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Archive for the ‘Social Justice’ Category

Hi friends! I hadn’t mentioned this here before because I’d hoped you’d followed me over to TartSweet which is my new home on the web. Same thing – different domain.

Anyway, Social Media for Social Good is back and it ends tomorrow and there are a TON of giveaways. See? All the giveaways. So many giveaways. And guess what? Odds are GREAT for winning. Comment pledges are over… but you know, that’s ok.

And – if you could find it in your heart to donate – even $1.00, that would be AMAZING. And you know what else? It’s a charitable contribution and thus tax deductible. Win! You can use your credit card, paypal, or a check. It even lets you donate anonymously! Http://www.mycharitywater.org/albtalbs

Thank you! I hope this catches some of you! ❤ For those of you who have lost contact – I miss you!!!

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Thank you so much, Lime, for having me here again to talk about a cause near and dear to me. Last night was the StandUp2Cancer benefit, and I find it so touching and heroic how people come out of the woodwork to support such amazing and worthwhile causes. I walked in the ACS Relay for Life for several years to support cancer research. Last year, I changed my focus to ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. I’m hoping that you will find it in your hearts to help me out just a little (or a whole freaking lot!). You can donate to my Walk to Defeat ALS here: http://webgw.alsa.org/goto/loris

A lot of people don’t know much, if anything about ALS. It’s a quiet disease, a quiet killer. Back in March, I posted about my sister in law. She was diagnosed with ALS 2 years ago, Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s a neuromuscular disorder that basically paralyzes your body and eventually is fatal. You slowly lose your ability to walk, talk, swallow, breathe. Yet you remain completely aware of everything going on around you and can still feel pain. It is among the cruelest of diseases. Every 90 minutes a person in this country is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease. Very few people live longer than 7 years after diagnosis. The most famous person with ALS today is the brilliant Stephen Hawking.

Sue’s diagnosis took 18 months, which is sadly not unusual. Since I last posted here about ALS, Sue has lost her voice, because the vocal cords don’t work anymore. She has a tube in her stomach for medications and feeding She can’t take care of her most basic needs alone. The saving grace for my brother and sister-in-law has been our local chapter of the ALS Association. The ALS Association is  there to help families in their local communities with the necessary adjustments – providing affordable equipment such as wheelchairs for patients, contractors to retrofit houses, and social services to give patients and their families the support they need. Our local chapter helped my brother find a handicap-equipped van at an affordable price. They recommended a contractor to them who works with the ALS Association to give a special break in price to ALS patients for retrofitting their home. They support a ton of research as well.

Last time I was here I shared the story of Saints player Steve Gleason, who is battling ALS. Since that time, new research has shown that in addition to other brain related injuries, NFL players are 4 times more likely to die from ALS than the rest of the population.

The average life expectancy of an ALS patient ranges from 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis.  We are now at the 2 -year mark. I know that there is quickly going to come a day when we no longer have Sue with us. She’s been my sister for the last 30 years. I hate that this is happening to her and my brother and my nieces. There is no cure for ALS. There is not even any sort of treatment yet. While I hate to say it, it’s not likely that Sue will benefit directly from the ongoing research. Where she doesbenefit immediately is with the support offered to them by the ALS Association and the community of families that reside within it. The ALS community is a tightly-kit one, and it breaks my heart every time my brother tells me that one of their friends has lost their battle.

My greatest hope is that Sue will win her battle, and be here to watch both of her daughters graduate from college, dance at their weddings, and live to see her grandchildren. I pray we find a cure for the millions of people with ALS, but most especially… and selfishly (I admit)… I pray for a cure for Sue, my brother, and my nieces. I am so very proud of Sue and my big brother – they personify grace and dignity and unselfish unconditional love.

Because every donation goes almost exclusively to the local chapters, every gift you make will go directly toward helping my brother and his family. Here is, in part, how donations help:

  • $25 pays for a walking cane that will transform the hope for safety into peace of mind.
  • $60 helps webcast an “Ask the Experts” research summit online for those who are unable to attend in person.
  • $100 enables repairs and maintenance of an augmentative communication device (AAC) from the ALS loan closet.
  • $250 funds one of sixteen monthly support groups that serve people with ALS and their families in my community.
  • $600 supports one day of a multi-disciplinary satellite clinic which serves people with ALS who aren’t able to travel long distances.

Money is so tight for so many of us. I’d really appreciate anything that you could donate to help fight against ALS. Even $5 or $10 helps! With your help, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of families affected by this disease. Last year, your generous donations helped to raise close to $6500 for my team of walkers. My own personal goal is to raise $1500. You have already helped me get partway there.

To donate to my Walk to Defeat ALS: http://webgw.alsa.org/goto/loris

Find out more about ALS and the amazing work being done by the ALS Association here: http://www.alsa.org/

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Hi friends!

I only just learned it’s International Pay It Forward Day. 🙂 So… nothing hugely organized – but, I wanted to ask – is there anything I’m able to do for you?

I asked on twitter too.

If so – just let me know. I’ll do my best.

Did you know about it? Will you try to do anything? (I’m being lazy and staying in…)

Somewhat along those lines… National Make a Difference Day is coming up in the fall – and I always have a Social Media for Social Good fundraiser. I’m still trying to pick a charity. One that does something that matters, is a 501c3 (at least in the states), is well run, and ideally, international. If you’ve got suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Also – I know charities can send a lot of mail. Like a lot of solicitations. I’ve gotten so much mail from Save the Children, from last year and previous years. And other organizations. (I’m sorry about that.) I wanted to know then – if I started a collection on paypal or something – would you be more or less interested in donating? (That way you wouldn’t get the email/paper mail solicitations.) Paypal would take a slight fee, so it wouldn’t be a 100% donation – and all the other issues, but it would save you the junk mail.

Thoughts?

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This… breaks my heart. I can’t watch it without crying.*

Hunger Hits Home – that’s the link to the entire thing. It won’t embed… so here’s the clip they’ve made.


One out of five kids is going hungry in the United States. I can’t even type that without tearing up. (Obviously it’s not a straight up one out of every five kids in any given group…) But I imagine it’s a lot more prevalent than any of us think. I know the kids I teach are provided with lunch, and I imagine a number of them need it.

Some are also sent home with a backpack on the weekends, that has food, etc. It’s provided by a local church in the community.

There’s also this from Feeding America.

Where the kid says he hasn’t eaten in three days… or another says he feels like he’s about to die or pass out from hunger…

I obviously don’t have a solution to this, but I want to raise awareness. Encourage everyone to do what they can – or continue to do what you’re doing.

People remember to give during the holidays… but need is year round.

*Food Network has a special/documentary. It first aired on April 15. (I was at the EDWoD) I meant for this to go live on the 14th as well… but I’m editing it to fit “now.” Hunger Hits Home will air again on April 21 at 6 PM EDT, and April 21, at 10 AM EDT.

It seems obvious, but kids do better in school when they’re well fed. And … that the government has money, and this country has the food and resources to feed people. It’s the awareness of these issues and programs, and distribution.

Consider – even if it’s a one off – donating to a local food bank at a random time. Volunteer at a soup kitchen on an “off day” [a time other than Thanksgiving or Christmas.] Checking into local programs and seeing how it’s being run.

I checked Charity Navigator, but I’m actually not in love with the scores of Feeding America or Share Our Strength… but it’s not as if they’re bad or anything – and I definitely believe it’s better to do something than nothing at all. Consider a local organization – or just going there to check it out, talk to someone.

Summers are often the “problem times” because kids aren’t getting meals from school. Something to think about while you’ve got time to plan and consider if you’d like to help out.

🙂 Thanks for sticking with me through this bleeding heart post. I’d love to hear what you do, or if you plan on doing anything. ❤

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I know it hasn’t been something I’ve focused on for a while, but a passion of mine that equals, if not exceeds my love of books is social justice. There’s just been so much going on in the world that I’ve been a bit overwhelmed. (And then with me personally. Life and I have been disagreeing on many levels.)

But there’s something I saw today and it just… well broke my heart. If you watch the video – which is lengthy, grab tissues. I cried. This is the article: Killed at Home: White Plains, NY Police Called Out on Medical Alert Shoot Dead Black Veteran, 68. (I’m going to try and embed the video, but for some reason WordPress has always hated me…)

Police Called Out on Medical Alert Shoot Dead Black Veteran

There’s just… I don’t even have a response for that, other than sorrow, and an utter sense of wrongness. That it was police – responding to a medical alert call doing this makes it… I don’t think I’ve been as horrified since I learned the police duty (or lack thereof) to the public when it comes to you the individual as a member of the public, in Torts.

I can’t believe this happened last year that Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr was shot dead. By policeInside his own home. And nothing has happened.

Where’s the national outcry and outrage about this? (That’s a whole new can of worms though… but you have to admit – there’s the whole sensationalist/popular opinion thing. Not to say I don’t think it’s important to care about and fight for justice with Trayvon Martin’s family – but … consistency. Slow and steady.)

Like with FoxConn taking the heat – so many people are throwing around words like “I’m never buying Apple again! I’m going Dell (or insert other electronics) all the way!” It’s just so… *facepalm* to me. I’ll help you out. Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba and others. (Also according to reports FoxConn has changed the factory conditions, and is also limiting everything to a (less than 60 – I can’t recall the exact hours now) work week, with no decrease in pay. Expect to see Apple products reflect that in their prices soon, because I just can’t see the company heads eating that cost. Unless they take it out on their other working grunts.)

So we’ve hit a few issues. I’m obviously not going to, and cannot detail everything.

But – let’s go one more with a death that should never have happened.

On March 21, a woman was beaten to death in her home. There, the police actually did their job [they a) didn’t kill her themselves, and b) launched an investigation] – so um, +1 I guess? (Sorry – you can tell I’m pretty salty about the other cases.) Shaima Alawadi was an American citizen, and an Iraqi-American. If you read about the circumstances, I can’t see how it’s not a hate crime. I’m glad the FBI is stepping in, and I hope they catch the killer(s). I know we’re all still tense about 9/11, especially with the recent incidents with flight attendant(s) and pilot(s) losing their minds… but still.

There might have been media stories about this, but I haven’t seen or heard them. Of course, I’m someone who oftentimes distrusts media spin too…

This isn’t a very happy post, I know. But I think it’s important to think about, and know about. We’re obviously not the happy melting pot we’re supposed to be in America. And for all that people say they’re colorblind, many obviously aren’t. And beyond that, to say one is colorblind proudly… I don’t think that’s actually right or helpful. Obviously race/ethnicity/color is a factor, and pretending that it isn’t is basically sticking your head in the sand.

Nota Bene – I am not not not saying that one incident is more important than the other, or trying to point fingers with the “why care about this and not that?” Or even about everything – because honestly – it’s inhuman to expect being able to keep up. No single person is able to know about every incident, everywhere, and to do something about it. But it’s important to care in general, and do what we can. It’s about raising the level of awareness, and concern.

And uh – if you managed to make it this far… believe it or not, I was mentioned elsewhere! Yes! Lil ‘ol me! And she even made me sound good! What’m I talking about? Elise Rome included me in her Bloggers/Readers section for her insane March Madness giveaway/project/thing. I don’t even have words-  I couldn’t handle it. Anyway, if you want, go visit me there and I’ll… um respond? (Yeah sorry  – can’t offer prizes etc, but if I ever win the lottery I totally would!)

p.s. – I know I didn’t post winners Saturday. Sorry – they’ll be up this week though!

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That you might want to know.

First of all, me! That’s right – I’m elsewhere on the web today! Guest blogging/interviewed-ish by author Mandy M. Roth at her blog! I think it’s interesting (hah well obviously, right?!), and for those of you who don’t know me as well it might give you a better idea of who I am. (I’m realizing I haven’t really done a lot of “about me” or “editorial” type posts here.)

Secondly… Swagbucks. Yeah, yeah, them again. 😛

“March Swagness has come to Swagbucks – it’s all about you earning bonus Swag Bucks while doing all of the things you’re already doing on Swagbucks. Every day thy’ll give you an earning goal, which you’ll find on their homepage. As you earn Swag Bucks throughout the day, that meter will fill up and when it’s full, you’ll have earned your bonus for the day. The bonus will always be 10% of that day’s goal.
Be sure to check in everyday, as the earning goal for any given day could be higher or lower than the day before. Your total bonus amount will continue to accumulate each day, and your bonus amount will be applied at by April 5th – this special promotion runs through April 2nd. If you hit the earning goal every single day of March Swagness, your bonus amount will be doubled!

EVERYTHING you earn on Swagbucks counts towards March Swagness – including (but limited to) Search, Surveys, Tasks, Swag Codes, Special Offers, Referral Bucks, Winning TTPTP, Hashtag and Comment hookups – if you earn it from us, it counts towards the day it was earned!

Get your March Swagness on starting today, when the goal will be 50 Swag Bucks

And lastly… I was going to talk about Trayvon Martin. I feel like a number of the issues facing women are important to mention, but thankfully a lot of other people are talking about them as well. The latter I think we all know about right? The crazy legislators that have absolutely lost their pea-brain minds? It has nothing to do with politics. What I’m talking about? It’s not a party/ideology thing – it’s a) being a woman, and b) being a human being. So if or when the chance comes – vote.  If you want to do more – write your representative or senator. Call. Email. Go to town hall meetings. Protest – there’s an organized protest where women are marching on state capitols.

I’m also glad Trayvon Martin’s story is finally being publicized more. I heard about it a few weeks ago – a week after it happened, actually, and… I was sickened. If you haven’t heard about it – you can read about what happened here. The United States Department of Justice is looking into it now too. And a Grand Jury was formed – I started with the most recent article. And that’s a good thing.

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If you haven’t signed up for Kiva yet, you should. Right now.

Here – go. Use this link. I’ll wait.

Why? You can give a free trial loan! How amazing is that? At the last time I checked (10:20 PM) there were still 28,553 free trials.

What is Kiva you ask? Well this is from their “about” page:

We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Learn more about how it works.

I can’t believe Kiva was (only) started in 2005. Kiva is a 501c3 and it allows you to help someone in an extremely passive way. You can either donate, or you can loan money. And if you choose the latter, you’re [generally] likely to get your money back. It’s more of a sure thing than not.

I won’t say much more about it, other than, if you’ve never signed up before, now is a great time. Even if you don’t do anything else with it in the future, at least you can give someone $25 to help them make their life better at zero cost to yourself!

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