Mamas Gotta Support

I believe in celebrating the good. So when I see it I like to shout it out. 

And so this morning I wanna tell y’all about THIS woman. 

Right before the holidays I was in a pretty bad car bang-up. Four cars were involved. I was third in the pile up. 

No one was hurt (significantly), air bags deployed in a couple of the cars and I won’t ever forget the comment of one of the police officers. “Why this is the nicest and kindest group of people I have ever seen in a car wreck together. When are y’all going to have coffee?”  

Now THAT didn’t happen, but what did happen was…my (used-when-I-bought-it) car was totaled.

Because the holidays were approaching it’s taken a little while to manage all the paperwork, insurance and compensation for my old nondescript and extremely functional car. 

So yesterday when I walked onto the lot of one of the largest used car dealers in the universe I had just hoped to look at cars. 

But then I met HER….Vickie Wingler Hartman. 

Now I know a good salesperson when I see them. And she was one of those. But she was good, not because she tried to hard-sell me or push me or persuade me to buy this or that car…it’s because she was kind and nice and in no rush…basically helpful with no agenda. 

In her words, “Buying a car is , second to buying a house, one of the biggest deals in a person’s life. I want to be sure I’m helpful in that process, honest and kind. I mean…what’s there to gain by being anything other than yourself?”

And here’s what I love. We got to know each other. We’re both single, hard working people, two kids…kids that we have provided for the best we could…we’ve struggled (like zillions of other women) with negative body-talk and basically seen life as a constant roller coaster of joy and sorrow. It’s not always been easy but it’s been worth it. 

And so from one single mama to another…I want to give a shout out…because mamas need to support each other, because mamas got mouths to feed and babies to raise. 

So seriously…call this a shameless pitch if you wish but I just call it kindness and karma and supporting the hard workers of the world…the next time you are in the market for a car call my new friend Vickie…you can find her at CarMax…CarMax to be exact. 

She’s the bomb diggity bomb.

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And…

Today is the day we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Therefore, I think it fitting to share that I’ve decided to attend the Women’s March in Washington on the 21st. I’ve also decided to attend some of the Inaugural Events on the 20th. (Timing is a bit of a challenge with travel, so am going to do what I can in this realm.)

I realize that for many, this will appear to be a conflict of interest. 

But there are a few things I’ve learned in the last couple of years. 

Listening to people doesn’t mean I agree with them. It means I’m curious, open and willing. Listening builds trust. Trust builds connection. 

Change begins with me. 

I can be for you and also be for me. 

My truth is to stand up for and with love, no matter where I am.

My work is not about politics…it is about people. 

I would rather be for something than against it. 

I believe, at the deepest level of my being, these words from the amazing Martin Luther King, Jr himself, “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

There will be those who consider my attendance at both of these events…not taking a stand. 

But here is what I know and have experienced time and time again. 

Taking a stand can happen anywhere. It can happen in the line of a convenience store, traffic, my workplace, on a run, in the gym…wherever there is injustice there is an opportunity to take a stand…and wherever I go…there is also an opportunity for love. 

The question for me always…is how to be both within that same moment. 

I do not have an answer. I just know that until I am willing to put myself in the position to find out…I will never know. 

Happy Martin Luther King Day friends!!!!

#theredbootcoalition

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I am Naudy

Let me talk to you about inspiration. 

Today I was on a run…when I saw him ahead of me… this man with crutches, one leg, and speed. Man he was fast!

I turned left: but here’s the deal…I’m not sure I would’ve caught him. 

On my way back from my turn around point…I saw him again…this time walking. 

I stopped, “I just gotta say it…I saw you further up Central and you were flying.”

He smiled. 

“How long have you had those crutches?”  

“14 years,” he said. 

“Amazing,” I shouted to him…as I turned and ran toward home. 

But there was this connection. Right? That moment when you see someone and know there is more to the story and you know it will be powerful and bold and beautiful and so you must listen and understand and celebrate. 

And so I turned around and ran back to him. 

“I know you are going to think this is crazy, but sometimes I write about the encounters I have and I wanted you to know you inspire me. My guess is you are an inspiration to many.”

We smiled. 

“I am Naudy,” he said as he extended his hand. 

“I am Molly.”

Pause. 

“So how did you lose your leg Naudy?”

“Cancer,” he said. “Fourteen years ago.”

“You were a young man when you lost it, it seems.”

He counted backwards for a second. “Yes…I was only 19 years old,”

“Where are you from,” I asked. 

“Venezuela…I am now here with my sister. I qualified for a prosthesis, here in America.”

His smile as big as the ocean. Joy incarnate. 

“I’m not used to it yet, but I will be.”
We talked for another several minutes. 

“May I write about this? May I write about you? You inspire me.”

“Yes,” he said. 

Naudy gave me his Instagram account info. 

Iamnaudy is its title. 

Me? Iaminspired

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Let’s Start From Here

Here’s what I wanna say.

Come here and sit by my side. Let’s talk about the things that really matter, like heartache, our children…the pain and joys of being parents, people, the curious, the empaths and the compassionate. 

Let’s talk about what it feels like to be left out, to be exiled, to be bullied and shamed, for just being ourselves.  

Let’s talk about love and fear, anger and sorrow, hope and expectation.

Let’s talk about our dreams and desires for the future.

And let’s start from there. You and me.  

Let’s build from there and know that the others will come.

The others will come because we will welcome them…

And we will sit down and talk about the things that really matter, like heartache, our children…the pain and joys of being parents, people, the curious, the empaths and the compassionate.

And this will happen over and over, circle upon circle, layer upon layer until we are no longer, two…but millions and millions.

Love works like that…it grows things and people and ideas.

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Friends Do That

Food for thought on a Friday morning and I don’t think there’s a right or wrong here. I’m just pondering…

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting with some folks at the King Center in Atlanta. 

I was the only white person in the room. 

At one point someone said, “Ya know…the whole time we’ve been sitting here, I’ve kind of been wondering what’s it’s like for you…being the only white person here. I mean…we’ve been talking some deep things about race, injustice and oppression and I just wonder what that feels like for you.”

I paused for a minute and said, “Well, I muddle my way through a lot of things and just try to be myself. A friend of mine who is black (thank you Toussaint Romain) once told me “You be you and I’ll be me and let’s go where we can to make a positive difference. You can have impact in places I can’t “get into” and the same holds for me. But together we can make a world of difference.”

I continued, “And that’s why I go where life takes me and try to be the best white ally I can, to my black friends.”

Everyone was still for a minute. 

And then one of our group, who is a powerhouse and change maker said, “Why do you have to be a white ally to your black friends? Why can’t you just be a friend to them?”

Comments always welcome. Because I wonder if it’s this simple or this complicated. Either way…lets talk about it.

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This. Now. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

Media Contact:  

Crystal Emerick

​ASPIRE Communications

​cemerick@aspirecommunications.org

​(704) 361-5230

 

 

THE RED BOOT COALITION ANNOUNCES 12-WEEK CURRICULM

 

Red Boot Challenge to drive compassionate listening and action within the community

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 12, 2017) – On Wednesday evening, community leaders joined The Red Boot Coalition Founder Molly Barker to unveil the nonprofit’s newest initiative – the Red Boot Challenge.
 

Beginning Feb. 13, the Red Boot Challenge will kick off with a 12-week curriculum that teaches and facilitates honest sharing and compassionate listening. The program focuses on personal development and improved understanding of how our response and perspectives impact the larger community.
 

“The Red Boot Challenge curriculum addresses the debilitating ‘us versus them’ mentality that is so prevalent in the world today,” said Barker. “By intentionally cultivating trust, understanding and the capacity to get beneath the divisiveness, we can instead see, honor and celebrate our shared humanity.
 

“At the conclusion of the challenge, participants will create a personalized engagement plan. We expect participants to bond over the experience and take what they’ve learned to positively impact the Charlotte community.”
 

The Red Boot Challenge will launch at 10 locations throughout Charlotte including Davidson College, Myers Park Baptist Church, Grier Heights Community Center, International House and Stratford-Richardson YMCA.
 

Each location will welcome up to 14 participants for a total of 140 in the inaugural Red Boot Challenge class. Registration may be completed online at http://www.theredbootcoalition.org/red-boot-challenge.


 

COMMUNITY LEADER SUPPORT

Charlotte community leaders including Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department’s Major Mike Campagna, Charlotte Post Foundation Board Member Tiffany Capers, Educate to Engage Founder Patrice Funderburg and Leadership Charlotte Executive Director Elizabeth McKee joined Barker Wednesday night to speak about the new initiative.
 

• From Mayor Roberts: “The challenge we have is how do we open our hearts and minds to people who have different experiences? We’re too quick to put people in boxes. I applaud The Red Boot Coalition as they teach us to listen to each other and understand why people feel the way they do. It is reaffirming. It is hope. It can bring us through the tough times.”
• Tiffany Capers: “We challenge people to be in a brave space; to change as an individual, to change as a community and to challenge the systems in place in a meaningful way.”
• CMPD Major Campagna: “The real power is listening first and not listening to respond. The Red Boot Coalition is helping us develop a ‘constructive conversation team,’ a group of officers who will be trained in how to have real conversations with community members to build trust.”


 

ABOUT RED BOOT COALITION

The Red Boot Coalition is a nonprofit that teaches people how to engage in honest sharing and compassionate listening. Founded in 2014 by Molly Barker, The Red Boot Coalition has grown from one meeting location in Charlotte to 15 locations across the nation. For more information, visit http://www.theredbootcoalition.org, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

 

-RBC-

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Like the Grass

Where do we go from here? 

A couple of years ago, I was sitting in the waiting room of a Jiffy Lube, while getting the oil changed in my car. A 24/7 news channel was on the television.

I struck up a conversation with a young family in the waiting room with me. James, Michelle and their little one Gabriel. They are African American.

“They’ve forgotten us,” the man said as he pointed to the television news and the Congressional posturing that appeared to be taking place over some economic or social issue.  

“Tell me more,” I said.

James moves his hand in a circular motion.

He continues. “I’m just doing my thing with my five kids, my wife. It’s hard. I work. I try to maintain the peace in my home, my life. I do good things. I try.”

We sit in silence.

Gabriel begins to “play fight” with his dad. They wrestle like two puppy dogs in the chair…there at the Jiffy Lube.

Their play stops and Gabriel hops in his dad’s lap.

“I think all of them (he motions to the TV) need to get in one room and fight between themselves. Instead of sending us to do their war for them, they need to do it. Wars are not between people. They are between leaders.”

I think now about all the people I have worked with in my life…the peacemakers, the bridge builders, the status-quo-challengers, the exiled, the wounded, the brave and I think now is as good as anytime to rise up and decide to take matters into our own hands…not with weapons of destruction or injury or hatred…but seeds of love, connection, listening, trust and integrity.

These times call for a new kind of grassroots revolution…where resistance comes by standing strong in love’s stead and justice’s bastion and movement forward comes from the same. 

I remember when Hurricane Hugo swept through my beloved city of Charlotte. 1989. Oak trees, as tall as three, four and five story buildings fell to the ground. The wind was too much for their size and stature.

But the grass…oh friends…the blades of grass remained, grew and cast a green hue about my city that was beautiful and rich and unwavering.

I want to be like the grass.

If you are new to my page and to me and to the people in my life, welcome. Today is the day we begin. And so too will be that day tomorrow and every other day after.

We are the change.  

Registration for The Red Boot Challenge opens today at noon. If you live in another city outside of Charlotte and want to do something, to organize, to make a difference, please email us at info@theredbootcoalition.org.

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