Make your world a better place.

The only limitations on your life are the ones you set for yourself.

As lame as that sounds, think about it for 10 seconds.

Your life is the only one you have, and time moves quickly – should you spend it putting up barriers, making excuses, and limiting yourself?

Think of the one thing in your life that you want to accomplish – your life aspirations. Is it having a family, making money, being a kind person, making a difference in other’s lives, having a variety of friends, starting your own business, rescuing animals, educating, or living the fullest life you can create? Take a few moments to figure out your life mantra – write it down, graph it out, think about it. What makes YOU happy and what do you want to achieve every day? Live by your mantra.

Take some time to figure out what makes you happy, very simply happy. Really, write it out. Is it taking a walk outside every morning? Is it the feeling you get after you volunteer? Is it the job that you work so hard at every day? Is it your partner? Is it your children or your pets? What drives you? Take those little pieces of happiness and realize what you need to do to make yourself flourish. Do more of those things. Do them every day!

Don’t take things that you don’t need. Give more than you receive. Always lend a hand or an ear or a heart to someone who asks for it. If you’re not living true to yourself, who are you living for? In the end, it will only be you looking back on your life. Go out and grab it!

Start your day with your mantra and write down three things you are looking forward to. End your day with your mantra and write down three things that made you smile during the day. Expel negativity, breathe in peace. Shake that bad feeling or experience off your shoulders. You’re the only one controlling your brain, it is your power!

Does this sound like a very “love & light” model of living?…probably. But this is not about the world right now. For once, this is about you. Take care of yourself as if you were a small child. Remember what makes you, you and run full force at that. Don’t waste your precious energy on people who will suck the soul from you. They aren’t worth you!

Don’t forget to share your gifts with the world. Your purpose is powerful & you have so much to offer. Let’s all work together to make our own world’s a happier place to be alive.

xx

(Image by: instagram.com/nocturnalcoonz)

SeaWorld of Hurt

It took SeaWorld over 30 years to finally end Orca breeding in captivity, which they announced last year. If it wasn’t for Blackfish, nothing would have changed. We are still a long way from saving these beautiful animals from a life of pain and suffering at the hands of people who only care about a profit.

Public outcry makes a difference. SeaWorld even spent $10M following the release of Blackfish on a new PR campaign to try to better their failing image rather than spending that money to better the lives of their animals. TEN MILLION DOLLARS.

For the past 30 years, Orcas at SeaWorld have been ripping the skin off each other, suffering from severe dental trauma, and displaying a host of abnormal psychological symptoms. They spend the entirety of their day in a bath tub when in the wild they would swim 100+ miles per day in open waters. That’s 3,105 lengths of the Seaworld pool, back and forth, all day, to get the same activity as in the wild. If you were in a bath tub for your entire life, you would feel violent, restless, sick, and bored as well. Collapsed dorsal fins are the norm. They are fed an unnatural diet of thawed dead fish and gelatin to keep them hydrated. In the wild, Orcas have strong social bonds that can last for life. Their social groups range from 2 to 15 Orcas at a time. Some calves will stay with their mothers for life. At Seaworld, they are usually ripped apart. In captivity, they are forced to live in tight quarters together which results in fights, injuries, and death.

Even with the announcement last year by SeaWorld that they would stop breeding their Orcas, on this Wednesday the last calf was born.

Even though the “theatrical” Shamu show is now scheduled to be shut down by 2019 (um, that’s a long time away), which included the whales mimicking human behaviors (kissing, jumping, shaking heads), do not be fooled. A brand new show lives on in 2017 at Shamu Stadium complete with faux trees and manmade waterfalls for a more “natural” and “wild” feel. “The Orca Experience.” The trainers will STILL use whistles and hand signals to “ASK” the Orcas to perform movements during a 22-minute show.

“They will still be breaching because whales breach in the wild,” Hannes, President Sea World San Diego, said. “Whales hunt in the wild, and they do movements where they flap their tail to stun their prey or they splash them or they come out of the water to grab a seal from the beach.”

Please, Marilyn Hannes, tell me what whale in the wild is being trained to use hand signals, react to whistles, and perform for humans in a bath tub. You are sadly mistaken. “We’re going to have whales for decades to come.” You are also sadly mistaken.

What is the solution? Can these Orcas be released into open ocean? No. But there ARE options. The only way this will change is if you continue to SPEAK UP. There are still 23 Orcas in San Diego, Orlando, and San Antonio. There are ocean-side sanctuaries where these creatures could live out the rest of their lives without ever having to perform for the reward of a dead, frozen fish.

Let’s also not forget that Tilikum DIED in his tank. He was captured from the open ocean when he was just two years old, and suffered for over 33 years.

If you have anything to spare, you can donate to The Whale Sanctuary Project.

Do your research and do not support places that only care about profit and not about the livelihood of their animals.

 

Edited on July 27, 2017:

With so much sadness I have to add that the last captive born calf mentioned in this article has passed away this week from an infection. The only joy in this is that we know Seaworld is done with breeding and no new Orcas will have to endure this pain and suffering.

Tear Down White Supremacy!

Yes, not all white people. But right now fellow white people, we are still the problem. Let’s work together to TEAR DOWN WHITE SUPREMACY.

Hold each other accountable for MICRO-AGGRESSIONS. What are micro-aggressions? Micro-aggressions are small, subtle forms of discrimination that may seem like “no big deal” to you, but when someone has to go about their day and has 100 micro-aggressions piled on top of each other from friends, co-workers, family, or strangers – it all adds up and becomes one giant problem.

Hold each other accountable for COVERT white supremacy (as well as overt). This includes a slew of different issues that are important to take the time to understand. Examples: white feminism, police brutality, white savior complex, denial of racism, colorblindness, racist mascots, and MANY more. Do not be a “love and light” person, be INTERSECTIONAL.

Be intersectional! What is INTERSECTIONAL FEMINISM? Feminism investigates and challenges the forces that cause injustice or inequality. These forces are not the same for all women, because the forces of oppression (sexism, racism, classism, etc.) intersect. Recognizing that feminism cannot be a blanket term, but must take all of these forces and all different kinds of people (black, white, women, men, non-binary, gay, straight, etc. etc.) into consideration is very important.

Recognize your PRIVILEGE! Yes, even if you grew up poor, if you are white you are in a position of power and therefore have white privilege. Yes, even if sometimes you have the sads, you are privileged. Recognize it, and use it to educate your white friends so that people of color don’t have to continue doing all of our heavy lifting.

You can do it! I believe in you! Always remember IMPACT > INTENT.

#intersectionality

Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day to all of the badass women around the globe & in my life.

THE FUTURE IS NOT BINARY. Let’s not forget to be intersectional in our feminism.

Today is a great day to support women, and learn about how you can tear down sexism, racism, and classism in your everyday life.

Do what empowers you. Some women find nudity empowering, some find modesty empowering. The entire point of feminism (intersectional that is) is that it is your choice or freedom to make that decision for yourself. Your body and your sexuality is a part of your entire self, and it’s ok to be whole. You can be an intersectional feminist and also like feeling empowered by your sexuality. They are not mutually exclusive. I’m tired of men and fellow women tearing other women down for being sexual or feeling empowered when women have already been sexualized for our entire lives. Let’s work together to make this world equal for all. 

 

Links below to learn more!

http://thoughtcatalog.com/tucker-max/2015/10/guys-heres-what-its-actually-like-to-be-a-woman/

http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/01/why-our-feminism-must-be-intersectional/

http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/01/wtf-is-intersectional-feminism/

http://feministing.com/2016/01/19/what-i-would-have-said-to-you-last-night-had-you-not-cum-and-then-fallen-asleep/

Optimism Is Not My Answer

I have seen two very different responses from my friends following the election of Trump.

Some are preaching a love and light kind of optimism, stating that only love can drive out hate, and trying to tell people that protests are a waste of time. “Just accept it.” While I do think there is a time and place for optimism and I can appreciate remaining optimistic that things will change for the better, that is not even the beginning of a solution to the problems we face as a country. Optimism is frankly a waste of my time.

Others, myself included, know that as American citizens we have rights that are protected under the first amendment of our constitution. I have a fundamental right to protest and assemble peacefully. I have freedom of speech which means that I can express my opinions, my ideas, and let my voice be heard without the fear of my government retaliating, censoring, or sanctioning me. I intend to exercise those rights.

At one point during election night in 2012 it looked like Mitt Romney might beat Obama in the popular election with Obama winning over the electoral college and therefore the presidency. Here was Donald Trump’s response on Twitter:

Donald Trump’s Twitter 11/8/12

15032142_10153868844237413_2576653761527455192_n.jpg

What a hypocritical parallel. Donald trump is downright outraged that Romney could win the popular vote while Obama will be elected as President through the electoral college. Interesting that four years later Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote, however Donald Trump will take the presidency. For once, I agree with Donald Trump. “More votes equals a loss…REVOLUTION. Let’s fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us. We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!” 

I’m here to fight against you Donald, just like you wanted. I’m here as a woman who wants to protect my abortion rights. I’m here to protect my rights to contraceptives. I’m here for every woman who has protested and fought against our government for our right to vote. I’m here to support other women and their rights too. I’m here to fight for those who voted for Trump and don’t realize what they will lose under his rule. I’m here to support my trans friends and the rights of trans people across our country. I’m here to support my Muslim friends. I’m here to support my gay friends. I’m here to support my Asian friends. I’m here to support my black friends. I’m here to support my Mexican friends. I’m here to support my immigrant friends. I’m here to fight oppression, classism, racism, and sexism. I’m here to support any minority or any person that has seen, felt, or heard the hate that Trump’s campaign has ignited across America.

Are you still one of those people who thinks optimism is the answer? Love and light. If you don’t believe hate, violence, and sexual assault is happening in direct correlation with Trump’s presidency, open your eyes to first-hand accounts that are pouring in from every part of this country. Look and see for yourself. If you’re one of the skeptics who doesn’t believe these accounts are true, shame on you. What the fuck have you done to make the world a better place? Who are you to sit behind your computer screen and tone-police telling people they don’t have a right to be angry in response to hate, bigotry, and racism? You’re a part of the problem and you are not helping us work towards a solution.

Do you know what Trump wants to do his first 100 days in office? I am also protesting lifting restrictions on production of energy reserves (shale, oil, natural gas, clean coal). I am protesting the Keystone Pipeline. I am protesting the cancelling of payments to the U.N. for climate change programs. I am protesting the cancellation of every executive action or order made by President Obama. I am protesting the cancellation of funding to Sanctuary cities. I am protesting removing over two million immigrants living in our country which will tear families apart. I am protesting the suspension of immigration from “terror-prone regions” and also protesting “extreme vetting”. I am protesting the business tax rate being reduced to 15% and I am protesting the right for corporations to use tax loop holes and safe havens to avoid paying what they owe. I am protesting Big Pharma and the immense and disgusting hold they have on sick Americans who need medication to survive. I am protesting big banks and Wall street and their greed. I am protesting the repeal of Obamacare which will leave millions without insurance. I am protesting the wall on our border shared with Mexico. I am protesting the militarization of police. I am protesting the creation of a task force on violent crime. I am protesting the war on drugs. I am protesting mass incarceration.

Tell me again that I should remain hopeful and silent.

 

If you are attending a protest, know your rights.

“Do not resist arrest, even if you believe the arrest is unfair. If you are under arrest, you have a right to ask why. ‘Officer it is my right as a citizen to ask why I am being detained.’ Otherwise, say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t give any explanations or excuses. Don’t say anything, sign anything, or make any decisions without a lawyer. You have the right to make a local phone call, and if you’re calling your lawyer, police are not allowed to listen.”

 

 

Sources and more information:

Rights to Demonstration and Protest

Free Speech Rights

Day 1 In Trump’s America

Trumps First 100 Days in Office

Asian Americans Being Targeted for Harassment 

Myths About the Civil Rights Movement

Trump Supporters Attack Gay Man

The Islamophobic President

Why You Should Get Your IUD Today

An American Tragedy

America, Home of the Disenfranchised

If there is one thing I have taken away from this entire election it is that Americans feel disenfranchised, unhappy, and want somewhere to point the blame. What both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders campaigns had in common is the core feeling of rebellion against the establishment and the hope that each of them gave to specific groups of voters in our country who perhaps have never rallied behind a candidate quite like this.

I, personally, fell in love with Bernie Sanders. As a young woman, a millennial, I saw him as the one glimmer of hope that our country could in fact become great not just for the top percentage of wealth, but for all. A man who didn’t give one fuck what any government official, pundit, any member of Wall Street, Big Pharma, or corporate greed thought of him and has always been true to his word. But I digress. Unfortunately the dream of him as my president was cut short in the primaries, but his ideals and vision for a better America are still in the hearts of millions of people. I’m happy that his influence carried over to the Clinton campaign and forced her to become more progressive in her policies.

What Donald Trump has done is not just tap into people’s fear, hatred, bigotry, and xenophobia (and the list goes on), but he has also truly been able to reach the workers and middle-class of this country in a way that Hillary was never able to. I’m not sure whether this group of very dissatisfied workers is able to completely ignore the hatred that spews from Trump’s mouth, but it is certain that their number one concern is the jobs that they have lost over the last eight years, the money in their wallet, and their personal livelihood.  They’re not wrong. If you too have a family to support, have lost a job, or don’t know when your next paycheck will be you might be scared and pissed off too. Trump was that glimmer of hope for these Americans who hung on every word from this political outsider regarding the creation of more jobs, the abolishment of free trade, “taking back” our workforce by tightening immigration and deporting illegals, growing our economy, restoring national security, and working to clear our government from corruption. Now, how he promises to actually DO these things is arguably concerning for more than half of Americans, but again this all relates to disenfranchisement. Trump gave these voters a reason to go to the polls and a reason to support his candidacy that certainly no pollster saw coming on November 8th.

Do I want Trump to be my president? Fuck no. Do I support his policies? Fuck no. But there are over fifty-nine million Americans who saw him as their only option.

 

If you want to know what Trump plans to do his first 100 days in office, you can view the details here.

If you want to read the timeline of voter rights throughout American history, please check out When Was America Great?

 

 

 

When was America great?!

There is one man that is being heralded by some as a savoir to America. Let’s make America great again! I will restore this great country to it’s former glory! I will run this country like one of my many (some failed) businesses and we will be great! Great, great, great!

I’m here to pose a question to you, when was America ever great?

 

That might be an easy question for you to answer, if you are a white male living in America today, but the answer is not so simple for the vast majority of Americans and those living in our country.

If you take a look at American voting rights throughout American history, you can follow the fight for equality and try to decipher when exactly America was so great.

Was America great when a room full of white men signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776? The only people who were allowed to vote were property owners, meaning mostly white male Protestants over the age of 21.

How about in 1790 when the Naturalization Law was passed, stating that only “free white” immigrants can become naturalized citizens and therefore have the right to vote.

In 1848, the Mexican-American war came to a close and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo was signed. This gave US citizenship to Mexicans living in territories previously conquered by America. This Treaty however did not give these citizens the right to vote due to English language requirements and violent intimidation.

Was America great in 1870? The 15th amendment to the constitution was passed meaning that the right to vote cannot be denied by the federal or state government based on race. Did this end voter discrimination? Absolutely not. States began to enact their own measures including voting taxes and literacy tests that restricted the ability of minorities to vote. Again, violence and intimidation tactics were used.

In 1876, the Supreme Court ruled that Native Americans are not citizens in their own country, and therefore do not have the right to vote.

In 1882, America approved the Chinese Exclusion Act. It was the first significant law restricting immigration to the United States. Federal laws now forbid entry of an ethnic working group on the premise that they endangered the good order of certain neighborhoods. For those Chinese who had already entered the country, if they ever left the United States they had to obtain certifications to re-enter. Congress, moreover, refused State and Federal courts the right to grant citizenship to Chinese resident aliens, although these courts could still deport them. This act turned into the Geary Act, which was made permanent in 1902 and regulated Chinese immigration until the 1920’s.

In 1887, America passed the Dawes Act. Basically, Native Americans could have citizenship if they gave up their tribal affiliations and “assimilated”. It sought to break up reservations by granting land allotments to individuals. Section 8 of the act excluded the following groups specifically: Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles, and Osage, Miamies and Peorias, and Sacs and Foxes, in the Indian Territory, nor to any of the reservations of the Seneca Nation of New York Indians in the State of New York, nor to that strip of territory in the State of Nebraska adjoining the Sioux Nation on the south. While the act was meant to protect property rights during the land rushes of the 1890’s, it had very different results. “The land allotted to the Indians included desert or near-desert lands unsuitable for farming. In addition, the techniques of self-sufficient farming were much different from their tribal way of life. Many Indians did not want to take up agriculture, and those who did want to farm could not afford the tools, animals, seed, and other supplies necessary to get started. There were also problems with inheritance. Often young children inherited allotments that they could not farm because they had been sent away to boarding schools. Multiple heirs also caused a problem; when several people inherited an allotment, the size of the holdings became too small for efficient farming.”

Was it great in 1890 when America forced natives to APPLY for citizenship on their own land? Please welcome the Indian Naturalization Act. Any member of an Indian tribe in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) was now allowed to become a US citizen by applying for that status in federal court. This act at least allowed them to keep both US citizenship as well as tribal citizenship.

In 1920, less than 100 years ago, The 19th amendment was passed. Women were finally able to vote. Was America great then? Several generations of women’s suffrage supporters had lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience just for the right to vote in their own country.

How about in 1922, when the Supreme Court ruled that people of Japanese heritage were ineligible to become naturalized citizens in Takao Ozawa vs. the United States? In the following year of 1923, “Asian Indians” were also found not eligible.

Was it great in 1926 when a group of black women were beaten by election officials while attempting to register to vote in Birmingham, Alabama?

Was America great in 1952, when those with Asian ancestry were finally able to become citizens and vote?

In 1966, civil rights activist James Meredith was shot by a sniper during a “Walk Against Fear” voter registration march between Tennessee and Mississippi. Was that great?

Was America great in 1975? The first year that voting materials were printed in languages other than English, allowing those not fluent the ability to vote.

In 2000, residents of US colonies such as Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the US Virgin Islands are known as citizens, however they still do not have the right to vote. That’s 4.1 millions US citizens total who are not eligible to vote and do not have voting representation in congress.

Was America great in 2001, when nearly 4 million citizens cannot vote due to past felony convictions? Some states allow those with past convictions to vote, however most Southern states bar them for life. How is a law that is a legacy of post-Civil war attempts to prevent African-Americans from voting great? Most of those convicted are poor and people of color. You can thank the war on drugs (Nixon, Reagan, & Clinton) for that.

How about in 2002 when America was still fighting election inconsistency and voting standards? The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed in response to disputes over the presidential election. This required states to comply with federal mandates for voting standards for the first time.

Even more recently in the 2008 and 2016 elections election fraud is rampant and documented. What is so great about America being surrounded by fraudulency?

There is still a law today in Indiana held up by the Supreme Court, which requires all voters to show a photo ID when they cast their ballot. This law is an undue burden on the right to vote, particularly with minority and elderly citizens. Voter suppression is never great.

This brief timeline of American voting rights shows prevalent fear mongering, racism, violent and oppressive tactics, and incongruity between federal and state voter laws. The United States is known by many as a melting pot, a term that I was taught during my primary education. Can we really uphold that title with the slew of ethnocentric issues affecting citizenship and voting rights in our past and today? Will we ever be able to be a land of inclusion, generosity, and empathy?

Think about what you are afraid of most and whether you have extensive knowledge on that topic. Why are we afraid of what we don’t know? Why do we feel the need to push away from those that have different viewpoints from our own? Listening to others and understanding their struggles, conflicts, and emotions is a key factor in extending your own consciousness. No harm will come from extending compassion, empathy, and understanding and you will be a better person for it.

No matter your feelings on the subject, immigration is a known key factor influencing economic growth and development. Will we be able to open our minds and pop our bubble and look outside of ourselves for knowledge and growth? Nations that are more immigrant-friendly have higher levels of overall economic competitiveness as new minds bring new innovation. Innovation in turn leads to economic growth. Why are Americans so scared of taking on refugees? Why are we so scared of allowing those that have entered our country illegally to gain citizenship? The foul-mouthed Cheez-It claiming that he wants to make America great again wants to build a wall to “protect” our borders and keep out the “rapists” allegedly bringing only drugs and crime. He wants to end sanctuary cities which he claims harbor “dangerous” immigrants who are only here to commit crimes. He wants to deport people doing honest labor and trying to gain citizenship through all of the correct channels in this country (which by the way is no easy or cheap feat). According to Ben Casselman at FiveThirtyEight, “Immigration is the only thing keeping the U.S. from facing a Japan-style demographic cliff,” meaning that immigrants are keeping our aging population young. He also states,“Immigrants help the economy in other ways too: They are more likely than native-born Americans to start businesses, and because they pay Social Security but only receive benefits if they stay in the country permanently, they help ease the U.S.’s long-run fiscal burden”.

America was never great. If you agree with suppression, oppression, and hate, then you may think otherwise. The power has always been in the hands of the oppressor and does not include those who helped build the very ground that the oppressors walk so highly on. We’re at a precipice right now, a major tipping point in our story. Come November 8th, we are either going to fall over that edge into the abyss of making America great “again” or we are going to boast a major milestone electing a woman president of the United States. Make your voice heard, vote for progressives and progressive ideas down the ballot, and research before you cast your vote. Which side of history would you like to be on? I challenge you to recognize the forces that cause inequality and oppression including sexism, racism, and classism. Make America BETTER than before.

SOURCES & MORE INFORMATION:

http://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/2016/us-elections-2016-who-can-vote/index.html

https://ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=47

https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=50
http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/379

https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=63

https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/260/178/case.html

http://www.kqed.org/assets/pdf/education/digitalmedia/us-voting-rights-timeline.pdf

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/04/the-melting-pot-that-isnt-why-america-needs-better-immigration/72048/

https://www.iom.int/files/live/sites/iom/files/What-We-Do/docs/More-than-Money-Does-Economic-Migration-Bring-Happiness.pdf

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/immigrants-are-keeping-america-young-and-the-economy-growing/