Obligatory Martin Luther King Jr Day Post

Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day so I feel a little obligated to write a post in honor of him and all the great things that he did for the United States. Maybe obligated isn’t the right word. I want to write some amazing post honoring him. However, I’m lacking in eloquence this morning so I figured I would just share a few of my favorite quotes by MLK: 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, how do you plan to serve others?”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

“The time is always right to do what is right.” 

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” 

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Okay, Okay… I’m basically obsessed with just about everything that he has ever said. But he was so great. So I hope that everyone takes a few moments to reflect on all the great things that Martin Luther King Jr did and the way his actions continue to influence our lives. 

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Tips to Prevent Sexual Assault as told by: The Safety Office

My school’s safety page just posted a facebook status with tips to prevent sexual assault. Considering its interterm, and interterm is primarily about partying and doing stupid shit, I think it was a really good idea for them to do so. However, their approach was, well… it was just what we’ve all come to expect sexual assault prevention notices to look like. It read: 

Sexual Assault Prevention

In Social Situations:

-When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation.

-Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911).

-Don’t leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you’ve left your drink alone, just get a new one.

-Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust. If you choose to accept a drink, go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself. At parties, don’t drink from the punch bowls or other large, common open containers.

-Watch out for your friends, and vice versa. If a friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they’ve had, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place immediately.

-If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911). Be explicit with doctors so they can give you the correct tests (you will need a urine test and possibly others).

 

In general these are pretty good tips to follow, for any reason, if you are going to a party. I’m not necessarily angry that they listed these preventions. Mostly, my anger comes from what was lacking in the message, which was telling the sole people that can prevent sexual assault, not to sexually assault someone. Included in the previous list should have been: 

-If you see that someone is alone, try being a good person and talking with them rather than groping them inappropriately or trying to make them have sex with you. 

–Trust your instincts. If someone is telling you NO, listen to them. Whether that be about having a drink or having sex. No always means No.

-If you see someone has left their drink unattended, fight the urge to put date rape drugs into that drink. 

-If you are mixing a drink for someone, don’t put too much alcohol in with the hopes of getting them so drunk they do things they wouldn’t normally. And Definitely DO NOT put any drugs in it. 

 

 

There. That’s a little better. 

 

 

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Please don’t tell me what I do or do not want….

I know I’m a little late on the hating Robin Thicke bandwagon, but I was asked to write a piece for my school’s paper. So I thought that I would post it here since I haven’t posted in quite some time. 

 

Blurred Lines is a term used by rape apologists to describe situations where there is a supposed grey area between whether or not a drunk woman has given consent to have sex. This is the type of situation that is described in the song “Blurred Lines.” The popularity of this song leads me to believe that people are so blinded by the catchiness of the music that they miss the message that the lyrics are sending. That message being, that as a society we have the tendency to view consent as that absence of “no” rather than the presence of a clear “yes.” 

The “Blurred Lines” video portrays women as objects that exist simply for the pleasure of the men rather than human beings. Thicke’s lyrics insist that the woman that he is infatuated with should just be a good girl and give in to him, because it is in her nature as a woman to want to have sex with any man that wants to have sex with her. By repeating the phrase, “I know you want it” Thicke has made it clear that whether or not this woman has shown any interest in him is not important, but what really matters is that he is interested in her and that she should be grateful for that and should show her appreciation by sleeping with him. 

A parody to the “Blurred Lines” video, called “Defined Lines” treats men the way that the original video treated women. Men were put on leashes, spanked, and gawked at. Many people at first find this video to be funny, but then find themselves being appalled at the way the men are being treated. It was so appalling to YouTube that they pulled the parody from their site because of its “explicit content,” while leaving both the original and the explicit version by Thicke. Why is it that as a culture we find it appalling to treat men as objects only meant for the pleasure of women, but the norm for women to be objects of sexual pleasure? 

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It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. -Emerson

Because I’m really lazy today, and every day really, I’m going to make a list of some of the cool things that I’ve seen, done, or help do with my different volunteer opportunities, but don’t really feel like writing a real post.

1.) We met a kid that lives on one side of town and works the overnight shift all the way on the other side of town. He doesn’t have a car or a reliable ride so this means that he was often walking all the way across town in the middle of the night to get to work… NOT SAFE! So we found him a brand new bike that was donated. He was so ecstatic about receiving the bike. He thought that he was going to get some used piece of crap bike. He said that this was the first bike he had ever had that wasn’t a hand-me-down.

2.) I learned how difficult it is to utilize the little help that is available to people by taking a girl that receives WIC (Women, Infant, Children) checks. The checks provide a list of things that they are allowed to spend the money on, and how much of that item. Like, you can buy 16oz of bread. Do any of you know what the average loaf of bread weighs? 20oz. So in order to get the bread you have to search, and in our case it was not an easy search, to find a below average weighing loaf of bread! I wonder if the people that make the WIC guidelines have ever shopped using WIC checks. I imagine not because if they had they wouldn’t put so many complicated things in place making the people’s lives even harder than they already are.

3.) I made my first trip to the food bank today to pick up an order to stock the food garage. That was a really cool experience. Its amazing how much food they have and how much help they give to the community. But its still not enough. There are still lots of people just in the city that are going hungry because they can’t access enough food.

I’ve had a lot of really cool experiences lately, but these are the 3 that really stick out in my mind right now.

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All the news

First of all, my wordpress is really weird right now and I’m confused about why its acting so strange… so that sucks!

Anyway…
So these last few days have been SUPER eventful in the world of politics. Obviously I want to touch on all of them some because they are super important and I definitely have some thoughts on all of them and I want to do it now, but I don’t think that any of you want to read a million page blog post about the things that you’ve been reading about all day.

So here’s my quick review on the things that’s been happening this week.

1.) The Voting Rights Act: I have to be a little honest that when I first learned about this ruling, I was a little confused. I’m still a little confused to be completely honest, but I do know that the general message is that states are able to make new voter ID laws until Congress can rewrite the section that was struck down. I also know that because of this, there is going to be major discrimination happening in states that tend to identify with a certain not so great political party. I’m hoping to read more about this because I hate not having a better understanding of something that is such a big deal!

2.) Wendy Davis and the Sneaky Bitch GOP: This is probably the story that I am most excited and pissed off about all at the same time. I was seriously up all night last night trying to watch the live stream. Unfortunately my internet is pretty sketchy sometimes so… I just relied on my twitter newsfeed all night to be kept in the loop. Let’s talk about how Wendy Davis is my most recent addition to my “heroes list.” She’s so amazing, right? Filibustering is a tool that is not utilized in the way that it maybe should be. I totally admire her for coming in and being prepared to talk for 13 hours without being able to stop for basic human needs! And then she had all those not great people to deal with. Dumb people trying to trip her up. The next obvious point here is that the GOP was super sneaky in trying to get their way even if they had to break the law in front of like 100,000 viewers. Like, okay… Excuse me. You assholes made Davis follow every rule (some of which aren’t even ACTUAL rules by the way) to a T! And you fucks can’t even follow ONE RULE? ZERO RESPECT to anyone that identifies as a republican after that little show. But your sneaky ways didn’t work and Davis won!!

3.) DOMA was ruled unconstitutional! I’m super stoked about it. I’ve seen a lot of people being all negative because they wanted it all. Me too. I would love TOTAL equality. Its still the goal. But this was a very important step that had to be taken before we reach total equality!

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Its the little things

I worked with Outreach again today and I think that I am finally getting into the swing of this whole thing. I absolutely love the people that I work with, they are seriously so great. They’re so much fun to be around and they sincerely just want to help people, which is totally great. I’ve learned lately that the longer you’re in the business of trying to help people, the more cynical you become about your, or anyone’s, ability to actually help anyone. But these guys still truly want to make a difference and they do.

Every day they do something that is just super incredible and helps someone more than most people can even understand. Seriously, just taking someone to the grocery store helps them so much. I just can’t believe how much we all take for granted.

Seriously… who would have thought that taking someone to Wal*Mart could be such a day brightener? But when you don’t have a car, and you have a baby, and its 100 or more degrees outside, that ride to the store means the WORLD to people!!!

I did a few things besides just meeting with clients today, which was pretty cool. I love meeting with the clients, but its pretty interesting to learn about the business side of the program too.

The first thing that we did this morning was go to a Housing Voucher meeting. Because of the sequester, handing out vouchers is at a bit of a stand still. Damn it Congress, get your act together!! But the committee seemed pretty positive that they were going to be able to start handing them out again soon, so that’s good, and I hope that they are right. After that meeting we went back to the office for a little while to pass sometime until the next meeting that we had to attend.

The second meeting was also about housing vouchers, but this time instead of trying to figure out who was qualified for the program or how to get them qualified (Honestly, that first meeting was so short, I’m not really sure what all it would have entailed had we had an actual meeting) this meeting was an orientation about the Housing Voucher Program.

I learned some pretty interesting stuff. Mostly though, I learned that it is absolutely a ridiculous process to just try to get some help and make your life better. I already knew that it wasn’t easy, but Dear God the hoops that these people have to jump through are just insane, and honestly they seem a little unnecessary to us outsiders. I’m sure they serve a purpose, but I still feel like it should be easier to get help for yourself and your family. Life is tough enough without going through a million application processes every time that you need something.

After the meeting we did some working with clients. We had one client that needed to be taken to the ER so we took her there and we watched her daughter while we waited. She ended up being fine but it was probably a good thing that we went. And I’ll always take some chill time with an adorable little girl 🙂

After that we got 2 presents together for a mom that couldn’t afford to buy her twin daughters anything for their birthday. The girls were really excited so it was nice to be able to do something to help their mom out.

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Never underestimate your ability to make someone else’s life better even if you don’t know it -Louganis

Today I worked at outreach. It was a really great day. It started out kind of slow because we went to a local soup kitchen… I don’t know that that’s what it would be called. Basically we just hang out there trying to make contact with clients in our age group. Most people that go there, don’t fall into our age group, but today we did meet a couple of youth that definitely needed some help.

The group that we met there had a really hard time. It seems like anything that could go wrong for them has. All of their parents are addicted to drugs and are not very supportive at all. The girl has had a ton of medical problems and is having a hard time finding work because of her health. They are completely homeless too. They are literally living out of their car and sleeping outside. We were able to bring them a ton of food and water and a tent and some sleeping bags. They were all so appreciative. This has so far been the most rewarding day! They seem to be staying really positive even though they have every reason to be negative or to feel like giving up. I’m just truly amazed at what people can go through and still have the desire to keep going.

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When women turn on women

Serena Williams is currently all over my facebook newsfeed for being the most recent public figure to spew words of disgusting victim blaming.

While Williams isn’t victim blaming, she doesn’t understand how a 16 year old got so drunk and that she should have known better than to put herself in that situation. I don’t know what all of you think, but that sure as hell sounds like victim blaming to me. And thousands of other people too… so that’s a thing… Sorry, Serena.

Then she came out with a really bullshit apology claiming that she was misquoted. I don’t buy that for a second. No, Serena, what happened is you were caught saying what you really felt and then you were discovered to be the bad guy.

 

The thing about this that really has me all broken up inside is that young women really look up to Serena. And with good reason, well, before this whole debacle they had a good reason to look up to her. She’s a strong woman and she’s making it in the world of sports which is typically presented as a male’s world. Good for her. That is something to be admired.

However, now these young girls that admire her are going to think that women that are raped are to blame for the crimes committed against them. So let’s think about the girls that look up to Serena and are victims of rape. Since so many girls and women are victims of these crimes, there is a good chance that there is a very high percentage of her fans that have been victimized. How are those girls supposed to feel? Here they are being told by someone that they look up to that their rape was their fault! How are they supposed to react to that? How would anybody react to something like that?

There are going to be some serious consequences to what Serena had to say and her bullshit apology is NOT going to prevent any of them. I hope she is prepared to take responsibility for that.

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“Service to a just cause rewards the worker with more real happiness and satisfaction than any other venture of life.” -Catt

I was just notified that today is my one year anniversary with “You Might Be A Slut.” So yay me!! That’s the most committed I’ve ever been to anything so I have to say this is a pretty proud moment in my life.

As exhausted as I am from this long, long, day, I can’t seem to make myself go to bed. So I figured I would write a bit about my day.

The first thing I did today was go to the street outreach program. We didn’t go out like I thought that we would. We ended up helping individual clients with specific things that they needed. There was a girl that needed bus passes so that she could make it to and from work between now and payday. Then there was a girl that needed a food box. Then we took another girl and her daughter to run errands like grocery shopping and taking her to pay her bills. It was definitely not what I was expecting but overall it was a pretty rewarding day.

My day at the other place was pretty much just like it was yesterday. Since it was nice again today we went outside and played for an hour. As a reward for the kids doing good things, like going to group, they get these points that they can use every so often to exchange for toys. Tonight was an exchange night. They got so excited when they got to pick out a new toy. That was cute and fun to see.

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“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”-Ghandi

Like I said in my last post, I am spending part of my summer working for two different organizations. Working isn’t really the right word, its more like volunteering/interning for these places.

What I do at the first place is help kids that have a history of domestic abuse. The other thing that I will be doing is helping kids that are either homeless or at a high risk for running away or becoming homeless.

Today was my first day doing the first thing. We didn’t really do too much with the kids as far as like helping them to come to terms with the abuse or talking about it or anything like that. Mostly we just played with them and gave them the positive attention that all young kids seek. The kids were absolutely wonderful and I had so much fun getting to know them today. I go back tomorrow. I’m not sure if tomorrow will be another fun day or if there will be some kind of counseling or something that’s more focused on helping them. Either way, I’m really excited about it.

Tomorrow is also going to be my first day of reaching out to the homeless youth. As far as I know we are going to be out on the street talking to the kids directly and handing out any supplies that they might need like shampoo and conditioner, bottles of water, some small food items. I’m also really excited about this. Though, I am a little nervous because its going to be a lot of time outside in not so nice areas. Snakes. Spider. Bugs…. YUCK! Oh well. I think that the experience is going to be so rewarding that I can spend a few hours trying to conquer my fear of all things crawly!

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