You Have A Second Brain….

If you’ve ever “had a gut feeling” and used that to make a decision or felt “butterflies in your stomach” when nervous (guilty as charged), you’re likely getting signals from an unexpected source: your second brain. Lining the the walls of your digestive system, this “brain in your gut” is revolutionizing medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think. A new US study has added to existing knowledge about the million or so brain cells in our gut by using lab mice to show that it can also grow new ones under the control of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The study, which is the first to show that the adult intestine can make new neurons in the enteric nervous system (ENS), was led by Drs Mintsai Liu, and Michael D Gershon, at Columbia University in the City of New York and is published in the 5 August issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Unlike the big brain in your skull, the ENS can’t balance your checkbook or compose a love note. “Its main role is controlling digestion, from swallowing to the release of enzymes that break down food to the control of blood flow that helps with nutrient absorption to elimination,” explains Jay Pasricha, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, whose research on the enteric nervous system has garnered international attention. “The enteric nervous system doesn’t seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brain—with profound results.”

The ENS may trigger big emotional shifts experienced by people coping with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional bowel problems such as constipationdiarrhea, bloating, pain and stomach upset. “For decades, researchers and doctors thought that anxiety and depression contributed to these problems. But our studies and others show that it may also be the other way around,” Pasricha says. Researchers are finding evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes. This is why the phrase, “you are what you eat,” takes on a new meaning as we know it. These new findings may explain why a higher-than-normal percentage of people with IBS and other functional bowel problems develop depression and anxiety. This new understanding of the ENS-CNS connection helps explain the effectiveness of IBS and bowel-disorder treatments such as antidepressants and mind-body therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medical hypnotherapy.

Yes, it’s unlikely that simply taking a sip of kombucha the next time you feel anxious will calm you much. With this being said, diet and gut health are very closely linked. Avoiding processed foods, high-fat foods, and foods high in refined sugars is extremely important to maintaining a healthy microbiome, as these foods destroy good bacteria and promote growth of damaging bacteria. There are also a number of foods you can eat that actively promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, contributing to your overall health. These foods include:

1. High-fiber foods

High-fiber foods such as legumes, beans, peas, oats, bananas, berries, asparagus, and leeks have shown a positive impact on gut health in numerous studies.

2. Garlic and onion

Garlic and onion may have some anti-cancer and immune system-enhancing properties based on various studies, which are closely tied to some of the primary functions of the gut. Some of these benefits are anecdotal, although some research has been done.

3. Fermented foods

Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, tempeh, miso, and kefir are great dietary sources of probiotics. While the quality of these foods may vary, their benefits on the gut microbiome are well studied.

4. Collagen-boosting foods

Collagen-rich foods such as bone broth and salmon may be beneficial to overall health and gut health specifically. Many of these benefits are anecdotal conclusions and further research could be done. You could also try to boost your body’s own collagen production through foods. Try adding a variety of foods, like mushrooms, good dairy, or certain meats.

As with most of medicine, the gut-brain connection is a complex, varied, and ever-changing system for which no one definition of “healthy” will do. Your gut is, after all, as unique as you are. But these emerging insights about our gut-brain connection make us reframe the way we think about—and treat—our bodies and minds. The next time you get a “gut feeling”, give it

I’d love to hear your thoughts as always, how do you take care of your gut health?

Until next time tribe,

XOXO

Journey Through The Chakras: Solar Plexus

So you want to know how to walk in your own personal power huh? Well, the solar plexus chakra is your energetic center for that. Read on below to learn about this chakra, how to recognize if you have an imbalance and how to promote its health in your life today!

Most of us have energetic blocks and imbalances as well as energy-sabotaging habits that prevent us from accessing our full vitality, which leads us to feel exhausted, scattered, dull… even ill.

Let’s start by exploring the basics, including the location, color, and symbol of the solar plexus chakra. Then, we are going to look at possible signs of imbalance in the third chakra and what to do to heal your solar plexus center and restore its balance to its optimal state. Take this quick quiz to find out if you have an imbalance that some of the techniques below can help with.

Solar Plexus Healing

Chakra Key Elements

First, we’re going to look at the Solar Plexus chakra basics:

  • Location: In the solar plexus area (upper part of the belly, where your diaphragm rests); it is the third chakra from the bottom in the traditional system counting 7 chakras
  • Color: Yellow (higher frequencies of this chakra can turn into golden yellow)
  • Symbol: A circle with 10 petals in which is inscribed a downward-pointing triangle
  • Original name in Sanskrit: Manipura
  • Element: Fire

Key Characteristics of the Solar Plexus Chakra

  • Identity — As the core of your personality and identity, the solar plexus chakra allows you to bloom into your authentic self and discover who you truly are.
  • Personal Power — The solar plexus chakra is the source of your personal power. This empowers you to take control of your thoughts, emotions, and actions.  
  • Willpower — Working with your personal power, your solar plexus chakra gives you the willpower and self-discipline to get things done.
  • Confidence — The solar plexus chakra is responsible for your self-esteem and how you view yourself. It also gives you the confidence to make decisions and feel self-assured.
  • Intention & Action — Your solar plexus chakra gives you the power to transform your thought into action.

When the Solar Plexus chakra is open and the energy in this center is balanced, these functions naturally find a clear and effortless outlet. However, in case the flow of energy is disturbed, whether because the Manipura chakra is overactive or blocked, symptoms may range from energetic and emotional to physical.

Chakra Element: Fire

The Manipura chakra is traditionally related to the element of fire, though some contemporary healing movements connect it to the element of air. It has a connection with the sun, heat, the energy of light, all forms of power.

Chakra Color: Yellow

The Solar Plexus chakra is most commonly represented with the color yellow. Since it’s associated with the element of fire, it is also sometimes depicted with yellowish red.

Chakra Location: Solar Plexus

The most commonly accepted location for the third chakra is at the solar plexus level, between the navel and the lower part of the chest. That’s why it’s often referred to as the “solar plexus chakra.” Some traditions place it more loosely in the navel area.

Closely connected to the digestive system, especially the gastric and hypogastric plexi, its main function is to help transform matter into energy to fuel your body. It governs metabolism and is commonly associated with the pancreas.

Ways to Balance Your Solar Plexus Chakra

  • Try new things
  • Spend time in the sun
  • Yoga for Solar Plexus Chakra
  • Meditation for Solar Plexus Chakra
  • Solar Plexus affirmations
  • Aromatherapy for Solar Plexus Chakra
  • Solar Plexus crystals

New Experiences — The solar plexus chakra is responsible for helping you discover your authentic self and find your true purpose in life. Getting outside of your comfort zone and experiencing new hobbies, cultures, and ideas can help open and bring balance to your solar plexus chakra.

Get Outside — The solar plexus chakra is highly influenced by the element of fire. Getting outside on sunny days can help open and restore balance to your third chakra. Taking a walk, meditating, or simply sunbathing can allow your solar plexus energy to flow.

Yoga for Solar Plexus Chakra —  Physical activity can be stimulating for your solar plexus chakra; yoga can particularly helpful in bringing balance to your solar plexus chakra. Yoga positions that focus on core strength are ideal for the solar plexus chakra. Below are yoga positions and movements that will help connect you to the energy of the solar plexus chakra.

Balancing Your Manipura: How to Realign Your Solar Plexus Chakra

Mediation for Solar Plexus Chakra — Meditation plays an important role in restoring balance to your chakras. Chakra meditation techniques are similar to traditional meditation techniques but focus on a specific area of the body. Below is a simple meditation technique to help aid in balancing your solar plexus chakra.

  1. Sit with your shoulders back and spine straight. Relax your muscles as you close your eyes and breathe deeply. Inhale through your nose and exhale through the mouth.

2. Focus your attention on the location of your solar plexus chakra: your abdomen, a few inches above the navel.

3. Since the solar plexus chakra is tied to the color of yellow, imagine a yellow glow above your navel, slowly expanding to the bottom of your rib cage and making the whole area warm and relaxed. Rest in this sensation for 3-5 minutes.

4. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes. You may follow with positive affirmations.

Solar Plexus Chakra Affirmations — Affirmations are a positive way to heal negative programming that can be embedded in your subtle body. When balancing your solar plexus chakra, practice saying these phrases to yourself:

  • I love and accept my house
  • I am authentic
  • I feel my own powers
  • I am free to choose in any situation
  • I direct my own life

Aromatherapy for Solar Plexus Chakra — Aromatherapy can be a powerful and simple tool for opening and balancing your solar plexus chakra. Use essential oils with balancing aromas that promote feelings of confidence, courage, and motivation.

Essential Oils For The Solar Plexus Chakra | Essential oils for ...

Solar Plexus Chakra Foods

List of Fruits and Vegetables for Amazing Energy and Health ...

Solar Plexus Crystals —  Each chakra is influenced by unique stones and their energetic properties. The solar plexus chakra is highly influenced by tiger’s eye. When balancing your solar plexus chakra, meditate with tiger’s eye or carry the stone with you to let the energetic properties help restore balance to the chakra.

Focus on your solar plexus chakra health today, and see how you feel towards the end of the week. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so be sure to leave a comment below.

Until next time tribe,

XOXO

15 Black Lingerie Brands You Can Support Today! Shop #BlackOut Series

Recent events have made it imperative that we support our black communities now, more than ever. One great way we can all do this is by pouring our time, resources and most importantly money into black businesses today. It is our duty to uplift and support our brothers and sisters, and doing so economically is a productive and sustainable way forward. This is the first of a series I am starting to highlight businesses within our black communities we can support. Economic power and freedom is a must when demanding the justice we all deserve. Let’s all do our part and start to give back to and support the communities which have cultivated and supported us. Get selfie ready with some of the brands below, with a variety of product offerings, unisex products, and all natural ingredients, issa win win win!

7 Black-Owned Lingerie Brands That Will Revitalize Your Sexy ...

MADE FOR CURVES

LOVE VERA

SAVAGE X FENTY

ANYA LUST

D BLEU DAZZLED

A special shoutout to the d Bleu team, I had a tight deadline for my shoot and they made sure to rush my order to me and worked with me all they could. They definitely take care of their customers.

BIJTE LINGERIE

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something #cookie would wear

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KELLY’S KLOSET

GABI FRESH X PLAYFUL PROMISES

SUZY BLACK 

BLUE REIGN

Nubian Skin

Beautifully Undressed

Nude Barre

Sablier Lingerie & Shapewear

You Lingerie

Amber Plum Panty - You! Lingerie - Maternity Underwear

Women Crush Wednesday: Double Feature!

So, today’s #wcw is a bit different because 1) we have two entries today and 2) they’re not individuals, rather, a group of awesome women doing awesome things. I couldn’t decide as I came across both stories and was like, “(wo)man, this is awesome.” (See what I did there? eh? eh? Ok, I’ll stop).

The first group of women we’re applauding today is an all woman anti-poaching unit called the Akashinga (which means “the brave ones” in Shona) from Zimbabwe. They have arrested 72 poachers since forming in 2017. In the past, Zimbabwe has struggled to stop poaching, even in protected areas. More than 8,000 elephants have been poached in regions throughout the country over the past 16 years.  

Legends and Legacies of Conservation in Africa

What makes the Akashinga unit groundbreaking, however, is that it’s made up entirely of women drawn from the most marginalized demographics, including single mothers, survivors of sexual abuse, orphans, and widows.

The mere existence of the group challenges prevailing gender norms that claim women are incapable of working in male-dominated fields, let alone one as dangerous as anti-poaching, which has seen more than 1,000 rangers killed while on duty over the past decade.

Akashinga women rangers fight poaching in Zimbabwe's Phundundu ...

The Akashinga women are put through anti-poaching and conservation training courses, paid a living wage, and connected with groups to promote community empowerment. As the women gain financial independence, they’re also able to rejuvenate local economies, according to the BBC. In fact, an estimated 72% of the income earned by the rangers gets reinvested into local communities. In these ways, the group is able to cultivate support throughout local communities and is able to open up new opportunities for girls and women.

The Fight to Stop Poaching: What If We've Been Doing It Wrong ...

While poaching is the biggest threat facing big game animals, they’re harmed by habitat loss, climate change, disease, and other factors. That’s where Akashinga’s holistic approach comes in. Not only does the group thwart poaching efforts, it also promotes sustainability. Did I mention their vegan?

The second swoon worthy girl group is The Skate Witches, an international gang of girl skaters who do what they want, when they want. Inspired by a cult youtube video, Northwest skate babes Shari White and Kristin Ebeling formed this alliance of witches worldwide seeking to progress on their skateboards, make music, and scare the boys.  The Skate Witches print magazine is a platform to celebrate the often-overlooked skaters, photographers, and communities around the world. Blending their perspectives of skateboarding, art, and humor with friends and like-minded personalities they meet along the way, The Skate Witches are creating a vibrant community beyond global borders.

They were the first all-women skate crew to visit Cuba challenged macho culture, inspired local girls, and addressed a lack of resources.

AA020_web

In the Bronx, a sister organization called Brujas, are an all-girl crew opening spaces for Latina and POC skaters in the city – they talk skating, sisterhood, and the movement against aggressive gentrification.

For the Brujas girls, their crew is about more than skating: it’s about friendship, and the radical potential of sisterhood to foster real support systems, outside the mainstream social norms. They see the preventative and healing power of friendship as a source of collective empowerment, especially in the context of Western medicine and philosophy, where it’s discouraged to tap into extra-spiritual realms.

“So much of our world is described through patriarchal, rigid, academic, medical ways, and concepts of understanding the world scientifically,” Arianna, 21, co-founder of the skate crew says. “Traditionally behind those perspectives are just men. In traditional indigenous cultures, which a lot of our cultures are derived from, women were in charge of health and community and motherhood and wellness and food. Not in ways that were demeaning but in ways that were powerful.”

Skateboard Witches Of The Bronx Are "Here To Add A Little Chaos ...

For that reason, female collectives like Brujas create spaces of trust, openness, and agency. “It’s significantly important to me that people feel like they’re an actor in their own health,” Arianna says, referring to physical and mental well-being.

My hat tips for you ladies, keep doing your thing.

Until next time tribe,

XOXO

CBD a Possible Cure to COVID?!

Well, we are not quite there yet, but the recent findings of a Canadian study below still amount to an interesting read that could lead to the outcome the headline states, and even further applications in treating autoimmune disease.

Researchers at the University of Lethbridge (ULeth), located in Alberta, Canada, recently published interesting results to pre-clinical study titled “In Search of Preventative Strategies: Novel Anti-Inflammatory High-CBD Cannabis Sativa Extracts Modulate ACE2 Expression in COVID-19 Gateway Tissues.”in the peer journal Preprints. Though the publication is yet to be peer-reviewed, the reported findings indicated hemp extracts high in CBD may help block proteins that provide a “gateway” for COVID-19 to enter host cells. This translates to lower infection rates for us by making it harder for COVID to invade our cells. “Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has been generally accepted by the scientific community as a receptor required for the entry of SARS-CoV-2 (this is COVID) into human cells,” said study author Dr. Igor Kovalchuk in a press release.

“Our initial findings warrant further investigation but it’s possible that medical cannabis products could become a safe adjunct therapy for the treatment of COVID-19,” Dr. Kovalchuk added. The study was conducted in partnership with medical cannabis research and development company Pathway Rx, and cannabinoid-based oral health company Swysh, Inc. Tests were conducted on “artificial human 3D models of oral, airway, and intestinal tissues.

Dr. Igor Kovalchuk is chief executive officer at Pathway Rx and holder of a Health Canada License for cannabis research. He and Dr. Olga Kovalchuk are both ULeth biology professors and study authors. Researchers speculated that effects observed in the study might be related to reputed anti-inflammatory properties of high CBD extract, effects further studied in 2015. The paper makes it clear that it is “becoming increasingly clear that cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands play a crucial role in the regulation of the immune system.” It further states that exogenous cannabinoids ( meaning cannabinoids originating outside of our bodies, like those you gain my using cannabis products) have been shown to suppress T-cell-mediated immune responses (awesome YouTube video that gives you a rundown linked!) by primarily inducing apoptosis and suppressing inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Such observations indicate that targeting cannabinoid receptor–ligand interactions may constitute a novel window of opportunity to treat inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

“While our most successful extracts require further validation in a large-scale analysis and an animal model, our study is crucial for the future analysis of the effects of medical cannabis on COVID-19,” Dr. Kovalchuk told the ULeth News website.

Pathway Rx said of the 1,000 high CBD Cannabis sativa plants that were extracted, only a few showed desired medicinal properties. Those strains were licensed to partner Sundial Growers, Inc. and are currently under production. A second research study that examines the use of cannabis extracts for taming the cytokine storm (a severe autoimmune condition that has been linked with some cases of corona virus) will be published soon, Pathway Rx said.

Ciaran Skerry, an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at UMB, is leading a newly launched lab-based study to investigate whether cannabidiol (CBD), an ingredient of cannabis, has anti-viral effects on cells infected with Covid-19. The researchers will use a proprietary CBD formula produced by Baltimore-based firm bioRemedies MD to examine interactions between CBD and the respiratory disease, and determine whether CBD may be used as an effective treatment. The new study follows on the work of Canadian researchers at the University of Lethbridge mentioned above.

This Maryland-based study will attempt to further determine the collected results and see if CBD can viably reduce the activity of ACE2, and if it could be used to help “protect against the excessive inflammatory responses to the virus associated with lung damage and death,” Skerry said in a statement.

Skerry’s team will primarily be studying CBD’s potential usefulness as an anti-inflammatory agent. Covid-19 causes aggressive inflammatory responses in infected patients, causing damage to the airways and potentially leading to acute respiratory distress or respiratory failure. Respiratory failure is the reported cause of death in approximately 70% of Covid-19 fatalities. Skerry’s previous research work has shown that CBD had certain anti-inflammatory effects against bacterial infections.

Based on growing pre-clinical evidence, we now understand that cannabinoids may help bring the system back into homeostasis, protect against damage from autoimmune attacks within the body, slow down overactive T-cell production, and prevent the immune system from being triggered. Now, it may be a key element in aiding our immune systems against attacks from nasty bugs, like viruses.

Belly Dancing For Your Health

Waka Waka Dancing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Belly dancing, also known as Middle Eastern dance or raqs sharqi, is a form of dance that grew popular in America during the romantic movement of the 19th century, and is recognized by its quick gyrations of the hips and ornate movements of the hands. The dance is traditionally performed by women dressed in a bedlah style, which usually consists of a headband, a bra or fitted top adorned with coins or beads, and an adorned skirt or harem pants. There are also various props such as finger cymbals (also known as zills or sagats), fans, and tambourine that accompany the dance to capture attention and interest. Although the dance has been around for hundreds of years, it is not until very recently that medical professionals have begun discovering the many health benefits of belly dancing.

To start with, belly dancing is a very low-impact exercise which makes it suitable for women of any age. It is a total body workout that involves movements that come naturally to the female form, making it a very low injury risk exercise. Contrary to its name, the dance focuses on a lot more muscle groups than just the belly. The main movements of belly dancing involve isolated tension of muscles in the abdomen, pelvis, trunk, spine, and neck. However the muscles in the legs and gluteals are also used to keep the dancer balanced as she shakes across the dance floor. Furthermore, since the dancer is constantly on her feet, belly dancing is considered a weight-bearing exercise that can increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis.

One of the best health benefits of belly dancing is improved posture and strengthening of back muscles. Due to the constant twisting and turning of the spine during the repetitive undulations of the hips and torso, there is an increased release of synovial fluid, the body’s own natural lubricant, among the vertebrae. The muscles in the back are also constantly being utilized and toned, providing for greater back strength, flexibility, improved posture, and a decrease in future lower back pain. It also helps counteract the compression of the vertebral discs against each other, which happens with constant sitting and lack of movement.

belly dancer, dance, and shakira image | Shakira, Beyonce, Shakira ...

Another great benefit is upper body toning. The muscles in the arms, chest, and shoulders are utilized when the dancer holds her arms up in complex movement patterns (like the snake arms), holds her veil up to dance with, or uses the tambourine or finger cymbals. Since the arms are continually being held up, the deltoids and triceps are strengthened, preventing the dreaded “granny arms” that come with aging (that there is also nothing wrong with).

Of course belly dancing is also a great cardio workout, burning anywhere from 300-500 calories an hour depending on intensity. Since it gets the heart racing, it is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular health. And combined with a healthy diet, belly dancing can be a fantastic weight-loss tool.

In addition to all these benefits, it has also been proven that belly dancing aids in digestion, increases balance, increases circulation, helps relieve stress, tightens the vaginal muscles, prepares the body for pregnancy/childbirth, and helps regulate menstrual problems.

A study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies analyzed the influence of belly dance on the quality of life, fatigue, and depressive symptoms in women with breast cancer. The questionnaire based study followed 19 women over 12 weeks of belly dance classes, with a frequency of twice a week and duration of 60 min for each lesson. The study found belly dance can be a viable form of physical activity for women with breast cancer. It was associated with benefits for quality of life, fatigue, and depressive symptoms. Several other studies and meta-analyses found that physical activity (PA) has a positive role on the primary prevention of breast cancer risk, and provides evidence for an inverse relationship between PA and mortality in patients after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Some of the common misconceptions of belly dancers are of temptation, seduction, and entertainment. Little do people know that the art of belly dance contains much more history and meaning than what the typical media often portrays. Believe it or not, along with having cultural richness, belly dance can be very healthy and beneficial for both men and women of all ages. As someone who practices this art, I can sign off on this one. Now, if someone can just do study on twerking.

Until next time tribe,

XOXO

Women Crush Wednesday: A Politician Bearing It All, Ilona Staller

Ilona Staller

So I can already tell this entry is a bit controversial, but I don’t care, because, llona Staller, better known as La Cicciolina (meaning little tubby one), is badass. Italy’s most famous porn star recently launched a political party with a pledge to wage war on the country’s governing Five Star movement after it reduced her pension.

Staller, who is now 68, was a well-known erotic film actress in the 1980’s before forging a career in politics. She describes her motivations as being disgusted by the anti-establishment party, which has been part of the Italian government since 2018. Between 1987 and 1991, she served as an MP with the Radical Party and made headline-grabbing policy pledges, such as offering to have sex with Saddam Hussein in return for peace in Iraq. Now, she is poised to once again hit the campaign trail with the new Democracy, Nature and Love party, which will be used as a vehicle to vent personal fury over the Five Star Movement’s swingeing pension cuts.

In a show against the elite, the populists who control the reins of power in Rome took a knife to MPs’ pensions and reduced it. Staller has branded this cut ‘unconstitutional’ and is drumming up a clamour to see ministers’ own wallets take a similar hit. Defiant, she said: ‘I am getting back into politics to point out that these politicians are slashing the pensions of ex-MPs while keeping their own wages.’  

Staller campaigns for election in 1987. She was elected to parliament with the Radical Party, for whom she remained an MP until losing her seat and quitting the party in 1991

Staller first gained traction in Hungary in the early 1970s as a model, before heading south to Italy to begin life as a porn actress. With renowned pornographer Riccardo Schicchim she founded her own studio called Diva Futura porn studios. She really shot to national fame in a memorable TV interview where she flashed her breasts live on air. (Don’t be scared of areolas.)

Staller continued to produce porn films while she dipped her toe in politics, running unsuccessfully for the Green Party before finally winning a seat with the Radicals. She ditched the party in 1991 and four years later established her own party – the Party of Love – with another fellow porn star. Flagship policies included legalizing prostitution, same sex marriage and cannabis for medicinal reasons.

ilona staller ci spiega cos'è il political porn - i-D

Now, she has once again set her sights on public office with the Democracy, Nature and Love Party.  The next election is not until 2023, but the Italian political landscape has been increasingly tumultuous since Five Star ruptured the traditional two-partyism in 2013. The party, which comedian Beppe Grillo founded, was forced into coalition with the Democratic Party in late 2019 after the anti-immigration Northern League pulled out of government.  

She is my woman crush Wednesday because she is unapologetically fiercely feminist. An advocate for all types of people, all bodies, all types of love, all types of professions, and all types of medicine, she never once allowed societal messages to dictate who and what she could and should be. As a woman who always finds myself struggling to find my way in extremely male dominated industries, she gives me the courage to keep showing up and out and keep demanding the respect I give to others, even if you happen to like what you see when I walk into the room.

Woman Crush Wednesday: A Young Hero, Oluwatoyin Salau

Oluwatoyin Salau Bio, Age, Death, Parents, Assault Tweets ...

Today’s woman crush Wednesday breaks my heart. A young, promising young lady, whose life was cut short. Those who knew her would describe her as having a passion for social justice and the Black Lives Movement. You may know her for her interview by WCTV on May 29 at one of the local demonstrations against police brutality.

She was an emerging leader in Tallahassee’s protests following the death of George Floyd. “We are doing this for our brothers and our sisters who got shot but we are doing this for every black person, because at the end of the day, I cannot take my fucking skin color off,” Salau said in a prominent video shared on Twitter. “I am profiled whether I like it or not.” Salau was also a major advocate calling for justice for Tony McDade, a black transgender man who was shot and killed by Tallahassee police officers.

“She was a strong, young black female leader to me, and a powerful speaker,” Trish Brown, a founder of the Tallahassee Community Action Committee, told the New York Times. (Salau worked frequently with the organization in recent weeks.) “I feel like something was snatched away from me.”

On June 6, Salau, who was home insecure, stated on Twitter that she was sexually assaulted in east Tallahassee by a man who promised her a ride to church, after telling him about a previous incident of sexual assault. While she reportedly told police of the incident, TPD informed her that more evidence would be needed to charge the assailant. This part especially infuriates me, as I’ve been in similar situations before, and the police have done absolutely nothing, often times citing the law as offering no protections. If I can’t protect myself against a man sitting outside my house multiple times, then there is no justice. If I seek help from an officer of the law, and I am told, and I quote, “You can’t just decide to stop… [having sex] …because it’s not good,” then where are our protections. If I am told, “I am sorry baby, that’s just the law, and it’s stupid, and I’m sorry,” by an empathetic black woman sitting in the court house advising me on what to do next, then that law has failed!

It did exactly that. Hours after publishing on Twitter account, our sister went missing. On Monday, nine days after she went missing, investigators reported that they found her, unfortunately, we were too late.

In the era of #metoo, black lives matter must inlcude being honest about the state of general attitudes towards black and indigenous womxn. I’m upset and I’m angry, because this could have been me on many occasions. I’m upset and I’m angry because women’s bodies are inhumanely objectified to the point where we can no longer enjoy our own bodies. I’m upset and I’m angry because we have failed another black sister. I’m upset and I’m angry because as I write this I know that this will happen again.

Being upset and angry can only last for too long though, so why don’t we take some action for once.

Here are a some ways we can stay current and active:

Stay Current

I have a few Youtuber’s I watch regularly that cover missing person’s cases. They continue to bring light to our missing womxn and girls, refusing to let their cases die until answers, closure and healing are achieved. Check them out below.

Kendall Rae  

I’ve been watching Kendall for about 5 years now. I love her channel because she puts time into doing her research in order to give her viewers the most accurate information. I believe that one of the most important videos she puts out are the missing persons, this is because she sometimes works with the missing person’s family to get all possible information out in order to help their loved one return home to them. Kendall also works with Thorn, an organization that focuses on combating human trafficking, especially of children; she helps raise money for the organization in order to help keep it operating.

Danelle Hallan

I love Danelle’s channel, she covers a wide variety of cases in great detail. She’s very good with keeping up with the most up to date information regarding each case and also provides many ways you can get involved from signing petitions and sending letters to donating straight to the families and organizations that do the most grassroots work.

It is because of hardworking and diligent individuals like this, why the Golden State Killer was found and convicted, after a decade long search.

Educate yourself and take accountability

Saying you didn’t know in 2020 is not an excuse. We have to look out for each other now, more than ever. However you identify, you are at risk, so let’s keep ourselves and our communities safe.

Donate your time and money

You can have your biggest impact in the community where you live – that’s where you know the most about the environment, the opportunities, the dangers. So when you’re looking to support trafficking survivors, start where you live.

Here is a list of survivor organizations in each state, but this is just scratching the surface. There are survivor organizations throughout the United States and across the globe, we encourage you to check the Polaris Global Modern Slavery Directory to find an organization to support close to home.

UNITED STATES AND CANADA

Find a Covenant House location near you. They provide immediate assistance and shelter in 31 locations across the United States and Canada.

ALABAMA

Children’s Aid Society of Alabama: childrensaid.org (Birmingham)

ALASKA

Covenant House Alaska: ak.covenanthouse.org (Anchorage)

ARIZONA

Phoenix Dream Center: phxdreamcenter.org (Phoenix)

ARKANSAS

Immerse Arkansas: immersearkansas.org (Little Rock)

CALIFORNIA

Journey Out: https://journeyout.org/ (Los Angeles)
Saving Innocence: savinginnocence.org (Los Angeles)
SB Coalition for Freedom: http://sbact.org/sbcf/

COLORADO

Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA): coloradocrimevictims.org (Denver)

CONNECTICUT

Kids in Crisis: kidsincrisis.org (Cos Cob)
Love 146: love146.org

DELAWARE

Zoe Ministries: zoe-delaware.org (Greenwood)

FLORIDA

More Too Life: moretoolife.org (Sarasota)

GEORGIA

Georgia Cares: gacares.org (Atlanta)

HAWAII

Ho`ola Na Pua: hoolanapua.org (Honolulu)

IDAHO

Nampa Family Justice Center: nampafamilyjusticecenter.org (Nampa)

ILLINOIS

Traffick Free: traffickfree.org (Chicago)

INDIANA

Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program (ITVAP): indysb.org (Indianapolis)
Ascent 121: ascent121.org (Carmel)

IOWA

Youth Emergency Services and Shelter: yessiowa.org (Des Moines)

KANSAS

Options Domestic & Sexual Violence Services: help4abuse.org (Hays)

KENTUCKY

The Center for Women and Families: thecenteronline.org (Louisville)

LOUISIANA

Educational and Treatment Council: etcyouth.org (Lake Charles)

MAINE

Preble Street: preblestreet.org (Portland)

MARYLAND

Safe House of Hope: safehouseofhope.org (Windsor Mill)

MASSACHUSETTS

My Life My Choice: fightingexploitation.org (Boston)

MICHIGAN

Alternatives for Girls: alternativesforgirls.org (Detroit)

MINNESOTA

The Link-Passageways: thelinkmn.org (Minneapolis)

MISSISSIPPI

The Center for Violence Prevention: mscvp.org (Pearl)

MISSOURI

Youth In Need: youthinneed.org (St. Louis)

MONTANA

Tumbleweed Program: tumbleweedprogram.org (Billings)

NEBRASKA

Women’s Center for Advancement: wcaomaha.org (Omaha)

NEVADA

The Embracing Project: theembracingproject.org (Las Vegas)

NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Beginnings: newbeginningsnh.org (Laconia)

NEW JERSEY

Center for Family Services: centerffs.org (Vineland)

NEW MEXICO

Dream Tree Project: dreamtreeproject.org (Taos)

NEW YORK

GEMS: gems-girls.org (New York City)

NORTH CAROLINA

Love146: love146.org (Charlotte)

NORTH DAKOTA

Youthworks: youthworksnd.org (Bismarck)

OHIO

Grace Haven: gracehaven.me (Columbus)

OKLAHOMA

The Dragonfly Home: thedragonflyhome.org (Oklahoma City)

OREGON

Rebecca Bender Initiative: rebeccabender.org (Grants Pass)

PENNSYLVANIA

Oasis of Hope: oasisofhopeusa.org (Troy)

RHODE ISLAND

Day One: dayoneri.org (Providence)

SOUTH CAROLINA

Hope Center for Children: hopecfc.org (Spartanburg)

SOUTH DAKOTA

Call to Freedom: calltofreedom.org (Sioux Falls)

TENNESSEE

End Slavery Tennessee: endslaverytn.org (Nashville)

TEXAS

Allies Against Slavery: alliesagainstslavery.org (Austin)

UTAH

New Hope Crisis Center: newhopecrisiscenter.org (Brigham City)

VERMONT

Vermont Coalition of Runaway and Homeless Youth: vcrhyp.org (Montpelier)

VIRGINIA

Samaritan House: thegrayhaven.org (Virginia Beach)

WASHINGTON

Friends of Youth: friendsofyouth.org (Kirkland)

WEST VIRGINIA

Catholic Charities West Virginia: catholiccharitieswv.org (Charleston)

WISCONSIN

Pathfinders: pathfindersmke.org (Milwaukee)

WYOMING

Safe Project: safeproject.org (Laramie)

*WASHINGTON DC

Courtney’s House: courtneyshouse.org

Sexual Assault Resources

The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) has a 24/7 service hotline that connects you to your local advocacy center for help and provides crisis support by phone at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or via their live chat service.

Find Help Near You is a feature on the RAINN site which helps you locate the rape crisis center closest to you anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Department of Defense Safe Helpline is a worldwide crisis support service, provided by RAINN, for members of the DoD community affected by sexual assault. Help is available for survivors and their loved ones.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center offers a wide variety of information relating to sexual violence, including a large legal resource library.

Contact the VictimConnect Hotline by phone at 1-855-4-VICTIM or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services that can help you or a loved one after experiencing sexual assault.

Helpful Resources for male victims:

1in6

  • Provides online chat support as well as resources for male survivors:

Male Survivor

  • Useful resources for finding therapists, support groups and other assistance

Women Crush Wednesday: The High Highs and the Low Lows, Love, Kathy Sullivan

Former astronaut Kathy Sullivan becomes first woman to visit ...

It’s that time of the week again for us to show some love to some seriously #badass women. Today, we are swooning over Kathy Sullivan because she has not only made history once, but twice!

At 68 years old, nearly 25 years after she became the first US woman to walk in space, Sullivan became the first woman to ever reach Challenger Deep, the deepest point in our planet’s oceans. She’s the only person ever to do both.

Challenger Deep lies nearly 7 miles below the Pacific Ocean’s surface within the Mariana Trench about 200 miles southwest of Guam. It was discovered by the H.M.S. Challenger, a British ship that sailed the globe from 1872 to 1876. Since then, many expeditions have sought to measure the fissure’s depth, prompting disagreements not only about the precise figures but also over who truly was the first to reach the deepest point.

“As a hybrid oceanographer and astronaut, this was a once in a lifetime day — seeing the moonscape of the Challenger Deep and then comparing notes with my colleagues on the ISS about our remarkable, reusable, inner-space outer-spacecraft,” Sullivan said in a statement.

Underwater Limiting Factor hitting the bottom - Mariana Trench.
View from the bottom of the Mariana Trench

In 1978, Dr. Sullivan joined NASA as part of the first group of U.S. astronauts to include women. On Oct. 11, 1984, she became the first American woman to walk in space. She later became the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Sullivan had a longstanding fascination with the ocean — before becoming an astronaut, she participated in one of the first attempts to use a submersible to study the volcanic processes that make the ocean crust, according to Collect Space, a space history site.

Dr. Sullivan’s many honors and awards include election to the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Astronaut Hall of Fame, Women Aviators Hall of Fame, Women Divers Hall of Fame, and Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. She has also been recognized as one of the 46 distinguished First Women by Time Magazine in 2017; the 15 Women Changing the World by the World Economic Forum in 2015; and Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014. Dr. Sullivan holds a Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in Geology from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia.

Smart and ambitious, she is the poster child of making your life’s work and adventure of a lifetime. Cheers to you Dr. Sullivan!

Until next time tribe,

XOXO

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