community engagment


Obama makes first public appearance since leaving office 

  • At long last, former President Barack Obama has made his return to the public eye.
  • Obama appeared at the University of Chicago on Monday to deliver a speech on “community organizing and civic engagement,” per CNN.
  • On Twitter, users rejoiced at the prospect of having the 44th president back in the continental United States. Read more (4/24/17)
A letter to all women
You are valuable. You were created to be light in this world, to bring joy, and on days that you can’t even pick yourself up, to let others know that life does not end there. That it’s also okay to break down for a little while, that we’ve all been there. Woman, you are free. Pay no attention to those, even fellow sisters, that tell you what to wear, what to do, how many boys or girls you can kiss before you officially become a slut, before you become used or impure. Do whatever feels right, feel whatever you truly want. Pay no attention to those who are capable of making the same mistakes as you but think they’re too perfect to ever fail. And maybe those mistakes aren’t even mistakes. Maybe it was just you, growing into the dazzling woman that you’re meant to be, maybe it was another experience in the book of all the things that you’ve done and that are to come. Maybe it was a lesson. Pay no attention to those that say you’re not as worthy as them, to those that tell you that you can’t be successful, smart enough, good enough, pretty enough. Rage. Fight. Live, breathe and cling to what you not only think but know that is fair, and not only fair, but merely human. Speak up. Resist. Engage, communicate and develop your right to rule your own body, to wear whatever you want knowing that if a person gets angry at you for being “provocative” it’s only their problem because they’re not enough of a respectful person to understand that you’re not “asking for it”, you’re just living. Wear whatever you want knowing that if someone makes fun of you, mistreats you or abuses you in any way because you chose to cover yourself up or dress yourself down, they just weren’t raised right, they just don’t know what it’s like to view things from different perspectives or just to be you. Shout. Protest. Be displeased, rebel and say no to people that think they have any kind of control over you. It’s your choice who you want to be with, it’s your choice if you want to keep the baby, it’s your choice if today you don’t want to go to the party, it’s your choice if you want to wear the sweatpants or the tight dress. It’s your choice if you’re going to let others rule your life or be enslaved by this intolerant world. Let your sisters know that we can’t afford to put each other down anymore. We can’t afford to keep on slut shaming when all we’re asking for is respect and we’re not giving it back, or setting the example to do so. We can’t afford to verbally abuse one another when all me might have needed was a little advice and a lot of support. We need to be there for every single woman out there because no one else is going to fight for equality or be informed of what equality really means, if we can’t even come together and stop fighting with each other instead of fighting towards a fair, respectful, equal and dignified world. Stop thinking that there’s already too many of us fighting for the cause and that you’re not needed, there aren’t enough people. We need every single woman helping, giving advice, letting people know of this injustice that we’re living, that not only because you’re comfortable and everyone accepts you as you are, does it mean that somewhere else in the world there aren’t girls who are not even allowed to dream. We stop being free when we give up our control. We stop being free when we remain quiet. We stop being free when we stand by and watch others live what you should or want to be living. We stop being free when we let comfort and tranquility seduce us into a life of nothingness. Be released.
—  macsun //

anonymous asked:

I’m not trying to be inflammatory, I’m just curious. How do het ace/aro people face SYSTEMATIC oppression? Gay/bi/trans people face oppression like difficultly adopting children, finding housing, they may be fired from employment because of their gender or orientation. So they are bared from normal parts of live because of their gender/sexuality. Gay ace/aro people face this too, but what do het ace/aro people experience on a societal level?

If you’d been following my blog at all or even bothered to peruse it a little before dropping this message in my inbox, you’d probably already know the answer to your question. 

You’d ALSO probably know that there are bi and pan aspecs too (e.g., I’m panromantic demisexual) which isn’t “gay” (does this term also include lesbians?) so I feel like your ask erases part of my own identity and that of others in the community.

For these reasons and more, I’d bet money that you’re not here because you’re “curious”. You’re probably here because you figure this is how you’re gonna stop a “self-imposing” aspec from speaking up for herself. 

Well guess what: That’s just hateful & sad.

Regardless though of your intentions, I’m here to say that there is in fact SYSTEMATIC oppression against aspecs. For example, Dr Gordon Hodson wrote this about his 2012 study: 

In a recent investigation (MacInnis & Hodson, in press) we uncovered strikingly strong bias against asexuals in both university and community samples. Relative to heterosexuals, and even relative to homosexuals and bisexuals, heterosexuals: (a) expressed more negative attitudes toward asexuals (i.e., prejudice); (b) desired less contact with asexuals; and © were less willing to rent an apartment to (or hire) an asexual applicant (i.e., discrimination). Moreover, of all the sexual minority groups studied, asexuals were the most dehumanized (i.e., represented as “less human”). Intriguingly, heterosexuals dehumanized asexuals in two ways. Given their lack of sexual interest, widely considered a universal interest, it might not surprise you to learn that asexuals were characterized as “machine-like” (i.e., mechanistically dehumanized). But, oddly enough, asexuals were also seen as “animal-like” (i.e., animalistically dehumanized). Yes, asexuals were seen as relatively cold and emotionless and unrestrained, impulsive, and less sophisticated.

When you repeatedly observe such findings it grabs your attention as a prejudice researcher. But let’s go back a minute and consider those discrimination effects. Really? You’d not rent an apartment to an asexual man, or hire an asexual woman? Even if you relied on stereotypes alone, presumably such people would make ideal tenants and employees. We pondered whether this bias actually represents bias against single people, a recently uncovered and very real bias in its own right (see Psychology Today column by Bella DePaulo). But our statistical analyses ruled out this this possibility. So what’s going on here?

If you’ve been following my column, you’ll recall that I wrote a recent article on what I called the “Bigotry Bigot-Tree” – what psychologists refer to as generalized prejudice. Specifically, those disliking one social group (e.g., women) also tend to dislike other social groups (e.g., homosexuals; Asians). In our recent paper (MacInnis & Hodson, in press), we found that those who disliked homosexuals also disliked bisexuals and asexuals. In other words, these prejudices are correlated. Heterosexuals who dislike one sexual minority, therefore, also dislike other sexual minorities, even though some of these groups are characterized by their sexual interest and activity and others by their lack of sexual interest and activity.

This anti-asexual bias, at its core, seems to boil down to what Herek (2010) refers to as the “differences as deficit” model of sexual orientation. By deviating from the typical, average, or normal sexual interests, sexual minorities are considered substandard and thus easy targets for disdain and prejudice. Contrary to conventional folk wisdom, prejudice against sexual minorities may not therefore have much to do with sexual activity at all. There is even evidence, for instance, that religious fundamentalists are prejudiced against homosexuals even when they are celibate (Fulton et al., 1999). Together, such findings point to a bias against “others”, especially different others, who are seen as substandard and deficient (and literally “less human”). “Group X” is targeted for its lack of sexual interest even more than homosexuals and bisexuals are targeted for their same-sex interests.

From news coverage of a recently published study (2016):

What should the average person take away from your study?

Since I first became interested in the issue, I have come to conclude that U.S. society is both “sex negative” and “sex positive.” In other words, there is stigma and marginalization that can come both from being “too sexual” and from being “not sexual enough.” In a theoretical paper, I argued that sexuality may be compulsory in contemporary U.S. society. In other words, our society assumes that (almost) everyone is, at their core, “sexual” and there exists a great deal of social pressure to experience sexual desire, engage in sexual activities, and adopt a sexual identity. At the same time, various types of “non-sexuality” (such as a lack of sexual desire or activity) are stigmatized.

For this particular study, I identified thirty individuals who identified as asexual and asked them first, if they had experienced stigma or marginalization as a result of their asexuality, and, second how they challenged this stigma or marginalization. I found that my interviewees had experienced the following forms of marginalization: pathologization (i.e. people calling them sick), social isolation, unwanted sex and relationship conflict, and the denial of epistemic authority (i.e. people not believing that they didn’t experience sexual attraction). I also found that my interviews resisted stigma and marginalization in five ways: describing asexuality as simply a different (but not inherently worse) form of sexuality; deemphasizing the importance of sexuality in human life; developing new types of nonsexual relationships; coming to see asexuality as a sexual orientation or identity; and engaging in community building and outreach.

I hope that average people would take away from this study the idea that some people can lead fulfilling lives without experiencing sexual attraction but can experience distress if others try to invalidate their identities.

Some of the social isolation we aspecs experience comes from religious communities. Indeed, the popular myth that religious people revere aspecs is very much NOT TRUE. For example, read “Myth 8″ from the VISION Catholic Religious Vocation Guide:

MYTH 8: Religious are asexual

Question: What do you call a person who is asexual? 

Answer: Not a person. Asexual people do not exist. Sexuality is a gift from God and thus a fundamental part of our human identity. Those who repress their sexuality are not living as God created them to be: fully alive and well. As such, they’re most likely unhappy.

All people are called by God to live chastely, meaning being respectful of the gift of their sexuality. Religious men and women vow celibate chastity, which means they live out their sexuality without engaging in sexual behavior. A vow of chastity does not mean one represses his manhood or her womanhood. Sexuality and the act of sex are two very different things. While people in religious life abstain from the act of sex, they do not become asexual beings, but rather need to be in touch with what it means to be a man or a woman. A vow of chastity also does not mean one will not have close, loving relationships with women and men. In fact, such relationships are a sign of living the vow in a healthy way. Living a religious vow of chastity is not always easy, but it can be a very beautiful expression of love for God and others.

Religious women and men aren’t oddities; they mirror the rest of the church they serve: there are introverts and extroverts, tall and short, old and young, straight and gay, obese and skinny, crass and pious, humorous and serious, and everything in between. They attempt to live the same primary vocation as all other Christians do: proclaiming and living the gospel. However, religious do this as members of an order that serve the church and world in a particular way. Like marriage and the single life, religious life can be wonderful, fulfilling, exciting, and, yes, normal. Yet, it also can be countercultural and positively challenging. It’s that for us and many others.

If you thought religious life was outdated, dysfunctional, or dead, we hope you can now look beyond the stereotypes and see the gift it is to the church and world.

NOTE: YOU CAN BE A GAY CATHOLIC PERSON BUT NOT ASEXUAL, BC ASEXUALITY DOESN’T EXIST (yet somehow we’re also “most likely unhappy” and “oddities”). I sincerely hope and believe that not all religions characterize us aspecs this way. But here are some personal accounts I found on a reddit site answering the question “Do any religions have a negative stance toward asexuals?”:

Please note that the Christian pastor in the last example was fearful (or something?) that an asexual was helping to lead a youth group and kicked them out of the church as a result.


often possessed of an active mind, aquarians are engaging communicators whose straightforward manner may not endear them to everyone. they are selective with their friends, and truthful to a fault, though that truth may only exist in loopholes others haven’t taken enough care to notice.


Students, alumni, and faculty from the University of Minnesota’s Ojibwe language program discuss (in Ojibwe!) the techniques and experiences which have helped them achieve a high level of proficiency in this endangered language.

The goal of the Ojibwe Language major is to best situate both heritage and non-heritage Ojibwe students to be able to positively intervene in the cultural life of the state’s Ojibwe communities by contributing to the revitalization of the Ojibwe language. As a land grant institution, the University of Minnesota has a mission to contribute to the state’s communities and the Ojibwe Language major helps further that mission. The department also prioritizes local American Indian community engagement and advocacy. One of the single best ways to create positive change within our communities is to instill pride and celebrate cultural traditions like language at an early age.

Life is not found in seeking our own happiness, nor is it found in pursuing your dreams. Life is found in Jesus, for when we have finished our time on this earth, we will see that happiness and work will not be waiting for us with open arms. That is Christ alone, nothing we have will follow us into the next life.

The precious time that we have been given will last only for a moment, and we must realize that it’s not about seeking out things for personal gain. It’s about pursuing a God who loves so unconditionally that we will be met with the fullness of life unlike ever before.

When we follow Christ truly by laying down our lives and pride, we will find that loving others, helping our communities, engaging in true and deep relationships, will become like breathing because we have chosen to connect with Jesus first and foremost.

Make the effort today to choose Christ, for when we do, we will be able to face sorrow, pain, love, work, friendships, and all the things this life has with a new and better understanding. We will face it with grace and assurance that it is Christ alone that we lean on.

—  T.B. LaBerge // Go Now

if anybody knows of (or is!) any good age regression blogs that don’t identify with any age regression community or who don’t engage in any drama or discourse about all the different communities, please let me know/reblog if you are one! that’s why i haven’t been too active lately: i have no one to follow. i just want to regress in peace without worrying about who’s okay with what terms and what’s sfw and blah blah blah. it’s too much. i’m autistic and there is no way in hell i’m going to even try to understand all of those. i just want some good, accepting age regression blogs. (also all of a sudden little space is a term that’s unacceptable too? that’s where i draw the line man i’m still calling it little space)

ID #88551

Name: Miranda
Age: 26
Country: United States 

I am looking for snailmail/email penpals. Someone I can be myself with and not have to worry about being judged. Anyways I am female, I spend my days working and when I am not working I am with my soon to be wife(wedding is on the 20th of May). Yes I am gay, so please only people who have no issues with that and also understand I am taken. I am addicted to twitter and even run a support twitter for anyone and everyone who just wants someone to talk to. If you think we would hit it off please feel free to get in contact with me.

Preferences:  must be supportive of the LGBT community

anonymous asked:

hi! im writing a romance and the main focus is how misunderstanding and lack of communication can end a good relationship, it starts out a year after the break up and the pair is close to meeting each other again, every now and then i narrate something from the past that relates to present actions but now im not so sure if its the best way bc i still want to build up their past relationship to the readers. also im a bit lost on how to build the misunderstanding between them, any tips? thank you!

Hello love :)  That sounds like a great plot!  I’m seeing two questions in this, so I’ll split up my answers for you:

1. Flashbacks

I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking here, to be honest.  Are you worried about the flashbacks being anticlimactic or undesirable?  Because that’s quite a debatable topic – some people hate flashbacks and others swear by them.  Personally, I think flashbacks can be a great method of exposition!  But like any exposition, you want to be brief and sparing with it, lest you take the readers out of the action.  My quick tips for keeping flashbacks classy:

  1. Whittle them down to near-nothing.  This isn’t how I write the bulk of my stories, but for flashbacks and memories, they should be as short and direct as possible.  This doesn’t mean they should be skeletal; most of our memories don’t come back to us as a script with no action, or pure action without thoughts or themes.  Just cut the fluff, the eloquence, and most of the adjectives.
  2. See them through a specific POV.  Flashbacks have the most impact if they’re portrayed as memories, so try to write them through one character’s eyes.  Write them as your character would remember them.  If your character is a more emotional or sensitive person, they’ll see memories through their feelings or sensory detail.  If they’re more factual or present-moment, they may fixate more on colors or furniture, or facial expressions or tones of voice.
  3. Give them a specific point and purpose.  Flashbacks should happen for a reason, and they should relate to the current plot through a common theme or situation.  Think of TV episodes or fanfictions that have clever titles – in fact, I’m going to give you an example that literally makes me lose my sh*t every time I think about it:

There’s a show I love called “Psych”, about a consulting detective who pretends to be a psychic.  One episode is titled, “Scary Sherry: Bianca’s Toast”.  The first part of the title makes sense within the first five minutes of the episode – Scary Sherry is a ghost story that seems to repeat itself when a college girl is pushed out of the window of an abandoned mental hospital.  But Bianca’s Toast?  Makes no sense.

Until (spoiler alert) ¾ the way through the episode, Bianca, a member of the dead girl’s sorority, is in the bathtub pouting about not wanting to go to an event.  The window opens above her, and behind her head, a toaster is lowered through the window and dropped into the tub.  She is electrocuted to death.

Bianca… is toast.  Bianca’s toast.

I’m sorry I’m still f***ing laughing this tears me apart every time holy christ

Anyway.  Flashbacks are good for this kind of foreshadowing.  Starting a chapter with a flashback of two characters planning to build a house together, then following it with a scene of Character A watching Character B move in with their new girlfriend, is an effective way of comparing the relationship then to the relationship now.  So give your flashbacks a purpose – an effect they should have on the story.  Don’t let them become filler.

2. Misunderstandings

This is also difficult for me to answer, since I don’t know what kind of misunderstanding you’re writing – so if you want more specific advice, be sure to message me and I’ll try to address your situation.  But otherwise, I’ll just give you a few thoughts I have on developing any kind of misunderstanding.

Misunderstandings can be created or exacerbated in a lot of different ways, including but not limited to:

  • Lack of communication – when your characters engage in little or no conversation about their conflict – a typical avoidance technique.  This is a precursor to many more misunderstandings, because no words are being said at all.
  • Poor wording or self-expression – when your characters give each other the wrong idea, either because they say the wrong thing or they have preconceived ideas they can’t shake.
  • Misfired cues – like that tragic moment when Character A mentions how they love marriage, so Character B starts planning a proposal, even though they’ve only been dating for four months.  That’s what I’m talking about.
  • White lies” – or full-on huge lies, but those typically create a much bigger conflict.  Character A lies, maybe to protect Character B, and that creates two different stories that will eventually cause problems.
  • Lack of clarity – when your characters bounce between two ideas, give no definitive answer, or ask for more time to think.  This creates an uncertainty, a haze, that gives rise to many more misunderstandings as it shuts down the lines of communication.

As for how misunderstandings develop, I see one common outline for arguments in stories:

1. Innocuous at first.
2. Builds under the surface.
3. Small Fight.
4. “Resolution.”
5. Avoidance.
6. Tense situation sparking Big Fight.
7. Final resolution, negative or positive – OR repeat steps 4-7.

Of course, things don’t always progress this way – this is just a general reference for the ebb and flow.  So take from this what you like.

Hopefully this has helped you in one way or another!  As always, my inbox is open for further questions :)  Happy writing!

If you need advice on general writing or fanfiction, you should maybe ask me!


Sketchy Behaviors | Jenny Sharaf (SF)

Never afraid to reinvent herself or her art, San Francisco based artist Jenny Sharaf’s works are fluid and spontaneous; her approach fearless and at times vunerable; and her style cool and comfortably bad-ass.  We’ve not only been fans of her visual and abstract creations, but also her passion to work with her community in SF and Oakland to spread art and creativity – from her work with the Lab’s 24-Hour Telethon, The Parking Lot Art Fair to her most recent project- the Public Art Tour.  Sharaf shares some insight into her work and process; important issues and themes; and her thoughts on the contemporary arts scene in this installment of Sketchy Behaviors.  

Photographs courtesy of the artist

Keep reading

Look, kid:

Maybe, just maybe, if you’re gonna practice witchcraft and engage “the community,” you should be less insecure about rejection.

People are going to disagree with you. People are going to be mean to you.

You’re romping around in the dark with a horde of monsters. What people on the internet think should be the least of your concerns (unless that individual and their perspective really matters to you).

Requested - Tyler Lockwood x Reader

Request: Anonymous -  Heya :) could you please do a Tyler Lockwood x reader where Tyler and the reader grew up together as close friends, but now he is always teasing or harsh with the reader because he is jealous because she is also close friends with Jeremy and Tyler thinks they like each other. One day he goes too far and Jeremy confronts him?

GIF Source:


“Hey.” You greeted Tyler and Jeremy as you sat down at the bar of the Mytsic Grill. Jeremy gave you a warm smile from behind the bar, twisting a cloth in a glass in his hands. Tyler didn’t look up from the glass he was cradling, just gave you a small grunt in response.

You rolled your eyes, glancing at Jeremy as if to ask for an explanation. Jeremy just shrugged, smirking and busied himself fixing you a drink. Tyler had been your best friend since before you could even remember. You two had always had fun, laughing and joking all the time.

Tyler was always the only one who could cheer you up when you were upset. He’d always stuck up for you and looked after you. All your friends had even teased you both, saying that you would end up falling for each other.

Lately though, Tyler was acting off around you and you couldn’t understand why. He was always teasing you, but not in a friendly way and he would make harsh comments, which would upset you for days.

“What’s going on?” You implored, nudging Tyler a little. He shrugged you off, furrowing his brows. Eventually, you gave up on trying to get him to communicate, choosing instead to engage in some playful banter with Jeremy while he wasn’t too busy.

You and Jeremy had become closer lately; he was a good friend and always listened when you needed someone to talk to. You laughed and joked with Jeremy, giving him a playful swat on the arm when he made a flirty joke.

Tyler’s head snapped up from his drink, glaring at the pair of you. He stood from the bar, mumbling something under his breath.

“What was that?” You asked. He shot you a glare.

“I said,” He began, “You’re such a tease, no wonder no-one wants to date you.” Your stomach sank. Tyler had been a little harsh lately, sure, but that was one of the nastiest things he’d ever said to you.

Jeremy noticed your crestfallen expression. He stepped out from around the bar, a frown on his face. He held his arms up and stepped in front of you, positioning himself between you and Tyler.

“What the hell, man?” He asked, raising his voice a little. You shrank back behind him, still in shock that Tyler would upset you so easily.

Tyler snorted. “It’s true!” He snapped back, stepping up to Jeremy. “She just strings guys along and then flirts with someone else!” He fumed, his voice becoming louder with every word.

You felt tears pooling in your eyes, hurt by his words. You’d never meant to come across that way, especially not with Tyler. Jeremy gave a harsh laugh, crossing his arms in front of Tyler.

“You’re so stupid.” He laughed, realising what Tyler’s problem was. “She’s not flirting with me, believe me.” Your head snapped up to look at them both as you also understood why Tyler was so angry.

Tyler wore an expression of shock, his eyes darting from your face to Jeremy’s, searching for more explanation.

“She likes you back, moron.” Jeremy told him, rolling his eyes. He shook his head, muttering something about leaving you two to it as he walked away.

Been wanting to say this for a long time so here we go:

Can we please collectively stop making fun of the “meth fandom” or w/e the fuck nomenclature we’re using to describe real people who finally have a space and community to talk about their substance use? Like I’ve seen posts lump this part of tumblr in with literal fucking neo-nazis and if that doesn’t strike you as fucked up i don’t know what else i can fucking say to you.

I’ve even seen this shit from leftists. Like how can we recognize that capitalism is built on the exploitation of labor and mass disenfranchisement of working class people - and then turn around and mock people who use stimulants to cope with the godawful hardships of that life? If you can’t recognize meth users humanity, then what the fuck are you even fighting for?

I have adhd, but I still abuse my stimulants because my body literally cannot produce the amount of labor necessary for my survival. Thousands of others do the same. We’re not that different from the people on here using meth. Everywhere ~drug users~ turn, we’re denied the chance to talk about our own experiences in our own fucking language. We’re denied the chance to find our own community and engage with it on our own terms. Especially us women who use. Why propagate that shit here? What do you gain by mocking us and people like those in the ~meth fandom~? Who are you helping?

And i know this probably describes only a sliver of my followers, but I hope it’ll reach further. Because honestly? Some people on here need to step the fuck off. 

I’ve never seen a post on my dash condemning this phenomenon (which is often treated like a joke, like it’s not about you know, real fucking people), and that’s fucking bullshit. I’m not saying no one’s said this before, but I sure as fuck haven’t seen it. We can do better. We must do better.

A guide to being a vocal citizen

For people wondering how to take action post-election of a racist demagogue (pulled from Twitter and cleaned up):

Make a spreadsheet or a file for your representatives with names, addresses to their offices, phone numbers, and contact forms. Put everyone there. Make a note in your calendar app to check in on issues once a month.

Pay attention to news. If you get angry, upset, or worried, seek support from friends but ALSO shoot these reps an email, too. Be courteous but firm and blunt. It’s a numbers game. Often we remain invisible because we don’t go to events and rallies and can’t be physically present. But we can attach our names to emails, we can write letters, we can be vocal. We don’t have to be invisible.

You can do this with your national reps, state reps, and local reps. If someone reps you anywhere, note them. Open a line and revisit it. It’s hard work and slow. One email at a time. One letter at a time. One call at a time. Emails are easy these days, so splurge every few months on a stamp and send a letter if you can. Put your humanity in front of these people. Flout it. Some won’t care, but others will. Change ONE mind and results can cascade.

Rural areas are bubbles full of bigotry and now it’s newly revealed. But we white people who live here have the clout and power! We can speak up when our reps say terrible things, and do terrible things, and vote terrible ways. We can go “I am disappointed in you.” It’s work, but as we’ve seen the last six months, it’s time for us to do that work. If someone goes “who are your reps” you gotta know. If you don’t know and you’re mad about this election, it’s time to create that file and keep it with you and use it.

The time for social media rants only is over. Or, do those, but maybe pull those threads out into a paragraph and send them to your reps. And don’t ONLY email or contact when things go badly. Also reach out when things go right. Even if they voted AGAINST something. Treat them like you would want to be treated if you were wrong or mistaken. But we’ve gotta reach out and let them know we’re here.

Anyway, I know this is hard work. If you need help collecting your reps, give me a ping via DM and I’ll help you get started.