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    Suffering in Silence: Reflections on Mental Illness in Family and the Case for Self-Care

    Child holding plantling

    Photo by Ariel Matos | Words by Patricia Matos

    It has been four years since my sister died. She was 41 years old. She was a single mother with a 20-month old. She suffered in silence from depression. She drank herself to death. Her life was so much fuller than the previous sentences that described her death. She had a generous smile, the timing and precision of a rattlesnake when it came to telling jokes. A laugh that bounced off the walls and hit you in the gut, it was so good. She had skin the color of warm caramel, and a deep affection for all animals. I have pushed her death out of my mind because every day I spread coconut oil on to miniature hands that are identical to hers. Since her death, I have been raising her daughter, my niece.

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    F*** the Grammar Police: An Open Letter to 'Proper' English

    Dear Grammar Police,

    I’m impartial to the proper things. To me, it just feels like I’m being controlled by pointless and typically problematic ideals. With the exception of certain things like wiping, medical procedures, and throwing it back; I have always felt like what is deemed suitable was merely a matter of culture and context. It probably explains the foul sentiment I get when the only other black guy inside the office pats my back and tells me he’s only inviting me to his party because I can, as he puts it, "chill and speak proper English". He didn’t invite the bubbly, larger than life valets most likely because he doesn’t care for the Future they play in the break room as much as their spirited conversations that admittedly make the office vibes a bit tense. I suppose being vibrant and unapologetically black is startling, offensive to some; but they have no problem with him doing it when he talks Panthers with my bosses’ boss. A large part of our existence is expected to be spent making up for the fact that we're 'problematic' and 'intimidating' in existence to people who fail to respect or understand our culture. My inner hipster feels the opposite of proper. My inner kid feels like an endless rebel.

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    Dangerous Truths: An Agitation of Black Participation in the LGBT Community

    By Myles E. Johnson

    Where beer flows or hugs are given, you can often forget as a Black person, that you are always in a certain amount of danger. Sometimes, it is physical, sometimes it is emotional, but the danger is always present. It is important to be cognizant of this danger, even when you are in communities that would prefer for you to think you are safe. There are communities that would prefer for you to believe you’ve found solace. This is a lie.

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