Thursday, June 25, 2009

Where is the Justice for Jada?

My name is DynamicDiva and I'm addicted to Twitter. I love it not because I like to hear myself talk (or tweet) but because I learn so much while on it and find out about breaking news stories before it even hits the mainstream media.

Recently, the people I follow on Twitter alerted me to the Shooting at the Holocaust Museum (which is only blocks from my job); the accident on the Metro's Red Line; and most recently the story about a missing black girl named Jada Justice.

Jada Justice is a two-year old girl from Gary, Indiana who was reported missing on June 16, 2009. What breaks my heart the most is that it's been over a week and I am just hearing about this. I'm a digger for information and pride myself on being knowledgeable about what is going on locally and globally. The media has all but ignored this case. I'm not going to say it's because she's a poor, Black child from Gary, Indiana but I have a feeling that has something to do with it.

It's disappointing that the media doesn't feel the need to draw any attention to Jada Justice's case. This child been missing for over a week and it is just now getting the attention of people like CNN's Nancy Grace? Here's the link. A week is a long time for a child to be missing. How can we be vigilant and on the look out when we don't even know she's missing?

Everyone knows about the Caylee Anthony case. It was on the news every single day all across the country for months, from the day she was reported missing July 2008 until it was announced her body was found in December 2008. Little Jada has been missing for a week and I have yet to hear about it in my local newspapers or local television stations. It's amazing to me how they can run a segment on a Nun who's running across the dessert for charity but they can't mention that a two-year old girl is missing. All I can say is someone's priorities are messed up!

If you're reading this and you're on twitter please RT the following:
Where's Jada? Missing Black Child Ignored by Major Media Help Find #jadajustice

If you use Facebook, MySpace, or are a blogger, please make sure you let your network know about the Jada Justice case.

We cannot let the case of Jada Justice continue to go unnoticed. It is up to us to stand up and voice our concerns about the lack of media coverage for this innocent child. We must ask ourselves, where is the Justice for Jada?

Interesting Statistics on Missing Children
(information from

The Kidsearch Network believes that Immediate Response by an experienced search team is necessary. because,
  • There is typically over a two hour delay in making the initial missing child report (60%)
  • The vast majority (74%) of the abducted children who are murdered are dead within three hours of the abduction. (Source: Attorney General of the State of Washington, who did a study of cases reported to law enforcement in 1997)
  • There are estimated to be about 100 cases per year in the US where a child is abducted and murdered.
  • The victims of these cases are "average" children, leading normal lives, and living with normal families, typical low-risk victims.
  • The vast majority of them are girls (76%), with the average age being slightly over 11 years of age.
  • In 80% of cases, the initial contact between the victim and killer is within 1/4 mile of the victim's residence.
  • Family involvement in this type of case is infrequent (9%). However, the relationship between the victim and the killer varies with the gender and age of the victim.
  • The youngest females, 1-5 years old, tend to be killed by friends or acquaintances (64%), while the oldest females, 16-17 years old, tend to be killed by strangers (also 64%).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

A couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with a guy who mentors in the same program as I (College Bound). He was working at a huge law firm that has offices across the country, just down the block from me. He'd been working for the law firm for 10 years, since graduating from college. After lunch, we exchanged a few emails back and forth. Next thing I know he calls me the following Monday saying he got laid off. I was like what? How did it happen? What did they say?

It made me instantly realize that anyone and everyone is susceptible to getting let go, laid off, the pink slip, down-sized, fired, or whatever they want to call it these days at anytime.

Fast-forward to the following week, I'm sitting in my office getting ready to go upstairs for our bi-weekly staff meeting. Next thing I know my boss sends out an email saying the meeting is cancelled and closes her door. This was strange because in our office we rarely close our doors and if we do it's usually cracked not completely shut. Since I was supposed to lead the meeting, I'd brought snacks and decided to walk around to share them with my co-workers.

While three of us are gathered in one office, I see this vaguely familiar woman walk by. Next thing I know, my co-worker in the next office closes his door. So by this point I'm like what is really going on? Again, it's rare that any of us shut our doors, so the three of us look at each other knowing that something's about to happen.

I go back into my office and the Admin Asst. comes into my office and starts whispering to me, and tells me who's in the office with our co-worker. All of a sudden my heart sank. I figured out why she looked familiar. I had seen her on the elevator once and after she stepped off the people I was riding with were like someone's about to get fired. That was the day our HR Director was "let go" after working for the association for over 25 years. Apparently, she flies in from our HQ to let people know their services are no longer needed.

So the woman from HQs walks out of one co-workers office and into another. The Admin and I looked at each other like, okay someone really needs to fill us in on what's happening. At that moment, she tell our other co-worker she needs to speak with her and closes the door to her office. This time my boss walks into my office and lets us know that two of our co-workers were being "let go" due to "budget cuts." She then tells us it wasn't because of anything they did, yada yada yada. Still not quite sure if I believed that. Both of them had been with the company for a while, 5 and 9 years, and both, from what I was told, had run-ins with the higher ups over the years.

It's surreal to see your co-workers there one minute and the next they're gone. Coming into the office the next day it felt strange, almost like someone had died. Their once vibrant offices filled with art and photos collected over the years were no more. It was back to being a generic space waiting to be occupied again one day.

Considering my department only had 7 staff members plus a summer intern to begin with, it's going to make a huge impact on our day-to-day. Everything is so new we haven't even discussed how our titles/roles/job duties are going to change. It's easy to be selfish and think wow that's really going to increase my workload, but in this economy, I sure rather be busy than unemployed.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in this country who are not as fortunate and would love to be in my shoes and sitting in a chair behind my desk. Constantly remembering this helps me to keep a level-head and realize that I'm blessed to still be gainfully employed. I pray that everyone who is dealing with the consequences of the state of the current economy will have the strength to make it through this. I hate watching the news and hearing stories about people committing suicide or even worse killing themselves and their families because they couldn't deal with the stress of losing a job.

I pray and said thank you to God every night for having a job. I also pray that our economy will turn around soon so the U.S. can go back to being considered one of the most prosperous countries in the world, a title that we worked so hard to attain. For all those who have been affected by the downturn in the economy, please keep believing that things will get better because we all know they will.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalms 30:5)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Umm Why Isn't There a Cure for AIDS?

Sometimes, well actually all the time, I have very random thoughts. Recently, I was thinking why isn't there a cure for AIDS?

Everyone remembers when Earvin "Magic" Johnson was interviewed by Linda Ellerbee back in the early 1990s and announced he had contracted HIV. That was such a different day and age. I remember watching movies like Philadelphia where Denzel Washington's character was afraid to shake Tom Hanks' hand because at that time no one knew how the virus was spread. There was such a huge stigma attached to those who had HIV and AIDS.

Fast forward to 2009, and Magic says that he no longer has HIV. Well, I guess it's not that he doesn't have HIV but because of the medication he takes, his HIV hasn't progressed and when he takes tests they come up as Negative.
What I want to know is, how many people really live with HIV for 15-20 years? I know he's rich but how could he be the only one who's been able to keep the virus from turning into full-blown AIDS after all these years. Does anyone else think this is strange?

Another thing...When women with HIV/AIDS have babies doctors give them certain medications which help to prevent them from transferring the virus to their newborns. ( If this concept help lessen the spread of the virus from mother-to-child through vaginal birth, why hasn't a drug been invented that these same women could take to keep them from infecting their partners?

I'm not a doctor nor do I claim to be knowledgeable about infectious diseases. I just want to know why it seems like the spread of AIDS is getting worse. It's scary to think Washington, D.C., the Nation's Capital, has more people infected with HIV/AIDS than some West African countries, according to the results of a 2008 study that were announced in March of 2009, click here to read more. Some things just don't make sense and the fact that we don't seem any closer to finding a cure for AIDS is one of those things. Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Life of a Nonprofit Diva

So those who know me know that I can be a bit of a diva, depending on how well you know me. It's not so much a diva in a bitchy kind of way but I know what I want and how to get it. I used this ability in everyday life and while working in Corporate America.

I worked for two Fortune 500 companies after grad school but after a while I realized it wasn't for me. Nearly two years ago, I made the switch to nonprofit. Although, I'd volunteered for every type of charity you could imagine since I was young, I had never worked for a nonprofit. Let me tell you it was not only a culture shock but a shock to my bank account.

Working in Corporate America, if I wanted to go out and buy the hottest bag or jewelry, as long as my bills were paid I could do it. I've always had expensive tastes, that's just how I was raised and what I've grown accustomed to. When I bought my new car, my old one was dying and I decided I needed to step my game up so I decided to invest in a nicer but starter, luxury car. (People seem to think it cost more than it did but that's on them.) Hey, I was in B2B sales and we were expected to have an air about us to be able to successfully negotiate with CEOs and decision makers within companies we were trying to win business from. In my line of work having a nice car only added to your credibility.

One day, I realized the life of wheeling and dealing really wasn't for me so I started looking for other opportunities. During this time, I was determined to make the switch from Corporate America to nonprofit. I knew that I would never find a nonprofit that would pay me what I was making in sales so I began to cut back on my spending. I found a roommate who was also interested in saving some money each month. It's been a great partnership having someone to help me out with the mortgage and also having someone else there for safety.

And anyone who knows me knows that I love to shop. Fortunately, the company that I worked part time (PT) with through grad school, then went on to work in their corporate offices in NY, has allowed me to have a very flexible PT schedule over the years. Having a PT job allows me to not only have a fabulous discount on the things I love most but it allows me to buy the things I want, whereas the full-time pays for the things I need.

Working for a nonprofit has definitely humbled me. While I'm not getting the salary I think I deserve compared to my counterparts with similar positions in Corporate America, the experience, growth opportunities, benefits, far outweigh that of a salary. I think, well no I know, I've learned more in the last few years in nonprofit than I probably would have in 5-7 years working in Corporate America. My boss is extremely supportive of me and my career and is always encouraging me to attend various events and go to trainings.

True, I've had to make a lot of sacrifices whether it's not being able to travel on a whim due to working the PT one day on the weekend, or not being able to spend lots of money on entertainment and going out. Those sacrifices are minimal to what I've been able to learn. Working for a nonprofit, has given me the opportunity to see that money is not and should not be my only motivation behind having a job. Instead, this nonprofit diva has a passion for being able to make a difference in the lives of others.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Restaurant Review: Ketchup

As a self proclaimed foodie, I'm going to try to get back into doing restaurant reviews. I like to venture out to new restaurants but before going I usually check the reviews of others before I try it out for myself. So when I try out new places, I'm going to start posting reviews.

Last week I went to Ketchup, a new restaurant that opened a few weeks ago at the National Harbor (Oxon Hill, MD). Apparently, there are two other Ketchup locations one in Huntsville, AL (random) and the other in LA. It's also owned by a larger restaurant group that has restaurants all over the country.

Atmosphere: When you enter the restaurant there is a bar to the left. To the right, they have a nice set-up of trendy, low to the group, kind of futuristic red pod-shaped seats that can accommodate I'd say 15-20 people. The restaurant is very uniquely designed and the color scheme is red, black and white. It's a fairly small place because of the set-up. They also have some interesting art pieces/floating walls coming from the ceiling that kept my attention throughout dinner.

Service: We arrived around 7:45, a little early for our 8:15 reservation but the hostess seated us right away. As soon as we sat down the people next to us started receiving their appetizers, which looked very tasty. The waitress came over about 5 minutes after we were seated to take our drink orders. Definitely took a good 10 minutes for our strawberry mojitos to come out. As the waitress handed me my mojito, I looked at the glass and thought you have to be kidding me. There was a fresh, pink lipstick stain on my glass, like the glass hadn't even touched any water. She immediately apologized and came back like 5 minutes later with another one. However, I wasn't impressed with it, definitely was not a good mojito. The lipstick left a sour taste in my mouth and so did the mojito but I tried to get past it.

Food: So we ordered a dish called the Threesome for our appetizer which was three different types of fries with which was supposed to be served with 5 different types of ketchup. I say supposed to because they ran out of one of the flavors so we ended up having 2 of the regular or "original" ketchup. The fries were good and they gave us a nice size portion. I ordered the grouper topped with crab meat with green beans instead of the asparagus and my date at the Grilled Shrimp with a side of Lobster Mac & Cheese. My fish was nicely seasoned, but lukewarm when I received it. My date thoroughly enjoyed his Lobster Mac & Cheese. I had some of the grilled shrimp which was also good but wasn't very hot. All in all the food was good.

Overall, I thought Ketchup was nice, the food was good. I was attracted to the colors and the eclectic decorations. I'd go back for happy hour, but I definitely would not get their strawberry mojito. I would order the Threesome again as it seemed to be very popular because everyone around us ordered it too. On a scale from 1 to 10, I'd give Ketchup a 6.

Here's the link to their Dinner Menu

Don't Tase Me Bro

To this day the words "Don't tase me bro" still make me laugh. If you haven't seen the video, it's from a few years ago when a student from the University of Florida gets tasered for being disruptive at an event where John Kerry was speaking. For the video, click here.

So as I was waking up this morning, I sat there and was watched The Today Show as I do every morning. One of the segments was about a 72 year-old woman who was tasered by the police. At first, I was outraged and was like who would do that to a woman that age? Then I saw the dashboard video, click here.

All the woman had to do was sign the ticket and she would have gone about her business, but no. When she refused the police officer told her that he would have to arrest her. He told her several times to move back from the street to prevent her from getting hit, but she continued to disobey and shouted obscenities at him. Definitely not your sweet, little old lady. When he warned her that she was going to get tasered, the last thing she said was "I dare you". At that point, I was like did she really just say that. Ole ride or die granny. She asked for it and she got it.

From what I've read so far there seems to be differing opinions on whether the officer was justified in tasering her. I feel as though he was because she clearly disobeyed his commands time after time. Sure she's an older woman but from the video she appeared to be very spry and was clearly in her right mind. I'm an advocate for the elderly and have been volunteering with them for over 10 years. You can tell when they are losing it or when they are just being mean and nasty. In my opinion, Granny got what she deserved. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Things Not To Do or Wear At Work

Ok so I work for a pretty conservative company as are many of the companies/agencies located near where I work in downtown Washington, D.C. Let's just say I work for one of the largest and oldest professional associations there is in the US.

As I sit in my office or walk down the halls I'm constantly reminded that some people just don't seem to get it when it comes to working in a conservative, professional environment. I've compiled a list of what shouldn't be done in the office. Most of the things I've listed are common sense. Other things, although they sound a little crazy I've seen them. These are just want I came up with when thinking about the last week or so of work. If you read my tweets you've heard all about my experiences at work.

What Not To Do At Work (at your desk)
1. Clipping of the nails (finger nails and especially not toe nails)
2. Sucking on a lollipop (especially if you don't have an office and are out in the public, actually just don't do it.)
3. Brushing your teeth, flossing, or gargling mouthwash
4. Singing out loud while listening to music
5. Chewing anything with your mouth open so others can hear you chew
6. Cooking anything that will stink up the office (i.e burning popcorn, curry, most types of fish)
7. Spraying anything that will stink up the office
8. Taking off your socks and picking at or between your toes
9. Bashing your boss or your co-workers, you never know who's listening or who's friends with
10. Leaving your cell phone ringer on. Unless you're a doctor or on-call, you can put it on vibrate or have people call you at your desk. No one wants to hear your phone ringing while you've stepped out to go to the bathroom or a meeting.

What Not To Wear At Work
1. Tank tops or strapless clothing (unless under a suit jacket)
2. Flip flops of any kind (unless you work at the Beach)
3. Anything where your back is out
4. Anything that exposes your bra straps, butt crack or love handles (no one should see these parts of your body)
5. Sweats, velour, or track suits, even on casual Fridays
6. Pants so tight you have a camel toe (If you can feel it, everyone else can see it)
7. Too small cardigan or blouse. You know when you see some and the buttons are holding on for dear life or there's that one button that won't stay closed and reveals the person's bra.
8. Anything so low-cut that has the potential of exposing your arreolas
9. Cullottes (don't know where people are finding theses, haven't seen them since like '87. They are nothing but long, loose fitting shorts think Golden Girls. But who wears shorts to work unless you're a camp counselor or a P.E. Teacher?
10. Anything satin or velvet. Some materials aren't meant for daytime so just don't do it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Can't Take Life For Granted

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have quite a few different circles of friends. One of my friends is my girl because she's always the life of the party, she's always down for the cause whether it's going to happy hour, checking out the latest hot spot, or to just hang out with only a moments notice.

I hadn't heard from her all week so I emailed her on Friday with a list of things to do this weekend. A few hours ago I checked my email and saw the following message.

I might have ms girl, thank God everyday for health.

My first reaction was WHAT? What do you mean you might have MS as in Multiple Sclerosis? Secondly who puts that in an email? I immediately picked up the phone to call her. When she finally answered I asked her where was all of this coming from. She explained how she'd been showing symptoms of MS like her legs feeling weak, having tremors, and constantly rocking. She said she went to the doctor earlier in the week and he explained to her the symptoms were there but she'd have to have an MRI to find out for sure if she had it or not.

Our entire conversation was crazy because in the 2 years that I've known her, I've never seen her this vulnerable. She's always so upbeat and full of life. She started talking about how we must not take life for granted and how she may never get married or have kids. I tried to sound positive and told her not to think like that because her diagnosis wasn't final and even if she does find out she has MS her life isn't over. Then she attempted some humor saying something like, I'm glad all of my friends like to volunteer so when I'm crippled and in a wheelchair you all will accept me as I am. Although I kind of smirked when she made the comment, I couldn't help but picture her that way and had to shake the image from my head. I told her to stop talking like that and to stay positive and reassured her that she would be fine.

It's hard to hear that your 29 year-old friend could possibly have a debilitating disease like that of MS. It's one of those diseases you hear about "other" people having like the late-comedian Richard Pryor or singer Tamia, not something that could affect your friend who hasn't even reached 30.

It just reminds me that life is so precious and that I should never take it for granted. I'm so thankful that I'm healthy, have family and friends who love me, have use of my limbs and the ability to hear and to see, have a job that I enjoy. I've been blessed in so many ways I could never list everything. When things like this happen, it makes you realize how trivial, insignificant things cannot even compare to how someone who is diagnosed with something like MS, cancer, HIV could really feel.

It's so easy to take life for granted but when I think of all of the challenges I could be facing, it makes it easy to remain humble. I constantly have to remind myself that I only have one life to live so I need to make the most of it.