Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Loved and Lost

Hey folks, I hope I haven't lost my reading audience, as I don't update as much. Today, I'm inspired to write about my recent break-up. First, I was in a long distance relationship with a much younger guy. Some thought that was foolish, however I'm an optimist. I believe one can make it work if both parties are on the same page. We met through mutual friends and hit it off from the beginning. At the time, I wasn't seeking a relationship, as I had not been in anything serious in years. Sad story short, he decided that the long distance thing wasn't working for him anymore. During the time of our relationship, which lasted almost a year, we made time to see each other at least once a month. As time went on, I felt like I was putting more energy into the relationship than he was. I truly saw myself falling in love, but he didn't feel the same. I probably should have cut it off then, but again I'm an optimist and a hopeless romantic (who would have ever thought). I'm glad to say that I learned quite a bit about myself and learned that I can date at a distance and remain faithful. I suppose it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

End of an Era

 
After seven years I will be leaving the DC Mayor's Office, effective February 13. These few years have been quite a journey. During this time, I have had the pleasure to work under three administrations beginning as an intern and climbing up the proverbial ladder through helping residents, young and old alike, all across the city. Nevertheless, I leave feeling blessed, having being able to meet so many great people and make lifelong connections. I look forward to my next public service endeavor.
 
KDJ
 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lead Me, Guide Me - A 30th Birthday!


Today I turned 30!

 A milestone for African-American men living in the United States. With the prevalence of ignorance to HIV-AIDS, unfriendly police officers (black and white) terrorizing our people, disease, homelessness, discriminatory high incarceration rates and host of prevalent issues plaguing  us, I am blessed. As I said my morning prayer, thanking the Lord for 3 decades on this planet, I shed a tear for many who did not make it, Ricky, Clarence and so many others who were making a difference in this world. I also remember family that I have lost in the last 30 years through cancer and violence.

I also remembered those who I may not speak to anymore, through loss of communication or other issues. Life is a puzzle; in less than 100 years we live to learn, and learn to live. As someone once said, when you stop learning, you stop living.

I am blessed to have a host of family and friends that I have been fortunate to have in my life. Each year, we learn and grow together.

This has been an amazing year for me. As a preachers kid, I am fortunate to have prayer warriors dating back decades who could only dream of the life I am fortunate to live. However, the journey is just beginning.

To 30 more years, and me celebrating your milestone birthdays!

KDJ

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Few Good Men - Gay Dating & Relationships

Hey folks, I hope you are either halfway through your semester in school, enjoying spring break, staying medicated on Claritin for your allergies or just a lucky person. I feel like I have been lucky...and somewhat unlucky lately with a topic I haven't written about in awhile, dating.

I always try to tell people that dating does not equal a relationship. A relationship is when two people communicate that they want to become exclusive and that really, is only your business. However we live in the day of social media where status is affirmed through the likes, approval or even disapproval from friends and associates of a potential partner. I can only imagine what dating was like before social media. The word must have really gotten around slowly. I think it is one reason why relationships lasted longer then, than they do now.

I hate to assume, but I always assume that any attractive guy worth the time of day will have on average at least two guys interested in them. This comes with the territory of dating and where communication becomes crucial. Not assuming honestly, will probably leave you heart broken. I believe that if no communication is made at least once a day then...you're plan B...or C. If you are lucky plan A or the only center of attention then making time for each other is fundamental if things are going to work. Dating, just like relationships are a game of give and take, compromise and letting your guard down which I will get into later in this blog. Dating should not be stressful or strenuous. It should be fun and filled with good times in getting to know one another. So what if you are really into them but they are not really into you? or vice versa? This is nothing but a recipe for disaster if this isn't communicated. I can speak from personal experience that leading someone on makes things so complicated when it shouldn't be. If there are other  potentials in the picture then that should be expressed so there will be no surprises in the long run.

So when things go wrong we acquire baggage. Understanding that we have been hurt by someone we were really into, some of us try to either rush into another "situationship" and or put up walls of protection. I have done the later. I wrote a couple of years ago about my dating situation. I have remained relatively out of the light of dating anyone seriously after a bad experience. From a few brief dates since then, I have learned that everyone is not for everybody. Whether one is out, in the closet, a socialite, a homebody, black, white or Latino - I believe chemistry trumps all. If there is no chemistry then that should be expressed and amicably move on.

This leads me to think that we must be true with ourselves. Do you really want a serious relationship? Or just someone to show off on social media? Is it seasonal or are you in for the long run? These are questions that we must be honest with ourselves before stringing someone along.

I will leave this post with a few lyrics from the song "Everybody Plays The Fool" by an old skool group, The Main Ingredient -

"Falling in love is such an easy thing to do
And there's no guarantee that the one you love
Is gonna love you"


Monday, March 16, 2015

DC Black Pride: Leadership Award!








I am honored to accept the 2015 DC Black Pride Leadership Award for those 30 years old and under! I was in the gym completing a 4 mile run when I received the call. I am humbled and honored that someone vetted me and saw the work I have done for the gay community and for the DC community for the last 10 years. It's amazing to just do the work I love to do, and on occasion, get a little recognition for it.




 Never would I have thought from those days of standing up for gay students at Morehouse in the student Senate to helping create an atmosphere at Morehouse through "Safe Space Week" including taking part in the National Day of Silence, National Coming Out Day and the Queer CafĂ©, along with taking part in the marches, vigils and other events that shed light to the fight for gay students. It has been moving to meet so many other young men and women through my times at the HRC's HBCU Summit where I found the most impact and powerful stories from fellow college students to creating a plan for fostering a better collegiate environment that respects the rights and interests of LGBT students. Two years ago I had the pleasure to visit the White House and Capitol Hill and take part through the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), listening and engaging leaders of the Obama White House on issues related to the LGBT community.




To my professional career of being a summer teacher and a mentor; serving under my now third mayor in the Office of Community Affairs in which we are cleaning up our city of litter and blighted properties and working with government and businesses in creating beautiful spaces. To presently taking part in the discussion in the Episcopal Church on homophobia and race relations and re-branding the Episcopal campus ministry in the Diocese of Washington and recently being appointed a board member of the Hope Foundation ReEntry Network group, It is truly a blessing.


KDJ

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Quick Guide to the Legalization of Marijuana in DC





It has been a while since I wrote a political blog so what better time to do one than now. I will try to break down a lot of the political jargon and give my opinion.

DC voters in November voted in what was called Initiative 71 to legalize marijuana in the District of Columbia. Initiative 71 made the use of up to two ounces of marijuana and the possession and cultivation of up to three marijuana plants legal.  When 70% of voters approved this on the November ballot, the DC government then began the process of figuring out how to manage what the voters willed in terms of sales and management. However since all laws in DC are subject to a 30 day review period in congress (only when congress is in session) House Republicans inserted a rider or a budget clause (a provision that can be added to a bill of a completely separate nature) to the omnibus spending bill that would stop the legalization of marijuana  in DC by preventing any federal or DC funds to enact it. The rider however, has a legal loophole. While the DC government cannot regulate the sale of marijuana (which if we did would be breaking federal law since they told us no) the voters decided this not the DC Council or the mayor therefore the law is self-enacting. A few house republicans have basically said, you know what we meant, but legally, DC has a point. Of course, this all means that if someone were to sue, it would ultimately be decided by the courts. some members of congress have threatened to take further legal action against the city but Mayor Bowser is standing firm in upholding what the residents of DC voted for. In order for the Mayor to be responsive to the self-enacting law, she sent out information that explains what DC residents can and cannot do with the marijuana. http://dcist.com/2015/02/heres_how_the_city_will_enforce_mar.php

Again, this is bigger than the use of marijuana. This comes back to DC being subject to the will of congress. This city is growing faster and thriving (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/census-bureau-dc-keeps-growing-albeit-at-slower-pace/2014/12/23/b1e4c904-8acb-11e4-8ff4-fb93129c9c8b_story.html) yet and has the population greater than 3 states however its residents have no vote in congress and not even a presence in the Senate. Most major capital cities have allowed their residents even this privilege but not the great United States.

President Obama released a couple of statements in support of DC and the legalization of marijuana as well as in support of DC budget autonomy (our city budget is also subject to the approval of congress while they can barely balance theirs).

If you read this blog, please call your voting and elected members of congress and ask that they support HR 317 which already has 107 cosponsors. https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/317

Monday, February 16, 2015

(DC CLUB AQUA) This Weekend 2-21-15


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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Marion Barry






Fellow readers, It is with sadness I report the passing of the 4 term DC mayor and current Ward 8 city council member Marion S. Barry, Jr. Now many of you who did not live the glory days of Marion Barry, before the crack arrest and before he was even elected to the DC government may not know that he was a civil rights activist. A grass roots man who worked in the community. Barry was not a native Washingtonian, hailing from Mississippi, but he was the face of the District for decades and an institution in DC politics. His many accomplishments that help found this city's many agencies and his care and dedication for seniors and low-incomes residents are a part of what made people vote him back into office again and again. He was an architect of DC home-rule, a law which allows DC a city government. Now though I personally believe he should have retired years ago to enjoy his senior years in life and allow someone younger to attempt to fill his massive shoes, I'm sure all that Barry knew was helping people and public service. Barry died doing what he loved, public service.


I had the pleasure of first meeting him when I was probably 10 or 11 years old on a Sunday afternoon. My mother, sister and I had left church and stopped to get dinner at a place on MLK Ave called the Imani Cafe. Barry was also having dinner there and I remember him coming over and shaking my hand and giving my little sister a kiss on the forehead. I met him again years later when I started working for the DC government. My grandmother, who passed a year ago this month and I would have intense debates about Barry when he forgot to pay a slew of parking tickets, taxes or the infamous phone conversations released with that younger woman. Of course, I lost those debates lol. I came to learn to not speak badly of him in her presence to say the least. He had his personal short comings - we all do. Living in the public eye makes you susceptible to more scrutiny than the average person. When someone who we look up to does so well and falls, we hurt so we take it out on them. Barry failed to many and never regained some trust, but he  didn't fall from glory. The photo posted is from this past June's Washington Post's article about Barry with my grandfather pictured on the left sitting down beside Barry. Barry's death is truly the end of an era.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Facebook Discussion On Homosexuality and Morehouse



This discussion was with a young black male conservative living in Atlanta, GA.

KK: Does it upset you that people are referring to Morehouse as an all girl school? That is crazy

Me: No, I've heard the "Whorehouse" reference but never an all girl school. It doesn't bother me because the schools legacy speaks for itself. All schools are facing the challenges of adapting to the changes of the times.

KK: But when people say that they mean it as a put down. Times don't change that much.
It's a negative reference but being an all male school it is a big target. Specifically the handling of our gay brothers and even sisters at Spelman.

KK: Yea, I heard several alum express their dissatisfaction with all the gay stuff over there. They say it's making Morehouse look very bad when they had a legacy of strong men like King, Moss, and Mays etc...

Me: Morehouse and other prominent black institutions have been known to sweep it under the rug or some students live by the don't ask don't tell policy. After the unfortunate incident back in 2003 when a student was beat with a baseball bat that had to change. It is a good debate that is happening though. Can men who identify as gay not be strong and contribute to the legacy of Morehouse?

KK: My father in law just shakes his head when he sees what going on over there now. Dr. Franklin tried to clean that mess up and told the young that they need to carry themselves like men. Stop wearing heels and carrying purses like women. It's so ridicules.

Me: Dr. King worked along side with Bayard Rustin, an openly black gay man who helped with the March on Washington. I think Dr. King would be ashamed if his Alma mater didn't address this issue openly.
There are some extremes and as a private college the dress code policy I suppose has worked.
But off campus if a student decides to dress as such that's their right.

KK: You can still love people but hate the sin.

Me: That's open to Biblical interpretation of if it's a sin. But yes love is key, beyond tolerance.

KK:I'm sure Dr. King and Dr. Mays are rolling over in their graves at the state of that once great institution.

Me: I respectfully disagree that they would be upset over the state of the college based on sexual experience and acceptance.

KK: I hear everyday from brothers who just shake their heads in dismay and just say "Damn"!

Me: Morehouse has always been the leading school of intellectual conversation and thought. This issue is no different. We can't just cast out others who are different.

KK: The educated fool
Me: It's foolish to not be open to accepting people where they are. On a different level, if Morehouse was to someone implement a no homosexual policy can you imagine the funding the college would lose? It's a tough place for President Wilson to be in.

KK: I remember my parents telling me about that incident in 2003 that if any young man ever looked or touched me in the shower, I had their permission to find the largest 2 by 4 or bat to knock the hell out of him. And if I got in trouble they would be there to back me up 100%. Then all that stuff would stop. We've tried to be silent for far too long. Now, people are starting to push back and I am glad to see it.

Me: I think any person would be upset, no matter their sexual orientation because that's an invasion of privacy. There's also an appropriate way to handle things, especially if you're a college student at a prominent school. Whatever we did there negative or positive easily gets worldwide attention. I don't think the push for acceptance at Morehouse will stop. The entire country is moving in that direction and it would be unwise if Morehouse didn't.

KK:Actually, most states still have a constitutional ban and if we get a republican president next time around they will be able to fill the courts with conservative judges. I'm glad Georgia already has a gay marriage ban. Thank God

KK: It looks like the democrats will lose control of the Senate this Nov in the midterms.

Me: Those constitutional bans are being overturned every month it seems. I honestly don't care what someone wants to do with their life as it doesn't affect mine...it's another example of the government peeking into the bedroom.

KK: That's the problem. People should care. There are still places in this country where traditional values are upheld and GA is one of those states. Republicans control every statewide office and have enacted legislation to protect us.

KK: Whats fashionable in NY and California doesn't mean the rest of the US likes it. We aren't going to be controlled by Hollywood elites.

Me: That's what makes America so great and unique. The Bible belt states will probably keep their traditional conservative values. Fifty years ago we as blacks were not fully accepted as equals yet over time, we have overcome a lot...but as Ferguson showed us there is more to overcome on the civil rights front.

KK:Its unfortunate that the gays try to link their plight with being black. It's not the same and a lot of blacks folks get tired of them trying to say it is.

Me: Some civil rights leaders have said they are very similar battles.

KK: They are getting paid.

KK: No one takes Al Sharpton, Julian Bond, and Jesse Jackson seriously anymore. They are race hustlers and poverty pimps

Me: I won't argue that. The thing that's so unique about this generation is that it leads itself. This is a more accepting generation despite race or background.

KK:But honestly they 
can do whatever they won't just as long as the definition of marriage stays one man and one woman. I'm happy that is still is.

KK:Good discussion.

Me: Definitely!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Michael "Mike Mike" Brown

I am outraged as I write this blog post. As many of you may know, or are learning of this morning about a young black male who was killed (murdered) yesterday by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, which is just outside of St. Louis. He was shot 8 to 10 times while unarmed with his hands up. He allegedly stole candy from a local convenience store. Furthermore, Mike's body was left in the street for 4 hours before they removed him. The officer, a white cop, has been put on administrative paid leave pending investigations. Of course, the neighborhood marched outraged and the police responded with heavy force, including K-9 dogs.


Now after I read this last night I was really livid. I just couldn't enjoy my Saturday night knowing what had happened just a few states over to the west. I know we love to jump to the race card when this happens, but we must first learn all the facts, including learning the details of what led to the EXCESSIVE shooting of this young man who was about to attend college tomorrow. Black or white, there is no justification for shooting an unarmed human being that many times. Unfortunately, this has happened all too often by officers who have used excessive force on white and black men, but disproportionately black men have been killed.

The police response to those assembled who had the right, morally and constitutionally, to be outraged brought the images to my mind of the Civil Rights marches of the 60's. The only thing missing were the water hoses. Sure the job of a police officer can be rough, the motto "protect and serve" is a creed they live by and are to uphold. But the EXCESSIVE militaristic and barbaric ways of this department is troublesome.

Sadly Mike Brown will not be attending his first day of college tomorrow. Sadly a family lost a son, a nephew and a grandson to a meaningless death. However, we must make a meaningless death a meaningful one by exercising our rights to protest police brutality and beginning to value black life. We need to crush the stereotypes and begin to see that every life is valuable, no matter what race you are, in addition the war on young African-American males, which seems never ending. Let us all take a moment of silence, for those who have died at the hands of police brutality, and may their souls rest in peace.