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Thanks to Four Bright Rainbows in Our National Clouds

As 2014 draws to a close, I wanted to celebrate four great rainbows for justice who passed away this year but left us a much better people and nation. My brother-friend Dr. Vincent Harding, much loved historian, theologian, social justice activist, and visionary, never lost sight of the “beloved community” his friend and colleague Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed our nation and world could become. A close confidant of Dr. King, he helped draft several of Dr. King’s most important speeches, including the landmark 1967 antiwar sermon “Beyond Vietnam.”  His books include the powerful essay collection Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero, where he reminded us that too many of us enshrine Dr. King the dreamer and ignore Dr. King the “disturber of all unjust peace.” On his 81st birthday Dr.

QUICK signature needed to protect overtime pay!

Take Action!

As we head into the holiday season, many of us are putting in extra long hours, and for too many of us, this overtime is basically going unpaid because of outdated overtime regulations.

We can fix this!

*Take action by signing onto our open letter to the Department of Labor here: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/overtime/

Here’s what’s going on: Last March, President Obama directed the Department of Labor (DOL) to update and simplify the guidelines for overtime pay. The DOL is expected to make its decision soon on how it plans to change overtime guidelines. That means that right now is the time for you—and people across the nation—to make sure that the DOL knows we want our outdated overtime protections strengthened. 

Make storybook Christmas ornaments in 3 easy steps!

My favorite Christmas memory is from one of the toughest years of my adult life.

When my husband and I moved into our apartment together, our first winter living away from home was the hardest. We were in a new city with no family or friends in the area, we rarely saw each other because he went to school in the morning while I worked nights, and we barely had enough money to cover our basic expenses. With all the change, I was adamant that we try to have sense of normalcy during the holidays—which included buying our first (small) Christmas tree!

At first I figured we would make some paper snowflakes for ornaments, but one morning I walked by a Borders that was having a closing sale with children’s Christmas books on display and got the idea to make ornaments out of storybooks! Here's what I did:

Materials Needed

  • Children’s books of your choosing (thrift stores are a great place to find some affordable, vintage holiday books)
  • Craft scissors
  • A hole puncher
  • Some ribbon or twine

Process

Working in the Regenerative Economy

“If we want stronger communities and more fulfilling, connected lives, we’re going to have to build them – together.” – Sara Horowitz, Freelancers Union

 

Federal officials say the “Great Recession” ended in June 2009, 18 months after it started. But for many Americans, the recession’s ripple effects still linger: job insecurity and the housing bubble have rattled our faith in the leaders and institutions we came to rely on.

Despite the economic devastation it caused, the recession has given us a great opportunity too: the chance to redefine work culture and the “good life.”

In some American cities where economic hardship has lasted decades longer than the recent recession, the seeds of this new economy are sprouting.

Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio is a collection of worker-owned businesses that do three great things: they provide workers with good wages and a voice in the future of the business; they inject money into the local economy; and they provide sustainable products and services. Win-win-win.

Say “No” to Holiday Stress

What’s the best holiday gift I have ever received? Not having to do the whole holiday thing.

 

Really, I’m not a Scrooge. I love picking out the right gift for a person and watching them open it.  Receiving gifts is fun, too. Oh, and let’s not forget all the homemade goodies. And decorating your home, both inside and out. And the many parties and family get-togethers. And the wonderful concerts and recitals that your family and friends invite you to attend. And the holiday cards with pictures of loved ones and maybe an annual newsletter. It’s all great, but it’s also just so, so stressful.

 

Welcome to the holiday season, an annual test of endurance for many women. Forget the walking machine for a cardiac stress test — just strap a monitor on most any woman during the week before Thanksgiving or Christmas.

 

What’s Fuglier than an Ugly Christmas Sweater?

Over the years, I’ve received a few ugly Christmas sweaters. My favorite was a bright red sweater with too many dancing reindeers that I received when I was about 10 years old. At the time, I didn’t know it was ugly. It had to be pointed out to me by a dear, older friend – she was 11 and I couldn’t refute her wisdom.  

Now, that the ugly Christmas sweater is fashionable, I’m feeling a bit lost. Does this mean that I was always fashionable and just didn’t know it? Or, that I was a trendsetter ahead of my time? And, most importantly, could I trust my instincts and answer the greatest question of the holiday time, “What’s Fuglier than an Ugly Christmas Sweater?!”  

So, I sat down and I made a list of what I think is utterly fugly. I’m sure I could add tons more but I’ll leave you with these. 

Btw, you know what's always in style? MOM POWER! Check out what Moms, and people who love them, have accomplished in 2014 and rejoice in the power of Moms.

 

Gun Safety during the Holidays: Ask to keep your children safe!

A friend recently shared what happened last year during a holiday visit to her parents’ house. While looking for medicine to soothe a headache, she opened a drawer and found a loaded, unsecured gun. As the mother of two young children, she was shocked that her parents would have left a loaded gun in a drawer within reach of her curious children.

It would be a tragedy for any family to experience an accidental injury or death due to an unsecured firearm this holiday season. But given the prevalence of unlocked guns in homes across the country—1.7 million homes have unlocked, loaded guns according to a study in Pediatrics-the risk is very real.

This holiday season we at MomsRising urge you to ask your family if they own any guns, and if so, whether the guns are locked safely with ammunition stored separately (and also locked), out of your child’s reach.

These conversations can be awkward and uncomfortable, but they also save lives!  Need help starting the conversation? We’ve pulled together some resources below to help.

Making Our Health Care System Work for Boys and Young Men of Color

This week the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) and the California Schol-Based Health Alliance released a new brief, Making the Health Home Model Work for Boys and Young Men of Color, to examine how we can tailor our health system to meet the needs of boys and young men of color.

10 Holiday Gifts That Support Paid Sick Days

‘Tis the season to give back to our communities and reflect on what each of us can do to help support the economic security and wellbeing of our neighbors who are right next door and across the country.
 
One major dilemma facing working families is a lack of paid sick days. Four in ten private-sector workers and 80% of low-wage workers cannot earn a single paid sick day.
 
Paid sick days are a matter of economic security and no mother should have to choose between her job or paycheck and taking care of a sick child. This holiday season, let’s renew our commitment to making earned sick days a right that every worker has access to.
 
And make your holiday shopping REALLY count!

Seven Reasons Why #MomsLove MichelleObama!

There are so many legitimate reasons to #ThankMichelleObama, schools and the USDA this year! Here's a countdown of some of my favorites: 
 
7. #MomsLoveMichelle for prioritizing kids’ health! One in three kids in the U.S. is at increased risk for nutrition-related diseases like Type II Diabetes. (1) If promoting healthy eating is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
 
6. #MomsLoveMichelle for supporting the charge to improve school meals and snacks! A new poll shows that 90 percent of Americans want K-12 schools to have a role in reducing obesity in their community. Am I in that group? YES I AM.  (2)
 
5. #MomsLoveMichelle for supporting standards that were created by experts in child nutrition and vetted by community partners and schools, and which make great sense. School lunches now include more fruits, vegetables and whole grain-rich foods; only fat-free or low-fat milk; “right size” meals with portions designed for a child's age; and less saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. (3) I'll take seconds of that menu any day!

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