I woke up to the news of another mass shooting

I woke up to the news of another mass shooting. I am so tired of people making excuses for this.

After giving everything I had to my candidate and what I believe was an honest, values driven one, I will no longer abide by, tolerate and ignore people’s bigotry. 

This morning I got into a political issues discussion with staff at my child’s pre-school. This person was aghast at yet another shooting, but when I told her about the importance of electing gun sense candidates, she told me, she believes in one woman one man, and in protecting the rights of a child, and called those her deal breakers. I challenged her by asking then why not support candidates who look out for children once they are born.

Please stop hiding behind your religious texts because no God would tolerate denying other people their dignity and humanity. No God would want children to be slaughtered in their schools or worshipers in their churches. No God would want women and children fleeing violence, hunger and persecution to be denied asylum.

This is more than an election. This is more than a party. This is bigger than candidates. This is a battle for our humanity and values as a people, as a country, and as a world. This is how the atrocities we read about in history happens and continued way past the point of horrific.

Stop making excuses. Words matter. Representation matters. Speak up and do something to make it better.


(Photo Credit: CNN)

We recognize injustice and the power of those who recognize injustice and act

Like most of the people I know, I am extremely emotional about the Kava-no nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. It seems like just as our wounds from 2016 were starting to scab over, they were violently ripped apart and had salt poured in.

The crux of the matter is that it’s not about what degree of assault it was or how long ago it was. It was about that it happened. Our outrage about this Supreme Court nominee, is a deep throated, guttaral reaction to the injustices we recognize.

We recognize the injustice that a 17-year-old white, middle-upper class boy who commits a crime is talked about in terms of his future, but the girls he assaults are blamed. We recognize the injustice when Black and Brown boys are incarcerated at higher rates and with more severe punishments than white boys who commit similar crimes. We recognize the injustice that women cannot be emotional, but this man can. We recognize the threats that this man poses to the lives of women.

We are not hysterical women. We are a movement of people who reject that idea that women’s bodies are for men’s use. We reject the idea that unwanted advances are our fault. We are reclaiming our spaces.

We reject the idea that we must be nice and forgiving despite repeated disrespect. We demand respect for ourselves, our bodies, and our personhood.

We reject the idea that questionable behavior at 17 does not define men of a certain privilege, while, Brown, migrant TODDLERS are called upon to defend themselves in court in a language they do not know, or when black boys are tried as adults in our courts, or worse, killed, because they are perceived as threats.

We recognize that the government and institutions that should protect us from these injustices do not, and we recognize the power of people who recognize these injustices. Though we despair now, I hope we will not be deterred or become discouraged. If ever there was a time to pay attention, to take action, to vote, to run for office, and to make our voices heard. Please join this movement.


(Image Credit: The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice)

I’ve felt every massacre profoundly, but this one literally hits close to home

I’ve felt every massacre profoundly, but this one literally hits close to home. The shooter once lived a 10 minute drive from my home. My elder child is about to enter kindergarten. This shooter could easily have chosen her soon to be school or any of the stores and restaurants we visit in our neighborhood. This is not right and it’s not normal.

If you say you empathize with the victims but will blindly vote the party line without regard for the candidate’s position on sensible gun control, or you don’t believe access to guns is the problem, then no one wants your prayers, thoughts, and sympathies. They are useless. They may offer small comfort to the survivors and their families, and assuage your consciousness and feeling of complicity, but they do nothing to prevent the loss of lives.

Governments are supposed to protect its people and for too long our government has been too ready to look the other way and ignore the very real gun crisis epidemic that is ravaging our country. The government has failed its people. Gun reform should be a bipartisan issue.

And finally, you mess with our cubs and us mama tigers and lionesses will come after you, starting at the poll booths, then the House, Senate, and White House.


(Photo Credit: Johanne Rahaman / Huffington Post)

I am a woman of color. An immigrant. A mother of two young children. A new activist.

I am a woman of color. An immigrant. A mother of two young children. A new activist. I am many other things, but what is common among all of my identities is that they are not cloaks that I can easily cast off. Each identity is intricately woven into the fabric that is me. Wherever I go, I take my whole self with me and this context is critical to understanding what I am about to share.

Recently, my husband, our friend, our 2-year-old son, and 4-year-old daughter attended a local rally in support of the Affordable Care Act. It was the latest in our efforts to be activists. Prior to the election and the weeks and months since it, my husband and I moved out of the shadows and started to find our political voice. Since the election, we are using our bodies to bring visibility to the important human rights crises affecting so many. It was especially important that we bring our children with us to this rally.

We are a biracial family, and since I am the person of color in my family, I am especially sensitive to diversity. As I looked around at the rally, I realized that I was one of very few people of color there. Still, I felt united with the people there as we listened to our Member of Congress and to the speakers, as we assembled to advocate for achieving our human rights to health care.

About two hours into the rally, my children, who had remarkably sat quietly and even paid attention to the speakers, finally got up and started to play. Though there were not very loud in their child like chatter, I was already up and trying to avoid them disturbing anyone. No one seemed to mind, except for one woman. She sharply and rudely told me, “Can you keep those kids quiet? We can’t hear the speakers. Could you move them over there or something?”

To this point, I was so captured in the spirit of unity in these types of spaces that it was easy to believe that they were inclusive. In this moment, I was reminded that unity and inclusivity are not synonymous. My family packed up our children and left earlier than we’d planned.

Since then, I must have replayed that moment in my head a hundred times. I think about what I should have said to that woman. What I know is that I can no longer be silenced. Where before I would have retreated to the shadows, the climate of this political environment compels me to stand my ground. I can no longer afford to not claim a space and lend my voice to this movement.

If only she knew that my son was born with a heart defect. If only she knew that he had open heart surgery in June before he was two and in the Fall accompanied our young family as we went canvassing for Hillary Clinton. If she only knew that the only time my children have been away from me was when I felt morally compelled to join the Women’s March in Washington. If she only knew my daughter chanted “This is what democracy looks like!” as we marched to Mar-a-Lago. If she only knew that my children tolerated their mother doing unpaid political work after work while working full time. If she only knew my children are the first and only grandchildren of a 59 year old woman bravely fighting stage IV lung cancer.

I know some would agree with that woman. To those people, I ask you to understand that child care is often unavailable and/or unaffordable for low income women, people of color, and many whom we desperately need to join our political movement. This space was as much mine and my children’s as it was that woman’s.

We often talk about privilege in this movement. I do not know that woman, and she did not know me. But in that time and space, she was in a place of privilege. We are a young family with two young children in a place we needed to be. She also needed to be there, but she had the privilege of also being able to easily move away from my children to a spot that would allow her to hear better. She also had the privilege of choosing to be tolerant and inclusive.

Our movement can never be successful until we bring people of color, immigrants, people across the socio – economic spectrum, and every marginalized group into the fold. We must be inclusive and representative of the people we claim to represent. The voices of people of color, of immigrants, and the less visible in our society must be elevated. We must demonstrate these characteristics by recognizing and respecting each other’s whole identities. Our work will never be finished until we have equal rights, equitable access to resources, and dignity for everyone. This all starts with creating the kinds of spaces where anyone is welcome.

This was an important and effective event – so important that we chose to share one of our precious 1000 Saturdays of childhood with our children to attend. I hope the organizers of all future events in this movement would somehow try to incorporate this attitude of tolerance and inclusivity into otherwise powerful and effective occasions.


(Photo Credit: BBC)