I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Voter Surppersion Is Voter Oppression!

There were so many giants in the Civil Rights Movement. So many who made so many sacrifices for Black folks to have the right to VOTE.

Fannie Lou Hamer is the one person that I admire the most. A sharecropper with a 6th grade education, she took on the State of Mississippi. She was jailed countless times. She opened her home to the young people of SNCC who came to Mississippi for Freedom Summer to register Blacks to vote and she never turned back.

She was an unlikely hero and ally to the Civil Rights Movement. She didn't have a fancy education or any stature in her community, but she had more guts than any man of the entire Civil Rights Movement.

She was the only woman beaten in jail like a man to the point that it impacted her health for the rest of of life.

The signing of the Voting Right Act of 1965 was a major milestone for sure, but it didn't change the patterns or fancy ways they continued to suppress voting among Blacks and the poor. Fannie Lou kept fighting!  She was one of the giants who challenged the Democratic Party on the floor of the Democratic Convention in both 1964 and 1968. Of which her famous quote, "I'm tried of being sick and tried," has gone down in history. It wasn't just about the right to vote, but also the right to be included in the decision making of the Democratic Party.

She challenge our country to do better! If there was one person that I could have lunch with from the Civil Rights Movement, it would be Fannie Lou.

When I began working in politics in 1982 I thought we had come a long way. That is until my first staff meeting at Operation PUSH where Rev. Jesse L. Jackson began to lay out the new and creative ways of Voter Oppression. For example, some states had it where a person had to register twice to vote once; in Up-State New York they wouldn't allow students  to register in their college town for fear if they voted they would change the scale.

The summer 1983 , Jackson set out on a Voter Registration he coined The Southern Crusade. We spent that entire summer, registering blacks to vote throughout out the South. At the same time, Jackson began to challenge these laws that disenfranchised voters throughout the South.

He forced the State Department to step in. He challenged the system. We registered over a million new voters across the South that summer. That voter registration campaign launched his candidacy for President and it was the first time Black America had seen a black man debate white men on national television and hold his own. It was history!

It also launched other candidacies. This wasn't a one man show, be clear. Jackson was encouraging people to RUN, RUN, RUN. He would say, "Run for dog catcher, just run! If you run, you might lose, if you don't run, you are guaranteed to lose." It sparked an entire generation of new progressive politicians both black and white and launched the concept of the Rainbow Coalition, which helped to elect Bill Clinton.

 It was history  in the making. His bid for presidency also challenged the Democratic Party to do better and be better, just like Fannie Lou Hamer. It was Jackson who challenged the delegate progress of the Democratic Party and ushered in one man, one vote. For example, prior to this rule, a candidate could win the majority of the popular vote in a primary, but still not win the most delegates for that state. This change in party rules of course, opened the door for Obama to win the Democratic nomination. Sometimes I sit back and shake my head at how people think we just got here. Obama didn't just get here. There were a lot of people who paved the way. We got here because other people did the WORK!

During the first Obama Campaign I watched in horror as young people concluded that Jackson's critique of Obama was jealously. I watched this "new era" emerge that said, we can't be to black; black issues are obsolete. Obama even suggested that the Voting Rights Act was obsolete.

I watched as people with no understanding of history, so it seemed, declared that Jackson and men like him were obsolete. I watched as the good old fashion mechanism for voter registration and voter turnout were replaced with Twitter.

 I watched  in horror as my friends working in politics lost their jobs. There was a new day in Washington DC, a new and modern president and a new era and there was no need for us old timers, our voice or our analysis. We were to" black" and our ways of doing things were deemed obsolete.

I continued to watch in horror at all the joking and name calling in Social Media around the Tea Party. Yep, they let you call them names and they kept organizing. Organizing themselves better than any movement since the 80's.

Black folks are so freaking confused that it's scary. SCARYYYY!! The Democratic Party and Obama is in the fight for their life and all you can do is JOKE.

Let me be clear, all my close friends can tell you that I am a ABSOLUTE critic of President Obama and I consider both he and Michelle my friend. For Real. For me this ain't about friendship, this is about, a just society and a peaceful world for us all.  Now don't be confused, as a black woman I will ALWAYS have a special interest, Bullshit ain't nothing! I don't care if the President is green, my interest must have a voice! While Obama and I differ on quite a few things, Paul Ryan is scary and borderline's on fascism. He is dangerous! Yes I know he's not running for President. But don't be confuse, he has a ton of influence in the Romey's camp. Some days I think he is running for President and not Romey.

Ok, so this is SCARYY. Voting Rights is being attacked all across this country and we don't have a clue. NOT ONE CLUE! At one level this is about getting out to vote, on another level this is way more than that. This is about Voter Suppression! Which leads us right back to Oppression. 

The fact of the matter, the voting laws for the states have changed so much, you may get to the polls and not be able to even cast a vote.

You are so busy cracking jokes you ain't even bothered to check on your registration. So what you have your voter registration card in your wallet. That may mean little at the polls in November.

This is not just about the South, this is every STATE! For example, I live in Illinois. I moved one year ago. I changed my voter resignation to my new address and I have my card to prove it. BUT, I never changed my drivers license. Now that they have connected voter resignation to the DMV the two must match. My drivers license must match my voter resignation and NO you can't go back to the old polling place. The chances are, you have already been purged from the rolls. So now I have to go get a new drivers license, which cost, and make sure that my registration is connected to my new address by October 9th or I can't vote. Be clear, for poor people, students and seniors this is a hardship. Just working people, who has time to make it to the DMV after work  before close?

They say if you don't know your history you are bound to repeat it. Or maybe, we think more of America and the system then we ought to. The benefit of the doubt has bitten us in the ass. The bottom line is clear, they have found new and creative ways to suppress voting in 2012.

So whatever you thought you understood about progress has been derailed by your arrogance. Arrogance that said, we have arrived because a black man is in the White House.

Yep Yep.... This election is going to be a MESSY, MESS! My advice to you is to first check your voter registration laws for your state and make sure you are in compliance. FORGET what you think! Find out the FACTS! You have 5 more days to make sure you can vote. Voter Resignation closes on October 9th, thats TUESDAY!

BET News has set up a page state by state of Voter Laws check them out Here. BET also set up a Twitter account you should follow them and begin to RT the information.

 My suggestion is that in the next few days, use your Social Media tools, Twitter and Facebook to get this information out. You made the old timers obsolete, well now, make the new way work to your advantage.  In fact,  copy and paste BET's Link and put it on your Faceook page and Tweet it


As for me, I'm going to handle my business and change my ID on tomorrow, what are you going to do? Voter Suppression is Voter Oppression!

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