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A Refocusing of My Energy: How an Instagram Challenge, a Grandmother With Dementia, and The Loss of a Friend Helped Me Refocus

This piece was originally published by The Opal Club, check it out!

Summer 2017 completely rocked my world. It shook me to my core. It made me consider things I was not ready to consider, from the loss and deteriorating of life, to pushing myself to wonder if my energy is being sent where I want it. These moments weaved themselves together into a perspective I never want to lose.

This past July I participated in something called the Bikini Rebellion, an amazing challenge to help buck the stereotypes of what a bikini body is and where we focus our attention in life. The creator, Neghar Fonooni, explains that “Together we will work to reject the social conditioning that’s been handed to us, and instead hold our bodies in the fullness of our power.”

Every day participants were given a prompt for journaling, a video, and a new way of thinking about “bikini bodies”. Day 1 asked, “How is the system that maintains the bikini body concept stealing from you? How does the narrative make you feel? Empowered and inspired, or unworthy and small?”. I mean that was just day 1! It only got more insightful and caused me to dig deeper with every following day.

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The Ways Trump Failed Survivors

This post was originally published by The Opal Club, check it out here!

Former People Magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff, in a piece for the publication, alleges Mr Trump pushed her against a wall and forced his tongue down her throat while she was at the Mar-a-Lago resort in 2005.The first few months have been nothing short of eventful for Trump and his new administration. More importantly for the people of this country. My hope that we can overcome has been sustained by all the incredible people joining together in unprecedented ways. People of privilege are having to deal with discrimination in ways they never have, just scratching the surface of understanding what people of color have been dealing with for ages.

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How to Connect the Paris Deal to our Everyday Lives

With all the talk of climate change and the Paris Climate Deal there has been a lot of confusing information circulating. A great question to start with is, what is it?

Alexandra Simon-Lewis at Wired reports that,

“The ultimate purpose of the Paris Agreement was to strengthen the global response to climate change by creating an international network of government bodies, all dedicated to lowering emissions. Syria and Nicaragua were the only countries who did not join the Agreement.

Those who did pledged to work towards a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, ideally aiming to limit the increase to 1.5°C. This level of temperature change may sound insignificant, but would, in fact, put massive strain on food production, clean water sources and energy production.”

There are some key aspects that are important to note. For example, it will take about four years to withdraw from the Paris Deal because of stipulations set by the deal. While this is good news, many worry this just means the administration will work harder to eradicate domestic climate programs.

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Now is Not the Time to Be Silent, No Matter the Setting

This post was originally on The Good Men Project and can be found here!

Social media can be an amazing place to connect with people on any topic you want. It’s how I find my favorite vegan recipes, feel like a fitness expert with YouTube workouts and most importantly connect with a beautiful group of online badass feminists that give me hope for tomorrow. But of course, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. It seems that for every post celebrating, respecting, appreciating, and listening to women there are twice as many body-shaming, victim-blaming, and trolling just to make their presence known.

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When You Tell Us to be Quiet, We Get Louder: Thoughts from Marching in D.C.

Over the past week-end I had the extreme honor of marching in the Women’s March on Washington. A bus of 51 people drove from Saint Cloud, Minnesota to Washington D.C. and back all in 58 hours. It was truly one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I have notes jotted on the corners of my notebook, quotes that I ferociously tried to type during the day on my phone, and a tornado of feelings within me that I knew I needed to share with all of you.

That fact alone reminded me that I was not alone. The last few months have tested my faith in humanity but the connections I made on Saturday rekindled my passion. After 10 hours of marching and rallying I got back on the bus feeling stronger than ever. It reminded me why I fight and reminded me that we have so much to do.

Because we are not done. For so many reasons we are not done.

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Community: Yours, Mine, and Ours

Community has different meanings for all of us. For some community is the one we are born in, for others it is something they create. Communities cross county lines and span across oceans. We can attain multiple communities throughout our lives; our work, our home, our friendships.

Today the strongest community in my life mourns the loss of someone taken from Earth too soon. But what I am reminded of and what I must focus on is the community that came together today.

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