Gexx in Knoxville

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Archive for the ‘blog for a cause’ Category

Obama signs “Serve America Act”

Posted by Gexx on April 21, 2009

I have a few issues with some high school and college “resume builders,” especially with the missionary/service trips to some “tropical” place.  Students ask for money from their church/community to pay for these trips, and they attempt to pass these experiences off as “more impressive” than their peers who stay at home and work a summer job. As an aside, when I picked my interns at my federal job, I made sure to balance these work-vacations against the real skills learned.  I discovered that they really didn’t have the work ethic that I needed.

These trips tend to charge a premium for these kids to travel to Costa Rica to bring fresh water to a village (for part of the trip) and then for the rest of the trip to experience the tourist side of Costa Rica/Guatemala/Thailand/etc.  The way these programs get kids is twofold.  First, while these causes portray the people they are helping as desperately in need, which often times they are, these causes also other the individuals being helped.  They instead seem subhuman because they are living in such poor conditions.  Then, these organizations lure the students with travel to exotic/tropical destinations, a carrot in front of the nose.

My issue with these are:

1- Much of the money collected from the community goes toward the travel to this destination and to the “fun” stuff the students do.  If the organization collected money to pay local workers, the community would be more stable.

2-  Students could stay closer to home, spend less money, and help the same amount of people.  The United States has its own homeless and poverty.

I feel that when the United States proves that it has the infrastructure to care for its own people and environment, then it will truly be able to lead other nations in removing poverty.

This is why I am so excited about Obama signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.  JFK started the idea of the Peace Corps, where concientious objectors could positively influence the infrastructure of other nations and recieved remunerations, just like if they were in the Army.  From this came Americorps, a program similar in goals and pay to the Peace Corps, but the participants stayed within the United States.

One reason Obama appealed to me (other than not being Bush) was his experiance as a community organizer.  He was able to relate to and identify with those who were not in the upper class.  He also realized the influence that normal people could have on bettering communities and the importance of every voice.  He also recognized that when citizens become invested in their communities, then the communities show long-term benefits.

He highlighted this aspect of himself in signing this act.  While Ted Kennedy is not my favorite person in the White House (the whole white/male/elite priviledge being flaunted during the fatal car wreck), I do realize that he is a strong and socially liberal voice in the Senate.

This act provides for more money for Americorps.  Students working through Americorps, because money outside of a stipend  is given as a scholarship to the school directly and not as a check to the student, will both accrue service hours that many colleges look for in applications and have a scholarship to assist them in deferring college tuition, fees, and books.

As a disclaimer, the reason I made my way from New York to Tennessee is because of an Americorp program through the Student Conservation Association. It gave me the experiance to solidify my career goals from the amorphis cloud of possibilities as well as the strengths to reach them.

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Retard

Posted by Gexx on March 31, 2009

r-word.org

Language constructs world view. For this reason I hate disempowering, marginalizing derogatory terms. One word that has been around that has been used by so many people, even those who claim to be liberal and sensitive.  If any one has listened to me, you will notice that I never use “retarded”.

I am excited that the Special Olympics have started a campaign to raise awareness of the word, its insensitivity, and the hurt it causes.

Make a pledge on http://www.r-word.org/

Tweet about it: “I pledged to end the use of the r-word today – can you? http://www.r-word.org/ #rword.”

Donate your Facebook Status: “I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. http://www.r-word.org/ #rword”

Watch the videos.

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Blog for Choice

Posted by Gexx on January 22, 2009

It's the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, meaning it's National Blog
for Choice Day.

Yay for choice! We have hope with the new administration that there
will only be progress in the way of reproductive rights.

Unfortunately people still stand in the way of this.

Today:

http://www.plannedparenthoodadvocate.org/content/clinic_violence_on_the_annivesary_of_roe_v_wade

"[I]n St. Paul, while anti-choice protesters peacefully protested
across the street from the Planned Parenthood Highland Park Clinic, an
extreme anti-choicer decided to ram his SUV against the front door of
the clinic. Thankfully, no one was injured and little damage was
done."

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Marriage Equality Rally!

Posted by Gexx on November 16, 2008

[newsbreak] Good news! Larry Summer is no longer up for Treasury Sec.  If you didn’t know, he’s the ex-ivyleague-pres who said women were inheantly inferior at math and science.  He even set up a home ec class for women so they didn’t need to worry their little heads with all sorts of numbers. [end newsbreak]

So, Saturday was the Anti-passing of all the no gay marriage acts/props/ammendments.  Morgan and I made up posters (seen below), and he met me at the museum at 2.30PM with the plan to head right over to World’s Fair Park.

Well… I head over to the museum, where I had 1PM a program to give, at 12.15.  I pull into the lot and am told that I need to pay, there’s a basketball game.  I explain to the attendant that I am going to work at the museum and, not only that, I have 20 young girl scouts with parents coming at 1.  They tell me that they will need to find parking.  I respond that this is not acceptable, they were told where they could park before this, and the museum lot is to remain open for museum visitors.  Well, apparently there are only 5 spots left, and goodness knows how we’ll do this.  So they call the head guy, who is very not pleased to see me.  The museum and the parking people have been at odds for as long as I’ve worked there.  The museum needs weekend visitors. When the museum advertises free admission and free parking, people expect that.  If they need to suddenly pay $5 to go do something free, they’ll just as soon go home.  The museum loses visitors, and no one buys anything cool in the museum shop.

So he and I argue that parking a few cars in the free lot with everyone else having to pay is not acceptable.  I threaten to call people, like the museum’s director, in order to give my girls a good experience.  At this point one of the original attendents comes running up and tells us that most of the cars in the lot are high school students here for visitation, and their program is supposed to be over at 12.30.  How about we just close the lot down for everyone except Girl Scouts (and other visitors, I pipe in).  That, I tell them, will work, assuming enough people leave.  What if we don’t have enough spots still?  The attendants point out a bunch of open space, normally used by the daily attendant’s kiosk, and say they’ll park them in there.  We should be guarenteed 15 spaces between what’s already open, what will open, and the informal spots.  So they change the sign to “Lot Full” and I head in hoping that the girl scouts are carpooling, like good environmentally concious individuals should.

I have 15 minutes to run upstairs, downstairs, middlestairs in order to get my 45 minute program, my 15 minute tool demonstrations, my 20 minute clay-based craft, and my 5 minute story set up.  I’m not ready on time, but that’s ok, because the “Lot Full” sign confused some parents looking for the museum so they’re on their way.  We get started about 15-20 minutes late.  Gargh!

We do the program, take a little longer on the initial program because they ask so many gosh durned questions, do the tools, take a quick break for me to move around the set up for the craft, make our darned clay pots, Morgan shows up, wash our hands, tell the story, and I clean up in record time.  I tell the guard the few things he needs to do (re-set some alarms, re-lock a few doors) since I don’t have codes or keys.

3.20PM Morgan and I rush out of campus and over to Worlds Fair Park.  Everyone is gone!

Noooo!

So now I have two virgin signs for the next protest rally.

I’m annoyed.  Stupid parking.

Come to find out, about 120 people were at the rally, and the only counter protest was

LINK TO ARTICLE ABOUT RALLY IN KTOWN!  I really like this article.  Especially that it is written with a lean toward supporting same sex marriage and even includes religious leaders’ comments supporting the equality of the right.

In other marriage-equality news:  December 5 is “No Gay for A Day” day, where the LGBT community and their supporters stay home from work.  Where I work, at the museum, we all feel that marriage should count.  The people I serve, children, would be the ones effected.  While children may repeat what parents say, they are still impressionable.  I’m conflicted whether my staying home would help.

Posted in blog for a cause, drama, i do have a life, sexual rights, work | 1 Comment »

Worlds Fair Park 1:15 Today!

Posted by Gexx on November 15, 2008

Here are our signs. I’ll be there once I’m done with a group at the museum.

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Out and About

Posted by Gexx on November 13, 2008

Fight the H8 in Your State

Saturday is a National Day of Rallying for Equality in Marriage Rights. (click on the graphic for more info).

Either way, the current plan is that in Knoxville people will be meeting at 1PM at World’s Fair Park.

Bring your posters, rage, and support.

Official letter from Knoxville coordinator

Friends and allies,
WHY WE NEED YOU: As you know, our November 4th election was a day of mixed emotion. Along with Barack Obama’s victory came a stunning defeat for LGBT rights: the passage of Proposition 8, which overturned the California Supreme Court’s June 17, 2008 decision to allow same-sex marriage. Legal ramifications for the millions of loving same-sex couples who have been married in CA since the summer are still up in the air, but Prop 8’s discriminatory message is clear: gay and lesbian couples are somehow less deserving of the chance for a happy, loving marriage.
While Prop 8 dealt a devastating blow, we can be encouraged by how quickly Americans have rallied in protest of this decision. California cities have already been bombarded with LBGT individuals and their allies, backed by an unprecedented outpouring of support from around the country.
This Saturday, November 15, there will be a nationwide protest in cities across all 50 states and DC. At 1:30 EST (10:30 PST), thousands of Americans will come together in solidarity of our LGBT brothers and sisters. We are saying together, loud and clear, that we will not stand down until EVERYONE has equal marriage rights, feels safe to be who they are, and is embraced as a first-class citizen.
KNOXVILLE: Knoxville’s rally will be held on the lawn of World’s Fair Park. We will gather around 1:15 so that we can count down to the 1:30 nationwide protest together. There will be several speakers, including Reverend Bob Galloway of the Metropolitan Community Church. Next, there will be an open session for anyone in the crowd to speak and share their thoughts. (This has been cleared with Lieutenant Hubs and the Park staff. We have permission to be there. Additional security will come through periodically to make sure we are not bothered.) There are a number of parking lots and garages around the Park.
Afterwards, anyone who is interested can go over to Kingston Pike outside the mall to engage in more of a picket-style protest.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Most of all, come to the rally. As of Tuesday night, there was nothing scheduled in Knoxville, and I put this together pretty quickly. Show up and show your support. To stand up for what you believe in with thousands of your fellow citizens across the country is an incredible opportunity.
If you have cameras and/or video recording devices, it would be great to bring them and take plenty of pictures and recordings. The organizers of Join the Impact will be anxious to hear how things went in the different cities.
If you can, make signs for yourself and others. If you need inspiration, check out the link above for ideas.
Additionally, we are still in great need of a megaphone (or microphone with speakers) that does not need to be plugged in; if you have one or know anyone who does and would not mind donating it for a few hours, please let me know!
PLEASE BE AWARE: I’ve discussed all this with Lieutenant Hubs and we don’t anticipate any problems, but in case we attract negative attention, please remain calm and civil. No matter how angry someone makes you or how despicable they may act, you always win by staying classy. Be courteous to other people in the Park, pick up any trash from your signs, etc. There is a Veteran Memorial dedication in the Park in the morning. It is over at noon, but please be respectful of any patrons still mingling from that event.
How we conduct ourselves will speak volumes.
MOST OF ALL: Yes, across the nation we are protesting a discriminatory decision, but this is not just about politics. Most importantly, this is about love, a human need and a human right. Although we are disappointed by California’s decision, Saturday’s events should be a positive experience as we celebrate the unity and solidarity of our allies around the country.
I look forward to seeing you all on Saturday.
For love,
Jen Crawford
(484) 354-3867

Posted in blog for a cause, downtown, sexual rights | 1 Comment »

Angry feminism!

Posted by Gexx on November 11, 2008

I’m reading this post at Feministing Community about a PMS buddy site.  I’m in Morgan’s living room, so he’s there too.
“Can you believe this! There’s a site where guys can enter the dates that they notice their girlfriend’s periods and then get email warnings when their girlfriends should be PMSing so that they can act extra nice on those days.”
“Do you want me to sign up for that site?” Morgan asks all eagerly.
“Morgan, you’re asking if I want you to sign up for a site that flat out assumes that you’re with a woman so ignorant of her own body that she can’t tell you if she’s feeling poorly from a monthly even.  That assumes that all women turn into crazy woman-zillas for a week because of uncontroled PMS rage.  That assumes all women are on a 28 day cycle! ” 

I’m glaring with anger of the idea of the site.  Unfortunatly I’m glaring at Morgan.

His winter coat is on the arm of the chair.  He grabs it and hides under it
“Tell me Morgan!”
“I can’t hear your feminist rhetoric! Not under my fort!  I’m hiding! You’re scary!”

He comes out.  “Are you signing up for the site?”
In a whimper “No!”

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Stigma

Posted by Gexx on November 11, 2008

A list of things that need to be de-stigmatized.

  • mental health disorders
  • weight issues (either way)
  • pregnancy
  • abortion
  • consentual recreational sexual encounters
  • childfree
  • sexual commodification (ie – prostitution)
  • feminism
  • the vagina
  • foster care and social work
  • religion whether it’s belief or not
  • self sufficiency
  • requiring assistance
  • economic difficulties
  • pro-life/pro-choice combinations
  • seemingly contradictory religious/political combinations
  • success
  • failure
  • being in love
  • love

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Don’t Let Obama overshadow the Issues

Posted by Gexx on November 7, 2008

Obama/Biden is the chosen pair. Awesome. This is the positive set. The one that will NOT work against my values, as opposed to the heteronormative, anti-choice, gender-discriminatory McCain/Palin ticket. I may seem behind on celebrating, but I’ve been working on a massive post about the wedding I went to. And I got sick.

But what about all the local propositions?

South Dakota’s totalitarian abortion ban failed. Good.
Colorado’s attempt to define personhood as conception failed. Good.

What are we upset about?

I’m upset because:
Arkansas banned fostering or adoption by unmarried couples, and since gay marriage is not allowed this further disenfranchises homosexual couples as well as those who don’t wish to participate in a heteronormative institution.
Arizona banned gay marriage.
Nebraska removed Affirmative Action from it’s constitution. (WTF!)
Florida banned gay marriage.
California banned gay marriage, revoking marriage licenses from multiple married couples. Updated. But it doesn’t make it any less of an issue!

So homosexuals are the new second class citizens. Look, I’m already refering to them as an “other”. They must be. Ooops, theres “they” again. But we still let them live with their friends, isn’t that what they want?

::sigh::

In addition to the demonstrations, there are two movements that I’m getting in on regarding this revoking / restricting of rights.

1. Second Class Citizens Don’t Pay Taxes – If “the gays” are second class citizens, they obviously don’t need to pay taxes. This movement is lead by none other than Melissa Etheridge. Huh. My gay friend (see, I have one! My “token” friend.) is also named Melissa. Must be a gay thing. See girls, you aren’t allowed to marry anyone named Melissa, at least not in California, Florida, or Arizona. (Mel, please see the sarcasm dripping from that if for some reason it was as invisible as same sex marriage rights!)

2. Pressure IRS to Make LDS Not Tax Exempt – The Morman church supplied almost 80% of the funding to advertise for Prop 8 (against gay marriage – some confusing wording there). That’s $19,000,000 (19 million dollars. the 000’s are impressive!!!). $19 million to influence legeslation. Huh. Wait. LDS is a church, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. So they’re tax exempt. But the IRS states “no organization, including a church, may qualify for IRC section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying).” Support removing tax exempt status from the Mormon Church by signing this petition. Let’s not forget that the Mormons originally had an issue with the American legal definition of marriage between one man and ONE WOMAN. Hence why Brigham Young stated “Marriage is a civil contract. You might as well make a law to say how many children a man shall have, as to make a law to say how many wives he shall have.”

Posted in blog for a cause, i do have a life | 2 Comments »

Voting Roundup

Posted by Gexx on November 4, 2008

Well, actually, thanks to the early voting process in Tennessee, I voted a few weeks ago.  I’ve sent out reminder emails to people who hadn’t made an intent to vote clear, and now I’m at work discussing our hopes and dreams in a particularly left wing office setting.

But now that we voted, what to do? (In addition to dragging other people to the polls)…

Free Stuff  – A couple places are giving out free snacks as a reward for voting. You can bring proof (stubs/reciepts/regestration cards), but most take your word on it.

  • Krispy Kreme – You get a free donut
  • Starbucks – You get a free tall coffee
  • Ben and Jerry’s (after 6PM) – You get a free single scoop of icecream

Watch the Results

  • Bruce Schneier at Making Light – as the polls close.  Making Light beat CNN on the first poll results of the nation.  Dixville Notch- Obama:15, McCain:6.  We have a good start!
  • Democracy Now – 7PM-Midnight EST
  • GRITtv – Noon-2PM

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