Juneteenth: The Past, The Present, The Future

When did you first learn about Juneteenth?

I mean, seriously, think about it.

It wasn’t taught in elementary school, middle school, or high school for that matter.

The vast majority of us didn’t learn about it until college or worse within the last 3-5 years.

It seems as if these holidays and historic events just came out of thin air but that’s not true. It’s time to recognize its place in American history and reflect on the long struggle for equal rights. We’ve been fighting for our lives since the dawn of time and we still have much further to go. As of June 15th, the Senate passed a bill to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday. President Biden signed off on the bill on June 17th and the rest is history – for now.

What Is Juneteenth?

On June 19, 1865, the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended, and enslaved African Americans had been freed. Though the Emancipation Proclamation became law in January 1863, it could not be enforced in places still under confederate control. Thus it took over 2 years for approximately 250,000 Texan slaves to learn their freedom had been secured by the government.

Click here to learn more about Juneteenth.

Continue reading “Juneteenth: The Past, The Present, The Future”

Spotlight Tuesdays Presents: The Innovator

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in·no·va·tor
noun
a person who introduces new methods, ideas, or products.

Deja is a burst of energy and sunshine! We met back in high school during our drama club days and she was always positive and such a joy to be around. We have been laughing together ever since. An advocate, activist, creative, game changer, and beautiful Black Queen. With every cloth diaper she sews, she makes it with love and her customers in mind. She uplifts those around her and is #FUBU to the max, spreading awareness on the beauty that is Black culture. She proudly uses her platform to discuss topics of social justice and promoting eco-friendly baby products. I am truly inspired by her and her business she runs. She’s not only building a legacy, but creating generational wealth for her family too.

Here’s her story:

Tell me a little bit about yourself? How did you meet Bree?

Hey ! I’m Deja, 29 years old, sage burning, fist raising, mother of one little Sunshine Jaylen. I met Bree in high school. She was super sweet with a big smile and I knew we would become friends. We spent 3 years singing, acting, and laughing together at Junipero Serra High School.

What inspired you to start your business? How long has it been up and running?

When I had my son Jaylen at 19 he had really sensitive skin. He experienced frequent baby acne breakouts and really bothersome diaper rashes from disposable diapers. He had one really bad chemical rash and I decided to try out cloth diapers as an alternative. After one full day in cloth diapers, I decided to make the switch. Soon after, I began to make his cloth diapers and received requests to make diapers for other babies. Once I started fulfilling orders, I never stopped sewing.

It turned into a passion, it led to viral posts, and a cloth diaper that disrupted the natural parenting world and brought about change. 9 years later, I am still sewing and using creative activism to promote change in the cloth diapering community.

What is the main focus of your business?

The main focus of my business is Black Centered Designs and Eco Friendly baby products. I combine the two and raise money for organizations that benefit black people while supporting myself and my son.

Continue reading “Spotlight Tuesdays Presents: The Innovator”

Spotlight Tuesdays Presents: The Activist

Madina

ac·tiv·ist
/ˈaktivəst/
noun

a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.

Madina is truly one of a kind, so full of life! From the moment I met her, I knew she was a forced to be reckoned with. An advocate, activist, author, poet, social worker, and game changer. She stands with all communities of color in solidarity. She fights on the frontlines and challenges the system. She proudly advocates and spreads a wealth of knowledge about her people in the Afghan community. An inspiration with an amazing story to tell.

Here’s her story:

Tell me a little bit about yourself? How did you meet Bree?

I’m the child of Afghan refugees settled on Tongva land in what is now called Los Angeles. I describe myself that way because decolonization, of our minds, of our language, our education, it’s all important to me. My parents survived the Afghan civil war and had me one year after. I was raised in a progressive Pashtun household. The Pashtun people are the largest matrilineal tribe in the world, and I’m proud to come from such resilient people.

I always wanted to work in a service capacity and this brought me into the field of social work & mental health. I’m especially passionate about using my privilege as a non-black, non-Indigenous person of color to fight for equity and promote anti-racism. I had the privilege of meeting Bree while we both served at Covenant House, a transitional aged youth shelter in Hollywood, CA.

What inspired you to start your blog? How long has it been up and running?

I always wrote long Facebook posts and have had something to say since I was young. The Afghan & Iraqi occupations really influenced my desire to speak out against oppression & injustice. I always wanted to write in some capacity. Burqas & Beer was born after the Israeli assault on Palestine in 2014; this was the year I became highly involved in grassroots organizing in LA, and I documented my experience through my blog.

Continue reading “Spotlight Tuesdays Presents: The Activist”

Pause, Reflect, Create

PAUSE RESET CREATE

pause

/pôz/

verb

1. interrupt action or speech briefly.

noun

1. a temporary stop in action or speech.

When’s the last time you truly sat with yourself and took a deep breath in?

When you allowed your natural body clock to awaken you without the aid of an alarm.

When you rolled out of bed and took time for your morning skincare routine, to prepare breakfast, and drink your favorite cup of tea.

Living in the unprecedented times of COVID-19, I’ve gotten the chance to sit with myself and embrace my season of stillness.

For a while I was frustrated because I felt stuck creatively. I saw other bloggers and content creators I admired that “took advantage” of working from home and seized the moment of producing consistent content for their audience. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough to consistently engage with those who follow and read my blog. Writers block is real and I didn’t want to force myself to create for the sake of having ample time and opportunity to do so.

So, I PAUSED.

I shared my frustrations with my cousin who is my writing partner and kindred spirit. She shared that she too, hadn’t felt inspired to create during these times and reassured me that the inspiration will slap me in the face when it’s time lol.  

It’s important to PAUSE and REFLECT often especially during a season of stillness.

Here are my 5 Reasons Why You Should Take A Break!

Continue reading “Pause, Reflect, Create”

Faith Over Fear

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

Reporting to you live from Bree’s Quarantine Life!

It’s Week 4 of Working From Home and I feel like I’ve finally settled into my routine and work schedule. It seems like most days I can’t catch a break with back-to-back conference calls, Zoom Meetings, and telehealth therapy sessions with my clients. Yet, I’m grateful for the opportunity to remain employed and fulfill my duties at home.

As I settle into this New Normal, I’m giving myself grace and taking things one day at a time. Instead of complaining about the lack of freedom, I’m embracing the stillness.

On the other hand, I know that everyone won’t adopt this same mindset.

Continue reading “Faith Over Fear”

Spotlight Tuesdays Presents: The Influencer

 

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influencer

/ˈinflo͝oənsər/

Noun

one who exerts influence: a person who inspires or guides the actions of others

Chanel is your one-stop shop for all things beauty! From her flawless skin, to makeup tutorials and beauty hacks, sis knows what she’s doing and is a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Here’s her story:

Tell me a little bit about yourself? How did you meet Bree?

I have a Masters of Social Work degree and I currently work as a clinical therapist in mental health. I am an R&B and makeup lover. I’m a Pisces, so I’m a very sweet and kindhearted person. People describe me as an introvert with extrovert qualities. I met Bree in college at Cal State Dominguez Hills, and we started to talk more through our mutual friend, Teresa.

What inspired you to start your blog? How long has it been up and running?

I have been watching makeup tutorials on Instagram and YouTube for years and I always so intrigued. Although I liked makeup, I never had the courage to actually post content onto social media, in fear of not being good enough. After talking with many friends and getting the encouragement to finally do so, I posted my first makeup picture on Instagram on August 17, 2018. I learned that I should pride in my work and if only one person liked my content, I would feel accomplished. I posted my first video on Instagram on September 9, 2018 and the love I received was unimaginable. I have been creating content since then and have worked with many makeup and skincare brands.

Continue reading “Spotlight Tuesdays Presents: The Influencer”

8 Creative Women You Need To Follow

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In Honor of Black HERstory month, I’m highlighting the women in my life who inspire me daily, who keep me on my toes, who pray for me, and ultimately are on the quest to make an impact in this world.

  1. Jacquelyn of Genuinely Jacq

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She’s a PR Maven on the rise that keeps it real at all times! She creates amazing and organic content while looking classy and stylish too. What I love most about her content is that she is genuine through and through. She caters to the “Good Girl” in us all, as she debunks the stigma of Good Girl/Good Woman portrayed in media and every day life. She reminds you that it’s okay to strut to the beat of your own drum!

  1. Rosie of @Roseavore

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She’s the ultimate Boss Babe. She wears many hats, from writing poetry, to painting beautiful portraits, to community activism, to modeling, to her healing hands in massage therapy – Rosie effortlessly executes whatever she puts her mind to. What I love most about her content is that it’s edgy, screams the message of body positivity, and is informative. As she spearheads her nonprofit, the Compton Artist Alliance, she urges you to tap into your creative and intellectual genius. Continue reading “8 Creative Women You Need To Follow”

Trusting The Journey

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Have you ever had a burning desire in your heart? No matter how hard you tried to ignore it, the gut wrenching feeling wouldn’t leave.

I believe we all have.

I’ve been writing ever since I could remember. From writing daily in my journal at the tender age of 8, to writing short stories, haikus, and poems in middle school, to creating even more elaborate stories that would circulate through classrooms in high school and eventually landed on fan fiction websites, to journaling in high school and beyond, to keeping numerous blogs in my early 20s – writing is my solace. It’s the easiest way for me to communicate my feelings, when I can’t utter the words aloud. It’s my creative outlet.

This blogging journey hasn’t been easy to say the least. I was doing extremely well with being consistent during my recovery from my fifth and final open-heart surgery. It was the spring of 2015 when I launched my blog Thee Heart of The Matter. Back then I didn’t feel the exact pressures that I feel now. Though I was aware of having an audience, gaining followers, and maintaining engagement with my audience … it wasn’t my main concern. Continue reading “Trusting The Journey”

The Navigation of Seasons

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

I have entered yet another transitional season of my life. This one seems extremely different than the first time around. I completed my graduate program in May and earned an MA in Counseling emphasis on Mental Health. Though I am extremely proud of my accomplishments, I am constantly asking: Where did the time go? I was literally in Kindergarten yesterday and now I’m officially out here in the world. Everything seems to be happening so fast. I have no idea what I’m doing and where I’ll end up next. Yet, that is the very question that I keep hearing now that I have graduated.

“So what do you want to do now?

“Are you going for your doctorate?”

“Do you have a job lined up?”

“Where are you going to live?”

Response in my head/Quote of the season: “I’m just tryna get my life together!”

Of course I give them a smile and say my spiel about going for my license, getting an intern number, and looking for a PAID position. All of which definitely won’t happen overnight. It’s a PROCESS!

On the other hand, I have also entered the season of my life where weddings, house housewarmings, and baby showers are main events.

You couldn’t tell me at sixteen that I wouldn’t be married to a chocolate King at 25 with my Benz, bomb two-story house, and Teacup Yorkie safely tucked away in my purse.

They say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

Continue reading “The Navigation of Seasons”

Chasing Your Passions

In the digital age today, there are so many ways you can pursue your passions beyond the 9-5 hustle and bustle. Avenues like promoting your clothing lines via social media, self-publishing a novels, connecting with others who are like-minded and just as goal driven as you – the world is your oyster.

As I’m vastly approaching the end of my graduate program I’m constantly trying to find ways to align my passions of writing and poetry, and somewhat fuse those aspects with my soon to be career. I’ve been blogging on different platforms for about six years now and this blog has been my first official site. So far I’ve come to find that my niche is creating – writing, telling stories, motivating, baking … you get the idea. On the other hand, having people stay interested in what you have to say is the key to success. It definitely can become daunting at times, but eventually you find your flow and werk it out.

Continue reading “Chasing Your Passions”