Black Lives Matter: a Personal Piece

Before I begin, I would like to explain how this is not another story about racial injustice. It is about how, racial injustice has robbed it’s own society of a natural resource. A resource that is more inimitable than diamonds, gold, winning lottery numbers, or striking oil in your own backyard. Bigotry hurts by stunting the growth of our youth and depriving not only the nation but the world of their capitalization.

Imagine throwing away your winning lottery ticket, or selling your land, before you realized the potential. Then you realize that it was stolen from you. You were bamboozled out of your ticket and its winnings, and forced off your land by the government to build a highway. You never had the chance to cherish, protect or to see the outcome of this grand opportunity.   

Think just for a moment. Trayvon Martin could have been the new age Martin Luther King Jr.. Michael Brown could have the new age Mike Zuckerberg. Maybe an inventor, who created an invention to end world hunger. A musician, who used their God given gift to spread love. A Nobel peace prize winner honored for settling the conflict between Jews and Muslims over the holy land. 

Black lives matter because, they are vital to society. Sadly they are not treated as such. African Americans in general are always discriminated against. It is sad that today in the twenty-first century that we are still fighting for equality. While doing the simplest things such as walking down the street we, are gunned down and shot in the street like dogs. We should not have to be afraid for our sons, brothers, and fathers lives constantly. It is as if we are in the middle of the war on terror, with nowhere to run, and no place to hide.   

It is a shame that African Americans cannot be appreciated. Especially since in the past, and even today they constantly prove themselves to be assets to society. We have assets such as  Madam C.J. Walker, Lewis Latimer, and Thomas J. Martin whom continue to make our lives easier today. Madam C.J. Walker created the hot comb which later lead to the flat iron. Lewis Latimer created the light bulb in which we are familiar with today. Thomas J. Martin who created the modern day fire extinguisher. All of these inventors are African American whom have improved and even saved lives. I believe that they should be appreciated for their inventions, and celebrated for their heritage.

In conclusion bigotry in the long run hurts us as a nation. Our children are hurt and we are robbing ourselves as a nation by stunting the growth of our African American people. Ultimately we boast to be this big great nation, but not many countries deal with racism. To be hated over something such as skin color is profoundly absurd, it cannot be changed, so why hate it. Sadly if you still do not believe that black lives matter, it’s quite alright we will still be there when you turn on a light, or when your house burns down.  

Texas Southern University Alumnus Perry J. Miller Shines Light on the Everlasting Academic Decathalon Known as College By: Ania Sherman

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Mr.Perry J. Miller is currently the General Manager of William P. Hobby airport in Houston, Texas, also known as Hobby Airport.

He is here with us today to talk about what he has accomplished, and he owes it all to Texas Southern University.

Mr.Miller has received his Bachelor of Science Degree, and Master of Science Degree in Transportation Planning and Management from Texas Southern University in 1990, twenty-four years ago.
Early on in college he was a poor student, indecisive, and had not even chosen a major.

One day he went to talk to his counselor, and she described some options.

The newest option That Texas Southern University offered now then was the science and aviation program.

This was just the beginning.

He begins in lighthearted banter about technology and gets right down to business. He grabs the podium and begins with his accomplishments.

Later he describes love for aviation as a child because of his grandfather.

As he speaks about the love of Texas southern he interlocks his hands to signify unity, and balls his hand in a fist to define hard work.

As he describes his love for airplanes he moves his hands in various upward motions in wonder as if watching majestic airplanes in flight.

He also talks about his public speaking class, and how fear can hold you back and clasps his hands looking back at his despondency.

Public speaking class, he talks about taking his first exam and failing miserably.

His facial expression tells you that it was a positive experience because he learned and used it positively thanks to his professor.

Because of this his professor asked him a couple of questions and one of them were.

“Do you know how to study?” his professor said.

“no” said Miller.

he replied relentlessly, then he did not know how to study, and did not know that there was a system behind it.

So his teacher told him to buy a book that would solve all of his study problems, and this was the best thing he ever did.

Later, he explains that he felt like the king of the world.

Starting again in a new semester with getting all A’s last semester he felt confident.

Until one class came along.

He speaks of defeat of the most soul crushing kind, failing calculus.

He thought it would be easy in the beginning, his professor told him that everyone started out with an “A”. An “A” he thought to himself , and said

“This would be a piece of cake, a walk in the park”.

As he studied and became persistent he learned calculus, and came to love it, in fact he took more math classes and even jokingly said

“I might even have a minor in mathematics “.

Mr. Miller also advised everyone to be involved in extracurricular activities.

He says that

“the experiences and lessons that we are learning from today are shaping and molding us into the person we are going to be”.

He talks about sometimes times are tough, but that unfortunately molding is a pretty painful process.

He says that his success was mostly due to failures and wanting to do better.

“We should all want to do better, and become better people” said Miller.

Mr. Miller also showed gratitude to all the teachers, professors, and mentors that have helped him along the way, as he did this he reached out his arms in gratitude.

They helped him to become a better person.

He was so thankful that you could see it on his face.

They gave him a work ethic, and instilled all the values that he needed to become the General Manager of the of William P. Hobby airport in Houston, Texas.

He took a moment out, to contemplate what could have happened to him, if he should have fallen through the cracks, and shakes his head in disbelief.

He reminds us to do what we need to do in order to become successful.

He says to dedicate and do our best in everything that we try.

He also says to step out of your comfort zone like when he took extra mathematics classes, “you never know what you might find?”.

Mr. Miller also is very thankful for that public speaking class that he had to take over twenty- five years ago.

It has helped him become the quite the orator that he is today.

My thanks goes out to Mr. Miller for his inspiring words, and gestures.

He makes public speaking look easy.

He had lessons, and things that we needed to hear.

All and all, he lead us in the right direction that we needed to be going in.

In the end Mr. Miller inspires us, and lets us know, that anything is possible, thanks to Texas Southern University, God, Support, and a little bit of study time.

Houston’s African American Community is Owning Up! By: Ania Sherman

From skincare to real estate, houstons’ own entrepreneurs are taking the leap, using their own creative minds to build businesses in your area.

The African American community is starting to own up. Putting the “black”, in “black owned”.

Promising young, and established owners Javonne Steward, Anthony Gallien, and Althea Sherman shine light on entrepreneurship, the importance of leadership and confidence, ties to the community, and the joy of owning a business.

Javonne Steward is the owner of “Princess Javonne” it is a children’s book, and leadership program that teaches young girls, and soon young boys about confidence, entrepreneurship, and endurance through exercises, workshops, and parties.

Her inspiration was her newborn baby girl Avaa, and making money. Growing up in several foster homes in Chicago, Steward had to have a hustle.

Even as a child she would braid hair for pocket change. As she grew older she participated in Mary Kay cosmetics. After having her daughter she wondered “how could I combine the mary kay, with children?” Steward said.

Soon after she bought a full ballroom gown, and dressed up like a princess.

Later she felt as if it was lacking something “It needs substance….a message” Steward said, and thus the company was born.

For Anthony Gallien, it was much different. Gallien was a semi-average teenager, he dealt with severe acne throughout his life. One day he researched natural medicines, and came up with his own product.

By the age of 19 he was already making about $500 to $600 a day as an engineer. Yet he was not happy.

“I felt as if I wasn’t living up to my truest potential” said Gallien

One day at work he realized that the company profited so much more money from his labor. Then he thought:

“What would happen if I produced something, created to serve others” Gallien said.

And thus his company Trena, an all-natural organic skin care line was born.

Althea Sherman’s road to her own business was much different. As a certified real estate agent in multiple states she always hated dealing with the sky-high broker fees of Keller Williams.

After she made sale, after sale, it seemed as if her agency sat, and watched her toil, then reaped the benefits of her hard work.

In 2014 she was tired of her 70/30 commission split.

“My broker did nothing, I no longer saw fit to give my money to Keller Williams. I opted out of being a salesperson, and decided to be my own broker, and have my own company, and make 100% commission” said Sherman.

All of these entrepreneurs have dealt with ups, and downs that come with the territory of owning a business. Their most important obstacle was entrepreneurship.

“I had this idea but I didn’t know how to get it off the ground” said Steward.

The same wall was in between Gallien, and his dreams. So Steward, and Gallien said the same thing.

Gallien’s advice, “get a piece of paper, as long as it’s up here [points to his head] it can never manifest out here”.

Leadership and confidence are also very important skill sets entrepreneurs need to have. You need to be able to lead a team. You cannot be afraid of anyone, because they could be a potential customer.

“When you are a business owner, you are selling yourself” said Sherman.

Steward said “I don’t think you can be an entrepreneur without having confidence”.

Giving back to the community is not an obligation to these entrepreneurs, but a spreading of wealth and wisdom.

Gallien uses his gift to mentor young people, he wants them to be creative. Sherman on the other has a program for young college students and parents.

“I teach young students the beauty of homeownership, and how important it is. We go through what an agent does, how to apply for loans, and how they can get started in college”.

Entrepreneurship is not all that bad, says these business owners. They all said that it is worth the hard work being that it pays off in the long run.

Gallien said “It’s great not having that voice tell you to get up, you have to go to work”.

For Steward it means no one getting in the way of her creative ideas.

“You make the rules, you call the shots, there is no one there to say no, to any of your ideas”.

Overall Entrepreneurship is not all hard work and no play. Yet it is not easy, it takes hard work dedication, a positive attitude, and being a self motivator.

But take it from Gallien when he says “You basically have to be crazy, to be an entrepreneur…but in a good way”.

Community activist offers words of encouragement to students By: Ania Sherman

He is a strong man, a black man.

His righteous mind made his voice tremble, like that of a southern Baptist preacher.

Texas Southern University students sat in the pew like seating with aching hunger pains for knowledge.

He spoke of God’s plan. His sermon like teachings pushed his listeners to the edge of their seats, and down to their knees.

His knowledge baptized his flock of listeners; fully submerging them into a euphoric enlightenment of consciousness.

Deric Muhammad, Houston-based community activist, organizer, and student in the ministry, spoke to a crowd of mostly young black men attending Texas Southern University; his message was ‘Love Yourz’ what it means to have life, manhood, blackness, and purpose.

Muhammed told the young men of the eight traps to be aware of that thwart survival, and success in life.

Number one, Neglecting your spiritual self.

“If you fail to feed your spiritual self, and all you feed is your other self, then your spiritual self will begin to die off, and the day is going to come when you need that spiritual self, and it won’t be there like you need it to be, why? Because you have not fed it,” Muhammed said.

Number two, not believing in yourself.

“To believe in yourself costs you nothing, but failure to believe in yourself costs you everything,” Muhammed said.

Number three the criminal justice system.

“Just stay out of it!,” Muhammed said.

Number four, the disrespect, and disregard for women.

“One of the biggest traps that you can fall into, and when you fall deep enough into that trap, unfortunately some of us never climb out, so you want to practice respect, and regard for the female, one day you’ll be like me and have three daughters,” Muhammed said.

Number five, the abuse of alcohol, and drugs.

“All that is, is a shortcut to the natural high, that you are supposed to get when you envision something in your mind, and you bring it into reality with your hands, when you smoke that dope, when you hit that blunt, you’re just taking a shortcut to the high, what we say is take the long route to the high, and that high will never go away,” Muhammed said.

Trap number six, the idea of job security.

“The idea of job security, is a trap, don’t fall into that one, most of you went to college because someone told you, that if you come, and you get an education, you can go and get a good job, and make some money, and have job security; I’m here to tell you that there is no such thing as job security, the only secure job that you have is the one that you make for yourself,” said Muhammed.

Number seven, debt.

“Debt, the honorable Elijah Muhammed teaches us that debt is slavery, as long as someone can keep you indebted to them, they can always control you,” Muhammed said.

Number eight, materialism.

“Gucci, louis, Chanel, Jordan, Mercedes-Benzes. These are all names, brands that get our attention, and when we put on a certain type of clothes, a certain type of shoes, certain type of dress, we carry a certain type of bag, all of a sudden, we believe, or we begin to feel that we ourselves are more valuable, then we were without it,” Muhammed said.

Muhammad said that the “black man” would not survive, if he continually pursued the same self-inflicting harm.

“How can you love your blackness?,” Muhammed asked the audience.

“You love blackness, by supporting, that which is black… you love blackness by taking your black dollar, to a black business, and supporting that black business,” said Muhammed.

Loving your blackness includes, loving, and supporting each other in a positive nurturing way, he added

“You love your blackness by whenever you see your brother or sister doing something positive, you walk over to them, and you actively, out of your mouth, give an encouraging word,” said Muhammed.

“How do you love your blackness?,” he asked the audience

“You go to a school like Texas Southern University,” Muhammed said.

Muhammed’s main objective was to tell men, that you have to do better.

Muhammed conveyed to the group, that if black men do not clean up their act, it will not only affect them negatively, but black women will have to face repercussions.

His fear is his motivation and his love for the millennial generation is his inspiration.

“Love Youz” which was the title of his agenda is also a song by a millennial rap artist J. Cole.

The chorus was the very lifeline to Muhammed’s speech.

“There is no such thing as a life that’s better than yours, love yours.” –J. Cole.

Muhammed ended his speech on an inspirational note.

“There is nothing on this earth that God did not give a specific purpose… raise your thumb, you see this? On your thumb is your thumb print, what that is, is God’s signature of authenticity. If everything he made has a purpose…why would he leave you out?,” Muhammed said.