October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Wear Pink For Someone You Love In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Please forgive me for such a late post but I made it with two days to spare before October Breast Cancer Awareness Month ends. Many across the nation launched campaigns and walks where everyone was invited to participate and show support during the month of October to increase awareness. The National Race for the Cure and Susan G. Komen 3 Day “For the Cure” are to name a few. There a number of resources, referral agencies, and support groups available to provide emotional support in the journey.

About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. (U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics). While breast cancer in males is rare, let’s not forget to honor and show support for them as well, who either have been diagnosed, are going through treatment, or have survived breast cancer.

There are also male breast cancer advocacy groups Out of the Shadow of Pink, A Man’s Pink, and the Brandon Greening Foundation for Breast Cancer in men who join together globally to establish the third week of October as “Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week” (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month). Please show your support.

“If you learn that you have breast cancer, you may find it helpful to talk with someone who has already been through breast cancer. The American Cancer Society has a Reach To Recovery® Program,” which is “available in most communities, and is one of many programs that may help you. This program can put you in touch with a woman who has been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer. To talk with or receive a visit from a Reach To Recovery volunteer, call your local American Cancer Society office or 1-800-227-2345” (You are not alone: Getting emotional support).”

With early detection, treatment advances, screening, and increased awareness the incidence of death rates have decreased since 1989 (U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics). Any woman at or over the age of 40, I strongly urge you to make an appointment to have a mammogram. Develop a plan. Get tested early with mammogram screenings. Early detection can help with early prevention. Regular checkups will also aid in early prevention. It can save a life.

Each of us either know someone who suffers from, lost the battle with, or is a survivor of breast cancer. Celebrate loved ones, relatives, and friends who have lost the fight as well as those who have survived. As well as those who are going through treatment. Show your support in honor of those who lost their lives in the fight and are no longer with us. Honor those who survived the fight and are living testimonies who have overcome and are still with us. Please know that you are not alone. We are here for you. You are more than conquerors. You won. You are a breast cancer survivor.

Donate your time. Volunteer. Simply wear pink or a pink ribbon during the month of October. Together we can make a difference.

As for me, I wear pink for someone special to inspire hope and love. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, join in the fight, be a source of support, empower, and inspire.

Be blessed! -JD

I Am #MeToo. Are You?

I Am #MeToo. Are You?

Join me and let’s change the world!

Let’s talk about this #MeToo hashtag viral sensation. First and foremost I would be remiss not to acknowledge the true person behind the ‘me too’ movement, Tarana Burke who planted the seeds for the movement in 1996 when working as a youth camp director. She is the Founder and Director of Just Be Inc. (http://justbeinc.wixsite.com/justbeinc/the-me-too-movement-cmml). As noted on the Just Be Inc. site, her organization “is a youth organization focused on the health, well being and wholeness of young women of color.” As then program director for Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity, the goal of Burke’s program was to empower young women of color (http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/17/us/me-too-tarana-burke-origin-trnd/index.html).

After bonding with and hearing the story of a young girl who asked to speak with Burke privately after an all-girl bonding session event hosted by Just Be Inc. that left her horrified, Burke wrote on http://justbeinc.wixsite.com/justbeinc/the-me-too-movement-cmml, “I will never forget the look because I think about her all of the time. The shock of being rejected, the pain of opening a wound only to have it abruptly forced closed again – it was all on her face. And as much as I love children, as much as I cared about that child, I could not find the courage that she had found. I could not muster the energy to tell her that I understood, that I connected, that I could feel her pain.”

“I couldn’t help her release her shame, or impress upon her that nothing that happened to her was her fault. I could not find the strength to say out loud the words that were ringing in my head over and over again as she tried to tell me what she had endured… I watched her walk away from me as she tried to recapture her secrets and tuck them back into their hiding place. I watched her put her mask back on and go back into the world like she was all alone and I couldn’t even bring myself to whisper…me too.” Ms. Burke said she never forgot the look on the girl’s face after hearing her story. A heartbreaking, sad unforgettable moment…This for me was more than enough reason to start a movement. To read the full story go to the Just Be Inc. link mentioned above.

Essentially, this is what started the ‘me too’ movement – “to help young women of color who had survived sexual abuse, assault and exploitation.” It has now become an online hashtag viral sensation and every women who has been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted have joined in making a statement to let the world know, #MeToo – I am not ashamed, I am not alone, I am a victor, I am a survivor. Ms. Burke I applaud your drive and tenacity to make a difference in the lives of young women of color. Kudos!

When I first stumbled upon the #MeToo hashtag on Twitter a few days ago, I was curious why I was seeing just these two words from so many people (men and women alike) without an origin or explanation behind its meaning. It was not until I clicked on the hashtag on Twitter and discovered Alyssa Milano’s tweet, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet – ‘Me too. Suggested by a friend: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.’”

As of October 19, 2017 ABC News reported Alyssa Milano’s ‘Me Too’ tweet has now garnered “1.4 million and counting tweets included the hashtag, along with more than 13 million posts, comments and reactions on Facebook” (http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/alyssa-milano-metoo-campaign-vocal-stops/story?id=50582023).

Being the person I am, before becoming a part of this sensation, I did some research and realized after taking a deep look inside myself and thinking of the countless times I too was a victim, I found #MeToo is who I am too. It hit too close to home. It was personal. And now I desire change that goes far beyond what we see with the hashtag itself. My desire, ‘Me Too’ becomes more than a viral sensation but an entry point to healing at a deeper level than what we’ve seen in society with other movements that gain maximum exposure after going viral but we never see or hear anything about once the hoopla goes away.

Let’s have a discussion, critical dialogue and a real conversation about its effects, what we can do to end it, continue to increase awareness, and what programs we can develop on a larger scale to include collaborative efforts with Ms. Burke’s organization and others like hers to empower not only women of color but those who have been affected by sexual harassment or sexual assault and are afraid to come forth out of fear of retaliation.

Let’s build a community of safety in the creation of safe houses for survivors and non-survivors to go to for ongoing support. Let’s establish a platform with someone like Iyanla Vanzant and Ava DuVernay to reach the masses on a continuous basis and not drop the ball after getting the attention and exposure we desire only to “make a statement.” Let’s design programs to empower, inspire, and influence survivors and those that haven’t to encourage and motivate them to reach their fullest potential.

Let’s reach out to and join forces with Tarana Burke and her Just Be Inc. organization as well as similar organizations to create change. Let’s join forces with Alyssa Milano, and others, who wants to fix the problem and asks others to reach out to her for suggestions to help grow the #MeToo movement. Let’s flood their inboxes and social media outlets to make a difference. Let’s be a strong voice and not stop until we are heard. Let’s get involved and show the world how we will be the change we want to see. Let’s do this!

As for me, I am #MeToo – I am not ashamed, I am not alone, I am a victor, I am a survivor!

Be blessed!

Signed,

#MeToo

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