Ways to Honor Their Memories & Remarks on a Tragedy: Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohamed Abu-Salha & Razan Abu-Salha

A month ago, I was planning to post about gender equality and the rise of young girls empowering themselves, but now that seems vastly inappropriate and unnecessary. Late on Tuesday, February 11th, I learned that three friends and classmates had been shoot and murdered. In a few days I learned they were killed in their home execution style by a neighbor who had previously made threats and hateful comments about Muslims. This hit me like a ton of bricks.

I have had a fairly difficult year. I left my full-time job,  I had serious health issues, my fiance’s immigration case being mishandled and is continuing for a second year when it was supposed a 5-9 month process– but it is the deaths of friends that I remember most.  Over the summer several friends died in car crashes in Egypt. While working at an Islamic Conference in May, I learned Tayyibah Taylor (the first publisher to ever believe in me) was struggling to fight her cancer, by September I was contributing to her tribute.  Then a fellow writer (who first encouraged me to contribute to Sisters’ Magazine) Maria Zain died while giving birth to her 6th child. Then I got the news about Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammed Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha. All the emotions I had held in since May came flooding in. Suddenly all the hardships I had gone through over the year seemed like nothing. Three very wonderful people being senselessly gunned down, no matter the reason is so shocking and upsetting. I was overwhelmed with emotions.

I quickly contacted my friends and their family members in NC. I was able to put together a tribute for them.

Which is was tagged by The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Atlantic. It was always republished by Huffington Post.

I was blessed to have known these amazing people and I was share how I knew them and why this terrible event matters to Florida based news stations/papers such as the follow:

I was also honored to speak at the Orlando Vigil for Our Three Winners

As I said in the video how I felt and what I did is not unique, everyone who knew them was deeply effect by their tragic and sudden deaths. It is not our grieving that is necessarily so important, though it is, what we need to focus on right now is sharing their stores; we must never forget them and all they stood for.

Here are some ways we can do that:

  1. Collect and donate dental supplies
  2. Money to the Syria Dental Relief
  3. Funds the #OurThreeWinners Trust
  4. Tax-deductible donation to the Deah, Yusor, Razan Scholarship Endowment Fund: Islamic Scholarship Fund
  5. Alternatively donate to the North Carolina State University Our Three Winners Scholarship Fund 
  6. Support the donation to the memorial bricks to be laid at Athens Drive High School (outside the Wake County Public Library Entrance), Yusor and Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha’s high school.
  7. Collect and donate canned goods/pantry items to #FeedTheirLegacy  and like this Facebook Page 
  8. Volunteer and support United Muslim Relief 
  9. Follow the Our Three Winners Facebook Page
  10. Purchase and wear a t-shirt or wrist band, all funds support Deah’s Syria Dental Relief Project
  11. Send a Salaam card by ArtofFelicity a portion of the funds supports the Triangle Chapter of United Muslim Relief
  12. Buy a version of Al-Wadud The One Who Loves, by SHOPNadiaJ (aka Nadia Janjau) all funds support the Deah’s Syria Dental Releif Project

The Inner Meaning of Hijab

Happy World Hijab Day, but let’s talk about the meaning of hijab.

I love my hijabi sisters. I adore wearing hijab and trying new styles.

I love the ultra-modesty hijabers to the hijabinistas, but sometimes the other types of hijab are forgotten. Hijab is more than the literal translation of the of the Quran:

Most scholars say these passages mean that women must wear a long dress (abaya) and a headscarf (hijab); which I agree with but hijab is much more than that. Hijab is a call to modesty in word, thought, and deed. Which means whether a Muslim Woman chooses to wear a hijab or not, she may be practicing hijab.

That is, not to say I don’t support World Hijab Day, because I do. I have contributed to the non-profit’s site: My First Day in Hijab and I even shared how much I support the Beyond the Veil Programs at schools and University’s on Coming of Faith’s Site: I Still Support World Hijab day. I want the Muslim community and the non-Muslim supporters of Islam to start to see hijab is much more than a piece of cloth.

Let’s stop judging whether a Muslim woman, wears or doesn’t wear this piece of cloth. Let’s stop thinking everyone who wears hijab for a day, does or does not understand a Muslim women. Let’s stop judging the understanding of a Muslim woman by a woman’s ability or willingness to dawn a little piece of cloth!

Maybe that non-Muslim lived in Saudi Arabia for 20 years, studied the Middle East, or is married to a Muslim. Maybe that non-hijab is praying every prayer, never speaks a hateful word, and her family doesn’t support her wearing hijab. Maybe that hijabi wears hijab is also extremely kind to others with a deep understanding of Quran. Maybe, maybe, maybe….there are millions of different types of Muslim women, and a variety of levels of understand of them by non-Muslims. Let’s stop being so judgmental of each other:

I have received hate mail by dozens of Muslims, other writers, and anti-Islamic groups. The above is just an tame example of someone who misunderstood my work, but I receive much worse on a daily basis. If people to as much time to think and try to understand another person’s perspective, as they do to judge and spew hate, we would have a much more productive world and a much more united Islamic Community.

Today, let’s think about how we can move forward to not judge each other and try to practice that inner meaning of hijab.

1. Pause before posting/speaking. No, not just to edit, but think… do I really have to say that? Would I accept it if someone else said that?
2. Practice prayer and or breathing techniques when upset. When you disagree with someone you have a visceral response. Sometimes we just need a minute to calm ourselves before sharing those emotions.
3. Imagine…if every time you did some that you knew was hurtful you had a to A. Do two kind acts, B. Would start at a lower level in heaven when you die, C. Someone else would think less of you, D. All of the above.
4. Purify thoughts to create purer words and actions. Feeling negative? Pray, read, watch tv, find a creative outlet. Basically find something you enjoy that makes you happy, overtime your thoughts will be purer which will reflect in your words and actions.
5. Interact with people who encourage your goodness and not your nufs (ego). The stronger these relationship get the lighter your soul feel, and the stronger your inner hijab gets.

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Why I Support MuslimARC and 10 Ways You Can Too

The Muslim Anti-Racism Collaboration is highly regarded for their work building and collecting tools “needed to creatively address and effectively challenge racism in Muslim communities”.

I first learned about MuslimARC last August when a co-worker Laila Alawa and a friend Arthur Richards were in a panel on a Google Hangout and a subsequent Twitter Hashtag conversation about “Muslim Youth Rising”  #MYRising. I loved being a part of  the twitter conversation, and seeing the ummah, ages 18-25, share what they see of racism and how they are rising up to change how races is view in and out of the Muslim community.

After attending the conversation I joined MuslimARC and attended a few Media Team meetings. What motivated me to change from being a passive viewer to participating?

1. I saw like-minded Muslim youth wanting to educate people about race.

2. The campaigns they had scheduled were necessary and important. I felt like joining and showing my support would help to spread the organization’s goals.

3. I looked up the website and read about what MuslimARC is all about:

MuslimARC sees that race and racism are everyone’s problem and everyone deserves to have a moment to share what matters to them regarding their race. One of the wonderful ways they help various races and ethnicities share are their campaigns. For example, I recently had the pleasure to moderate a panel for the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaboration; #BeingAWhiteMuslim.

The 100% volunteer based team that organized the event researched about the White Muslim population: popular questions, struggles, converts vs. born Muslims. They then developed a thoughtful script, a hashtag, and contacted a variety of White Muslims to be on the panel. It was mashaAllah very healing, informative, comforting for me to listen to the panelists who shared similar experiences and gave meaningful suggests of how we can move past certain issues. As the conversations went on, I found myself longing to ask more and more questions. InshaAllah the next #BeingAWhiteMuslim panel will be just as wonderful.

MuslimARC, not only holds these amazing events, but developed toolkits to teach anti-racism and diversity to children, adults, and community leaders. Not only teaching people to be respectful of diversity but to give insight and help people understand each other’s perspectives more thoroughly. They not only imagine a brighter future where race is positively discussed, but they are making this happen through their programs.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I love his non-violent marches towards equality. I am constantly inspired by his work and enjoy learning more about him as I age; reading more and seeing more of his work. I know that he did not do it alone–he too had collaborators, he had people marching beside him. Unlike this picture, race is not just black, white, and a few shades in between. Race has baggage, piles of suitcases, of our history as a people. Some bad and some amazing moments of triumphs. Let’s continue to hope for the future and support understanding each better, and support MuslimARC.

Here’s 10 ways you can support MuslimARC:

1. Join

2. Introduce yourself and attend New Member Orientation (optional)

3. Attend a Hangout or Hashtag conversation

4. Join a Team

5. Share about events and MuslimARC on Social Media

6. Use the toolkits to help your local community

7. Attend an event in-person

8. Consider training with the team to become an instructor of diversity awareness training/anti-racism training

9. Host an event

10. Donate to MuslimARC

Race, religion, and ethnicity are part of all of us. Stop pointing fingers and work together.

(longer clip available here)

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Action2015: Our Better World

Curious about the trending twitter and instagram topic “#action2015.” Here is the who, what, when, where, why, and how of Action2015.


You! Well really everyone, especially youth. because by the goals’ timeline are completed in 2030 the 15 year olds of today will be 30 year olds leading our world.

What is it?

A call to action. The voices of 1/1000 people in the world participated in the MyWorld2015 survey (your’s truly included) that is over 7 million voices being heard. Continuing to engage people improves the work of the UN, it’s partners, and insures no individual or country is left behind. Action2015 uses our contributions to help set new goals for the UN and the world, then we can help them met those goals an we and those around us benefit.


Now, today, January 15, 2015, is the official launch of #Action2015. From today until 2030 there will be numerous was to engage and support Action2015.


You can get involved

1. Online: share info., your opinions, volunteer, attend a rally, attend a Google Hangout, participate in surveys, watch videos, read stories, and share your story

2. In-person: your country’s rally, at a UNA chapter meeting/event, volunteer

Organizations & Governments

3. Attending summits, engaging with citizen, passing laws to meet the new goals, and providing the opportunities for change in your region.


Prior to these summits, making the voices of everyday people, like you and me be heard by our representatives is essential to making sure our needs are meet.

After attending the UNA-USA call explaining the agenda of Action 2015. Robert Skinner told the listeners, the main purpose of involving everyday citizens helps not only continue to improve the achievements of the 17 MDG but continues to add to the potential Sustainable Development Goals. This is 3 fold:

1. Create a minimum standard of living for all humanity. The areas it may look to improve could include: healthcare, hunger, poverty, electricity, roads, transportation, education, internet access; doing all this while considering the environment.

2. Reconsider how we build society; infrastructures, city building, updating rural areas. This might include building roads, building clinics and schools, setting-up public toilets, making water clean and accessible, setting-up/improving electricity and internet access. Again, all of this needs to be done while considering Climate Action and the environments of each region.

3. Change how we hold groups accountable. The UN, governments, businesses, and public/private sector organizations all need to be held accountable to get the work done, protect the environment safely, and be held responsible when things go awry.

Learn more about the why of Action 2015 on their website: http://www.action2015.org/why-we-are-doing-this/


Here’s some tips Action2015.org suggests that we can do to get involved:

“Here are three things you can do to help spread the word about action/2015 and the year 2015!

  1. Host a digital activity on January 15 on a social channel. It can be a Google+ Hangout, Facebook Question and Answer segment, and more. Help us spread the world about how to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Visit the action/2015 website and share our social media content!
  2. Join the conversation Use the hashtag #action2015.
  3. Holding an event in your community? Send us your digital assets, photos and more. Spread the word about what your community is doing to make a difference!”

These are 4 of the awesome Google + Hangouts I attended today, that you can watch, re-watch, like, comment, and share anytime:

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Overcoming Hardships

As 2014 came to a close I was quite dispirited due to many continuing hardships.

Hardships that challenge us all like; health issues, unemployment,  poverty, separation from those we love.

I am a generally positive and optimistic person. I have that wide-eyed optimist’s outlook, my fiance says sometimes it looks like this:

When this issues happen,  I tend to compartmentalize them and focus on other, usually happier, aspects of my life.

Sometimes the pain of a difficult situation is all encompassing. Like an illness that physically hurts and prevents you from completing simple everyday tasks. The loss of a love one is so upsetting that you physical hurt, crying until you can barely breath and your heart races.

It is during these times we try to listen to advice from the best source God.

We look to the Toran, and the Bible for lessons and parables of prophets overcoming difficulties. We are reminded to count our blessings…that someone is always struggling more.

As a Muslim I am told:

I believe in these quotes. I know I can rally and find strength through the promise of a better tomorrow, future, or at least peace in heaven one day. Until then I shall…

I will  also practice these techniques to help me throughout 2015:
1. Read your religious texts
2. Pray
3. Giving back to other will not only distract you, but remind you of how everyone has issues, and many have far more or far worse issues
4. Ask for support
5. Talk time for myself. Perhaps journaling more, exercising or strengths, watching a favorite show, reading a novel, taking a long bath, crafting, or my favorite find time for a nap.

With the strength of God and this five tips I am sure 2015 will continue to improve.

PS Like the Facebook Page to get more thoughts and updates

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January 7th, I turned 26. That’s right, I am officially in my late twenties. I still look forward to birthdays. I like the cake, the presents, a special dinner with my family, and the birthday wishes from my friends and co-workers.

The wonderful board at Coming of Faith sent me this Gif on my Birthday. It was so cute and thoughtful. Many years go by and birthday cards are more of a facebook post “Happy Birthday!” rather than a card or letter with deeper, more sincere meaning.

Unlike this plucky song by Garfunkel and Oats “Happy Birthday to My Loose Acquaintance” this year I received many lovely and thoughtful facebook messages and wall posts from friends and family. Yes, some were just “Happy Birthday! Stay Awesome <3 :-)” but I replied. I tagged the original comment-er and had a conversation with every person that commented on my wall, sent a message, an email, a linkedin message, or a tweet. These friends, are not just facebook friends that I log off and never talk to again. These friends are people that I work with, I grew up with, that are coming to my wedding. I want to maintain a relationship with them. Maintaining a relationship takes work. If they did the “nice person thing to do,” as the song said, then I can take seconds to reply with more than a curt “thank you”.

Instead I:

1. Tell someone how much I value them.

2. Tell someone why I appreciate there comments

3. Sharing why I love working with someone and being their friend, publicly praising them.

This makes a huge difference. Not only does my friend have a moment to feel special, but it helps strength the friendship in the long term. Lasting, quality friendships aid in overall success.

I love this card my friend Erika and her daughters got me! Hand written cards just add a little some extra to that birthday wish. That old-fashion love of putting pen to paper is a discussion for another time. ;-)

PS. Thank you everyone who voted for me for the Brass Crescent Awards. Also thank you to whom ever nominated me, please feel free to nominate me for future awards! ;-) I was totally flattered and surprised by this and I really look forward to improving as a writer in the years to come so I can be far more deserving of these types of awards. Thanks again!

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No Resolutions

…And a Happy New Year to you too!


Sorry to start the new year with negativity, but to me, avoiding resolutions is a worthwhile pursuit.  My future is between God and me not to be left up to wishful thinking to share at a New Year’s Eve party, or worse a status update that I can still reread in 6 months when the goal remains unfulfilled.

2014 was not the best year. I struggled with a serious health issue, left my full time job and it’s lovely salary, have struggled with my fiance’s immigration, and continue to live far from my extended family I was once very close to.

Like most Americans I am a positive person. Gallup polls even show that the United States is among the top 50 most positive nations in the world with “78% of Americans surveyed being positive and showing feelings of general optimism.” I am not one to deny this part of my American identity, so of course I am focusing on the good things of 2014, so let’s try this again.

2014 was the best year. I am thrilled to be writing professionally, making television appearances using my expertise in politics, had a UN fellowship, and joined the staff Coming of Faith.

Yes, I have left the security of regular work, I struggle financially, my fiancé and I are still separated by 8,000 miles, my family is still living far away from me, and I am still finishing up treatment for my health issue, but as an American I must not think about that (is my sarcasm showing, I think it is).

It’s 1/1/2015 and suddenly not only am I supposedly a positive American but now I have to positively project my future?


New Year’s resolutions in America derive from Protestant British settlers in American hoping to encourage “emotional and physical restraint in the face of life’s indulgences… creating life-long discipline” as stated by Oxford Journal’s Social Forces, sociologist Isidor Thorner. This same idea was also used by Mahatma Gandhi in Self Restrain V. Self  Indulgence. Gandhi suggests striving for a balance by making conscience daily choices, instead of changing one’s lifestyle in one day. He encouraged this to promote “daily growing.”


With founding American Colonist simply hoping for modest servants of God, and Gandhi’s ideal of daily growing in mind, I find myself warming to the idea of making a New Year’s Resolution. I decided to look for examples of those early American’s resolutions, only to discover that there are no records of these until because of lack of popularity. New Year’s resolutions only became popular in America following the Great Depression, out of a “desperation for hope” as historian at the Constitution Center stated.

Post-Great Depression American Adults’ New Year’s Resolutions from 1947 as recorded by Gallup:

new year“1. Improve my disposition, be more understanding, control my temper  paige-new-year_opt
2. Improve my character, live a better life
3. Stop smoking, smoke less
4. Save more money
5. Stop drinking, drink less
6. Be more religious, go to church oftener
7. Be more efficient, do a better job
8. Take better care of my health
9. Take greater part in home life
10. Lose (or gain) weight”

5/10 of those resolutions are for good works, MashaAllah maybe I should do that, but 50% isn’t that compelling of a case. I don’t want to fall into the trappings of “False Hopes of Self Change” which happens to be the title of 2002 American Psychologist article by Janet Polivy and C. Peter Herman. They stressed the points that resolutions create false hope and create “unhealthy over-confidence.” With 46% of Americans who made New Year’s Resolutions whom were then studied for 6 months by University of Scranton, reporting as “non-resolvers” …why should I risk failure? Why even create the opportunity for failure, when 2014 already gave me so many difficulties? Shouldn’t I instead leave 2015 up to God?

Sure, a resolution is kind of like a prayer when you ask “God, help me pass this test” but it is to such extremes it doesn’t allow room for real life issues to get in the way or for God’s plans to intervene.

The University of Scranton’s data showed the top New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 were:

  1. Lose weight
    2. Getting organized
    3. Spend less, save more
    4. Enjoy life to the fullest
    5. Stay fit and healthy
    6. Learn something exciting
    7. Quit smoking
    8. Help others in their dreams
    9. Fall in love
    10. Spend more time with family

With the exceptions 8 and 10, these are all very self involved. I cannot help but wonder if I was to ask for God’s help to fulfill a resolution, would I really be ok asking for these things?

Perhaps, I am too narcotic for my own good. I just imagine having to answer for my foolish, and selfish prayers when I get to Jannah.

God would ask, “Jillian on 1/1/2015 why did you ask me to ‘help me get organized’ instead of making dua’as for those in need?”

I cannot not think of an acceptable answer so I think I should avoid being put in the position of having to be asked.

I sincerely hope and pray for all of us to have a better 2015 than 2014, but for now I will make no resolutions.


PS. This blog has been nominated for a Brass Crescent Award! Additionally two organizations I am involved with have been nominated: Coming of Faith and MuslimARC, please vote tonight. It takes 30 seconds. You vote. They email you. You click a link to confirm your vote.  Go to www.brasscrescent.org now!


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Change the Face of Your Nation

I recently forged new opinion of much of the continent of Africa. When most non-Africans think of Africa, we think of ebola, hunger, FGM, children soldiers, tribal culture, and maybe ankara frabic and unique jewerly. What we should think is educated, motivated, entrepreneurial people.

Here are some amazing Africans I met at the Social Good Summit:


Mercy Chepkoech Sigey
Youth Inventor Global Minimum
“Mercy is a freshman at Strathmore University. She is passionate about wildlife and enjoys working with electronics. In high school, she started making a motion sensor along with two other classmates as they saw the need to fight against poaching in Kenya. Her team’s current prototype consists of a PIR module and an Arduino microcontroller which senses movement with a range of nine meters and sends the information to a computer through a cable. Learn more about Mercy and other youth inventors at http://www.gmin.org/.&#8221;Masshable SGS Bio
Olanike Olugboji Nigeria
World Pulse LIVE
“She has witnessed the environmental exploitation of her beloved homeland and mobilizes grassroots women to take charge as they have been most impacted. She believes that the only way to ensure the environmental security of Nigeria is to make sure that women have equal voice in these decisions.”  Mashable SGS Bio

Gerald Kobobo Afadani, Cameroon

Public Management, Howard University

“Gerald has over five years of experience working with presiding magistrates and liaising with litigants and counsels in the administration of justice at the Court of First Instance Tikoas. He is a Member Delegate to the Joint Court Registry Administrative Board and Permanent Disciplinary Council where he participates in the career evaluation and management of over 2,000 colleagues. He also serves as the Chief of the Trade and Personal Property Rights Register where he is responsible for the study, verification, and registration of companies. Gerald holds a master’s degree in Business Law, and a law degree in English Private Law, both from the University of Yaoundé II in Soa. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship program, he plans to extend the use of electronic templates in the incorporation of businesses to the Courts of First Instance. He also plans to advocate for and pilot the use of an integrated court management and business incorporation model.” Young African Leaders Bio

These amazing people not only inspire us, but help change the way outsiders view Africa. You can make people view your country differently too, where ever you live!

What can you do to change the face of your nation?

  1. Raise your voice! Use media (traditional and social) to share what you think. This can be about current events, the environment, techology, anything you want to voice your opinion on
  2. Be visible, volunteering in your community & attending local and national events, so people see you and the wonderful thing you are doing!
  3. Educate yourself not only attend school, but read, watch lectures, and listen to the wisdom of those around you
  4. Share your knowledge with in your community and media to tell the world
  5. Repeat these actions, because learning and sharing are not stagnate just like life is not; we are always changing and the world continues turning. Be apart of the present, honor the past, and plan for the future to make your goals a reality, because we want #2030NOW

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Digital Empowerment: Providing the World Educational Opportunities

I had the wonderful privilege to attend the Social Good Summit in NYC 9/21-22. Yes, I met celebrities, entrepreneurs, and executives, but that is not what moved me. It was the story of Jampa that inspired me and made me tear up.

Jampa Latso grew-up in Tsha Ra, Tibet. In this snowy mountain village, she was raised knowing her entire community wished she had been born male. Her mother told her  “The birth of a child is a miracle and its worth cannot be equated anything else.” As Jampa stated at the Summit,  this helped her find the strength to  “navigate through the maze of the educational paradigm”.

Upon graduating High School she saved up and bought time at her local internet cafe to study. This past spring she graduated from Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Asian Studies as her Major and Development Studies as her Minor. She was the first people in the history of Tsha Ra to ever attend a university.

Now she is able to “reflect my life as well as people in my community; I embrace multicultural values while strengthening my own identity, as a Tibetan girl.”

Jampa is currently a contributor to World Pulse.  She also has created and implemented small-scale development projects “Solar Panel Project (30 solar panels to 30 households); a Flash Lighter Project which benefited 54 families; a Second-hand Clothes Project which benefited 160 people and a Book Project that benefited 342 students and 18 teachers…The purpose of these projects is to have parents send more girls to school because they could see girls also can do so much.”  You can learn more about her here.

Her story should not be unique. Children should feel empowered and be engaged to learn. I may sound overly optimistic but with the Millennium Development Goals, the many projects I learned about at the Social Good Summit, and the amazing work I see people like Jampa doing each day I know that technology can help bridge educational gaps.

How can we bridge the educational gaps?

  1. Take back the computer labs, public libraries, and internet cafes. These computer centers usually have affordable internet access and sometimes have web-cameras, microphones, headphones, fax machines, printers, scanners/copiers, and much more depending on the location. Unfortunately, in recent years this facilities are over run with gamers, social media fans, video chatting, and erotic film aficionados. We should not feel timid to buy 2 hours of time to study, take online classes, watch a lecture, or read an ebook! Petition your local computer center for a study only time. If that is unsuccessful don’t be disheartened, continue signing-up to for time to use the computers to educate yourself.
  2. Donate to  organizations the give students computers, cellphones, scholarships, and free or near-free classes. Take a look at the Social Good Summit’s Agenda to find organizations.
  3. Volunteer to tutor or teach students worldwide. One such organization was discussed at the summit: Skype Classroom

Please comment to share your ideas and plans to digitally empower the world to provide educational opportunities.

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I am a Feminist and so are YOU!

What is feminism?

People tend to either love or hate this term but it generally stems for a lack of common understanding.

Websters defines feminism as: the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

If you support the idea of women’s rights being equal to men in those setting then epsfacto you are a feminist. Feminists don’t all get naked a make a scene like Femen most of us simply want the women in our lives to be happy, successful humans. We understand that equality is a God given right, but unfortunately, society forgets this, and we are here to remind them. Yes, “we” because you and I are today feminists and the ye’-old supporters of equality.


I was raised to be confident and demand equality. I am frequently surprised how many woman are not confident in themselves. They constantly need to be told they are good enough, pretty enough, special, talented.

Why do women need a confidence boost?

Is it because we call them bossy or because girls are horrible to each other by bullying? Partially, it is because as a society we allow men and raise boys to have set concepts of what a girl and a woman should be. Recently experience I’ve witnessed: Little boys restaurants call a large woman at the next table “fat”, teenage boys talking about a pretty girl woman drinks is  “easy” “slutty” “cheap”,  a women who is divorced being called “un-marriageable”  and I even was told by an acquaintance “if I decide to marry a woman she is privileged to have me”. Girls hear these things and internalize it. Girls don’t think about why they talk a certain way, act a certain way, or dress that way until another person comments on it. We can be b*itches to each other dissing things for a myriad of reasons but when our brothers or father figures say these things it hurts in a different way. This more than woman on woman aggression (or whatever you prefer to call it) because it increases her insecurities, lowers her confidence, and can cause self-hate. It is a pattern of male comments–insecurities,low confidence, self-hate–confidence boosting (video like the above, counseling, etc are needed)–woman or woman aggression–male comments–and the cycle repeats.

Minding the Gap

The confidence gap widening hurts everyone. Whether you believe a woman can have it all or not, statistically females wage earners are the “future of the American economy” and the mothers of the future generations. Perhaps, we should be focusing on the teaching men that talking and treating women poorly is not ok, rather than making awesome videos focusing on boosting women’s confidence. When the females are the target audience of the videos above then it also means that men are not even seeing the message. It means men are still verbally and physically hurting girls and woman, so the videos are therefore just a band-aid trying to fix a woman’s already weakened confidence.

When a teen in Texas is raped, we unify as a community to support the girl #IamJada and we say #realmendontrape, but it should not take a rape to call society to action. Society should expect men to not rape.  We need to rethink our empathy from the arrested predators to the victims, and focus on justice and prevention rather that making more band-aids.

We Can Change The Pattern

There are many guidelines to boost young girls’ self-esteem, but the scary thing this most of them say ““prepare her for sexism” In reality it starts with dad’s, uncles, mom’s boyfriend, etc just being there.

The Shriver Report recommends that adult male figures can take nine steps to change the pattern.

  1. Let her know she is loved
  2. Avoid “daddy’s little girl” and instead let her know you see her as strong, self-reliant and resilient.
  3. Teach her to problem solve
  4. Encourage her to break gender stereotypes
  5. Model respect for women
  6. Have an open dialogue that is not judgemental
  7. Set the bars high–for her education, for her to make good chooses, for her to have good friends, for her to find a good man
  8. Empower her physical strength, and not focus on her weight as fat or thin, but as healthy
  9. Constantly try to learn about what matters to her!

When men model these 9 steps, boys see how to treat woman, helping end rape culture. What are you going to do to change the pattern and stop rape culture?

*learn  more about empowering women at: ShriverReport.org

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