Archive for February, 2013


The primary prevention committee went out and spread peace at the Largo Touch a truck!!!

It started with a pretty simple idea:

Get kids to draw and color what they think peace is. Then ask them to let us display it for all to see, so that everyone sees what peace really looks like.

So we started with this:

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We asked the City of Largo, FL USA to allow us to have a table at an event called Touch a Truck.  This is an event where tons of people, and especially kids, come to the park and get to get in and explore tons of awesome vehicles like Firetrucks, Ambulance, Sky crane, Semi truck, Dumptruck, Garbage Truck, City bus, there was even a Helicopter that flew in.

We asked kids and adults if they wanted to color what their peaceful place looked like. A few people came over, and colored a picture, and promptly took it with them. We asked each person if they’d like to keep it or let us display it for everyone to see.

Our wall of peace started slow:

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Then it began to build and more and more people started to show up. It was amazing!!!

As the kids drew, we asked them what peace looked like to them. They gave us amazingly awesome answers:

“when I’m happy”

“when there’s no hitting”

“when everyone is getting along.”

“when we are all smiling”

“when I like me”

As we asked them, we also asked the parents and they gave great answers as well.

“In the bathtub”

“relaxing on my front porch”

“when multiple generations and nationalities get together.”

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There was one moment that just amazed me. There were 6 languages Russian, Arabic, Czech, Albanian, Spanish, and English all being spoken at the same time. All of the people were laughing, drawing, helping their children, and helping eachother.

Moms and dads both were helping their children. The kids were showing parents who really didn’t want to be there, that they had displayed their art on this “awesome” peace wall. They showed their relatives, their friends, and everyone they could. That was their stuff and they were helping create peace.

Everyone at the booth: Frieda, Shelba, Dawna, Prisscila, Chad, MJ, E.V, Jacob all helped everyone realize what peace was for them. We talked to them about what a healthy relationship looked like. We talked to the adults and the kids about how to create peace and nonviolence in our homes, our lives, and in our community.

More and more kids and adults gave us their pictures. They put feathers on them, they colored with markers and crayons, the glitter ran out, the stickers ran out, and there was more joy and happiness than many people have ever felt in their life.

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This is what the primary prevention committee does. We come together to prevent violence, promote peace and healthy relationships, and bring that message to our community.

In the end, over 200 people were at our table talking about, seeing, feeling, and experiencing what true peace really is.

This does not include the 100’s of people that walked by the booth, saw the pictures and were compelled to comment about how wonderful this is! With this event we have affected hundreds of people!

 

 

 

 

 

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An annual tradition…superbowl.

Let’s put up an example…a scenario if you will. Let’s pretend (it’s not a far stretch) a young 10-12 year old girl is sitting with her family to watch the supwerbowl. When the following things happen, it’s acceptable and it’s normal.

An annual tradition….sexism at the superbowl. Sexism with the cheerleaders. (Yeah, they are wearing those skimpy clothes to get the fans to cheer. Really?  It’s the superbowl. These are tickets people save for years to get, or do it one time in their life. This isn’t a high school game where nobody is cheering….this is the biggest football game in the US. There’s no excuse for them to be dressed like that except to show off their body parts.) Sexism with the half time show. (Do we really need to show women dancing around in lingerie and strip club gear? Does this have anything to do with entertainment…or does it have to do with showing women as mere body parts again. Plus, women are ok with it…those women are, so it must be acceptable.) Finally sexism in the commercials.

Our friends at the Date safe project have written a post on those commercials:

http://www.datesafeproject.org/2013/sex-tv-commercials-and-the-super-bowl/?inf_contact_key=d4fd3a466116799df8a2b26ea630a68b02c40aa8bb976342113ca380beb5a64d

Check it out.

Now, let’s get back to our 10-12 year old girl.  What did her society, media, parents, youtube, friends, and the news all say….that was a great game, and the performances were unbelievably great.

Girl heard: This is how to be a girl. This is what women do. This is how women dress. This is how women behave. This si what YOU are suppose to do.

Are you ok with that?

This young lady stood up to the Taliban so that girls would have the right to an education.

They boarded a school bus and shot her in the head.

She survived!

Now, through all of this abuse and violence that she has had to deal with in her life….she “wants to serve the people and make sure that every person has the ability to get an education.” That girls and women have the right to be free and be equal!

May we all strive to be like this 15 year old girl.

Thank You Malala.  THANK YOU!

Teen Dating Violence is February. Whther you agree with Chad, or if you just want the violence and abuse to end – do something to prevent teen dating violence!

Motivating For Positive Change

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Did you know February is Teen Dating Violence month.

First, let’s talk about the name itself. “Teen Dating Violence Awareness”. This means that we are bringing awareness to teen dating violence. I think we need to change all of this….starting with the name.

Yes, we all need to be aware of teen dating violence, but why don’t we become aware of what a healthy relationship is?  Why don’t we become aware of what it is to treat a person right, respectful, and generally a decent person? Why don’t we bring awareness to the healthy relationships that are actually out there?  There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of great relationships out there…..where are the examples?  Where are the kudos?  Where are the “ata girl” “ata boy”?  Instead…we become aware of the violence. Intervention groups will say, if “they” don’t know what a unhealthy relationship is they won’t be able to find that…

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One billion rising

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Genital mutilation because women do not need to feel pleasure during sex.

Domestic Violence because a woman should know her place.

Human Trafficking because women are just there for men’s pleasure and to work.

Forced labor because that’s what women are supoose to do while the men lead them.

Forced capture because women don’t need to do anythigjn but have babies, take care of the babies, and take care of their man.

Mysogyny because women are not as good as men

Force wage discrimination because a woman does not worth as much as men.

Sexism because women are seen as mere objects, not living human beings.

Rape because women are only here for a man’s pleasure.

These are the pervasive beliefs around the world towards the female gender.

The same gender that populates more of the world by 2%.

The same gender that creates life.

The same gender that has been creating what every one of us craves since the beginning of time (no matter what else she does) – A Home.

The same gender that gets recognized on poster boards, lips, and screams every time a camera is at a sports event or in a crowd.

The same gender that has fought for equality for their entire existence.

The same gender that has uplifted every single one of us.

ibWhy is this acceptable?  It’s not!

On February 14th, world wide, billions of men and women will stand up, dance, and speak out and say in one unified voice…

NO! WE will not stand for this violence against women anymore.

Violence against women will end…NOW!

All Violence(verbal, mental, physical, sexual) against women must end!

 

Go to this link.  One billion rising is an organization dedicated to stopping worldwide violence agasisnt women. This organization was created by Eve Ensler, a advocatre against gender violence, writer, poet, and creator of The Vagina Monologues. Do something. Learn the dance, make a video, start a march, a campaign, whatever….we must do something!  Become part of the one billion rising movement.

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Unless you grew up under or live under a rock, Super Bowl Sunday is likened to a national holiday and whether you celebrate it or not, you can’t help but know it’s coming. You can denounce Super Bowl Sunday all you want, but you can’t escape it. You can even go your entire life without watching one Super Bowl or attending one Super Bowl party, but you still can’t escape from it.  “Back in the day,” if you didn’t want anything to do with the Super Bowl you could just watch another tv station, go out to dinner, go to a movie, or in the most extreme cases barricade yourself in your house turn out the lights and pray that the game would be a complete and utter bore so the neighbors party would end soon and everything would go back to normal. In today’s world, there is no way to escape the Super Bowl even if you want to. With social media, you will get updates whether you want them or not and even be able to watch the commercials the day after.  It is a fact, that you will have friends, neighbors and co-workers who will update you with some trivial piece of information that means nothing in the bigger scope of the world.

Everyone whether they like it or not, can find something they enjoy with the Super Bowl. There are parties, alcohol, fabulous tasting homemade dips and desserts that will take a week on the treadmill just to burn off, and the hilarity of the conversations between friends supporting opposing teams. Then there is the pre-game show, the Star Spangled Banner that no one ever thinks is sung well enough, the half time show, crazy and hilarious commercials, and somewhere in there they play football.  As a woman, I can keep up with the best of them when it comes to calling the game. I’m the woman at the Super Bowl party that is not serving the food or asking the stereotypical girl questions to her boyfriend, “Now tell me again, who is the team in purple?” (As she cocks her head to the right and bats her eyes). As a woman, I can make a room full of men fall silent while they are busy debating what both teams have done wrong and why they basically suck, while I say something brilliant like, “If the quarterback would just take the snap and dive to the left of the center (called a quarterback sneak), then they would get the first down.” I’m also the woman who screams and damns the referee to hell when the foot was clearly in bounds.

sbHere’s the thing, though. I love football, but somehow over the course of time, I’ve learned to hate it and everything it stands for. We all are aware and have been since the beginning of the sport of the male role vs. the female role presented. The women are the cheerleaders and the men play the game. No one is blind to the obvious misogyny in the commercials…just look at this year’s Go Daddy.com commercial. Everyone recognizes the obvious violence in football.  (It’s a sport where people hit each other…that’s a no brainer).  None of that ever really bothered me until a few years ago when we started seeing women as reporters on the sideline. Everyone hailed it as a win for women. I did not. The woman on the sidelines is always beautiful, always thin, almost always blonde, and really just reports on the most recent injuries, the coach’s irritation with his own team, and the “atmosphere” of the crowd in the stadium. The men call the game. The men sit in the booth and report the stats and the men make a lot more money. Football more so than any other sport, is the epitome of violence, misogyny, and ego. It is modern day Rome.

Here’s another thing I learned. Much further away from the stadium, somewhere in someone’s home, is a woman and a man in an unhealthy and unstable relationship. With football comes an increased level of alcohol, gambling, yelling, and increased levels of testosterone. Images of sex and violence wrap the evening in a scene of tension. As it was explained to me once, “You don’t know what it’s like to pray for a team to win, when you really could care less about the outcome, just so he won’t take it out on you if they don’t.” This isn’t about hitting, because we always seem to jump straight to the extreme. This is about using sports as a reason to tear another person down. “My team didn’t win, so the house isn’t clean enough.” (Yeah that makes sense). “My team didn’t win, so we are going to have sex to prove I’m a man.” sb3(ummmm….o.k. like that’s going to change the outcome). “My team didn’t win and because I’m drunk, I’m going to find a reason to make this YOUR fault.” The house isn’t clean. The kids aren’t quiet. Dinner wasn’t good. You never do this, you never do that, you are always making my life miserable. For some, sports is an everything, always, and never proposition.

For some reason in this world of ours, sports is a bi-product of self-esteem. “If my team wins, then I get bragging rights for an entire year.” “If my team doesn’t win, then everything I am is worthless and always has been.” Entire communities will base their reputation on their sports team. We rally around the team and build it up. We will base our entire self-worth on the team we support. We base friendships on sports and billions of dollars dictate our mindset.

sb4I’m not sure I’ll ever completely give up football or some of the other sports I love to watch. I can’t however, close my eyes to the vile amounts of money we spend on them while we ignore our fellow man. I can’t ignore the fact that our world could be different if our priorities shifted to the love of each other vs. the love of a sports team. I absolutely can’t ignore the fact that there are men in this world whose own self-worth is so low, that they base their entire mindset on a 20 something quarterback and a ball. Last night when the 49ers missed the two-point conversion that would have tied the game with less than 10 minutes left, I can’t help but wonder how many cuss words were hurled, walls were hit, sports artifacts were thrown, and how many women sat on the couch praying for that ball to make it into the endzone.

 

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