The start of 2020 brought more than setting intentions and crushing goals. It brought on the most important election season of our time. As soon as the high of a new year wore off, the candidates turned up the heat on campaign ads, commercials, debates, and caucuses.
We launched into the throws of issues and policies so fast that it could make your head spin. To make things even more complex, candidates started dropping out of the Democratic race just as soon as you learned who they were. It's enough to drive you crazy, but it is too important to ignore. I don't know about you, but all of this sparked questions for me like:
- "Where does this candidate stand on gun control?"
- "Whose policy works better for eliminating student loan debt?"
- "Which candidate is going to address black women dying at an increased rate during childbirth?"
- "Who is willing to approach immigration with a reasonable solution?"
I felt overwhelmed and unsure of where to start.
At this point, the best thing to do is create a strategy and research the issues important to you as much as possible.
You don't want to get up on Election Day and walk into the voter's booth (or whatever the social distancing alternative of that is) clueless about candidates' platforms. Even worse is avoiding action in exercising your right to vote at all. It's a very powerful asset of your citizenship to the country, and it should be exercised with as much knowledge as possible. If we learned anything from the 2016 presidential elections, black women have been tasked, whether we want it or not, with the responsibility to save the election and the country.
Since we know we get out and vote, we need to use that power to encourage others to vote as well.
One voice that has risen above all the others, especially for black millennial women, is that of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). She has become the Auntie we've all needed, with a voice that unapologetically tells it like it is. Earlier this year, around the time of the State of the Union address, Rep. Waters hosted a media row for millennial outlets to come and meet with Democratic representatives to ask the questions that matter most to us. Rep. Waters is on a mission to get young people as involved in politics on all levels as possible. She sees the need to have us in the room to affect change for future generations. Essentially, Rep. Waters is creating room at the table for millennials and we are here for it.
Here are a few quotes from members of Congress on what black millennials should consider as the 2020 presidential election approaches:
Rep. Al Green (D-AL) on the importance of voting and being prepared on Election Day:
Image via Congress.gov
"I'm a 'senior millennial.' But voting is very important for all of us because it's a participatory democracy and that means every person of age can participate to vote. One of the things that we have to do is assure our friends and our neighbors that their vote will count. That's something that we in Congress have to take up as an issue. We have to educate our people and let them know that if you were going to have to have this birth certificate, let's start early.
"Let's not wait until Election Day to try to go out and apply for the things necessary to vote because you can vote with a provisional ballot in some states.
"I tried that in Texas, went there to vote without my ID so that I could test the system, and as a part of testing the system, I had to get a birth certificate so that I could get the state-issued ID. I sent off for the birth certificate some years ago and I still don't have it. I'm from Louisiana and I was trying to vote in Texas. Texas requires that you have that birth certificate with a photo ID.
"It's also very important for us to register people who are not registered to vote. For the people that are registered to vote, but they're not, we need not embarrass people, we need not say things to them about the things that they should have done and haven't done. Let's take a positive approach and give everybody the opportunity. Every vote will count."
Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) on black women millennials taking the lead in voting:
Image via Congress.gov
"I look at black women like I look at good quarterbacks on the field. Good quarterbacks have to have the ability to see the entire field. They know where all the players are, they know what everybody's doing, they know the strengths and the weaknesses and then we strategically make the decision, right?
"We keep up with everybody, and it does not surprise me that when we look at voting, that commitment doesn't surprise me--that black women lead the pack--and being the most reliable voters because we understand the consequences. When we have good leaders, great things happen.
"Bad decisions impact African-American communities and families more than anybody else. And so black women, when we lead, when we speak, people listen. When we lead, people follow. We've got it. We are not going to be denied. And I think if we are serious about turning this country around, then black women have to be at the table because we have the ability to see the field differently."
On black women millennials taking their place in government positions:
"We are now in the boardroom, we're on the sidelines as sportscasters--we're doing it all. We will not be denied. And I will say this: Know your power. I think one of the biggest fears is that we will know our power. Because you know there's that self-talk: You're not the right color, you don't have the right name, you don't know the right people, all of that stuff. But what about the negative self-talk we sometimes do to ourselves? I'm not smart enough. I'm not bright enough. I don't know the right people. I need to wait my turn. What does that mean? Or I need to pay my dues. What does that mean? We have to learn to just take the lead because when we look at the state of our country right now, we need young, sharp, smart, fearless black women."
Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) on using your uniqueness as an advantage, not a hindrance:
Image via Congress.gov
"We (the Virgin Islands) and Haiti are the only two places in the Caribbean that have won our freedom through violence. And so that kind of informs how we act. But I think the other thing personally that causes me to be the way I am is that I've always kind of been an outsider. I've always felt like kind of an outsider, but someone who still needs to lead.
"At Choate [Rosemary Hall], I was president of my class for three years, and I just feel like, although you may be an outsider, you have a lot to offer. And you can circulate in a way that others can't. I think I've tried to do that here in Congress. And that's really how I've tried to operate. I've tried to get a lot done in a little bit of time.
"So just remember, as we forge ahead through this political landscape, your voice matters---you matter. Your vote matters even more, and it is your right to be a part of this process. The issues affecting our community need to be lifted up and heard, and black women have that power. It is up to us to be the leaders and the change-makers that we need. When you go to vote this year, keep in mind your core values and select the best candidate that aligns with those things. If you want your voice to be further amplified, call your local government officials, question them, and make yourself known. We are powerful and can change the world."
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Featured image by Mary Long/Shutterstock
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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.
One thing about Megan Thee Stallion is that she’s going to motivate you to stay active. From afar, she seems like the perfect gym bestie, and up close, it looks like her workouts would have us gasping for air. But hey, she doesn’t call her routines “bootcamp” for nothing.
After an extended break from social media and the public eye, the Houston Hottie is back sharing the high-energy workouts that are keeping her lean and she’s happy to report that “the results have been resulting."
The 28-year-old rapper dropped an Instagram Reel, detailing the workout routine that’s putting her endurance to the test. With the help of her personal trainer, Megan has one word in mind when it comes to her progress and that’s: “Consistency.”
The “Savage” artist has been traveling, making “hot girl moves," and after returning from a trip to New York, she expressed that her trainer is pushing her to keep the same energy back in the gym.
“I had just gotten back from New York and I told my trainer, ‘Look, friend, I was having a time. Can you please take it easy?’” Megan said. “He said, ‘Hmm, I’ve seen you doing all that hot girl s—, so what you need to do is get in that gym and have that same energy.’”
Her trainer then instructed her to do jumping squats with an exercise ball and resistance band around her legs for an extra burn. “I put my thing down, flipped it, and reversed it and that’s what happened. This sh– burned like a motherf—,” she teased in the video’s voiceover while executing both forward and backward jumping squats.
It’s clear that when it comes to Megan’s fitness, her trainer doesn’t play around about pushing her to her limits. In the next set of her cardio moves, we see the Grammy-winning artist jumping rope and moving on to a combination of mountain climbers and lateral jumps over a speed hurdle.
“Right here, that’s when I realized: I’ve been saying my trainer’s crazy but I know he’s really, really crazy because he must think that I’m trying out for the Houston Texans or something,” she joked.
To finish her workout, Meg hit two more barbell exercises, one being a set of cleans with 10-pound weight plates on the barbell. She then closed out by doing lunges with the barbell racked on her shoulders.
Of course, the best way to close out a workout is to nourish yourself with a balanced meal. Meg showed off her delicious post-workout plate with salmon, a sweet potato, and assorted veggies.
With so much of her public life being shared on the internet, it’s nice to see her letting us in on her progress in a fun and motivating way. “I just want to be transparent with y'all. Working out hurts, but it’s really a mental thang, so go do it!”
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Featured image by Taylor Hill/Getty Images