Bryan of Boston, MA on Climate Change

Bryan of Boston, MA writes:

I am a 33 year old technologist and data scientist living in downtown Boston. I went to college at Northeastern University across the Fens, and I am a senior leader at a travel start-up in Fort Pointe. My entire life has been spent in southern New England, and the majority of my years have been spent in Massachusetts, and Boston (where I currently live). As a coastal community, this city lies in threat of worldwide rising sea levels; climate change is a looming catastrophe that threatens havoc and devastation for this original American enclave.

Over the next several decades, under even optimistic conditions, I will need to watch my city fall victim to frequent flooding and increasingly severe weather as the world climate continues to warm, decreasing the amount of worldwide ice and raising sea levels. If the Trump administration is successful in their promise to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and renew our national energy focus on fossil fuel consumption, then it is not outside the realm of possibility that large portions of my city might be permanently submerged, barring some unprecedented and budget-crushing engineering project that is not yet conceived.

Fortunately, the city of Boston, in conjunction with leadership from dozens of worldwide cities, has opted to take on this critical issue without federal help. However, climate change is a worldwide phenomenon, and it will take worldwide unity and cohesion to develop and enact a true long-term solution, and President-elect Trump has promised a reversal of early successes. His administration is, given those promises, an existential threat to the safety and security of the United States.

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Bryan of Boston, MA on Climate Change

Bryan of Boston, MA writes:

Flooding along the Boston waterfront

I am a 33 year old technologist and data scientist living in downtown Boston. I went to college at Northeastern University across the Fens, and I am a senior leader at a travel start-up in Fort Pointe. My entire life has been spent in southern New England, and the majority of my years have been spent in Massachusetts, and Boston (where I currently live). As a coastal community, this city lies in threat of worldwide rising sea levels; climate change is a looming catastrophe that threatens havoc and devastation for this original American enclave.

Over the next several decades, under even optimistic conditions, I will need to watch my city fall victim to frequent flooding and increasingly severe weather as the world climate continues to warm, decreasing the amount of worldwide ice and raising sea levels. If the Trump administration is successful in their promise to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and renew our national energy focus on fossil fuel consumption, then it is not outside the realm of possibility that large portions of my city might be permanently submerged, barring some unprecedented and budget-crushing engineering project that is not yet conceived.

Fortunately, the city of Boston, in conjunction with leadership from dozens of worldwide cities, has opted to take on this critical issue without federal help. However, climate change is a worldwide phenomenon, and it will take worldwide unity and cohesion to develop and enact a true long-term solution, and President-elect Trump has promised a reversal of early successes. His administration is, given those promises, an existential threat to the safety and security of the United States.

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Andres Useche of Los Angeles, CA on DACA and DREAMers

Andres Useche of Los Angeles, CA writes:

By singing and participating in rallies throughout the country, I met many DREAMers whose stories touched me deeply and inspired me to write a second immigration song: Dream to Belong (the video above).  I was devastated to learn that Joaquin Luna, a teen DREAMer, had taken his own life when he figured his undocumented status would keep him from fulfilling his dream of becoming an Engineer. The song is dedicated in his memory and also it’s for all DREAMers who we have to make sure never lose hope.  We can never stop fighting for the opportunities they deserve.

The USA was built on a DREAM: a dream of freedom, of opportunity, the belief that if you put in the hard work you could achieve anything. That dream inspired migration and brought many to build railroads and work the fields, to join the beautiful diversity which makes US the country we are today.

 

That dream of opportunity led parents to bring their small children into the US, seeking to give them a better life. These children grew up here. This is their home.

This fueled our struggle for the DREAM Act, DACA and immigration reform. DREAMers too have had to seek the land of opportunity where they already live, where their fulfillment has been denied for too long. They have inspired me as they have inspired so many because they embody that struggle to grow, to achieve and to give back as much as they possibly can. Through their relentless pursuit of education and desire to work, DREAMers not only better themselves but the country they love. When our nation opens its arms to Dreamers, it’s getting closer to a more complete fulfillment of its fundamental promise. It is this embrace that brings us closer to a more perfect union, a nation with an arc bending towards justice.

 

“Dream to Belong” chronicles the activism of many DREAMers and allies trying to make that promise a reality, not for some but for all. DACA was a giant leap but unlike CIR it can and has been under threat, and under Trump the threat will grow. We can’t stop seeking a compassionate solution that includes the hardworking families who made such a tremendous effort to give their children, the DREAMers, a brighter future. Join our efforts. Together, Sí, Se Puede!

 

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Terry of Minneapolis, MN on Economic Fairness

Terry of Minneapolis, MN writes:

I grew up in the Midwest, one of 9 children in a family that experienced hardship and economic challenges.  I have been successful in my business career and want others to have the same opportunities.  Education, fair housing laws and regulations, employment opportunities, crime and prison reform are all related issues holding people back or denying opportunities for success.  I have seen and experienced the effects my entire life–I am 67 years old.

I have seen people excluded based upon race and poverty, basically  “punished” for circumstances beyond their control.  I grew up a white male in a minority community and saw first hand the debilitating effects of prejudice, ignorance and discrimination against the people I lived with by the people I came to know, as my skin color did not hamper my access to opportunity as it did my minority friends.

Poverty is not a moral weakness, it is a fact of life for many children growing up today. We must embrace and face the issues if we are going to change them.  Poverty is lack of opportunity, not lack of interest, willpower or work ethic.  We have to restore hope, not “greatness” and that happens one child, one family, one community at a time.  We need to get engaged in our communities with opportunities to make a difference.

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Elaine of Nashville, TN on Health Care

Elaine of Nashville, TN writes:

My name is Elaine Baxter and I am a resident and active member of my community in Nashville.

In 2000, we had CIGNA health insurance. Our premium was  $10,000 a year. My husband was self employed.  It was pretty good insurance. CIGNA took care of prescriptions and doctor’s visits. But in 2008 our premium rose to $18,000 a year with a $5,000 deductible. But if we went in the hospital, we would have to pay a $27,000 deductible.  With this policy we had to pay 100% of office visits and 100% of our prescriptions.  

Toward the end of 2009 our business was picking up so we decided to try to get health insurance to hold us over while Obamacare was in the works.  We contacted many companies but with me having had breast cancer in 1999 and Scott having diabetes, we could not buy health insurance at any cost. No company would insure us. So we continued to wait for Obamacare.

I had breast cancer and had to have surgery and radiation treatments. After the $6200 yearly deducible was paid in, I didn’t have to pay anything else the rest of the year for coverage.  My radiation treatment would have cost us over $50,000 had it not been for Obamacare.  The ACA saved my life.

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Frances of Berkeley, CA on Climate Change

Frances of Berkeley, CA writes:

I’ve lived in California for most of my life.  I grew up enjoying family camping trips in our state’s beautiful and diverse National and State parks.  This instilled in me a love of the outdoors and a desire to ensure that we preserve this heritage.

We have just gone through a multi-year drought in California with the water supplies in our reservoirs reaching dangerously low levels.  It has brought home for me the reality of how vulnerable our communities are to extremes in the climate.  While working for universal healthcare, civil rights and immigrant rights are very important to me, I believe the Climate Crisis is the overriding issue of our time.

In California we benefit from a strong environmental ethic.  I’m proud that our state has taken several critical steps to begin addressing Climate Change.  Yet, I’m deeply concerned that we are running out of time to prevent runaway global warming.

We must demand that the new administration work aggressively to transition our country to clean renewable energy.  Congress must make critical investments in research into carbon sequestration so we are able to reduce the level of carbon that has already accumulated in the atmosphere.  It is our responsibility to be good stewards of the earth and ensure we pass on a habitable planet to future generations.

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Laura of Charlotte, NC on Health Care

Laura of Charlotte, NC writes:

I’m a retired woman, caregiver for disabled husband, relying on Social Security and Medicare; volunteer as tutor, hospital visitor, to end/ease homelessness, on behalf of vets, and in political action. Native southerner, lived in North and West  of US, and Abroad, back in the South for this century. I’m a churchlady, mother of two young adult daughters. In spite of everything, still have hope.

My husband and I are deeply grateful for Medicare A, B, D and supplemental ins. We’ve both had surgeries (major and minor) and my husband has been rushed to ER numerous times due to diabetic coma (complicated by heart failure and muscular dystrophy). I had emergency open heart surgery. He needs insulin and heart meds. Without Medicare, we’d be dead or destitute, then dead. We are not the only ones and many have more grievous burdens than ours. We want to see Social Security and Medicare saved and strengthened.

Among many issues, health care is a stand out for me. I want to learn more about how to preserve and strengthen access to health care for all Americans.

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Jerron of Greensboro, NC on Bullying

Jerron of Greensboro, NC writes:

My name is Jerron and I am a native or North Carolina. I am also OFA and HFA Alumni. I am 27 years old and recently moved back to NC from California.

Donald Trump ran his campaign by sowing discord and inciting fear. Especially the fear of a terrorist attack if Hillary Clinton were not elected. The recent election reminded much of the Bush/Gore race in 2000. I was in middle school at the time but I remember the events and the state of our country vividly. The country was very divided following an election where the President-Elect did not win the popular vote with Florida being a determining factor, the President-elect was also a person who most of the country and most of the world felt like was unqualified for the position.

This made our country vulnerable to our enemies and within the first year of the George W. Bush administration, America was attacked. I am afraid that with so many similarities to the election of 2000 America may actually become vulnerable to another attack.

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Andres of Los Angeles, CA on Immigration

Andres Useche of Los Angeles, CA writes:

 

I am an immigrant.  When I first arrived in the USA, there was a person that helped me and my family the most, a lovely elderly lady who happened to be undocumented. She worked all day and cleaned corporate floors all night to give her children the best life that she could.  It broke my heart to see that she and so many like her in our communities were and are discriminated against in this country of immigrants. I wrote the song Marching into the Light (the music video for which you can watch above) in support of immigration reform and the DREAM Act, both backed by President Obama. Too many ignore how Republicans blocked the passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, blocked DAPA and how they’ve supported anti-immigrant laws like SB1070 around the country. Things are only getting worse as Trump has openly insulted our communities and vowed to deport millions of people, separating hard-working  immigrant families.  Please join us in the struggle to end discrimination and prejudice. Let’s cherish the diversity which has always been a part of these United States and which has propelled this nation into becoming, at its best, a beacon of hope, uniting our common dreams of equality and freedom for all.

 

 

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Bob of Sacramento, CA on Climate Change

Bob of Sacramento, CA writes:

My issue was not listed. So, I’ll just use climate change as my “issue” though my “story” is more generalized.

I’ve been a Democrat since before I could vote. I hung door knob hangers for Bobby Kennedy in my hometown of Wallingford, CT back in 1968. I’ve been an OFA Fellow and helped run the GOTV efforts in Sacramento where I was the Staging Location Director for the more than 500 people who made calls during 2012 GOTV.

Recently, I’ve been involved in helping elect a committed environmentalist to the board of our local municipal utility, SMUD. He won with 70% of the vote.

I’m committed to equality, liberty, and love for all.

I live in Sacramento, CA where I’m retired after 25 years as a public information officer for the California Energy Commission. My background in media, public relations and organizing are at Rebuild The Hope’s disposal.

I live in a very open and fair state. But we have many fellow Californians who are still attracted to the “dark side.”  We must reach out to get Democratic voters to the polls in Sierra foothill counties.  And we must try to get people (Republicans, Independents, etc.) to change their political leanings and become more progressive.  If we don’t we risk alienating a good portion of our state’s population.

I’m hoping that Rebuild the Hope will do just that; bring that HOPE that we shared during the eight years of President Obama to the rest of our country and likewise to the world. While the etymology of the word “hope” comes from a religious basis, we must have confidence for the future based on our shared Constitutional values. I will work toward a peaceful retaking of Congress in 2018 and the Presidency in 2020.

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