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Stuck Outside the Poor Door

More than 88,000 people have applied to enter the "poor door" at a new luxury condominium tower on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Only one in 1,600 will win the lottery to live there. Some months ago a New York developer made headlines with the plans for this building, which takes advantage of zoning rules encouraging affordable housing by including some low-priced rental units along with the luxury condos for sale. A separate entrance for the people living in the low-income apartments continues with segregated living inside. Low-income tenants won’t be allowed to use the pool, gym, private theater, or any of the other amenities reserved for the wealthy owners. Critics immediately pounced on this design as a modern-day form of Jim Crow. But the need for affordable housing is so overwhelming that when the deadline came this month to participate in a lottery for the spots behind the "poor door" tens of thousands applied.

Road Trip to See the President

Last week I had the great good fortune of attending President Obama’s town hall on women and the economy along with 10 other NC MomsRising members.  It was held in a small space, with only 250 people or so in attendance. As one of our members put it, we were close enough that it felt like the President was talking directly to you.

It’s hard to explain how it felt to be so close and hear President Obama talking about the issues moms deal with in our own lives every day. How empowering it was to feel like we have a leader who actually gets the struggles families face. What it meant to have a President speaking from his own experience of watching his grandmother hit the glass ceiling and of what he hopes for his own daughters. It was vindicating and energizing and hopeful all at once.

Road Trip to See the President

Last week I had the great good fortune of attending President Obaman’s town hall on women and the economy along with 10 other NC MomsRising members.  It was held in a small space, with only 250 people or so in attendance. As one of our members put it, we were close enough that it felt like the President was talking directly to you.

It’s hard to explain how it felt to be so close and hear President Obama talking about the issues moms deal with in our own lives every day. How empowering it was to feel like we have a leader who actually gets the struggles families face. What it meant to have a President speaking from his own experience of watching his grandmother hit the glass ceiling and of what he hopes for his own daughters. It was vindicating and energizing and hopeful all at once.

Should corporations be watching our kids?

As a mom, I have to address the reality of social media in my children’s lives, along with balancing the privacy they need to grow and mature in a world I am handing off to them. Part of that is keeping them safe from predators by teaching them how to navigate technology they are more comfortable with than I am.
 
Which is why, when I learned recently that behemoth testing company Pearson is spying on our kids online, my protective instincts flew into high gear.
 
In case you missed it, here’s what happened: A New Jersey superintendent raised the alarm last month after she was contacted by the state Department of Education and asked to discipline a student because of a tweet about PARCC testing (as if standardized testing isn’t stressful enough). The department had been contacted by Pearson, who admitted that it was indeed monitoring students’ social media accounts for any mention of the standardized tests, calling it standard “test security” procedure.

My Mid-Year Resolution

Like too many moms, I’m an expert at putting myself last. It’s not something I’m proud of; it just seems to happen by default.

I try to make sure my kids eat healthy. I get them regular check ups. I make sure they have lots of physical activity. But when it comes to my own health, I don’t do nearly as well. I put off doctor appointments because I’m too busy. I grab what I can to eat as I rush between meetings or sometimes skip lunch altogether. Between the kids’ baseball practices, homework, and other commitments, I never seem to find time to exercise myself. And sometimes, when I’m making bad choices, I find ways to rationalize my decisions. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but I have a love/ need relationship with caffeine that finds me drinking way more sodas than I should.

#FoodFri Tweetchat: Pass the salt?

Tweetchat

Salt. It's on our tables, in our cupboards and added into our foods by food companies. Powerfully flavorful, salt triggers a response in our bodies causing us to crave more. But how much is enough? When does too much salt become dangerous?

According to the new Dietary Guidelines, a set of nutritional standards, we consume too much sodium, to our detriment. If you're wondering why the sudden change in sodium consumption, this week's tweetchat is for you.

Join #FoodFri on April 24, 2015, at 1pm Eastern, to chat with @MomsRising and @CSPI about salt, the new Dietary Guidelines and more!

Spread the word and invite a friend or two!

 

 

Tweet: Pass the salt? http://ctt.ec/17vf3+ Join #FoodFri on 4/24/15 1pET to chat all things sodium w/ @MomsRising, @CSPI and ME! #Hypertension

 

 

 

The Dangers of Peeing

"Mummy, I have to pee."

Of course.  We were at a big-box hardware store, picking up a couple things after he got out of kindergarten.  I sighed: merchandise is not allowed in the restrooms. 

"That's okay, Mummy, I can go by myself."

This time there was some irritation in his voice.  He goes by himself all the time - at school, at church, in places that feel safer to me than the hardware store.  But still, he's only five, and the fears of this culture are hard to shake.  I took a deep breath, stood by the nearby cash registers, and watched him approach the bathrooms. 

He stopped and regarded the signs for a long moment.  I had assumed he would use the Women's room, only because that's where I would have brought him.  But he can read now, and is aware of himself and his surroundings.  He headed, with no hesitation, to the Men's room.

There are no doors on the restrooms in this store, just a long hallway with an abrupt turn at the end, and a line of stalls inside.  He hadn't gotten far down the hall when an older man approached from the other end.  The man stopped my son, obviously alarmed.

"No, honey, you're in the wrong place."

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, Inaugurated, Addresses Domestic Violence

Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, envisioned a Great American Community, at his  ceremony of oath, April 22, 2015, at Comny Hall in Virginia,  With the flags of 50 states behind him, and his immigrant family seated before him, Murthy began the ceremony in a white shirt and tie, but concluded wearing the decorated coat of a Vice Admiral.  
 
Vice President Joseph Biden, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and outgoing Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, were among the officiators of the ceremony.  Murthy's fiancee, Alice Chen, MD, Director of Doctors for America, also addressed the audience.

When Did You Start Feeling "American"?

This article originally appeared in Vocero Latino News

The question was asked recently in an interactive conversation on twitter hosted by Michelle Martin, host of NPR show “Tell Me More”, on a special called “Becoming American”: When did you start feeling American?

For me there is no special date or anniversary to celebrate of “the day when I felt American”. It’s a process, like being born. You don’t remember the exact day you started to belong to this world.

When I first moved to the U.S. I was 25 years old and had the future ahead of me. With a suitcase filled with just a few changes of clothes, lots of hope and illusions to find my place in the world, I landed in Cleveland, Ohio, 12 years ago.

Of course it was not easy at the beginning adapting to a new language, new culture, different rules, and especially, a totally different kind of weather!

It’s Not You, It’s The System. (Which Is Why Activism Is The Only Answer)

The inspiration for my upcoming novel, Wishful Thinking, about an overburdened, overscheduled and scantily supported divorced mother of two, came when I was reading the Harry Potter books with my older son. I was enjoying them immensely, and thought, “If I could give someone like me a superpower, what would it be?” (I’m a divorced mom, too.) The answer came immediately: the power to be in two places at the same time. Every working parent I know needs this power, every day—primarily because workplaces are still designed for men with stay-at-home-wives, and modern standards of parenting make any mother who doesn’t cook three-course meals every night and sew her kids Halloween costumes by hand feel like a slacker.

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