My father grew up under a dictatorship…

My father grew up under a dictatorship in Haiti. By the time I was born in 1992, he was politically active and the Duvalier regime was dead but their legacy remained. I have memories of him hosting political meetings in our home in Jacmel and fighting for what is right. Yesterday, I stood with hundreds of people who are fighting to Keep Families Together and I told our story. We were lucky to achieve political asylum in 2000 but there are families that have escaped worse — murder, rape, trafficking — and they’re being denied entrance to the U.S. or they arrived and have been treated worse than human. Children as young as toddlers have been separated from their parents and this administration has taken on the viciousness of Andrew Jackson days. We, as citizens and people who know right from wrong, need to keep to the streets. Like John Lewis says, we have to cause some good trouble and demand humanity for every single person. Some things you can do: contact your senators, donate to Raices / ACLU, disseminate truthful information, vote in all elections especially midterms, watch the money (on Republican & Democratic sides), arm yourself with the ability to discern right from wrong, and ask political candidates the difficult questions. 🎥: Adian

#MeToo

Sexual assault is a pervasive beast that plagues many lives. Last night, I was privileged with the opportunity to sit on a Sexual Assault Awareness panel with three amazing women (Alex Heathcock, Julie Diehl Weil, and Commissioner Paula Ryan) who, like me, have had many Me Too moments in their lives. My sexual trauma began when I was about 5/6 years old. People who my parents trusted to take care of their children, abused their power. I later, in college, encountered an aggressive man who would not take no for an answer and began to kiss me in a hallway. Thankfully, there were friends around and I avoided what could have led to rape. My four years experiencing trauma as a child did not end with rape being avoided, and I unfortunately did not know how to communicate what was happening to my parents. It has taken me years to heal, and I still deal with anxiety (social & panic disorder), depression, and self worth. Sexual trauma is not the fault of the children involved or their parents. However, there are some ways we can move toward a culture where sexual education and social norms do not repress those conversations. It is important for parents with young children to talk to them about their body parts and to create a system of trust. It is important that we maintain sexual education in the public school system and teach young adults how to engage with each other sexually. And it is imperative that we maintain a sex positive culture and that we do not encourage women/girls to play a hard to get card while we encourage men/boys to be on the prowl. I’d like to recognize that though sexual trauma affects girls & women by in large, young boys & men also fall victim. Junot Díaz’s essay was heartbreaking but a necessary part of the conversation. Sexual assault is a pervasive beast, but together we can work to put an end to it for every single human being, because no one deserves to live their life in the shadow of sexual assault. Lastly, it’s important to have conversations like this with compassion, but have them without pity. Those of us who have to say Me Too, as Junot Diaz outlines in his essay, sometimes feel romantically and sexually isolated — we don’t fit in society’s norms for what it means to be a woman or man or lover or fill-in-blank. Many of us struggle to have healthy romantic relationships. Don’t clump us into a box with walls of pity. Approach us with honest, open conversation, and if you seek any sort of relationship, be open to difficult conversation.

**Major thanks to the Palm Beach County Young Democrats for hosting the panel, and many thanks to Tarana Burke for using her voice consistently until we were heard.**

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Pictured with the other panelists (L to R): Alex, me, Julie, Commissioner Ryan.

Sometimes it’s okay to just say “me, too.” 

Tax Bill

Oh, my gosh, John MacCain gave such a heartfelt speech… In politics, you watch the votes! How our representatives vote is a clear indication of their self-interest. Do not fool yourself and believe that shiny words, tears and campaign photoshoots prove anything about a person’s character. How we should judge our representatives’ character is BY HOW THEY VOTE.

We can’t change this shit-show of a Democracy we live in right now, but we can change how our immediate communities function. VOTING WORKS!

There are people who benefit from your belief that voting doesn’t work and that the system is rigged. If you have not had your rights revoked, please exercise this very BASIC CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY THAT PEOPLE HAVE DIED FOR.

Start with local elections. For example, if you live in Delray Beach, there’s a City Commission race coming up on March 13th. It doesn’t take much to meet the candidates running or to attend a debate. It also doesn’t take much to look up how incumbents have voted in the past. USE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO LOOK BEYOND THE SURFACE AND USE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE.

Can social media be helpful, absolutely. But everything on DELRAY RAW is not reality. I am a fan of the press, but don’t limit your scope to one news source. Watch several and use your OWN BRAIN TO MAKE A DECISION THAT WILL ULTIMATELY IMPACT YOUR LIFE AND YOUR NEIGHBORS’ LIVES.

I don’t want to hear complaints about our country, city, state– whatever, from passive Americans who refuse to use their right to vote.

*Again, this message does not apply for folks who no longer have that right or who live in districts that prevent them from exercising that right.

And one final thought… America has bombed other countries on the precedent that we, as a country, are a model Democracy. My anger is multi-layered. I was exhausted the night of Nov 8th & that feeling is not fleeting. But, we cannot give up.