That Ghetto School. . .

“I am not sending my baby back to that ghetto school.”

Says the black mom of the two black sons whose first names literally start with Mister and Sir, followed by regular old first names, no hyphens, no spaces, just Mister(Capitol Letter) name, all one word. Ravene Simone would say that she would not hire those boys simply based on their names. This Mom in her gorgeous red wig with her 3rd baby daddy sitting next to her, she tells me she “don’t want to send her babies back to the ghetto school 6 blocks up the road.

And when she says ghetto she means, Black

This whole conversation came up because her son will soon be exiting out of my intensive needs special education classroom which will result in a possible return to home or neighborhood school. This Mom would rather keep her son in a classroom that is academically holding him back and socially labeling him, ‘different’ then send him back to the other school, that is literally 5 minutes away.

Now lets be clear, I am NOT knocking this mom, she is looking out for those babies, when her son qualified for my class two years ago his siblings were grandfathered into our school so they could all stay together. Our school with the high performing test scores, the funding, the 30% free and reduced lunch, and the white students. Her sons get all of the privilege that comes along with that.

I am NOT knocking this Mom, I am knocking the system where the majority of the minority or low income students at my school are MY students, the ones who get placed there by the district for my programing, the students whose test scores don’t affect the school anyway. I am knocking the system that makes this mom tell her kids that school where all the kids go that look like them isn’t good enough. I am knocking the system that make this students brothers teacher want to push them back to their home school, because he is the problem child in her class.

In the 1960’s this school, in this neighborhood where I work was the center of a desegregation case in front of the Supreme Court. Bussing went in place, riots were had, an overwhelming number of the White students in the district were moved to suburban schools. In 1996 the bussing decree ended and students went back to attending their neighborhood schools, but the white students did not return. The majority race in my district is no longer Caucasian, but you wouldn’t know that in certain schools, the 30% are highly concentrated, in schools like mine.

So now over 40 years after the Supreme Court ordered that we all “get along” and at least go to school together, what has changed?

Well if you ask that Mom to tell you about that ghetto school down the road, you will learn. . . Not Much

Kelsi Rae

Gonna be a Cardio Queen!

IMG_2944

So I have been running fairly consistently for about 10 months I started last January in order to find a new one to get in shape for my wedding in August, I had always hated running when I was younger, I played sports I was very active and in shape, but ask me to run two miles straight forget it!

Friends from high school still joke about the time our senior year of high school our volleyball coach decided we needed to start every practice with a 2 mile run and I looked like I was dying EVERYDAY! So for me to set out and start running on my own, —-> A very big deal.

But it worked, we live 2 blocks from a park I could get up and run anywhere between 1 mile and 3 miles all in the park and be happy, I didn’t get very fast but I was getting somewhere. Then my wedding happened, it was glorious and wonderful, we ran a 5k that week and I felt like I was looking good, feeling good, in much better shape than I had been 10 month ago, but after the wedding we were in our happily married bliss and I stopped going on runs consistently we spent a week, ruining our clean eating in Mexico and it was harder to get back into it when we got home.

This last month I have noticed my husband really getting into it, and you know what, I want to too! I loved the way running made me feel, not during the run that still feels like dying but afterwords I felt strong, accomplished, like a runner, something I never thought I would be.

So on my HORRiBLE run today, ( I set out to run 3 miles I only got through a mile and a half) I decided I was going to run a 10k probably next Spring, hopefully by May. So here it goes, I have to run 2 5k’s for different reasons in November and by next May I will be running 6.2 miles I have decided, and once it is decided it is done, right?

So I downloaded the 5k to 10k app, and I will listen to the little trainer in my ear tell me when to walk and when to run and I will keep putting one foot in front of the other until I can run for 60 minutes straight like the little trainer wants me to!

So here I come #CardioQueen!

❤ Kelsi Rae

Olivia Pope’s Hair is Scandalous!

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 11.01.28 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 11.02.06 AM

So let’s start by saying I LOVE Olivia Pope, I am a full on Shonda Rimes addict, and if you don’t know Shonda is the genius who has created, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, all of which I love!

Even though I can’t watch the shows until Friday because I don’t have TV I fully subscribe to the TGIT (Thank God its Thursday) that ABC puts out. I love her, I love Olivia Pope, I love Kerry Washington.

And if you are as hooked on Scandal as I am then you know that in the recent weeks Olivia has been under fire for the affair with Fitz, something that was bound to happen eventually and has left Olivia wallowing in her apartment drinking wine.

But what I care about here is her hair, yes her hair, ok I have been upset about her hair before, when she was kidnapped for weeks her hair stayed nicely straight maybe it got some frizz here or there but you know there was no major kink coming out, still mostly composed and relaxed,

Now that she is under fire, there are pictures of a younger, more wild Pope, she is out partying, drinking in college with her friends, she is a freshman as Georgetown and guess what, there is her natural hair! She finally has some curls, maybe a little kink here or there!

Now come on, she is wallowing in her house, a bottle of wine in her hand and her hair is perfectly put together, perfectly straight hair, but when she isn’t supposed to be professional her hair can be in its natural state . . .because well you know natural hair is not professional.

Ok so this is a little thing, this had nothing to do with the episode and I actually liked the episode but it is just another way to see that when people see me in my beautiful braids they see “beautiful black woman” they do not see “professional” Its a little thing yes.. . but little things add up!

❤ Kelsi Rae

That battle with alcoholism, that battle with herself, that became a battle for us all

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 5.21.06 PM

Mr. lost his aunt this week, it could be said that she lost her battle with alcoholism, now I know this isn’t like saying she lost her battle with cancer and yet she did lose, and she lost this battle far before she lost her life. She had 3 children an older boy and 2 twin girls. Now I have seen photos of her with them as children, she seemed happy, loving and loved, she had a husband, and children, a life.

Now I wasn’t there when as this war began I did not watch as one drink became 4 became a bottle, and a night cap, and a wake up call but I can imagine the progression, the war within herself the pull of her beautiful children, her life and the liquor winning out every time, I can picture the sadness from loosing yet again pushing her to grab that last swig of that bottle. Most parents want to see their children grow, want to see prom, graduation, meet the new girlfriend watch them fall in love and get married, most moms want to be there for all the little things too, I am 24 and I still call my mom at the end of a bad day just to talk. I can imagine that she would have wanted that too.

By the time I met her the battle had been lost, she lost her marriage, her children would’t speak to her, her career, and even a few toes. She had been stripped of all the pieces that make life worth living. And yes she woke up everyday and made the choice to start the day with that one drink that turned into 10, I know she could have found a meeting, worked the program, made amends, done something. I acknowledge her choice but I also acknowledge her fight.

When I met her met her we thought she was dying, her liver was failing and she was literally filling with fluid, everyone went to her, everyone said their goodbyes, her children broke the silence and sat by her side and then     she got better some part of her began working again filtering out all the bullshit that had been festering inside and she lived

Then there was limbo, where do you go from here as a family, do you welcome her back with open arms and hope that this was the final scare that she will turn the corner of the war? Sometimes that is all it takes in a war, one battle one and the tide turns. And what does she do after you walk out of the hospital after your whole family already bid you adea, sent you into the after life. How do you wake up in the morning with that same war waging inside you and continue to fight?

Well that was 2 years ago and there were times she could have won times I would see her at family functions and think, just keep it up and they will come around, keep fighting you can push alcohol right over that cliff.

But the family has also been fighting a battle. They had to fight their nature to reach out and help, their desire to find something, anything that will make her stop, that would bring their daughter, sister, aunt, mother back to them and by the time she cheated death, by the time I met her they knew they had lost. And though she was still alive, they mourned her loss, they mourned. When they spoke of her it was in sadness, often in past tense.

Where do you go from there?

Where do you turn?

Back to the same thing that started this long fought war and turn she did, until 2 years later the liquor finally took her body, even though it took her life, her soul long before. And for the family that day ended their fighting as well they got to lay the body of their mother, daughter, sister, aunt to rest alongside the life they had buried within themselves.

Now whose right is it to say this was a choice she made so “how bad do you expect me to feel” who has the right to declare it anything but what it was, a war.