You’ll Know It When You See It

Lakesha Mathis

City Walk. 2016. Lakesha Mathis.

I pulled into a parking lot to see a young man frantically rummaging through his vehicle. Wildly searching! Throwing things everywhere all the while yelling at someone on the telephone.

As I got closer I noticed he had a green rubber band tied around his upper forearm. At first I paid it no attention until I realized exactly what was going on.

The young man had obviously lost something. Suddenly it became clear that he’d lost his best frienemy, his passion stealer, his life drain; he’d lost the one thing that was taking everything from him; he’d lost his fix. His drug.

The Dream.JPG
the Dream. 2016. Lakesha Mathis

In that moment I saw the America that promised him safe passage slip out of his grasp. This young man, America’s future was chasing with great ferocious hunger his own death.

Drug abuse doesn’t have a face nor race. This witness only scratches the surface of a much larger issue. What is happening to America’s youth over and over again? Drug addiction didn’t begin its attack with Generation-X. It seems that something in life leaves us vulnerable to the sexy illusion drugs over and again. The reasons are numerous and varied. But without a doubt it’s present.

Scene of the Crime 04072016.jpg
Scene of the Crime Hometown USA. 2016. Lakesha Mathis

Somehow, this young man I witnessed in a has come to terms with his worthlessness. Which is false. He is worthwhile. We all are. We are all here to meet our purpose. A purpose that is tied to every other purpose.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports through the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009 (NIDA, 2016).

According to the NIDA iIllicit drug use in the United States is continuing to increase.In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older reporting using illegal drug in the past month. The good news is, there is help. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please contact a service provider on the list below.


Help For Drug & Alcohol Abuse


Data Sources

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Last Accessed 4/7/2016.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Last Accessed 4/7/2016.

For complete findings,

For more information about drug use among adolescents,





Slavery Without The Whip

Shonda Pulliam


In light of the recent Ben Carson statement about Blacks being Immigrants; perhaps it’ll be best used to teach our children about our history prior to slavery.  Additionally, they could be taught how that same ignorance has transformed from the whip to our conversations, mindsets, and refusal to change the cognitive pattern of learning that we have inherited.

Artist/Photographer Unk. Title Unk. Mar. 27th, 2017

The first example of this would be marriage. The view about the union of marriage is very much still hidden in today’s society. Were jumping brooms all over again.  Our black men are being taken from us by the prison systems and the streets at rapid pace.  Single, Black mothers are left to defend and provide for themselves; just the way slavery wanted.  Blacks have not let go of that mentality, and it shows up in how some  speak about each other, “Men ain’t shit” or “Women are bitches”  We, as Blacks, need to change this if we are to escape the new-age form of slavery. We need to build true families again; the man/husband as the head, the woman/wife as the helper and nurturer, and the offspring/children, as the love the two created.

Secondly, we need to gather our children and teach them their culture prior to slavery. Teach them that fathers do belong in their homes, and mothers are not meant to raise children alone.  Without the head (father) you get “independent” girls who may not learn the value of provision and protection. Our sons get a triple whammy because they don’t learn how to protect, provide, or have discipline; all the things that come from the man… remember; like-father-like-son! So we raise the next generation of potential fathers and mothers; to never learn the value of giving those things to a family and the community around them.  When you can’t work together to raise a family then, you won’t work together to participate in your neighborhood, grow your community, or effectively change in the world.

Artist/Photographer Unk. Title Unk. Mar. 27th, 2017

Finally, the system is not our enemy. We have bought into the system and can’t buy our way out.  Oh wait, yes we can… we just won’t support each other.  We have the ability to grow our own foods, make our own goods and services, build our own communities and live in harmony.  What happened to the corner store?  The neighbor who would watch out for all the neighborhood kids or eating dinner as a family?  In other words, can we work together to create that perfect circle between family, neighborhood, community, and beyond?  Can we change the slave mentality and learn how to just be us? Be free?  Be new? Become more than what our ancestors were whipped and broken to being.

We have to change our mindsets which will in turn change our conversations. Passing down self-worth, possessing the ability to think beyond your current situations, and knowing your ability to create can be just as important as table manners, politeness, and morals. Coming together as a collective community can ensure that we do both.



Rethinking “Work”

Jason Nugent

Sometimes work just sucks. It’s not always fun. The grind can be excruciating, especially when you’re watching the clock’s long slender second hand slowly ticking the day away. Those moments drag on in a never ending cascade of boredom only to be picked up again the next day. And the next, over and over again.

There are times when work is rewarding. It can be fulfilling. When doing something you’re passionate about, work no longer feels like “work” but more of a privilege. It’s those moments that can energize a person and give them something to look forward to. So why spend so much time and energy in a place or a job that sucks the life out of you?

For many, work is nothing more than punching a time clock. It’s a means to an end. It’s how food and shelter and clothing are obtained. It gives money and nothing else. But is there more? Can work be more? Should it be more?

Photographer Unk. Working. 19 Feb. 2016

For most Americans fortunate to have a job, they have a tendency to work ridiculous amounts of hours at their job. They give up all their precious time and energy slogging through day after day in a place they have no connection with outside of money. The old maxim “Life is Short” resonates when considering how much time is spent unhappy and unfulfilled in a job only to earn money. Not to belittle the desire to provide for your family. That’s an honorable incentive to take on tasks that don’t energize you.

Wouldn’t it be much more rewarding involving your energies and time into something worthwhile? There is still time to rescue your soul from an activity that doesn’t progress humanity. Not that every action has to have a monumental impact on the human race, but wouldn’t it be nice when near the end you could look back at your life and not regret what you spent your time on? Life is not work and work doesn’t have to be life, unless you want it to be.