What About Us?

It’s been a while since I’ve felt the need to blog.

Last week, they announced the verdict of the Eric Garner case which resulted in the officer not being charged.  My heart sank, tears came to my eyes and my mind searched for a reason why this happened.  Just as Jon Stewart pointed out, unlike the ambiguities of the Ferguson case, this case had none, zero.  It was on video, filmed, the murder of this man by a police officer. Clear cut.  Not surprisingly, this proof did nothing.

Police brutality affects us all, however, minorities suffer a much greater impact, loss of life, assault.  The thought that my family could be pulled over for a DWH (driving while Hispanic) or worse…and that is a terrifying thought to me.  My skin is white, I don’t look mixed so I don’t have to be afraid.

There is another reason why I came here to blog.  Lately, NFL players have been voicing their protest of Eric Garner’s trial and Ferguson.  They have entered the field with their arms raised, they have worn shirts saying “I can’t breathe” and that same sentence has been written on their shoes, wrist bands and more.

I applaud their protest, I love that they are using their voice to speak up not only for minorities, but against police brutality, for the families who voices are so limited.  They made the choice to make a public statement, using their status to change our society and I love that.

At the same time though, it makes me want to scream at them in anger, it makes me want to cry, it makes me want to shake them and look them in the eye and say what about us!  Why weren’t there any players using their voice when a woman was knocked unconscious by her partner, why weren’t there players using their voice when a woman was raped, why weren’t their players using their voice when a child was beaten?

For decades, the NFL has harbored, supported and covered up domestic violence and sexual assault cases.  Finally, in 2014, something is being done about it.  Their own organization supports perpetrators of violent crimes, crimes of physical assaults and sexual assault, crimes that kill women and children.  Every day, it is estimated that 3 women are murdered in the United States by an intimate partner.

How many women can’t breathe because the man they love grabs their throat and tightens his grip? How many women can’t breathe because he broke her ribs? How many women can’t breathe because every day they are in fear for their lives?  How many children can’t breathe through their tears of pain? How many women and children can no longer breathe because their life has come to an end?

The video of a woman being assaulted and knocked unconscious brought attention to the problem that has been going on in the NFL for decades.  Since 2000 alone, there have been over 70 domestic violence related arrests….Players now have been asked to or forced into participating in Domestic Violence commercials and campaigns, but no player has voluntarily offered up his voice in this fight. Before this season, no player has voluntarily used his actions or clothing during a game or practice to say that what the NFL has done for decades is wrong, that the perpetrators of these crimes, the abusers, the rapists, the murders, should be in jail.

Again, while I can support their protest, I also have the right to feel angry at them for ignoring the abusers in their own organization.

Through my partner, a die-hard Chargers fan, I have a new-found appreciation and love for this sport.  I haven’t missed a Chargers game all season.  Even when I’m at work, I watch it on my phone.

However, as a woman, I feel that this sport, like so many others, is purely for men where women are reduced to the color pink, the amount of cleavage we show and how short our skirts are.  I can’t help but feel  ignored and marginalized knowing that higher ups in this organization would rather hide and protect these abusers for a profit then do anything about it.  Even the players don’t want to take a stand….

All I can hope for, as in most cases, is that things do change and maybe, eventually, these athletes will volunteer their voices for all of the women who have been harmed or killed.  I hope they will fight for a change.

♥ Meggie

I Want the World

Aside

The day I wrote my love letter, revised my love letter to myself was a day of change.  That day marked the moment I return to my body, when my soul found its light.

In the past 2 years, my soul has dimmed to an ember, only to burn slightly when stroked by my few passions. My work with WAR or Mutual Ground, those moments would breathe life back into my body, a temporary fix to a never-ending problem.

The problem was me losing myself and I didn’t even know it.  I lived a life of happiness only defined by the fake stories I shared with the world, the stories of perfection I painted in bright vivid colors that dazzled all who heard my sliver tongue lie lie lie lie lie.  I’ve always been a good liar, something I had to learn as a child was unacceptable.  Apparently now, I’ve become such a good liar that every sweet fake truth that dripped from my mouth sent me into the poisonous world I had created for everyone else to see.  What I wanted to be true was what I was seeing.  That world would never exist, no matter how much love I put in to build it.

I have slowly been rebuilding myself and have been doing incredibly well.  Not quite a phoenix for the flames, that metaphor is too often used and too majestic, more like the remodeling of a house.  Nice to look at from the outside, but the inside needs work and those repairs take time.  Last week though, last week it was just one of those “Ah ha!” moments, the moment when all those interior projects piece themselves together to look like something amazing, a moment that shocked your system like a punch, hard, quick and lethal, complete with stars and birds twittering about your head.  Sometimes that punch hurts, but it gets the job done.  I mean you sometimes have to use that sledge hammer to get the wall down before you can finish the job.  It shook me out of what was left of my daze and snapped my soul back into place, sending light through my body.

Now I can breathe without this weight on my chest, let my lungs fill with dreams, hope, confidence and faith that I had stored away. I am dying to travel, just get out of here, take a road, any road and go west.  Experience things I haven’t before,  to go out on one of those metaphorical limbs, the highest one I can find and hang upside down just to get a different perspective of life.  My world has shifted back, my world is untainted by the lies which hung from every inch of my being, my world is light.

I have the urge to go out to nowhere and just camp, camp on top of the earth and underneath the stars.  I want the insects and birds to sing me to sleep, the breath of the earth to tousle my hair, the remaining kisses from the sun to warm my body, the moon and star light to dance upon my skin.

I want to drive upon a road I have never been on, winding up into the mountains or dead ending at the ocean, flat and fast on the prairie, hot and untouched in the desert.  I want to talk to people I don’t know, meet new people in new places, see small towns, get away from this big city.  I want to dance and sing my way through my life as I had done before, dreams pulling me forward, lessons pushing me from the past.

Again, once more, I want the world, therefore I shall take it.

♥ Meggie

We Will Never Forget

Today is a day of remembrance and I just want to write a short post about it.  Today, 12 years ago, my country was attacked and I saw it from a 5th graders perspective, afraid something would happen to my dad in the city, fearing that our school was in trouble since we were completely on lock down, trying to figure out how to find my sister in school in case something happened, it was terrifying.

I want to take the time to thank and remember everyone who lost their life that day and send my love to all of those families.  I want to thank our first responders and everyone who helped, all of the heroes who lost their lives that day and those are are still being affected right now, their bravery is unparalleled.  I send my love to all of the military and pray for their safety.  I will never forget what happened that day or the fear I felt, all the way in Chicago so I have no idea what it was like to actually be there.

Not only that, I send my love to Chile as well since they too faced an attack on September 11, 1973, an attack on their capital, their president killed & a military dictator put into power who killed so many.  I also send my love to those who lost their lives that day.

There are so many terrible tragedies that happen in this world and the word tragedy is such a tiny word, it doesn’t accurately describe these events.  Never forget moments like this because they impact your life so much and always remember the bravery the world witnessed that day.

♥ Meggie

Super Bowl

If you live in the United States you know Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend.  Really if you live even in a neighboring country you can probably hear the cheers from across the border for the Super Bowl, they might be loud enough to hear across the ocean!  I’m not a football fan, but even I have been to Super Bowl parties and join in the festivities!  My sister and I also love to watch the Puppy Bowl on animal planet when we’re home, lol.

With any large event like this, there are always human rights violations.  Even with the Olympics, there are massive human rights violations.  This year I am participating in a social media campaign against Human Trafficking during the Super Bowl.  Prostitution is a massive problem and women are brought to where the game is held to be sold and used for sex.  According to Shared Hope International, “during the Super Bowl in Miami 3 years ago, 10,000 prostituted women were brought into the city to be trafficked”.

I read this great quote, “let’s stop reading statistics and let’s start changing them”,  This is a great place to start, so easy, the ability to share this information is at your fingertips.

This campaign is focused on spreading the word.  Yes this is a fun event and should be enjoyed but people also have to remember what goes on at these events aren’t always positive.  If you tell yourself that you can do nothing so why think about it, just imagine if every one thought like that, if everyone believed that they should do nothing because it won’t make a difference.  We wouldn’t have some of these amazing organizations we have, children wouldn’t be rescued from abusive homes, men and women wouldn’t be saved from trafficking, there would be no aid for lesser developed countries.  Don’t put limits on the positivity you can bring to the world.

This campaign is not about boycotting the game, instead, throughout the Super Bowl, Shared Hope International and the Defenders USA (which is a part of Shared Hope International, a coalition of men that fight human trafficking) will be posting information on Facebook and tweeting information to be re-tweeted and re-posted.  During the Super Bowl last year there were “12.2 million posts on social networking sites” (Shared Hope International).  Imagine if you were posting during the game and you just hit one button to re-tweet or re-post information, information to fight Human Trafficking, an awful by-product of this event.  While you are loving the game and every minute, there are thousands of women and children being used in the sex industry.

I have joined this event on Facebook.  The link is here.  You have to be logged in to Facebook to access it.  The title is “Super Bowl Media Activism:Human Trafficking.  The Facebook for the Defenders USA is here.  The Facebook for Shared Hope International is here. For just a little more information, here is a video from WAR (Women at Risk) International about human trafficking (Click here).

Take two seconds, join our campaign and during the game to re-post or re-tweet something, one post or every single one.  This is something that affects us all.  Imagine if it was your mother, sister, daughter or son, brother or father who was kidnapped or sold and forced into the sex industry.  These are family members, loved ones.  Enjoy your day, have fun at your Super Bowl parties with friends and family, but just remember and think about the other side of that joy, spreading information only takes a few seconds.

“Let’s stop reading statistics and start changing them”

Todos Somos Jose Enrique (We are all Jose Enrique)

I was on Facebook today and all of these photos started popping up saying “Todos Somos Jose Enrique”.  I did a quick Google search and read that Jose Enrique was a publicist in Puerto Rico who has become yet another victim of the ever increasing amount of violence to afflict the island, mi isla del encanto, la isla dondé tengo familia (the island where I have family).  Jose Enrique was found after being beaten to death and his body consumed in flames.  If you haven’t read any of my past blogs I’m 25% Puerto Rican (as well as Irish, German and a bit Scottish) and extremely proud of all of my heritage, so this story really speaks to mi corazon, mi alma (my heart, my soul).

Puerto Rico has always been plagued with violence and I have been told so many wonderful and terrifying stories by my Abuelo about what is was like growing up on the island and how different it was and is now from the United States.  Now an entire social media movement has started to protest the violence and speak out.  Not too long ago a famous boxer, Hector Camacho, was shot too and there have been more before that, famous and not.

It’s true, we ARE all Jose Enrique whether we live in Puerto Rico, the U.S., Mexico, another country, another continent.  What’s the difference?  This year alone over 1,100 people have been murdered on the island, 228 have been murdered in Chicago alone (which is more than have died in Afghanistan this year) and what about in places like Mexico?  Everywhere has violence and we as people in general do little to stop it.  We are all Jose Enrique because we all have the ability to become victims or to become those who mourn the loss of a mother, father, sister, brother, friend.

This is not just the fight of Puerto Ricans, this is not the fight of Mexicans, Columbians, Aisans, Africans, Europeans, Americans, this is all of our fights because we all have the ability to do something.

This just brings me to tears, honestly, knowing that this is going on, in my Chicago, in Puerto Rico, all over the world and so many think they can do nothing or areas with more violence aren’t worth it.  Any person, any child, any adult, anyone is worth everything, to have the chance to live and breathe and wake up every single morning feeling safe and happy.  We all have to take action, speak out.  Don’t look at areas and say they don’t deserve it, it’s too dangerous to go help and they made the choice so they’re not worth it.  The people being killed, the youth that could be saved from gangs, the children and young adults that can be taken out of a gang, the innocent lives living in these areas, they ARE you because we as people are all important, it doesn’t matter where we live or what we look like or your situation in life.

Just imagine if everyone in the Chicago area (there’s over 2 million people in the city alone) donated $5 to a positive youth organization or donated their time or special talents and in every other city the people did the same thing.  Can you imagine what a beautiful effect that would have on so many lives?!  Or even just going down to these lower-income areas and buying something from a local store or restaurant and supporting local businesses there (or anywhere for that matter).  Really just take a minute to actually think about that and really let it soak in, every country, every city all of those people.  ¡Basta ya! (Enough already!) Let’s end this these horrible things happening in our neighborhoods, cities, everywhere!

Just do something, act, listen and educate yourself on problems in the world whether it is gang violence, animals, human trafficking whatever you have a passion for don’t just sit there DO SOMETHING!  Learn about the best solutions for those situations (I highly recommend reading Damned Nations by Samantha Nutt because that really puts a new light on nonprofits).  Donate $100 or $5, donate your time at events or spread the word!  Post a Facebook status but don’t let awareness fade!  Everyone, people as a group, ALL of us have this amazing ability to move mountains when we work together, when we don’t put boundaries on where we are from, what we look like or our situation in life.  You doing something can have such a powerful effect, even if it is just one life, that is one life who can raise a family in a better situation just because of YOU!

Join together, help me, help your neighbors, friends, family and fellow human beings porque todos somos Jose Enrique (because we are all Jose Enrique), we all want to live in a world where there isn’t violence and we all have the ability to become victims.  You are just once person in the world, but one person can make a world of difference.  We can do this, but we all need your help because we can’t do it alone.

Horses

I became obsessed with the idea of cowboys in 5th grade when I discovered, in the back of our school library a set of books called Famous Horse Stories from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  They were all separate stories by separate authors, just in the same group.  The idea of the man taking care of his family, protecting his wife and the woman being strong and managing a house, children, ranch and unruly, stubborn husband was something a little girl can really dream about.  Not only that there were horses.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved horses.  In elementary school anything that had a horse on it I begged my parents to buy me, stickers, pencils, notebooks, folders, books (even ones that were way above my reading level), shirts, toys, just about anything and everything you can think of I had.  Even now I have boxes of over 60 figurines, some cheap but some are collectables and Breyer and Peter Stone.  My parents love getting me all of that and in high school with the help of an eBay account, they bought me the majority of the Famous Horse Story books, which are so old I can’t even find them in the public library near my house!

Horses are the spirit of the West, what helped found this country and there is this freedom associated with them, this spirit that could never be taken.  Even domesticated, they always have this look in their eyes of wild joy.

They are these massive, huge animals just made of hard, strong muscle but every movement is so fluid and graceful.  They just swim through the air and hover over the Earth.  It’s so amazing just watching them.  They’re graceful but so strong and powerful at the same time, every movement is that of a dancer with the strength of an army and they can have the tenderness of a mother tending to her child.

I’ve always wished to be like that, graceful and strong.  I never had the confidence to do much, to use my voice to demand change until recently.  I wish I had their freedom, or at least what they used to have, now just like the wild horses in America, people are caged as well.  The horses can only stay on their reservations, within their boarders just like us.  We are confined to the space we live in, divided by language, color and customs, divided by a line on a piece of paper. 

Hopefully the wild horses will never vanish and these preserves like the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary and National Parks won’t disappear so our future generations can see that look of passion and freedom and pureness, something our society has lost.  You rarely see that spark in anyones eye now as lives get busier.  Business and corporations expands globally but people become separated, void of all emotion toward the human rights violations abroad with only small groups actively doing something.  Instead of listening, understanding and embracing each other, lines on the map get darker and darker.  I want that spark, that wild freedom to come back, for us to embrace that feeling again and embrace those around us instead of becoming so much more divided.  We’re all people no matter our language, color, customs, beliefs so we should help each other instead of hate each other or just turn the other way and pretend nothing is wrong.

Speak up, stand your ground, open your ears and make a difference to someone.  When you listen and embrace someone instead of hating them or completely ignoring their struggles, you have just begun to open the world for yourself, slowly removing the cage which you’re in and maybe then you can experience what these incredible animals feel every day of their lives.

Statue Parks

When I was very little, Mom used to call the cemeteries statue parks so that we wouldn’t be afraid, but I ended up being terrified of cemeteries simply because there were dead people there, which doesn’t make a lot of sense.  It’s not like they could hurt me or anything, it was just the entire idea of a cemetery.

It wasn’t until my grandmother died in 7th grade that my opinion changed, it took a while but it changed.  Eventually they became a place where I could visit my grandma, I missed her so much, I still miss her so much,  and I could go talk to her here, just like I did when she was with me.  It might sound crazy, talking to myself, but it just make me feel better.  Especially now when I’m doing things with my life that I’m proud of and wish she was here to see, I can tell her about them.

I just had to do a project on the Eastland Disaster, the greatest loss of life Chicago has ever experienced that no one knows about.  The first place I went was the cemeteries.  They are full of history, tragic loss of life and bravery and love all right in front of you.  It was like seeing history first hand, but there is an emotional experience that you can’t get through a book.

I took rubbings of several stones.  For those who don’t know what rubbings are, you can use tracing paper and place it tight over a stone and take a pencil and rub out the impression of the images of the stone onto the paper.  I take them of my families stones because they’re a part of my family history.  I keep them in the box Mom has all of our family history in.

I love just going in and looking at the old stones and the art, the angels and trees and books and all sorts of statues  It is so beautiful how love ones choose to immortalize their family.

I just wanted to write this because I used to be afraid of cemeteries, now they are just beautiful, peaceful places that have nothing to fear.  People can’t live forever and they move on so cemeteries are a way to keep your loved ones alive with you still.  There isn’t beautiful in death because people don’t really die.  Their bodies go away, but they stay alive as long as you want them to.