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C & E Reflections Inc.

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Extra Reads From The Creatives at C & E Reflections Inc.

Mirror, Mirror

By Jacquelyn Randle

Photo Credit- MunnyB

As a child, I was always told

"girl you better stay out of that mirror,

it'll snatch your soul"

I would make a silly face, laugh

and run off with my innocent soul


The more time I would spend

the silly faces slowly turned in

to one of concentration

as I applied the latest makeup trends

with a flawless blend


A quick twirl or two

bad bih pout

and sneaky smile

still couldn't keep the demons

from seeing what was within

though I tried to mask the clues


Soon enough that bad bih pout

turned into two blue lines on a stick

a growing belly with life within

forcing me to stand in front

of the mirror once again


See I wasn’t ready

but I couldn’t kill my seed

so I had to stop

1- 2- 3

BREATHE


My child kept me on my toes

saved my life once or twice

that’s between me and you though

those demons within

were creeping out faster than you know


All the weaves, makeup waist teamers

and social media filters

couldn’t conceal the hurt hiding behind my eyes

and missing love that could only be found

when I opened my thighs


Slowly my mask fail off

new growth and naps showing

uneven skin, wrinkles, blemishes no longer concealed

baby weight and tiger stripes on full display

yet and still with an empty soul


Once young and innocent

free of worry

untouched by hurt

now filled with nothing but

jealousy malice and bitterness


How can I love someone else

when I don’t love myself

mirror mirror on the wall

oh how’d I love to go back

to the days of old


I’m tired of the filters

done playing pretend

for the likes, comments, and dms

mirror mirror

I just want my soul


Copyright © 2019 C & E Reflections Inc. All rights reserved. 

I Just Want To Teach

By Jacquelyn Randle

I’ve been in the education field for fifteen years, and over those years I’ve worn almost every hat possible. I’ve been a substitute, teachers assistant, teacher, secretary, director, van driver, cafeteria staff, janitor, and even a makeshift nurse. The flexibility and “do what we have to do,” is often something left out of the job description of teachers and damn sure out of the pay consideration. And as much as I love my job and know that I’m supposed to be an educator; but y’all I honestly just want to teach. Come to work, greet my students, teach my lesson, get them above and beyond where they are supposed to be (which I know is possible), and clock out. Like literally JUST TEACH, THAT’S IT. It may seem like this is about to scream “teacher burnout” but hear me out.


I love these babies, but I CAN’T DO IT ALL! I’m fighting the good fight that most don’t and won’t do. Even though looks may be deceiving, only 20% of teachers in the United States are black, and out of that 20%, only 2% are men. This creates a unique situation for us that do choose to be in the classroom; we either become these little black and brown baby champions or another villain in their young lives. And with 1 out of 4 children being in single parent homes, the home support is excellent in thought but most times little to none.


See, when we step in the classroom, we are expected to be so many more things, than just a teacher. As crazy as it sounds, we are supposed to be the female versions of Joe Clark. Strong as a disciplinarian yet comforting like a mammy. I've heard and seen non-people of color assert the notion that a black educator isn’t as strong of a leader if they don't rule with an iron fist. And don’t let us come into a new district, we’re supposed to snap them into shape and make them learn despite ALL the other outside factors that honestly trump any lesson plan we have in our books. We are to be the Anne Sullivan to every student, regardless of how uninvolved their parents are and how behind they are( that’s an entirely different post). And to our little black and brown babies, their preconceived thoughts of us depend on what they were exposed to the previous years and strongly shaped by their parent's thoughts about education.


So we simply can’t just teach. Many of us have taken on the roles of everything that these babies are missing, just to meet their basic needs and provide a safe and stable environment. We have extra food, uniforms, and personal hygiene products in our classrooms on top of the bare necessities needed to do school work. Every year at professional development there will be at least one presenter that shares the “Ain’t Got A Pencil” poem to remind us to be mindful and empathetic to situations dealing with students outside of the classroom. This reminder goes in one ear and out the other (those just there to get a check) or others take it to heart( that's right us Champions). We spend the first few weeks laying the foundation of the classroom and building personal relationships with our students and families, but sometimes that's not enough. Some students need us ALL year due to circumstances at home.


We know the issues they face and wanting them to succeed, we empathize and give them more chances and assistance than others in our class. We walk the thin line between coddling and building stronger children. I have a student right now that even though the school year is coming to a close, he is still struggling with concepts and skills the class has mastered. There’s no delay, just a home system that doesn’t support him academically. “He’s the baby” or “ I know he doesn’t like to do the work, his handsome self just used to us helping him.” And yes he was young and is handsome, but that doesn’t trump the fact that he needs to know specific skills to be successful in both this school year and future settings. Its as if he has already ingrained in his head he doesn’t have to do what's asked of him academically. An instruction to complete an assignment is met with playing with others, no effort at all, or excuses of his stomach, head, or legs magically hurting.


At first, I used to let the other teacher in the room handle it, which wasn’t doing much other than letting him get out of another assignment. Then I fail into the “Joe Clark” mode and watched him fully break under the pressure of having to do the task. This ended quite quickly, off the strength that one bad experience with education can turn you entirely off down the line( the people that say they are bad at math when really they just had a bad experience with a math problem and teacher that didn’t support them in the way they needed). Leading to me having to find the balance between gentle and firm. Am I coddling him and setting him up for failure down the line? Or am I pushing him too hard? What to do and how to do it, is one of those things we struggle with because not only will they not have us the next year; but they probably will have less support and understanding down the line with higher expectations(and we know how that will go either he will continuously get skipped up though he may not be ready or a label and accompanying IEP).


Or my baby girl that knows everything that she's not supposed to know and nothing that she is. She can sing every song of the radio, tell you how to film a Youtube makeup and hair tutorial but when it comes to those basic learning concepts, what's that? And attitude out of this world for a little extra sprinkle. Once again, lack of support and stability at home makes me have to work twice as hard to get the student on track and half way shift her focus from looks to books. This isn’t mentioning still making sure meeting the needs of the other students in the classroom or deadlines passed down by my administration team. I just can’t teach. I have to worry about the student that comes in hungry every day and make sure that they have more than enough servings at meal times and even a little extra over the weekend. Or my baby whose uniform is two sizes too small whose parents refuse to accept the extra clothes sent home.


But I guess that's what makes us Champions. We do what most won’t take the time to do, to make sure the children are ok. They may not be our biological children, but when they are inside those school walls, they are our babies, not just scholars. We take the extra strain of being all the above to them and hitting our deadlines only to maybe get a card and coffee cup for teacher appreciation day. I promise I’m not burnt out, I just want a school year where I the babies in my room can come in and simply focus on learning and not whose house they’re going to today, will they eat once they leave, will their family members get shot or arrested, or any of the other chaos they are facing younger and younger now. I just want to simply teach.


Copyright © 2019 C & E Reflections Inc. All rights reserved. 

All The Stories Never Told

By Jacquelyn Randle

See I love that we stay in the age of technology

Age of information and imagery

Information literally at the end of our fingertips

but these things don't come with trigger warnings like social media post

Yet out of curiosity, we keep looking

Cant turn away from the pain

Even worse no way to ease it

Just a constant ripping off the band-aid

Over and over again

Each time more violent

Each image more graphic

Every article desensitizing us

To the point of immobility

Constantly living in a state of fear

Fight, flight or freeze is activated

And the bombardment of news stories and images

Keep us in that state of disarray

Undiagnosed PTSD constantly triggered

And we think this is just how life is

Never really given the opportunity to just live and be free

We hear the stories of those like Kalief

Key word

hear

Then we see what really happened

Not just another crime story

But a human life

That was never given a chance

And when I say never

I mean never

Allowed just to be free

Seeing Kalief painted as a hue-man

Being so mistreated

Kept me up at night

I literally couldn't sleep

And found myself crying and shaking

Bc deep down I knew that could've been me

Seeing the backstory

Of the Central Park 5

And how yet again

Black men

I take that back

Black children

Were railroaded

Forced into confessions

Innocence, time, and life lost

Forever changed by a justice system

That only locks up

JUST US

Families broken

Dreams differed

And spirits bruised but still fighting

And standing in their truth

See this is for all the stories

That were never told

The ones whose cries of innocence were ignored

Lives lost in the system

Though we keep yelling

They don't love us

No justice no peace

Say there name

And F The Police

The cycle still continues

All the stories never told

From our ancestors

To our loved ones

That lost to a system

Where we just cant seem to win.


Copyright © 2019 C & E Reflections Inc. All rights reserved. 

"Hey,Mama It'll Be OK"


Check out our feature on Black Mom Life


https://www.blackmomlife.com/home/2019/7/18/2bjg2w1c3y4rn396i0qy8g75q8iskg

Copyright © 2019 C & E Reflections Inc. All rights reserved. 

"When "Just Be Nice" Almost Killed Me"


Check out our feature on Medium


https://medium.com/@jrandle123/when-just-be-nice-almost-killed-me-53059ec5ce47

Copyright © 2019 C & E Reflections Inc. All rights reserved. 

"Black Holiday Traditions"


Check out our feature on Successful Black Parenting


Black Holiday Traditions


We all can agree that Christmas is said to be , “the most wonderful time of the year”. Everyone is more cheerful than usual, regardless if they celebrate the holiday for religious/ traditional reasons or don’t partake in the holiday at all and just enjoy the marked down merchandise and extra off days from work. For many African Americans, the subject of Christmas is a more layered topic than we would like to admit.


Christmas During Slavery

Christmas was a layered subject even during slavery for many reasons. For some slaves, Christmas was a time of hope. In The Autobiography of a Female Slave by Martha Griffith Browne, Ann can be quoted saying "This same Jesus, whom the civilized world now worship as their Lord, was once lowly, outcast, and despised; born of the most hated people of the world . . . laid in the manger of a stable at Bethlehem . . . this Jesus is worshipped now". The story of Jesus’ birth shows the optimism that many had and used to be inspired for better days. Ann also mentioned the added task placed on the slaves for all the holiday preparations, which many other slaves told stories of working nonstop during the holiday season cooking and cleaning for the big day. Hope was also given through the relaxed supervision with many taking the opportunity to run, most notably Harriet Tubman coming back for her brothers during the Christmas holiday. Also mentioned in The Autobiography of a Female Slave, Henry saved his “Christmas money” to buy his freedom. A common thing amongst many slaves to save their holiday gifts of larger and better food portions, money, new clothing and shoes for themselves throughout the year or to trade with others along the road to freedom.Teases of humanity were also thrown to those in bondage by allowing them time off to relax, spend time with family or friends, and even have a “real” marriage. But this short-lived happiness could and sometimes was used as a blow softener to those who would soon feel the pain of losing their loved ones, who would soon be gifted to their owner’s family member on Christmas day. Also, note the continued playing of the burning yule time log seen on television can be traced back to slavery; some masters would allow slaves to pick a yule log to burn in the main house saying they would be able to rest as long as it burnt(some logs burn time stretched until New Year's day).As much that I know of how our ancestors celebrated and even recognize the influence religion has shaped how and what we do now during the season, I have been put off by the holiday more and more as I have aged. No, it’s not from my deeper dive into our history or religion; but the ugly beast of holiday consumerism.


Consumerism

Consumerism drives our economy forward, but at what cost? Soon after back to school sales are wrapped up stores slowly begin to stock for Christmas and the social media "countdown to Christmas" post begin to circulate reminding us of how many weekends are left, "Did you start shopping yet?" or "How much do you spend during the holiday?" post come following after. As the conversations begin, I think of the British mother who went viral in 2015 for buying her three children 300 presents and spending a little over $750/per child.My mind switches to the fact that African Americans are only 14% of the U.S population but hold $1.3 trillion in buying power according to Nielson's Report. The national spending amount for Holiday Season 2018 was between $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion, per the National Retail Federation, so how much of that came from black dollars? And with the median wealth of African Americans on pace to hit zero by 2053, I have to ask are our spending habits setting us up to fail?


Now What

Rather you celebrate Christmas out of tradition or religious sake, I ask that we be mindful of what we are doing for and with our family as well as the traditions that we are passing down to our children. Below are a few things to try this year versus the usual holiday spending madness:

★ Examine our thoughts about the holiday and what it means to us

★ Examine our thoughts and habits about our finances

★ Adopt the something you want/wear/read/and need method to gift selection

★ Instead of using an advent calendar for receiving, make one for giving to others

★ Most importantly, if we are going to spend money circulate those dollars between black-owned businesses

★ Make new and more personal family traditions were gifts aren't the focus but memories and experience 


https://successfulblackparenting.com/black-holiday-traditions/

Copyright © 2019 C & E Reflections Inc. All rights reserved. 

"Float"


Check out our feature on Ohh So Sisterly


https://oohsosisterly.org/2020/01/float/

Copyright © 2020 C & E Reflections Inc. All rights reserved. 

"The Black Woman's New Agenda"

By Jacquelyn Randle

Check out our feature on Medium


https://medium.com/@jrandle123/the-black-womans-new-agenda-b342957f1f4f


Copyright © 2020 C & E Reflections Inc. All rights reserved. 

"Visions and Nightmares"

By Jacquelyn Randle

Check out our feature on Feminessay


https://www.feminessay.com/post/visions-and-nightmares?fbclid=IwAR111TGChzmoEAfiZYjlw1GP4f4383ZwfQeOERcCd4y1aNAEiCe1EGNIcBs


Copyright © 2020 C & E Reflections Inc. All rights reserved. 

"What Google Fails To Understand..."

Featuring Jacquelyn Randle

Check out our feature on Feminessay


https://medium.com/@jacksonmichelle24/what-google-fails-to-understand-about-the-beauty-of-brown-skin-f69761a58ad2


Copyright © 2020 C & E Reflections Inc. All rights reserved. 

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