Photo Courtesy of JD Mason on Unsplash


The two streams of personal experiences discussed in Part 1 of this series— A Warrior Mother and The Bomb Threat—came together in 2020, shortly after the birth of my second grandson, Cairo in March, and the murder of George Floyd in May.

They came together to form the third stream which ultimately resulted in the book, Cultivating Change from the Inside Out.

Both my daughters and a nephew were preparing for a Black Lives Matter protest in Pittsburgh in early June in response to the loss of George Floyd.

I walked into the room where my younger…

Cultivating Change from the Inside Out: The Power of Being Human is my second book as an independent author.

This 2-Part Series describes the evolution of the book as a convergence of three streams of personal life experiences described as A Warrior Mother, The Bomb Threat, and The Cairo Question. I’ll also explain why this work is important to me as one who practices activism through coaching.


The first stream of personal experience is my mother, an activist who lifted her voice against injustice, fighting for civil rights, welfare rights, and basic human rights.

As a pillar…

Have you ever been presented with an opportunity that has the potential to totally transform your life, but you turned it down? Did you walk away from that opportunity for the simple fact that you couldn’t get past your fear of failure (or fear of success)?

I believe it wouldn’t be that difficult for every one of us to come up with one specific moment that presented itself with an opportunity of a lifetime, but ended up turning it down out of fear.

Take a moment and think of one. What was the opportunity that came to your mind? What…

How Do You Define Success? Ask Yourself These Questions to Develop Your Unique Definition of Success

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
— Dr. Maya Angelou

Photo by Alexander Suhorucov from Pexels

Do you have your own definition of success? Many people are trying to live up to society’s definition of success without considering if this is the best option for themselves. Ask others what success means and you’re bound to hear a variation of these answers:

Nice house, big and fancy, with an infinity pool, in a gated community.
Fancy cars to fill up a five-car garage.

Photo by Matthew Ball of

Watch Video Introduction

Have you ever asked yourself this question: At what point in life did I become aware that mental health is a big deal — as big a deal as physical and emotional health? We rush to the side of family members, friends, coworkers, and sometimes even strangers, offering our thoughts and prayers when they are suffering from a physical disease like cancer, or grieving over the loss of a loved one. But what do we do when we realize someone we know is suffering from a mental disorder?

My personal journey is a real-life answer to this…

Photo Credit: Chantal & Ole on

Since the beginning I AM was there, clothed in garments of light with no darkness in Him. He is the creative architect behind the design for the heavens and the earth. Being the God of universal creation, everything He made was good, perfect, and full of light. He created with love and purpose, reflecting His glory.

Angels are God’s created beings, designed to carry out His desires. There was a time in heaven when one of God’s angels exercised his will against God. Pride and rebellion rose up in his heart, consuming him with Gollum-like intensity. …


When pondering my contribution for the next Voices of the 21st Century book, it didn’t take me long to decide to tell a story in the voice of my young grandson.

He was born in March 2020 as the pandemic was spreading throughout the world — as mask-wearing, social distancing, and staying at home become the norm. He was born shortly before the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. He was born into a world where his home country was being plagued by two viruses, one biological and the other systemic.


The decision to write my story…

Source: Painting by JD Baez | Inspiration for The Blueness of an African Butterfly

Color blindness is a handicap,
a poorly constructed ideological excuse
to remain white while blotting out color:
attempting to blot out color on the basis of a lie;
a lie based on the assumption that the
Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Movement
were enough;
a lie based on the assumption that the election
of a black man as president
means I now live in a post-racial, colorblind society.

The weakness in color blindness is this:
In a feeble attempt to blot out color
lies a feeble attempt to put a mind at ease,
pretending not to see what is blatantly obvious:
a nation…

My younger daughter asked me a profound question as she and her sister recently prepared to protest in Pittsburgh PA, joining others across the nation in a cry for justice on behalf of George Floyd and the black community. She asked if I thought her son, my grandson, would have to march during his lifetime. My grandson is just about three months old. In that moment I had a revelation. My mother protested. I protested. Now my daughters protest. That’s three generations of protesting directly connected to my life alone. …

Back in the summer of 2019, while speaking at a local educational event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I met a woman by the name of Cynthia Devine-Kepner. It was one of those extraordinary encounters where two people just click. Turns out she was a member of the Dr. Edna B. McKenzie Branch of ASALH (Association for the Study of African American Life and History). She in turn introduced me to Ann Mason, who at the time was serving as the president of the Pittsburgh branch. Those two introductions led me to ASALH, a national organization dedicated to carry forth the legacy…

Anita D Russell

Life Coach | Speaker | Author | Cultivating change through daily growth and personal development. Author of “I Wanna See Laney’s House: A Sibling Story”.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store