HOW “NOT BEING POLITICAL” IS PRIVILEGE

“Not being political” is a privilege to those who are not oppressed. I’m 20 years old and until very recently, hadn’t given politics much thought. I’m embarrassed, truthfully, about my lack of participation and knowledge of politics because it’s a direct result of my privilege, and I’m embarrassed I used my privilege in such a futile manner when there’s ways I can use it to help.

I’m writing this in the hopes of reaching people who say they’re “not political” or haven’t taken the time to educate themselves and explain how inherently harmful it is. I’ve been there, and I’m not damning anyone to hell for it, just asking them to take a look at the greater picture and change. You may not feel you’re affected by the components and faults of our government, but you are and so is everyone you claim to care about– some more than others.

It’s important to be involved in politics because government and politics affect nearly every aspect of our lives. Not having a stance on something that affects a marginalized group puts you with the oppressors.

Additionally, politicians are harming our country. They’re looking to exclude entire groups of people by eliminating their civil rights, they’re ignoring environmentalists’ pleas for action, and they’re looking to put policies in place about this.

Political ignorance is nothing new, and it has contributed to so many issues that are embedded in our government. Your knowledge has power, and your privilege has even more. Stand up to corruption and bias; use your voice! Being impartial about politics is not an option when people’s’ lives, civil rights, and overall well-beings are at stake. Everything you do matters.

With privilege there is a responsibility to inform ourselves, construct opinions, and enact change– so vote! It’s not too late to educate yourself. You can register to vote, check your voter registration, find your polling place, and more here: https://www.vote.org/

BLACK WOMEN ARE BEING KILLED

“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”

– Malcolm X


Na’kia Crawford

While stopped at a red light on June 14 following runnings errands with her grandmother in Akron, Ohio, Na’kia Crawford was shot and killed. She had just graduated high school and was set to attend Central State University in the fall. She was found by police around 1:25pm, in broad daylight, with multiple gunshot wounds. Crawford died later in the hospital. Her grandmother was not injured.

In the words of Akron mayor, Dan Horrigan, “The future she dreamed of was stolen from her.”

https://www.gofundme.com/f/nakia-memorial-fund

https://www.change.org/p/akron-city-council-justice-for-na-kia-crawford


Breonna Taylor

In the early hours of March 13, Louisville police used a battering ram to break into the apartment of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, executing a search warrant. After “a brief confrontation” with Taylor’s boyfriend in which the police claim he fired on them first, they fired and struck Breonna at least eight times. The police were investigating two men suspected of selling drugs outside of Taylor’s apartment with a “no-knock” warrant. The single officer injured is expected to make a full recovery.

Taylor was an EMT. Her mother, Tamika Palmer says her daughter “Had a whole plan on becoming a nurse and buying a house and then starting a family.”

Louisville has banned “no-knock” warrants following Taylor’s murder, which means they can no longer enter a home unannounced. “Breonna’s Law” also requires police and corrections officers to wear body cameras while serving warrants. Taylor was murdered on March 13, 2020, and her killers have still not been arrested.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/9v4q2-justice-for-breonna-taylor

https://www.change.org/p/andy-beshear-justice-for-breonna-taylor


Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells

The body of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, a 27-year-old transgender black woman, was found on June 8 in Philadelphia alongside the Schuylkill River. She had suffered stab wounds and trauma to the head and face, and both her legs were severed. It is reported by friends that she was with a man not long before her murder. An arrest warrant for Fells’ killer has been issued after much out-cry.

Fell’s friends say she “Lived her truth so loud that you could hear her a mile away.” She had plans to return to school and dreams of being a fashion designer.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/dominiquefells

https://www.change.org/p/philadelphia-police-department-justice-for-dominique-fells


Riah Milton

One day after Fells’ body was found, 25-year-old Riah Milton was shot and killed during a robbery that took place in Liberty Township, Ohio. She was a transgender woman who worked as a health aide and was a student at the University of Cincinnati. Milton was misgendered in many press releases which also used her deadname– the name she was given at birth, not the name she had chosen for herself.

https://www.change.org/p/liberty-townships-board-of-trustees-justice-for-riah-milton-womanmurdered-in-liberty-township-ohio

The GoFundMe that was created for Riah’s memorial has been closed.


There are more black women who have been killed in the past weeks, and many more throughout all time as a direct result of systemic racism, sexism, and transphobia. I’m thankful there appears to be change happening in our world regarding these issues, but there is also a lot of hate. Don’t stop fighting for equality. This movement is not a fad. Black Lives Matter and Black Trans Lives Matter today and always!!!

ANOTHER IMPORTANT TOPIC is the fact that in the past two weeks, six black men were found hanged by a tree in a public space. Authorities named all six of these as suicides, but some are being investigated.


Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau

19-year-old Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau was found dead on Saturday, a week after she went missing from Florida. Tallahassee police found her body along with 75-year-old Victoria “Vicki” Sims’. Salau tweeted about having been sexually assaulted by a man who offered to give her a ride while looking for a place to stay after a protest in Florida. She tweeted about escaping the man’s house and calling the police, then gave a description of the man.

There are countless videos of her speaking on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement, as she was a leading voice in the area. She was an activist, a friend, and a daughter. According to a friend of Salau, she had taught herself how to sew, paint, and design her own clothes.

There is not a GoFundMe for Toyin’s family directly– they’ve been said to be abusive and untrustworthy. Instead, here is the Oluwatoyin Salau Freedom Fighters Fund that is through Justice for Black Girls: https://www.justiceforblackgirls.com/oluwatoyin-freedom-fighters-fund

https://www.change.org/p/tallahassee-police-to-bring-her-justice

UPDATE: Aaron Glee has confessed to kidnapping and killing Oluwatoyin Salau and Victoria Sims.


Check out this Twitter thread by @therealjrm with over 20 ways on how to protect black woman.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

Racism is not an uncomfortable topic if you’re not racist.

I’m not black, so I will never understand the fear and oppression black people have faced and experienced and continue to experience. To the black community: I hear you and I mourn with you. I’m so angry and I’m so frustrated, but I will do what I can to fight for you. Sharing aesthetic Instagram stories about Black Lives Matter means nothing if these words don’t match your actions. We need to continually check our behavior and that of others.

White privilege exists as a result of historic and enduring racism. It doesn’t mean my life or the life of any other white person hasn’t been hard, but that the color of my skin isn’t one of the things making my life or any white person’s life any harder. I have never in my 20 years of life feared for something because of the color of my skin. I’ve benefited from it.

Do not dare say “all lives matter.” Black Lives Matter is about black people and all the struggles and obstacles they’ve gone through as a direct result of their skin color. There was no “all lives matter” before BLM because people seek to invalidate BLM by saying “all lives matter.” They want to take attention away from it, and for what? Are you so offended black people are finally receiving support and you’re not the center of attention? If that’s the case, kindly shut the f*ck up. No one is saying black lives matter more than others. The injustice and racial oppression against all black lives is the focal point of the movement.

Here are anti-racism resources with information on how to educate yourself as a white person. It has books, films, podcasts, and more. It’s our responsibility to create change. Waiting and watching won’t change anything. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/mobilebasic

A Twitter thread offering advice for protestors on how to stay safe and what to do in violent or dangerous circumstances: https://twitter.com/rsqchae/status/1266921042259447813

HOW TO HELP

Donate to Black Lives Matter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

Donate to the George Floyd Memorial Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

Donate to a bail fund to assist protestors: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GsfJnX62CLaYtZ3Ewd0VVgh7J-W6vIdUBC0x4qsvA8c/mobilebasic

Donate to any of the links on this Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/rosiegguks/status/1266302612250324993

Text “FLOYD” to 55156 to call for action against the police officer who murdered of George Floyd

Text “ENOUGH” to 55156 to call for action against the police officers who murdered of Breonna Taylor

Sign the Justice for George Floyd petition: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd

Sign the Justice for Breonna Taylor petition: https://www.change.org/p/andy-beshear-justice-for-breonna-taylor

SAY THEIR NAMES
USE YOUR PRIVILEGE TO HELP

STOP USING THE R-WORD

It is very easy to eliminate a word, or words, from your vocabulary–even easier when you understand the harm it causes to an entire group of people. The word “retard” is harmful, and it doesn’t matter how you use it in a sentence. For a long time I did not have an understanding of the baggage this word carries and I assume many people don’t considering how often I hear it being used. So, if you need to be informed why this word is offensive and why you should stop saying it, please keep reading.

The R-word was originally used to refer to people with disabilities because it means “to make slow; delay the development or progress of,” which was how people with disabilities have been perceived– slower in development than people without disabilities. The R-word has been used in an insulting context, but as we know, the true definition of this word was not meant to cause harm. Nevertheless it became an insult over time.

This word has evolved into being used to refer to something moronic or unintelligent, which is not what people with disabilities are. I remember kids being called “gay” and “retarded” when I was growing up because people wanted to hurt their feelings and offend them, not necessarily because they were either of those things. When you repeatedly use a word in a context it’s not meant for, its true and original meaning is still a part of it, but dilutes, which is what’s happened here. The R-word became an adjective to describe unintelligent things, people, etc. while remaining associated with people with disabilities.

This word is a slur, pejorative like any racial slur. It is used to offend and cause harm to people. Read that sentence again, and understand the baggage the R-word retains. An article by Spread the Word has a quote from Special Olympics athlete Joseph Franklin Stephens about the R-word being used to refer to people with disabilities, which includes himself. He says, “It means that the rest of you are excluding us from your group. We are something that is not like you and something that none of you would ever want to be.” The R-word is still damaging when used to refer to someone with a disability.

As seen above, the R-words is not only disrespectful and abhorrent, but exclusive, too. People with disabilities should not be viewed as a separate group from people without disabilities. We are all people, and people with disabilities are not just that– “with disabilities.” They have complex lives like everyone else, hobbies, interests, careers, and more and should never be made to feel different.

In conclusion, no one should be using the R-word. It makes me sad how often I hear it to this day, and I try my best to educate someone when they use it. Please, please stop using this word (and all slurs). It takes very little self-control to remove a singular (1) word, and even a few words from your vocabulary; and if you’re unable to do so, maybe reconsider your priorities and improve your capacity for fortitude.

I didn’t know how to include this in the post, but I want it here LOL so check out this iconic advertisement by Hilary Duff about using “gay” as an insult: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_MIb3mYznE

VOLUNTOURISM: WHY MISSION TRIPS DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD

This post is not about faith and that isn’t a topic I want to discuss on here, but being that Christian-led mission trips are the subject of voluntourism, it will come into the picture. I am a Christian and was raised in the Catholic community. I even have a small memory of going on a church-led mission trip to an orphanage in Mexico when I was a child. I respect all beliefs and don’t think who you pray to, or don’t pray to, is any of my business nor does it matter. The reason I begrudgingly say this is so it’s clear this is not sh*t post against Christians; I am one, and religion has nothing to do with the following message.

Voluntourism is a term used to describe when people travel overseas to volunteer. For example, mission trips. People pay thousands of dollars to travel and lodge at overseas country, stay for a week or two to complete a “project,” like build a church and complete evangelistic work, and then leave. It’s a billion dollar industry. I have questioned the intentions of people on these trips, but I can’t give you an answer. I assume and like to think the majority of these missionaries have good, pure intentions, but the concept of it all begs the question of how much good is really being done.

One of the most common mission trip “projects” is construction. The part about this that’s wrong to me is there are local people and professionals who are willing and able to do the job. Jobs could have been created for the community by the construction of a “project.” But alas, missionaries fly thousands of miles and spend thousands of dollars to do a job that could’ve been completed without their presence. Not to mention, constructing a classroom isn’t a job that requires people from another country to fly in, it’s fairly simple. This takes opportunities away from local construction workers and masons who could have benefitted from a few week’s paycheck. Even more twisted is one of the reasons people go overseas to do their “project” is because they believe the country doesn’t have the financial means for it. Missionaries think so much of the peoples’ poverty, yet candidly take jobs away from them.

What would be many times more beneficial is donating money directly to the community. This way they can put the money to use how they please and towards long-term things. After a mission trip group builds that classroom they’re gone. They don’t stay to train teachers or support them with a wage. It is much more beneficial to improve education, which simply building a classroom doesn’t do. The citizens know what their community needs, not a group of people from across the globe who are eager to share this experience to social media.

An amazing article written by Mariette Williams for ZORA details her personal experience with voluntourism as a volunteer and later as a group leader and why she’ll never go on a mission trip again. Williams says, “Mission trips are often well intended, but poverty is a complex political and economic problem that won’t be solved with a weeklong trip.” That right there, is exactly what I’ve been trying to say this whole time. There is nothing a mission trip can do to solve a country’s poverty, and especially not by borderline modern-day colonialism.

The most upsetting aspect of voluntourism is the exploitation of children. An article by the Huffington Post talks about Haitian parents who were told and paid to send their children to orphanages where they could receive education and health care. The parents sent their children to the orphanages, manipulated into thinking it would lead to better opportunities, but their children were exploited. Images of them were posted to social media soliciting for funds. When the children returned they said they were constantly hungry in the orphanage, made to do heavy labor, beaten by the “director,” and never went to school. Plus, many of the children were sick from drinking polluted water and malnutrition. It’s also important to address the evangelistic work of mission trips. We’ll use Haiti as an example. According to a 2018 religious demography report of Haiti, 55% of the population is Catholic, 29% Protestant, 15% Baptist, and there are other present denominations of Christianity. These people know Jesus and I’m sure they have the tools to explore Christianity if not.

In conclusion, I do not support mission trips like the ones I’ve discussed. I like to think there are other kinds that have long-term goals for the visiting area, but I believe a lot of people (clearly not everyone, don’t come for me) use mission trips to convince themselves they’re good Christians and living like Jesus did when they’re actually being self-serving and ignorant. If you truly wish to help, donate to humanitarian organizations. Here are some places you can do that: Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), World Food Program USA (WFP).

USE THIS TIME TO CREATE HEALTHY HABITS

It takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. And according to a study by health psychology researcher at University College in London, Phillippa Lally, it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 for a new habit to be formed, but this is all dependent on the person, their behavior, and circumstances.

The city I’m from ordered stay at home exactly a month ago, so I’ve been back home with my family away from my college town for what feels like forever. I’m not going to get into how COVID-19 has affected me and taken away opportunities and travel plans I had because it will seriously send me spiraling into a pit of despair and tears and that is not on today’s schedule. Instead, here’s how I think now is the perfect time to create healthy habits (because there isn’t else anything to do).

The “18 to 254” days part of the fact is not very reassuring or motivating, but the truth is that creating a habit, whatever it is, isn’t easy. However, I think we’ve been cut some slack because pre-COVID we were much busier people.

I know the first week or so of a new habit is the easiest because you’re feelin’ yourself, feeling motivated, but it gets harder as time goes now. However, now that we’re stuck at home, time management isn’t as much of an issue. Plus, I personally feel a lot more guilty about not doing anything physical after sitting around all day. Even if your healthy habit doesn’t have to do with working out, there is a good chance time management plays some sort of role in this habit or why you haven’t made it one yet. You can use this time to focus on it!

My hope is whenever this is all over (I pray it’s soon, stay home mofos!) working out has been made a habit or I can continue to work towards it making one. I know everyone is different and the ultimate test will be life after COVID-19, but it feels good to know I’ve taken this extra time to do some good for myself, and I encourage everyone to do the same. It makes all this uncertainty feel a little bit more bearable and makes me happy to know I’m working towards a goal I’ve always wanted to accomplish.

Hate you rona, you’re the worst xx