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She Manifested The Man Of Her Dreams. For Ragin and Imran, It Was Divine Timing.

"It's like when people say when you know you know."

How We Met

How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.

There is a quote by the beautiful Erykah Badu that states, "Write it down on real paper with a real pencil. And watch sh*t get real." This my friends is manifestation at its best. The power in manifestation is speaking what you want like you already have it. You speak in present tense and the Universe will respond at the right time. In 2019, Ragin took her pencil and wrote in her journal what she wanted in her love life. Some of what she wrote in her journal was, "I am in love with an amazing man, who is everything I want and need. He is honest, transparent, and loving. It is easy for him to love me. I never have to convince him that I am special. He is my 'truth' song [by India Arie]."

Just months later, the Universe responded and presented Ragin to the man she needed in her life. And that man was/is Imran. But the thing is, Ragin and Imran actually crossed paths four years prior in the year 2015. I guess you can say it wasn't exactly their time back then.

Courtesy of Ragin and Imran

Ragin and Imran were both in college and were at a club one night. Ragin was leaving and Imran was just arriving. It was a quick moment, but they were able to exchange numbers after the night was over. They kept in touch over the years and it is safe to say that Ragin's journal entry confirmed that the, now couple, deserved a second chance at giving love a shot. Six years ago, Ragin and Imran met each other and went their separate ways. But when things are meant to be, they will find their way back to you one way or another.

In this installment of xoNecole's "How We Met" series, we learn about the power of divine timing, supporting your partner through the ups and downs, and how this couple keeps love as their foundation.

How We Met

Ragin: We both met in 2015 at FAMU. I was actually at this famous club at the time called Coliseum. I was walking out and he was just walking in with his friends. When we crossed paths, he tugged on my arm a little bit. I thought to myself, 'Oooh he's tall' (laughs). We exchanged numbers and went on a date a week later. There were a couple of other guys trying to talk to me at the time too. So I was like, 'Some of yall have to go' and Imran didn't make the cut (laughs). But four years later is when we started dating each other.

Imran: She was walking in the opposite direction of me. [It's] something I don't usually do, but I tugged on her arm to get her attention. I brought her to the side and introduced myself. After that, we caught up afterwards and the rest is history.

First Impressions

Imran: She just stood out in the crowd to me. She looked so beautiful and it was just a natural reaction when I reached out to grab her arm. I was immediately drawn to her.

Ragin: He has very kind eyes. I think that's what most people notice about him when they first meet him. I also liked how he introduced himself. He wasn't like, "Hey ma, wassup?" He introduced himself like a man. I didn't give my number out to everyone, so when he did that, I really appreciated it.

"He has very kind eyes. I think that's what most people notice about him when they first meet him. He introduced himself like a man. I didn't give my number out to everyone, so when he did that, I really appreciated it."

Courtesy of Ragin and Imran


Getting Serious

Imran: After the first date and time goes by, we kept in touch via social media. I would check in with her and make comments under her posts. She realized I wasn't following her at the time. So she called me out on it saying, "Are you going to be commenting on my stuff for the rest of my life? And you don't even follow me?" (Laughs) Of course, I was caught off-guard (laughs), but I owned up to it. From then on, we started talking more seriously.

Ragin: When I messaged him that, he was working a 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift at the time. He asked if he could call me when he got off work. During this time, it was difficult because my mom was in the process of passing away. I was taking care of her full-time. So I stayed up late, allowing my sister to take the night shift, in order for me to talk to him. That night, he told me straight up that he was not going anywhere. I didn't believe him at first (laughs).

The One

Ragin: I feel like I caught feelings first (laughs). I knew I loved him after a couple of months of us talking, after we reconnected. With taking care of my mom, throughout the day I would be wondering, 'Why isn't he hitting me up?' I tried to be understanding with his shift at work. But I was telling my sister at the time that I felt I wasn't getting enough attention. She would joke and say, "Oh, so you like this boy?' We are both great communicators, so I told him how I felt. He listened and things picked up from there.

Imran: I knew what I wanted from our first date. My friends and I laugh about it now, but I was so sick about it not working out from the first time we went out. So when I had my second chance, I knew I had to hold on to her. We had a connection spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. It was nothing like I ever experienced before. It's like when people say, "when you know you know."

"I knew what I wanted from our first date. So when I had my second chance, I knew I had to hold on to her. We had a connection spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. It was nothing like I ever experienced before."

Courtesy of Ragin and Imran

Love Lessons

Imran: I learned that while you are in a relationship, it is important to be secure in who you are. Knowing yourself, knowing what makes you happy, and communicating that with your partner with no pride or ego. I learned how to communicate better while being with her. Not having to shut down, but be open with her more.

Ragin: I learned I have to give myself the same patience that he gives me. I try to see myself through his eyes when I am feeling down about myself. Life has been a whirlwind and it's important to share with him what my needs are, so we can work on things together.

Early Challenges

Ragin: I had a really great example of what love looked like growing up. My parents were together since 1981 and I think my mom really prepared me for what it is like to be in a relationship. But I had to learn, after my mother passed, how to handle grief while in a relationship. There were days where I honestly didn't know who I was going to be when I woke up. I was just sad. I had to learn to be considerate towards another person when things felt like they were shutting down around me. I had to make sure I wasn't using him as a crutch to make me feel better. I will say though, I am blessed to have had him transition into my life while my mom transitioned into another form of being my guardian. It was divine timing.

Imran: Similar to what she said. Learning how to support someone who is grieving. Learning how to be there for her in the right way and not overthink things. I would internalize a lot with how I felt and not really voice them. But I was able to get better with that in communicating more.

"I had to learn, after my mother passed, how to handle grief while in a relationship. There were days where I honestly didn't know who I was going to be when I woke up. I was just sad. I am blessed to have had him transition into my life while my mom transitioned into another form of being my guardian. It was divine timing."

Courtesy of Ragin and Imran

Baggage Claim

Ragin: I have never lived with a man before Imran. So we had to find that happy medium between the different roles we wanted to play. When we first moved in together, I was working a full-time job. I decided to quit that job, so I could make more time to do things that were more fulfilling for me.

Imran: That was definitely a situation we had to approach with a lot of grace and patience. We didn't want the other person to feel like one was doing more than the other. At the time when we both had different shifts, we would pour into each other or take care of things around the house when the other person couldn't. When she decided to quit her job, I had let her know that she didn't have to work that job if she didn't want to.

Shared Values

Ragin: We are very family-oriented. I fangirl over his family. They embraced me ever since I met them. He is nice to my sister and very hospitable whenever she comes to visit us. We also have a mutual respect in each other's mindsets.

Imran: I want her to be close with her family just like I am close with mine. To strengthen those relationships and just allowing ourselves to be our own individual person.

Relationship Advice

Imran: The biggest thing for the fellas out there is to communicate. We sometimes let pride or ego get in the way. But with communication, it is so important to be open and it helps having a woman that provides that safe space for us to do that.

Ragin: Let it be known exactly who you are in the very beginning. A lot of times we try to be cute and hold things back. In the beginning, I was upfront about who I was. Doing that gives the other person a chance to know what they are getting themselves into and the choice to decide if they want to rock with it or not.

For more Ragin and Imran, follow them on Instagram @westindieray and @ron2_smoov. You can also check out Ragin's YouTube channel here.

Featured image courtesy of Ragin and Imran

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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