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21st Century Slavery

Hello guys and gals – it's Carissa coming at you with a message as Black History Month comes to an end. As you all know, this is a time to celebrate our heritage and our triumph however still recognizing the struggle. Black History Month shouldn’t be about 28 or 29 days of the year - but it’s cool to be recognized.  Most of the time we only see adults and their roles in civil rights and social justice movements but behind all of these movements there were young people just like you and me - remember that.  Remember Ruby Bridges was just a child when she helped shape history for future generations of African Americans. We’re young - and we too can help shape history.  So today I’m recognizing all my young black sisters and brothers that are positioned to make history versus looking at the history makers of the past.

Black people still have social justice challenges that need leaders at the front lines.Today, blacks still have . The fast-food companies and marketers are very comfortable with black teens being the leaders and trendsetters for their products. The food and beverage products they position us to buy or make “cool” are the very same products that lead us down the path of poor health. I often ask myself, “Why me? Why is it that companies target me for the bad stuff?" We go from being enslaved by slave-owners to fast-food and soda companies enslaving our minds and our bodies. Is this progress? All I’m saying is why can’t an apple be as reachable as a small fry or milkshake. I say our minds are enslaved because a lot of kids today think strawberry is a flavor instead of a fruit. Before there were lashings and whippings were you saw who was coming to get you; and now we are being attacked/killed from the inside out based on what is most available for us to eat in our communities. Fast-food and sugar-sweetened beverages are all around us - in our neighborhoods and in our schools - when do we get a break? When will we be freed from these chains of unhealthy food and beverages and given healthier options?

Are we suppose to just continue to eat whatever they throw at us, or are we going to tell them that we deserve better and - it’s our right to have better options? I know I don’t need to tell you that they are selling what you continue to buy. If you stop buying; they’ll sell you whatever it is you will buy. Black History Month is really a celebration in part of a lot of people who weren’t satisfied with the way things were - so they started an outcry that led to change. Why can’t we change the food and beverage options in our community?

Sometimes people are so close minded and blinded by what fast food and sugar-sweetened beverage companies have made “normal” or “cool” to eat that some of us don’t even know what to ask for or try when it comes to healthier options. So make yourself aware (SHIFTDemand), knowledge is power. These companies are making their profit, while we suffer with health problems.

So let’s embrace the spirit of those who came before us and make Black history to improve the health of our communities. Shift your thinking, Shift your actions and shift your health. Tell me how this blog made you feel? Pass it on.

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Carissa, SHIFT Crew Leader

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