The Death of Freddie Gray

Since I am from and currently live in Baltimore, the upheaval surrounding the death of Freddie Gray literally hits home for me.  I’m no stranger to the high level of crime, drug use and violence of Baltimore.  As a matter of fact, I’m quite desensitized to much of this stuff, sadly.  Seeing what we call a heroine zombie or someone doing the “dope feign lean” is perfectly normal and happens quite frequently (think Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s). Similarly just about every night the local news covers stories surrounding gang violence, a homicide(s) or multiple shootings (this is why I don’t watch the news that much).  And honestly, stories about police brutality are quite commonplace as well.

Unfortunately, during the protests of Freddie Gray’s death this past Saturday, a few young people got violent and some businesses were vandalized around the downtown area.  Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which was hosting a game between the Orioles and the Red Sox at the time, was also put on lock down for a short period of time until the police were able to get the crowd under control.

Overall, I heard 35 people were arrested.  All week there have been peaceful protests in Baltimore, but it only takes a few idiots to ruin everything.  The people of Baltimore are really upset and angry about this, and we sincerely hope that the rest of the country doesn’t think that the people who got violent are representative of our great city. Because they absolutely are not.  There were over 2,000 protesters and about 100 of them got out of control — that’s five percent. Moreover, some of the protesters intervened in the violence and the Baltimore City Police Commissioner even credited them with helping to neutralize the troublemakers. Of course the media didn’t cover that, but please know that they are the ones who represent Baltimore.

These protests are about bringing awareness to an issue that is clearly a big problem in our country: police brutality. People are fed up with it.  We want answers, we want justice, we want accountability, we want more transparency and we want to be able to trust the police — not fear them.  As I said, the Baltimore City Police Department has quite a long history of allegations of police brutality. This isn’t anything new, but with all the attention surrounding similar incidents of police brutality, the death of Freddie Gray is rightfully getting national attention.  I don’t know if any of you watched the video of Freddie Gray’s arrest, but it is very difficult to watch. The man was clearly in excruciating pain as the police were trying to get him into the back of the police van.  This seems to be a case of complete neglect by the officers involved.

Someone very close to me was the victim of police brutality once.  And of course, when we tried to get the name of the officer who beat him up while he was chained to a wall (both ankle and wrist cuffs), the police department conveniently didn’t have his name — or the names of any of the officers on duty that night.  Not surprisingly, nothing was ever done about this.  So I sympathize with the family of Freddie Gray.  But at least my relative is still alive.  As I type this Freddie Gray’s family is laying him to rest.

It’s important to note that this issue is fairly complicated.  Police officers have a very difficult job.  It is extremely dangerous, largely thankless and they have to put up with a lot of bullshit.  A friend of mine is a nurse and she said that they frequently get people sent to the hospital after they were arrested because the perpetrators complained of pain or illness, when in fact there is absolutely nothing wrong with them.  But the police have to get them medical attention regardless of whether they think the person is being truthful or not (which is why I said that Freddie Gray’s death appears to be a case of severe neglect).

I think most people understand and appreciate how hard it is to be a police officer, and they know that most police officers are good people.  The issue is that when police officers abuse their power or cause someone undue harm, there rarely seems to be accountability.  The police department covers it up (or tries to) and does everything it can to make it look as if the officer(s) did nothing wrong. And this is where the public frustration lies.  It is also quite obvious (to me, at least) that black males are disproportionately victims of police brutality.

While I will withhold final judgement regarding the Freddie Gray case until all the facts are known, it is blatantly obvious that changes need to be made within police departments all over the country so that these kinds of incidences happen less frequently.  As I already said, there needs to be more accountability, transparency, and respect for the law that the officers are supposed to uphold.  And maybe police officers need better training (that certainly seems to be the case). I’m sure there are many ways to improve the relationship between the police department and the community it is supposed to protect.  And whether police departments like it or not, the onus is on them to take the necessary steps to begin rebuilding trust and respect with their communities.

R.I.P. Freddie Gray.

Earth Day 2015

Happy Earth Day!!!  Our planet is being celebrated today as people around the world take a moment to appreciate this beautiful rock floating in space that we affectionately call home.  Unfortunately, we usually aren’t very kind to Mother Earth.  We don’t respect her and give her the appreciation and love she deserves.  It does seem like more and more people are waking up to this harsh reality and finally admitting that we, humanity, are destroying our planet.  We are recognizing that we have nowhere else to go, so if we destroy earth we are also ending humanity.

I post this quote every year on Earth Day because it is so, so, so true:  “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”  One of the most important parts — if not the most important part — of the Millennial Generation’s legacy will be the state of our planet when we pass the torch onto our children and grandchildren.  Will we leave a planet far in decline from years of neglect and abuse and denial of man-made climate change?  Or will we begin to change the way we live so that we can reverse some of the damage we have done, and so we can give future generations a healthier, more sustainable planet?

It’s time we stop making our commitment to taking better care of Mother Earth as a clichè.  Clichès are what everyone knows to be true but almost no one lives by.  And that’s how we treat sustainable living — as a clichè. Now that isn’t to say that you have to go completely green and never do anything that would harm our planet. Because that is unrealistic.  But it is time we take climate change seriously and stop acting as if it might be some grand hoax.  Climate change is real!!!!!!!!  And we need to invest more in sustainable energy (and actually start using it), and be more mindful of how the way we live affects our one and only home.

There are a lot of little things that each of us can do that will make a huge difference.  Take recycling, for exmaple. Now if just one person recycles than that isn’t making any difference really, but if 500 million people recycle that will make a big difference.  So don’t think about your actions only on the individual level — think about the collective effect something simple like recycling will have if millions of us do it.  There are so many small changes we can make that will make a big difference in the health of our planet, and that will show that we value and appreciate our beautiful floating rock.

Let me ask you this:  Would you treat your personal home the way we treat our collective home (Earth)?  Would you pollute your house, throw trash all over it, dump harmful chemicals in your water, never vacuum or dust, never clean the bathroom or clean up after you spill something?  If something in your house broke — like say your water heater — would you not fix it?  If you found out that you were doing something that had a negative effect on your HVAC unit (your climate), would you keep doing it anyway?  The vast majority of us would never treat our homes this way.  So why then are we ok with treating our planet this way?

Sustainable living should not be a clichè.  And it isn’t difficult or expensive or time consuming (usually).  What it is is a necessity.  So on this Earth Day, my fellow Millennials, let’s make a commitment to actually practicing what we preach. If we care about our beautiful planet and how we treat it while it is on loan from future generations, then for crying out loud let’s start acting like it!

Weekly Roundup

I know I’ve skipped a few weeks (sorry), and since I will be away this weekend I wanted to get this up today.  Here are some interesting reads from the last couple of weeks:

Happiness

2016 Presidential Candidates

So far, the 2016 Presidential Candidates are big names with lots of experience.  The first heavy weight from the GOP to announce his candidacy was the fiery Ted Cruz (R-TX).  Shortly thereafter the controversial Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, announced his run.  And last week there was the Libertarian darling, Rand Paul (R-KY). Then on Sunday — not to anyone’s surprise — Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the Democratic Party. And just a little bit ago Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave his big announcement.  Some people are wondering if Mitt Romney might throw his hat in the ring for a third go-round (I highly doubt it) and further shake up this already crowded GOP field.  And now that Hillary is officially running, many wonder if there is anyone in the Democratic party who can challenge her (some think maybe Martin O’Malley from Maryland, but he is my former Governor so I’m very familiar with him, and I just don’t see him being much of a threat).

What I’m wondering is if Millennials will actually be interested in this election, especially since it could once again be historic considering we could have our first female president.  And make no mistake, Hillary will absolutely need the youth vote to win.  But there is a lot of disenchantment among Millennials surrounding politics and our federal government — and understandably so.  But if you regularly read my blog, you know how I feel about the lack of interest and involvement in our civic duties.  No need to get into all of that right now, but let’s just say I don’t exactly agree with the apathy so many Millennials — and all Americans, really — have towards voting.  As the election approaches, I’m sure I will be very vocal regarding the importance of voting and of being an informed voter.

But for now, let’s all enjoy the shit show that is sure to ensue as the candidates destroy each other in the primaries. This, to me, is always the most entertaining part, as it is usually where all the good, juicy dirt is churned up and brought out into the open.  Is it bad that I take so much pleasure in this?  Hell, I don’t care if it is.  Let the poo-throwing begin!

The Benefits of Gardening

Why Growing a Vegetable Garden This Spring Could Benefit Your Mind, Body and Soul

Written by Helen Baynes

With Spring upon us, now is the opportune time of year to set up a vegetable garden. The practice of growing your own produce has been steadily gaining popularity for years now and far from the outdated perception of it being a pastime aimed at the older generation, one British study indicates that many younger people find gardening cooler than going to the movies! Anyone can set up a vegetable garden; even those who live urban lifestyles in high rise apartments can use a window box, rent an allotment or sign up for community gardening schemes. And with a number of financial incentives as well as health and lifestyle benefits, getting green fingered could be the most fruitful pastime you take up this year. Here are some of the ways growing your own food can benefit your mind, body and soul.

It’s great exercise

Gardening may not be an obvious choice of exercise but it does involve a lot of physical exertion which can help burn calories, strengthen muscles and improve general health. Pushing a lawnmower or barrow across grass is a form of resistance training (similar to weights) while bending or stretching to pull weeds and prune trees is a good way of improving flexibility and building muscle strength. Hauling, digging and lifting can be forms of cardio exercise and will certainly get you working up a sweat and burning calories which is great for tackling obesity and the associated diseases that come with it.

It encourages you to eat healthily

Studies show that people who grow their own produce are more likely to eat healthily – this is especially true for children so enlist them in the gardening process too. The reason for this is because gardeners take an active interest their own crops which usually include fruits, salads and vegetables which are all are packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – great for keeping the immune system strong. And of course they then utilize their produce in their daily meals and enjoy organic food that hasn’t been treated with any chemical pesticides. Certain vegetable plants also grow year after year (providing they are well looked after) so you will also see huge financial gain from investing in a vegetable garden. Although Spring is the best time to get going, you can maintain a garden all year round with many root vegetables (onions, garlic etc) actually thriving through the colder months and giving you plenty of produce for warming winter strews.

It’s good for mental health

Gardening outdoors is thought to be good for mental health by reducing stress levels and keeping your brain active and functioning. The physical exertion associated with gardening (and exercise in general) is also renowned for being a natural mood enhancer – when the blood gets pumping, the brain releases feel good endorphins around the body which in turn give you a positive, motivated sense of wellbeing. On a practical level, gardening in allotments and community gardens can be a very social pastime and as humans thrive when they interact, you could argue that this is another way of promoting happiness and harmony. But more scientific studies go a step further, linking gardening and other leisure activities with the prevention of neurological diseases such as dementia because it requires sophisticated brain activity.

It’s spiritual

For centuries people have believed that being close to nature is a spiritual and soulful experience. The garden is indeed a peaceful, beautiful setting which is ideal for relaxation, so the repetitive nature of many gardening duties lends itself well to spiritual healing and contemplation. The very act of growing is also thought to be good for the soul; you are starting out with a seed, planting it, watering it, pruning it and maintaining it until has reached the stage where your end product is a crop with which you are able to feed your family. This in itself is a rewarding experience that can do wonders for self esteem and personal pride. Perhaps this is the reason why many clinics, rehabilitation centres and recovery groups such as compulsive behavior support groups offer or suggest gardening as a form of therapy – it gives them a healthy pastime which is productive and results with them having something to be proud of.

Religion, Spirituality and Atheism

I read a very interesting article at cnn.com titled, The Friendly Atheists Next Door.  The author spent 10 months with the Shaughnessy’s, a white, middle-class family of five from North Carolina.  The story centers around the father, Harry Shaughnessy, an outgoing and outspoken business owner, and former Irish Catholic.  Harry has a crisis of faith of sorts, and decides that Catholicism just doesn’t do it for him, so he and his wife decide to stop going to church.  A few years later Harry decides that he is doesn’t believe in the concept of a God, and then he and other atheists decide to start an atheist congregation, which is like church but without all the God talk.

Essentially, the article explores why some people with strong religious backgrounds end up shunning their faith. What causes them to want to break with the church and what is it like to live in a country that is, to put it bluntly, quite hostile towards Atheists?  Why are people so afraid of atheists anyways?  I don’t get it.  How is not believing in the concept of a God such a terrible thing?  This is really a discussion for another post, but it’s just so baffling to me that so many people don’t trust atheists.  Moving on…

While it may not seem like it due to the strong push by conservative Evangelicals to attach their religious beliefs to every law in the country, the United States is actually becoming less religious.  According to the article, atheists now make up a larger percentage of the U.S. population than American Jews.  And Millennials are the least religious of all generations alive today.  Not only are Millennials twice as likely to identify as atheists as other generations, they are also less likely to be absolutely certain that God exists.

As someone who has had shifting views on religion during my adult years, I always find it fascinating to see how others go through their own religious metamorphosis.  For years now I have identified as an agnostic, which simply means that I don’t know whether there is a God or Gods or not.  I have many issues with organized religion, and as a former Catholic myself I certainly could relate to a lot of what Harry Shaughnessy said throughout the article (although long, it is a very good read).

I’ve also recently been looking inward and getting more in touch with my spiritual side, so to speak.  I do consider myself spiritual, but not religious.  I’ve recently learned that to be truly spiritual, you need to be more aware.  It is about becoming more conscious, and in touch with your true being (your soul).  It isn’t enough to just say you are spiritual.  Anyone can say they are spiritual, but what does that mean?

I have always felt a deep connection to the universe.  I know that the atoms that make up my body came from stars, and those stars came from other stars. All energy in the universe is connected.  So essentially, I am the universe, and so are all of you.  To quote Eckhart Tolle, “You are the universe, you aren’t in the universe.”

And I’ve evolved in how I think about God.  To me, God isn’t a human-like entity, as God is often depicted.  God is the lifeforce that is found all throughout the universe.  God really is in each and every one of us because this force is what gave us life, just as it gave life to the universe.  At the moment of creation, all that could ever exist in our universe was also created. All matter and all energy can be traced back to the moment our universe burst into existence. So I guess if you were to ask me now if I believe in God,  I would say yes.  But again, God to me is simply an energy found in all of us and everything in the universe.  It isn’t some omnipotent entity.  It is an omnipresent energy that connects everything in the universe.

I think the reason why religion never really resonated with me was because it was never fulfilling spiritually.  I found my religion (Catholicism) it to be a bunch of phooey for the most part. To me, the Bible is a book of stories written before science was able to explain most things — like evolution.  And I really dislike the general hypocrisy, intolerance and close-mindedness of organized religion.  As I’ve tapped into my spiritual side recently, I’ve felt much more at peace. I’m learning to be more present, to be more grateful, to be more accepting and loving.

“Religion is belief in someone else’s experience. Spirituality is having your own experience. Atheism is no experience, only measurement.” –Deepak Chopra

 

And even though I am not a fan of religion, I don’t blame religion for the evils of the world.  It is easy to say that religion has caused countless wars throughout history, millions of deaths and endless suffering.  And it is easy blame religion for modern day terrorism.  But none of that is religion’s fault.  Religion is just the patsy — the human ego is the true culprit of all the suffering in the world, both past and present.  But unfortunately, religion is like crack-cocaine for the ego.

Ego controls our minds and forces us to live an unconscious life.  Only by becoming more aware can you strip ego of its power.  Ego makes us envious of others.  It stifles our confidence, and thus our potential.  It makes us angry and resentful.  It makes us defensive and causes us to dwell on the past.  It causes perpetual want so that we aren’t aware of the blessings in our lives.  When ego is in control, we become obsessed with the negative — judgement, guilt, self-pity, anxiety, worry, frustration, lack, anger, sadness, jealousy, and most detrimental of all, fear.

“In most cases, when you say “I,” it is the ego speaking, not you, as we have seen. It consists of thought and emotion, of a bundle of memories you identify with as “me and my story,” of habitual roles you play without knowing it, of collective identifications such as nationality, religion, race, social class, or political allegiance. It also contains personal identifications, not only with possessions, but also with opinions, external appearance, long-standing resentments, or concepts of yourself as better than or not as good as others, as a success or failure.”  –Eckhart Tolle

 

A friend of mine recently said something I found to be quite profound.  We were talking about religion and ISIS and he mentioned the beliefs of someone (whose name I do not recall) and how they could possibly explain terrorism.  This person said that love and hate are separated by a very thin line, and that those who are religious extremists love their religion so much that they hate anyone who disagrees with them.  They see the nonbelievers as a threat to something that they deeply cherish, and that is what causes the hate.

Think about how much you love your family, and that if anyone or anything threatened them you would defend your family no matter what the costs.  And if it was another person threatening them, you would probably hate that person. That is how much extremists love their religion.  They will defend it all costs and they view anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs as a threat that must be eliminated.  That certainly doesn’t excuse their behavior, I’m just trying to offer an explanation for religious extremism.

I take comfort in knowing that humanity seems to waking up.  We are sensing that we must change the way we treat one another and the way we treat our planet.  And I see this most in the youth.  I know that the vast majority of many Millennials — all over the world — share the desire to build a more tolerant, loving, peaceful and sustainable world.  And while this seems crazy, the fact that there is so much chaos means that humanity is, indeed, evolving. Those who refuse to evolve clearly feel deeply threatened, and therefore they are acting out.  That is why terrorism is rising in intensity, and it is even why religious conservatives here in the U.S. are becoming so outspoken.  These conservatives have repeatedly said that they are scared that so many Americans are “losing faith”, as they put it.  They feel threatened by this (well, they say it threatens our nation), so they are doing whatever they can to keep our country from moving further away from “Christian values” as possible.  Even if it means turning our nation into a theocracy where our laws are based on their very conservative religious beliefs.

It is hard to look at the state of our country and the state of the world and not feel hopeless.  But you should actually feel hopeful.  We are waking up; we are evolving.  Humanity is still a young species, and right now we are in adolescence — and we are experiencing some serious growing pains.  We will act out and we will feel confused and upset a lot of time.  But we’re progressing.  Little by little, we are progressing.  And our generation has in its lap a unique opportunity to push humanity further than ever before.

Whether with religion or without religion, humanity is destined for much more than this.  The more we learn to live consciously in the present — because the present moment is all you ever have — the more we will advance. Eckhart Tolle said, “The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment:  You create a good future by creating a good present.”  We cannot change a future that hasn’t yet happened, but we can make changes right now that will positively effect the future.  We can choose to be more tolerant and accepting. We can choose to take better care of our planet.  We can choose to compromise with one another in order to fix the many problems that threaten our future.

This is our generation’s destiny.  It’s up to us to decide right now to create a better future.

“Choice implies consciousness – a high degree of consciousness. Without it, you have no choice. Choice begins the moment you disidentify from the mind and its conditioned patterns, the moment you become present….Nobody chooses dysfunction, conflict, pain. Nobody chooses insanity. They happen because there is not enough presence in you to dissolve the past, not enough light to dispel the darkness. You are not fully here. You have not quite woken up yet. In the meantime, the conditioned mind is running your life.”  –Eckhart Tolle

 

 

Weekly Roundup

Sorry I missed this last week.  Here are some interesting reads, if you’re curious:

Happy Spring and have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

Obama’s Uninformed Message to Young Voters

Politicians are sometimes not very in-touch with what voters want.  Case in point — President Obama’s recent “advice” to young voters about what issues they should care about most.  The President criticized Millennials for caring more about marijuana legalization than more important issues like the economy, climate change and war and peace. When an interviewer for Vice News suggested to the President that young people would consider marijuana legalization as a top item when considering his legacy, President Obama responded by stating that, “First of all, it shouldn’t be young people’s biggest priority.”  Continuing, the President said, “Young people: I understand this is important to you, but as you be thinking about climate change, the economy and jobs, war and peace, maybe way at the bottom you should be thinking about marijuana.”

Thanks, Mr. President.  Message received.  But let me let you and this interviewer in on a little secret:  marijuana legalization isn’t a top priority for Millennials.  Are we more in favor of marijuana legalization than all other generations, yes we are — and by a fairly significant margin.  But this issue isn’t anywhere near a top concern for us.  Like other generations, the top concern for Millennials is the economy.

According to the Fall 2014 Harvard Institute of Politics Survey, the top two issues for Millennials were the Economy and Foreign Affairs/National Security.  Rounding out the top five were Healthcare, Education and Immigration.  Nowhere in this poll is marijuana legalization mentioned.  And in a Fall 2014 survey conducted by Telefonica, a global communications company, the top issue for U.S. Millennials was the economy.  Poll after poll — over the last several years in fact — have reported that Millennials are most concerned about the economy and job creation, with education, healthcare and national security usually finishing in the top five.

So rest assured that we get it.  Marijuana legalization shouldn’t be priority number one, which is why it isn’t our number one priority.  Again, as is the case with most Americans, Millennials are most concerned about the economy.  Now if only Congress was as concerned about the economy as we are (and much less concerned with Hillary Clinton’s emails), then maybe our Congressional leaders could work together to pass comprehensive and practical legislation to address our nation’s unsustainable fiscal path.  One can only hope…

Are Millennials Actually Racist?

If asked what generation alive today is the most racially tolerant, I would guess that the vast majority of people would say Millennials.  And indeed, they would be mostly right.  However, recent events — like the disgusting racially-charged chant by members of a University of Oklahoma fraternity — have brought into question just how racially tolerant Millennials really are.  I recently came across an interesting Politico article that suggests that Millennials aren’t the post-racial generation that most people believe we are.

The Politico article works from the premise that Millennials aren’t actually racially tolerant, but are racially apathetic.  I would argue that it isn’t apathy but ignorance that is the problem.  Millennials have grown up in an environment (particularly in school) where skin color wasn’t an issue.  Yes, it is true that public schools are more segregated today than they were just after the decision on Brown vs. the Board of Education when public schools were first racially integrated, but it is also true that back then (in the 1960’s) race was still a big deal. For Millennials, skin color hasn’t been a big deal — in fact, for most Millennials it doesn’t matter at all.  And because most Millennials don’t care about race, they don’t fully realize that systematic and institutionalized racism is still a big problem in this country.  So you kind of can’t blame them for thinking that nothing needs to be done to fix a problem they aren’t aware exists. Many Millennials think that we really are living in a post-racial society, and therefore things like affirmative action and laws that prevent racial discrimination in voting or housing lending practices are no longer necessary. Unfortunately, they are.

It is also true that for most Millennials racism has never really been a prominent public issue until recently. While I am old enough to remember the L.A. riots after the beating of Rodney King, I was also born at the very beginning of my generation.  Most Millennials were either way too young to remember this, or they weren’t yet born. So the recent events surrounding the disproportionate level of police brutality towards racial minorities, and the divided racial response to them, represent a big reality check to this young generation.  It’s hard to remove the rose-colored glasses when you know that once they are off, you can’t put them back on.

The article also points out that a prominent issue with Millennials lies in the fact that there are big discrepancies in the opinions of white Millennials vs. minority Millennials.  One poll conducted by MTV/David Binder poll found that only 39 percent of white Millennials agree with the statement, “white people have more opportunities today than racial minority groups.” By contrast, 65 percent of people of color feel that whites have differential access to jobs and other opportunities. Even more interestingly, 70 percent of all Millennials agreed that “it’s never fair to give preferential treatment to one race over another, regardless of historical inequalities.” In addition, a 2012 Public Religion Institute poll that 58 percent of white Millennials say discrimination affects whites as much as it affects people of color, versus just 39 percent of Hispanic Millennials and 24 percent of African-American Millennials.  I don’t know who these white Millennials are, but they apparently don’t live in the same country as I do.

Overall, data does still support the notion that the vast majority of Millennials are racially tolerant.  However, it is also true that Millennials don’t appear to be any more racially tolerant than the preceding generation, Generation X, and in some cases even Baby Boomers.  So again, the issue isn’t that Millennials aren’t as racially tolerant as we have been described, but that we aren’t as aware of the level of racial intolerance in our country. Our colorblindness has done just that — kept us from seeing the truth about racism.  Just because our nation has a mixed-race president doesn’t mean we live in a post-racial society.  Systematic and institutionalized racism is still very pervasive in our country today.  And ignoring this issue won’t make it go away.  If we truly want to advance our nation, we have to open our eyes to the racial injustice that surrounds us — and that negatively affects all of us — and work together to fix this problem.

International Women’s Day

I missed posting about this yesterday as I was attending to a personal matter, but yesterday, March 8th, was International Women’s Day.  Every year this particular day seems to get more recognition, which is encouraging because that means that more and more people are taking the plight of women and girls throughout the world seriously, and also acknowledging that while women have made a lot of progress over the last several decades, inequality of the genders remains a critical problem.

I have remarked several times on this blog that unless women are given equal rights to men, humanity will never truly progress.  It is simply ludicrous to continue to oppress half of our species but, as the same time, expect our species as a whole to advance.  The balance between masculine and feminine energy has been lopsided for far too long.  And unless we get this energy in balance, it seems inevitable that humanity won’t make it too much farther in the future.

It’s 2015, women and men should be equal.  Period.  But…we aren’t. It’s sad and frustrating and even infuriating at times, but we must continue to push for equality.  We’ve made incredible progress in recent years, so let’s drive this equality train full-steam ahead!

I love the below video.  It was created by a fantastic organization called The Girl Effect.  It is short but incredibly powerful. Please take two-and-a-half minutes to watch this video.  You will see how giving girls equal opportunities to boys really will dramatically change the world for the better.

Happy International Women’s Day to all the badass ladies of past and present whose bravery and determination have helped to advance humanity towards true equality.  And a gigantic THANK YOU for all that have done.  As a woman and a proud feminist, I sincerely appreciate it.