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

How can you help?

As we head into day 9 of the government shut down, the impact continues to be felt across the nation. For example, WIC Associations have been forced to stop accepting new applicants. When a can of formula can cost $15 and only lasts 3 days, families will be faced with harsh choices.

Where the government is failing, individuals and non-profits are stepping in and up. Due to the funding lapse, military families are not receiving death benefits for their lost loved ones. These benefits are used to fly family members to Dover Airbase to pick up their deceased loved one …read more

Putting Conflict Out of Style

conflict (Photo credit: Adam Prince)

This week, we commemorate the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. As a nation, we have come to a place where we have made 9/11 a Day of Service and Remembrance to honor the memory of all those who were lost on that day.

However, immediately after the attacks, many Americans wanted revenge. Our nation’s response was to engage in two wars in Afghanistan (beginning in October 2001) and Iraq (beginning in March 2003). The war in Iraq went on for more than seven years, with the last US troops leaving Iraq …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

Turning the Tables on Domestic Violence Abusers

www.whitehouse.gov

In many cases of domestic violence – in order to escape violence – the victims are often forced to limit their own freedoms in an effort to protect their lives and the lives of their children.

In Massachusetts, a program has flipped this dynamic by making the abusers make a choice to either stop being abusive, or increasingly have their own freedoms limited.

The Domestic Violence High Risk Team was started in 2005 and since then, of the 106 high risk cases they have dealt with, none have escalated to death. Only 8 of the victims were forced …read more

Don’t Mess with Texas’ Women’s Rights

We wrote about Wendy Davis on our sister blog, all things e last week and the importance of her 11 hour filibuster to prevent a vote on strict new abortion laws during a special session of the Texas Senate. “Over 120,000 tuned in to the livestream and comments abounded on Facebook and Twitter in support. When the vote seemed eminent spectators caused such frenzy that the gallery had to be cleared in order for a vote to occur. The clock struck 12:02 in the process and the special session was over. That act took many voices but the result was …read more

Can We Achieve One America?

This week, I’m attending the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Washington, DC. The conference is a gathering of nearly 5000 people, mainly from the U.S. with some international attendees, who serve or work to build the infrastructure that allows others to serve their communities, the nation and the world every day.

The theme of this year’s conference is Service Unites and is focused on sharing ideas and best practices for solving critical community problems and showcasing the ways that service brings people together across the divides of race, class, religion, geography, and political ideology.

I was inspired by …read more

G’Day Gun Reform

Recently on the Daily Show, John Oliver did a 3 part series examining gun reforms in Australia and their subsequent effects. The segments are not only hilarious; but also inspired me to learn more about Australia’s successful gun reforms, and our own country’s recent failure in this realm. So, I did some investigating and found that the statistics in Australia are quite astounding.

Australia had 13 gun massacres in the 18 years before the 1996 gun reforms, but has had no mass shootings since. Around 650,000 automatic and semiautomatic guns were destroyed as a part of the Australian government’s …read more

The Capital Punishment Crowd

Source: Amnesty International

Amnesty International recently released their annual report on the countries with the most executions. With 43 total executions in 2012 the USA ranked 5th this year on Amnesty’s list for the worst offenders. Who else is on this cringe-worthy list? At the top is China followed by Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. This is the company we keep.

This year Maryland made major strides when the death penalty was abolished. However, there are still 32 states that utilize the death penalty.

Source: Death Penalty Information Center

Why should we join the enlightened world …read more

What’s Next for Marriage Equality?

Anxious to find out what the outcomes of the Supreme Court arguments on Prop. 8 and DOMA a few weeks ago will be? Take a look at some of the ‘more likely’ outcomes developed by the Human Rights Campaign below.

Created by the Human Rights Campaign