#iStandWithImmigrants

It’s been said that America is a nation of immigrants. Truthfully, America is a nation of many people, some who were already here, some forced to come as slaves, some coming as immigrants or refugees. A country built on such diverse people, shutting its doors to foreign born people of certain countries, the Statue of Liberty must be shedding tears. We’ve done this before, have we not learned our lesson?

https://www.google.com/amp/www.aljazeera.com/amp/indepth/features/2017/01/times-banned-immigrants-170128183528941.html?client=ms-android-americamovil-us (Interestingly, one of the bans was on people with epilepsy, and another on people with HIV, not all were on people from specific countries, although some were. And the HIV ban would have disproportionately affected people from African countries.)

I remember seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time when I was 14 years old and we took a family trip to Ellis Island. There are no words, she was breathtaking. Less than a hundred years before then my ancestors saw the same sight from a ship that brought them here. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol for every immigrant and their family down through the generations. If Trump’s immigration ban stays in place the Statue of Liberty is become nothing but a sign of hypocrisy and a lie. 

We can keep our country safe without compromising our principles. We don’t have to alienate or marginalize people because they come from a country that has people who don’t like us. That only creates more people who don’t like us. Think of all the countries that we have had issues with in the past but today have good or decent relationships with, what will our relationship be like 20 years from now with these countries that we have currently banned? Maybe we will still be in the same situation, but maybe we will have moved forward and found common ground. One thing is certain, banning an entire country of people, seven to be exact, many of whom have helped us in the War on Terror, will only move us backwards.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)

The Bathroom Bill

The news is all abuzz over the bathroom bill. What’s in question is whether or not Transgender people should be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender of which they are, and not be forced to use the bathroom of the gender of which they were born.

Honestly it seems clear cut to me. If you live as a woman, the women’s bathroom is for you. If you live as a man, the men’s bathroom is for you. There is no need to complicate it, being born with a penis does not a man make. Likewise, being born with a vagina does not make a woman. And I dare anyone to argue against that logic.

Transgender people have their own experiences and hardships.  But they are no different than you and I in that they are also people, with feelings and needs. They are our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers. We need to stop and listen to what they are telling us. We can’t understand what it’s like to be stigmatized for doing what everyone else freely and safely does, using the bathroom.

Trans people are not in the bathroom to harass you. They are not child molesters. They are not dangerous. The only thing Trans people want to do is use the bathroom safely. Being Transgender is not new, there have always been Transgender people, but being Transgender has not readily been accepted in history. To my knowledge they have NEVER caused us any harm. They only want to be accepted as they are. THEY are the ones being harassed in the bathroom. THEY are the ones being assaulted and harmed because of who they are (they are not the only ones being harmed for who they are, but for the purposes of this post on Transgender people, I speak about them in this instance).

Many people might understand these things, that a Transgender person should be allowed to use the bathroom safely; but be frightened that sharing the bathroom in this way could lead to heterosexual men posing as Transgender women possibly putting women or children in danger. The thing is, nothing is stopping heterosexual men from doing this now. So why would we think they will then? Transgender people use the bathroom with us all the time, and nothing has happened to the women or children because of it.  No one can see chromosomes. We are not the chromosome police.

Women and men have separate bathrooms for safety. This is understandable, as sexual harassment and sexual assault sadly occur often enough for there to be a need for separate bathrooms. So if a Trans woman is at risk of harassment or assault in the men’s bathroom, why shouldn’t they be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender which they are, the women’s bathroom? And the same for Trans men being allowed to use the men’s bathroom if that is where they feel they should go.

Human beings are not always so clear cut. Some are born as male, some as female, some as male knowing they are female, some as female knowing they are male. Some are born with both male and female parts, so which bathroom should they use? And why do we lump everyone into one of two categories, male or female, when we are not all simply male or female as we define it today?

It’s time to get past our fears. Time to learn about things that we don’t understand or don’t know. This is 2016, the world is heading into uncharted territory. Never before in recorded history has there been a time where ALL people were able to be themselves. Still we are not there yet. We have a long way to go. But these are the beginnings, and if we learn to love and accept others for who they are, one day everyone will be loved and accepted. I have a right to be me, you have a right to be you. We all have a right to safety and acceptance. It is that simple.

One more thing. How many of us have ever had to use the bathroom so badly, only to encounter incredibly long lines, or a bathroom that is out of order? I sure have. In the case of a long line you can try to hold it while you stand in line, but you can only hold it so long. Do you stand in the long line and urinate on yourself? Do you go outside and try to find a place to relieve yourself? Or if the opposite sex bathroom has no line, do you run in there, do your business quickly, and leave? The same for an out of order bathroom, do you feel it’s ok to use the opposite sex bathroom if the one for your gender is not working? I have used the men’s bathroom before in these instances even though I am a woman. I have also seen men use the women’s bathroom when theirs was not working (I have rarely seen long lines for the men’s room), and I have taken no issue with this. Why should we take issue with which bathroom Transgender people use? If men and women can use the bathroom of the opposite sex in extenuating circumstances, shouldn’t we regard Transgender usage as necessary circumstances also? When you have to go, you have to go. Men DO use the ladies room, and women DO use the men’s room. Transgender men and women DO use either/or. None of this is new. Transgender people should be allowed to use the bathroom they are most comfortable with and safest using. No one should be stigmatized for using the bathroom.

This One Goes Out To The People Who Inspire Us To Read

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I’ve talked about my love of reading in past posts. Reading has really been my life. So much knowledge yet to be learned, if only there were more hours in the day. You all know people like me. I’m the one who has read all the books before they were made into movies. I’m the quiet one, always contemplating a newly learned perspective. I was the child who didn’t want toys, but books.

Certainly being taught to read was a game changer. Being armed with the ability to learn new things on my own took me down a path that defined who I am. But before I could read there was someone who read to me. Someone who made books so much more than just pictures and stories, LeVar Burton.

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I believe no other person has made as great a contribution to fostering the love of reading as LeVar Burton.  From 1983-2009 he hosted the television show, “Reading Rainbow,” and now keeps it alive on mobile apps and on the internet. Mr. Burton has devoted a great part of his life to us and our children. He successfully fought after cancelation to keep “Reading Rainbow” in our lives today, by starting a kickstarter campaign, reaching the financial goal within the first day. This is truly a testament to the impact he made on the countless people who saw his show, and watched new possibilities unfold before their eyes.

LeVar Burton began his acting career playing Kunta Kinte in the 1977 miniseries, “Roots.” He went on to host “Reading Rainbow” in 1983, and in 1987 starred as Geordi La Forge in “Star Trek The Next Generation.” While he is mostly recognised for his roles in these shows, he has appeared in many more throughout his career. For over thirty years he has been a role model, a teacher, a story teller, an advocate of knowledge. He introduced me to books before I was able to read them, and put my mind in motion. I think we would be hard pressed to find someone who has not been influenced by LeVar Burton.

Words change lives. We need more people today who foster a love of reading. Imagination drives innovation, and teaches us to think outside the box. It all begins with someone who inspires us, young and old alike (because you’re never to old to enjoy a good book). And reading, brings a wealth of knowledge.

Colonizing Mars: Where Our Past Influences Our Future

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The prospective colonization of Mars is perhaps one of the biggest achievements of humankind. It is the stuff of science fiction fans dreams. But will the colonization of Mars be any different than the past colonizations here on Earth? Until proven otherwise, there are no indigenous lifeforms on Mars, so we will not be destroying anyone’s way of life. But if our treatment of each other has been an indication, it is the lives of human beings we should be concerned about.

The primary colonies will be trained, and hopefully prepared for any situation they may encounter. They will need and depend on each other. However, as more colonies are built, and by different nations, can the subsequent colonists maintain a level of order and civilization? Or will they revert to the Earth ways of discrimination, caste systems, war, and forced labor? 

Traveling to Mars for now, is a one way trip. Once you’re there you’re not coming back. Children will inevitably be born there; new generations who have not seen the horrors that we have made. Perhaps Mars is a chance for human beings to finally do right by all people. But the saying, “once it is forgotten you are doomed to repeat it,” comes to mind.

Assuming the colonists land safely, and survive the harsh environment, it really will be a world made by them. Mars will become what they make it. Let’s hope that the mistakes we have made in our past will not be forgotten. Let our mistakes stand for the new colonists and their subsequent generations to see, so they can travel down a better path, and make a better past for their future.

Shared from WordPress

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Why are so many lottery retailers buying winning tickets? – http://wp.me/p2G6tR-2g5I

I read this on Quartz. I find it interesting, and true. Having worked at retail stores which sold lottery tickets I know there are tricks. For instance, scratch tickets have numbers on the bottom of the ticket. If you know which particular lottery game has not sold all the winning tickets, and find that that game roll is running low in your lottery ticket machine, the chances of you buying a winning ticket go up. Many hardcore lottery purchasers look at the numbers, and only buy tickets with low numbers, and win. Also they tend to stick to the higher priced tickets, $5, $10, and $20, but rarely $1. As far as computer generated tickets, letting the computer pick your number is often the best way to win. None of these ways are illegal or involve tampering with the machines. Surely there are illegal ways of winning, but they should be found and stopped. The lottery is after all supposed to be a game of method and chance.

How People from Different Races and Nationalities Have Positively Influenced My Life

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With all the differences in the world today I would like to use this post to focus on different people. But not their differences. I would like to highlight people who are different than me who have made a difference in my life. Who I am today has been molded by different people. I will not post real names for privacy reasons, but I will share the stories because it is important to share with others, what others have shared with me; and to let the world know that all people have an impact on each other.

Let’s go back to the beginning, 1st grade. I was a quiet, shy child; an introvert, but I didn’t know it then. I could generally be comfortable with anyone, but I wasn’t much in the way of conversation. Being 6, I could not read, or write very well at all. Our class would separate into reading/writing groups, I was always sent off with the slower group. My classroom teacher, a black woman, we’ll call her Mrs. J., noticed one day that i was left handed and being left handed herself, began to teach me herself instead of sending me off with my reading /writing group. Mrs. J. worked with me and taught me how to form my letters in the way of a left handed person. In a short time I learned to write, and becoming better and more familiar with letters and words she quickly taught me how to read. And i never stopped reading. This one woman, Mrs. J., taught me what no one else could. She gave her time and her knowledge to help me, and instilled in me a life time love of reading. 25 yrs. later, to my absolute delight, I found Mrs. J. was a teacher at my sons school. Not only that, but she was my sons reading teacher! All those years she spent tirelessly teaching our community. She is truly a blessing to my family, and to countless others whom she influenced and inspired.

Grade 3, Mrs. G. Still the quiet child, and by this time a total book worm; Mrs. G. my 3rd grade teacher, a black woman, would bring me her daughters books to take home and read. I would borrow one or two, read and return them to her and she would bring me more. Because of her kindness I read the entire series of “The Babysitters Club” during my 3rd grade years. She was amazing. She helped to foster my love of reading, and went above and beyond her job as a teacher. Not every teacher would be so kind as to share their children’s things with their students.

Fast forward to age 20. I was a single mother, doing the best I could. Maria was a Mexican women I worked with. On my day off, out of the blue, my boss called and asked if I could come in. Maria had offered to watch my son for me, for free, so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a last minute babysitter, i could just bring him to her there, as she was getting off. She had children of her own and knew the difficulties of child care. I was amazed at her selflessness. Having just finished her shift, was no doubt tired, yet went home to care for my son, for free no less, along with her own. Because of her act of kindness, we went on to forge a great friendship. And we decided since we didn’t work the same shift anyway, that we would each watch each others kids while the other worked, saving each other money and child care worry. The impact she made on me was great. I decided then that since I was helped, I should also do the same for others. Because of this I have never accepted money for babysitting, rather I have tried to help others as Maria helped me.

Pastor T. was a man from the Dominican Republic. Coming to the states as a young man, his life took a turn for the worse. He killed a man, and ended up doing time. But during his time in prison, he found God. Now, many people find God in prison, but this man found him and did not forget him. Having paid his debt with incarceration he went on to take what he had learned and try to make a difference in the lives of any and everyone that he could. He became a Pastor and shared his testimony with many. He was a guest speaker at the camp i attended as a child and i was privileged to hear his testimony. What he said really helped me to see that people, even though they have done terrible things, are still people, and they can still have an importance and a place in the world. Not everyone changes but we should try to help them also, give them the chance to change, because we don’t know what influence they could have in the future; and what good they have the potential to do. Pastor T. showed me people can rise above the circumstances they find themselves in.

Mr. F. was a black man who was the manager at a place I worked. Mr. F. was retired military, born and raised in our town, a deacon at his church, and well loved by the community. His respect is testified to by the sheer amount of people who would stop by our work every day to say hello to him, or stop and have a conversation with him, or come to him for advice. Now, Mr. F. gave me a job when I was most in need, and at a time when jobs weren’t the easiest to find. He helped me in so many ways, but not only me. I saw this man give money from his own pocket, to anyone who was in need. If you didn’t have gas, he would make sure you got enough to get where you were going. If you didn’t have a car to get somewhere, he would make sure you got a ride. He sent me to pick people up often (paid and on the clock), and when i had car trouble he sent people to pick me up. If you lost your home, he would rent you one of his rentals at a price you could afford. Kids got free candy every time they came in. If you needed a few extra dollars he would pay you from his own pocket to help out around the store for a few hours. He would make loans with no interest to anyone he knew. He would buy medicine for anyone who couldn’t afford it. There is not much Mr. F. did not do. Granted he was able to do these things, but he by no means had to do them. He helped everyone he could and he did not care who you were, or where you came from, or what kind of person you were. Everyone loved and respected him and he made a difference in so many lives, my own included. He had the true spirit of love and my life will never be the same because I knew him.

These are just some of the many people who I have known who are different than me, inspired me, and helped to shape who I have become. Without their positive influences my life would be different, and I shudder to think of who I would have been without them. They are my beacons of light in a dark world. I would love to read about other people’s positive life experiences regarding how people from different races and nationalities have influenced and inspired them.