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.