Devil’s Gear Sunday Women’s Ride


Did my first Devil’s Gear Sunday Women’s Ride today with a great group of women led by the one & only Cassidy! Did 28.25 miles with the ride and by the time I rode home, I got a total of 30.43 miles in 2:44.58 WOOT WOOT!!

I was exhausted and thirsty, but felt so much more confident on Slim (my bike’s name) thanks to Cassidy’s instruction. Looking forward to the next ride and highly encourage any women interested in riding to come out!

Til It Happens to You…

Til it Happens to YouThis is a great quote from a classic novel that has come to mean so very much to me because until it happened to me I didn’t understand.

When it comes to dealing with addiction it is so easy to sit back and judge; to make assumptions and accusations. Not my child, not my family, it only happens to “those people”; they must not have a good family, they chose to do this…on and on it goes. I can say this because this was my way of thinking until it happened to me and my family.

Unfortunately two of my family members and my husband fell into the abyss of addiction and took us all with them. My sister and husband made it out to long term recovery, but my brother did not and everyday we grieve his loss…

Until it happens to you, until you’ve experienced the HELL of addiction, please do not judge the person with the addiction or their families. There are so many families now who are finding this out the hard way, and my heart breaks for them because I know what they are going through and I wish them all the love, support, and strength they will need to make it through!


Where are the Black and Brown Cyclists?

new-haven-independent 103 point fiveOn Monday afternoon, I had the opportunity to be a part of a panel discussion on our local independent radio station WNHH, 103.5FM to talk about the much needed conversation of including more people of color in the burgeoning local cycling scene here in New Haven, CT.

We talked about why there is a disconnect between people of color and the cycling community, as well as some interesting facts on the early involvement of people of color in the cycling movement, and how we can be more inclusive in the cycling community as a whole.

I was grateful to be part of a such a great discussion; it was a lot of fun and we all look forward to continuing the conversation until we see cycling in ALL parts of the city.

Click on the link below to listen to the interview and share your thoughts in the comments!

Addiction Is Not a Choice


I was listening to my favorite afternoon radio talk show the other day and one of the segments has been bothering me ever since and now I feel the need to say something.

There seems to be a misconception among a lot of people that addiction is a choice. The radio show that I was listening to talked about a very talented young football player who plans on applying for reinstatement to the league after being suspended for substance abuse. The hosts rather jokingly said that they can’t understand why this young man can’t just get it together, and have compared his addiction issue with giving up a couple glasses of wine on the weekend in order to receive several million dollars. HUGE SIGH…

To these guys, their thinking is “come on man, just get it together; you’re giving up a lot of money!” and it’s clear that they think he can just stop and get back to his career. Now I can’t fault them too much because it’s clear that they’re not familiar with addiction, but their attitude and way of thinking is not uncommon at all.

What they don’t understand is that if it were that simple to do, this young man would have done it by now. Do they honestly think that he worked so hard to perfect his skills to become one of the best in the game and make millions of dollars to throw it all away because he just wants to get high? The reason this young man didn’t stop is not because he didn’t want to, it’s that he couldn’t because he has an addiction.


Why No One Chooses Addiction


The very essence of addiction is abusing a substance to the point where you no longer have control and you continue to abuse that substance despite the detriment to your health, happiness, and everything you know and love; that is exactly what this young man did!

Now to give a bit of context, this young man’s substance of choice seems to be marijuana and alcohol. I know there are many people who think that marijuana is not addictive, but to those people I would argue that for countless people with addiction issues, marijuana served as the gateway drug and that appears to be the case here.

This young man had career high numbers, was a pro bowl caliber player, and was making millions of dollars. Yet despite all this, he continued to get into trouble: pleading guilty to driving while impaired, failing various drug tests and testing positive for marijuana. To most people, this young man is choosing to throw his career away; to those of us familiar with addiction, we know that is not the case.

While it is true that a person initially chooses to pick up and use, no one chooses to become an addict. I know that is a hard concept for many people to understand, as a matter of fact for years I was one of those that believed that addiction was a choice; it wasn’t until I got to see addiction up close and personal to know this wasn’t true. I can guarantee you that my brother did not choose to drink himself to death. I can also guarantee you that my sister and husband did not choose to miss out on relationships with family members, their children, suffer from health problems, and miss out on years of their lives that they can never get back. That anyone would think people would deliberately subject themselves and their families to years of pain, suffering, and in some cases death just shows how much misunderstanding and misinformation is out there about addiction.

I know these radio talk show hosts meant no harm when they shared their opinions about this young man on air, they even said as much and I believe them. But what happens when they talk jokingly about a subject they don’t know about is reinforce the stigma surrounding addiction. This doesn’t help those people and families who are suffering from addiction and it doesn’t help educate the public about this devastating disease.

It’s my hope that this young man has gotten his life together with the help of rehabilitation and treatment, and is able to return to the sport he loves. At the end of the day though it’s not about football or records, or even millions of dollars; it’s about a young man living a happy, healthy, sober life and I wish him all the best!


Working Together for Community Change


UnityFor those of you who follow me online: either through my blog or through social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+, you may have noticed that I have been offline for the past week and a half or so. This short sabbatical was not by choice but more out of necessity since I’ve been very busy working with a dedicated coalition of residents, spiritual leaders, alderpeople, community leaders, local small businesses and nonprofits to apply for a grant that will revitalize a neighborhood that has been neglected for the past 20 years.

We heard that a grant was being sought for the neighborhood that didn’t reflect its wants or needs and not enough people from the community were being included in the grant process. A small nonprofit who has been doing work in the neighborhood for years heard that this was happening and reached out to several community residents who then reached out to other community stakeholders, and within a matter of days we came together to form a new coalition  that accurately reflects the community that the grant was being applied for. It was then that we started the labor intensive work of changing the direction of the grant that is due this Friday, and thanks to the efforts of this group we will get it done.

I’ve been a community activist for over 10 years now and one of the things I enjoy most about doing this kind work is meeting people who share my passion for making our communities better; there is a feeling of kinship, motivation, power and inspiration that makes me feel there is nothing we can’t do and it really helps keep me going because this work is not easy!

Over the past few days I’ve had the chance to meet some amazing people and we’ve all decided that regardless of the grant outcome, we’re going to continue working together because there’s a lot of work that needs to be done throughout our city and we can get so much more done by working together.


It’s All About Change


2016 for me is about revolution: no more excuses, no more waiting for other people to make things better; if we want real change in our communities, in our cities, in our country, in our world we have to make it happen ourselves. It starts with identifying a problem you think should be dealt with or a change you want to see and then doing something about it. I truly believe that if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem and you have no right to complain.

I intend to do everything I can to make sure that my community is the best that it can be for 2016 and beyond, and fortunately for me I now have a group of people that share the same desire so I don’t have to do it alone.