Unrest Documentary: Millions Missing

Unrest is a documentary, made by Jennifer Brea, who is a woman that has Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In her documentary she shares what her experience with M.E. is like, as well as others experiences within the community. Unrest is a though provoking and heartbreaking film. Jennifer Brea shows the good, the bad, and the ugly, but more important she gives the viewer an honest and raw look at what it is like to live with a severe chronic illness.

 

This was definitely not an easy film to watch for many reasons, one being how it drew on my own experiences, and another being how well is shows the injustice disabled people face. Brea started an event called, “Millions Missing,” to raise awareness for myalgic encephalomyelitis. Tomorrow, May 12th, is the third annual Millions Missing protest, that aims to reach “increased government funding for research, clinical trials, medical education and public awareness.” You can become involved in the protest by going to a location near you and protesting or by letting them know you will be protesting virtually.

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I am impressed with how accessible they have made this protest. Activism in general can be incredibly inaccessible, and seeing steps like these made in order to let anyone who wants to participate be a part of the event is truly amazing. Of course this is on their minds due to the whole event being about disability, but I hope to see others follow in their footsteps when it comes to making protests accessible. Jennifer Brea is a great example of what we need the leaders of disability activism to look like. She is disabled, unapologetic, and keeps others needs in mind when planning events. She also is dedicated to sharing more voices than her own, which is so so important. The disability experience is vast, and differs from person to person even when they have the same illnesses.

Millions Missing is the perfect name for this protest. It really shakes me up to think about all of the wonderful people who are “missing” from a regular life due to illness. I personally have dealt with this, being “missing” due to being mainly homebound. It’s incredibly isolating and lonely but events like this really help. Our stories are worth sharing and people should be aware of our lives. Thank you Jennifer Brea for contributing much an amazing movement!

 

 

 

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March for Our Lives 2018

*Reposted because it accidentally got removed*

On March 24th, I had the privilege in participating in the March for Our Lives. I was originally planning to march here in Texas, where I live, but since I ended up being at the Mayo Clinic on the 24th, I Marched in Rochester, MN.

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“Our Youth are Our hope”

The high schoolers who put on the March did an incredible job! They gave fiery passionate speeches, and were able to organize around 2,000 people to march with them. For a town the size of Rochester, it was pretty amazing. This was my first ever march, and I’m glad I started with one on the relatively small side. Luckily, the March itself was very short, so it wasn’t too much walking.

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” I thought you were pro-life”

I hope we see real political change come from these marches. Even though I have no connection to Emma Gonzales, I feel so proud of her (as weird as that may sound). She is so unapologetically herself, and has stood strong even with all of the hate from republican politicians, while grieving her friends and processing an incredibly traumatic event.

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“ENOUGH”

My one criticism of the conversation to come out of the march, is the lack of conversation around police brutality and gun violence. You cannot ignore police brutality when talking about gun violence, as they are a major perpetrator of gun violence. Black peoples voices have not been highlighted, when they have been advocating for gun control for so long without any one listening. I get them centering the voices of kids affected by school gun violence, particularly mass shootings, as this was the main reason for the march, but gun violence goes so much deeper than that. It would have been nearly impossible to include all of these conversations in one march, and I think it was smart of them to focus the march particularly on mass school shootings, but I do think there should be more discussion about different types of gun violence.

I really enjoyed being able to March… but my body did not. The actual march was only like 0.3 miles, but my body went crazy afterward. I was so incredibly fatigued and exhausted that I could barely move for six hours, and it took me two days to get significant relief. Sometimes with chronic illness you have to chose when it’s worth it to “overdo it.” I knew I wouldn’t do well after this, but it was so important to me. I may have felt like hell afterwards, but the experience of being there and standing up for what I believe in made it completely worth it.

 

What It’s Like Currently Being a Student in America

I’ve grown up in a post-Columbine world. The talk of school shootings is not something new to me, I’ve been taught how to prepare for one my whole life. I’ve spent hours siting in dark classrooms, huddled in the corner with my classmates praying it’s only a drill. As of February, there have been a total of 18 school shootings in 2018. The latest, taking place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people.

As a current student, this terrifies me. Many days I wake up wondering if I could be next. I’ve made action plans for every classroom I go to, in case I find myself in an active shooter situation. When I see students walking with their hands in a hoodie, I wonder if they’re concealing a gun. When I hear screaming in the hallway, I immediately think “where should I hide?” The worst part about all of this is that it is a preventable issue, yet our government just won’t do anything to prevent it.

I don’t want to be the next victim of a school shooting. I don’t want to see my classmates be victims of a school shooting. I don’t want to see anymore children die in school a shooting. We’re required by law to go to school from the time we turn five until we graduate from high school, and yet we are not safe there. I may now be in college, and have made the decision to be in school, but I still deserve to be safe. No students will be safe until we have gun control, and no students will be safe until our government stops taking money from the NRA.

It is not too soon, now is the time to talk about this. April 20th, 1999 was the time to talk about gun control, December 14th, 2012 was the time to talk about gun control, February 14th, 2018 was the time to talk about gun control, and yet we didn’t. We’ve become so numb as a nation that we get over mass tragedy is a few weeks. We don’t even remember the details of all the recent shootings, because there have been so many. The victims of these horrific acts of violence deserve to be remembered. They deserve justice, and that can only come when we, as a nation, make sure this never happens again. People my age and younger, like Emma Gonzalez, are having to step up and lead a movement. Children, and people who are barely adults, should not have to constantly tell grown-ups that our lives are worth more than your right to own an automatic weapon.

 

Contemplating Societies Response to Murder Victims

David Sherrard, a Texas police officer, was killed last week after responding to a disturbance call, where he was shot. Later that week his funeral was held, and I just so happened to be driving on the highway that his funeral brigade was being led down. At first I didn’t realize what was going on. There were tons of people sitting on the grass next to the highway, and at least 75 cars pulled over on the shoulder. Finally, when I saw all of the first responder vehicles and tow trucks holding massive American flags, I understood what was happening.

It was tragic and beautiful at the same time. So many people came out to pay their respects to him. I may not be a fan of the way our justice system is run, and I 100% condemn the actions of the racist police officers who continue to target and kill people of color. However, in this situation an innocent man was murdered when trying to respond to a disturbance call and protect the neighborhood. He left behind a wife, two daughters, and countless other friends and family members. The response to his murder brought tears to my eyes and sent chills rushing down my body.

I in no way mean to down-play the severity of this situation or the massive loss his friends and family members are going through, but it made me think about how we respond to other murder victims. When police officers are the victims, hundreds of people gather and make donations. We hear news stories for weeks, and hold huge candle-lit services. However, when the victim is an unarmed black man, who was murdered by the police during a traffic stop, the majority of our society is silent. The victims community steps up, and black people continuously call out the injustice, but the world does not respond in nearly the same way. Where are the hundreds of people waiting to pay their respects to them? Why do we value some lives more than others?

I’m not saying that the response to Sherrard’s death is wrong or unwarranted, I just believe we should have a conversation about why we don’t respond to other victims the same way. We should be even more outraged when the victim is a civilian, let alone a civilian killed by police. It is a tragedy when anyone is murdered, and we should respond in the same way. First responders lives are not more valuable than civilians lives. Every human life has value, and the loss of anyone, especially when they’ve been murdered, should evoke a strong feeling in all of us to pay them respect, and make sure we can do everything in our power so it doesn’t happen again. I want to see hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to victims of police brutality. Yes, some cases do make it in the news, especially in the last few years, but so many others go unknown. These people deserve the same response and respect that police officers get, and above all they deserve to be treated like their life had the same value.

Why “I’m just not very political” is an Ignorant Statement 

Few phrases get under my skin as much as, “I’m just not very political” does.

First of all, if you don’t care about politics you’re probably incredibly privileged. If it doesn’t matter who’s in power to you, you’re probably not the one getting your rights taken away, or having to fight to have rights in the first place. Even if the majority of politics “aren’t going to effect you” you should still have an ounce of humanity in you to care about other people, and how politics might affect their lives.

Most people don’t get the choice to not be involved in politics. They have to fight for basic human rights and to continue to have the right’s they’ve already been given. Being complacent isn’t an option. Minorities having been fighting the same fight for hundreds of years, and know that they can’t back down even when they’re tired or its inconvenient.

“I’m not just that political” is such a cop-out statement. As if not caring about politics excludes you from having to care and making decisions that effect other people’s lives. For example, I know a lot of people who refused to vote in the last election because they didn’t like Trump or Hillary. Choosing not to vote does not mean that you aren’t responsible for the outcome. Voting is your civic duty, and if you are able to vote and chose not to, then you are part of the problem.

Many people who claim they “aren’t very political” seem to feel a sense of moral high ground, as if caring about politics is wrong or stupid. I think not caring about politics is wrong and stupid. Attempting to exclude yourself from politics, does not make you a better or more mature person. I would actually argue that it’s incredibly immature to not participate in politics. Hard decisions have to be made, rather you like the candidates or not, and is the last election it should not have been a hard decision. No matter what country you are a citizen of, you should always be actively trying to make it a better place. If you are lucky enough to live in a democracy, then you ought to play a part in politics, and put your ballot where your mouth is. Also, if you chose not to vote, you have no right to complain about politics. You had a chance to better our country, and instead you sat idly by being complacent.

Everyone should vote.

Everyone should care about politics.

Everyone should want to move forward and better our country.

Trumps Latest Attack on Trans Rights

I would like to say I was surprised to wake up yesterday morning and find the tweets about banning trans people from the military, but honestly nothing he does shocks me anymore.

This however did seem out of the blue to me. No conversation, only a declaration. While technically nothing is set in stone or law yet, even stating these kinds of hatful things is harmful. This is the slow way to eventually ban trans people from existing. If they can’t go to the bathroom and can’t in the military, where can trans people exist then?

I wouldn’t say that I personally support the military in all of its endeavors, but being pro-military or not isn’t what this is about. Your gender shouldn’t determine what you can and can’t do or what you can and can’t be in life. If your willing to put your life on the line, you should be welcomed with open arms and allowed to live an authentic life.

Trump claims trans people are a “burden” due to their medical costs. The US military has quite the track record of not taking care of their veterans, or active duty member for that matter when it comes to health care of any kind. Not to mention not all trans people medically transition, and you shouldn’t assume they will or want to.

There are also over 15,000 trans people currently serving in our military. What’s going to happen to them? He acts like he’s stopping trans people from joining the armed forces, but no trans people are already serving.  You cannot end sometimes career because of their gender identity. Are you going to discharge them like they did back when “don’t ask don’t tell” was a law? We’re going backwards on the progress we’ve made.

I believe this is just the beginning of an attack on the LGBTQIA+ community. He’s gone after trans people multiple times now, and it isn’t going to stop unless there is enough backlash. Even then it may not end. Gaby Dunn made a video about this, and she believes that Trump is going after trans people first, because they don’t always get the support that other members of the LGBTQIA+ members receive. I completely agree, and since that’s probably true everyone in the community, and everyone who is a decent human being, should show up and support trans people.

The LGBTQIA+ community is resilient and we will not let him get away with this.

Mexico Exhibit at the Dallas Art Museum

Yesterday I went to the Dallas Art Museum specifically to see the Mexico Exhibit.

For the summer class I’m taking I also had to visit an art museum, so this trip killed two birds with one stone. I really wanted to see the Mexico exhibit because they had some Frida Kahlo Paintings on display and I love her work. They also had quite a few of her husband, Diego Rivera’s pieces.

The whole exhibit was amazing. They showcased so many talented Mexican artists! The only thing about the visit that wasn’t great was the wait. We waited an hour to see the first half of the exhibit and twenty minutes to see the second half. I’m not an impatient person, so I was willing to wait, and happy to see that hundreds of people showed up to see the exhibit. My chronic pain however is very impatient. By the time we got to see the second half (which was where Frida’s work was) I was in so much pain it was hard to enjoy to the fullest extent. After finding her work I kind of rushed through the rest of it because my feet were hurting so bad. Seeing her work in person was definitely worth the wait and the pain though.

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The Two Fridas By: Frida Kahlo

They had three of her pieces, all self portraits. So many people dressed up as Frida and overall most people were there to see her work. The majority of the people there to see the exhibit were hispanic, which I thought was really cool. Art can often be white-washed and male dominated so it was nice to see such a crowd for Frida.

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By: Diego Rivera

I really like the way her dress looks translucent in Rivera’s painting. This was a painting of one of Rivera’s previous wives, before Kahlo.

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by: Ramon Cano Manilla

The detail in this painting astounds me. All of the vegetation has incredible texture and the dress is so ornate. It must have taken months or even years to paint.

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Alice Rahon

In addition to paintings they had a few sculptures. I found this one particularly fascinating. It’s a metal puppet entitled “The Androgyne.”

I hope I get to see more of Frida’s work in the future and would love to see this whole exhibit again.

Who’s your favorite artist?