Signs, Sounds, & Thoughts From My Experience At The Women’s March in Washington D.C.

One Man’s Story: Why I Marched With Women on Trump’s First Day
By: Dan Beckmann/Orlando Sentinel
25 January 2017 

Last week, rather excitedly, I posted, what I thought was a fairly innocuous tweet; “Heading to D.C. for the March!”  I wrote.  So, I was surprised to read the first response.  Not because it arrived so quickly, I have nearly 10,000 followers.  Rather, because it came from a friend with an ambiguous quip. “Last I checked you were a man…is there something you’re not telling me?”  She wrote.  Surely my well-educated friend could not be so confused to think a Y chromosome would be a disqualification for taking part in a Women’s March?  Nonetheless, there it was.  That comment…hanging like a piñata, just waiting for me to crack it with a great big stick.

So, to my friend who wrote, what I’m sure she thought was a comment in jest, I guess there are some things I haven’t thought to tell you.  Allow me to fill you in on a few of them.

For 15-years, as a cameraman, writer, and producer with NBC News, I sat on the front line of many struggles.  This was the first time I would be at the epicenter of something of this magnitude as a participant.  I knew why I was marching because I had the checked boxes all filled out in my head; women’s rights, minority issues, climate change, education.  All the big ones.  But it wasn’t until I was nestled amongst a sea of pink hats and humanity that I realized why I was really there.  By the way, there were quite a few disqualified Y chromosome people marching with me.

Women, and those with minority voices, have always played crucial roles in my success.  They are too often underrepresented, undermined, and undervalued.  So, from what some might call my “privileged” seat in society, I felt it was even more important for me to walk out my allegiance to them.

I marched because Donald Trump promised to serve all people.  And so far, his immediate circle of influence lacks the diversity to make that possible.  Having him hear our voices from his new home on his first day in office was a great start. Not everyone who needed to be heard could be there, so I was marching for them…and for all the people who’ve made a difference in my life.

I marched for my mom, who as a single parent took odd jobs teaching tennis lessons, tending bar, and fixing lawnmowers.  Always making less than the guy next to her who did the exact same job.  My mom never failed to take a college course and never got a failing grade.  Receiving her doctorate 35 years after taking her first class.

I marched for, and alongside, my friends Kent and Caanan.  Showing up with my support to protect their right to stay married.

I marched for my daughter Lauren, and my friend Tiffany.  Each survivors of sexual assault who now must watch a man who’s bragged about assaulting women lead our country for the next four years.

I marched for those so confused that they now believe in “alternative facts.”

I marched for my friends who lost all hope, and got suckered by a manipulative liar who placed a large bet on their fears and won bigly.

I marched as a reminder to those “who won” that they cannot ignore those who didn’t.  And I marched as a reminder to our representatives in Washington that they are bound by an oath to represent all those in their districts.

I marched to promote a global community of diverse members. The outcry of values and priorities aren’t solely “American issues” with isolated consequences.  Millions of others, on all 7 continents, took part in over 670 solidarity events. Our leader may say, “America First”, but we cannot claim to be “America Only”.

And I marched for that friend of mine, the Twitter commenter.  Apparently, there were some things I didn’t tell you.  I’m glad I told you about them now so we can put down our phones and get to the business of building a brighter future for us all.  And that’s something worth tweeting and re-tweeting about.

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Central Florida Public Schools Tackle Human Trafficking

JDSA recently partnered with the Florida Department of Children and Families, coordinating a project designed to create awareness and educate Central Florida teens about the dangers of Human Trafficking.

Just DO Something…Anything! funded and assisted Appleton Creative in the design of the campaign: a series of 4 colorfully designed posters, each depicting the dangers of modern day slavery, and distributed to every middle and high school in Central Florida.

Created with the youth audience in mind, the posters feature strong graphics, bold text and eye-catching call-to-actions. The campaign will effectively help make human trafficking top-of-mind and remind students of their value and where to go for help.

Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) is the 11th largest school district in the United States, where the posters are now being distributed to over 100 schools, reaching nearly 200,000 students in Orange, Osceola and Seminole County.

Last week, Crimeline displayed the posters at a joint forum at Valencia College Criminal Justice Institute.

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While Lake and Brevard County schools were expressing interest in displaying the posters, news of our project reached the Governor’s office in Tallahassee, where the Florida Department of Education has asked to initiate an extension of our campaign: organizing distribution of the posters to all public schools statewide – reaching more than 2 million students in over 4,200 schools.

JDSA was honored to have worked alongside the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force, their School Awareness Committee and Appleton Creative; an award-winning, full-service advertising agency with long-term ties to supporting community giving and bringing awareness to local causes. Throughout the years, Appleton has worked with many nonprofits such as Kids Beating Cancer, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, shining light on their issues through public service campaigns and advertising.

In a similar fashion, Appleton works closely with the Zebra Coalition, a network of organizations that provides services to LGBT+ ages 13 – 24, creating an annual anti-bullying poster series that gets placed in over 100 Orange County public schools. Appleton is also responsible for Zebra’s branding, website, advertising and video work.

 

Hundreds Take Action To Make A Difference For Thousands!

Lending a hand! Volunteers help sort thousands of donated school supplies.

Families picking out school supplies.

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Last week Just DO Something…Anything!, along with Century 21, helped sponsor it’s first Take Action! event at Barnett Park in Orlando, Florida. Nearly 400 residents showed up along with dozens of volunteers, who helped distribute over 3,000 back-to-school supplies: pens, backpacks, clothes, pencils, paper, and other items.

But the event wasn’t just about helping families get materials they need to start the school year. Take Action! was about doing just that … taking action against social injustice.

Local mom finds just the right size.

Finding just the right size.

JDSA, along with some of their Central Florida nonprofit partners: Harbor HouseA Gift For Teaching, and Florida Abolitionist, spent the day talking with residents about the importance of what they do and how they do it!

Also on hand was the Orlando Rowing Club, Orlando Dragon Boat Club, and Dueling Dragons boat team. Dragon’s “Cops and Kids” program is a unique partnership teaming Orlando police officers with at-risk teens, who compete in boat races across the country.  Their story was recently featured on The Today Show.

Orlando Rowing Club President, Johnny Hood and Chairperson, Chris Luciano brought a “skull boat” and an “Erg,” or indoor rowing machine for residents to try out.

Making a difference with hand prints & finger paint.

Making a difference with hand prints & finger paint.

Before the kids picked up their items they were asked to “make their mark” with paint!  “Taking Action!” by writing out – next to their imprint – exactly, what they’re going to do to help make the world a better place.

Clean the World, an Orlando nonprofit, cleaned off the paint with donated soap.  Clean the World and the Global Soap project have distributed over 25 million bars of soap to 99 countries!

We gave away about 75% of all the donated items.  What’s left is going to Haiti for those in need … thanks to Divine Way Ministries.” says Take Action! event coordinator, Anastacha Constant.  Not only did Divine Way help with donated items, they also took care of all the food and drinks.

Affordable Document Service lent their support to those in need.  LA Fitness talked with residents about the importance of exercise and nutrition.  And Orange County Fire/Rescue brought a firetruck.  Where kids (and a few adults) climbed inside and learned about fire safety and injury prevention.

Ideas for next year’s Take Action! Event are already underway…

Orange County Firefighters showing students the inside of a fire truck.

Kids get an inside look!

Orlando Fire Department show off their truck.

Fire truck on display.

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Taking action! with pens, markers, and paint!

Taking Action! with pens, markers, and paint!

3 years – $1 million – & 110 Countries Later

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Three years ago this month Just DO Something…Anything! was created.  At the time JDSA was just a few letters … and Social Discussion was just a blog with a catchy phrase: We have the right to remain silent.  We just choose not to …”

For two months our computer screen sat blank … a blinking black cursor in the middle of an empty white page.  The first piece we posted was an Op/Ed political story I wrote after covering the Republican National Convention in Tampa for NBC News. We thought we were starting a revolution.  But really, we were just beginning an evolution.

We weren’t political writers.  We were social storytellers.  And that’s what we set out to do – tell stories through producing video content: writing commercials and shooting PSAs, developing creative strategies and concept planning for social organizations around the world.

But with nearly 12 million nonprofits, it seemed a daunting – if not impossible task.  So we decided to connect – both ourselves and others – to some of the more unique social organizations in existence.  Everyone knows about The Gates Foundation and Amnesty International.  But how many know about Rebecca Pontius and http://dogoodbus.com? A school bus she “decked out” so as to offer once-a-month community rides to volunteers to and from great causes in her Los Angeles community.

Or Shawn Seipler’s nonprofit, https://cleantheworld.org, who, while on a business trip had an idea for soap recycling after learning the barely used bars of hotel soap he left behind ended up in a landfill.  Today, Clean the World has more than 50 full-time employees in Orlando, Las Vegas, and Hong Kong.  And they’ve distributed more than 25 million bars of soap to over 99 countries.

And we met Shannon O’Donnell, who created http://grassrootsvolunteering.org and built a dual database of organizations all over the world … helping empower travelers to connect to the causes and communities in the places they travel.

JDSA’s evolution is ongoing.  Today, we’re a 501C3 nonprofit who’s helped raise over $1 million for several unique and innovative nonprofits.  And we couldn’t have done it without you – the 30,000+ followers in over 110 countries. Thank you for turning JDSA into a verb – for JDSA’ing in the social causes you’re passionate about, and for telling us about the one’s that are making a difference in your life.

Please keep us posted on those unique organizations you come across!  In the meantime, check out a few we’ve found – from a variety of social causes.

The Pollination Project – https://thepollinationproject.org

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A Gift For Teaching – http://agiftforteaching.org

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Curbside Chronicle – http://thecurbsidechronicle.org/about-us/

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Zebra Coalition – http://zebrayouth.org

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The Prospector Theatre – http://www.prospectortheater.org

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Soaring Paws – http://www.soaringpaws.com

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Wildlife SOS / India – http://wildlifesos.org

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To learn more about those organizations, and some of the others we’ve come across, check out our “Your Connections” tab on our web site: http://www.jdsanything.org/#!your-connections/czy8

President Obama Delivers Domestic Violence PSA During Grammys

The Grammy Awards hit the “pause” button in the middle of last night’s celebration to deliver a strong message from President Obama about violence against women.

It’s not OK, and it has to stop!” Obama said, calling on artists everywhere to help change public attitudes.  Mr. Obama cited statistics showing that 1 out of every 5 women have been victims of rape or attempted rape, and 1 out of every 4 women have dealt with some form of domestic violence.

Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes, to get us thinking and talking about what matters.” Obama said. “All of us in our own lives have the power to set an example.”

Obama urged the artists in attendance to sign an anti-violence pledge at ItsOnUs.org, “…and ask your fans to do it too.

After the President’s message, domestic violence advocate Brooke Axtell described her domestic violence experience and her failed attempts to change her abuser’s behavior.

My empathy was used against me,” Axtell said. “I was terrified of him and ashamed I was in this position. Axtell then urged women everywhere to speak up!  “Your voice will save you.  Let it part the darkness. Let it set you free to know who you truly are.”

Katy Perry then took the stage, singing “By the Grace of God.”

The President’s PSA comes on the heels of another domestic violence PSA that aired during last week’s Super Bowl.

First-Ever Super Bowl Commercial Addressing Domestic Violence Ready To Air

NO MORE, a public awareness and engagement campaign focused on ending domestic violence and sexual assault, will air a new public service announcement during the Super Bowl – in front of more than 150 million Americans!

The 30 second version of NO MORE’s Super Bowl ad will air live during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLIX.

Pledge to say NO MORE at http://nomore.org.

“Slap Her!” Children’s Reactions

What happens when you put a boy in front of a girl and ask him to slap her? Here is how children react to the subject of violence against women.
this video has been shot by http://www.fanpage.it

Purple Purse Campaign Raises Awareness for Domestic Financial Abuse

Just DO Something…Anything! to Empower Survivors

Opening a bank account in your own name. Paying down your own credit cards. Making a budget. Putting money in your child’s college savings account.

Many people take these kinds of tasks for granted, and may even dread them. But for survivors of domestic abuse, they can be a sign of freedom.

When most people think of domestic abuse, often they think of cases such as the recent Ray Rice elevator video, focusing on physical and verbal abuse that occurs in relationships. We wonder, both on social media and in private conversations, #WhySheStayed.  The answer often has much to do with money.

Financial abuse plays a major role in more than 98% of domestic violence cases, preventing survivors from leaving for fear of homelessness, or harm to their children or pets. It can include:

• Controlling how money is spent
• Withholding access to money, medication, food, or other basic resources
• Giving an ‘allowance’
• Not allowing their partner to work
• Running up credit card debt in their partner’s name
• Stealing their partner’s identity or property

This year, the Allstate Foundation and CrowdRise have teamed up for the Purple Purse Challenge, inviting 200 organizations from around the country to compete for a range of monetary grants, to be put toward funding financial education and empowerment initiatives for survivors.

Harbor House of Central Florida, the only state-certified domestic violence shelter in Orange County, is one such organization competing in the Purple Purse Challenge.

During the month of September, Harbor House has been working to raise money and build awareness about the importance of financial empowerment in healthy relationships. Thanks to the generous contributions of many donors and volunteers who decided to Just DO Something…Anything!  Harbor House has already raised more than $11,000 – and earned $5,500 in Bonus Challenge grant awards!

There are still two weeks and several more Bonus Challenges to go before the end of the Purple Purse campaign on October 3rd! Want to help Harbor House Just DO Something…Anything! for financial empowerment?

1. Donate to the campaign on CrowdRise – even $10 can go a long way! https://www.crowdrise.com/PurplePurse-HarborHouseCF

2. Attend the campaign wine tasting event tomorrow, September 19th, at Tim’s Wine in Oviedo.  https://www.facebook.com/events/1471985579735277/

3. Follow Harbor House’s Powerful Purple Purse all over Central Florida on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/PowerfulPurplePurse

4. Connect with Harbor House on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

https://www.facebook.com/HarborHouseFL

https://twitter.com/HarborHouseFL

https://plus.google.com/+Harborhousefl

 5. Tune in to the campaign empowerment playlist on Spotify and share the music with your friends!  

Hundreds ‘Walk A Mile in Her Shoes’ to Help End Domestic Abuse

Last week, men, women, families, advocates and survivors all took a stand against domestic abuse by taking a walk. Strutting through downtown Orlando … in heels.

What started out – in 2001 – as a small group of men daring to walk around a park in heels to raise awareness of domestic violence, has become a world-wide movement. Where tens of thousands of men have raised millions of dollars for local rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other sexualized violence education, prevention and remediation programs.

Harbor House CEO, Carol Wick – who hosted the event for the 2nd year in a row – said women aren’t the only ones who suffer from sexual abuse. “Right now we have 35 males and 60 females in our emergency shelters. Most of those males…are little boys.”

Thanks to those who decided to Just DO Something…over $20,000 was raised!

Laughter about Winston sex assault case disturbing

Christine Brennan USA Today Sports

There was laughter. There were jokes. There were smiles. The news conference in which Florida state attorney Willie Meggs announced that Jameis Winston was not going to be charged with sexual battery was an extremely light-hearted affair.

Everyone seemed so incredibly happy to be talking about an alleged sexual assault.

Reporter: “Was there a sexual assault?”

Meggs, laughing: “Well, that’s kind of why we’re here.”

This was supposed to be the definitive ending of the controversy surrounding Winston, and in many major ways, it was. According to Meggs, Winston is a free man. The Florida State quarterback will not be charged with sexual assault. He almost certainly is going to win the Heisman Trophy in a landslide next week. He might well lead his team to the national championship next month.

But can anyone watching Meggs’ news conference feel good about what they saw, laughs and all? Can anyone be certain that Winston did no wrong? Or wasn’t it more like this: There just was not enough evidence to win the case for the state attorney’s office?

There is nothing new about an alleged sexual assault case ending in this manner, with a high-profile athlete or with anyone else. What made this case so confounding was the way the Tallahassee police handled it. In hindsight, they look terrible, failing to properly investigate a serious matter, a possible felony, for nearly a year.

Then consider the strong words from the accuser’s lawyer that she was advised by the police not to press charges, and this looks like a group of authorities in a stereotypical small town fumbling their legal responsibilities because they were so smitten by their football team.

Reporter: “Any idea why she was hesitant to tell you who her boyfriend was?”

Meggs: “Well, tell us about your girlfriend.”

More laughs. It was a regular riot, with that smiling former state senator, Al Lawson, standing in the background, playing Ed McMahon to Meggs’ Johnny Carson.

Can you imagine what the alleged victim thought of that scene? What about a woman in Tallahassee who today is dealing with sexual assault? Or any victim of any crime, male or female? It had to be disheartening, if not downright chilling, to watch that.

That’s the face of justice in northern Florida in the 21st century? My goodness.

The stunning, less-than-serious tone set by Meggs did a disservice to the alleged victim – and to Winston as well. There are many questions about what happened the night of Dec. 7, 2012. We likely never will get definitive answers. That happens in high-profile cases in this country, and it’s something we have come to accept.

Some will believe the worst about Winston; others will believe the worst about his accuser.

In this atmosphere, if Thursday’s news had been delivered with seriousness and sincerity, it not only would have been beneficial to those of us watching, it also would have helped build a much more compelling case for Winston. It’s much easier to trust the authorities when they seem to be taking their work seriously than when they act as they did in that news conference.

It was there that Meggs curiously declined to criticize the police for failing to investigate the case for 11 months. Later in an ESPN interview, however, he turned much more serious, acknowledging that the delay did “hamper” the investigation. He added that Winston’s refusal to talk to the authorities also was problematic. Meggs said an interview should have been attempted, but Winston already had a lawyer and was refusing.

“That’s a hampering of an investigation,” Meggs said. “We’ll never know.”

Finally, some tough words from the man who should have delivered a lot more of them Thursday afternoon.

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