Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

I am by no means a Kim Kardashian fan — I’ve never seen an episode of her show, and DH and I mercilessly give our niece grief for watching. But I appreciated her beautiful words — yes, hers — on motherhood and how it’s made her more aware of racism and the injustices of discrimination.

I feel a responsibility as a mother, a public figure, a human being, to do what I can to make sure that not only my child, but all children, don’t have to grow up in a world where they are judged by the color of their skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation. I want my daughter growing up in a world where love for one another is the most important thing.

So the first step I’m taking is to stop pretending like this isn’t my issue or my problem, because it is, it’s everyone’s…because the California teenager who was harassed and killed by his classmates for being gay, the teenage blogger in Pakistan who was shot on her school bus for speaking out in favor of women’s rights, the boy in Florida who was wrongly accused of committing a crime and ultimately killed because of the color of his skin, they are all someone’s son and someone’s daughter and it is our responsibility to give them a voice and speak out for those who can’t and hopefully in the process, ensure that hate is something our children never have to see.

It’s always surprised me when people stereotype moms as “not politically active” or only interested in their children and nothing else in the world. I feel like I had a political and spiritual re-awakening after children. What do you all think?

In health news: Did you have preeclampsia during pregnancy? It is Preeclampsia Awareness Month, and MomsRising is hosting a #WellnessWed twitter chat today at 2pmET. Please join me — and RT!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I am waist-deep in blog posts for MomsRising’s immigration campaign. All of this week, we are publishing stories by women across the country who are fasting for immigration reform. The fast is part of a campaign by the We Belong Together women’s coalition, of which MomsRising is a member.

I just published the second installment of stories by women fasters for the Daily Kos. It would be phenomenal if you all could help a sister out and do any or all of the following:

1. Sign the MoveOn petition to Speaker John Boehner asking him to meet with the fasters.

2. Hit the “recommend” button on this diary at Daily Kos.

3. Hit any of the social media buttons at the top of the diary at Daily Kos.

Thank you so much! What’s up with you?

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Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Tonight I plan to take my children to see the Cesar Chavez movie. It isn’t every day that a Latino-themed movie highlighting a role model hits the big screen. So I will make sure that my family supports it.

Here is the trailer, by the way:

A sad story of hunger in our communities: The Huffington Post ran a compelling story of families in North Carolina who have gone hungry due to a computer glitch. They did not receive the food stamps — and not enough food from food pantries — to be able to feed their families for the month. Working at MomsRising, I am aware of the numbers of “food insecure” families, but I still found this story shocking.

On a lighter note, what are you up to this weekend? What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Happy TGIF all! This week has been intense in terms of my workload. I’ve had no time to exercise and feel bone-weary tired. Here’s to the weekend!

Yesterday I got around to checking e-mail at my mothertalkers acount and came across this interesting story in the New York Times about elite volunteers at school. This is a topic that DH and I often talk about when we dole out money for extracurricular activities and wonder how low-income families are able to participate. Answer: they don’t.

I was also saddened by this story coming out of Utah, in which 40 elementary school students’ lunches were thrown away for unpaid debts. It seemed outrageously wasteful and cruel. I thought of the growing income disparity in our country and…shuddered.

Have you witnessed these kinds of incidents at your children’s schools? How do your schools accommodate the lowest income families?

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Happy Pre-Turkey Day everyone! Yesterday my 20-year-old niece Eu and I braved the lines at our popular Berkeley Bowl supermarket to buy everything we would need for the entire week, including Thanksgiving. This year we are hosting at our house with dear friends Amy and Will and their son Jude, my in-laws who are in town from El Salvador, and of course, the seven of us. I have Thursday and Friday off of work so I am zen about the whole thing. Plus — I love to cook! (Cue in Insane in the Membrane…)

Are you ready?

We just took our holiday photo — the seven of us! — and I can’t wait to share with the rest of you. Here is one Eu took of some of us on her cell phone:

Finally, I am hustling at work before the extra long weekend. I have a huge favor to ask you. Last week, Politico published an outrageous op ed calling First Lady Michelle Obama a “feminist nightmare”. It then went on to denigrate her work — important work! — and quoted our executive director in a condescending way. Our fearless leader Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner responded with a fantastic op ed of her own. It would be so great if you could send some love to the piece by commenting here or tweeting to #FeminismIsForMothersToo. Thank you so much!

Without further ado…Happy Thanksgiving! What are you up to today?

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

If I had unlimited sums of money, I would hire someone just to check my e-mail. Seriously. I am struggling to stay on top of my work e-mail. My personal blogging account? Yikes!

What would you do to save time, MotherTalkers?

Then again, my time crunch doesn’t hold a candle to this writer’s at AlterNet. Linda Tirado wrote the most mind-blowing and brave account of being poor in a provocatively titled piece, “Why Poor People’s Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense.”

It’s gone rival and Tirado has received offers to fix her teeth, money and an agent to write her story. She has taken it in with grace — I look forward to reading more by her.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Ms. magazine had the best article on maternal profiling I have read in a long time. As the article noted, it is still legal for employers in 28 states to ask a woman if she has children or plans to have them. Also, mothers are 79 percent less likely than non-mothers with equal experience and resumes to be hired for a job.

What caught my attention is that all of this fear and bias against working mothers is based on…smoke. Check it out:

But studies have shown that employees who have to take time off for sick leave due to lack of exercise, poor diet or other bad health habits take much longer leave than that allotted to new mothers—and are much less productive than new mothers when returning to the job. Employees who are caring for aging relatives take even more time off than new mothers.

So why is it that mothers are the ones being discriminated against? If employers are claiming that they are screening out prospective lost time and lost revenue, should they not screen for these other factors as well? Better yet, why can’t employers just treat everyone equally and not discriminate at all—as the Equal Opportunity Employment Act intends?

Here! Here!

I also got teary-eyed watching the end of this mind-blowing discussion on Black feminism at The New School between Melissa Harris Perry and bell hooks. The video is over an hour long, and while I feel guilty about ignoring all else to watch it, it really was that good. At the end, Bronx organizer Tanya Fields — who spoke at MomsRising’s food conference in New York last March! — talked about the shame she was made to feel as a poor single mother of four children. Harris Perry, who is also a single mother, gave a response that is so worth watching. Do it!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Immigration reform has been on my mind. Two House Republicans so far — Jeff Denham of California and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida — have signed onto a Democrat-led bill that is both fair and tough. This is an issue near and dear to my heart as I am the daughter of an immigrant and I work as a campaign associate on this issue. For the first time this rough political year, I am going to say that I am seeing a glimpse of hope…

In the meantime, I bawled when I saw this music video by American soul singer Aloe Blacc featuring real-life DREAMers — undocumented youth brought to this country at a young age. Please do watch it, but have the tissues handy!

Finally, I just finished another compelling read: And Hell Followed Her: Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border by David Neiwert. Neiwert, a journalist, author and expert in right-wing extremism, is the senior editor of the popular political blog Crooks and Liars.

In his most recent book, he did an impressive amount of on-the-ground research and wrote an exposé on the anti-immigrant vigilante group the Minute Men. They have largely been discredited because of an internal civil war and also the death of a 9-year-old Hispanic American girl in Arizona at the hands of hit men ringed by a Minute Men activist.

The murder of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores is one that I have not read much about outside of Latino circles. I am grateful to Neiwert for covering details of her life that I had never read anywhere else, the horrendous details leading up to her death and the trial itself which was covered only by local press and the Daily Beast. Two people ended up with death penalty verdicts against them, a third with life in prison without the possibility of parole, and a fourth man is still at-large.

Neiwert is a gifted writer in that he had this tired mama staying up late and turning pages. He did a beautiful job of detailing the Flores families’ lives, that of their murderers and the town in which they lived. I’ve been telling my husband and those around me to read this book. I hope you will, too.

What’s on your night table? What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Normally I stay away from news stories that appear to criticize certain mother’s choices, but I am a fan of Judith Warner’s writing. For me, her book Perfect Madness is the modern-day Feminine Mystique on why today’s U.S. mothers are so overworked and frazzled.

Anyways, Warner wrote a cover story for New York Times Magazine, “The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In”. She followed up with moms who left high-powerered careers to stay home with their children 10 years ago. A significant number of them re-entered the workforce or were looking for work.

Being a news cover story, there was emphasis on some of the worst aspects of the women’s lives: divorce, marital tension, taking on work, in which they were paid significantly less than 10 years ago. I want to highlight the positive aspects, which thankfully, has been my experience opting out of a job 10 years ago to re-enter full-time paid work two years ago. For the women who managed to maintain their contacts and/or volunteer in schools at the “executive level” — think PTA president — they were more easily able to find work. They also landed jobs that they were more passionate about prior to having children, and had more balance in their lives.

For me, this is testament that moms are looking for jobs that fit into their lives, not the other way around. Did any of you read this story? What did you think?

In somewhat related news: a colleague at Slate wrote about two studies, in which women — regardless of their reasons, position and pay — were less likely to be granted flextime than men. Bah humbug!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

CNN ran a fascinating opinion piece by feminist writer Stephanie Coontz on why men — and women — behave the way they do during an affair. She was writing this in response to the Petraeus scandal.

In another sad scandal, Kevin Clash, the voice behind Elmo, has resigned amid allegations that he slept with underage men. He was on the job for 28 years. I find this all shocking and sad as my oldest especially was a huge Elmo fan. What are your thoughts?

This Upworthy video is too good not to share. It’s about how a monkey reacts to find out it is not receiving equal pay for equal work. Sounds familiar, huh?

I didn’t realize this, but there is a way for the post office to mark the mail from Santa Claus. Very cute.

Here’s another article I read from top to bottom. The New York Times ran a story about children of color who attend largely white and privileged private schools in New York City. I am looking forward to checking out the two documentaries that are mentioned.

Last, but definitely not least, I want to mention the Wal-Mart strikers. I will be thinking of them as I sit down with my family for Thanksgiving because, thankfully, my workplace gives me the day off. Paid. I don’t need to tell you, but Wal-Mart has a hideous record of disrespecting workers, whether it’s not paying them overtime or under-compensating them so they can’t afford to raise their families. Not only do I urge you not to give them your business on Black Friday, but please consider donating to sponsor a striking worker and/or signing the many petitions that are out there: ColorofChange.org, Courage Campaign and SignOn.org to name a few.

On that note, I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving with your families! Peace!

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