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Judge Freeseman, Exonerate Troy Davis

21 Sep

Dear Judge Freeseman,

I hope this email finds you well. My name is Krystie Yandoli and I’m currently a senior at Syracuse University. I understand that you are under a lot of stress and anxiety at the current moment because of your involvement with Troy Davis’s case, but I wanted to get in touch with you because I think it would be an incredible injustice to our legal system and American history to send Troy Davis to the death penalty. I beg you to reconsider this man’s fate with all of the newfound evidence and juror’s coming out saying their own, authentic truths that differ from their original statements and decisions.

Please find it in your heart, as well as in logical terms, to change your mind. Exonerate Troy Davis. Use your power wisely.

Best wishes,
Krystie

*Take action and email Judge Freeseman yourself: pfreesemann@chathamcounty.org.

Women’s Sports + Lack of Coverage = espnW

1 Aug

The Obama Family watching U.S. and Japan face off on Sunday, July 17 in the Women's World Cup finals.

I wrote a piece for Women’s eNews on July 23 about the lack of women’s sports coverage in the mainstream media. As an avid sports fan and someone who takes a special interest in gender equality, some of these statistics are straight up heart-breaking. It’s really an issue of what comes first, the chicken or the egg. In order for the public to show an interest in women’s sports, does the media have to provide them with the content? Or should the content be provided after an interest is shown?

Either way, the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup broke all kinds of records of viewers watching on their TV screens, following on the Internet, and tweeting about it. It also showed that there is clearly a market for women’s sports fans.

One means of filling this void in women’s sports coverage is espnW, ESPN’s new online Website for female sports fans and athletes. I also wrote an article about espnW for Women’s eNews on July 13, noting that there are a few skeptics around this idea of almost segregating women’s and men’s sports coverage.

After following espnW for almost a month now and doing some research, I’m a huge fan of their product and think that it is definitely one of the answers to the missing coverage around women’s sports. Their general premise is too good to object: “We’ll shine a brighter spotlight on women’s sports, and put you in touch with top female athletes from across the globe.”

Back from a Blogging hiatus!

1 Aug
As you may have noticed, I took an unanticipated break from my blogging days in order to accomplish other sorts of awesome things! I stopped writing in the middle of my “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” project, and also dropped the ball on some really critical news stories centered around women’s issues.
But, I’m back!
I’ll be posting for the next few days on a few of my own updates and citing some pieces I wrote for other publications. After we’re all caught up, then I’ll go back to a more regular schedule. Stay tuned!

Day 4: Viewing the World from the Ground Up

15 Apr

“So go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground.” –Oprah Winfrey

NYC from the ground up

Thursday, April 15th was the first nice day outside that really felt like spring; the rain was drying up, the temperatures started rising, and the cloud parted ways for the sun to make its seasonal debut. As someone much accustomed to the winter months, I finally felt its’ departure and the coming of spring on this beautiful day. Low and behold, I was stuck inside of the office I work in during the week, and could only witness this beautiful weather from my limited window view.

Luckily, I had plans to meet up with two friends, Molly and Paul, for a late dinner and would then be able to enjoy this no-leggings kind of day. Following the continuous theme of every other day, I rushed. I hurried through the piles of articles I needed to fact-check, ran over to Fat Sal’s Pizza to beat the lunch hour lines, and sped through the rest of my tasks until the workday was officially over.

The work was done, but the rushing didn’t stop there; now I had to transport myself from 475 10th Avenue to meet up with Molly and Paul.  I sprinted from 37th street to 42nd and all the way through Time Square; I caught the Shuttle, which took me to Grand Central Station, and hopped on the 5 train express which delivered me to my final destination, Union Square. I knew I had a long night ahead of me, and a long day behind me. Bodily exhaustion doesn’t even begin to describe my physical discomfort from staring at a computer screen and running around New York all day, in heels no less. I was tired from my internship, tired from avoiding creepy loud mouths on the subway, and tired of always rushing.

My life often feels like a constant rush, leaving memories of more common days blurred together. The surrounding culture I’ve been brought up in has taught me to live this way: impatiently grab a cup of coffee before the rest of the morning commuters, rush to the train station, speed past people who mosey down sidewalks and take their sweet time crossing the street. I’m always in a rush, but on this budding spring evening, I asked myself where I was rushing to? Continue reading

Day 3: Books, Women, and Happiness

14 Apr

“Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.” -Louisa May Alcott

I was born with a book in my hand. Okay, not really. But I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember, and then some. This is yet another normalcy in my life that I neglected in the past year of “not feeling like myself.” I used to read a couple of books per week, and in the year 2010 I was lucky if finished one book every few months. Now, I know there’s no such thing as “normal” and “regular,” but this definitely wasn’t my normal. As someone who was once wealthy in book knowledge, I was seriously lacking in the literature department.

Louis May Alcott was a brilliant writer, and an extremely progressive woman for her time. I’ve always admired her, which is why I decided to act on her quote above. On Wednesday, April 13th I  took matters into my own hands and read a book titled Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness. Not even Alcott could have predicted how meaningful Bluebird would become to my life after devouring it in mere hours.

Literature on psychology usually isn’t my strong suit, but allowing myself to step outside of my comfort zone and be challenged to read a varying subject matter served as a critical tool in my new found perception of happiness. This collection of words by Ariel Gore really woke me up and affected me; it shook me to my core. I have a complicated thought process when it comes to fate and everything happening for a specific reason, but it definitely wasn’t a coincidence that this book came into my life with such precise timing. (Full disclosure: I have nothing but amazing words to describe this book.)

Women and happiness isn’t exactly the simplest issue to tackle, especially within the realm of 190 pages. The author manages to provide a plethora of insight and statistical information that helps the reader grasp the all-encompassing concept of feminine satisfaction. She discusses ideas of motherhood, the culturally historical origins of women and happiness, positive emotion, and imperfection. While there are many components involved in achieving the ideal level of happiness, it ultimately remains within the steps we take as individuals during our search. Gore explains this in the conclusion of the book on page 176,

“Happiness, like some central seed, is actually contained within the pursuit.”


Continue reading

Day 2: Words = Power

13 Apr

Cross-posted at Her Campus.com.

*Special note: My interpretation of acting on the following quote is by writing about it, because it involves the idea that words are powerful. Instead of literally doing something as a result of this piece of advice, I wrote about about it in relation to a specific happening on Tuesday, April 12th.

“A word after a word after a word is power.” -Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood can teach Kobe Bryant a thing or two about the power of words. The famous literary force once wrote, “A word after a word after a word is power.” While it may initially seem like the two respective stars have little to nothing in common, they would probably be able to strike up a vivid conversation around this one idea in particular.

In a Laker game against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, April 12th, referee Bennie Adams called a technical foul against Kobe Bryant. The guard reacted by cursing and muttered a homophobic comment, all for the cameras to capture on live, national television. The five-time NBA champ ponied up a $100,000 fine to the league and was publicly condemned by NBA commissioner, David Stern.

The age-old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” doesn’t exactly speak to the experiences of those who have been directly affected by the power of words. Bullying, teasing, and verbal abuse all incorporate the concept of negative word usage; the harmful meaning behind a few letters strung together creates a negative context for them to be released into the world.

The words expressed on Tuesday night, which won’t be repeated here, do not define who Kobe Bryant is as a professional athlete. It also doesn’t define him as a person. It does, however, affect how fans view their favorite all star and complicate the issue of human rights in popular culture. All because of one thoughtless moment and two toxic words.

Kobe Bryant’s anti gay remark is complicated by his role model status. Fame enables individuals in the spotlight to impact viewers professionally and personally; it comes with the territory of celebrity in American culture. It’s Kobe’s imperfections, however, that allow people to come to terms with his utter normalcy as opposed to being held on a celebrity pedestal. It’s the fact that these flaws are publicly displayed that requires Bryant to be extremely thoughtful with his word choice. Continue reading

Day 1: Making Peace

12 Apr

 “I don’t think there’s anything more important than making peace before it’s too late.” -Jane Fonda

Friendships have always played an integral role in social change throughout history, specifically within the feminist movement. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage were BFFLs when they initiated the women’s suffrage movement in the late 1800’s, groups of girlfriends would get together and form consciousness raising groups in the 1970’s to educate themselves, and Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards wrote the groundbreaking third-wave title ManifestA together, as friends.

It’s evident that friends are a key component to political causes, but they also play a significant role personally. Over the course of my 21 years on Earth, my friendships have become an essential component to my every day life; there are a number of individuals in my life who I’ve cultivated authentic relationships with and who serve as critical tools to my happiness (and sometimes, my survival).

In breaking the spirit of feminist tradition, one of my very closest friends is a guy. My best friend, Scott*, is important to me for a myriad of reasons. Most notably because we’re able to confide in each other and contribute both a male and female perspective to our friendship. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing like some much-needed girl talk, but friendship with Scott* has been instrumental to my understanding and growing knowledge.He approaches issues differently than some of my gal pals, and our gender differences have greatly enriched our conversations. We’re always learning from each other.

Having a male perspective in feminism and women’s issues is not only beneficial, it’s necessary. Instead of having an “us versus them” mentality, I’ve found it to be far more  productive to include both ideologies in the process towards progress and equality. For example, when I talk about gender discrimination in the workplace and only include my amigas, I’m limiting the potential solution to this issue. When I make the conscious decision to speak to Scott* about it, however, I learn a new way of thinking. I’m not claiming Scott* as the token male perspective, because this one dude doesn’t represent the entire male gender. His presence, however, helps ground me and maintain a balanced opinion.

I should mention that even though Scott* is one of my best friends, sometimes we don’t talk for a while. Perhaps this isn’t too foreign a concept for adults living in the real world with full-time jobs and significant others, but we’re just a couple of college students meandering through life. It doesn’t feel completely natural to endure these periods of silence. Continue reading

NEW PROJECT: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

11 Apr

Cross-posted at Her Campus.com

I’ve been in kind of a funk lately. There’s a million other ways to describe what I’ve been going through, but I find this to be the simplest and most straightforward language around it: I’m in a bit of a funk. I let a lot of things in my personal, professional, and academic life slide by the wayside, and I couldn’t really figure out what my deal was. While trying to survive this funk, it only felt natural to look to those around me for guidance. I managed to find this much needed solace and understanding in family and friends, but advice was nowhere to be found when it came to pop culture.

As an admirer of many public figures, especially female role models who I hold in high esteem, I became exceptionally aware of the lack of leadership around me. I couldn’t find one popular, famous woman in the mainstream who demonstrated a true sense of mentoring and acknowledgment of her authentic power. Who could I observe as a means of productive and effective pseudo-therapy? Teen Mom cast members? No thanks. The infamous chicks featured on Sister Wives? I don’t think so. Rihanna? Debatable.

It’s enough to make a girl go mad. I’m fortunate enough to be graced with the presence of many real-life women role models, but not every young female can be so lucky. Who are young women supposed to look up to in the public eye? Which celebs and famous figures are genuine, acceptable role models? What makes an acceptable role model? Continue reading

Lazy Sundays

10 Apr

I’m taking a break from writing today while visiting some guy in Worcester, MA. In the mean time, check out what these awesome ladies have been saying all week:

Okay, well, maybe this isn’t so recent. But Susan Dominus penned this beautiful piece in The New York Times, describing an alternative walking commute down the streets over the A train in New York City.

Check out Jenna’s really important post about why we all need to eliminate “the r word” from our vocabularies.

Blue Valentine gets some long-winded lovin’ at CollegeFemme.

Katherine Baldwin is “abstaining for 40 days from negative thinking about body, appearance and achievements.” Read her blog, here!

In college? Broke? Read 10 easy ways to save money at HerCampus.com.

“Money Makes the World Go Around”

8 Apr

Cross-posted at Feministing Community.

The Women’s Funding Network is currently hosting their 2011 annual conference in Brooklyn, New York this weekend, called “The Power of Global Networks.” I was fortunate enough to attend their opening plenary yesterday morning and listen to Majora Carter introduce her background and innovative ideas for the financial networking of women.

Money is the one tool that proves to be just as destructive as it is freeing. It can be the source of much anxiety and frustration for those who struggle to acquire it. Simultaneously, however, it can greatly alter the status quo of a pessimistic situation. Carter articulated that in order for women to join the tiny percentages of successful organizations led by females, we have to donate money. She then asked of her predominantly female audience, “What does it mean to be authentically global?”

Global issues affect all of us; we are all citizens of the world, and there cannot be complete peace as long as the majority is suffering. The Women’s Funding Network globally invests in women and programs that are both designed and executed by other women. Their ultimate goal perpetuates a more empowering environment for females on an international level, and encourages the communication and relationships between women of different nations.It also stresses the extreme importance of financial relations involved in an effective social change movement.

While holding the position as a big-wig donor is rightfully important, all women should also realize there are multiple roles to be played in this fight for a better world. These roles can unfortunately depend on income and the amount of money we’re able to give, but those of us who can’t donate the big bucks aren’t completely at a loss. There are many different ways to collaborate on these issues. For example, I’m not a millionaire, but I insist on writing about women’s issues and giving a voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to express their causes.

If women want to be realistic about accomplishing critical long-term goals, there has to be a fusion between those who contribute through a creative means and others who need to put their money where their mouths are, so to speak. Carter emphasized this on Thursday when she explained, “There is a funding disparity between organizations and companies led by men and women, at a 20:1 ratio. In the year 2011, the number of philanthropy donations are growing, but our problems aren’t getting any better. Continue reading

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