VOTE! (The Democratic Primaries)

vote 000I’m gonna be pretty honest here: I’ve been really frustrated with politics lately. It’s no secret that I really hate the current state of our country, and if you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you know my distaste for our current president. While I have hope that we can someday get back to a place where the country is not so severely divided, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Unfortunately, I truly don’t have a whole lot of hope for this election, and it’s actually really bumming me out. After the impeachment was acquitted, I really lost a lot of hope in our country ever being anything other than this extreme version of bipartisan. People are just blindly following their party, regardless of anything that is happening in the world. I know how important this election is, and I would love to see literally anybody besides Trump take office. However, my hopes are not high.

Sometimes I sit and think, ‘it probably doesn’t even matter if you vote. Vote, don’t vote, whatever.’ Sometimes my hope for the country goes entirely out the window. Sometimes I feel embarrassed to be an American, and I doubt that the upcoming election will change that. I realize that it might be controversial to say this and to be so unpatriotic, but this is how I am feeling. When I see an American flag these days, I just associate it with prejudice, bigotry, and injustice. I constantly dream about saying “fuck it” and leaving America. If you can find pride in our country, that’s wonderful. But my hopes are low and my spirits are lower.

Character illustration of people with vote iconsThat being said, I’ll still be voting. The Democratic primaries are beginning their elections, and we have to go vote to keep hope alive. The 14 states voting today are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.* I’ll be voting in Arizona on March 17th, along with Florida, Illinois, and Ohio. March holds voting dates on the 10th and 24th as well for roughly 7 other states. 10 more states will be voting in April, 6 in May, and 5 more in June.*

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To stay informed, see what’s on your ballot, or to find your polling place, you can visit Ballotpedia.org rockthevote.org  , or vote411.org .

Happy voting.
Thanks for reading.
*The 14 states voting today, 
According to the Wall Street Journal

*Other state voting information provided by 
The National Conference of State Legislatures

VOTE! (The Off-Year)

Vote Nov. 5 - ColorDon’t think that off-year elections are important? Wrong! Every single election is extremely important and is an opportunity to exercise your right. Policy changes start at the local level, and you have to back the individuals who are working for what you believe in. Getting involved in every single election, even off-years, ensures that you have a say in those who are working not just in the White House, but in your state and city as well.

Vote Nov. 5 - ColorDon’t think your vote makes a difference in off-year elections? Wrong! This is the time when voter turnout is typically the lowest, raising the importance of each and every vote. In most major cities, fewer than 15% of the population show up to cast a ballot for mayor – and most are from one demographic. More voter turnout, especially in minority groups and young adults, can drastically change the results of the elections.

Vote Nov. 5 - ColorDon’t know what’s included on a ballet for an off-year election? No problem! There are so many resources that can help you learn what to expect when you go to vote. Ballotpedia.org prompts you to enter your address to see exactly what will be included with each election. You can also use sites such as rockthevote.org and vote411.org to educate yourself on who and what you would like to vote for. You can also use these sites to find your polling place, or other mail-in options as well.

Here in Tucson, I’m excited to be voting on a new FING VOTEmayor and councilmen. We will also be voting on sanctuary city status and pay raises for city officials.

See you at the polls!

Thanks for reading.

The Sandy Hook Promise

sh3As I’ve been watching different shows via apps on my phone while at my desk, I’ve seen a couple of impactful commercials regarding back to school safety. Because school shootings are such a relevant issue within America, there’s a lot more safety concerns for students than ever before. From elementary schools to college campuses, the fear of active shooters is real.

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The commercials featured different items that children received for back to school needs, while scenes of a school shooting play out in their surroundings. A skateboard is used to break a window to escape, and a young girl in hiding is able to text her mom from her new phone to say “I love you”. This truthfully doesn’t seem overly dramatic of actual events that have and could happen any day in the U.S. One of my coworker’s son’s school was closed last week due to a possible shooting threat. The fear is honestly real. To read 16 facts about gun violence and school shootings provided by the Sandy Hook Promise, click here 

 

The Sandy Hook Promise is a non-profit organization that is working to provide programs and practices that protect children and prevent more less. This is in an effort to honor all the victims of gun violence, as the organization was founded by families affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school that took place on December 14th, 2012. The Sandy Hook Promise is above-the-politics, focusing on the “human side” of the issues by building a movement of schools, families, and community organizations.

sh5They are building a national base, organizing at a community level, developing and delivering mental health and wellness programs, and advocating for state and federal policy. Through initiatives within school districts, students can feel more included, everyone can know the warnings signs, and schools can be more safe overall. For news and information on their efforts, click here or visit their website.

I don’t have kids, and I don’t plan on having kids, but that does not mean that I cannot get involved to help stop school shootings and other events of gun violence. Sandy Hook is working to end mass shootings, and I have signed their petition and promised to share their message as well. #ProtectOurKids

sh1You can find more information on their website at SandyHookPromise.org. Here you can review their plans, know the signs, and learn how to get involved. You can also help to share their message through social media and videos, and you can also sign the petition to take action. Donations can also be made, as every little bit helps make an impact in the real world.

Thanks for reading.

The Positive Lexicography

definition-of-word-lexicography-in-dictionary-F0JMNFI remember hearing once that there was a word in another language that describes the feeling you get when you think something is so cute that you get the urge to squeeze it. There isn’t a specific word for this sensation in the English language, and this idea of “untranslatable” words has been explored by Tim Lomas, PhD. These words emphasize feelings that we may have had before, but are unable to describe through the use of the language we know. By introducing the ideas and feelings that other languages have words for, we can further the types of happiness that we are capable of understanding through diction.

From this idea, Dr. Lomas developed an index titled “The Positive Lexicography”, which contains these untranslatable words from many languages around the world that relate to happiness and well-being. Dr. Tim Lomas has also written many books, papers, and published articles on the topic, and many others have continued his studies on their own as well. The lexicography is continuously evolving, and can be found on Dr. Lomas’ website. Here are a few examples*:

“Pretoogies” – Dutch:
referring to the twinkling eyes of someone engaged in benign mischief

“Tarab” – Arabic:
a word for musically induced ecstasy

“Tabanca” – Creole:
the bittersweet feeling of being left by someone you love

“Ohanami” – Japanese:
a word for gathering with others to appreciate flowers

“Fernweh” – German:
describing a longing to travel to distant lands; a kind of homesickness for the unexplored

“Morgenfrisk” – Danish:
describing the satisfaction one gets from a good night’s sleep

“Otium” – Latin:
the joy of being in control of one’s own time

worldA social media campaign was created, called “The Happy Words Project”, which can be found on Dr. Lomas’ facebook page. People are encouraged to contribute to the campaign by adding their own suggestions through recordings and videos, which promotes happy wordshappiness and positivity through new words and ideas. You can follow @DrTimLomas on all social media platforms, participate using the hashtag #HappyWordsProject, or follow @HappyWordsProject on Instagram for illustrated words of the day.

Thanks for reading!

*The Unique Joy Of Learning New Words  
Language Article by Katy Steinmetz,
TIME Magazine, October 1, 2018.

March For Our Lives Peace Plan

My journey with gun reform started with the March on Washington last year, has been continued through March For Our Lives resources and other organizational support as well, and the issue continues to be a prominent problem in America.

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I got a message from March For Our Lives on August 21st, announcing their “Peace Plan for a Safer America”. This plan includes a comprehensive agenda on ending the problems with gun violence in the U.S.

mfol2“Created by survivors, so you don’t have to be one.”

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When I first got the text notification about the peace plan and went to visit the site, it had crashed and went offline. Of course many news outlets had already picked up the story and information for me to immediately find, but I feel that the crash is promising and shows the high level of interest on the topic. Maybe I’m just being optimistic, but most American’s actually do agree on many details of gun reform.

unnamedWaiting for policy changes is a slow moving process, and the organization is focusing on what we can do to help push the agenda to make America safer. While many policymakers are simply offering thoughts and prayers,  the Peace Plan is instead addressing the issue head on, by demanding bold C.H.A.N.G.E.:

Change the standards of gun ownership
Halve the rates of gun deaths in ten years
Accountability for the gun lobby and industry
Name a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention
Generate community-based solutions
Empower the next generation

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The Peace Plan is ambitious, forward thinking, and worth fighting for. The idea is shift power away from the NRA so that all types of gun violence can be addressed: from suicides and accidental shootings to gun violence and shootings driven by hate.

To sign the petition, donate to the cause, or learn more information, visit MarchForOurLives.com or click here for a direct link to the Peace Plan.

Thanks for reading.

Guns In America

4My stance on gun violence and gun control reform is no secret, and after the shootings this weekend in El Paso and Dayton, I’m deeply saddened. I absolutely do not support our president and the awful things he says. I just don’t think it’s okay that a president can spew such racist remarks, promote hate, and be such a bully to individuals that he should be respecting. It’s not okay that this is the face of our country. Because as a result, people think that way of thinking is alright. And then they go and shoot up places that have a high diversity population, and post their white supremacy manifestos online. What’s happening in our country is upsetting, dis-heartening, and embarrassing, and is also a direct correlation to the racist person that we have in office.

*The above are my opinions. You do not have to agree with them. Regardless of race issues, guns continue to be a prominent and polarizing topic in the U.S. Below are some actual facts about guns in America.*

3Guns in America are growing. The number of civilian owned firearms has grown from 170 million in 1990 to 265 million in 2015. Gun-control legislation can help keep everyone safe, as stricter gun-control laws reduce gun deaths – up to 9 times as less. Focus on the types of weapons available can also help, as the the average number of victims in high-capacity weapon shootings is roughly twice as high as shootings where other firearms were used. 

More guns = more deaths from guns. Not only are the gun violence rates much higher in the U.S. than other countries, but the firearm suicide rate is also much hire. We have 8 times the amount of deaths than Canada, 13 times more than France, 20 times more than Australia and 40 times more than Germany.

More guns = more guns being obtained illegally. 40% of criminals with guns obtain them from a street or illegal source, 37% get them from a family or friend, and 11% from a pawnshop, gun show, or other retailer.

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Opinions from gun owners vs. non-gun owners:

  • 89% of both gun owners and non-gun owners support preventing people with mental illnesses from purchasing guns.
  • 82% of gun owners and 84% of non-gun owners support preventing gun purchasing from people on no-fly or watch lists.
  • 77% of gun owners and 87% of non-gun owners support requiring background checks for private gun sales and at gun shows.
  • 54% of gun owners and 80% of non-gun owners support creating a federal database to track all gun sales.
  • 48% of gun owners and 77% of non-gun owners support banning assault-style weapons.

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This information was published in TIME Magazine on November 5th, 2018, and is still extremely relevant today, almost one year later.

“This is America. Guns in my area.” – Childish Gambino, 2018

6To help support the families of the victims of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, donations can be made to the El Paso Community Foundation, Paso Del Norte Foundation, or the Dayton Foundation. (Click here for more information.)

Thanks for reading.

Source: Guns In America: A TIME and JR Project, TIME Magazine.

Support LGBTQ Causes

Looking to get more involved in the LGBTQ+ community? Here are many amazing organizations and causes that are always looking for more support:

 

GLSEN-Safe-InclusiveGLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network): The leading national education organization, promoting anti-bullying through campaigns and gay-straight alliances in schools across the nation. Volunteer or donate at glsen.org or 212-727-0135.

hrc-foundationHuman Rights Campaign Foundation: A civil rights advocacy group who focuses largely on LGBTQ rights, marriage equality, and legislation changes that include hate-crimes and anti-discrimination movements. Volunteer or donate at hrc.org or 202-628-4160.

Lambda LegalLambda Legal: A defense and education fund that supports civil rights and provides legal services for the LGBTQ community as well as individuals living with HIV and AIDS.
Attorney’s can join the Cooperating Attorney Network within the organization, and anyone can volunteer or donate at lamdalegal.org or 212-809-8585.

PFLAGPFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays): An organization that promotes the health and wellness of LGBTW people and their loved ones through support groups and scholarship programs. Sign up or donate at pflag.org or 202-467-8180.

 

SageSage: A social group that provides health services, housing, and employement opportunties for LGBTQ senior citizens. Get involved or donate at sageusa.org or 212-741-2247.

 

Stonewall Community FoundationStonewall Community Foundation: A fundraiser to support LGBTQ non-profits and organizations in NYC, which includes scholarship programs that support refugees and asylum seekers. Donate at stonewallfoundation.org or 212-457-1341.

stonewall initiativeStonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative: The official and only charitable giving organization of the Historic Stonewall Inn, promoting tolerance and acceptance in communities across America. Get more information or donate at stonewallinitiative.org or 646-242-8382.

 

Take Back The PromTake Back The Prom: A DoSomthing campaign where thousands of students share stories and sign petitions to demand change from schools who still have discrimination policies. Students can access the Anxiety Line by texting PROM to 38383, or donate at takebacktheprom.com.

The Trevor ProjectThe Trevor Project:  A confidential hotline that provides crisis and suicide-prevention services, as well as resources for parents and educators. Volunteer to be trained to become a lifeline counselor or volunteer, or donate at thetrevorproject.org or 310-271-8845.

 

Now go get involved! Thanks for reading!