Deshirl of Garards Fort, PA on Health Care

Deshirl of Garards Fort, PA writes:

I am a retired county employee in southwestern Pennsylvania. I am an active member of the community, staying involved in several serving organizations or positions. I like to help as often as I can in any capacity that I find a need!

     Now that PE Donald Trump has won the election, I have begun contemplating the personal effect. I began having a health concern in May which has not been definitively diagnosed and still I continue to suffer with it.  My husband and I are considering changing our health insurance coverage which could severely impact the health care I am able to secure.  We have looked at Affordable Care as an option, and we continue to ruminate over our best options.
We are fearful at this time about what we will be able to do in this situation. Threats to pull out the known health options without proffering any other alternatives, is leaving us stressed and concerned. We do not know how we will be able to process the changes that may be in store, but we are afraid at this time, thinking of what is ahead of us.
Deshirl Yesenosky

Our concerns regarding my health care haunt us daily. We explore our options and hope that we will be able to make good decisions based upon the need. It would be good for there to be clear, simple offerings that are expected to replace the Affordable Care Act, since it has been so adamantly pronounced that it will  be revoked.  I hope that others who find themselves where I am now, will also write, call, and request, WHAT NOW?!

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Matt of New york, NY on Climate Change

Matt of New york, NY writes:

As a lifelong New Yorker, I’ve seen my city go through many evolutions and many changes. New York City is not the same city I grew up in during the 1970s, 80s or 90s. In many ways, the nature of the city is change; changing people, changing landscapes, changing values. The changes that have taken place here reflect the things that have happened in cities around the country and around the world, but here we have a few key differences– here we are a city of extremes. Extreme wealth and extreme poverty exist here side by side. Extreme privilege and extreme deprivation. I’ve seen all of it; and I’m still here.

But one event affected me and my family more than any other single thing that has happened in New York among many great and terrible things, and I fear that it is a warning for all of us to heed: the destruction of climate change, as manifested in the form of Hurricane Sandy.

Flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy affected my neighborhood, and huge sections of lower Manhattan, right in the heart of downtown. Some of the most valuable real-estate in the world. While few buildings were completely destroyed in Manhattan as they were in other parts of the city, half the island was without power for days, and many people were displaced, including my family members. If it can happen in New York City, it can happen anywhere in the world. And it is bigger than any politician, political party, or government. The earth and the forces of nature are with us all the time, we are part of nature, and our relationship with it is what makes our society thrive. But when we ignore the signs nature sends us, we put everything we value in peril.

No person, group or organization alone has the power to protect us from our changing climate. Nor can we make climate change go away simply by saying it isn’t happening or denying its existence. What we can do is recognize that we are a part of nature, we play a role in everything that happens on the earth, and that together, humanity in its collective body, acting in a concerted and sustained manner, does have the power to make the difference.

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Shernaz of Danville, CA on Bullying

Shernaz of Danville, CA writes:

I’ve lived in California for 4 years with my husband and 3 sons. We moved here from Houston, TX and love the climate and people in California.  I’m a full time mom now but have previously worked for non-profits in the fields of healthcare and higher education.

As a child, I lived in a society where bullying was sadly quite common, and am determined to prevent it from happening as much as I possibly can.

I’m a full time mom and feel very strongly about issues of equality, women’s rights, bullying, racism and bigotry. I’ve never really been involved in politics but this election has troubled me so much that I feel a strong commitment to take some sort of action.  The hate that Trump and his team are spreading towards minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ, etc. bothers me deeply and has galvanized me into getting involved.  I worry about my children growing up in a country in which they will have no place because of the color of their skin, and fear that all the progress we have made as a society towards embracing tolerance, love and respect for others will be negated by the new administration.

We have to take a stand against bullying, of which racism is the ugliest manifestation.  We must expose it whenever and wherever it exists and not rest until we live in the kind of tolerant and respectful society that we all hope for.

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Molly of Las Vegas, NV on Women’s Rights

Molly of Las Vegas, NV writes:

I have been living abroad for over a decade but I still value my ties to the Las Vegas community. Nearly everything American that my daughter has experienced comes from Vegas: the great parks in Summerlin, the fabulous library and its wonderful summer programs.

I worry what message President Trump will send my daughter and her generation of American women.

I have lived abroad for over a decade, in a developing country with a tradition of chauvinism and misogyny. I have seen how activists here have used the standards set in the US to fight for more rights at home. I worry that under the Trump administration, the progress that women have made in the US will erode, and that will also undermine the progress made elsewhere, as well.

I grew up in the US during a time of empowerment. It didn’t seem so then, but as I think about it, everything around me was sending the message that I could do anything, be anything. After many years abroad, I have seen that many girls do not receive those messages, are not encouraged to live to their full potential. The Trump campaign used every opportunity to undermine the progress women have made. Stronger women make a stronger country. We teach that abroad, we need to protect it at home.

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Tom of Silver Spring, MD on Climate Change

Tom of Silver Spring, MD writes:

I am a native of Pennsylvania but have lived in Maryland for the last 3.5 years while I complete my doctorate (history).  My research and teaching interests are rooted in the nineteenth century, namely slavery and abolition and the rise of the fossil fuel energy industry.  I live in Silver Spring and am a big fan of the AFI theater.

We are all affected by climate change.  Our children and grandchildren will be affected by climate change.  If there is an issue we can agree as Democrats and Republicans on, it is that a future for our children on a planet that is healthy and fruitful is the most important thing we can leave.  Climate change causes political conflict over water and because of crop failures.  It negatively affects the health of people around the globe.  And with the rising of sea levels, it forebodes a future of migration across the globe away from coastal regions amidst more powerful hurricanes. Addressing climate change now with great urgency is one that addresses inequality, as the affects of climate change will inevitably effect the downtrodden first.  It will not, however, spare those with privilege, as an inhabitable or less habitable earth fundamentally reshapes what it means to be human.

We must fight to keep the agreements signed under President Obama in place and enact new programs that boost alternative energies and cut greenhouse gas emissions.  We need to work locally and globally: these issues affect each of us. Demand action at the state and federal levels. Advocate for sustainable programs in our local communities.  Our success or failure on this will not be felt most deeply by us, but by future generations yet unborn.  We owe it to them, to the future.

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Erin of Phoenix, AZ on LGBTQ

Erin of Phoenix, AZ writes:

I am a freshman at Arizona State University, and double-majoring in Criminal Justice and Political Science. I am also pursuing a minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies and possibly a certificate in French. I hope ti graduate in 8 or 9 semesters, and then get an internship with the International Criminal Court. I then plan to go to grad school and pursue a career as a victim advocate and public defender, and use that experience to either work at the ICC or win a seat in local government, and fight for the rights of all minorities and disenfranchised groups.

I am a college freshman and a proud member of the LGBTQIA community. I went to a highly conservative Catholic school from sixth to twelfth grade, and has to stay closeted to avoid harassment, bullying, and abuse from students and teachers alike. I had an administration that refused to even acknowledge that queer students attended the school, and when I told them that because it was a charter school, they legally had to allow us to start a Gay-Straight Alliance, they threatened to call in their lawyers. After graduating this past May, I was finally able to come out of the closet publicly. A Trump presidency makes me feel unsafe being proudly queer and threatens the lives and livelihoods of everyone I care about it. I am proud to be genderqueer and bisexual, but I refuse to stand by while Trump’s administration tries to force me back into the closet.

I refuse to let Trump erase all the progress queer people have made in the past few years. I refuse to sit by as friends of mine go back into the closet or put off coming out because Trump’s victory has reinforced the bigoted beliefs of their friends and family. We may not be able to keep Trump from serving for the next 4 years, but we sure as hell don’t have to sit there and let him destroy our community’s progress. We will oppose his bigotry and fight for our rights to exist openly and freely.

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Ellen of Brooklyn, NY on Women’s Rights

Ellen of Brooklyn, NY writes:

I moved from Middlebury, Vermont ten years ago and have spent the past decade in various jobs, primarily in public service, across the country. We are returning to the Middlebury area (Cornwall) in February to raise our daughter in a wonderful, unique community and to reconnect with friends and family. I am excited to engage with my neighbors as we work to protect and build on the progress of the past eight years. I believe my daughter will grow up in a world of greater equality and tolerance than ever before, but only if I work to make that world with my community.

I am a woman working in a male dominated industry, and everyday I feel the invisible restrictions placed on me and my sisters and my friends. I look at my daughter and I am terrified of the days when she will have to be wary on a public bus or a crowded street to avoid the groping hands or vile words of men around her, or worse. And then, because we are white, I try to understand how this fear of mine would be so much larger and more present if my daughter’s skin was brown or black, and how many other overt or subtle limits and attacks would be part of her everyday experience. I am committed to building a more peaceful, loving, tolerant world for children of all races, genders, sexual orientations. I believe that women are qualified for positions of leadership and I know we stand a better chance than ever to achieve those goals.

I am committed to taking an active role in making a new, better world one step at a time.

I am committed to building and becoming part of a community of passionate activists who seek the same, to learn from each other and grow a movement.

I am terrified of the impacts a Trump presidency will have on the progress made under President Obama, and I am committed to holding the dam wherever and as much as possible.

I am hoping to find colleagues and friends in this work.

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Carmen of Miami, FL on Bullying

Carmen of Miami, FL writes:

I am a filmmaker and writer and recently moved back to my hometown of Miami to find it’s become a vibrant and progressive city full of immigrants that know anything is possible.

Since being in Miami I’ve also done some teaching artist work and I’ve noticed kids extremely aware of bullying. They reject or embrace it depending on their peers. I think adults follow suit.

Bullying is something that permeates every issue for me. It doesn’t allow for honest, fact driven discourse which leads to ineffective and dangerous policy choices and votes.

I think we need to learn how to be civil so that we can build a truly civl society which attacks its problems with a clear mind and imaginative solutions.

Ultimately, I want all of our communities to feel heard and accounted for. I just know everybody thrives when they feel listened to. I know we can do better.

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Everlena of Chattanooga, TN on Voting

Everlena of Chattanooga, TN writes:

Dr. Everlena Holmes Protesting TN's Failure to Pass Medicaid Expansion

I am an 82 year old African American female and a native of Tuskegee Institute, AL.  I was part of the Civil Rights Movement in AL, the bedrock of the Civil Rights Movement.  I was personally affected by voter suppression in 1958.   I have always been an advocate for justice and civil rights. Following my retirement as a Dean of Health Sciences, I became a Professional Volunteer. I currently serve as an Advocate for Justice and an Advocate for building strong Communities.  I live and work in 3 of the 10 East Chattanooga neighborhoods building the needed capacity required to empower residents to address problems and concerns that directly affect their neighborhood. I feel, it will be through civic and social justice education that the changes we desire will be achieved.

It is important to address voter suppression rapidly taking place throughout the U.S. since the 2010 election.  This is evident through redistricting; early closure of polling sites in minority communities; the discontinuation of “souls to the poll” by closing polling sites on Sundays; required voter identification, especially for seniors who were born at home and find it difficult to obtained their identification after voting for decades in the past. I feel voting should be a Constitutional Right of every U.S. Citizen.  As a result of courses in Civic being eliminated from the curriculum in our schools, we are producing generations of adults who are ignorant about their rights, as a citizen, to vote or why they should even vote.  There needs to be a mechanism in place to identify, nurture and support possible candidates for political office at the local, state and federal levels.

It is time for individuals to stop standing on the sideline, arguing among themselves and to “DO SOMETHING!!”  Talk without action is meaningless.  People need to become informed about their civic duties as a member of society and a citizen of these United States.  They should also learn how to make change occur through their action and the action of others!


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