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Ladies, You're Not Going To Survive The Rest Of 2020 Without These Group Chats

Lord, we are tired. We tired, Lord.

Life & Travel

Lord, we are tired. We tired, Lord. We've made it to the fall season and we don't know if we can handle anymore, Lord.

If you haven't realized, there's only three more months remaining in this year! We've almost made it through the gauntlet—2020, you're almost gone, sis!

And for my Debbie-Downers, yes, I know that doesn't mean our problems are going to magically disappear, and yes, I know that COVID is still jigging all over the place. But sometimes a girl has got to look at the positives, m'kay?

And I don't know about you, but seriously, in addition to keeping my mind healthy, if it weren't for my variety of group chats, at this point, I would be questioning 2 + 2 (because after this year, the answer damn sure isn't 4 anymore)—which got me to thinking: in a distanced society, how can we make sure we tighten up what we allow to penetrate our minds?

The best way? Solid, focused communication; no distractions. No BS. All support.

According to GroupMe research, 43% of people feel like pop culture, and/or memes, are the only topics discussed in their group chats. Um, ew. No, ma'am. There's no better time than now to tighten up what we allow to nourish us mentally. It's becoming a twilight zone out there.

So, a list of group chats that you're gonna need to finish out this year are these:

Neighborhood

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Listen, it takes a village. And this oddly seems to be a lost art. Ladies, I know that some things may not be our business, and you're right, it's not. But bottom line, you need to know what is going on in your neighborhood. And not in a "Karen" way, but more so in a "Claire Huxtable" way, especially if you have kids. Get to know your neighbors, don't frown at an invite. You can't be everywhere, so it takes a village (there goes that saying again) to protect all of your assets. Additionally, your sense of community lies here.

If you're not interested in joining a direct conversational tool for your neighborhood, seek out Facebook groups or pages. You should not solely rely on the news, join an additional form of communication. Now, stop being anti- and go ahead and wave at Judy, sis!

Finance 

Apple split its stock.

This natural resource company may be interesting to invest in.

Make sure to complete your trust.

Roth IRA vs. 401K?

I'm thinking of putting an offer in on this three-flat.

Add your child as an authorized user to your credit cards to build their credit by the time they leave the home.

Girls, we're all getting older. And the above, are the type of conversations that we need to be having sooner than not. Money is a tricky subject because so many don't understand it. And even then, to be honest, there's so much that we don't know. Link with like-minded people who understand money. And I don't mean fraud or get-rich-quick schemes, I mean those that are thoroughly discussing money. Mortgage rates, tax breaks, LLC formation, acquisitions, or optimizing investment funds and shareholders.

All the scary stuff. We need to know about it.

Good Reads

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Books will never go out of style. And learning the way of the world, won't either. Whether articles, or books, or audio, take the time to understand something. Order some books to escape reality. Or because of the stresses of society, seek books which allow you to suppress your anxiety. Whatever form you choose, do it. We can't champion this world alone. Book recommendations, or articles sent from friends are a love language. Indulge.

Cousins

As we age, what we've all mostly learned is that family is a tough code to break. Too many generations of not so progressive behaviors, generational curses, poor mental health practices, and so on and so forth (I could name like hundreds of different variables) run freely in everyone's family, but who else is responsible for keeping it together? It's us. Not to be confused with a family chat, but a cousin chat is necessary in those times when we need to organize what's to come. Where's Thanksgiving dinner this year? The family reunion? Do we have everything? Or our elders may need someone to reach out to for simply assistance on how the world works now. That obligation falls on our shoulders.

So, whether we want to or not, it is our job to keep the family in (somewhat) tact.

Everyone has had a turn to do so. It's ours now.

Prayer/Positivity

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Ladies, we need positivity. We need someone to speak life over us. We need celebration. We need a space where we can tell someone our good news. We need someone to stop us when we're gossiping. We need conversations where everyone was given the benefit of the doubt. We need prayer. We need spiritual guidance and protection...

The world is negative, society is negative. And that's only because we've allowed negative spirits and cynicism to take over. Be intentional in your thinking. Be intentional in conversation. And there's no time to just discuss it. Live it.

Active/Fitness & Health

Health is wealth, ladies. So, we have to prioritize our time to learn about ways to sustain our health. Vitamin recommendations, or weekly yoga classes. Workout classes or city fitness events. We have to find ways to stay on top of this. Or maybe you just need accountability without the nag. These type of group chats allow you to maintain activity in some form.

Plus, that blood pressure and cholesterol number is nothing to play with.

I recently joined a black bike club that rides regularly, which is all they look to do. They ask where you are if you miss a trip. They follow-up and follow-through. They challenge themselves, and they'll challenge you. A friend of mine runs a black women's hiking chapter. These are just two examples, there's a plethora of other ways to engage about fitness.

General Girlfriend Chat

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Now, you know the homies get a chat before anyone. Why? Because it's damn near necessary. We all have one, we all need one. The comfort, the comedy, the accountability. Crucial.

I cannot tell you how many times I have had bad days, or I've been enraged about something, and I ran to my friend chat to discuss. And instantly, everything had become OK. As women, we are always in our heads. Sometimes, we deserve moments where we can step outside of ourselves and hear, "Yeah, you're trippin', girl" or "Well, how did you feel about that?" Or hell, maybe you just want to tell a funny story. Whatever the case, your girlfriends' chat should always be there to catch whatever you're throwing.

And the best thing about your general girlfriend chat, is that you should easily—and fundamentally—be able to discuss all of the above too.

Join us in the xoTribe community and gain access to Mentor Mondays, bi-weekly workshops from our dating and career coaches, an archive of digital fireside chats, and virtual happy hours. Plus, connect with Necole, the xoNecole squad and a community of empowering women committed to being their best selves. Find your tribe today!

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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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