A Rainbow Crosswalk for Northampton!

For those of you who know me, you know that I’m pretty passionate about LGBT Rights and have been a community organizer and a vocal activist in the Northampton community since the mid 1990’s. I started with the now defunct Northampton Area Lesbian & Gay Business Guild in 1995, and then helped with the Northampton Pride Inc. organization for 11 years, until 2009. For the past 4 years until the end of 2013 I worked with the LGBT Coalition of Western MA assisting with events and joining their board of Directors.

Now, as a  re-energized supporter and activist, I’m on a new gig to secure funding for the City of Northampton to install a rainbow crosswalk in downtown Northampton in front of Thorne’s Marketplace. The project has been met with surprisingly NO opposition, red tape, or criticism. In fact, all of the parties, from  Terry Culhane, chair of the board of Public Works, the city engineer, Jim Laurila, Mayor David Narkowitz, and the Northampton Parking Commission have been more than supportive and even seemingly excited to help with this endeavor.

While in some future year, the cost of repainting the crosswalk may be included in the budget as routine, this year I need to raise the funds for the paint. The city is generously donating the time for designing the layout, ordering the paint, cleaning the street, and installing the finished product. It may be the first rainbow crosswalk on the East Coast, but even if it’s not, it will be spectacular for our city as a symbol of diversity!

Please help with reaching the goal for this endeavor by making a contribution either by check to the City of Northampton (put Rainbow crosswalk project in the memo line), or by clicking here to go to our facebook page and donate by credit card using PayPal:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here’s an example of another crosswalk that looks similar to our design:

rainbow crosswalk

Check out more Rainbow Crosswalks here!

Any donations will help! Any extra funds will go to a reserve fund to ensure that repainting will happen in subsequent years and/or more crosswalks in the city are made into rainbows. Thank you!

Melinda Shaw

Living as if there is always a tomorrow…

Today was a 9.9 day. I saw the blue sky from my bed as I awoke and I knew it would be stellar!

Arriving in my seat at the dining room table after brewing the perfect cup of tea, I awoke my computer to look on a Facebook page for a picture of my 14 year old who had surely survived her first night at YEA Camp (Youth Empowered Action) in Charlton, MA. I was hopeful that she would experience a week of passion-building, consciousness-raising excitement. I was feeling good!

The phone rang next to me and I saw my sister Cyn’s familiar name on the screen. Family, she is but since she’s not too frequent in her calls, I had a flash of warning before I said hello. “Have you been on Facebook yet?” she asked.

“Not yet, why?”

“I think our cousin David died.” “I don’t know for sure, but it looks like it by his son Jake’s posts.” she said.

It was not for almost 3 more hours that I knew for sure what had happened. No one was returning her calls and Google searches pulled up nothing.

I was already dressed for a morning bike ride, having been granted a “do whatever you want day” by my lovely wife. It was her way of sharing the “burden” of having been gone almost 2 full days of every week for the past 2 years to care for her ailing dad. We are always trying to keep a balance, it seems, of energy, patience, and time. Time, I believe, is the most valuable and also the most elusive…

“I’m going to go for a ride,” I said. “There’s nothing else I can do right now.”

“Please be careful!” she said, as she does and has, for 18+ years.

“I always am.” I responded, as I always do.

When I head out on a ride, or plane trip, or anytime I feel like I might be in danger (for as far back as I can remember), I have surrounded myself in my mind with white light. I can visualize it swirling around me and protecting me. I ask my spirit guides to keep me safe, and today, I added, “It’s not my day. It’s not my time!”

This morning as I repeated that ritual, I felt uneasy. I thought of the speed at which we can go from alive to dead, one minute our flame burning brightly, the next, extinguished. It isn’t fair and it causes pain, mostly felt by those left behind. And then I think about the fact that I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, yet there are many more questions than I have answers.

No one knows for certain what becomes of us when we die; I believe we’re all mostly just afraid of the unknown. Certainly, we must get a better understanding as we age? I fear we just amass more questions.

All I know is that time is moving at a speed that I cannot fathom and control and that unless I can find a way to slow it down, my flame will be blown out in what seems like an instant!

When I was young, I planned to live until I was 100, but by the time I was 40, I’d revised that to “90 or above would be fine.” Now, I’ve lowered it again and I’m aiming at 85. That gives my kids plenty of time to have kids so I can meet them all, which is something that I never got with my own parents.

My 2 youngest, “the babies, the twins, the little ones,” have just gotten back from a week of overnight camp. They have somehow grown into teenagers at only 11.5 years old, look a foot taller, and seem almost ready to venture out of the nest on their own. Not really, but they do seem much more grown up this week!

“Can we go for 3 weeks next year?” they pleaded

“Really? How would I be able to live without you for 3 weeks? Wouldn’t you get homesick?” I said.

“Well, maybe a little, but it would be fun! Please, Please, Mommy & Mama?!” they chimed.

I thought to myself, “No, that would be impossible. That’s like being one of those parents who just want to get rid of their kids and send their kids to boarding school. Out of the question! Two weeks, maybe, but it’s expensive!”

“We’ll see”, I said, as I mumbled ever so quietly… “never going to happen!”

They keep growing, even when you’re not around. At camp they do things for camp staff that they don’t do at home. Like brush their teeth on the first request as they herd their way towards the makeshift outdoor sinks. They go to sleep on schedule, get up early for extra activities, and try new foods. They bring their dishes on their trays to the dishwasher area! They clean up after themselves…And they make friends with kids who may grow up to be lifelong friends, tethered to each other through distance over the years, and reunited in old-age. These are memories that last a lifetime.

My cousin David died almost instantly from an aneurysm on his brain stem. I doubt that he felt any pain, nor had time to realize how dire it was. One moment he was there and the next he was gone. He had just turned 50 a day before, and left his parents, 2 siblings, 3 grown boys, a lovely girlfriend, 2 ex-wives, and the rest of us relatives reeling with the suddenness, the sadness, and the questions. I still see him as a young boy like it was yesterday, with taped up broken glasses and all of my sisters and his sisters teasing him because he was the only boy and we could.

A few nights ago, before our daughter went to YEA camp, she came to our bedroom where I lay, alone (on a night when the wife was at Dad’s), armed with her computer to show me a hair straightener that she wanted to buy.

“It’s only $79.00” she said. “Can I get it?”

“$79.00! Your hair is gorgeous. You don’t need a hair straightener! And that’s a lot of money!” I said

“It’s not $150.00, like some of the others! Please? I really want it and need it!” she whined.

It went downhill from there. I wasn’t going to buy something that cost that much when we had just dropped a good chunk of money on new school clothes. She continued to whine and I stood my ground. She didn’t even want to consider looking on ebay for a better price on a used one. I finally just told her I wasn’t going to argue about it anymore and to go to bed!

10 minutes later, I called her back in…

“You know,” I said, if you had come in here saying “Mommy, there’s something that I really want to buy, but I don’t have enough money for it. Is there any way I can work it off?” I would have listened with much more open ears. Instead, you came in here like a spoiled teenager expecting that you would just get what you want! We talked more, and she quickly realized her mistake and apologized. The next morning, she was up and dressed and had eaten breakfast and was ready to tackle the jobs I’d given her. I told her she’d be sore the next day, tired of stooping over to cut saplings on our back hill but would be pleased with herself when she accomplished her goal. 3 hours later, she texted me pictures at work to say she was done!

What was most enlightening about our talk that night, was that in appealing to her to think about being more of a go-getter and to work harder and to find a passion in life, she said to me, “You just want me to be a politician! You want me to be political!”

“Whoa, what?” “Hell, no I don’t! Politicians have to lie a lot, and they don’t do a lot of what they say they’ll do. The good ones are few and far between. I’d never want you to be a politician!”

“I just want you to be passionate about something!” I said. “I gave you life. I gave you a flame that burns inside you, but it’s up to you to fuel that flame!”

“Finding a passion is as easy as setting up a lemonade stand at a busy intersection on the bike path to raise money for your friend whose sister is dying of leukemia!” “You make signs and posters with her picture on it and you raise thousands of dollars, not because people care about the lemonade, but because they see your passion and want to donate!”

“Passion is getting your school to stop selling water in plastic bottles, but instead to encourage kids to bring refillable bottles in and have filtered water dispensers in hallways!”

“Passion is going out once a week with your siblings to pick up trash along the bike path!” It’s your future and your kids’ future that needs to be saved, and I’m just trying to get you to care about that. It’s getting tougher and tougher for people to live in this world and kids need to see that their choices now can make a difference. You need to help be that difference!

We’ll see what Saturday brings when she comes out of camp “empowered” in some way. I’m hoping that she’ll have learned some skills that she will use to fire herself up about some cause and to energize others to do the same. It’s not like she hasn’t had examples!

Life starts and life ends. What we do here in the time that we remain, matters. Instead of living each day as if it were my last, I want to treasure my time and live as if there is always a tomorrow!

R.I.P.

R.I.P. David Cassinelli

Thanks for reading!

Snowballs From Heaven!

snow angelI don’t like mysteries. I mean, I absolutely love mysteries in movies and books, but that’s because I like figuring them out, deciphering clues, and out-smarting any author or director that thinks they can trip me up. I take pride in my observational skills, rising to the challenge of any unknown that can be known. I do not, however, enjoy anything that’s left hanging, like an odd noise in the night that can’t be sourced or an item that appears in my home that has no known origin-such things will leave me feeling incomplete.

As I enter the second week of 2013 (13 being my personal number, FYI), I have not mourned 2012 one iota. In fact, I could kick 2012 back into the mid to late 1990’s and stamp it as one of  the most useless, degrading, and unsatisfying years of my life to date.  I have categorized groups of years as such before, but never one lone year, until now!

What makes it so forgettable isn’t really important because it would require remembering it, which I don’t want to give the energy to, but suffice it to say that it was not good. It is time to move on to sunnier days, like the one we had out there today.

I decided to exercise outside today even though it was in the low 30’s and with the windchill, I’m guessing it barely hit 25 degrees in the sun, but the sky was bright blue with only a few clouds in sight. As I basked in the warm sun hitting my face, I entered my “blissful zone” enjoying the beauty of the snow-covered expanse of rolling fields along the almost-deserted road. I was energized by the cold air, mesmerized by the dots of light reflected by the sun on the gurgling stream, and all was good in that moment…

And then “SPLAT!”

A foot ahead of me to my right, was a large plop of snow that had come directly down and smacked the ground with the thud of a well-placed snowball. I was passing a large pine tree, so that would have seemed logical that it fell from there, and once I regained my normal heartbeat, I looked up, as anyone would, to see if more was to come.

What I saw, and what I should have known, was that after the last day of 40-something degree weather, there was not one single tree with one ounce of snow on it as far as I could see. Now, I know what you’re thinking because I was thinking the same thing…I must have been wrong. There must have been an icy spot between some limbs, or a nest, or something that could have held a hunk of snow. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find any proof of that. When I say the trees were bare of snow, I mean that EVERY tree was clear of snow! There was no way in hell that the snow came from that tree or any tree around me and that’s what I believe!

The next logical option was that someone threw it at me, except for the fact that there was no one out there and unless they could throw it straight up, navigate between the limbs of the tree, it would be unlikely, almost impossible, to land it where it did. I walked on, as there was nothing else to do, and pondered how I’d explain this weird happening to myself.  I knew that for whatever reason, this was a sign, but for what, I didn’t know.

Taking a quick trip back in time about 10 years or so, I am reminded of another event in my life that caught my attention, literally. I was driving along a busy 2-lane highway in a neighboring town, deep in thought on auto-pilot when my “check engine” light suddenly caught my eye. I looked down at it quickly and then looked back at the road, only to see a deer quickly darting in my path. I believe that the light, which then turned immediately off, saved my car and possibly my life. I could have easily hit that deer had I still been locked in thought.

I believe in angels. For me, they don’t fall into a mysterious category at all because I know that energy can not be created or destroyed, but it can be changed. I believe that the energy surrounding me daily is made up of whispers of loving and protective souls who have passed, other incarnations of myself, and reflections of my future self. These molecules of energy are always surrounding me but I know that I need to be in an “open” space/place in my life to be able to hear them. Some people call it intuition but I believe it’s more than that. It’s the “knowing” that guides me to seek out places or people or experiences and choices in my life, and when I feel it strongly, I know that I’m listening and following the right path.

I know that many people may think that social media is a waste of time and that too often people can let themselves be sucked into a time-devouring hole of uselessness, which is very often possible if we succumb to that on a daily basis, but I like to think that some good can also come from my time, especially on Facebook.  I don’t really care what people are eating and where they go for dinner or vacations, but I do care about the causes that they invest their time and energy promoting. I have learned about exciting technologies, been inspired by amazing work that people are doing all over the world, been encouraged by the humanitarian organizations and the energy that people have to spread good deeds daily. It is truly inspiring to be tapped into such a wealth of amazing and caring networks of people and it adds value to my life.

On  December 20th, the day before the supposed “end-of- the-world-as-we-know-it”,  a good friend of mine forwarded me a friend of hers’ “explanation of what it all meant.” If you take the time to read this explanation, you may come away with much more hope, as I did, that good things are to come. I do believe that we have the power to shape our future and our lives and that we need to keep reminding each other of ways we can be those better selves. I am choosing to surround myself with more positive energy in 2013 and not wallow in the deficits of 2012!

Many of my Fb friends have  posted this guide that I have made my credo as well. It’s easy to remember, is concise, and its wisdom and clarity will endure for all ages:

credo2

Happy 2013! May your year be as fine or better than mine!

Undecided Voters?

Halloween is over and Election day is right around the corner…five more days until we will hopefully know if it’s time to scream with joy or cry and get into bed and hunker down for the next 4 years!

I see the polls. I hear the pundits talking, but I’m sick and tired of all of this jockeying and just want it to to be decided so I/we/the country, can move on with our lives.

When I hear about the undecided voters, I can’t help but wonder if they are really paying attention. If a woman is undecided, I would have to ask if she has all of her marbles. Barack Obama is the only choice who cares about a woman’s rights!

I was surfing through my facebook feed yesterday and I came upon this video of Donna the Deer Lady.  I have to say that my curiosity was piqued by this silly headline, and as I listened, I was certain that it was someone punking the radio hosts, but I was wrong. What I heard, was a fairly intelligent woman complaining about the overuse of  “Deer Crossing” signs on busy highways and their obvious results which lead to more deer crossing in those spots due to the signs!

This woman was serious and wanted her concern to be taken seriously. “Please, can’t someone take them down so that we don’t have so many deer crossing on busy highways?”  Certainly, there are less populated places for deer to cross in small towns and at already designated crosswalks, she implied! Holy crap! Is she a shining example of  the undecided voter?

I also saw a quick clip yesterday of a four-year old girl who was crying about the election. Her mother video-taped her sobbing, saying that she was crying about  “Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney,” as she was upset about the plethora of mentions of the election. Even she is done with all of this craziness! Anyway, I had a vision that  it would have been great if someone could have showcased all of the nasty things that have been said towards Obama from the GOP campaign through the eyes of children, maybe using play dough like Saturday Night Live used to do with Mr. Bill. If kids wrote the scripts, we’d see just how clearly Mitt Romney has been lying and bullying and using millions of dollars to buy this election. Kids know when they’re being lied to and they know when things aren’t fair, and adults could use a good dose of that non sugar-coated reality!

Here’s hoping that next wednesday I’ll be able to get out of bed!

Magical Thinking

I’ve spent a lot of time daydreaming. Too much, I’m sure, and if I had some magical daydream calculator, I’d likely chastise myself for wasting so much of my life…

Lately, I’ve caught myself imagining more of a nightmare world where Republicans have the Presidency along with the majority of the House and Senate, and although “daydreaming” sounds all fluffy and cloud-like, these thoughts are dark and ominous and full of thunderclouds!

As I’ve probably mentioned before, I am a bit of a news junkie with “news” leaning almost exclusively towards national politics these last few months. I’ve watched  the Republican Convention with curiosity, disgust, and anger as they lie, and deceive the public, while rights that women have owned over their  bodies  for decades dangle precariously by a thread from the wretched hands of the rich and “powerful” men who want to take over our country.

I was watching Rachel Maddow last night discuss the abortion views of prominent Republicans and I continue to be saddened and distraught about their consistent message of not tolerating abortion. “Period,” they say, as if we need more enunciation and might stop asking them about their stance!  Some of them will allow for the “exceptions in the case of rape or incest”, and others will include “for the life of the mother,” but eventually, they just want to repeal Roe vs. Wade. If Romney gets elected, just one Supreme Court appointee may devolve us to that point when back alley abortions were the only options for women and when we’ll see many, many women die needlessly.  This is NOT a test. This is the real deal!

I know that I don’t have to spell this out to y’all, as you are likely educated, mostly women, and keep abreast of these issues yourselves, but since I have daughters and a son who haven’t ever lived through a time when women were treated with so little respect and rights over their own lives, I have had to spell it out to them.

When I was a teenager, I knew I was a lesbian. I had a girlfriend in High School for most of that time. I never dated guys, never had to deal with the idea of accidental pregnancy, or think about what I’d do if I did get pregnant. Some of my friends and relatives who did have to worry about it, were forced to make some hard decisions when they got pregnant. Luckily, they had a legal choice to get an abortion, and in most cases, a parent was not even required to be notified, but before 1973, that was not the case.

Even Mitt Romney, who has vacillated on his views over the years since he ran for Governor in MA has now stated that even though he’s voiced a support for a women’s right to choose, (vehemently, I may add), he is now against abortion, and it’s unclear  whether he would allow it in cases of rape, incest, and the “health and life of the mother. Isn’t “life” a part of “health?” So he’s now taken another stance and redefined his previous stance to say that he “mis-spoke.” What?!

Ok, here’s what I don’t get…First of all, I understand that “pro-life” means to choose life of the child over death – “death” being the state of the child/fetus as a result of abortion. I also understand that a woman who is pregnant is considered “alive,” at least that’s what they told me in my early science classes, and her heart is still beating.  So if by choosing the life of the baby over the health and life of the mother, wouldn’t that be the opposite of pro-life?  I sure I’m not the only one who sees the hypocrisy in this.

Now I know I may be getting paranoid here, but is it so outrageous to imagine that  if this absurd doctrine is ever allowed to pass, there might come a time that the Republicans will enact another clause that allows for the life of the mother over the baby if the baby is a girl, but the life of the baby over the mother if the baby is a boy? Crazy, maybe, but it sounds to me like a WAR ON WOMEN if they would even consider allowing a woman to die in order to give birth to a child in ANY circumstance!

I saw a short clip of a new documentary by Al Jazeera called “The Abortion War” in which Jim Buchy, a Representative from Ohio who has proposed the so-called “Hearbeat Bill” defining life as “beginning at the onset of a baby’s heartbeat,” was asked, “what do you think makes a woman want  an abortion?” He couldn’t answer the question and seemed stumped as he fumbled through an answer, and finally said “I’m not a woman…It’s a question  I’ve never even thought about.”   Wow! So, basically, women are only considered vessels to carry babies. We have no rights to personal liberties and men will choose what we can and can’t do with our bodies without even THINKING about how it might feel and WHY a woman would feel the need to do it?

If we imagine a law that requires these children to be born, shouldn’t  the Republicans be required to fund their upbringing, care, schooling, etc? And for all of the mothers who don’t want these children but feel obligated to keep them, do we want more babies in this world who are not loved, or well-cared for, may have to live in poverty, may suffer abuse?  Maybe these Republican dictators should really take the time to THINK about these things?!

Women have had time to think about it. It’s one of the hardest, most private and personal decisions that women do have to think about, and they should be allowed to make that decision based on who they are and what they are willing to do for this unborn child. By forcing any girl or woman to carry a baby to term is a form of enslavement and can not be tolerated.

My dream for this election, is that more and more women will come to realize what this agenda really means for them, their women friends, and their loved ones and take some action. My dream also includes many supportive, sane men in this country to stand with women and actually THINK about what this might mean for women. Seriously, women don’t get pregnant all by themselves!  This is the time for all people, especially women to energize and come together with a tornado of force that together, no closed-minded, backwards-thinking, domineering, heavy-handed, discriminatory, and sick agenda by the Republican Right-Wing Tea Partiers can reckon with!

“Finding Hope”

It’s just a four-letter word – a noun, a verb and can even be a name, yet it’s so hard to find and so easy to lose.

President Obama campaigned and won on “Hope.” There are currently two TV shows with the word “Hope” in the title and at least five that have been on in my lifetime. It’s what religious leaders preach about constantly, and yet, it often seems so elusive.

Benjamin Franklin once said “He who lives upon hope will die fasting.” while Emily Dickinson wrote in a poem:

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,”

I don’t think it’s a new concept that people in the U.S. are losing Hope in the powers that be who make final decisions about our laws, control our economy, and the systems that control that power. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, then you’ve been in a coma for the last 4-8 years. Jobs are scarce, people are paying more for necessities, yet making less money, working more hours, and yet they still can’t keep up. The standard of living that our parents and grandparents afforded is out of reach for most families, and the reality of that is widespread depression, alcoholism, domestic violence, divorce, crime, suicide, murder, and everything in between. What makes it especially hard is that those who are suffering the most seem to be the children. In 2009, one baby was born every hour addicted to prescription drugs. Three years later, and who knows the increase in that statistic. In 2010, the highest number of citizens with food insecurity was recorded in the U.S. When you think of the starving children, they sadly, are likely found in your own community.

It isn’t hard to figure out why people lose Hope after losing their jobs, their homes, their dreams and their futures. Those who can hold onto it and resist the temptation to drown their sorrows and despair in alcohol and drugs are usually the ones who have a lot of faith, but what exactly determines where that line falls between faith and despair?

My wife’s niece died on the 4th of July at the young age of 35 years, presumably from the effects of many years of active drug abuse and depression. Her death was likely accidental, this time, but her life was governed by addiction, and although surprising, her death was not unexpected. Many people had tried multiple times to help her, but the allure of the “high” was ever-present. Another casualty. Another child is left without a mother. Another wasted life.

I worry that my children will be the last generation to know Hope. They’ve been raised as by-products of parents born in the 60’s, when Hope was still alive and the ability to enact change was still a possibility that seemed within reach of the average citizen.

How are we able to counteract the results of the Republican stranglehold on the Congress and the ability to change the system that favors the wealthy and leaves the rest of the 99% to fend for themselves?

When I ran out of thoughts a moment ago and switched back to a Words with Friends game, the word my opponent had just played was “Hope.” I don’t really believe in coincidences, so I will take that as my cue to keep writing, or ranting, as my blog implies!

What does Hope mean to me? It’s a desire for people and things to be better, for love to win out over hate, for peace to persuade war that we can all live happily without fighting. It’s the desire to move through my life with enough, for myself and my kids, my friends and my neighbors, my town, my community, my State, and my Country, and the entire World! It’s about the “haves” helping the “have-nots” and not taking away from those who have suffered enough.

As I am writing, we are leaving soon to pick up our littlest girl after a week of sleepover camp. I’m guessing that after a week apart from all of us, she will be happy to see us. I know her moms will be overjoyed to see her! Getting the other two young ones to happily get up early and make the hour plus drive is the hard part, but after hammering home the concept of  “family” and “support” and “love for your sibling,” they have reluctantly agreed to remove the sourpuss attitudes. What I’d like to somehow infuse in their psyches is that all of what we “make” them do as children will hopefully be appreciated when they’re adults. I see that “sense of family” reflected in at least one of my older girls and know that it is there, but reflects more soberly in the other. I have gratitude that all of my ducklings will be safely nestled in known locations soon, and I desperately Hope that they will all cherish the security that we provide for them until they are able to swim (or fly) on their own!

My Hopes for our children are that through their own lives and experiences, they will always know that they are loved, and that they will do their part as healthy, happy human beings to extend multitudes of Hope and love to many other people so that the flame of Hope will not be extinguished!

* Author’s note- I know that Hope isn’t capitalized, but I Hope that you don’t mind that I did it anyway!

Thanks, for What?

I was thinking today, with Thanksgiving coming up, that this is a time that I often reflect on what I’m thankful for. I can give you all of my cheesy answers, my family, my health, a great life…but I’m having trouble today, getting images out of my head, ones that no one could be thankful for. My son saw the news this morning and said “mommy, this police officer just sprayed pepper spray at these people!” Why would he do that?”

Why…

What could he have been thinking before he did such a thing? Did he think that passive protesters, sitting peacefully on the ground, arms linked and silent posed a danger to him? Was there ever any violence that would have prompted such a response? Had he ever personally been sprayed with pepper spray and if so, was it so benign that he would equate it with the way he would spray the ground around his house to protect against ants? Are passive protesters like pests, just there to damage “his” precious domain that he has vowed to serve and protect? Is he even a real police person or law enforcement officer or just a guy with a uniform? Does he have a daughter or a son and would he want them to be subjected to such a punishment for no harm done to anyone?

I have been sickened and extremely saddened by such overt displays of power and injustice. Whether you agree with the 99%’ers or not, such an act is despicable and wrong.

What did I say to my child? “Yes, it’s awful. And it’s wrong!”  What else could I say?

So THANKS for all of the budget cuts that are forcing people to ignite the fire that lies within! If the politicians in Washington can’t get it together to find cuts in our budget that don’t further affect the poor,  and find ways to raise revenue by making the rich pay their fair share, the rich will continue to get richer while more and more of the 99% get poorer. How long until we find some common sense and morals in this country? How many more people need to die because they can’t get medical help for problems that a one-time congress person’s “government-run” insurance policy would cover for the rest of their lives?

Luckily, in this age of technology, those of us who may not have the time, energy, guts, or gumption to join the 99%’ers in person, still have ways to respond to the cause. Propelling the news of injustices, personal stories, responses by politicians and law enforcement is important. Facebook, email blasts, twitter, blogging and any other way of sharing is vital to keeping these issues alive and energized. This isn’t a fringe movement. It is reality, so please help do your part. None of us is immune from the ramifications of losing anymore funding. If it doesn’t affect us directly, it will certainly affect a friend or loved one. Now is the time to continue to energize the movement to highlight these discrepancies. It’s awful, and it’s wrong!

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