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BBC: ‘Rest In Power’.

I heard about this book, “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin” when Trayvon Martin’s parents appeared as guests on a recent episode of “The Daily Show”. They’d taken their story, which started when Trayvon was born, and put it into print for all to read.

And I immediately added my name to the reserve list at the library. It took a few months for my name to be at the top of the list, but it finally happened, and I read a majority of this book in one day. Here’s the description from Amazon.com:

Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement.

On a February evening in 2012, in a small town in central Florida, seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking home with candy and a can of juice in hand and talking on the phone with a friend when a fatal encounter with a gun-wielding neighborhood watchman ended his young life. The watchman was briefly detained by the police and released. Trayvon’s father—a truck driver named Tracy—tried to get answers from the police but was shut down and ignored. Trayvon’s mother, a civil servant for the city of Miami, was paralyzed by the news of her son’s death and lost in mourning, unable to leave her room for days. But in a matter of weeks, their son’s name would be spoken by President Obama, honored by professional athletes, and passionately discussed all over traditional and social media. And at the head of a growing nationwide campaign for justice were Trayvon’s parents, who—driven by their intense love for their lost son—discovered their voices, gathered allies, and launched a movement that would change the country.

Five years after his tragic death, Travyon Martin’s name is still evoked every day. He has become a symbol of social justice activism, as has his hauntingly familiar image: the photo of a child still in the process of becoming a young man, wearing a hoodie and gazing silently at the camera. But who was Trayvon Martin, before he became, in death, an icon? And how did one black child’s death on a dark, rainy street in a small Florida town become the match that lit a civil rights crusade?

Rest in Power, told through the compelling alternating narratives of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, answers, for the first time, those questions from the most intimate of sources. It’s the story of the beautiful and complex child they lost, the cruel unresponsiveness of the police and the hostility of the legal system, and the inspiring journey they took from grief and pain to power, and from tragedy and senselessness to meaning. 

While reading this book made my heart break all over again for Trayvon, for his family, his friends, and for the live he didn’t get to live, it opened my eyes to a lot of new details I didn’t know before: like just how secretive the Sanford Police Department was to his family; and how many of the “facts” in the case simply don’t add up.

A friend of my questioned why I was reading this book. For one, I am very sensitive to racial injustice, and it is one of the topics that gets me most fired up because to me, it is very obvious that we are surrounded by institutional racism, and I feel it is my job as a woman with white privilege to speak out against what I know is wrong.

But I also know that even at his core, Trayvon is innocent. He was victim-blamed, despite not being armed at all, his school records were subpoenaed even though he was a minor, and many people talked about his past – maybe he stole this or maybe he smoked weed. But walking while black is not a crime, and he died for it.

I am very thankful for Trayvon’s parents for having the courage to write this book, along with the bravery to continue to fight for justice for their son, and for many, many others who have fallen in the name of unjustified violence. Although we still have a very long way to go, the conversation is forever changed, and I know Trayvon will never be forgotten.

I absolutely would recommend this book to anyone, especially if you didn’t pay attention to this case (or any that followed). The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “My Year With Eleanor” by Noelle Hancock.

I hope you have a fun, fantastic weekend – make it a great one, and do something good for someone else! I’ll see you all on the flipside!

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Fall is for Lovers.

FALLing in love with yooouuuuu...

FALLing in love with yooouuuuu…

We’re less than two weeks away from the official start of fall! And yes, I know, Baton Rouge doesn’t really get a fall season.

Instead, we get “slightly less hot,” and the leaves start to turn brown instead of that burnt orange color I saw growing up in the Midwest.

But still, we wear hoodies and go nuts over pumpkin spice… everything. Fall is the first sign of the holiday season, and when I think about the holidays, all I can think about is cuddling up with a cute guy.

I’ve survived many, many years being single during late September, and all the way through January. Trust me, it has its perks.

While the cooler months definitely seem prime for finding a match (see: body heat), it also seems like every season has found a way to make singletons feel a little left out.

There’s a John Mayer song, “St. Patrick’s Day,” from his debut album, “Room for Squares,” that explains my theory.

In it, he sings about how everyone wants to be in a couple for Christmas, then right around the corner is New Year’s, followed by Valentine’s Day, therefore every relationship is safe until St. Patrick’s Day.

But in Baton Rouge, St. Patrick’s Day means you definitely need a date for the parade and funnels of green beer, right? And you can’t leave out Mardi Gras or baseball season. After that, we’re on the fast track to summer, and who doesn’t want a summer love? I know I do.

At the close of summer, we’re right back where we started: football season.

Of course, there is much more to a relationship than the season it falls in or the weather surrounding it, but I think there’s some weight to it. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but it seems about right to say that any time of year is a good time to jump into a new relationship.

An article on YourTango.com, “Seasons of Love: When is the Best Time to Fall in Love?” proves my idea wrong, on the account of science.
According to the article, winter is the most difficult time to fall in love with someone because we are less sociable and spend more time indoors. The spring season that follows gives us more confidence, but not enough to start a new relationship. And while summer love seems like a hot idea, we’re often traveling and too “on-the-go” to get involved in anything serious.

However, according to the article, the summer months prep us for the perfect time to fall in love: autumn. Fall is the best time for a new relationship because we’re getting into the swing of things; we’re back in our normal routines.

In 2012, Facebook Data Science published a study on what times of the year users’ relationship status changed. Across all age groups (under 25, 25-44, over 45), the month of February saw the biggest change from either “Single” to “In a relationship” or from “In a relationship” to “engaged.” Every age group also produced a massive trend of relationships ending during the months of June, July, and August.

Interesting.

Not to overwhelm you with data, but the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology published a study that proves the need for bodily warmth during the cooler months actually makes us crave romantic comedies. No, seriously!

Apparently, romantic comedies provide us with psychological warmth, which fulfills our need for physical warmth. Who knew?

This news makes me even more excited to stock up on the pumpkin products (are dudes into that?), break open my stash of rom-coms and perhaps cozy-up to someone new.