Archive for the ‘Commencements’ Category


I almost forgot to do this, but this is for the Class of 2019. By now, you just completed your degrees, walked with your classes, heard the commencement speeches, and many of you totally admit that this was the last time you saw each other. This part is sad. But you have to stay in touch with your Alumni to keep up. For all of that, this is your blog letter.

Dear Class of 2019:

It’s me, Stephen. And you know who I am. First to the class of 2019, I say congratulations! You made it! Welcome to the club of the Alumni! Or for some of you, the Real World! I know the feeling of walking that stage and being admired of my educational accomplishments. But I have heard that you all had a tremendous year based on sports, academics and yes, getting to this point in your lives that will be remembered as long as you live. If you’re living, say amen.

Even though that this moment in your lives in your educational history is very sufficient, don’t be alarmed but many of you are probably influencing the next class or the next member in your families that is willing to go to that next level to be the best in your efforts. I’ve mentioned this before with a different class, but the reality is you established something that will be very influential. No matter if its your High School Diploma, Colleges Degrees of Associates, Bachelor’s, Masters, or Doctors, somebody is watching you and saying that “I’m going to do this!” My thing is: GO FOR IT! Do the thing that will get you famous with the pictures on the walls and comeback in 20 years to get another generation of graduates to hype them up for the next level. And most recently, we’ve seen elders up near 90 years old that had graduated years ago, and never received their diplomas that were in their 20’s 70 years ago! But the main purpose is that they lived longer to see this moment for those whom didn’t get a chance to see. But also saw it through their succeeding generation family members.

But I want to take a moment to reflect on your Graduation Ceremonies. Many of you had great ceremonies in which you weren’t dancing. Some of you did. And some of you almost got yanked off the stage. Some of you High School Valedictorians that graduated wanted to say your speeches that included some concerns about Sexual Acts of Harassment and other acts of concerns you wanted to say, was cancelled by the administrations of pulling your microphones away.  Even mentioning of names like Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice. This crap of what you experienced was nothing of fear! The administrators of your schools were full of BS. They didn’t care. All they cared was like YET again: let’s talk about the good things, pomp and circumstance music, speeches, congrats, walk on the stage, tilt your tassel and go home.

WAIT A SECOND! I written about this before years ago about top seniors in High School almost got yanked off the stage for the concerns about the violence, sexual harassment, and many other FEARS that many will talk about after leaving school. My thing is, you should be concerned! This happens almost EVERYDAY in the real world! You read about it online, in the papers, the news, and yes you hear it from other folks whom have their problems in the families in school! But alas: it’s graduation season. I need to tell these so-called Superintendents, Educators, Secretaries, Principals, Vice Principals, Dignitaries, and yes so-called supporters who favored the yanking of speeches: YOU ARE SO STUPID! You’re all about the one-sided affairs. But not about concerns! When I heard about the students making their speeches about the violence and racial N-words this 2018-2019 school year and many others across the country: where were you administration? Were you listening to the students?! If you were NOT LISTENING to the kids and especially those whom were Seniors, there is something wrong with you! This is our future! This is our next leaders to might be better than us in which they will be in control of the game. And oh, you stripped their right to speak about the concerns. You all need to WAKE THE F//**+ UP! Yeah I said it! Many of you are worried about your wallets instead of your instincts! I thought “the schools” are a part of “the community.” When the community of Children and Youth are concerned about the world of Donald Trump insults on many occassions, and the violence of innocent people being harassed, bullied, killed,  or even traumatized about their classmates’ experience, WE THE SO-CALLED GROWN FOLKS need to LISTEN! They are our future! They are not just on Facebook, or their phones texting or playing Fortnite! And as far as the University Commencements are concern: When the graduates in were dancing around after hearing the names called, one of the folks put their hands on the graduates (black ones) and try to get them off the stage! REALLY?! I get it. Its a day full of joy. And yes the University had apologized to the graduates for the act. Lucky some of the HBCU’s (the Black Colleges) didn’t see that as a distraction or a problem!

Class of 2019: Word from one of my late church members: DON’T LET NOBODY STEAL YOUR JOY! If I had to come to a graduation and speak to most of you, I’m letting those words be the anchor. Not just for graduations or commencement services but everyday! Spoiler Alert: You’re going to put up with folks whom don’t care about your academics, your sports,  your music days in the choir or band, your family background, your heritage, your gender, your issues of whatever, religion, history, and etc. THEY WON’T CARE. It might seemed racist, sexist, shaming, in all. They will not care. Although they might acknowledge them, but many will not care about it! But I say this, be proud that you made it. Let the haters hate, sulk, lose, and suffer!

If they hate that you got a masters or a bachelors from a crappy school that they couldn’t pass, guess what? SORE LOSERS! Same thing with the High Schools. They couldn’t cut the mustard then and not now. That’s why they complain. That’s why they go on the blogs (not this one) Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others piss and moan about guys like you making it. And here is a shocker, some of them could be your former classmates, and I dare say: your church members that never cared about you growing up, your other friends, and even this might hurt, your kinfolk family members. It’s a well known fact of hate!

Real talk 2019, always continue to be the best in all what you do! Be real in all what you do! And don’t let NOBODY or anything stand your way towards that goaline. You have made it this far. Keep going to that next level! Oh, one more thing: since many of you have your degrees, and got all that grad money and I’ve mentioned this before. Get involved with your school’s Alumni Associations. Get involved with them. Attend a board meeting, receive newsletters, email blasts, view social media posts about your class or school. Tour the school for an open house, attend a homecoming game. Just to clarify that Homecoming is really for the Alumni! And for those whom are way younger than 42: I was told to do this at 18, and I’m telling you here: Go to your reunions. And also, donate back to your schools that gave you love in the first place! Now a days if you have not heard, Alumni Groups or Alumni in general now wants to give back to their schools. And also, the schools want to reach out to the Alumni. Either way, GET INVOLVED!

Younger alums: I know that many of you will be busy with family and college. But the Alumni Committees needs to hear from you about what you want to see in your alum orgs. My advice, get to know your Alumni Committee. Get to know at least one member. Visit the schools, get the info that is current! Buy a T-shirt, form your own Alumni groups and events/reunions, and have the elder alumni to talk to you about why you should be a future Alumni Board Member. And like I said in many Graduation Blogs years ago, you might be on the stage in the future giving a keynote address to a future class that might be looking at you as an example while getting  or presenting an Alumni of the Year Award. Which would echo your work in the community.

In conclusion, 2019 you made it this far. Congrats to all of you. Like I said on the night of my father’s wake in March of  2017: Stay in the fight! And to quote Nipsey Hussle: The Marathon Continues!

Sincerely,

Stephen


While many of us were taking the day off from work and school, the infamous Memorial Day Holiday returned as well as the “unofficial”start of the summer season. You know that is when many will start to travel alot? Yeah that one. This is also the same Memorial Day when many of us in the black community will remind the country that it was black folks that made the holiday. Long history of that missed! And also, it appears that the sacreligous saying of “Happy Memorial Day” is dumb. But however, I’m scratching my head again.

Like last year and this year and the year before that: WHY ARE WE SAYING HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY?!! It’s not for the living!

I need to ask this: does the African-American Community gets to be honored on Memorial Day when many of our black servicemen died or KIA in battle? Even while serving when the country didn’t give them love?

The month of May is Military Appreciation Month, which military member should be given love each day?

The Second Milwaukee Streetcar arrived this month, and in June, the Open House begins. Is June 8th still on your calendar, Milwaukee?

Starbucks was closed for one day after Memorial Day. You know what it means?

Has anyone really adapted to the full blown downside of Tinder?

If Call of Duty is not Nintendo Switch material, can Wolfenstein II be that combat game to become the best ever?

Next month is June: Black Music Month, Pride Month, Month set aside for Fathers, Juneteenth, The First Day of Summer………oh, you know us men realize that it’s also Men’s Health Month? Wear light blue!

It’s really apparent that the celebration of the United Methodist Church’s 50 is catching on. But after the celebration is one and done, what’s really next?

Why many ask those whom are single and no kids: “what’s wrong?”

Why many ask those whom are introverted that are “anti-social?!” Knowing its not the people, it’s really the connection.

Hold up: Noah’s Ark got a new water slide in Wisconsin. Hint it’s a snake ride. Not as you think. Wanna know?

Can the American Legion go to the inner city schools/events to assist them about black history war figures? Along with the Auxiliary, Riders and Sons? This is a serious question here. Not knocking the suburbs.

So many people think that the NFL is being unfair (still unfair) about Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling. Many have said that it’s unfair for him that he’s not signed to a team. NOW the NFL has made a rule that if a player doesn’t rise before the anthem, the team will be penalized 15 yards. There was a time that the NFL players were in the locker room while the anthem is played. Like 2009. My question is, why did 45 had to bust out saying that those who didn’t recite the anthem shouldn’t be in the country?!

Oh my God! Roseanne’s reboot and reruns has been cancelled due to a racist tweet to one of former members of the Obama/Biden Crew: Former Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett. For you Roseanne fans: so who’s the snowflake now?

Wisconsin: we turned 170 years old this week. What about the 8% of African-Americans living in the state for opportunities?

Additional School Shootings in Santa Fe, Texas and also after a High School Graduation in Atlanta, Georgia. Now I need to ask yet again after the “March for our Lives”, why are we are NOT getting the message?!

Was this a great decision by Mayor Tom Barrett by NOT running for Governor in Wisconsin in 2018?

I’ve seen Graduations of older folks in their 90’s graduating from College. You know it’s not too late, right?

How will Juneteenth Day 2018 turn up?

This is an interesting article: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a story about skills being important as degrees. Should this an idea to get folks back to work in a new way? And I know this needs to be asked: if you have a Bachelor’s Degree and you’ve been working low wages for a while well after college, and you want a newer BETTER JOB, why is this being blocked for those whom have a 4 year degree?

MSNBC had a Town Hall Meeting about Everyday Racism in America. Mainly with the now concerns of racism at Starbucks, Yale, etc. Was White America as well as any other naysayer American was paying attention?

Black Men: when we are stopped by the police or had been stopped by the police, do we feel a sense of concern like they are going to get us? And could this be one of the reasons why an interest in Police work is not out of the question?

And the Final question: Has EVERY American get this?

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Coming in June: two things to write about – A Traditional Stephen’s Spot Blog about Graduations. And MEN – I have a serious blog to write about Men’s Health and you need to listen, er read what I have to say. Especially Black Men! Blood Pressures and Diabetes.


Haven’t done a blog letter in a while, but its time to bring it back to the forefront. This blog letter is for the now graduated class of 2017. Yes, for you High School Seniors and College Seniors whom have now gone on to the next level, yes it’s your turn to shine. Like many classes before you, we too have to had to get our chances. And many of us are still getting chances! But 2017, not to spoil things, but many of you will be faced with challenges ahead no matter who or what comes up. So I’m dedicating this blog letter to you and yes, you have to give back to your alumni.

Dear Class of 2017:

It’s me Stephen. An alum from way back of 1995, 2000, and 2006. Yeah, I’m old school now.

First, let me say to you that it’s good that you have graduated. You have not only graduated from your high schools and colleges, but you have graduated to the next level of life! Of course you may have made it, but like video games, you will have to conquer different levels.

And second, during this past year, you have accomplished feats and did them in the last portion of President Obama’s final term. But yes, many of us are somewhat fearful of the now 45 reign as the current President. No telling what or whom might happen, but to quote me telling my mother the night of my father’s wake: stay in the fight.

Yes, 2017 you will have to face those challenges, even if you have to face the act of racism. Where I’m going with this? The recent acts in this era of “45”, video games and social media really proves that yet even though it’s cool to have those things, and to play around with them, there will be problems. Just like having problems because of a name, an upbringing, your viewpoints on religion, voting, the economy, or even your skin color! Especially recently when the 23 year old, Richard Collins III was killed at Bowie State due to a hate crime from the ALT-Right! Oh, you thought that Racism was dead, huh? Explain to me that is such rubbish! Class of 2017, this is ONE EXAMPLE to deal with, not just when you get that first job, but when you get that car, that house, or maybe when you get new neighbors. Let’s be honest, there are haters around you and you need to know it!

But there are good things to be proud of as a new graduate: you are setting an example. You probably set some examples of getting the degree is not just a thing, it’s a  way of life. Many of you probably got a bookcase at home full of past degrees and motorboards. Maybe you have been looking at them for a long time growing up. But now, you see an empty space on the shelf. And it’s reserved for you! Maybe it’s a saving space for someone who wanted you to have it when you get your degree(s). WELL THAT DAY IS HERE! It’s come. It’s go time. And hopefully, you inspired those in your family or friends to go to school or go back to school to either obtain or finish the degree. No matter how many years ago it was, or whatever. I’m sure they were paying attention when watching you taking the walk with your class. I’ve said this before last year and I’m saying it again.  Its time.

In my Public Schools, College and University graduations, yes I had the feeling to walk across the stage and get my degrees. I felt happy of them. But I also had the question of what happens next? 2017, no matter where you go in life always remember these words, in which were the same words I said the night of my father’s funeral wake:

Stay in the fight! Be empowered. 

Stay in the fight everyday. Be empowered all the time! If your family member or friend died this year before you graduated, I hope you did it for your loved one of best friend. If your family member had waited another 18 years in a era full of Social Media that wanted to add something special, well you got it. If your bestie watched you taking that walk and you want to do the same for him or her, you just did it. And I hope they were watching! If you are the parent, grandparent, aunt, niece, nephew, cousin, stepson, stepdaughter, foster son, foster daughter, adopted, a lifepartner’s guardian of a child, a young ward’s guardian, a mentor, a minister, a community person, or whatever you played a role as a Godparent, YES this was the day you wanted and you got it. But don’t stop at 18 or 23 years old. Go with them ALL THE WAY. Support them ALL THE WAY. And yet, help them ALL THE WAY. It’s does NOT STOP! My parents backed me and sister up and yet we are in our 40’s. Not matter if it’s financial or etc. That’s the thing! Don’t EVER forget that!

Finally for you the Class of 2017: Get involved with your Alumni Groups. Register with your alumni associations and be in the know of what’s going on and ways to get involved in your former schools. Even though that you’ll be going to the next level, but never forget the levels that got you here! Many of you had to go through pain and pestilence just to get that one degree. Many of you probably got attacked by a grown person mentality or psychologically all because of what you’re trying to do to complete a degree non-traditionally and folks were messing with you or just being jealous or hateful, you came along way and there was NO STOPPING YOU! Believe me I know. Reference how I was attacked unfairly in getting my degree from UW-Stout. Oh, and I’m still talkling about it because some of you or many of you probably went though the same thing! For those of you whom had to visit your campuses for the first time by using Distance Education and about to graduate.

In addition to the Alumni Associations, who knows maybe you might serve on the Alumni Boards or maybe give a future speech to a future graduation class. Get cracking on the jobs and activities now! And even if you get an internship job later on in life, it’s not too late!

Finally as I close, never forget what got you here! Never forget what gave you life. Never forget the magic you got going, and most of all, never EVER FORGET YOU!

Congrats class of 2017. Be blessed!

Sincerely,

Stephen

 


The time has come: Class of 2016 you are about to go to that next world that many of you have been dreaming of. And yes, for some of you, many of you will be making that mark so badly. I know this. But guess what, before you or some of you will walk across that stage: Just know that many or some will or will not have your back. But also, as newly fresh grads as you are, it’s time to claim “your Sweet 16” in a way that is known: your opportunity. So here is for the newly grad class of 2016: your blog letter.

Dear Class of 2016:

It’s me Stephen. You know, that black blogger guy from a city like Milwaukee.

Congrats to you! Many of you have finally made to the final level about to be graduates and soon to be, Alumni Members of the schools that you have to give back to.

I’m assuming that many of you will be getting your plans together . The same ol’ “after college” plan that will be asking you even after you get your degree. You know what they are. However it is something that is going to be asked of you every day just to keep in mind. Just a sidenote to you High School Grads making the next level: you’re in this too! No matter if your next level involves College or the Armed Forces.

But yes, it’s your time to be recognized. It’s your time to be appreciated of the four, sometimes 5, or 6 years of work that you put into. No matter if it was High School, College or University, you made your stamp on history! And no one can never take that away from you. NOBODY! Defend your degrees. And also, there will be folks will might say, “So you think you’re so fresh or better than me just because you got a degree from some school!” Just a word of warning. But don’t let some goober with a half-pint brain never tell you any different. Many of you had to go through hell, fire, and brimstone just to get to the commencement. Some of you, who had to drop out years ago, for some other reasons, probably made the journey back to finish and get your degree! Some of you whom had served in the military, came back or entered college to finish the goal that was previously started. Many of you who are 1st gen, 2nd gen, or 3rd gen who are from various backgrounds of historical accomplishments in family education, are adding something new to the trophy case. And some of you, (kind of myself) are graduating just to prove a point to belong or actually proving some goobers wrong with all the negativity that was swirled around with bad unethical thoughts who are now just eating crow. That happened to me 10 years ago this month graduating from UW-Stout. Graduating in the area of Industrial Management and used Distance Education to do it. Don’t front old school trads!And by the way, 2006 still rocks! I should also point out, that you might inspire someone from the audience that watched you walk with your class to go and work on their future degrees to get. I’ve seen it happen and it worked.

But in all seriousness, you have your power. Just use it. Not just for you, for those who got you to the dance. Just like President Obama said at Howard University, the very same Howard that Diddy said his address, he spoke about: “be confident in your blackness”. Since Howard is a HBCU, why not he spoke to that notion. And of course the Obama haters via Fox News had to say something dumb. But yes, the President was on point when  he said be bold in your blackness. I know that yes, the College has other folks walking the Yard, but in that speech, I knew whom he was talking to. Sort of like what Jamie Foxx said on the BET Awards years ago when he said “This is for all the Black People! ” Not racist! Understand that.

Now I need direct my attention to the jack off idiots whom are “Soft Administrators” and idiots who feel that high school seniors who got Valedictorian status and many other status that many will not obtain.

CALLOUT: Louisiana: I’m calling your non gotee facial rules what it is. Flat out BS!

CALLOUT: And to the school district who wouldn’t allow a senior to walk across the stage with her class all because she said some poem with the N word printed. You have jumped the gun, but obviously failed to realize that this could be a warning that she might go through once leaving the school. Matter of fact this happened to a white kid at my High School 10 years ago, but the dude almost didn’t graduate because the truth he wrote on MySpace about the crime and concerns of Milwaukee. Um hello! The date was 06-06-06. No kidding. And were still taking about it 10 years later with the crimes taking place now.

*Just a sidenote, that senior who almost got yanked for not walking with her class, has now graduated.

And the last thing, why would any school administrators would take away a black dudes chance of graduating, and having on a Kente Cloth?! As in representing the black culture?! Really?!

Man, some of our school administrators in the schools are so soft! I’m sorry. As a Alum I feel disgusted by which these silly rules are being enforced by the schools to not allow our Black children to participate in the event they worked hard for. And I also blame these scared racist voters whom feel afraid or anguish against black folks trying to make to grad day. And I’ll bet those same folks whom are stuck on stupid with not making it themselves. Watch your back, 2016 grads! Keep making the haters mad by doing your thing. Sooner or later they will realize that your success will turn heads and crack skulls! Trust me! And watch overtime how they disappear. Knowing the thought, some might even be kissing your butt for a spot on the job line. And I know many of you are VOTERS! If you didn’t like to be yanked from your Graduation spot because of facial hair, a poem that reflected the truth, or having a Kente Cloth on your graduation gown, THEN YOU MUST VOTE to change the game! Let your Administrators, or Council Members, or Mayors, or School Superintendents know that this matter does not sit well and yes you have a right to complain. These person(s) work for you, and you have a right to hold them accountable of what they do. If they don’t work for you, as in progress, VOTE THEM OUT! Or matter of fact, you can challenge their seats to compete for their jobs!  And if you’re not yet a voter, it’s time to become one.

Well Class of 2016, you’re Alums now. And every single year, I come on here to tell you that your old High Schools and Colleges/Universities need your help in support the future causes. I urge all of you (even though most of you are younger than me) to join your school’s Alumni Associations. Donate to your alma mater by donating some of your time and effort to support this life long cause. I know many of you are getting some of those Grad Dollars of checks or cash from your mama and them. I mentioned this 2 years ago, why not donate some of your grad cash to your alma maters to support a lab, library materials, or new gym lockers, new computers, or donate to the arts that need new instruments, or just donate some cash to help a new cause to your old school like mixers or metro area alumni groups, or future Alumni Chapters. Even start a subgroup Alumni Chapter like African-American Alumni Chapters or Black Alumni Chapters  and alike. I know one school needs one! And also, you can go to your reunions or meetups. Even serve on Alumni Board of Directors to read scholarship essays, select future speakers,  fix up your old classroom/dorm or go to a homecoming game, and maybe as a idea: you might be called to speak at your old high school or college at a future commencement ceremony! Better get cracking on the donations, philanthropic needs and JOBS now!

And yes you can still buy that swag of stuff!

Class of 2016: take a freaking bow! The celebration has been summarized and concluded. Time to get to work.

 

Sincerely,

Stephen