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Celebrating World Changers

"A global celebration
of ordinary citizens
making a world of a difference."

I watched CNN's show Heroes on Thanksgiving night. Well, I watched the second half after the Beyonce special was done... but I caught up on the first half after! But that's besides the point...

I loved this show. To me, it's exactly what we need to see regularly on TV. The people in this world working and fighting to make a difference. To be honest, I hadn't paid much attention to CNN's advertising of this. I didn't take a look at the nominees on the site, vote, or anything. But I'm glad I caught it. I'm sure there are or will be skeptics out there about CNN's intent and yadda yadda. But I don't have a single negative thing to say about.

Each of the Heroes awarded inspired me. Some of them even touched me to tears. Watching shows like this is exactly what my spirit needs in order to combat the hurt that builds up from all the things I read/watch about this world we live in (see my Sexual Exploitation of Young Girls post). People like the CNN Heroes remind me that there is hope, and that I too can make a difference even if it is a "small drop in the bucket" - as one honoree referred to his efforts to provide clean drinking water to children.

In the show, 10 men and women were provided a CNN Hero award - the result of over 2.5 million online votes. Each of them was awarded $25k to continue their work. At the end, a Hero of the Year was awarded an additional $100k

This year's awardee was Efren PeƱaflorida. He takes education to the streets for Filipino youth as an alternative to gang membership via a pushcart classroom. Every Saturday you will find groups of kids from ages 2-14 running toward his pushcart for their reading, writing, math, and english lessons

Now if that's not powerful to you, then I don't know what is.
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Fave Commercial Fridays: Target 2 Day Sale

These commercials crack me up. They are definitely the best Black Friday commercials on TV (that I've seen at least)!

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The Sexual Exploitation of Young Girls

I’m sitting here on my couch. Crushed. My heart is heavy and the tears won’t stop. I’m emotional (I’ve told you this before). And I’m idealistic (I’ve also told you this before). So it hurts me deeply when I hear stories of cruelty and injustice. It hurts me even deeper when I learn of the miseries that so many women, especially young girls, deal with in this world.

I just finished watching Very Young Girls. It’s a documentary about the sexual exploitation of young girls in this country. Taped in New York City, it highlights the struggles of several young women, most of whom have left the streets and moved on to a new life with the help of a non-profit called Girls Educational and Mentor Services (GEMS).

But its not just this movie that has my tears flowing. It’s everything from the story of Sara Kruzan to Shaniya Davis to the teenage girl who was gang raped for over two hours while over a dozen others watched. And these are just the stories that “earned” media attention. There are hundreds and thousands more. And I can’t help but think… do people even fundamentally care?

I’m not talking about the founders of programs like GEMS. I’m talking about the random person you see walking down the street. Because I feel like if they did, would these problems even exist?

I don’t know. My mind is racing in circles and my emotions are taking control. I’ve already written most of my nonsensical thoughts in my journal, but I just had to bring some awareness to this documentary that touched me.

Here is the trailer:

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Fave Commercial Fridays: Ikea, again.

I'm keeping the Ikea theme going in honor of my mother, who absolutely loves this commercial!
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Maya Angelou Poem

Alone

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.
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Fave Commercial Fridays: Ikea


Haha. That'll be me as a momma.
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Joy Comes in the Morning. Always.

Ever had one of those days where God had to bang a message into your head? It's not that he told you something you don't know, it's just that he wanted to go "yoohooo, hellooooo! I'm still here! I'm still carrying you."

Well yea, I had one of those days on Tuesday.

Let's just say it got off to a rough start. The night before I had a bit of an emotional breakdown. Actually, it was one of those ridiculous I'm-releasing-I-don't-know-how-many-or-which-emotions kind of breakdowns. If you put two and two together, it explains the letter I wrote to myself.

Normally, I wouldn't share this. Being overly emotional is something I'm typically very embarrassed about. But this is a testimony I just have to share, because the next day things got a lot better.

First. My pastor's wife called me. Let me start by saying that she is not the type of woman who calls to chit chat. With anyone. She calls with purpose. Well, she said she was calling to find out how I was doing. Said she thought of me last night. Said she saw me crying, like something was wrong.

Whoa.

Yea. That's what I thought. Well I told her that she was right, and she spent the next 30 seconds (a slight exaggeration, but she was quick) telling me that sometimes people like us with the desire to change the world deal with that kind of emotional stress. She told me that it will all be okay and to call her if I need anything. I got off the phone thinking about how amazing God can be.

Second. I received an email from my favorite world changer, Melissa. We were emailing back and forth about a trip to New Orleans. I emailed her letting her know that I didn't think I would be able to go. I told her that I appreciated her including me and that she's one of the most awesome people I know. I figured I'd pass on a good feeling. Why keep such thoughts to yourself when it might just be what they need to hear that day.

Well, who woulda known that it would come back to me. I swear I wasn't fishing when I told her that. Her email back to me was flattering and motivational to say the least. She shared her admiration for me, calling me grounded, highly intelligent, independent and balanced. She also implied something about my fabulousness (clearly my fave part haha). Anyway, It was one of those emails you tuck away to read on a bad day. Double points when you get it on an already rough day.

Third. A friend and former colleague from a campus job at Howard randomly sent me a gchat message saying that he read my blog post on sexual assault. He had already left a positive comment on the post, but he then proceeded to send more positivity my way. A small token, but it meant a lot.

Fourth. I met with a former manager about a presentation we were doing together, and to catch up in general. We spent some time talking about my situation at work and some personal goals I'm working on. She is my favorite person at my firm, and one of my biggest - if not the biggest - supporters. She only ever has positive things to say, and her aura alone is peaceful. She was an open ear, provided advice, and offered encouragement. There couldn't have been a better way to end my work day.

Fifth. (I'm almost done I promise.) Close to the time I was getting ready for bed, I got a gchat message from a former mentor. He was my assigned "buddy" when I interned in NY the summer of 2006. Neither of us did a good job of keeping in touch after. I've sent him a couple emails randomly over the years, especially after he finished getting his MBA because I was trying to decide what grad degree I want to get. Well, he randomly sent me a message to see how I was doing. We agreed that we would catch up this weekend via phone. Another small thing, but one that meant a lot.

Sixth. (And final.) I checked my email before I logged offline. I began reading an email from a mentor who works in the city. She was my first of four interviewers for my current job, and we instantly connected. She played an instrumental role in me accepting my firm's offer, and although she left the company shortly after to follow her passion (went to work for a local charter school) we still communicate fairly often.

Well I reached out to her a week ago to update her on everything I've been doing. Her email response was obviously excited, but it also included the most positive thing I'd heard all day: "When I first met you during my [firm] recruiting days at Howard, I knew in my spirit that you were destined to do great things."

Now tell me that God isn't good. I don't know about you, but he never wastes any opportunities to let me know that joy always comes in the morning.
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A Letter to Myself


Dear Mlle Mitchell,

You have been on my heart over the last few days, and it is with both love and concern that I write to you. It has been twenty years since I stood in your shoes. Shoes that may often seem difficult to walk in even though you know they are shoes that many would die to have. They are wonderful shoes. Shoes that have been broken in with love and support both from family and friends. You are truly blessed. But this is something we both know.

What you don’t know however is where those shoes will take you, and that makes them uncomfortable for you. Sometimes you feel like you need to take them off, put on a different pair, a different color, or possibly a higher heel. But the truth is those shoes you have on right now are the exact pair that you need. They may wear in overtime and you will have to put on a new one. And those new ones are going to take some time to break in. But I don’t want you to be afraid of that because it is a natural process that cannot be planned.

Look at where you are standing now. Sometimes you feel like you are standing alone, but you are not. There are so many others standing there with you, behind you, and in front of you. Even when you do not see them, lean on them.

You keep thinking about the journey in front of you so much that you are forgetting to cherish this moment. Right now is always the time for you to love your best, give your best and be your best, even if the road it will take you on is unclear. The burden of the future is one you place on yourself. It has already been spoken, so do not worry about how you get there. The shoes you have been given will take you exactly where you are meant to be.

I want you to remember at all times that you will be okay. Life is a wondrous journey. Find joy in all of its experiences, face challenges head on, and always find a way to be true to yourself. There is only one you, and there is a reason for that.

With love,
Mademoiselle Mitchell (November 3, 2029)
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