Gun Violence Awareness Facts

As I’ve said before, I subscribe to different outlets for affecting change in various ways in an effort to support the issues that I wear orange 1care about (see – Trans Awareness Week). March For Our Lives is included in this list, as I also attended the rally in Washington in March 2018, and I continue to get news and alerts from the organization. Since June is Gun Violence Awareness month, I received a text update and was prompted to take a quiz on my knowledge of gun violence. Here are the questions and the information that was shared:*

wear orange 2How many people on average die from gun violence every day?
Answer: 100 people per day – that’s loved ones we’re losing every day because of guns. 

wear orange 2How does the U.S. gun homicide rate compare to other high-income countries?
Answer: It’s 25x higher. This is a uniquely American problem which our leaders have failed to address.

wear orange 2What percentage of Americans support universal background checks?
Answer: 97%. Implementing universal background checks is one way to start addressing these issues. 

Please be aware of which politicians are supportive of what you believe in, and who is fighting to keep our country safe. Also, make sure you #WearOrange on June 7th to support Gun Violence Awareness Month.

Thanks for reading.

*Quiz by March For Our Lives. 
For more information and references, 
visit https://marchforourlives.com/.

VOTE! (The Primary)

For many parts of the country, it’s election day! There have been historical highs in the last couple of elections for voter turnout, specifically in younger demographics and minority groups. Women really showed up for the midterm, voting at higher rates than the men! Most voters reported that they had a positive voting experience, and policies have become priority over partisanship.*vote 3Do you know who and what you’re voting for? There are so many great people looking to run and make a change, so it’s important to know where you are going to lend your support. As always, I know it can be a lot to keep up with, so here’s just a super quick reminder on how to make this easy. 

To find information on your polling place and what to expect on your ballot, I recommend visiting vote411.org and clicking on “Your Voting Guide”. You will be prompted to put in your address to see where to vote, as well as other links and resources. I suggest actually going through your ballot, where you will be asked to claim your party in order to get personalized information on candidates and the issues they are addressing. You will see exactly what you should expect to see at your polling place, but with additional facts and statements from the candidates as well. You can also visit other sites such as ballotpedia.org and rockthevote.org to get accurate and unbiased information on the elections.

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Stay informed! Exercise your right. Show support to issues you care about. And most importantly, make a difference. The polls are open until 8PM, so GO VOTE!

Thanks for reading.

*In a year of record midterm turnout, 

women continued to vote at higher rates than men,
 
and there were historic highs in 2019 across
racial 
and ethnic groups, according to Pew Research Center.

5 Reasons to Watch Pete Buttigieg

PeteEverything that I know about Pete Buttigieg so far has made me a fan of his. As we get to know more and more about the candidates participating in the upcoming elections, Pete is someone from whom I am definitely excited to hear. Here are just some reasons why:

 

chasten1. His Husband 
If Pete were to be elected, this would make him the first openly gay president! This would be a huge milestone for the community, and an amazing push forward for our country. Not to mention, Chasten would make an amazing First Gentleman … or whatever they plan on calling it. They are adorable, so are their dogs, and I am here for the representation.

 

unite2. His Platform
In a time when our nation is divided in such an extreme way, Pete is focusing on what we have in common, and running his platform with the focus on uniting the U.S.. There is so much more middle ground than anyone realizes, and Pete intends to use those common areas to attempt to unify the country. Many other candidates are running on the idea of “fighting the fight”, while Pete is looking to make peace again.

 

military3. His Military Experience 
Pete proudly brags that he has more military experience than his running mates, and many previously elected presidents as well. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2009, and was deployed in Afghanistan in 2014. He continued to serve as an intelligence officer until 2017. As a potential future Commander-in-Chief, military experience and leadership is obviously extremely important.

 

political4. His Political Experience
While a lot of people did appreciate that Trump did not come from the typical political background, there are others that argue that this experience is vital to the success of a leader in office. Pete has been involved in politics for the majority of his career, and he is currently the mayor of South Bend, Indiana (and has been since 2012). It doesn’t hurt to mention that he is a Harvard College graduate also.

 

personality5. His Personality and Charm
While he is a responsible, stand up politician, Pete is also not afraid to have a good time. He has shown his personality throughout the beginning of this campaign, including doing a fun sketch with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. He knows how to appeal to multiple audiences, and can be trusted to be authentic in various settings. As a millennial, I’m on board.

 

time

I read most of this information from the TIME article that highlighted his campaign, which I definitely recommend checking out. He has also made appearances on other late night TV shows and has had various other press coverage as well. I intend to keep my eye on Pete as he continues to move forward with his political efforts, regardless of where they make take him. You can learn more about Pete by visiting PeteForAmerica.com or following him @pete.buttigieg on Instagram and @PeteButtigieg on Twitter.

“It’s time for a new generation of American leadership.”

Thanks for reading!

 

Out & About (Feb 2019)

adp pride 3I am lucky and fortunate enough to work for a company that is very socially conscious and progressive in various areas. My company does a lot of charity work, including giving each employee 8 volunteer hours of PTO to use each year. They give parental leave to anyone who is becoming a parent – which includes fathers, adoption, LGBTQ couples, and more. They also have internal organizations to join to help you feel a sense of community, which includes a Pride organization that publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, titled “Out & About.”*

adp pride 2

There were three key pieces of news and information that was shared in the February 2019 issue of “Out & About” that I wanted to highlight, as they are extremely important milestones in LGBTQ history:

1. LGBTQ Representation in Record Numbers
This was something that I highlighted in my post-election post that celebrated the diversity we had just elected into office, and was also highlighted in the magazine as well. Representation in our government now includes record high numbers of open LGBTQ community members. This year, we swore into office our first openly bisexual Senate member and the first lesbian parent in Congress (making 10 total LGBTQ members overall). Having these perspectives in office can greatly help to provide a more well-rounded basis of legislation, and can better represent the people in which they are governing.

2. Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act
The Governor of New York signed this act on January 25th, which adds gender identity and gender expression to their list of protected classes. This ensures that Transgender and Non-Binary individuals are protected against discrimination in housing, employment, and bathroom access (many other states have already put this in place). New York also passed a law that bans conversion therapy, along with 14 other states who have banned the outdated practice as well. Conversation therapy has never shown evidence of affecting a persons sexual preference, but instead has only proved to have intense damages as a result. As a result of these two changes, New York has made great strides in supporting the LGBTQ community.

3. LGBTQ Inclusivity in School
New Jersey has passed a law that will recognize LGBTQ members of history in middle school and high school curricula. This will show the leaders and contributors of history as well as LGBTQ milestones and perspectives. Having this requirement in classrooms can greatly normalize the community during important and formative years. The law also requires that there is more inclusion for individuals with disabilities. This inclusion to the education in NJ should better represent the world overall and should help celebrate all world perspectives.

out and about

I feel very grateful that my workplace is recognizing some of the same values that are important to me, and celebrating milestones alongside the LGBTQ community. And I hope that more history continues to be made.

Thanks for reading.

*Out & About is an ADP resource intended for internal use only.

Universal Background Checks Bill

tomns.JPGRemember TOMS®? The super cute slip on shoes that would donate a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair of shoes that you purchase? As if this company wasn’t socially conscious enough, TOMS® is now doing even more.

I’m a big advocate for a reform on gun control, hoping that we can live in a world where gun safety is regulated the way automobile safety is. I believe in universal background checks, routine safety regulations, and appropriate training for all guns that are issued. I myself do not want to ever own a gun, as that would make me wildly uncomfortable, but I understand that others may feel differently. On a PERSONAL level, I hate guns. On a REALISTIC level, I just want the proper protocols to be in place.

After all, over 90% of Americans agree on universal background checks.*

Think about all the steps it takes to own a car. You have to study to pass a written test to get your license. Then, after practicing with a licensed adult, you earn your hours and take your driver’s test to get your real license. Then, you update that routinely. You also obtain a vehicle, which is also checked routinely to ensure the safety of you and those around you. While on the road, you obey the laws of the road, and you don’t let others drive your car who aren’t legally allowed to do so. If you break the law and get caught, you’ll get fines and penalties against your license, and could even have it taken away if you do not follow legislation. Now, nothing will ever prevent accidents from happening, but think about how much more chaos there would be if we didn’t have these rules and regulations for automobiles in place. Why do we not have the same routines for gun control? Both are man-made objects that accidentally take the lives of innocent people every single day. Why are they not treated the same?

UBGC 4On January 8th, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require universal background checks for all gun sales.* The bill is knows as H.R.8, and is a gigantic step for the gun reform movement. This proves that even in such divided times, we still have the ability to agree on basic human issues, and we can affect change.

UBGC 3

In an effort to help push this action, TOMS® has launched a postcard campaign to streamline a way to contact the representatives. By just providing your information via the TOMS® website, you could help take action on this very important issue. Over 720,000 postcards were hand-delivered to Congress as a result of the TOMS® Brand’s effort to make a difference. One of them, of course, was mine!

And now, we can proudly say that the universal background checks bill has been passed in the U.S. House of Representatives!

UBGC 6I hope that this is a historical first step into ending gun violence in the United States. Next stop: THE SENATE! We still have a long way to go, so please remember to vote this November for the representatives that are helping to make the world a better place.

Thanks for reading!

*All information found on the TOMS® website.
Visit https://www.toms.com/ for more information on how TOMS®
is getting involved, how you can help, or to go shoe shopping.

New Tattoos

I’m a big fan of tattoos and already have several small ones, and now I have added tattoos #8 and #9.

These were both tattoos that I had been thinking about for a very long time. The first one, actually, I almost got done in college and didn’t because of last minute plans that got changed. Now almost 6 years later, I finally got it done.

gravityThere are two songs titled “Gravity” that hold a lot of weight to me for different reasons. One is by John Mayer, and the other by Sara Bareilles. The idea of “gravity” allows you to be pulled towards different directions, and can have forces working against you. You may feel a magnetic connection to something and can easily be swayed as a result of it’s pull. We can allow ourselves to be influenced, or we can stop it from keeping us down. Gravity is also what can keep us grounded, and keep our heads out of the clouds. I got the word “gravity” tattooed behind by left ear, as a reminder to be in control of my life and to keep myself grounded. (This was also written in my mom’s handwriting.)

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My other tattoo is on my upper/inner right forearm. This tattoo is of the Libra constellation, depicted by flowers. I always resonated with being a Libra, but the idea of “balance” is something I can’t always connect with. Balance is something I strive for, but rarely achieve, so I didn’t want to get the Libra scale as my tattoo. Instead, there are two flowers, whose blossoms represent the stars in the constellation. This shows that despite expectations, we will bloom where we are planted, but we will grow how we want to.

I’m super super super happy with all of my tattoos and look forward for more to come!

Thanks for reading.

My Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Experience

tonight show matt
I was FRONT ROW for the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy even said hi to me! This was my first experience with going to a taping of the Tonight Show, but I hope it is not my last.

tonight show bellas

Getting tickets was a process. You have to put your name in a drawing, which is time sensitive, and then just hope to get picked. The tickets are free, but just not guaranteed that you’ll get picked. I followed @FallonTix on Twitter, which tweets when the ticket drawings open. Typically they release the drawing the month prior, and the spots fill up really quickly. You are limited to putting your name in for 3 different dates, and the celebrity guests are not listed. Basically, you just have to make sure that the date works for you. If you want my opinion on how to better your chances of getting picked, you have to spend time writing something in the comments. The audience of the Tonight Show is the only laugh track for the show, so they want fans of Jimmy’s in the audience. I wrote in the comments about how I was a huge fan of Jimmy’s and that I watch the Tonight Show religiously, etc. I can’t guarantee that this is the trick, but I do think it helps.

tonight show 1

I got an email confirming that I received tickets about 3 weeks prior to the show. It gave me the date and asked for a confirmation of who will be taking my second ticket, and just like that I was all set. I tried to research who the guests were scheduled to be, but that information was not released until the week before.  Now, I do my research, so I read a blog that someone else wrote about attending the Tonight Show, and in that person’s experience, the show taped and aired on the same day. Since I assumed this to be true for all shows, my best friend and I were under the impression that we were going to see Jada Pinkett Smith and the Backstreet Boys. Welp, we were wrong. You see, we went on a Thursday, and they do two tapings on Thursday so that no one has to work Friday’s. Since we were attending the second taping, we were actually going to the Friday show, not the Thursday show. So, no Backstreet Boys and no Jada, but don’t worry it all turns out okay!

tonight show 2We got to Rockefeller Center with enough time to sort of explore, get something to eat, and get in line with plenty of time to spare. The check in deadline was 5:45, but we were allowed in up to half an hour prior. We were given new tickets at check-in that had a letter written in Sharpie on the back, which is what they used later on to line us up alphabetically. Our letter was H, and when they called up the first half of the alphabet, the only ones in front of us were two girls with the letter G, which resulted in the four of us being front row! The NBC Pages and staff do a great job of really hyping you up along the way, as well as keeping things orderly in getting everyone to their seats.

tonight show joThe show we saw aired on Friday, January 25th, and the guests were Matt Le Blanc, Nikki and Brie Bella, and Jo Firestone. Of course we all know Matt Le Blanc as Joey from Friends, and the Bella Twins have their own reality show (Nikki was also on Dancing with the Stars, which is what I know her from). Jo Firestone is a comedian that used to be a writer for the Tonight Show, so I actually recognized her right away, but I don’t believe she is super well known yet. It was a great show to go to, there was a lot of laughter, and being in the front row was just so super cool.

tonight show 3

When Jimmy walked out for his monologue and we all started cheering, my friend and I waved our hands and jumped up and down excitedly. This of course got Jimmy’s attention – AND HE LOOKED RIGHT AT US, POINTED, SAID HELLO AND THANKED US FOR COMING!! It was seriously so awesome. At the very very end of the show, Jimmy walks through the audience and gives everyone a high five. Since I was in the front row, he kind of high fived me but it turned into more of a handshake, and then he leaned past me to high five the guy behind me as well. I seriously thought about just going for it and giving him a hug since we were already almost there, but I was afraid that NBC would give me some sort of restraining order and I wouldn’t be allowed back.

tonight show 4We got home in time to watch the show with Jada and the Backstreet Boys that we originally thought we were attending. I was honestly confused by the Backstreet performance in chicken suits, but it was overall a good show. The following night was when the show we saw aired, and of course I had it turned on to watch. Seeing Jimmy’s “hello” to us back on screen was awesome, and you can see my friend and me at the very very end during the credits as well.

Definitely check out the episode (again, aired on Friday, January 25th, 2019) and for sure put your name in to try to get tickets to go to a taping of Jimmy as well!

Thanks for reading.