First Lady of Black History

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As we know, today is the first day of Black History Month. This the start of a month long celebration to acknowledge the many accomplishments of African-Americans who have made a major impact in our lives. Whether it’s movies or politics, these are the people we pay homage to during this month. While there are many men and women to give credit to for changing America’s history, this month I’m dedicating it to the women. Not saying men aren’t as important, it just time for our ladies to have a voice all on their own. The accomplishments of women in history don’t get as much of a voice as the accomplishments of men. Sometimes they even go unnoticed. Not this month. This month I’m bringing women to the forefront. Women have sacrificed a lot for this country. Black, White, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Latina, Middle Eastern, it’s time we are recognized for it.

My first lady of Black History Month is Mrs. Sarah Breedlove. You may know her better as Madam C. J. Walker. It wasn’t until 1906, when she married her third husband, Mr. Charles J. Walker that she would become one of the most phenomenal women in African-American History. Mrs. Walker started out as a laundress, barely making enough to earn college fund. Determined to give her and her daughter a better education, she started selling hair care products for a wealthy woman by the name of Annie Malone. It wasn’t until then that Mrs. Walker began to educate herself more about the hair care product industry.

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Sarah Breedlove was one of six children born after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. This was a legislative bill signed by President Abraham Lincoln ending slavery and deeming it unconstitutional. Due to her parent’s passing, she was an orphan at the age of seven. She was taken in by her older sister and her husband. At the tender age of 14, she married her first husband and gave birth to a baby girl. In 1906, she married Charles J. Walker, a newspaper salesman she had known from Missouri. This would be the start of a lucrative journey for her.

Sarah suffered from severe dandruff, hair loss, and other various scalp ailments due to the harsh chemicals such as lye that was put into the soaps and other hair care products. Her brothers whom were barbers at the time, educated her on hair care products to treat black women’s hair. It was at this point she became a commission agent for Annie T. Malone, another successful African-American woman. While working for Malone, she started to educate herself on hair care and took interest in starting her own hair care line.

In 1906, Mrs. Walker and her daughter moved to Colorado where she continued to sell hair product for Malone, and pursued her own hair care business. She inherited the first name Madam as that was a French term for women in the beauty industry. Walker sold her products door to door, educating women on how to train and groom their hair. Her husband became her business partner and helped with her promotion and advertising. She later put her daughter in charge of her mail order operations while she and her husband traveled the Southern parts of the United States, expanding their business. Walker and Malone became rivals in the hair care industry as Walker’s products began to flourish.

In 1910, Indianapolis became the hometown headquarters for Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. She later opened a training school, hair salon, and factory to train other women. Walker developed her own system known as “The Walker System” that was designed to help brittle hair become soft and luxurious. There were similar products being produced by competitors such as Annie Malone with her Poro System and Sarah Washington with the Apex System. Walker’s hair school trained over 20,000 women over the years all over the south. Her hair products would later be spread throughout the Caribbean, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Panama, and Costa Rica. With all of her advertisements in newspapers in the black community, it’s no wonder Mrs. Walker became an overnight success.

In addition to her flourishing hair care product line, she was also a philanthropist and activist. She educated women on better budgeting, giving them the necessary information to start their own business and become financially independent. This was the start of a new movement for women. Walker became an icon and an inspiration to women everywhere. She gave women the courage and confidence to step out on faith and achieve the goals you set forth. 

“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factory, on my own ground.”

-Madam C.J. Walker

  • 1918 Walker was acknowledge by the NACWC (National Association of Colored Women’s Club) for making the largest contribution to save Frederick Douglass’ Anacostia house
  • She helped raised funds to establish a branch of the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) in the black community in Indianapolis
  • She was a leader in the Circle for Negro War Relief where she advocated to establish training camps for black army officers
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Before It Even Get’s Started: Intro to Black History Month

The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are

-Maya Angelou

We are one week away from the beginning of Black History month. This is a month dedicated to acknowledging the African-Americans who have made an impact on America as a whole. This a time to gain knowledge and really learn where we come from. Being an African-American woman, it is very important for me to learn my heritage. It is imperative that I know and understand the sacrifices that those before me made. It is really imperative that I understand the significance of Black History Month and be able to share my knowledge with others. With that being said, I’ll introduce you to a little history of the meaning of the true reason for Black History Month.

So while we know on the surface that February is Black History Month, do we really know why this month was chosen? Well, Black History wasn’t always celebrated for the whole month. You see, back in 1926, Carter G Woodson created Black History week, which was dedicated to celebrating the achievements of many African Americans and their impact on the United States. That week also happened to be right around the time President Abraham Lincoln celebrated his birthday, which was in, you guessed it, February. The other well-known names in Black History who celebrated their birthday’s in February include Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass. It was decided that black history week would take place on the second week in February since President Lincoln’s birthday was the 12th of the month and Mr. Douglass’ birthday was the 14th.

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When Mr. Woodson created Black History week, this gave blacks a platform to rise from. Mr. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History put heavy pressure on the Department of Education to teach Black History to students in school. Of course, this was met with a mediocre response and was accepted by only four states. The four states include North Caroline, Baltimore, West Virginia, and Washington, DC. In the coming weeks, Black History week would spark a major change in the education system and teachers worldwide. Leaders from organizations all over learned about these teachings. Churches and schools starting printing literature for black history week and incorporating it into their teachings. With it’s progressive interests, mayors across the United States were considering endorsing black history week as a holiday. Talk about really making an impact on American History. Imagine having a holiday that consisted of a whole week. That would be pretty awesome!

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With such an enthusiastic response from the press and progressive whites, this pushed students at Kent University to propose that Black History week be celebrated the whole month of February. In 1969, Black United Students at Kent University proposed this idea, and the first celebration of Black History month took place in 1970 at Kent University. In 1976, President Ford recognized the expansion of Black History week to Black History Month. He stated “I urge Americans to seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Black History Month has been celebrated for many decades, and it’s concept has been widely adopted. The United Kingdom celebrated Black History Month in 1987 followed by Canada in 1995. The teaching of Black History in February was one of the most important movements in Black History period. This paved the way for many others to pay homage to those whose accomplishments changed and continue to change the way America operates.

In recent years, there has been some harsh criticism about why Black History was crammed into one month. As I stated earlier, this month was chosen to coincide with President Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthday. That’s not to say that blacks or African-Americans aren’t making history every day. This concept was chosen so that everyone could gain awareness and knowledge of unrecognized accomplishments by black people and it could be brought to the forefront.

 

Hidden Figures

Mind, Body & Soul

A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with bricks other have thrown at her

Author Unknown

As we approach the month of February, I had this brilliant idea to do a thread on infamous black women who made a difference throughout history and in the local community. As  the years go on, many people seem to forget the February is black history month. It’s a time to pay homage to all of the African-American men and women who made an impact on law, history, the community, sports, and any aspect of life.

I chose to do women because we are really coming together to stand up and make a difference in the lives of other people. Men are always recognized for all of their hard-work, effort, and dedication, but, what people don’t know is behind that hard-working dedicated man is an even more dedicated hard-working woman…

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Practice What You Preach

The next morning, Carrie awoke to find James downstairs watching television with Jr. “Good morning, sleepy head. I thought you’d never wake up.” he greeted. “Well, I’d elaborate on the events of last night, but we have a child in our presence.” she cooed. James kissed her cheek and turned his attention back to Jr. “Good morning Jr., how are you?” “I’m fine Mrs. Carrie. Look at the new trucks my daddy bought me.” he replied as he eagerly rushed over to show her. “Oh wow, these are nice. Show me how they work.” James watched as the two of them sat on the floor playing with the toys and making mock engine sounds. “Daddy come play with us.” Jr. urged. James rushed over to the circle and joined in.

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Despite all of the troubles that life has thrown their way, they truly were a happy family. Even though Jr. didn’t belong to her, Carrie treated him as if he was her own child. They did everything a mother and son would do together. She took him shopping, planned play dates, movie nights, and even helped him with his homework. On nights that James had to work late, she’d offered to keep him. This made things easier between him and Jessica, and gave their household some balance. She didn’t mind Jr.’s company. After all, this would prepare her when she and James decided to have a child of their own.

A few moments later, their play session was interrupted by the doorbell. Carrie and James both glanced at the clock on the microwave. It was only 8 o’clock in the morning. “Who on earth could this be?” James said as he got up to open the door. Carrie watched impatiently as he jogged over to the door. He peeped through the peephole and then proceeded to open the door. “I come here for my son.” she blared. Carrie let out a heavy sigh as Jessica stepped inside. Just as she started to get Jr. ready to go with his mom, she was interrupted by the sound of a man’s voice. “Jessica can you hurry up. I got things to do.” he boomed. “Preston don’t rush me, I have to get my son.” “I don’t know why you won’t leave him here. I don’t have time to be watching after no kid!” “Excuse me? This is my child, you knew what it was when you got with me.”

Carrie looked in awe as the two of them stood arguing in front of Jr. She couldn’t believe that Jessica was actually dating this clown. If he couldn’t accept her child, then why the heck was she with him? “Umm, James, I’m going to take Jr. upstairs and finish getting him ready. He doesn’t need to be around this.” He nodded his head and watched as they both disappeared into the upstairs bathroom.

“Jessica who the heck is this?” James asked. “My boyfriend, why are you worried?” She snapped. “Why am I worried? You got this clown around my son talking all crazy and you asking me why am I worried?” he replied. “Man listen can you go get my son from upstairs so I can go. We got things to do.” “No, as a matter of fact, you go do whatever it is you have to do. Jr. can stay here.” “He isn’t staying here. I want my son with me.”

Before James could reply, Preston butted in “Listen bruh, I don’t know you and you don’t know me. We don’t want any trouble. All we come here for is to get the kid and be out.” James looked at him up and down and let out a heavy sigh before replying, “Bruh, I don’t know you and I’m not trying to get to know you. This is between me and her. I don’t appreciate neither one of you coming up here disrespecting me and my household. Both of you all need to leave.” “I’m not leaving until I get my son.” “He’s not going with you.” James stated firmly. James watched out the corner of his eye as Preston’s hands slowly started to form fists. “You going to assault me in my own house?” he snarled. “Listen bruh, it’s nothing like that.” He then turned to Jessica and said, “I’ll be in the car. This has nothing to do with me.” They both watched as he left the house. “I suggest you follow him.” James stated in a low, yet stern tone. Jessica glared at him. She tried for a minute to think of new ways to insult him. When she could think of none, she quickly turned around and walked out the door. James relaxed his shoulders and walked over to the kitchen and pulled out a large bottle of wine.

A few moments later, Carrie emerged from the bathroom to find James pouring a large glass of wine. “Sweetie is everything alright?” “I can’t believe her. I mean how can she do my son like that? That clown doesn’t care about him. There’s no telling what he’s doing to my son over there. I think I need to get full custody of my son. I can’t take not knowing what’s going on.” “Sweetie, Jr. is old enough to talk. Why don’t you just ask him. You know he isn’t going to lie to you.” “Carrie, I don’t know how to.” “Babe you just have to talk to him. He’s a child. Ease into the conversation. Don’t be to harsh with the questions. Be discreet about it. He’ll open up to you. We talk all the time.” she assured him. She watched her husband closely and noticed he was crying. She took the glass out of his hand and turned his face towards hers. “Everything will be alright. I think now is the perfect time for you to talk to him. He’s in the tub splashing the bubbles everywhere.” He nodded and made his way upstairs to the bathroom.

While they were upstairs, Carrie went outside to the mailbox to retrieve the mail. She looked in the box and saw she had a few envelopes inside. She pulled them out and started to sort through them. As she was thumbing through the mail, she noticed a handwritten envelope. She read it and felt her heart start to race. Her palms became sweaty as she read the name and address it came from.  She quickly tore it open and read the contents.

Dear Carrie, this is Phillip. I know it’s been a while and I know this is kind of out of the blue. I just wanted to let you know I’ll be getting out in two weeks and wanted to see you. I got your address from your sister Monica. Me and her boyfriend are still tight and we talk to each other from time to time. She told me you had gotten married, but I’m not concerned about that. You’re supposed to be mine. We made a promise to each other before I went away. I want to make good on our promise when I come home. I want you to be with me. We can have our own little family and be like we were before I got locked up. Well, I hope this letter reaches you. I look forward to hearing from you. See you soon.

She couldn’t believe what she had just read. Phillip her long time boyfriend before she had even met James was coming home. She thought he would never get out. After all the charges the district attorney rattled off in the court room, the judge handed him a sentence of 45 years to life. He had only been locked up for eight. She wondered what he did to get out early. The case was pretty much open and shut. Either way, she had to figure out what to do to keep Phillip from coming around and bringing more trouble to their marriage. Just when things started to look on the up and up for them, things always seemed to take a turn for the worse. I guess that line in the marriage vows for better or for worse was very real, because through all of the worse times, they still seemed to prevail.

As she walked back into the house, she was greeted at the door by a naked Jr. “Jr. where are you clothes?” she asked looking at James. “Soon as I got him out the tub, he ran downstairs looking for you.” She chuckled nervously. “Jr. let your daddy put your clothes on. I have to use the phone.” “Babe are you alright?” She swallowed hard before she answered. “Yes, I’m fine. I just have to go call my sister.” “Your sister? You don’t like your sister.” “Well she called and asked me to call her.” she replied as she hurried up the stairs. James watched as his wife disappeared in the bedroom. Her sudden demeanor change puzzled him, and he couldn’t quite pinpoint what caused it. She was jittery, and her breathing was labored. He fixed Jr. a snack and turned on cartoons before going upstairs and eaves dropping at the door.

“Monica, why would you tell Phillip where I lived?” she blared. “Carrie, I didn’t tell him.” “Bullshit Monica! He clearly wrote in the letter you told him! I am happily married. I don’t need this man coming around causing problems for me and my family. It’s bad enough we have to deal with James’ baby momma and all her drama. We don’t need Phillip.” “Carrie I thought it would be nice if you heard from an old friend. I had no idea he was going to try and break up your home.” “Well you’d better fix it before he gets out. This is the last thing I need right now. Me and James are in a happy place right now.” she replied before slamming the phone down. She dropped back on the bed and sighed heavily. “Lord what am I going to do?”

 

 

New Year’s Resolution

We are less than 48 hours from bringing in the New Year. With that being said, this is the time that we jot down things that we didn’t do in the previous year. Some people may vow to lose weight, some may make an effort to save money, some may even work  to live a better life. While all of that is good and fulfilling, really ask yourself, what does a New Year resolution truly mean to you? Sure, we can all think of a lot of things that we want to change about ourselves in the new year, but, are you really into it? How much does it really mean to you to keep your New Year’s Resolution promise throughout the whole year?

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First let’s look at the word resolution, which has two meanings. The first meaning of resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. This means once you decide to do something, do it. No matter who or what tries to stop you, remain determined. We all have things that happen, that may hinder us from following through with our decision, and that’s alright. Just remember to keep that decision in the forefront, and keep at it. Sometimes coming up with a mantra helps as well. It can be an acronym, or a quote. Just make sure you stick with your decision. That’s where most of the problem lies. Some people will rattle off a list of things they want to do in the new year, but they don’t stick to it. This is a New Year’s plan, not a resolution. There’s a difference. It’s best to make resolutions that are attainable. Don’t make outrageous resolutions that you know are going to take you years to accomplish, then it becomes a life goal, and that’s a totally different subject.

The second meaning of resolution means the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter. To me, it means you need a plan. Take for instance, the decision to save money. You first have to look at all of the things that is causing you not to be able to save money. Sure, we all want to just set aside $5, $10, maybe even $20 and just go from there. Truth be told, it’s not that simple. In order to save money, you must be well organized financially. You must be able to save even after you’ve paid all your bills. For majority of us, that is easier said than done. Secondly, look at how you are spending your left over cash. If you refer back to a few of my blogs where I stress the issue of not paying full price for anything, you’ll understand clearly why this is an important factor when it comes to trying to save money. Simply look over all of the money in your household and jot down some of things you do, and some of the things you would like to stop doing. Create a table, a chart, heck even a Venn Diagram of the does and don’ts. Put them somewhere you can see them and just remember to check it daily. Even take it with you, that way you’ll have a reminder of things to look for in the store and in your everyday life.

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The New Year should be about focusing on a new you. We never know what the year has in store for us. This year has brought me great heartache, pain, and loneliness, which I plan to leave in this year. On the other hand, this year has also taught me life lessons, and made me wiser. These I plan to take with me in the new year. Do I plan to change some things about my life,  yes, absolutely. Do I plan to dwell on all of the things that didn’t go right, no, but I don’t plan to forget them. This will actually be my reminder of what not to do.

A few of my New Year’s Resolutions include building a better me for me, yes of course save money, continue working on my weight loss goal, and maintaining a peace of mind. I want to learn how to meditate the correct way.

Tell me what some of your New Year’s Resolutions are….. 🙂

 

Practice What You Preach….

6 Months Earlier

“James where are you going?” Carrie asked. “I’m going out with the boys. Is that alright with you?” he sneered. Carrie hoped out of bed and rushed over to the closet, where James was buttoning his shirt. She glared at him. Of all the nights he picked to go out with the boys, he had to pick this one. Apparently he must’ve forgotten about the dinner plans she’d made for them tonight. This was a very special night for her, especially since they hadn’t been able to spend time alone in almost three months. Ever since she had gotten a promotion at work, quality time with her husband had almost become non-existent. It’s bad enough their sex life suffered because of it. James had complained to her many of times about them not being as sexually active as they used to. She tried calmly to explain to James that the long hours were just temporary and that once the inventory at work was at a reasonable level, then her hours would go back to normal. For a minute he was alright with this. He would massage her when she came home, run her bath water, sometimes he’d even fix dinner. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, that is, until he started hanging around Phillip, his friend from high school. She couldn’t understand what it was about Phillip or why James hung around him. She preferred to stay away from him. Phillip was more of what you may call a womanizer. He would fill women’s heads up with hopes and dreams of them being together, all while playing with their emotions. She had witness one to many times the dangers of what came behind Phillip and his lies. She would be damned if any of that rubbed off on her husband.

As James finished buttoning up his cuffs, he turned to notice Carrie standing in the doorway. “What’s wrong with you?” he asked dryly. “Umm, hello! Have you forgotten what tonight is? I made dinner reservations for us. We talked about this for three weeks now. I know good and goddamn well you aren’t about to go hang out with the boys and leave me hanging?” she snapped. James’ whole demeanor changed. “Oh damn baby! I’m sorry I honestly forgot. Can I take a rain check?” he asked sincerely. “Unless that check is going to find you a new place to stay, I don’t think so. You’d better tell Phillip not tonight!” she demanded. Carrie stormed out of the closet and made her way to the bathroom to take a shower. James follow closely behind her trying to plead his case. “You know what James, it’s been three months since we’ve spent time together. I take off tonight and plan a special evening where we go to dinner, come back home, have dessert, and make sweet love to each other, and you’d rather go fraternize with Phillip!” she shouted from the shower. “Fraternize? Baby, come on with all that. I’m sorry baby. I forgot. It was an honest mistake.” he pleaded. “Forget you James. Go! Go ahead and piss off with your friend. Just know your bed will be the sofa when you return!” she heaved. Carrie slammed the bathroom door just as James was about to say something. Defeated, James went over to the bed where his phone was charging and picked up the phone to call Phillip. He could deal with Phillip being mad with him, but Carrie, was a separate ball game. He was married to her for Christ Sakes. If it was one thing he knew, a happy wife equaled a happy life, and right now his wife was not so happy.

A few moments later, Carrie emerged from the shower to find James sitting on the bed flipping through the television stations. “I thought you were going out?” she scoffed. “No, I changed my mind. After really thinking things through, I realize that this will probably be the only night in a long while that we will get to spend together before you go on another long working hiatus.” “Long working hiatus? Are you kidding me?” she replied trying to stop the grin that was forming along her lips. Carrie loved when her husband caved into her. She was especially elated now, because they could spend the whole evening together, just the two of them. She threw off her towel, exposing her naked body. James tried his best to peel his eyes away from his wife’s exposed body, but it was to no avail. He couldn’t stop looking at the beauty before him. Carrie was 5 feet 5 inches tall and very petite. She had smooth brown skin and curves in all the right places. He stared at her. This made her smirk. “Well, are you just going to stand there, or are you going to get up.” she swooned. James was so fascinated by her beauty, that the sound of her voice made him beckon to her every call. He got really turned on when he noticed her shaved middle. He loved when she was hairless down there. Just as he proceeded to remove his shirt, the doorbell rang. They both sighed heavily. “Who in the heck could that be?” Carrie asked, now frantically searching for something quick to put on. “I have no idea, I’ll be right back.” he replied. As she started to dress, she could hear James opening the front door and the sound of a woman’s voice was heard. “Must be his baby momma. Lord I swear that woman always picks the most inopportune times to show up. I think she does this just torture me.” Carrie mumbled. When she finished putting on her socks, she proceeded  to make her way to the front door. As she got closer, she could hear the two arguing. “Jessica, you cannot just show up at my house. I have a wife!” “So, I don’t care. I’ve been calling you for the last hour. I need a babysitter. I’m going out!” “I can’t watch him tonight. Me and my wife are trying to enjoy some quality time together.” “Alright, well you can include Jr. in your quality time.” she shouted just as she was pushing the little boy inside. “Jessica! Jessica! Get back here!” James roared. He ran out the door after her, but she halfway down the street before he could reach the driveway.

Carrie and James had been together for five years and only married for one. Jessica was a one night stand that turned into a lifetime of turmoil. Before Carrie and James got married, James went out with the boys to Diamond’s, an upscale gentleman’s club. That’s where he met Jessica. She was one of the dancers chosen to dance for his crew in the club that night. Things got a little crazy, and next thing you know he was waking up next to her in a hotel room. He rushed home the next morning, and explained everything to Carrie in hopes that that would make everything better. It didn’t she put him out and they split up for about a year. During the split, Jessica found out she was pregnant. This changed everything. Carrie and James had been working on putting their relationship back together and telling her about the baby would just make everything worse. Needless to say, everything worked out and they were able to get through all of the drama he caused and move on. The only problem was getting Jessica to understand her place in James’ life. The two women were at odds quite often, and it started to take a toll on their relationship. “James if you don’t straighten your little hoodrat out, I will!” Carrie shouted. “Baby I will handle it. Just calm down.” he replied. After a few more altercations, Jessica eventually got the picture and backed off. Now they just had to deal with her surprise pop ups. This was also taking a toll on their marriage. “James I love your son and wouldn’t trade him for the world, but this has to stop. This was supposed to be our night.” she cried. “I know baby. I know. Let me see if I can call my mom.” After countless efforts to reach his mother, she finally answered, “Hey mom, are you busy?” “No James, I’m not busy. Me and your father are just watching television. What’s wrong honey?” “Carrie took off tonight so we could have some quality time, and Jessica showed up with Jr.” “And you want me to babysit?” “Please momma, if you don’t mind.” “No James, I don’t mind. What time are you coming back to get him?” “I be there at around 8 in the morning.” “Alright, that’s fine bring him over.” “Thank you mom.” he replied as he hung up the phone.

In God We Trust

via Daily Prompt: Martyr

Jacqueline and Sierra had been friends since elementary school. They walked home together everyday. They played together, ate lunch together, sat next to each other in class, even spent the night at each other’s house. They were literally inseparable. As they got older, they started to realize they each had different outlooks on life. It was their sophomore year of high school, and Jacqueline started to notice a major change in Sierra’s attitude towards her. Jacqueline was always the bookworm, while Sierra on the other hand was the rebel. Jacqueline was always the one to bail Sierra out of countless situations. No matter how much trouble Sierra had caused, Jacqueline remained a loyal friend to her.

One day while walking to class, Jacqueline noticed Sierra talking to Charlotte. She never really cared for Charlotte and couldn’t understand why Sierra would want to hang around her. Charlotte was known as the “easy” one at school and had been with almost every guy on the football team. She was about to approach the two girls when she was pulled away by Janet, a classmate of hers. “Hey Jackie, wait up!” she yelled. She turned around to see Janet running towards her wildly waiving papers. “Whoa Janet! What’s the big hurry?” “They posted the parts for the play.” she replied with excitement. “Are you kidding me let’s go!” she squealed as she grabbed Janet’s hand and rushed down the hall. Janet, Charlotte, Jacqueline, and Sierra all had drama class together. Their teacher, Mrs. Wright had announced that the school play would be Romeo and Juliet. Each of the girls were dying to get the part of Juliet. Just before she got to the billboard with names, she yelled for Sierra, “Hey SiSi, c’mon. They posted the parts for the school play!” She waited for Sierra to catch up before they all ran towards the billboard. By the time they got there, the plethora of people surrounding the billboard made it impossible to see who got which part. When she was able to make her way up to the billboard, she started to feel the sting of eyes burning a hole through her back. She turned around to see a lot of envious faces ripping her to shreds. “What’s wrong with everyone?” Janet whispered. “I’m not sure. I haven’t done anything.” “Oh yes you did! You got the lead part!” Janet shouted. Jacqueline turned her head in disbelief. She couldn’t believe she had gotten the part as Juliet. The two girls jumped up and down with glee. That was soon interrupted by her friend, “I hope you’re happy. Stealing my part.” Sierra said with disdain. “Um excuse me, your part? I don’t think so sweetie. I earned that part fair and square.” she replied sternly. Just as Sierra was about to step to Jacqueline, Janet jumped in between the two. “First of SiSi you need to chill alright. Jacqueline has been more than good to you. She’s helped you out more situations than you can count on your hand. The least you could do is be happy for her.” “I don’t think I was talking to you.” “But, I’m talking to you. Back off!” she stated firmly. Sierra backed down and smirked. “You’ll regret this.” she said in a low but cold tone. Jacqueline felt a wave a heat run through her body. She couldn’t understand what she had done to make her friend so angry at her.

Later that evening, while Jacqueline was cleaning out her closet, she found an old picture of her and Sierra. She stared at the picture and felt a small grin form at the corner of her lips. So many fun times and memories they shared together. She thought back on the one time that Sierra had lost her virginity and thought she was pregnant. “Oh my God Jackie! My mom is going to kill me if she finds out.” she said. “SiSi calm down. Remember what I told you. When it gets to this point, just pray. Slow your breathing and pray. God doesn’t answer worried prayers. He answers honest and sincere prayers.” “Jackie, this is no time for praying! How am I supposed to pray. I’m only 12 Jackie!” she fussed. “Sierra, yelling at me is not going to solve your problems. Calm down, take a moment, and breath.” she replied. Defeated, Sierra sat back in her chair and breathed. She breathed heavy slow breaths. “You feel it now?” “Yes, I feel it.” “Great. That’s how you are supposed to feel. Calm and relaxed. My mom always told me if you are going to stress about it then don’t pray. If you are going to pray, then don’t stress. Everything will be alright. Let’s bow our heads and pray.”

Jacqueline was brought up with heavy Christian values, and practically spent every waking moment with her head in the bible. She read her bible so much, that she could recite scriptures and verses with her eyes closed. She tried to get Sierra into the bible heavy as well, and for a while she though she had. She would come over every day, and the girls would practice scriptures and apply them to certain situations that occurred in their every day life. They prayed before they parted ways, and would pray in the morning when they met up for school. That all changed when they started high school. Sierra started seeing how much attention all the popular girls were getting from the boys, and she craved it. Jacqueline tried her best to keep her on the right path and away from the tumultuous world of boys and hormones. It was to no avail. When Sierra met Charlotte, everything went downhill from there. She started ignoring Jacqueline. Turning her nose up at everything she did, criticizing her for her strong Christian beliefs. She even went so far as to spread a rumor about the girl being a freak and that she was easy to get with. That rumor was quickly put to rest, when word got out that she was still a virgin and hadn’t seen any part of a man except his face and hands. Her mother warned her to cut ties with Sierra, but she couldn’t. That was her friend. As a matter of fact, besides Janet and Claire, Sierra was really the only other friend she had. She had a great bond with Janet and Claire, but not like Sierra. They hadn’t been through the things that she and Sierra had. They hadn’t grown up together. They didn’t have the same history. She could hear her mom’s voice now, “Girl let me tell you something, anyone who lies on you is not your friend. Remember Lucifer was once and angel. He was cast out of heaven for trying to overthrow God’s authority. I’m not saying compare yourself to God, but the lies Lucifer told just to get people to listen to him instead of God, is what we need to pay attention to.”

Jacqueline put the picture on her dresser and continued to clean out her closet. Once she was finished organizing the shoes, she glanced over at the clock. “Oh Lord, I’m going to be late for bible study.” she stated. She hoped up off the floor and quickly straightened her clothes. She gave herself a quick once over in the mirror before grabbing her bible and house key and rushing out the door. “Jackie!” her mother called out to her. “Yes mama?” “You’re forgetting your jacket. It’s cold out here.” She hadn’t noticed the sudden temperature change before she rushed out the door. “Sorry mama.” she said as she ran back to grab it. “Love you mama. I’ll be back after bible study.” she replied and rushed down the street.

As she approached the corner where she and Sierra usually met, she noticed an usually large group of people standing around. Jacqueline wasn’t the kind of person who was drawn to large crowds, but for some reason, this particular crowd grabbed her attention. As she got closer and closer, she saw what appeared to be a young boy laying motionless in the street. She eased her way through the crowd and noticed Stacy standing on the other side. She made her way over to where she was “Hey Stacy, what’s going on?” “Remember Jackson, the little Jewish boy in art class?” “Yea, he was shot a few minutes ago.” “Oh my Lord. Why?” “For being Jewish.” “Stacy, you can’t be serious.” “Oh no Jackie, I’m as serious as they come.” “How do you kill someone for being Jewish? That’s no reason to die!” she shot back. “Jackie I know that. Heck, I’m Jewish, but do you think I want to end up like him?” “Stacy that’s no reason to hide your religion. You believe in what you believe in and no one can take that away from you.” “Well, they took it from Jackson.” “Yea, and whoever did it was a coward. No one deserves to be martyred because your beliefs are different. That’s preposterous!” she said with deep disdain. As the police cars approached the scene, the crowd began to dissipate, and peopled were pushed back out of the street. As one detective approached the body, Jacqueline noticed the look of surprise on his face. She studied him for minute. The look on his face perplexed her. “He’s a detective, why would he be surprised to see a dead body. I mean, hasn’t he seen hundreds of them?” she thought. After a few moments, the detective said, “He’s Jewish. He’s the fourth one this week.” “You thinking hate crime?” the other detective asked. “Possibly. Someone is going on their own genocide spree.” “This is a shame. You can’t even have your own faith and belief without someone trying to impose their faith and beliefs on you. All because this kid is Jewish he gets killed. Whatever happened to freedom of religion in this country?”

I know there are all sorts of faiths, beliefs, and religions in this country. Although a Jewish boy was killed, don’t take offense to this. This was written to shed light on all of the hatred that is going on in the world today. So much killing because people have different beliefs. Let no one take your faith or belief away from you. It is your right and your choice. No one should be punished for being different.

May we continue to pray for this world and the people in it.  God Bless.  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/martyr/