I struggle with Gretchen

Over past few months several woman have made claims against men regarding sexual harassment.  Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby, Bill OReilly, Harvey Weinstein etc….  I struggled with all of the attention this has gotten.  First of all let me say I believe the women.  I feel strongly that the creepy men have done these offenses to these women.  When you think about men and women in the work place, stuff, happens good and ugly.


It has been the right of white men to have their way.  They talk crazy to women, harassment black men, demean black women.  In the work place there is no questions as to who is in charge and has decision making rights. White men have historically made this known, and stood with the assurance that they could do what they want to do, to who they wanted to do it to.


When Bill Cosby was exposed, it reminded us, that when we (Black People) think that we have the same privileges as whites we are quickly reminded and exposed.   OJ Simpson and Bill Cosby stand as reminders.  So I believe and know that these crazy levels of offenses happen,  destroy women and creates divisive communities and tools of corruption and manipulation.


90% of the women calling out these offenses have been white women.  Which brings me to my reason for needing to put anything in writing. Recently Gretchen Carlson took to  tour the cable networks, to promote her book and her cause for sexual harassment.  Gretchen worked for FOX and never made a gesture when they misrepresented black folks in the news.  She sat her tail on the set as black folks were created as crazy.  She never said anything as black folks were discriminated, fake news was reported .  When you have been violated, it does something to your senses related to mistreatment and rejection.  Your senses stand on alert.  ALL of these women have sat in the offices, on TV, in Hollywood and watched  Black folks lose opportunity.  I watched Gretchen Carlson on FOX News discuss Barack OBama with lies and unfair communication because of the color of his skin,  had to be the color of his skin, because we know that Barack resided over his position with grace and integrity.  Gretchen represents herself as a Christian women, she sued FOX for 20 Million she may have been insulted and offended, but she has participated in a hell of a lot of offensive behaviors .  Fake News against people of color, she has never represented her black sisters in Christ.   Ladies if you are violated, don’t participate in further violations of others.  Your silence is betrayal!  Gretchen, Megan, etc… you have watched over the years as others were violated by lies, deceit and fake news .   The Republican family values representation has been colored with their bad family values behavior.  Women’s rights representation has been colored with their colluding behaviors .  The only reason no one is calling women out on their hypocritical behaviors because they meet the needs of men, and white folks.  So women remain in positions to be manipulated and screwed.

But I guess what matters is that, Gretchen got paid!  But this does not make Gretchen an authority on sexual harassment.

My Thoughts








Educator microaggression

I have been teaching special education for 17 years with inner city students and families.

I am a 56 year old educated teacher.  I love teaching special education it is rewarding and I know that it is a gift.  Yet the spirits that continue to come against me to impose on me the doubt and terror of trusting that God would call me, and equip me to teach and participate in healing and spiritual restoration of anyone.

The spirits come for me often, they come fierce and with intense purpose.

Well today would not be anything different.  I have an incredible cold with a headache that caused me to question whether or not this was simply just a cold.  I was driving to work and my head hurt so bad that I decided to get off of the freeway and go into the grocery store to purchase some Aleeve.  I decided to also purchase some donuts also since I was running late for work, to share with my co-workers.
I arrived at work at 9:35am and proceeded to my office that I share with 2 other special education teachers.  I noticed that there were other people in the office.  so I opened the door stepped in only for my co-workers to be talking to one of my parents holding some documents that I had prepared for my client for permission to re-evaluate for services.  When I stepped in Carol (this is what I will call her to keep for exposing her real name)  began to question me and my error as she implied for omitting some data from my permission to evaluate.  She raised her voice more, and I attempted to redirect her by saying “Good Morning Carol”, she continued to question why I had omitted so much of the assessments that I needed to complete the assessment.  She held up these paper screaming in front of the parent why did you omit this information, I attempted again to redirect Carol indicating that I did not feel well and I questioned whether she could  explain why she was talking in this manner.  She stated you are “20 minutes late “and ” I think that you need to explain these errors on this document.”  I stated to Carol that” I could talk to the parent and that she should possibly go and work with her students”.  She stated that she didn’t have time for my errors she had her own caseload to manage.  I encouraged her to move on to her students and that I would manage my parent and her concerns.  The parent (who is a Jamaican born individual) stated that she needed Carol to stay in the room because she could not trust me she needed Miss Carol to verify my work.  By now I am so freakin mad that I took a deep breath and requested that the parent explain her concerns and that I would explain the documentation.  The parents concerns were not only that the documentation did not appear the way she wanted, but also  that her son was being bullied by a student in the mainstream classroom.   Once she explained that the son was being bullied I went to the mainstream class to get the student so that he could explain what was happening in the classroom.  Once the student recalled his story I decided that I needed to get administration seeing that this concern was a mainstream concern impacting a special education student.  While getting support from the administrator I explained also what my peer had done in front of the parent.  Once we were in the office again I requested that the parent and student tell the administrator their story.  We decided as a team that we would create an opportunity were the boys could mediate together the parent was much calmer and agreed to work with the administrator to correct the situation between the two boys.  I informed the parent that I do not work for the ladies that she is communicating with I work for administration.  I reviewed the document and added two sub test to accommodate the parents desires.  I reprinted the documents and requested that she review them and I identified where she would need to sign and return.  Now I told this crazy story because my co-worker who did all this screaming in front of the parent NEVER corrected her approach, she believes that her behavior is justified all because she is white. What job could one adult women react the way this women acted in front of a customer and she still has her job.  No one corrected or encouraged her to correct herself.  I waited the entire day for Carol to correct her behavior.  She never apologized, She never self corrected her behavior.  It is ridiculous that an educator, responsible for providing students with the skills and strategies for alternative behavior results had No self corrective methods.  Because of her white privilege.    I am embarrassed for her!




Some of you know that I have started a business as an waiver provider licensed with a 245D license the Department of Human Services.  Providing, both basic, and intensive service levels in behavioral intervention, social skills development, independent living development, employment preparation support.

So recently I spent the morning at the Ramsey county social service agency focused on employment support and there we approximately 7 clients 6 of whom were women in the room along with a female advocate from Ramsey County providing expectations and consequences for lack of response to the expectations and deadlines.

I was there to establish myself as an employment resource advocate. My observations were focused on what the clients needed, what did I see as a standard mark of needs for the clients.  The Ramsey advocate needed to engage the clients so she requested that they participate by reading the documents being provided.

Several of the clients grumbled and indicated that they did not want to read I questioned whether or not this was an indication that they struggled to read. Until I looked down towards the table and identified that the ladies were busy reading Facebook on their cell phones.

This was a mandatory meeting to assure that the clients would maintain their financial benefits and increase the resources to support the employment opportunities.  But these women were reading Facebook on cellphones, yet they were seeking financial support while seeking employment.

I was furious about the fact that these women lack focus.  They were not engaged in the discussion for employment preparation, neither were they respectful of the process needed to obtain current employment.

If I had been the Ramsey County representative I would have ejected those women from the meeting, there is no way they have the desire or attention span to obtain credible employment, they have dependents at home yet and they are dependent on the financial distribution of Ramsey county, this should encourage a person to focus, become intentional, and try to obtain employment, why are our people lacking focus, and urgency.  Oh my heart hurts for the lack of concern.   Why was I so pained, and then it came to me!

During a time of great divide, black people struggling to be valued, Black Lives Matters movement and I looked at these women of color blatantly disrespecting the process’ and respect for excellence.

I have worked in Corporate America with excellent attendance and commitment and endurance and it has been nothing but a struggle disrespected because of the fact that I am educated, convicted, totally committed, middle class, Christian women oh and yes Black. When the Corporate ride was over I returned to St. Cloud State to obtain certification as a special education teacher where I worked for 16 years enduring the rejection, racial intents, blatant disregard, even a death threat,   This has been an incredible journey.

When I could no longer withstand the neglect of special education students and students of color, (often the communities were synonymous)  I left education and I took a year to develop a family advocacy agency licensed by the Department of Human Services with the focus of supporting and developing people to enable them to be functioning, productive, contributing citizens.  So when I saw these women sitting in this meeting, disregarding the free resources established to assist them, when I heard my President speak with conviction about our communities and our needs. When I communicate with my biological children, to encourage them to continue the struggle because other White Doctors don’t want to share the stage with my Black Doctor son.  When White female professors struggle to include or welcome my eldest daughter as a professor of Education on the college platform and when White Nursing professionals resort to every tactic possible to stop my youngest from reaching her dream to be a nurse, and they have resources and skills and they are prepared.

Let me repeat, the women in this meeting did not have the same resources, and they have disregarded gifts.  They looked prosperous without educational effort, and skills.  I am not carelessly judging I sat there and I engaged and attempted to encourage them and I am sick of blaming others, let us take some responsibilities, we need to tell people to help, help by building skills, stop resting on cheap, media sensationalized images. Build educational skills, financial strength, and conviction to parent our children to go further.  This is why the observation of the Ramsey County meeting messed me up this week.


Lisa Cannon-Ratliff

FORHands Mentoring

ADR / Advocate


Whose judgement did I use

As FORHands develops I increasingly question my skills.  I thought that developing a advocacy business, one that would support families and empower families with the voice to decrease the numbers of children of color in Sped. programs was simply my calling.  I have taught in SPED for 16 years, I know the laws, practices, biases, inclusion rules etc… But one thing I have never had to do is tell the truth about my perceptions and practices.  I have called the police on 3rd graders, and watched children be placed in handcuffs.  I have called the police on threatening, troubled high school girls whose threatening cussing, and flaring arms left me with no other choice but to call or fight.  I have suspended because I was damned tired of the behavior.  I have turned a deaf ear to screaming, cussing parents who, in my estimation created this crazy mess.  I have carefully answered Social Security questions on applications because the student told me that “She wants me to get a Crazy Check”.  I have carefully completed observations because I knew that the students wanted to be in the SPAN program because their friends were there and the work was easier.  Or because this is the only time that they would see other students who looked like or acted like them. When none of the extracurricular activities represented them, so the SPAN program looks open and welcoming.  When I forcefully told parents that they should never settle for this opportunity  of special education and that they should try a different approach, they would request that I be removed from the team and they would cuddle up to the white special education teacher  so that they could get that coveted SPAN placement.  When Administrators and colleagues would say I feel threatened by Mrs. —- because I watched with cultural lenses as they collected data, and made decisions to have lower expectations of the black students which ultimately channeled them towards SPED. I have accepted the fact that I did not fit!  My resolve and experience showed me that there is another way! I am committed to advocacy, I pray for good judgement and direction.  This thought will be continued, I am free and open to discussing my convictions.


Micro aggression

Okay Micro aggression was first proposed in 1970 by psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce MD. So its real and the impact is real!  Yet our black children are sited for disrespect and suspended and removed from inclusive learning environments  for reacting to Microinvalidations, where they are subtly excluded, negated, or nullified and their strategies for reaction have not been  developed which results in punitive, negative results! More specific SPED Evaluations!  I recently spent 2 hours discussing the results of a sped eval, and I knew that the proposed diagnoses was incorrect but because the students lacked the skills and strategies to respond appropriately he was diagnosed as EBD.  He will not receive the support and strategies needed in order for him to be successful while in HS.  He was responding to the daily doses of micro invalidations and his responses gave these white educators all of the ammunition needed to classify him as EBD.  Parent begged the school to consider SLD indicating that the academic needs intensified the behaviors.  The School officials disregarded the parents request and concerns because of the students reactions to education, was by missing classes 75 times and they never communicated the impact (because they did not have to report truancy in their community) yet they used this very information to disqualify him from SLD.  This parent was not equipped to discuss or defend her son, the 5 white educators were indignant  to the allegations of miseducation, or lack of cultural competence.

Wake up folks we need to be able to work out these opportunities, we failed this young person, life has dealt him a horrible hand and we evaluate and stated that the blame is with the student! they (the student and parents) buy into the no fault situation and we create non-productive young people because he bought the message that his exclusive, invisible existence is his fault.

I Say no its our fault!


It’s been 8 months since I began to legalize FORHands Mentoring;  My husband gave me the name because he was reading scripture from the book of Jeremiah!

What is success?

Most would say achieving goals and acquiring, wealth, prestige, favor and power.  By these standards Jeremiah was a miserable failure. 40 years he served as a spokesman to the people. But when he spoke nobody listened. Consistently and passionately he urged them to act, but nobody moved. He was rejected by his peers, neighbors, Jeremiah stood alone!

Success as measured by God, involves obedience and faithfulness, regardless of opposition and personal cost. Jeremiah courageously and faithfully proclaimed the word.

I stood for 16 years courageously and faithfully regardless of opposition and personal cost. I know that I stood alone, proclaiming that our parents needed to be informed and empowered, Oh people stated it, but no one wanted to take the time to work through it!  I stood alone desiring to educate and empower black students on appropriate behaviors and strategies for behaviors. Now everyone will write the goals and objectives that outline strategies and goals of socially appropriate behaviors, yet the work has never been sustainable to make any real difference. Consequently, our black students in Special Education continue to fall tremendously behind their non-black peers.

Now having created FORHands Mentoring

I am committed to being Faithful to his calling, regardless if my peers, and neighbors, or my colleagues stand with me.  I am committed to being Obedient to the  calling, to the conviction, and purpose.  I am committed to the Righteous indignation to the offence of continuous destruction or the micro aggression to our black students.

I will stand for our families and informing them of their rights, educating them to their responsibilities and equipping the families with the skills and voice that has been missing and misunderstood for so many years

So Hereasista, FORHands Mentoring, and Lisa Cannon-Ratliff, all in one, reading my Blog is risky, I will be direct and open.   I am going to have voice! This is where you will hear what we say at home!