Say His Name: Elijah McClain | #blacklivesmatter

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Neon Rainbow Nail Art - Justice for Elijah McClain, Say His Name | Monica with RAOn August 24, 2019, in Colorado, Elijah McClain was walking home after buying an iced tea for his brother. He was anemic and wore an open-faced ski mask to keep himself warm. Police officers responded to a call about a “suspicious person” and, without cause, restrained Elijah, placed him in a carotid hold, threatened him, and then dosed him with ketamine. All these actions resulted in Elijah’s eventual cardiac death.

All instances of racial injustice are horrifying but this one hit a little differently with me.

First, this took place in CO, a state I call a second home because I went to university in Fort Collins. Second, Elijah was ill and took precautions to keep himself safe. I often wear sweatpants, sweatshirts, and hats to keep myself warm, even in the summer. I understand what Elijah was doing. These circumstances do not make him a “suspicious person”.

The officers responded aggressively and unnecessarily because apparently, Elijah was fighting back. From the video footage, it is clear Elijah did no such thing. He was a scared kid who was assaulted by power-drunk policemen who used any excuse to detain a black man.

Elijah was sick and vomiting. He couldn’t breathe. He said these things and the police used them to threaten canine action and dope him. He was too weak to fight back. Why did they need to sedate him?

Ketamine could be deadly to anyone with anemia and in conjunction with a carotid hold, Elijah never stood a chance.

It’s devastating that a kid who contributed so much to life was robbed of it too soon because of his race. Being black did not make him a person of interest. Being black did not make him a questionable character. He was ill and tried to live the best he could given the circumstances. A racist person called the police because they thought a black man, walking alone did not belong in their neighborhood.

Neon Rainbow Nail Art - Justice for Elijah McClain, Say His Name, Black Lives Matter | Monica with RAColorado, you failed. How can you keep these officers in the field knowing they could murder someone else. You are placing the safety of your residents in the hands of criminals.

Fire the police officers involved. Try them for murder. Put them away. Administrative leave pay is not okay. People you hired to uphold the law killed an innocent person.

Colorado, you scare me. I used to be so proud to call Colorado my home. I was excited to go back. Now, I am scared. I wear sweatpants and sweatshirts because I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and I cannot always wear “acceptable” clothing. I wear hats, even in summer, because I get severely cold. I wear sunglasses because my eyes are really sensitive to sunlight.

Are you telling me I cannot walk around with my sweatshirt hood pulled over my head because some white jackass will call the police on me? They won’t see a girl or a veterinary medicine student. They will only see a person of color who doesn’t fit in. Are you telling me it’s okay that when the police officers respond to the call they will restrain me first and ask questions later? Is it okay that the same people you think keep your citizens safe will definitely hurt me because I am small and sick?

Think about that. That sounds absurd written out like that. But, you caused this.

Instead of enjoying student life, working towards vet school, and helping others, I have to worry that in minutes all of my goals and dreams could be snuffed out because I am not white.

The people you employ to keep your citizens safe killed one of them for no other reason than the color of his skin. You want me to trust that they will keep me safe, too? They are murderers. By definition these officers are NOT SAFE.

To the police officers who killed Elijah McClain – you murdered a very special person. He was a massage therapist who took away other people’s pain. He was an animal lover. He was a musician. He shared love and positivity. He had family. He had friends. He was only enjoying his life which you then took away without any thought.

Say his name. Bring justice to Elijah McClain.

 

Below are a handful of resources to bring awareness to Elijah, including the petition link to re-open the investigation, the GoFundMe page for the foundation in his honor, and the numbers of the CO representatives to demand change.

Petition to Re-Open Elijah’s Murder Investigation

GoFundMe Fundraiser in Honor of Elijah

Demand Justice by calling CO Representatives

Official Instagram Account – Justice for Elijah McClain

Campaign Zero

The National Police Accountability Project

 

Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.


Like what you see? Please consider supporting my content by donating through PayPal or Venmo: @Monica-Sengupta!

(All contributions to this post will go directly to  the NPAP.)

It’s Satisfied Sunday! (6/28/20) | #chronicliving #gratitude

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What are you grateful for this week?

Monica with RA Beauty Rheumatoid Arthritis Blogger | Satisfied Sunday, Weekly Gratitude Blog Post Cats PetsMe?

Sunsilk is stable and her appetite is increasing. She has not gained any weight but she is more alert and active!

Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.


Like what you see? Please consider supporting my content by donating through PayPal or Venmo: @Monica-Sengupta!

What You Don’t See 6/18/20 | #chronicliving

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Chronic illnesses like Rheumatoid Arthritis, or Rheumatoid Disease, are often called invisible illnesses because their symptoms, though rampant, are not seen on the outside. You cannot see the fatigue and pain I experience daily. You cannot see the swelling and immobility that happen around my joints. And, often, you cannot see a host of other problems that are adjacent to my autoimmune disease.

What You Don't See Series Chronic Invisible Symptoms Illness | Monica with RA Blog Rheumatoid ArthritisFor this photo, I did a fun smokey eye because I was feeling better after my flare. While the pain and inflammation were a lot less I was still dealing with other issues.

Most notably, every time I moved or fixed my hair, strands upon strands of it fell out.
This is a new phenomenon and if you look at my hair pulled back you can see some thinning and bald spots.
From this photo, you can see a well-placed hairstyle can hide all of that!

Interested in my previous installment of the series? Check it out here.

Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.


Like what you see? Please consider supporting my content by donating through PayPal or Venmo: @Monica-Sengupta!

Satisfied Sunday 6/14/20 || #gratitude

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Blogger Opt Outside Nature Photo Gratitude Blog Post || Monica with RA

What are you grateful for this week? Let me know in the comments!

Me? I have been very badly flared up over the last two weeks. I am finally coming out of it! I don’t hurt nearly as much. I still can’t walk Affie an hour every day but I am thankful that I have a large yard I can run the dogs through when I feel low.

Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.


Like what you see? Please consider supporting my content by donating through PayPal or Venmo: @Monica-Sengupta!

Satisfied Sunday 6/7/20 | #gratitude

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Sunsilk Sengupta Gratitude Satisified Sunday | Monica with RA blog Chronic Illness Rheumatoid Arthritis Grateful and Love

There is a lot going on and with the discussion of privilege so prevalent in our society, it feels awkward to talk about the good things happening in our lives. But, I think it is important to acknowledge that good things are happening and we are grateful for what we have.

This week I am grateful that Sunsilk (and Affie) are still alive and healthy. They are both quite old. Sunsilk is 17 and Affie is nearly 15. I don’t know how much longer I have with them so I am making the most of the time I have left.

What are you grateful for this week? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

 

Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.


Like what you see? Please consider supporting my content by donating through PayPal or Venmo: @Monica-Sengupta!
(Please note, any contributions will be donated to charities supporting black activism)

What You Don’t See | #chronicliving #rheumatoidarthritis

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What You Don't See - Rheumatoid Arthritis Invisible Illness Invisible Symptoms Blog Post | Monica with RA

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The thing about invisible illnesses is in the name. They are invisible. Most of the time you cannot see the symptoms as they present themselves. From looking at a person with a chronic illness, like Rheumatoid Arthritis, you cannot see the pain, the fatigue, and the constant battle their body fights against itself.

What You Don't See - Rheumatoid Arthritis Invisible Illness Invisible Symptoms Blog Post | Monica with RAI took some makeup selfies the other day with Sunsilk and looking back on the photos you could never guess that I was in a terrible flare.

What You Don't See - Rheumatoid Arthritis Invisible Illness Invisible Symptoms Blog Post | Monica with RAWhat you saw: an ear to ear grin because it was sunny, I was wearing makeup and I was with my cat.

What you didn’t see: that my skin was dry as a desert, that my lips were chronically bleeding and my hair was falling out in clumps.


What You Don't See - Rheumatoid Arthritis Invisible Illness Invisible Symptoms Blog Post | Monica with RAPeople with invisible illnesses are great actors. Even while we feel sick and terrible we have to play “able-bodied” and march on with life.

What you see: I walk my dogs at least two hours a day without a grimace. I clean and change the cat litter. I bend down to pick up Affie and Sunsilk. I climb the stairs to the kitchen to feed them. I cook their food.

What you don’t see: I am in so much pain it takes my entire existence to move. I experience so much of it I seriously consider taking a drill to my foot because that pain is probably less than what I feel right now.

 

What You Don't See - Rheumatoid Arthritis Invisible Illness Invisible Symptoms Blog Post | Monica with RADon’t get it wrong, I don’t always feel THIS bad but when I do, I can’t call in sick to my life. I have to keep moving forward.

Just remember, what you see in a photo is never the whole story. There is always something you don’t see.

 

Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.


Like what you see? Please consider supporting my content by donating through PayPal or Venmo: @Monica-Sengupta!
(Please note, any contributions will be donated to charities supporting black activism)

The thing about invisible illnesses is in the name. They are invisible. Most of the time you cannot see the symptoms as they present themselves. From looking at a person with a chronic illness, you cannot see the pain, the fatigue, and the constant battle their body fights against itself.

I took some makeup selfies the other day with Sunsilk and looking back on the photos you could never guess that I was in a terrible flare.

What you saw: a ear to ear grin because it was sunny, I was wearing makeup and I was with my cat.

What you didn’t see: that my skin has been dry as the a desert, that my lips have been bleeding and my hair is falling out in clumps.

People with invisible illnesses are great actors. Even while we feel sick and terrible we have to play “able-bodied” and march on with life.

What you see: I walk my dogs at least two hours a day without a grimace. I clean and change the cat litter. I bend down to pick up Affie and Sunsilk. I climb the stairs to the kitchen to feed them. I cook their food.

What you don’t see: I am in so much pain that I seriously consider taking a power drill to my foot because that pain is less than what I am feeling. Every move I make takes my entire existence but, I keep going because I have to.

Do Better | #chronicliving

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The one big thing that I have learned about myself over the last few days is just how passive I’ve become. I am not just talking about the specific happenings in the United States but about everything.
I have a platform, I have influence (however small) and I need to use it. What’s the point if I don’t speak out on the issues that matter to me? I have gone pretty quiet on my social media and that’s not okay.

Yes, I need to educate myself on racial matters but I also need to speak about other things. I initially began my blog/social media to educate others about living with chronic illnesses. I haven’t spoken about that in a long time. I share my story but that’s it. I can do more.
On my Youtube, I like making “trash talk” videos or, empties, because I like using things up, I don’t like waste, and I try to be nature conscious. I don’t talk about it but I should.

I need to. I can. I should do better.

I don’t know what form this will take yet. Maybe I start with being more vocal and posting more. Maybe I start making nail art videos for IG where I show arthritis-friendly techniques. Maybe I start publicly breaking down my privilege? I don’t know yet.

But, I know that I need to change and speak up.

 

Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.

Like what you see? Please consider supporting my content by donating through PayPal or Venmo: @Monica-Sengupta!
(Please note, any contributions will be donated to charities supporting black activism)