Category Archives: just life

Women should be in control of their own bodies!

I have always been an advocate of reproductive rights for women. Every woman should have the right to decide for herself when and if she wants to have children. This decision is a very personal one, and each woman should have the right to make it for herself. Without interference from parents, siblings, spouses, and especially from the government. There are two points I would like to make. The first is that I am deeply offended by the anti abortion people using the phrase “right to life” as their catch phrase. As if being pro-abortion rights makes you somehow “against” life. That the only group that values life is the people who are against a LEGAL medical procedure. That is the bottom line for me. An abortion is a medical procedure. A LEGAL medical procedure. If people looked at it that way would it remove some of the volatility? Could we look at a heart transplant, or an appendectomy, or tonsillectomy through the same lens? NO, you can’t remove that organ because it was given to you at birth and since you are a GOD created being, it is God’s appendix, so you MUST keep it, even if it kills you….  Women should be in control of their own bodies!

reproductive rights

Think about it. The argument against abortion usually stems from a religious basis. That it is against God’s law to “take” a life. Well, what if that “life” threatens the mother’s life because of where the cells chose to implant themselves, or what if the “life” was created from a violent act of rape or incest? At what point does the woman within whom these cells are growing get to have agency over her own body? Why does her agency stop due to religion?

Religion removes a woman’s agency over her own body in more ways than just the abortion argument. What does the religious right say about contraception? Or about her right NOT to have children? In many cases a woman’s ONLY value is about bringing babies into the world and being her husband’s “helpmate”. And before anyone argues that I may not understand, I wish to let you know that I was married to a man for 9 years and we belonged to the fundamental Church of Christ church. While I was a member of that church I was not allowed to speak during services, not allowed to teach men (because MEN are the head), not allowed to hold a leadership position in the church, and was taught to be quiet, meek and subservient to my husband. Those of you who know me in real life might understand how these directives affected me. For those of you who have never met me, you need to know that I am a strong, opinionated, passionate, intelligent woman. Having to squash all of that in order to “serve God and my husband” was a heavy chain around my heart and soul. The yoke of religion can be a burden women have to bear, not the spiritual uplifting I think a truly loving, kind and just God would want for us.

However, getting back to reproductive rights, I am ALL for them. There was a time in my life when I was 18 and dating a very sweet young man named Ron. We were both in Hospital Corps School, and were just about to embark on our Navy career. I got pregnant. I was completely distraught. I knew if I continued with the pregnancy I would not be able to continue my Navy schooling, and it would change my career and educational aspirations. I was only 18. I was not ready to be a parent. Ron wasn’t ready to be a parent. We decided to terminate the pregnancy. My mother agreed and I flew home to Connecticut from Chicago, and she took me to a clinic to have a LEGAL abortion. This was in 1984.  As we neared the clinic I noticed there was a chain link fence around the entire building. The fence was there to keep protesters away from the front door of the building. As I neared the fence there was a throng of people standing by the gate holding signs and shouting at me. They told me I was evil, and sinful, and that what I was doing was murder and I was going to hell. My mother grabbed hold of my arm tightly and just steered me through those people. To be honest I was afraid of them. They seemed so angry and so incredibly judgmental.

protestors outside a clinic

I think about that day sometimes, even now. Less now than I did when I was younger. I think about the fact that I could have a 31-year-old child. I think about the fact that I would probably not have married my ex-husband if I had chosen to have that child. Then I wouldn’t have my two amazing beautiful boys my ex and I created together. My life would have been so different. I can’t say that it would have been better or worse. I may have still married, I may have had more children, it my have been a beautiful life, but it wouldn’t be the life I have now. We can only theorize about “what if’s” so much. To dwell on them would make me crazy, so I choose not to do that.

What I do know is that I love my life, and I am incredibly blessed. I do mourn that child, and it still makes me sad, but that is what I believed was the right thing to do for myself at that time in my life, and I am INCREDIBLY thankful that I was legally able to obtain an abortion. Thankful that my parents supported my decision. Thankful that I had access to a safe clinic. Thankful that I had access to medical care from qualified people. Thankful that I was able to decide for myself what I wanted to do with my body. Thankful that I had reproductive rights.

I think EVERY woman should have those same opportunities, same access, and same ability to choose for themselves. Until this happens, we are not truly free as human beings. And Women should be in control of their own bodies!

#womenslives

Daydreamer Award: My dream animal…..

Thank you to “S” over at Doorknobs That Lock for nominating this blog for the Daydreamer Award! I’ve enjoyed her blog for years!  We have TONS in common: two mom family who became a family with a school aged child, teenaged son, son is a Boy Scout, and a love for blogging.  :-)  I really love her photos too, she is really able to capture the essence of her subjects in her photos.  They truly are beautiful!! Please check her out!!

The rules for the Daydreamer Award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Complete the challenge they set you.

3. Select a blog or blogs that you want to give the award to. (The amount of blogs you select is unlimited!)

4. Tell them about it and set them a challenge.

(Please include the rules in your post)

So my challenge from S is: Describe your dream pet(s) — what animals would you share your life with if you could?

This is a great question because I already have more animals than I should…lol  In fact, someone once told me that a person qualifies as a “cat lady” when the number of cats you have exceeds the number of people in your household.  When we had 4 kids living at home the ratio was perfect since we had 3 cats.  Then i saw this adorable tabby at the ASPCA, and he just practically threw himself at me……how could I refuse those big green eyes?????  So now we have 4 cats.  We would have still been okay, but then (as they do) the kids started growing up and moving out.  The oldest two moved out, but technically we are still okay because we have 4 people who live here with 4 cats……that means we are still one person/cat ratio away from being “cat ladies”.  The bad news is one of the kids graduates in a couple of months. Luckily he will not be moving out right away….as he is planning on living at home for a couple of years and going to Community College. Also we have one very old cat….

But those really aren’t my dream animals….. If I could have an animal that I could really build a relationship with, it would be a horse.  Not just any old horse, but the horses I had the privilege of seeing while I was visiting my friend Gail in South Dakota.  She is a Cheyenne Indian and is married to Alex Richard who is the great grandson of Chief Red Cloud, the famous Lakota Chief who treated with the US Government in the 1800s.  Gail and Alex have some beautiful land, and their neighbors in Lonesome Valley are members of the White Plume tiospaye (family).  These family members have horses and buffalo, and many other majestic creatures on their land.  The horses that Percy White Plume has on his land are beautiful, domestic and strong!

They were majestic creatures with just the right mix of domestic and wild.  Domestic enough to be sweet and safe, but wild enough to be true to their Great Plains spirits.  Here are some pictures of them:

horses1

horses2

horses3

horses4

The horse that caught my eye was the Paint (brown and white) horse in the third picture.  He is the leader of this group and he is magnificent.  This group of horses walked right up to my car, and put their heads in the window, as if they were looking for a treat.

So although I do love my cats and my dog, my dream pet would be one of these horses.  But I guess they wouldn’t really technically be a “pet”, but instead a companion because I would never want to break their free spirit…..

I would like to nominate Robyn over at Breastfeeding in Combat Boots for the Daydreamer award and my challenge to her is: to tell us about her Dream gig.  She is an author and motivational speaker so I would like to know where is the dream place for her to talk about breastfeeding and why?

A petition to reinstate the African American Cultural Center at Old Dominion University

So another student in my Women’s Studies classes who I also consider a friend has decided to take up a cause to reinstate the African American Cultural Center at Old Dominion University where we go to school.

Morgan is working with a group called Generation Forward, whose mission statement says : “Generation Forward is part of the nationwide movement to re-assert the value of Black lives, to create real, lasting change in the community.

Morgan

Morgan

So Generation Forward has begun a grassroots campaign to have a Black Student Union reinstated on Old Dominion University Campus.  There used to be a safe space for the African American students to meet on campus, but it was closed in 2008 due to expansion of residential housing.  There are other safe spaces available for other marginalized groups to meet, such as the Women’s Center, GLBT Housing, a space for Chinese students, Filipino students among others.  However, there is no space set aside for black students. Here is the executive summary:

Black Student Union at Old Dominion University Executive Summary

In 2008, the Hugo A. Owens African American Cultural Center was closed, due to residential area expansion, after serving the campus community for seventeen years. A haven to all who had the opportunity to experience it, the center was a prized jewel to the campus community. In its absence, the university has significantly decreased institutional funding toward Black programming and cultural awareness. There is no longer a central safe space for Black students to commune while accommodations for other marginalized groups have been made (i.e. the Women’s Center, the Safe Space Committee, Lavender House — a living arrangement for LGBT students, the Confucius Institute to promote understanding between US citizens and Chinese culture, and the Filipino American Center). Currently, the Black community makes up 46% of on campus students and 22% of the student body as a whole. With such a large amount, making our university the most diverse in the state, it is also time to make it the most inclusive in the state and reinstate the African American Cultural Center as a Black Student Union. Black students bring in an excess of $3,000,000 in student activities fees each year, but are invested in at a rate close to $6 per student, per year, in cultural programming from student organizations alone. From alumni and faculty who remember Owens House, to the students who’ve never gotten a chance to experience such a space, it is important that we make this opportunity available for prospective students in the future.

So what does a Black Student Union at Old Dominion look like? Ideally, this building will house one large event space, multiple meeting spaces, organizational offices for Black student organizations, and an administrative office for a director and two assistant directors devoted to academic success, institutional equity, community outreach, and cultural awareness and programming. While this space will function as safe space for Black students and anyone else interested in enhancing their cultural awareness, we also have a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between Old Dominion and the campus community. The Union’s interior is only a starting point, where historical images pertaining to Blacks in Hampton Roads will be showcased. From there, mentoring programs, college student to youth and professional to college student, will be established with the community at large.

The Union will serve as a space that promotes and maximizes academic excellence, community outreach, recruitment and retention of Black students, and supportive programming centered around Black culture and the African Diaspora. It will also provide a wide range of support and resources that include opportunities for leadership development, mentoring services, graduate school workshops, career services, informal counseling and advisement, networking opportunities, internships, and more. While all of these services are valuable, the most important goal of the Union is to foster critical concern for, and understanding of, Black and African Diasporic history, arts, politics, and culture.

The Union serves as a vehicle to promote cultural and racial understanding, build community, and foster appreciation for Black culture. It is imperative that this facility return to Old Dominion University so that we can all call ourselves members of not only the most diverse campus in Virginia, but also, the most inclusive.

I think the mission of her group has merit, and a Black Student Union on campus is needed.  Please take a moment to sign her petition. 

All cultures are valid, all cultures are important.  We need to ensure that we are not attending to some cultures needs and not others, particularly when the culture in question is almost 1/2 of the student body.  Please support Morgan, Generation Forward, and all of the black students at ODU, and sign the petition!

Thank you all!!!