Monday, February 28, 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel

Day 28...so its over now, right? I know the challenge is 30 for 30 but I think the spirit of the challenge is to do this for a month and its not my fault that February is only 28 days!





All right all right, I'll be honorable and see this through to March 2nd. The light is getting brighter...the voices from my closet are getting louder...harder to ignore. I know what you're thinking but it's only dangerous if I talk back. Hopefully I can hold out until the challenge is over....

- A

10 minutes

Hello there friends! I'm back from beautiful Raleigh, NC and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It is, however, good to be home and sleeping in my bed without creeeepppyyyyy noises keeping me up all night. I don't like sleeping in unknown places all by my lonesome. I've watched too many episodes of Criminal Minds to ever be OK with that. Speaking of Criminal Minds, I decided (poorly I might add) to watch Criminal Minds on Wednesday night in my hotel room but it was not on as it had been bumped for a basketball game between two local rivals: North Carolina State and University of North Carolina. At first I was annoyed but later (after returning to Houston) realized how fortuitous this was as the episode was about men being murdered in their hotel rooms. Yikes! I never would have slept if I had watched that!

Well, without further ado, some things I saw while there:













My favorite thing about Raleigh? As the title says, it took 10 minutes to get everywhere! Living in a large metropolitan city where I spend more than an hour in my car everyday, I must say this was amazing!

What do you guys think about traveling alone? Fun? Boring? Scary?

-A

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Houston Human Trafficking Conference

Yesterday, I attended the 2011 Houston Human Trafficking Conference organized by Free the Captives (FTC). As much as I would like to believe that with all the research and readings I have done, there is nothing new about the face of modern-day slavery that I can learn, events such as this conference continue to prove me wrong. Steven Goff with Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition and Mandi Kimball with Children at Risk offered the perspective of the non-governmental organizations and provided the background of the human trafficking problem in Houston and the way to become an advocate and induce change. Elizabeth Wheaten, a lecturer at Southern Methodist University, presented the economist’s view on human trafficking and why the practice is all about economics and the global supply and demand of a certain product. Robert W. Peters with Morality in Media Inc. offered information on the links between pornography and sex trafficking which, in his opinion, are “sister businesses.” Special agent Alfred Tibble, FBI depicted through real cases an up-close view of the efforts of law enforcement to fight human trafficking. Camille Gibson, an FTC speaker, explained how and why people should accept their anointing and do their part in the global fight for human rights. And Mariam Kagaso and Chong Kim shared their heart-breaking stories of slavery and survival.

Evident from the information above, different aspects of human trafficking were discussed at the conference. There were two presenters, however, who made a special impression on me and taught me something new. Elizabeth Wheaten, an economics instructor, emphasized the importance of picking a focus and trying to ask yourself which part of the fight against human trafficking you want to get involved in. Trying to do it all will diminish a person’s strength and reduce the impact of his/her efforts. She urged people to find the issue that hits their heart the strongest and stick with it, educate themselves on it, and find others who do it so that they can join knowledge, skills, and effort. I was so grateful when I heard her say that. Ever since I started researching human trafficking, I have felt overwhelmed with the magnitude of the problem and her words made great sense to me. Now I just need to find what hits my heart the strongest. No easy task that will be.  

The other presenter that certainly made an impression on me and made me even more convinced that becoming part of the fight for human rights is highly necessary is Chong Kim. Her story was a true testimony to how much the fight against human trafficking has progressed in the last two decades. As a sex slave in the 90s, she was rejected by everyone: police officers, religious institutions, shelters, governmental institutions. She was in desperate need of assistance and the only people who always took her back were the traffickers. Assistance to victims of human trafficking has come far since the time Ms Kim went through the ordeal, but it can still go farther. To find out more about Chong Kim and her mission and efforts, I would most certainly recommend that you visit her website Face the Tears

-          - Krasi

Friday, February 25, 2011

Who Said There are no Rocks in Houston?

When I moved to Houston four and a half years ago, the last adventure I was expecting to embark on was a rock climbing event. Imagine my surprise when I found out that not only one can do some serious climbing in Houston, but there is an actual climbing group consisting of some pretty serious climbers. Texas Mountain Raiders changed my life and gave me the opportunity to join an activity that I had dreamed about for years but never felt confident enough to consider. I would strongly recommend to anyone interested - beginners are certainly welcome:). The activity will provide an opportunity to practice rock climbing in a very flat Houston and will give you a chance to spend time with amazing people who are likely to enjoy cracking jokes as much as they enjoy climbing cracks:). And you certainly can't beat keeping fit while having fun!

So yes, technically, there are no rocks, mountains or even hills in Houston, but there are certainly places to start climbing and become better.

Here some places in Houston I encourage you to visit. 



And for those interested in the outdoors



- Krasi

Thursday, February 24, 2011

TAKEN

I recently saw the movie Taken and was reminded once again of the great obstacles facing human rights activists fighting against the nefarious practice of human trafficking. The movie itself did not portray any human rights activists or organizations seeking the elimination of the practice. Moreover, the story presented is not what truly happens in real life (Although, secretly, I’d like to believe that if one individual can cause so much damage to the traffickers, then just imagine what all of us joined together could do). The movie, however, exposes the criminal activity, serves as a warning to potential victims, highlights some of the major aspects of the criminal activity that make it hard to eradicate, and becomes an eye-opener to those denying its existence.

One aspect of the trafficking in persons that makes it extremely hard to eliminate is the wide-spread involvement of high-ranking officials and law enforcement officers, the people who should be protecting the victims. Even those who are not directly involved in the trafficking and refuse to realize the true nature of the activity contribute to its continued presence by simply closing their eyes. Another important aspect is the outrageous amount of money criminals make off of the kidnapped/forced/coerced women and girls. The cost of obtaining the merchandise is petty; the revenue is mountainous. 

It is very important to note that the girls kidnapped are not necessarily homeless and alone. The common errors, as revealed in the movie, that young women and girls make are not simply talking to strangers (men or women) but allowing that person to find out where they live (by sharing a taxi) and informing them of the fact that they are on their own. The moment they have done this, they have become the perfect preys.  

Regardless of the victim’s background, however, the common denominator is lack of knowledge and awareness on the side of the victim and the strict organization of the trafficking operation. The girls are taken and 96 hours later, they disappear for all those who have known them. 

I think the most heart-breaking moment in the movie was when it was evident that the main character will save his daughter, but all the other girls remained behind. No one came to save them. We can only suspect what their fate would be, but by the looks of it, there was probably no happy ending for them. This is the reason it is of utmost importance that all people are educated about the nature of human trafficking, the signs to look for to notice victims, and the steps to be taken towards the eradication of the practice. Information on how to do that is available at many of the links provided on this blog. If you are interested in making a difference, I would strongly recommend that you review them and learn how to become a modern-day abolitionist.

- Krasi

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 22 and only one picture. For some reason, these pants don't photograph well. They appear bright and shiny, something that isn't there visible to the naked eye...maybe they're haunted. Must call TAPS, stat.




Well friends I shall be out of town for the next few days with unreliable Internet access as well as unreliable motivation to blog ;).  If I have the time, I shall post. If not, expect a pictorial essay of my trip on Monday.

Don't worry, I'm abiding by the 30 for 30 rules while away. If I'm one thing, its honest. If I had to pick two things: honest and amazing. Three: honest, amazing, and modest.

- A

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fast forward

Day 20...oh snap, where's day 19? I fast forwarded past it...just like Adam Sandler in Click.



I'm just kidding. I don't have a super cool remote to fast forward (or rewind) my life. If I did, I would have fast forwarded to March, duh. The past couple of weeks have been hectic and I apologize for my lack of (substance filled) posts. For now, bear with me as I post pretty pretty pictures (not of me, the clothes people! I'm not that superficial all the time) until my brain can expend enough energy to write an intelligent post.

- A

Cuh-razy

Day 18...a crazy mix of patterns and colors but somehow it works, no?




I have many scarves (if you hadn't already noticed). Since I am of South Asian descent, our colorful ethnic outfits (called salwar kameez) each come with a matching scarf. While I will get rid of outfits, I usually hang on to the scarves for repurposing. How green of me ;-).

Now if only I could figure out that darn sewing machine, I could save even more items from being thrown away....I swear it hates me :(.

- A

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I like reading and I am not ashamed to admit it!

I recently heard that Borders is closing a lot of its stores across the country and might even file for bankruptcy. The information made me wonder about the future of paper books and reading in general. I, of course, realize that the Borders situation was not born as a result of people not reading books anymore and is probably more a consequence of the increased number of different opportunities to obtain books without having to visit a bookstore. Not to mention, books in these bookstores could be quite expensive. 

Aside from the bookstore closures, however, the problem of many people not reading anything, let alone books, is a real one. The fact is children, young adults, and adults do not read and are not even interested in starting the activity as it is doomed as time-consuming and boring and never really given a chance. 

Personally, I have always enjoyed reading books and cannot imagine my future without a book in my hands. When I was younger, books were windows through which I could leave the constraints of my house, the small village I lived in, even the country I was growing up in. I learned about peoples and believes and ideas that I would have not come across had I not been reading. Even today, every time I open a book and start reading, I fall through the rabbit hole and similar to Alice, encounter a wonderland crowded with people, places, and events that teach me something new and make me a better person.(By the way, if you don’t know which Alice I am referring to, I suggest you start with that book first – Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - and then keep going:). 

With the illiteracy rate increasing in a time when opportunities for learning are so much greater than they used to be, I certainly hope that the teachers out there who hold the power to spark the interest in books are actually doing what they are supposed to. And even though I am not a fan of it, the students can get a Kindle or a NOOK for all I care. Just let those kids read!

-          Krasi

Friday, February 18, 2011

Volunteers needed! Anyone?


People who know me can vouch that I am a strong proponent of volunteer involvement. Not for one’s resume and not just for outward appearances. I believe in volunteering as an opportunity to fight for a cause one believes in, a chance to make a difference, to grow up and become a true human. And unless you are living in a cave, you must definitely be aware that there is certainly no shortage of issues to be concerned about. As a mere mortal (I know it’s hard to believe, but I am no super hero:), I cannot spare the time and effort to support and assist all. But I can pick a battle or two and fight them with all my passion and dedication. I suggest that every person should do the same. 

Donating is one common way people become involved with causes of interest. But if you are a hands-on person, such as me, here is some information for how you can become involved.  Below are some organizations always looking for volunteers in the Houston area and that were represented at the Volunteer Fair at Houston Community College this past Tuesday.

CROSSROADS: Interested in making a difference in the lives of youth, becoming a role model for them and showing them a variety of opportunities they have? Then this is the place for you. Volunteers work one-to-one with at-risk children and one year commitment is preferred.

Project C.U.R.E.: If the global health crisis is what you are concerned about, consider joining this organization in its mission to deliver medical supplies to children, women and men who live in abject poverty and cannot afford to take care of basic medical needs.

Habitat for Humanity is one organization that certainly needs as many handy hands as possible:). And for those of you not interested in wielding a hammer, or other such potentially dangerous instruments, the organization needs people for assistance with clerical/office duties. 

Lighthouse of Houston: Whether you are looking for a weekly engagement or once-a-year involvement, this is the perfect volunteer opportunity for you. Some of the volunteer activities include home visits (for assistance with grocery shopping, mail reading, letter writing), medical transportation aide, telephone reassurance, and adult basic education tutoring. 

Houston Public Library: Love books? Want to help other people love them too? This is the hub for you then. HPL needs volunteers on a constant basis and some of the possible positions include: bookshelvers, clerical/data entry assistants, computer training instructors in both English and Spanish, crafts assistants, ESOL teachers, and research assistant. 

The Salvation Army: This is one organization that does not need a lengthy introduction. It provides a variety of opportunities to work with children or adults. Volunteer opportunities include: hosting a fun field day for kids, teach life skills and job interview skills to women at a shelter for single women, teach computer skills, tutoring, delivering meals, and playing Bingo with seniors. 

Houston Museum District: Can’t think of a more exciting and educational place to volunteer (I might have to consider that myself…:). Volunteer opportunities include: greeting museum visitors, sorting and organizing in the donation center, and participation in park beautification projects in Friendswood. 

So knock yourselves out and become a volunteer!

- Krasi

BUSTED


While watching the local Houston news last night, I was “excited” to find out that federal agents have raided two businesses – La Constenita and El Club Restaurante, a main purpose of which was to enslave young girls and women and force them into prostitution. ABC13 reports that nine women and girls were rescued and the arrest is a result of a three-year investigation. Considering the fact that Houston is a major hub for human trafficking, the above event might not seem as a big achievement. But it is a step. A step toward the complete elimination of human trafficking and the abuse of young women and girls. We all like to imagine that we live in a safe environment and that horrendous experiences, such as slavery, are miles, or even worse, years away from us. The sad and disturbing truth is that they are usually right next door. Many of us go about our daily lives and come across situations that look suspicious. Most of us disregard them as someone else’s concern and move on. In order for the problem to be resolved, however, we all need to become involved and do our share. 

If you suspect that a person (or persons) might be held against their will, please do not hesitate to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Once is enough

Day 17. I believe that all items have finally made their appearance with the exception of a new pair of jeans that have yet to be hemmed. I felt sheepish admitting yesterday that I stapled my pants so do not wish to do that again because I'm sure I won't be forgiven for this fashion faux pas twice.






Is it March yet? For so many reasons.....


-A

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blast from the past

Day 16 and the new pants finally came out! The reason for the delay was they needed to be hemmed. I set out to do that this past weekend and as you can see....it didn't happen. Yes my friends, sewing machines perplex me. I reverted to a supa cool trick from middle school: hemming pants with a stapler. Remember that? Wow, did that bring back memories! Errr...not good ones though. May need to rethink this strategy....




Can you see the teeny tiny staples? You can? Whoops. Hopefully my coworkers didn't notice. How unprofessional. Notice the other blast from the past? The neon hair tie as wrist accessory? As you can see, I was super nostalgic today.

-A

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Flaky

30 for 30 challenge, day 15. Where, praytell, are days 12-14? Lost to history folks. (AKA I forgot to take pics but I promise I adhered to the limited choices!)




While I haven't felt the urge to shop yet, I am growing bored with my limited choices. All the other pieces in my closet are calling out to me. I miss them.

-A

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day.....?

I've completely lost track of how many days its been in the 30 for 30 challenge. I'm sure not mentioning which day I'm on in the posts is not helping. This is day 11:






This outfit was a bit of a stretch for me with the tights showing. I kept getting weird looks like 'hey...your pants are too short' but I of course responded with my 'no they're not too short, this is fashion' look. You know that look don't you?

*You didn't notice that day 10 is missing, did you? You didn't? Until I mentioned it? Darn.*

-A

The true cost of education


To say that the education system in the US is a contentious issue is an understatement.  One aspect most people seem to agree on is that education is expensive and that quality education is really, really expensive. Following this reasoning, one would assume that the more money an educational institution receives, the better educated the students in that institution will be. Yes, but not quite. If only we lived in a world where things made sense and logic was … logical? A special edition of 20/20 revealed that an Olympic size pool and a computer for each student only helped the students in a Kentucky High School obtain a lower grade average. More funds and resources than ever are poured into the education system to improve schools, to provide access to computers, facilities and materials for each child. We now have more portals through which information could be obtained than ever before. The goal is to produce educated youth. When students come out of high schools, however, and are not able to spell ‘education’ or write a complete sentence about it, was all the money spent really worth it? Not to mention that despite the lack of basic knowledge in English, science, and reading, students are somehow making it to college where more money is spent to provide many of them with developmental math and writing courses so they can catch up on skills that 12 years of schooling didn’t teach them. The way I see it, what’s pricier than the education these kids receive is the fact that most appear to receive no education at all for all the money spent.  So is money really the problem? 

- Krasi

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Freedom Awards

On Saturday, January 29, I had the opportunity to watch the 2010 Freedom Awards and now, I have found out that a video of the ceremony is available for all those who missed it. Lucky you! And since I love sharing (as long as it is not chocolate chip cookies:), I am including a link to the video on this blog (see blow).

The Freedom Awards honor the people behind the fight against human trafficking, the people whom we might never hear about if it weren't for these awards, the people who risk their lives on an everyday basis to pursue their goal of living in a just world, a world in which no human being should be abused and enslaved by another human being. 

If you are interested in learning more about the fight against human trafficking, join the fight, or just spread the word, please visit the Free the Slaves Blog and start typing.

 Freedom Awards

- Krasi

Regrettable behavior

Manners:

 'ways of behaving with reference to polite standards' Source
'are extinct' Source: Me


No I'm not talking about knowing your salad fork from your entree fork (fyi: salad forks have longer tines and entree forks are smaller). I'm talking about manners that affect others. While all etiquette rules are so that respect is shown for others (and you are saved from embarasssment), let's face it, in our modern times no one really cares if you don't pass food to the right (counterclockwise) at a table, open the napkin in your lap, or make sure the knife's sharp edge is facing into the bowl/plate and not towards a person (yes all of the mentioned are proper etiquette). What I'm speaking to is the inconsiderate nature of those around us. People that purport to care for you (or at least show an interest in you) blow you off, cancel plans continually, will not respond to invitations (Facebook events anyone?), etc. What a unique way of showing you care!

Manners may be 'old school' to some, but hey, I'm young and I refuse to explain away bad behavior by contributing it to a paradigm shift. Let me also add that the teller/cashier/barista being rude is one thing but when someone you  have a relationship with does so, draw the line!

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use."
Emily Post

Excellent resources:

Modern Manners

Emily Post

-A

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This again?

So it is now freezing in Houston, again. I thought Texas got that out of his system (yes his, Texas is obviously a guy. For many reasons I won't go into now) but he had one more suprise up his sleeve. When I left the house this morning I had no idea it was going to get this cold so what did a silly Texan like me take to keep warm? A trench coat of course!




Day 9, done!

-A

Behind the times

So as I'm sure you've noticed, I'm behind on posting my 30 for 30 pictures. I apologize; finding time to take these pictures has proved difficult. My outfit from Tuesday:


You might ask why I'm even posting pictures but its really to keep me honest! Without some accountability, I'm likely to stray and start wearing whatever I want. So I guess what I'm trying to say is thank you for holding me accountable. It's not easy keeping me honest ;).

-A

Monday, February 7, 2011

So About the Last Two Days...

It is day 7 of the 30 for 30 challenge and I haven't take pictures the last 2 days, whoops! In my defense, I was driving back to Houston yesterday so there was nothing special to see as I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt (all part of the items, I assure you!). As far as today goes...I have no excuse so please accept my apologies. Don't worry guys, I only have 30 items to wear so you'll eventually get to see the items I wore today!

So here I present my outfit from Friday, February 5th. This picture was taken right outside of Austin. I pulled into the pecan store I have been wanting to visit for the past 10 years. No, I'm not kidding...10 years. I usually travel with a bunch of wet blankets who don't want to stop anywhere. Anyhow, isn't the background beautiful? It was a comfort to have something good happen after I pulled up to the store of my (10 year) dreams to find it closed.


And for those who are wondering, I eventually did make it to the dream store on the way back to Houston. It was everything I dreamed of and more. Let's just say I'm a little hopped up on sugar right now.....

-A

An Eye For An Eye?

Well what a wonderful weekend! I had a great time meeting so many new people, learning a ton about human rights causes, and exploring Austin!

One of the workshops that I attended was on the death penalty. This is a topic that has been in the news recently, but not with the goal Amnesty International (AI) has in mind. AI is working to abolish the death penalty; this is a topic, that I'll be honest, I had not given much thought to before this workshop. I mean, if you do something bad then you should be punished for it right? This concept of 'an eye for an eye', while in concept seems like a good idea, is not being carried to fruition successfully, as I learned.

The two facts that spoke to me the most were the economics of the death penalty and the effectiveness. Death penalties (beginning from the trial to execution) cost 3 times as much as a life sentence trial. 3.times. $2.3 million as compared to $750,000. Whoa! OK so may you're thinking, 'well that's ok as long as we're setting an example it's worth it'. Oh no my friend, a study conducted in 2009 by the Death Penalty Information Center wherein police chiefs across the nation were polled. The major consensus was that the death penalty is an ineffective deterrent for future crime. 88% of criminologists surveyed rejected the assertion that the death penalty is an effective deterrent. So wait, it's 3 times as expensive yet it is not as effective? Sounds like a bad deal to me!

Now let's get into the ethics and morals of this issue. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 139 people have been released from death row due to evidence of innocence. 139 people that would otherwise have been put to death. How is that justice? While the guarantee of a perfect system is impossible, we can ensure that a miscarriage of justice is not as great as to take an innocent person's life. As stated on the Amnesty USA website,

"The death penalty  is the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights. By working towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, Amnesty International USA's Death Penalty Abolition Campaign looks to end the cycle of violence created by a system riddled with economic and racial bias and tainted by human error."

For more information about this issue:

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Amnesty International

What do you guys think of the abolition movement? Would you support an end to the death penalty (15 states already have!)?


-A

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This land is not quite your land

We are back from Austin and can safely state that we thoroughly enjoyed the conference and learned a lot of interesting and important information to share with you. 

One of the keynote speakers at the Amnesty International Texas State meeting was Mr. Luis Figueroa (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; MALDEF), who presented on the much discussed and contentious issue of immigration. Some pieces of interesting and important information he provided included: 1) 2/3 of immigrants are in the US legally; 2) almost half of all undocumented immigrants enter the US legally (and overstay their visas or are in transition); 3) many immigrants pay income taxes even though they do not benefit from most federal and state local assistance programs; and 4) all immigrants pay state and property taxes. 

Mr. Figueroa analyzed the new Immigration Law in Arizona and emphasized the need for a comprehensive immigration reform that will create a pathway for immigrants to legally obtain work visas instead of being treated as criminals. He stressed America’s reliance on immigrant labor, specifically in the areas of agriculture, construction, and service industry. As he explained it, many citizens will not voluntarily work in those fields. The labor is much needed but since the available legal means to obtain a job in these fields are limited, immigrants enter the workforce illegally, many becoming victims to human traffickers and exploitation.

Mr. Figueroa also discussed the Dream Act and the fact that, unfortunately, it is still just a dream. He urged people to educate themselves and realize that the goal of the Dream Act is to help children of immigrants, children who arrived in the US at a very young age and stayed because their parents stayed. These individuals have, in most cases, limited connection to the country of origin, have adapted to life in the US and sometimes, have been forced (usually by parents) to forget the native language of their relatives. Those individuals, for all other purposes, consider themselves Americans.  And yet, even though they are now allowed the opportunity to obtain knowledge and skills through higher education, when it comes to utilizing this education and becoming productive members of society, all doors are closed. This increases the danger of these educated young adults to search for illegal means of supporting themselves. Should the money spent on educating them be wasted in such an illogical way?  

The United States we know was found and built by immigrants and sustained through the years by immigrant labor. I am not quite sure at what point in time immigration turned into a dirty word and immigrants into an affliction to be afraid of and avoid. 

Don’t get me wrong. I am not fond of lazy people searching for chances to take advantage, cheating the system, and trying to live off of others, hard-working, tax-paying individuals. With the same passion, however, I am not too fond of ignorant people and the side effect of misinformation and blind belief in what is presented on TV. For more information on the issue and to learn how to become involved in the fight for a comprehensive and working immigration reform, please visit the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund site. 

- Krasi

Don't take it personally

I, similar to many others, just watched the much anticipated interview between President Obama and Bill O’Reilly and something tells me that what was mentioned, or not mentioned, will be discussed, replayed and analyzed by anyone who cares, lives, and breathes politics (Can’t wait to see John Stewart’s spiel on it:). The one statement that made an impression on me, however, and that I would like to focus on is President Obama’s reply to the question of whether he is bugged by the fact that so many people hate him. Without hesitation President Obama responded with a ‘no’. And why isn’t he bothered? Because, as he briefly explained, he doesn’t take it personally. The people who hate and dislike him do not really know him. They hate and protest against an image they see presented in front of them, without having the slightest idea of what kind of person stands behind this image.

I am sure that anyone who has achieved any success in life, be it obtaining an education, finding a job, or winning the Nobel Prize, will concur with the President’s statement. The more successful an individual becomes, the more others will discuss them and present them in whatever light they want to present them in. Many will hate. Many will express the hate in words and actions. Many will convince others to hate along with them. So what? Except for a selected few who truly know you, all others hate an image of you, an image they see in front of them. They do not hate the person, just the idea they have of the person. Makes sense to me. It takes thick skin to become a president. Personally, I think it takes thick skin to survive no matter who you are. So next time a person yells at you, curses you, or points a certain finger at you, don’t take it personally. You don’t know them that well and they certainly don’t know you.

- Krasi

Saturday, February 5, 2011

AI in Austin

Hi everyone!

K and I are here in Austin at the Amnesty International Texas state meeting. We are having a blast meeting all the wonderful activists! K and I are learning so much and looking forward to sharing it with you guys!
 
 
We will be back on Monday with a full recap. Have a great weekend!


-A

Austin Here We Come!

K and I will be away this weekend attending Amnesty International's Texas State Meeting.


Watch out Austin, hope you're ready for us! ;)

-A

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Fight for Domestic Workers' Rights


There is a remarkable distinction between modern, liberated, and independent women providing for their families and thus becoming too busy to engage in the time-consuming and tedious work of housecleaning and childcare and the women doing the housecleaning/childcare so they can be able to financially support their own families.

When thinking about mistreatment of female domestic workers, the two most common issues that come to mind are underpayments and longs hours (What’s that? Paid vacation? You’ve got to be kidding me!). Maltreatment could also be achieved in the form of the employers’ control over aspects of a person that many consider personal choice, such as what clothes to wear, what hairstyle, what makeup to use, when to take a shower, etc. As a result, it is reasonable to assume that the work itself is not degrading, but the loss of independence and responsibility that come with it in the majority of cases make it such.

 It is striking to me that so many women from disadvantaged nations have to accept the opportunity to work in a developed country as the only possible way to financially support their families. By becoming housecleaners and care takers in foreign lands, these women seemingly manage to contribute to those they left behind. At the same time, however, the same work that provides for their families also separates them from the ones they care most about. Ultimately, it seems they realize that the biggest sacrifice they made for their children is not to work jobs not many others would not do, but to leave both their children and their nation in order to work those jobs.

One does not need to be Sherlock Holmes to find out that there is such a beast as modern-day slavery. However, I am pretty sure there are many who have never truly imagined the actual magnitude of the problem (I sure used to be one of those people). Most of these women even possess education and skills that should, in a fair and just world, provide them with better work conditions. The problem is not the type of work they have; the problem is the insufficient amount of money they make and the lack of any labor rights that will protect them from potential abuse.

I am glad that there are women, such as Christine Yvette Lewis (Domestic Workers United), who are quite persistent in the fight for labor rights among those who would otherwise remain hidden.

- K