Monday, August 25, 2014

Statistics Say!

Statistics show that by the end of our lives we would have spent six months at stoplights, eight months opening junk mail, a year and a half looking for lost stuff, and get this, five years standing in lines.  All I can say is, “Wow”, what a colossal waste of time, talent, and resources.  As African Americans we also spend more money than any other race on hair and hair products, clothing and shoes, finger nails and eyelashes, and lastly cars.  All of which have no real value that can be passed along to your child.  We don’t apply ourselves in the areas where we have great talents but we occupy prisons in quite alarming rates.  Is it that we simply don’t know?  Or maybe we know and we choose to exist on earth not leaving any type of impression on society nor an inheritance for our children and their children.  My philosophy is ‘if you know better, then maybe you will do better.  But a pastor friend says that, “we are simply a lazy race of people.”

At some point, someone has to say, ‘I am breaking the generational curse that’s been on my family for years’.  Somebody has to wake up one day and say ‘this dish my family has been eating from for generations will stop today with me’, by breaking the plate and getting up from the table of wasteful thinking, useless time spent, and misuse of genius expertise.  We must think more of ourselves, realizing there is power within that caused us to be African kings and queens, survivors of slavery, and victorious Civil Rights warriors.  But don’t get it twisted the struggle is far from being over.  In order to break the cycle we must come to understand who we were (our history and our forefathers’ history), who we are today, and the possible destiny that gleans from us for tomorrow.  The only way we will know how to break the cycles that have been purposely imposed upon us causing us to remain enslaved is to realize your self-worth.  Can you believe that many think we will never be any more than what we are, who we are, and where we are simply because we don’t care about ourselves nor do we care about someone else that looks like me and you?  Pay attention, there are mental gymnastics still being played on us, so we will forget how to move past this place in order to be an awesome race of people who not only know the statistics, but also understand we have the power within that will cause us to make a change.

 It starts at home!  What are you doing with your time, talents, and resources?  Are you sitting in front of the television doing nothing day after day?  What do you enjoy doing? How can you use your talents and time to become your own boss by starting your own business?  If you are going to hustle for somebody, you may as well hustle for you, your family, and something that you can call your own.  We are no longer slaves but we sure do act as if we have no freedom or liberty to make better choices for our lives.  However, more times than not we fall into this hole forgetting our history and the legacy left behind for us by those who fought and died so that we can call ourselves free.  Are we making  our forefathers or anyone for that matter proud, or are we just sitting around waiting for the time to pass by, letting the legacies put into place for us so many years ago just slip away?

It doesn’t matter what the statistics say, we’ve overcome gargantuan issues in the past and we can still overcome adversities today. How you may ask?  We must start one person at a time, one household at a time, one neighborhood at a time, one community at a time with a new mindset; that my life is worth more to me and my children than the frivolous things in life that have no value.  But it starts right now, at this very moment in time, today with you!  Let’s get it right and do for ourselves what we want others to do for us.  It’s time out for foolishness and it is time for creating legacies that will live on with our grandchildren and their grandchildren.  Let’s change those statistics and the way we operate as well as our mind set by investing in ourselves.

By Tina Kay,  National Sickle Cell Advocate, Speaker, and Patient, and the NAACP Health Coordinator for Alabama

History In The Making!

I have some awesome news to share! September is Sickle Cell Awareness month all over the country!  This year the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, AL has agreed to dedicate a gallery to Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and it will be the first ever art exhibit, along with a video of those living with the disease to be placed in the Institute.  The video will be shown during the opening reception that will also play and loop in the gallery for the life of the exhibit; along with informational panels about SCD.  Just to give you a little history Birmingham, AL is the birthplace, cradle, and home of the Civil Rights Movement and we celebrated the movement’s 50th Anniversary last year.  Well, the Civil Rights Institute is across the street from where the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church and also across the street from the area (now Kelly Ingram Park) where dogs attacked black protestors and water hoses were sprayed by firemen onto black protestors.  So, having an art exhibit (with artwork created by the sickle cell community) is huge in my eyes!  People come from all over the world to take a tour of the Civil Rights Institute, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, and Kelly Ingram Park.  I say all of this because it just remarkable that artwork will be placed in a gallery from people living with SCD who live all over the country and the best part is it will hang through December.

Please mark your calendar to attend the opening of the exhibit along with a program and reception that will take place on September 4, 2014 at 6pm at the Civil Rights Institute and it will kick off the events in Birmingham, AL for Sickle Cell Awareness Month.  The works will be a depiction of what it feels like to live with SCD on a daily basis.  Sickle Cell Disease is an often forgotten brown people’s disease, leaving those who live it to suffer in silence.  This exhibit will be an eye opener, a mind blower, and give the public some indication of how serious this disease affects people of color.  Those living with SCD often do not have a voice sitting around the tables of the large African American social, political, or civic organizations; when this disease alters the lives of fellow brothers and sisters.  Why is SCD not the topic of conversation when it comes to which health issues or diseases will be the focus health initiative for these organizations in which we belong?  The Civil Rights Institute has decided that SCD needs attention and needs to be dealt with on a global level.  For the Civil Rights Institute to humbly accept the offer by displaying this disease in its rawest form, the arts, will show that this disease too often interrupts the lives of those living with SCD. 

Birmingham, AL has accepted the torch to carry for the country on its back in the past as it pertains to civil rights, just as the Civil Rights Institute has decided to accept the torch for the first leg of this race, as those living with SCD still fight for civil rights.  I salute the Civil Rights Institute and pray others will humbly help to run this race with and for those living with Sickle Cell Disease.  Many of us living with SCD may lose some daily battles with SCD, but we refuse to be defeated by the war that rages within!   So I challenge you to run this race with me and so many like me who live with SCD, and encourage others to place this disease at the top of the agenda during the month of September because there is power in numbers. 

No, I don’t want you to dump ice water over your head, eat some ridiculous food, put on some red lipstick, take a walk, attend a gala, or run a marathon.  I would like you to become educated about a disease that has been put on the back burner for far too long!  I challenge you and will continue to challenge you to help those of us living with the disease by making it priority this year and for years to come; by giving this disease some of your energy, time, and dollars so that those of us living with SCD will stop suffering in silence and crying in the dark!  I hold this torch today in Birmingham, AL as a black woman who has lived 40 years with a disease that no one seems to care about until it’s time for a walk or put on a pretty dress or tuxedo for a gala; that helps me in no way!  I challenge you to help me hold up this torch so the flame will continue to burn for all to see that people who look like me and you with brown skin have been suffering all alone for too long.  We need you to make us a priority, the people living with the disease!  Are you up for the challenge?  I don’t go away easily, so I will hold this torch hoping and praying for people with compassion will help me as I push SCD to the forefront of diseases in serious need of help.

Also mark your calendar for September 18, 2014 at 6pm to join us for an evening of entertainment, networking, and sickle cell awareness at Villagio's Restaurant in Ross Bridge.  Enjoy tunes, including her new single "I'm Done" by Sharon Collins Adley, Comedian Bennie Mac, and spoken word artist yours truly, Tina Kay.  Tickets can be purchased from Eventbrite or at the door.  Lastly, we are so excited about the Second Annual "Arts For Life" Festival in Avondale Park where several organizations and high schools compete to determine who can donate the most blood, register the most people for the national bone marrow registry and donate funds.  We are so excited about this fun, family friendly festival for the entire family and community as all art forms take the stage during the day as we save lives.  Mark your calendars for September 20, 2014 from 11am-6pm.  It’s not too late to enter your organization into the competition nor is it too late to be a sponsor.  Please email me at for more information regarding this article or any of the events.  Thanks in advance for your support!

By Tina Kay, or,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Do Your Thang!

We all have hopes and dreams and we have probably mapped out how to get make this thing we want so dearly come to fruition.  We should all learn before starting out on this goal not to be so rigid in your planning.  Don’t hold on so tightly to this dream of yours.  When you have a goal in mind if it is meant to be things will fall into place so easily and there want be any struggle to make things happen.  You can say getting to your goal is like riding on a small boat (with no engine and no paddles) down a river, just allowing the current to take you to where you need to go.  It may take a few sidetracks here and there but it always comes back to the river.  Those sidetracks may be lessons in life you need to learn in order to get the goal you have in mind. Make sure your plans have a little room for change, don’t hold on to your dream too hard—leave a little leeway for change (those would be the sidetracks on the river of life).  God will place the people and resources you need in your path to make it happen.  Recently, I’ve been working on a website and a spoke with a man who told me he would charge me hundreds of dollars for a service.  I did not grumble or complain, I just tried to figure out how to add this service into my financial scheme.  Then a friend put me in contact with someone and this guy tells me I will do the service for you (better quality) at no charge.  You see what I mean, I went with the flow of things and God opened the door I was to go through for a part of my business to get done.  Don’t be afraid to allow the river of life take you in the direction that feels comfortable and right, even if you don’t know where it is going; hold on to your dream but not with a firm grip—lighten up!

While on this river of life don’t forget to thank God along the way for protecting you from people who mean you no good, schemes, and lies.  If things are not going well and it seems like you are having to force this goal to happen, maybe you need to back away and ask God if this is the right season for this to take place or if it should take place at all.  If you find that every time you try to make some head way with your goal and you run into difficulties and you are forcing things to happen, you may need to rethink it because at this point you are going against the current of the river of life.  It’s okay if you put it down until your season is right or it may not be the right goal for you to have anyway.

We all have goals and dreams and want to do our thing but make sure in your doing you are in God’s plan not your own.  He is faithful and if you are lining up with Him, it will surely come to pass.  Today, loosen your grip on your goals and learn to go with God’s flow.

By Tina Kay,, If you are looking for a speaker at your next event please contact Tina Kay at