Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

Michael Brown and the Mental Scars of Racism and Injustice in Ferguson


Michael Brown
So much has already been said about the uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri and the unjust killing of Michael Brown. I’m tired of unarmed black men being brutalized and killed by law enforcement. I’m tired of unarmed black women being brutalized and killed by law enforcement. I’m tired of people saying we live in a “post-racial society” because we have an African-American president. I’m tired of living in one of two Americas—one for them, one for us. In one of two Americas, black people pay double the price and treated twice as bad. To paraphrase a meme I saw on Facebook—I’m tired of black people calling for justice when a black person is shot by a white person. But when a black person shoots another black person, and someone reports it, they are called a snitch. I’m tired of fearing for the black men in my circle and family. 

Racism can and does have psychological effects on people who are oppressed. From the images I’ve seen in the news, parts of Ferguson look like a war zone. The heavy police presence, gun fire, tear gas, tears of the people, marches, curfews,  protestors being assaulted, journalists silenced—I can’t help but not be concerned about people’s mental wellness. 

There were people who saw Michael Brown be shot to death. I’m sure there are people living in fear in Ferguson. Parents are worried about their black children, especially their sons. When you’re exposed to so much turmoil, and witnessing back-to-back traumatic events, that can be seriously disturbing to your mental wellness and peace of mind. 

I’m concerned about the people’s minds. I’m concerned about the children being exposed to the violence and chaos. I’m concerned about the loud boom noises that are scaring them at night. I’m concerned that they’re scared when their mommy, daddy or Uncle June leaves the house because they fear they won’t return. I’m concerned they fear they may end up like Michael Brown. 

May people think PTSD or trauma mainly affects soldiers. You don’t have to be fighting in a war overseas to have trauma. There are people in the USA suffering from trauma due to violence in their neighborhoods.  So I hope that the people in Ferguson are taking care of their mental wellness best they can. I hope when the smoke clears, there will be counselors available for children at schools to process all of this. I hope people are praying, meditating, tuning out the loud noise with music, supporting each other, loving each other and doing whatever they can to mentally survive, and not be left with too much scarring. I hope people get help and have access to help if they need to talk to someone. Racism and injustice leaves mental scars. 


Emmitt Till didn’t deserve to die. 
Latasha Harris didn’t deserve to die.
Sean Bell didn’t deserve to die. 
Mitrice Richardson didn’t deserve to die. 
Oscar Grant didn’t deserve to die. 
Trayvon Martin didn’t deserve to die
Renisha McBride didn’t deserve to die. 
John Crawford III didn’t deserve to die .
Michael Brown didn’t deserve to die.
The countless others who stories didn’t make headlines-- didn’t deserve to die. 


Racism and injustice leave mental scars. 

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