Going For The Gold

AND THEIR OFF…..

Its mid-August and the summer 2016 Olympics are off to a wonderful start. The USA is in the lead! We currently have 16 gold medals and it’s just the start for the rest to come. With all of the events still going on, there are presently 11 gold medals from swimming, 1 from shooting, 1 in judo, 2 in gymnastics, 1 in cycling, and our USA basketball team, comprised of star players like Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Kyrie Irving, have a #1 position in the events, to say the least.

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We all know of Donald Trump’s infamous slogan, “Let’s make America great again”, well… If there was ever a time to be a proud American, right now is it.

So, word on the street is that it’s a good day to be a Simone.

If you’ve been under a rock, cramped up in your apartment for the past week, or simply have had no communication with the world, chances are you don’t know what’s going on with the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Chances are also slim that you’re unaware of just who “the Simones” are.

For those that don’t know, “the Simones” are made up of two young women, both named Simone, representing the USA in the Olympics. Simone Biles is a 19 year old young woman from Spring, Texas.

Starting gymnastics at just six yeapic.jpgrs old, but according to usagym.org, Simone now holds multiple titles such as, the 2016 Olympic individual all-around champion, three-time world all-around champion, three-time world floor champion, two-time world balance beam champion, four-time United States national all-around champion, and a member of the gold medal-winning American teams at the 2014, the 2015World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

What a resume! The Olympics are far from over, but Simone is already being called the world’s best gymnast. She even has a signature move named after her that no one has ever completed before. Simone has even received flak from other competitors claiming that they’ve been discriminated against because they aren’t black. Despite trials and tribulations, she’s overcome it all. Simone is just getting started and shows no signs of slowing down!

Simone Manuel, makes up the other half of the dynamic duo. Simone is a 20 year images.jpgold swimmer from Houston, Texas. Simone swam locally within her home town through clubs and organizations. Simone has competed in trials, relays, and other championships, earning multiple silver and bronze medals.

In 2015, Simone became one of the first three African-Americans to place in the top three spots in any women’s division I NCAA Swimming championship. In 2015, Simone had a personal best in the 50 meter freestyle of 24.47.  Simone recently received the gold medal for her swimming event, that’s a first for an African-American woman, with a time of 52.70 in the 100 meter freestyle!

Society has a habit, when concerning sports, to think of men and men only. Some people have even made silly statements saying that there’s no room for women in the athletic world, but women are quickly ending that hysteria. In 2012, Gabriel Douglas, gymnast, made us all proud as she took home the gold. She was welcomed on the covers of magazines, talk shows, marveled by celebrities, even the topic of discussion in songs. This time around, team USA as a whole can be proud of this second reign that “the Simones” bring and African-Americans can look up to these young women who have eliminated the stigma, gone above and beyond, and conquered!

If it weren’t enough to be an African-American, being a woman can be even harder. Double minorities often get the odd end of the stick and too frequently do we settle for what we’re given. Aside from stereotype, stigma, trials and tribulations we all have the ability to ignore the negativity and go for the gold! Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Naomi Campbell, Beyoncé, Serena Williams, Tracy Ellis Ross, Taraji P. Henson, Toni Morrison, Dominique Dawes, and Gabriel Douglas among many more, are all role models that we can epitomize.

Simone Biles and Simone Manuel can join that list proudly and show off their #Blackgirlmagic! Some of the qualities these athletes have down pat is persistence and humility along with  resiliency, diligence, focus, and  strength. These athletes aren’t simply drafted to compete in the olympics. The olympics is a competition that happens every four years. Athletes train year round, compete in trials, hire the best of coaches, eliminate their social life, and the list goes on. Some may simply see it as a sport but for these competitors it is their dream, all coming true before their eyes.

Instead of Keeping up with the Kardashians, or keeping up with the Jones’s…Keep up with Team USA and the many paved paths these awesome athletes are making! Going for the gold doesn’t necessarily mean to  become the doppleganger to Usain Bolt and win a world title for sprinting, but insted, to simply follow your dreams to the fullest and allow nothing to get in the way of it.

All of this #blackgirlmagic has me proud! Have you been keeping up with #TeamUSA? How do you plan to go for the gold?

 

STAT-tistics

 

A night out with a bit of too much to drink could lead to some bad decisions. A partner not being truthful with their past history is a taboo in itself. Wanting to be 100% safe and healthy for your own peace of mind. No question about it, these are all reasons to go and get tested.

As young adults, we may indulge in activities that may lead to more consequences than benefits. Statistics show about 36.7 million people in the world are infected with HIV, 1.2 million people in the U.S. alone live with HIV, and 1 in 8 people don’t even know it. The only accurate way of knowing is to GET TESTED, as the symptoms are often absent, leaving a person feeling “normal” while their immune system deteriorates. For those that do experience symptoms, it closely resembles the flu, such as fever, chills, rash, night sweats, aches, and fatigue, to name. In some cases, those who did have the virus didn’t show symptoms for up to 10 years!

To be clear, HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, which is a virus that can cause an infection and can lead to the development of AIDS, standing for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, causing a severe loss of the body’s cellular immunity.

So many of us are still stuck in the mindset that only gay, white males contract this disease, but the facts are that anyone is susceptible. Going to any run of the mill tattoo artist that doesn’t take priority in safety and health by cleaning their ink needles after EACH customer could definitely leave anyone vulnerable to the disease if there are traces of infected blood left on the tool. Engaging in unsafe sex with a partner not only leaves you wide open to the many STDs but also HIV. The chances of pregnancy are also there, as well as passing the virus to the fetus, without proper medication.

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According to AIDS.gov, African Americans are STILL the leading group infected by HIV/AIDS each year. Some reasons that blacks are measured with HIV/AIDS at such an alarming rate includes lack of information and accessibility to health care, the fact that STDs occurred most within the African American community which makes susceptibility higher, and the distrust within the government resources. It’s time to get serious and time to take responsibility. There are plenty of clinics and medical service units that offer free or discounted testing year round! As always, results are confidential. Though, there are many people who live in the world today with HIV and AIDS and thanks to technology and medical innovations, many are able to still lead a normal life, but there are preventative measures we can all take.

  • Get tested every 3 to 6 months or every time you’re intimate with a new partner; reduce risky sex.
  • Use condoms… EVERYTIME.
  • Talk to your partner about your status; get tested together.
  • Don’t inject drugs; steer clear of them.
  • Take advantage of community programs and organizations.
  • Utilize the many hotlines available.

National Aids Day is December 1!  Make it your goal to know your status by then, if not sooner. Don’t strengthen the stigma, be the standout, go get tested and know where you stand.

There is an abundance of information on this subject- scholarly articles, blogs, books, etc.; get educated, talk to your doctor, a friend, your partner.

For more information visit

https://www.aids.gov/

https://www.blackaids.org/index.php

Do you know your status? Are you vocal about getting tested?

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