The Trifecta

In Uncategorized on May 17, 2010 at 1:06 am

The trifecta. As a basketball player I wanted to hear those words; Kesha Perry pulls up for the trifecta–good! Of course, the days of making the trifecta or three pointers are now reserved for recreational purposes, but today’s trifecta is reserved for other arenas: domestic violence, depression, and those upset with President Obama’s nominee Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

Domestic Violence
I will be the first to admit that I am a very casual lacrosse fan. Actually, one of my high school friend’s son is engrossed in the sport. Go D! So while flipping the channels, I landed on the NCAA lacrosse games and couldn’t help but think about University of Virginia’s Yeardley Love. A little later in the weekend, I get my Sports Illustrated (SI–May 17, 2010 issue) for the week and there’s an article by Jon Wertheim with special reporting by Joe Lemire and Andy Staples Did Yeardley Love Have to Die? Love was allegedly murdered by a former boyfriend, also a University of Virginia lacrosse player. “Love’s death puts a microscope on the underreported domestic violence among college students.” Essentially, the article highlights the warning signs that often may go ignored in relationships, these warning signs that Amy Barasch, executive director of New York State’s Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, says “anyone can be a perpetrator, anyone can be a victim. It’s about power, about people who exhibit controlling behavior…” At a candlelight vigil last week to honor Love, UVA President John Casteen III implored “don’t watch abuse. Don’t hear stories of abuse and stay quiet.”

While reading that same SI issue, the Point After section by Selena Roberts introduced us to one Jordan Burnham, seemingly a kid who has the world at his feet. But what many did not know–Jordan had an internal battle–the pressures to not disappoint those he loves, remain a competitive golfer, and to keep good grades. And to cope with these pressures and depression, he sought refuge in alcohol. Before he jumped 9 stories, he called his girlfriend to say “I’m sorry for letting you down. I have to go.” He survived, and as Roberts surmises, “Jordan now speaks at schools, trying to help people confront depression. To make the hopeless take a breath in a fit of crisis. To give the distraught pause before they take that final step.” To learn more about Jordan, click here to visit the Philadelphia Inquirer’s series on Jordan’s emotional and physical recovery.

President Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee–The Fallout
My mentor and colleague Lydia Quarles sent me several articles discussing how African American women feel snubbed by President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. (By the way, see Lydia’s blog as well.) Dr. Boyce Watkins of AOL Black Voices writes “the second-class citizenship of African American women has been consistently enforced by our nation, going back 221 years to the date that the Supreme Court was founded. This nomination was especially disheartening for those who felt that the year of Dorothy Height’s death would be the perfect time for the nation’s first black President to do what should have been done long ago and nominate a black woman for the highest court in the land.” The late Dorothy Height was the “founding convener” of the Black Women’s Roundtable, who issued a statement supporting the following position: “we believe it is time for African American women to be represented in all sectors of government – including the Supreme Court of the United States, which in its 221 year history has not had a Black woman nominated to serve on our highest court in the land.”

All three–the trifecta–are important to me. All are intimate subject areas to me. Domestic violence and depression hit especially close to home. Support or not support the Black Women’s Roundtable position, what all three have in common is voice. My grandmother always said that the squeaky wheel gets oiled; speak up when injustice occurs; be strengthen in the fight–whether it’s domestic violence, depression, or the belief that injustice continues–silence perpetuates negativity and harm.


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