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#takeaknee and the 4 Types of People

August 26, 2016 sports and politics collided as it has so many times before in history. On that day Colin Kaepernick decided to start a peaceful protest that involved taking a knee during the singing of the national anthem before NFL games, to bring attention to the murder of unarmed black people and the lack of conviction that occurs once an officer murders an unarmed black person.

 

From there a firestorm erupted. His coaches, his team mates and his owner supported his right to peacefully protest. Fans, political pundits, and politicians weighed in with their anger and opposition of the protest. The excuse used to distract from Colin was the fact that he was unpatriotic and did not respect the flag or American troops.

 

Following the 2016 NFL season Colin decided to leave the struggling San Francisco 49ers, a team that was on their 3rd coach in his tenure as a QB and far removed from any chance of competing in the Super Bowl that Colin helped lead them to. Throughout the summer Colin was overlooked for NFL job after job. Retired, unemployed, and far less statistically comparable quarterbacks were selected for jobs that every football pundit has since said they did not deserve or were not qualified for.

 

Despite Colin not having a job and no longer currently being an active NFL player the President of the United States weighed in.  At a rally on Friday, September 22, 2017 in Huntsville Alabama, Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”

 

Many athletes, Americans and politicians subsequently weighed in which has become the norm when the President says outlandish things, a new weekly habit.

 

Though this is troubling, because the right to peaceful protest is protected by the constitution, it is also troubling that a sitting President would assert that a private entity should fire someone for actions he does not agree with. I want to put a period there and shift. This is not about Donald Trump or the controversy he loves to stir up. The focus should be on why kneeling during the National Anthem is important!

The focus on why turning off the NFL games is important.  Though owners now “disagree” with President Trump, despite their million dollar campaign contributions, they have essentially fired Colin Kaepernick and have not spoken out in regards to the very reason Colin Kaepernick took a knee.

 

I have 4 types of people I want to speak to.

 

  1. To the black and brown people who continue to watch the NFL I personally get it. You grew up watching and loving football, you’ve purchased your season tickets and your respective team represents something “positive” in your hometown. Those are the legitimate claims I have heard from those still watching games. I am not begging you to protest or condemning you for not protesting, but I have two questions to ponder on that could reshape history should you choose to join in on blacking out the NFL. The two questions are:

 

  1. What if Rosa Parks decided to simply go about business as usual and to this day we were never allowed to sit in any section of a bus other than the back?
  2. What if the 600+ individuals who marched on Selma decided, that voting was not as important after all since they could face resistance?
  3. What are you willing to give up, to move the conversation forward and force solutions?

 

I ask those questions, because you could one day be the hashtag we mourn.

 

  1. To the white people, calm down I am not mad at white people, which oppose and reject Donald Trump if you really want to make a statement talk about black and brown people being disproportionately murdered by police officers without a trial and turn your tv off during NFL games, because the individual who sacrificed his job and career to call attention to the issue has been subjected to the treatment Donald Trump encouraged. The NFL losing millions of dollars each week sends a message that you stand with the black and brown people who you call friends, neighbors and coworkers.

 

  1. Lastly to the black and brown people who have turned your televisions off, sold your tickets and now refuse to support the NFL, keep it up, but do not verbally abuse and berate people who do not see things the way you do instead continue the peaceful demonstration.

 

  1. To the individuals who feel that Colin’s protest was disrespectful to the flag and our troops and/ or believe it should be left off of the field, I would ask you do you feel such outrage for Muhammad Ali who refused to enlist for the Vietnam War? What about former MLB player Shawn Green? What about Kathrine Switzer, did she protest discrimination in the right way? Did Branch Rickey make the right decision, by breaking precedent with American and baseball tradition in 1946? Or are you just uncomfortable talking about why Colin took a knee?

 

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Before Moving to LA Read This!

My move to LA has been one of the best moves that ever happened to me, but I wish someone gave me a guide book to the city before moving here.

LA has so much to offer and it also has some very real challenges. To help you prepare I came up with a guide to help with important things to consider.

  1. Financial Preparation-

I am starting here, because this can literally make OR break you. The stories of coming to LA with $1,000 are great and good inspirational stories, but you are going to be in a word of hurt if you do that in or after 2017.

Here’s why. The cost of living is something we hear a lot about as it pertains to LA, but that does not put into perspective what it means. Groceries are more expensive, housing is not just more expensive, but it can be extremely to have a safe place to live if you are not prepared to drop in excess of $2,500 for a studio, and then buy appliances and a window unit. You read that right not central a/c a window unit and buy appliances. So if your mental calculator is not the best, your total move-in costs could quickly exceed $3,000 for a studio with no real updates completed since 1990.

Another aspect to prepare for is the super competitive housing market. Here today gone today explains apartments in LA. If the apartment is a great deal, comes with a stove and fridge (or 1 of the 2) expect it to be gone quickly. Shopping around is a luxury in LA.

Check out the housing links for Craigslist, HotPads, and Westside Rentals to help you find a place to live prior to moving so that you can unpack your bags and not find yourself couch surfing for months on end.

  1. Physical preparation-

The hustle and bustle of the city is real. That said you need a healthy outlet to sweat out the alcohol, possible stress, and being photo ready for the LA weather.

Start early. Before you move find a park near you to go running or map out a route in your neighborhood. LA is a city where a gym membership is nice, but plenty of people stay fit with a hike and boot camp.

  1. Spiritual preparation-

This is probably the biggest and most important point. Know who you are before you get here. Something a sound spiritual life can only provide. Moving to LA you are going to encounter your favorite actor or singer in random places. You may be invited to countless events, and there is always something to do. Be sure those opportunities do not define you and that your self worth does not need a backdrop, exclusive party, or celebrity picture to let you know you belong.

The amazing thing about LA is there are great spiritual outlets. There are churches, Buddhist temples, and everything in between to meet spiritual and religious needs you have.

  1. Work Ethic-

Point blank have it before you get here. You may be the best in Middle America, Dallas or Houston, TX or even Miami, but there are 100k people in LA who are just as good and probably better. What is going to differentiate you is your work ethic. No is going to be something you hear a lot of. It may come in the form of “let’s talk later”, “let’s do lunch”, or “something came up”, but be diligent and stay ready. You have to be prepared like never before which is why your spiritual preparation aligns with your work ethic.

  1. Professional Preparation-

Be good at many different things and master one. LA is the land of opportunity. You should be knee deep in what you say you want to do. You may be moving to be an actor, but do not be afraid to dust that degree off and find a 9-5 until things get moving for you.

You may DJ on the weekends or in the evening, but drive for uber/lyft until you establish a network. In LA most people have multiple hustles.

This connects to the spiritual preparation portion, be kind and be humble. The person in yoga pants could be a yoga instructor, the VP at a major network, or your next publicist. LA is a casual city. You just never know who is who. I know social media makes you believe you have to dine at $100/plate restaurants nightly and brunch every day just do not fall into the trap that if that becomes your lifestyle you no longer feel the need to be kind and to stay humble.

  1. Learn the Areas-

Prior to moving to LA I thought I knew where I wanted to live. After over a year in Los Angeles I now realize I knew nothing. Here are a few neighborhoods I have learned about.

Hollywood

I first crashed with a friend in Hollywood. I loved the walkability and inexpensive Uber/Lyft in the area. The downside can be pricing and parking. Be prepared to only have street parking except from 8am – 6pm and not on Mondays for the street sweepers, which I never saw.

The Valley (Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Van Nuys)

Surprisingly this area comes with some fairly nice spaces. You can get more bang for your buck and you can get some good updated spaces. The downside is you are far from a lot of things and rarely does anyone travel to the Valley if they do not already live there. The area is also great for those who work at studios and dancers. North Hollywood also has a train station to help get you through the city.

Mid-City/ Koreatown

This area has decent apartment pricing. The challenge is parking. There is rarely parking available so if you live in one of those areas be prepared to pay for a spot if the option is available.

Ladera Heights

This neighborhood is a true gem. You can find homes that remind you of suburb from your local community. For me it reminds me of some neighborhoods in Houston. After taking a look at my place I walked to Starbucks, the cleanest one I have EVER seen, and found nearly 50 people playing Chess and checkers. Everyone seems to be friendly and it is not too close to the airport, but close enough for you to get there for $5 in an Uber/Lyft.

Good luck with the LA move. May it lead you to the next level of your journey!