Thelma Johnson Streat: Multi-Talented Artist & Trailblazer

Thelma Johnson Streat was a distinctive and multi-talented artist that emphasized intercultural appreciation. One of her most recognized artworks, Rabbit Man, can be seen permanently at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). Thelma Johnson-Streat also worked with other iconic artists such as Diego Rivera and she was the first African-American woman to have a painting exhibited at the MOMA in 1942 & her own television program in Paris. Streat was a mixed-media artist, who not only created paintings but also wanted to end stereotypes and prejudice through dance. She performed cultural dances and songs for many children in Europe, Canada, U.S, & Mexico to help them gain an insight & appreciation for cultural diversity. Although she was threatened by ignorant terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Streat did not let this prevent her from expressing herself and emphasizing much needed truthful messages within her creations such as ”Death of A Negro Sailor ” & ”The Negro’s Contribution to Medicine and Veterinary Science”. She also created an educational visual program called ”The Negro in History.” Thelma Johnson-Streat (1911-1959) is an artist and innovative story teller that should not be forgotten. Her artistic expressions and educational works are inspirational and interesting. Here are a few of her acclaimed artworks.

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The Negro’s Contribution to Medicine and Veterinary Science, c. 1945

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Thelma Johnson Streat artwork, title

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Rabbit Man, 1941

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Thelma Johnson Streat Photographed Posing

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Why Aren’t Mentally Wounded Inner City Youth Recieving PTSD Help As Well?

Numerous research studies show there are some inner city children that may experience post traumatic stress disorder symptoms at rates comparable to veterans of war. Some of these youth are being immensely affected by traumatic experiences, which can cause haunting flashbacks, paranoia, emotional detachment, unwanted thoughts, and violent outbursts. When an inner city African-American youth experiences traumatic/stressful situations, & commits an illegal or violent act, their mental health & experiences are rarely emphasized. Inner city youth like Michael ‘Little B’ Lewis, a 13 year old sentenced as an adult for the murder of a man in 1999, do not receive professional mental health support. Michael ‘Little B’ Lewis grew up in the drug-infested & neglected ‘Bluff’ area of Atlanta. His only guardian was addicted to drugs, he was homeless by age 11, not enrolled in school, and experienced a plethora of traumatic events while trying to take care of himself. Yet, he remained invisible to most until his first arrest…and when he finally got a ‘home’ it was in a Georgia state prison with adults at the age of 13. Michael ‘Little B’ Lewis is still incarcerated, and there are still questionable inaccuracies in the case that do not support true justice for the victim or the accused.

If a young inner city black boy rob’s someone, he is often quickly deemed a thug or menace to society, but if his white counterpart commits a crime like a school shooting, then he is labeled as a troubled mentally ill youth that did not receive adequate help. Both boys may have experienced traumatic events, but only one gets sympathy or a diagnosis. Racism isn’t the only reason because there are older African Americans from previous generations who also look at these children as thugs with no hope as well. Neglected inner city children like Michael ‘Little B’ Lewis never receive mental health resources, help, or immense sympathy after all of the traumatizing events they’ve experienced. Of course, we cannot always give a PTSD diagnosis to every person who commits a crime with their own free will. However, it is wrong and dangerous to just help certain groups of victims while neglecting others.

There is a substantial amount of youth/children that are mentally wounded, neglected, suffering from un-diagnosed PTSD, and by the time many people care to pay attention to what they are going through…the damage has been permanently embedded. These children have never fought in Iraq, the Vietnam, or Afghanistan…but they are experiencing PTSD like some war veterans. They’re often quietly traumatized and mentally affected by what they’ve experienced, but do not receive enough genuine support to help them. Instead they are often conditioned or forced to think it is enough to just ‘stay strong’, ‘keep their heads up’, try to rise above their situation, and ‘move on’ with life while still struggling mentally.

Here are a list of good organizations that support and focuses on the mental health of youth/children:

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

MindRight Organization 

Covenant House

Baton Foundation

Positive Thought: ‘The World I Know’ by Collective Soul Analyzed

The thought provoking lyrics and perspective of the 1995 classic ‘The World I Know’ by Collective Soul is a great song/video to analyze. How I perceive this song is that it’s okay to question and feel deeply bothered with the state of our world,  but we should always try to not let this reflection prevent us from encouraging more positivity and good progression within our planet. I love this song and whenever I listen to it, the overall composition is compelling to me. I encourage all to never give up on our world…to never be comfortable or numb to the evil & unfortunate happenings that may be prevalent in our world. One of the many beautiful reasons why hope still lingers on is because this world also includes inhabitants/souls who are conscientious, good-hearted and genuinely care to implement/spread positive change. Therefor, let’s never feel as though this world is mainly full of only gloom and despair…because it is not. We all are each equally important & vital in implementing positive change, and there are people who still sincerely care for the pain/suffering others experience.  If we can’t seem to find many, then let’s be one of the light-filled souls we seek and desire. I also love how this video encourages people to never give up on life and that there is always inspiration/positivity we can grow from and contribute to.

Has our conscience shown?
Has the sweet breeze blown?
Has all the kindness gone?
Hope still lingers on
I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don’t know why

Are we listening
Hymns of offering?
Have we eyes to see
That love is gathering?
All the words that I’ve been reading
Have now started the act of bleeding
Into one, into one

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down
‘Cause it’s the world I know
Oh it’s the world I know

I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don’t know why, don’t know why

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down
‘Cause it’s the world I know
Oh it’s the world I know

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below

And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down
‘Cause it’s the world I know
Oh it’s the world I know

Songwriters: ED ROLAND, ROSS BRIAN CHILDRESS
© KAREN SCHAUBEN PUBLISHING ADMINISTRATION

The Decision to Remain a Virgin: Others Who Are Abstinent After Teen Years

Of course, it is normal and common for people to have already engaged in sexual activity before they are well into their twenties. However, deciding to be abstinent and remain a virgin after adolescent/teen years is a choice that can often have an awkward phase/stage at certain points & times in life. Personally speaking, although I still do not regret my decision to not engage in sexual activity now, there was a time when I did feel awkward & from the ”outside looking in” in relation to some of my peers’ experiences. Now, in the present I am comfortable and at peace with my decision and here are a few encouraging words for people who are abstinent/waiting for whatever reason & who may feel awkward, uncomfortable, or aberrant. Not an overcritical perspective, just positivity, encouraging confidence, and inner peace from a personal point of view.

  • Deciding to remain a virgin should not feel like a burden. Just like the decision to have sex, it should be an embraced choice that feels like the best option for oneself. Letting people who are not you validate your choice/reasoning will only cause internal conflict and over thinking because everyone will have their own opinion/beliefs in relation to your decision. So many voices belonging to others in one head is not healthy and can delete our own unique voice/intuition. At the end of the day and reflecting, we are the ones who have to be comfortable and think , ”yeah, it is/was worth it.”
  • There is this false rationale accepted by some that implies a person needs to be with someone intimately/romantically  to feel & be whole and truly happy. Many people often correlate being single for a very long period of time with something negative or as if the person has a flaw that keeps them ”alone”. I know sex is probably amazing and positive romantic love is beautiful, but focusing on what we’re passionate about and what makes us happy can help immensely while being abstinent. There are a variety of experiences and memories, beautiful ones, that you can create and partake in while being abstinent, which will contribute to inner happiness.
  • Not everyone is abstinent for religious reasons, but spirituality certainly helps in the process of waiting for whatever reasons. If someone truly feels in their spirit that what they are doing is the best choice for them, then it will create peace and assurance which grows. When I decided that I wanted to wait and remain a virgin when I graduated high school, I asked God to help me with my choice because this was a decision that I really wanted for myself. I am only in my early 20’s, but I am no longer in the ”awkward phase” where I felt weird for refraining from sex and often contemplated how realistic it was. I hope who ever is still a virgin long after teen years, or even those who may be celibate, to keep your faith in why you’ve made your choice, create peace within yourself with your decision, and don’t let those who are on the outside looking in dictate or influence the choice YOU have to live with.

 

Don’t Let Negative Energy From Others Change You

We’ve all encountered mean spirited people and those who try to belittle others in some way. However, it is a sign of strength to still be kind and good hearted without letting others liter their negativity inside of us. Many people have become cold hearted and love to claim they have no feelings because of the negativity they have encountered. Well, despite them believing this is a sign of strength in this world…it is not. What is really a sign of strength is when others can throw their negativity your way, but you still triumph because your spirit is full of light. That is truly beautiful and please don’t let anyone take that away from you. Despite whoever is rude, hateful, or ugly towards you…we all have a choice. We can either let these negative people be motivation for us to remain full of light and beauty, or we can let them inspire ugliness within ourselves. The first choice is the best because staying pure feels amazing and being an ugly hearted person means to pollute our spirits. We were all born with beautiful golden hearts, and unfortunately many do not leave this world with the same kind of heart. So, despite whoever  tries to bring you down or make you feel small, please don’t let this break your energy. People need positive energy and spirits that are full of light. It is truly inspirational and has an everlasting mark. This world needs that kind of beauty and if that is you, then what a blessing you are! Thank you.

Encouraging Positive Self Esteem Among Ladies

Despite what society says is beautiful or not, it is important that people feel sincerely good about themselves. I wish that more ladies would genuinely accept their beauty, and not put others down while doing so. For an example, someone who sincerely is confident with themselves won’t feel the need to give another woman dirty looks, hate on another, or give out bad energy period. I’m speaking from a female’s perspective, but it is really unfortunate to me that insecure women give out negative energy to each other, and this all boils down to how confident they are with themselves. I’m not arrogant or conceited, but despite how attractive or unattractive I am to someone…that doesn’t affect the way I feel about myself. We should not thrive off of people’s compliments or take their criticism to the heart. That is not healthy, and we will never be satisfied. This means loving our body types, our skin, putting an emphasis on inner beauty & just feeling truly great from the inside. Don’t worry about not being someone’s preference or body type, because out of all the people in this wide world….some  will definitely be attracted to you. It’s  just science & how the way things work naturally. I want people to feel better from within, and not critiquing others so harshly just to make themselves feel better. So what if some people don’t like the way you look or whatever? Love the way you look, still be humble, & don’t ever feel bad for being in love with yourself just because of society’s beauty standards! Women should smile at each other more instead of giving dirty looks. I’d rather compliment another female than to hate on her or speak negative. Uplift each other, have authentic inner beauty, and understand that true beauty is more than skin. Our true self esteem level will always come to surface sooner or later. So, let’s not be intimidated by anyone, be beautiful from within, and encourage this among other ladies. Remember, beauty is not just skin deep and being a positive person is a true indicator of genuine confidence & good self esteem.