Tag Archives: awareness

Speak Up and Listen

This video is now going on a couple of years old but so many still don’t get the message, and it’s a powerful one.  Full loaded with the reality of the day-to-day existence that many of us live in, it is a force to be reckoned with.

If you are one of those who do not recognize what is culturally known as “privilege”, ask yourself what this same exact message would look like with a white man and a black woman at the mic.

Denial of these issues doesn’t make them go away, it makes them seemingly invisible yes, but it makes things worse exponentially as it continues to escalate and choke out light and life under the surface where no one can see it back building until it erupts.

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No-Nonsense Guide To Street Harassment

I found these amazing infographic the other day while wandering on the web. They are an incredible source of information, please share!

Also a tremendous thanks to the original authors/illustrators, Arlene and Annie Barrow, for their research and all their hard work to create this piece.  Information and awareness keeps people safe and empowered.  Thank  you!

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{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

No More Invisible People

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I’m very passionate about homelessness.

Several of my previous blog posts have touched on the subject, but Insights into the Dark  and Water, Water Everywhere got in-depth on this issue.  Having spent time on the streets and in a shelter for a thankfully only a brief time, was enough to permanently open my eyes and my heart to a situation that will never go away but can be lessened with compassion, understanding and organization.

Once again I found myself getting very angry seeing news reports out of London where the current trend is putting  spikes in areas where homeless people may seek shelter.

A picture shows short metal spikes designed to stop homeless people sleeping outside the entrance of a residential building in south London on June 10, 2014 (AFP Photo/Carl Court)
A picture shows short metal spikes designed to stop homeless people sleeping outside the entrance of a residential building in south London on June 10, 2014 (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

Their mayor has distanced himself from the issue so as to not appear anti-homeless people and not anger voters at the same time.

It’s bad enough that legislators and law enforcement want to keep the homeless out of sight, but because most folks have been seeing this for so long, they don’t even notice anymore.  It’s not that they’ve turned an intentional blind eye but now we’re so conditioned that we have to force ourselves to look.

Research has shown that it’s cheaper to house the homeless than allow them to stay on the streets.  The Orlando Sentinel published an article recently where their research into the situation found that it costs Florida taxpayers $31,000 per person between criminalization and hospitalization.  It’s calculated that it costs $21,000 MORE per person for these people to be homeless than housed!  Incredible!  It’s not often that fiscal responsibility and social responsibility wind up on the same side of the argument, so why aren’t we fixing this?

The most chronically homeless are the mentally ill which are why hospitalization is chronically incurred.  It’s been this way since the 80’s with President Reagan’s  budget changes in mental health funding.  There’s plenty of articles out there if you want to read more about it, here’s one from Salon that rather in-depth entitled Ronald Reagan’s Shameful Legacy.  It gives a really comprehensive look at the timeline of events.

When the mentally ill are on the streets, un-medicated, unsupervised, their condition worsens to an alarming level.  People who could live fairly normal lives with a little guidance and supervision wind up on the streets and stay there as their conditions and lives deteriorate.

Thanks to the collapse of the housing market we have more empty homes in this country since it’s inception with entire communities becoming virtual ghost towns.   I recently read this article about how Detroit is selling off abandoned properties at lower prices than used cars, just to get people in them and get their communities going again.

I was delighted today however to read this uplifting article about a group called 100,000 homes.  They are a grassroots group that are working with various communities to house the homeless.  Their four-year campaign to complete the goal of housing 100,000 homeless people was not only reached but exceeded!  101,628 people were housed and they’re just getting started.

Check out 100,000 Homes website to find out what’s going on in your area and what you can do to help or to get help for someone you care about.  It’s these groups that gather and give us hope.  The problem isn’t too far gone and it’s not too overwhelming.

The majority of family, friends and neighbors live paycheck to paycheck and it’s estimated that 75% of our citizens maintain little or no savings.  The loss of a job, a series of extra expenses like medical bills and car repairs can throw someone into a spiral that they can’t get out of alone.

So I’m asking…  Please look.  Please help.  Everyone out there is someone’s son or daughter, Aunt or Uncle, Mom or Dad.  Help their family as you would hope someone would help yours.  Even if it’s the courtesy and respect of eye contact.

 

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

Update:  Just as I was getting ready to publish this, I was blessed and overjoyed to find this amazing bit of news.  This is the best news I’ve heard in a long, long time! Watch the video below & enjoy!

Independence Is the Greatest Gift

We all have found out, whether from illness or injury, just how frustrating it is to be dependant on other people for things.  You don’t necessarily mind people doing things for you… until you have no other choice.

I used to be a very active, quasi-athletic person.. restaurant manager, unloading trucks, running around like a chicken with my head cut off, with all the perspectives of youth and health that made me feel “18 feet tall and bullet proof” so to speak.  Here I am 20 years later – I have COPD, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, a “bad back” and a list of other things that challenge my independance on a regular basis.

It’s one thing when you’re feeling a bit lazy and don’t want to do something, it’s an entirely different mentally when you can’t.

Before coming to my present job for health reasons (I work at home doing tech support by phone/computer) I ran a small chain of tobacco stores.  Long hours, hard work and I loved it.  Well most of it.  My favorite part was the regular customers and the conversations.

There was a lady named Patty that used to come in to one of my stores on Saturdays.  Wonderful funny lady who was the victim of a stroke.  Arm folded up like she was using an invisible sling, cane with the other side and she would have problems processing her speech sometimes.  She would buy 5 instant lottery tickets, give you any winners she had and go on her way. Anyway, Patty loved coming in and playing her scratch off tickets, but due to her condition from the stroke, she couldn’t scratch them off and hated to ask.    Patty would come in when you were alone and not busy.  As soon as I figured that out, I asked once offering to help.. then I just did it and acted as if she was doing it herself.  I put it in front of her and scratched it so that she would be the one looking at the ticket instead of me.  Afterall, I wasn’t scratching them for me I was doing it for her.  She loved it!  After that, I trained my employees on how to treat Patty.  She started bringing us in muffins and cookies and would stay a little longer to talk and play a few more tickets, laughing and smiling the whole time.

We’re all willing to help out someone in need, but sometimes you need to be… less obvious about it and more mindful of the other person’s feelings of independence.  Especially if this is a chronic or ongoing issue.  This really comes into play with older folks.

I recently went through almost a week of being down due to a back spasm (kind of like a charlie horse in the back muscles) and I hated having to just sit there and do nothing.  Mind you any other time I wouldn’t be up doing a whole lot, but now I had to.  For lack of a better term… it sucked.

Then today I watched this video about a teenager named Dee who just wanted the ability to pick up something off the floor or turn on a light switch and it all came rushing back.  While his help had to be a bit more obvious (and a little less slick) his needs are more than most.  Kudos for the engineering students that put this all together for him!

That was my big smile today and I just had to share.

So get in touch with your inner Thomas Edison when you’re helping someone.  Be mindful of their pride and need for independence.  Rather than doing things for them, see if you can find a way to help them do it for themselves.  Independence is a precious thing.

{{hugs}}

Maggie

Off the Money Trail

I’m a link surfer.  For me it started with Wikipedia really.  Read an article you’re interested in, click a link to get to something else, keep going till your tired of reading.  

In the current age of blogging, I see a lot of great (but identical) articles that are posted by multiple people.  On Facebook it’s usually by pages that post a lot of articles.  Face it, unless they have a huge staff to put together all this amazing content, it’s more likely to be reposts rather than original content.  Look at the bottom of the article and you’ll find the link to where they got the information.  Sometimes you have to do that 3 or 4 times to find the original author of the piece.  

Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

Follow the links, it’s always worth it.  Because the original author is going to have a lot more original content that deserves to be explored.

Fast forward to today.  I follow a group called Upworthy that reposts snippets and highlights of other peoples works to help broadcast them.  Today was a graphic which you can find here about what we can do to fix American diets by having farmers increase fruit and vegetable crops by $90 million , when they’re currently being subsidized by $5.08 billion dollars

ReUseIt.com

As I was saying, I loved the graphic and followed it to the bottom where I found a link for where they got it from.. UCUSA.  Ever heard of them?  Me either.  So I followed the link. 

To my delight, I found the UCUSA – Union of Concerned Scientists-Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions.  I was amazed and delighted by the content I found there.  

Here I found articles focusing on global warming, scientific integrity, clean energy and agriculture.  Here’s a few snippets that I encourage you to follow further.

Antibiotic Misuse

Research has shown that in the U.S., more antibiotics are given to healthy animals than to sick humans. Meanwhile, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem with consequences that can be deadly. Read about how these two phenomena are connected–and what we can do about it.
More about antibiotics in agriculture 

Smart Energy Solutions

Government policies can either prop up dirty and dangerous energy sources like coal and nuclear power or support clean renewable electricity and increased energy efficiency—better, smarter solutions that benefit our health, our climate, and our pocketbooks. 
More on smart energy solutions

Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering in agriculture has failed to deliver on many of its promised benefits, and has produced some serious unintended consequences. Yet the USDA seems determined to regulate GMOs as little as possible.
More about genetic engineering in agriculture

Industrial Agriculture and its Impacts

CAFOs, monoculture, overuse of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers…too much of our farming uses methods that are bad for the soil, the environment, the climate, and rural communities. Find out why industrial agriculture is so 20th century.
More about industrial agriculture

It is so encouraging to see scientists banding together with the rest of us to fix the problems that are hurting us and this planet instead of following the money trail of Monsanto.

Maggie