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Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Personal Privacy Protection Act" Say What Now?

am writing you today regarding the introduction of the Personal Privacy Protection Act ballot initiative.  Earlier this month the  Pacific Justice Institute, filed paperwork for a statewide ballot initiative that would require Californians to "prove" their gender before using the restroom. 

This act would make it illegal for people to use gendered facilities in government buildings that are not consistent with their “biological sex”—including those in public schools and universities—and would allow people to file lawsuits against trans individuals who they “catch” using the wrong facility for at least $4,000 in damages.

Requiring individuals to prove their gender in order to use restrooms in government buildings is not only outrageous and offensive, but would seem to require restroom  inspectors to enforce it. Can you imagine restroom  inspectors evaluating you and your appearance before using the restroom? How else would one be able to catch people in the “wrong” restroom except by forcing them to show their government identification, their birth certificate, or their genitals before entering, or while they are already in, the restroom ? It should not have to be pointed out to you that such practices would be profoundly humiliating and legitimately dehumanizing.

It's clear that the proposed measure would require unlawful discrimination in violation of federal laws like Title VII and Title IX, and the constitutional guarantee of equal protection. California is relatively unique as a state because it already has progressive laws on the books ensuring transgender students’ rights to use all facilities and participate in all activities that are in accordance with their gender identity. Not everyone agrees with these protections, however I believe everyone should be treated equal under the law.

One of my favorite quotes by Bayard  Rustin is this: “When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” 

Let's talk suicide

My heartbroke this afternoon after spending time with a 10yr old boy who recently attempted suicide this past week. Very sad to see so much pain in the eyes of such a young boy. Visiting him in the hospital brought back memories from when I was in the hospital 5 yrs ago after I attempted suicide.


What drives so many individuals to take their own lives? To those not in the grips of suicidal depression and despair, it's difficult to understand what drives so many individuals to take their own lives. Speaking from my own personal experience a suicidal person is in so much pain that he or she can see no other option. A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn't mean that help isn't wanted. We don't want to burden others with our problems. We already feel guilt and shame for having such thoughts. People who commit suicide don't want to die—they just want to stop hurting. Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can't see any way of finding relief except through death. But despite the desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives. They wish there was an alternative to committing suicide, but they just can't see one.



Prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life. One of the most common misconceptions about talking with someone contemplating suicide is that bringing up the subject may make things worse. This is not true. Bringing up the question of suicide and discussing it without showing shock or disapproval is one of the most helpful things you can do. Communicate with him or her openly and frequently. Show empathy, not sympathy. Make it clear that you care,  stress your willingness to listen. This openness shows that you are seriously and responding to the severity of his or her situation. Don’t assume that people who talk about killing themselves won’t really do it.


And for those that are contemplating suicide KEEP GOING. EACH STEP MAY GET HARDER, BUT DON'T STOP. THE VIEW AT THE TOP IS BEAUTIFUL. BUT YOU FIRST KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOVED, THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE AROUND YOU RIGHT NOW THAT NEED YOU AND CARE FOR YOU EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW IT. I CAN TELL YOU THERE ARE TIMES WHEN I COULDN'T FIGURE OUT WHAT GOD WAS IN MY LIFE OR TIMES WHEN I DIDN'T THINK I'D EVER BE SUCCESSFUL AND THESE WERE THE TIMES WHEN DEPRESSION SET IN THE MOST THE WAY YOU REVERSE THE GRAVITY OF DEPRESSION IS TO TALK ACKNOWLEDGE IT, DON’T BE IN DENIAL ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL AND ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT IT'S TEMPORARY.
STORMS COME AND GO AND THIS WILL TOO. WHEN YOU COME OUT OF THE STORM YOU WON'T BE THE SAME PERSON THAT WALKED IN. THAT'S WHAT THE STORM IS ALL ABOUT. NO STORM CAN LAST FOREVER. IT WILL NEVER RAIN 365 CONSECUTIVELY. KEEP IN MIND THAT TROUBLE  COMES TO PASS, NOT TO STAY. DON’T WORRY! NO STORM, NOT EVEN THE ONE IN YOUR LIFE, CAN LAST FOREVER. DON’T BE ASHAMED OF YOUR STORY IT WILL INSPIRE OTHERS. 
AS ALWAYS BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF AND REMEMBER YOU CAN'T GET TO COURAGE WITHOUT GOING THROUGH VULNERABILITY.



A few nice words can help a person a lot more than you think. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, act of caring, a sincere prayer all which have the potential to turn a life around.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

#GetInspired It's All About Service

“The best way to find to is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  
 – Mahatma Gandhi

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
- Muhammad Ali

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. ”
- Rabindranath Tagore

"Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. "-
 - Elizabeth Andrew 

"Our success as a Nation depends upon the willingness to give generously of ourselves for the welfare and enrichment of others." 
- First Lady Pat Nixon



Instead of wondering what you can get out of every experience, relationship, encounter or opportunity, ask what you can give. How can you be of service to others? How can you support, love or uplift someone else?  How can you create a better conversation or community? Being of service serves everyone involved, especially YOU.

It is your spiritual responsibility - as a human being - to bring your skills and abilities to as many people as you possibly can. It is your spiritual responsibility to serve at the highest possible level, helping people, teaching people, inspiring people, at every opportunity. 

There is always a way to serve. 

"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains & is immortal." - Albert Pire



#GetInspired 


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

#GetInspired

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” –Matthew 16:24-27