I left later than I should have. I was jogging for the bus and had to stop fast because a police car came barreling, silently, through the alley. I almost fell forward, onto the card, because I lost my balance. I looked the officer in the eye as I tried to right myself. He looked both irritated and stunned that I was there, that he’d almost hit me. And then he sped off. I stood there at least a full minute before I realized I needed to fast walk the remaining block and a half to the bus. Multiple other cars passed me. I never jogged again–I didn’t dare–but I did make the bus. The whole ride, I spent wondering about the person the police were trying to find/catch. I’ll probably never know, unless whatever that person did becomes newsworthy.

I also wondered why I refused to run again, not even jog. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Surely, dressed in a ZARA trench I wouldn’t be seen as questionable. But what if someone who had done something wrong was nearby? Would I be caught in the crossfire? Would the police assume I had something to do with whatever was happening? Was I even “safe” once on the bus?

Continue Reading


It’s Fine

Damn, I’m tired. I’m talking physically and emotionally. Drained. I woke up earlier than usual yesterday. I was supposed to work a half day, but decided too much needed to be done; it’d be too much of an added, unnecessary burden. I wonder if she’s tired too. She must be tired.

We were going nonstop yesterday, washing last minute clothes, checking for paperwork and medicines, making sure bags weren’t too heavy. I was giving last minute pedicures and polishing toes and finding forgotten about sunglasses and small wristlets to fit into separate small purses because don’t keep all your money in one place.

Today I’m feeling the effects of anxiousness, of a few hours of sleep, of a small boy tapping my forehead to wake me up a full hour before the alarm was set to go off, asking how long his sister would be away. I’d gone to bed early, then woke up in the middle of the night. Twice. After he woke me up, I stayed up. I’m barely vertical. Continue Reading

MyBrownBaby_Denene Millner Cover Image

Our Brown Babies

MyBrownBaby_Denene Millner Cover Image

Born from the critically acclaimed My Brown Baby website, My Brown Baby: On the Joys and Challenges of Raising African American Children dropped today from New York Times Bestselling Author Denene Millner’s imprint, Denene Millner Books.

What you’ve come to expect since 2008 from the My Brown Baby site — that purposeful, gleeful recognition of parenting while black — you’ll get in the essays in this book. What you’ve come to expect from Denene the bomb writer — she who has penned more than 20 of your faves — you’ll get in the essays in this book.

I have three brown babies. Three people for whom I am responsible. Three people to whom I must teach way too many things to remember without a bona fide manual. Ain’t no damn bona-fide manual, so know that we’re all winging this parenting gig together. But, together, we can be successful. Continue Reading

I Can Teach That


I started teaching a few years ago, public speaking at the local community college. I loved it; I’m good at it. I got to connect with people of all ages, in school for all reasons. There is nothing like being responsible for teaching a valuable, necessary skill to people who don’t share your racial background, your ethnicity, your gender, your overall interests, your political affiliation, your life goals, your amount of time alive. The learning is mutual, even from the dually enrolled high schoolers. I’m struggling this semester, though. I’m not teaching public speaking.

My undergrad degree is in English. I’ve always wanted to teach literature or creative writing. Last fall I went to the dean when classes were being distributed and asked to be considered for English as well as public speaking. It turned out that there were no available public speaking classes, so I was asked to teach Technical Writing. Sure, I can do that.

I did that. I didn’t like that. It’s a hard skill to teach, but I say that with the confidence that I can still teach it. It’s just hard, though, especially when basic composition isn’t a prerequisite, and especially when it’s a required course rather than an elective (which would mean people who were interested in the field or something similar would be the ones taking it instead of construction management majors who can’t possibly render themselves less interested). But, I understand its needing to be required. If it weren’t, there’d be too few students signing up for it. Probably. Continue Reading