Category Archives: Inspiring people

Honoring Dr. King’s Dream

We can never take for granted how far we have come to ensure equality for every citizen in our country. Thousands of people have suffered so that the rights of our people are upheld and preserved. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech has lived in our minds for decades. It has remained alive in our hearts, reminding us to work for a dream, to accomplish the impossible. And tomorrow, with the election of Barack Obama, we are so close to realizing Dr. King’s dream.

But we can’t assume we have accomplished his dream entirely. We can’t assume equality comes simply with the election of an African American president, because it hasn’t. But we’re getting so close. And as we watch President-Elect Obama be sworn in tomorrow, there can be no doubt in our minds that the impossible can happen. Now, we have every reason to believe that Dr. King’s dream may soon be entirely realized.

I think it is all of our responsibilities to watch this speech, read this speech, and experience this speech before tomorrow’s inauguration. Amoungst everything that it represents, every one of us should understand the significance of this new presidency and the effect it will have on our hopes for equality in our country.

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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Filed under Equal Rights, Giving respect, Inauguration, Inspiring people, Martin Luther King Jr., Obama, Patriotism, Peace, Presidency, Racism, Raising Awareness

Inauguration Activities for your Children

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In case you hadn’t noticed, I am very excited about the upcoming inauguration of President-Elect Obama. And as a mom, I think it is only fair that I share the excitement of this historical event with my children too. I also think this is the perfect opportunity to teach our children about the United States presidency and the purpose of an inauguration. So, after doing some research, I have found all sorts of fun ways to engage our children in this historical event.

Where to begin? First, and depending on their age, you might want to explain to your children what the United States President is actually responsible for. Ben’s Guide will give your kids a simple but fairly thorough explanation.You may also want to show your children our nation’s past 43 presidents. White House.gov provides a list of past presidents along with interesting facts about each. And what better way to remember our presidents than to learn a rap about all 44 of them? The song and lyrics can be found here.

The inauguration is as much a celebration as it is a learning experience for our children. Parents should think about explaining what this inauguration is for and what it means for so many people. Here are some excellent books which will teach children further about the presidency and the inauguration process:

Our President-Elect represents a great deal to our country. His principles, his history as a politician and recent election can teach our kids many important lessons. Princemensah at Ehow wrote a wonderful article about the inspiring lessons children should learn from Barack Obama. One suggested lesson reads:

“Point out the lesson of working with different people.

The President-Elect has a history of working with people with differing views. From Harvard to the Hill, he has established faith and friendship with people who do not share his views. This attitude is critical to a nation sharply divided over war and worries over the economy. Your children need to know about the value of being able to gain the respect of your enemies.”

While teaching our children about the inauguration is important, there are plenty of fun, interactive ways to include them in all the celebrating too. Active learning with lots of cutting and pasting always gets the brain moving. As I mentioned in a post before, Kaboose.com has some excellent craft ideas for children. More crafts can also be found at Amazing Moms.com.

Does your child dream of becoming President of the United States someday? Scholastic.com has a fun game for older children where they can decide what they would do if they were president.

If you have an inauguration whiz on your hands, perhaps the whole family can sit down and play this inauguration quiz found at pbs.org

Or do you have a musician in the house? Have them try playing “Hail to the Chief”. The sheet music can be found here if you click on the “score” icon at the top left of the page.

Are you looking for coloring pages? So that your young ones can stay busy coloring up a storm on Tuesday, we’ve got plenty of links to share:

While the rest of your household readies for the inauguration, you may be wondering how you can engage your tween or high schooler further. Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel and MTV will all be hosting events with many favorite performers like the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.

With millions of visitors expected to converge on the capitol next week, it is likely that some of you are headed there as well. Due to all of the security restrictions, I am sure you are frustrated to hear that it may be very difficult to bring your children to the inauguration itself.

That being said, there will be so much to do in the DC area for families. Be sure to check out Go City Kids for all of the city wide activities. And did you know that there will be, in fact, a Children’s Inaugural Ball?

And for those families like mine who are scrambling to figure out how to celebrate inauguration day hundreds of miles away from Washington DC, be sure to check locally for events and activities for children on the day of the inauguration. I know that Borders will hosting inaugural events in some cities, so it’s worth doing further research online.

So strike up Hail to the chief, hang your coloring pages proudly, maybe do a little presidential rap, and enjoy celebrating the inauguration with your entire family this coming Tuesday, January 20th.

Crossed posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Children, Education, Family, Government, Inauguration, Inspiring people, MTV, Music, Obama, Parenting, Patriotism, Presidency, Reccomendations, Teaching kids

Michelle Obama as First Lady, Feminist and Mom in Chief

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I can’t help but empathize with Michelle Obama right now. As a mother of two small children myself, I keep trying to imagine what she is going through as she prepares her family for life in the White House. I think about her little girls growing up in Washington DC as I did, attending a school right down the road from where I grew up. And as I empathise with our future first lady, my ears perk up when I read both about the support and criticism she is receiving as an accomplished woman who has decided to make her role in the White House “mom-in-chief”.

There can be no more daunting task than trying to raise the First Children. Can you imagine? Your daughters must live in a virtual museum with some of the tightest security world wide. There is no spontaneously running over to a neighbor’s house to play.  They will be isolated and protected from the world and yet they will have the most public lives of any child.

And so Michelle Obama has chosen to make parenting these children her priority. However, within days of learning about her future in the White House, Michelle had already received her fair share of advice. Hillary has jumped in to say her piece. Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, had a few things to say. And even FDR’s grandson offered some words of wisdom. While Michelle did not formally ask for Laura Bush’s advice, the current first lady did share her suggestions with the press later.

I wonder what comfort she has taken from all of this advice, if any. I wonder how much more advice is coming down the pike from other celebrity parents or those with political agendas or even advice from your average “Jane Parent” who always thinks she knows better anyway.

However, while Michelle prepares her girls and faces all of this advice, she must deal with those who already criticize her decision to put her girls first. Michelle is certainly an accomplished woman. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she continued on to work as an associate at a law firm and hold six board of director positions. She founded programs, she lead community outreach – she made “change” happen long before it was cool for an Obama to do so. But now, as her husband has been elected to be President, she has chosen to bring her career to a screeching halt and just be… well… a mom.

In a fascinating article written by Rebecca Traister at Salon.com, Michelle’s choices to focus on the traditional worries of a First Lady leave the author concerned. 

“…some of the most extraordinary [qualities of Michelle Obama] — the ones that set her apart from many of her predecessors in the East Wing — are already falling victim to a nostalgic complacency about familial roles, and to an apparent commitment to re-creating Camelot with an African-American cast, but little modern tweaking of the role of wife and mother.”

She argues Michelle could push the envelope and bring a more career minded feminist into the role of a first lady. She seems disappointed she has chosen to put her role as a mother and wife first and foremost, while leaving all the rest behind.

Ruth Marcus from the Washington Post discusses the ever present question that arises between married parents such as the Obamas: who will work and who will raise the children?

“The brutal reality is that, like our president-elect, most men do not wrestle quite so strenuously with these competing desires [to work or raise your family]. So when the needs of our families collide with the demands of our jobs, it is usually the woman’s career that yields.”

She implies that Michelle was not given much of a choice in this matter. When Obama was elected President, her career had to end. And there was no other choice but to make her children a priority.

But has Michelle truly failed as a feminist by focusing on her children? Is her career an utter failure because she is stepping aside from it for the meantime? Has she lost all credibility as a potentially new, modern, variety of First Lady?

According to Geraldine Brooks at The Daily Beast, she can make parenting her priority while still representing women as a powerful example.

“She is smart enough and subtle enough to have worked out that so-called Mom issues can make for meaty public policy.”

And then explains that her position as a mother in the White House will in fact bring much needed attention to women who struggle daily as they balance their careers and family.

“Work-family balance? What is that, really, but a polite way of putting the feminist agenda of equal pay and decent childcare back on the table after so many years of neglect?”

Meghan O’Rourke at Slate.com sympathises that, once again, no matter if a woman chooses either work or parenting as the priority, they will be criticized for their choice. And most of often a woman’s biggest critic is herself. She then goes on to make this final point.

“The best way Michelle Obama can act as a role model for women right now is not by making the decision any one of us would make (because we’d all make different decisions), but by reminding us that life is fleeting, and we ought to immerse ourselves in the opportunities and joys of our own life as it exists. Not as it might exist.”

And so my identification with Michelle Obama remains true. With two small children, and a mountain of advice, she must trust her instincts and raise her girls the best way she knows how.  There is no doubt in my mind that she will change the role and perceptions of the First Lady. And however she shakes things up, she has already made it unapologetically clear that she will make her girls her priority. In my mind’s eye, as a mother and brilliant leader able to remain fluid in her many roles as a woman, Michelle will make an excellent “First Feminist” indeed.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under daughters, Election, Equal Rights, Family, Fathers, Feminist tendancies, Guilt and motherhood, Hillary Clinton, Inspiring people, Marriage, Michelle Obama, Mothers, Obama, Parenting, Politics, Women, Working moms

Charities Entered in the HP Giveaway Contest

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During my HP Giveaway contest, I received some amazing entries. And I mean AMAZING. Choosing a winner seemed near impossible and I am about to show you why. But I did choose a winner and the Moms Without Moms Organization spent last weekend opening up all their computers and finding new homes for them at the Laura Walker Project. I am thrilled those computers will make a significant difference in the lives of the women they serve.

But back to my entrants. The stories. The heartache. The charities. And even once I had worked my list down, the remaining folks were honestly all equally deserving. Even since this contest has long passed, I think about their charities and the work so many of these folks do for others. So, I thought that the only small way I can give to these folks might be to introduce some of them to my readers. You see, there is amazing work happening out there, even during these very difficult times. Selfless giving happens daily, without any fanfare or fabulous HP giveaways hyping up the amazing work they do.

Please read along and learn a little something about some incredible charities that my entrants hoped to donate the the HP giveaway to.

But can ask one favor of you though? If you are able to, or if you know someone who can, please consider contributing to one of these charities. Or post this link on your blog encouraging folks to give. Or send this link to friends. Or Stumble it. Or tweet about it. Do what you can do to expose these charities to others. I believe in the power of word of mouth, blogging and community. Maybe some more good can come for these charities after all.

Also, forgive me. Rather than writing my own blurb about each place, I have copied quotes from most of their mission statements. They do a better job explaining themselves anyway. Ok, here we go…

Legacy Cultural Learning Community

“Muscogee-Seminole and Cherokee artist, Dana Tiger, founded Legacy Cultural Learning Community to offer “art making” as part of the daily lives of Native youth.  Since 2002, Legacy has provided art opportunities ranging from outdoor youth and elder camps where traditional foods are prepared on an open fire, to the production of film by 5th through 8th grade camera and technical directors.”

Arise for Social Justice

“Arise is a low-income rights, membership organization based in Springfield, MA. We were founded by welfare mothers who believe we have the right to speak for ourselves about the issues that affect our lives. Our membership is poor people, people who are homeless and at-risk of homelessness, working people and people who have been pushed to the side by society We organize around voting rights, housing, homelessness, access to health care, family rights and criminal injustice.”

Endependence Center

“ECI provides an array of independent living services to individuals with disabilities and to the community.  The purposes of ECI are two-fold; to prepare individuals, and to prepare the community for full integration of persons with disabilities into society.”

Lighthouse International

“Lighthouse International is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to preserving vision and to providing critically needed vision and rehabilitation services to help people of all ages overcome the challenges of vision loss. Through clinical services, education, research, and advocacy, the Lighthouse enables people with low vision and blindness to enjoy safe, independent and productive lives.”

Wyoming Search and Rescue Association

The Wyoming Search and Rescue Association assists with “the employment, coordination and utilization of available resources and personnel in relieving distress, preserving life and removing survivors from the site of a disaster, emergency or hazard to safety in case of lost, stranded, entrapped or injured people.”

Vision Hope

“Presently Vision HOPE’s sole focus is on raising the necessary funds to operate Champions for Life Kids’ Camp. Foster children from the surrounding communities will participate in a variety of fun and educational activities in a non-competitive and non-threatening, loving environment. With a highly trained & devoted staff, these children will discover not only their inner strengths and abilities, but their self-worth as well.”

Peace for Kids

“Peace4Kids provides programs and services for foster and at-risk youth from ages 5-18, and after emancipation until age 24. Peace4Kids is truly on the front lines in addressing the needs of foster and at-risk youth in the South Los Angeles neighborhoods of Watts, Willowbrook and Compton.”

Schweinfurt’s SFAC (Soldier and Family Assistance Center)

“The SFAC is a one-stop location designed to provide support services regarding finances, child care, Family Advocacy, budgeting, Chaplain assistance, Legal Assistance, Military Personnel issues, logistics and transportation, installation access, benefits counseling, education and employment opportunities. The SFAC provides a warm, relaxed environment where Soldiers and their Families can gather to foster physical, spiritual and mental healing.”

Youth Power Center

Youth Power Center (YPC), located in Anacostia of Washington, DC, is a career training program that assists teenagers to empower them to reach their potential.

Zoe’s Heart

This blogger writes about her daughter’s dire need of a heart transplant. Visit her site to learn more.

Talking About Curing Autism

“Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides information, resources, and support to families affected by autism. For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments. TACAhelps to strengthen the autism community by connecting families and the professionals who can help them, allowing them to share stories and information to help people with autism be the best they can be.”

Kennebec Valley Community Action Program

“KVCAP offers a range of services for men, women, and children. These include Family Planning; home ownership, repair and weatherization services, heating assistance; transportation; and a teen center. We also support families through home visitation programs for first time parents, parenting classes, childcare and Head Start. Many of these programs are available to people of all income levels.

Capitol News Connection

“Capitol News Connection is an independent and innovative multimedia news service that brings politics ‘home’ to citizens with localized and custom-crafted reporting from Congress. A bridge from the ‘Beltway’ to the ‘Heartland’, CNC connects the dots and ensures all Americans have access to locally relevant, trustworthy, engaging and unbiased information. By bringing new relevance, transparency and accountability to the political process, CNC reporting empowers citizens to shape their own destinies by being active and effective participants in our democracy.”

Sacramento Loaves and Fishes

“Without passing judgment, and in a spirit of love and hospitality, Loaves & Fishes feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless. We provide an oasis of welcome, safety, and cleanliness for homeless men, women and children seeking survival services.”

Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center

“Our mission is to provide opportunities and an environment for neighbors and families in southwest Indianapolis to improve lives, increase independence, and strengthen community through service and collaboration.”

Blogger Kate discussed their amazing adult re-entry computer education program and how it supports and assists “Baby Boomer” adults as they reinvent themselves at various points in their lives.

Ballet Tech

“Ballet Tech is dedicated to seeking out talented New York City public school students and provides a continuum of training from introductory through professional level training. Throughout the children’s instruction, dance classes, shoes and leotards are provided free of charge. During the first year of training, transportation is provided while students attend ballet classes on a school-time release program. Students who show the talent and passion required to study classical ballet are invited to attend The New York City Public School for Dance (NYCPSD) – a cooperative, tuition-free venture between the NYC Department of Education and Ballet Tech. The School offers a rigorous academic curriculum paired with intensive dance training for students in grades 4 through 12.”

Cathedral Square Cooperation

“South Burlington Community Housing offers affordable housing for people with mobility impairments aged 62 and younger…the community offers nine one-bedroom apartments [and] a non-institutional setting where residents can live independently in a group setting. All residents participate in a care-pooling plan, which allows them to pool their resources to direct the caregiver staff of the community in providing their care, which allows more freedom and independence than a traditional care giving arrangement.”

And finally, there were many entrants who were enthusiastic about donating to these very important charities: the Salvation Army, the Make A Wish Foundation and the Ronald McDonald Houses.

Thank you for reading and giving anyway that you can!

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Filed under Bloggers, Causes, Children, Contests, Education, HP, Inspiring people, Money, Mothers, Philanthropy, Raising Awareness, Women, Working moms

Morningside Mom Announces Her HP Giveaway Winner!

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Congratulations to Laura, the President and Founder of the Moms Without Moms organization!

(Cue the confetti, parade, acrobats and cheering crowds!)

Why this organization? Here is a portion of her submission:

“Moms Without Moms was formed in April of 2006.  The mission of the organization is to provide a caring, comfortable, and nurturing environment of support to females who have lost their mothers, by indiscriminately encouraging positive and personal growth through companionship, leadership, and education. 
 
Moms Without Moms opened a maternity group home, the Laura Walker Project (named after my mother), which serves the needs of teenagers who are either pregnant or parenting.  A teenager living at the Laura Walker Project home receives an array of support and guidance:  emotional, educational, life skills, parenting, job skills, etc.  It is the desire of the Laura Walker Project to ensure that the girls are in a position to effectively care for themselves and their baby when they leave.  We are working with them to break the dependence on the public welfare system.”

If you visit their site, you will learn more about this amazing cause started by a woman with an incredible vision. I can already imagine the computers being used by new mothers looking for jobs, the touchscreen being used for classroom or educational use and the printer printing out pictures of the brand new babies. It feels like a perfect match for all of this hardware that needs to be put to good use (rather than just sitting in boxes, crowding up my hallway).

Regarding this competition, choosing a winner was extraordinarily difficult. I received over 300 submissions, each listing amazing charities and organizations  which would benefit greatly from these computers. There were also endless stories about families who have nothing right now, who are suffering during a very difficult time in our country and are hoping desperately for a little holiday magic to come their way. And there were many entries from abroad – entrants discussed the endless benefits these computers could bring to an orphanage or village who had dated PCs, if any at all.

How could I pick? How can little ol’ me decide whose entry was more worthwhile? It was an impossible task. When I finally cut down entries to a “short list”, even that hardly seemed short. No entry was more worthy than another. But I had to make one choice and go with it. And this was my choice. A wonderful one indeed.

Again congratulations Laura! We’ll be following up with her in the near future. I can’t wait to see how her organization and project benefits from these computers.

Now, to those of you who did not win. Please keep a look out. I will be listing many of the sites and causes you submitted in a future post. I am hoping that perhaps someone reading my blog will consider donating to your causes. I know it’s not a bunch of computers, but its the best I can offer you. Also, do not forget: the other HP bloggers are running their contests through this month. Try and enter at any of their sites too!

Thanks again to every entrant, I was truly inspired by the charity in your hearts. Blessings for a wonderful Holiday Season.

For more information about the HP products I review, please visit my HP Update page.

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Filed under Bloggers, Causes, Contests, Gifts, Holidays, HP, Inspiring people, Mothers, Philanthropy, Women, Working moms

Maintain the Grassroots Momentum and Make Change Happen

On November 4th, we elected Barack Obama to become our 44th President. And on that evening, as a democrat, a woman and an American citizen, I could not have been more proud of my country. In a couple months, we will celebrate his election with an Inauguration, as he’s officially given the title “President of the United States of America”. But afterwards, with confetti still falling to the ground and his pencils freshly sharpened, we will be left to wonder… “Now what?” It’s time for change, right? So how does that happen? One thing is certain: Obama will have to work very hard to right this sputtering, smoking plane that we call our country. But we’re all passengers on that plane, and its up to all of us to fix it.

Over the past year, I think what amazed me most about Obama’s campaign was the unique, unprecedented support he received from individual voters. He made an effort to interact with voters in a way no other has. Yes, his outstanding speeches and a well thought out policy for change certainly resonated with citizens. Those two points were impressive in their own right. But what truly inspired me was how many people took charge and decided to give this election momentum by their individual actions.

Patrick Levine Rose wrote an insightful article about his experience working on the Obama campaign. Once again, it is a testament to how many people went door to door, how many phone calls were made, personal emails sent out, new voters registered, millions of donations (offering as little as $5.00 a piece) were given, large rallies and small get togetherswere organized. There is no doubt in my mind that this election was won because of powerful, individual grassroots efforts. He will be President not because of one brilliant campaign manager and a ton of loot – he will be President because thousands of regular people heard an important message and were called to action. Regular folks, with hardly much political clout other than their right to vote, are the ones who ushered Obama into the White House. What an inspiration.

So now we live in a country that has seen the power of individuals focused on a common goal. We know a grassroots effort can work. Thanks to every individual involved in his campaign, Obama will become President at the start of this upcoming year. And he has one hell of a mess on his plate. Obama Zombies aside, should we retire our Obama pins, put our feet up and breathe a sigh of relief exclaiming that everything will now be taken care of? Um, I don’t think that’s such a good idea. If we ever needed to get organized and do our part, it would be now. In my opinion? We have to keep up this kind of momentum if we want to get our plane running smoothly on all cylinders again.

Here’s the first step. Consider some of these questions and think through ways you might be able to make a difference on a local level:

What do you expect of our country? What do you expect your responsibilities are as an American citizen? What can we do as individuals withbusy lives? What can we do as mothers? How can we come together with Americans who didn’t vote for Obama? (Because guess what, we need their help too.) What can we do on a daily basis to change our environment? Can we stop hate on a local level? What can we do to fix this economy? (I can’t help but wonder if more shopping will stimulate our economy or just get us all in more debt?) What do we teach our children or how do we involve them at their schools? How can our place of business make a difference?

Now I need your feedback. I am going to list some spots where we can go online to get involved and make this exciting new concept of “change” actually start to happen. But these are certainly not the only places we can go to make a difference. Check out my list and then comment back with some of your suggestions. Think about those questions and remember that individuals working on a grassroots level can actually move this country forward. Yes we can because… yes we did.

Change.gov: Obama is offering Americans a platform to “Tell their story”. Take some time to write your perspective, your ideas and how you might want to see change happen.

BarackObama.com : If you volunteered for his campaign or would like to volunteer in the future, log in and take the survey offered.

Momsrising.org : A bipartisan group promoting mother’s rights.

MoveOn.org : A progressive, liberal group bringing individuals into the political process.

Dividedwefail.org: The AARP, SEIU and NFIB have created this group to bring about bipartisan change.

Wecansolveit.org: Founded by Al Gore, a non profit, bipartisan group focused on climate change. There is currently a petition asking you to support the EPA’s regulation of carbon monoxide pollution. If you are interested, click here. You have until Friday, November 28th to sign the petition.

HRC.org : A civil rights organization advocating on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered citizens.

What groups or websites would you add to this list?

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Causes, Communication, Economy, Educating myself, Election, Equal Rights, Getting green, Government, Inspiring people, Obama, Partisanship, Politics, Raising Awareness

The Top Ten Reasons I Voted for Obama

It finally happened. I voted today. As an democrat and American citizen, I could not be more proud to cast my vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. However, as a fellow American or global citizen, you may potentially be asking me: Why? Why did I decide to vote for the Obama/Biden ticket? With November 4th only days away, I thought I would share with you my own personal reasons for voting for Barack Obama to become the President of the United States.

1) The Economy. You and I know that our economic troubles are extraordinarily complex. Neither candidate is going to have an easy go at fixing these issues. However, I believe Obama’s focus on creating new jobs, supporting small businesses, holding banks and lenders accountable, and providing tax relief to middle America will certainly make an enormous impact. He is not about protecting the wealthy elite, he is about creating job opportunities and supporting hard working regular middle class folks – like me.

2) The Environment. We need alternative energy resources. We need to quit our addiction to oil and focus on more environmentally friendly transportation options. We all need to be held accountable for our planet. Obama takes our environmental issues seriously. However, he also sees this crisis as an opportunity to create new jobs and empower our own nation to reverse the damage done.  By putting our greatest minds and entrepeneurs on task, I expect we will discover clean energy solutions and escape out from under the thumb of foreign oil companies in the near future.

3) The Supreme Court. During the next four to eight years, it is very likely that the President will have to appoint one or more supreme court justices. As a woman who firmly supports a woman’s right to choose, I believe Barack Obama would appoint Supreme Court justices who will serve fairly and protect my rights as a woman.

4) Foreign Relations. It’s time for a President who can put the United States first while also respecting the countries that support and work along side us. It’s time for a President who cares less about his ego and more about diplomatically and sensitively working out peaceful solutions.  Its time for a President who thinks before he shoots. As a South African friend of mine recently noted, the world is watching and hoping for Obama.

5) The Iraq War. This war was a mistake. We need to be held accountable for this war – and the damage it has left in its wake. And then we need to bring our troops home safely. It will not be an easy task and troops cannot be pulled out immediately. But Obama has a plan to actually bring our troops home within 16 months, including phased deployment and more emphasis on diplomacy.

6) No more hate. I am so exhausted by the hate in our country. Offensive, from the gut, hateful emotions have boiled to the surface recently unveiling our country’s true discriminatory colors. Obama will be an important example as he guides this nation away from divisive, destructive leadership and towards healing and resolution. It’s time.

7) Education. Obama believes in recruiting capable teachers and compensating them appropriately. He is working towards making a college education affordable for everyone. A priority will be integrating parents into the education process, encouraging them to play a more active role in their child’s learning. Obama also wants to reform the half hearted attempt at No Child Left Behind.

8 ) Women. Obama will work towards equal pay for women in the workplace. Both nationally and internationally, he will stand behind victims of domestic abuse as well as HIV positive women and their children. He will put an emphasis on women’s health care research. He will also protect a woman’s reproductive rights and her right to choose.

9) Biden would be an able president. If something were to happen to Obama, God forbid, I feel that Joe Biden is 100% capable and ready to lead this country.

10) A leader I trust. Obama communicates a steady, strong, smart, honest sort of leadership to me. Yeah, he’s a younger candidate and he’s newer to the game. However, I would rather have a sensible, capable person of solid character in office, than an erratic, inconsistent, temperamental Washington good ol’ boy.

Every American has an obligation to vote for their President. And every voter bases their choice on their own perceptions, opinions and retained bits of information. The reasons I have listed are simply my own. This is where I have landed after processing all the information thrown at me during an exhaustive election year. My reasons may or may not jibe with your reasons or choice for President. Never the less, from where ever you sit, you have the right to your own opinions. And it’s time to act on them. Be the change you want to see. Please vote by November 4th.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Economy, Education, Election, Equal Rights, Feminist tendancies, Gas, Getting green, Government, Inspiring people, McCain, Obama, Politics, Raising Awareness, Renewable energy, Women