Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is

Since the embodiment of hate, ignorance, and greed will soon move into the White House, it is more important than ever to share our money, time, and resources with the most vulnerable among us and to the organizations whose priorities are love, inclusivity, and empowerment.  If you don’t know where to give, below are a few of the causes I support on #GivingTuesday and all year round.  Show some love for:

Baltimore Community ToolBank: Providing tools for over 300 member agencies to create positive change in their communities. https://www.razoo.com/story/Tools-For-Change

Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap: Putting educational materials in the hands of teachers and kids who need them. Simple, effective, necessary. https://teachersupplyswap.org/donate/

Itineris Baltimore: Dedicated to helping adults with autism work towards independence and gainful employment so they can participate meaningfully in all aspects of adult life. Awesome.  http://bit.ly/2gEWZls

Chesapeake Climate Action Network: They are literally fighting for our lives. http://bit.ly/2gClvHv

Moveable Feast: Providing nutritious meals and groceries for men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. http://bit.ly/2g1Vy0v

And don’t forget our four-footed besties! Please support BARCS & MD SPCA. My prescription for getting through the next 4 years is to adopt a pet. Immediately. http://baltimoreanimalshelter.org/donate and http://www.mdspca.org/give/

There are many other worthy organizations. You can take my recommendations or leave them, as long as you are fighting the good fight. Put your money where your heart is.

Love Always Wins

I needed a day.

If you read Noah Christopher Smock’s amazing post-election note yesterday, then you already know him, which means you know that I was the girlfriend crying. Our country had just elected a man who has spent the last 513 days convincing us that he is a racist, misogynistic, homophobic, cold-hearted bully who is more interested in being an authoritarian dictator than leading and serving the republic for which he is supposed to stand. He has told us who he is time and again and I have believed him at every turn. I always knew it was possible for him to win, but I was not prepared to find out that half the country also believes him AND they either don’t care or they actually agree with him. The poison cherry on top was that his like-minded allies won the majority in the Senate and the House. I didn’t call out sick from work, I called out terrified.

And then I got angry. For several hours, I saw every stranger as an enemy who probably voted for Trump. I glared and sulked and blamed. Forget resting – I had active bitch face.

I declared Beyoncé a traitor who could have, and should have, spoken out sooner in support of Hillary Clinton. The woman mentions Red Lobster in a lyric and their sales go up 33% the next day. She says “Becky with the good hair” and her Beyhive swarms and threatens the life of Rachael Ray (instead of the real rumored Becky, Rachel Roy, but whatever). All this power in the palm of her hand and all she does is show up in a pantsuit, unannounced at her husband’s concert, four days before the election. Not enough. Seriously, I am one of over 88 million followers on Instagram and the only picture I have ever seen of her that explicitly supports Clinton was when I happened upon the story on cnn.com. Four days? Not enough B, not enough. But also not enough for me to call her a traitor. I was angry. Personally, I have demoted her from Queen Bey to Just Bey (bring it, Beyhive) but I’ve chilled on the traitor talk.

I caught myself after flying down the stairs, but thankfully, before banging on our downstairs neighbor’s door and yelling at her for burning popcorn AGAIN and making our apartment smell like it’s burning down. I stopped myself because that is not me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll get down if I have to, but burnt popcorn is not that issue. Third time in one week (its 2016, is microwave popcorn that hard?), but still, not enough to start shit over. But I was angry.

That was yesterday. And anger is a secondary emotion. Under that was fear and uncertainty.

I’m a lover, not a fighter, but I fight for what and who I love. So today I am proud that I cared enough to cry. The shock and horror of our next President brings into sharp focus who and what I have to fight for. In addition to myself (cuz you know I love me some me!), I have a nephew in Arkansas (of all fucking places) who is a police officer and does not need a bigger target on his back based on backward policies and dog whistle-turned-megaphone messaging coming from the next administration. That nephew’s daughter is not yet one year old and the decisions we make today will affect her throughout childhood and well into her adult life. I have another nephew in Ohio with special needs and it is essential that he has more access to medical care and insurance, not limits on coverage due to preexisting conditions. He doesn’t deserve a President who would rather mock him than help him. I have incredible friends who have only been able to be considered legally married in all 50 states for two years. They should never have had to fight for that basic right at all, and we damn sure shouldn’t have to fight again for civil rights we’ve already agreed that EVERYONE deserves. I have worked with middle school students who, without Planned Parenthood, would be in dire straits today, rather than in their senior year of high school ready to be the first person in their family to attend college. All of these issues are in jeopardy.

Yesterday I felt betrayed by too many fellow citizens. I felt victimized and alone. And then, watching sitcoms to take my mind off of the apocalypse, I saw a bunch of sappy commercials that pulled my heartstrings and I knew exactly what to do. True fucking story. I came back to myself. I came back to my heart, which has never steered me wrong. Anger and fear are born of powerlessness. I get angry and scared because I care. And because I care, I am down for this fight. The fact is, I am not alone and we are not powerless. Love is the answer. And love is shown by action. So when the issues come up, be ready to act. Be ready to fight.

Today, my tears are long gone. I am energized. I stand with you ready to fight for what is right. Ready to answer hate and anger with love.

I just needed a day.

WTF Friday: Freddie Gray

As a resident of Baltimore City, Diva has been quiet this week processing the events that have transpired in our great city. My heart goes out to the family of Freddie Gray and to Freddie himself. I exclaim WTF at the extreme pain and terror he experienced prior to his untimely death and another WTF at his homicide at the hands of police who had no right or reason to pursue or arrest him. ‪#‎BNGWTF‬ 

Too many people have had too much to say in criticism of our city and our leadership. I will not add to their noise by responding to that (except to say shut the fuck up). Instead I will express pride in all of those who have done their absolute best in making decisions, showing leadership and showing us who they are. We must not forget this when it comes time to vote in the next election (and we all MUST vote). I am so fucking proud of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-BlakeRepresentative Elijah E. CummingsMarilyn Mosby, Esq., City Councilman Nick Mosby (my Councilman!), Senator Catherine E. Pugh, and the many good men and women of the Baltimore Police Department – the fucked up few do not represent the whole. I am also fucking amazed at, but not surprised by, all of the individuals and organizations who have united together in this trying time. #‎OneBaltimore‬