Category Archives: Faith

Women’s March 2017

January 23, 2017

By @mariandrew

This Saturday half a million men and women descended into the nation’s capital to show their support for women’s rights a day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated. There were zero arrests and zero violence. It was civil, polite, and crowded with 100% cooperation with police.

The marches were not confined to Washington. Women and men in cities around the globe marched in solidarity including Sydney, Berlin, London, Paris, Nairobi and Cape Town. Participation was high. In Los Angeles, organizers expected 80,000 people to attend. 750,000 people showed up. In Chicago, organizers canceled the march portion of their event for safety reasons because of an overflow crowd that reached an estimated 250,000. Half the town of Stanley, Idaho (population 63) came out in a snowstorm to march in peace and solidarity. In Lubbock, Texas, the second most conservative city in the United States, men and women marched during a dust storm.

It was the biggest inaugural protest in history.

My sister and I marched with my friend Liza in Philadelphia where 20,000 people were estimated to attend.

50,000 showed up instead.

My sister snapped this right before we got onto a train packed so full of women that we couldn’t let anyone on for the next 15 stops.

The vibe was positive, peaceful, and resilient. We marched next to men, women, and children of every color and every age. There was a lot of smiling, kindness, and camaraderie. There was also the overwhelming feeling of look at what we can do and where is the nearest bathroom.

Critics have questioned the intent of the march.

I marched because gender shouldn’t determine your paycheck. Because paid family leave benefits everyone. Because sexual assault should never be normalized. Because it’s not just locker room talk. Because I have two sons and a daughter. Because when women thrive, societies rise.

And yeah, I also marched because even though I believe life starts at conception, abortion rates are at an all time low because of affordable birth control and clinics like Planned Parenthood.

Despite what the internet may tell you, there was room for everyone.


It was a great day but it’s also just the beginning. If we’ve learned anything from this past year it’s to listen, pay attention, and move our feet. The greatest threat to peace and justice are not those who voted for Donald Trump, but those who didn’t vote at all.

Silence = approval.

We will not be silent.

You can find dozens of lists on what to do now that the march and inauguration are over. For me, it makes most sense to focus on a few specific issues and keep my ear to the ground for how I can help right here in my town.

This is also a great place to start.

Illustration by @kimothyjoy

On Saturday we marched as a message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights. That defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

A heartfelt thank you to those who worked tirelessly to make these marches happen around the world.

As always, love trumps hate.

I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. -Audre Lorde

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Photo via The Women’s March in Philadelphia

 

PS: 

The last time I went to a march, Waylon was the size of a poppy seed and I needed exactly zero babysitters before hopping in the car to D.C. Times were tense then and they are still tense now.

From Jon Stewart’s speech six years ago:

“We hear every damned day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done. The truth is, we do! We work together to get things done every damned day! The only place we don’t is here (in Washington) or on cable TV!

But Americans don’t live here, or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done–not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.

Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do! But they do it. Impossible things, every day, that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make.

(Points to video screen, showing video of cars in traffic.) Look on the screen. This is where we are, this is who we are. These cars. That’s a schoolteacher who probably think his taxes are too high, he’s going to work. There’s another car, a woman with two small kids, can’t really think about anything else right now… A lady’s in the NRA, loves Oprah. There’s another car, an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car’s a Latino carpenter; another car, a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan.

But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief, and principles they hold dear–often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers’. And yet, these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze, one by one, into a mile-long, 30-foot-wide tunnel, carved underneath a mighty river.

And they do it, concession by concession: you go, then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. ‘Oh my God–is that an NRA sticker on your car?’ ‘Is that an Obama sticker on your car?’ It’s okay–you go, then I go.

And sure, at some point, there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder, and cuts in at the last minute. But that individual is rare, and he is scorned, and he is not hired as an analyst!

Because we know, instinctively, as a people, that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light, we have to work together. And the truth is there will always be darkness, and sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land.

Sometimes, it’s just New Jersey.”

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t march for human rights, call our representatives, or keep our eyes and ears sharp. It just means we are in New Jersey.

(Miss you Jon. xo)

PPS: In case you didn’t go on Saturday but wanted to, the protest is actually four years long so come on down.

Four Ways To Give At The End Of The World…I mean 2016

December 14, 2016

helping

It’s been quite a year, no?

Four ways to give back this season. A time of joy and sorrow.

1. Help the city of Aleppo. From my friend Suzie: I don’t think we have the right to say “never again” regarding the Holocaust anymore. We collectively do not deserve the credit that is implied by that. The credit that we would do anything differently, because it clearly has happened again. The world stood by and watched even as it was live tweeted for us. As my family celebrates Christmas this year, our focus for us and our children is on the fact that Jesus was born a middle eastern refugee. More on what’s going on here

2. Pay overdue lunch accounts at your local public school. School lunch is a big part of the day for students, but some families cannot afford it every day of the school-week. Anonymously paying off overdue lunch accounts at your local schools is a great way to support the community.

3. Support the legal defense of warriors protecting land, water, and human rights by donating and standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from ripping through their ancestral homelands. It threatens their water, their sacred places, and the future of their children.

4. Raise awareness for gun violence against children. Four years ago today, 20 children and 6 adult staff members were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. You can donate in memory of Charlotte, Daniel, Rachel and Olivia. Josephine, Ana, Dylan, and Dawn. Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Anne, and Emilie. Jack and Noah, Caroline and Jessica. Avielle, Lauren, Mary, and Victoria. Benjamin and Allison.

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Photo source

Post Election Therapy: A List

November 11, 2016

Source Unknown

No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning. – President Barack Obama

This is not a political blog, not because I’m not political–but because I’ve yet to find any positive results from discussing politics online. That said, Tuesday was hard and I know I will not be able to move on in this space before addressing that directly.

For some of you, this week was a time of rejoicing. For others who either did not vote or care either way, it meant nothing at all. For the rest of us, it felt like a loss for women, minorities, sexual abuse survivors, LGBT friends, refugees, and our sons and daughters. I recognize this may sound misguided to the parts of the country who were looking to elect change in a different direction. But for me and my family, it was devastating.

First we grieve, then we begin again.

If you are also feeling a loss this week, here are a few things that have helped me. First, this is not the end of the world. Or at least, not yet. We can still be peacekeepers, lawmakers, hope spreaders, and take a passionate stand for those who are threatened and marginalized in 2016 (and beyond). We are also the ones responsible for teaching our children kindness and compassion, not the president.

Second, there is no better time for introspection and retrospection than after an upset like this. I know everyone (and I mean everyone) is sending each other various political links from sources far and wide to either dismantle someone’s belief or further prove their own. This is a good time to acknowledge that media is a double edged sword. We can’t change journalism until we change how we react to it. That includes checking sources and recognizing that algorithms and op-ed pieces disguised as “news” are influencing what we perceive as truth.

Finally, there is a time for real anger and heartache and a time to laugh and play UNO with our cousins from Detroit. Thanksgiving dinner is coming, and even though it might push us to the brink of a brain aneurysm–keeping our ears and eyes open often yields surprising results.

Peace and love to everyone as we move forward.

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They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.

Let’s Make Room

January 19, 2015

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I’ve been seeing all these op-ed pieces lately on how it’s okay for boys to wear tutus. How no one is going to tell my son what he can and can’t wear. How girls can play with tractors so who cares if my son is breastfeeding his cabbage patch doll? EVERYBODY BE COOL.

Of course these articles are fine and good; I’m all for celebrating our three-year-old boys acting like drunk fairies. But there’s also a part of me who thinks: It’s 2015. Why are we still talking about this?

Here’s why.

Last month in Folsom, California, 12-year-old Ronin Shimizu took his own life after being relentlessly bullied by his classmates for joining the cheerleading team. Not only did they shout gay slurs and physically assault him, he was called “disgusting” and told he was “going straight to hell.”

After years of this anti-gay assault, Ronin’s parents found their son dead in their home.

The police immediately ruled it suicide. No note was found.

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It is so easy to live inside my safe bubble with my young, innocent babies and mugs of hot tea and think this world is safe. That we’ve come far enough. That we’ve made room for everyone.

Then when I hear stories of children being tormented over the idea that they might be gay, I am shocked and enraged. How could this happen? Why would anyone say such hateful things? What world is this?

There is still so much work to be done.

We need to make room. Room for our little boys with bright orange tutus and little girls with overalls and dump trucks. Room for change, safe places, and open arms. Room for the idea that we are not in control of our children’s sexuality any more than we’re in control of our own.

Recently a pair of identical twin teenage boys came out to their dad in a taped conversation that went viral on YouTube. What struck me the most about their story was not so much their father’s response, but the proof that who we are as sexual beings is in our DNA. That these identical pairs of genes led to the same sexuality. That who you love is, of course, not a choice.

Wearing tutus does not make you gay. Joining the cheerleading squad does not make you gay. Dressing up like a fairy or taking ballet or wearing bright pink does not make you gay. Being gay makes you gay. A difference in genetics, just like the color of your skin.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A day we have set aside to celebrate a man who made room for a lot of people. Last month a 12-year-old boy took his life because there was no room for him. We remember his life today. We weep for his mother and all the other mothers who have lost their sons and daughters to hopelessness.

Let’s make room.

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Ronin

Ronin Shimizu
2002-2014

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – MLK

Christmas {2014}

December 23, 2014

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“Oh, spirit, must there be a Christmas that brings this awful scene? How can we endure it?”
-Ebenezer Scrooge

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It has been a heartbreaking few weeks. The violence and hopelessness that so many have endured is enough to question if there is any light left in this world. Any hope. Any good or decent truth.

The heaviness weighs on my chest. It is easier to look away, to not pay attention, to leave the room when another story is being told. And yet we cannot help but let ourselves feel the weight of their grief. Of our own small sufferings.

The story of Christmas is just as broken. Injustice, greed, and darkness surround that manger scene. And yet in those rags a baby rest. A quiet, burning hope.

Peace to those who are hurting this Christmas. Who are lost and broken and quietly afraid. Who stare at a long winter before us and hope for an early Spring.

We keep our candles burning.

Love to you this Christmas, friends.

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