As a black woman, the devastating case of Ajike Shantrell Owens hits close to home, bringing forth the complexity of the human mind and the injustice in our society. In a recent conversation with my Canadian media friend, we discussed personal distressing issues of bullying, breach of privacy, and harassment, and Ajike’s story resurfaced as a stark reminder of the harsh realities faced by marginalized communities. Today, I want to shed light on the tragic events that unfolded in Ocala, Florida, where Ajike’s life was cruelly taken away by her neighbor. Her story is a painful reminder of the injustices that still persist in our society.

A Terrifying Turn of Events

It all began innocently enough, with Ajike’s children playing in a field near their apartment complex. Little did they know that this would mark the start of a series of tragic events. A 58-year-old white woman targeted Ajike’s children, showering them with racial slurs and subjecting them to a distressing experience of bullying. The children, understandably shaken, left the area, unknowingly leaving behind an iPad that belonged to them. Seizing the opportunity, the woman took hold of the iPad and callously threw it, hitting one of the boys and causing the screen to crack.

A Single Mother’s Quest for Resolution

Ajike, a loving and caring mother, decided to address the situation directly. With her children by her side, she walked across the street to her neighbor’s house, hoping to find a resolution. There was no argument, no intent to fight. Ajike merely wanted to protect her children and ensure their well-being. Tragically, the encounter took a fatal turn as the neighbor allegedly fired a shot through the door, ending Ajike’s life. To this day, the responsible individual remains unidentified, free from arrest or charges.

Ajike Shantrall Owens

Reflecting on Ajike’s Story

When my Canadian media friend reminded me of Ajike’s case, I was left frozen with disbelief. While some may simplify her death as an act of racism, I firmly believe that the perpetrator was a wicked soul who used prejudice as a weapon to carry out this barbaric act. Ajike’s story is a heart-wrenching reminder that she was not just another black woman; she was a devoted mother who always prioritized her children’s well-being. Sadly, her life has now become another statistic, another life lost tragically and unnecessarily.

Honoring Remarkable Fathers and Remembering Ajike

As we celebrate Father’s Day today, it is crucial to acknowledge and honor the incredible fathers in our lives. However, it is equally important to remember women like Ajike, who face the challenges of parenthood without the presence of a male figure. Ajike’s story emphasizes the significance of being there for our children, protecting them, and ensuring their safety. Perhaps if she hadn’t gone alone to the neighbor’s house, this tragic incident could have been prevented.

Demanding Justice and Striving for Change

Ajike’s untimely and unjust death serves as a painful reminder of the injustices that still persist in our society. We must strive for a world where no parent has to fear for their life while simply protecting their children. Let us come together to demand justice for Ajike and work tirelessly towards building an inclusive and compassionate society. It is our collective responsibility to create a safe environment where every individual, regardless of their race or gender, can feel protected and valued.

The devastating case of Ajike Santrell Owens serves as a painful reminder of the injustices faced by marginalized communities. Her story calls us to action, urging us to challenge and dismantle the systems that perpetuate violence.

Ajike AJ Owens Gofundme page

The GoFundMe for Owens’ family had raised more than $327,000 as of Saturday evening.

Meet 51-year old Lashawn Flowers and her 35-year old daughter, Shanita Vickers, the new owners of the only Black-owned gas station in Hollywood, Florida, and possibly the only Black-owned gas station in all of South Florida. As Shell franchisees, they are making history as women entrepreneurs and causing quite a stir on social media

Lashawn and her daughter, who both grew up in Deerfield Beach, Florida, began their roots in entrepreneurship as the owners of a local hair and nail salon called Girlz Collectionz and later a local bar and nightclub called Groove City Bar & Lounge, which is currently closed because of the pandemic. Having to pivot sparked the idea of purchasing a gas station.

“We actually purchased two Shell gas stations,” says Lashawn. “We were able to negotiate a two-for-one deal.”

She says the process of purchasing two franchises was not hard, but it was a fairly tedious process. After completing a credit application, she had to prove that financially she really did have the capital to complete the purchase. The whole process, however, took just three weeks.

Keeping it in the family

Lashawn says that she and her daughter are partners in this business, and are partners in their other businesses as well.

“I really value having a family-owned business because family is who you can trust,” she says. “My daughter, Shanita, is a wonderful mom of two beautiful children and also a phenomenal entrepreneur who is awesome to work with. We work well together because we understand each other.”

Hard work pays off

But having her daughter at her side doesn’t mean that she underestimates the value of hard work. “I don’t believe in failing in anything I do,” Lashawn adds. “If you don’t work your business, it won’t be a success. You absolutely must put in the hard work.”

Their work ethic is already paying off because they are already receiving on-air shout outs from the likes of Rickey Smiley, not to mention that their story has already gone viral on social media which has sparked a huge influx of new customers.

Their Shell gas station is located at 2501 North University Drive, Hollywood, FL 33034, and they are already planning to open their second gas station in early 2021 possibly in West Palm Beach.

Source: Black enterprise

Deidre Mathis, a 31-year old African-American woman and a self-proclaimed avid traveler, used her love for wanderlust as an inspiration to build her own hostel in Houston, Texas. Now a successful entrepreneur, she is the author of a budget travel book and the owner of WanderStay Hotels, the first Black-owned hostel of its kind in the U.S.

Growing up in Florida, which is considered a vacation place with beautiful beaches and good weather, she said she wasn’t really interested in going to different destinations before. Until a study abroad program at Florida A&M University sent her to the Dominican Republic and she told herself, “I need this all the time.”

Since then, she has traveled to over 37 countries on all 7 continents and learned a lot of things. She shared those in a book she wrote entitled Wanderlust: For the Young, Broke Professional where she talks about tips on how to save money, manage time to prioritize travel, and plan your dream trip.

Moreover, one of the best things she said she discovered through traveling alone is how hostels build instant connections and cultural diversity. It has inspired her to build her own hostel in the most diverse and fourth largest city in the U.S. which is Houston, Texas.

Hostels, different from hotels, are popular types of establishments that provide inexpensive food and lodging for backpackers, students, and other types of travelers with limited budgets. Some hostels offer travelers their own private rooms, but many hostels operate as dormitories whereas travelers can rent a bed and space in a large room with others. There are currently more than 50,000 hostels around the world.