Special Report by Isabel DeMarco
In recent months, abortion has become a hot-button issue for many voters. Many states have reacted to abortion with legislation, although the degree and leanings of this legislation varies greatly depending on the states involved. Certain states have taken alarming steps to regulate abortion, with Ohio, Alabama, and Georgia taking steps to virtually ban abortion. While these drastic regulations have captivated the American and international public, many other states have, albeit quietly, taken steps towards preserving and protecting reproductive rights.
Alabama’s legislation, which emerged in May, is shocking for various reasons. Namely, it bans abortion regardless of trimester or whether the woman is a victim of rape or incest. Moreover, the legislation criminalizes abortion; those who preform them can face up to 99 years in prison. The legislation was notable in that the legislation was nearly wholly supported by guys before being signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey. It is important to note that this legislation was predominantly drafted and supported by white male politicians, and that while a woman signed it into law, that the legislation disproportionality harms Alabama’s poor, minority population. In numerous states across the United States, only one abortion clinic remains.
When most of us think of natural beauty, clean eating and wellness, we envision glowing skin, an impeccable diet of alkaline foods and a Deepak Chopra meets Giselle Bunchen kind of mind-body harmony. What most of of don't consider is the painful motivation and bumpy path that led to such holistic robustness.
Meet Karen Stephens - a literal poster woman for the road to wellness hard traveled.
Karen is also a New Yorker, a modern busy working mom who is also an empress at talking, walking and living a green path. Karen, soon to be 53, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor and advocate, in January launched the Face of TBI campaign to promote awareness and public education of brain injury with a one-minute video on YouTube and Facebook to start discussions about concussions and brain injury and let people understand the complications.
The admission scandal that littered the news the past month in the US was certainly not new for people especially students and families seeking admission into institutes in less developed and highly ‘corrupt’ countries. Although corruption is present in every country in the world, the presence of the so-called corruption watchdog has put the cases of corruption in developed countries under check unlike in other countries like Russia, Asia and in Africa where corruption is a way or part of the lifestyle of the people.
The scandals in the US certainly pulled the rugs from underneath our feet as we never thought role model and important personalities that preach good morals could be involved in such conspiracy and atrocities in our society. Ok, so we knew it was possible, but chose to think the culprits were the usual suspects; older white conservative families with legacies they wanted to maintain with a firm grip.
As modern changemakers, activists, and leaders-in-the-making, regularly revealing our know-how and savvy at navigating shared environment is encouraged and in some spaces expected. Yet when it comes to our family, that kumbaya consciousness can quickly evaporate into clean air. As a parent in today’s world, its essential to raise our children with a deepened understanding and responsiveness of their needs, which can be very different than their wants. According to social scientists and anthro-psychologists, this kind of attentive parenting is best done by pouring all your conscious effort on the child in a calm and lovable manner; much like you do toward your urban garden and your yoga instructor. There is a saying “Today’s children… Tomorrow’s future…” A future where people have compassion, honesty and are well behaved can only be shaped now. That is why it is very to start now for a better future. Who best can do that other than the parents? So we have picked our top 5 tips to be a conscious parent.
When we think of pregnancy and giving birth, an image of a full-bellied woman and 20-hour labor comes to mind. At least to my mind. Yet there's a different kind of pregnancy and birth that can occur in a woman's life - nurturing potential and creating a life that is a joy to live. Who best to ask about bearing witness to the process than well a doula? So I shifted the focus from moms and babies to a woman who changed her life in surprisingly beautiful ways. I invited Cheyenne Varner, our once Guest Wellness Editor and Maternity Expert/Doula, and founder of The Educated Birth, to share her story of professional transformation, work/life balance, finding joy and maternal-birthing wellness (by proxy).
ALL ABOUT DOULA-ING
What happened externally or internally (i.e a personal turning point or awakening) that pointed you in the direction of being a doula?
I’m the oldest of four. Watching my mother go through her pregnancies was fascinating to me, even from the young age of 7, when my first sister was born. As I grew older, I considered going into medicine and working with women throughout their pregnancies. But the competitive nature of the medical education world turned me off. I didn’t want to compete. I just wanted to do meaningful work!
Well, after college when I learned what doula work was — that was such a sunrise kind of feeling. I started reinvesting all my time to learn more about birth and birth work, which led me to meet with a local doula. During our time, she pointed out that my personality and the quality of my presence might make me a good fit, and I felt so affirmed and excited I signed up for the next available training near me.
Ultimately, I’ve always felt drawn to the sacred new-life space of pregnancy and birth, as well as work that highlights and engages in social needs and meaningful aspects of life in my community.
The advent of social media has been somewhat remarkable as well as a thorn in the flesh. There are innumerable benefits of social media ranging from personalized accessible connectivity (our fave), an online market for entrepreneurs, a hub to link intellectual gurus (that's us too ;)), and just simply a social network. It has however taken up a whole lot of our social lives and reduced human interaction. Social media, of course, has its ills and subsequently, many users are faced with difficult questions such as whether the pros outweigh the cons.
Young people and kids, have been known to be victims of the social media surge. This is because they usually do not have an understanding of the underling social contracts within these digital and interactive spaces before diving in. They are also left alone and on the receiving end of challenging social and emotional storms for which they are unprepared to weather. Their level of vulnerability when confronted with acts of cruelty, manipulation, and isolation breeds numerous negative outcomes . But the kids are and will be alright. Here are a few reasons why kids are quitting the media.
Having a difficult conversation is not a very easy task. A lot of organizations and companies are struggling with the relationship between their employees because of individual differences which are centered on race, gender, and cultural differences.
At some point leaders and employees would have to engage in difficult conversations, employees will also have to engage in conversations amidst themselves too and it does not have to be so awkward. When these conversations are side-stepped it only strains relationships and causes a lot of issues that could be avoided to erupt and infect all areas of work, communication, corporate culture, and operational success.
These conversations may never be easy but there are ways to make it painless and productive on both sides. Here are five ways to have great conversations in offices and organizations.
While TimeBanking as a concept is not a new one, it is yet to catch up with market trends in most countries. Its historical aspects are well established, and the entire idea revolves around a focal point, one ancient wisdom that every one of us has heard: time is money!
Creating, maintaining and profiting from a Time Bank is hard work. Before you begin, perhaps you should dig slightly more in-depth into the history of this new-age economy.
Time Banking is a concept of an alternative currency in economics. In this currency system, the idea of ‘money’ is different from what we traditionally use. Money is but a means of exchanging the value of the services provided. In this currency system, the unit of account is measured in person/hour. In other words, the hours in a day are the currencies in Time Banking.
With Mother's Day right around the corner, and the much publicized and celebrated births of royal Baby Archie and Amy Schumer's little Jean, it's easy to forget the numerous unhappy birth stories of many marginalized women and girls. The policymakers in major American cities are finally waking up to the alarming numbers of maternal mortality rates, especially among Black women. Leading public figures and noted media outlets are blaming this crisis on disparities that exist in the medical care provided to certain sections of the society.
Existing studies on maternal mortality rates movingly illustrate a health justice issue where racism, economic isolation, and poverty are at the root of the reasons why so many Black mothers are dying. Consider this:
I grew up in the ’70s when healthy fresh food was the norm and was both affordable and accessible. My mother made everything from scratch and fortunately for my waistline, she was a horrific baker, which meant we always had “home-cooked” whole meals and sugary treats were few and far in between. Despite a Whole Foods on every other select block and the news overload of healthy eating regimes from vegan to Keto, most folks, particularly those in disenfranchized communities are still nutrition ignorant and poor. Be it corner stores that won’t stock fruits and veggies or school curriculums that skip basic nutrition in the science programs, a healthy meal is yet to be determined and then found.
Tambra Raye Stevenson, founder, and CEO of WANDA - Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics, and Agriculture, is dedicated to making food health and wellbeing the norm, specifically for girls and women of color. If necessity is the mother of invention, motherhood was the driving force behind the creation of WANDA and her “I am Wanda” campaign, when she looked to address her daughter Ruby’s classroom junk-food treat born cavity. The root of the problem, no pun intended, was not simply one too many sweet treats, rather, systemic reinforcement of poor nutritional values and health education. As an interrupter of bias and neglect, WANDA, an education based advocacy organization aimed at establishing health justice was Tambra’s next step.