When Tragedy Unites Our Country: How Hurricane Harvey is Bringing Us Together

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard about Hurricane Harvey making its first landfall in Texas on August 25, 2017.

Weather experts knew it was coming. As with hurricanes and super storms we’ve seen in the past (Sandy, Andrew, and most notably, Katrina), no amount of preparation could have prepared residents, first responders, and area officials for what was to come. Harvey, unfortunately, was no different.

Harvey is being touted as the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history, estimating over $160 billion worth of damages to the Greater Houston area. Over 30 deaths related to Harvey were reported as of August 30, 2017. And many survivors have been displaced from their homes, and won’t have a home to return to, once allowed to return to their respective neighborhoods.

It’s a natural disaster. A tragedy — multiple tragedies, in fact. It’s one of those tragedies that cannot be controlled (which is part of why tragedies that can be controlled are as anger-invoking as they are). It allows us to think about our freedoms, and how lucky we truly are to have homes to go home to, when they can be so easily taken away from us.

And hopefully, we are smart enough to not react like this every time there’s a new report from Texas…

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Fortunately, Coulter’s tweet is one in a sea of more positive reactions, including this from Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

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And, both celebrities, as well as Texas-based companies, are organizing donation relief efforts, as well as offering shelter.

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As further proof that Harvey is bringing people together rather than diving them, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has deployed aid to Texas, even after Texas did not provide the same aid to New York in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. Cuomo’s decision shows that in the midst of tragedy, we need to come together — instead of repeating the actions of past tragedies. Rather, we need to set a new precedent.

We’re witnessing many more examples, showcasing the precedent of coming together. A group of police officers risked their lives to save a toddler from drowning in a flood. Volunteers — outside of law enforcement and EMS — took matters into their own hands by making rescue runs, saving people trapped in flooded houses. Neighbors helped each other out in further rescue efforts, by any means necessary — including monster trucks and canoes. News reporters are putting down their microphones, and assisting in rescue efforts.

In a time when our country has reached such a state of division and political unrest, it is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy to show what it takes to come together. However, the fact still remains that with the exception of a few outlying tweeters, we still know how to support each other in times of need. We still remember how, as a country, to recognize who needs help, and why it’s needed.

Millennials, be part of this coming together. We are the compassionate generation, the generation raising our voices, the generation that takes action. If you’re not sure how to help, NPR offers a great list of resources that can be found here.

Remember that even if Harvey’s affects aren’t being felt in your neighborhood, you can still make an impact. To be grateful for what you have. To still have faith in the United States of America and its people. And to witness people coming together.

child care

“But which child care center should I choose?”: A Chat With a Millennial Child Care Expert

Adulting, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson

Millennial parents, there’s so many options for child care today. Especially if you’re a working parent, you’ll likely need to utilize at least one, maybe more, of those options.

But when there are so many options in front of you, what’s the best one for your family? We chatted with Regina Barone, owner of Tiny Toes Daycare of Rockland, New York, about some of the best child care options for millennial parents.

Why should you enroll your children in a child care program?
Many parents enroll their children in programs similar to mine because they want their children to be in a nurturing and learning environment while they’re at work, and need someone to care for their children.

What makes a day care center different than having a family member watch your child?
In my opinion, child care centers give children the opportunity of socialization with other children their age, and allows them to get used to being with others besides family members (which is helpful for kindergarten transition)Additionally, many daycares have programs that get children used to a school routine, which of course can be very beneficial.

What should you look for in a day care center?
Check to see if the center is state licensed. Find out their teacher qualifications and trainings. Ask questions, such as: do they offer a program? If yes, what is their philosophy, and does it match with what you are looking for?

Millennials are known for looking for discounts. How can you get the most bang for your buck in a child care center?
Looking for discounts, in any industry — including child care, is important. If you have someone who wants to watch your child (for free — for example, a grandmother) you can enroll your child part-time: either half days, or a few days a week. This way, it’s not the same cost of a full-time child. If you have more than one child, a sibling discount may be available.

What makes one day care center different from another?
The differences are all about the programs each day care center may offer. Some have more space (in terms of both outdoor or indoor) than others. But it’s important to look at what each individual teacher brings, if centers have special events, and how much family involvement comes into play.

What are the benefits of socializing a child from a young age?
I have seen that children who have been exposed at an earlier age definitely adapt more easily to both peers and adults, as opposed to children who start at a later age. This can affect their future academic careers. If children adapt well socially, the fact that they aren’t adapting socially isn’t distracting them in other areas.

How many hours per day should a child spend at day care?
It all depends on the parent’s work schedule. Most child care centers are open 11-12 hours every day. My suggestion is to drop-off and pick-up according to that time frame, giving yourself time to do home routines. For parents not working, but still wanting your child to have the experience of being around other children, the recommended time frame is seven hours (about the length of a school day).

What do millennial parents typically look for in a child care facility and in teachers?
As both a millennial parent and a day care provider, what seems to be consistent with what parents look for is caring and nurturing teachers who are stern when needed. They also value a clean and safe facility with a great program that not only offers academics, but play as well.

 

Regina Barone

 

Regina Barone holds an undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education from St. Thomas Aquinas College, and holds a Master’s degree in Literacy from The College of New Rochelle. She has worked in daycares for 15 years, and served as the Director of Tiny Toes Daycare of Rockland for seven years, before stepping into the role of owner for the past three years.

 

Bannon

Another One Out the White House Door

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

Another day, another Trump appointee removed from the White House.

First, it was Michael Flynn. Then, it was Jeff Sessions, but it wasn’t, and then it was, and then it wasn’t… and then, it was Sean Spicer. And who could forget Anthony Scaramucci‘s ten-day stint as Communications Director?

Then, on August 18, now former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon became the latest member of the Trump team to be out of a job.

Why is yet another appointee leaving the White House?
Depending on who is asked, Bannon’s departure from the White House was “long-rumored,” according to the New York Times. Between his long-reported disputes with Trump’s National Security Adviser Lt. General H.R. McMaster, his general lack of approval from Trump’s new Chief of Staff John Kelly, bad-mouthing fellow Trump staff members, and downplaying the threat of North Korea in an interview, critics (including Chief of Staff Kelly) have been calling for Bannon’s removal.

Who made the decision?
CNN is reporting that Bannon was fired following his failure to resign — and was, in turn, “forced out.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not confirm or deny that Bannon was fired, or left of his own accord. But, Bannon and Kelly “mutually decided” that August 18 would be Bannon’s last day. So, the stories are shaky all the way around, to put it nicely.

What’s next for Bannon?
Bannon’s previous employer, white nationalist news outlet Breitbart, is likely to welcome him back with open arms, the CNN report also states. Which reminds us to raise the question of why a known white nationalist like Bannon was even appointed in the first place — especially in the wake of the events in Charlottesville.

So, is this a good move or a bad move?
It’s a considerably good move considering Bannon’s white nationalist history. Following Trump’s initial reaction to Charlottesville and subsequent “many sides” statement, it looks good from a public relations perspective to remove those with ties to a white nationalist news outlet from the administration. It can give the appearance that Trump won’t tolerate that sort of rhetoric from his staff. And, of course, the whole making light of the North Korea situation couldn’t possibly look good for anyone involved.

But, what does it say about this administration, now that another appointee is out the door?
No matter the reasoning behind the move, or who orchestrated it, another appointee leaving on the heels of Scaramucci, Spicer, and Flynn… and Sessions (oh no, wait, he’s still in) could, and will, make the American people scratch their collective heads. We’re wondering what’s “really going on” in there. We’re watching Trump’s public persona and wondering how anyone could work for him. And our eyes are on the White House as though watching a reality television show (like, say, The Apprentice…). Our political system shouldn’t be viewed that way. We shouldn’t be wondering who gets “voted off” next week. And that’s exactly what’s happening.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

Where Hateful Acts Are an Everyday Reality

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

In the wake of the white supremacist events in Charlottesville, it’s easy to be disheartened. To lose hope. To wonder how these types of acts continue, how we’ve allowed them to continue, and how their perpetuators think any of it is acceptable. While it’s apparent that the mentality has existed in Charlottesville even before these rallies, many of us are hearing about all of it for the first time, or may not have even known this was still happening in our country.

Sure, we’ve known about the existence of white supremacy, even in 2017, when we’ve “made progress.” We’ve seen and become outraged over hate crimes. We’ve fought for acceptance for all races and supported and realized the importance of Black Lives Matter. But after Charlottesville, this is right in front of our faces. And while we should never have let it get this far, we didn’t take what led up to it seriously enough. As a result of the belief that we didn’t think it was “this bad,” we are nothing short of shocked.

The good news for America? We still live in a country where there is shock and anger and heartbreak over events like Charlottesville because we have certain freedoms, and we have enough of a collective conscience (minus, of course, the members of groups like the KKK and the National Policy Institute) to know that this type of racist, bigoted thinking is wrong. As a result of our freedoms, we’re allowed to the belief that it’s wrong, and we can raise our voices without fearing for our lives or the loss of the freedoms we’ve always known.

In certain other countries, acts similar to what happened in Charlottesville, and worse, occur ever single day at the hands of the government. They occur in the name of bigotry and hatred. In some cases, civilians commit these acts and the government either responds with denial, or doesn’t respond at all. What’s worse, in some cases, they are the law of the land. And as they’re occurring, civilians aren’t allowed the right of peaceful protest — as they fear for their lives as well as the potential loss of whatever freedoms they do have.

 

North Korea
The nuclear threat out of North Korea has been in the news for weeks, as well as its general threats toward the United States. But what we don’t always hear about is life in North Korea for civilians. Women and children are being executed at the hands of the government for what is considered a crime — including watching a movie out of Hollywood. In other words, something that isn’t propaganda in favor of the government. Something that doesn’t promote hate and violence. This viral video gives even more of a glimpse:

South Africa
According to Human Rights Watch’s 2017 World Report, the government of South Africa has been based in bigotry, hatred, and corruption for years. It has not “developed a national strategy to combat the high rate of violence against women and the continued underreporting of rape.” It has “failed to hold accountable those responsible for xenophobic attacks on the businesses and homes of refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants between March and May, 2015.” And it did not condemn or properly address Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini’s 2015 remarks that foreigners should “pack their bags and go home.”

Latin American countries
These countries — not limited to one or two — have a long and unfortunate history of violence. According to an openDemocracy report, seven out of ten countries with the world’s largest murder rate for women are located in Latin America, based on 2015 statistics. While these murders — based in a sexist line of thinking — are often found to be based in the home and not based out of the government, many of the countries are based in “male-dominated power structures.” In other words, the governments may not be perpetuating the acts, but their actions promote the notion that they are acceptable. Additionally, such power structures allow for women to be forced into organized crime in order to protect themselves, and the government hasn’t done a whole lot to stop that.

India
While not all of the hate perpetuated in India is at the hands of the government, women live in a state of constant fear. And while the government may not be the source of the hate, officials haven’t done much, if anything at all, to stop the country’s general attitude toward women. As if that’s not enough, the hate crimes that take place aren’t just specific to women, but also to other races. Human Rights Watch cites an incident in which a student from Nigeria visited India and received a public beating. While the government condemned the act, it did not acknowledge it as a race-related hate crime.

Poland
Again, another government that did not commit the acts, but, in a somewhat worse display of judgment, let neo-Nazi acts perpetuate. VICE News reported in May 2017 that Poland’s populist government has allowed “far-right extremism explode into the mainstream.” While that echos of Charlottesville, the situation appears to be even more out in the open. Not to mention, “Openly xenophobic far-right politicians have seats in Parliament, and the populist government of the conservative Law and Justice party has adopted a nationalist, anti-immigrant platform that shares much ground with the far right.”

 

While Charlottesville may have opened our eyes to the fact that white supremacy and other hateful acts are unfortunately alive and well, it’s important to recognize that in no country should they be permitted to just be a fact of life where not one person, not even government officials, bats an eye. Millennials, let’s not forget that this is happening both in our own metaphorical backyard, as well as across the world.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

Charlottesville

As America Reacts to Charlottesville, How Will We Take Action?

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

Following the completely unacceptable white supremacy rallies in Charlottesville that started with violent protests at the University of Virginia, many reactions of those in power were mixed. While our country’s leaders should be universally condemning the events as to say that they stray from the ideals of liberty and justice for all is an understatement, some called for action, some expressed an appropriate degree of grief, and some… didn’t even acknowledge the seriousness of the situation.

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Eventually, the White House’s statement was changed to acknowledge that the attacks came from white supremacists. But initially, while President Trump acknowledged the hateful and violent nature of the attacks, he failed to acknowledge the fact that they were rooted in white supremacy. Which isn’t surprising, considering the immigration reforms he attempted to implement at the beginning of his term as President, and his rhetoric surrounding those of other races.

 

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Former Vice President Joe Biden responded to President Trump’s initial press conference, in which he declared that there is hatred and bigotry on “many sides” of the situation. Just as in the tweet above, the press conference failed to acknowledge the white supremacist basis of the rallies. And he’s right.

 

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And earlier in the day, long before POTUS even made a statement, Uncle Joe called us to action, too.

 

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Senator Bernie Sanders nailed it all. He called a spade a spade — in this case, the spade being the fact that this is an incident rooted in white supremacy. He then reminds us that what happened in Charlottesville has become a way of life, and hate crimes are a real, unfortunate fact.

 

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POTUS 44 quotes one of the greats to express how unacceptable this event is — but also, expresses just how easy it is to love instead of hate. Love takes much less energy.

 

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Senator Elizabeth Warren also called a spade a spade, and good for her. She didn’t shy away from terminology that isn’t reality, didn’t sugar-coat with euphemisms, and called us all to action. We tend to shy away from words like “Neo-Nazi” because collectively, we operate under the belief that we conquered white supremacy following the ending of the Holocaust. In actuality, groups like the KKK continue to have a presence.

 

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Sally Yates echoed Warren — and pointed out just how it easy it is not to beat around the bush.

 

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Yes, Senator Mike Huckabee, yes. But not entirely sure where your call to action is.

 

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Virginia’s governor, Terry McAuliffe, asks us all to take action. There’s a difference between hate speech, violence, and free speech.

 

Millennials, where does this leave us? Those in power are telling us to take action, but we shouldn’t need their cue in order to do it. The message is clear — this needs to end, and should have ended a long time ago. What will you do today to change this culture?

 

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.