AUGUST 2020 ISSUE 07
T H E AWA R E N E S S T I E S ™ O F F I C I A L M A G A Z I N E F O R C A U S E S BOURNE AGAIN TRI BOURNE
RETURNING TO HOPE JOEL CARTNER
A HERO INSIDE AND OUT YURI WILLIAMS
JENNY & KRISTEN MARTIN
EATING WITH EMPATHY GABRIELLE BOURNE
I BREATHE FOR YOU AUBREE DANIELLE
IMMUNOCOMPROMISED SAMANTHA PRICE & CAMERON LYNCH
RETURN TO THE MOMENT MARY DAVID
PEELING THE ONION JOHN MARTIN
“You haven’t heard the half of it… until now.”
THE RETURN EDITION Tri Bourne, Professional Beach Volleyball Player & Podcast Host
SOCIETY’S COMEBACK TO SPORTS, SCHOOL AND SOCIAL CAUSES
THE RETURN EDITION
Returning to normal is not returning to how things were before. We will no longer wait for permission to change the world. Now is the time to define a NEW normal. The course we set now will guide our future path. AwareNow™ is a monthly publication produced by Awareness Ties™ in partnership with Issuu™. Awareness Ties as the ‘Official Symbol of Support for Causes’, is changing the way causes are supported with a tie that raises both awareness and funds. We raise awareness with national campaigns and funds with local events and online fundraisers. 04 RETURNING TO HOPE
30 I BREATHE FOR YOU
08 A HERO INSIDE AND OUT
34 IMMUNOCOMPROMISED SAMANTHA PRICE & CAMERON LYNCH
12 OPEN ARMS
38 RETURN TO THE MOMENT
18 BOURNE AGAIN
42 PEELING THE ONION
24 VOTING 101
46 SCHOOLHOUSE ROCKED
26 EATING WITH EMPATHY
48 MORE THAN ENOUGH SIYA TAYAL
JENNY & KRISTEN MARTIN
RETURN TO INNOCENCE (SO, THIS SEEMED TO BE AN APPROPRIATE WAY TO START THE CONVERSATION.)
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There was a whisper that swept across your lips As a nation we can't breathe Hours tossed minutes into flames Seconds became afterthoughts This emptiness consumed our pain What was to be was rarely ever seen We searched the horizon endlessly Voices that we craved only visited in our dreams The stage now set was impossibly small Broken angles with thoughts too obtuse to hold Despite all our downfalls We held on tight Tighter now than the years it seems We learned life isn't perfect But the meaning can be.
ALLIÉ McGUIRE Editor In Chief & Co-Founder of Awareness Ties Allié is a Taurus. She started her career in performance poetry, then switched gears to wine where she made a name for herself as an online wine personality and content producer. She then focused on original content production under her own label The Allié Way™ before marrying the love of her life (Jack) and switching gears yet again to a pursue a higher calling to raise awareness and funds for causes with Awareness Ties™. Connect with Allié on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alliemerrick JACK McGUIRE Production Manager & Co-Founder of Awareness Ties Jack is a Gemini. He got his start in the Navy before his acting and modeling career. Jack then got into hospitality, focusing on excellence in service and efficiency in operations and management. After establishing himself with years of experience in the F&B industry, he sought to establish something different… something that would allow him to serve others in a greater way. With his wife (Allié), Awareness Ties™ was born. Connect with Jack on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jack-mcguire-609339186 3
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We owe it to them to accept the hope of progress while working towards change. JOEL CARTNER
LAWYER, PUBLIC POLICY PROFESSIONAL & AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL ADVISOR 4
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‘UNYIELDINGLY HUMAN’ A COLUMN BY JOEL CARTNER
RETURNING TO HOPE
A PERSONAL NARRATIVE ON MOMENTS OF CHOICE
“When Joel Cartner accepted our invitation to write a monthly column for AwareNow, we were thrilled. When he responded to our request for the title of his column with ‘Unyieldingly Human’, we were inspired. Awareness Ties is proud to feature this column that dares to explore public issues navigated by personal context.” - Allié M. With everything going on in the world right now, I have found myself looking for hope. As I read through my fellow ambassadors’ bios while writing my own, I found that hope. I was struck by their stories and the personal vulnerability they all shared, something that has been difficult for me at times. But as we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and I read through the many stories of the many people continuing to work to ensure equality for people with disabilities, I noted how far we’ve come and how far there is still to go.  I also noted that so often when stories of progress are told they are told in a way that prioritizes an almost angry tone. Essentially, in the same breath, noting the progress that has been made, but using the voices calling for continued progress to suggest an anger, which while it may be there in part, erases the fact that these are humans talking about a needed continuation of progress and to some extent tempers the progress itself and the hope it promulgates.
I do not want to diminish the fight for equality that so many have taken up over the years, nor do I want to diminish the, more often than not, justified anger that surfaces in conversations about accommodations and equality. So often it seems that only by shouting can we make ourselves heard. I think, however, what gets lost in the narrative of these anger tinted stories are the human stories and consequences that can be seen on a daily basis. The vulnerability that my colleagues have shown, and what I hope to show, is not only a side of normalizing disabilities, but also illustrates how we can fight for equality from a softer place when possible by prioritizing the human reasons for change.
I am nine years old. I have just woken up from surgery. The doctors have taken a number of the muscles in my legs cut them, stretched them, and then reattached them. My world is on fire. My brain is trying to protect me the only way it knows how, by curling in itself. The only problem is, my muscles don’t know how to do that anymore, so every time I try there is a wave of full body spasms, doubling down on the burning pain already there. No one has, or is, explaining to me what is happening. I am alone and scared. I am screaming and crying unable to form enough thought to recognize what I need to do to weather the storm. A nurse’s hand reaches down grips my own, she tells me she’s sorry, to try to calm down, and that drugs are coming to take away the pain. She holds my hand as I scream and cry. She holds my hand for I don’t know how long, as I pass in and out of consciousness and the processes of relearning what I can and can’t do in this new body starts over and over again. She holds my hand as the drugs finally kick in. She never stops holding my hand.
Some people may focus on why no one explained things to nine-year-old me, but I choose to focus on the nurse that held my hand. I choose to return to hope.
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I am eighteen. I have partially torn my abductor, and every step, already painful, is agony. I thought I could make it from 4th period to my Mom’s classroom, but I’ve miscalculated. I cannot force my body, as I have for so many years, to take another step. I am in the middle of a lobby when I realize I have nothing left. Hundreds of students swirl around me as I negotiate with myself to push through, to keep going. Eventually, with a sense of dread, I realize my efforts are futile, I truly don’t have another step left in me. I am on the point of pulling out my phone to call one of the very few people that I have allowed to see how bad my situation has become over the last several weeks, to help me. When I spot one such friend, Jerry, walking through the lobby. I call him over, he takes one look at me and asks “you need some help Joel?” He doesn’t bat an eye as I nod. Throughout the entire painstaking process as he, and eventually a Vice Principal, half drag me to my mom’s room through the throng of students, I am never anything more than his friend. As he has in the previous months of dealing with this injury, and in the many weeks after that day as he walks with me to class, we are just two people moving through the world, we talk about normal things, we laugh at jokes, and we bemoan homework. Through it all, I am still me.
Some people may focus on why I was not given more support by faculty or that no one insisted I use a wheelchair (I was stubborn). But I choose to focus on my friend and my Vice Principle. I choose to return to hope.
It is May of 2017. I’m awake in the middle of the night in Dublin Ireland. Pain is racing through my body fully unchecked by a missed 6 month checkup to accommodate law school. I have fought an unending battle with this pain for years, but at this moment I feel as though I’ve hit the end of my tolerance. To add insult to injury, I have gotten my grades back from my first year back at law school. Not what I had hoped for. I am thinking of dropping out. The world feels like a darker more hateful place these days. I am lost in a sea of pain, I feel inadequate, sad, tired (not physically but at a deep level), and alone. I call my friend. He reminds me that even if I graduate last in my class, I will still be a lawyer. He goes on to tell me that there are people around me that love me, that though he cannot imagine my pain, he will sit with me on the phone across an ocean until I can go to sleep. I will wake up and face another day just like I have every day before.
Some people may focus on why I felt the need to skip an appointment to accommodate law school. I choose to focus on my friend. I choose to return to hope.
A year ago, my friend and I are walking to be seated at a restaurant in DC. The tables are tightly spaced together and I slow my pace as to navigate the myriad of trip hazards arrayed before me. Without talking, without seeming to have to think about it, he slips a steadying hand on my shoulder as we continue to the table. It’s a small moment, but the upsurge of warmth I feel is one I can barely contain. This kind of normalization, not in an acute moment of trouble, but in everyday life is not something I experience often.
Some people may focus on why such normalization is abnormal, and I hope we can change that, but for now I choose to focus on my friend. I choose to return to hope. 6
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When viewed in a modern context, none of these stories are a monument to the progress we have made. But when taken in their broader context, they are. My life is infinitely better than it would have been 30 years ago, and it is because of people like the people advocating for change in these articles. The people they advocate for, are people for whom that advocacy has very real consequences. They are more than the faceless angry mob we as society can make them out to be. We owe it to them to ask “what’s next?” Not say “yes but.” We owe it to them to accept the hope of progress while working towards change.
Sometimes it’s about letting someone talk, or shout, about what they need changed to have a better life, sometimes it’s about supporting someone when they have nothing left, sometimes it’s about walking beside someone as nothing more than two humans sharing the earth in spite of what lays between us, and sometimes it’s about holding someone’s hand while they tough out the dark stuff. Irrespective of what side of change we happen to be on in any given moment, we can make the facilitation of change better by recognizing the humanity in why the change is happening, and maybe by opening ourselves up to humanity we can change the narrative of these movements. I’m not saying that there is never a time for advocacy to get loud and angry, but I would suggest that we remember the humanity in those stories as well. It’s the quiet moments in day to day life that make our lives, not just the monumental changes.
 nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/disability-ADA-30-anniversary.html. See also, https://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_curb_cut_effect.
JOEL CARTNER Awareness Ties Official Advisor & Columnist www.awarenessties.us/joelcartner Joel Cartner is a lawyer and public policy professional with Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia and Retinopathy of Prematurity. Cartner has a background in public health, disability, and education law and policy. He received his J.D. from Quinnipiac University School of Law and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Cartner currently lives in Washington D.C. where he works as a Document Review Attorney while seeking legislative employment.
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My mom always told me to do something differentâ€¦ YURI WILLIAMS
FOUNDER OF A FUTURE SUPERHERO & FRIENDS 8
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH YURI WILLIAMS
A HERO INSIDE AND OUT THE EVERYDAY HEROICS OF A FUTURE SUPERHERO
“Sometimes it is in loss that we find our strength, our purpose and our passion to do more. It is through loss that Yuri Williams found his inner superhero.” - Allié M. ALLIÉ: Not all heroes wear masks, Yuri, but you do. Tell us the story behind the mask. Why do you do what you do? And why the costume? YURI: I loss my mother to cancer in 2009, and I was in a dark place for 5 years and had to think of a way to get out. That’s when one day I said enough is enough so I decided to uplift people by giving back. I do this to honor my mother and also it is therapeutic for me. It gives me joy and energy to keep doing this everyday. My mom always told me to do something different and I decided to use the costume because it throws you off and gets your mind to wonder like what’s going on and boom I gotcha. JACK: Yuri Williams, also known as ’A Future Superhero’. Why a ‘future’ superhero? We feel you’re a hero, here and now. For those who don’t know about your work, please share what you’ve done and what you are committed to do. YURI: I chose the title because I am trying to inspire other join my mission, when I’m gone another ‘A FUTURE SUPERHERO’ will be born and lead the way. I have traveled 50 states twice helping those in need from hospital/ home visits to feeding the elderly and clothing and also feeding the houseless. My commitment is to live up to the word hero and be there for someone in need. ALLIÉ: The term ‘hero’ has been redefined since COVID hit. During this pandemic, frontline workers in hospitals and essential workers delivering packages and stocking shelves have been recognized for the heroes they are. Before this pandemic, during and surely after, you will continue to be the hero you’ve been for some time, caring for any and all in need. What hurdles have you had to overcome during the pandemic? YURI: The number one hurdle has been human contact, those hugs I once gave to children have been taken away. I have still managed to give those hugs here and there but I have went to using Instagram/twitter/Facebook and doing face timing to those who can’t have physical contact. Another obstacle I face is funding, I haven’t received as many grants this year due to covid but I still do what I can I’m not rich but I’m rich at heart and I still fight everyday to help those in need. JACK: Even superheroes need help. What help do YOU need right now, Yuri? What can people do to support you and your work? YURI:
I am in need of Help with purchasing 2 costumes that kids have asked to see and also I need help with
Hygiene, giftcards, grocery supplies for the houseless community, also donations to provide steam kits to kids and also donations to try and get hot spots for the kids without internet. You can go to our website and see our work and make a small donation or even sign up for our monthly Paetron account. Everything helps.
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I still manage to give those hugs here and there. YURI WILLIAMS
FOUNDER OF A FUTURE SUPERHERO & FRIENDS 10 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
BY KRISTEN MARTIN 12 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH JENNY & KRISTEN MARTIN
EMBRACING MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH SCIENCE & ART
“Sisters Jenny and Kristen Martin are the new ambassadors of Mental Health for Awareness Ties. A psychologist and an actress, they have both pursued the understanding of the human condition from different vantage points. Together, they hope to dismantle the stigma that is still associated with seeking support and to normalize the diverse experiences of mental suffering and wellness. As they interview each other, learn about their individual passions supporting their purpose.” - Jack M. JENNY: Introduce yourself a bit, tell us a little about who you are and what your position in the performance world is. KRISTEN: I’m an actress in NYC. I’ve been in Broadway shows, toured with shows and acted in theatres across the country. I’ve done some film and television. I love what I do, but it comes with its challenges. Challenges that have been wildly exacerbated since Covid came into the picture. I also paint. It has become a source of income for me when I am in-between acting jobs. I’ve also found it to be incredibly therapeutic. I am quite easily distracted, but when I paint I am able to focus in a way that helps quiet the noise. JENNY: What made you choose this particular painting of yours to accompany our interview? KRISTEN: This is a painting from one of the chapters in a book I’ve been working on with my sister- with you! Well, you wrote the book, which in turn inspired my paintings. The open arms symbolize embracing change. Welcoming the unknowns that come along with these inevitable twists and turns that surface throughout our lives. It symbolizes the difficulty of surrendering to not knowing, and how we cope through that discomfort. I felt like this painting spoke to that, which couldn’t be more relevant to what we are all experiencing right now throughout the course of this pandemic. JENNY: What frustrates you most about the intersection of this pandemic and the arts? KRISTEN: I think it’s the unknown of it all. Yeah, it’s definitely the unknown that frustrates me most. It’s an incredibly uncomfortable space to sit in. Not knowing if or when we will be able to work again in our chosen field. Broadway has been shut down since March 12th, and has no plans of reopening until possibly the spring of 2021. It’s pretty sad to see all of the lights of the marquees out for this undisclosed period of time. There are so many people who work in just one show, and there are so many shows, not just on Broadway, but across the country. JENNY: What are you seeing in your industry in terms of how people are coping and adjusting with Broadway’s shut down, loss of income, etc.? KRISTEN: Actors are incredibly resilient and resourceful. We have to be. We have to fight and compete for every single job we get. Most of those jobs have an end date, then we have to do it all over again. When we are between acting jobs, we have to find ways to survive. To pay the bills. Covid has created a new level of challenges for sure, but I have been watching our industry of artists doing what they do best; they are channeling their resilience. Artists are finding other ways to make money, whether it be through teaching virtual acting, singing or dance classes. Maybe tapping deeper into their artistry and exploring other areas they might excel in. Painting, crocheting, baking, writing... 13 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
I am quite easily distracted, but when I paint I am able to focus in a way that helps quiet the noise. KRISTEN MARTIN
ACTRESS & AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS My name is Kristen Martin, and I am an actress in NYC. Through acting we are forced to empathized with, as well as deeply evaluate the human condition. Our mental health journey dictates so much of how we react to each and every moment of our lives as it unfolds. I want people to embrace the great care we should consistently be gifting our minds. I want people to feel comfortable expressing their struggles as well as triumphs. I believe the current stigmas still surrounding mental health is not only primitive but dangerous. I’ve struggled with my own mental health, and my goal is to help break down those barriers surrounding what is simply part of the human experience. 14 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
KRISTEN: (continued) I’ve literally seen it all. I’m proud of how hardworking the theatre community is. Also, while we are searching for our own personal ways to stay afloat, we also are the first to speak out in the fight for social justice. When the BLM movement began, the theatre community voices were on the front lines fighting. Calling out the racial inequalities within our own industry and demanding change. It makes me proud to be a part of this massive group of fighters on so many levels. JENNY: Through your eyes, what kind of a toll has this experience taken on artists? On you? KRISTEN: A major toll, of course, is heavily on our bank accounts. If there’s no theatre, there’s no work. But there’s also the emotional toll. The mourning of what once was which becomes more intense as time goes on. I think that’s a shared sensation. I don’t know when it will truly be safe to reopen shows, and no one can tell us that for sure. I don’t know when people will even feel comfortable piling into a theatre to watch a show alongside hundreds of other people. So, the financial and emotional toll that this pandemic has taken on artists is pretty high, to say the least. JENNY: What do you want the public, consumers of art, to know or understand as we move forward together? KRISTEN: That what we do as artists is work. I think a lot of people have this idea that it’s a hobby or something. But theatre is as much our financial lifeline as it is for someone who works in a bank or for someone who flies planes. When we lose our job, we suffer the same consequences everyone else would. KRISTEN: Ok, my turn. What was it that drew you to becoming a psychologist in the first place? JENNY: After college I was working in the music business in New York City and making and pitching an album of my own music. I noticed that I was most content when exploring the experiences of others and bringing them to life through song. I did not enjoy the work of trying to convince people to like my art. I learned that I was too introverted for the hustle of NYC and I wanted to find a way to connect with people, to understand stories, in a quieter way. I also found myself struggling to make sense of the suicide of a very dear friend of mine. These factors combined and led me to pursue my doctorate in clinical psychology. KRISTEN: Was there a certain subject area of psychology that you were most drawn to? JENNY: Even before I went through any kind of training I remember thinking, “Wow. An event could occur in front of ten people, and there would be ten perspectives on what happened.” That concept fascinated me. The fancy word for that concept is phenomenology. I didn’t know that word then, but that is what I was drawn to. I wanted to understand, in a deeper and more educated way, how each of our individual experiences come with its own set of Truths. This path led me to come up against many of the ignorant aspects of psychology- there is so much racism, sexism and heteronormativity in its bones- and ignited my passion for social equity work. Understanding people individually, but also within their greater social and existential contexts is my life’s mission. KRISTEN: Now that we are knee deep in a pandemic, how has that changed the overall structure of your work? JENNY: Well for one, everything is entirely virtual. I am really surprised that it is working so well, I used to think there was no substitution for in person work. I still prefer sharing physical space, but I have known many of my patients for years so the transition has been fairly simple. There are other changes, too. Many people want multiple appointments a week. And people are in their homes. I see their dogs, I hear their babies. There is a surprising intimacy with being able to see parts of their lives I haven’t before. The cat I’ve heard about for years wanders through the screen…my patient and I laugh. We get a moment of connection, a moment of reprieve.
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KRISTEN: Is it harder to take on so much of the same topic (Covid) in your sessions while experiencing similar struggles yourself? JENNY: This is a resounding ‘yes’. Under normal circumstances the struggles of my patients are varied. Of course, they still are, but always under the umbrella of the pandemic. I am having similar conversations with many of them. And like you mentioned, I have some of the same struggles. This can be a great point of connection, but if I’m not careful, I can feel overwhelmed and unsteady myself. This period has forced me to re-examine what self care means. I have had days where I feel like I have failed as a therapist. I cry, I feel helpless. Then I realize I am exhausted and need to eat, sleep, be alone, hug my family, stretch my body or something else that I have been personally neglecting. And that’s the conversation I am having with patients, too. KRISTEN: What are some tools that you often give your patients to help cope during these challenging times that you also need to remind yourself to practice? JENNY: This has been a strange time because I am typically a “tool-free” kind of therapist. I generally work with people to develop insight, deepen their frustration tolerance, and learn to hold steady in uncertainty. A lot of that kind of work is just sitting in ambiguity over and over and over again and learning how to cope. Now, though, I have had to learn the art of tools! I am learning with my patients together. For many, we have found that creating structure helps. Literally writing a schedule for the day. For some, this means writing in lunch hours, making a point to wear work clothes even from their couch, or committing to a 6pm walk every single day. In general, though, I find myself repeating a few key phrases to them and to myself. One of which is that it is ok to expect less of ourselves right now. Our resource availability has changed, so will our output. KRISTEN: What’s your opinion on the “what’s next”? All the unknowns of what’s to come and what our world will look like as a result of this pandemic? JENNY: This is a tough one for me. Much of what I do right now with patients is assisting them to shy away from jumping ahead to what’s next. We have to deal with what we know. Right now we know that there is still so much we do not know! On my good days, I see this as a great opportunity to practice the art of surrender. On my bad days the future can feel dismal. I do believe there will be lasting impressions from this time on many of our psyches. This pandemic has ruptured the illusion of safety for many. Not only from a health perspective, but from a leadership and governmental perspective. When trust is broken, it is very, very hard to restore it. I also believe that we have a lot of collective mourning to do. We don’t grieve in crisis, we grieve in the quiet after. I hope people understand and are prepared for that phase of recovery. It won’t just be a simple return. Overall, my hope is that I can stay strong enough to avoid the gravity pull of “I Have The Answers” and stay observational and open to what happens moment by moment. After all, it is my job to sit with suffering, not to pretend I know how to solve it.
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It is my job to sit with suffering, not to pretend I know how to solve it. JENNY MARTIN
PSYCHOLOGIST & AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS Dr. Jenny Martin is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, IL. Her private practice, Gemstone Wellness, specializes in working with adolescents and adults touched by depression, anxiety, trauma, loss, purposelessness, and issues related to race, sexuality and gender expression. Jenny possesses an extensive background in the arts, specifically in music, and she enjoys incorporating creative mediums to facilitate emotional expression. Jenny received both her Masters Degree and her Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She completed her Bachelor's Degree in Music and Songwriting at Berklee College of Music. Visit Gemstone Wellness (www.gemstonewellness.com) and follow on Instagram @gemstonewellnessinc 17 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
Iâ€™m returning better than before. TRI BOURNE
PROFESSIONAL VOLLEYBALL PLAYER & AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR INVISIBLE DISABILITIES PHOTO CREDIT: @RIVERJORDANPHOTO
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH TRI BOURNE
RETUNING TO THE GAME STRONGER AND WISER
“When faced with adversity, some fall while others rise. Faced with a life altering autoimmune disease, Tri Borne rose. He returned to his sport and his life with a stronger, wiser version of himself. His story is one to inspire us all. ” - Allié M. ALLIÉ: Are you returning to the court where you were before? Or are you returning better than you've ever been before? TRI: I definitely feel like I'm returning better than before. That was something that I thought would be difficult to pull off. I needed a challenge during that time away from sport. That was what was eating me up the most - not having something to strive towards. That was the challenge. Can I get past all this and then look back and say I'm better off because of it? I was looking for the things that I could gain during that difficult time, and I honestly think I pulled it off because that's how I feel right now. With volleyball alone, there's a lot that I learned because I kept myself relevant in this space. I started the podcast and talked to a lot of players about volleyball. That kept my mind sharp. I also broadcasted and watched a lot. So, in terms of volleyball, I’ve just seen a lot and it's helping me develop as a player for sure. More importantly, it's the stuff off the court - just doing the self-work, self-awareness and mindfulness. It was working on myself in terms of being a family man. I got married during that time. I recently had a kid. So, just growing as a person and learning new things being open to change. I think I've really come to realize that change is a positive thing. A lot of us try to go back to our norm because it's comfortable. Change is difficult. To come out of it with something more is what my goal was and definitely something I want to continue to do moving forward.
BOURNE AGAIN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH TRI BOURNE
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PHOTO CREDIT: @RIVERJORDANPHOTO 20 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
JACK: Did you ever fear that you wouldn't come back? Did you ever doubt? TRI: I did have to have a conversation with myself, and I want to say it was pretty brief. I don’t remember dwelling on it. Deep down I was like ‘nah’. It just doesn't seem right. My whole life I've found a way. I don’t know. I think it's part of being an athlete too. You get beat up, and you just tell yourself you're gonna come back. Then your body follows. What I learned the most was to take care of your mind. Understand where your mind's at, and your body will follow. I even read some books on that stuff, and I’m fully sold on it. Our body follows our mind. We basically can create our own chemistry. It's pretty fascinating. I did have a conversation with myself about would I be okay if volleyball was taken away from me or if this was forever. I never believed it would be forever, but I had to have the conversation. Would I be okay? Yeah. I’m gonna make it work whatever happens, but I don't believe that's gonna happen. I believe there are things that I can take from this right now. I believe that if I can get through, I can do better when I come back. That's what I focused on, and that’s what fed my desire to come back. Now that I'm back and I got what I want - my tournament. I’m back winning. I’m on top. Now, I feel like i just broke broke through the surface. I’m okay. We can start going where I wanted to go, but I have more tools now. That’s how I'm looking at it. I’m back to where I was, but now I’ve got all these weapons to use, which is like the mental game and all the stuff that I've learned. So, it’s cool.
PHOTO CREDIT: @RIVERJORDANPHOTO 21 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
Now, I feel like I just broke through the surface. Iâ€™m okay. We can start going where I wanted to go, but I have more tools now. TRI BOURNE
PROFESSIONAL VOLLEYBALL PLAYER & AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR INVISIBLE DISABILITIES PHOTO CREDIT: @RIVERJORDANPHOTO
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A first time voter has the power to enact great change that the system has not seen before. 24 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
PERSPECTIVE BY PROVIDENCE BOWMAN
A FIRST TIME VOTER’S GUIDE
Voting for the first time or for the first time in a long time can be daunting. The system around voting has not always been kind, but hopefully some of these steps can clarify and strengthen your confidence on Election Day. Every time someone casts a vote in an election, they are communicating their view on who they wish to represent them in our government. Exercising the right to participate in government by casting a vote is one of the most powerful ways someone can speak up in America. First time voters are the most influential group of people in any election season; they interject a new voice that prior to this had not been heard before. A first time voter has the power to enact great change that the system has not seen before. Voting can be a daunting task, but casting your first vote can be broken down into simple and tangible steps. Before you start looking into the issues you are voting on and the people you are voting for, it is important to register to vote. Becoming registered to vote is something that is unique for every state and can be completed in a myriad of ways; through online registration, a paper form, or in person. Be aware of the deadlines for registration in regards to the election that you are trying to vote in. This is the first step that must be taken in order to assure that there is a ballot with your name on it on Election Day. Next, once you are registered to vote it is important to have an understanding of the candidates that are running in your area and a grasp on the power that a political party holds. Being informed on the individuals and issues that you are voting on allows you to vote based on the candidates platform rather than propaganda circulated in the media. Being able to make cognizant decisions on a candidate is important to the future you are voting for. Being aware of who is running in your district is imperative, yet being familiar to the basic tenets that the world of voting represents is how you can distinguish the issues that are at stake in an election. A large handful of this information can be found on the websites of the candidates that represent your area and on the channels of local news stations. Then, once you are well read on the issues and candidates that you are voting for you must become familiar with your polling place. Each voter is assigned a polling place based on the address that they register with. Although the pandemic will play a role in how this upcoming election presents itself, you can use this link “Get to the Polls” to find your appropriate voting location. Finally, when the time comes on election day, do not forget to bring a photo ID. It is imperative for you to cast your ballot. Allow the people who are working the polls to help guide you to where you need to be and don't forget to grab a sticker on the way out.
PROVIDENCE BOWMAN Awareness Ties Project Manager & Columnist www.awarenessties.us/staff Providence is a Gemini as well. She is a college student at Grand Valley State University, studying International Relations. She is passionate about using her words for good and is currently piecing stories together in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She loves to spend her free time traveling, with her head in a book, and by the water. She lives everyday by her mantra that we are here to pursue opportunities and “go be awesome”.
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My secret of what makes veganism so easy for me compassion. GABRIELLE BOURNE
ACTRESS, PRODUCER, MOTHER AND AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS 26 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
PERSONAL STORY BY GABRIELLE BOURNE
EATING WITH EMPATHY
BE HEALTHIER, SAVE ANIMALS & AVOID FUTURE PANDEMICS
“When returning to your abandoned intentions to work out better, sleep better, eat better and live better, sometimes it’s hard to know just where to begin. With regard to eating, Gabrielle Bourne has some helpful personal insights to share.” - Allié M. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about animals and the different roles they play in each of our lives. To some they are pets, therapists, healers, companions, service animals. To others they are food as part of a balanced diet, transportation, warmth, livelihood. I went from being a full blown meat eater for most of my childhood, to a vegetarian/ vegan for the last 10 years. I grew and gave birth to a perfect, healthy, 8lb 2oz baby without meat. My family and friends worried that I’d lack nutrients, but my blood tests proved otherwise. People often ask if it’s hard. Sometimes, but not really. I’m going to tell you my secret to what makes it a hell of a lot easier in a minute. There has been a lot of talk especially more recently about banning the slaughter and consumption of wild animals, not just for the sake of the animals but for people’s health and safety. There is a documentary on Netflix called “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak” which came out just months before Covid-19 first started spreading across the world, and strangely predicted the outbreak. It’s believed that a wet market in Wuhan, China was the likely source of many early cases of the virus. Wet markets sell and slaughter live animals on site - sometimes wild animals, which is a common way for an animal-borne disease to infect people. Animals kept in dirty, cramped conditions is the perfect breeding ground for a virus to spread and mutate. We’ve seen this from disease outbreaks in the past, like HIV and Ebola. This to me is reason enough to ban these practices. But why stop at wild animals? We are learning now that eating less meat in general is not only better for your health but better for the environment and extremely necessary if we want to keep this earth spinning for our kids. The World Health Organization classifies certain types of meat as carcinogenic (or cancer causing) to humans. Livestock farming contributes more greenhouse gas emissions worldwide than ships, planes, trucks, cars, and all other transport put together. This is concerning in regards to climate change. And we can ignore it all we want and talk about how we only buy grass fed beef, but most of the 50 billion land animals raised and slaughtered for food are brought up in conditions that are causing them to suffer unnecessarily. So, how can we as a whole eat less meat? I often wonder what differentiates the way we see certain types of animals from others. Why are the same people who are up in arms about the dog meat festival in China, so desensitized to the other meat on their plate? For years activists have been fighting to ban the slaughter and consumption of dog meat and live animal markets. And while I am all for banning harsh treatment towards any animal, I can’t help but wonder why the world finds the idea of dogs as food so much more offensive than cows or pigs, or any other farm animal that society has become accustomed to calling food. 27 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
I heard a story once about a guy online who claimed he’d stop eating beef when he saw a cow play fetch. Well, if you take a second to google “cow playing fetch” (or watch the video above) you’ll see just that. So what is it about a cow playing fetch that makes us care about them enough to consider sparing their life? Back to my secret of what makes veganism so easy for me - compassion. The more empathy you feel for an animal the more disgusted you are about the idea of eating it, according to Dr. Melanie Joy, author of the book “Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows.” So why do we naturally have more empathy for dogs or horses than other farm animals? Maybe it’s because that’s what we are taught. It’s what we accept as “normal” from a young age. But can we really accept something we are told is normal without question? Let’s remember that it was once against the law for women or people of color to vote. Interracial marriage was once illegal. We as a society are constantly evolving and learning from our past. It is our duty to question things for ourselves and for our future generations. I’m also not suggesting that everyone eliminate meat products all together from their diet. Even though we are learning that our nutritional needs can be met in less harmful ways, each person needs to decide what is best for their own body. But if you do choose to be a meat eater, be a conscious one. Moderate your meat and dairy intake. Go meatless for one or two days a week. Increase your vegetable portions. You’d be surprised how much protein you can get from vegetables and other plant based foods. Buy meat that has been grown organically and is unprocessed, it will say “USDA Certified Organic.” When you are buying meat, get smaller portions. Switch to plant based milks when possible. And most importantly, give yourself opportunities to connect with animals of all kinds. Find empathy! A great way to connect with farm animals in order to stir up some compassion is by visiting your local farm animal sanctuary. One of my favorites, The Gentle Barn, is doing virtual and drive through tours at all three locations (Los Angeles, Missouri, and Tennessee) during Covid. But make sure to visit in person after Covid. There’s nothing like hugging the giant face of a sweet momma cow or rubbing a pigs belly to celebrate the comeback of physical touch. 28 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
GABRIELLE BOURNE Awareness Ties Official Ambassador for Animal Rightsâ€¨ www.awarenessties.us/gabriellebourne Gabby got her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the University of Southern California's School of Dramatic Arts. She has worked on various network shows and starred in the Lionsgate thriller, The Hatred. Over the last few years she has found a passion for being involved in the creative process of filmmaking, producing several shorts and writing/producing her own comedy series. 29 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
Where does the story end?
It only seems to be beginning. AUBREE DANIELLE
When Aubree Danielle is not busy speaking up about racial injustices and inequalities, she is working on building her company - Aubreeâ€™s Cakery Bakery. At 18 years of age, she has her own successful bakery. From custom cakes to magnificent macaroons, she puts passion in every detail of her work. Find her on Instagram (@aubreescakerybakery). 30 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
ORIGINAL POEM BY AUBREE DANIELLE
I BREATHE FOR YOU A POETIC PAUSE
“Sometimes a 1 minute and 54 second poem, when honest and unrehearsed, can say more than an hour long speech that is scripted and polished. Thank you, Aubree, for sharing your words and your voice.” - Jack M. My name is Aubree Danielle. I am an 18-year-old, student, entrepreneur, poet, and aspiring human rights activist. I began my writing journey with my poem titled “What If We All Just Were?” written in 2018. This was a time in my life where I felt so deeply alone, I did not know how to express myself, so I wrote down my feelings in one of the most beautiful art forms - poetry. Little did I know this would change the course of my life forever. With the recent police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain (all of which have not received justice), In the middle of a restless night I felt compelled to write my poem “I Breathe For You” and post it on my social media to express how I feel. I was nervous at first to post it and almost deleted it simply because of fear but as I captioned the post “I was scared of judgment and repetitiveness when in reality that’s exactly what we need #blacklivesmatter”. In sharing this I received thousands of views, shares, and messages saying how my words changed people’s lives. All I have ever wanted is to help people and I believe I am doing exactly this by no longer muting myself to make others comfortable. I am currently a business major at Virginia State University and with this degree, I will teach young entrepreneurial-minded women to discover and monetize their creative passions. Through my work, I hope to give a voice to those who no longer have one.
I BREATHE FOR YOU AN ORIGINAL POEM BY AUBREE DANIELLE
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Because of you, the show will go on. Thank you healthcare heroes.
Life will move on after the pandemic, but who will it leave behind? SAMANTHA PRICE Samantha Price is a rising junior at the University of Mary Washington. She has been a Type 1 diabetic for 17 years which is why she is so passionate about making sure those with disabilities are not forgotten in the decision making process. Samantha is a part of the Womenâ€™s Ultimate Frisbee team at her school as well as working for her school newspaper as the online editor. She works part time as a web designer at a local digital marketing company and freelances as well. She is majoring in Communications and Digital Studies and hopes to go into UX/UI design after she graduates. 34 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
PERSONAL STORY BY SAMANTHA PRICE & CAMERON LYNCH
IMMUNOCOMPROMISED A REQUEST FOR COLLEGIATE COMPASSION
“Honored to share this story that needs to be seen and heard. Thank you, Samantha and Cameron, for helping to raise awareness for the many immunocompromised students who feel unseen and go unheard.” - Allié M. In the beginning of 2020, we had high hopes for our summers. We assumed we’d be spending time hanging out with friends, going on hikes, traveling the world with family, and being able to enjoy the time off from school, stress free. Instead, we have spent the majority of our summer stuck in our parents’ house, advocating for the rights of immunocompromised college students. Having disabilities, we are used to advocating for ourselves, this isn’t a new concept for us. Living with a chronic condition is a full-time job. There are no breaks, no holidays. The problem of accessibility is not beginning now but follows a trend of inaccessibility and discrimination of students with disabilities that is ingrained in our institutions. We as students do not believe it should be solely our responsibility to advocate for ourselves. We need to fight for an overall increase in awareness of the needs of disabled students around the world. To be honest, we’re tired. Tired of watching everyone else living their lives knowing that ours will be put on hold so they can get the summer that they want. Tired of having no one to talk to because we don’t want to be “that person” who is annoying about social distancing still. Tired of fighting for rights that our able-bodied peers have never even considered. Tired of sitting in bed, sitting in the living room, watching shows on Netflix, limiting time outside, just waiting. Through all this, our light at the end of the tunnel was returning to our schools in the fall, but our universities are making us feel like burdens. Almost two months ago, we began to go back and forth with different universities across Virginia, asking them to provide more equitable options for their immunocompromised students. But the responses we got made us feel overwhelmingly unwanted and unsafe. We reached out to the support group for immunocompromised college students that we created where we learned that immunocompromised students from all over the country were dealing with the same challenges we were facing at our own schools. We weren’t alone in our frustration. That’s when we decided to write a letter to all the Virginia public universities and colleges asking them to provide online options for all of their previously scheduled classes, because by not doing so, we believe they are ultimately violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Current college return-to-campus plans are evasive and misleading. Answers vary from person to person depending on the department. Majority of the universities in Virginia aren’t offering online options for all of their previously scheduled fall classes. This means that students whose classes aren’t deemed “online” by the school are expected to drop their classes and sign up for ones the school is making remote or work directly with their professors to see if they’d be willing to accommodate them but it’s ultimately up to the professor's discretion whether or not they accommodate the student. A policy that requires all students to attend their classes of choice in person feels like the university is not prioritizing those who are immunocompromised. Learning that the schools we have come to love—and in which our families have placed our trust and livelihoods—are not prioritizing our needs, and the needs of the other immunocompromised students, hits hard during a time when we are already feeling isolated and left behind. The absence of communication between the schools and their immunocompromised students further makes us feel like the school doesn’t care about our health and safety this fall. There are members of the college’s administration who give off the impression they couldn’t care less; they care more about the wants of the abled students than the needs of the disabled students. While we are already feeling like the rest of the world is leaving us behind, it hurts to feel like our schools are forgetting about us too.
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Before, disabled college students only had to deal with inadequate campus health services, inaccessible buildings, uneven bricks that strain tired joints, an increased risk of sexual assault, and dining halls that don’t accommodate dietary restrictions. But now the addition of a global pandemic makes having a disability even more isolating. It could mean separate housing for at-risk students, eating apart from the community, or even complete neglect of our college experience. Students with disabilities make up 20% of college students so without these individuals, will schools even recover? Our universities like to suggest that it is a choice for us whether to return to campus or not. What they don’t seem to understand is, if it really was a choice for us, we would be back on campus in a heartbeat. We would be back in the dining halls eating multiple servings of soft serve, dancing all night in frat basements, and singing with friends on the quad. But this is a matter of life and death. Individuals with autoimmune diseases and other medical conditions are at a much higher risk of dying from this coronavirus, and this fact cannot be ignored. We are not in any way asking to take away the in-person learning experience for those who are lucky enough to not have to worry as much about the complications of getting COVID-19. We are just asking that our universities give its students who are unable to have that luxury the same consideration when offering options for the fall. Just because COVID-19 might prove to be fatal for us doesn’t mean we should have to alter our schedules when able-bodied students get to continue on a forward path. We are asking our universities to step up, recognize us, and demonstrate compassion for their high-risk students by offering them equitable learning choices. People seem to think that all college kids are partying and ignoring the guidelines the CDC has laid out, but that is not the case. There is still a group of us in isolation as the rest of the world moves on, leaving us behind. This has been one of the loneliest summers, triggering traumatic memories of past quarantines for some, and this semester is going to be even worse. We will sit, still at home, watching our peers get to live our lives for us. As humans, it’s more important than ever to think beyond ourselves. Maybe that means not doing what you want to do for the next couple of months, but if doing so protects the health and safety of those who COVID-19 is a life or death situation, it shouldn’t be a hard sacrifice to make. To us, life can’t just go back to normal because we got bored in quarantine. As a community, we should be thinking about how our actions are going to affect those around us, being aware how what we do and what we choose to post on social media during this time says about us and our individual priorities. Life will move on after the pandemic, but who will it leave behind? It could be the boy who sat next to you in a class last fall whose parent is on chemotherapy so he can’t come back to campus. It could be your professor who won’t be in good enough health to be around kids who spend their weekends in frat basements. It could be someone like us who may not be able to return because they know that COVID-19 would put up possibly too strong of a fight against a body designated an underdog. College life won’t be the same, at least not for a while, for anyone, and we know that. This pandemic is exposing parts of an American society people with disabilities have been familiar with for a long time. The healthcare system isn’t adequate, medicine is too expensive, infrastructure isn’t there. Is this enough to finally change it? We understand that universities making all classes available remotely and our peers following the CDC guidelines may not be the most convenient option. But as we all know, doing what is right, inclusive, and compassionate is not always easy.
Interested in learning more about the work Samantha and Cameron are doing? Send an email to email@example.com 36 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
CAMERON LYNCH Cameron Lynch is a rising Sophomore at the College of William and Mary. Cameron has had a form of muscular dystrophy for 17 years, Type one diabetes for 11 years, and Celiacâ€™s disease for 3 years forming her identity as a person with multiple disabilities. She is originally from Richmond Virginia, but has lived in London England for the past three years. She is involved in the campus dance company at William and Mary and a member of the service fraternity. Cameron is majoring in Sociology and wants to pursue a career in civil rights activism and is preparing to attend law school after graduation. 37 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
Every second counts. MARY DAVID
ACTRESS, MEDIA COMMENTATOR, LAWYER AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS 38 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
PERSPECTIVE & POETRY BY MARY DAVID
RETURN TO THE MOMENT FIND THE WINS IN THE SECONDS
“There’s no time like the present to find your way back to the moment. Awareness Ties Official Ambassador, Mary David, reminds us to maintain a sense of self in each second and evert moment with power and strength.” - Allié M. We are in a defining moment in history. The struggle with defining periods in our lives is that they often do not feel monumental to us moment by moment, especially when we are in them. This is particularly true today, where every day has been seemingly repeating itself. For those who struggle with anxiety, low self esteem, or pressure from the outside world to fit a mold that feels foreign or suffocating, these moments can trigger a return to old habits that hinder rather than heal. It can feel almost comforting to go back to world views that left us stuck – simply because these have weighed on us for so long that fighting back feels like it takes inhuman levels of strength and power – ones that our reserves just cannot accommodate. This is why it is so critical, now more than ever, to guard our hearts and minds from negative life forces – self defeating thoughts and words, inhibiting social media accounts, toxic personalities – and return to any and every space, thought or idea that fosters self-reliance, resilience and empowerment. Return to the truths we try to teach our children and somehow forget to apply to ourselves. Return our minds to a space of grounding and wholeness, even just for a moment – because the battle is won in the moments. Every time we say yes to loving ourselves, affirming our worth, to pushing back what we know hurts – we are succeeding. Every second counts. This is how we can and will overcome the darkness of now – and return to ourselves, to society as victors, overcomers, and warriors ready to take on whatever our world looks like today and in the future.
CIRCUS AN ORIGINAL POEM BY MARY DAVID
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Return to the truths we try to teach our children and somehow forget to apply to ourselves. MARY DAVID
ACTRESS, MEDIA COMMENTATOR, LAWYER AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS 40 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
AWARENESS TIES SUPPORTS POSITIVE SOCIAL IMPACT WITH
21 CAUSES 16 MILLION READERS
126 NONPROFITS & 19 INFLUENTIAL AMBASSADORS.
I want to say, “Yes, I see you in living color!” JOHN MARTIN
PHYSICIAN & FATHER 42 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
PERSONAL STORY BY JOHN MARTIN
PEELING THE ONION FROM 64 YEARS OF RACISM IGNORANCE TO 1 YEAR OF LEARNING “I want to share something my 65 year old, white father wrote. I share this to inspire and fortify those who need to hear it. If you’re like me you’ve been tempted to give up having these talks, feeling too demoralized finding dead end after dead end. Receiving this email from him brought me to tears. Suffice to say, this is new.” - Jenny M. Let me start by clarifying that I am that typical sixty-five year old privileged white man. Grew up in the suburbs, college educated, physician/surgeon. Throughout my adult life I saw myself as anything but prejudice to race, you know, I had black friends after all! Now entering the fall of 2020, I am embarrassed and humbled by my life long ignorance. Guided mostly by my two profoundly enlightened adult daughters I have gained insights into a world I conveniently ignored. As it turns out I believe this new education to be perhaps the most important and significant contribution to my understanding of self and society.
Let me start with what I believe to be my most significant revelation. I now see how myself and my contemporaries place racism into obvious definable actions. Things like slavery, segregation, KKK activities, and other overt actions. Understanding however the racism we don’t see is perhaps the more pervasive and devastating. This invisible form just outside our conscious awareness is the subliminal perpetuator of the real consequential racism by us “nonprejudice” white people.
In what I would call “my group” of contemporaries all of us “non-racist” unconsciously legitimize our retort to things like the riots as “look at those people, robbing themselves” as if to say we are not prejudice but come on, us whites would not do that. I’m surrounded by age peers who innately legitimize ideologies that justify some level of racism. It now pains me to think I have been part of this “peer”. It never occurred to me that I had not been made to feel inferior my entire life only because of the color of my skin. What would I burn down if that was my reality since birth?
And my embarrassments continue. My past position of “I’m color blind or I don’t see color” is so obviously insulting to anyone of color. What such a statement or ideology really says is “Sorry, I don’t really see you at all”. Now what I want to say is just the opposite, I want to say yes, I see you in living color! We self-proclaimed non-racist try so hard to say and show we are not racist yet most of us don’t even understand what it is. The layers, the subtleties, the hidden prejudices inflicted on us throughout our privileged lives is powerful and very difficult to recognize.
Even the so called “Christian” world is really one of the worlds great perpetuators of racism. Having lived in Europe for a couple years and touring the great cathedrals it never occurred to me until now that all the statues for all practical purposes are white. All the saints, hell even Jesus is white! Clearly being white is divine!
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I now liken this modern racism to pathogens that invade our bodies. As we find ways to defeat a virus or bacteria the organism starts to mutate and express itself in a more hidden and destructive fashion. The insidious danger of unnoticed and unchallenged pathogens like viruses and racism are ultimately destructive to the human existence. You see, a virus and racism are not so different. A virus is not a living thing, it’s a string of RNA or DNA that can only exist if there is a susceptible host. We remove the host option by creating vaccines. So how do we come up with a vaccine to stop the destructive pathogen of racism? One of my daughters gave me a visual that really stuck. She said something along the line of starting to understand the depths of racism is like starting to peel an onion. Looks easy at the start but the layers are thin and abundant. I also like the fact that as one starts to peel that onion there is often the resulting tears. In attempting to summarize some of my learnings I offer the following: • Racism is far more complex than most of us will understand, however the first step is to start trying. • That racism is pervasive and clearly infectious. With a lot of real work and education it may be curable over time via “herd immunity”. • That as a white person one has to understand we can’t fully understand. It’s like when someone says you can’t understand what it is like to be a parent until you are a parent. That’s true, but you never get to change your race. • When you think you are not racist you are wrong. The generations of subtle (and not so subtle) indoctrination isn’t something that can be expelled in a few years. It will take decades of persistent willingness to “peel those layers”.
John (the father of two onion peelers)
John Martin Born in Detroit, Mi., Dr. Martin grew up in the north suburbs of the city. He attended the University of Michigan for undergraduate studies in physics and physiology. He attended medical school at Michigan State University followed by a residency in Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Martin completed specialty training in hand and microvascular surgery at the Detroit Medical Center. Additionally, Dr. Martin spent 17 years in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard, bringing an understanding of military culture and organization to his professional pursuits. After retiring from surgery in 2008, he and his wife Cyndi sailed their 46-foot sailing sloop around the world, covering some forty-eight thousand miles and visiting fifty-four countries. Dr. Martin often engaged in volunteer medical work in remote parts of the world during their travels. Inspired by his own sailing experiences, he authored the children's sailing adventure book titled, “Tommy Tiller and his Dog Rudder.” His book is available at amazon.com. Dr. Martin is the father of two daughters, Jenny and Kristen.
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One of my daughters gave me a visual that really stuck. She said something along the line of starting to understand the depths of racism is like starting to peel an onion.
PHYSICIAN & FATHER 45 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
Without personal connection, teaching can just become facts and figures. SEAN DUFFIE
HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER 46 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
PERSPECTIVE BY PROVIDENCE BOWMAN
SCHOOLHOUSE ROCKED THE RETURN TO THE CLASSROOM (OR NOT)
The final school bell has rung; students are rushing; class is in session. Whether the classroom is full or empty, it is not the same. We are feeling a great deal of pressure in order to make sure that our students are able to return safely; and we only have one shot. Education continues to morph, specifically higher learning. This is something I have observed first-hand as I enter my final year at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As of recent, the changes we have witnessed have left educators and students with a sudden and traumatic transition. Being a student in this day and age is hard. Students have had to adapt to the threats of school shootings through the experience of active shooter drills, transform their engagement with technology and experience the loss of funding to art programs and athletics teams. The pandemic presented a whole host of troubles that educators had to manage through their own form of adaptation. Students ranging in age from kindergarten all the way through graduate school are grappling with the way schools are changing. This leaves many without a concrete plan to address what is to come; everyone is searching for direction. Educators lament the absence of a deep connection with their students. Sean Duffie, a teacher at Forest Hills Northern High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, expressed it this way: “Without personal connection, teaching can just become facts and figures.” This is why so many people pursue a degree in education and why so many find their lifelong calling and passion in teaching. Duffie states, “Losing the in-person stability of teaching and learning has reinforced what I have always known about education: students are people first, then learners.” It is our job as students and lifelong learners to take care of ourselves and the people with whom we are building our futures. Students will need to prepare and behave differently. Matthew McLogan is the Vice President for University Relations at Grand Valley State University, and the effects of the pandemic have not been compared to any challenge he has seen in his nearly 30 years working at the University. School is not easy; change does not always come easy; moving forward in order to make sure that we can continue to educate and empower our youth is something that cannot change. Things are undeniably less comfortable and less customary; we need to remind ourselves that experiencing uncomfortable growth can foster an environment to create opportunities that we could not imagine for ourselves, and that this is a process that we are all learning and growing through. PROVIDENCE BOWMAN Awareness Ties Project Manager & Columnist www.awarenessties.us/staff Providence is a Gemini as well. She is a college student at Grand Valley State University, studying International Relations. She is passionate about using her words for good and is currently piecing stories together in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She loves to spend her free time traveling, with her head in a book, and by the water. She lives everyday by her mantra that we are here to pursue opportunities and “go be awesome”.
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I bear a greater sense of satisfaction when I contribute to society. SIYA TAYAL
YOUTH ENTREPRENEUR 48 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
‘ONE IN A MILLION’ COLUMN FEATURING SIYA TAYAL
MORE THAN ENOUGH FROM MAKING BAGS TO MAKING A MOVEMENT
‘One In A Million’ is a monthly column spotlighting youth leaders and entrepreneurs featured by 1M2030, a unique initiative that aims to enhance youth-led social ventures by building necessary practical skills of youth, by connecting them with global experts, by enhancing their visibility, facilitating access to micro-financing, and by connecting them to a global movement. Learn more at www.1M2030.org. Namaste. My Name is Siya Tayal. I was born in Hisar, India and am currently in grade X at The Shri Ram School, Aravali. I indulge in reading and writing. I love playing the piano and I love playing basketball but I bear a greater sense of satisfaction when I contribute to the society. Bee Nifty is an organization I started as a nine year old, fortuitously. Over the past few years it grew steadily and its purpose evolved and expanded as it meandered. All the social causes I carry out are under the Bee Nifty umbrella. The most known is ‘My Own Bag’. New waste fabrics are collected from various sources and turned into reusable bags by women in Juglan village belong to the marginalized communities. Nearly 2000 bags have now been sold. My Own Bag has been successful at promoting the reuse, recycle and reduce culture while providing income and opportunities. Continued support and contribution from large companies like DS Textiles has ironed out many difficulties. 1M2030 offered training and guidance for the same. Santa Cause is another initiative started by my friends Aditya, Saniya and myself under Bee Nifty. Used and new toys are collected and distributed to underprivileged students studying in Nayi Disha (A NGO School) and to children at St Judes (St Judes offers free accommodation for cancer patients under 18 receiving treatment in the capital). Feeding dogs, rescuing animals in need, distributing dental kits are some of the other occasional actions carried out. As an associate of the Disease Management Association of India, I address students of various schools and motivate to be a part of the change we want to see. DMAI has given me elbow room with some great policy makers of my nation. Membership of Plastic Pollution Coalition has helped me learn more and spread awareness about the impact of plastic pollution. Through the lockdown period which started in March in India, I have been ideating solutions for sustainable automation and employment. I will be putting forward my proposal at the Internet Governance Forum this November. I expressed my concerns on automation briefly as a millennial speaker for Global reporting Institute last month. ‘I Am Enough’ is a movement I started recently to spread awareness of deep prevalence and pain spawned by body shaming. The movement has gained momentum and I have 200 members now associated with this movement. My current work as a Social Media Manager and Director for Artem NexGen has helped me use social media more intently and purposefully. Contributors of Artem NexGen continue to inspire me. Time management has been the key skill that has helped me spread myself in different Arenas. My poetries can be read on the Pierian Poetry page on wordpress website. My poetry ‘Skies’ is published in the book Uncaged – A teen anthology, and is available on Amazon. To contribute, support or partner with me please join the Bee Nifty Facebook or Instagram page.
49 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION
THE RETURN TO LOVE By JACK McGUIRE I love you so much For loving me Even when I didn’t know how to love myself I love you For seeing my flaws And not wanting to fix them but understand why I have them I love you for letting me breathe I love you for all the scary things you couldn’t see I love you as though I might lose you I love you for making me believe I never will I love you because every misstep is a lesson and I’m learning love is more about understanding then misdirection I love you, will never even remotely come close to how I really feel I love you for your hearts innocence and your wills confidence
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This edition is dedicated to the return to ‘normal’. We return to a NEW normal, as the normal that used to be no longer can be. Now is the t...
Published on Aug 26, 2020
This edition is dedicated to the return to ‘normal’. We return to a NEW normal, as the normal that used to be no longer can be. Now is the t...