“We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.”

Jimmy Carter

 

It is criminal that we have hungry children in our community. These aren’t far away kids whose faces you’ll never see (as if that mattered). I’m talking about children who sit next to your children and mine in school. It matters not what brings these children to this place. I cannot bear to hear the harsh, judgement of those who say hateful things like, “Why do those people keep having children?” “Those people.” It makes me shudder. If you refer to families in need or people who are different than you as “those people,” then you’re an ass and a horrible human being.

America is a land of riches that is woefully morally bankrupt. It’s time to end political bickering and petulance when it comes to matters of our children. We can do better. We should do better. We must do better. Our elected officials have presumably chosen a career in public service to help others, hence the moniker “public servant.” If they’ve come to help their bottom line but not those at the bottom of the totem pole, I’d say they’ve chosen the wrong profession. We must, as a nation and as a state, stop punishing the poor and celebrating the rich. It’s a twisted outlook that harms rather than helps.

Hungry children have no responsibility to bear when it comes to their plight. My own children have nothing to do with their station in life. It’s nothing more than a matter of kismet that determines our parents. Poverty is a vicious cycle, but the good news is that it can be broken. We have the tools in this nation to end childhood hunger. We are brimming with resources. Can we please stop blaming and judging these children and families and simply do what it takes, whatever it takes, to help?

One small way to make a big difference regionally is to donate to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Backpack Buddies program. You can help provide weekend meals for students whose only meals are at school. Imagine the pain of hunger pangs on weekends for these kids. Never mind that these backpack meals are often split among more than one family member. Never mind the sacrifices parents make to feed their children rather than themselves. Never mind how hard these families work. The stererotype of lazy, entitled parents is simply wrong. Food insecurity afflicts many people in our community, and these are often the hardest working among us.

The WRAL Backpack Buddies Mediathon is Wednesday, July 19. Phones are manned all day long so make a donation to help end childhood hunger. Every little bit helps. You can also drop off food donations  at Triangle Town Center and Food Lion locations in Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham, Johnston, Nash, and Edgecombe counties. I’ll be around Raleigh with my sons to do a little shopping to make a donation. Pop over to the closest Food Lion on your lunch break to make a donation of your own. One small act will make a big difference. By feeding a child, you’re not just filling a belly. You’re fulfilling potential by giving a child the basic foundation to learn, earn, and yearn to be curious, productive, and successful.

When someone asks at the end of the day, “What did you do to make the world better?” you’ll have a great answer.

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I’m a Flag Waving Liberal

by Ilinap on July 3, 2017

The republican president is not my America. My America is open and diverse and welcoming. My America celebrates its freedom rather than squashes it. My America lifts others up, not puts them down.  My America doesn’t make me feel ashamed.

Independence Day has long been my favorite holiday. There’s no pressure and stress of Christmas or overwhelming meal planning and entertaining of Thanksgiving. Independence Day is to celebrate how lucky I am to be an American. Despite the last few months, and even years, of a political downward spiral, I find myriad reasons to celebrate my country.

I’m Indian by birth, and that heritage will always make me beam. I became a US citizen through derivative citizenship before I turned 18. I remember the years of carrying my green card tucked into my Indian passport. I’ve spent 47 years in the United States, and this is the only home I know. I recall my parents becoming naturalized citizens. It’s not something one does lightly, and the process is cumbersome. I wonder how many natural born Americans would pass the citizenship test. Each year we watch the naturalization ceremony on the grounds of the North Carolina state Capitol. It’s an awfully touching ceremony. I especially love when they annouce the countries represented among the new cadre of US citizens. I weep every single time, tears streaming from underneath my dark glasses. While it’s a privilege to become an American citizen, it’s still an emotional decision to renouce your country. I know it’s not something my mother and father did lightly, and I can only imagine the bittersweet emotions that swirled inside them when they took the proverbial leap.

I have lived and traveled all over the world. Everywhere I’ve been I have met people who are eager to visit the United States or regale me with stories of their own travel here. Foreigners have helped me see the beauty in what I often take for granted. But here’s the thing, I don’t take my citizenship for granted. It’s something I cherish, perhaps even more so than the people who were born American. I have an understanding of what my life might have been had I not immigrated to America when I was just a wee child. I acknowledge and value what this has afforded me. The current state of affairs does not diminish that.

My son asked me if Independence Day is still my favorite holiday since I’ve been less than complimentary to our current administration. I told him that my resolve is still strong and that what I value most about my country is my freedom to question my government and speak out without retribution. It is a freedom I don’t take lightly. I have the right to voice my concerns, visit my legislators, learn from a free press, and vote. I have never missed an election. Election Day just might be my second favorite holiday (yes, I do regard it a holiday).

I am an outspoken progressive woman and a patriot, a flag waving liberal, and I’m not alone. The right has hijacked patriotism and flag flying, but I am here waving the stars and stripes proudly and ecstatically. I can’t tell you how I glow when I pull up to my house and see the red, white, and blue bunting draped across the balcony and little flags tucked into each flower pot. My July 4th Spotify playlist is ready for our annual celebration. I openly cry when I hear traditional patriotic songs. Even Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” What makes America great is its myriad hues and symphony of lilting accents. Each one of us contributes to our national narrative, each voice unique and important. And let us not take this for granted.

 

 

 

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He’s 12.

June 22, 2017

Tweet If he had a theme song, it would be You Are the Sunshine of My Life. He was born sunnyside up, after all. This sweet child of mine is tender hearted and funny. He’s also pensive and thoughtful; I can almost see gears clicking in his head as he unravels how things work. His […]

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Time to Slow Down

June 5, 2017

Tweet Instant gratification is the culprit of all societal ailments. Patience has disappeared from a long list of diminishing virtues. Every click, push, turn, and touch makes things beep, buzz, hum, and go. I don’t even need a key to start my car. Hell, even my drawers and cabinets are “self-closing” so they shut with […]

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Weighting Game

May 31, 2017

Tweet I was long overdue for a visit to the doctor. Just regular check up maintenance to ensure my parts are all working. I’m lucky to be pushing 50 with no creaky bits and achey joints. Since I never played sports as a kid or took up running, I guess I never punished my body. […]

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Summer Adventure List 2017…With a Twist

April 23, 2017

Tweet Though it might seem like it, I never forget that I have a blog. I just forget to schedule time to actually write anything. There’s no shortage of ideas flurrying around in my head. Some are irreverent. Some are controversial. Some are whimsical. All are logged in a notebook that I carry around, yet […]

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Rules to Live By

February 24, 2017

  I am a woman who loves rules. I also love pushing and stretching and bending rules that don’t make sense. I appreciate civil disobedience. I love a good protest. I’ve been writing letters to CEOs and Senators since I was 10. While I appreciate rules, I also appreciate using my voice to influence change. […]

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#ThankATeacher

February 8, 2017

We’ve been in some state of mourning since November 9. No joke. The DeVos confirmation about put us all over the proverbial edge. The tough part in all this has been the effect on my children. They saw us campaign and canvass for much of last year. Our candidate lost. They saw us write and […]

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Everyday Can Be MLK Day

January 16, 2017

Tweet It’s wonderful to have a national day of service to reflect on the indelible mark Martin Luther King, Jr. left on this country. It’s especially healing to honor him now, in this volatile climate brimming with racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and fear mongering. We need the reminder to be particularly aware now. Gone is the […]

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10 Simple Ways to Make 2017 Shine

December 31, 2016

Tweet I’m having chocolate for breakfast. This should tell you all you need to know about 2016. I’ve pretty much been eating my feelings, especially since November 9. Friends and family have been gifting us sausages from a small, organic butcher in Wisconsin, cheese (also from Wisconsin, natch), and chocolate. I wish I were the […]

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