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Showing posts with label sponsoredpost. Show all posts

08 June 2017

I can't believe I still have to blog about Planned Parenthood

Like a lot of people I turned to Planned Parenthood during college. 

Those were the days when Planned Parenthood sold birth control pills that fell under some weird rules that ended in the Dubya era so a pack of pills was maybe $10, maybe a bit less if I bought more than one at a time. But most of the time I bought a pack each month, having to hike over to the clinic off campus and say hi to the staff. Which might be why I love Planned Parenthood so much and ended up volunteering with them soon after college.


Ah, the good old days of the late 1990s when passing out free condoms seemed to be the height of being a radical.

That's how I spent one summer...passing out free condoms at street fairs in Chicago. But of course that was just to get people to the table. To get them talking. Once we lured people in with the free condom we would register people to vote, talk to them about how even with a Democrat in the White House, reproductive rights were being threatened. It was just a few years after the Illinois General Assembly passed a parental notification law, but was soon blocked from being active until just a few years ago. We also had issues with the rise of abstinence-only sex education, not to mention the so-called late term abortion bills of the 1990s. So yeah, handing out condoms to fellow Chicagoans was a crash course in WTF is going wrong in reproductive rights.



I also spent a year volunteering at the clinic that provided abortion services. While I did not work on the days the services were preformed, I did interact with many of the women who came in for post-care. I saw first hand the fear they had until they were assured that yes, you are no longer pregnant. I also interacted with young people seeking care and guidance with STIs, HIV, abnormal pap smears, and general not-feeling-wellness.

I stand with Planned Parenthood not just because they got me through college, but because of the work they did to help all those people I checked into the clinic get through life. And continue to get people through life. While I know that unplanned pregnancies do not have to ruin a life, I knew that I was not ready to become a mother in college. Thankfully Planned Parenthood was there for me when I needed them.



Now we're living in a moment where not just the President flip-flops on his views around reproductive rights, but I live in Illinois where our Governor is a huge donor to Planned Parenthood, but says will veto a bill protecting abortion access.

So we must rise up and protect Planned Parenthood. We need to keep their doors open so people who need their care can receive it. We cannot live in a country where Planned Parenthood's doors are locked.

And the GOP is getting itchy about Trumpcare. They want a vote soon in order to kill it and move on to tax reform. But we have to MAKE SURE Trumpcare is dead. We can't rely on the GOP to mess it up.

There are FOUR ways to protect Planned Parenthood:


Ready? Then let's do this!!


This post is made possible with support from the Mission List. All opinions are my own.

30 April 2017

100 Days after the Women's March

While everyone is obsessed with how much damage the Fake Tanned One has done in 100 days, I'm more interested in what WE have done in the 100 days since the Women's March.

panoramic photo of the Chicago Women's March and skyline

Let's recall that 250,000 women, men, and children descended on Grant Park on one of the most beautiful days Chicago has seen in January. This so exceeded expectations that the march part of the March was officially cancelled, but you know when you have a quarter million people show up somewhere and they move, it's kinda a march.

I've been to a lot of marches and few compare to the optimism this one had. I know it was too happy for a protest and all the marches had issues, but the turn out was a great way to kick off four years of resistance. And the diversity of those in attendance made me hopeful that no matter how bad things would be getting, we would fight every fight and maybe even win a few. 

Crowd in front of Chicago skyline. People holding signs and banner reading "Power to the People"

I think in 100 days feminists have put on quite a resistance.

I truly believe that the March and the turnout at the March helped people who normally don't get engaged in politics empower themselves to act. How?
  • Protesting at airports: After signing the executive order Muslim travel ban thousands of people ran to their airport to protest the detaining of people. Countless lawyers joined the rush to offer pro bono services to reunite families. The immediate backlash was supported by court decisions that ended the ban. 
  • Community organizing: Barely a week goes by without me seeing a notice about a community action team starting. Most are focused on finding ways to educate undocumented people about their rights. Some are largely on fighting hate by putting up signs. All are about talking to neighbors and creating space where we know each other and have each others back.
  • Defending Obamacare: While I know Obamacare is far from perfect, the loss of Obamacare without a real replacement would be devastating to millions of people. While a lot of attention was placed on the far right Freedom Caucus, I was inspired by Senator Warren's perspective that we protested, called, wrote, and showed up at town halls and congressional offices enough that the moderate Republicans did not dare to support the repeal. I wish I could find that interview from public radio. 
  • Gorsuch: Yes, he is on the Supreme Court where President Obama's nominee should be sitting, but our outrage gave the Senate Democrats to actually do something. Our outrage was enough to force the Republicans to move to the nuclear option and kill the filibuster. They had to change the rules to get what they wanted. There is more than just a moral victory in there. 
  • Women Will Run: Thousands of women who never considered running for office before or who had been putting it off are getting off the bench and into the game. I personally know two women who won elected office in the last 100 days and one more who is planning for a run soon. If the 2016 election did anything is possibly kill the idea that one needs to be well prepared to run for office. No more "I need more experience!" excuses ladies. 
  • Democrats Must Support Body Autonomy: When the DNC launched a unity tour with Tom Perez and Bernie Sanders hitting the road, they hit a speed bump when it came to vocally supporting reproductive justice. Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards, NARAL's Ilyse Hogue and their supporters hit back furiously. 
  • We're Still Marching: Even before the Women's March was over pundits were wondering if it would be a one off thing. It wasn't. In the days after the march we had other national marches announced such as a Tax Day March, March for Science, Climate March, Pride March, and so on. Chicago has been participating, as have I, in Resist Trump Tuesdays. These are far smaller protests, but they were great at maintaining a conversation about funding the EPA, working to protect Obamacare, and supporting public education. There's even a march from Chicago to Springfield, the Illinois state capital, beginning on May 15th.  
I try to keep these things in mind as we pass our 100 days mark. As we get deeper into the long four years of the current administration, as we anxiously await the next episode of "The Handmaid's Tale" (OMG, so creepy and gooood!), and as we hear the drum beats of war come out of the mouths of our so-called leaders...see, I got myself depressed right there. But we are strong, we will not win every fight, but gawd damnit, I know we will win this war. It is said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice...and we will bend it with the weight of our fight.

What is keeping you resisting and persisting?


This post is made possible by support from Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
All opinions are my own.



18 April 2017

For Academic Success, We Need to #ProtectPE [sponsored post]

This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

My favorite class was gym or PE. Even though I got As in math & science, gym was still my favorite. I loved being able to run around, hit balls, jump, & just move. Now I know I can thank gym class & recess for my good grades. See, research shows that kids who are physically active, even for just an hour a day, do better in school. For many years my daughter’s school did not have recess and only weekly gym class. That is why I joined the Protect PE campaign as I see all physical activity as part of restoring and maintaining our children’s overall health.

Sadly, when our public schools have their budgets cut, physical exercise – gym and recess - is one of the first things to go. According to the Voices for Healthy Kids, only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools provide daily PE or its equivalent for the entire school year. And we all know whose budgets get cut first – the schools in communities of color. With those budget cuts come no PE and perhaps after a doubling up on reading and math because these are the same schools that likely score low in those areas. It’s a vicious cycle for children of color. The less PE they get, the less likely they can focus to score well on tests, and then the more likely time sitting at desks in those classes increase. Not to mention, less PE sets our kids up for a more sedentary lifestyle that can lead to an increase in heart disease and diabetes later in life.

This is why it is encouraging that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes PE in its guidelines. ESSA is different from previous federal education laws because it includes PE and health as part of a well-rounded curriculum.

This federal law requires that all states must develop a comprehensive plan to ensure all students receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education. ALAS! This does not mean that all states must include PE in the plan. That is where we come in. As parents, teachers and community leaders, we can advocate for PE to be included in our state’s plan. We need to advocate to our state leaders that they must not just create a plan of action, but they need to put physical education into the plan and get access to significant federal funding to support PE.


First step is to find out if our kids are getting enough PE. We can do that by joining the PE Action Team. If we find out our kids are not getting enough PE, then start working in your community to increase PE. For resources, please visit http://physicaleducation.voicesforhealthykids.org/

We need to talk to our principals, school boards, fellow parents, and elected officials.

We can do this! This is not about world peace! This is getting our kids the necessary PE they need to be successful students and reach their fullest potential.

So PE on three…ONE…TWO…THREE!!! PE!!!!!!!!

06 November 2016

Why I joined #BreakUpwithSalt


I was honored to be asked to join the American Heart Association's #BreakUpwithSalt team. Here is an excerpt of my post:
This December I’ll be 42. That puts me at t-minus five years until I am as old as my mom was when she died. FIVE YEARS. No one does know how long, but most of us do want to live to be little old ladies and men. One thing I am trying to get a hold of is my health. My mom died of diabetes and my dad, thankfully still with us, is battling high blood pressure and heart disease. So yeah, I have a lot of work cut out for me.

In terms of the high blood pressure, I know that increased sodium in one’s diet is the major cause of that. But I had forgotten WHY this is such a bad thing to do to one’s body.
Head over to the AHA's site to read more of my reasoning and to find resources on how you can also #BreakupwithSalt.

Disclaimer: I was compensated for writing my post on the AHA.



22 October 2016

Clean Air Moms Action

Every year it gets worse. As we move from hot & humid days to cool & crisp air that tiny bit of allergy-induced asthma I have gets worse. My dependency on an inhaler grows.

From past allergy tests, I know most of what I am allergic to is Mother Earth. Her glorious trees and flowers make my life hard and clog up my nasal passages. But I also know from experience that air action days make high pollen days seem like a picnic. What makes me feel worse about those days is that for my health I need to stay in air-conditioned spaces. Even if AC is part of the bigger problem!

That is why I consider the health of our environment is an important issue for me. Despite it not receiving the needed attention during the presidential or vice-presidential debates, our environment is a national issue...even a national security issue!

I really don't understand why such an important issue and one that should be one we can all rally around wasn't truly addressed. I know that Trump has tweeted that climate change is a hoax and that many in the GOP do not believe the science, but even more so why it should be addressed.


That is why when Clean Air Moms Action asked for people to write about why air pollution is an important issue for the upcoming election I said, "HELL YES!" They are traveling the country with a documentary film crew capturing the stories of parents who are fighting daily to protect their children’s health effects of exposure to oil & gas productions, high-tide flood waters, and ground water contamination from coal ash waste sites.

Clean air is an issue that is wrapped up in other issues. Normally we talk about it as a side issue to energy or climate change, but really it should be THE ISSUE. Then we break it down into trade, health care, economy, immigration, etc. Let's flip the conversation! 

No matter who wins the election, we have a lot of work to do to clean up our environment. So make sure you get out there and vote!

Join me in pledging to vote on November 8th (or earlier!)





This post was produced with support from Clean Air Moms Action.
All opinions are, of course, my own
.

13 October 2016

The Mystery of Boy's Clothing

While I'm the mom of a girl, I wasn't shy to shop for her in the baby boy's clothing section or later as a toddler. The boy's section has non-glitterized clothing, solid colors, and superheroes. One of my daughter's favorite pajama sets was a Superman one with a cape. You can't find that in the girl's section.

Recently an 8-year-old girl made this discovery and her mom made a video of her disgust. Not only did she realize that boy's clothing has stronger language on them, but girl's clothing has some pretty dumb messages.
Daisy begins her spectacular rant by gesturing at the girl’s shirts. She says, “Well, the girl’s clothes say “hey,” “beautiful,” “I feel fabulous”.” She then points out the shirts in the boy’s section. “The boys — “desert adventure awaits,” “think outside the box,” “hero.””  

And then there are times when boy's clothing have messages that are disgusting and insulting to girls. Forever 21 sold boy's clothing with messages about only dating models before a backlash forced Forever 21 to pull them. In recent years we have seen the GAP market boy's clothing as smart and intellectual, while girl's clothing gets the cute treatment.

The divide between boy's and girl's clothing has become an issue not because of what we print on them, but as we become more open to kids blurring the gender clothing divide. Much is still speculated about Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. Does Shiloh go by John? Is Shiloh transgender? Or does Shiloh just really like to dress up in suits?!

I think too many people see girls wearing suits as a rejection of femininity, but I've seen some deliciously feminine suits for women! In fact, the best suits for girls and women are fit to our bodies. And flip for boys who want a little glitter on their dump trucks. 

I forecast in the near future seeing children's clothing no longer labeled boy's or girl's, but rather we'll sort them by attribute: color, glitter, nature, superheroes, etc. This will allow for a parent to shop for a green tulle skirt to go with the Incredible Hulk tee. Or maybe some cargo shorts to with a sparkling Wonder Woman tee? And who cares which gender is wearing either of those outfits!



“This post is a partnership with Nakturnal."

28 September 2016

Amaze-ing and Smart Sex Ed

One of the toughest stops along the parenting journey is talking about sex. A recent study found that teens really don't like it when school-based sex ed is taught by a teacher they will have in the future. They prefer for sex ed professionals to teach them then fade out of their lives. It seems fairly logical if you remember what it was like when you were 12 and your health teacher asked if you had any questions.

The study notes that teens were disappointed in sex ed programs that only focused on heterosexual relationships and said that humor is something they wished was included. Again, you're a 14 learning about sex, a pretty awkward subject even for adults. A little laughter would go a long way at putting you at ease. Also...kids who hear that sex is bad are less likely to plan for sex meaning that they won't use any protection against pregnancy and STIs.

Now most parents I know are supportive of comprehensive sex ed in our children's schools, but we also know that "the talk" doesn't end there.

Amaze is a new site full of funny videos aimed 10-14-year-olds. Most are animations with some great drawings. The information is much more than simple sex ed. The topics covered include sexuality, when one might be ready for sex, and even how to handle it when you and your BFF start to drift apart. 

I think Amaze is a much needed addition to any parents' toolkit. I love how funny, cute and even poignant the videos can be. While I leaned on a book when my daughter was younger, I haven't found a good book to have for her during this middle school period. As a parent you can watch one to get a sense of how to talk to your child about a topic, or maybe watch it, suggest it to your child and then talk about it afterward. Or it might be a site where you can send a strong signal that you trust your child to make good decisions by simply saying, "Hey, I found this new site. I think you should bookmark it for when you have questions about sex and relationships."

Head on over to Amaze and let us know what you think of the videos and the site over social media using the #MoreInfoLessWeird hashtag.




This post is made possible by support from AMAZE. All opinions are my own.

24 March 2016

#WithSyria: CARE Letters to Syrian Refugees [Sponsored Post]

https://ooh.li/db4dc59
Photo by CARE


I was surprised to learn that after World War II CARE was sending care packages from people in the USA to refugees in Europe. And since March 2016 marks the 5th anniversary of the conflict in Syria, a war which has caused the largest refugee crisis since World War II, CARE reached out to some of those original CARE Package recipients who now live in the USA to write letters to Syrian refugee children.

https://ooh.li/db4dc59
Photo by CARE
Reading and hearing the letters sent from WWII refugees is touching. Especially in light of the fact that Syrian refugees are not only fleeing from their war-torn homes, but running towards vast amounts of racism and fear of their religion. So many elected officials fuel the flames of hate and ignoring the fact that refugees are fleeing the same violence we are trying to reduce. CARE continues to support refugees with care packages. And you have an opportunity to write your own letter of hope to Syrian refugees.

My letter to Syrian refugees:
Please know that there are far more good people in the world than not. Sometimes these good people are scared, become scared by the not-so-good people. Many people who can see through the fear are fighting to get your more assistance, to welcome you to our countries. I hope you can feel that support. I hope you find a new and safe home soon. My family, as most people in the USA, has a legacy of leaving ancestral lands for the USA with big dreams and hopes. Hold on to your dreams, never let them go. I'll keep fighting on my end too.   
Of course those letters and care packages can't get there on their own. Please consider making a donation to help CARE send them.

Thank you to CARE for sponsoring this post!

22 February 2016

Stopping HIV in the Latino Community One Conversation at a Time


I am proud to be part of the CDC's national communication campaign - We Can Stop HIV One Conversation at a Time / Podemos Detener el VIH Una Conversación a la Vez - to bring awareness of HIV and encourage conversations about HIV prevention in the Latino community as a paid ambassador.

The numbers can be scary. Hispanics/Latinos continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. Although representing 17% of the total US population, Hispanic/Latinos account for 21% of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States and 23% of new diagnoses.

What the Latino community needs to realize is that the first step to stopping HIV in the our community is talking about it, but so many people in our community still remain silent. Research indicates that talking openly about HIV can be a simple but powerful way to eliminate some of the stigma, negative stereotypes, and shame that are too often associated with HIV within some segments of our community that prevent many from talking, getting tested, disclosing their HIV status, and seeking treatment.

To help Hispanics/Latinos start these critical conversations, the campaign provides resources, including a dedicated campaign website and practical tools and tips to help families and friends begin or continue important conversations about HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.

I joined other One Conversation ambassadors for a Twitter chat last week. It was fun and enlightening to see what others were thinking about HIV awareness in our communities.  A lot of people cited the stigma Latino families have around sex. I have always found that so ironic that we are stereotypically seen as hypersexual. But it is true, Latinos find it difficult to talk to their children about sex, much less HIV prevention.

I hope that the CDC's campaign site helps parents who need support talking to their kids about HIV prevention. We can bring down the rates of infection One Conversation at a Time.

28 October 2015

Habits That Can Save You Money - Sponsored Post



Subscribing to advertising and cultural norms can lead people to try to live beyond their means. In fact, statistics show that most families live paycheck to paycheck. To reverse this cycle, drastic measures may be required. Below are some habits that can save you money.

 Purchase with Purpose


Your money should always have a purpose. You should develop a realistic budget and stick to it, focusing on things that will help to enhance your life. You should also consider making purchases that may be a bit costly to begin with, but will save you quite a bit over time. A few smart ways to purchase with purpose and save money include:

·       Buying a water purifier instead of using bottled water
·       Purchasing smaller plates to manage meal proportions and decrease food cost per meal
·       Getting produce when it is in season
·       Utilizing coupons and sales for purchases

Use Cash


As long as you utilize credit cards you will have debt, unless you only utilize as much credit as you know you can pay off each month. Other than that, try to use cash for your everyday purposes. This gives you something in hand to work with. As you see it physically leaving your hands it can help you to make more frugal decisions and enhance your desire to save. You may also find yourself being more conscious about your future and making sure that you have enough.

Do Not Depend On Retirement


Though individuals today do not expect to work with one company and retire with a reasonable retirement after 40 years, many people still establish and grow retirement funds on their own with plans to stop working in their late 60s. However, if you take good care of yourself you can expect to live another twenty, thirty, even fifty years.

If you are in good shape, why just sit around the house all day? Consider continuing to work past regular retirement age. Not only could it continue to grow your fund, but it can also help to keep you active and healthy, depending upon the work load that you maintain. Keeping this attitude can help you to stay on the right track with your health as well.

Be Fully Informed


Many people do not take the time to completely educate themselves on common necessary payments, especially for things such as insurance. Though many of the plans do follow the same regulations and carry some identical benefits, there is a lot of money being left on the table when people do not take the time to fully read and understand their policies. A few things to watch out for include:

·       Payment caps
·       Limits
·       Scope of coverage

You can always consult with a knowledgeable professional if you have any questions about a policy or specific benefits (learn more here).

Going against the grain may come with some backlash at times, however the gain of financial stability can be worth it to the right individuals. Take some time to truly explore these habits and see how implementing them could benefit you.

07 October 2015

#OneConversation - Latino HIV Awareness Campaign

web banner: We can stop HIV One Conversation At A Time.  Campaign Image of a middle aged Latina and a speech bubble with a message: We need to talk openly about HIV.

You may notice an ad on the sidebar that says "We Can Stop HIV". That is because I have been asked to join the CDC's HIV Awareness campaign. One Conversation at a Time, a CDC campaign, is a call to action for our community to talk about HIV and AIDS, increase HIV and AIDS awareness, and decrease HIV-associated stigma and shame. Now you might ask why we need a special emphasis in the Latino community. The fact is that "[m]ore than 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the United States and about 50,000 people become infected each year. As Hispanics/Latinos, we account for 21% of these new HIV infections."Compare this to the fact that Latinos make up 17% of the population in the United States. This is unacceptable.

Stay tuned throughout the campaign as I share more information about HIV and its impact in the Latino community.

Join LATISM’s Twitter chat on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 9:00 ET.
Use either use the #OneConversation or #UnaConversación hashtag.


Disclaimer: I am being compensated for participating in this campaign. This is a sponsored post.

Disclaimer

This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.
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