Does Love have a Color: The Interracial Marriage Experience

The Happiness Wheel

Not until after we got married Kevin confided and shared with me a few situations where family members questioned his choices and wanted to ensure he understood the challenges that come with an, interracial marriage. Ericka Augutis

I want to invite you guys all to the table. We are going to be talking on the topic the, “The Color of love, interracial marriages, in America”   my guest today is Erica Augustus.

Listen to the interview

Interracial Marriage in America

Ericka and I became friends when we worked at Office Depot for about 10 years, and we have maintained our friendship.  I decided that I wanted to get into the conversation on, interracial marriages, in America because of what’s been happening in the world and specifically in the last month or so.

It’s a very difficult place for a, black woman, married to a, white man. I think it’s even a little bit more complicated when your partner or your spouse cannot understand a lot of the times your, black experience.   I was listening to a podcast a few weeks ago and this, black woman, was talking about her experience.

She was married for 13 years to a, white man, the marriage dissolved not because of racial differences or any kind of racial problems, but she said it contributed to it, because her husband never really got into the conversation.  If she would come home and say she was discriminated against at the office, he didn’t have a response or didn’t talk about it and then the host asked her the question.

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Interracial Marriage black man white woman
Interracial Marriage black man white woman

Can a, white man, love a, black woman, and still be a racist?

And her response was, “love has nothing to do with it”, now that piqued my interest and that’s the predominant reason that I wanted to get into this conversation, and have you guys all join in the conversation and discuss, the color of love.

Interracial Marriage Interview Highlights

    1. How did you and your husband meet?
    2. How Ericka and Kevin handled the stares from Black and White people in their, interracial marriage, when they walked down the street.
    3. What are her thoughts on Systemic racism, did her husband understand her experience as a, Black woman.
    4. Love has no color. How easy is it to love someone from a different race?
    5. How does she and her husband talk to her black sons regarding the police.
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My name is Ericka Augutis, my husband  Kevin and I have been married for 18 years 19 in November.  We do have two children. One is 14 and the other is 4.

We met about 22 years ago. He worked at a local Blockbuster in my neighborhood. He was a manager and anytime I would go into the store to look at videos, he would offer to help me.  Well that’s when our relationship started.  Finally we went on our first date and I have to say it was really awkward for both of us and I thought okay I’m never doing that again. He was super quiet there was very little conversation.  A few months went by and he called again, and asked for a second date and I was going to say no, but my mom chimed in and asked me to give him another chance.  I’m so glad I did that second date because we just had the best time.

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We dated to my dismay for nearly five years,  we were engaged twice. The first proposal I  accepted I was elated.  I was excited to say yes; but a few months later we went to a party with some of our friends and I realized some of the ladies didn’t even know I was engaged. Here I was super excited and some of his circle of friends didn’t know that were engaged. So, it really hit me hard.  I felt like okay I’m really pressuring him into this, interracial  marriage. So I called off the engagement.

After that we kind of went our separate ways for a few months and then we slowly started dating again. And I have to say both of us matured during that time of separation and he proposed a second time in restaurant. He got down on one knee in front of all these people and proposed me a second time. This time he was ready! We got married like a year later.

Myrna Young Did you think that he maybe didn’t want to tell his friends he was engaged because you were a, black woman?

Ericka Augutis No, I don’t think the fact that we were contemplating an, interracial marriage, had anything to do with it, or the, color of love, because I was in his circle of friends for four years. We all vacationed together so it wasn’t that. I just felt like he wasn’t ready and I was forcing him to get married.

Myrna Young I’m going to ask you not a question as a follow-up to that.  So all the time you guys dated, five years or so, you got engaged twice you didn’t see color?  The question today is there a, color of love?  Did any of your friends treated you differently? Or said  Ericka he’s white?  None of his friends says hey Kevin why do you want to marry a, black woman? Nothing?

Ericka Augutis Not until after we got married Kevin confided and shared with me a few situations where family, maybe one or two family members, questioned his choices and wanted to ensure he understood the challenges to come with an, interracial marriage.

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So yes, from my perspective it came later as well, being a successful, black woman,  my parents and other family members wanted to know why I was  dating someone that doesn’t look like me. I really had to kind of ask myself that question as well.  I realized it’s not as if I said to myself,  I’m going to find a Caucasian man and have this, interracial marriage. I fell in love with a white man.

Myrna Young Yea Love is color blind actually, Love is an Emotion, it’s a feeling and it doesn’t see color!

Ericka Augutis There were experiences and times where we had to deal with the looks and the stairs especially when we would go into places where everyone was a little older.  I would say during that time anyone that was over age of 65 would give us those looks on both sides. It’s not just the Caucasian folks, black folks as well.

Myrna Young Did you let the stares and looks bother you?

Ericka Augutis No, Kevin was always so confident and strong and it made me just feel like I had nothing to worry about. But there was this time just after we had our son Kevin Jr,  we were having dinner in this fancy restaurant and this gentleman,  I probably shouldn’t call him a gentleman. A white man,  came over to our table and he said to Kevin, Is this your son? My husband says yes, he says well I’m going to tell you I’m a doctor that’s not your son!

You got to be kidding me!

I am not kidding.  it was such a strange experience. I mean he just came over and I think his goal was just to disturb our night and really rock and test the foundations of our, interracial marriage. That was one experience that I’ll never forget.

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Myrna Young Okay but in your marriage of itself was there any kind of friction at all regarding race?  Was all the friction from outside people looking in and trying to disturb your harmony?  For instance as a, black woman, is it hard to go and talk to a partner that is outside your race about racism that’s been happening to you?  Because, it’s not their experience and they can’t understand it how a, black women, survive in the workplace for instance? As a, black woman, I have not been discriminated against a lot and especially growing up in Canada; but I know that if I was talking to a, black man, who had a white spouse, it would have been a totally different conversation. Because as a, black man, he would have been harassed by the police, he would have been discriminated at work, he would have experienced racism throughout his life. Racism that  his white spouse would not be able to understand or identify.

So, did any of those situations happen in your marriage where your husband couldn’t understand your black experience?

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Ericka Augutis I would say initially when we’re in the newlywed stage, there were a few situations, super minor things, nothing hardcore or anything like that; but I could tell there was an inequality in the situation.  When I  talked about it, he would always ask me why  I was so passionate? That was his word or way of saying, why are you so angry? It took me about three or four times of him saying that or using that phrase for me to get that he’s trying to ask me to express myself and make him understand.  Why was something so small making you angry?  So, once I understood what he was truly trying to say and ask me, we had a tough conversation on racism.

I explained to him  the history black people and the challenges I’ve experienced throughout my career being a, black woman.  I think in his career not everyone knows he’s married to a, black woman; so he would hear things people would say that were borderline racist and he would tell me he got it.

Myrna Young Not only did your husband not understand your black experience but as a, black woman, I didn’t understand my husband’s black experience either. My husband was a police officer and what upset him more than anything else was that he was going out there every night putting his life on the line and yet the white officers were racial against him.  Not just my husband; but they were racist against all the black officers in the department. There was no equality even when they could die together.  My husband would say we bleed the same blood, when we’re out there on the street and I am treated differently. I didn’t understand until recently when I understood the definition of a racist and the definition of racist policies.  I had to go back to him and apologize for not understanding.

That’s basically what I would I wanted to you know.  To find out from you how is the cohesiveness in an, interracial marriage, when one person has white privilege and the other person has to claw their way for everything?

So, the other question I have on here is and I think you mentioned it, people staring at you and I think you said that you felt protected because Kevin was so strong and you weren’t scared; but did it bother you psychologically?

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Ericka Augutis We’ve been married for so long,  I would say it bothered me until we had our son.  A small portion of me would wonder is it worth it?   Is it worth it, why can’t we just go out to dinner and just have a nice dinner without any stares, comments or judgment?  So I would say, yes it does bother you, it does affect you.  You just have to find a way to deal with it and ensure that your relationship is solid enough where it’s worth it.

How does Interracial Marriage affect children?

Myrna Young How does your 14-year-old son, he’s old enough to understand what’ going on right now in the world, how does he relate to having a white dad?

Ericka Augutis Oh, that’s a good question so, he’s actually okay with it. He was in Boy Scouts from the age of I think five or six until 12 years old and I remember we were on a camping trip he may have been 7 or 8 at the time and he came into our tent and I could tell something was wrong.  His face was a little flushed, so I said to him what’s wrong he said this kid asked him why is your dad white and your mom black?

I said, what did you say?  He says I said because they love each other! So I think he’s okay with what’s going on right now.  I did not know how to quite handle it when a child asked him like where is he from? If he was Spanish?  I think that’s he’s at that stage where he’s getting that question and has to figure out how he’s going to handle it and answer it.

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Is there a Color to Love? The Answer is NO.

Myrna Young It sounds like your, interracial marriage, is healthy. You guys don’t see color.  Your, color of love, is blended.  You love your kids, you show them love you don’t show them a difference and that’s definitely the way to go about it.  So your, interracial marriage,  experience has been a good one.  As a, black woman, marrying outside of your race  you still go through get the same racism and racist policies that our, black men, go through on a lesser scale.

That’s basically what I wanted to have a conversation so that we can shed a light on, interracial marriages. I mean we’re looking at black and white but, interracial marriage, can also be Spanish and black or even religion Muslim and Christian or anything that makes you different.  It causes some controversy or cause some friction.

Ericka Augutis I don’t want the podcast listeners thinking I am making, interracial marriage, sound like it’s just perfect.  Absolutely not, there are challenges don’t get me wrong.  When we get invited to parties and there’s only a sprinkle of brown and black people in room, you have to figure out how to navigate.  Do you want to be like over-the-top polished or just be yourself. When our families get together we both have to play roles.  Every day you encounter racism. If you’re dealing with the public or you go in a public space you’re dealing with those types of situations where people are looking people are asking questions so it’s a conversation that you have more often than not. When you’re in a relationship like this, it’s something that you have to deal with if you want it to work out.

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Myrna Young I thank you for coming on and having a seat at this table I appreciate it. I hope our readers and listeners learned a few things one, interracial marriages, can work. They can be successful, you just have to have love and talk about it.

I want to remind you that if you like this content, please share with your friends, subscribe on iTunes rate and leave a review.

Additional Resources and mentions

Paradigm Shifts that can Heal Racism in America

https://blog.myhelps.us/find-your-soulmate-science-of-attraction/

https://voxeu.org/article/incarceration-unemployment-and-black-white-marriage-gap-us

 

 

Understanding Mental Illness – My Bipolar Life

My Bipolar Life

If you have been diagnosed with, mental illness, or, Bipolar,  disorder,  it means that you probably think of ending your life all the time.  In this episode, I interview Gabe Howard, who was diagnosed with, Bipolar disorder, at age 25.

Before then Gabe said that he did not know he was sick. His parents thought  he was just acting out and would punish him for his behavior. But he remembers thinking of suicide all his life, until he got treatment. No one knew he was, Bipolar.

Today GABE HOWARD is an award-winning speaker, author, and podcast host who lives with bipolar disorder. He hosts the weekly Psych Central Podcast and is the co-host of the Not Crazy podcast. He’s the author of Mental Illness is an Asshole – and Other Observations and has appeared on numerous websites, podcasts, and in many traditional media outlets

Introduction to My Bipolar Life

I was diagnosed with, Bipolar disorder, when I was when I was 25 years old. I didn’t know that I was sick. I had all of these, mental health, symptoms. They were causing me a lot of personal problems. I had a drug and alcohol problem, hyper sexuality was an issue, my relationships were just being destroyed, all because of, mental illness, but I didn’t know anything was wrong.

Then one day I ended up in a psychiatric hospital, because I was ready to end my own life. I thought about suicide as far back as I can remember.

I just thought it was normal to want to die.

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What is, Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme changes in mood from high to low, and from low to high. Highs are periods of mania, while lows are periods of depression. The changes in mood may even become mixed, so you might feel elated and depressed at the same time.

The problem Gabe says is that when you are in the middle is when you get the job, the girl, the promotion, get married.  You usually loose these things when you are depressed or manic;  being in the middle is where you want to be.

I became an advocate because I consider myself to be a smart person and I don’t have like some story about how my parents were awful. My parents are good people, they loved me very much. My dad was a truck driver my mom a stay-at-home mom and they did all the things right.

They were engaged, they loved me, they were present and none of us knew that I was, Bipolar, None of us got me any help. I thought wow if I didn’t know, if my family didn’t know, if all of that love and engagement and connection and caring and they just missed it. There must be other people that are in my shoes. That’s why I became a, mental health advocate.

I just wanted to talk about, Bipolar, openly so that there just wouldn’t be other people wandering around sick and scared and symptomatic. They could get help, because I was really lucky.

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Fears, Anxieties, Phobias, PTSD, Body health, Mind Health, Spiritual Health are just some of the things Hypnosis works for. Hypnosis-Everywhere is a show about our minds and the miracles we can achieve for ourselves and each other

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What is Mental Illness?

My Bipolar Life
My Bipolar Life

Mental Illness is an Asshole!

In his book Mental Illness is an Asshole – and Other Observations

Mental Illness is an Asshole is Gabe Howard’s first collection of articles about living with mental illness.

All the articles date from 2014 through 2018 and include his observations on reaching recovery, stigma, and living well in spite of depression, bipolar, and anxiety. Totaling over 380 pages, Gabe even shares the story of his :): logo for the first time.

For years, Gabe Howard’s entertaining articles and essays have been educating people about living with mental illness. His observations cover everything from practical advice to family relationships to the fears that people with mental illness experience.

In essays such as “Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me,” “I Have Bipolar and I’m a Hypocrite,” and, yes, “Mental Illness Is an Asshole,” Gabe makes mental illness less scary and more understandable.

I had a suicide plan and I just happen to run into somebody that understood that understood mental illness and it she looked at me and asked me “are you planning on killing yourself?” Her training allowed her to ask that question and I said yes! She he me committed to the psychiatric hospital.

I was diagnosed with, bipolar disorder, and of course once I was diagnosed with, bipolar, to go on and lead good life. This is why I always say that I was lucky.

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What is, Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, is commonly described as extreme highs to extreme lows. From suicidal depression all the way to God like mania. As a, Bipolar, you will have to battle depression where you want to die, and feel like you want to die, you feel like you want everything to end. When you are in Mania, you feel like the whole world revolves around you.

Then there is the middle. Everything is normal. That’s when you get the job, that’s when you meet the girl, that’s when you get married, buy the house, have all the friends; all the things that you lose when you become symptomatic.

Psych Meds for, Bipolar Disorder, the Good, Bad, and the Ugly

Psychiatric medications are the religion and politics of the mental health advocacy world.

In this episode, we cover the good, the bad, and the ugly surrounding medications. Like whether or not you should take them. We tackle side effects like feeling numb and sexual dysfunction and share our personal histories with medication therapy.

If you have any form of, mental illness, that you need Meds to function. Medications are amazing, they saved my life. I want to be very clear. Without my medication I cannot live the life that I live. So many people mistakenly believe that psychiatric medications are magical that you just need to take the pill and boom everything is fine and it’s simple.

It’s much bigger than that. In addition to psychiatric medication, therapy is very important, learning coping skills is very important, and going to support groups. You have to deal with the trauma of your past and all of these things matter; but all we ever hear about is psychiatric medication and I want to change that. I want to change it to, did you take your meds and did you go to therapy and did you utilize your coping skills?

 

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What is the most common cause of, bipolar disorder?

Biological traits

Hormonal problems: Hormonal imbalances might trigger or cause bipolar disorder. Environmental factors: Abuse, mental stress, a “significant loss,” or some other traumatic event may contribute to or trigger bipolar disorder.

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Mental Health Advocate for, Bipolar

Gabe is a, Mental Health Advocate. He remembers when no one knew he was sick for over 20 years.  He had a plan to end his life and luckly for him, someone asked him the question “Are you planning on hurting yourself” He answered yes and he was admitted to the Psychiatric ward in hospital.

That saved his life so now, he is a, mental health advocate, to help others suffering from, mental illness, or, bipolar disorder, receive treatment and services.

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Additional Resources for, Bipolar Disorder.

The book is a collection of Articles and all of the Articles have something to do with, mental illness, mental health, loving somebody with, mental illness, dating someone with, bipolar,

It’s almost a reference guide that you can carry around for people with, bipolar, or dealing with somebody who is living with, mental illness, and depression and anxiety, don’t just live with, bipolar, you can have just depression, you can have just anxiety. Even people with schizophrenia, they suffer from depression and anxiety as well.

Dealing with Anxiety Disorder after Addiction

https://blog.myhelps.us/understanding-and-managing-compulsive-behaviors/

https://blog.myhelps.us/9-steps-to-effective-advocacy/

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324602.php

 

 

How to Transform your Career with Purpose

Ways to find your Purpose

For some people their, career, is closely interwoven with their, life purpose. Keshia Morris, is that person, Political Activist and Project Manager with Common Cause.

In this interview on the Transform your Mind radio hour and podcast, Life Coach and Mom Myrna Morris Young, trace the story of, Keshia Morris, as an undocumented alien, to her starting her career as a Psychologist, to getting a tug from God to transform her, career with purpose, to help with our democracy.

Listen to full interview here:

 

Introduction to a Career with Purpose

Keshia Morris is  the project manager for the, Census 2020, with Common Cause and is getting a lot of media attention because of the Trump’s administration efforts to add the question “Are you a Citizen” to the, Census 2020.

Keshia Morris, talks about the importance of the Census, the reason the Trump administration was trying to add this question and, Common Cause, fight for a fair democracy.

The media attention started when, Keshia Morris,   wrote an amazing article that was published in the Miami Herald that highlighted her, career, with purpose.  In this article she talked about our personal journey to becoming permanent residents in the United States and why the question on the Census asking “Are you a Citizen?” would have a negative affect on our democracy.

After that article was published, several podcasts and radio personalities wanted to interview her.

Before we could get to what God has done in Keshia’s life as far as her chosen, career, with purpose.  She chose me to be her mother. I knew from the moment she was conceived that she was born to do great things. She was conceived on my honeymoon and was born 9 months later on my 30th birthday. So even without being conscious I knew that she was born with a, life purpose.

Again without being yet conscious; but understanding the principle of generational increase,  I started my journey to becoming an American Citizen.  I believed that there were more opportunities for my children here in the USA.

Both my children are Canadian,  and maybe my  assumption was incorrect, but our perceptions become our reality.

Keshia Morris,  went through high school as an, undocumented alien. The beauty of this country is that children didn’t require papers to go to public school until higher education. Without a vision, I could have sent her back to Canada to go to college; but that was not even a consideration. I paid out of state fees for  her first 2 years of college. I could only afford one class; but she was in College.

I got married again in 2006 and my husband sponsored both of us, and we became  permanent residents or documented immigrants.

Keshia received her BA  and started out on her intended career as a  Psychologist.

How Keshia’s Became On Purpose, career coaching

One day while listening to the audio book “A long walk to Freedom,” by Nelson Mandela, she had what is called a Damascus experience. Everything that was before was no more. So this is where I want to pick up the story.

Setting Goals and purpose for your career?

I want to start off by saying that you tell my story so much better than I do. Just laying out for our listeners how I got to the moment where I decided I wanted to do something new with my career.  I had always thought that I that I was going to be a psychologist.  As a child people kept telling me that oh you know you’re great at giving people advice, so I thought  I might as well make a career out of this and try to achieve the American dream.

Psychologists make a lot of money.  I started getting into listening to audio books in my car and as I listening to Nelson Mandela’s  “A long walk to freedom”  I would say in the very first few chapters of the book,  I feel like it changed me and changed my trajectory of my life almost immediately.  It was also the time of the sequester where the government was shut down.  I interpreted this as wealthy special interests groups were getting in the way of  government and our lawmakers not being able to do their jobs.   I didn’t feel like this was right,  so I felt an extreme tug to try to do something about it.

I had already invested over 4 years as a Psychology major and started with my masters degree credits which were not inexpensive.  I had already amassed about $30,000 in student loans before  listening to Nelson Mandela’s book.  I felt an immense tug from God that becoming a political activist was my, career purpose, I wanted to help change the democracy the United States of America.

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How to look for signs that your, career, is on  Purpose

Question #2: How did you know that this was God. What were the signs?

I knew it was God because it changed the trajectory of my life in seconds.  I was now a new woman and had a firm grasp on what my, career, should be.

Things lined up for you. I was a new Life Coach at the time and you requested a coaching session. I remember it,  like it was yesterday. Because what I said out loud was not what I was thinking. I told you to go for it. To make a plan and pursue this goal.

  • You applied to schools and got into your number 1 choice, American University,
  • Before graduation you got an internship at your number 1 choice for employment, Common Cause,
  • You received a job offer with, Common Cause, immediately after graduation. So we know that you were on, career purpose, because God opened doors.

Why family support and career coaching is so important to your career

Question # 3: What advice would you give our listeners who face obstacles. No family support, not accepted to schools, kids at home etc.

I would tell them to believe in the vision that you can have it all.  Believe in yourself, believe in God and believe in their, career purpose,

Keshia Morris, you are getting National attention now as the Project Manager for  the 2020 Census at Common Cause. The Trump administration has been very unfriendly towards immigrants and, undocumented aliens, and intended to use the question “Are you a Citizen?” on the, Census 2020, to instill fear to the non-Citizens,  so as to set up, Gerrymandering.  Common Cause fought for this question to be removed from the Census and won.

Question # 4 Please explain the importance of having this question removed from the, Census 2020, and what exactly the Census does for our democracy.

Gerrymandering is  manipulating districts to give one party advantage over the other.  We have definitely seen a lot of gerrymandering being done by Republicans;  but we do absolutely know that Democrats do it as well.

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What is the Census 2020?

The Constitution mandates that a Census or accounts of all people that live within these United States be counted for apportionment purposes every ten years.  So every ten years the Census Bureau takes counts of everyone that lives here.  That is including illegal aliens, that is including children and newborns.  Everyone should get counted.

What this count does for our democracy is it apportioned the amount of seats in Congress.

There are 435 seats and the House of Representatives and those 435 seats are distributed based on population size.  Right now about each congressional district has about 700,000 people.

In a State like Florida, for example that has a population of maybe six to nine million people, but say only eight million people were counted in the, 2020 census, that means that Florida would get less congressional representation than it actually truly deserves because one million people were not counted.

The Trump administration wanted to add this last minute question “Are you a Citizen”  to the, Census 2020, I say last minute because usually each question is tested and vetted thoroughly for about three years before a question can be added to the census. It has to go through Congress and an approval processes.  The Trump administration came in and decided they were not gonna do any of that, and just announced that they were going to add this question to the,  Census 2020,

Census Bureau researchers have found that if this question were to be added to the,  Census 2020, about 6.5 million people would not answer the census form and thus insure a fair census.  So advocates like, Common Cause, but really across the board, millions of people stood up and said that this is wrong.  Common Cause, took the case all the way to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court sided with us.  They said that the Trump administration cannot add this question to the, Census 2020, they called the reason the Trump administration gave to add this question, contrived.

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Myrna: I heard you say in one of your interviews that the data that comes from the, Census 2020, is confidential and  it’s illegal for anybody to use this information for harm to the people. I know you said that if this question was on the, Census 2020, 6.5 million people would not have answered because they might be afraid that someone will come to their door.  But what you said is that information is never presented in such a way that somebody can know who filled out the form, and if they were going to actually use information from the data, they will use the information as a collective.

I am curious as to why research shows that 6.5 million people WOULD NOT  have responded to the, Census 2020, if the question “Are you a Citizen” was on the form?

Keshia Morris: My answer to that question is twofold.

The law states that your responses on the census cannot be used to cause harm to any person.   That means that it can’t be sent to ICE to enforce immigration law.  It can’t even be sent to your landlord if you have too many people living in in your household.  However, what the Trump administration wanted to do, was to create fear.  That information isn’t always communicated correctly and even if it was, people don’t trust that the Trump administration would follow the law.

So it’s better just not to have the question on the, Census 2020, whatsoever.

The Trump administration has given up on their efforts to add the question “Are you a Citizen” on Census 2020, but they are now trying another way to get this information. President Trump has now issued an executive order to get administrative data to be collected for the purpose of redistricting.  Common Cause, is fighting for this not to be the case, and it  absolutely will be challenged through litigation.

Facts about the, Census 2020,

Section 2 of the Constitution requires a count every 10 years of every person residing in the United States—citizens and non-citizens, newborns and seniors, documented and undocumented, homeowners, renters, and the homeless. The, 2020 Census, will be in full swing during the Winter, Spring and Summer of 2020.

Counting hundreds of millions of people is an immense undertaking, and it’s critical for state legislators to start preparing now. Census data determine the allocation of more than $800 billion in annual federal funding and are often used in state and local policy-making, decision- making, and research. An inaccurate census in 2020 would jeopardize state funds for over 300 federal programs and compromise crucial supports for marginalized communities. 

Census data are also used for the reapportionment and redistricting processes and therefore vital to advancing a fair and representative democracy. Ensuring that all residents in your state are counted will require funding, coordination, and commitment from policymakers but will provide your constituents the resources and representation they deserve.

Research shows that if the question “Are you a Citizen” was on the, Census 2020, 6.5 million people would not fill in the Census thereby states would be unrepresented by millions in congress.

Myrna: From listening to all your numerous interviews I will list them. I have learned that the Census data is confidential and it is illegal for anyone to use that data to target aliens.

Unrig the System Podcast with Alex Wardlaw

Podcast Episode for Bipartisan Solutions for Ending the Prison-Industrial Complex Once and For All

Carry On Friends The Caribbean American Podcast

The Real New Network

Myrna: I have had a front row seat to your growth from a Psychology major into a political activist. I have watched you take the mike and rally a crowd. I have listened you spout very technical data about the history of our democracy with names and dates of legal documents.  As your mother, I am impressed by your transformation.

https://blog.myhelps.us/how-to-become-lifted-by-your-purpose/

How to Master career strengths

Question # 6: Take us through how you released your fear of public speaking. What did you do to get yourself from this abstract fear of speaking and communicating to what you do now?

I am still working on being an effective communicator and working past my fear.  My fear has lessened a bit,  there was a time where I mean I couldn’t get in front of people and I couldn’t say two words without my voice shaking, without saying um a hundred times, without looking completely lost. So yeah  I definitely think that I have I’ve experienced some growth and really all I can say, well the main thing I can say that got me around the corner is practice.

There’s that Malcolm Gladwell books that says you need like 10,000 hours of practicing something to be an Expert.  You just named a bunch of the interviews that I’ve done; but you know each of those interviews requests, I started off by saying NO.  because the fear is still there.  But I able to overcome the fear by resting in the fact that this is for a, life purpose, and  I am working towards the goal of having this democracy be the best that it can be.

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How to Transform your, Career, with  purpose

As we wrap up our show today, I want to leave you with these thoughts.

There is a difference between living an active life and a, purpose driven life. We all lead active lives. To be active does not mean we even have to physically do anything. We could be mentally active and be making plans and, setting goals,  etc. but not going anywhere. But when we are living a, purpose driven life, our energy and activities has a, life purpose, and meaning. Pause to reflect the purpose of your chosen, career. What is the meaning of your, career, purpose.  What is the quality of the energy you are expending. When you have a, career,  of purpose, the more energy you expend, the more renewed you are. On the other hand, when you are not on, life purpose, the energy you expend is not renewed, instead you end your day depleted and diminished.

A, purpose driven life, and, purpose driven career, alters the course of history.  I hope you all find yours.

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Keshia Morris, one final question What do you want your contribution to be to God’s Kingdom?

To make this country’s democracy the best it can be, that is my, career purpose,

How can any of our listeners get in contact with common cause to support the organization, volunteer for the census or reach you for speaking engagements or interviews?

Listeners and readers can reach me at

Keshia Morris
Census & Mass Incarceration Project Manager
Common Cause
805 Fifteenth St, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005
(o) 202.736.5774 |

 Additional Resources for, Career Purpose, and Census 2020

https://blog.myhelps.us/how-to-become-lifted-by-your-purpose/

https://blog.myhelps.us/how-to-become-a-diamond-by-finding-your-purpose/

https://blog.myhelps.us/program-positive-change/

Today’s Ruling on the Census Citizenship Question Still Leaves Room for Worry

 

Ep. 116 – The Census: All the Facts & Why It is Important

 

 

 

 

No Fear : How to Live with Courage

no fear just courage

No fear, How do we say goodbye to Fear and live with courage?

What is fear? The first thing we must realize is that FEAR is False evidence appearing real.

Fear is an energy. Created totally in our minds. The energy of fear is powerful.  It can change the quality of lives.

A few years back, I had a guest in my home. When it was time for her to leave, it was dark and she refused to walk out the front door because she was afraid of Frogs jumping on her foot. Now, I have never seen a Frog in my front yard and neither had she; but she must have had an experience of a Frog jumping on her foot and it had traumatized her. So now every time she walks in a yard at dark, she was afraid of Frogs. How can we live with, no fear?

No fear, it is not real
Fear is not real

Now this is an example of a trivial fear but ask yourself. Is fear affecting the quality of your life? What would life be like if you had, no fear?

The problem with fear is that it is the bottom feeder of all emotions, that means that if you have fear in your heart you can’t have:

  • Love,
  • Happiness,
  • Feelings of belonging,
  • Self-reliance,
  • Self-control,
  • Initiative,
  • Ambition,
  • Enthusiasm,
  • or Certainty.
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  • The most common appearances of fear in the, African American Community, are:
  • Fear of poverty
  • Fear of criticism
  • Fear of ill health
  • Fear of loss of love
  • Fear of old age
  • Fear of death

Today Arifah and I are going to look at how Fear shows up in African American families and how it prevents us from living a life of purpose and abundance.

Here are the symptoms of the, Fear of poverty:

  • Willingness to tolerate poverty
  • Acceptance of whatever compensation that life offers without protest.
  • Mental and physical laziness
  • Lack of initiative
  • Lack of imagination
  • Indecision
  • The habit of permitting others to think for you
  • Sitting on the fence of indecision
  • Excuses for not taking initiative
  • Excuses for failures
  • Envy of those who are successful
  • Finding fault with others who are successful

My co-host is Arifah Yusuf, registered social worker, specializing in, mental health. She is the founder and program director of Lifted by Purpose.

Lifted by Purpose Provides a diverse range of services including training, workshops with the intent to engage youth in conversations about mental health and learn practical strategies to cope with life stressors.

Here are Arifah’s experience in working with youth and dealing with, No Fear, Living with Courage

In my experience working with young people, majority of children and youth live with anxiety.   The anxiety impacts their relationships to function in socially and or academically.  As well, how they view themselves and their ability to complete tasks or take risks.  Common signs of an anxiety disorder in youth I noticed are:

  • Constantly worrying about grades
  • Always trying to be perfect / Being afraid to make mistakes
  • Not sleeping well
  • Difficulty managing daily tasks and/or distress related to these tasks.
  • Anxious predictions – Worrying about something horrible happening (ie. Being embarrassed or humiliated)
  • Anxious thoughts “ I’m out of control, I can’t do this”
  • Avoiding friends or social situations and activities
  • Being afraid of speaking up and asking questions in class
  • Blanking out or freezing up in stressful situation
  • Safety behaviors (habits to minimize anxiety and feel “safer,” e.g., always travelling with a friend or have cell phone in their hand)
  • Excessive physical reactions relative to the context (e.g., heart racing and feeling short of breath in response to certain spaces or when they see certain individuals)

Anxiety is the most common disorder in Canada.  2.6% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported symptoms consistent with generalized anxiety disorder, an anxiety disorder characterized by a pattern of frequent, persistent worry and excessive anxiety about several events or activities.

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada, “the 12 month prevalence for any anxiety disorder is over 12% and one in four Canadians (25%) will have at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime”.

No fear living with courage
No fear living with courage

Seven Major types of Anxiety Disorders:

  • Agoraphobia,
  • generalized anxiety,
  • specific phobia,
  • panic disorder,
  • social anxiety
  • separation anxiety
  • selective Mutism.

(ie. Selective Mutism is a complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, such as school. These children are able to speak and communicate in settings where they are comfortable, secure, and relaxed)

Other Anxiety Disorders:

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, hoarding disorder, trichotillomania, and excoriation disorder).

Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders(reactive attachment disorder, dis-inhibited social engagement disorder, PTSD, acute stress disorder, and adjustment disorder).

 

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No Fear, means Living with Courage: How do we define courage?

Aristotle believed courage to be the most important quality in a man or woman. “Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible,”

How do you build your courage character?

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  1. Practice courageous acts.

To build a courageous character, with, no fear, the muscle of courage must be continually strengthened. Aristotle, the ancient philosopher who focused most on courage, said that we develop courage by performing courageous acts. Recent psychological research also suggests that courage is an ethical habit that we develop by repeatedly practicing acts of bravery.

Let me share a personal story with you, that helped me develop courage and have, no fear.

Years ago I was living in the United States as a temporary resident as a Canadian Citizen.  I was married and my husband sponsored me and applied for me to become a permanent resident. Before my application was finalized, My brother was getting married in Toronto, Canada and I just upped and left the country for the weekend to attend my brothers wedding.

When I tried to return to the USA, a few days later, border patrol  asked me for my Advance Parole documents.  I told them I never applied for Advanced Parole.  This is a document that gives you permission to leave the country while you have a pending application.   The border patrol told me that I had voluntarily abandoned my application by leaving the country and that my husband had to apply again.  He also told me I would have to stay in Canada for approximately 2 years while my new application was processed. To date that was one of my darkest days!

Then because he knew that as a Canadian Citizen, I could come back into the country at any time as a visitor, he added that if I tried to sneak back into the country as a visitor and I got caught, I would get a 10 year ban from entering the United states.

I returned back to Canada, and for a week I weighed all my options. I had a husband in the USA, my daughter was in school in the USA, I had a good job in the USA.  I decided I had to take the risk of returning to the USA as a Canadian visitor.

So I strapped on some courage, and made myself have, no fear, rented a car and drove myself over the border alone because I did not want to implicate any of my family members.

I drove up to the border patrol with, no fear, and as calmly and as courageous as a dove, I told him that I was going to Buffalo to pick up my husband from the airport.  He asked me if I had anything to declare, I said no and he  and waved me through!

I would tell you that after that incident, I look fear in the face every time and do it anyway. That is how I started to build my courage muscle having, no fear.

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Arifah, do you have a story to share of a time you had to look fear in the eye but do it anyway?

This is a good time to introduce a question I received on my Life coach group on Facebook. I would like for my listeners to join that group.  It is a forum to ask questions regarding your current struggles and get answers from me and the group.

This is a question from Mari: How do I have, no fear, to stop bullying

I really need some advice, I have a lot on my plate right now. I lost the love of my life. In December and since I moved in with my dad and brother I have been picking up after them. Folding their clothes. And they make me out to be their maid. I have paid money to have the house clean and it gets messy by the second day. Now since I’ve moved here my brother has been bullying me. He calls me little girl. Saying I’ll never make it on my own. Saying he feels sorry for me. Calls me a retard. Saying I act like a 12 year old. Says I don’t clean up after myself when I have been picking up after them both. Saying I’m a bitch. Calls me dumb ass. The list goes on but I’m trying to get an apartment and I don’t wish nothing bad on him but If he will ever be homeless I’m not going to put up with this. I thought of suicide but hell no!!! I’m just tired of him bullying me.

Arifah, what advice would you give Mari?

As a Life Coach, here are my steps for having, no fear, and building courage.

Exercise and meditation both have the power to lower stress levels and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, which could help you to act more courageously in the face of challenges.

This is a meditation practice  I use every day to  build my courage character. It is from the Tibethan Monk Dandipanni

  • Sit quietly and start witnessing your breathe
  • Be aware of the air as it enters your nostrils and follow it all the way down to your belly.
  • Hold your breathe for a few seconds and then breathe out, once again follow your breathe as it exits your nostrils.
  • Do this for 3 breaths
  • Now become aware of your feet on the ground. Focus your attention on your big toe on your left foot. Feel the energy in your left toe as it becomes warm. Now keep your attention on your left foot and feel the energy as it climbs through your feet, ankles, calf, knees, quads, hips. Move this energy into your spine and hold it there.
  • Repeat this with your right foot, left arm and then right arm.
  • Hold the energy that you directed from all your limbs into your spine and now think about a courageous act. I think of the courageous act I just shared with you.  Your energy body is now infused with courage.
  • Now send this energy back to your right arm, left arm, right foot and left foot.

This is how you build your courageous body and have, no fear!

Additional Resources:

https://blog.myhelps.us/principle-4-have-a-positive-mind-set/

https://blog.myhelps.us/who-is-tending-your-mind-garden/

How to Heal Your Brokenness

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/conquering-fear_n_3909020

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/22/nothing-to-fear-how-to-find-courage-when-you-need-it-most/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.43ce47fdd4e3