blacklivesmatter

The United States of America

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I cried a lot this morning. This amazing courageous man changed my view of the world. For eight years, I -an AfricanAmerican woman- witnessed the break down of some of the walls that existed between black and white America. I saw that many would not judge you by the color of your skin.

 

This election did not go the way I wanted BUT I am clear on one thing. The wall can only be rebuilt if WE choose it to be. Now with a new person being sworn into office today it just lights my fire 🔥 to keep climbing. TO RISE UP and continue President Obama's legacy. That "there is not a black America and a white America and latino America and asian America-there's the United States of America."-Barack Obama

I love this country.


Brown Skin {follow up}

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A few weeks back I wrote a blog post about an unfortunate racist experience I had while at a gas station right after the presidential election (click here to read).  I wanted to take a few moments to say thank you to the many that shared my post on social media or sent me a message of support. 

After that experience I found myself in a place of forgiveness. Forgiveness for myself, for having an expectation of how I THOUGHT I should have reacted, and a place of forgiveness for the poor tortured soul experiencing life through hate. 

Today I received this message from a friend and wanted to share it. 


"Today my car chimed at me that a tire needs air. And I thought of you, your blog "Brown Skin" and the everyday privileges that are given to me based on skin color--insults that aren't hurled at me, places I walk into without even thinking--how will they treat me? will they accept me? am I safe?, even seating I take for granted. You have opened my eyes to the subtleties of racism (and not so subtle). Thank you for having the courage to be the change you want to see in the world."- Judy Terrigno

 

I am committed.

Committed to staying in the present moment.

To remaining grounded in my world.

To feeling a bond with each person I meet.

To respecting my own integrity and my own honor.

To living within the energy of love and compassion everyday...

And returning to that energy when I don’t feel it.

To making wise and blessed choices with my will.

To release the need to know why things happen as they do…

And to not project expectations over how I want this day to be and how I want others to be.

Finally my last prayer….

To trust God...and with that I bless my day with gratefulness and with love,

Ylonda

Why, you ask?

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Earlier this week I wrote a post in regards to the yoga class that I teach for women of color. Afterwards I received a message from one of my white students asking why I felt the need to teach a class just for women of color. After all yoga means "Union". and my class was excluding others. Let me start by saying that my class is a group of women that have hired me to teach yoga and facilitate discussions about issues in the Black Community. While I do teach yoga classes open to anyone, my goal is to ALSO host public classes for people of color. Yes, it is true that Yoga does mean union. But let's get honest...If you look around the yoga scene in CLE or around the country, it is overflowing with opportunities for all of us to practice yoga together. There are literally hundreds of yoga studios, plus community centers, community colleges, senior centers, churches with yoga classes that are open to all people. "Ylonda wouldn't you be upset if there was a class just for white people?" My answer is this... Most yoga classes in CLE are in fact white. The dominant images associated with yoga today are 99% images of white people.

There are classes for Yoga for New Parents, Yoga for Women in Addiction Recovery, Yoga for Parents of Children with Disabilities, Yoga for those with Eating Disorders, Yoga for Women, Broga (yoga for men),the lists goes on and on. In each of these classes, students are able to bring their full selves more honestly and vulnerably into the practice. Even if the students never say a word about their experiences in class, just knowing that other people in the room have come to heal similar wounds gives immense power to the practice. It is usually asked that people who do not fit this identity choose another yoga class. The reality is that people of color suffer minor and major traumas of living in a racist society every day.

It is important for a community of people so under represented be given a common space to meet, share, heal, and grow, especially in the racially tense climate of today.

So thank you to the student who sent me this question. Thank you for helping me get more clear and more determined in my motivation.