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My Alternative Lifestyle: A Love Letter to My Granddaughter



mother and baby daughter (Shutterstock)

*In honor of National Grandparent’s Day, celebrated on the Sunday following Labor Day, this is my affirmation of hopes, dreams, and unconditional love for my granddaughter.

Monika M. Pickett

Monika M. Pickett

 My Dearest Keegan,

You are the manifestation of a thousand dreams. I am in awe that you are finally here. Oftentimes, I would stare out the window and daydream of you. I wondered who you would look and act like. Whose personality would you have? Your mother’s or your father’s? You were a part of my dreams that society said would never exist.

At a time when it was not acceptable, I was a little girl determined to love whom I wanted to love, no matter the cost. I lost friends and family and yet I never wavered in who I knew God created me to be. Your great grandmother used to say, “God watches over children and fools.”

Thanks to God’s Grace and Mercy, I survived traumas that no child should ever have to endure. I pray that you never experience the pain and suffering I had to bear to become the woman I am today. My hope is by the time you are old enough to understand these words, the world will have become a better and kinder place.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

You came into this world at one of the darkest times of my life. My heart was broken but I refused to allow my spirit to be broken. I prayed for God to send me a sign that He was preparing me for something magnificent. My grandmother used to say, “When there is a death, there is a birth.” Although I did not experience the physical death of a loved one, I experienced the death of what I thought was a love supreme. And then there was you.

I recall the hushed voices of the doctor and nurses in the delivery room when you were born. You came into this world with your eyes wide open. The doctor said you were one of the most alert babies he had ever delivered. In time, your radiant spirit shined through. You were such a happy baby. Your smile … your mere existence made everything better. Life seems so much brighter with you in it. You’ve made me a better, kinder, more forgiving person. Born on the same day as your paternal great grandmother and the same month as your paternal grandfather and my mother, I know you will have a heart of gold.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

I love your big brother, Carter, just as much as I love you. And yet, I need to let you know what my hopes and dreams are for you as a female child who will become a woman. This world is a very different place for women. We are expected to carry the weight of the world upon our shoulders and in our wombs. You – like me, my mother, your mother and her mother – stand on the shoulders of the women who came before us. Your mommy, daddy and I will ensure that you are proud of both your African American and your Italian heritage. We will teach you to know your worth even when you are judged based on the color of your skin.

I hope life treats you well. I pray for your strength and guidance as you pursue your dreams. I hope you never dim your light for the comfort of others. I pray that you face your fears head on and watch how quickly they disappear. I pray you are kind to others who are less fortunate than you. You may need a helping hand one day.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Most importantly, I want you to know God. I want you to know that He created you as you are and you are enough. That you are smart enough to become whomever and whatever you choose. That you are courageous enough to love whomever you want to love. That you are strong enough to withstand any storm that comes your way. And when you feel you cannot weather the storm, I want you to know that you have a praying grandmother. I will pray with and for you as our ancestors cover you in their hopes and dreams.

I will love you unconditionally, as my grandmothers loved me.

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Monika M. Pickett

Monika M. Pickett‘s latest release, Pretty Boy Blue-2nd Edition has become the number one best-seller on in the U.S. and Canada across multiple categories including lesbian romance and LGBTQ fiction.

Pretty Boy Blue - Amazon - 51qVLchPHVL

The sequel, The Darkest Shade of Blue, is also available on Amazon.

Darkest Shade of Blue - Amazon - 41-USenlCqL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

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New York Film Festival 58 Has Upped its Game



Lover's Rock
Time family

The Time family (credit: Amazon Studios)

*Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) has upped its game and offers relevant films in this pandemic period at the 58th New York Film Festival (NYFF58) running until October 11.

Director of Programming Dennis Lim says, “Movies are neither made nor experienced in a vacuum, and while the works in our program predate the current moment of crisis, it’s striking to me just how many of them resonate with our unsettled present, or represent a means of transcending it.”

This year’s Main Slate showcases films from 19 different countries, including new titles from renowned auteurs. Frederick Wiseman explores  behind the scenes of the Boston city government in “City Hall;” indictments of America’s racist past and present in Sam Pollard’s “MLK/FBI” and Garrett Bradley’s “Time, dealing with the crisis of Black mass incarceration in America”

HELL YES! We’re Here for This: A Rick James Mini-series (‘Brother’s Keeper’) is in Development

Tragic Jungle_3_credit-malacosa Cine

Scene from “Tragic Jungle.” (credit” Malacoser Cine)

Steve McQueen not only has the Opening Night selection “Lovers Rock,” but “Mangrove;” and “Red, White and Blue.” The Centerpiece is Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” and Azazel Jacobs’s “French Exit” will close the festival

Also of note are  “Night of the Kings,” “Tragic Jungle,” “All In: The Fight for Democracy,” “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” “Hopper/Welles,” “The Human Voice,” “The Monopoly of Violence,” “On the Rocks,” “The Inheritance,” and “Ouvertures.”

Small Axe - Lovers Rock

Scene from “Lovers Rock.” (credit: Amazon Studios)

Included in the lineup also are “The Revolution Will Be Filmed,” “The Artist, the Athlete, and the Revolutionary,” “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” “Muhammad Ali, the Greatest,” and “Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris.”

The 58th New York Film Festival (NYFF58) runs until October 11.

For more information:   Twitter: @thefilmstrip


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EUR Commentary

She the People on Trump’s Supreme Court Pick: Amy Coney Barrett: ‘She is A Detriment to Our Democracy’



Amy Coney Barrett1 (Wikimedia Commons) 1600726510915

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, in response to news that President Donald Trump selected Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court of the United States, Aimee Allison, Founder of She the People, released the following statement:

“Today’s news is devastating. Judge Amy Coney Barrett in no way fills the immense void Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg left on our highest court. She is favored among Trump-loyal conservatives, and her judicial record makes it clear she would be solidly opposed to abortion rights and inclined, even eager, to reverse Roe v. Wade, and the Affordable Care Act.

“If confirmed, right-wing judicial activist Barrett would reshape the law and society for generations to come. She is a detriment to our democracy.

“We want a Supreme Court that is independent and fair. We need a nominee who will provide checks and balances to the other branches, in particular the executive branch. We will fight for that Court. Our nation is reeling from a global pandemic. We are fighting against state-sanctioned violence and unjust policing, which disproportionately harms Black and brown communities. Trump is incapable of picking a nominee who would provide equal justice under law, and the nomination of Coney Barrett confirms this.

“Under no circumstances should the Senate consider a replacement for Justice Ginsburg until after inauguration.The people need to decide.“





Jacqueline Lara
Aprill Turner
[email protected]

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The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Kentucky AG Is Not Fit For the Fight




The good news is the city of Louisville has agreed to pay $12 million to Breonna Taylor’s family. It’s the largest wrongful death payment ever against the Louisville Metro Police Department. Taylor’s family and loved ones deserve it! Nobody would argue that after learning about how and why she was killed. Yet, the civil case award could be bad news for the criminal case. Keep reading to understand how.

She was killed in March 2020. Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel J. Cameron appointed himself special prosecutor back in June. Since then he claims to have been conducting a thorough investigation. Instead he stalled the case.

Ninety-nine percent of us know the story. For the one percent who don’t know here’s a recap: Louisville police lied to a judge to get approval for a no-knock warrant at Taylor’s residence. Taylor was not the target of the warrant. The person who was the target – her ex boyfriend – already had been arrested across town. But these bully, liar, killer cops showed up at Taylor’s residence anyway and broke down the door.

Police claimed they announced themselves as cops. Neighbors said they didn’t. Some of those neighbors and Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker who was at home with her, called police about the break-in. Walker shot at the people coming through the door. He’s licensed to carry a weapon and used it to legally defend himself and Taylor. Police unloaded a barrage of bullets into the apartment on the way in shooting Taylor. One of the cops stationed outside blindly shot into Taylor’s apartment. Some of his bullets were found in neighboring apartments where other innocent people could have died. Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder of police – who didn’t announce themselves. Nobody offered Taylor medical assistance that might have saved her life. And that’s why Taylor’s family deserves the settlement money.

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Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron

But there’s more to the story that makes Taylor’s murder even more egregious. Taylor’s boyfriend called her mom before he was arrested. When Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, showed up at the scene she was given the runaround about where her daughter was. Police sent her to a hospital telling her Breonna was there, knowing she wasn’t. After an hour, Palmer came back to the scene and that’s when police asked her about any domestic violence issues between her Breonna and her boyfriend. They tried to get her to make a statement that could later be used to blame Walker for Breonna’s death!

Of the officers involved in Taylor’s murder and subsequent cover-up none of them has been charged with a crime. Only one of them – the one who stood outside and blindly shot into her apartment – has been fired. The others are still getting paid for the legalized genocide of Black people. We should demand the system to dish out fair punishment to bully, liar, killer cops the same as it does for everyone else.

That’s where Attorney General Cameron should have stepped in. The aforementioned details are enough evidence for charges already to have been filed. Any other attorney general with a backbone would have done so already. Dan Cameron has no backbone. He’s afraid to bring charges against police, because they helped get him elected. He thanked the Fraternal Order of Police in his acceptance speech when he was elected to the AG position last year. The FOP has Cameron in their back pocket. They own him!

For three months Cameron claimed he had been conducting a thorough investigation of Taylor’s case. It was a stall tactic. He had hoped he could take control of the investigation and never file charges against the police involved. But then George Floyd’s modern-day lynching video sparked world-wide protests and brought attention to Taylor’s case.

That’s when Cameron realized the case wouldn’t go away because all eyes are on Louisville! Even though Taylor’s family deserves the $12 million settlement, the civil case could compromise the criminal case.

Typically the criminal case is decided first. The civil case is decided later. Since the money already has been awarded the grand jury might not feel obligated to indict Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, Det. Myles Cosgrove or now fired officer Brett Hankinson. Criminal justice is different than civil justice. We want both

Even though they are not supposed to act on emotion when it comes to the law, the grand jury might feel as if criminal indictments against police and civil justice is too much justice for one case! Also, the attorney general can sway the grand jury’s decision based on how and what evidence he presents. It doesn’t look good for criminal prosecution. I know it and people in Louisville know it. That’s why federal buildings in the city have been boarded up and are closed for business this week in anticipation of what’s to come.

Daniel Cameron is not fit for the fight we as Black people in America are engaged in against bully, liar, killer cops! He claimed to be for law and order, but when it comes to holding crooked cops accountable, he doesn’t have the guts for it. He’s not fit to be attorney general.

Steffanie Rivers - screenshot

Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with comments, questions or speaking inquiries. Friend her on  Follow her on Twitter @tcbstef and on Instagram @tcbstef


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