Sea Turtles

I visited a friend in West Palm Beach, FL, last month, and we went to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, an animal hospital for injured sea turtles.

The turtles were massive and adorable. Many of them were there because they had gotten tangled in boat equipment or been attacked by sharks. We saw one turtle being moved from the hospital to a tank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a museum section that featured information about the sea turtles. I had no idea that only one out of thousands of sea turtle babies make it to adulthood.

This is a super-cool nonprofit and I’m so glad that I was able to visit it.

 

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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

I’m reporting on the birthday list out of order because of a sense of urgency.

One week ago, I participated in the Boston Women’s March for America. Although I participated in a small march for water justice for the birthday list years ago, this march is going on this year’s list. It was a rally AND a march…and I have never been to a rally and a march with 175,000+ other people!

I attended with a group of friends. We arrived about an hour before the start of the rally. We were pretty far back, so once more people arrived and filled in, we couldn’t see the stage. But we were able to hear all of the motivational speeches by our mayor, senators, and local human rights advocates and community members.

Boston Women's March for America

An hour before the start of the rally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t put into words what the experience felt like. If I were forced to, I would say it was peaceful, positive, and purposeful. There were people of all ages, gender identities, and nationalities. Many of the signs that people were carrying made us laugh out loud in solidarity. The event organizers were not prepared for the number of people in attendance, so we waited in a logjam for two hours before approaching the start of the march route.

Boston Women's March for America

Waiting in the logjam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The march was great because people were yelling chants into bullhorns to encourage us to use our voices. One of my favorites was “This is what democracy looks like!” By the time we reached the halfway mark of the 1.5 mile route, my friends and I had been on our feet for six hours. Hungry and tired, we peeled off and headed home.

Boston Women's March for America

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing that there were 700+ marches taking place around the world made me feel even more empowered and hopeful. There are millions of people who care about equality for all. As one of the speakers said, “There are more of us than there are of them.”

Boston Women's March for America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I completed the first of 10 actions for the first 100 days. I sent postcards to my senators, writing about which causes I care most about and why. Join me!

 

A Promise to My Two-Year-Old Niece

Dear Niyah,

I promise you that I will do everything I can to ensure you are safe and supported (legally and emotionally) if:

  • You love, and wish to marry, a woman;
  • You decide you will be happier living as a male;
  • You want to use birth control; or
  • You want to get an abortion.

I promise to help your parents and grandparents teach you that EVERYONE is equal and deserves justice, no matter their ethnicity, national origin, religion, ability or disability, gender identity/expression, or age.

I also pledge to do what I can to slow the advancement of climate change. The current outlook on this is terribly bleak, but many Americans are mobilizing and ready to fight those who choose to ignore scientific research.

I admit that I’m scared for you (and every other American including myself), but hope is stronger than fear. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Light and love will see us through.

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The Souls of Black Folk

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois is #31 on Modern Library’s list of Top 100 Nonfiction. It was published in 1903, so as I read it, I asked myself how far we had come in erasing the color line 113 years later.

Not far enough.

Du Bois talks about the blacks of the South in his book. He believes education to be a powerful tool to help black people raise themselves out of poverty. He also talks about the need for blacks to be able to vote and describes the importance of religion and music in their lives.

Due to particular current events (senseless death after senseless death of blacks at the hands of police) as well as my recent reading of this article in Utne Reader by Kevin Powell, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book Between the World and Me, and Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, I am starting on a journey to further understand “the veil” that blacks see the world through and to learn more about white privilege. I feel so powerless regarding the color line, but knowledge is power, right? One has to start somewhere…

If you have any recommendations for books about white privilege or the color line, I would love to hear them.

Courtesy of npr.org

W.E.B. Du Bois (Courtesy of npr.org)

The Little Things

My heart is heavy…three tragedies this week. I am in a state of disbelief. How do we fix this? I’m not sure, but what I am sure of is that white people need to step up and help change the future.

I’ve heard a few times over the past few days that “this [police brutality] has been happening forever; now we just have cell phone videos to document it.”

I used to walk around “not seeing color.” (I’m white.) I saw no difference between me and someone with different-colored skin. Over the years, I’ve realized that that’s all well and good, but I needed to start SEEING that these people with different-colored skin live with discrimination and bias ALL THE TIME. They are different from me because they have different experiences because of their skin color.

I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book Between the World and Me in a book club and a light bulb went off. I got a glimpse of what it is like to feel unsafe in your body because of your skin color. As a black person in the club said, “I don’t have to read this; I’ve lived it.”

I don’t know how I will help right now, but I will find a way. Inaction is an action in itself, as Martin Luther King Jr. said so eloquently:

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

And one last quote:

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate can not drive out hate: only love can do that.”

I’m taking a short break from my swirling thoughts and feelings of anger and despair and reminding myself that life is precious and to cherish the little things.

Like brunch. I love brunch. So I’m not sure why it took me 17 years to check out a diner near me called Johnny’s Luncheonette.

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Allen and I went for Sunday brunch and it was superb. The food was great and I loved the diner decor. The waitress was nice and the menu was impressive. I’ll be back to try lunch or dinner sometime.

I’m getting to the end of my list = five more things to report!

The term “self-care” seems a little New Age-y to me, but I’m going to encourage you to partake in it this weekend. Attend a vigil or walk in a march if that’s what you feel you need to do. Thank local police officers for the work they do. Or go to brunch with a family member or friend.

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40 things to do on the birthday list!

BirthdayJune 1st, 2015

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