Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obama's Promise

I will be the first to admit that there is a part of me that has been a bit disillusioned with President Obama. Sometimes I feel as if my hope was misplaced.

Today however...with a stroke of many pens, President Obama kept one of his promises. Don't Ask Don't Tell is no more.

There was a conversation I had maybe a year ago while at a pub sitting next to an elderly military man. He tried to convince me that having a gay man in the foxhole next to him would make him a poor soldier because he would be worrying about what was going on inside the gay man's head. I found his entire reasoning to be so short-sighted. I cannot imagine any individual, man/woman/gay/straight sitting inside a foxhole thinking about anything other than keeping everyone alive. Maybe that was a simplistic response, but I am happy to report that when I said that, this man had no answer.

The repeal of DADT is such a victory. It means those brave individuals among us who happen to be gay *and* happen to hold such a strength of character to want to serve and protect each and every one of us as well as our daily freedoms may now do so openly.

Thank you Lt. Daniel Choi.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Welcome to My World

This past weekend was PrideFest in Knoxville, Tennessee. Prior plans meant we did not attend the festivities downtown. In order to make up for it, I went to all news avenues in the area to read about the success of the event. We went last year and while it is no San Fran or DC pride, it was at least our local version of it and we were proud. At the very least I expected some sort of coverage this time around (I never looked last year since we were watching the parade in person). Apparently, even after five years of living here, I am still incredibly naive about the homophobic culture of this region of the United States.

Here is the coverage I found:

Some PrideFest, eh? I assure you...if we are still here next year, we will be there out and proud because we are not second class citizens, as much as my friendly neighbors may want that to be so.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Haiti: Not Forgotten

Today I have seen two new articles that bring Haiti back to the forefront of my mind. So much of me has been trying to deal, from afar, with the devastation that is happening in the Gulf from the oil spill. It has indeed caused me to forget other parts of the world. It's funny how life will conspire to make you come back to the realization that much effects many at any given time.

Story One:
I was trying to find something to watch this morning; I landed on ESPN E60. One segment was about the Haitian Women's Under 17 team. No part of me can possibly write about this story better than what ESPN brought me. I've not been able to locate a re-release about this story yet as it just aired today. The best I have been able to find is a synopsis of the piece located here and this is what is said:

Haiti Women’s Soccer Team – With their country devastated by an earthquake that killed thousands, including their coach, the Haitian Under 17 Women’s soccer team had to regroup to train and prepare for a tournament that would qualify the team for the U17 FIFA World Cup. Lisa Salters followed the team’s courageous effort that fell short when they were eliminated from contention.

“It’s one of the most difficult stories I’ve ever had to work on,” said Salters. “We spent three weeks with those girls. When they didn’t win, for them, it’s not just the team is over, it’s now we go back to our life. And we went back (to Haiti) and saw what they went back to and that is sleeping on the streets, with no food. It was just awful. It’s like soccer could have saved them, and it didn’t.”

I urge you to keep on the lookout for this piece. All I know is that sport has always gotten me through tough times. This is a story about sport almost getting young women through tougher times than most of us can ever imagine. And to hear how it all fell short for them. Well, it left me gutted.

Story Two:
Right on the heels of one story that left me reeling I ran across another at NPR. It also jarred me. Haiti is in ruin and people go about every day simply trying to surive in any location that they can.
South of Port-au-Prince, just over 1,000 people are living on an 8-foot-wide stretch of median in the middle of Route Nationale 2, a torn-up, six-lane road that is one of Haiti's busiest.
I have no point to this post. I find that sometimes a lack of a point is even more powerful. It seems to suggest that there needs to be nothing beyond the realization that life can be devastating. It is our job to find a way to ease the suffering for others in any way that we can.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

There is not enough woo in the world!

The fake feminism of Sarah Palin

Today, however, Palin is happily adopting the feminist label. She's throwing support behind "mama grizzly" candidates, describing the large number of women in the "tea party" as evidence of a "mom awakening" and preaching girl power on her Facebook page.

It's not a realization of the importance of women's rights that's inspired the change. It's strategy. Palin's sisterly speechifying is part of a larger conservative move to woo women by appropriating feminist language. Just as consumer culture tries to sell "Girls Gone Wild"-style sexism as "empowerment," conservatives are trying to sell anti-women policies shrouded in pro-women rhetoric.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

For Love

When silence is not golden.

Keeping Score: University of Virginia tragedy could have been prevented

"People can't close their eyes anymore," Kaplan said. "They can't pretend it's not happening. I hope there will be more support on a state level and more specifically on each campus for mandatory, thorough education on gender-based violence.

"In the meantime, if students have friends who are in questionable relationships, they can't stay silent anymore."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Three Cups of Tea

One Man’s Journey to Change the World, One Child At A Time
By Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

I just finished reading this book and find myself still in awe of it. If you've not read the book, it is a must read. Check out some information here. Greg Mortenson established the Central Asia Institute whose mission is described as follows:
Central Asia Institute’s mission is to promote and support community-based education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The philosophy is to empower the local people through their own initiative. As of 2008, Central Asia Institute has successfully established 130 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which provide (or have provided) education to over 51,000 students, with a emphasis on girls’ education. Over the first decade of CAI’s evolution, our programs and projects expanded to several regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan with an emphasis on education, health issues, environment and cultural preservation.
I came away from reading this book with three things:

(1) A deep, intense need to see this part of the world.
It isn't a realistic dream, really, but I want to see this region. No part of my imagination can come up with a vision of what these mountains must look like. I can't picture the severity. It has to be an extreme combination of rugged, raw, unadulterated beauty and a harshness beyond my ken. I even looked at Google images for the region and I still can't see it.

(2) A realization that I do not truly comprehend the power of education.
It seems so simple. Education opens the doors of the world. I know that is true, but this country (for the most part) takes education for granted. I recently had a family member lament on how horrible homework is. It doesn't often occur to us how a lack of education is a root cause of so many struggles. This book did an amazing job at hammering this home for me. It also made me more sure than ever that the long term solution to terrorism is to give the future a better option.

(3) I do not do enough. is unrealistic to think I could have imagined and brought to fruition what Greg did, but still...I do not do enough.

More about the CAI and Pennies for Peace.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ring in 2010

Check out the Women's eNews link about the May 6, 2010 Gala Benefit Dinner Honoring 21 Leaders for 21st Century 2010. Seriously...go check it out!

With seven individuals in three categories: Seven Who Invent a Better Future, Seven Who Rewrite the Rules, and Seven Who Seize Autonomy, I cannot think of a more inspiring way to open the 2010 season of The Feminist Underground. True, posts have been limited. They are probably going to remain that way. In order to compensate for that, I feel that it is important to make the ones that do pop up for you all count. So here you have my first step. These are amazing people and deserve to be heard.

Go forth and read about the winds of change.

May your 2010 be all that it needs to be.