Maya Angelou – Caged Bird

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou | Share My Lesson
no credited illustrator, London [Public domain]

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind   
and floats downstream   
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and   
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.

BLACK WOMEN I WISH I LEARNED ABOUT IN SCIENCE CLASS

Let’s be real, students are continuously lectured on the groundbreaking experiments and discoveries that white men have made. Black women, particularly Black woman in STEM, aren’t given the recognition and honor that they deserve. This is why I have created this post to honor the Black women who have impacted and shaped medicine/science.

Dr. Gladys West

Image result for dr gladys west
Dr. Gladys West, an American mathematician. The hidden figure behind the GPS; 1930-?

Dr. Gladys West is an American mathematician known for her contributions in a device that is essential to everybody all over the world: the GPS. Prior to her mathematical model of the earth, the precise measurement of distances over the Earth’s surface was nearly impossible. The imperfect shape of the earth and the variation of sea levels make calculating these distances challenging. Dr. West used the information from satellites to refine an increasingly detailed and accurate mathematical model of the actual shape of the earth, a “geoid.” Her work wasn’t officially recognized until early 2018 when the United States Military recognized her in a press release issued by the Air Force Space Command. She was later commended by the Virginia State Senate and inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame.

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson - Wikipedia
Katherine Johnson 1918-2020

Katherine Johnson was a person who pushed the limits. Despite being both African-American and a female, she excelled both academically (graduating with highest honors and one of three black students to be integrated into West Virginia’s graduate school) and in her workplace (NASA, referred to as NACA at the time). In 1962, the United States decided to send people to the moon; Johnson was one of the members on the team that figured out the calculations and math surrounding the trip. Johnson figured out the paths for the spacecraft to orbit Earth and to land on the moon. Her calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights.

Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks and Her Remarkable Cells Will Finally See Some ...
Henrietta Lacks circa 1945-1951; pic creds. The Wall Street Journal; 1920-1951

Henrietta Lacks visited The Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of only a few hospitals that treated poor African-Americans, in 1951 due to vaginal bleeding. Upon examination, the doctor discovered a large, malignant tumor on her cervix and immediately began radium treatment on her. As standard procedure, they got a sample of her cancer cells and sent it to another doctor, Dr. George Gey. Typically, each sample quickly dies in Gey’s lab. However, Lacks’ cells doubled every 20 to 24 hours. Today, these cells—nicknamed “HeLa cells”— are used in a variety of ways including studying the effects of toxins, drugs, hormones without experimenting on humans. Her cells were the first immortal human cells ever grown in culture. They were essential to developing the polio vaccine and went up in the first space missions to see what would happen to cells in zero gravity. Between the years 1953-2018, HeLa cells have been used by researchers from 142 countries and in 110,000 publications.

Dr. Angella Dorothea Ferguson

Dr. Angella Dorothea Ferguson; 1925-?

Dr. Angella Ferguson is an American pediatrician known for her groundbreaking research on sickle cell anemia, a hereditary disease that causes improper folding of red blood cells. The folding results in improper blood flow to organs and deprive the affected organs of blood and oxygen. Dr. Ferguson’s research focused on the development of the sickle cell disease among African American infants. She developed a blood test to detect sickle cell at birth which eventually became the standard for forty U.S. states by 2010. Her research set the guidelines on how to diagnose and treat sickle cell anemia.

Alice Ball

Alice Ball - Death, Facts & Leprosy - Biography
Alice Ball; 1892-1916

Alice Augusta Ball was an American chemist who developed the “Ball Method,” the most effective treatment for leprosy at the age of 23. In 1915, an infection with leprosy—a chronic disease causing skin lesions and nerve damage—was a death sentence. If infected, patients were commonly sent into mandatory quarantine in “leper colonies,” never to return. Prior to the Ball Method, a somewhat-effective treatment for leprosy was the use of an oil extracted from the chaulmoogra tree. However, that oil wasn’t readily water soluble, making it difficult for the human body to absorb. Ball was able to discover a method for extracting compounds from the oil and modifying them to become more soluble (ester ethyl form) which led to the development of an injectable treatment for leprosy.

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE USPS?

Currently, the USPS is facing a huge financial crisis. To save its services and continue delivering the mail throughout the country, the agency has asked Congress for $89 billion. The Democrats want to give the USPS money; however, the Trump administration and Republicans have blocked them in hopes to privatize the agency. Privatizing the postal service would result in an increase in shipping prices and hurt small businesses. Another reason for this block is a way for the Trump administration to increase the chance of Trump’s reelection. Among those who say they will vote by mail, 81% support Biden and 19% support Trump.

The USPS is an essential part of the United States’ infrastructure. It is the most popular government agency and employs 600,000 people. In addition, it is the most cost-efficient way to send packages and letters, with one letter costing only 55 cents. If the USPS is forced to close down, it doesn’t only mean 600,000 people are out of work. As former President Barack Obama said, “Everyone depends on the USPS. Seniors for their Social Security, veterans for their prescriptions, small businesses trying to keep their doors open. They can’t be collateral damage for an administration more concerned with suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus.” Also, the postal service is one of the largest employers of veterans in the country, employing more than 97,000, employing three times their share of the national workforce.

The USPS does not receive tax dollars for operating expenses. It solely relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. To help fund the USPS, I encourage you to buy stamps and send letters to people you love and can’t see because of the pandemic. Also, text “USPS” to 50409 and a letter will be generated to your local reps urging them to save the post office. Please help the USPS! It not only encourages the chances of a fair election, but also helps the majority of Americans that use the USPS for medications/prescriptions, taxes, Social Security, and other miscellaneous things.

55 years ago today {March 7}, we were beaten, tear gassed, and trampled by horses. I thought I saw death. I thought I was going to die. I don’t know how I made it back, but I know we cannot rest. We cannot become weary. We must keep pushing and pulling and find a way to get in the way.

Representative John Lewis (Feb. 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020).
Obituary: John Lewis, US civil rights champion - BBC News
Representative John Lewis. Rest in Power.

Originally published July 17

WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?

Image credit: lawyers weekly

DONATE

  1. GEORGE FLOYD MEMORIAL FUND
  2. MINNESOTA FREEDOM FUND
  3. RECLAIM THE BLOCK
  4. BLACK LIVES MATTER
  5. BAIL PROJECT
  6. BLACK VISIONS COLLECTIVE
  7. CAMPAIGN ZERO
  8. NATIONAL BAIL FUND NETWORK
  9. THE INNOCENT PROJECT
  10. RUN WITH MAUD
  11. JUSTICE FOR BREONNA
  12. ANTI POLICE-TERROR PROJECT
  13. COMMUNITY READY CORPS

If you don’t have money, watch this playlist of videos that I’ve curated that donates money to various organization. Make sure that your adblock is off as these videos use the money that it garners through Adsense and then the creator donates the money to organizations that help.

EDUCATE YOURSELF

READ:

  • BLACK FEMINIST THOUGHT – PATRICIA HILL COLLINS
  • ME AND WHITE SUPREMACY – LAYLA F. SAAD
  • HEAVY: AN AMERICAN MEMOIR – KIESE LAYMON
  • I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS – MAYA ANGELOU
  • WHITE FRAGILITY: WHY IT’S SO HARD FOR WHITE PEOPLE TO TALK ABOUT RACISM – ROBIN DIANGLO
  • BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME – TA-NEHISI COATES
  • BELOVED – TONI MORRISON

Also, if you click on this link, there are hundreds of free liberation documents from activists like Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, and Toni Morrison.

PROTEST (peacefully and safely!)

Currently, the police are acting violently and arresting protesters. This includes using tear gas, shooting rubber bullets, driving vehicles through crowds, and macing children. Stay safe and be careful! Some supplies you should bring are: a backpack, water, face masks, hats/sunglasses, snacks, signs, change of clothing, walking shoes, cash (instead of credit cards). DO NOT WEAR CONTACTS! If tear gas gets into your eyes when you have contacts, you could be blinded. WRITE DOWN EMERGENCY NUMBERS ON YOUR ARM. Here is a link to a website that has a lot of information on how to protest safely: https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-protest-safely-gear-tips/

EMAIL/CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND DEMAND A CHANGE IN THE SYSTEM

SIGN PETITIONS

BECOME AN ALLY
HIRE, PROMOTE, AND SUPPORT BLACK PROFESSIONALS
RAISE AWARENESS BY POSTING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
RECOGNIZE YOUR PRIVILEGE

Additional ways you can help can be found at this link

Originally posted June 5

WHY ARE THE PROTESTS HAPPENING?

On May 25th, a white Minneapolis policeman named Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for approximately nine minutes while George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was handcuffed face down. Despite Floyd repeatedly saying that he couldn’t breathe, Chauvin refused to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck. The other policemen involved in the scene were Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane. The other officers further restrained Floyd and one prevented onlookers from intervening. Despite the fact that during the final three minutes Floyd was motionless and had no pulse, the policemen made no efforts to revive him, and Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck even as arriving emergency medical technicians attempted to treat him. This ordeal arose because Floyd had been suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a market.

The next day, after videos of this event circulated the internet, the four officers were fired. On May 29th, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. However, at this point, the other police officers had not been charged. On June 3rd, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison amended Chauvin’s charges to include second-degree murder along with the other officers.

Protests have ensued across the country, in all 50 states, to protest against police brutality. This event isn’t unheard of in the USA. Throughout history, countless people have been murdered as a result of police brutality and ‘accidents.’ However, the policemen involved in the murders are not always held accountable. This is evidenced by Tamir Rice and his killer, who still is free while Rice is dead. If you are reading please take a look at the list of names of people that have died under the hands of a policeman. On the list is 343 names. 343 innocent people. Also, if you are able to, please donate to George Floyd’s memorial fund.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is list-of-names-576x1024.jpg

originally posted June 4