LEGO Sets For National Coast Guard Day

To commemorate National Coast Guard Day The LEGO Group has announced a new lineup of Coast Guard inspired sets. August 4th marks the 227th Birthday of this military branch started by Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

Here is a playlist for working with these five new playsets.

  • Alexander Hamilton

The opening song for Hamilton the Musical is a great way to remember Coast Guard Day. Hamilton requested the creation of the Coast Guard on August 4, 1790. Originally the Coast Guard was created to collect custom duties in the nation’s seaports.

 

Rescue the surfer and be a coast guard hero!

 

  • My Shot!

Hamilton’s connection to three other ambitious men plus the site of former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama enjoying a live performance is the song you need to help rescue a stranded sailor.

 

  • What’d I Miss?

Again, a song I love and added to the list. I like to sing this song during civics class when we discuss the Declaration of Independence.

 

 

  • Say Yes to This

Jill Scott does her thang on this track. Although this song is for the grown and sexy, I added it because Maria Reynolds and husband were sharks to Hamilton (although his hubris was his own undoing).

  •  Immigrants We Get the Job Done

The Coast Guard enforces immigration laws at sea. Admittedly, I had a challenge finding anything that did not feel anti immigrant while doing a cursory search about the Coast Guard. I did find this gem: the Coast Guard maintains its humanitarian responsibility to prevent the loss of life at sea, since the majority of migrant vessels are dangerously overloaded, unseaworthy or otherwise unsafe.

Sail the high seas and make a thrilling rescue!

 

Have some fun with these new Lego sets today!

 

Heading Back to Campus? Safety Tips and Products from Sabre

As students head back to school in August, the personal safety company, SABRE, is stressing the importance of campus safety. 

SABRE is the world-renowned personal safety product brand, specializing in products such as pepper sprays/gels, personal alarms, stun guns, wireless home/apartment alarms and more.

They have put together their top 5 safety tips students should know about as they head back on campus.

 In addition to campus safety tips and safety products, SABRE has also launched a Scholarship sweepstakes and will be giving away $15,000 in scholarship money to one lucky student. To enter, go to: www.safeissmart.com/scholarship. You will watch a video about campus protection and the latest in personal safety, before being able to register and give their information. Having this knowledge is a double win!

FIVE STUDENT SAFETY TIPS 

1. Students should check out what free safe ride or walking services are offered by the campus. 

2. Students should take a safety seminar or attend a self-defense class. Many colleges offer them free or for credit, and the techniques and strategies can be lifesaving.

3.  For students moving from dorms to apartments, a personal alarm provides portable security. SABRE offers many compact options as well as a Dorm/Apartment Kit for keeping personal belongings safe.

4. Students should prepare themselves with pepper sprays and gels—one of the most effective ways to deter or distract an attacker, and permitted on most campuses. SABRE has the most potent and reliable options on the market. 

5.  Stick together—there is safety in numbers, stay close to friends when going out or coming home late from parties.

For additional information about SABRE and their products visit www.sabrered.com

Indivisible

At my day gig, I channel my inner Blanche Dubois and rely on the kindness of strangers. From a post on Facebook soliciting donations of winter clothes, bilingual books, or help securing employment to voluntelling the kids and their friends to help out at a community event I know that I cannot work solo.

Helen Keller says it best

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

Armed with this knowledge, I am still hesitant to accommodate the newly formed community groups that want to partner with me to fight for immigrant rights. It is not that I am against partnership. Partnering with other organizations is how I accomplish the majority of my work. There is the attorney I call for complicated issues, the organization that provides quality employment, my partnership with two universities, and a score of other places I turn when I am in need. I am not too proud to ask for and receive help. 

My hesitancy for accepting new help is personal. As I look into the earnest faces of potential partners I wonder why now? 

Of course that answer can be found on the evening news. The chaos in a Trump presidency ruffles even the most unflappable person. His first three months in office I prepared more Naturalization forms than I had in 2016. I also slipped into a deep depression, dreading each day. At home I tried to placate an over anxious family while carrying the fears of my students. Despite their status, many were making contingency plans to leave the country. Fear of a Trump America cast a dark shadow over every facet of my day. 

As I stare into the earnest faces of the newly formed community group members my hostility bubbles up. I admire their moxie: this was NOT who they wanted to lead the United States and they are tired of standing in the wings waiting for change. 

As much as I admire their newly stoked fire, my anger overshadows their eagerness. As they proudly present English and Spanish Know Your Rights cards, I barely contain my contempt as I ask if they have the same cards with French, Arabic, or Mandarin translations to help with those populations. When they tout the ACLU’s nine point action plan, I repeat the position of the Township. When they ask “How can we help?” I explode. 

Help? What is this help? I am not the only person affected by immigration. I cannot and will not make myself a martyr of this cause. I was not always this enlightened on immigration issues. Like these newly formed groups my days revolved around The Daughter and The Son, The Mister, and other things that affected me. Unlike these new groups, my gender, skin color, income gave me a consciousness of issues that cannot be alleviated by donning a pink hat and carrying a clever sign. 

To these newly awakened groups I ask:

Where were you when Black mothers were fearful for their children doing mundane things like going to school, going to work, changing lanes? 

Where were you when chants of “Build the Wall” eclipsed images of children fleeing countries because they feared for their lives?

Where were you when Blacks protested the large number of people pulled over for stop and frisk?

Where were you when murmurs of Muslim bans became roars?

Where were you when I was asked to leave community meetings because I was registered as a Republican?

When I see moms grinning with chiefs of police or state representatives with a hashtag heavy caption, I immediately notice that these women are always white. I see your willingness to finally join the fight, but this fight has been going on LONG before you got your photo opp. You congratulate yourself on making a change but at the end of the day, did you really change anything?

This is the part of this piece where I am supposed to assuage the bruised feelings of those who are finally woke to this horror show some of us have have always learned to navigate. I am supposed to acknowledge you stepping up to the plate and congratulate you for finally joining the fight.

I will not. 

This is not the place to come for this. Doing the right thing is not synonymous with appreciation. You are a mother, a neighbor, a coworker. You may not have understood the writing on the wall, but believe me you saw it was there. I can not express admiration because you want to do the right thing. For me, doing the right thing is like breathing. I do not have the luxury of waiting for disappointing election results to act. I live this daily. I do not get to choose when to be outraged. To be black is a constant state of wariness and outrage. Your social media selfies to fight for justice is just another form of hashtag activism. 

At the end of the day, did you really change anything?
 

 
  

An Ode To Marvel’s Luke Cage

I resisted watching Marvel's Luke Cage on Netflix. There was no concrete reason why I passed – all reviews touted this series as must watch. I thoroughly enjoyed Jessica Jones and Daredevil, and absolutely adored the reboot of Spider-Man. When I finally queued it up,I did so with the intention of the show as background noise while I completed another project. That plan was out the window as soon as the opening theme bumped from the TV. Luke Cage demands full attention.

Luke Cage is my mother and father hosting a Saturday night card party, the smell of marijuana mingling with sweat and liquor, my sister and I banished to upstairs but dangling Barbie dolls downstairs to spy on the partygoers.

Luke Cage is frozen juice in a styrofoam cup, a plastic spoon scraping the extra layer of sugary goo and sending it to my mouth for a burst of sweetness.

Luke Cage is Saturday at my grandmother's house, my uncle demanding cups of water and calling me in to watch a fight scene on the poorly dubbed Kung Fu movies he favored.

Luke Cage is my father's affinity for Blaxploitation movies, excitedly recalling the theater he had originally viewed the film, and his annoyance at the way network television spliced out the best parts in favor of commercials.

Luke Cage is the thunk thunk of basketballs as a group of girl friends and I dare to parade by in our cutest outfits, feigning outrage at the catcalls from boys.

Luke Cage is the comradery of every barbershop I have stepped into, men morphing into kings, the barber chair their throne, clippers and wisecracks their weapons.

Luke Cage is my mother teaching my sister and I the words to Stevie Wonder's "Black Man" and having us perform the lyrics for her friends as she proudly beamed.

Luke Cage is my mother's insistence that my sister and I read Ebony Jr and give a written report on what we learned.

Luke Cage is me with huge headphones on, replacing the needle to the record player repeatedly so I could learn the words to Chaka Khan.

Luke Cage is me loving Mrs. Muntu's third grade class, her unabashedly in your face African culture on display.

Luke Cage is me discovering the novel Ludell in her husband, Mr. Muntu's fourth grade class. The first time I realized a book could be about a girl that looked like me.

Luke Cage is me listening to Public Enemy initially because I had a crush on the guy who lent me the tape, but finding I could relate to the lyrics on a different level.

Luke Cage is me listening to my aunt and her college friend debate novels, then my sister and I sharing a copy of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" that we surreptitiously borrowed.

Luke Cage is me chasing my husband down the street as he made his way to the bus stop because I wanted to feel his arms around me one last time before he left.

Luke Cage is The Boy donning a hoodie, as an armor to the elements, and taunts that he is different.

Luke Cage is The Daughter, stubborn, intelligent, observant, decisive. My fear that all my lessons went in one ear and out the other abated.

Luke Cage speaks to me. It spoke to a whole bunch of people because it broke Netflix the day it premiered. Luke Cage is my 2017 rage, the headlines, a word that can be uttered as both a slur and one of love and packaged into 48 minute parts of life. Parts I dampened down to fit in, blend in, disappear.

I told my sister that I was not ready for Luke Cage. I was not ready to receive the message. She laughed.

Blacker than every person I know sobbing over the election of Barack Obama. Blacker than my husband's glistening eyes when our children were born. Blacker than any Maxine Waters meme to pass my screen. Blacker than Kool-aid, cookouts, Frankie Beverly and Maze.

Luke Cage is the Blackest thing I have ever seen.

August on Netflix

With over 1,000 hours of Original content planned for 2017, Netflix is leading the way with original content.

As summer winds down, there is still time to fill your queue with great shows. Here’s my three picks to stream while I chase the sun.

1. Sing August 3. Delightful for kids, but also a great motivator for adults. What dream do you nurture no matter the naysayers? Sing shows what happens when a dream is made into reality.

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2. Be Afraid August 31. I once woke in the middle of the night feeling like something was pressing on my back while counting in Spanish. The Mister swore it was because I feel asleep watching Better Call Saul. I looked it up and discovered that it was possible I had an episode of sleep paralysis. Be Afraid (in Spanish no less!) is the story of a family suffering from sleep paralysis as well. I think I will be watching this during the day!

 

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3. Not available for streaming, but the trailer for Marvel’s The Defenders comes out on August 18. I enjoyed both Jessica Jones and Daredevil and still have Luke Cage in my list to be watched. This show is one I will watch with The Boy and suffer through his sighs as I add Mom snark and commentary.

What will be in your list? Use the tips below to find something new to stream today!

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