? No. 

If I had started dating a white male named John, do you think I’d say to my parents, "hey, I started dated this great guy named John. He's white. Is that going to be a problem?"

I knew my parents would be okay with it, but I honestly wasn't sure if my grandparents would be accepting. My mom’s parents grew up in very Southern, white households and my dad’s parents grew up in very Catholic, Cuban households. I thought about the stereotypes that came along with their upbringings, instead of thinking about the people they are. I assumed the worst (through my prejudice thoughts).

The fact that I did something for the sheer reason that my boyfriend is black illustrates the fact that prejudice is still within us.

This does not mean I’m racist. This does not mean I’m a bad person. This simply shows that we continue to stereotype others and we continue to act based on these stereotypes. 


If we are not discussing the prejudice around us, and even within us, how will we be able to progress?


Admit it, to Change it

I know it's difficult to admit our wrongs. However, we cannot blame ourselves. We can only blame ourselves if we do not fight to overcome the prejudice that society teaches us. 

We are not born with prejudice thoughts. We are taught prejudice thoughts. And we can be untaught.

The first step is to admit it. The second step is to be aware of it. The last step is to change it. 

If we cannot accept our own prejudice inclinations, instead of being in denial, how will we be able to progress away from a society of discrimination?


I am grateful to be a part of a society that continues to progress. If I lived 50 years ago, I would not be able to legally marry the person I love.

Everyday we take a step forward and I feel blessed to be able to continue the march forward, walking hand and hand with person I love.

- KATIE

Because I Never Considered Myself a Feminist (Until Now)

Why I never called myself a Feminist

Before today, I had a naive perspective of feminism. I thought feminists were just upset that they were expected to be a housewife one day. (Sounds terrible doesn't it?)

I honestly didn't see the point in complaining about being a woman in our society. 

However, I now know that feminists aren't complaining. They are FIGHTING. They are fighting for EQUALITY. 

How could I not advocate that?


WHAT IS FEMINISM?

Feminist, the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.
— Flawless by Beyonce Knowles

| EQUALITY | STRENGTH | RIGHTS | INDEPENDENCE | EMPOWERMENT | LOVE | 


I am Now a Feminist

...

For all the women before me who fought for their rights. 

For minorities, immigrants and LGBTQ communities. 

For the lost, unloved, and misguided. 

For the raped and sexually assaulted. 

For our future children. 

For ... EVERYONE. 

...

Because I want equal pay for equal work. 

Because I don't want to live in fear of being raped or sexually assaulted. 

Because I want the ability to decide what to do with my body. 

Because I want to love who I love, no matter the race or sex. 

Because I don't want to be told that I'm impressive "for a girl."

Because I don't want my body to be an indicator of my self worth. 

Because I want my daughter to know she can be the CEO one day. 

Because I want my daughter to know she can be President one day. 

Because ... WE ARE ALL EQUAL. 



Today marks a historic day for women everywhere. I am so thankful to have witnessed and experienced a march that gave a voice to all. May we continue marching forward. May we continue fighting for equality. May we continue spreading kindness. 

-Katie

 

 

 

 

Don't Be Just Another Scared Face

Homelessness 

Living and working in uptown Charlotte, I see homelessness all around me. Everyday I watch people as they look at a homeless person with fear, annoyance, or disgust. I watch as people intentionally ignore those who are living on the streets. 

Unfortunately, I cannot judge these people because I too am guilty of this act.

It is our instinct to be afraid of something we don't understand.

Thus, I challenge you to fight our instincts. I challenge you to not just be another scared face. We must be well-informed about homelessness so that we can help them rather than hurt them.


Reality 

Over 610,000 people in the United States are homeless. In Charlotte alone, there are 2,014 people without homes (Urban Ministry).

Homelessness is primarily due to health issues, drug addiction, and mental illness. 10% of the homeless are veterans suffering from PTSD.  

To find out how many homeless are in your state click the link below. 

Homelessness statistics by state. 


DO's and DON'TS

Do: Look them in the eye. 

Most of us avoid eye contact as we walk by... why is that?

Homelessness does not define an individual. They are human beings just like us. They have thoughts, feelings, families, and personal struggles. 

Greet them with a simple "hi" or "hello" while looking them in the eye. Even just a nod with eye contact lets the homeless know they are not invisible.

Acknowledgement can be a powerful act of kindness.  

Don't: Ignore. 

By ignoring, you become just another scared face. By ignoring, you belittle the homeless.

They are already suffering, so let's not be the reason they suffer more.  

Do: Ask how you can help.

If you see someone begging for money, ask what they need and provide that for them.

If they are hungry, take them to a restaurant. Ask if they would like to sit down and eat so that you can talk. The homeless often lack social connection. They often feel inadequate and nonexistent. Simply sitting down and talking to them can resolve this! 

Don't: Give money.

When you provide cash, you never know what your money is used for.

By providing specific needs, like food, clothes or a bus ticket, you ensure that you are impacting them in a positive way. 

Do: Use your judgment

Your safety is always important. If you are feeling uncomfortable with the situation or individual, it's okay to take a step back.

Keep in mind that there are other avenues to help the homeless where you might feel more comfortable. Use the links at the bottom of this blog to find a volunteer opportunity near you. 

Don't: Stereotype

Stereotypes often impede our judgement.

We cannot generalize that all homeless people are the same and struggling with the same battles. You never know why an individual ended up where they did.

Give each homeless person the same respect and courtesy you would anyone else. 

Do: Get to know them

Building relationships and letting them know they are important is essential. Here are good topics to use in conversations:

Do you have any family?

Where are you from?

Where are you staying right now?

Do you follow any sports team?

End the conversation with "I will keep you in my thoughts." This shows that you care and provides them with a sense of love and support. 

Don't: Be careless with your words

Make sure to approach conversations carefully. There are many sensitive topics that you want to avoid. Here are questions you shouldn't ask:

Are you homeless? 

Why don't you have a job?

How did you become homeless?

How do I know where my money is going?

Asking these questions does not help their situation. Be a friend, not an interrogator. 


Take Action

One night while I was passing out sandwiches to the homeless, I had a conversation that I will never forget.

His name was Tim. After giving his homeless friends sandwiches, he grabbed my hands and said "Thank you. Thank you for doing something I wish I had the capacity to do." He started to cry as he told me how he'd been on the streets for over five years and how he just recently was able to get an apartment through a program. He got emotional telling me how much he wished he could feed every homeless person and get them off the street. 

His gratitude was all I needed to inspire me to do more. 

If he can get himself off the streets after being homeless for over 5 years, the least we can do is make sure we aren't just another scared face.


How you can HelP! 

Want to help? Use these links below to join the fight! 

National Alliance to End Homelessness

Volunteer with Salvation Army

New Year = New Us


New Year's Resolutions

"New year, new you" ... sound familiar?

Every 365 days, people around the country vow to be a better version of themselves.

They vow to be healthier, thinner, kinder, happier, etc. Yet, in most cases, these vows or resolutions get lost when reality sets in and the holiday decor comes down. 

So ... how do we set a resolution and how can we set a resolution we know we will keep?


Noun:

A promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year

(Cambridge Dictionary)


Step 1: Reflection of 2016

Everyone has certain aspects of society that they are passionate about. Determine what those are and embrace them!

Ask yourself:

What about 2016 do I wish could have been different?

What do I feel like our society lacked in 2016?

Then ask:

How can I make things different?

How can I fill what I believe to be lacking?


Step 2: Plan for 2017

Time to use an often annoying class activity, aka a SWOT analysis, and evaluate the new year. Take advantage of your strengths and opportunities and assess your weaknesses and threats to determine how you can combat them. 

Here's my personal evaluation .. you can fill in the blanks!

Weaknesses:

  • Resolutions are often not kept 
  • Too busy to commit to something else
  • _________________________

Strengths:

  • Blank canvas
  • Newly established hopes
  • _________________________

 

Threats:

  • Social media used to showcase negativity 
  • _________________________

Opportunities:

  • INFINITE!!!
  • Unify people across communities
  • Bring positive work to social media
  • _________________________

Step 3: Set your Resolution

Instead of "new year, new you," I challenge you to "new year, new US."

Resolutions are typically all about the individual and don't get me wrong, they should be. However, we must not let ourselves overlook each other. 

Prepare for another blank canvas.

Envision that canvas to be society as a whole and commit to a picture that you want to be apart of. 

This year, commit to a new US. Commit to a KINDER us. Commit to making a difference in other people's lives as well as your own. 

Remember: it all starts with one act ... or should I say one high-five

 

 

 

The Journey to High-Five to Kindness

What Inspired High-Five to Kindness?

Blind to our Beautiful Country

I can't speak for everyone, but personally I have never seen so much hate on the news and social media. Every time I checked my news feed, I saw protests, riots, and fighting over the election. What happened to the UNITED States? I watched in distress as people continued to fight with one another. We are supposed to be the country for dreams and freedom, not hate and fighting.

This negativity made me blind to the true beauty of our nation.

Despite what happens in the news, there are people who fight everyday to make the world a better place. Let's rise above the chaos and join these compassionate and selfless people. 

Personal Reflection

This time of division forced me to reflect on myself and the world I no longer believed in. I realized that if I want to see change, I had to BE the change.

I thought about the people who are suffering. I thought about the homeless, the hungry, the lost, the broken, the sick, the unloved. We have become so absorbed in our own opinions and debates that we have forgotten about what's important - helping those that are in need of love. 

I started to brainstorm ways that I could give back to the community. I longed for people to unite by spreading love and kindness. This is when I founded "High-Five to Kindness." 

 

Why a high-five?

The Symbolism

A high five is an act to celebrate something that someone said or did. It brings two people together and for a brief moment, those people are unified by the palms of their hands. 

When you raise your hand to the camera and show the message on your palm, you raise your hand to surrender yourself to something bigger. Everyone’s posts serve as a visual symbol of unity, power, and vulnerability.

We must celebrate the message of kindness!

 

What's the Goal?  

My Mission

My aspiration is to encourage people across America to get up and give back.

I want every community to be filled with love! I want everyone's newsfeeds to be filled with positivity instead of hate. I want to create a ripple effect where people everywhere are spreading kindness in their communities.

My mission is be the change I wish to see, but I cannot do it alone. I need YOUR help. Please reflect upon what you wish was different in your community. Determine what you can do to make your community better.

Think of what kindness means to you. Then, do some act of kindness and join this challenge! Post a photo of what you did. High five to the camera, with your act written on your hand. Challenge friends or family by tagging them in your post. 

It's On Us

It's on each of us to be the change.

Complete the challenge and help me spread kindness - one high five at a time!