Black folks serious about reparations need to ensure your family tree is squared away, traced at least back to slavery. Below are some (mostly free) online databases for researching ancestors.
When I was a teenager, we were taught that a lot of random stuff was gay. You ain't hairy? Homo. You dress nice? Fruity. You talking to girls, trying to get to know them? That's gay, bruh. This short listacle is probably the most light-hearted gay culture piece I'll ever write.
It takes a lot of effort, but native Black Americans must learn and share our lineage and history. Here are two legislations you should be aware of with the constant discussions of reparations for Blacks.
While reading Michael Harriot's blog post ripping Florida's Black history education plans arguing that slavery benefited slaved, a specific section spiked my curiosity about people known as "Black Loyalists":
"Approximately five thousand Black men fought for America in the Revolutionary War; more than 20,000 fought against America. Even the Black Loyalists in the American Revolution were not fighting to preserve the British empire. They were fighting for their freedom."
My mind wandered a bit while watching the 2005 military TV series E-Ring episodes 3-6. I thought of a black person who tries to make everything about race when discussing two people not getting along. I don't remember why. This made me wonder. Who were my primary battle buddies during each duty station from basic training to end of service? Who were my closest military family members?
Suicide, the act of someone taking their own life, is always a heavy topic. Military communities have the "22 veterans a day commit suicide" statistic. The "suicide by cop" scenario is mentioned in some news reports. Christians say that suicide condemns you to Hell. Politicians claim that ArmaLite (AR)-style rifle bans will stop gun-related murders, while ignoring the fact that "self-deletion" is the leading cause of gun-related deaths. No matter what communities you represent, there are suicide rates, patterns indicating "why," and hopefully dedicated suicide prevention resources for those specific issues.
I want to quickly share some thoughts on this YouTube video titled "Swiss Guns: What the U.S. can learn from Switzerland’s gun laws."
Army veterans understand the importance of making sure your authorized awards match your Army promotion points, promotion point worksheet (PPW) and other paperwork. Those awards and badges provide a snapshot of your experiences. Once you leave the service, that concept is still applicable to some business ventures and career goals.
Inline with the Black empowerment content I've been writing, I wrote a listacle on how to wear Black-owned business apparel in uniform. Continuing the trend, here is a short list of organizations specifically for Black military veterans.
Military veterans are prime targets for personally identifiable information (PII). Businesses seek our Post 9/11 GI Bill because it's sure money. Employers see us as tax breaks. For as many benefits as we get between Veterans Affairs (VA) and the GI Bill, plenty others get an interesting bit of benefits from our presence. This is one of many reasons as to why military service members must be careful of how we share our military info.
Don't worry, non-technical folks, as I've done my best to simplify the best security practices, these days sometimes called the "Zero Trust" mindset, that I'll recommend in the key takeaways and video below. The overall solution: verify contacts supposedly from VA medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs).
I recently wondered how I would support Black businesses if I were currently active duty Army. This list simplifies the process for Black service members who understand the Black first (B1) mindset and want to do their part.
Things are getting intense in the United States of America. Inflation continues to affect the cost of, well, everything. The Fedcoin versus Bitcoin (and other digital currencies) war for a cashless society has people looking to acquire more tangible assets such as land, precious metals (silver, gold, etc.), and seeds for food. Below I'll list my recommended resources for Black survivalists.
I was all about learning to use free open source software (FOSS) for coursework at Syracuse University. Looking back, there are some things I wish I'd done more while on college campus. And since I feel that way after going to college well into adulthood, I'm sure high school graduates are bound to make many of these same mistakes.
Here's a getting started guide for things you must do while in college.
COVID-19 reminded us how important it is to have savings. Companies are laying off employees to downsize. Many 9-to-5 workers are doing side-hustles to pull in extra income. Some have found ways to lower expenses such as biking instead of driving or moving to a smaller home. It feels like the United States is being tested on concepts covered in the Essentialism book. Great book, by the way.
Even with the recession and increased cost of living country-wide, some people are still neglecting the basics of money management. With issues like single mothers and crime increasing more, especially within the Black community, you have to check yourself and reflect on your financial choices. I'm no professional in personal or professional finances. I'm not going to talk about stocks, bonds, or anything of the sort. Everything I say below, you can work on now.
Like most others, I did not have a great 2020. The only accomplishments I remember from last year were migrating from WordPress to Bashblog and attending an online Veterans Affairs (VA) program for LGBT members:
"TelePRIDE, a virtual health education group for LGBT Veterans."
I support Veteran-owned businesses (VOBs). How? Any way I can. I roam VeteranOwnedBusiness.com for new companies sometimes. I look for the "Veteran Owned Business" badge when checking out websites and company vehicles on the road. I pay attention to military news on RallyPoint.com and other platforms. Then I share it with others via social media and blogs. I do the same things to support independent musicians. Help them succeed. Help us succeed.
Throughout my active duty time in the U.S. Army, I was surprised by how little time was spent on certain aspects of military history. Advanced Individual Training (AIT), the school after Basic Combat Training (BCT) where you learn skills specific to your job, covered basic military occupational specialty (MOS) history and involvement in wars and major advancements through the decades. But in my units, soldiers normally had to ask leaders about history on the unit's primary MOS. There were times I'd find something framed with valuable information on the wall or in a storage closet. I never saw anything formal discussing this, though. The most neglected aspect in unit history, in my opinon, was unit awards.
First published on March 21, 2015
If you’re a Soldier, follow these steps when you have some free time:
First published on April 5, 2015
Just as every Soldier should check her/his ERB regularly, Enlisted Soldiers up to the ranks of SGT should check the PPW (Promotion Point Worksheet) for accuracy.
First published on April 13, 2015
A representative from Wounded Warrior Project called me today just to say “Happy Birthday” and check up on my post-military life. After telling him about my current situation, he was more than helpful by providing additional assistance within WWP and resources outside of the organization. That’s awesome. It further motivates me to participate in WWP activities.
First published on May 10, 2015
In 2011, I competed in a Soldier of the Year competition hosted by 20th Support Command (CBRNE). I didn’t win, but I won’t rant about why I think I lost. . . okay, I lied:
First published on May 21, 2017
Though there are free alternatives for a lot of priced software the average person uses daily, many simply prefer to pay for such a product because of the brand. A house-hold brand offers security in valuable performance and customer support.
Active Duty Soldiers used to be able to purchase the latest Microsoft Office from the Slick Deals on Army Knowledge Online (AKO) website. There's still the Microsoft Military Store which offers discounts for Active Duty Service Members and Veterans. Free Libre Office or $10 for a product you know and use so much?
First published on June 4, 2015
Custom insoles add more hit points to comfort and performance in shoes used for physical activity. Many have one or two main goals including reduce weight, add cushion, support arch type, and wick sweat. I always replace the insoles of my work boots and exercise shoes with Sof Sole products available from Finish Line. My gel insoles felt amazing in my low-quarters during pay-day activities.
First published on August 20, 2015
Anyone in the electronics field in any way that’s looking for a fun and interesting challenge should look into the Electronic Warfare field. For Soldiers, the 29E MOS is still relatively new, but the opportunities in the civilian field aren’t. During my deployment to Afghanistan, I was trusted with the role of “CREW (Counter-RCIED Electronic Warfare) Specialist” and the job of maintaining such equipment on a unit level, and I enjoyed it. Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, NAVSEA, and of course RallyPoint are great resources to start your research.
First published on July 6, 2015
Stackpole Books is the publisher of many of those books you see in Military Clothing and Sales stores. Many of them are worth the money, in my opinion, for any “Leader.” For just over ten bucks, you can physically hold a book filled with tons of knowledge and resources with you anywhere, hand it off to your Staff Duty/ Charge of Quarters runner when they’re “bored,” and have on hand in your home or office for quick reference.
First published on October 23, 2015
Relocation Essentials – read stats about an area such as cost of living, crime activity, schools, and employment.
O Net – Get help with translating skills to positions and search for jobs.
First published on August 21, 2017
Here are 5 websites with great free IT training.
First published on March 17, 2015
Soldiers, the ACAP, SFL, TAP, check-the-block-before-you-separate, stupid-mandatory-five-day workshop, or whatever else you want to call it is a very informative course. Even a Reservist with his civilian life in order can benefit from the time blocks covering the resume, GI Bill, healthcare, and other things involving the transition. The entire class is also a major opportunity to network with the dozens of professionals that’ll brief you on particular topics during your enrollment in the week long course.
First published on March 27, 2017
After reading about why milk is racist I felt the need to get a few thoughts out of my mind about what something means to me – the American Flag. So I’m sharing my thoughts with WWW – because 2017. The “milk isn’t that healthy” argument has caught more attention since this white girl drank milk at the end of the movie “Get Out“. Now more people are talking about the effects of milk on people of different races and how much it truly helps strong bones.
First published on August 12, 2015
During my military TIS, I had the chance to serve a year in South Korea. I was assigned to Air Defense Artillery (ADA). Within that one year, I did many things during my downtime that I felt a Leader should do. I furthered my education via online college courses. I explored the country. I learned some of the Korean language through military computer-based training. During this time, the Army had already replaced Rosetta Stone with HeadStart, which I preferred over Joint Language University (JLU). Duolingo didn’t include the language. I also did many other things that I’ll explain another day.
First published on November 4, 2019
My Enlisted Record Brief (ERB) blog was one of my first personal blogs. It explained how an accurate ERB looks. It’s my most popular military blog as of 2019. I’d hoped my “how to ruck” blog would be at least a contender. Anyway, I figured I’d listen to my analytics and write about the all-knowing military resume again. This time I’ll focus on how to use it for planning career goals. Simply put, I’ll cover getting more on your ERB.
First published on May 16, 2016
Read this featured at Rallypoint.com
Many people don’t like to read the FAQs. Many people prefer to know the cons before the pros. I’ve covered why Rallypoint is a beneficial resource. However, there are some grey lines I think you should be aware of from my point of view – 25.
First published on February 1, 2016
RallyPoint.com is a great online resource for Active Service Members and Veterans. Even if you’re just thinking about joining the U.S. Armed Forces, Rallypoint has a massive amount of information and experience to learn from between the hundreds of thousands of members from all ranks, specialties, and branches to the active forums covering all types of topics which affect the small percentage of the U.S. population who have served, from lessons learned from the worst Airborne jumps to transition help and politics to the infamous “Should a 2LT salute a 1LT?” forum. Here are five key points to consider:
First published on May 29, 2017
Its good to look back at your performance over the years and analyze how you can improve in the future. The Go Live Lively blog is just over two years old. Below are my six most popular blog posts as of today.
First published on November 11, 2015
KIA = Killed in Action
MIA = Missing in Action
POW = Prisoner of War
First published on March 16, 2015
All actively serving military Leaders (if you ETS/retire, they want you out) who hold a social media presence should highly consider becoming a member of the Lead from the Front Facebook page. Here, Leaders share recent news, situations, advice, mentorship, and resources.
First published on August 15, 2016
I asked Rallypoint about the movie before watching it. The opinions on the movie seemed very balanced between yes and no. I’m giving it a nope. While Pauly Shore did have a few really funny moments, I didn’t consider the movie consistent with humor. Many times, the things he does are simply annoying.
Anyways. . .
SPOILER ALERT ! !
First published on April 11, 2016
Working on your transition from the military to college education? Lets cover some essential resources:
First published on January 25, 2017
There are some extreme highs and lows that come along with using the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I’ve written about transitioning from the military to college and finding a school before, but this is specific to the GI Bill and finances.
First published on August 28, 2017
Music is my therapy. It’s how I deal with life emotionally. resistance training is my outlet. It’s my favorite way to escape life mentally for 1 hour, grounds me daily, and boosts my mood.
First published on March 16, 2015
This blog is informational. See my newer blog to learn how to use your ERB (SRB) for professional development.
Leaders, fix your records. Afterwards, sit your Soldiers down, check and educate them about theirs, and get them fixed. That way, they know what “right” looks like, and when they become Leaders they can continue the trend to improve the NCO Corps. Service Members of other branches, just take note whenever applicable.
First published on March 21, 2015
If you know nothing about CBRN, formerly called NBC, your unit is doing something wrong. Remember, CBRN, NBC, and HAZMAT can be used interchangeably. CBRNE is 20th Support Command, and the “E” refers to “Explosives.” They also have Chemical subordinate units. Every Soldier should at least know the levels of MOPP, how to wear a JSLIST, and proper PMCS of the M40 & M40A1 (they’re different), and M50 masks. If your unit doesn’t have a 74D and you could use a challenge, promotion points, and/or NCOER bullet, look into attending the 2 week long CBRN Defense Course and assume the role of Chemical SME.
First published on March 16, 2015
If you’re a motivated IT guru, you yearn for sites like LandWarNet, and Global Knowledge. If you’re really serious about the craft, you’ll dig into Lynda, Professor Messer, AAC, FreeComputerBooks.com, and Alison. Lynda and Alison sound so feminine, but these sites offer a lot of info for free. Soldiers, you should already know how beneficial Skillport can be when preparing for a Microsoft or CompTIA certification, especially since each course is promotion points.
First published on June 21, 2017
If only I could go back in time and whisper a few notes in ears of my younger self . . .
Congratulations on your promotion to Specialist E-4. Don’t put that new rank on your uniform until your unit has a promotion ceremony! If they suck or dislike you, disregard last transmission.
Your Specialist rank is a X factor at any given time. There are many like it, but this one is yours. Everyone you encounter will wonder what type of Spec-4 you are:
First published on March 6, 2017
If only I could go back in time and whisper a few notes in ears of my younger self . . .
Ask Drill Sergeants about their military occupational specialty. Ask what they know about your MOS. Why? Knowledge. There’s a lot more you need to know now about the military than Initial Entry Training will teach you, directly or indirectly. Take notes.
First published on February 24, 2020
My 2015 was full of surprises. I had to adapt to a lot within a short amount of time. I was at a crossroads in life. I covered most of it in my RallyPoint post 5 Years at RallyPoint, 2015 “Make It Happen” interlude, and GI Bill Story video. Therefore, I don’t have much more to say here.
Hear My GI Bill Story, 2015, then Make It Happen in 1 video.
First published on May 22, 2017
Here’s a not so quick list of 10 resources for all Veterans.
First published on July 23, 2018
Below are 6 ways I improved my time in Army dress uniforms.
First published on September 3, 2018
I came across plenty tools during my military service that were essential for the military profession but still useful afterwards. Tools that don’t make my list but deserve an honorable mention (in my WatchMojo voice) – e-tool, 550 rope, wet wipes (yes, really – especially after spicy food), and anything Garmin (assuming they’re not already banned everywhere).
First published on October 1, 2018
There are more creative ways to celebrate your military pride than camo attire and combat boots, though those cargo pants are awesome. In some cases you can also support Veteran owned businesses at the same time. Below are five ways to do both.
First published on August 7, 2017
Here’s a short list of popular pet peeves for Army Leaders and how they became common.
Published March 20, 2017
Rucking, or hiking, isn’t one of those things you just do and get better at, though many may act that way. I’ve broken it down to five major components.
This is mainly for Service Members but much of it applies to trail hiking as well.
Last updated on September 10, 2019
Job Title: Writer
Career Field: IT
Military Branch: Army
Military Occupation Specialty (MOS): 25U – Signal Support Systems Specialist