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Barbershop Theology

Rebutting Black Men on the Woman King

It’s disappointing & infuriating to see Black Women constantly attacked by black men. The common theme is: a strong Black Woman erases the Black Man. i.e. there’s no need for a man if a woman can live in her own strength & purpose. This line of thought usually leads to what a woman’s role and place are (spoiler: obedient & beneath a man).

One IG poster started in on Wakanda Forever. He was outraged by all the powerful Black Women in the trailer. Where are the Black Men, he screamed! I would rather they replace Chadwick Boseman than put a woman in the panther suit, even though that’s how it happened in the comic book!” Ok, bruh. He went from outrage with Wakanda Forever (we all know it hasn’t even been released yet), to outrage with Woman King. He loves Viola, of course he does, but how dare she call herself a king! His Woman King post is at the end of my video commentary. Pause/screenshot it to read.

Part 1: Rebutting Black Men on the Woman King https://youtu.be/PwKgb5PDAL4

For those who have seen the movie, what are your thoughts?

For those who don’t want to see the movie, what are your reservations?

Threat of Equal Partnership

I was able to verbally rebut this idiocy in a barbershop. The loud and wrong men called me sexist for insisting that Black Men are not the only ones in danger. “Why you gotta keep bringing up Black Women,” they yelled. They called me a bougie Christian for saying I want an equal partner in marriage. “What, you think you’re white? Talking about a partner… why don’t you want a HUSBAND or do you mean you’re a lesbian,” they laughed uproariously. They kept repeating in different ways that men and women are not equal as something ordained by God. I asked for scripture, they had none.

The thing that choked me into a stutter was that each of them claimed they were good men. Truly stunning to me. Nothing they said represented goodness. How can you be a good man when you don’t even see the goodness you’re claiming for yourself in the woman God created? What’s good about inferiority? You think women are less than – how is that honorable? How is that praiseworthy?

Part 2: Equal Partners

#womanking #thewomanking #ruler #advisor #vision #leader #violadavis #hollywood #men #women #gender #politics #moviereview #igtv #reels

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Thoughts on being pursued

The longest ongoing war in the world has been pitched by men against women. Men seek to control, possess and destroy women, in general. However, when men begin to nurture, respect and join with women’s feminine power, healing between the male and female will begin.

What’s your take on this?

The Woman and the Dragon

A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns and seven diadems on his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to deliver a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a scepter of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred sixty days.

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Jane Fonda in Five Acts: Quotes from the HBO Documentary

HBO has phenomenal programming. Lifelong fan here. They’ve done it again with another fantastically amazing documentary about womanhood. On the surface, Jane Fonda in Five Acts is a video autobiography. But Jane Fonda is so deeply vulnerable with her sharing that she actually speaks to the female experience the world over. On deeper levels the documentary is like a study of the stages of womanhood, femininity and self-discovery.

I have never been married, but the things Jane navigated within herself through her marital relationships resonate with me because I have learned similar lessons in different types of relationship interactions. Her message is so universal and so plainly delivered, it makes Jane Fonda in Five Acts a film of profound beauty and depth.

Act 1: Henry
Any healthy country, like any healthy individual, should be in perpetual revolution, perpetual change.

You have to have the courage to speak about the changes that are needed. And that includes challenging, at the root, the corporate power that has taken over the economy of this country.

We looked like the American Dream. Rich. Beautiful. Close. But a lot of it was simply myth.

A lot of other people were defining me, all of them men. I never felt real. I thought, I just have to get out from under my fathers shadow. Maybe if I go to France and join the New Wave, I will find I really am. I was always in search of somebody who was real in there [in me].

Act 2: Vadim
Here I was, trying to not be defined by men, ended up with a man who was the ultimate definer of femininity. That’s where I was at that time. I wanted someone to mold me. I wanted him to help me become a woman.

I felt like I was a bad mother and I was terrified. It surprised me this feeling of fear. Later on when I looked back on it, I understand.

I always saw my mother as a victim. Women=victim. I am a woman. I am damaged. I am going to be crushed.

My mother was a very complicated woman. A very damaged woman.

I heard my father say things about my body that has twisted my life ever since.

“Where are you? Where are you? Why won’t you show up?” Words she imagined her toddler daughter spoke to her through searching eyes.

I desperately needed structure. I desperately needed guidance. And, uh, I’ve always turned to men for that.

Act 3: Tom

I had suffered from an eating disorder for a long time. Nobody knew. The thing about bulimia is is that it’s a disease of denial. It takes a lot subterfuge. You’re very tired. You’re very angry. And You’re very self-hating. And I realized, I’m heading to a really dark place. I’m either going to head into the light, or I’m gonna succumb to the dark. And it’s a life or death thing. I went cold turkey. It was really really hard. There was something about taking control of my body in that way that got me over the addition. It changed my perception of myself. It was a revolution for me. Though completely unintentional.

He thought I was superficial. That I wasn’t smart enough. But I was producing my own movies. The kind of movies that say the things that I think needed saying.

He fell in love with somebody. And I found out. It did knock the foundation from under me because I could never imagine life without Tom. If I’m not with Tom Haden, then I’m nobody.

Act 4: Ted

I learned a lot with all the men in my life, but learned the most with Ted. His vision is macro and I’m micro, so we were a great partnership.

We had a wonderful ten years, but I had to hide a part of me in order to please him.

Ted couldn’t be alone. So my whole life was about him.

As we moved through the decade we spent together, I became more of a feminist. And so my focus was more on women’s empowerment. But it’s hard to be a complete feminist when you’re in a marriage that doesn’t quite work. None of my marriages were democratic, because I was too worried about pleasing. I had to be a certain way in order for them to love me. I had to look a certain way. And I looked different for all of them. I wanted to be living as a whole Jane. A fully realized Jane.

When you reside within your own skin, you can feel it. You’re holding all of you. Your anger. Your kindness. Your judgementalness. Everything that makes up what you are. Including the fact that you may be stronger and braver than the man you’re married to.

There was a softer voice saying: If you stay, you will never be authentic. You will never be able to be whole.

Act 5: Jane
It was probably the most profound turning point of my whole life. I left this man and one part of me was so sad. And the other part of me said, “I’m gonna be okay. I don’ t need a man to make me okay.” That was it. And I’ve never looked back.

I wish I were braver. But I am what I am.

Your age is less chronological and more spiritual and attitudinal. I was so old at twenty. On a soul level… I saw no future. I was very dark. Very sad person. There was no joy. I didn’t really know who I was. It took a really long time to find my narrative.

This is the beginning of my last act. In order to know how to go forward, I had to know where I’d been.

Their incapacity to love wasn’t because you weren’t worthy of love. It was because they too had been wounded. And then you can forgive. It goes from one generation to another and somebody’s gotta break the cycle.

I get so sad when I think of what I wasn’t for my daughter that she needed. It’s hard to take that in because it’s so painful. But its never too late.

I’m now having relationships that are much more democratic, but I am most myself when I’m with my women friends.

It’s hard to be really happy if your life doesnt have meaning. People turn to religion because it gives them meaning. But I am an activist.

I had spent so much of my life feeling if I’m not perfect, no one could love. Then I realized, trying to be perfect is a toxic journey. We’re not perfect. We have to love our shadow. We have to embrace and accept our shadows. And sometimes good enough is good enough.

#JaneFonda #JaneFondaInFiveActs #HBO #HBODocumentary

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Harvest Update – Book Release – Desert of Solitude

Harvest Update
Book Release

April 21, 2018
Volume 3, Issue 1


This book is a must read.

Desert of Solitude really helped me understand some things in life that I struggled with. It’s very refreshing to see someone overcome so many obstacles I’ve struggled with. Thank you, sincerely.

~ Kayla, April 10, 2018

Amazon Verified Purchase 5.0 out of 5 stars


Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace

One month ago, I published my fifth book and seventh overall print project. One would think by this time, the process would be smooth and effortless. Unfortunately, that was not the case for this project. Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace developed into a painfully personal devotional exploration of all the ways I felt like an abject failure in life. It began as a video log with the intention of providing in-the-moment face-to-face commentary on topics in the book. The videos remain a tough editing task. Even knowing what I said, wrote and how things worked out, the first few videos are filled with so much sorrow my heart still aches when I watch them. Fortunately, I know I needed to experience the full range of my emotions in order to move through that space fully and honestly. On the other side was a deep well of joy waiting for me to dive in.

Thank God a good woman can’t stay down for long! My story has evolved into a testimonial of God’s everlasting grace and love for those who depend on Him. Refreshment. Renewal. Rejuvenation. It’s all possible. It’s all within reach. It’s life altering in an wonderfully amazing way.

I invite you to journey with me to where I am now: At peace within my purpose and fully open to what comes next.

Peace, light and love to you!

LaShawnda


“Desert of Solitude is totally different from LaShawnda’s other books. It’s really a good read; a different read because now you see the maturity that has come with all the other books, why they were [written]. If you put them all together, there’s a line that led to this. That’s what I see: all of that led to this and this is where I’m at right now. I can see the maturity, the growth as a person and as a writer. And reading it, I was like whoa! Whoa! Whoa! To me it’s one of the better reads to be honest. It kinda gets you.”

~ Carmen, March 17, 2018



From worn and torn to whole and sufficient

We all want what we want when we want it. What happens when we don’t get what we’ve been hoping and praying for by a certain age in life?

Desert of Solitude is for those of us who have achieved nothing, something or a great deal but are no closer to that “one thing” we most desire. What do you think you’re missing? What do you believe will complete your existence?

Whatever “it” is doesn’t matter. You are enough for your life.

Desert of Solitude follows the journey of  a forty-something year old woman as she shakes herself loose of youthful ideals, and releases herself from expectations formed by family, culture and society. It’s an exploration of her determination to view her life from a position of abundant grace rather than disappointed hopes. Desert of Solitude is about finding satisfaction in God’s grace and provision in the valleys of life.

Available in Kindle, Nook and Print.

Purchase on BN.com


Excerpts from Desert of Solitude

Preface: A Note About Desert of Solitude

Introduction: Wonder-Filled Living

Verdant Valley/Faith Challenges

Love Anyway: Things I Learned During My Harvest

Set Fire to the Rain…

Supporting Multimedia Links

Contents & Themes

Soundtrack & Sermons

Referenced Bible Verses

Video Messages


Author Bio

LaShawnda Jones is a simple woman who is content with her Creator’s design choices for her. She is a woman who eagerly embraces the process of her personal evolution and the results of her choices.

LaShawnda Jones is the independent author and publisher of Spirit Harvest Publishing Company. She maintains several blogs which focus on spiritual growth, social justice and photography. She speaks nationally on self-image, self-esteem, and identity in Christ and living the life you envision for yourself. Prior publications are Love & ForgivenessMy God and Me(Jazzy Media), Cliches: A Life in Verse (Jazzy Media) and Go, Tell Michelle (State University of New York Press). She holds degrees in marketing management (MATC) and political science (UW-Milwaukee) as well as a Master of Arts in International Affairs (The New School).


Purchase on Amazon.com

         

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A ‘Quest for Justice’ for a Murdered Civil Rights Pioneer, 52 Years Later

One person who was astonished she had never heard of Ms. Jones was a professor named Lee Remington, who began research for a biography four years ago. The more Professor Remington learned, the more she became desperate to discover what no one has ever learned: who was responsible for Ms. Jones’s death in 1965, when, at 34, she was brutally beaten and thrown into the Ohio River to drown.

Poring over 1,600 pages of police files, Professor Remington, a lawyer and political scientist, shifted from mere history to what she calls “a quest for justice.’’ She laid out what she believed were overlooked clues to the murder in a long letter last year to the Louisville police, who agreed to reopen the case. The Justice Department’s civil rights division also stepped in.

But even with renewed interest in the case, it is unclear whether there is any real chance — 52 years after Ms. Jones died, when witnesses are deceased and evidence has vanished — of finding out who killed her and why.

“I believe her death was directly related to the work she was doing,” said Professor Remington, who teaches at Bellarmine University in Louisville. “If there was a list of people she would have stood up to and made mad, it would be five pages long.”

The Louisville Metro Police Department said this week that there have been few breakthroughs. “We still haven’t established enough probable cause to say one person or another did it,” Sgt. Nicholas Owen, the lead investigator, said.

Ms. Jones, who never married, is survived by a sister, Flora Shanklin, now 81. She believes earlier investigators ignored clues and buried evidence because of indifference to the murder of a prominent African-American, or because the killers were protected by authorities.

Ms. Shanklin recalled her sister saying she was regularly hassled by a white court officer at work. One day Ms. Jones got frustrated, Ms. Shanklin said, and “hit him with her briefcase.”

Ms. Jones’s name is absent from the annals of civil rights martyrs of the 1960s, perhaps because there is no clear evidence that her death was racially or politically motivated. Louisville, on the dividing line between North and South, largely avoided the harshest violence of the era, like church bombings and the murder of civil rights workers by white supremacists, and today does not have the immediate resonance of, say, Birmingham, Ala.

Still, the city Ms. Jones returned to in 1959 after graduating from Howard University School of Law was deeply segregated. Blacks could not enter movie theaters or restaurants in the city’s commercial heart, Fourth Street, or try on clothes at department stores.

Ms. Jones helped establish the Independent Voters Association, which registered 6,000 African-Americans. Voting as a bloc, blacks replaced the mayor of Louisville and many of the city’s aldermen in 1961. Two years later these officials outlawed racial discrimination in businesses, the first public accommodation ordinance of its kind in the South.

“We taught the Negros how to use that voting machine,” Ms. Jones told The Courier-Journal in March 1965. It was shortly after she became a city prosecutor, the first African-American and first woman of any race in that job in Louisville. “When I got back home a lot of people said, ‘You’ve got two strikes against you: You’re a woman and you’re a Negro,’” she told the newspaper. “Yeah, but I’ve still got one strike left, and I’ve seen people get home runs when all they’ve got left is one strike.’’

Ms. Jones lived in Louisville’s majority-black West End with her mother and sister, just a couple of blocks from the young Cassius Clay. In 1960, the future Muhammad Ali hired her to represent him when he turned professional. She negotiated a contract with 11 white millionaires, the famous Louisville Sponsoring Group. Protective of her client, she insisted that 15 percent of his winnings be held in trust until he turned 35, with Ms. Jones serving as a co-trustee. Today the contract hangs on the wall of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.

Ms. Shanklin said her sister took the boxer to buy a pink Cadillac at a downtown landmark, Brown Brothers Cadillac. “He used to come by the house and take my son and daughter to school” in the car, she recalled.

On the night Ms. Jones was murdered, Aug. 5, 1965, witnesses saw two black males drag a screaming woman into the back seat of a car like the Ford Fairlane Ms. Jones was driving, according to police records. Her body, with trauma to the head and face, was retrieved from the river near an amusement park in the West End. A large quantity of blood stained the back seat of the Fairlane, discovered nearby, which she had rented while her own car was in the shop.

Ms. Shanklin believes that whoever murdered her sister was paid by others. “I don’t know who, but she stepped on some toes,” she said.

Ms. Shanklin, 81, believes that whoever murdered her sister in 1965 was paid by others. Credit Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

In all the years the police have investigated Ms. Jones’s murder, reopening the case twice, they have never developed a dominant theory about suspects or a motive, according to records and Sergeant Owen, the current investigator.

One theory pursued in the 1960s was that she was killed by the Nation of Islam because its leader, Elijah Muhammad, coveted the 15 percent of Muhammad Ali’s earnings that Ms. Jones managed. A black detective working the case at the time, who was interviewed by the police in the 1980s, said that when he was pursuing this angle, his wife received a death threat.

Sergeant Owen said the Nation of Islam theory has never been substantiated. “I haven’t seen any evidence to indicate that aside from hearsay,” he said.

Almost all physical evidence from 1965 has been lost. In 2008, police got what looked to be a major break: a match on a fingerprint found on the Fairlane Ms. Jones was driving.

The print, matched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, belonged to a Louisville man who was 17 at the time of Ms. Jones’s death. He admitted in 2008 to detectives that he used to hang out in a park with friends one block from where witnesses saw the woman dragged into the back of a car.

But with no more evidence, the prosecutor at the time, R. David Stengel, declined to bring charges and declared the case closed “for the foreseeable future.”

In an interview last week, the man linked to the car, now 70, said that he knew nothing of Ms. Jones’s murder. “I didn’t touch that lady,” he said. “I don’t know who did. That’s all I can say.” His explanation for the fingerprint was that he used to hitchhike as a teenager and must have been picked up by someone who had rented the Fairlane before Ms. Jones. The Times is withholding the man’s name because police do not consider him a suspect.

Sergeant Owen said he was at a loss for new leads. He had hoped, as he interviewed old suspects as well as people who had been overlooked in the 1960s, that time would have loosened their tongues.

“I really don’t have a theory,” he said. “It could be anybody. I was hoping for guilt to weigh on somebody and have them confess. That hasn’t happened yet.”

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department, Lauren Ehrsam, confirmed that its civil rights office was reviewing the issues raised by Professor Remington about the case. Sergeant Owen said he had heard nothing from Washington.

Next month a Louisville civic group plans to hang a giant banner with Ms. Jones’s portrait on a bank building on Muhammad Ali Boulevard. It will join other portraits downtown honoring prominent people with Louisville roots, including Diane Sawyer and Colonel Harland Sanders of fast-food fame.

Professor Remington hopes the banner will prick someone’s memory — or conscience — about what happened to Ms. Jones 52 years ago. “She spent her whole life fighting for others,’’ she said. “It’s time somebody started fighting for her.

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Quote: One Strike Left…

“We taught the Negros how to use that voting machine.[…] When I got back home [from law school] a lot of people said, ‘You’ve got two strikes against you: You’re a woman and you’re a Negro.’  Yeah, but I’ve still got one strike left, and I’ve seen people get home runs when all they’ve got left is one strike.’’

~ Alberta Jones {told The Courier-Journal in March 1965, shortly after she became a city prosecutor, the first African-American and first woman of any race in that job in Louisville, KY.}

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Thank You for Peewee

Woman Be Restored

Spending my day at the Woman Be Restored Conference at Times Square Church. This year it started with a two hour morning break out session. I chose the Relationship Restoration breakout teaching. I missed most of the first hour – I thought there would be a warm of singing before we got into the meat of the conference. My thinking was wrong. So was my attitude. I walked in on the teaching saying that our ability to forgive is based on our capacity to forgive. My listening walls immediately went up and I typed in my notes, “capacity vs. understanding.” Meaning we have the capacity to do everything God instructs us to do, we are limited only by our understanding of who God Is and the Power He has to Perform in our life. We have to understand that saying “yes” and “amen” to God will take us places (internally and externally, spiritually and physically) we can’t even  imagine or envision.

While my attitude was busy saying no to the teaching in the room by countering the points with my own, God broke in with a whisper, “Thank you for Peewee.”

Before I know it, I’m searching my phone for this post I wrote in October 2016. I shook my head slightly on the negative even as my hand was going in the air for permission to speak.

My hand played cat and mouse with the air several times before I was called on. I ended up being the last to speak before we closed the meeting in prayer. I think it was fitting to close on a cry of thanksgiving. I started by stating that forgiveness is an expression of love and I offered it to my dad, Peewee, as an offering of love for my deceased mother who loved him to her death. Forgiveness is a process and many people will try to dictate or force their interpretations on you about their idea of what forgiveness looks, feels or sounds like. Then I read the paragraph beginning with “So on to now.”

October 2, 2016

Thank You for Peewee.

My dad has been coming to mind strongly and often lately.

I wrote a piece about him a few years ago as a submission for a father/daughter project. Some time after his death, I had a series of dreams about him, disturbing dreams actually. Dreams where I was locked up and still a sexual object for him. The dreams didn’t stop until I forcibly removed myself from the home he had me locked up in and blew the home up from a helicopter with a rocket launcher.

I awoke from that final dream feeling quite bad ass and liberated.

Despite the effort I made following his release from prison to build a father/daughter relationship with him, most of my thoughts of him are devoid of fondness. My greatest sadness about him is that there is no longer any opportunity to reconcile with him again. Our relationship blew up after my brother died in 2007 because of Peewee’s decision to honor his own brother at my brother’s funeral. His brother had also sexually violated me in my youth. My brother was not fond of him. And even if they had been in communication as Peewee’s sister recently tried to tell me, Antione would not have approved of the way his sister’s rapist was given a place of honor to speak through a relative of his love for his nephew at his funeral as his unprepared sister realized too late what was going on.

Peewee and I fell out over that sneak attack. What I snapped at him outside the funeral home as we walked out was, “Even now, with the death of your son, you chose not to put your children before your brother and sister. When will you put us first?” Although he had no rights of fatherhood, I had already named him as legal next of kin for my brother in order to help with funeral preparations until I was able to arrive in Gary. I insisted in the street the day of my brother’s funeral that he put his grandchildren first and sign the paperwork to have my brother’s cremated ashes sent to his daughters. He agreed and we walked back into the funeral home to complete the paper work. After that I told him he and I were done.

He died three years later. To my knowledge he made no effort to mend our breach. When he knew he was dying he called his brother and sister. Even on his deathbed he didn’t ask for me. I saw that as a choice… as in he chose who he wanted to see and be with in the end. As in, he never did get around to putting his children first – before his brother and sister.

And for that ending, my thoughts of him are often filled with resentment and a deep sense of rejection. Wow. I hadn’t been able to follow my thoughts through to this revelation before. His sister and perhaps others thought that my feelings towards Peewee were based on his sexual abuse of me in my youth. When she finally spoke to me about it a few years ago, I told her what I shared here and added that he had been forgiven long ago for his abusive violation of me.

So on to now. I’m sitting in the sanctuary streaming silent tears. During service, after a phenomenal message on ethics, integrity, loyalty and righteousness by Elder Jerry  Hampton, I prayed during the singing of “You Are My Strength.” I began crying and thanking God for everything He has done for me. For my humbling and my affliction. “Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for responding! Thank you for the pastor. Thank You for this.” The word was phenomenal during that service and during the morning service also – the message flowed through both. The song took me to another level. “Thank you for keeping me. Thank you for everything You are in me. Thank you for forming me into the woman I am and for everything you’re doing to make me the woman I am becoming.” And before I knew what was coming up from the deep well of my soul, these words passed my lips, “Thank you for Peewee!” Perhaps I stunned myself for a millisecond, but almost immediately I affirmed my thanksgiving by repeating my thanks twice more. “Thank You for Peewee, Father! Thank you for Peewee.”

Perhaps this is the reconciliation my spirit, body and life needed: Acknowledgement that even Peewee has been a blessing to my life.

I then gave thanks for Anthony, the long forgiven uncle I want nothing to do with. I gave thanks for their sister who has a special place in my heart but holds none of my trust. I gave thanks for my mother who is always a blessing in my sight. I gave thanks for all the family God has blessed me with who has repeatedly and consistently rejected me or mocked me. They have all been my training ground. The rod of my affliction. Without them what would I know or understand of the true darkness of the human spirit? And by contrast, what would I appreciate in the pure light of God’s grace and mercy and redemptive powers?

Praise God. Thank You Father. Thank You Jesus. Thank You Holy Spirit.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Recent thoughts re Peewee

I’m packing up my New York City apartment in anticipation of a cross country move. One medium size box is nearly full with stationery. I paused when I saw that.

The things I enjoy most in life were introduced to me my Peewee. My first box of stationery was powdery pink parchment he gave me for Christmas when I was 11 or so. He put together my first bike and let me help then took me outside to teach me how to ride. one of my remaining goals is to do long distance cycling across many different terrains. My live if sci-fi comes from watching Star Trek with him. it’s amazing to me that these are the memories that are dominating more and more as time passes.

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First Lady Michelle Obama speaks of the dignity women under assault from powerful men

First Lady Michelle Obama live in Manchester, New Hampshire at a Hillary Clinton rally.

“This week has been particularly interesting for me personally because it has been a week of profound contrasts. See on Tuesday, at the White House, we celebrated the International Day of the Girl and Let Girls Learn. And it was a wonderful celebration…and I had the pleasure of spending hours talking to some of the most amazing young women you will ever meet. Young girls here in the U.S. and all around the world. And we talked about their hopes and their dreams. We talked about their aspirations. See because many of these girls have face unthinkable obstacles just to attend school. Jeopardizing their personal safety, their freedom – risking the rejection of their families and communities.

So I thought it would be important to remind these young women how valuable and precious they are.  I wanted them to understand that the measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls. And I told them that they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and I told them that they should disregard anyone who demeans or devalues them, and that they should make their voices heard in the world.  And I walked away feeling so inspired, just like I’m inspired by all the young people here — and I was so uplifted by these girls.  That was Tuesday.

 

Full Remarks by the First Lady Michelle Obama at Hillary for America Campaign Event

Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, New Hampshire

October 13, 2016  | 12:34 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  My goodness!  (Applause.)  You guys are fired up!  (Applause.)  Well, let me just say hello, everyone.  (Applause.)  I am so thrilled to be here with you all today in New Hampshire.  This is like home to me, and this day — thank you for a beautiful fall day.  You just ordered this day up for me, didn’t you?  (Applause.)  It’s great to be here.

Let me start by thanking your fabulous governor, your next U.S. senator, Maggie Hassan.  (Applause.)  I want to thank her for that lovely introduction.  I also want to recognize your Congresswoman, Annie McKlane Kuster, who’s a dear, dear friend.  (Applause.)  Your soon-to-be Congresswoman once again, Carol Shea Porter — (applause) — all of whom have been just terrific friends to us.  And your Executive Council and candidate for governor, Colin Van Ostern. (Applause.)

And, of course, thanks to all of you for taking the time to be here today.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!  (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Thanks so much.  That’s very sweet of you.  I love you guys too.  I can’t believe it’s just a few weeks before Election Day, as we come together to support the next President and Vice President of the United States, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine!  (Applause.)  And New Hampshire is going to be important, as always.

So I’m going to get a little serious here, because I think we can all agree that this has been a rough week in an already rough election.  This week has been particularly interesting for me personally because it has been a week of profound contrast.

See, on Tuesday, at the White House, we celebrated the International Day of the Girl and Let Girls Learn.  (Applause.)  And it was a wonderful celebration.  It was the last event that I’m going to be doing as First Lady for Let Girls Learn.  And I had the pleasure of spending hours talking to some of the most amazing young women you will ever meet, young girls here in the U.S. and all around the world.  And we talked about their hopes and their dreams.  We talked about their aspirations.  See, because many of these girls have faced unthinkable obstacles just to attend school, jeopardizing their personal safety, their freedom, risking the rejection of their families and communities.
So I thought it would be important to remind these young women how valuable and precious they are.  I wanted them to understand that the measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls.  (Applause.)  And I told them that they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and I told them that they should disregard anyone who demeans or devalues them, and that they should make their voices heard in the world.  And I walked away feeling so inspired, just like I’m inspired by all the young people here — (applause) — and I was so uplifted by these girls.  That was Tuesday.

And now, here I am, out on the campaign trail in an election where we have consistently been hearing hurtful, hateful language about women — language that has been painful for so many of us, not just as women, but as parents trying to protect our children and raise them to be caring, respectful adults, and as citizens who think that our nation’s leaders should meet basic standards of human decency.  (Applause.)

The fact is that in this election, we have a candidate for President of the United States who, over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign, has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning that I simply will not repeat anything here today.  And last week, we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women.  And I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for President of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.

And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this.  It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.  So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.

This is not something that we can ignore.  It’s not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season.  Because this was not just a “lewd conversation.”  This wasn’t just locker-room banter.  This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV.

And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn’t an isolated incident.  It’s one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life.  And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I’m sure that many of you do too, particularly the women.  The shameful comments about our bodies.  The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect.  The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman.

It is cruel.  It’s frightening.  And the truth is, it hurts.  It hurts.  It’s like that sick, sinking feeling you get when you’re walking down the street minding your own business and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body.  Or when you see that guy at work that stands just a little too close, stares a little too long, and makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.

It’s that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them, or forced himself on them and they’ve said no but he didn’t listen — something that we know happens on college campuses and countless other places every single day.  It reminds us of stories we heard from our mothers and grandmothers about how, back in their day, the boss could say and do whatever he pleased to the women in the office, and even though they worked so hard, jumped over every hurdle to prove themselves, it was never enough.

We thought all of that was ancient history, didn’t we?  And so many have worked for so many years to end this kind of violence and abuse and disrespect, but here we are, in 2016, and we’re hearing these exact same things every day on the campaign trail.  We are drowning in it.  And all of us are doing what women have always done:  We’re trying to keep our heads above water, just trying to get through it, trying to pretend like this doesn’t really bother us maybe because we think that admitting how much it hurts makes us as women look weak.  Maybe we’re afraid to be that vulnerable.  Maybe we’ve grown accustomed to swallowing these emotions and staying quiet, because we’ve seen that people often won’t take our word over his.  Or maybe we don’t want to believe that there are still people out there who think so little of us as women.  Too many are treating this as just another day’s headline, as if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted, as if this is normal, just politics as usual.

But, New Hampshire, be clear:  This is not normal.  This is not politics as usual.  (Applause.)  This is disgraceful.  It is intolerable.  And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to — Democrat, Republican, independent — no woman deserves to be treated this way.  None of us deserves this kind of abuse.  (Applause.)

And I know it’s a campaign, but this isn’t about politics.  It’s about basic human decency.  It’s about right and wrong.  (Applause.)  And we simply cannot endure this, or expose our children to this any longer — not for another minute, and let alone for four years.  (Applause.)  Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say enough is enough.  (Applause.)  This has got to stop right now.  (Applause.)

Because consider this:  If all of this is painful to us as grown women, what do you think this is doing to our children?  What message are our little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act?  What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings, about their dreams and aspirations?  And how is this affecting men and boys in this country?  Because I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this.  And I know that my family is not unusual.  (Applause.)  And to dismiss this as everyday locker-room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere.  (Applause.)

The men that you and I know don’t treat women this way.  They are loving fathers who are sickened by the thought of their daughters being exposed to this kind of vicious language about women.  They are husbands and brothers and sons who don’t tolerate women being treated and demeaned and disrespected.  (Applause.)  And like us, these men are worried about the impact this election is having on our boys who are looking for role models of what it means to be a man.  (Applause.)

In fact, someone recently told me a story about their six-year-old son who one day was watching the news — they were watching the news together.  And the little boy, out of the blue, said, “I think Hillary Clinton will be President.”  And his mom said, “Well, why do you say that?”  And this little six-year-old said, “Because the other guy called someone a piggy, and,” he said, “you cannot be President if you call someone a piggy.”  (Applause.)

So even a six-year-old knows better.  A six-year-old knows that this is not how adults behave.  This is not how decent human beings behave.  And this is certainly not how someone who wants to be President of the United States behaves.  (Applause.)

Because let’s be very clear:  Strong men — men who are truly role models — don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.  (Applause.)  People who are truly strong lift others up.  People who are truly powerful bring others together.  And that is what we need in our next President.  We need someone who is a uniting force in this country.  We need someone who will heal the wounds that divide us, someone who truly cares about us and our children, someone with strength and compassion to lead this country forward.  (Applause.)

And let me tell you, I’m here today because I believe with all of my heart that Hillary Clinton will be that President.  (Applause.)

See, we know that Hillary is the right person for the job because we’ve seen her character and commitment not just in this campaign, but over the course of her entire life.  The fact is that Hillary embodies so many of the values that we try so hard to teach our young people.  We tell our young people “Work hard in school, get a good education.”  We encourage them to use that education to help others — which is exactly what Hillary did with her college and law degrees, advocating for kids with disabilities, fighting for children’s health care as First Lady, affordable child care in the Senate.  (Applause.)

We teach our kids the value of being a team player, which is what Hillary exemplified when she lost the 2008 election and actually agreed to work for her opponent as our Secretary of State — (applause) — earning sky-high approval ratings serving her country once again.  (Applause.)

We also teach our kids that you don’t take shortcuts in life, and you strive for meaningful success in whatever job you do.  Well, Hillary has been a lawyer, a law professor, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, a U.S. senator, Secretary of State.  And she has been successful in every role, gaining more experience and exposure to the presidency than any candidate in our lifetime — more than Barack, more than Bill.  (Applause.)  And, yes, she happens to be a woman.  (Applause.)

And finally, we teach our kids that when you hit challenges in life, you don’t give up, you stick with it.  Well, during her four years as Secretary of State alone, Hillary has faced her share of challenges.  She’s traveled to 112 countries, negotiated a ceasefire, a peace agreement, a release of dissidents.  She spent 11 hours testifying before a congressional committee.  We know that when things get tough, Hillary doesn’t complain.  She doesn’t blame others.  She doesn’t abandon ship for something easier.  No, Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.  (Applause.)

So in Hillary, we have a candidate who has dedicated her life to public service, someone who has waited her turn and helped out while waiting.  (Applause.)  She is an outstanding mother.  She has raised a phenomenal young woman.  She is a loving, loyal wife.  She’s a devoted daughter who cared for her mother until her final days.  And if any of us had raised a daughter like Hillary Clinton, we would be so proud.  We would be proud.  (Applause.)

And regardless of who her opponent might be, no one could be more qualified for this job than Hillary — no one.  And in this election, if we turn away from her, if we just stand by and allow her opponent to be elected, then what are we teaching our children about the values they should hold, about the kind of life they should lead?  What are we saying?

In our hearts, we all know that if we let Hillary’s opponent win this election, then we are sending a clear message to our kids that everything they’re seeing and hearing is perfectly okay.  We are validating it.  We are endorsing it.  We’re telling our sons that it’s okay to humiliate women.  We’re telling our daughters that this is how they deserve to be treated.  We’re telling all our kids that bigotry and bullying are perfectly acceptable in the leader of their country.  Is that what we want for our children?

AUDIENCE:  No!

MRS. OBAMA:  And remember, we won’t just be setting a bad example for our kids, but for our entire world.  Because for so long, America has been a model for countries across the globe, pushing them to educate their girls, insisting that they give more rights to their women.  But if we have a President who routinely degrades women, who brags about sexually assaulting women, then how can we maintain our moral authority in the world?  How can we continue to be a beacon of freedom and justice and human dignity?  (Applause.)

Well, fortunately, New Hampshire, here’s the beauty:  We have everything we need to stop this madness.  You see, while our mothers and grandmothers were often powerless to change their circumstances, today, we as women have all the power we need to determine the outcome of this election.  (Applause.)

We have knowledge.  We have a voice.  We have a vote.  And on November the 8th, we as women, we as Americans, we as decent human beings can come together and declare that enough is enough, and we do not tolerate this kind of behavior in this country.  (Applause.)

Remember this:  In 2012, women’s votes were the difference between Barack winning and losing in key swing states, including right here in New Hampshire.  (Applause.)  So for anyone who might be thinking that your one vote doesn’t really matter, or that one person can’t really make a difference, consider this:  Back in 2012, Barack won New Hampshire by about 40,000 votes, which sounds like a lot.  But when you break that number down, the difference between winning and losing this state was only 66 votes per precinct.  Just take that in.  If 66 people each precinct had gone the other way, Barack would have lost.

So each of you right here today could help swing an entire precinct and win this election for Hillary just by getting yourselves, your families, and your friends and neighbors out to vote.  You can do it right here.  (Applause.)  But you could also help swing an entire precinct for Hillary’s opponent with a protest vote or by staying home out of frustration.

Because here’s the truth:  Either Hillary Clinton or her opponent will be elected President this year.  And if you vote for someone other than Hillary, or if you don’t vote at all, then you are helping to elect her opponent.  And just think about how you will feel if that happens.  Imagine waking up on November the 9th and looking into the eyes of your daughter or son, or looking into your own eyes as you stare into the mirror.  Imagine how you’ll feel if you stayed home, or if you didn’t do everything possible to elect Hillary.

We simply cannot let that happen.  We cannot allow ourselves to be so disgusted that we just shut off the TV and walk away.  And we can’t just sit around wringing our hands.  Now, we need to recover from our shock and depression and do what women have always done in this country.  We need you to roll up your sleeves.  We need to get to work.  (Applause.)  Because remember this:  When they go low, we go —

AUDIENCE:  High!

MRS. OBAMA:  Yes, we do.  (Applause.)

And voting ourselves is a great start, but we also have to step up and start organizing.  So we need you to make calls, and knock on doors, and get folks to the polls on Election Day, and sign up to volunteer with one of the Hillary campaign folks who are here today just waiting for you to step up.  (Applause.)

And, young people and not-so-young people, get on social media.  (Applause.)  Share your own story of why this election matters, why it should matter for all people of conscience in this country.  There is so much at stake in this election.

See, the choice you make November 8th could determine whether we have a President who treats people with respect — or not.  A President who will fight for kids, for good schools, for good jobs for our families — or not.  A President who thinks that women deserve the right to make our own choices about our bodies and our health — or not.  (Applause.)  That’s just a little bit of what’s at stake.

So we cannot afford to be tired or turned off.  And we cannot afford to stay home on Election Day.  Because on November the 8th, we have the power to show our children that America’s greatness comes from recognizing the innate dignity and worth of all our people.  On November the 8th, we can show our children that this country is big enough to have a place for us all — men and women, folks of every background and walk of life — and that each of us is a precious part of this great American story, and we are always stronger together.  (Applause.)

On November 8th, we can show our children that here in America, we reject hatred and fear — (applause) — and in difficult times, we don’t discard our highest ideals.  No, we rise up to meet them.  We rise up to perfect our union.  We rise up to defend our blessings of liberty.  We rise up to embody the values of equality and opportunity and sacrifice that have always made this country the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

That is who we are.  (Applause.)  And don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.  (Applause.)  Hope is important.  Hope is important for our young people.  And we deserve a President who can see those truths in us — a President who can bring us together and bring out the very best in us.  Hillary Clinton will be that President.  (Applause.)

So for the next 26 days, we need to do everything we can to help her and Tim Kaine win this election.  I know I’m going to be doing it.  Are you with me?  (Applause.)  Are you all with me?  (Applause.)  You ready to roll up your sleeves?  Get to work knocking on doors?

All right, let’s get to work.  Thank you all.  God bless.  (Applause.)

END


Source: www.Whitehouse.gov