Ms. Cecily Tyson: The Legend, The Life, The Talent, The Inspiration

Sounder, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman, and Busting Loose, are just a few of the most popular movie titles of which Ms. Cecily Tyson spread about her acting talent. Actually Ms. Tyson career began on stage and on the silver screen with what possibly was her first movie, Carib Gold in 1956. As a woman of color, this was groundbreaking! Many others would follow such as The Angry Man in 1959 and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter in 1968. Her career spand over 60 years and was decorated with many awards and accolades.

As a little girl growing up in Arizona and Alabama, I didn’t realize as a brown child, that I too could grace the stage. It wasn’t until I saw Roots and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman many years after they originally aired, that I saw a beautiful woman who looked like me prove me wrong. My highschool wishlist included acting on stage. I finally got that chance last 2019 and early 2020 in three plays for Mor-Shy Productions.

Ms. Tyson continued to portray her every roll with grace and class. My favorite movies were Mama Flora’s House and Tyler Perry’s 2006 release, Madea’s Family Reunion. Her monologue in the latter movie was cinematic gold. Ms. Tyson spoke not only to the young actors but to the nation as she encouraged us all to “love on one another” and to respect our elders and ourselves, and etc.

The loss of Ms. Cecily Tyson rocked the world on January 28, 2021, just two days after the release of her memiors “Just as I Am”, at the cool age of 96 years old. She was an icon. A true legend. She worked all the way up to her death with her final works including A Fall From Grace, and How to Get Away with Murder, where she played Viola Davis’ mother, a woman with Dimentia. It was an honor to be her fan.

When the news of her passing was released, it felt as if a family member had died. Ms. Tyson had been a staple in our home my entire life. She was an inspiration, an example of classiness, a portrayal of kindness, and lived her life and carried herself with grace and mindfulness. She taught us that there was nothing we could not do if only we believed in ourselves and a higher power that watched over us all.

We could learn from this Queens career that breaking barriers can be done through action and through what we choose say. She once said, “I realized that I could not afford the luxury of just being an actress, that there were a number of issues that I needed to address. So I made the decision to use my career as my platform”. And she did just that! Let’s all use our platforms to address the issues and injustices of today. So that even though Ms. Tyson life on Earth has ended, her legacy will live on.

Bowing,

Ms. Valerie Collins

#MsCecilyTyson #TheAutobiographyofMsJanepittman #legend #actress #AsIAm

Unapologetically Disgusted

This blog will not sit well with some. But after much thought, I decided that is fine with me. Depression hit me hard a few days ago as I went about my daily routine at home. Sometimes it simply comes out of nowhere and knocks the wind out of me. I can’t explain it. It is just part of who I am. But as I shut myself off from the world as I often do when this occurs, I missed one of the most diabolical events to happen in our nation.

When I rose to climb from under the weight of my own thoughts just before midnight, I flipped through Facebook only to find the majority of my friends in an uproar. I had no clue what had happened at the US Capitol or that lives were lost and people were hurt. The unbelievable part was that 45 ignited a fire within the belly’s of his “army” basically telling them to storm the Capitol. That was all I needed to be in an uproar myself.

First of all, I’ll state the obvious. Had those been hundreds of BLM peaceful protestors they’d all be dead or close to it. There is no way we would have gotten close to the Capitol. As soon as officials would have gotten wind of an uprising we would have been rubber bulleted, gassed, shot dead, and jailed. In that order!There is no way we would have ever made it across the street, down the street, or a few blocks over from the Capitol before being attacked!

Now that that is out of the way, let’s go on to the person who ensued this riot. Wednesday, January 9, 2021, the “leader” of America incited an inssurrection against the US government and our Constitution. As of today, 2 days later, 5 lives were lost with many others injured. I am unapologetically disgusted!! So many fellow Americans share in my deplaurum. I applaud Mark Zuckerberg for deactivating the social media accounts used to cause pandemonium for the last four years and insure this heinous act. Some see it as a breach of the first amendment. I see it as removing the fuel that ignites the fire. For me, January 20th can’t come soon enough.

Now, let’s move on to how the rest of the world has got to be looking at us as they shake their collective heads. Because of Lie after lie, blatant open treason, causing the deaths of thousands by belittling Covid-19, the impeachment dibocal, making enemies allies, and yes, the last four years of idiotcy through twitter, etc., America is probably the laughing stock of the world. Some would say, we are the nation that has fallen from grace. 45’s legacy will be tainted by his bigotry, racism, hate, supremacy, and division. Added to the list is hypocrisy and utter disregard for human life simply because Georgia stood up against him and won!!

Now, where do we go from here. We must chose our battles wisely. We’ve already shined a global light on the plight of being black in America and the world stood in solidarity with us. We’ve learned that when we raise our voices and exercise our rights we can invoke change. But we cannot lose that momentum. Never forget aside from all the politic rhederic, the elections, the pandemic, and renewed hope in Biden and Harris, we cannot become complacent in our efforts for progressive change. Continue to sign the petitions, repeatedly say their names, hold steadfast in your convictions, always vote like your life depends on it, live like there’s no tomorrow, and as you do, pray for a better future for this nation and the world.

Hope and peace,

Val

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#unapologeticallydisgusted #unapologetically #vfurrmstheblogger #mypoeticlife #mypoeticlifebook #valeriefurr-collins #valeriemariecollins #valeriecollins #capitolriots #dcriot #capitolinsurrection #45

Sweet Potato Pie

Pandemic aside, the last few months of 2020 have been trying but also eye opening. After several tests and appointments we found out my Mom would need her third, and hopefully her last, knee surgery (a total knee reconstruction with tibia replacement). After finding out her tibia was broken, the doctors sent her to UAB Hospital Highlands in Birmingham, Al, about an hour away. I felt relieved that some the best surgeons in the nation would be doing her surgery. The date was set for October 23, 2020.

Because of Covid-19, and with a little coercion, my niece and I were the only ones able to stay at the hospital with her. When they took her to the holding room, I found myself completely terrified as I sat there quietly trying to come to grips with my sweet Momma’s mortality. Not wanting to face the reality that I could possibly lose her, I put her in God’s hands. Good thing for me, so did my family’s. Their prayers, calls, and texts kept me strong. Of course she made it through due to her incredible faith and her wonderful doctors and nurses. Thankfully, Momma is recovering wonderfully at home.

During the week of Thanksgiving, my son was sent home from work with Covid symptoms. Because he was tested the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we had to wait five days to get his results. He quarantined himself to his room. Still we needed to get through Thanksgiving dinner which I prepared as my Mom needed to rest. After the time with her in the hospital, praying so hard that she would see this Thanksgiving, I wanted everything to be perfect. That’s where sweet potato pie comes in.

When I remember holidays as a child, no memory is complete without my mom’s incredible sweet potato pie. Everyone blessed to have a slice raved about her pies. Every year my three older sisters and I asked for her recipe but she would never let us in on the magic. A few years ago, she finally shared her secret recipe with my older sisters and this year she entrusted it to me. I was overjoyed and afraid at the same time; afraid that I would mess it up for a good reason.

While walking me through each step, I discovered baking these pies would be a little more difficult than I anticipated. You see, my Mommy never measured anything. Every ingredient was poured, sprinkled, scooped, and dashed until she felt it was enough. In other words, “until her spirit said stop”. Her recipe included two big globs of this, just a dash of that, a teaspoon of this, and a splash of that. So, following in her footsteps, I listened to my spirit as I prepared the filling until it taste exactly like my Momma’s. The pies turned out amazing!

Being knighted with this family tradition really made me more thankful this Thanksgiving! My heart burst with pride when she tasted my sweet potato pie and loved it! When my brother said it tasted just like Mom’s, I almost cried. It may seem silly that something as simple as sweet potato pie could stir such emotion, but it’s the history in it for me.

This recipe has been passed down from my Great Grandmother Roberts, to my Grandma Leathia, to my own Mommy, my sister’s, and then entrusted to myself. One day soon, I will entrust it to my daughter and she to her daughter, MY granddaughter. I’m honored to be a link in the chain of passage for our family’s traditions. Especially this one which began with a cherished childhood memory of my Momma’s sweet potato pie.

PS. My son’s results were negative. All Glory is to God!!

Happy Holidays!

vfurrmstheblogger
Written by: Valerie Furr-Collins
12/13/2020

#sweetpotatopie #familytradition #holidaytraditions #holidaypie #christmaspie #thanksgiving2020 #covid-19 #family #rightofpassage #happyholidays

Me Too

This was the third time in the past half hour that the light flicked on and off as the thunder clashed and lightning hit so close it hurt her eyes. She made sure the sliding door was locked before she bundled up her two babies and headed to make a dreadful trek into town to the nearest store for candles, matches, soda, light bread, crackers, cookies, and can goods. Hurricane Opal was coming fast and hard!

This would be her only time calling and asking her sweet mother for money. She knew that she would give her last had she known how bad off they were. But she wanted to try to stand on her own. Her mother sent her fifty dollars. By the time she started driving, it was raining so hard she could barely see the road.

According to the radio, she had a little under an hour to get her supplies and get back home before full landfall. Hurricane Opal had already claimed lives in other states and here it was coming full speed to one of the most deployable bases in the country. She prayed all the way there. The drunks and thugs standing in groups in front of the store only scared her more. So she would hurry getting the kids and groceries in the car.

She was terrified of crowds, strangers and storms. Therefore, it made her particularly uneasy that the vagrants in the parking lot were constantly looking at her. Her heart felt like it was going to thump right out her chest! After throwing the groceries in the car, she jumped in her jeep and wasn’t able to exhale until she pulled off. She had never seen the weather so bad! She didn’t know what to expect from a hurricane! A down south tornado, yes, but an up north hurricane as big and bad as Opal, no way!

The strong winds made her swerve a few times but she made it home as the storm began to come down around them. All she wanted was her husband home. She felt safe just knowing he was there, even if he was in the other room. But instead, he said he was stuck doing field maneuvers, only God knows where! At that moment she had no reason to think otherwise. She believed him.

She called him at least a dozen times, with no answer. But when in the field, that was normal. She just needed to hear his voice. The mere sound of it could wrap around her like a warm blanket. But she hadn’t heard anything since the night before. She was such a beautiful, innocent, naive, and gullible young woman. But she loved with her whole heart. He was her first love. He was her very first everything.

She decided to feed and bathe her babies and put them to bed upstairs. Had she known better, she would have kept them downstairs in a safe place. Anyway, she ran her own bath water and tried to relax as the wind howled making her anxious. She gave up quickly, got dressed, and went downstairs to find a flashlight as the lights continued to flicker off and on again.

Earlier that week she bought a nightie for him. She bought everything she wore, for him. She wanted to look good for him. This particular nightie was forest green valour, with a princess cut, and spaghetti straps. It curved and hit in all the right places. She hated the color green. After ironing and sending countless BDUs to the cleaners, she was tired of seeing green. But it was his favorite color.

They had known one another for a total of 12 years; four in high school, eight together, and seven of them married. His previous infidelities had cracked and weakened the foundation of their marriage and her soul. Neither was hardly standing. BUT she wanted to look good for him.

The hours slowly ticked by as the sky fell in outside. Hail hit the storm glass so hard it burst a hole in the sliding door. Terrified she huddled in a corner behind their black leather sectional and watched the rainwater spray in through the busted glass. Toys, benches, chairs, or anything left outside, were basically gone, carried away by harrowing straight-line winds! Then the lights went out.

She lit a few candles. It rained so hard. As the rain hit the roof and the outside structure of the military housing, the sound of it compounded by the wind was almost deafening. She thought about her babies upstairs, ran up, grabbed them both, and began to pray. She stuck it out. It was single-handedly the scariest thing she had ever gone through. Finally, around 4 am, the radio announcer stated that although the hard rain would continue, the worse was over.

She checked on her sleeping babies. She decided to wait for her hard-working husband downstairs and pulled out the sofa bed. She tried to rest but still couldn’t get a hold of him. She managed to doze off into a light sleep until she heard the jingle of keys and the front door open. He was home, safe, and in one piece-unharmed!

The base housing layouts were all the same. There was the kitchen to the right of the entrance. A staircase to your left leading to three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The living room was adjacent to the dining area. This area was big enough for a large sectional, a bar with stools, a tv stand, tv, coffee table, two end tables, and toys for two babies. All the floors were linoleum. The walls were so thin, we could hear our neighbors arguing daily. The houses were nearly on top of one another with small fenced in back yards and adjacent front yards with a lawn that was shared by everyone on the block.

It was just before 5 am when the door opened. She jumped up to greet her husband. She noticed he looked different but ignored her feelings of doom. But she was just so glad he was home. He looked at the bags of supplies she had gotten earlier still sitting on the kitchen floor next to washer and dryer. As she greeted him, his eyes and the way he looked at her were disturbing. He reeked of alcohol. But she was just so relieved he was home it never crossed her mind where he actually had been for three days.

She noticed his accusatory tone when he asked where she had been. She answered, “Winn Dixie. My momma sent us $50. I was so scared but I had to get food and candles….”. Her words were stopped by his hand around her neck. He nearly picked her up. She fought to loosen his grip as he began to murmur something about her meeting someone at the store. All of a sudden, SHE was the cheater? She struggled to release his grip and ask him what was wrong with him! The look in his eyes terrified her! He was enraged and she had done nothing to deserve it.

He backed her up by her tiny neck and body-slammed her down on the sofa bed. Before she could catch her breath, he began tearing at her clothes. She kicked and struggled beneath his weight to no avail. He whispered something in her ear that she would never forget, “You’re a whore, you wanna know what kind of whore you are? You one of them ghetto hoes. You go from person to person.”

His voice was raspy and he didn’t sound like himself. His breath wreaked of alcohol and pot. He held her down with all his might which felt stronger than usual as if he had some kind of drug in his system. He claimed he caught her before her “man” could get there and she wore the nightie for “him”. He tore it off of her with one hand while continuing to choke her with another. Every time his grip loosened enough, she screamed in fear for her life begging him to stop and get off of her! But her pleas only made him angrier.

He ripped everything off of her within a matter of seconds. She fought hard for this stranger to get off of her! Terror took up every inch of the room. Why was the man she loved violating her in this awful, inhumane way? For some reason, she looked at the clock. It was 5:04 am. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t breathe. All she could do was cry. She figured if she stopped fighting maybe he would stop.

The first time he slipped into a drunken stupor on top of her, she tried to roll his 180 lb body of pure muscle off of her, but he woke up and violated her again. And again. And again. Each time she tried to escape this nightmare, he would wake up and start over. Horrified, she shook with fear, under his weight. The entire time his hand was around her neck or holding her down by her wrist, upper arms or inner thighs. He was so brutal. When he went into a deep sleep for the last time, she looked at the clock. 8:01 am.

She rolled him off of her and cried as silently as she could before crawling her sore body on her hands and knees thankful that her babies were still asleep upstairs. When she made it upstairs herself, she locked her bedroom door behind her. She immediately turned on the shower, sat down in the tub and bawled loudly until the shower water was cold and she had no tears left.

In the aftermath, if she left him, her leaving wouldn’t be about hurting him but healing herself. In fact, her love and gullible nature allowed her to halfway forgive him. Yet she couldn’t believe he’d hurt her so deeply. The next morning, she just laid there drowning in a puddle of her own tears. Later she awakened to her daughter’s laughter while playing outside her bedroom door. Her entire body ached. She had bruises from her neck down. There were actual imprints of his fingers around her neck, wrist, upper arms, and inner thighs. She could hardly walk.

She packed a suitcase for herself and another for her kids. She figured she would come back for the rest of their things. She scooped up her son and led her daughter downstairs. She went back up, retrieved her suitcases, and stood beside the sofa bed. He was awake. The only thing she felt for him in that moment was a total lack of respect. No love, no hate, just an urge to be as far away from him as possible. The 900 miles from North Carolina back home to Alabama would suffice.

He pleaded with her to stay. He apologized over and over. He begged her to still love him. He needed her.

He. Needed. Her.

So, unfortunately, she tried to stay. But a few weeks later, after a move promised a fresh start, the monotony of life pressed on. She got up one day, packed up things for her kids and herself, drove to the army base, and asked the first person she saw to go get him from within the building.

Ten minutes later, he emerged from the mass of soldiers and walked over to the running jeep. All she said was that she’s going home for a few days. She drove off with the rape fresh on her mind, along with the possibility of an outside child looming over her.

She was to the point mentally where she wished she had left years ago, where inside I felt physically empty. Having given all I had, I had no more to give to my violator, my aggressor, my husband, the love of my life. During the drive home to Alabama, many tears fell as the radio played song after song reminding me of the man I loved who couldn’t love me.

#vfurrmstheblogger

Valerie Furr-Collins

#metoo #mypoeticlife #mypoeticlifebook #metoomovement

Little Girl Lost

There’s a little girl lost inside of me. How do I release my inner child from bondage, from fear, from believing she’s done something wrong, or she’s not good enough as she is. Release her from obligation to serve anyone but herself. Allow her to see her; to love her; to be there for herself, to releesh in the joy of just being a child. Normalize her world, balance her thoughts, allow her to become whoever or whatever she wants to be.

Release your restraints upon her. She is grown and still feels your ties, still feels your bondage, still lives in your purgatory. Heal my inner child’s heart, she shouldn’t have had to be your reflection, maintain your definition of perfection, dance to your drum, made to believe she was less than.

Back then life was about NOT growing as a person, not living life, not simply being. Being taught what not to do, not to be, not to say, not to have, not to love. The restraints on my life weren’t put there by me. I felt held back physically, held down mentally, held back emotionally. Stiffled, shut in, enslaved, held captive in my own home, my spirit, my mind, my body and my soul. I just wanted to be free to do simple things, like go outside and gaze at the beauty of Gods workings in the sky without being scared, terrified, trembling with crippling fear.

The little girl in me sees all the bondages I broke free from and those that ignited curses from generations past. My mothering was not perfect, my love did not covet, my hope was dashed out. I have pushed through my brokenness for so long. I never realized while pushing through I also pushed aside help, friends, family, love, hope, grace, and peace.

I’ve got to stop. Peace be still. Allow the storm to fester. Take time in the darkness to soul search, heal, apologize, and think. I’ve got to breath. I have to breath. Remember to breath. I’ll never be free until I break these chains. I’ve got to set her free.

To the little girl in me, I see you, I hear you. I release you. Be free little girl, Lil’ Baby, Pooh. Be free, Valerie

I love you!

Valerie Furr-Collins

#vfurrmstheblogger #mypoeticlifethebook #mypoeticlife #vfurrms #valeriemariefurr

Broken

I’m broken. 

Tattered with uneven scars, unhealed wounds, untold stories, impartial agony, and un-reciprocated love.

I’m broken.

Unable to speak the hurtful words that defined me for so long; unable to unravel the tangled web that has become my life’s work. 

I am broken. 

Breathing in the toxicity purged into my soul, bound underneath the weight of my damaged spirit, it seeps through my cracks, though out my being, and into my world. 

I am broken. 

Pleading with myself to find solace as I drown in the despair that covers me. And unlike any experience in my life, grief has adhered to me like permanent paint waiting to dry.

I’m broken

Beyond repair, beyond reprieve; destined to sink in the quicksand named sorrow.  To wallow in the sea of depression, drowning under its current

I am broken. 

Denying myself complete healing, awaiting an apology that will never come, seeking something, searching constantly. So I ask, Lord, where do I go from here?

I am broken

Still, I pray each night to wake up to a new day where I am whole again; without the pain that plagues me. Understanding there are eyes on me; God’s hands are on me, my circles belief is in me.  Never will I give up just because…

I’m broken

By: Valerie Furr-Collins

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My Happiness on Happiness Happens Day 2020

My favorite picture of my two children!

In today’s world, every occasion is celebrated. On August 8, 2020, among other observances, is Happiness Happens Day. I chose to celebrate what made me the happiest I’ve ever been, my children.

I remember the excitement of becoming a first time mom and a second time mom. Those two days were the happiest of my life. So, it’s only fitting to talk about my children today. Growing up, I wanted a huge family like the one I grew up in. As a child, I knew one thing to be true, I wanted to be a mom, just like mine. God blessed me with two amazing children. Throughout our difficult marriage, one girl and one boy were my greatest gifts.

I loved every minute of raising my kids except for the any time we had to be apart. Therefore, when they grew up, it took me some time to get use to being the mother of adult children. I went through all the emotions you go through during grief because you do lose your babies but you gain children who become so much more like your friend and confidant. Once you realize the gain is greater than the loss, you’ll be OK. I’m still getting to that point, but watching them fly and make their own way in this world is gratifying within itself.

I can’t imagine my life without them. Just when you think you can’t love someone more, each day you do. I can only hope my babies can feel my love and my presence in their lives even though I’m coaching from the sidelines or just looking on as they grow and become self sufficient. I’m so proud of both of them.

I used to think they had to grow up to meet my expectations and be what I wanted them to be in life. We all desire the best for our children and carry a carbon copy of what that means in our minds. But the best they can become is what they make of themselves. As parents, we have to trust that we raised them right and given them the tools they need to succeed on their own. See, I’m learning that letting them only changes your role from holding their hand and guiding their feet, to stepping back and watching them shine.

My daughter and son in law blessed me with my granddaughter. I’m here to tell you that when your first grandchild comes into your life, any type of love you ever felt, does not compare. It’s different than the love of your child, but yet you love them both the same. I hope that makes sense. These people are the most important in my world along with my sweet Momma, but I’d rather they be safe.

So, to my two shining stars Brittney and Trey, I love you with all that I am. I trust you to make your lives great! My journey for you is not your journey for yourself. I get that now. Do not be afraid to use your wings; they work. Just know if you fall along the way, get hurt, need to rest, or just want momma, I’m here. Always and forever. You both are my happiness. Be great this Happiness Happens Day and every day my loves. There’s nothing you can not do!

I love you to infinity, Mom!

Share your happiness with me.

#vfurrmstheblogger #newheights #mypoeticlife #mypoeticlifethebook #valeriefurr-collins #valeriecollins #valeriemariecollins #pandemic #pandemicinspiration #HappinessHappensDay #InfinityDay

Stop Killing Us

We’ve spoken out, stood up, found our voices, and led with our cry. Can you hear us?

Stop killing us, Protest 2020, George Floyd, Aumaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Blackout Coalition 2020, stop systemic racism, police the police, Black Lives Matter, say their names, police brutality,

I! CAN’T! BREATH!

According to http://newsone.com, between 2012 and 2020, 83 unarmed black men and boys have been kill by police, fourteen of them just this year alone. That number doesn’t include black women/girls who have died in custody such as Sandra Bland or murdered in their home like Breonna Taylor.

As a black woman in America, I feel enraged, outraged, disheartened, overwhelmed, and discouraged all at the same time. Yet, a small part of me is hopeful. Hopeful that the majority of the world holding up signs in protest across the globe will become the change we all want to see. Hopeful that laws will go into affect in this nation holding those accountable when someone dies while in police custody.

This situation puts all the police officers following the laws in danger due to the unjust work of a few who have no regard for human life; for black lives. The knee lynching of George Floyd on social media incited a generation of freedom fighters; young people who have grown up under an unjust system that has allowed black lives to not matter for far too long. Mr. Floyd’s murder is just one in a vast number of deaths at the hands of police this generation has witnessed due to social media.

We, meaning my generation-70s babies, heard the stories of old where we as black people were enslaved and mistreated. We grew up in a world where racism and hatred were alongside a broken justice system and inequality. We saw it on TV and in real life, at school, the super market, or in the street. We just didn’t have a name for it back then but now we label it as white privilege. If anyone says white privilege does not exist, they need to have a reality check. But there’s celebrity privilege as well. I saw a piece of a video where Morgan Freeman blindly suggested that if we stop bringing racism up, it won’t exist. How more ignorant can this be? That’s like saying, if you ignore the savage, hungry dog running toward you, you won’t get bit.

All murders by the hands of police are wrong and most have gone unpunished. On May 28, 2020, the world watched this murderer, with his hands in his pockets, apply pressure with his knee, to Mr. Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for his life, begged for his late mother, and cried out, “I can’t breath” eleven times for eight minutes and forty six seconds. We watched as three other “protect and serve” officers did absolutely nothing as onlookers pleaded for them to help. Imagine slowly suffocating to death for eight minutes and forty six seconds.

Why did this happen? Because he could. They have seen others time and time again get away with murder so much so that this man made a conscious choice to take Mr. Floyd’s life with no conscience, no heart, and no emotion, except for hate. As a lead officer on detail with rookies, his point was to show them how ‘it’s done’. Now, I sincerely hope that cop pays for his murder spending life sitting behind bars. The the other cops involved need to pay as well.

Yes, I’m angry. I’m outraged! Imagine if the men in your community; your fellow fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, cousins, and friends were murdered by those sworn to protect and serve with no consequence. Now imagine you are me, the mother of a twenty two year old young black man who is at the age where he thinks he is invincible. You’ll never understand my fear every time he walks out the door. I often think of every young man in my family and my heart drops. All I can do is keep them lifted in prayer. My sons friends are white men. I told him he is still a target regardless of the color of his circle. Don’t ever forget it!

Put your hands on the steering wheel, fingers straight out at 12 o’clock. Don’t make any sudden moves. Answer yes sir, ma’am. Have your insurance, license, and registration in plain view. Don’t reach for anything. Have your phone recording. Don’t show signs of aggression. Know your rights but do not get upset. Follow instructions. Make it home…etc.

If you think we should not have to die in police custody regardless of our past, a record, or the color of our skin, we are asking that YOU, regardless of race, stand in solidarity with the black community until they stop killing us, our children can grow up with their fathers, brothers, etc.; allow our young men and women live to pursue their dreams; raise your voice until the justice system gets the reform that’s long overdue; see to it that generational racism is cut off. Be part of the end of systemic racism People of color deserve the same opportunities as everyone else .

If you want to join the fight or want to help in a wonderful way please join the Facebook group the Blackout Coalition @www.facebook.com/groups/blackout/movement or follow @theblackoutcoaition on IG and its’ creator on IG @thecalvinmartyr

My heart is heavy.

Valerie Furr-Collins

vfurrmstheblogger

#revolution #georgefloyd #vfurrmstheblogger #protest2020 #breonnataylor #tamirrice #trayvonmartin #policebrutality #solidarity #blackcommunity #mypoeticlifebook #mypoeticlife #theblackoutcoalition #calvinmartyr

Pandemic 2020: You Good?

I’ve experienced a variety of emotions since this pandemic began. Perhaps some of you can relate. My first feeling I remember the second week of March, was fear. Then anxiety. Two of my nieces were very sick and one eventually lost her baby due to running a high fever for a few days. She was never tested for COVID-19. In fact, our state had just set up a makeshift testing site.

As the days went by, my medical experience kicked in and I knew the only way to keep my 76 year old mother and my chronically ill brother safe was to sanitize every room in the house and pay attention to CDC regulations and information. Every morning I had them hold their breath for 10 seconds and took temperatures.  Then I cleaned door knobs, walls, the fridge, stove, an every delivery that came to the house before it entered, including groceries.

We began self quarantining on March 13, 2020. A little over two months later, I have found myself slacking on sanitizing and almost forgetting we are in a pandemic. We have not been out the house except to accept groceries and walk the dogs. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster from deep depression to mild depression to happiness over being grateful to still be healthy with so many losing their lives around us.

As a former nurse, I feel so bad to not be on the front line. I loved my job and it hurts to not be out their with my comrades. But I understand that with lung disease and Fibromyalgia, I’m high risk and would possibly bring the virus home to my family. So I did the next best thing. I began crocheting mask backed with the American flag to signify we will get through this together. I’m giving them away to essential workers or basically anybody who asks for one.

I don’t see the point in making people pay for something that could possibly save lives. I have made and given away masks to my neighbors, former classmates, and family so far. If I had to give a number, even though I’ve lost count at how many I’ve made, it would probably be close to 25 or 30. Each mask takes about an hour or so to make because I hand sewing the material onto the crocheted mask. They even pass the lighter test so I know they provide proper protection.

One important thing I make sure to do daily is check in on those close to me whom I cannot see in person. I just say hello and let them know I’m thinking about them. My big sister bought our mom an Echo Show 8 for Mother’s Day so now we can see her and her family anytime by using the Alexa device. I met my new great nephew for the first time and got to lay eyes on my niece, nephew and other great nephew!! The boys are too cute. I think I’ll buy one for my other out of state sister for Christmas.

As our state, Alabama, is opening back up, prematurely in my opinion, as the number of cases continue to rise, please pray for us. I appreciate those who text, call, or message just to see how we’re doing. So just in case no one has asked you lately, Are you good?  How are you doing during this pandemic? Do you need anything?? And last but not least, know that I am praying not only for you and our nation, but for our world. Thanks for reading and by all means, stay safe.

Love, vfurrmstheblogger

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