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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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

DOMA Is The End Of Scalia’s Gay (Happy) Reign

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Josh Gad is USA TODAY’s newest, and perhaps most unusual, columnist. Filing whenever he can – or whenever the “news muse” strikes!

 

By Josh Gad – USA Today 

Today, as many are celebrating the historic Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage rights, there is one victim left in the dust. His name is Antonin Scalia. You may know him. He’s the judge whose face looks like a Panic Pete squeeze toy when he gets angry. He’s offended because he did not get his way. That’s right. Justice Kennedy and his four conspirators cheapened the law of the land by giving these “gays” the right to have equal benefits. Scalia and his marriage crusaders (including the divorced Justice Clarence Thomas, who chewed gum like an angry bovine as the decision was read) saw their precious straight-people-only utopia go up in flames. (Pun intended.)

In his scathing dissent, Scalia wrote: “It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostis humani generis, enemies of the human race.” Going further, Scalia accused the majority of “declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency … In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us.” And how right he is! He even has the Latin language to back him up. The original dissent went further to say Gayus Manus Makum me Sickus. Fearing a backlash, however, the last part was redacted.

You see, as Scalia fights for the rights of people to not have rights (i.e.: yesterday’s brave decision to strike down a civil rights law providing protection against voter discrimination), moments such as the DOMA reversal are a dangerous impediment to Scalia’s legacy: that of being the Senator Palpatine of his generation. It’s unfair to call him unbending. Just because he doesn’t recognize homosexuals as individuals does not mean he has no heart. For example, his staunch defense of corporations as individuals was a fearless reminder that General Electric and Koch Industries have feelings just like you and me.

I remember the first time I saw General Electric crying on a street corner after he had his lunch stolen by Comcast. I was like, “Man, I hope the Supreme Court gives him the same rights as me one day.” And indeed, Scalia paved the way for corporations to provide unlimited funds toward elections without having to disclose anything. Now that’s brave. That’s a legacy.

You see, Scalia understands that laws are laws. It doesn’t matter that, in the words of Kennedy, “DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others.” Who cares? Now, we’re just dealing with feelings. Under the nuance of Scalia’s wrath, we must remember that laws do not account for moral justice.

You see, it matters not if Frank and Bob, both crippled by the burden of not being able to share simple things like health and financial benefits, are subject to discrimination and are, in the eyes of their children, not as “worthy” as their friends’ parents. Forget that if moral equality weren’t adjudicated, women would still not have the right to vote and interracial marriage would still be outlawed.

According to the laws of Scalia’s land, we cannot judge on right or wrong or on conscience. Because the consequences of that might very well be…universal happiness. I shudder at the thought. After all, a happy gay is a dangerous gay. Pretty soon, we’ll all be drowning in a sea of confetti and satin. Now we must continue to abide by the LAW, not to be “interpreted,” not to be mettled with. After all, I’m positive there was no clause in the decision to make corporations individuals. There couldn’t have been. No.

That would be, to use a Scalia-approved Latin term, hypocrisy.

 

From NPR – Why Both Sides Want Gay Marriage Settled By The States

ALAN GREENBLATT

 
Anti-gay marriage protesters (left) try to persuade same-sex marriage supporters to get out of the way of their march in front of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court may rule on gay marriage this week. Advocates both for and against are glad the issue didn’t reach the court any sooner.

They didn’t want a repeat of the abortion issue. With its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, the high court stepped in and guaranteed a right to abortion but also triggered a backlash that has lasted for 40 years.

With same-sex marriage, by contrast, legislators and voters in nearly every state had the chance to make their feelings known before the Supreme Court weighs in.

People forget that durable rights don’t come from courts, they come from consensus and strong support from society,” says Jonathan Rauch, author of Denial, a recent memoir about growing up gay. “We are winning the right to marriage in a bigger, deeper way by winning it in the court of public opinion.”

After losing political battles in a majority of states, gay marriage supporters have won a number of legislative victories and ballot measures in recent years. Sensing momentum is in their favor, it may not be surprising that they’re glad they’ve had time to make their case to the public.

A Pew Research Center poll this month found that 72 percent of Americans believe universal gay marriage rights are “inevitable,” including 59 percent of those opposed to the idea.

But supporters of traditional marriage definitions also say that they’re pleased the court has waited to rule on this issue. The number of states blocking gay marriage still outnumber those allowing same-sex marriage by 3 to 1.

If states originate marriage laws, then state legislatures should legislate them,” says Sam Schulman, a journalist who has written a number of articles critical of gay marriage. “To let the courts decide feels just as wrong as letting opinion polls decide.

How Things Have Changed

In 2004, Rauch, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, wrote a book advocating gay marriage. That same year, Massachusetts saw its first legal same-sex marriages following the state Supreme Court’s ruling in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health.

The issue became central to the presidential campaign that year. On Election Day in 2004, voters in 11 states approved measures defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

If it had been the U.S. Supreme Court that issued a ruling back then, Rauch says, resistance would have been even more fierce.

States where opposition to gay marriage was strongest would have been angry not only about having had this issued decided for them in a way they didn’t approve, but about federal intrusion as well.

Gay marriage would be a legal reality, but it would have been in the crosshairs of massive resistance for two generations,” Rauch says.

Lowering The Stakes

Thanks to federalism, each state has been able to decide for itself. Last month, Minnesota granted gay couples marriage rights, joining 11 other states and the District of Columbia.

Four other states allow civil unions. All the rest block gay marriage, although there’s still some debate about the law in New Mexico.

If Goodridge had gone to the U.S. Supreme Court, we would not have been ready,” says Fred Sainz, vice president for communication and marketing for the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, referring to the Massachusetts case.

But opponents of gay marriage are also glad this issue has played out in states.

Who has the constitutional authority in our regime to make marriage policy?” asks Ryan T. Anderson, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation who has written extensively in favor of traditional marriage. “It’s not the unelected officials who sit on the federal bench.

Having this issue continue to play out politically gives opponents a fighting chance, he says.

Obviously, it’s very important that the majority of Americans do still support the description of marriage as between a man and a woman,” says Caitlin Seery, director of programs at the Love and Fidelity Network, referring not to poll numbers, but to the laws enacted in most states.

Where We Go From Here

Sainz is hoping the Supreme Court will find that there’s a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. “There is absolutely no doubt that the best possible outcome is a finding by the court that there is a fundamental right to marry nationwide,” he says.

Most observers don’t expect that outcome. More likely, they say, justices will offer a split decision, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, which blocks federal recognition of same-sex marriages, but not creating a universal right to such marriages.

Rauch says that may be for the best. He argues it would still be better to let states continue to handle the issue.

He can understand the impatience of those who want marriage rights to be sanctified nationwide. He works in a jurisdiction in which his own marriage is legal — Washington, D.C. — but lives in Virginia, where it is not.

Rauch says Loving v. Virginia, not Roe v. Wade, may be the more apt comparison.

In its 1967 ruling in Loving, the Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriage. But that decision came 19 years after a similar ruling by the California Supreme Court, during which time a number of states had decided to remove such bans themselves.

There may well come a time, maybe not all that long from now, when the Supreme Court will be recognizing rather than imposing socially recognized marriage equality,” Rauch says. “It’s a much bigger deal doing that at the front end, before there’s a national consensus, and at the back end when you’re basically cleaning up.

Where do you stand?

A Social Shift For The Good

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The facts:

– 83% of voters believe same-sex marriage will be legal nationwide within ten years.

– Currently, more than half the country believes in legalizing gay marriage.

– Support for gay marriage has increased 1% a year for the past two decades.

And while facts may tell, stories compel.  Stories like the 40,000 children of gay and lesbian couples in California Justice Kennedy spoke of during recent oral arguments.  “They want their parents to have full recognition and full status,” Kennedy said. “The voice of those children is important in this case, don’t you think?”

Stories like Scott Hamilton and his husband, Wayne Johnson, who moved to Oklahoma after getting married in Connecticut in 2009.  They’ve been together since 1991, but had to come to terms with the fact their marriage was no longer legal according to the laws of their new state. Their taxes are now filed separately, wills have been redrawn, and new trusts have been created to ensure their assets won’t be snarled in red-tape if either of them were to die.  And if Scott or Wayne were ever placed in long-term care, the state of Oklahoma would force them to live in separate rooms.

I recently read an article in a Christian magazine opposing gay marriage. It stated, “Modern secular psychology recognizes that men and women are psychologically and emotionally designed to complement one another.”  But if psychology argues against gay marriage, common sense surely must argue for it. What sense does it make for a man and a women to be married simply because they have opposing chromosomes?  I know plenty of same sex couples who compliment each other quite well.  I also remember a time where “secular psychology” failed to recognize water fountains as being acceptable for all people to drink from.

What is the tradition of marriage, anyway?  Who defines it?  The Bible?  There are many verses addressing homosexuality.  But why can’t you have a Christ-centered relationship and still be gay?  The Bible talks about tax collectors in a negative light.  But aren’t our taxes used for schools, roads and bridges?  Aren’t those good things?  Just because tax collectors in biblical times were corruptible, are we supposed to assume today’s collectors are all evil, too?

“2,000 years of church tradition can’t be wrong!”  I hear people argue.  But the tradition of the church has been wrong many times.  And social pressure prompted the church to change their views.

Today, in the political realm, the GOP defines the boundaries of marriage for us.  According to them, marriage is a contract between God, one man, and one woman.  How then, do they explain Ronald Reagan, the savior of their party who married two women?  Or Newt Gingrich, who walked down the aisle with three.  How about Rush Limbaugh?  He’s on #4.

Marriage isn’t about finding someone of the opposite sex to fall in love with.  It’s about falling in love with the same person over and over again every day, regardless of their chromosomes.

Just as Kennedy’s Camelot was a myth, the white-picket fence with Mom, Dad, and 2.5 kids, is an illusion, as well.  At least in today’s society.  Same sex marriage is prominent on Modern Family, one of the most popular sitcoms on television.  And Ellen Degeneres is the most watched talk show on TV.  Time Magazine is releasing two separate covers with same sex couples kissing, declaring, “Gay Marriage Already Won!”  It isn’t being forced upon us by the so called, liberal media.  It’s being accepted by the entire country.

9 states and counting.

President Obama won the White House twice. And it wasn’t because he had better ground strategies than John McCain or Mitt Romney.  Although, he did.  It was because of women, minorities, and the Latino community.  Those were the voting blocks who not only decided the landscape of two presidential elections, they’re the voting blocks who are currently changing the landscape of this country.

Look at the justices deciding this case.  Never before have we had a court so indicative of what our country looks like: six justices are Catholic. Three are Jewish. There are white conservatives on the bench, a black man, and three women.  One, of which, is Hispanic.  And speaking of that one black man: he’s married to a white woman.  It wasn’t just integrated water fountains “secular psychology” once deemed unacceptable.  Before 1967, in many parts of our country, it would have been his marriage.

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