By Alma Hill 

I remember the day I realized the grocery stores in communities of color sold a completely different kind of food than the grocery stores in “better” neighborhoods.

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I used to live in a small suburb of Orlando called Winter Park. The population was pretty diverse, both in skin color, and income levels, mostly because of a few schools in the area. Winter Park as a whole however is known as one of the wealthier suburbs. Our local grocery store had a produce section took up half the store.

My fiance worked at a mall across town in a lower-income neighborhood predominately Black and Latino. One day he had a short shift so I decided to stay in the area and do my grocery shopping instead of making the 45 minute commute each way.

“It’s the same grocery store.” I thought to myself. “Can’t be THAT different.”

It was what I found inside the grocery store that made me question my surroundings.

In this neighborhood, I walked in and was greeted by a literal wall of Cheese Puffs. While searching for the produce section, I found an entire portion of the store dedicated to junk food. It was in its own corner, and had three aisles plus a wrap around wall filled to the brim with chips, candy, popcorn, cookies, soda. It took me a full ten minutes to find the produce section. It was tucked away in the back corner of the store, and had one wall of green veggies, and two fruit stands. Those were the only vegetables.

I wish I was exaggerating just a little bit, but the sad fact is, I’m not. There is a genuine disparity between the quality of food in Black and Low Income neighborhoods and wealthier, predominantly White neighborhoods. I won’t speculate on the reasons WHY this is, but the fact is, this is the reality. This lack of access to healthy food actually directly affects the health of Black Americans.

According to a study published by FoodTrust.org, “Since 1990, numerous studies have proven that low income communities and communities of color have less access to healthy food than higher-income and less diverse communities.”

The same study also found that living closer to healthy food retail is associated with decreased risk for obesity and diet related diseases. These SAME diseases are the ones that run rampant in Black communities. Diabetes, Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol. All of these diseases are related to poor eating habits.

It’s fair to say that the evidence suggests that available markets have no vested interest in the general health of Black Communities. It’s come to a point where we have to realize that it’s time for Black communities to take control of our health and end the inequality of food. Time for us to grow and buy from our own locally sourced communities.

Now many reading this may be thinking “It sounds easier than it is.” which is true, but it’s also true that there are Black Americans who who are proving everyday that it can be done, cheaply and efficiently.

Take the Libertad Urban farm community located in New York City. The South Bronx is the last place you’d expect to see a black owned farm, but the Libertad Urban Farm is here to challenge your expectations. Tanya Fields, the founder of the the small farm, worked for six years to get the rights and the land to grow her own food for her community.

“This is about human rights.” Fields said to The Root, in a video interview. “We should all have the right to eat food that does not slowly kill us.”

Fields was inspired to grow her own food because she realized there was a lack of healthy food options in her community. According to National Geographic, the Bronx has the highest rate of food insecurity in the country, with 37% of it’s residents not having access to adequate nutrition.

Figures like this can be found all over the country, but they mostly appear in low-income communities and communities of color. Fields, and others like her, are looking to end these kinds of statistics at the source, and have become the face of the Black Food Revolution.

Fields embodies the mission, and the mission of all those who want to take control of their health with one simple phrase.

“The ability to say, I grew some of my food, and I had some control over what went into my body, and I made the decision as to what that was going to be. That is radical. That is revolutionary.”

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Alma Hill is a freelance journalist, actress, and mother living in Orlando, FL. A frequent contributor to online and print media publications, she believes that the words from our mouths will change the world. Born in Charlotte, NC, she's a millennial with an old soul who appreciates a good meme as much as a Miles Davis album. Brave souls can follow her on Twitter @_mynameissoul,but you have been warned. 

Picture it, you’re whipping up an artful masterpiece on your daughter’s hair, braiding and twisting in a design that’ll make Picasso jealous. Then, you take her to school. Hours go by and then you pick her up.

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And… womp, womp! You see a totally different design… a defacing of your masterpiece! “What happened?!”, you wonder.

This time, Charle-feigh happened. Markeisha Simien is the mother of the five-year-old who sent off her daughter to her first day of kindergarten with an impressively coiffed crown-like hairstyle, equipped with a bow. However, when Charle-feigh returned home, it was an entirely different look.



Apparently, Charle-feigh thought it would be a good idea to put her own spin on the hairdo. Markeisha posted the results on Facebook. She said she initially “lost it all” when she first saw the disheveled coif, but enjoyed seeing the massive interest in the before-and-after pics.

"Thanks everyone! She is really a joy! I was upset, true! But me and my baby laughed together at her hair redo!", Markeisha wrote in the comments.

Going forward, Markeisha asks Charle-feigh if she plans to play with her hair at school before dropping her off each day. Charle-feigh responds with a “no.”

Haha!! Do you believe her? Share your kids' rough hair day experiences in the comments!
********************************
Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

Picture it, you’re whipping up an artful masterpiece on your daughter’s hair, braiding and twisting in a design that’ll make Picasso jealous. Then, you take her to school. Hours go by and then you pick her up.

Continue Reading


And… womp, womp! You see a totally different design… a defacing of your masterpiece! “What happened?!”, you wonder.

This time, Charle-feigh happened. Markeisha Simien is the mother of the five-year-old who sent off her daughter to her first day of kindergarten with an impressively coiffed crown-like hairstyle, equipped with a bow. However, when Charle-feigh returned home, it was an entirely different look.



Apparently, Charle-feigh thought it would be a good idea to put her own spin on the hairdo. Markeisha posted the results on Facebook. She said she initially “lost it all” when she first saw the disheveled coif, but enjoyed seeing the massive interest in the before-and-after pics.

"Thanks everyone! She is really a joy! I was upset, true! But me and my baby laughed together at her hair redo!", Markeisha wrote in the comments.

Going forward, Markeisha asks Charle-feigh if she plans to play with her hair at school before dropping her off each day. Charle-feigh responds with a “no.”

Haha!! Do you believe her? Share your kids' rough hair day experiences in the comments!
********************************
Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

The tragic effects of Hurricane Harvey in Houston and surrounding Texas areas have been very heartbreaking. Witnessing residents lose their homes and having to wade through flooded waters in order to find some sort of safe shelter is indescribable. Hurricane Harvey’s fury resulted in more than 50 inches of rain and have left roughly 30,000 people with the need to take shelter. So, when there is even a little bit of hope and light, it is an inspiring sight to see.

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The walls of a Houston, Texas shelter reverberated with the sounds of gospel as a woman named Victoria White spontaneously burst out into a rendition of “Spirit Break Out” for the room of evacuees at the Lone Star Convention and Expo Center in Conroe.

Joni Villemez-Comeaux videotaped the impromptu performance and posted it on Facebook, which has garnered over 14 million views at the time of this article. She captioned the video with “So this just broke out in the shelter…”



It certainly had the desired effect as the audience huddled together and swayed along to the music and erupted into applause and praise.

Once White realized just how viral her hopeful voice went, she took to her own Facebook to express her gratitude and reconfirmation of her goal to spread love and hope in a time of hopelessness.

The Lone Star Convention and Expo Center has reached capacity, according to The Courier of Montgomery County. White’s voice exuded love to a packed house and it looked like such a beautiful moment.

Bless you, Victoria White!

Do you need a pick-me-up? Get into this performance!
****************************
Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

The tragic effects of Hurricane Harvey in Houston and surrounding Texas areas have been very heartbreaking. Witnessing residents lose their homes and having to wade through flooded waters in order to find some sort of safe shelter is indescribable. Hurricane Harvey’s fury resulted in more than 50 inches of rain and have left roughly 30,000 people with the need to take shelter. So, when there is even a little bit of hope and light, it is an inspiring sight to see.

Continue Reading
The walls of a Houston, Texas shelter reverberated with the sounds of gospel as a woman named Victoria White spontaneously burst out into a rendition of “Spirit Break Out” for the room of evacuees at the Lone Star Convention and Expo Center in Conroe.

Joni Villemez-Comeaux videotaped the impromptu performance and posted it on Facebook, which has garnered over 14 million views at the time of this article. She captioned the video with “So this just broke out in the shelter…”



It certainly had the desired effect as the audience huddled together and swayed along to the music and erupted into applause and praise.

Once White realized just how viral her hopeful voice went, she took to her own Facebook to express her gratitude and reconfirmation of her goal to spread love and hope in a time of hopelessness.

The Lone Star Convention and Expo Center has reached capacity, according to The Courier of Montgomery County. White’s voice exuded love to a packed house and it looked like such a beautiful moment.

Bless you, Victoria White!

Do you need a pick-me-up? Get into this performance!
****************************
Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.