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Watching: ‘Battle of the Sexes’.

Just saw this movie!

After seeing the previews several times, I saw “Battle of the Sexes” on opening night. While I’m not a sports’ buff, I AM an Emma Stone fan, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this movie isn’t reaallllly about sports.

The movie revolves around a real-life tennis match (that turns out to be an all-out war) between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).

Bobby Riggs, a tennis player, but also a well-known gambler, is determined to show a newly-formed women’s tennis league what’s up when he challenges the #1 female player to a match. The winner takes $100,000.

But for the women, it’s about more than the money. It’s about getting equal pay, especially after they stopped competing against men (who were offered more than six times what women were offered). King wanted to win to show women they could earn equal pay, and to show men that women could draw a crowd and be equal-competitors.

But in 1973, more than just equal pay was at stake for King. She was falling in love with a woman behind the scenes of her big dual.

This movie was touching, and at times sad. We’ve come so far in some ways, but in some ways we haven’t. King didn’t want to come out: she was married to a man she obviously loved, and after all, what would people think of her if she admitted her true feelings?

Emma Stone does a superb job emulating King, and I’d venture to say Sarah Silverman has a breakout role as the women’s team manager, comically getting them a cigarette sponsorship.

Definitely a movie worth seeing, even if you already know who wins the big game 🙂

In other news, I’ve added two new items to the Etsy shop and will be adding more items throughout the week! I have also been making SO many of the Holly Golightly Sleep Masks – if you’re looking for a relevant, easy costume, this might just be the accessory you need for Halloween!

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Still, I resist.

Image from ‘We the Protestors’.

I know I said I would try my best to keep this blog a place where people could escape from politics, and essentially, get away from negativity. But at some point, my silence is complicity, and that is something for which I will not stand.

You may recall last July, when I finally broke my silence after Alton Sterling was murdered in Baton Rouge. It was a week of frustration and heartbreak, and I was at the end of my rope. I saw so much victim-blaming and I was ready to stand on my roof and yell “F the police!”

Here’s a snippet from the post:

I woke up nearly two hours before my alarm on Tuesday, and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I started scrolling through my Twitter feed. I saw the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag had gained popularity and I knew it: another innocent black man had lost his life to the bullet of a police officer.

And sure enough, that was the case for Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We’ve all heard his story by now, I’m sure. Soon, most of us will be able to sweep him under the rug just as we’ve done before; just like we did for Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Tanisha Anderson, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon, Jerame Reid, Tony Robinson, Phillip White, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, and Freddie Gray, among several others.

As white people, we’re granted the ability to forget about incidents such as these, because we don’t understand the struggle blacks have continued to go through. Introducing white privilege: White privilege is the systemic construct that grants unearned advantages to people based solely on skin color. This definition is significant in that often people see how race puts people of color at a disadvantage, but seldom see the corollary of white skin advantage.

Read the entire post here.

Last Tuesday night, I had a similar, frustrated feeling when I saw the news that there would be no charges against the Baton Rouge police officers who murdered Mr. Sterling, even after the US Department of Justice completed an independent investigation. It was the first case under Jeff Sessions, who airs his racial prejudices openly.

Days after the decision to not press charges, chilling details emerged about the 90-second exchange between Mr. Sterling and two police officers (along with six bullets). “A law enforcement source confirmed that Salamoni calls Sterling both a ‘bitch’ and a ‘motherf*****’ while threatening to “shoot” him in the head if he doesn’t comply” (source).

The reactions to drop charges in Baton Rouge had mixed reactions online, where I saw several activists even saying they “weren’t surprised” this was the outcome. That broke my heart. Many people said Mr. Sterling deserved to die because he had prior charges, and/or because he wasn’t permitted to carry the handgun he had in his pocket. But none of that justifies his death, and it doesn’t answer the bigger problem: institutional racism.

That same week last July, America watched live as Philando Castile, a black man, was murdered by a white police officer. Castile was stopped for having a broken tail light. The officer asked Castile to show him his license and registration, and Castile told the officer he was armed (please note that Castile did have a permit to carry a gun). Then he died – and it was all aired on Facebook Live (source).

In February, his murderer plead not guilty to second-degree manslaughter. The trial date is set for May 30.

About a week ago, the country learned that Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old black teen was shot and killed by a white police officer. The police officer has since been arrested for Edwards’ murder (source).

The narrative surrounding Edwards was mostly about how great he was – how he made the honor roll. And while that’s fantastic, and sad, it shouldn’t matter what kind of person he was or the grades he made for his life to matter. He was riding in a car, leaving a party – neither of which are illegal, and they’re certainly worthy of getting murdered.

But this is the narrative that works to uphold institutional racism. With Trayvon, they said he wasn’t that great of a student – he smoked weed – he stole things; with Alton, they said he had past charges and was convicted of molestation; comply, don’t die, they say.

But what does the narrative become when you comply? What does it become when you make straight A’s? When you’re sober? When you’re wearing a seatbelt in the backseat of a car?

It’s about being black in America.

I spent a portion of my workday yesterday at the Texas Capitol, taking pictures of women dressed as Handmaids to draw attention to the 30+ anti-abortion bills that have worked themselves into the legislation session this year.

Since I started my job in January – I work as the Digital Communications Manager for a national abortion clinic – I’ve learned a lot about how the government has set itself up against women. Frankly, unless you’re a white male, you’re pretty much doomed to fail in this country.

As far as abortion goes, the anti-choicers have created a narrative that shames women into thinking abortion is immoral, among other things. The narrative uses false stories and urban legends to support their case – a case that is medically inaccurate. There will never be a time when abortion is gone – it will just be illegal, and unsafe.

Since the AHCA passed, I took a look at what it outlines – and it says that rape is considered a pre-existing condition, on top of having a c-section, and having irregular periods.

So, if you’re a woman, you don’t qualify for insurance. And if you’ve been raped, you’ll either have to shame yourself into not saying anything so you can get coverage, or say something and pay out-of-pocket for your medical care.

I know that this one blog post may not make a change, but I was so upset by politics, and the world, last week that I couldn’t continue on without saying something. Because if you just stand by while all of this continues, you’re part of the problem.

But, since I had training on dialogue about institutional racism, and since I’ve started working in abortion care, I have learned just how much change I can make with my voice. Talking creates noise. When I share my opinions with others, I am letting them know what I believe and what I stand for. Even just introducing myself and saying I work in abortion is enough to spark a conversation and let someone know where I stand, and what I’m not willing to tolerate.

So, I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again: Black lives still matter, and Women’s Rights are Human Rights.

Exploring volunteer opportunities…

Volunteering: chew on that!

Volunteering: chew on that!

So… yeah, if you were here yesterday I had to share the news that I’m without a volunteer position (get the scoop here) for the first time in about five years. This means that I’m currently on the hunt for a new volunteer opportunity, and I know there’s lots of choices out there. It’s time to weigh my options:

Saving the Whales or Polar Bears

I boycotted Sea World and zoos years ago – if you haven’t seen “Blackfish“, you must (FREE TILLY!) – but I know there’s more that can be done. I found an article, that offers 10 ways to help save the whales! Whew. A big part of it is actually getting into recycling, which I admit, I’ve never been good at. So, maybe this is something I should look into a little further.

I also looked at the Green Peace website, and found that (although I am a Clinton supporter), her Super PAC is being funded by corporate polluters. There is a pre-written email you can fill out to pledge that you will reject fossil fuel money. Check it out here.

Now, I know that you’ve seen those commercials about the polar bears. I don’t really know how I can help save the whales or polar bears from Austin, but perhaps it’s worth a shot?! According to Polar Bears International, polar bears could be extinct by 2050 because of greenhouse gases! That is within our lifetime, folks! The website notes Earth Day (which is April 22), and there are a few simple things you can do to help – the list is here.

Non-GMO/Anti-Monsanto

Bye GMOs.

Bye GMOs.

For the last year, I’ve been making a bigger effort to eat organic food, or at the very least, non-GMO food. I am also very much against companies that support Monsanto (like fucking Starbucks) and/or companies that are against GMO labeling.

Whether or not you care about what genetically modified organisms and/or Monsanto-made pesticides have planned for the funeral of your guts, it’s also worth noting that any farming, other than organic farming, is bad for our environment. So, if you’re hoping things are as beautiful down the road, you might want to consider going organic.

I live in a city full of hipsters and granolas (no offense, I love it), hell, this is where Whole Foods was born. So I know the non-GMO cause is huge here. But I actually found a list of organizations (here it is) you can join in every state!

However, I am almost terrified of joining any groups because I know the passion is just going to be off the charts… but I will continue to skip on Starbucks and buy organic.

Other Environmental Causes

I know there’s a slew of other environmental issues I could volunteer for. Aside from helping the polar bears, Green Peace is a good general environmental fund to donate to, because they are always fighting against climate change. I found the website for Friends of the Environment, and they also have several different causes that help different areas of the environment, including climate and energy, food and technology, and the ocean and forests.  And finally, there’s the Rain Forest Alliance that promotes green living, and sustainable…well, everything. Plus, the pictures of all the cute animals really just do it for me.

#LoveUp

#LoveUp

#LoveUp

I can’t talk about volunteering and charity without mentioning my favorite radio DJs’ charity! From their website:

JohnJay & Rich have helped thousands of children and families in need for nearly 15 years by providing food, clothing, toys, basic needs and experiences primarily during the holiday season through their Christmas Wish Program. In 2007 they formed their 501 c 3 non-profit organization The Johnjay & Rich Care for Kids Foundation and have most recently placed an emphasis on helping the nearly 400,000 kids living in the Foster Care System in The United States. #LoveUp is an accidental movement started by Johnjay Van Es. Auto correct changed his friend’s text from “love it” to “Love Up” and the phenomenon was born! Johnjay and Rich think #LoveUp will be a great way to remind people to pay it forward and spread the love!

So, you can simply buy a cute #LoveUp shirt or even sweatpants, and the money goes toward The JohnJay & Rich Care for Kids Foundation. Score!

Women’s Rights

As a woman, of course I care about my rights, and those of other women around the globe. I found a website for a foundation that focuses on women in poverty around the globe, which is good, but I think I like the idea of something a little more local.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is a group of feminist activists right in the United States, and they really work for true equality for women. One of the causes they contributed to was the “Dirty 100” – fighting the 100 employers who refuse to let their women employees access reproductive healthcare as part of their insurance.

Domestic Abuse

This was the most difficult thing to find information about. Of course, there are several groups and causes around domestic abuse you can donate to, but I was looking for volunteer opportunities in my local area. I found SAFE: Stop Abuse For Everyone, but it mainly focuses on children affected in these situations. No offense to the kids, but I’m more interested in helping the women who are affected. Turns out, there are several women’s shelters around Austin that are always looking for volunteers. This may be a good choice for me.

…So, there are some options out there. And BTW, I kind of hand to laugh when I made this list; if you didn’t know I was a liberal before, it’s kind of obvious now! Ha! In any case, if you’ve got other causes you think I should look into, please let me know! In the meantime, I think I’m going to buy some #LoveUp apparel…