Today, I Marched. Atlanta Woman’s March For Social Justice (Photo Gallery)

On January 21, 2017 Civil Right’s icon, John Lewis, led the charge at the Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women saying, “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just; you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something. We cannot afford to be silent.”

Silent we were not. It is estimated that approximately 60,000 people marched alongside Representative Lewis to denounce the words and actions of the newly sworn in President and his administration.

I don’t have the time or energy to list all of the egregious things that Trump has said and done so I’ll just refer to the Huffington’s Post’sEditor’s Note‘ that they used during the Presidential Campaign as it sums it up quite well:

Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

Check out the Photo Gallery below.

 

A New Day – My Journal Entry From Obama’s 2008 Inaguaration

presidentIn 2008, I was  25-year-old and working towards finishing my college degree at Georgia State University. I had also just voted in my first election where I had actually followed the debates and was passionate about the issues. Barack Obama was a breath of fresh air who seemed relatable and gave me hope. As I reflect on his last day in office, I remember a Journal Entry that I had written on the day of his Inauguration. Back then, I didn’t have a blog but would instead write and save Word Documents. After a quick search I found my account of that day. (Please forgive my amateur musings but I wanted to show the original entry without changes.)

“It’s A New Day. I woke to my alarm going off at 7:30 am on the morning on January 20, 2009 and jumped out of bed with more energy than usual, because I knew what an historical day lie ahead. I layered in anticipation of 36-degree weather and headed to Marta bound for Centennial Olympic Park where I had just learned the day before that the presidential inauguration would be televised live to the public.

I was worried about running late, but arrived in plenty of time find my place in line and wait for the gates to open. As I stood waiting I observed the people with their blankets and chairs and talked with many who were more than eager to share what this day meant to them. One woman was there with her two children, whom she had taken out of school so that they may share the moment together as a family.

Once the park opened and our bags were checked, I was pleased and surprised to find myself in the very front of the crowd just feet away from the big screen. The music was blaring and it took little effort for the people around me to start dancing and singing. From the moment I took my place in the crowd I was glad that I decided not to stay home. The energy was indescribable and spirits were high.

The spirits of those surrounding me never dulled, despite the cold weather, and every now and then there were chants of “Yes We Can”, or “Obama, Obama”. I began a conversation with a high school student who had skipped class to attend with her mother and eventually we were taking pictures together as if we were long, time friends.

Everyone watched in anticipation as the soon-to-be first family took their seats and I soaked up all of the faces surrounding me. A woman behind me had tears streaming down her face as the said aload, “This is awesome” and I found myself getting choked with emotion at the realization of what was about to happen.

Even though I expected the day to be emotionally charged, I was still moved by those around me. I witnessed grown men shamelessly wiping away tears and strangers joyously hugging one another. I was overwhelmed by the energy that surrounded me.

As Barack Obama stood to take the oath of office the crowd erupted and a young man screamed, ”Anything is possible.” We then all fell silent as we heard our new president swear to uphold the Constitution. It was such a powerful moment and for a second I forgot that I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes. I was transfixed on the screen before me as I watched the first black man become our 44th President of the United States of America.

I am so proud to be a part of the progression that our country has taken and look forward to what the years ahead have to bring. I revel in the fact that I can tell my nieces and nephews that they can be anything they want, no exceptions, because we live in a land that has proven so. This presidential inauguration was a “Where were you moment” and I will forever remember that I was in Atlanta, GA surrounded by thousands of strangers who didn’t feel like strangers at all.

During this period of war and economic uncertainty I truly feel that change is coming to American at a time when we need it more than ever. I cannot wait to wake up on January 21, 2009 and feel that a new day is upon us.”

Today, as we say good-bye to President Obama I am a much  more cynical person. The day-to-day reality of having an African American President has been shameful. Congress worked overtime to undermine his initiatives while so many questioned his citizenship and called him and his family hateful names. The realization that President Obama will be handing over the keys to the White House to the very man who led the Birther Movement (not to mention has no experience and is by all accounts a narcissistic sociopath) saddens me in a way I cannot explain.

Did President Obama meet my every expectation? No. However, he carried himself with grace and dignity even while facing insurmountable opposition. I believe that he represented our country well and was a strong leader during difficult times. He and his family were a beautiful addition to the history books and I am so proud to have called him Mr. President.

 

What Is Going On At Standing Rock

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I’ve had several people ask me about Standing Rock. This is a very brief overview of what is going on at Standing Rock. I’ve supplied more detailed links in the text.

Standing Rock is a Native American Reservation located in North Dakota and South Dakota. There have been continuous protests by indigenous people as well as other supports in an effort to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile pipe slated to carry crude oil from North Dakota to Southern Illinois.

Native Americans are concerned that the pipeline, which would pass underneath the Missouri River half a mile upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation boundary, will contaminate the tribes only clean water source.

For the government, the Pipeline is a cost-effective way to transport crude oil to major markets. For the Native Americans, the Pipeline is a threat to sacred land and safe drinking water for their people.

There are a lot of things to consider about the protests at Standing Rock including the history that the U.S. Government has with Native Americans and their land. The preservation of Native Americans and their culture has taken a back seat to government interests many times in the past.

You can read a more detailed timeline of the protests at Standing Rock here.

Also, if you’d like to help the efforts at Standing Rock you can find out how to here.

The First Female President Of The United States

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Maybe the first female President of the United States has tattoos and a purple streak in her hair. Maybe she lifts her middle finger high when a man tells her to “smile”.

Maybe she’s had an abortion, smokes too many cigarettes and takes too many selfies. Maybe she sings in the car to Beyonce and Taylor Swift and The Runaways.

Maybe the first female President of the United States wears mini-skirts and doesn’t suck her gut in for pictures because fuck that. Maybe she smacks her gum.

Yeah, I’d be ok with that

Donald Trump To Be 45th President Of The United States

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Donald Trump will be our next President. I didn’t think it was possible. In fact, I was pretty damn cocky. How could I not be? Pundits, pollsters, politicians (REPUBLICAN politicians) all told me that a Donald Trump presidency was not something I had to worry about. Now, it’s a reality that I cannot wrap my head around.

I’m sad that our first African American President will be passing the torch to someone who has vowed to build a wall, ban Muslims from entering our country, enlist mass deportations and restore “Law and Order”. How did we manage to fall back so fast?

Keep in mind that President Obama was handed a mess of a country 8 years ago. He managed to turn things around with little to no support from his opponents and will now have to pass it on to someone who is endorsed by the KKK. What a cruel state of affairs.

I am sad for my African American friends. I am sad for my Muslim friends. I am sad for my Latino friends. I am sad for my LGBT friends. I am sad for my fellow females.

When Donald Trump was heard on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women, it sent me into a depression (and prompted me to write a post). As someone who has been sexually assaulted numerous times, his candid words brought back some troubling memories for me. Events I’ve tried hard to forget. That time the neighbor put his hands between my legs and reached inside my shirt when I was 12-years-old, or that time I woke up with someone’s hands in my underwear. I could go on, which is incredibly sad, but I think you get the idea.

Personally, it’s going to be tough for me to have a President who has rated women and said mean, ugly things about them. I’ll have to find a way to stay strong, be confident and deal with my emotions for the next two years but I’m frustrated to be put in such a situation.

I also have to find a way to make peace with the fact that people I love and respect voted for Donald Trump. People that I know for a fact a generous and kind cast their vote for the most unqualified candidate in history.

I boil it down to socioeconomics.I live in a city and am exposed to so many cultures and ideas. In fact, I have friends that are genuinely scared right now because they are unsure of their place in our country. However, I grew up in a place that was not very diverse. I did not see a real life Middle-Eastern person until I was 21 and moved to Seattle after Hurricane Katrina. When you don’t leave your bubble and everyone is like you, it’s easy to overlook deplorable behavior and vote within your comfort zone. Your world centers on church and family and you don’t want to rock the boat. My point in proven by the fact that Trump was elected largely by uneducated, white men.

I don’t understand rebelling against the elites by electing someone who has never been poor, never truly struggled, never fell on hard times? I’m baffled.

Political Commentator, Van Jones sums up my frustrations best when he said, “You tell your kids, don’t be a bully. You tell your kids, don’t be a bigot. You tell your kids, do your homework and be prepared. And then you have this outcome….”

You cannot deny the well-documented evidence that Donald Trump continuously exhibited a bullying and bigoted mentality throughout his campaign. Apparently, some didn’t thing those events were a big deal. Don’t want to rock that boat.

I’m scared but I have hope. Here is what I believe those of us who are saddened by these event should do next:

Reach out to your minority friends and let them know that you care about them. Let them know that you will stand up for them if/when you witness injustice. Donald Trump wants to make HIS America great again but we will fight for the inclusion of EVERYONE.

Recognize bad policy, especially if it infringes on the rights of others, and fight against it. Become a pebble in the shoe of your local government. Sign petitions, march, speak out.

Be kind to everyone and recognize the plight of others. Show empathy.

Plan for the future. Look ahead. Let’s work to become a stronger party so that someone like Donald Trump will never have access to the Word’s highest office ever again.

In a moment of despair, all I have is hope. I have to remind myself that it is not the end of the world. We may fall behind on a road we’ve been clearing for so long but this too shall pass.

 

Mother, Daughter, Pasta, Wine – Our Italian Getaway (Pre-Trip Interview)

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My mother and I leave for Italy in 3 days! While I am a seasoned traveler this will be my mom’s very first visit to another country. I can’t wait for her to see the Colosseum and drink Italian coffee.

I think that my mom will learn so much about me on this trip. She’s going to see me in a way she never has, communicating and maneuvering in a faraway land. If she hasn’t yet understood my desire to explore, I’m sure she soon will.

I decided to interview her before we leave to see how she’s feeling about her upcoming Birthday Trip. Here’s what she had to say:

Me: Why did you pick Italy?
Mom: Because you wouldn’t go to Israel with me. Just joking : ) I have always wanted to go to Tuscany, to take some cooking lessons. I used to love to cook (I still do just don’t have any time for it). When you kids were young I used to make you watch me cook and I would pretend I was on the Food Network. The only one really interested was your brother, Ronald.
Me: What are you most excited about?
Mom: On my birthday. November 2nd, we will be at a Farmhouse taking a cooking lesson in Tuscany, just like I’ve always wanted. I cannot wait for that. Also, I am a prayer. I love my time with God. I plan to bring my journal with me so that while I am there I can just sit somewhere, peaceful and beautiful and spend time with God and journal (probably early in the mornings while you are still asleep).
Me: Are you nervous about anything?
Mom: The only thing I am a little bit nervous about is flying over the Atlantic, but I have given my fears to God so I will be okay!
Me:This trip is going to expose you to a whole new culture. What are you hoping to learn?
Mom: I love people, no matter their sex, race or creed so I am looking forward to meeting new people and learning how they live, work and play. I want to see how different things are from what we are used to here in the states like the toilets, food and the different products that they use. I will be interesting to see how shopping, transportation and entertainment is different because I think we tend to have the mindset  that  everything is done exactly the we do things here at home.
There you have it, folks. She’s ready to go!
It’s not too late to donate to her Birthday Page before we’re off.
Ciao!

Why #ImWithHer

I’m voting for Hillary Clinton. This will not surprise most people that I know. I did not watch last night’s debates to be persuaded otherwise. I watched to hear my Candidate lay out her plans for my Country’s future.

I would like to state that, for me, this Presidential Election is not about Democrat/Republican or Man/Woman. I honestly believe that if Donald Trump had somehow managed to worm his way into achieving the Democratic Nomination, I’d be voting Republican.

The truth of the matter is that one of the two people who took the stage last night is going to hold the most powerful position in the world (you can vote Third Party but please understand the risk you are taking).

So supporting Hillary Clinton is more about me NOT supporting Donald Trump above anything else.

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For some reason, Donald Trump seems to be exempt from standards that we have held for every previous Male Candidate running for President.

For instance, if President Obama had called a woman a “Pig” or Mitt Romney had refused to release his Tax Returns neither would have had a shot in the last Presidential Election.

Trump is getting away with both of those things and so much more! What’s more, the fact that he’s getting away with it is spurring him on and inflating his ego to bigger proportions than ever before.

I feel like I am watching the equivalent of a Street Performer applying to be a Neurosurgeon. Everyone at the hospital knows he’s not qualified but they’re bored and don’t want to see the Juggling Acts in the Break Room to go away.

If we’re even going to try to lump Trump in with previous candidates then let’s begin.

Yes, all politicians lie.

They lie to bend the truth or skew the facts. Trump, however, seems to lie for the sake of lying.

Example: Back in July Trump said that the debate schedule was rigged (The presidential debate commission announced the dates for the 2016 debates September 2015) and the NFL reached out to him to complain. In fact, they sent him a letter. The NFL was quick to deny that any such interaction had occurred. Also, Trump has yet to produce said letter. This wasn’t just a lie, it was a fabrication produced out of thin air to help him prove a point. That’s scary.

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Sexism

I don’t think anyone has much of a case if they are trying to deny that Trump has a problem with women.

It is well documented.

In fact, he couldn’t resist bringing up comments he’s said about Rosie O’ Donnell and saying she deserved them, during a Presidential Debate.

Let me repeat that:

Donald Trump mentioned and defended mean, hurtful things he’s said about Rosie O’ Donnell DURING A PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE.

It may be perfectly acceptable for two entertainers to spar back and forth but I have higher standards for my Presidential Nominees.

“Rosie O’Donnell — I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.” -Trump

Actually, I do feel sorry for her, Donald. Because she started this fight with a Millionaire Reality Star and it’s being continued by a Presidential Nominee.

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He’s A Bully

But he’s a methodical bully who teases the public with what he would have done or said.

He said this during the debate:

“I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family and I said to myself ‘I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice.”

And this after the debate:

“I’m really happy I was able to hold back on the indiscretions in respect to Bill Clinton. Because I have a lot of respect for Chelsea Clinton. Maybe I’ll tell you at the next debate. We’ll see. But I’m very happy.”

We can even go back to his response of the Democratic National Convention:

“I was going to hit one guy in particular, a very little guy. I was going to hit this guy so hard his head would spin, he wouldn’t know what the hell happened.”

You see how he’s managed to bully and insinuate by giving himself credit for not bullying? You see that, right?

I could go on and on with example after example as to why Donald Trump’s candidacy is a joke but I don’t have the energy.

I believe that this Presidential Race is different than any other in history. We can really fuck things up by playing Russian Roulette (pun intended) with ‘The Donald’.

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I am voting for Hillary.

If she doesn’t do what she says then I’ll try again in 4 years. Until then, I know that she is fully capable of keeping the country afloat*, but I truly believe that Donald Trump does not have the capacity to do the same.

*By afloat I mean:

– Maintain Foreign Relations

– Run our Military and Defense Programs

– Balance a National Budget

– Understand how laws and the government works

So the word “afloat” is a huge understatement.