Vanessa Leggard


Hamptons Mouthpiece: Has the Awakening Begun? A peaceful protest in Bridgehampton, NY for racial equality.

On Tuesday, June 2nd organizers Lisa Votino, Lisa Calabrese and Willie Jenkins held a peaceful protest on Main street in Bridgehampton for Justice for George Floyd a black man who was allegedly murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who kneeled on Mr. Floyd’s neck and ignored his cries for help “I can’t Breathe”.

Lisa Votino, Lisa Calabrese and Willie Jenkins

We stood in solidarity with our brothers and sisters all over the country who are demanding an end to racist policing.

We also remembered two other recent victims of deadly racism Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and the sadly, all too long list of other victims.

Young protesters, Bridgehampton, NY

I was heartened to see so many young people who not only came to lend their support in this fight against racism towards Black and Brown people but they took the time to make posters.

There comes a time when silence is Betrayal

I am feeling hopeful that with this new army of Allies to the Black Lives Matter movement we can begin to open up the conversation and move forward toward real change in this country regarding systemic racism.

Protesters in Bridgehampton

For many that were protesting and marching, they saw the sheer brutality in the action perpetrated against George Floyd and they finally understood the significance behind Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest of taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. Many finally understood that the goal of the Black Lives Matter movement was never to say that only black lives matter or that black lives matter more than everyone else’s, the goal is to shine light on an issue in this country that you only get to experience if you are black. If you have taken the time to try to acknowledge your privilege and understand the black perspective, these injustices come quickly to light.

William Pickens III & John Pickens

In interviewing William Pickens III, a resident of Sag Harbor Hills Community (SANS) Mr. Pickens who ancestry is that of liberated slaves, who were among the first people to come to the New World. They sailed from England and arrived in Oyster Bay in 1670. We spoke with Mr. Pickens and asked him what was different about the murder of George Floyd and what made this protest different than other activities and other protest in the past? Mr. Pickens responded with the “sheer brutality that the officer snuffed out the life of George Floyd”; he went on to say that this protest in Bridgehampton was different because there were more white people than black people protesting, and “If white people don’t speak up nothing is going to change because they dominate the economy, politics and the history. If they are with us we’ve got a a shot and if they are not we don’t”

Young Protester, Bridgehampton, NY

I end with a quote from Willam Pickens III “Illuminate Love, Eliminate Hate”

Wellness: I am feeling so very blessed and I wanted to share my story. Two years ago I had the scare of my life and I am so very grateful to be a survivor. April 20th, 2018, I woke up and something looked wrong with my face, my left eye was tearing and I had no idea what was happening but my husband said let’s go see the doctor. It was my oldest daughter’s last day living at home and her last day at her job in East Hampton, she was moving on with her life and would be starting a new job in NYC. I said let’s go to SagTown in Sag Harbor to get some coffee. Kurt my husband had taken the day off to go to the doctor with me because I was nervous, we ordered our coffee then in a matter of seconds things were progressively moving quickly. I went to the bathroom to look at my eye and when I looked up my face had drooped more, I was immediately nervous. I told Kurt I am very concerned, so he said I will drop Dani off at work and you go pick up the eyedrops, he said we would leave my car in town and he would drive me to my doctor’s office. I went to pick up the drops and came back to my car to put the drops in my eye and wait for Kurt to come back. Kurt called me to make sure I was ok and all of sudden I could not speak, it was terrifying, I honestly did not know what was happening. I heard a tap on the window of my car, I rolled down the window and there was an officer asking me if I was ok. I was at this time unable to speak and became very agitated because I did not know that Kurt had sent them to find me. The officer proceeded to ask me questions and because I was unable to find my voice he became concerned, took my car keys, and called for an ambulance. As you can probably imagine he thought I was having a stroke and there was a small window to rush me to the hospital to minimize the symptoms if this were a stroke. I was very scared, I had never heard of Bell’s Palsy but I did not think I was having a stroke because my parents and grandmother had all had strokes within the last 3 years and I knew the symptoms.

Once I arrived at Southampton Hospital the staff was very attentive and proceeded to do all the necessary tests to rule out a stroke, once they ruled out that I was not having a stroke they then proceeded to assume I was having some mental issues because they could not understand why I was unable to speak. They kept me in the hospital overnight for observation and in the morning a very nice doctor came in and diagnosed me with Bell’s Palsy. He explained what was happening and prescribed anti-inflammatory medication prednisone to help reduce the swelling of the facial nerve. I was released from the hospital later that morning, once I got home I was completely exhausted and just went to sleep for the rest of the day.

What is Bell’s Palsy?

What is Bell’s Palsy: Google definition “Bell’s palsy is a condition in which the muscles on one side of your face become weak or paralyzed. It affects only one side of the face at a time, causing it to droop or become stiff on that side. It’s caused by some kind of trauma to the seventh cranial nerve. This is also called the “facial nerve.”

The recovery was hard, but I was so grateful that it was not a stroke, I was able to care for myself, go to the bathroom on my own, I believe my positive energy is what helped with my recovery. Many say that one gets Bell’s Palsy from Lyme Disease, but for me, I think my Bell’s Palsy was activated by stress. Prior to my illness, I suffered the immeasurable loss of both my mother and grandmother, information that was gut-wrenching was shared with me and it took months to absorb and heal from it. I found myself in the position of being the Matriarch of the family and I felt I had no time to break-down I needed to show strength and so I think all of that bottled up stress needed to be released.

During my recovery it was hard to do many things, eating, drinking, swallowing, talking, smiling, closing my eye, sleeping. My left eye did not close, so I was very tired because when your eye does not blink it can be very exhausting. It was challenging driving, watching television, or being on the computer for an extended period of time. I had to change my daily way of doing things. I went back to work after being home for a couple of days, it was a challenge because I felt all eyes starring at me, but after watching my parents and my grandmother suffered a stroke, I felt like God had spared my life and I did not focus on anyone staring at me. I focused on recovery. After the 1st day, everyone stopped starring it was back to normal. I continued to stay focused and positive on my recovery over the next month. I shut down my computer, television, and phone at 9 pm every night. I researched what I should eat, what I should not eat, and what I needed to do to recover in 4-8 weeks. I avoided foods that contained, Arginine-Rich Foods, Omega-6 Foods, and Trans Fats. This website helped me 

I cannot tell you if that helped, but for me, I was going to take all advice because I was determined to get better. I slept with an eyepatch, it was very helpful, I drank from a straw because drinking from a cup was very hard, 1/2 of my face was paralyzed, I ate soft food because swallowing was a challenge. As my face began to slowly recover it was painful and sleeping at night was a challenge, sometimes I would need to take an Advil to get some sleep. Talking was definitely the hardest part, if I spoke slow I was ok but if I got agitated with someone who I felt could not understand me, my speech would get worst. At that moment I felt the agony of a stroke victim, it humbled me and I would not allow myself to feel sorry for myself. I began to see the progression in four weeks and someone who just met me for the first time would never know a month earlier I had partial facial paralysis; it was able to eat real food, swallow, talk, partial smile. In 2 months I was able to smile, it took a bit longer for my left eye to close completely, washing my face with soap was always a real challenge.

It has been 2 years

It has been 2 years and I still have some residual of my Bell’s Palsy, my left eye twitches and I never feel like it is fully closed, the cemetery of my face is slightly off, but only I notice it and my smile is slightly crooked, but I’ll take it because some never recover. I was one of the lucky survivors and I never stop thanking God for blessing my life. I share my story because I have discovered this happens to many people of all ages all the time.

I wanted someone who might be going through this condition to know that there is hope and you can recover. Be positive, be patient, and be grateful. Don’t let your physical appearance define who you are, focus on recovering and not your vanity. I had an opportunity to interview a doctor who specializes in treating patients who don’t organically recover from Bell’s Palsy, in my part two of this series Recovering from Bell’s Palsy I will share that interview.

Hamptons Wellness:Healthy Foods essential to your well-being…Take a look at these 3 food items that are healthy Foods to Eat…

bigstock-Fresh-salmon-fillet-29411951Salmon: Eating two or three servings of fish a week is a simple way to improve your health wellness and stave off certain illnesses and diseases. Salmon is one of the most nutritious types of fish to add to your diet. It supplies iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, as well as a whole host of other nutrients you need for good health. It has Selenium which is a mineral that keeps your thyroid working properly and boosts the health of your immune system. Those looking for more ways to give their immune system an additional boost may want to try products like those from Quantum Health which include L-Lysine and Vitamin C, as well as four other well-researched immune health nutrients. Selenium also works as an antioxidant, which means that it destroys free radicals. Salmon has a specific type of unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids lower your risk of dying from heart disease, according to Mayo Clinic.

For more information on the benefits of eating Salmon, click here:


Yogurt: protein (about 9 grams per 6-ounce serving), plus several other nutrients found in dairy foods, like calcium, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium. Yogurt consists Probiotics which are “friendly bacteria” that are naturally present in the digestive system. Live strains of these “good bacteria” are also found in many yogurt products. While more research needs to be done, there’s some evidence that some strains of probiotics can help boost the immune system and promote a healthy digestive wellness tract. If you can get greek organic.

for more information on Yogurt as a healthy food, click here:


bigstock-Big-fresh-orange-28947719Helps Prevent Cancer: Oranges are rich in citrus limonoids, proven to help fight a number of varieties of cancer including that of the skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. Prevents Kidney Diseases, Reduces Risk of Liver Cancer, Lowers Cholesterol, Boosts Heart Health, Oranges are full of potassium, an electrolyte mineral is responsible for helping the heart function well. When potassium levels get too low, you may develop an abnormal heart rhythm, known as an arrhythmia. Oranges are full of vitamin C which protects cells by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals cause chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease. Oranges are full of dietary fiber that stimulates digestive juices and relieves constipation. Oranges Helps Create Good Vision, Oranges are rich in carotenoid compounds that are converted to vitamin A and help prevent macular degeneration. The flavonoid hesperidin found in oranges helps regulate high blood pressure and the magnesium in oranges helps maintain blood pressure. Oranges are full of beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant protecting the cells from being damage which also protects the skin from free radicals and prevents the signs of aging. Other alternative methods to promote a healthier body are using different herbal remedies such as liver health supplements, to promote healthy liver and attempting to reduce the risks of liver cancer. That disease can be extremely dangerous, so it’s important that people try their best to keep their lungs healthy. If they notice any symptoms of liver cancer, they should contact their local healthcare professional to ensure they can prevent the disease from going unnoticed. By using ultrasounds, from, doctors will be able to detect any tumours. This will allow them to perform tests to determine whether it is cancer or not. To prevent this from worsening, a lot of people use supplements, especially if they do not like the taste of the natural, food products that are proven to reduce the effects of diseases and viruses. They are therefore a good alternative to not having anything extra to protect the body at all.

for more information on oranges as a healthy food to eat: click here:

WE ARE APPALLED, HORRIFIED AND SADDENED; by the recent attacks on our Jewish brothers and sisters in the recent New York attacks and acts of anti-Semitism throughout the United States. This cannot stand; this is a symptom of a broader problem in this country and the world. Whether it is anti-Semitism, homophobia, vilification of immigrants, racism or the fear and hatred of “the other” we at Hamptons Mouthpiece condemn these acts of violence against our human community. We should not, cannot tolerate and view with indifference the attack on the Jewish community. First it will be Jews, then Muslims, then Blacks, then Latinos, then Asians, then poor people, when will it end? It is imperative that people of goodwill publicly condemn these acts of violence, everyday people in our communities with our families, with our friends. We need to talk about these issues and demand civilized public discourse between our political leaders. THIS IS AMERICA, a land of immigrants, living together, loving our families, praying separately but walking together in this wonderful country. Let us not make the mistake of thinking that this is a majority of people committing these acts of hatred and violence, IT IS A SICK MINORITY that must face the light of equal justice under the law. 

photo: Hamptons Mouthpiece

The risk that we face is suspicion of each other. We must fight this fear of “the other” or it will lead to a path of hate and destruction of our American way of life. We must judge each other by our actions; we must come together as Americans. We stand with our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community and condemn these acts of violence. Our children are watching; WE MUST STOP THE VIOLENCE, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Hamptons: One of the highlights of my 2019 was meeting Alfre Woodard at the 2019 Hamptons Film Festival for the Premiere of her newest film Clemency to be released in December.

Alfre Woodard is one of my favorite actors and it was exciting to meet her in real life. I had the pleasure to see her newest movie ? Clemency directed by Chinonye Chukwu starring Alfre Woodard as the Warden and Aldis Hodge as the inmate on Deathrow. I thought the film was riveting yet dark and upsetting. 

The lack of dialogue brought so much intensity to the film. The acting without words really focused on the Facial expressions which made this film Oscar worthy in my opinion. 

The actors were not afraid to go all the way;  Life was happening between the lines, it was Intense and authentic. The character Bernadine was strong, deep and profound, an extraordinary performance, one of her best. Aldis performance was gripping and I think we will be seeing more from him on the big screen. 

Chinonye Chukwu, Aldis Hodge and Alfre Woodard

Watching the actors and director engage with each other in admiration on the red carpet made me determined to see this film. Saw it today and it was as powerful as I thought it was going to be. Performances from, Alfre Woodard & Aldis Hodge we’re so incredible. It was wonderful seeing Alfre in a lead role and Aldis Hodge is definitely one to watch. Directed and written by: Chinonye Chukwu 

The release is later this month nationwide, December 27, 2019. I personally think was an #oscarworthyperformance