Election Diversity!!

rainbow waveFor the first time in a long time, I am feeling hopeful about the future and inspired by much of the election results. There is so much to be celebrated, and there are many “firsts” in office. There are a record number of women holding seats in the House and more than 100 LGBTQ candidates that emerged victorious as of Wednesday afternoon.* I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER ABOUT IT. Let’s celebrate these accomplishments and keep this momentum going!!

  • Abby Finkenauer and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest women elected to congress.
  • Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland became the first navtive american women elected to congress, and Sharice is also a member of the LGBTQ community as well.
  • Ilhan Omar and Fashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women elected to congress, and Ilhan will be the first to wear a hijab.
  • Jared Polis became the first openly gay man elected governor in the US.
  • Kate Brown, previously became the first openly bisexual woman elected governor in 2016, was reelected.
  • MANY OPENLY LGBTQ MEMBERS WERE ELECTED INTO CONGRESS, including Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis, David Cicilline, Sean Patrick Malony, Krysten Sinema, Mark Pocan, Mark Takano
  • Other LGBTQ members of the house include Angie Craig, Chris Pappas, and more.

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These faces give me hope that the best of times are still ahead of us.

#Wave

Thanks for reading.

Images from instagram @refinery29 @glaad @nowthisnews
Woman and LGBTQ members in office, according to *NBCnews.com

VOTE! (The Midterms)

The past two years has been overwhelming, chaotic, and created a clear divide in our country. If we can look at any silver linings of current events, it’s that the issues that still exist in our country are being brought to the public’s attention. So now, it’s our time to act on it.

The 2014 midterm election had the lowest turn out in over 72 years. The last time voter turnout was this low was during WWII in 1942, when only 33.9% of voters cast ballots. In 2014, only 36.4% of eligible voters showed up at the polls.* And what happened as a result? We ended up with two people on the ballot that a large majority of the country did not want to support. The chaos of the 2016 election was largely due to the fact that nobody was getting involved until it was too late to do anything besides choose your lesser of two evils. However, the turnout for the midterms can large affect the outcome of the general election that will happen in 2020.

As a result of the current administration, more and more activists are getting involved in advocacy to raise awareness on issues such as women’s rights, gun reform, immigration, and more. And with recent events, the LGBT community is standing strong to keep rights as well. Change is happening, and we can see it and feel it everywhere, but it won’t make a difference unless we show up to vote.

If you are feeling overwhelmed because you don’t feel informed, there are so many easy ways to quickly gain the insight you need. By visiting Vote411.org, you can type in your address and get information about who and what is going to be on your ballot. You will get a breakdown of each candidate and what they support, as well as provided with the location of your polling place. Polls are open from 7AM to 8PM today, so there’s still plenty of time to get out there!

You’ve heard it on the news. You’ve heard it on social media. You’ve heard it from your local representatives. You’ve heard it from your friends, family, coworkers, teachers, and everyone else. VOTE. Not just in 2020, vote TODAY. Make sure you have a say. Make sure your voice is heard. Make sure you exercise your right that so many others do not have.vote2So again, I ask – did you vote today?

Thanks for reading.

National Trend 1789-Present

*Only 36.4% of eligible voters voted in [the 2014] midterm elections,
down from 40.9% who voted in 2010. The last time voter turnout was 
that low was 1942, when only 33.9% of voters cast ballots,
according to the United States Elections Project - TIME

Republicans vs. Democrats

Just some super quick thoughts..

Why do we still have a two-party system? Why have we stood by bipartisanship all these years? Could it be possible that this is separating us instead of uniting us?

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I have so many friends that would consider themselves “Independent”, but we all eventually pick a side just because of how the voting works. Some, like me, chose Democrat, but plenty of others chose Republican. However, I wouldn’t consider our political views super different in all areas at the end of the day.

If you break down things issue to issue, I bet we all have more in common than we think. My parents are Republicans, and we agree on a lot of social issues and are often on the same sides of debates. There’s a lot of overlap that we don’t get to see because of the media, the news, and the president, who are always trying to divide us.

I guess what I’m saying is, you can’t generalize, and that’s what the two-party system does. It has people thinking things like, ‘all Republicans love guns’ and ‘all Democrats are Socialists’ etc. etc. – which may not be true for a wide population of people in those parties. I know Republicans who support gun control reform. I know Democrats who believe in Capitalism. Everyone has their own set of ideas, and it’s not like each party population actually believes and supports all the same things.

Maybe we would be getting a lot more things accomplished if we stopped dividing ourselves. Imagine if candidates ran for office without parties, just standing as themselves and speaking about what they believe in. And anyone who agreed could vote for them. We would probably feel much more united as whole, and we would probably see a whole lot more good happening in our country.

Again, just some quick thoughts. Thanks for reading.

Addiction Support

A lot of misconceptions exist surrounding addicts and addiction. People often consider addiction a choice, saying that it is not a disease. Addiction is genetic, and can be passed down the same as heart disease or cancer. Addiction is a mental illness similar (or in addition to) depression, anxiety, and more. Addiction is a medical condition and needs to be taken seriously.

One of the celebrities that I love and follow celebrated 6 years of sobriety from a substance that he struggled an addiction with. He posted regarding this acheivement and wrote, “Everyday I work hard to stay clean, healthy and aware … it’s an ongoing, full-time  job to stay clean.”

I think it’s important to bring awareness to this community and what they go through. I know that the opioid crisis has been making news over the past several years, but I am talking on a personal level. Internal and external battles happen every single day, and so much of it is wildly outside of their control. Just because you are not actively using does not mean that you are not struggling. I was told once by an addict that addiction is the disease and drugs/alcohol are just the symptoms.

One thing I learned through being close to someone who struggled with addiction is that it is a hard community to be a part of. There is a lot of bad news that comes with being an addict. I heard constant updates about a friend relapsing, someone going to jail/prison, or the worst news of all – someone losing their life. When all you hear is bad news, and you see your friends battle and struggle, I’m sure its difficult to continue on with your own fight.

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This is why support for this community is so important. Be kind and understanding. Celebrate victories and achievements. Share stories, quotes or other sources of inspiration. Find reasons to continue the fight, and nurture them.

And most importantly, spread hope. Whether you are an addict yourself or know a friend or loved one who struggles with addiction, or even if you have no experience at all, hope is the most important thing. Hope gives everyone a reason to continue to fight and to overcome obstacles.

I encourage everyone to take the time to educate yourself on addiction and what the journey of recovery looks like. Support those in the community and spread hope for healing.

Remember that every single person on the planet is fighting a battle that you may know absolutely nothing about.

Thanks for reading.

VOTE! (The Primary)

Politics can honestly be extremely overwhelming these days. But, there has been a lot of talk around issues that I care a lot about, so I’ve been doing what I can to follow the next election. I can’t say that I am happy about the social climate that we are living in, so I want to do what I can to make a change. I ‘Marched for our Lives’ in D.C. on March 24th for gun control, I’ve signed petitions to support DACA and related issues, and today, I VOTED.

I think that our country’s bipartisan system is outdated, and whole electoral vs. popular vote thing is super wack. When I was first 18, it made me feel like my vote didn’t actually count at all. I felt small and I didn’t think I could be heard. After I got a little older, there were too many issues that made me passionate and I wanted to be involved. And, I learned that my voice can be heard as long as it’s loud enough.

It truly doesn’t take much to do some quick research into candidates. I subscribe to emails from rockthevote.org and ballotpedia.org to get updates on things like candidates in my party, voting events, and more. Both sites are unbiased, and just reading a couple emails here and there helped me find candidates that support the same issues that I care about. If you are lucky, your city or county might help you out also – so open your mail! I received a handout via snail mail from my district that had a list of running candidates, and a check mark or an X next to different voting issues to indicate which they supported or opposed.

Information is everywhere, so go find it! Then – go vote!

The same sites that I get my information from provide a resource to help me find my polling place. Most voting locations are open 7AM – 8PM, so there is still time to go in the evening even if you can’t make it during the day. Knowing when and where to vote in the Primaries will make things even easier for you to vote in the Midterms in November – and every election day thereafter.

VOTE

Part of my motivation to vote in the primaries comes from being a millennial. Millennials are the largest population of voters, but we have one of the lowest turnouts – especially in the primaries. Current social issues and recent events have made our generation more passionate about the social climate, but nothing will change unless we act on it.

So, did you vote today?

Thanks for reading.

Pay Equity Laws

Pay Equity has been a trending business topic as we move to close pay gaps and promote equality. As a feminist who works in Human Resources, I am a huge fan of this movement. Massachusetts has already passed amendments to make changes, and the amended law will go into affect this July 2018! My hope is that other states quickly follow suit.

These changes can be broken down into three key areas: Salary History Bans, Pay Equity Standards, and Compensation Transparency.

Salary History Bans: The new Pay Equity Laws prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s salary history before making a job offer. Some employers will calculate their offers based on what a candidate previously got paid, rather than what the position is worth. This can become problematic and is often unfair to employees. With this ban, the position will be worth a static range, and employers will have to move forward with an offer without knowing their previous salary. Employees are free to disclose any information at their own discretion, but employers may not ask until after an initial compensation offer has been made.

Pay Equity Standards: The gender pay gap is something that I have always heard of and been aware of, but this is the first time that I’ve really seen anything being done about it. There are new reporting laws surrounding pay equity that ensure that businesses are doing their social responsibility to address this issue. Companies must engage tools and resources to understand what pay gaps exist in their organization, and they are obligated to take action. Some pay gaps are valid and explainable, and things like tenure, experience, or education will be taken into consideration. Outside of those explainable circumstances, business will legally have to prove that there is an effort being done to close these gaps.

Compensation Transparency: This protects employees to have the freedom to disclose and discuss compensation information with coworkers. It’s crazy to me that employers can discipline employees for discussing their pay with each other – how is this legal?? In my previous position, my company was bringing in new hires at a higher rate than their tenured associates in HR. When I pressed my boss about this, her response was, “technically, you aren’t even supposed to know about that.” Well, that will now be illegal. Employees will now be protected, and if any unfairness is exposed, the company will have to address it. By creating transparency, this ensures consistency across the organization.

In my opinion, if a company sees these changes and has anxiety, that should question the integrity of that organization. These laws are being put into affect to protect employees, and organizations who are already conscious of their employee experience should feel at ease.

Employees should feel protected.

Thanks for reading!

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Info verified from Mass.gov

Dickey Amendment

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know how I feel about gun control.

Without going too deep into the topic as a whole, the lack of research done on gun violence is alarming.

It’s a fact that the U.S. has a much higher rate of gun deaths than the rest of the developed world*. However, there is almost no federal research available on gun violence in America. Many are blaming this on the Dickey Amendment, which was put in place over a decade ago.

The Dickey Amendment prevented the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) from using a spending bill to “advocate or promote gun control.” As a result, the CDC has avoided researching gun violence, aside from some basic data collection.

The National Rifle Association, of course, had pushed for the amendment. This is not surprising: public-health researchers had published studies suggesting that having a gun in the house increased risk of homicide and suicide*, among other things. The NRA argued that this information was politically motivated, even though these were simply published facts – not advocacy.

The Dickey Amendment is part of the reason that there are massive gaps in what we know about gun violence.*

Last month, Congress gave CDC the “okay” to research gun violence, however, almost no movement has been made. It is likely that the CDC will not begin this research until the amendment is repealed.

GunControl-702a2

CLICK HERE to sign the petition to end the Dickey Amendment. 

Thanks for reading.

Story and inspiration from BuzzFeed News.

The NRA had pushed for the amendment after  
published studies suggested increased risk,
according to The Atlantic.