2018 The Year of Sustainability

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We all know that being on your own is not easy, especially if you have children. But imagine for a second that your life was good. You had a decent home, you were well fed and taken care of and money wasn’t issue. Or maybe it was an issue and you were living in poverty. Maybe you came from a dysfunctional family that had a history of drugs or alcohol. What ever the situation there was one thing that you had control over. Your life. But then one day something or someone came into your life and took that control right from under you. They took away your capacity to think for yourself. They made you do things that gave you nightmares and controlled every fiber of your being. And they controlled the money.

That is just a snippet of what happens to a young woman when she is coerced into the sex trade and trafficked.

There are many ways that these young women are able to get out and find help. Law enforcement, a stranger who decided to help or getting the opportunity to just simply run away. The scenarios are endless, but some do get away and they are looking to permanently stay away. A lot of organizations offer the immediate resources to just get her off of the streets. The beds are few, the shelters are overcrowded but some how organizations manage to find A PLACE. Therapy, counseling and self care begin. These programs are good-until they end. So many women and girls are not given options after that, so they take matters in to their own hands and either go back into the streets or end up in another violent situtation whether it’s a family member, friend or ex-boyfriend.

What is sustainable about that? Nothing.

So BeaSister2aSister wants to fill in the huge blank, the gap that so many women and girls seem to be falling into. It’s simple, we offer one thing-self sustainability. That is the next piece that should come after immediate services. Of course not every survivor is ready to move on after six months or even one year. But when they’ve maxxed out of the current program, we will be there to pick it up and help them to get to where that want to be, independent and not relying on organizational support that leaves them with their hand out all the time practically begging for assistance. Organizations can only give so much before they’re left financially dry.

We advocate for survivors to be independent not interdependent, to have freedom of choice and make their own decisions. Self sustainability should be the next step to taking back control over a life that was controlled. BeaSister2aSister believes that EVERY survivor has the capacity to live independently without handouts and programs that will fail them. Being on your own because your just starting your life vs being on your own because of a circumstance out of your control is very different and much more difficult. We want to be the relief, the fresh air, the cup of cold water when the heat is too much.

This year is just about over and 2018 is on the other side of the door knocking. Soon New Years Eve resolutions will be made, some broken, some will actually be met. I want to ask you to make an early New Years Eve resolution and give to survivor self sustainability, give to independence and freedom. Let’s all move into 2018 together as sisters as a family who supports one another. Please consider a monthly gift of $25, $50 or $100. Your gift is tax deductible and it will make a great Christmas gift for a young woman.

To give please vist: http://www.beasister2asister.org click on give today and donate.

BeaSister2aSister wishes you and your family a wonderful holiday filled with love and joy.

Happy Holidays!

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive Director

BeaSister2aSister

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And The Battle Rages On

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The year 2017 is coming to an end with so much insidiousness, debauchary and international illegalities. One gets whiplash just trying to keep up. As the old Bob Dillion song  goes “Times, they are a’changin”, and they have really changed alright. Women from everywhere have stepped out of the confinement that men put them in and are ready to change the times even further. The power struggle of the Trump administration and women both with their hands gripped on the time clock, one pushing it backwards and the other straining to push it forward. This battle has always existed, but now women are smarter, more clever and modern in the uses of technology and social media.  When a man steps out of his home his day is most likely filled with meetings, senseless on the job banter, making it look like they’re doing something then maybe a drink with the guys after work. When a woman steps out, she’s stepping out into a warzone and thus must be prepared to fight. Everyday.

A lot of women lately have traded in their business suits, uniforms or everyday clothing for fatigues. Figuratively speaking. It seems like the most simplest of tasks cannot be accomplished without lewd remarks, unwanted advances, or just plain staring. And that’s just on the job. Let’s talk about the streets, shall we? During the ’90’s walking down around Wall Street, even if you didn’t work there but was just passing through, you could not get by without a barrage of the most disgusting, lascivious, dehumanizing comments from men in 3-piece suits. And married-with children. This was true of almost all Downtown Manhattan that was connected to Wall Street. After 9/11, things came to a stand still and basically shut down the downtown area. Now it’s mostly a haven for tourists and people who want to shop in the trendy establishments that replaced the Mom and Pop businesses. But don’t worry, Wall street is still in tact!

The foul mouthed unkempt construction worker who thinks he can say and do anything he wants because apparently he is the keeper of the concrete you walk on. Even if it means blocking your walkway just so he can say something pornorgraphic right to you face so he can see your expression. Also married with children-see the theme happening? Ladies, why do you marry these men? You deserve so much better! You do.

But I will say this. Ever since women have been coming forward, whether it’s the sexual harrassment in Hollywood or the everyday onslaught that women face, there is something different in the air. There is, from what I have witnessed, men just keeping their mouth’s shut. Letting a woman walk by them without so much as a glance. Giving her the freedom to exist and go about her day and letting her keep that good mood she’s in instead of trying to destroy her spirit. I’m not sure if it’s actual respect or fear of being called out publicly. Whatever it is, we’ll take it for now.

We seem to be making headway in the battle but we still have a long way before we win the war. Until then the camouflage remains as we battle for our freedom in this lovely “Democratic” society of ours. The only thing to say now is, let’s go ladies back to the front!

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Samantha Inesta

Founder/Executive Director

BeaSister2aSister

Supporting Monsters

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Lately we have been inundated with images of sexual harrassment & assault from powerful men in Hollywood such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and a slew of others. I’m sure the list is still getting bigger by the day. But now we are hearing stories a little more close to home-Alabama to be exact. Roy Moore, republican candidate for the US Senate has been accused of sexual harrasment, assault and molestation by several women when he was in his 30s and these women were very young teens. The myraid of ultra-conservative white women supporting him even though there are unending testimonies that he did it is astonishing.

Once again the mixture of religion, female purity values and straight brainwashing has turned the most conservative of women against one another. This is a good thing for the men who have created this propaganda because it always gives them the upper hand agaist their accuser. Just like Roy Moore said, “They’ll never believe you.” And so far he’s kind of right.  As more women come forward with gruesome details and traumatic dispositions, Moore’s support grows larger. Somehow when it is said that a man worships God then he must be a good man, faultless without blemish. Newsflash, NO ONE in the Bible is faultless and without blemish. But man likes to say these things to cover up the monster that is hiding in the shadows.

This is the classic divide and conquer tactic. If you get them to believe what your saying, use the Bible to uphold your lies-but then make sure no one is actually READING the Bible-twist a few scriptures and play the victim, viola! She’s the whore of Babylon and your Jesus Christ. Fortunately, there are those that do read it and see the disconnect with 20/20 vision. What kind of christian values would make a person say they would rather have a child molestor in the Senate than a Democrat? Is that the Gospel according to Bobby Jo?  There’s nothing that supports that theology.

President Trump, who has also been accused of basically the same thing, has voiced his unending support for Roy Moore. There are also white women that support Trump, they must reading the same Gospel. These women want so much to see a man with good values, loves his country, God and doing right for his own that they have a blind spot to everything that is wrong and potentially dangerous with him. They are suffering from White Evangelical PTSD.  It is making them so unstable that they are willing to victim shame and blame women-who are just like them by the way- in order to keep that image alive. Do they think it can never happen to them? Are they in denial? Just like the wife that pretends her husband is not having an affair, these women are pretending Roy Moore is their savior, it just feels better.

If these white women truly believe in God and his justice then they should listen to Him and not Roy Moore.

Let’s Talk More About Self Sustainability

When we look at the issue of human trafficking, an issue that has plagued the world for quite some time now, we tend to look at it in a one dimensional sense. We see the cause and effect followed by the eventual take down i.e. arresting pimps/traffickers while “rescuing” the women and girls that have been forced into that life. After they are unnecessarily processed, they are offered services to help them get through their trauma along with a safe place to do it. There they receive counseling, shelter, food, medical attention and sometimes legal services if they are foreign born. But this often times is a temporary fix, it doesn’t last leaving the survivor feeling hopeless again and re-thinking going back onto the streets.

While there is a need for front line organizations to  be available to survivors once they come out of their situation, there is also a need for them to become independent as apposed to dependent. While those emergency programs help, they’re not sustaining and can do more damage to a survivor if they become to dependent on it for their day to day life.

Most all organizations offer job training, access to some sort of shelter and various educational workshops however, with the influx of so many women and girls who are being trafficked there’s no accountability to make sure the survivor has everything they need to move on because as new women come into the program, the ones that have gone through already sometimes fall by the waist side or are forgotten. This leaves them wondering how they will survive and panic sets in followed by desperation and the willingness to do whatever they need to for survival. Even if it means going back on the streets.

We offer something that most programs are unable to. We offer self sustainability. What does that mean? It means equipping survivors with the tools and resources they need in order to break free from the life they left behind and move forward without being re-traumatized and re-victimized.

We also offer training programs, employment, counseling, medical, legal etc. But we do things differently. Before a survivor begins the journey of independence and self sustainability, we ask them how they would like to proceed and taylor the program according to their needs not ours. We offer them a continued range of services that may have not been fully met at the last program. Once we have identified the most urgent needs we work on them first to strengthen the survivor and encourage them to keep moving forward. Continued workshops, trainings, counseling and basic resources such as food, clothing and permanent housing empower them further. Employment in positive environments that are welcoming and supportive keeps them believing in themselves and wanting independence more and more. We will accompany them to all appointments if they wish and advocate for them in every situation that arises. We offer all this and more until they can stand on their own an no longer need our resources.

This is the goal of BeaSister2aSister, to be able to help a survivor help themselves so that we can help more on the path to self sustainability. That is all we focus on, this is a need that MUST be met a gap that needs to be filled. Not all women and girls who have survived human trafficking are able to move forward and be independent. BeaSister2aSister offers all of our services freely and works with survivors until they are self sustainable however, we cannot do it without support. In order for us to offer self sustainability our organization must be sustained as well. Please consider donating or being a recurring donor for $25, $50, or $100 monthly. This will help us be sustained and help us sustain survivors. As women, girls and sisters we should look out for each other no matter where were are from or what our background is.

BeaSister2aSister-Being Accountable For Every Woman Around The Globe.

We should Feel Lucky We Were Born In The US Right? Wrong.

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The beacon of hope, the place of opportunity, a new home and a new start. These are the dreams of those that seek freedom in the United States. So many view America through the lens of hollywood, fashion and music. They see a life of extravagance and luxury and they want it because their current state is so unbearable that this can be a dream come true for them. But the reality is, it’s not real-for more than half the population in America. There is just as much suffering here as there is in other parts of the world, but most people don’t acknowledge it because well, this is America the land of opportunity and prosperity. But for some not all.

The education system has become more and more unattainable for a lot of people. The business of universities and the text book industry has driven tuitions to an all time high. Sometimes it’s not enough to get one job and go to school, you will always be forever in debt to student loans. The irony of that, is most people never end up getting employed in the field of their study so they’re paying back something they’re not even using. Experience and hard work mean nothing without that paper from a university that apparently proves your smart. Because the people that have high degrees and are running the country are doing such a great job!

The systematic agenda to keep most people in poverty-especially people of color and ethnicity-is growing. Some immigrants that find themselves fortunate to come here are still living with little and working long hours with no break, they will either give up and go back to their country or find some place else to go.  And they are the most hard working people. But they know what it means to enjoy life. Where they come, from you don’t have to be rich to enjoy your life. The stench of capitalism and instant wealth has made America more and more unbearable to live in, for a lot of people. Even people who were born here.

The overall poverty rate in the US in 2016 was 12.7% (40.6 million people), the median income for a family of four was $24,340. The percentage of women that fell below the poverty line in 2016 was 14.0% (22.9 million people), African Americans 22.0% (9.2 million), Hispanic 19.4% (11.1 million) and White Poverty overall was only 8.8% (17.3 million). Women no matter what ethinicity make up a large part of the poverty margins. There are many factors that play a part in that. Attaining a higher education or lack of, income inequality, gender wage gap and accessible affordable housing. One factor that is not included is the high rates of domestic violence in the United States that are forcing women in the streets with not much access to resources or mental health services. We have just as high if not higher food insecurity rates than other countries. According to Feed America the median annual income of families they serve is $9,175. If I was someone from the outside looking in, I don’t know that I would want to bring my family to a place where they may go hungry.  Food insecurity is real.

The age of gentrification has everyone wondering, where will I go? It doesn’t matter as long as you’re gone by the time the bulldozers come. Another tactic to oppress and control people who make cities run and infrastucture strong, with out them and others who provide everyday services, the whole system will collapse. According to the New York Times, gated communities are residential areas with restricted access. Privatizing public spaces making it impossible for all to enjoy. Gated communities also prohibit access to public streets, sidewalks, benches, playgrounds, etc. The cosequences include: seceding from public society, excluding others that do not share your socio-economic privilege and creating a man made refuge from a society that’s not like you. This plays a HUGE part in poverty rates all across America. This is a phenomenon that is fast growing-especially in cities like New York.

In some ways we have become the United States of Oblivion mostly because some of us think it won’t touch us or we’ll be protected somehow. Every day that protection erodes more and more showing us that no one is immune. This is a cross country issue, not a one city issue. Every town, suburb and urban area will not be free from gentrification, socio-economic privilege and high poverty rates. This is the world we now live in, this is the country we now live in. So what should we say when we hear how lucky we are to have been born in the United States? Our answers will differ-greatly.

 

Sexual Harassment IS Violence Against Women

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More and more increasingly we are hearing about the sexual harassment of women in the workplace. This is nothing new. It is as old as the beginning of time, in fact you will find references to sexual harassment in the Bible. Man since day one have looked at women not as partners or as soul mates the way it was intended but as objects, someone to control and push around. Women are to serve their needs and don’t ask questions, they don’t have a mind of their own and need a man if they even want to survive. These are very contradictory statements considering the strides women have made but the problem is not all of us stand on the same playing field. And here’s the thing, there are those of us out there that WANT a man to take care of them and thus taylor her life to his. This opens the door to a lot of questions like, “Why can’t she provide for herself?” and “Does she know how bad she’s making it for the rest of us?”. The truth is No, she doesn’t. The reason being is because she was always told that in order to be successful in life or to be stable, she needs to marry a man who will talke care of her-preferably a rich man. This is one of the reasons why men think they way they do about women, that they want to be taken care of, they like it when a man asserts his authority over her, it makes her feel ‘wanted”.

There is also the position of power that makes a man feel entitled to this kind of behavior. But we can also look at it this way. There are a plethera of scenarios out there that place women below men in many instances. We see it most definitely in entertainment media, politics, social justice and corporate america. The recent headline of Harvey Weinstein and his sexual  escapades forced him to step down from the Weinstein Company because of the many allegations against him of rampant sexual harassment. According to the New York Times one-third of Weintein’s all-male board resigned after hearing about the allegations. That’s very telling. We have a President that has and still continues to sexually harasss women-even in front of First Lady Melania! Countless male politicians have and still do it as well, Bill Clinton, Elliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner to name a few but of course there’s much more. When it comes to social justice women are always the last ones to receive it if they get it at all. Then there’s corporate america……I think that speaks for itself.

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Sexual harassment is a human rights violation that steals women’s ability to function professionally and do their job effectively. And most importantly, it’s illegal. But women are still having a hard time coming forward, why? Because there is something called “retribution” which can come in many forms and the most popular is the lose of a job. Another popular reason being that if they are the ONLY voice speaking out they won’t be believed. It will be brushed aside as she was flirting too much or he said something to her she didn’t like and now she’s claiming sexual harassment. Then comes the ostracization in the workplace making it a hostile environment to work in resulting in a resignation. If we look at both sexual harassement and rape they garner the same response and reaction, they are basically one in the same. There are many injustices done to women in the US but very few are exposed and when they are, victim blaming sets in and pushes women more into the shadows to deal with their trauma and anxiety alone.

There are so many things that tie in together that affect how women in our society are being treated. The unrelentless barrage of sexualized images of women, gender stereotypes, unequal pay, rape, assault, pornography and human trafficking. These are just a few. The overall view society has of women and yes how other women view eachother also affect us.

Women everywhere are plagued with harassment in some way. If we look at the Middle East and North African countries you will see the blatant street harassment that borderlines on sexual assault and rape. In Egypt 99% of women are experiencing sexual harassment in the streets so much so that the organization HarassMap based in Cairo has set up a system where women can report harassment from anywhere. Unfortunately, that’s all they can do because the government won’t stop it. Come to think if it, neither will this one.

All of us have a lot in common and if we are to make things better for women and girls all over the world the way a lot of us claim, we really need to be a unified voice. No more victim blaming, slut shaming and racial bias. It’s the oldest strategy in the playbook, divide and conquer and a lot of us fall for it every time. I know there may be exceptions to the rule but those are few and far between and EVERY claim no matter if it’s one or one hundred women, it needs to be taken seriously.

If there is a time to raise young women to be fearless, independent and who can be okay with or without a man, the time is now. Their sole existence should not be to rely on someone who doesn’t value or respect them……ever.

 

Any way The Wind Blows-Harvey and His 2 Ungodly Sisters

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These last few months have been a climate thrashing for Houston, Florida and the British Virgin Islands, but most recently Puerto Rico. We started with Harvey that pummled Houston, then two of his mean sisters came blowing in. Irma ravaged Florida, soaked and destroyed the British Virgin Islands while Maria basically annihilated Puerto Rico. But Mother Nature gave some mercy by weakening Irma’s little brother Jose pushing him far north so the Virgin Islands can try to recover from the destruction and devastation. But it seems Puerto Rico is the illegitamate child of  the United States.

President Trump’s visit was less than reassuring, it was downright patronizing. Telling  Puerto Ricans that they need to “get it together” and “work together for a solution” is not the way to comfort people who have lost everything. What’s worse is he questioned their leadership when they asked for help! And not surprisingly the criticisim was mostly aimed at the female leaders of the island. So the people are now begging and pleading and crying and screaming for help. They are even kissing the feet of Trump and stroking his ego just to get some kind of aid.

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Puerto Rico is still in political deadlock with the US and just like the kid who is “different” they are asking to be accepted. And by the way, Puerto Ricans are helping one another, by way of the United States. Families that have migrated to big cities like New York are gathering everything they have and they can get their hands on to send to those family members and friends who are hurting. Just about every latino whose not Puerto Rican knows that they have to help, why doesn’t our govenment know that? Marches in the streets, social media campaigns and even modest donation boxes in businesses and neighborhoods consume New York City and all of it’s boroughs. No one knows what will happen but when people get desperate, chaos breaks out and there’s no telling what will happen next. The most vulnerable are of course, women and children.

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If vaccines and medical suppplies are not flowing in the way they should, food supplies are dwindling and no one has anywhere to go, it’s much worse than a bad situation. We all know what happened when hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans and Louisiana. When supplies and aid were nowhere to be found and people were displaced in stadiums, there were reports of rape, abuse and exploitation. We do not need Puerto Rico to spiral down in that direction. What’s truly needed is food, clothing, shelter, Medicine and PROTECTION. Every person is in a vulnerable state right now and pushing them over the limit is a recipe for a bigger humanitarian crisis. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen because if basic aid doesn’t come neither will conflict resolution.

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When Irma decided to vacation in the Virgin Islands, the residents payed for her stay by being displaced and giving her all of their possesions to destroy. They almost had another guest on their list but he decided not to stay. Jose headed north and never looked back. But then something interesting happened. They got help, REAL help. They are on the path to rebuilding and there are some signs of recovery. They are probably the only place where one of the twister sisters hit that is not crying out for help. Maybe because they are not subject to the tyranny that is Trump. They answer to a different body, the UN and the international community who do things differently than the Trump administration. They help.

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Both Florida and the Virgin Islands were hit with the same winds and floods but yet one is being rebulit as we speak and the other is scratching their heads. Texas was promised $1 million from Trump but has seen nothing. What it has seen is ICE picking up Mexicans in the area to send them back, I guess there’s more room in the budget for deportations than rebuilding. If we are considered a wealthy country, then why can’t we recover from natural disasters and keep people safe? The Virgin Islands will be up and running before Texas gets the million they were promised. No one has heard anything about Florida. Katrina was about 17 years ago and STILL they have not fully recovered, and that was a different administration. Puerto Rico is no different.

Bien mis amigos puertorriqueños y mis hermanas puertorriqueñas, ahora eres ciudadano estadounidense. How does it feel?

Humanitarians Blocked By Current Administration

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The world is on fire. At every turn there is a new crisis screaming at us from every corner begging and pleading for help. Humanitarian help. The kind of help that will save them, give them their life back, make everything okay and the bad go away. Humanitarian work is extremely important at this time and so many agencies are struggling and projects are not getting approved because of the political climate. Politics are getting in the way of people’s lives and their right to simply exist. The waters have become treacherous and the ship of hope is sinking. Between migrant boats being blocked by hostile borders, refugees being turned away and the attempt to wipe out countries like Syria and Yemen, the flood of badly needed aid and protection never ends.

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Partnerships and allies don’t always agree on foreign policy but sometimes they can agree on stifling humanitarian work. By allowing airstrikes on places where families, schools and hospitals live it can do more than hinder badly needed resources getting to those caught in the middle through no fault of their own. Foreign aid workers must risk their own lives to help others and if they die, who will help them? When this happens, there is a call for all humanitarian organizations to leave the country becuase it’s not safe. But then it’s not safe for everyone right? These people are there because they’ve signed up to do this work. If they were afraid, they would have never taken the job. To say that the life of an aide worker is worth more that the life of a civilian trying to escape the horror around them is ludicris. If you look at Syria, the devastation this is still going on and the White Helmets are the only rescue team there. Even they are crying out for assistance, but governments will not allow it. Yemen is a nightmare and launch pad for Saudi Arabia’s “Beef” with Qatar leaving so many Yemeni starving and full of disease. They keep running from death but it seems to find them every time. No humanitarian or aide worker in site. Russia’s Putin, a supposed ally to President Trump, deliberately closed US Embassies in Russia mainly because he didn’t like one of Trump’s speeches. This was a severe blow to humanitarian work and collaboration and it also but a lot of people out of a job. Trump’s response? He did the United States a favor. Wow.

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President Trump’s September 19th UNGA speech was a severe blow to any potential advancement for peace. Provoking and attacking Kim Jong-un, Leader of North Korea and all out bad mouthing Iran while crticizing the UN was not a successful moment for the United States. Internet trolls will have you believe otherwise but all in all it was a disaster. The language and visceral content President Trump expelled was neither diplomatic nor presidential. Believe it or not this is a huge blow to humanitarian work as a whole. If Russia has closed their US Embassies who knows what other countries will do the same and may become hostile to the United Nations. The United States dispatches a large number of organizations to countries in war, conflict, poverty and instability. If we lose the right to be able to do that many will suffer. Those of us that do international work rely on our co-workers and partners  in other countries for information and strategizing. If we lose that then  they will suffer more. Of course there is a lot of human rights work to do in the US, I mean we’re no better than any other country. We have tortures, dissappearances, human trafficking, corruption in government, law enforcement, rape, murder, domestic violence, slavery-shall I go on? But we are also in the crossfire because cuts come down the charity road first while the IRS knocks at our back door with their hands out.

Here’s the good thing. All of us who do this work are so passionate that we will never give up. We will be at every protest, assembly and press conference, we will uphold the true values of people in America that want suffering to end and peace to succeed. We are humanitarians.

Colors of a Poor Woman’s Oppression

 

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With all of the achievements women have made, not all of us are moving together, as a matter of fact, there are a lot that have been left behind. Education in the United States is a privilege not a right, having a place to live, food and security has also become a privilege and not a right.  As of 2010 46 million Americans are living in poverty with unprecedented numbers living in extreme poverty. Single Mothers are twice as likely to be as poor as single Fathers, according to the USDA 35.1% of households headed by single Moms were “Food Insecure.” They didn’t have enough food at all times for an active healthy life. Women who are victims of domestic violence lose an estimated 8 million paid days of work each year forcing them deeper  into the poverty cycle. Respectively women with breast cancer are 11% likely to die if they live in a low-income community with no access to healthcare.

Depression is a toxic by-product of poverty for women. Low-income women are more likely to develop postpartum depression and deliver pre mature babies. They are aslo more likely to be diagnosed with other menal health disorders. All of these numbers become higher when a single woman of color is the head of the household. 13.5% of White women, 27.5% of Black women and 24.7% of Hispanic women were living below the povery line in 2009.

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It is unfathomable to think that this could be happening in the United States. This is a country where women who live in countries where being a women is a dangerous thing are looking to us as a beacon of hope. How can we offer hope if we are hopeless. Our capitalistic system favors the multi-millionaires and those living in the high tax brackets. The first cuts that come down to trim the economy are ALWAYS social programs that help women in poverty get on their feet. Our current administration threatens to cut nutrition programs for single women and their children, there are massive cuts to programs that keep women safe from domestic violence not to mention reproductive rights and healthcare. When women are thrown to the streets they are at risk for rape, murder and trafficking and so are their children. Education is unattainable when you can’t survive on your own. With the gutting of immigration laws it makes it increasingly harder for Hispanic women to make it through. DACA is at risk of being eliminated which in turn will increase the desperation of many looking for a better future.

Another problem the United States has is the mass incarceration of women but mostly women of color. According to the Southern Coalition for Justice African American women are three times more likely than white women to be incarcerated, while Hispanic women are 69 percent more likely than white women to be incarcerated. The number of incarcerated women has increased by 800 percent in the last three decades. Fact: 1 in every 100 African American women are in prison, African-American women are seven times more likely to be incarcerated than White women.  The war on drugs and the mandatory minimun sentencing has had a negative impact on the African American community. Mental illness, race, class coupled with police brutality has proven to be one of the number one culprits of the jailing of African American wonen.

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Sandra Bland was one of the most heartbreaking casualties of the disproportionate Justice system that always gave African American women no chance at a future. Sandra grew up in a poverty stricken segregated area of Texas, as a young woman she inundated herself with her church and school activities. Sandra had a history of traffic tickets, fines and arrests, mentally she was breaking down and she couldn’t afford care. She became depressed and had suicidal thoughts. She later got pregnant and suffered a miscarriage. In July Sandy was pulled over and brutalized by a Texas State Trooper. In the county jail she told a guard she was feeling depressed, put on suicide watch, but no one came in for any intervention. She was charged with assaulting an oficer.  A few days later she refused her breakfast and begged to be able to use the phone. After that, Sandra Bland was found hanging from her bathroom in her cell with a noose around her neck. But there is footage that suggests otherwise. Sandra Bland repeatedly begged for her life as officers bound and beat her until she was inconcious. Sandra died in 2015 from something that could have been prevented. She is the perfect example of how women, especially women of color with mental illness are dehumanized and treated as throw away human beings.

The mental heath system in this country has failed so many women and left them in isolated poverty. We have become less the land of opportunity and more of a wasteland of women.  We have failed in bringing hope to the hopeless.

Just this month Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the Sandra Bland Act which mandates that county jails divert people with mental health and susbtance abuse issues to treatment instead of jail time. It will make it easier for a personal bond if they have a mental illness or intellectual disability. It also makes it easier for independent law enforcement agencies to invesigate jail deaths. This law took effect September 1, 2017-a little too late.

 

 

Are Women Being Trained to Look For Sugar Daddies?

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There is a disturbing trend that is starting to gain some noteriety, finding a Sugar Daddy. Universities across the country are filled with young women going to college on their Sugar Daddy’s dime. And now there are websites that are al dedicated to young women who need a Sugar Daddy. Now from what I have observed most of these young women do not come from broken homes, dysfunctional families or abusive parents, they just want someone to provide for their needs when life gets too complicated and their parents aren’t willing or can’t step up. Most really want it for college so that they can get their degree and move on to better things. But then this begs the question of what about the ones who work to put themseves through college? Is there something more going on their lives?

Even though some of these young women consider themselves Super Feminists the idea that a woman needs a man to survive really supercedes modern feminism on many levels.

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Seeking Arangement pairs together Sugar Daddies with their Sugar Babies. She must be young and very attractive as well as discreet because most of the Sugar Daddies are married with families and they don’t want their wives finding out. The image that is put out there is one of two people having a good time and the young lady is perfectly happy doing-well-whatever. But this in not the reality. The photos you see on these sites are young models with either slightly older well dressed attrative men and Father/Grandfather types. Most of the time it is the much older men who end up being the Sugar Daddy not the latter. The photos don’t represent reality, it plays into the fantasy that older men have of helpless young women who need a “Father Figure” to guide them and get something on the side in gratitude for what they’ve done for them.

One UGA student recants how she lost her HOPE scholarship because of depression. She couldn’t tell her parents so what started out as a joke turned into a serious decision to be a Sugar Baby on SeekingArangement. She explains how there were quite a few men who wanted her to perfom sex acts which of course made her feel uncomfortable. The men that she did find gave her a small allowance of just $200 for which she still worked two extra jobs. According to her, some girls get the big bucks when they get involved with men who are high class from New York, California or out of the country. You can see the full story here:

http://www.redandblack.com/uganews/student-shares-experiences-as-a-sugar-baby-not-all-gifts/article_d862db14-28c1-11e4-97a8-001a4bcf6878.html

 

These are usually not decisions that are made lightly. There can be the correlation between companionship and prostitution. A lot of girls have to really tell themselves that what they are doing is okay and there’s nothing wrong with it. They know the scrutiny that will come when they tell someone they know. They don’t want to have to  justify it every time it comes up. It’s a secret that most keep to themselves or find a close circle of friends they can confide in and not be judged. I don’t think anyone knows how we really got to this point but it is worth examining why it’s gaining ground and consuming the lives of young women and on some level devaluing them. It’s almost as if her Sugar Daddy will say the he “made her” when she becomes successful, like she could never have done anything without him becuase she’s a woman. This is a very dangerous precendent to set especially in today’s climate of unequal pay and women having badly needed services and programs cut like violence against women, access to food and healthcare services. Maybe parents need to support their daughters more and come together as a family to find the right solution. Maybe new programs and services need to be created to help low income women. Whatever the solution is-being a Sugar Baby is the most popular right now but not always what it’s cracked up to be.

For some girls it’s a means of survival, to stay in school, not be homeless or in poverty, for some it’s being able to launch a passion to a business and still for others it’s about living the extravagant life. Whatever the reason is, some sisters are NOT doing it for themselves.