As someone who saw her childhood irrevocably changed by a military, totalitarian government, what has been occurring in Venezuela worries and angers me. For years, the country has suffered an economic crisis and violence against civilians has escalated. Now that the people, especially young people, have taken to the streets to bring awareness to these issues, the military has retaliated in a bloody, and unnecessarily violent ways.
Many non-profit organizations like Un Mundo Sin Mordaza (A World without a (Mouth) Gag) and Amnesty International have called for scrutiny and worldwide attention on the latest violence against peaceful demonstrators, in Venezuela.
The following video is one of the most unbiased, citizen accounts of the actions against the Venezuelan people, by their own government. It is not suitable for young children. unless they watch it under the guidance of a trusted adult who can explain its historical context. The images are disturbing, but keep in mind that these actions have been escalating over the years. They did not begin in a bubble. They were allowed to happen under our watch, by good people who turned a blind eye.
Pray for peace, but be prepared to wage it.
Followers of this blog, know I am a PASSIONATE supporter of sorority life for college women. In fact, one of my favorite topics to discuss with parents of college-aged women is membership in Greek Letter Organizations and all its benefits. I am excited whenever a young woman finds her sorority home away from home and creates lifelong friendship. I enjoy submitting recruitment information forms (RIFs) for potential new members as they start their sorority journey. And, I love writing letters of recommendation for graduate school and new jobs for women I watched grow though into themselves through sorority life.
My personal college experience was enriched the day I accepted my Bid in 1989. I joined a group of women who accepted me as I was, but also pushed me to be the best version of myself. Since I attended a large commuter University, Greek Life was my touchstone with extracurricular activities that enhanced my years at college. There were socials, study parties, basketball games and all-night float-building marathons, and yes, keggers, where I learned more about myself and my fellow Sisters.
Together we supported each other through the good and bad times. We were our Sisters’ keepers and responsible not only for following the rules and regulations of the organization and the University, but ensuring that our Sisters did as well. The rules were in place to make sure we had a complete academic, leadership, philanthropic, fun, balanced and safe sorority program. We knew that one bad apple could certainly spoil the bunch, and were cognizant of the greater level of scrutiny placed on sorority women by society – both by folks who wanted us to succeed and those who expected us to fail and take on the worst characteristics of the stereotypical “sorority girl gone wrong.”
Today, the actions of a few bad apples culminated in harsh consequences for the larger group, as the Chi Omega Chapter at the University of Pennsylvania was closed. The investigation of this Chapter was prompted by a series of poor decisions, that were exposed by a deeply offensive event. I was disappointed in these women, not only as their Sister, but as a Latina and a woman. As a former volunteer Sorority Adviser, I can attest to the fact that the collegiate leaders of this group were provided with close, one-on-one mentoring by older Alumnae members who were selected for their professional expertise and trained in how to supervise the activities of a college sorority. These Alumnae very likely advised (and scolded) them repeatedly about appropriate party topics among other teachable moments in the management of risk for a group of collegiate women. This advice was accompanied by sanctions, repercussions and intense education by the National organization, along with a timeline for successful completion of the sanctions and re-education. It was the college women’s decision to follow sage advice, but, as a self-governing groups of adults, they did not have to.
Unfortunately, they chose the worst possible outcome and started the chain reaction that led the National organization to close the Chapter. While I was sadden by the news, I fully supported the difficult decision made by the Governing Council (national executive officers). National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) groups have no tolerance for behavior that demeans, ridicules, or hurts other people and these have been articulated in the Unanimous Agreements, as well as the Fraternity’s Bylaws and Constitution. The governance documents are how we hold ourselves, and each other, accountable. Our goal is to uphold our ideals as we continually prepare women for life after college. In short , we strive to build women up and it is not by accident that so many female leaders are members of NPC groups. We have been doing it for over a hundred years, successfully, because we maintain the highest standards.
My sincerest wish for the women who lost their Chapter, by their own actions, is that they learned the lessons. My heart breaks for those women who tried, in vain, to steer the group, back to a place of honor and class, because I know they did not deserve to lose their Chapter. However, I am a proud sorority woman because we police ourselves. It is these events that remind me why I pledged to honor my Fraternity’s creed and support fellow Sisters. Sisterhood is for a lifetime, not just for the four years of college.
I am not, nor ever will be, a fan of “Duck Dynasty.” However, the brouhaha over the suspension of a public figure who made ugly, unthinkable, regrettable homophobic and racist comments made me long for the days when “A&E” signified ARTS and entertainment, only. The duck person’s right to free speech was not infringed upon, as he spoke honesty and freely, in the GQ Interview. As a result, he was suspended from the show (I suspect due to violating terms in his contract with the network). People face these types of consequences every day, as corporations may create whatever policies they want for their employees. That is all that occurred, in this case.
Reality TV show “celebrities” opened themselves up for a greater degree of scrutiny when they signed their contracts and agreed to be filmed. They had the opportunity NOT to participate. Many who have been interviewed after their shows aired, stated their lives were forever changed and lamented the loss of privacy, relationships and sense of themselves. Notably, the Osbornes, who were no strangers to the public eye, ultimately regretted opening the doors of their private lives and homes to a television audience.
Unfortunately, the duck person was being touted as a “champion for Christian values,” and the angry mob of his “fans” began calling for boycotts of the network, petitions to be signed and have spewed more hate-filled speech towards A&E and organizations that promote LGBT equality and rights. This non-controversy will result in more sales for the duck people’s products as their “fans” rush to “support” them, enriching their coffers even more. Their “fans” will continue to vilify and marginalize people whom they believe are “beneath” them and continue their scorched earth campaign against “others.” Just as Jesus would do, I’m sure.
“Christians” could follow Pope Francis’ example…but they have already labeled The Pope as “anti-Christian.” Oops.
The aftermath will be must-see TV, although my sincerest wish is that the duck people, the baby pageants, and the Kardashians are canceled and replaced with educational programming. Or all shows of that ilk are grouped into a new network entitled “Dumb Me Down.”
Pass. The. Popcorn.
Some days the posts were easy to write, but some required prodding and I looked for suggested topics on Facebook and online. Current events helped generate some thoughts, but I realized that the project was more difficult and deeply personal. I learned to look past the superficial and focus on the important people and things in my life. However, I was not prepared for the emotions that would be stirred up as I wrote each post. I plan to do the challenge again next year, to compare where I am today versus in 2014.
Next week, I shall return to the lighthearted, humorous posts I prefer to write and catch up on my posting my book reviews. But, for now, thank you. Namaste.
“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” ~ Randy Pausch
I am thankful to have worked in retail while in college. I enjoyed my jobs and have pleasant memories of flexible hours, great customers and fun co-workers. With one glaring exception – Black Friday. I was left so traumatized by the experience, over 25 years ago, that I never shop on Black Friday, and only patronize small, locally-owned or socially-conscious, green businesses.
Black Friday traditionally marked the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. It was the period of the year where retailers would operate “in the black,” or at a profit, versus than “in the red,” or at a loss. For folks employed by retail establishments, it simply meant earning more money in a shorter amount of time.
Sadly, Black Friday has become synonymous with greed. And violence.
I urge you to consider whether or not those items are dire necessities worth dying for today. Or ever.
In the meantime, enjoy the dulcet, acapella tones of Sweet Honey in the Rock’s “Greed.”
Wishing you continued blessings and gratitude for being on the blog journey with me. Please enjoy time with loved ones, as it is precious and entirely too short. Pause for a moment to think about and thank all the people who work on holidays, sacrificing time away from friends and family, to keep us safe, healthy and free. Let us work together to ensure they come home quickly, safely and are fully supported upon their return. Happy Thanksgiving!
When I started this blog I needed an outlet for my feelings. Not only has the experience been cathartic, it has given me the opportunity to read other bloggers’ thoughts. But, the unexpected blessing has been the thought-provoking discussions I have had with people all over the world. Over time, I my readership numbers steadily increased, and I started to find my voice. Thank you for taking the journey alongside me.
Today is about you. Whether you focus on books, humor and satire, fashion, or life, please leave a post with your name, the name of your blog and a brief description of it. This post is a forum to celebrate your blogs and pay it forward.
Today I was reminded of the motto of the Christopher Society, as I met to finalize some paperwork. When I thought I had reached a dead end, a good friend made a phone call to start another ball rolling, in a different direction. She did this, not out of some sense of obligation, but because she was a good friend. I am blessed to have MC in my life and look forward to the day I can thank her face-to-face for having my best interest at heart.
As I child I remember watching public service announcements, called “Christopher Closeup” that focused on inclusion, social justice, living a righteous life and being good to one another. Founded by Father James Keller, a Catholic priest from the Maryknoll order, I was drawn to their commitment to tolerance. While my beliefs have expanded to include Eastern religions, earth-based and pagan spiritual practices, secular and Catholic rituals, the message of The Christophers, Inc. resonates more each day.
I am thankful to live in a City that embraces spiritual and faith openness and religious tolerance. ALL faiths, or spiritual/non-spiritual paths, are equally important and should be respected, unconditionally.
I am thankful for the wonderful people I have met online, who have become dear, dear friends. Technology shrank the miles between us and I am blessed to know each of them. My goal is to meet each one face-to-face one day.
I am blessed to have parents and in-laws who are supportive, loving and still “worry” about me, even though I’m middle-aged. I shared the news of the temporary pause, yet again, of my nursing education journey with them. While they were upset for me – probably more than I was – they immediately had words of comfort and support for me.
This marks a new chapter in my life, into uncharted waters. Do I want to continue on the same course, or try something different? Is this my passion or something that seemed like a good idea at the time? Am I ready to make another leap? These questions remain unanswered at the moment.
What I Know
1. I have a passion for reading and writing. Until this Summer, when I was writing consistently, it was only a hobby.
2. I like to help others. In the broad sense. I am the person you turn to when you need tough love, or when tough choices need to be made.
3. I like to work for myself.
The key will be to combine 1, 2, and 3. Stay tuned.