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Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion Prayers for the Creative Christian and Entrepreneur by Nigeria Lockley

Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion 
Prayers for the Creative Christian and Entrepreneur by Nigeria Lockley 

Wheatley Award Winner and entrepreneur, Nigeria Lockley explores how to use the power of prayer to strategically manage your business and keep the faith in the process. Learn how to make God the CEO of all your endeavors and connect with Him on a deeper level with, Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion.


Christians are often taught that God must be involved in all that they do. Yet there is little guidance on how to get God more involved in our business ventures in a meaningful way. In Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion, author Nigeria Lockley explores areas of struggle that creative Christians and entrepreneurs must overcome in order to excel.

Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion will address topics like:

* Alignment of Purpose-what you want must be His will.

* Finance-understand that you should not feel guilty about earning money using your gift, however money, money, money can’t be your mantra.

* Networking-who you know may be important, but God has already ordained divine connections for you.

* Discretion and Discernment-know the difference and use them both.

Through transparent testimony, biblical guidance, and a prayer strategy pulled from the book of Nehemiah, Lockley provides believers with prayers to take the pursuit of their passion out of this world.  The paperback edition includes space for readers to develop their own prayers for each issue dealt with in the book.     

 

  


Excerpt from the Chapter on Balance
  

There are some who say living a balanced life while chasing your dreams is a myth. You’ve got to relentlessly throw yourself into the work, striving day and night to get things done and make it happen. Then there are those who believe you need to be balanced instead of busy. I spent three years throwing myself relentlessly into the work. I was on for twenty-six hours a day (yes, I added extra hours to the day). Every day melded into one day until I found myself in the middle of my seventh period class clutching my chest. The next day, I was determined to prove God was able and I still made the trek from Manhattan to Brooklyn. However, before the bell for first period rang, I was out the door and on my way to the emergency room. After a battery of tests and several trips to every doctor under the sun to find out what was the catalyst of my chest pains, I discovered that my body was basically falling apart. I had low iron and a cyst.  
It seemed like I needed to lock myself in a closet and say that strength prayer over and over again until I saw it fulfilled, but what I needed was balance. Every day I was trying to give one hundred percent of me to my writing, to my students, to my children, to my husband, and to God. I was trying to be everywhere at once, and that’s God job.

The order of the situation was all off. God has to be first every day and above all things. The same amount of time that we willingly devote to our passion must be allotted to God. He must be a part of all of our workings to maintain balance. Look at how He created the world-one day at a time and everything in order.

To pursue your passion in a Godly fashion means putting God first and everything else in its proper order. Does this life require long nights? Yes, especially when you’re just starting out; however, bouncing around like a balloon whose air has just been let out is not a requirement. Don’t live an unbalanced life that will have you everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Is this possible? Your gut is telling you it’s impossible to achieve balance and run a business. 

But it is possible. God was busy establishing the whole entire world as we know it, and He was never as frazzled as we are. We’re just trying to build brands, write books, and open new businesses. We just have to follow the blueprint He left us. The only true way to find balance is to seek God. God worked on a different aspect of creation each day. He built the whole world one day at a time.

( Continued… )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Nigeria Lockley. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

 

 

Alone by M.J. Kane (The Butterfly Memoirs Book 5)

Alone by M.J. Kane  
(The Butterfly Memoirs Book 5)  

When Derrick’s brother drives the family business into bankruptcy, Derrick is left without a job and only one choice: start over. With a new job waiting in Atlanta, the only other thing he’s looking for is a woman who’s willing to fit his no-strings-attached relationship policy. But then he runs into Kelli, a woman with a smart mouth who challenges him in every way. She’d be perfect … if it weren’t for the fact she had kids.
Shortly after giving birth to her son, Kelli’s husband announced that he wanted a divorce. Forced to move in with her newlywed sister, Kelli is faced with raising two young children on her own, finding affordable housing, and landing a job that will pay her bills. The last thing she needs or wants is a man in her life. But when her brother-in-law’s best friend shows up for dinner, it’s impossible to ignore the sexual attraction.
Fate and finances have another plan, though, forcing them into living under the same roof. Despite their differences, Derrick finds himself breaking his own relationship rules. But as his luck would have it, just when he thinks he’s ready to make a commitment, tragedy strikes close to home and, with it, issues from his past that force him to risk it all.


Excerpt: Alone by M.J. Kane 

“Mr. Derrick, look!” Christina waved a drawing in front of me.

“Leave Mr. Derrick alone, sweetie. I’m sure he doesn’t want to-“

“Hold on,” I interrupted. “You don’t speak for me.” I waited for Kelli to get my point, then turned my attention back to the young girl before me. I examined her drawing. “Not bad. You can draw a lot better than I can.” I winked; she laughed. I made my way to the washing machine and turned on the water. “What is it?”
“It’s a house.”
I sat at the table across from her while waiting for the wash tub to fill and looked at the drawing again. “Nice house.”
“My daddy draws houses,” Christina said with pride. She laid the picture flat on the table and selected another crayon.
“Does he now?” I looked over at Kelli for an explanation.
“He’s an architect.” Her expression went flat, so did her voice. Her attention went to the pot she was stirring. “Can you draw a house?” Little brown eyes the same shade of brown as her mother’s looked up at me.
I chuckled. “Not as good as you, but I can build a house.”
“With sticks and rocks and stuff?”
On the other side of the kitchen, Kelli laughed.
“No, I build with wood and blocks and stuff.”
“Legos!” Her enthusiasm was infectious.
I laughed. “No, I build real houses, like this one.” I held my arms out, pointed to the walls and ceiling of the room we were in for emphasis.
Christina’s eyes grew wide as she looked around the kitchen. “Ooo…,” then her face scrunched up in thought. “If you can build it, you can draw it, too!”
Words of wisdom from a five-year-old kid.
She slid a blank sheet of paper in front of me. “You can use my crayons if you want.”
“Christina…,” Kelli shot her daughter a look of warning.
“It’s okay.” I met Kelli’s expression with one that encouraged her not to stop her daughter. “She’s right, let me see.” I slid the paper in front of me and selected a black crayon, then stared at the paper. My mind went blank.
When was the last time I’d drawn something? Feeling stupid, I scratched my head, then looked over at the little artist. She’d started adding windows and doors.
Christina looked over at me. “What are you waiting for?” She giggled. “It’s easy. Mommy can do it. Mommy, draw a house!” She waved a blank sheet of paper in her mother’s direction.
Kelli wiped her hands on her pants, then joined us at the table. I looked at her, but she refused to meet my gaze. Within minutes, Kelli had lines on paper that took the shape of a two-story house. The details were proportioned to the point of perfection. This picture seemed to have come from memory and not imagination. I glanced at Christina’s paper. It was a crude version of her mother’s.
They must have been drawing the house they used to live in.
“See, Mommy’s good, too!” Christina got up from the table, walked to her mother, and kissed her cheek. “Mommy, can I watch TV?”
“Sure, baby.” She hugged her daughter.
“Mr. Derrick, you and Mommy can use my crayons. I’ll get them when you’re done, ‘k?”
“Thanks.”
Christina skipped out of the room, leaving us to sit in silence.
I drew a few lines on my sheet of paper. Instead of a house, the blueprints from my current job came to mind. I went with that and decided to see exactly how much I remembered.
Kelli continued her picture. Details such as windows, doors, and landscaping emerged.
Damn, she was good.
“Looks like she gets her artistic skills from you.” I leaned forward a bit. “Lots of details. I don’t think I could imagine all of that.”
“It’s easy to do when it used to be reality.” She sat her crayon down, stared at the image, then ripped it to shreds. The expression on her face was hard.
I focused on my paper and gave her a moment to move past her dark place. Once the image was confetti, I figured she would be able to talk.
“I’m sorry about earlier.” I didn’t look at her. “I was tired. It won’t happen again.” I risked a peek and saw Kelli had stopped moving.
“Thank you for cleaning up.” Her eyes stayed on the scraps of paper in her hands.
“No problem. Like I said, I didn’t ask you to do anything. I don’t expect you to do anything for me either. I know you’ve been through a lot and being here and not there,” I indicated the pile of paper. “Can’t be easy. Now I’m here, too. I don’t know what you have against me. If I’ve done something to offend you, I apologize. But I’m not him. Don’t take your anger and pain out on me, okay?”
Kelli looked up at me. It was obvious she was trying her best to control her emotions, but I could still see the damp corners of her eyes. “Sorry.”
I nodded. “I’ll stay out of your way as much as possible, but if you need help with anything around here, let me know. Contrary to what you believe, my mother didn’t raise an animal.”
Kelli squeezed her eyes shut, put her hands on her face. “Sorry about that, too.”
“You get a free pass…this time.”
Kelli laughed a little and looked me in the eye.
I found myself staring as she wiped those cat-like slits with her knuckle. Sad eyes, but beautiful just the same.

( Continued… )
© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, M.J. Kane. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 

 


Alone by M.J. Kane  (Book 5 of The Butterfly Memoirs) 
Interracial Romance, African-American Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Purchase Alone by M.J. Kane (The Butterfly Memoirs Book 5) 

AMAZON: https://amzn.com/B01M7XYIFD  

KOBO:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/alone-79 

 

A Perfect Caress by Nana Prah

A Perfect Caress by Nana Prah

Chapter One
Tackling a person to the ground in order grab the last piece of cake would be wrong. Lanelle Murphy had trouble convincing herself of this little truth. Maybe not so much wrong as bad and kind of depressing. Unless it ended up being the best cake ever baked.
Her gaze never wandered from the prize while a suspected perpetrator remained in the periphery. At five feet eight inches, Lanelle increased her already long stride to eat up more of the ground at a faster rate.
Their hands landed on the clear plastic container hold­ing the triple-layered moist chocolate cake covered with scrumptious, rich chocolate icing at the same time.
Since Lanelle’s palm touched the container with his warm fingers wrapped around hers, it meant she’d gotten to it first. The cake belonged to her. The stranger’s resign­ing breath pushed away any idea she may have had of el­bowing him in the ribs before running toward the cashier and dropping money on the counter without stopping.
Lanelle tilted her head to the man without deigning to look at him. If she gave him her full attention, she’d do the kind thing and relinquish the treat. After receiving a disappointing update about a project close to her heart, she deserved it.
After almost two years of planning and fund-raising to build a new neonatal unit in the hospital, Lanelle felt like giving up. Dealing with the other members of the hospi­tal board had proved tedious.
The problems creeping up with the construction set their timeline back and deepened the financial ditch. The funds they’d raised had run out faster than expected, and she couldn’t understand how it had happened. They’d been meticulous in their calculations. After going through the books with her personal accountant this past week, they’d found nothing amiss.
Maybe she should’ve accepted her father’s help when he’d offered it, but she figured it couldn’t be difficult to construct a hospital wing. It wasn’t like they were building a whole hospital from the ground up. It turned out that more went into it than she’d researched.
Lanelle had been trained by the best to ensure things happened the way they should, but this project was draining the life out of her.
She needed this cake. “Hi,” she said instead of telling him to get his paw off her pastry.
“Hello. It looks like we both want the same piece of cake.”
The deep rumble of his voice enticed her but wouldn’t detract her. “Looks that way.” Didn’t this man know not to get between a woman and her chocolate? She turned her head to get a good look at the enemy. They stood so close she had to angle her head back in order to see his face.
Great. The guy who threatened her sanity turned out to be at least six-two. She could’ve picked a better day to wear her cutest pair of Tabitha Simmons ballerina flats.
More than his height caused her breath to hitch. His sienna-brown eyes, contrasting with skin almost as rich and dark as the cake, made for a gorgeous man.
“Would you be interested in the vanilla, by any chance?” His grin drew her attention to full lips covering a set of even white teeth, adding to the squishy feeling in her stomach.
“As tempting as it looks with those rainbow sprinkles, I’d prefer the chocolate.” She’d finished playing nice with the handsome stranger sporting the cutest little Afro she’d seen in a while and pulled the cake toward her. “Since my hand is on the container, it means I reached it first, so technically it’s mine.”
“On a normal day I’d agree, but I need this cake.”
She snorted. “Let me guess. You have PMS and you’re about to take down anyone who gets in the way of get­ting your fix.” Her frown melded into a grin at his burst of laughter.
“No. My niece is about to find out if she’s still in re­mission from the cancer she beat last year. She asked me last night to pick her up a piece of chocolate cake from this cafeteria when I came to join the meeting after her MRI. She insisted no other would do.”
Lanelle squinted in an attempt to assess if he’d given her a line. Detecting no guile in his expression, she re­leased the box. He didn’t let go of her hand.
Sliding her fingers out of his grasp, she crossed her arms over her chest. “I hope your niece is healthy.”
“Thank you. I know she’ll appreciate that I almost got beaten up for her cake.” He held out his right hand. “I’m Dante Sanderson.”
“I wouldn’t have fought you. Maybe just taken you down,” she mumbled as she placed her hand in his. She pulled it away at the bizarre sensation of tingles racing up her arm to her scalp.
She tucked her hand behind her, confused at her body’s reaction.
He raised an eyebrow. “You think it’s a possibility?”
“A fact.”
Text Copyright © 2016 by Nana Prah. Cover Art Copyright © 2016 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited. Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved.  ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.
 

Second House from the Corner: A Novel by Sadeqa Johnson

Second House from the Corner: A Novel
by Sadeqa Johnson

In the tradition of  I Don’t Know How She Does It,  Second House from the Corner centers on the story of Felicia Lyons, a stay-at-home mother of three drowning in the drudgeries of play dates, lost pacifiers and potty training who occasionally wonders what it would be like to escape the demands of motherhood.
“A captivating tale to savor about a woman whose buried past threatens her picture perfect family life. Felicia is a wonderfully flawed, compelling main character, one who has stayed with me long after I finished the book. A winning novel from a writer to watch.” -Benilde Little, bestselling author

Felicia Lyons, a ­­­­­­­ stressed out stay-at-home mom, struggles to sprint ahead of the demands of motherhood while her husband spends long days at the office. Felicia taps, utters mantra, and breathes her way through most situations, but on some days, like when the children won’t stop screaming her name or arguing over toy trucks and pretzel sticks, she wonders what it would be like to get in her car and drive away.

Then one evening the telephone rings, and in a split second the harried mother’s innocent fantasy becomes a hellish reality. The call pulls her back into a life she’d rather forget. Felicia hasn’t been completely honest about her upbringing, and her deception forces her return to the Philadelphia of her childhood, where she must confront the family demons and long buried secrets she thought she had left behind.

From a phenomenal fresh voice in fiction, comes the compelling story of what happens when the dream falls apart. Sadeqa Johnson’s Second House from the Corner is an unforgettable tale of love, loss, rediscovery, and the growing pains of marriage.

Felicia Lyons is a character who mothers can identify with and laugh along with. You can’t help but cheer for her in Johnson’s engaging and well-written novel.

PRAISE FOR SADEQA JOHNSON 

“A captivating tale to savor…Felicia is a wonderfully flawed, compelling main character, one who has stayed with me long after I finished the book. A winning novel from a writer to watch.”  —Benilde Little, bestselling author of Welcome to My Breakdown and Good Hair

“Sadeqa Johnson is one of those authors you rarely find these days. Her gift of writing sings on every page. When reading her second novel, Second House From the Corner, you can’t help feeling like you just received a letter from an old friend…. or an old lover. It is a must read!”  —Here’s the Story Bookstore in Union, NJ

Excerpt from Second House from the Corner: A Novel

PART 1

To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings— all in the same relationship. — Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The Witching Hour

That four-hour window between after-school pickup and bedtime?  It’s like walking a tightrope with groceries in both hands. The slightest hiccup will land any mother in a quagmire with her legs in the air. For me the whole afternoon was a fail. I locked myself out when I went to pick the kids up from school, but didn’t notice the missing house keys until I pulled into the driveway. The snacks had been demolished at the playground, so the hunger meltdown began on the drive to my husband’s office for the spare key (a drive that usually takes seven minutes, but ended up being twenty round-trip because of traffic). Things got even shoddier once I discovered we were out of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. My children will not eat baked chicken unless I dip the pieces in buttermilk, roll them in cornflakes, and bake until crispy. The oven was preheated, the potatoes were boiling for the mash, and I was thirty-three minutes off schedule without the magic cereal that makes my chicken finger-licking good. No time to change the dinner plan. So I swap in seasoned bread crumbs and cross my toes that they won’t notice.

“Mama, this doesn’t taste right.” My son, Rory, frowns.

“Just eat it. There are children right down the street who are starving.”

“But it’s disgusting,” whines Twyla.

How does a four-year-old know what disgusting is?

“Just eat.”

“I have to go pee pee and poo poo.”

“Stop smiling at me. Mommy, she’s smiling.”

“Can we just have dessert?”

“Maaaaaaaa.”

“Mommmmm.”

“Momeeeeeeee.”

Like a song on repeat. Like it’s the last word in the English dictionary. They call “Mommy” until my lips pucker, eyebrows knit. And it takes all my strength not to respond with that inside voice that nobody hears, that you wish would stay quiet, that tells the truth you don’t want anyone to know. That damn voice is hollering. Shut the fuck up!

At what point do I get to shout What the fuck do you want from me? I wouldn’t drop an F-bomb in front of the mommy crew at the park, and I hate to see parents on the street cursing out their kids. But here in my kitchen with everything working against me, I would like to liberate myself just once and let the profanity rip. It’s the nipping at my nerves that gets me. The feasting on my flesh like starved sea urchins. Them, fighting like thieves for their individual piece of me. Me feeling like I have nothing left to give. Any mother who says that she has never felt like her whole life was being sucked out through her nostrils is a damn liar. I feel it every day. Especially when I don’t get at least five hours of shut-eye, like last night.

Twyla (whom I call Two) walked her four-year-old self into my room every hour complaining about being scared. Scared of what? The curtain, the bed, the wall—she had an excuse for each visit. Never mind that she had to walk past her father to get to me. They never bother him. It’s always Mommy. So I upped and downed all night while he slept like a hibernating black bear. 

Breathe.  
I hate when I feel like this. My chest rising and falling. Momentum of failure piled. Anxiety has swept through my belly and is curled against my organs like a balled fist. Just one happy pill would make it all better. But I’ve been on the happiness-comes-from within kick for a few months, so no more pills. Instead I’ve started tapping.

Tapping out my emotions so I can get back to feeling right. It’s that new technique where I say what my issue is and use my fingertips and hit my meridian points until I’m back to even. It usually takes about five minutes and several rounds before I feel centered and strong. My husband, Preston, calls it woo-woo, but he’s not at home with three children all day. I am, and I have to use what I’ve got to carry me through. I turn my back to the kids at the kitchen table, take two fingers, and tap the side of my hand while whispering my setup statement.

“Even though I feel stressed out, anxious, and tired of being alone and responsible for my kids I love and accept myself.”

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

“Calming down.” I try whispering the statement again but Tywla is out of her seat.

“My stomach hurts.”

Rory puts his fork down. “I’m full.”

My fingers stop. I haven’t made it through one minute, much less the five I need. I take a deep breath and usher everyone upstairs. Maybe Preston will surprise me and come home early. Thedamn voice laughs. When was the last time he did that? He never makes it home before their bedtime and I bet that’s on purpose.

Rory moans. “That’s my boat.”

“Dad gave it to me.”

“No, he didn’t.”

Breathe. “Cut it out and get undressed.”

I run their bath and sneak in a quick tap. Repeating my setup statement, I move from my hand to my forehead, to the side of my eye, under my eye, under my lip, under my chin, full hand on chest, bra strap and top of the head. Fill my lungs with air and exhale. Twyla and Rory are back. I read my body. Better.

“Can I bring this in the tub, pretty please?” Twyla clutches the mesh bag with their toys.

“Sure.”

They climb into the bathtub and play. This should give me a few minutes alone with the baby.

“Guys, I’m going to change Liv into her pajamas. No water on the floor.”

“Can we have more bubbles?”

“No.”

“Awwww, man,” Rory replies, imitating Swiper the Fox. “You only gave us a little bit.”

I cut my eyes in the direction of my six-year-old and hold his gaze for a beat longer so that he knows I mean business.

The upstairs of our house is small, and it only takes three long strides to the girls’ bedroom. Liv, the baby, squirms in my arms and I find solace burying my head in her neck. I could sit and smell this child all day. At ten months old, she still has that fresh-to-the-earth smell that forces me to slow my pace. It’s hard to look at her without feeling deep sighs of relief. She is our miracle child.

When I was twenty weeks pregnant with Liv, a routine sonogram found something suspicious. I was sent to the Robert Woods Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick to see a pediatric cardiologist. There was a pinch in her heart that could hemorrhage. Her chances of being stillborn were high. When the doctor suggested that we terminate the pregnancy, I was bilious. By then I had already heard her heart beat, felt her flutter and kick, loved her. Preston didn’t even look my way when he simply told the batch of white coats that we would take our chances.

On our way home, the traffic on the Garden State Parkway held us hostage. I slobbered and blubbered against the passenger seat window, trudging through my past, knowing which karmic act brought this down on our family. My husband kept patting my hand, but when that didn’t work, he pulled our ice-cream-truck size SUV over to the side of the road and pressed the hazard lights.

“Foxy, look at me.” He is the only person who calls me Foxy, and even with hearing my personal pet name, I couldn’t bring my eyes to his. Tilting my damp chin, he forced eye contact. “This is not your fault.”

But it is.

“You trust me?”

I shake my head, of course, because there really is no other response when your husband asks you that question.

“So the baby is healed. It’s done, no more worries.” Preston clapped his hands, as if he had just entered a contract with God.

“Now stop blaming yourself, you didn’t do anything.”

As our vehicle crawled up the Parkway, he informed me that we’d name her Liv.

“Not short for anything. Just Liv.”

I knew what I had done to deserve this even though my husband did not. I wanted it to be all right. Needed something to cling too, so I agreed to everything that Preston offered because the only hope I had for a favorable outcome was him. I had burned my bridge with God a long time ago.

( Continued… )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sadeqa Johnson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Second House from the Corner: A Novel
Contemporary Women Fiction

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About the Author
SADEQA JOHNSON is a former public relations manager who spent years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debut novel, LOVE IN A CARRY-ON BAG was hailed by Ebony.com as “this summer’s hottest read.” It was the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction and the 2012 USA Best Book award for African-American fiction. Originally from Philadelphia, she now resides in Virginia with her husband and three children. SECOND HOUSE FROM THE CORNER is her second novel.  For more visit: http://www.sadeqajohnson.com 

 

SORRY TO TELL YOU MR. TRUMP YOU’RE WRONG ABOUT US by Leah Reynolds

SORRY TO TELL YOU MR. TRUMP
YOU’RE WRONG ABOUT US
by Leah Reynolds

If you have been following the election coverage, you are probably at the point where a lot of Americans are; you simply want to get it over with and return to your regularly scheduled lives. With this election, however, we must do more than just return to our lives, we must purpose to continue educating our youth and the community on the contributions and accomplishments of the black community.

As I watched the speeches delivered by each candidate, I couldn’t help but wonder if either of them had any real knowledge of the black community aside from what they see on television. This thought was further hammered home after Trump’s attempt to gain support from the black community with his, “What do you have to lose” speech. Read the article: Donald Trump speaking to African American and Hispanic voters: http://wpo.st/CKy72

According to Trump, the black community is “living in poverty” and “crime stricken” neighborhoods. Contrary to what some would like us to believe the entire black community is not in complete desolation and destruction. Based on the findings in Nielsen’s 2016 Report, African-American Millennials are driving the wave of social change and digital advancements. 

Quoting from the Nielsen website, “African-Americans are exuberant and reflective—optimistic about present-day advances in income, education, entrepreneurship and health care, and determined to forge a better future as influential leaders and catalysts of social awareness against discrimination and social injustice.

This latest report highlights African-Americans’ economic and cultural gains and continues to shine a spotlight on how African-American Millennials are forging ahead in their use of technology and social media to raise awareness and evoke a national discussion on civic and political issues. As African-Americans, particularly younger Millennials, continue to develop and expand their influence on mainstream America, companies are making changes to reach this culture-rich group.”

The Nielsen Report also documents that in 2015 the African-American community controlled nearly $1.2 trillion in buying power. Considering African-American Millennials only make up 14% of the U.S. Milennial population it’s astonishing that they possess $162 billion in buying power alone. This number is expected to grow to nearly $1.4 trillion by 2020. The number of African-American’s with annual incomes over $100,000 nearly doubled to 12% in 2014 with numbers continuing to climb, while the number of households with annual incomes under $25,000 has been on a steady decline.

Nielsen has been reporting on the purchasing and consumption habits of the African-American community for nearly five years. The data presented within this report dispels many myths about the true power of the community. High school dropout rates are on a decline with 89% of Millennials graduating high school while college enrollment is increasing, especially among African-American women.  With 91% of African-Americans owning smartphones and over half report spending over an hour or more daily on various social networking sites, they are connected to each other in real-time to ban together on any cause, project or movement that moves them.

Millennials are proving the naysayers wrong and showing the world that the African-American community has been underestimated for far too long.

YOUNG, CONNECTED AND BLACK: AFRICAN-AMERICAN MILLENNIALS ARE DRIVING SOCIAL CHANGE AND LEADING DIGITAL ADVANCEMENT MR. TRUMP!

You can view and download the 2016 Nielsen Report – Young, Connected and Black, go here.
At Nielsen, they study consumers in more than 100 countries to give you the most complete view of trends and habits worldwide. According to their website, Diversity & Inclusion is very important to society and to business. “It’s not just a goal, but a global business imperative. It’s about each of us embracing the talents and ideas of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to drive our continued success in providing clients with the information they need to succeed.”


About the Author

Sage (aka Leah Reynolds) was born and raised in Huntingtown, MD. She has been married to her best friend, for over ten years and they have two amazing sons. She is also an Autism advocate and a parent of an autistic child, which inspired her to write a non-fiction book on raising a child on the Autism spectrum, The Optimistic Autistic: Our Testimony.

Sage also writes mysteries centered on characters that are close to the heart. She has vowed to produce books that encourage the reader to deliberately read; not just for entertainment but to read with the intention of solving the mystery along with the Detective.

Her belief that, “if you don’t see the books you’re searching for write them” has inspired her to write with a purpose and a passion.

Check out all of the books written by Sage
http://www.amazon.com/Sage/e/B01CC290ZE 
 
 
 
 

African Americans vs. the United States of America Can the US be sued for C-PTSD?

African Americans vs. the United States of America
Can the US be sued for C-PTSD?


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as a mental condition triggered by witnessing or experiencing a single traumatic event. Symptoms of the illness include flashbacks, uncontrollable thoughts, and severe anxiety. Many war weary soldiers return from combat with crippling PTSD symptoms, making this issue a severe problem in many communities across the country.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition involving long-term exposure to emotional trauma in which a victim has little or absolutely no control over and no hope of escape.  C-PTSD is a condition involving long-term exposure to emotional trauma in which a victim has little or absolutely no control over and no hope of escape.

Anyone watching the news or scanning through their Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat feeds can tell that the United States has become a hot seat for tense racial relations. In fact, we are at a boiling point. Some are proclaiming that racial tensions are at the worst they’ve ever been. I disagree, however, racism has not changed, but thanks to modern technology, it is being exposed.

While social media and camera phones have made it easier to capture and share instances of hate and oppression with the masses, the truth is racism, hate and violence against African Americans have always been a source of fear, anger and anxiety from the moment our ancestors’ feet hit U.S. soil.

Lynching, bombed churches, beatings and murders at the hand of those who swore to protect and serve, discrimination and prejudices plaguing the working environment can have anyone reeling with strong emotions, especially those with brown skin.

For every African American who claims to have never experienced racism, there are many whose experiences haunt them months, years and even decades after the incident(s). Some have been traumatized by racism and hate to the point of no return; where they are fearful of leaving their homes or interacting with others.

How many mothers of Black boys have watched the news with an inherent fear for their sons? 

African Americans have fears and anxieties that rob them of their sleep and their peace that no other race even considers when they arise in the morning. What will happen if my son is pulled over? What will happen if my father is walking down the street and someone assumes that he is a threat?

As a parent of a teen aged child in this world, there is always a nagging thought plaguing me when he leaves from my presence. 

It seems like every week there is a story being shared through television and social media websites of an unjust killing or an issue of racial strife. Couple this bombardment of information with daily life annoyances, frustrations and tasks it is enough to drive any sane person, mad. One can actually become overwhelmed with the amount of negativity being spread online and in the news.

What would happen if a group of African Americans filed a class action lawsuit against the government for C-PTSD and emotional distress?   Would they be successful?  The African-American community has endured centuries of stress and turmoil, many of which go unaddressed and untreated. How would those years of stress translate into a monetary judgment?  

Some would argue that stress as a result of racial tensions is nothing but a convenient excuse for today’s troubles.

What are your thoughts?

About the Author
Sage (aka Leah Reynolds) was born and raised in Huntingtown, MD. She has been married to her best friend, for over ten years and they have two amazing sons. She is also an Autism advocate and a parent of an autistic child, which inspired her to write a non-fiction book on raising a child on the Autism spectrum, The Optimistic Autistic: Our Testimony.

Sage also writes mysteries centered on characters that are close to the heart. She has vowed to produce books that encourage the reader to deliberately read; not just for entertainment but to read with the intention of solving the mystery along with the Detective.

Her belief that, “if you don’t see the books you’re searching for write them” has inspired her to write with a purpose and a passion. 

Check out all of the books written by Sage
http://www.amazon.com/Sage/e/B01CC290ZE 
 
 
 
 
 

Preparing Your Work Space for a Post Trump Election by Gregory Harris

Preparing Your Work Space for a Post Trump Election
by Gregory Harris

All of us should be considering and preparing for the world as it will be after the 2016 election. The reality is that regardless of who wins or loses, the attitudes towards minorities, equality and racial relations is definitely changing and the discourse on bringing us all together will take major steps backwards.

The angry and now outspoken supporters of the Trump following and their negative, but pervasive discontent will undoubtedly continue well past Nov 8.  Now that it appears Trump has won, there will be triumphant and loud endorsement of the reversal of all things previously held as truths of racial inequities and inequality in work and life options for minorities. Implicit bias will rise to explicit action based on the current rhetoric. That rhetoric gives rise to economic anxiety. That anxiety means loss of jobs and opportunities for white America, but comes based in racial anxiety that says Mexicans, blacks and immigrant Muslims are getting all the jobs and opportunities that are left after Obama has let jobs go to China and India. Unfair to white Americans and requires a taking back of America. But back from who?

 How do you take America back from these very real statistics?
* Black unemployment: 8.8% vs 4.9 for whites (Dept of Labor 2016)
* Poverty levels: 26.2% black, 23.6% Hispanic, 10.1% white (2014 Census)
* Black children: 38% live in poverty, steady since 2011 (PEW 2015)
* Billionaires: black-2, white-500+ ( Forbes 2015)
* 1 Black female CEO in Fortune 500 ( Forbes 2015)
* 1 in 3 black men will go to prison in their lifetime (UN sentencing 2013)
* Jailed men: black 1 in 15, Hispanic 1 in 26, white 1 in 106 ( ACLU 2011)
Although the data tells a different story, minorities (black, brown, women, LGBT) will be facing a new reality. We will live in a world where the angry, racist and disenfranchised members of the majority will now believe in their own rhetoric and the beliefs and biases that they have silently held onto for years to be true in the now. Trump and his movement have given them a new emboldened voice, a new endorsement of their delusions.

However, now is not a good time for a backwards change with all of the consistent affronts to the minority population. Police killings, a justice system that targets black males and the lack of advancement opportunities in the black and brown communities, is not a good environment for further backlash. There will be reactions from the minority communities, but how each of us responds in the workplace is key to changing and managing fear and discontent on both sides.

For those of us who are employed, we have the unique opportunity to reach more civil minded or liked minded individuals who can recognize disconnects in the dialogue. It becomes our charge to change the racialized landscape and attitudes while we protect our jobs and the future of those coming behind us. Sometimes we do this ‘one naysayer at a time’ but do it we must. The alternatives are grim indeed.

When we do see opportunities to change attitudes, perceptions and fix the world we live in, we now have a challenge to (continue or start) working within the system in our work space for the benefit of us all. You and I must initiate our personal movement towards the elimination of implicit bias and racism in our workspace and educating our peers, associates, and comrades on the benefits and potentials of working together.

But first, ‘To thine own self be true’—think about the business you are in: will it be immediately affected by a change in administrations? Good or bad with Hillary or Trump? Will there be Green Company failures with Trump in office? Will interest rate changes affect your company’s ability to grow? Will social cuts loom for local, state and government employees? Although none of these changes would have effect immediately, consider what might happen in your industry and business and prepare accordingly with some thoughtful thinking and planning on what to watch for to predict and respond to impending change.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare became a reality, many medical manufacturers cut staff or benefits, etc., to protect earnings in preparation for additional taxes and cost they thought were coming. They closed plants, reduced staffing, etc. to protect earnings.

In this hostile climate, what and who may affect businesses trying to get away with cutting first? Is the business you are in secure? Are the real leaders in your organization part of the ‘Make America Great Again’ movement, or believers in civil rights for everyone?

Consider all of the above questions as you review your current occupation. Evaluate where YOU are and make your plan. This is the first step in preparing for the Post Trump Election.

About the Author
An author, a public speaker, and businessman, Gregory pens his new book Overcoming Bias and Racism in Your Workspace. Using his experiences with racism as a child raised in a military family in the poor coal and steel region/area /country of eastern Ohio, as well as his professional experiences at IBM and Wang Computers, Gregory shares tips and tools to effectively deal with the challenges of racism and bias head on.

A proud graduate of Morgan State University with over 20 years career experience as an executive, Gregory knows what it takes to survive and thrive in the world of business. A former Global Vice President Business Development and Marketing in the corporate realm, he continues to work as a consultant and coach encouraging success for all in the high tech arena.

With a passion for writing and reading, Gregory hopes to inspire and motivate others toward change. A youth sports coach in his spare time, Gregory always encourages others to be the best image of themselves and to stay true to one’s beliefs. Contact Gregory online at www.gregharrisauthors.com

 
 
 
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