If you read our articles often, you know that we are huge advocates of mental health, taking those breaks, and championing our self-care habits. But the fact of the matter is, doing so is damn near impossible with the continuous access to the reality of inequality, the death of our brothers and sisters at the hands of so many variants, and blatant disregard from those who are put in positions to have our best interest at heart.
Add these elements on top of our personal life's challenges, and we can find ourselves in a place where we all suffer from a string of PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, just from being black. According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD is defined as:
"...a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault."
Basically, every time we turn on the television, or open our social media accounts, or even while having conversation with friends, we are adding a little brick to our mental barrier.
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But what if instead, we root for as many positive turnarounds as we can and find joy in someone else's triumphs (including your own)? Maybe this means hitting the pavement to march for a cause, or maybe this means organizing a community initiative. Maybe contacting your local legislators and taking them head-on.
Or maybe, you donate.
In comes GoFundMe, the country's most trusted free online fundraising and donation platform that eliminates a third party, securing funds directly to a cause. Some of the most amazing stories rest here, a world where people just hope for the best, and people can directly provide some help for those in need.
So, whether you can donate $1 or $1000, here's a list of a few captivating campaigns that could use some attention during these unsure, but enouraging times.
Beneficiary: Zahalea Anderson
Cause: Rebuild Zahalea Anderson's Urban School of Self-Defense.
Since the time Zahalea Anderson was inducted into the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame and built her "dojo" (a Japanese word for a place of learning or meditation), she has been working to build upon the popular martial arts training center.
Unfortunately, Anderson's business was caught in the cross-hairs of the Long Beach, CA riots, and her business was burned down on May 31st, the day protests erupted. Her martial arts school, which was located at 120 W. 7th St., had been closed since March due to COVID-19, but was scheduled to re-open the very day it was burned down.
And although she can no longer stay in its original location, Anderson plans to relocate somewhere even bigger and better.
Beneficiary: Bianca Austin
Cause: Justice and support for Breonna Taylor's family, fight, and expenses because she still has no arrests made on her case.
Breonna Taylor was sleeping in her home when it was raided by three officers who barged in and shot her eight times.
Eight times. Eight times.
The officers were at the wrong home. She was killed immediately.
The backstory disgustingly gets worse, but the other real tragedy is that there has yet to be an arrest, or even a mere attempt at one, holding her killers accountable despite the internet's efforts to call for justice.
We will never give up on this one. Rest in peace, sweet girl.
Beneficiary: Debra Mahone
Cause: Support Jessica on her road to recovery.
On February 21, Jessica Mahone was driving with her son, Quest, when they were hit head-on by a drunk driver. Jessica suffered a spinal cord injury to her C-3, C-4 and C-5 vertebrae, which are part of the cervical spinal column that controls the central nervous system, which affects breathing, chest, arms and legs. Although it is miracle that Jessica is alive, she is paralyzed from her neck down.
She is now showing major progress, thanks to around-the-clock care, rehabbing, and the highly infectious spirit of her amazing mother, who hasn't left her side.
Jessica has a long road ahead, but we have no doubt that Jessica will conquer this whole-heartedly.
Beneficiary: The Brock Family, Shawnniece Brock
Cause: Help the Brock family find a new home and support their family.
During a time where we are suffering a pandemic, riots, and civil unrest, one thing that a family never hopes to deal with is an electrical fire taking everything they own.
Well, that's what happened to the Brock family of Birmingham, AL, when on June 4, they were awaken by screams and flames that engulfed their home and belongings.
The Brock Family is currently residing in a hotel until they can find new living arrangements. All proceeds are going towards continuing caring for their family's needs.
Beneficiary: Bridgette Brantley
Cause: Bri Confronts Racism Across America
After she wasn't offered a teaching contract for the 2020-2021 school year, Bridgette Brantley decided to hit the streets and answer the call for activism instead. And with the current state of the country, Brantley is looking to visit five cities across the United States (Richmond, VA; Washington D.C.; Minneapolis, MN; Seattle, WA; and Houston, TX) to examine racism and its aftermath in America.
Her campaign surpassed its goal FIVE TIMES in less than a week, which clearly makes a statement that she is both good at what she does, and the people want to hear what she has to say.
A true passion project from a queen who could use all the support we could offer.
Beneficiary: The Marcus Books Family
Cause: Support the oldest black-owned bookstore in America.
Marcus Books is the oldest independent Black-owned bookstore in the country.
Sixty years since its opening, the bookstore has become a literary and cultural hallmark, hosting an archive that is comprised of literary royalty and iconic authors such as Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis, Terry McMillan, Michael Eric Dyson, Iyanla Vanzant, Nikki Giovanni and so many more of our treasured voices. Just as important are the book clubs, intimate poetry readings, and countless customer conversations that unfold at Marcus.
The Marcus Books Fundraiser will go toward reclaiming a future where Marcus Books doesn't just survive but thrives, evolves, and gives back.
Beneficiary: Melba Ayco | Northwest Tap Connection
Cause: Support this team as they wait to reopen.
The Northwest Tap Connection is a close-knit creative space community of extremely talented black tap enthusiasts based in the south end of Seattle. Like so many, when COVID hit, they were forced to close and somehow sustain business operations to stay afloat.
Since closing, their campaign has raised half of its goal, which they are so adorably grateful for, but they still have a little bit more of a push to go. Regardless, their passionate, eager, and palpable energy will have this group in session for a long time.
Beneficiary: Danita Dani Constable
Cause: Create a farm community in Decatur.
We never received our 40 acres and mule, but our good sis, Danita, doesn't care. She's out here to take it.
Danita, of Decatur, GA is looking to quite literally create a farming community for black women, a skill so incredibly important considering the direction this country is going. Her plans include: purchasing land, buying livestock, farming her land, building housing for those seeking asylum, making a donation to the Farmer's Alliance of Black Farmers, and so. much. more.
Needless to say, she is on a mission--a beautiful mission--and could use our support. She plans to build out this project over the next two to three years.
Beneficiary: Tiffany Lee of Stewart Trial Attorneys on behalf of Roxie Washington
Cause: The support of Giana Floyd.
Yes he did, baby girl.
For the rest of her life, Gianna Floyd will have access to seeing the death of her father. She will always have access to how the country tried to villainize him for his own murder. Despite this, most of us have taken on a ring of protection to ensure that because of this, she will have the best opportunities afforded to her. It takes a village to take care of all of ours, and nothing is enough.
From Barbara Streisand making her a Disney shareholder, to Kanye West paying for her already competitive college education, hopefully these big gestures can size up to an ounce of the fact that her father was stolen from her.
But at least she knows her daddy changed the world.
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Featured image by stockelements / Shutterstock.com
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Watching Angela “Blac Chyna” White’s transformation in real-time has truly been a sight to see. It wasn’t that long ago that she announced that she was reversing her cosmetic surgeries in an effort to go back to who she was before the world came to know her as Blac Chyna. In previous interviews, she stated that she was dissolving her facial and lip fillers, removing her breast implants, and getting a butt reduction, as well as removing the dimple piercings that enhanced her fame and controversial tattoos.
In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the mother of two said that she has “fully recovered” from the procedures. She is also celebrating one year of sobriety and opened up about being worried about how her new journey would be received by others.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for so long, right, and of course, like, you know, coming out, I’m like young, I’m gonna do wild things as we all have,” she said.
“...I feel like by me being vocal and showing everybody you can change your life and things can get better, like through myself, that right there is an accomplishment, and that’s a part of freedom, too.”
But as she started on her journey, many people have shown her grace, which is something she’s grateful for. “And then the fact that people have been showing me grace, it’s like amazing,” she said. “And I feel like when I did it, I just did it. It was more so like spiritual thing and I feel like people see that, and I’ve always been like my authentic self, so what you see is kinda what you get with me, and that’s just kinda what it is.”
Chyna, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Sacramento Theology Seminary and Bible College, has also repaired her relationship with her mom, Tokyo Toni. The social media celebrity surprised her daughter on the Tamron Hall Show. Prior to the sentimental surprise, Chyna dished on the reconciliation and having a better understanding of her mom.
“I must say, some of the things I have to take accountability for because, like my actions. As a mother, you don’t want to see your daughter doing certain things ‘cause it’s like it doesn’t matter what my past was or what we’re going through, I didn’t raise you that way,” she admitted. “So, it’s like, okay, maybe I was a little bit wrong. Maybe I was acting out a little bit. But I feel like as we grow older, I kinda see more, and I understand more.”
Chyna will be starring in season two of Fox's reality competition show Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
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Feature image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images