Keep the Health Care Baby; Toss the Technology Bath Water

Bath-time (Photo credit: Photo-Fenix.com)

On one recent evening, as I was flipping channels to get to my favorite news program, I came across a television game show called Let’s Ask America. It’s sort of the Family Feud meets Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Okay, so I like game shows and the news. The concept of the show is that using Skype, four contestants play from their homes responding to questions with two to four possible answers. The answers are based on surveying Americans from various walks of life – moms, business people, high school students, etc. On this …read more

Poverty Brain Drain

In American society, we have certain negative associations linked with our poorest citizens. A few sentiments that I’ve heard people say out loud:

“If they try harder, they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps” “No one deserves to live off of welfare” “If I could get out of my bad situation, they can too.”

Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard University explains that there is a blame-the-victim mentality, where many Americans believe that poor people continue to be poor because they are lazy, unmotivated or just not that sharp.

In reality, just the opposite is true – poverty saps brainpower. …read more

The Arc of History Bends towards Access for Everyone

For 35 years, “care” has been at the center of Baltimore-based healthcare provider, Chase Brexton’s mission. At their Cathedral Street location, they have served thousands of community members in the areas of medical care, behavioral health, dental care, pharmacy services and specialty services, to name a few.

Chase Brexton Health Services groundbreaking (Photo credit: MDGovpics)

For months, we have watched as the beautiful old Monumental Life Building on Charles Street was transformed into Chase Brexton Health Services’ new home. The 178,000 square foot building allows the service provider to throw open its doors even wider, and to better honor …read more

What if George Zimmerman had known Trayvon’s Dad?

Interracial Marble Relationship 3 (Photo credit: wjserson)

What if George Zimmerman had known Trayvon’s Dad? I’ve been pondering that question for the past 24 hours and for me it’s progress and one step toward healing. For the past few weeks, my questions have been a lot more contentious.

In a statement released by Robert Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center, after the Zimmerman verdict, he asks many of the questions that have been on my mind and the answers were making me equally angry and sad. I’m saddened by the verdict, though it was not unexpected—many legal …read more

A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action

Trayvon Martin Protest – Sanford (Photo credit: werthmedia)

Sorry Elvis, we still need to talk. Saturated, but it seems absurd to contemplate writing about anything other than Trayvon Martin this week. Staring at the masthead of our blog, and reading the tagline, viewing social justice challenges and opportunities through the prism of current events, I keep thinking, “now is no time to be silent,” because in the simplest of terms, this is both a challenge AND an opportunity.

But it is hard to have words, much less the right words. My head has been scrambled with the news accounts, …read more

William Velásquez Day

Texans will now have an official reason to celebrate on May 9th. On June 15, 2013 Governor Rick Perry signed bill HB3209 designating May 9th in honor of William Velasquez.

Not sure who Willie Velasquez is? Regretfully I wasn’t either until a few weeks ago when a call to action was circulated around the Campaign Consultation office highlighting his achievements and offering the opportunity to support the designation of William Velasquez Day. I quickly learned Willie Velasquez was a major player in our country’s voting history.

Willie opened the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) in 1974, to focus on …read more

Through Violence You See_______

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April 27th is a date that is burned in my memory. Having served as a Peace Corps volunteer over two of these dates, the South African national holiday in is one that no one – especially a temporary resident –could ignore. National Freedom Day marks the first non-racial elections held in South Africa after almost three-hundred years of colonialism in 1994.

Inextricably tied to this celebration is Nelson Mandela, the leader of the South African liberation struggle. In 1990, Mandela’s release from nearly thirty years of imprisonment for his actions and planning in support of “non-racial alliances …read more

Facebook’s About-Face

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As someone who has consistently received emails asking me to report images on Facebook depicting and encouraging violence against women – only to receive a form reply when I did that Facebook did not agree that these were hate speech – I was particularly happy to see the recent success of Women, Action & the Media (WAM), the Everyday Sexism Project and author/activist Soraya Chemaly this week.

On Tuesday Facebook acknowledged that its systems to identify and remove hate speech “have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate.” …read more

A FORCE to End Rape Culture

If you haven’t heard of the group FORCE, you are about to hear a lot more about them. In December 2012 they gained notice for their ingeniously timed mock Victoria’s Secret ‘Pink Loves Consent’ campaign during the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, which raised awareness about the importance of consensual sex. As a result, the campaign went viral.

Now FORCE has started a new multi-year campaign called FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. As part of this campaign the group is raising money for various projects including The Monument Project on Kickstarter. Their goal is to raise $25,000 to create a highly visible …read more

Overcoming the Prison Epidemic

Prison Bar(code)

Baltimore City detention center has made headlines after a scandal revealed the inmates were running the show and had been employing guards to smuggle in cell phones, food and drugs. Mother Jones recently produced a list of the top 10 worst prisons and the horrors that occur within their walls. In Louisiana, one in 86 adults is in prison. After release, ex-offenders are 38 times more likely to be unemployed than non-offenders.

Violence in prisons is nothing new; any TV show from OZ to The Wire will tell you that. In 2003, Congress enacted the Prison Rape Elimination Act, …read more