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Kwani A. Lunis

Multimedia Sports Journalist

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Love

Rid me on my melanin

Yesterday I tried to change my skin. I closed my eyes, squeezing out every ounce of light from my corneas, wishing I could peel off this brown bodysuit called melanin.

Maybe if we were all the same color we’d have no reason to hate. Right?

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At 6 am I scroll through my Twitter timeline, as I usually do, when I fall upon a hashtag; #AltonSterling 

I’ve seen a number of these viral videos in recent years:
I watched as Eric Garner cried “I can’t breathe” while NYPD officers held him in an illegal choke-hold.

I watched in North Charleston, South Carolina when an officer gunned down 50- year old Walter Scott was running for his life.

I watched an underage girl was dragged in her bathing suit in McKinney, Texas.

Oh yeah, and there was the other young girl, in Spring Valley, SC, viciously dragged out of her school desk for acting out in class.

…but this one was different. Like a dam with nothing left to give, I broke.

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I don’t like tears.

 

Mascara smudges, eyeliner fades away and before I know it I look like one of Bozo’s long lost cousins.

I think about the many lives that were lost to gun violence this year and then, just as quickly, I forget.

At midnight I prepare to end my day, the same way I had began it. I scroll through my Twitter once more and there it was. Another hashtag.

#FalconHeightsShooting paired with 

Twice in less than 24 hours I was reminded of a pain I had tried to forget. Between gun violence and law enforcement egoism, my thoughts are scrambled. My heart races at 90 beats per minute as I try to put into words how I feel, and all I can say is this:

I don’t want to close my eyes tonight. Maybe if I keep them open long enough, another life won’t be lost as I blink.

I can’t say with certainty why these men were murdered in cold blood. I can’t say that their encounters with those cops were without cause, but when will the senseless deaths come to an end?

When there is nothing but a pattern of black men and women being slaughtered, what else is one left to think? What if you woke up in fear that the next victim was the person you loved most?

They tell me this is a post-racial society. They say, “I don’t see color.” Hmmm. Is that to say that you’d rather not address the “brown” elephant in the room? Let’s just cut out the chapter about the taboo history of this land, a history that that expects us to instinctual hate our fellow man.

I have experienced firsthand what that hatred can do to one’s heart, and roots that deep take centuries to uproot. 

I want no part of it. 

Racism is very much alive, but we can all do our part to obliterate its remains for good. If you see this statement as false, then you are also a part of the problem.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life” Proverbs 4:23

Why don’t we just stop killing each other? Who are we to decide another’s length of time on this earth?

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Have you ever stood in the shower for hours, hoping the scorching water would wash away the melanin?

I have.

Then I remembered that my “black is beautiful”and I will live fearlessly in the skin I’m in.

 

Liberty and Justice for Who?

Every morning the school bell would ring and there I would stand with my right hand on my heart:
“…One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
 In my elementary school days, I would recite every word of this country’s mantra, proud to be a citizen of this great nation. Or so I thought. In recent days, that hand has become too heavy to hold up and my voice has grown weak.
I have never been the protesting type. In my mind, this country has never done me wrong, at least not directly, so I felt no reason to speak out. 
 Of course I learned about Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Angela Davis, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ruby Bridges, Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and all of the others, but yet it seems as though their labor were almost in vain. 
The list of black men and women killed at the hands of white supremacy should cause this country to look in the mirror in shame. Do not get me wrong, there has been progress since that first slave ship landed on this land 395 years ago.
 
Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Oscar GrantEzell Ford, Rodney King, John Crawford, Aiyana StanleySean Bell, Patrick Dorismond, Amadou DialloCorey M. Brown, DeAunta Terrel FarrowDerrick JonesEmmett Till, Guy Jarreau Jr., Jimmell Cannon, Kenneth Harding, Kiwane Carrington, Orlando Barlow, Ousmane Zongo, Ramarley Graham, Reginald Doucet, Rekia Boyd, Ronald Madison, Steven Eugene Washington, Tarika Wilson, Travares McGill, Victor Steen, Wendell Allen, Trayvon Martin, and that list goes on as well. 
Me, Desiree Houston, Lakeisha St. Joy, and Jasmine Jemeison march in a non-violent protest at Boston College. Photo Cred: Emily Fahey/BC Heights
Me, Desiree Houston, Lakeisha St. Joy, and Jasmine Jemeison march in a non-violent protest at Boston College. Photo Cred: Emily Fahey/BC Heights
I have never been the protesting type, however I have always been an American. I was born and raised in this country, and it’s my constitution that ensure Liberty and Justice for ALL of its citizens. The blood, sweat, and tears of black men and women helped build this country into what it is today. I’m not asking for much. I don’t want 40 acres and a mule, because it’s a little late for that; I just want liberty and justice for those who share my complexion. And you know what hurts the most? The fact that I currently attend a liberal arts institution and am more vulnerable to this harassment than ever before. We call ourselves educated and yet we still have “colleagues” calling us thugs, gorillas and of course, good old-fashioned N——s. 
 
I was not ever raised to be a victim, and I will not be one now, but something must be done. I am hurt by institutional racism. I am repulsed by black on black crime, but livid due to white on black violence as well. Most of all I am disappointed with the African-Americans of these “United” States. We have become so comfortable in this country that we forgot that respect is not given, but earned. There are so many factors to this argument, so many levels and complexities that I myself cannot wrap my head around it, but in the end we are all at fault for where this country is now.
“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”
Churchill was right, because history has taken a complete 360, and something must be done to break the cycle. I do not have answers, but the first step to change is unity on both sides. We must all realize where we have gone wrong and be willing to change. 
 
Nowadays, I rarely hear the Pledge of Allegiance, but at sporting events (I watch a lot of those), I hear the national anthem:
“…O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
o’er the land of the free
and the home of the brave?”
No it does not. But until it does my arms will lay at my sides, unable to hold the heart which once beat with pride for this country. 
 
Share thoughts below.

Why I Love Jesus Challenge

I’m not exactly sure where the “Why I love Jesus” challenge came from but thanks Vanessa Omoroghomwan for the nomination: I love Jesus because the doctors said I should have died but I’m still alive and well 21 years later. I love him for the amazing parents that he had raise me and the amount of family and friends I have who love me. I love him because he still loves me despite my flaws. I am currently receiving a great education, and have had/ have great work/internship opportunities, because of his love. 

To whom much is given much is expected and because of the love Jesus has given me I hope to show others that love from day to day. I now nominate Tamara Desruisseaux, Lakeisha StJoy, and Cusaj D Thomas. I’m giving you 24 hours. 

 

The Odds of Being Great

Great grandma. Oh yes, a great grandmother she was; and mother and aunt and friend, but she was my GREAT grandma. We called her Gran. *insert Haitian accent*

As I sit in my bed knowing my only class tomorrow is cancelled. My mind wanders off to this amazing woman and as I recall my memories with her it brings tears to my eyes. The first set of tears since her funeral. Now it’s not so much the pain of losing her, but the greater pain of not embracing every moment I could have had with her. I’m the oldest of her great grandchildren and she even lived with me and my family for a few years after my birth. I was able to have her the most, and it helped that she was one of the few people in this world to understand me. Ironic indeed because we never fluently spoke the same language. I taught her English and she taught me Haitian Creole. I remember one time being so proud of her because she had counted to ten in English. I was so young and such a good ESL teacher.

I got into so much trouble as a child, and I couldn’t even tell you why. The many beatings she could have given me or had my parents give me, and yet I remember clear as day doing something bad one day and worrying all day that she would tell my parents. When they got home it was as if nothing had happened and there I had been stressing. The anxiety had been punishment enough. She was so patient with me giving me a different kind of love that was on a whole new level. She moved back with my grandparents and eventually back to Haiti, but every time I did see her she was a breath of life despite her declining health. She was a soldier, never wanting us to see her at her weakest. As I think back to the last few times I saw her, it breaks my heart. Young and foolish the least I could have done was just sit with her even if she could barely see me or speak to me, but yet I was always running off to be with everyone else watching TV wasting time on things I still have a lifetime to do …

My Gran is the closest family I’ve lost in my 20 years, but what hurts the most; The thing I will never understand is how of the 365 days in a year, how she ended up dying on the day of my 20th birthday … I don’t believe in coincidences when I can believe in God, but what exactly does it mean? My pastor always says give the living flowers, they mean nothing when they’re dead. If I knew then what I know now …. I would have sat, listened, and learned. Sat by her side, listened to her story, and learned. I don’t want to have regrets because it’s too late now, but I don’t want to ever let her down again. 1 out of 365 odds are I won’t see this great woman soon, since I have a great legacy to uphold, but odds are I will strive to live the example she modeled for exactly 20 years of my life. Appreciate all whom you love while you still have them. Be sure to Sit, Listen, and Learn, because time is the most precious gift you can give; trust me, you don’t have that much of it. When they leave make them proud by representing their life legacies through your own life. — I love you Gran Alcine. See you in heaven, but ’til then I’ll make you proud. <3

SO Cliché

They say only a fool makes the same mistake twice, so call me such. It’s beyond my control, but don’t they also say that you can’t help who you fall in love with? Ah to be young and foolish. . . But I’m “older and wiser”, so where do you draw the line? “Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love.” I have faith in what we could be, but is it too much? I may be just putting all my eggs in one basket, but it’s the only basket I had. 

“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.’” I guess I’m stuck between “a rock and a hard place”, cuz I mean I don’ t really need you, but sometimes I tell myself I do. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and gosh am I fond of you.

Cliche. “A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” that’s how Google defined it for me. They helped me express how I felt, but that’s not what I’m looking for. Overused. Lacks original thought. Naw I’ll pass, but these feelings I have are bugging me, and they’re so original that a cliche couldn’t help me express it. I’ve felt this before, but it was different. I told myself it was love before but I was being…“young and foolish”. Yea the things you’ve said gives me fuzzy feelings [but then again did you even mean them], but I remember the last time warm words led me to cold nights. I’d rather not history repeat itself, so show me. Don’t feed me cliche lines as I sit trying to interpret their meanings. Words give us something to fall back on when we get lazy, disappearing into thin air with no concrete evidence. “but I told you I loved you”. Love isn’t what “your country can do for you, but what you can do you your country” [Insert person’s name in place of country]. We’re all “looking for love” when really it’s right in front of us. Love is a decision you make, not some cheesy romantic chic flick. You’re probably tired of reading this, just as I am of writing this, cuz it’s all words. Nothing you haven’t heard before, because we’ve made the very word itself cliche. 

If you love someone let em go… keep on loving them and let ’em know. “I don’t know much about algebra but I know one, plus one equals two.” (yea I know I quoted Beyonce, don’t judge me), but sorry Bey it equals one. A bond that can’t be broken. So keep on loving; family, friends, enemies and especially that person you wanna call yours.

Love is patient, Love is kind, It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails… (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

That’s love, and loving like that is no cliche at all. I try to love like this, as we all should, but it does take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is love…[you get where i’m going]. Of course I have to quote Shakespeare the most commonly “overused” romance writer of all, but he did say,”The course of true love never did run smooth.” You’ll know it’s love when there’s nothing cliche about it. 

Men have it all wrong

and so do women

It’ll only work if you do it right.

Foolish Love

I’ve fallen in love once. Well it wasn’t exactly a fall, more like a slow motion tumble, but before I knew it I found myself at one of the lowest points of my life…waiting for the person that made me feel on top of the world to pull me out. Oh the irony.  I was young and naive, but I was “in love”. It was me and you, forever and always, but at 17 anything is possible right? I thought you were everything; always on my mind, and forever in my heart. You were It. Without the experience of “being in love”, comes the vulnerability to a Utopian idea of what true love is, not realizing there’s more to it than passionate kisses and recurring “I Love Yous”. Love is the sacrifice, the endurance through tough times, the selflessness when all you want to do is be selfish. It’s not Valentines’ day bears, or everyone saying you guys look good together;  It’s the bond that’s created when no one is looking. The union of two that ultimately makes both of you stronger. Love isn’t for you, but for the person you say you love. Love letters, and kind words are nice, but love is a verb, a lifestyle, and deed done without second thought. Funny how I learned what love was by experiencing what it was not. I stumbled into what I thought was love, but  that foolishness is what makes the sharp- eyed blind. It makes you forget the important things, like God and Family. It’s not even worthy of being called “love”. I forgot myself, and God and became consumed with who you were, and that’s where I went wrong.

If God is Love, than Love is God, but that doesn’t make the one you love a god, and if that’s the case then you’re doing it all wrong. I thought you were my first love, but in fact God was and that’s the only way to get it right. When you realize that Jesus was in fact that First Love, then it all falls into place. God loving you more than you could ever love yourself sets high standards for that man who says he loves you now. I doubt this man will die on a cross for you, but he sure as hell better come close to it. To whom much love is given much more is expected. We all want love, but are we willing to give it just the same?  All my life I’ve searched for this love from little boys who told me I was pretty, when it was right in front of me all along. God’s love. It took me 20 years, but I know that I won’t be able to fully love a man until I can fully love God, and I’d rather not give a man any less if I expect just as much.  As Maya Angelou taught me, “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God, that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” Call me old fashioned, but I’m no longer looking for love. “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.” I’ll  just continue to hide in plain site as you search mister.

There’s so much to learn, but why not learn it from the original author of this thesis we call Love. It’s not as complicated as reality TV and romance novels make it, but one can’t fully understand it until they’ve had the right professor. I’ve fallen in love once, and to that I say “never again”. Next time I’d rather climb up with the one I love as we pull each other to the peak; growing closer to God and each other. And the thing that makes it so special is that there’s no rush. “Til death do us part” leave a whole lifetime of exploration, so stop rushing that thing you think is love and take time to enjoy the scenery, or you’ll be right where I was stuck in that hole called “foolish love”, waiting for the wrong person to pull you out.

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