Sapphires and Emeralds

This was my first day at this ritzy school. Each room was themed and elaborately decorated, adorned with MacBooks, Ipads, Mac desktops, oh they had plenty of money and even had an active and involved PTA. This was the kind of school I would have loved to attend as a child, it was nice like a Disney Channel school and the complete opposite of the public schools I attended in inner city South Memphis.  I walked in and got a little nervous while doing my routine scan of the students and staff to see if anyone else looked like me because as far as I could tell they didn’t. I checked in, in the office and roamed through the halls, making my way to my room for the day, up the stairs and around the corner. From what I could see and my four eyes were looking hard, there was no other Black Teacher or Staff in the entire building and not too many Black or even biracial students. A situation I have encountered numerous times in this little pocket of Ohio. On this day I was a 5th grade intervention specialist, my specialty was reading, perfect for the little avid reader in me. I was expecting 3-4 students in my first group. However, I learned that this was a semi optional check in session and I would get them all after their first period classes. I sat at my desk anxiously and excitedly waiting for my first students of the day.

To my surprise in walked a little Black girl. She had hair not too different from my own, and a lot of it. Thrown together in unkempt pigtails. The poor girl’s hair was so matted that there wasn’t even visible part to divide the left from the right pony tail. I didn’t even have a comb on hand because I was running behind when I woke up that morning and left my pick. Who knows the last time that baby’s matted head had seen a comb. She was a little Black girl with a caramel complexion, tall and lanky just skin and bones and very tall for a 5th grader. She had glasses with lenses as thick as mine, but with a purple square frame. She wore Sketchers that looked like Converse and a jacket that should have been replaced three Christmases ago. When she saw me and her eyes connected to mine, her face light up and just like that I knew was was about to have a wonderful day. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder what this girl’s story? What is she doing at this school were no one else looks like her and all the other students were from a higher socioeconomic class? But what was I doing there….working…..and she was…. learning. Although we had years and life experiences between us, our skin and our natural hair united us and at the end of the day we were just two little Black girls, hustling our way to the top, while navigating through white spaces.

I introduced myself, “Good morning, I’m Ms. DG, your sub for today” she immediately wanted to know my real name and so I divulged, De’Garrica  “but most people have a hard time pronouncing it and I don’t like explaining so I just go by DG.” She told me that she thought my name was beautiful and unique, this little girl was quickly becoming my favorite. Her name was Emerald, my heart skipped a beat! She told me that there were three boys in our morning session but they didn’t usually come until after first period and that one was absent from school that day. So it was just me and her. The teacher had left a reading assignment, simple small group reading, that turned into one on one because the group didn’t come.

We began reading, she did have some struggles, but was very good at taking her time and sounding words out. We got about two pages into the book when her curiosity of me took over. She looked up at me her thick lenses looking through my thick lenses and she started “De’Garrica I want to ask you something”, and so it began. “What’s up?” “Why come every boy I meet asks me if all Black people are rude?” (by boy she meant white boy) “Should I be friends with him?” Well this immediately pissed off the big sister in me. I had to get my thoughts together quick, In the words of Jay-Z I had to give this baby a “million dollars worth of game for $9.99”, but in a school appropriate and kid appropriate way.

I started out with my parents always told me “NO BOYs”, first of all you are too young to be trying to date, enjoy being a kid, leave that for when you are older and have the brain capability to do that, second my dear Emerald, You are “KIND, SMART, AND IMPORTANT”,  and you don’t want to be friends with someone that is ignorant. It is not your job to defend your race or your culture to foolish boys, you don’t want to be friends with someone like that. A friend would KNOW BETTER! A friend would not approach you with stereotypes. “Do you understand what a stereotype is?” -Yes she did, she even told me that she had real friends, friends that got angry when boys said that to her, friends that told her the same things I did, to stay away from boys like that. I told her that if someone wanted to be her friend they would always treat her with respect and see her for who she really is, a Black girl, yes, but also a person, a kind, funny, intelligent young woman, and anybody who wasn’t for her was against her and people who fell into the against category, could either get with it or get lost. “You are in school to learn you have to work harder to get the level you need to be at and boys right now are a distraction, one that you don’t have time, energy, or patience for anyway.” “And a friend, a good friends is hard to come by but when you find one you will know because they will always have your back and you will want to have theirs.” When our little talk was over, we got back to reading, because we have to love to read. I gave my new found little sister a big hug and I thanked the lord that we crossed paths. I hope when we meet again she will tell me that she has made more friends that treat her nicely, instead of chasing after boys that don’t understand her and are little racists in the making. Most importantly I hope she moves out of reading intervention and more into self love.


(back at it again/to be continued)


The Coldest Winter Ever (Jumbled Thoughts)

I just finished the Coldest Winter Ever and I can’t believe I haven’t read it until now. However, all things happen for a reason and I feel like this book occurred when it was supposed to. Winter Santiaga was a character that I will never forget. I can see her in so many of my friends in Memphis. Being away for four years caused me to loose base with some of my original homies, the girl friends that I made in elementary, middle, and high as well as summer camps and malls and other places adolescent girls from the hood go to hangout and catch up and check on each other. I could have easily been a little Winter myself, however my father made it known to me that he expected me to love education, he expected me to be somebody, to work hard and get out of the hood. Unlike Santiaga, who only ever told Winter that she was supposed to have the best!

I was a very friendly kid. I made a new friend everywhere I went and for the most part they stuck with me. Being a child of the drug world, even though I was surrounded by violence, my dad tried his best to keep the streets from the house and keep me from the streets. I always had a book in my hand or a Barbie doll. I never dressed provocatively, never even had the desire too, because I always had dreams of better. Going away from Memphis, going North like my ancestors. With my charismatic personality, never ending supply of Barbies and toys, nail polishes, and all the things little girls wanted, plus the teen years when I was the only one in my friend circle to have a sweet 16 bash and get a car, I was the one that all the around the way girls wanted to kick it with. But it was always genuine, you see I was drawn to the pretty girls with tough lives, because they were so cool. They had all the street smarts that I lacked. Just like Bullet said in the Coldest Winter Ever, you can’t inherit street smarts, and I guess even as a little girl I knew that, that was something that I wanted because it was something that I lacked. I was the daughter of high roller, but I was very naïve about the world of the streets. I lived in lala land with my head in a book, but I knew that other girls were not having similar experiences.

I was drawn to these girls because they were just so cool. They were everything that I wasn’t. They would teach me how to my hair “because it’s a shame that you have good hair but don’t know how to wear it” they would go shopping with me to give me a make over “because you need to know how to dress for a man” and they taught me about heterosexual sex because they were doing it all ready or well on their way. They even tried to make my fat ass diet and exercise, to make me “cuteier”. These girls moved fast, were “fast”, and were the flyest, prettiest chicks. They filled in the blanks of street sense that I was missing. I remember after my first sexual encounter with a man, one of my Winterlike friends told me to drink vinegar to make sure I didn’t get pregnant because that’s what her sister did. Lawd and my dumbass accompanied my completely naïve mother to the Piggly Wiggly and got her to buy me a bottle of 64 fl oz bottle of vinegar by telling her that I was starting a new diet that my winter like friend Cyieta had told me about. The point I’m trying to get to is that the Coldest Winter Ever, really shook up my spirit woman, because I can see Winter Santiaga in so many of my friends from the hood, and even in myself. Brilliant, beautiful girls who just need a little guidance, just need to be encouraged to believe in themselves, to be told that they are smart that they are good in school, that they can be whatever they want in life. However, they were not told these things. They were brought up under the spell of fast money, and the prosperity of wealth of southern rappers, from the households of neglectful parents, and broken homes, these girls knew how to use their bodies, but didn’t know how to use their minds. I know Winter, she has so many recognizable faces she just can’t recognize her own potential because she got caught up.

Misdemeanor Elliot

The ruling of the Judge, with the advice of the Prosecutor was that I pay the minimum of $500 fine. I plead no contest, couldn’t say not guilty because they have me on wire, and REFUSED to plead guilty. The judge was a very sympathetic fellow. He really listened to me and for that I am grateful. The will be no more court, I have 6 months to pay the fine and next June, I will be eligible to get my record sealed, so it will appear as if it was never there. While I am disappointed that I now have a level 1 misdemeanor charge, the highest level of misdemeanor, I am grateful that I will not have any probation, or any further court dates. The prosecutor was on a power trip, he walked up to me before court was in session without introduction, as I was deep in thought sitting on a bench, and spouts out about how they have my named backwards on the court documents. (There is always a problem with my name, just another irritation.) How he doesn’t want to pursue jail time of the maximum of 6 months because I have don’t have a history of prior offenses. He tells me that he would give me a $500 fine. The only questions I wanted to know where

  1. A) Do I have a conviction/ record now?
  2. B) When can I get this expunged/ sealed/ voided

To which he answered yes, a misdemeanor and in one year from today. To which I respond and who are you? He gives me a blank stare, “I’m the prosecutor”

The judge walks in 15 minutes late… in a blur… I got a fine, I got a misdemeanor, I’m getting it handled and getting over it. I feel as if this is extremely unfair, and the judge even agreed with me, but the prosecutor had his mind made up. So you know what I’m just going to charge this to the game. What else can I do, I explained my case, the Judge really listened and was fair but he had to do his job I guess. I cried when I finally got sometime to myself. I called my parents. I have a lawyer lined up for the expunging process. All I have to do is pay the fine and weigh it out. I’m kind of bummed about the background check procedures and the potential embarrassment of having to explain that to employers. However, I was luckily enough to already have a job and internship position secured starting in July that was all arranged before this foolery and by the summer time next year I will be done with this side of the law.

While this incident was upsetting and disappointing, there were valuable lessons to be learned. I was forced to have some difficult conversations with myself.

  • I am no longer in the sweet little safety bubble of Academia
  • I am a target, due to my character and because of my the color of my skin

I am too trusting of people. I honestly try to treat others they way I would like for them to treat me. Every personality test I have ever taken has measured me in the highest percentile of agreeableness. I am as GREEN as one can be, but no more. I am done. I have to pay better attention and judge people by what they give me and what I feel from that. I hated the way I felt when in that awful situation and I never want to feel that way again. I can no longer allow these wolves in sheep’s clothing to fool me. That’s not who I am. That’s not what I want to be.

I am a target because of my skin color. Point___.

  • I have been conscious of the fact that I’ve been feeling kind of empty on my spiritual side. I spent this last year with so many questions about my faith, if I could continue to believe, if I should believe, and what/who/ do I, believe in, what fits with my spirit

—Maybe God/The Foremothers are trying to tell me something. Maybe I need to become more grounded. Fill up my spirit warrior because maybe I am not as prepared for the world as I thought I was. They say when Black people get scared we go to church. Well lord knows I haven’t been to church in a minute, a good minute, but as soon as I get home. You can find me in sanctuary maybe even in a choir. I’m all shock up, but I’m not broken just got to get my head together and get on track. I know who I am, I would just liked to be centered a bit more.

I will not let this charge, this set up, bullcrap define me. 22 years of being an Elliott, Fours years at a liber arts college, and three years rooming with the President of the BSU (although my roomie was only the President in her senior year, she was fiercely dedicated all four years), have taught me that the system is all kinds screwed up, twisted, and biased in a way that is set up for people without power to remain oppressed. I am going to be a Gladiator. I have had my wakeup call and little insight from those guiding from above. I am dedicating myself too this. This experience has taught me that I need some order in my life. The summer has been fun, but its time to get more serious. I want to fight for those who were treated unfairly, discriminated against, wronged, or even just made a mistake. Those in situations like my own, who just got caught up and need to catch a break. I want to be able to provide legal as well as emotional and psychological counsel. And if they ever try me again, I promise “I’m be Fresh As Hell if the Feds Watching”.

*Can’t wait to go home. Back to the safety and comfort of my mama and family, the bark of my sweet precious Darla, and the beautiful chocolate drops of the South.*



*rough draft*


When the Feds Watching

*will edit later*

“Hello Ma’am I’m Sheriff ____ from the ____ county, you have just failed a sting operation and sold alcohol to a minor. I have to give you a citation, you might want to close down your register. Is there a store manager I can talk to?”

-“Yes sir hold on one second”

walks away from the register to the aisle to get our second in command

Passses Gabs, my best bud on the way, looking her in her fear filled eyes and saying “gabs I’m in big trouble”

Finds the 2nd in command all the managers are gone for the day

“Ashley can you take over my register for me?… deep breath… I am in big trouble”

the Sheriff meets me before I can even get back around the register

“This is my partner___ ,is there a private room we can talk in?”

I lead the pair of them into the break room. My heart beating a mile a minute, chest tightness from acid reflux, scared out of my mind. I don’t trust the police.


The male office, mid forties white male and his white female mid forties partner, share a look together and then the male partner Mr. Sheriff takes the lead

He explains to me that the Sheriff in this county is doing sting operations to certain stores with liquor licenses. He explains that he planted a young white male, who was 18 with a wire and video connection to come into the store and buy alcohol to see if the store I worked is knowingly selling alcohol to minors. He said he stood right behind the boy in line watched him place the beer on the counter, watched me take the money, and finalize the transaction without once asking for ID. He explained that I would be getting a citation and he would try his best to get me the earliest court date and help me in any way that he could. He apologized and said that sometimes bad things happen to good people. As I sat on two boxes of soda mix and cried my eyes out and pleaded my case, told the pair of them that the boy looked older, and that I must have thought he was a regular customer, I told them my dreams of going to entering a JD/MSW program next fall, I told them that I am not even from here, that I only followed my girl friend here to hangout and get my life together before I started real life, I told them my fears of not being able to vote in the upcoming election, me fears of how this would affect my future, with federal loans, and background checks that job requires, I told them it was an honest mistake. I explained to them that it was a really busy Friday, slammed and that me and Gabby were the only cashiers and that I had been working there for less than a month, I was new employee this was unfair. I freaked the fuck out and was in my most vulnerable state of migraine and tears and they looked at me unrepentant with no fucks to give.

The male partner made a call and got me a court date for Tuesday, told me that is not the end of the world and that I am not a criminal. To which I replied “this is going to be on my record, I’m going to have a record does that not make me criminal?”

The female partner said no you just made a mistake. Both tried to comfort me by saying that I would probably still be able to keep my job, while they asked for my driver’s license an wrote me a citation that was wrecking havoc on my spirit. I did not believe I deserved this. They would not budge, “there is nothing we can do ma’am, you seem to be a sweet girl,but we have a wire and video”

He handed me the citation, looked me in the eyes and said “now I don’t want to leave here if you still have questions, is there anything else you want to ask us” “No have a nice day they got up and leaved and cracked the fragile hold that I thought I had on my life, heart, and mind. Now after I tell you the pieces of this puzzle that the good ole Sheriffs forget to mention, you might think that I shouldn’t let these acts affect me so much. I am hesitant to name this as an act of racism because I just don’t wont to believe it as such but I’ll let you decide.

Anyways in that moment I felt so bad about myself. How could I be so careless and let these folks catch me slippin in fuckn Fostoria, Ohio. After my 22nd birthday and living a life as a mostly law abiding citizen I am cited for a mistake, a set up, I felt so low. I sat in that break room and cried for a good 5 minutes just sobbed in my hands thinking silently too myself that my parents are going to be so disappointed. I just had to get my head together before I called my Daddy.

My Daddy is a hard man, and has lived a hard knock life and whenever I am afraid and as distraught as I was in this situation, I need to get my Dad’s help and even if we have not spoken in weeks as we had in this case, he would still slay dragons for me. However, my farther expects a lot of me, he expects me to not fall for shit like that. I could here his lectures in my head, “De’Garrica listen to Daddy people are cruel you can’t be so trusting of everybody”… “De’Garrica you know Daddy will never lead you wrong this world is a cruel place, you got to be more alert, you have to pay attention to your surroundings…” “De’Garrica you need to take some self defense classes and I don’t know how you feel about guns but you need to learn how to shoot and get you a piece” “Barney, baby, you can’t be so green!!!!!!”


“You are still so innocent, young woman, I always tried to shelter you, but you can’t be so green, I’m not always going to be around” “ You are really book smart, very intelligent young lady, I expect that from you, you go me in you so you got that in you, but you need to be life smart too, take your life more seriously” “ I don’t have to have a degree or no accolades for you to listen to me, listen to me about LIFE!

-With all this in my head I was hesitant to call my father but, I felt so green, I felt like I allowed this people to set me up, and because of that mistake they now have a say in my future. My father has so many felonies that it is almost impossible for him to have a “regular” job, my mother has even been to jail. I did not want to have a freakn record, I’ve never even got a speeding ticket. I just felt so low and disappointed in myself. Still feeling it. All my life I have tried my best to follow my father’s advice and not be so green, not let people mistake my kindness for weakness. But somehow I always get played. Man I still feel kind of low. Anyways, I called my folks they helped me to wise up and stop beating myself up a bit, after talking to them and getting advice and comfort, I now know they have my back and I’m anxious to go to court on Tuesday and see how I can get this situation resolved real quick and then I’m getting the fuck away from this town.

-I called my bosses, they wouldn’t answer, I couldn’t leave Gabby as the only Cashier from 6-10pm on a Friday night so I stayed and finished the job until the relief came. I was all shook up, feeling disappointed and down about myself and I couldn’t even leave! I was so afraid that the next person in line was trying to set me up.

-When Gabs and I got home to her Mama, and we were all discussing what happened. I described the boy to Gabs, white, 5’8, beard, dark hair and she found him on Facebook, he is one of her FB friends we almost went to his high school graduation party 2 weeks ago. This boys has a full beard and looks like he is in his early 20s,  Gabs older cousin came over she informed us that the boy is a troubled teen. He got busted with alcohol under age and struck a plea deal, he sets folks up, is the “plant” in exchange for a lesser punishment. It was also confirmed that he is a REGULAR in the store!! I deduced myself that these cops, came with the intention of setting someone up, this boy deliberately chose my line, the line of the tall, Afro sporting, dark skinned black woman, clearly not from this town. Of course he didn’t want to tamper with the life of one of his acquaintances, I learned the Feds are always watching and unlike 2Chainz , I was not Fresh as Hell when they got me in their sight, I was wearing a red polo with the Circle K logo on it, and black slacks that I found from the Goodwill. I was wearing my naïveté on my face, my trusting look, my I believe in humanity and my Daddy is just paranoid look, my I’m just trying to make this check an go home get-up, my Do The Right Thing Green. And just like that I feel like I became a statistic, another Young Black face, so they think they got to chase. Fuck the Police.




On Sabbatical

I am in a weird place of career and direction limbo. I graduated college on May 16th, 2015 with a Bachelors of Arts in both Psychology and Women’s and Gender studies, with no real sense of what is next. I have all these passions and desires to in some way purse a career in social justice, while making bank and no concrete real plan on how to make these dreams into reality and this my friend is scaring the living shit out of me. However, instead of doing the whole cliché, moving back in with the parents thing, that large amounts or recent college graduates supposedly do, I am doing something a little bit different. During my last day on campus I packed up my life and sent it back to Memphis with my Mama, but I moved to the small town of Fostoria, Ohio. I think Fostoria is a sweet little place. Once a booming train town with flourishing factories and middle class aspirations, but now it serves as my little secret safe haven. I bet you are wondering what brought me to Fostoria. Well one of my best college buds was born and raised here and I and I feel in love with the magic of this little town while visiting on Sprig Break with her and even came back again for a weekend bar event. I love Fostoria, because everybody knows everybody, there are constant tea parties, always something interesting going on, a new story to hear, a new person to meet, and I just find small town living to be so fucking fascinating. There should be an ethnography done on the townsfolk here, I swear its the only place where you can party with the mayor of the town in the same bar as a bunch of country White folk and small groups of young Black people, something I would never see in Memphis. I don’t know how long my stay here will be, especially because my mother is about to all but demand that I come home for a bit, and I was recently accepted to a top tier grad school. However, my plan so far is to just debrief for a little while, do a little writing, some self-reflection, and give myself sometime to dedicate to really thinking about what I would like my next steps to be in my new Big Girl Life.

-Live from the FO with Love,



My Relationships with (Wealthy)White Men at School

Gay- One of my very best friends. We have been inseparable since we met our freshman year. This guy may be small in statue but he has the heart of a giant. If you ever need someone to fight for you, I mean defend you with all of his might, he is your guy and I can guarantee you that he is a champion. A lot of people sit around and complain about how unjust and oppressive the world is, but he is the one that will actually do something about it, and he won’t stop until change has been made. Audre Lorde said to “turn silence into language and action” and that’s something that he strives to every day. He pushes me to believe in my self like he believes in me, comforts me whenever I get too overwhelmed, and throughout the years he has really challenged me to own my education by fighting for it aggressively.  He is an advocate and activist for LGBTQ Rights and Equality and is just a real world changer. I think he has an IQ that would rival Einstein because he is so intelligent, some times annoyingly so 🙂 I really do love this man, my mama even loves him, and I am honored to call him one of my very best friends. I think the stars aligned perfectly on the day that we met.  I love him so much!

My Neighbor- I just meet him this year. I will admit that I judged him at first because his a wealthy heterosexual frat guy, but I shouldn’t have judged him that was wrong of me. He has challenged my perceptions of frat guys, especially because he comes and supports us queers. He is a really interesting fellow and a genuinely nice guy. He comes by sometimes when he is partying and hangouts with me and my roomies, and we often have heart to hearts in the wee hours of the morning. This  guy is hilarious and I believe that he loves his girlfriend with all of his heart. His love and devotion to her is a beautiful thing.

The Multi-Millaionare Trust Fund Sweetheart-

I meet him last summer through a mutual friend and we have been friends ever since. He is an alum that graduated 2 years ago and will be beginning an Ivy League law school this fall. Once again I am guilty of judging him before I got to know him. I just assumed that some trust fund guy would be douche because of all of his privilege, but this guy is one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. To be honest, I know broke folk with bigger egos. He is the definition of sweetheart.  He just oozes kindness and has a very soothing ora about him, and he is down for the cause. We haven’t really talked too often since the beginning of last summer, but he often likes my social media post and texts me sporadically. Anyways, he wanted to come to my marriage performance yesterday, but he got caught up at work and couldn’t drive down in time(he is a Michigander). However, he made it his business to come hangout with me last night and we had a really nice talk about our summer women heartbreaks, career goals, friends and life in general. He is living prof that money is not the root of all evil, because his loaded with the green, but his is also loaded with compassion, empathy, kindness and a heart for social justice.

The Future MD

This guys is gorgeous, I mean brains and brawns baby. I love superman and honey this guy looks like Clark Kent, flawless. Not only is he gorgeous, he is also brilliant and I am confident that he will be a great doctor. I can’t wait for his dreams to come true for him because a)he is so driven and because b) he cares about us queers.I once questioned his interest in LGBTQ issues because he popped up out of no where my junior year and got heavily involved in queer life on campus. However, I now know that his intentions have been pure all along and once again I was wrong for judging. He has very optimistic outlook on life and we often have the most interesting conversations. I can talk to him forever and not even notice the time fly by. The poor fellow will stay up all night to study for a physics exam, write 3 lab reports and have to go to 5 meetings because he is so active and involved on campus. I’ve really seen him blossom into a wonderful guy they kind of guy I would love to wife up if I was I was a opposite gender loving woman. *fans self*

Let me just admit that I am very skeptical of the wealthy white men on campus. I’ve just seen so many get drunk and destroy school property, heard to many horror stories of sexual assault, and have had too many microaggressions occur to me as well as my other friends from that population of folk.  However, I cannot generalize and stereotype all of the wwm at school based on the actions of a few foolish guys. Instead these guys, my guys, my friends, are not the stereotypical White frat guys, they are complex multifaceted individuals, and I find it so interesting that  (with the exception of they gay one) they all chose to purse a friendship with me. Even though I was skeptical at first and tried to keep them at arms length, they have all worked their way into my heart where they were meant to be all along and I’m sure the feeling is mutual 🙂


Its a Lauryn Hill kind of night/morning

“He stole my heart like a thief in the night, dulled my senses and blurred my sight, and I used to love him, now I don’t”

I tried to love her

I mean I gave her a fair chance

I was invested, wasn’t even trying to get into her pants

Instead I was hooked on her mind

And for a good three months we had a grand ole time

But she was with the shit

Plus I have a tendency to move on quick

I mean she was a great girl

But we have different outlooks of the world

At times she even made my heart skip a beat

Had me smiling from ear to ear

She even got my sense of humor

I tried to love her

But every good girl isn’t good enough for me

They say everything happens for a reason

So it just wasn’t meat to be

-“…some girls are only about that thing, that thing, that thing”