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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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Featured image by Shutterstock
Earlier this spring, I wrote an article about the several reasons why marriage is quite different from dating. One of the things that I mentioned was sex. Listen, I know that you've probably heard that the leading causes of divorce center around things like poor communication and financial drama and yes, while that is certainly true, intimacy challenges rank right on up in there as well.
It makes a lot of sense when you stop to think about the fact that, for most of us, when we say "I do," we're publicly declaring that we're entering into a state of monogamy. And if you're going to sleep with just one person, for the rest of your life, you had better be prepared for all that comes with doing just that.
So, let's tackle this today, straight from the mouths of married women. While the mechanics of sex are basically the same regardless of the kind of relationship that you're in, when it comes to the responsibilities, expectations and commitment level that married sex entails, baby, that takes intimacy to a whole 'nother level, chile. 10 wives break down how.
Gayle. 33. Married Four Years.
"I was very selfish when it came to sex before I got married. I didn't know it until about six months after marriage, though. When you're single, everything is on your terms. When you're married, you've got to take your husband's needs and, to a certain extent, expectations into account on a whole 'nother level because something that marriage means is that you're making your spouse a top priority and that you both are agreeing to only have sex with each other. I wish our marriage counselor had really driven this point into my head. Seeing sex as a staple in my relationship and not just something to do 'randomly' or 'whenever' has honestly taken some real getting used to. Maybe the past year have I really settled into it."
Jemise. 42. Married 11 Years.
"I grew up a good church girl. I wasn't a virgin when I got married but I had only been with two guys and my husband and I waited until we jumped the broom to consummate the relationship. Because I was taught that sex before marriage was wrong, sex when I was single brought a lot of guilt and shame and, although I was proud that my husband and I waited until marriage for sex, it took a long time for the guilt and shame from my past to go away. That caused me to struggle with certain positions, sex toys and even oral sex, to an extent. My advice to women who want to get married is to make sure you know what your spiritual and emotional views on sex are. Discuss them with your partner. Make sure you're on the same page.
"Sex isn't just a physical act. Marriage will definitely teach you that."
Erika. 25. Married Two Years.
"The reason why it's really easy to find your husband handsome and not always sexy is because, once you're married, you get to discover EVERYTHING about someone. Their nasty habits. If or how they clean the bathroom. Hell, if they've got skid marks! When you're dating, usually, a guy will withhold these things from you because they are trying to impress you. After marriage, that all goes out of the window. Even if he's the cleanest guy on the planet, you're gonna see a log he forgot to flush or something that can definitely spoil the mood. It takes some real maturity and finessing to be able to accept that the person you know everything about is the one you've got to remain sexually attracted to. It takes some doing. At least it did for me."
Aryn. 29. Married 10 Months."Being married is all about not letting the little things become huge. For me, it's the fact that I'm a morning person while my husband is a night owl. As far as sex goes, he wants to do it at 2 a.m. while I'd prefer 6. That four-hour window may not seem like that big of a deal. Girl, get married, though. At 2, I am dead to the world. At 6, he is. For a long time, this meant only really having sex on the weekends. Both of us have a fairly high [sex] drive so it made us resentful. We both had to compromise and make some adjustments. That's what marriage is all about. If you're not ready to compromise, DON'T DO IT."
Regina. 44. Married 12 Years.
"If you're engaged, listen to me. You've got to prepare for how much you and your man will change over the years. You will change physically. You will change hormonally. Your lives and schedules will change. And this means that your sex life will change too. Sometimes, when you're married, you can find yourself living in the past of what your dating relationship was like. Yeah, don't do that. Marriage brings a new normal, even when it comes to sex. And once you get used to that normal, another one will come. Be flexible. Not just physically. That's my advice."
Rochele. 30. Married Two Months.
"I had to get used to going to bed differently. You ever see that A Different World episode when Whitley would wake up before Dwayne to brush her teeth and do her hair? That was me for the longest. When my man would stay over, my hair was laid, flavored lip gloss was on and I had on some cute stuff. When I slept alone, girl it was all about the bonnet, granny panties and a ratted T-shirt. The first time I came to bed looking like that in my marriage, my husband about freaked out!
"It wasn't because he didn't find me attractive. It was because he had never seen me that way and it wasn't exactly sexy. We've been working on finding happy mediums. Like I have been getting some boy shorts that are one size too small and he's been learning how to do a woman with a bonnet. Ladies, that bedtime attire is important. You don't have to look like you're going to the prom. Don't be out here looking like a total train wreck either."
Blaire. 27. Married Six Years.
"I'm glad that you're going with middle names because I'm pretty sure that my hubby and mama don't want me going on and on about my single sex life! To protect the innocent and guilty, I'll just say that when I was out here, I was doing my thing and the sex was good. I mean, GOOD. Now that I'm married, I won't lie and say that my man has the biggest d—k I've ever experienced or that the head is the best or anything like that."
"What I will say is knowing that your lover is permanent and not transient can cause you to experience some of the most pleasurable and intense sex because you're totally relaxed and at peace with your situation. Is my husband the best sex I've ever had? No. Is he the best lover I've ever had? No one else even compares. Get married and you'll learn what I mean by that."
Zen. 40. Married Eight Years.
"Don't expect your partner to make you feel good about your body if you don't. The stretch marks. The tummy. Body acne. Cellulite. Whatever you've got going on, sometimes we as women will think that it's our partner's job to compensate for where we don't love ourselves. That is too much of a burden for any one person to carry. My sex life suffered after my second child because my body wasn't the same. And the more self-conscious I was, the less I wanted to have sex and the more uncomfortable my husband was because of it.
"I made a big mistake by thinking that if he made me feel beautiful, our sex life could get back on track. He didn't have the problem with my body. I did. I had to get into a good headspace. Once I made peace with me, our sex life got back on track and it's honestly been better than ever. Loving yourself doesn't stop in marriage. You should actually need to do it more, in my opinion because the relationship requires that you be mentally well to endure all that comes with it."
Lavell. 36. Married Five Years.
"This is what my ass wasn't ready for. A ninja who had a lower drive than I do. Don't get me wrong. When my hubby and I were dating, because we were in two different cities and four hours apart, whenever we would see each other, it was non-stop sex. But we only got together 1-2 times a month. Anyway, because we had so much sex, I thought that it would surely be 5-6 times a week after marriage. This ninja might give it to me 2-3 times a week. Yes, I've been salty about it for all of our marriage. Check the libidos, sistahs. Your man may not be as 'down' as you'd assume."
Crystal. 46. Married 20 Years.
"Married sex is a bit of a roller coaster ride. Some seasons, you can have it every day. Some seasons, weeks will go by and you didn't even notice. It's still my favorite kind of sex because it's with someone I love, someone I'm closer to that anyone else and someone who totally accepts me and I totally except them.
"Married sex is for grown folks. Don't attempt it if you're not ready to be selfless, mature and intentional about it. Oh, and nothing can fully prepare you. Like marriage itself, you learn so much once you're in it. It's worth it, though. If the marriage is worth it, the sex will be even better, even years later."
Featured image by Giphy
To say that I love Saweetie is basically an understatement at this point, as time and time again, she's in the news or on my timeline giving me all of my life. Whether she pops up on a thread with her signature, "I know that's right!" or she's seen purchasing an item that an up-and-coming designer made for her just because "everything costs money," like. I mean. She's everything.
And her approach to being a carefree, successful, modernized 20-something-year-old is everything as well.
In her latest quest, Saweetie sat down with Teen Vogue to discuss everything from growing up, to the release of her debut album, Pretty B*tch Music. Rocking a giraffe-print turtleneck dress, baby hairs laid for the gawds, a few outfit changes and a long, waist-length braid, we learned a bit more about Saweetie and what's next on her journey.
Continue reading for our favorite highlights!
On life after her first single, "ICY GRL":
While discussing how her life has changed since she released her first single, "ICY GRL", Saweetie revealed that she recorded it in her Toyota Corolla Sport because she couldn't afford studio time. But now, much of her life has changed.
"After 'ICY GRL' hit, I was in such high demand, and it really was like night and day. I had no artist's development. I realized that I never equated attention with happiness, so all that attention I was getting was overwhelming for me and I didn't know how to handle it. Which is why — fast forward to last year and this year in quarantine — I had a lot of time to reflect, and that made me want to take back my power of being confident and made me want to rethink my career."
On living her truths:
"I went from only wanting to write freestyles to having to create a hit. Now I know how to make the hits. I need to let people know that I'm a West Coast girl. I'm tri-racial. I come from a poppin', big, male-dominated family, which explains my masculine energy at times. People were only seeing 'icy girl,' but who was the girl under the blonde wig?"
On how having a Black father and Filipino mother shaped her:
Saweetie's mother was a model and manager who appeared in music videos for many artists, and her dad was a football player. But their careers didn't stop them from raising her with certain values.
"Growing up, I was confused a lot. Like, I would get mad. I think my parents not being together really just affected me emotionally as a child, and I carried that stress and disappointment [when I was] a teenager. I used poetry as a way to express myself. Because I had young parents, I had to grow up quicker because I was always being babysat by someone else. My parents are very 'do as I say, not as I do.' They're like Bay Area legends. My mom's a tiger mom. She wanted straight A's. Her disciplining me at a young age got me into the habit of achieving high goals."
Saweetie also speaks Tagalog, the language of the Philippines, which she plans to incorporate more into her music.
On her thirst for the finer things almost landed her in jail:
"Before I went to college, I almost went to jail because I got caught stealing. At a young age, I just always liked the finer things—and I'm not even talking about name brands. I just like looking good. In that moment, I was like, I'm not really about this life. I get straight A's, I'm a year-round athlete. I think the lesson was that [I had worked] too hard for everything to be thrown away."
On how movements such as BLM or 'Stop Asian Hate' has affected her:
"I felt helpless. No amount of money can bring back these lives or can Band-Aid the bruises, pains, and scars a lot of these families experience. And it makes me feel like, 'Do I matter? If I wasn't a celebrity, would they care about me if I was to get beat up?"
Eventually, she decided to put her money where her mouth is through her nonprofit, Icy Baby Foundation.
"Growing up, my mom always asked me, 'Where's your heart?' When she would question my actions and my motives, she'd be like, 'Diamonté, do you care? And if you care, what are you going to do about it?'"
On maintaining her integrity in a chaotic industry:
Maintaining her authenticity has always been a priority for Saweetie.
"When you are a young woman in L.A., sometimes you're put in situations that can help you financially but will take a jab at your soul, your body. I remember basically just having the opportunity to get some money, but in doing so I would have violated my morals and my values. I was broke but I was like, I will never do anything to disrespect myself ... no matter how desperate I get."
She didn't go into detail about exactly what happened, but she did chalk it up as a learning opportunity.
"That's a story within itself, but I think it was a moment where I was like, it's okay. You'll eventually get what you want out of life as long as you're praying and working hard."
And in the words of Saweetie, herself, "I know that's right!"
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Featured image via Rich Fury/Getty Images for dcp
It's Pride Month, and what better time to highlight amazing Black LGBTQ leaders and advocates killing it in business? Yep, now is the perfect occasion. These entrepreneurs and executives are providing spaces for inclusion, disrupting and innovating in fashion, tech, entertainment, and finance, and giving voice to the struggles, issues, and vibrancy of LGBTQ communities. They are exemplary examples of brilliance we all can admire and take a nod from in our own lives both professionally and personally.
Check them out below:
This power woman and mother is the first openly queer-identified Black woman to hold the position at the long-standing organization, and she's tasked with leading strategy to ensure equality and justice for LGBTQ people across the nation. The National LGBTQ Task Force works to fight against discrimination in housing, retirement, employment, healthcare, and more.
Kelsey Davis was a creative professional who worked for major companies including Conde Nast and created content for brands including Coca-Cola before launching her own firm that provides services for matching freelance creatives with Generation Z brands. It's the creating real opportunities for other young creatives to get to the bag for us.
If series like The Chi, Boomerang, Them, and Twenties, or films like Queen & Slim don't ring a bell, sis, you need to go ahead and pop from under that rock, subscribe to somebody's streaming service, and get caught up. Lena Waithe not only includes diverse depictions of LGBQT stories within her scripts, but she takes the advocacy further via the hiring practices and opportunities of Hillman Grad Productions.
This fab couple offers super-cool items that show just how rich and beautiful Black culture truly is, and they do it so stylishly. Together, Kiyanna Stewart and Jannah Handy lead their Brooklyn shop and online community of more than 280,000 followers, offering a well-edited selection of collectibles, apparel, and heirlooms that would put any museum curator to shame.
Ariell Johnson's North Philly shop offers an array of comics that put inclusion and representation at the forefront. From books and magazines to toys and figurines, she provides a special selection of items that ensure all lovers of the genre can find something to enjoy and be inspired by, and she unapologetically includes LGBTQ sci-fi "geeks" and comic enthusiasts in the all.
A self-proclaimed "teaching artist," Natalie Patterson fosters growth, compassion, and integrity via workshops, breakout sessions, performances and lectures. Her client roster includes brands like Sephora, Uproxx, and the United Way, and sis will have you deeply moved with her poetry. Trust.
As if surviving homelessness, living out of an airport and building a venture capital fund isn't impressive enough, Arlan Hamilton has spent the last six years raising millions of dollars to support more than 170 companies founded by female, minority and LGBTQ entrepreneurs. And get into this latest win: A recent crowdfunding effort reached its $5 million goal via more than 7,000 supporters. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Way to get to that coin, sis!
Her company serves as an incubator to economically empower LGBTQ professionals and their allies by providing training for career skills. The platform particularly provides a forum for tools to fight against employment discrimination, and Angelica Ross, a self-taught programmer and actress known for her role on Pose as well as her work as a transgender rights activist, partners with brands and companies to foster training and employment opportunities.
These savvy businesswomen have been giving twin-rock star-Black girl magic energy since 2009 with their eyewear brand, worn by celebrities including Beyonce, Prince, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, and Lady Gaga. As a brand, Coco & Breezy has since expanded into a luxury retreat venture, DJing, and visual art projects. They're also huge in LGBQT activism, lending their voices, art, and platform of more than 170,000 followers and supporters to issues of advocacy and rights protections.
She's the soulful, ecclectic, tuxedo-wearing, boundary-pushing singer, producer and actress known for her roles in Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Antebellum. Janelle Monae is also a fierce artist mentor, record label exec, and LGBTQ rights activist who has identified as pansexual and rides for equal rights and freedom of expression for all. Word to Django Jane.
Featured image via Coco and Breezy/Instagram
When Kara Stevens started Frugal Feminista, she was on a mission to offer something she didn't see enough of as a young Black woman looking to become debt-free. She'd taken her personal finance matters into her own hands, turning to library books and other free resources to get out of $65,000 in debt. "During that process, I'd found books—some written by Black women, some by white men—and they were all helpful, but I noticed that there was a dearth of literature really speaking to what Black women in their 20s and 30s were facing. I couldn't relate," she recalls.
"I began researching and implementing some of the things I learned. I wanted to broaden the discussion around what it meant to be a Black woman who is out of college, educated, looking for love, wanting to travel, and wanting to have it all, and how money plays a role in that."
Courtesy of Kara Stevens
After getting out of debt, Kara, an educator by trade, eventually moved up the ladder into administration, putting her in the club of six-figure earners. However, she found that she had some further growing to do when it came to how she approached managing her money. "I was still having a lot of anxiety around money despite being, on paper, more well-off than, say, 90 percent of average Americans. What that led to was a deeper understanding of the lessons I learned around money and self-worth in terms of asking and receiving," she says.
"[It was about] understanding the energy of being confident and assertive in a way that allows you to expect the possibilities and expect things to happen in your favor. Money is one of the values, ways, and measures of getting what you want whether it be a salary increase, starting a business or anything related to achieving something in that arena."
Below are six keys Kara found, through her own journey, in resetting her mentality about money in order to thrive:
1. Decide what you really want out of life and how money fits into achieving your goals.
It's important to explore self-reflection that will lead to decisions about your short-term and long-term goals related to what your best life looks like and how to create and sustain it. "What do you want to do with money?" Kara adds. "Do you want to travel with money? Do you want to start a business? Reflect on what your beliefs are about children, businesses, or travel, and see if they align with what you're trying to do with your money. If there's a disconnect, you're going to have a lot of difficulty in either finding the money or keeping the money in relation to achieving your goals."
2. Get to know your deep-set beliefs about money and their origins.
"Oftentimes, they're largely influenced by what your parents beliefs are," Kara explains. "In my experience, I had a lot of emotional hurdles to overcome when it came to dealing with money because growing up, I was taught that you shouldn't take risks with life, money, love—with anything."
"Even though I was able to technically get out of student loan debt, I still had this fear of being able to have a balanced approach to investing or a balanced approach to even giving myself the things I wanted."
Growing up, Kara saw a money management focus that was solely about basic needs. "Anything else was considered unnecessary. That made me a very measured and withholding person emotionally and financially, and that eventually led to having to learn more about myself in therapy."
Once she was able to pinpoint beliefs she'd carried from her childhood, she was able to form a renewed relationship with money and nurture a new mindset. "I was able to give and receive, take risks, and make my needs an important part of how I make decisions instead of looking at deprivation, hoarding, financial paranoia, and scarcity."
3. Pinpoint how those beliefs inform the way you currently view money and how that perception affects achieving your goals.
Kara urges women to create a "family financial tree" exploring childhood memories related to money that they still hold on to in adulthood. "I grew up thinking, for example, that due to my mom's heartbreak with my dad, men are never to be trusted with money. That was a given," Kara says.
"But you have to look at that belief and analyze the validity or the universality of it to determine how useful that message is in serving you in your life goals. I know that ultimately I want to be happily married, so I had to rethink that message to create one that's more affirming, rational, and abundant."
"Not all men can be trusted with money, but the man I choose, I will trust because I trust myself to make good decisions. So, think about how you can flip that negative narrative and rewrite it to make it affirming and thoughtful and align with your goals."
4. Create a budget that incorporates your values and puts a focus on progress versus perfection.
"Having a budget that doesn't allow for fun or pleasure is not a budget you can stick to," Kara says. "Putting the pleasure element and values element in a budget is a key part to enjoying your money management and to thriving with your money."
Kara remembers a time when she was first getting out of debt and how the process was much more sustainable when she gave herself grace throughout the journey. "Sometimes you trip and fall and miss a payment or overspend, but don't take it personally. If you continue to make progress in the general right direction, you'll be OK, and you'll eventually meet your goal."
She incorporated a debt payoff strategy that allowed her to tackle each one in a particular order, gaining momentum by getting rid of them one by one. "I felt good when I was able to reduce the number of debts I had. Eliminating them made me feel good that I was actually making progress."
5. Shift your approach to budgeting in a way that puts faith first.
"There's a place for living within your means, but the rationale behind it [is important]," Kara says. "You have to have that faith-based approach to handling money. Check in with yourself on whether the reason you're doing something is based on some type of fear perspective or more of an abundance or faith-based perspective. You have to tell yourself, 'I believe that what I'm offering is worth it,' or 'I believe that what I'm buying for myself is going to add value to my life so I'm going to do it without apology, shame or guilt.'"
6. Figure out a monthly flow for managing your funds.
"In addition to having a budget, knowing the flow of your money every month is important," Kara says. "I use a financial calendar. Sometimes you can feel that, by the end of the month, there's more month than money, and it's not necessarily that we don't have the money. It's about how we space out our spending and our savings to meet our various financial goals."
With a financial or budget calendar, you can track payment amounts and dates and estimate how much money flows in and out of your accounts on a monthly basis based on your money goals and lifestyle. You can do this the old-school pen-and-paper way, via an online spreadsheet or through handy apps that are free or downloadable for a fee.
Taking deliberate steps toward shifting how you think about money and its management can be totally life-changing and make reaching your dream life that much more believable and obtainable.
Featured image by Getty Images
You know, love is a funny, funny thing. I once read that 90 percent of it is based on the friendship developed by the two of you, and only 10 percent is actually based on love. And oftentimes, your marriage will boil down to the work put into maintaining and nurturing that 90 percent. Ain't that sumthin?
That's why when I see couples who have been married for many years, especially those in the public eye, I take every opportunity to celebrate their union with them. After all, love fades, and it can even vary from day-to-day. Friendship is the basis of all of this, it's the foundation.
And one duo who certainly understands this assignment is our dear faves, Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker. They have spent much of their marriage genuinely loving on each other and helping other couples along the way just by being themselves. From revealing the infamous "prayer", to showing the importance of the little things; things like date nights, or complimenting your partner openly and unapologetically.
Most recently, Boris took to Instagram to swoon over his wife in the cutest way. Shared with a screenshot from FaceTime, he asks:
"Hey Babe, can I ask you something? Can you please keep shining your light on me? Like 20,30,40 more years maybe? Feels really good. Thank you. I love you."
To which Parker responded:
"I'm gonna shave my legs. to. night. #yourenotreadyyyy"
Then there was that time that he was checking her out, and complimenting her fitness, which, *swoon*:
When they celebrated their anniversary with a few locals and dance in the city:
All while jamming to some, which is always a vibe.
And when Boris showed her infinite love on International Women's Day:
The lovers and friends pair have said before that their relationship is not different from anyone else's and that that they have simply taken the time to do what works for them, which is having fun. Nicole even addressed it directly, offering advice by saying:
"You become better people on the other side. Everyone wants to run if you have one argument, one misstep or one mistake. But if you commit to going through the desert, so to speak, it's so good on the other side. And Number 2: treat him like your boyfriend. Because in marriage, you get into a practical rut. It's nothing new. Don't panic. You're going to get in a practical rut about who is doing what, paying bills, sharing the house, two different jobs, then the children. You become roommates."
"But if you remember that this person is your boo [laughs], you keep it fun. You can't wait to get home, even if 10 years have gone by. You can't wait to buy him a gift for no reason on your way home from work. He gets you flowers for no reason. So, I always say, the minute you find your husband, make him your boyfriend."
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Featured image via Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage
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"Now, the only label I've got that matters is God's: God's creation. God's work. God's child."