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It’s National Best Friends Day! Make Sure To Celebrate Your Bestie

Having a soulmate isn't always about romance. You can find your soulmate in friendship too.---Unknown

What About Your Friends?

Back when I was in my 20s, I used to hear women my age (mid-40s) say that if you are fortunate to have one true friend, consider yourself blessed. At the time, I was like "One? Just one?" but, on this side of wisdom, I totally get where they were coming from—now. It's one thing to know a lot of folks or to even enjoy several different people's company.


But when you're heartbroken and someone sits with you on the phone throughout the entire night or you lose a job and someone financially sacrifices in order to help you get through the following month of bills—yeah, if you find one person who is willing to have your back in that way, that is who is truly a friend. And that is the ultimate kind of blessing.

A couple of months, I wrote a piece on 10 things that you should expect from friends, in general. What separates your best friend from them is the fact that not only is your BFF loyal, honest and supportive, they also do it better than anyone else that you know.

I don't know about you, but after a lot of blood, sweat, tears (and even a little bit of drama), if someone were to ask me who my best friend was, I wouldn't have to hesitate. I immediately know who's shown up and out in my life. If you can totally relate, take a little time out of today—National Best Friends Day—to let your bestie know just how much you love, respect and appreciate them by doing one (or a few) of the following things.

Have a BFF Movies Night

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A really popular friendship quote is by author C.S. Lewis—"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What? You too? I thought I was the only one!'" From music to food to movies, chances are, there are things that you and your bestie thoroughly enjoy, even if no one else does. In celebration of some of the things you both love, pick a night to watch some of your favorite flicks together. To make it even better, hit up Postmates to order some of the food you both like to eat too. It's like a sleepover…only, for grown folks.

Make a Photo Album of the Two of You

If you've been besties for a while now, there are probably a ton of pics that you've both accumulated over the years. Why not turn them into prints, print doubles and make a photo album for each of you? One way you can do this is downloading the Walgreens app; that way, you can send your pic files over, they can print them off for you and you can pick them up when they are ready. Another option is to use photo sites and apps like Canvas, Shutterfly, PrintStudio, Free Prints and HP Sprocket (it lets you turn your pics into stickers).

Handwrite Them a Letter

One of my girlfriends has some sort of VIP card at Hallmark. Every time she tells me that, the first thing that comes to my mind is "Hallmark still exists?!" The last time I saw one of those was basically the last time I saw a Borders bookstore (which is kind of sad when I really stop to think about it). The next thing that comes to mind is the reminder that making the time to handwrite notes is still a really sweet thing to do. In fact, Lifehack once published an article stating that we should pen letters more because it's a classy move, it speaks to the importance of the relationship and research proves that they make us, the writer, happy too (among other things).

Why not bring a smile to you and your BFF's face by handwriting her a letter of appreciation? I can't think of one reason why they wouldn't love you to the moon and back for making the time to do it.

Treat Her to a Mani/Pedi

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If you want to observe National Best Friends Day by taking your BFF on a date, there's no way you can go wrong by surprising them with a mani/pedi date. If money is tight, a few hacks that can save you money is to ask the salon what mani/pedi deals they have available, removing gel polish at home, bringing your own polish along or, expanding that movie night suggestion I made and doing each other's hands and feet while you're watching Love Jones or Brown Sugar—for the billionth time.

Get Something Customized on Etsy

If you want to get your friend something nice, but you want to avoid anything that says "mall shopping" all over it, do what I do about 7.5 times out of 10—get them something on Etsy. You can customize just about anything you can think of, from T-shirts and body products to jewelry and art.

Case in point—one of my closest friends, emailed me not too long ago to tell me that she would be sending me a Harriet Tubman stamp; that way, while we're waiting for the hater president to get out of office, we can still see Harriet's face on our $20 bill if want to. (Gotta love that Etsy!)

Bring the Friendship Bracelet Back

From what I've read, friendship bracelets have been around, almost since the beginning of time. Indians in Central and South America, along with Asians in China, are who initially made them popular. According to tradition, once you tie this kind of bracelet on to your wrist, you should make a wish and it will come true. This kind of bracelet is also something that's supposed to remain on your wrist until it is too worn to stay on, making it a symbol of all of the love and work you put into your friendship.

Sites like Amazon have a variety of friendship bracelets that you can buy. Or, add an extra special touch by making one for you and your friend instead (one style that looks great at any age is here).

Invent a Specialized Drink (then Certify It)

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Here's one of the coolest ideas I've heard of in a really long time. You might've attended a wedding before where they couple featured a signature drink. Well, why not invent a drink—cocktail or mocktail—that's either in honor of your friend or your friendship overall? Then, after you do it, make the drink "official" by getting it certified?

If you go to Bartender's website, they've got a way for you to print out the recipe (along with your name) so that you can have the "cocktail right" to your creation. Then you can frame it so that your friend can always remember that there is a drink that is theirs—or y'all's—and no one else's.

Write Their Attributes. Blow It Up and Frame It.

Several years ago, I decided to do something extra-special for a friend of mine. She really wanted to be married at the time, but she kept choosing guys who went totally against the grain of what she claimed she was looking for. We had discussed her dream attributes so much that one day, I put them all down on a piece of paper, in a special font, had it blown up (it was huge) and mounted. The moment that I handed it to her, she was in tears. My motive in making it wasn't so she could have another piece of art to put on her walls; it was so she could remember what she was deserving of, the next time she considered settling.

If you've got someone in your life who personally or professionally settles more than they should or you simply want to personally remind them of how awesome they are, take out a moment to write their attributes, desires or goals down and turn them into a poster. It's one of the best shots to their self-esteem they could get. It's one of the best displays of love that you could offer them as well.

Get Them a Few of Their Favorite Things

My confidant is the ultimate girlie-girl. My godchildren's mom takes Bohemian to an entirely different level (speaking of Bohemian, bless your life and watch this video about the day in the life of Lenny Kravitz when you get a chance). One of my favorite people has Ann Taylor written all over her. And then, there's me—graphic tees, Pumas and silver jewelry. What this all boils down to is none of my friends even remotely have the same taste in…just about anything. But, I kind of like it that way.

A part of what comes with being a good friend is paying attention to a friend's likes/dislikes/tastes. It's not about getting them what we want to have but being in tune with what will put a smile on their face; what they will truly adore. Retaining what that is and then handing them a couple of those items on National Best Friends Day is how you can make it super special as well as memorable for them. It's a great way to be a good friend to your best friend!

Take a Best Friends Trip

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At this stage in my life, I'm pretty much the only single woman out of my circle of close friends. And since most of them are not only married but mothers, a trip generally consists of me going to see them and having play time with children as much as Netflix binge-watching with their parents. But if you and your BFF are not married and/or don't have kids (it's easier to do a trip with your friends when you're married and without children), another thing that you can do is take a trip together.

Now that you know that 6/8 is National Best Friends Day, each and every year, you can both download an electronic vision board so that you can plan for something 12 months from now, or you can take a weekend-long road trip, or the two of you can spend the night in a hotel up the street, just to get a change of scenery. Whatever it is that you come up with, just like a vacation is a great way for couples to reconnect, it's also a cool way for friends to do the same.

(If you need some travel ideas, we've got an entire section devoted to being out-and-about right here.)

Featured image by Getty Images

Originally June 8, 2019

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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