Friday, September 16, 2016

Calling it by it's Name

|| Times have changed.
Things that we went through many years ago now have names |labels |diagnosis.
We are now more courageous to speak up about "taboo" subjects.
We now call things by its name. ||

For the last eleven years I have attended (worked or volunteered) a national non-profit's annual gala dinner. In a nutshell it is a fundraising dinner where the President of the United States addresses DC Latino "who's who;" incredible individuals are celebrated with awards; and Latino youth are lauded (they are our present and future!).

Last night I knew the drill (it's like clockwork to me now), but this time I brought along two of my close girl friends to volunteer with me. Thank God I did. We were in the VIP reception waiting for our Members of Congress to arrive (part of our assignment); laughing; chit-chatting; and scoping out the fashion (some of the evening gowns were fierce!). I was having a great time...until I saw someone from my past. I know he saw me and I definitely saw him. Instantly all of the bad memories flooded my mind; right there in the middle of the VIP reception while glasses were clinking and laughter and chatter filled the room, I choked on my past. Wish I could have seen my face, but I know it said it all. My heart dropped to my stomach and I felt numb.

I had to get it off my chest so I wouldn't have to suffer in silence so I told my girls. In essence, without giving too much information, when I was a early teenager I liked this one guy a lot (was probably more of a teen crush). In today's terms, he basically "friend zoned" me and life went on. Fast forward a couple years when I was either 17 or 18, he started paying attention to me and wanted to hangout more and more. One night he took me to eat and on the way back home he parked the car in a neighborhood. We have all watched enough movies and TV shows to know that when two people park a car in a dark, lonely neighborhood it's not to play Uno, parcheesi, or checkers. Sure enough, that's when he started making "moves." To make a long story short, he tried to get me do things that I was not comfortable with and it was frightening. I remember feeling alone during that moment and wanting to flee into the dark streets. I did not get raped, but I was sexually assaulted. I got so angry that I cursed him out and told him to take me home that very moment. He ended up dropping me off and I never looked back. He called me several times the days after and I ignored the calls. He even drunk dialed me a couple times admitting that he liked me, etc. etc on voicemail. I rejected and rebuked all of that and never looked back. It was a huge blow to his ego and 'til this day he does not like me. It's okay. My life obviously moved on.

Seeing him last night and sharing the memories with my girls at the gala (and today with my work best friend), it completely hit me that I was [[sexually assaulted]] as a young woman. When I was younger I internalized it because I didn't want people to think, "Uh huh, what were you doing hanging out with him anyway?" Back then it was simply a situation where a "guy went a little too far," but now I know it was way more than that. Now it has a name; sexual assault.

My guess is that I have been repressing these memories and feelings all of these years, but they surfaced with a vengeance last night after being hit in the face with it. It was like an epiphany of some sorts. Last year a group of us ran into him in DC and I was the "bad" one because I kept walking when everyone else stopped to greet and chat with him. To be fair, my friends had no idea what happened over a decade ago, but here I am, finally speaking up and unafraid.

I'm speaking up for any of my girls who might have been sexually assaulted or raped and feel ashamed to share with others in fear of being deemed as "loose," "wreckless," "too flirty or friendly," etc. You are not alone. Please don't internalize it for years like I did. Speak to someone you trust and can help you. Think of a trusted friend, family member, clergy member, church leader, obviously God, teacher/professor, or counselor, close work colleague, or even me (if you trust me and would like to open up; I am here for you).

I'm speaking up for healing and ending the silence of shame. Today I am finally calling it by it's name.

__________________________

Womenshealth.gov has some great tips on what to do if you are sexually assaulted:

If you are in danger or need medical care, call 9-1-1. If you can, get away from the person who assaulted you and get to a safe place as fast as you can.
If you have been physically assaulted or raped, there are other important steps you can take right away:
  • Save everything that might have the attacker's DNA on it. As hard as it may be to not wash up, you might wash away important evidence if you do. Don't brush, comb, or clean any part of your body. Don't change clothes, if possible. Don't touch or change anything at the scene of the assault. That way the local police will have physical evidence from the person who assaulted you.
  • Go to your nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible. You need to be examined and treated for injuries. You can be given medicine to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. The National Sexual Assault Hotline  at 800-656-HOPE (4673) can help you find a hospital able to collect evidence of sexual assault. Ask for a sexual assault forensic examiner (SAFE) . A doctor or nurse will use a rape kit to collect evidence. This might be fibers, hairs, saliva, semen, or clothing left behind by the attacker. You do not have to decide whether to press charges while at the hospital.
    • If you think you were drugged, talk to the hospital staff about being tested for date rape drugs, such as Rohypnol and Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), and other drugs.
    • The hospital staff can also connect you with the local rape crisis center. Staff there can help you make choices about reporting the sexual assault and getting help through counseling and support groups.
  • Reach out for help. Call a friend or family member you trust, or call a crisis center or hotline. Crisis centers and hotlines have trained volunteers and counselors who can help you find support and resources near you. One hotline is the National Sexual Assault Hotline  at 800-656-HOPE (4673). If you are in the military, you may also call the DoD Safe Helpline  at 877-995-5246.
  • Report the sexual assault to the police: Call 911. If you want to talk to someone first about reporting the assault, you can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline  at 800-656-HOPE (4673). A counselor can help you understand how to report the crime. Even though these calls are free, they may appear on your phone bill. If you think that the person who sexually assaulted you may check your phone bill, try to call from a friend's phone or a public phone.
  • Write down the details about the person who sexually assaulted you and what happened.
After a sexual assault, you may feel fear, shame, guilt, or shock. These feelings are normal. But sexual assault is never your fault. It may be frightening to think about talking about the assault, but it is important to get help. You can call these organizations any time, day or night. The calls are free and confidential:
Each state and territory has organizations and hotlines to help people who have been sexually assaulted.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Eradicating Racial and Ethnic "Purity"

Racial and ethnic purity- remember this term from World History and Social Studies class? The first flashback of racial purity history that comes to mind is the Holocaust. What do you think of first? No matter what bit of history initially came to your mind, you thought it was only the Nazi, KKK, and other supremacist groups who have had an obsession with racial purity, right? Wrong, think again. Many of us have an obsession with this notion of "purity" and do not even know it.....yet.

Let me give you a couple current examples:


[In the news: March 25, 2015] This young woman, Miss Nagasaki Ariana Miyamoto, is Japan's first ever mixed-race (half African American and half Japanese) Miss Universe Japan. Nagasaki is being criticized for not being "Japanese" enough, which in other words she is not "pure Japanese" and does not have pale skin like millions of other Japanese. Horrible, just horrible. Miss Miyamoto, I am rooting for you and hope you come out on top in the Miss Universe pageant. To read more about her struggle, click here.


[In the news: Since he was rumored to be running for Presidency] Excuse me while I take a moment to take a good look at this stunning photo. Okay, I'm back. President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii (Mom, why couldn't you have had me in HI?) to a Caucasian woman from Kansas and an African man from Kenya. Combined with God's help they made this fine gentleman. He is half black and half white. Many Caucasians (not all) disowned him because his appearance is "more black than white" and his Kenyan roots. Would this group of Caucasians have been more accepting if President Obama were pale skinned and had been born with baby blue eyes? The world will never know, but it's painfully intriguing to think about.

There were also African Americans who denied him as being America's first black president. Check out what Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman said in a 2012 interview:

"First thing that always pops into my head regarding our president is that all of the people who are setting up this barrier for him ... they just conveniently forget that Barack had a mama, and she was white — very white American, Kansas, middle of America," Freeman said. "There was no argument about who he is or what he is. America's first black president hasn't arisen yet. He's not America's first black president — he's America's first mixed-race president."

To read more on NPR, click here.

There are many other world-wide news (throughout history) examples. Do your research; you will be appalled.

All of this sounds awful, right? Well, this mentality abides within many of our friend and family circles as well. I have been present in Latino circles (By the way, I am Latina) where some individuals think that our friend who is half-Latina and half-Caucasian is not really Latina. "She did not grow up speaking Spanish or watching Sabado Gigante; she's white." And I am sure that on the flip side, there were some Caucasians who subtly "disowned" her as well because she is not "Caucasian enough." It's that racial "purity" mentality. So, where do these individuals truly belong (racially) then?

To put it out there I am half-Puerto Rican and half-Salvadoran, which I blogged about not too long ago (to read, click here).  Recently I was at a social gathering and someone who is from one of my lands (I will not specify either Puerto Rico or El Salvador) found out that I had blood from another land. The person's expression (both verbal and body language-wise) was priceless, but not surprising even though it stings every time. It's as if they responded, "Oh, you are not really (or fully) one of us then." It's that racial/ethnic "purity" mentality again and it hurts. It was not the first time that has happened to me and I know it will not be the last. Where do I belong ethnicity-wise? [Special thank you to those who do accept me wholeheartedly and without reservations.]

Are our races and ethnicities elitist groups? We think it is ludicrous and appalling when we hear of supremacist groups issuing heritage and DNA tests to see if others are "pure," but let us also be mindful that we do not fall into the same atrocious (and destructive) mind sets.

Let us be the generation that eradicates racial/ethnic "purity," with God's divine help, once and for all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rise Up, DC: #dosomething


*Disclaimer: The views expressed on this blog and post are mine and mine alone, but I'd like to think it is aligned with the Seventh-day Adventist mission.* 

#Sisepuede
#Blacklivesmatter
#WeareallAyotzinapa
#fightforfamilies
#Missingperson
#prayforFerguson
#prayfor_____

#dosomething
"Here's how we can help!"
"Please pray!" 

What does this sampling of hashtags and phrases have in common? They are all opportunities to:

  • Speak up
  • Rise up
  • Be present
  • Help others
 Let's see what the Bible has to say about this:

 Isaiah 1:17 ESV
"Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. "

1 John 3:17-18 ESV
"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."

Jeremiah 22:3 ESV


"Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place."

 Proverbs 31:9 ESV

"Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy."

Romans 12:15 NIV
"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

Psalm 82:3 ESV

"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute."


Those are a lot of supporting Bible verses, right? Well, there are plenty more where that came from and we see that it should be an important part of our walk with God. 
In other words, What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)? I say we revive that popular 1990's phrase! 
My heart has been burdened for a couple years now (but has intensified this year) because of the lack of major Adventist presence at Washington, DC area rallies/protests/demonstrations/vigils/walkouts/interfaith activities and also governmental-interfaith programs that assist the community.


Do you know how many times I have attended a rally and have witnessed the Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Jewish communities standing with the people and not have our denomination present? Sadly I've lost track of how many times it has been. It pierces my heart each time to not have a visible Adventist presence because I know we are also a bunch who love Christ and others wholeheartedly. And no, I'm not saying Adventists are not out there assisting others or standing with the people because I know there are (including me), but there is no visible presence like these other wonderful denominations have. 

Most recently I was accepted into a competitive inter-faith government program that will assist others (will share more about it at a later time) and am the only Adventist. At the information session (before any of us could apply) there were at least 75 individuals in the room. The government officials made everyone state their name, religion, and why they were interested. Wouldn't you know that as folks stated their information I heard Church of Latter Day Saints, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and Pentacostal more than once and Adventist only once?! I was the ONLY Seventh-day Adventist in the room and while I was extremely proud and honored to represent my denomination, I was heartbroken that I was the only one. This needs to change. 


I am committed to stop my griping (about the lack of major support of Adventists) and #dosomething about it. I am launching a Facebook page, DC Adventists for Social Action (DCASA), for the greater Washington, DC area where I will funnel all the information I am aware of (protests/rallies/vigils/walkouts/demonstrations, opportunities to help others in our area and nationally, seminars to learn more to then educate the community, inter-faith activities, etc.) so we can come together as Adventists for the greater good. There is power in numbers! It is time to RISE UP, DC Adventists! It is time to #dosomething!

Friday, November 21, 2014

[Christians + Politics]

Photo Credit: Patheos.com

In many ways I have been a "luchadora (fighter)" since I was a child. My mother tells me that I would negotiate my way out or into things and would not give up easily. This trait followed me into my teenage years, twenties and is still following me today in my early thirties (my husband can really attest to my passionate spirit; gotta love that guy.). Last year I began my journey as a graduate student in a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program and if you do not remember the back story, I invite you to click here to read. Anyway, all of this to say that the career path God has chosen for me may lead me to be a federal or local government worker, start my own non-profit organization, or even run for public office in my state (or federal level). Only God knows what will happen in my life; maybe just one of the three major options or maybe all three. God and time will tell. 

I am a Christian and over the years as I have become more civically and politically engaged and have found my niche, I've also encountered more criticism from folks who strongly believe that Christians and politics should not mix. One of the first things people will say is that "politicians are conniving, vile, selfish, [insert many more negative adjectives] and that's no place for Christian people." To that I say, "That's even more reason to be involved; to be the change agent, the anomaly." Sure, the conniving type of politicians exist, but aren't a couple of the people sitting in our church pews or even church boards the same way? My point is there is good and bad everywhere. Just because we hear more about the rotten politicians on Capitol Hill or in our state capitols, does not mean that every single lawmaker is vile. There are individuals who take their civic duty to the heart and have been effecting change for their constituents throughout the years. If you are a solid Christian (or non-Christian) with integrity, passion and love for others, why not effect change? Are we just going to shy away because there are conniving and "no-good" individuals in the same workforce? We barely hear about those extraordinary lawmakers because let's be real, when was the last time you saw a "feel good" story about a member of congress in section A1 (front page) of The Washington Post (or any other publication)? Our society rather hear the juicy details of the lawmakers affair than what that public official is doing for thousands in their district/state.

Five years ago (September 2009) I had the honor and privileged of being selected to have a unscripted dialogue with the (then) President of my denomination (membership of 17.9 million individuals worldwide as of June 2013) and other Washington, DC area young professionals. The president did not have our questions beforehand and the session was intended to be a free-flowing conversation. I remember burning with excitement and curiosity to ask my question and I did. I asked the president what his thoughts were on members of my denomination mixing with politics, and him being pleasantly surprised at the question [Note: I spent about 20 minutes searching for video of this dialogue, but it's not posted anywhere]. However, there is a news article about it and here are some of the most relevant (to this topic) and interesting excerpts from what the president discussed:

"Be agents of change in both the church and the community."

"Far too few of our members are engaged in any way in the community," "How are we going to reach people if we do not bother to step into their world? We have to stop and ask ourselves a critical question: 'Have we got it right?' The answer is, 'No, not quite right." [Said in regards to being civically and community engaged]

With several participants employed in government jobs, the conversation naturally turned to political involvement. When one participant [that would be me!!] asked whether members should exercise caution when choosing careers in politics, Paulsen said, "If anything, I think we have erred by being too reticent to get involved."
As long as members don't muddle their church's agenda with their civic duty, Paulsen said he saw no reason members shouldn't seek elected public office.
"The church is a voice for right values," Paulsen said. "If laws are compromised and freedom is in danger, we shouldn't be afraid to influence public opinion. We should weigh the issues carefully, know what we're defending and let our voice be heard."
Wise advice, right? To read the full article, which includes other discussed topics, click here.

I do not know where the road will lead me. My God-given passion to advocate, educate, and be involved in my community and politics may lead me to run for office one day or maybe it will not at all. Either way, I know what my personal calling is; to bring light to this world which also might include more immigration rallies, other protests, the halls of congress, the halls of my state capitol, the halls of my future non-profit organization, the community around me, etc. Am I going to stay quiet just because some folks think Christians and politics should not mix and criticize or look down on me? Absolutely not. I look to the Bible and God (not humans), for specific divine life instruction. 

If you feel the burning desire to be a light in the community or in the political arena, ask God to guide your steps and embrace it! Trust me, if it's God's will for your life He will lead every move you make. Speak and rise up, children of God! 


Further Study about Christians + Politics

  • Study the story of Joseph, who was a "political hero" in the Bible times. To read the verses (Genesis 41:41 and on) in the Bible, click here. To read a blog post (not mine) about how we can apply the lesson of Joseph in today's world of politics, click here.
  • Study the story of a strong Christian who lived after the Bible times; Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. He was not afraid of mixing politics and Christianity and look at all he accomplished with God on His side! To read more about his life, click here.
  • Romans 13:1 says, "Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God." 
    • Basically to me this is saying GOD is in control and places the politicians in their respective position. It's ALL part of His divine plan. That's comforting, right?
  • Check out this website, Christians in Politics, based in the United Kingdom (London, England) that serves as a platform for Christians (non-party and non-denominational) involved, or seeking to get involved in politics or public life.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Open Letter to the Unfortunate Renter Lady





Disclaimer: I have permission from Sylvia to post this on my blog.


Take a moment to read this open letter my friend wrote to an unfortunate renter lady. This blatant act of discrimination did not occur in the Ozarks; sadly it occurred right outside of the Nation's Capital in Maryland. 

When will this racism end? When will we start "judging" each other by the content of our character instead of by skin color/race/religion/gender/sexual orientation/political side/socioeconomic status/accent/last name/etc? It is time to rise up against hate like this one; not with violence or by reciprocating the hate, but by battling it with love. Love conquers ALL.

Lastly, after you read this letter please share with your networks and also say a prayer that this wonderful family finds a home 10 times better than the one on "Merry Go Round Way." God bless you. 

Open Letter to the Unfortunate Renter Lady


Dear Ms. “For Rent on Merry Go Round Way”,
It is with great sadness that I write this.  Not because I lost a little bit more of my hope in humanity.  Not because two people I love were hurt and discriminated against.  But I write with great sadness for you.  You missed out on a great opportunity.  Let me explain…
You see, I’m a pretty lucky gal.  My parents are great people.  Everyone they come in contact with love them.  I can only strive to be as loving as they are.  Bear with me for a moment while I share a little bit about them with you. They are a quiet, retired pair, but their story begins about 45 years ago, when they migrated here from Argentina.  From the moment they came to the US, they worked harder than anyone you will ever know.  They suffered more than you will ever imagine; a young couple with no money, living on a few dollars a week and often literally going hungry so their kids would have food for the day.  But they always kept their head up and strived for the American Dream.  They worked hard, paid their taxes, never took handouts from the government and became US citizens.   They raised us four children to be educated and productive parts of our society.  Most importantly, they also raised us to be loving Christians, just like they were and continue to be, never ceasing to work hard for their church every week and show everyone unconditional love.
When all of us children were grown, married and moved out, they worked toward the one last part of the American Dream they were never able to achieve.  Why?  Because they were too busy providing for us to make sure we had everything we needed, including an education.  So this last part of the dream? A house.  Not a rental like they’d always had.  They wanted a home to call their own.  So, in their 50’s, they purchased their first home.  It was a cozy little townhouse, and was their pride and joy.  What they had worked for their entire life.
Then tragedy hit.  My mother had an accident at work, causing her to be permanently physically disabled.   My father had also been disabled years earlier due to a forklift accident at work.   My mother was out of work.  My father as well.  During this time, I had to witness my parents helplessly watch as their dream slipped away, as they were unable to pay for the mortgage while my mother had multiple surgeries and was in and out of the hospital from her accident.  Now, a few years later, they have lost their home and have had to look for another place to call home.  It breaks their heart to have to look for another place, knowing they are leaving behind the one thing they had to show for their 45 years of hard work.  It breaks my heart to hear them reluctantly look for a place to, once again, rent.
However, there are the few occasions when my mom sees a place she really likes and I see a little glimmer of hope in her eyes as she tells me about it and asks me to call for them.  Call FOR them, you ask?  Why would I have to call FOR them?  Don’t they speak English after 45 years in this country?  Yes.  They do.  Don’t they do things for themselves?  Yes.  They do.  So why call for them when inquiring about a rental?  Because after all these years, they know there are discriminating people out there that will judge them based on their lingering accent and last name, Garcia.  I always insist that it is completely crazy to think that people would discriminate because they realize my parents are Hispanic by their accent or name.  But, I call for them anyway.
Well, this past weekend, YOU proved them right.
My parents had seen a nice little one-story home for rent on Merry Go Round Way in the Wildwood Park area of Mount Airy.  My mom had mentioned this area to me before as they had gone for walks around there many times when my mom’s leg was better.  She excitedly told me on Sunday that they had seen the For Rent sign on one of the homes.  So, as I usually do for them, I called this past Sunday morning, and you picked up, Ms. “For Rent on Merry Go Round Way.” You were very polite when I told you that I was inquiring about the home for my parents and you gladly told me all about it.  You said it would be available by December 1st and, since you live just a block away, you would gladly let my parents stop by to see it.  You said they should just call and arrange a time to see it.  So I passed along the information to my parents.  The renting price was within their budget, there were no steps, and it was in a 62 and over retirement community.  It was perfect.  My mom was so excited when you told them to stop by the next morning to see it.
Until you left a message about an hour or so later.  Sorry, but I think I’ve rented it, you said.  Don’t come see it tomorrow, you said.  Thanks, but no thanks, you seemed to say.
My mom’s demeanor went from excited to defeated.  My father just shook his head.  He knew he should have let me make the appointment and come see the house with them.  My father knew you hadn’t rented the house in just that little amount of time.  He knew that it was because you heard his heavy accent and last name and decided you’d rather not have Hispanics “ruin the block.”  But, he was the bigger man, and, instead of getting angry, called you back and politely thanked you for your time and for letting him know and wished you a great evening.  I told you my parents are great folks.
I still gave you the benefit of the doubt and decided to ask my friend (who, like me, has no accent but the “American accent”) to call and inquire about the house for her ‘grandparents.’  Just to see if it was really rented.  A phone call later, I realized you had, indeed, lied and the home was not rented and still very much available, to the right type of person.  You happily let my friend know all about the house that was definitely available.  You know, I really wanted my parents to be wrong.  I wanted to still have faith in humanity.  Faith in that racism doesn’t still exist so blatantly today.  But, alas, I was wrong and you do exist.
I supposed I will go back to doing what I normally do.  Call about the house/apartment, make the appointment to see it and then go see it myself or with my parents.  You see, first of all, I look like any other “white girl” you know.  No one ever knows I’m Hispanic (as if “Hispanic” has a look).  My parents as well, save for the accent and last name, are never seen as “Hispanic.”  So, when I arrive with my parents, dressed professionally, and the owners meet my parents, they always LOVE them.  We have not been to a single look through of a house/apartment at which the owners have not called me that same day, offering my parents the rental place.  Unfortunately, my mom is a little picky and hasn’t liked any of the places we have seen. So we are still looking for that place that will make my parents happy to move.
So, I’m not sad for my parents, because I know God has an amazing place out there for them.  But, like I said in the beginning of this letter, I am sad for you.  You missed out on having two of the best tenants you will ever find.  You missed out on making someone’s day.  You missed out on being a good person and having a clean conscience.  I do hope you find the type of person you are looking for to rent your home and keep your neighborhood just the way you want it.  Your kind should stick together, I suppose.  As for us, we’ll move on to the next place.  Someone out there is going to have some great neighbors and tenants.  But not Merry Go Round Way, sorry.
Sincerely,
Sylvia

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Broken Together

Every so often I hear a song on the radio that instantly (and I do mean instantly) captivates my soul. 

This past week I was lying on the couch and heard this song and had to Shazam it to learn more about the origin. When I Googled the lyrics I found out the meaning behind this precious song (see following paragraph) and was stunned. Few things take my breath away and this was surely one of them. This song is perfect for us married folks. No matter what anyone says or portrays, we have ALL experienced some strain in our marriage at some point or another. What we decide to do with the strain is another story. Some cannot work or choose not to through the pain and strife and decide that being apart is best (and quite frankly, sometimes that IS best for the couple). Others painstakingly work through the tribulation and end up stronger than they were prior to the pain. If you are currently married and are experiencing hardship, know you are not alone. You are not perfect. And neither is your spouse. Be broken together and fight for what God intentionally placed together. 

______________________________________________________________________________

Recommendation: Read the following paragraph and then watch the video with your spouse.

“Marriage is tough. We bring a lot of fairytales to the picture when it comes to marriage. We bring them to the altar with us [thinking]: ‘This is going to be perfect. We don’t have to be apart. We can just wake up together every morning and no one is going to have morning breath. We’re not going to have any problems.’ And then the problems hit and you don’t know where to file those into your picture. . . The idea I’m trying to say is: ‘Can you lay down who you thought I was and love the ‘me’ that is? Can we take this from where we are now and realize that I can’t be that person?’ Only God is going to be able to make this work and broken people can be broken together. To me, it’s probably the most important song on the record.”
--Casting Crowns


Lyrics: 
What do you think about when you look at me
I know were not the fairytale you dreamed wed be
You wore the veil, you walked the aisle, you took my hand
And we dove into a mystery

How I wish we could go back to simpler times
Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light
Now on this hallowed ground, weve drawn the battle lines
Will we make it through the night

Its going to take much more than promises this time
Only God can change our minds

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and Ill bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we'll last forever is broken together

How it must have been so lonely by my side
We were building kingdoms and chasing dreams and left love behind
Im praying God will help our broken hearts align
And we wont give up the fight


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bullying Resources/Recursos para Bullying

Please share/Por favor comparte. 

Information taken from Montgomery County Committee on Hate/Violence and Montgomery County Office of Human Rights Bullying Guide [A quick guide on what you need to know about identifying it and interceding it./Una breve guía de lo que usted necesita saber acerca de la identificación y la intercesión.]

Definition: Bullying is unwanted behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated over time with the intent to cause harm. Bullying behavior may include: making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and deliberately excluding someone from a group.


Definición: "Bullying" significa un comportamiento no deseado que implica un desequilibrio de poder real o percibido. El comportamiento se repite en el tiempo con la intención de causar daño. La conducta de intimidación puede incluir: hacer amenazas, la difusión de rumores, atacar a alguien físicamente o verbalmente, o deliberadamente excluir a alguien de un grupo. 

Information for Students/Información para Estudiantes:
  • If you or someone you know is being bullied, seek help from an adult (e.g., parent, teacher, coach, principal, counselor, etc.). 
  • Si usted o alguien que usted conoce esta siendo intimidado, busca la ayuda de un adulto (por ejemplo: padre, maestro, director, consejero, entrenador, etc.).
  • Become familiar with your school's protocol for addressing bullying. 
  • Familiarizarse con el proceso de su escuela para hacer frente a la intimidación.
  • Know your state's laws and policies about bullying. 
  • Conozca las leyes y políticas del Estado sobre la intimidación.
  • Ask educators or other school personnel about anti-bullying programs (i.e., peer mediation) that may exist in your school. 
  • Pregunte a los maestros u otro personal escolar sobre los programas contra la intimidación (como la mediación entre iguales) que puedan existir en su escuela.
  • Be respectful to your peers. 
  • Ser respetuoso con sus compañeros.
Information for Parents/Información para Padres
  • Foster your child's confidence and independence and take action against their victimization. 
  • Fomentar la confianza y la independencia de su hijo y tomar medidas cuando él o ella es una víctima.
  • Do not encourage physical retaliation. 
  • No fomenta represalias físicas.
  • If your child is a victim or bully, contact the school to address the problem. 
  • Si su hijo es una víctima o un agresor, póngase en contacto con los funcionarios de la escuela para tratar el problema.
  • Request a parent-teacher conference so that all perspectives are considered. 
  • Solicite una cita con el maestro para que todos los puntos de vista pueden ser consideradas.
  • Attempt to speak with the bully's parents, but do so using an uncombative approach.  
  • Intente hablar con los padres del agresor utilizando un enfoque no combativo. 
  • Encourage your child to speak up against bullying when witnessed-be an active bystander.  
  • Anime a su hijo a hablar en contra de intimidación--para ser un espectador activo.
  • Seek additional help/support through community resources. 
  • Busque ayuda adicional o apoyo a través de las organizaciones comunitarias.
  • Become knowledgeable and informed about state laws and policies. 
  • Adquirir conocimientos e informados sobre las leyes estatales y las políticas sobre el acoso.
  • Get involved and build a sense of family-school collaboration (e.g. volunteer, join PTA group). 
  • Involúcrese y construir un sentido de la colaboración familia-escolar (voluntario en la escuela, unirse a la asociación de padres y maestros).
  • Monitor your child's internet activity for potential cyberbullying behaviors. 
  • Supervisar la actividad de su hijo en el Internet para interceptar comportamientos de intimidación cibernética.
Information for Teachers/Información para Maestros: 
  • Know what bullying looks like. Assuming that bullying only exists overtly is a myth and it can pose harm on individuals. 
  • Conozca que es el acoso. Es un error suponer que la intimidación solo existe abiertamente y pueden suponer daños a las personas.
  • Be on the lookout for bullying. 
  • Este en el puesto de observación para los comportamientos de intimidación. 
  • Never ignore a student's complaint or your observation of bullying, as your role goes beyond teaching in the classroom. 
  • Nunca ignore la queja de un estudiante o de su observación de la intimidación.
  • Understand the bullying state laws and policies. 
  • Haga un esfuerzo para entender las leyes estatales y las políticas contra la intimidación.
  • Adhere to school's policy, regulation (e.g., Code of Maryland Regulations [COMARI]) about bullying, harassment, or intimidation. 
  • Se adhieren a las regulaciones estatales y las políticas de la escuela acerca de la intimidación, el acoso o la intimidación. 
  • Collaborate with other community agencies (e.g., Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], Department of Education) and other professionals such as school counselors, and psychologists to enhance your knowledge and skills on addressing bullying.
  • Colaborar con otras agencias u organizaciones de la comunidad (por ejemplo, el Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos, el Departamento de Educación) y otros profesionales (como los consejeros escolares y psicólogos) para mejorar su conocimiento y habilidades en hacer frente a la intimidación.

Additional Information and Resources/Recursos e información adicional:
For more information about the information listen in this brochure, please contact: 
Montgomery County Committee on Hate/Violence
Montgomery County Office of Human Rights
21 Maryland Avenue, 3rd Floor
Rockville, MD 20850
240-777-8450