Peace and Blessings! I am so excited to finally have the space and place to share with the world what’s going on in my head, hand, and heart–something I learned from Hampton University that has stayed with me well beyond my tenure at one of the most prestigious HBCU’s in the nation. I will save my specific self introduction to the next post, but in light of this being my first post in 2011, I need to update you to present as to what’s going on in my life, both personally & professionally, as that will be significantly helpful in understanding the content to follow. I believe this blog will center around primary areas which I will briefly detail below which appear in no particular order or significance:
- Education: My entire life has centered around teaching, learning, and service. I grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia (Annandale) and was educated primarily in private school with the exception of 4th grade at Columbia Elementary School (e.g. Westminister Academy, Grasshopper Green & Kenwood School, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria Country Day School, and Bishop Ireton High School). Is it clear that I am privileged? Of course, I am the perpetual “prep school negro–there is something about being the critical mass and about accepting my role as the “voice” of those not in the room because no one else usually notices. I am a proud graduate of Hampton University belonging to the dynamic class “Onyx V.” My college classmates inspire me as they are some of the most successful professionals in the game. I recently graduated with a PhD from the University of Virginia in December, 2010–I am still understanding what this means for my life. My degree in educational policy studies helps me understand the intricacies of policy development & analysis and how to build a sustainable educational system within resource depressed communities. While at UVa, I found my position and passion for social justice, research, and service. My life dream has always been to be a motivational speaker–I believe I can fly & that you have the wings to soar.
- Politics: Wow. I don’t even know how to start this conversation so I won’t. I will be clear about my foundational rules: I believe voting is a right, not a choice. I also believe that there is an inherent conflict between capitalism and democracy. The only color that matters, quite frankly, is green. It’s as simple as dollars & cents–we live in country where people believe you deserve to have it only if you can pay for it. Clearly, that creates tensions for those who don’t have. My research, conversations, and “hot buttons” are interrelated to children/youth, elderly & our veterans.
- Social Media/Pop Culture: Again, another area of “wow.” Although I am so turned off by what I see and hear by traditional media outlets, I am very tuned in. Please know that I am a factor; I believe that being a housewife implies marriage; do not think the First 48 is entertainment;believe Jill Scott & the Red Hot Chili Peppers have made some of the best music ever; and will be the first female AA NASCAR driver (details forthcoming). I also have a vision that I will end up on television or radio but am so weirded out by listening to/watching myself. I have crazy wit coupled by a strong sense of humor. I love people and will tweet anyone–Barack Obama, Bob McDonnell, and Wolf Blitzer are some of my regular twitterazis. I envision working alongside entertainers, athletes, and personal philanthropists who also want to help those underserved.
- Entrepreneurship: I believe that your power is in your purse. It takes money to make money–I have none, to be exact. I spent the last 31 years achieving my educational dreams and advancing my debt. I am overwhelmed by what I owe and what I don’t make–I am blessed but coping. I live at home with my family and need to move along. I also applied for public assistance, was approved, and told the closet space I was eligible for would be nearly $1k/month. So I work from my purple room on my master plans. I will reveal two soon and the rest as they become viable & registered entities. In the meanwhile, I am still job searching…one of the most depressing, stressful, and overwhelming activities of my adult life.
- Advocacy/Personal Philosophy: I am going to use langauge that I know inherently “turns people off.” I have really struggled with this conversation for a few reasons–I think namely because I never want anyone to feel as though this conversation does not pertain to them. I write my doctoral dissertation on higher education chief diversity officers–317 pages later, I emerged back into society with a different take on that language and ask myself and others “isn’t diversity, ethics?” This conversation has evolved for me and it has because of its appeal as an experience of reciprocity. Whatever you give helps advance our awareness & opportunities.
- Family: I am an only child, 31 (will be 32 in February) and call my parents by their first name: Willie & Dorothy. As I have been living here with them now 3 years, I have learned their different personalities. Mom is referred to as Dottie, Mrs. Pittman, Dottie Mae, and Mrs. Pittard. Dad morphs into Uncle Sonnie, Pittard (pronounced Pit-erd), and Chef Willie (pronounced Wil-lee). We have fun together. We’re not perfect and are learning how to age. They have taught me so much about life, love, marriage, homeownership, and NPR. I am so fortunate to have extended families in CT (Elder/McKinnley), GA (Pittard/Dozier/Jolly/Tolbert/Lucas/Williams/Smith), KS (Cloud), FLA (Bryant/Smith), VA (Wilson/Golden/Yancey). There are so many others I have not mentioned. I have witness a lot of loss–my best friend, Cara J. Gordon passed while we were senior’s at Hampton (her parents, Bill & Cynthia are *the best*). My godmother (Willie Etheridge) passed away in March as did a very close friend of our family from cancer, Mrs. Beverlyn Hardaway. EVERYONE I know is married–my little sister got hitched just a few weeks ago and the following weekend I traveled to TX to celebrate Crystal & Joel’s nups; off to Vegas in December for Natalie & AJ! Everyone has kiddies, mortgages, and pets…meanwhile, I live in a purple room.
So this was a super quick intro…more later. Mom’s just called “dinner is served:” salmon, mixed veggies, brown rice & table red wine. Ciao!