I was born this way

I go through these phases where I feel SUPER in control of myself, my emotions, my reactions, my surroundings etc and then phases when I feel completely powerless.  The best way to describe it is like I’m trying scream or run in a dream–like where you’re screaming and running as fast as you can but you’re actually silent and standing still.  As a woman I think it’s probably standard of us to feel like maybe our opinions, work, thoughts, etc. aren’t as important as our male counterparts.  As a woman of color I think this is even more so the case–especially lately.  It’s like we’re used to be brushed off, and not having our ideas validated until a dude repeats them as their own.

The latest political thing that gave me that familiar powerless feeling is this healthcare bill.   Now if you’ve been watching the news and keeping up with the media, you’ve probably seen that there was this crazy photo going around that is basically a group of white dudes deciding whether or not prenatal healthcare (and other women’s healthcare issues) should have been covered in the first Health Care Bill to repeal and replace the ACA.  It’s like you would never see a group of women deciding on a bill for men’s healthcare.  Why? I don’t know probably because a group of women would want to consult men for issues that are of central importance to men and also we’re not animals.  I think logic just tells you that you should maybe consult at least one woman when you’re making major decisions about women’s healthcare, right?  That first one didn’t pass but it still freaked me out pretty good, mostly because I’m a human and also because I’m a human who can bare children and would like to someday. Even more so because I don’t think I should be punished for being biologically different which requires different/more healthcare than my male counter-parts.  I heard the argument, “I don’t know about you but I’ve never needed prenatal care, why should we have to pay for it,” by a man, who was in Congress.  I was pretty shocked considering he’s a human, a father, a husband and a representative of constituents in what is supposed to be the Greatest Country on Earth.  Also I was concerned.  Didn’t he have the same type of scientific education as me?  He knows babies can only be made by us ladies, right?  Without us there would be no babies, yes even boy babies.  So maybe if you value life, which I think that’s why most Republicans don’t support abortion, you would want to support prenatal care and women’s healthcare in general?  I don’t know, I guess that could be far-fetched, reasonable, logical, whatever…

A few weeks have passed since then and it seemed like they were going to leave the ACA alone and our vaginas and breasts (among other things) would be safe but throughout this last week they started talking about a new bill again.  This one wouldn’t be so bad, it wouldn’t say pre-existing conditions aren’t covered, it would give states the option to have them covered (or not) AND it would allocate funding for the states to create high-risk pools, you know just in case they decided to exclude pre-existing conditions from insurance market place requirements.  JUST IN CASE GUYS!

So yeah I read this and the normal shit starts to happen I start to have trouble sleeping, staying asleep, falling asleep once I’m woken up, I’m getting anxiety reading the news, watching the news, I have a sudden urgency to see my doctor to double check I am in fact healthy, debate getting an IUD, etc.  Why am I so shook?  Well here’s my pre-existing condition story.  When I was 19 I had an abnomal pap smear, I had cells in my cervix which my gynecologist said weren’t cancer–yet; but,  she wanted to get rid of them if they didn’t go away in 6 months.  Fast forward 6 months, the cells are still there and I have to have those cells removed.  It was a pretty simple procedure, my mom came with me for moral support and I was in and out in less than 45 minutes and about 30 days later I got hit with a bill for like 25k.  I had insurance for the first time during this period–my entire life I was uninsured–but, because I was in college and my school required you to have health insurance so I got the cheapest plan they offered.  I had never used insurance before and I was paying out of pocket.  My insurance denied my claim for this procedure because they said it wasn’t medically necessary since I didn’t actually have cancer it was an elective, preventive procedure.  I think they paid like $300 for the exam part and denied the rest.  After a 6 month battle with my doctor’s office and me vs. my insurance company my doctor told me that she wrote off my bill because she was so pissed off at my insurer and the fact I as a 19 year old college kid that couldn’t afford to pay the bill.  Shout out to doctor’s who give a fuck about their patients and take these sacrifices!  Currently, I’m not on the regular check up plan as most people with vaginas because I have this pre-existing condition of abnormal cervical cells and the first time I got a full time job that offered healthcare I immediately called my insurer to make sure that my extra visits that are required by my doctor for this issue were covered.  At that time pap smears were covered once every two years instead of once a year, presently it’s once every three I think.  I have to get one every year and if it’s even the slightest bit off I have to get them every 3 months for 1 year until they’re normal for 1 year.  It’s a lot of vaginas and a lot of speculums.  I honestly cannot say with 100% certainty that if my insurance would have said “no those extra visits won’t be covered” that I would have followed through with my doctors course of care.  I was barely making enough money to pay rent and eat at the same time, I would have probably rolled the dice.  But, I didn’t have to.  Thanks to the ACA that had passed a few years before it guaranteed that my new insurer would have to cover me even if this was pre-existing and even if I had to have 4 pap smears in a year.  My insurer did in fact cover me because my doctor verified that it was medically necessary for me.  After today’s vote, I am seriously concerned again.  Will I find another insurer to take me?  Will I be able to afford coverage?  Will it be better to save a crazy amount of money just in case I get cervical cancer and have to undergo treatment because I’m going to be capped anyway?  Should I just roll the dice?  It’s like standing in the center of a million diverging roads all filled with varying degrees of quick sand traps, land mines, alligators, shark infested waters and ground covered in lava and if you make it past all of those obstacles your prize is that you live.  You might be broke, jobless and uninsurable, but you live.  Why is that a decision that I am forced to make about my healthcare?  Healthcare and treatment, that let me remind you, is only an issue because biologically I am built differently.  I feel powerless, I feel like instead of taking the risk and choosing a road my safest bet is to stand still right at the center because I’m too afraid to move.

I am not the worst effected though, I am probably OK.  I have a good job that offers good insurance and that coverage likely won’t change.  But I COULD be and there are millions of women and men (and any variation thereof) that WILL BE effected if this is passed.  I could bury my head in the sand and say this isn’t my problem–because it probably won’t be–but I am so much better than that.  I care about the fire, even when it’s not burning me.  See I don’t just think of myself when I feel powerless.  I think of my mom, who is over 50 and has to get mammograms.  I think of my aunt who had her arm practically taken off in a freak, work accident and is now worried that this bill will make it so no insurer will have to take her because she has a pre-existing injury.  I think of my dad who is “pre-diabetic” and has to check his sugar everyday and see a doctor every 6 months to make sure everything is normal.  I think of the moms I know who were brave enough to address their postpartum depression and now their care and services will be limited if this bill passes the Senate.  I think of the injured clients I represented who were in accidents, to no fault of their own, and who now have permanent injuries for which they will be labeled “too risky to insure.”  I think of my significant other who lives with a chronic illness like the bad ass he is and now has to worry about his treatment not being covered or becoming too expensive. The most ridiculous part of all of this is that there is one thing in common here, these conditions aren’t through any fault of our own.  I didn’t do anything to make myself have abnormal cells in my cervix.  My mom didn’t decide to have mammary glands which increase her risk for breast cancer warranting mammograms.  My SO didn’t ask to develop a chronic illness that no doctor can tell you who or why it picks who it picks.

But we are lucky.  We have good health insurance, for now.  We have good jobs, we don’t have to live pay check to pay check and if something happened we would probably be OK.  But, there are so many people who won’t be who simply cannot be.  They will be forced to make a decision between paying a bill or paying for their healthcare.  There will be people who aren’t covered because through no fault of their own they are now a part of a pool where the cost-benefit analysis just doesn’t make sense to buy into coverage.

I guess the pre-existing issue is something most people have come to enjoy as a luxury since the ACA passed, but I’d just like to remind everyone that having healthcare isn’t a luxury and having healthcare that is affordable, accessible, quality and covers pre-existing conditions, isn’t a luxury–it’s a necessity because we are humans who get sick.  It’s that simple.  It’s the same reason we have to have car insurance, because we drive cars on streets and inevitably get into accidents.  I mean it’s just logic…

I know, I’m liberal.  I’m VERY liberal.  I know people who are conservatives and VERY conservative.  But one commonality we mostly share is that we still think humans are humans and they deserve to be treated with respect.  This bill, is an embarrassment to its citizens and point blank disrespectful.  I don’t know anyone who thinks that profits are worth this much more than people and think this bill is OK.  I know that they exist though, I mean 217 of them voted for this bill after all.

I really don’t have anything positive to end this one and I know I haven’t even touched on all the pre-existing conditions that are potentially nixed.  Women, men, transpeople, straight, gay, bisexual and those suffering from mental illness are all effected–I think anyone reading this falls into one of these groups.  But I guess I can say this one thing.  I have seen social media blow up with people talking about their disagreement and disgust regarding this bill.  I have seen people post “I don’t normally talk about politics but…” instructions on how to call senators and representatives, and messages of unity.  So that made me feel good.  I saw some assholes too but I won’t spend too much time talking about them because they’re just that.  It’s going to be a tough 4 years; so everyone, stay motivated, stay educated and keep resisting.

My First Time

I can’t be sure of the first time I realized I was different.  I take that back, I always knew I wasn’t like everyone else mostly because I’ve always spoken my mind.  I think it started when I was a kid and cried hysterically for my grandma for any and every reason and my family nicknamed me “ambulanciaaaaa.”  What can I say?  I wasn’t afraid to voice my displeasure–not much has changed.  Anyways what I mean is, I can’t pinpoint when I realized I was a different race.  I guess I didn’t know race was a “thing” until I started school.  Don’t get me wrong growing up I knew there were kids that didn’t speak Spanish and that they were White or Black or Indian or Arab or whatever but I never knew that being non-white wasn’t the same as being white or how and why being non-white was some how worse.

I don’t think I realized race was this thing people treated like a scarlet letter even when I was sitting in the waiting area of my parent’s shop and one of their customers asked me in Spanish if I was afraid of the black customers that had just left.  I remember looking at her very confused and I saying “no?…why would I be.”  “No?!  How could you not be?”  “I don’t know…” then I continued to color in my coloring book, I was probably 4.  I ignored her until she left then ran over to my mom and asked her why that woman had asked me that.  I really didn’t understand why I should be afraid of anyone at that point in my life.  My mom just responded “ay mija, gente estupida.” It probably wasn’t the time or the place for my mom to explain to 4 year old me what race is, how it works and how shockingly someone of your own race can be prejudiced towards other minorities.  I was so confused that day because in my family we have a rainbow of skin tones and eye colors.  My mom is blonde with green eyes, one of my aunt’s features are so dark brown her nickname is “Caribe,” and I grew up calling Tommy Salah–a Muslim, Arabic kid, my cousin.  I knew he wasn’t Mexican but he spoke Spanish as fluently as anyone in my family.  So imagine my 4 year old confusion, because I knew you could be Mexican and your skin tone could be anywhere on the spectrum and I thought that fact applied to pretty much all people.  So you could be white but have brown skin and speak Spanish, etc.  I know it sounds stupid but I was 4!  Either way I didn’t realize the difference because in my family everyone was different and that was ok, that was my normal.

I knew I was different than my classmates when I started school in Indiana but again I didn’t necessarily see it as negative.  I vividly remember sharing our weekend stories on Mondays and I would talk about how I saw the majority of my extended family for a birthday party and my classmates would talk about how they saw their three cousins at Thanksgiving.  Honestly that made me feel bad for my classmates.  Every Sunday was a party for me growing up and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Still, I didn’t think I was THAT different I just felt like I was luckier than them to have such a big, close-knit family.  Imagine that I felt bad for my new, white friends because their families weren’t as big as mine.

I think the first time I realized that being Mexican wasn’t seen as wonderful by other people as it was by me when once I went out to eat with my parents and brother and the owner refused to serve us.  There wasn’t a “People of Color Aren’t Welcomed Here” sign, it was more of a “we are going to make you wait an hour and half for your food” refusal.  I still remember that day like it was yesterday.  It was a Thursday (my parent’s forever day off) and we had recently moved to Indiana.  Normally on Thursdays after my brother and I got home my parents would either treat us to going out to eat or we would order pizza at home.  Talking this over with my mom, brother and dad I was reminded that it was actually my dad’s birthday–fact checking is important!  So, my dad decided he wanted to try this restaurant called The Patio.  We got to the restaurant which was empty because they had just opened and were told that it would take a minute because they were just gearing up for dinner.  My dad said that was fine and he understood and we waited to be seated.  We waited for a while and eventually the restaurant was up and running and we were seated.  The server came around and within a few minutes we had all ordered.  Then we waited.  We waited about 20 minutes and nothing had been brought out except bread.  My dad flagged the server  and she came back out 10 minutes later with our drinks.  At this point the restaurant was pretty full with the dinner rush.  We were still waiting.  We waited more and my dad flagged down the server again and asked her if our appetizer was close to being ready, the server said it was on its way out.  10 minutes later my parents started to let us eat our second or third piece of bread because I was getting hangry and so was my brother.  People at the tables next to us were eating their soups, salads and appetizers.  My dad thought because he ordered his steak extra well done, as per usual, that this was why service was taking so long, so we just sat there longer.  My brother and I both started to get fidgety and my mom said we could drink our sodas instead of waiting for our food.  Waiting, waiting, rationing my sprite because there was no way my mom was letting me drink two sodas before my meal, and I noticed everyone around us was eating.  People who had sat down about 15 minutes after us and ordered after us were now well into their meals.   My dad for lack of a better phrase lost his shit in the most cool, calm and collected way possible.

Now coming from the perspective of an 8 year old I was starving and probably making it very well known that I was wasting away as the seconds went on, so I’m sure that didn’t help my dad’s obvious frustration.  When he asked the server for what felt like the 10th time where our food was I started to realize something wasn’t right.  First of all, I had been allowed to drink all of my soda before any of the food arrived and I didn’t get yelled at.  My mom let me put my head in her lap because I was so weak with hunger, and my dad didn’t tell me to sit up.  And now people around us were eating and my dad was obviously fuming.  About 15 minutes later my dad asked the server for the final time where our food was, and the rattled server ran to the kitchen and brought our food out.  My brother and dad had both ordered steaks, extra well done, and when the plates arrived the steaks were red, cool to the touch and there was blood all over the plates.  I remember this because I added insult to injury and said “Ew dad why does it have blood?!”  “Ew Oso your’s too?!”

*side note: As an adult I know NOW that extra well done steaks are egregious but stay with me here…*  Sorry Dad!

At this point my dad had that look on his face where we all knew he was pissed and he said, “Get up we’re leaving.”  Now 8 year old me is like, “Dad, settle down.  I’m starved let’s send these back, hang out, drink another soda (wink wink), let them fix the food and let’s eat.  Look at me I’m wasting away here!”  (I said that all in my head though, in reality I shot up like a missile and marched my happy ass to the door).  He then turns to the server and in my favorite sound, his heavy Mexican accent says, “We’ve been sitting here for an hour, I have two kids with me and we’ve waited for over an hour and this is what you give me?”  The server was apologetic but couldn’t formulate the reason why we had waited so long and our food was cooked wrong.  The manager and owner came out and started talking to my dad and I remember my dad telling them, “Do you think I can’t afford to eat here?  Do you think that we aren’t good enough to sit here and have these steaks?  This is bullshit my friends we are leaving.”

At this point it’s a scene because my dad isn’t being quiet we are getting up in a huff and the waiter is fumbling all over herself.  The manager and owner were trying to tell my dad to calm down–spoiler alert: telling him to calm down did not get him to calm down–my dad gives the guy his card for our food and says “I can afford to eat here even though I’m Mexican.”  The owner immediately says, “box up their food,” and my dad responds something to the effect of, I don’t want your food, my friend.  I just want you to know that I know and everyone here knows that you didn’t serve us because we are Mexican you obviously didn’t want us here but just know that even though I’m brown skinned with this heavy Mexican accent, I can afford to pay for this meal even if we aren’t going to eat it.  He paid for the meal and we walked out.

There was no, “Wait sir I’m so sorry,” or “It was a mistake in our kitchen,” or (insert your favorite excuse here).  There was no response from the rest of the patrons in the restaurant who should have been horrified that we had been siting there when they got there and somehow they were served first and they knew exactly why.  It was my very first experience (but not my last) of silent compliance.  I was 8.

The next thing I remember from that day is that it was the first time I realized I was different and that people didn’t always think that was as cool and unique as me.  We got in the car and little-million-questions-Melody asked “Daddy why wouldn’t they give us our food I’m SO hungry?”  My mom shot me the death glare that every kid knows, you know the one that makes you stop talking mid-word.  But, that’s the first time my dad explained to me that racism exists, that sometimes simply because you are Mexican some people won’t like you and will do mean things like make you wait extra long to give you food to try to get you to leave to show you aren’t welcomed there.  “Actions, Mija, actions always speak louder than words.”

I remember being shocked sitting in the backseat, like in actual 8 year old disbelief that this was a thing that was happening and that I had lived through because my only information about racism lead me to believe that it was over because the Civil Rights movement, duh.  My dad then had to explain to me that even though laws get passed it doesn’t necessarily mean that people change their opinions or beliefs.  He told me that we, a people of Mexican origin, were different and sometimes that fact alone will make people treat us differently and more poorly even when they don’t know anything about who we are.

I think we ended up eating at a Wendy’s that day and my dad went on to tell us stories about how he and my mom had been treated like this in the past when they first dated and even after they were married.  My mom is very light skinned, like I said, and is often mistaken for white and my dad’s skin tone is like a perfect cup of coffee with a hint of milk, year round.  He told us how people would get up from tables if they were seated next to them, how people would say  “Oh my God” when they walked into stores together, how they would get dirty looks on the regular if they were holding hands in public or how cops would stare at my mom as if to say “are you ok?” when they saw her with my dad.  All because of how they looked.  “Unfortunately,” he said “this is going to be something you guys are going to have to deal with too, like what just happened.”

I remember feeling like man we were alone at that restaurant, no one took our side.  Shit I remember questioning myself years later– was it really racism or just my dad’s temper?  I remember thinking if that was about racism someone would have said something, someone would have stood up for us because racism is wrong, right?  But have you seen what happened on United this past week?  They literally pulled a guy off a plane, leaving him bloody and distraught and all anyone did was gasp, take some cellphone videos then sit down in their seats and prepare for take off.  Silent compliance is a real thing and luckily it didn’t take me long to realize that, it was my very first real-life example of how people’s true colors come out when they’re placed in uncomfortable situations.  I was 8.

So, I guess that was my first time, at 8 years old.   The first time I realized I was Mexican and how not everyone always thought that was good.  The first time I understood what covert racism was.  The first time I realized that laws don’t change minds and beliefs.  The first time I acknowledged that racism didn’t always mean racial slurs and insults.  The first time I realized that even when something ridiculous and insulting is happening at a table next to you (or in the airplane seat next to you) the majority of people will choose silent compliance and their own comfort over a person of color’s fair treatment.  I was 8.

Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About The Radicalization of Whites?

Very good read. Something to think about for all people.

AfroSapiophile

Many of my white friends have become Radicalized

What do white people got to be so angry about? ~ Chris Rock

A while back ago I spoke in great pain on how I’m losing friends fighting racism.  I talked about how one can have friends (white) who will invite you (black person) to a Christmas dinner, but will engage in vehicular manslaughter when it comes to Black Lives Matter protesters.  What I didn’t really discuss was this radicalization process among the white community in America which makes such violent ideas possible.

Radicalization?  You probably never really took a look at it. You’re probably wondering what am I talking about.  Radicalization?  What radicalization?

Radicalization of the White American

radicalized-white-girl

To the left is a photograph I took of a white woman, bowing down to Donald Trump during the Tucson Trump rally in March 2016.

The put this into perspective, I do a lot…

View original post 967 more words

My Best Friend

My best friend is brown, and she’s Muslim too.

She’s brown like me and speaks Spanish too.  She’s a little sister, an aunt and a daughter.  She comes from a family that immigrated to the US too.

She fills out pages of applications and writes briefs for immigrants who look like me and you. Oh yeah she’s an attorney, probably better than me too.

She fights for people who are here and have no where else to go if their applications are denied.

She tosses and turns when she can’t get it done fast enough and she chose this path even when she knew she could likely never do enough.

She cries when she feels helpless and when Trump passes executive orders too, but she’s brown and she’s strong, and she’s a Muslim too.

I met her parents and they were kind and welcoming.  Her mom hugged me and took my bag and the first thing she asked me was if I wanted something to eat.  “You’ve been working all day, you must be starving.”

Leave it to a brown Mom to make sure there’s not a need left for her to meet. She’s a doctor who’s witty and fashionable too.

She asked me about an ex-boyfriend I had and knew that I lived with him too.

And then she asked me about the new one and she didn’t flinch when I said he was Jewish too.

She’s a mom probably better than the one you have too because she refused to share a practice with her husband because she’s brown and strong and independent too.

Her dad sat in the living room and waved from his afar he was just like my dad watching soccer too.

He told us about growing up in Abu Dhabi and the killings he saw on the street.  When my best friend expressed surprise he told her, “Oh baba for you I used to keep it sweet.”

You’re older now, I can tell you the truth…he sat around and chatted with us he’s brown, and Muslim too.

My best friend’s dad saved a man once while on vacation.  The man was white and almost drowned choking on seaweed.

Her dad ran over, heart condition and all, the only doctor who responded and gave him mouth to mouth.  He saved that man right there on beach, his boyfriend thanked him…oh yeah the drowner was gay too.

But this didn’t stop Dr. B because this was something larger than him.  He’s a doctor and he’s strong and he’s a Muslim too.

My best friend’s sister…you guessed it she’s brown too.  She small and compact but tougher than anyone I ever knew.

She married a white guy and they have two kids too.  They’re kind and funny and do all the things kids love to do.  They play and they laugh and love chocolate too.

They say Jido and Grandpa and guess what?  They’re all Muslim too.

I often sit and think when being Muslim became taboo.  Was it when we decided that to be evil it had to be because you were Muslim too?

As long as I’ve been alive I’ve seen religion make people do funny things too.  Like scream, “Pro-life” and “Don’t get divorced!” but never, “Crash that plane into a tower!” too.

I see my friend and her family too and how they remind me of mine and all the things we do.

We’re both part of a group that just never really belonged but now to Muslims and Mexicans the United States is saying “SO LONG!”

We fight everyday to prove that we are just like you, you reading this who’s not brown, that we’re worthy too.

My best friend and I we talk every day, but today it’s like we ran out of things to say.

How do we comfort each other when we have no control over what’s happening.  So we mourn and we cry and let ourselves be.

But on Monday my best friend goes back to work.  And she talks to her clients and she weeds through the murk.  She uses her steady voice that she taught me so much about–and reminds me to stay tough and strong and not let this thing take us out.

My best friend is strong, independent and brown.

My best friend is tough and she isn’t afraid of taking on this order too.

She speaks Spanish and Arabic and is trying out a few others too.

She loves to eat and laugh and learn about other cultures too.  Her favorite city is Damascus because her family hails from Syria too.  And guess what?  On top of all of that, she’s Muslim too.

Election Hangover

It’s three days after the election and I am suffering from the worst hangover ever, an election hangover.  I’m pretty sure the definition of this type of hangover is when not only does your candidate lose, but you feel like your entire country hates you, you’re terrified for your friends and family, and you feel completely alone.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know by now Donald Trump, yes that Donald Trump, won the election.  He beat a woman who was the most qualified candidate for the job, typical.  I digress because this isn’t about politics but it is about what I felt when I saw  red take over the map.  Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump basically polarized this country.  He separated us by race, religion, sex, social economic class, etc.  In the course of his campaign  every brown person became an “other”, whether it was because they were Mexican criminals, Syrian Muslim radicals, Black Lives Matter sympathizers or simply just women.

Somewhere in those months I began to feel more marginalized than I ever had in my life which is strange considering I’ve been brown my entire life.  Somehow I never felt more out of place until this past year.  I didn’t actually believe anyone could support the things he said and the platforms he proposed but slowly people I thought I knew started to turn against me and people who looked like me.  Fast forward to November 8th and the guy that has been accused of sexually assaulting 20+ women, wants to deport all undocumented Mexican immigrants because they’re “bad hombres,” is going to go into the inner cities to help “the blacks,” and with absolutely zero political or governing experience is president.  And on Wednesday we all had to go to work like that was OK.

I cried Wednesday, a lot.  I cried mostly because I was fearful of the future and what was to come.  I was scared for my family, my friends, women less fortunate than me and women as fortunate as me who currently have the freedom to choose what to do regarding their reproductive health.  I cried to my NJB early in the morning and although he sympathized he didn’t feel the severity of my emotions.

I felt like this all day, that no one in the world felt what I felt like besides my fellow “others.”  It was hard to get through the day and to make matters worse at some point my “otherness” was pointed out again when I was asked if i was an interpreter.  For the record, I’m a lawyer.  However, in a room full of attorneys I looked most like I was the interpreter probably because i was the only brown one.  It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this question but on Wednesday it stung that much more.  So, I came home after a day of not being able to look anyone in the eyes and cried.  I wondered how I could pull myself out of this rut, how other people were already pulling themselves up and I finally sat down and read an email my fellow brown girl and best friend sent me.  She’s an attorney too, a much better one than me with a much more difficult job.  I couldn’t imagine how her day was dealing with with her clients, who are mostly undocumented, calling asking her, “What is going to happen now?”  She told me that at work she’s using her steady voice   She’s going to work everyday and she’s going to do the best job she can do for them and she’s going to continue to use her steady voice.  She’s not going to give up on them because they aren’t giving up on her.

Since then, I decided I couldn’t sit idly by and let the world change around me.  So, I’ve challenged myself to get up and find my steady voice, whatever that may be.  I started with researching causes I’m passionate about and finding ways to be involved and make my steady voice heard.  I challenge all my brown  and non-brown people alike to go out and find their steady voices too, whatever that may be to you.  Whatever you do, do not give up and do not stop fighting for progress.  Find your steady voice and make it heard, I know I will be.

Maybe you can find your steady voice here:

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-involved

https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/get-involved

http://www.refugeeone.org/volunteer.html