Tag Archives: Current Events

Hope + Help For Syria

April 5, 2017

Yesterday morning, as many as 100 people were killed in a chemical attack in the Idlib province of Syria, southwest of Aleppo. Many of the dead are children.

Right now, Preemptive Love is responding to victims of the attack to provide things like medical care and help for families who were evacuated.

A wonderful and hope-filled chance to give here. Any donation, no matter how small, is helpful and needed. This organization is trusted and vetted non-profit making a huge difference across the globe.

There is no such thing as other people’s children.

***

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

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

The Problem With The Good Old Days

August 20, 2015

Good Old Days

I have written and re-written an essay on “the good old days” a few dozen times over the years, but I can never bring myself to finish it because no one wants to hear a rant. I don’t want to hear a rant. Rants are for sad toddlers and sad uncles and sad Facebook feeds. Nine times out of ten, our deprecation is better left unsaid. There is a reason Mark Zuckerberg did not originally create a dislike button on Facebook. The world doesn’t need any more negativity.

Then all of a sudden we are defending Bill Cosby, chastising Harper Lee, and caring more about a dirty, old southern flag than actual human lives, so I’m going to say one quick thing tonight: There is no such thing as the good old days.

Humans did not behave any better or worse in 1960, 1810, or after drunk Noah said, “Let’s start over, folks!” Every corner of every religious and historical text points to the fact that we are, and have always been, the worst.

Things we ignore to protect the good old days: literature, rape, racism, murder. We will literally ignore dozens of sexually abused women to protect our memories of a tv show personality. We also won’t read a book to protect our memories of a fictional character or take down a flag because hey, remember southern hospitality?

When our precious childhoods are at stake, we are willing to do almost anything.

The obvious problem with this is that if we are constantly putting our elders or history on a pedestal, we will only be disappointed. Humans have been being human for thousands of years. We are no better or worse than the very first man or woman who lied to get out of washing the loin cloths. There is no reason to be surprised when our youth pastor watches porn or when our grandpa turns out to be racist or when Joshua Duggar cheats on his wife. Bill Cosby was never our moral tour guide, Atticus Finch was never ours to have, and the confederate flag has never been anything more than a relic.

It’s okay to let go.

I know nostalgia is hard to avoid. I love nostalgia. Nostalgia is one of my love languages. It can also hold a lot of truth. We have so much to learn from those who have walked before us. Every generation has its wisdom; knowledge and understanding we’ve lost with the passage of time. The danger of nostalgia is that it can never really reflect the complete truth. This is why our childhood bedrooms will always look smaller and our memories of first grade warped by a single picture. We will never break the cycles of violence, oppression, or pain if we can’t admit our errors.

There is no such thing as the good old days. They were just days, some good and some bad. There is only the sweet smell of nostalgia and the hope that when we know better, we do better.

***

Nostalgia is also a dangerous form of comparison. Think about how often we compare our lives to a memory that nostalgia has so completely edited that it never really existed.
Brené Brown