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Ajah Hales

Black Women

Photo by Ian Kiragu on Unsplash

Two years ago on my birthday, Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, signed the Safe Spaces Act, a framework for penalizing sexual harassment. The Technical Drafting Committee and the Philippine Commission on Women were charged with transforming that loose framework into a specific legislative code.

Five days ago, that code was released.

Written in part by Senator Risa Hontiveros, the code states that:

“gender-based streets and public spaces harassment includes: cursing, wolf-whistling, catcalling, leering and intrusive gazing, taunting, cursing, unwanted invitations, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, and sexist slurs, persistent unwanted comments on one’s appearance, and relentless requests for one’s personal details.”

If you start practicing now, you can probably eliminate these words from your vocabulary by Black History Month

Illustration: ggggrimes

Statistically speaking, about 75% of White people don’t even have a Black friend, but on the off chance that you are one of the White people who do, I have a message for you from your (one) Black friend: Do better.

In her New York Times bestselling book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, author Robin DiAngelo writes, “White progressives … so often — despite our conscious intentions — make life so difficult for people of color. I believe that white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color.”

This is…


The FBI got some splainin’ to do. . .

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

Reading Allison Gaines’ article, Do You Hate White People? reminded me of how uninformed the general public is about domestic terrorism in the United States. Allison’s article mentions “the growing threat of domestic terrorismcentered around confronting white supremacy.”

We don’t know the half of it.

The FBI has been in the hot seat for over 15 years for its failure to adequately address the growing threat of white supremacist terrorism. …


It was always going to end this way

Photo by Jessica Rockowitz on Unsplash

Snitches get riches in Texas nowadays. The Lone Star state’s new anti-reproductive freedom act empowers friends, neighbors and co-workers to sue anyone that “induces…aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.”

The actual person receiving the abortion can’t be sued. But the doctor who performed it, the would-be baby daddy who paid for it, and your bestie that drove you to the clinic are all fair game. Even a Lyft or Uber driver could find themselves on the wrong end of a civil suit. …


Reflecting on the end of an era

Image courtesy of PBS

I was dancing barefoot in the living room. School started in two days, so I was putting together outfits and giving my mother the obligatory annual back-to-school fashion show. Here I am, giving my best RuPaul to the tune of Everybody Dance Now! by C&C and the Music factory when Tom Joyner rudely interrupted my solo.

“Very upsetting news…plane crash…Aaliyah.”

A handful of sentences changed life as I knew it. I was crying. My mother was crying. I called my best friend. She was crying.

If you weren’t born in the '80s, you…


In admiration of the unnamed woman with rollers from Cleveland

Image courtesy of Cleveland Magazine

Who all gon’ be there?

You went to hear Martin speak with your rollers in
tell me what kinda confidence you rolling in?
that’s the level of audacity that I desire
rollers in my hair, pristine attire
looking Sick and Tired
on the front row
best seat in the house — every show

I saw this old photograph in a Cleveland magazine article and it reminded me that Blackness is not a monolith. It was 1967, the summer after the Hough riots. Martin Luther King was taking heavy criticism over…

Race In America

You can’t solve a problem you can’t see.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Nikole Hannah Jones is already spitting fire — and I haven’t had my first cup of coffee. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and creator of The 1619 Project took to the interwebs to explain how colorblindness has been historically weaponized for the benefit of white supremacy.

Not all heroes wear capes.


A tanka of thanks

Photo by Taras Chernus on Unsplash

Cold sweat adorning
glorious green, red and white
No, not ginger beer
a kinder, gentler cousin
Oh healer of menstrual woes

Tanka is a form of Japanese poetry where 31 syllables are arranged into a 5/7/5/7/7 grouping. I like to challenge myself with Japanese poetry because short-form is far outside my comfort zone, and discomfort is vital for growth.

I wrote about Canada Dry because I truly do love it. I have Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), which presents differently in different people with uteri. For me, it means having an eight or nine-day period every 14–17 days.

My periods…


Harry Clay Smith’s legacy lives on in Cleveland

Image courtesy of The Portal to Texas History

On August 25, 1883, Harry Clay Smith, John F. Lightfoot, John Holmes, and James H. Jackson started a Negro newspaper called the Cleveland Gazette. It became one of the longest-running Black papers in the United States.

Within five years, Harry C. Smith bought out all of his partners, becoming the sole owner and editor-in-chief of Cleveland’s first Black newspaper at the tender age of 25.

Smith started working as a writer for the Cleveland Sun, the local white paper, while still in high school. Smith financed the Gazette by currying favor with the Republican Party that he was an active…


Senryu, Haiku, you too?

Photo by Bruce Christianson on Unsplash

Gravity: A Senryu

As you age, you shrink
bones razed by love, death, taxes
or plain gravity

Gravity: A Haiku

Mass attracting mass
gravitational constants
come back down to Earth.

Responding to The Brain is a Noodle prompt: Gravity. Do you think about it? Does it affect your day to day? Do you trip a lot, like me? :’) How does gravity impact your day?

Thanks to Lucy Dan 蛋小姐 (she/her/她) for creating these awesome prompts.

How to join: include the original post of the person who tagged you for reference and tag 5–10 other people (or simply “tag all”)…

Ajah Hales

World Changer. Social Thinker. Business Owner. #WEOC

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