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This Parasailing Proposal Is Bucket List & Relationship Goals

She Said Yes!

How do you celebrate your anniversaries? While something small and intimate may be the way to go for some of us, some xoCouples plan extravagant getaways overseas and others --they celebrate their relationships by taking things a step further. It was a lowkey weekend for Brianna and Lamar, a couple celebrating their two-year anniversary in Ocean City, New Jersey. The pair headed to the beach to try parasailing for the first time with three other couples and two friends. Amid the excitement of trying something new, Brianna was in for a bigger surprise when her then-boyfriend decided it was best to propose to her hundreds of feet in the air.

Imagine the adrenaline rush that overcomes you when your partner proposes, but then drops your engagement ring into the ocean seconds later. Welp! “On the weekend of our two-year anniversary, he planned for us to go parasailing. That Saturday, July 25, we headed towards the beach and all seemed normal. We checked in and boarded the boat with excitement. There were three other couples, two friends and us aboard. We watched as three couples went and then it was our turn. It was an adrenaline rush, but once we were settled in the air things were calm and relaxing," Brianna recalls. "My now-fiancé starts fidgeting around and so cautiously I tell him to keep his hands on the strap. He didn't listen. He asks me to extend my hand and then proposes to me.

"I'm totally in shock, and excited. I said, 'yes'! As he tries to place the ring on my finger, he misses and it drops from his hand into the ocean. My heart dropped. I'm panicking and he's in disbelief. The other couples saw and were totally embarrassed for us."

In a state of shock, Brianna tells the story of keeping it cute while internalizing her shame upon arriving back on the boat with the couples who witnessed the embarrassing moment. "When we got back to the boat, I made no eye contact and headed for my seat. Before I could turn around I hear him say, 'Now here is the real proposal.' He pulls out the REAL ring, gets down on one knee and asks for my hand in marriage. Even with all he put me through, ecstatically I said, 'yes'! He's always had a natural flare for the dramatic!"

Two years, two yes's, and an anticipated wedding date on October, 15, 2016, this is the story of Brianna and Lamar's engagement and why she said yes!

Give us a glimpse of your relationship with Lamar after two years of dating.

Brianna: We see ourselves as privileged and blessed to have crossed paths. We've made such an impact in each other's lives just within these two years. We relate so well with one another, despite our two totally different personality types. I am analytical and observative, while he is more spontaneous and charismatic. Although we are different in that aspect, we both had humbling beginnings which is in part, the reason why we are so genuinely humbled and appreciative of the love we have for one another. We are literally the best of friends. We try to spend as much time with each other as possible because we thoroughly enjoy one another's company.

What were your thoughts for the weekend of your anniversary? Did you have any particular expectations?

Brianna: I had honestly given up on expectations shortly after I made a complete fool of myself when I thought he would have proposed to me on my birthday just a few months earlier. I am not big on celebrating my birthday and he knows this, but he planned a beautiful dinner, bought us tickets to see The Lion King on Broadway, and he bought and laid out an expensive outfit to wear on this "special" night. It all seemed like the perfect set and timing for him to pop the big question. I was positively sure that he was going to do it right then and there, but he didn't. After my internal pity party, I realized that I had selfishly created my own idea for his proposal and had unnecessarily disappointed myself. How did I even know if he was ready? I didn't. I was just trying to live out a movie screen fantasy and it backfired. After I let myself down, I let go of all expectations on being engaged in the near future.

When did you know Brianna was the woman you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?

Lamar: When she came into my life I was in a place that many people may relate to at one point and time in their life. Relationships seemed to be so redundant and disappointing. She taught me never to give up on love and showed me the true power and meaning behind it. She shined the light where there was darkness.

A lot of relationships begin with infatuation. Whether it's about physical appearances or just the thrill of unveiling someone else's mystery. I admit that I had been infatuated with her in the beginning, but throughout our relationship, she continues to captivate me. Her mystery can not be solved. She is perplex, yet intriguing, and suspenseful. You will never know or understand her on the surface if you do not follow and pursue her to a deeper level. Every day feels like a new chapter in her mystery.

Have you two discussed marriage prior to the engagement?

Brianna: Marriage was always in the plan. I was raised as a Christian, and even though my beliefs have shifted over the years, marriage has always been the goal for me in a relationship. He actually approached me with this discussion one day. You can't make a man want to marry you/spend the rest of their life with you. This can't be forced, so I was very thrilled and delighted once he decided to initiate the conversation.

Lamar: I firmly believe in marriage also. Happy wife, happy life. I want her to be happy and feel secure in our relationship, and it makes me happy to know I'll be spending the rest of my life with the woman I love. In my perspective, marriage is beautiful. She's the only woman I see/want to see myself growing old with.

The two-in-one proposal was genius. Where did you come up with the idea of a failed proposal and switching it up to the real thing the second time around?

Lamar: I initially browsed the internet for ideas to propose, but every concept seemed similar in nature and approach. I have never been the type of person that likes to do what's typically expected. I am one for a good prank, but I also looked for substance as well. I wanted my proposal to be a representation of our infinite union, whether we have good days or bad ones. The importance lies in us remaining beside each other.

What were your thoughts after the fake proposal, but before the real deal?

Brianna: TERROR and embarrassment, were my emotions. “Oh sh*t" was the running thought in my head. I also found myself very frustrated with him, because I couldn't figure out why he would try to put a ring on my finger while we were dangling 1,000 feet over the ocean. Although, outwardly I displayed a great deal of concern for him. I was sure he had to feel slightly worse than I did. In a caring tone, I assured him that everything was ok, that we can wait for another ring, and that regardless of this small loss, we were still engaged to be married!

Even the boat's captain chimed in saying "Hey, all that matters is the answer, right?", which eased little, but not all of the tension.

Lamar: I wanted to make this moment memorable for her, while incorporating a little bit of my character as well. I thought it was funny. I was going to keep the momentum going, but once we were back to the boat, it was painfully silent and there was just this look of pity in everyone's faces. I thought to myself, I really must have done an excellent job with my presentation. I would have dragged it out, but I know my fiancé would have went from her concerned, yet calm and cool nature, to flipping out as soon as we got back to the car after she's had the chance to think about it.

You mentioned your fiancé has a natural flare for dramatics. What are some things that interested you about him?

Brianna: The first time Lamar invited me out, my friends and I met up with his friends at a local club/lounge. Him and I worked at the same company, so pretty much what I had observed from his business demeanor at the workplace was that he was a businessman, a leader, and a little on the serious side. I didn't quite take him as the adventurous type at first. When I stepped foot into the club, I noticed him–in the middle of the dance floor, with two beers in hand, tipsy and wild'n out of control. His two-sidedness intrigued me.

Lamar is gravitating. He's playful and animated, but strikingly, very well-rounded. He's as interesting as the Dos Equis man and as smooth as the Trivago guy. My fiancé knows how to move in a room, whether among friends or business acquaintances. He has plenty of friends who love and support him, as he does the same. He is also a very social and extroverted person who makes for fun times and adventure with practically anyone. I'd say, he's the perfect mixture of a good guy and a total asshole. This keeps things very exciting between us.

What are you two looking forward to in your marriage?

Longevity, appreciation, support, loyalty, adventure, passion, building a future together, continuing to grow, making memories, and having a real bond that lasts over time.

Do you have an amazing proposal story that you would like to share? Contact us at editor@xonecole.com, Subject 'Proposal Story.' Include photos and video (if possible)!

Read more amazing proposal stories in our She Said Yes! section!

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
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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