Thursday, December 31, 2015


by Tayé Foster Bradshaw

It is New Year's Day, 2015. I just returned home from a cross-state-drive from a holiday trip that was not as we expected it would turn out.

My initial travel plans were altered by the torrential rain that literally swept waves of water over the floodbanks with now entire highways and main parts of cities in this area under water. It has been epic, unexpected, and altering.

The trip across the state included painful moments and times of deep reflection to decide what would be important to continue living a full and healthy life. Children and grandchild were a part of that contemplation and as I see the river water rising well into my neighborhood, with road closed signs and news reports of sandbag walls, I am reminded of some things to be resolved.

Be it resolved that the past is the past, there is nothing that can be done about it.

Be it resolved that life includes drama and sometimes that drama includes pain, pain will hurt.

Be it resolved that hurting is a part of healing and that it is something that must be experienced.

Be it resolved that experience is a good thing to teach and guide a journey.

Be it resolved that if the journey is not taken then the existence has ended.

Be it resolved that ending some things is the washing away of the old and embracing a new day.

Be it resolved that a new year and a new day present a new opportunity to flourish.

Be it resolved that to flourish is the greatest gift of the soul.

Be it resolved that the soul matters.

I am stepping into 2016 with hope and promise. Like the unexpected rain and the rising waters give pause to consider what is most important, a new page and a new day present the same moment of peace.

May 2016 be all the hearts' desire in that new breath inhaled a midnight, a new page on the planner. Let it be filled with color and joy.

Copyright 2015 by Tayé Foster Bradshaw Group, The Musings of a Latte

Sunday, December 27, 2015


The wind is howling outside my bedroom patio.

The rain is coming in loud torrents.

Rivers have been rushing over banks, flooding streets, closing highways.

The last two days have been historic in Missouri with the Governor issuing a State of Emergency on the second day of rain, the second day after Christmas.

Plans have been altered, travel was harrowing through Oklahoma and Texas.Missouri,  Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi have all been dealt nature's hand.

This post-Christmas storm that has drenched the first and second days of Kwanzaa is like life.

It may have been spoken of in passing, rain is supposed to come, but is unexpected in its delivery.

This is more than rain, it is a torrent, washing away already fragile ground, met with gusts of unusually warm weather and an atmosphere that seems to not know the season.

Life is a lot like the low visibility, high fog, pelting rain that is hitting the glass.

When it comes, it comes full force, those storms that will eventually pass over, that will eventually calm, that will leave things unsettled in its wake,

But like this storm, life sometimes needs the plan-shattering-weather to reshift and reshape.

The best thing to do is just ride it out, safely, not afraid of the force of the wind, but respecting the moment it is passing.

Inside, secure, but listening, waiting, and paying attention.

Because like life, the storm can shift and rumble and blow the house down.

Then, the rebuilding, and hopefully, it will be better, stronger, and more sustainable than what the water washed away.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mom Chronicles: Holiday Version

The youngest son is on his way from Montgomery to Atlanta to take a flight home to St. Louis.

The girls are finishing up projects and finals before school is out for winter break on Friday.

The husband has his choral symphony performance tomorrow night.

And I am sitting in my open floor plan townhouse wondering how I have these people with this much stuff.

We haven't even unpacked the red and green boxes with the ornaments yet. Nevermind about the tree.

To be fair, we sort of have a family rule that we don't do anything until after the December birthday is over. We are also super busy during the last sixty days of the year, so not having anything holiday up is fine with us.

What hasn't been so fine is that we literally had construction going on for about the entire month of October and into early November. I still haven't put the things back in the hall storage closet because my husband put the boxes in the basement, somewhere.

The holidays are here, Hannukah is over now. Christmas is less than ten days away. Kwanzaa is in a week. New Year's Day and my cousin's 50th birthday party is right around the corner. What is a mom to do?

Well, I inhaled, exhaled.

My son, literally on his flight home right now, just wants me to feed him when he gets here. I already cleaned and readied his bedroom.

The girls, well, the girls are a different story with their forever projects or class things going on, they can finish putting their clothes away when they get home from school day. They already think I am OCD about the house.

My husband, well, I moved his things to the closet since he never uses his downstairs office. He likes to be around the noise of the house.

That is what got me to thinking.

The kids won't necessarily care or remember if I have dusted every nook and cranny of the bookshelves and vacuumed the carpet to within an inch of its life. They won't care if all the recycle has been dropped off before the official last bell of this first semester. They won't even care if all the laundry is finished.

What my family will remember will be the laughter, the time together, and the warmth that I hope my home has created for them.

No, it is not showroom perfect. My living space is half what I am used to and even after all these years, it is still an adjustment. Even that is a gift because it has forced me to think about what we do and don't need, have given me some dream sessions at IKEA, and has made me think about what is really important.

The last finals will be completed, the choral symphony performance will happen, the weekend gatherings will take place. We will eventually get to the tree lot and that red and green box of ornaments will find its way to my sitting room for our Christmas Eve Eve tree trimming. We will light the Kinara on the first day of Kwanzaa and we will laugh.

The holidays are about so much more than the shopping we haven't done yet or the rush rush rush.

I am reminding myself as I look at the vacuum cleaner and hear the whirl of the dryer downstairs, to just pause, inhale, exhale, and be thankful that they will be here to celebrate.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sandy Hook Remembered

When will this country value the lives of the littlest of her citizens more than some intentional domestic terrorist's attraction to weaponry that has no place on American streets?

It is the holiday season, lots of toys are being purchased and placed for little ones just like the little six and seven year olds whose mass murder shocked the nation.

Yet, just two years later and we have had more murders at the end of someone's perceived Second Amendment Rights to purchase courage his internal fear could not overcome. What did the babies ever do?

We have had the rhetoric of hate coming from Presidential candidates, mass shootings at a church service, at an abortion clinic, and even at a company party. That is not including the policing killings of unarmed citizens and the domestic incidents involving guns.

Will there be a holiday season where the citizens lost will not outnumber the days of the year?

It makes no sense and the mothers continue to weep.

Who will speak for the slain?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Guilty! 263 Years

Rarely do I write two posts in one day.

Tonight is an excpetion.

I was going to retire for the night, sad about Joshua Williams getting eight years for the December Quik-Trip fire in Berkely. I was thinking about the injustice of in while the murderer of Michael Brown, Jr. is still free.

The two things are connected.

Daniel Holtzclaw, an Officer in Oklahoma, used his badge and place of privilege to brutally rape and sodomize twelve black women and a black teenager. The black girl, he raped her on her front porch, he also raped a black woman in her hospital bed.

Mainstream media was intentionally quiet about this case.

See, to them, black women don't matter, we are the mules of the world, the ones who deserve whatever disparate treatment they think they can unleash on us.

We were raped by them during the period of enslavement from 1919-1865.  We were raped by them during the period of Jim Crow from 1865-1965. We were raped by them in the Civil Rights Era from 1965-2015. In all those years, a white man was not put on trial and found guilty for raping a black woman. The case of Recy Taylor comes to mind. The cases recounted in The Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance Danielle L. McGuire.

Tonight, I logged back on to just check in and see if a verdict had been rendered. From Facebook to Twitter, the posts were lighting up on my screen. Guilty! Today is that monster's 29th birthday. He will have the rest of his birthdays to spend in prison and think about what he did. He weeped, not for what he did, but because he didn't think they would find him guilty.CV6WpleWwAAQHDH

Black women, black girls, have never mattered, our womanhood and sexuality never mattered.

Tonight, it did.

These women were counted as the least of these, throwaways, people that wouldn't matter.

They stood up, they showed courage and demanded their day in court.

One bright light of the holiday season came early for them, the all white jury that filled so many of us with worry, did the right thing. They found a police officer in these United States guilty for the most depraved and brutal rape of black woman.

Tonight, this mother, daughter, sister, cousin, niece, and granddaughter of black women will rest.

I am a woman.

Mediocre Abby and Racist Antonin

It seemed as if the winter winds of hate and sheer racism couldn't get any worse than the Anti-Muslim spewing out of the hell-hole of Donald Trump's mouth.

Then, the unusually warm weather in St. Louis and the light from Hanukkah were not enough to keep the evil of white idiocy from rearing its ugly head.

Yesterday, while at local Rabbi was offering the message and blessing before lighting the White House Menorah, a quarter-century old white girl from Texas was again having a day at the highest court of the land where she took her millennial temper tantrum. She wasn't good enough. And that just didn't sit well with the rich white girl.

If you dial back a few years, the case bubbled up because Abigal Fischer decided that surely she was better than the 168 rejected fellow white kids who were vying for a spot in UT-Austin's Class of 2012.  Somewhere in that dense brain of her's, she felt that it wasn't because they were truly smarter and have higher GPAs, higher ACT scores, and impressive extracurricular activities that got the black kids in, it had to be because they "took" her spot.

Now, the biggest problem with this and the case in California and Michigan, is that white kids already have affirmative and entitled enrollment options in several universities.

It is called Legacy enrollment.

It is how the vacuous presence of former President George W. Bush got into college, even earning an MBA through his C-grade drunken stupor.  Legacy, meaning, their parent attended that school. For some, like the kinds of kids in Early Decision who hire private admissions coaches, they hope daddy or mommy wrote a large enough endowment to guarantee them a spot.

Yesterday proved to be a potentially dark day and one where twitter lit up under the hashtag #StayMadAbby featuring alumni of UT-Austin with their earned degrees or in their academic regalia.  Facebook was filled with lengthy posts arguing the merits of the case against Brown v. Board of Education or Baake or even the Dred Scott case. There were white and black just done with the evil heart of a lifetime appointment of one Antonin Scalia who opined that black students were just not cut out for a selective school and belonged at one with a slower pace for people like them (complete paraphrase).

All this in the shadow of the relative quiet of the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 13th Amendment on December 6th, effectively intended to end slavery in country and open the door of citizenship, personhood, and yes, education to the nation's black people. Merely 150 years ago. It has only been 50 years of Civil Rights and the hope of opportunity against over 400 years of forced enslavement.

The thought of blacks as not good enough is what has kept doors closed in places like Kirkwood, MO, that has repeatedly declared they "just can't find any" black teachers for the high school that meet the "high standards" of all the nepotism that runs rampant in the district. They have plenty of Abigal Fisher-like and plenty of gay and lesbian, but can't seem to find one. The thinking of Antonin and even this mediocre white girl is the same thinking that has hindered educational opportunities throughout all levels of education in this country.

Yet, despite these obstacles, black achievement is as high as the sun shining in St. Louis on an unusually warm summer day.

While an attempted dis, the reality is black people have attended and excel at the nation's selective universities as well as the nation's HBCUs.  Twitter lit up with the #StayMadAbby hashtag as schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Columbia University, UT-Austin, UNC-Chape Hill, DePaul University, Duke, and Washington State University, among others, were all represented by their black alumni in a refute against the racist statement by Justice Scalia.

Abigal Fisher is the face of white woman privilege who just didn't cut it.

She even had a cadre of white men fighting for her "honor" and "rights."

One has to wonder, though, if her overindulgent parents, likely the ones footing the legal bill, ever bothered to actually be parents and demand that she sit down and study, if they told her that  getting in is not guaranteed, even if they have lots of money, that she needed to have something to stand out other than shopping.

She can stay mad, meanwhile, 4,579,000 black adults age 25 or older (Abby is 25) have a Bachelor's degree or above. 1,078,000 of them have a Master's degree. 150,000 have a professional degree (Master's Level) in law, business, or medicine. 136,000 have a Doctorate. Abigal Fisher can stay mad because 2,670,000 black women are highly educated, meanwhile, her mediocrity was on full display.

Yesterday had the dark cloud of racism threaten to block out the sunlight of possibility, but in true come-back fashion, #BlackTwitter had a field day, even causing mainstream media to stand up and take notice.

Let's keep an eye on this case and see what else happens. Meanwhile, perhaps Justin Scalia should try a less challenging occupation.
Tayé Foster Bradshaw is the writer's nomme de plumme. She is a proud graduate of two selective PWIs, earning her Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Management as well as her Masters of Business Administration. Her #StayMadAbby post included her husband's three degrees from highly selective universities, includin earning his PhD from the state's flagship school. When she is not considering social justice, education, and human writes, Tayé is found writing with her handmade pens, sipping a latte, or wearing one of her signature scarves. She and her family live in St. Louis.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Standing Silent In the Storm

by Tayé Foster Bradshaw

I absolutely could not write.

That is something hard to comprehend for one whose very existence is in words.

The words were there and waiting to emerge to make sense of all that was happening around me.

But I could not write.

Reposted and shared on social media (mostly Facebook and a bit on Twitter), but not much commentary, definitely not a post.


Just plain tired.

After several years of writing, talking, warning, speaking, and generally raising awareness about the dangerous shift in the country, I just stood silent and wondered if it was making any difference.

In the past few weeks, we've had more murders, mass shootings, another black man killed by the police, two mass shootings before we even had a chance to finish grieving over what happened in Paris, and the everyday slights that exist in black and brown skin.

So I just did what any self-respecting introvert would do, I crawled into my bed to drown out the deafening silence of complicit accepance of hate.

The last two weekends, I spent pretty much at home, a couple of those days literally under the covers binging out on Netflix. I even logged completely off for a few days, and for me, that is a long time.

Just plain tired of trying to wake people up, but knowing that if we don't, the darkness will descend upon my grandson's generation just as surely as it was in my foremother's generations.

Tiredness can not remain, however, even as one's soul is exhausted by the vehement rhetoric of hate.  We can't stop, we can't, so I rejuvenated and stepped back into the frey.

The country is in a dangerous place of complicity and complacency. It is a stuppor that several young activists and not-so-young organizers have been trying to call attention to for over a year. We have disagreed on tactics and kept urging for strategy, all while the movement was calling attention to an evil that threatens the very fabric of the country.

Back in 2001, after 9/11, I remember the whole Faith Popcorn mantra of cocooning and nesting. It was "cute" and an entire marketing campaign was created on home décor. There was an unsettling in that mantra, though that I felt. It was the marketing of fear.

Then we went to a false war and as I recently celebrated my last child's twelfth birthday, I realized we have been at war her entire life.  We can't keep doing this.

We are far beyond the doomsday that we all waited with baited breath when 1999 rolled in 2000 and the computers did not crash. We are far beyond even the fear when the Twin Towers fell. We are far beyond Columbine and Sandy Hook and Charleston and San Bernadino and Ferguson and Minneapolis.

The thing I started 2015 writing on my social media was "Get Uncomfortable" and "Wake Up."

One of my good friends asked me who was my audience, who was I trying to reach since the majority of the people on my page were family and then those already involved in social justice. I thought about it and responded that I am trying to reach all the rest and the silent ones.

Silence is acceptance, that was another well shared facebook post. It was in meme's and attached to articles from social commentators who were daily writing and speaking to the masses about the danger we are facing. Yet, all around me in my cozy little suburb, folks are having lattes and hanging holiday lights like everything is ok.

We can't just proceed as normal. Normal is not normal. It is not normal to kill someone over a traffic stop, to walk into a church or theatre and kill people, to rape women at the end of a badge or to slaughter life while claiming to be pro-life. None of that is normal, neither is turning a blind eye.

To look around and see what is happening is to acknowledge it, to have a reaction to man's inhumanity to man and to respond. We must respond. Even if the safest thing to do feels like cocooning and nesting at home, to crawl under the covers and veg out on Netflix.

There is one moment when one is frozen in place, where one must stand still, to test the wind and know which way the storm is coming. After that, one can not be silent anymore, one must act, if not, destruction is left in the wake.

We must speak up.

Standing silent is not an option.

Tayé Foster Bradshaw is a 50-something year old lover of poetry, lattes, and handmade pens. She can be reached at or found on Twitter @lattegriot. Come have a latte and talk about the world.