“When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that was Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”—
President Barack Obama, in remarks Friday about Trayvon Martin and racial profiling. In his statements, the president spoke about his own experiences as a black man.
"There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me — at least before I was a senator."
I went to a dinner party at a friend’s home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time. Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted
This is an awesome article about how we really should begin our conversations with little girls. I spoke with my mom about this yesterday. She works in the gift shop of an aquarium and she told me that she finds she does this sometimes, but not all the time. She also said from now on she’d make an effort to talk to the kids about the toys they were playing with, rather than what they were wearing or how cute they were.
the fact of the matter is, there’s no rule that says you have to be 16 to have sex. thousands of kids are sexually active before they turn 16 and if anyone needs access to the morning-after pill…it’s a 14 year old. we can’t force them to make smart and safe decisions, but we can help offer them a way to avoid life-changing repercussions.
I have spent the last three hours sitting at my desk, attempting to work on a poem with the working title, “For Jane Doe, Steubenville, OH”. So far, this is what I have:
The rain can only fall where the branches cannot block it
and the flowers will only bloom if there’s no one there
to step on their beds.
I can’t get any further because I’m still way too pissed off to try to put this into digestible pieces. I don’t want this to be digestible for anyone, so maybe the poem needs to take a different direction. But, my necessary revisions aren’t the point right now. The point is Jane Doe.
Jane Doe. She’s nameless, nameless in a feeble attempt to provide her with some kind of privacy because she is a minor and because she is a victim. I am still trying to reconcile this, because anyone who has ever received any kind of unwanted sexual attention knows that your privacy is completely out the window the minute things become uncomfortable. I understand her namelessness, but I struggle with it because I wonder how much it helps her now.
It makes me sick to hear what wonderful athletes these boys were, it makes me want to cry when someone mentions that they were ‘good students’ with ‘bright futures,’ it makes me nauseous to think that anyone is worried about what those two boys are going to do with their lives.
Their lives aren’t ‘over,’ as one cried out in the courtroom after their sentences were read. Richmond will likely be out of the juvenile system next year for good behavior, and Mays is likely to follow after two years. Neither will be incarcerated past 21. Their lives aren’t over. In fact, they’ll be let out in just enough time to live them, whereas if they were tried as adults, their lives really would be ‘over.’ Sure, they’ll be on the sex offenders list, but will it actually stop them for doing whatever they want to? Probably not.
But let’s get back to Jane Doe, whose life is actually over. Or maybe not. Maybe for the next couple of years she can try to heal, and deal with the horrible thing that happened to her. Maybe she can try to cope with the fact that her friends made her feel as though she should be ashamed for being a slut. Or maybe she’ll be reaching a break through when Richmond and Mays appear walking down the street, free.
There should be no sympathy for these boys, or for the culture who taught them their behavior was even remotely close to appropriate. There should be no sympathy for the kids who watched Jane Doe being carried and photographed naked. There should be no sympathy for the students who refused to talk to the police. There should be no sympathy for two boys who raped a girl who was completely incoherent, at an age when they certainly knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that what they were doing was wrong.
Jane Doe’s future has been ruined. Richmond and Mays will be forced to contemplate their actions, but they have also been given an opportunity to change, become better people and to really and truly think about what is right and what is wrong. Is this justice? Did we help Jane Doe?
They deserved what they got, they deserved more and despite this rant, I’m still sick and reeling from the disgrace I feel for this misogynistic country, its rape culture (which shouldn’t even be a coined phrase), and the media.
Please, please, please help me reach my goal of raising $1000 so that I can walk in The Overnight Walk, for suicide awareness, support and prevention.
This January, my very best friend Amanda lost her older brother to suicide. These last few months have been incredibly difficult for family and friends alike, but I know that we have all found peace though the idea of The Overnight Walk.
A 16-18 mile walk from dusk until dawn, The Overnight Walk is an opportunity for families and friends of those who have passed, people who have considered suicide or suffer from depression, and supports of mental health education alike can get together to prove that none of us are alone. All of the proceeds go to helping families who are survivors of suicide, educating communities about depression and other forms of mental illness, and most importantly, programs which aim to prevent the loss of loved ones to suicide.
i find it very difficult to be excited about the election of a new pope, despite the bells that are ringing all around my office, and the excited chatter from all of the people who actually care.
but i find it difficult to be excited because if they REALLY cared, they’d be outraged by the fact that BOTH of the forerunners had serious black marks on their names due to sexual harassment and their willingness to brush it under the rug.
“I do believe in inspiration. Inspiration and meaning-making. Often they are bed partners. Human beings are meaning-making creatures. We cannot help it. We cannot stop doing it. So that meaning was made for me from seeing this person wearing a particular shirt is no great gift from the gods but it is still wildly moving to me and an important part of inspiration.”—Matthew Dickman
Before 1969, Merry Clayton was just a Brooklyn-based singer trying to scrounge up any back-up gig she could find. When The Rolling Stones were recording “Let It Bleed,” they started looking for backup singers for their new song “Gimme Shelter,” and their manager suggested Clayton.
Six months pregnant, Merry came to the studio to record her now-infamous backup track. The Stones themselves were very obviously impressed with her talent. Around 3 minutes into the Stones version, you can even her Jagger let out a “Whoo!” when Merry cracks open the note over the word “Murder.”
Though the recording session put to tape one of the most memorable backup performances in the history of Rock N’ Roll, the memory would not be a good one for Merry Clayton. Just after the session, she suffered a miscarriage in her home. Many blame the intensity of her performance.
When the Stones heard this, they were heartbroken. They approached her and offered partial ownership of the track. They also wanted her to record her own version.
This is it. Be careful, it will melt steel.
Merry said, of the whole ordeal, “That was a dark, dark period for me, but God gave me the strength to overcome it.”
i can’t believe i’ve never heard this before. this is INCREDIBLE.
I rarely went into Teddy’s room. There were a few times: when we were buying weed from the people only Teddy knew, when his exgirlfriend who pretended to be a psychic read my tarot cards, a few others. The few times I was allowed in his room I always felt alien, like I had entered a place I could never understand, regardless of trying. I almost feel more comfortable in it now that he’s gone. It’s like his death brought us closer than we ever were in life.
I spent so much time with Teddy and I never asked him why he was so sad. Maybe it’s because I already knew the answer, and maybe its because I didn’t want to hear it. Maybe if I had been a psychiatrist instead of his kid sister’s best friend, everyone would have listened to me when I diagnosed him with bipolar disorder three full years before they diagnosed him professionally. Would it have mattered? Teddy spent 27 years wondering what was wrong with him and why he couldn’t just be like anyone else.
But now I can’t decide he didn’t just spend the majority of those 27 years waiting to be 27 and a half, so that he could leave us here, equipped with all of the lessons and teachings he gave us. I can’t decide if he went into the last week of his life knowing how short the hours were, I can’t decide he chose to come out to dinner with me last weekend just so that he could say goodbye in his own way, I can’t decide if he went to bed last Tuesday night without knowing he might wake up and change his mind about the life he was living.
I’m not angry at him until I look at Amanda’s face and then I want to kill him all over again. I’m not angry at him for wanting to get rid of the pain he carried with him everywhere, I’m angry at him for hurting the people who loved him the most so very directly. I’m angry at him for letting her find him.
Most of all I’m angry at myself for not listening to his words last week. If I was smarter, if I was more analytical if I had given him more consideration in those short moments at that one meal, could I have saved him? I know that the answer is ‘no,’ but I also know that it’s really ‘yes.’
The lights are still on in Teddy’s room, running the electric bill and scaring us every time we see a shadow. His mother cried herself to sleep on his couch in the spot where he ate his last meal. He’s got piles of books on the corner of the table that are meant for someone, but God knows who. I’m scared to go in there, but I do anyway because I know Amanda is so much more frightened. He’ll show himself to me when he knows I’m ready and the two of us will bridge the gaps we couldn’t when he was living and he’ll tell me all about the cosmos where he’s living now.
The horse’s pain never imagines a house beyond the storm. Its mirrored breath forms a force that dies without noise. The ice in a sickened room is not salt. Its perfume pours a rain that deletes the tacit skin.
“No one’s fated or doomed to love anyone.
The accidents happen, we’re not heroines,
they happen in our lives like car crashes,
books that change us, neighborhoods
we move into and come to love.
Tristan und Isolde is scarcely the story,
women at least should know the difference
between love and death. No poison cup,
Because finally the personal is all that matters, we spend years describing stones, chairs, abandoned farmhouses— until we’re ready. Always it’s a matter of precision, what it feels like to kiss someone or to walk out the door. How good it was to practice on stones which were things we…
“Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain.”—Elie Wiesel (via amandaonwriting)