When We Say We Are Color Blind

I had to share this piece. In the wake of the Alton Sterling shooting and investigation launched by the Department of Justice, we must not forget the pain felt by so many people of color. Presently I’m still in shock, but hopeful that justice will be served.

Joy Josephs

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Goodbye My Dear Friend…

On Thursday I laid my friend Cecy to rest.IMG_3505

I can’t even get my mind around the fact that she’s gone.

It doesn’t make sense; one minute she’s here and we’re joking around, the next minute her heart gave out, and in a few days she was gone.

Cecy was my assistant at work for close to five years. She was my right hand, and my confidante. She was the cool auntie you had drinks with — a few years ahead of me in age, filled with life experience and great advice. Not only did she keep my cases together, she kept my head together during some very challenging years of my life.

What I adored about her was her good heart. The love story she had with her husband Tony, and the journey to love the second time around inspired me, giving me hope when I was in a dark place before meeting my husband. I was working through the aftermath of a destructive relationship — she was an amazing support.  She had the ability to have me in stitches, while simultaneously telling me to get myself together. She was an amazing mom, and so thrilled to become a new grandma. I will never forget the unabashed joy on her face at my wedding — that mental picture will stay with me forever.

Although I was frightened, I went to see her at the hospital. Through the tubes and machines, I saw my friend. I kissed her, told her I loved her, and cracked a few jokes about the fun things we were going to do after this scare was over. I tried desperately to keep a brave face in front of her husband and family. I got into the elevator with my husband, and an uncontrollable wail came from the depths of my soul.

Because although my mind said that she can get past this and be fine, my heart already knew the truth.

That truth was confirmed two days later.

I hope I hugged her enough.

I hope she knew how much I cared.

I hope she knew what an amazing soul she was.

My heart is so broken.

Rest in peace Cecy.


End of Year Giving

I just did another guest blogging spot — this time on The California Immigration Attorney. Geri Kahn has some interesting articles, so be sure to check it out!

Since there are two days left in the year for giving, here is some advice on how to do so safely.  And I would be remiss if I did not mention the National Black Prosecutors Foundation, which is nurturing the next generation of African American prosecutors through scholarships and paid internships.  Learn more here.

It’s the end of the year, and your inbox is flooded with charities seeking your donation. You may also be getting requests from crowdfunding sources such as GoFundMe. You want to be generous, as well as get the tax credit, but what should you do?

Earlier this year, much was made over Karla Lee, mother of murdered Chicago boy Tyshawn Lee, misusing funds earmarked for her young son’s funeral. $17,000 was raised after a public appeal to aid Lee in defraying the costs of her 9 year old son who was shot in November. Not long after, it was revealed that she bought a 2015 Chrysler 200. Criticism swirled on the internet; Lee responded by stating that she was afraid to walk the streets as a result of the shooting, and the car was needed to assure her safety. She claimed that of the $17,000 given to her, $13,000 remained in the account after paying funeral expenses. Lee also claimed that she used her own money to buy the car.

If she had misused the money, can she be arrested for theft, or an organized scheme to defraud? Technically — no. It has to be proven that at the time she asked for the funds, she had no intentions of the money being used for her son’s funeral. Also, since these donations came from a crowdfunding source via the Internet, requiring wire transfers, this could be a federal offense. But again, intent is the main issue. Obviously, the fact that she bought a brand new vehicle right around the time of the donations is suspicious, especially since she asked for money for Tyshawn’s funeral, yet had enough money to buy a new car.

This story, among others, can leave a bad taste in your mouth regarding crowdfunding causes. So in the future, what do you do?

Read more here.