Category Archives: Top Stories

8 Ways to Really be an Adult on a Really Small Budget

Here are my personal strategies for saving money.  They might work for you, or they might not.  Being an adult means spending all the money you earn, so here’s how I make my budget go as far as I can.

  1. Pay money upfront whenever you can.  When I bought my car, I put down as big of a down payment as I could.  When I buy insurance, I pay the plan in full at the beginning of the year.  I know this does not work for everyone, but when I do this as often as I can, I end up saving several hundred dollars a year.
  2. Never buy (new) books.  For those of you who are like me, you love to read.  Sometimes we forget about the library!  Free unlimited movies, books, and more!  Now, with Overdrive and Libby, it’s easier than ever.  You can get free online books just by using your library card.  If I do treat myself to a book to own, I will only buy used from library sales or used book stores.  Another thing I like to do is trade books with friends whenever possible.
  3. Buy in bulk.  I bought a membership to BJ’s about a year ago for $25 through an incentive program for teachers at my school.  By using store coupons combined with manufacturer’s coupons (yes, you can use more than one coupon on an item there!) I am able to get even bigger savings.  It’s not just for suburban moms.
  4. Fix, don’t replace.  Whenever I can, I fix something instead of replacing it.  If you have a needle and thread, you have a life extender for your clothes.  Ripped leggings, missing buttons, or torn belt loops can be easily fixed with a little time.  When in doubt, look on Youtube for videos on how to fix things.  The sense of accomplishment comes free with the repair too!
  5. Do it yourself whenever you are able.  Time is often a constraint, but I do things myself whenever I can.  For example, in my house, I painted the rooms myself.  It took a lot of time and was labor intensive work (especially painting the ceilings and trim) but I saved money.  I am also making my own curtains for my bedroom and living room–much cheaper than buying curtains that I would most likely need to hem anyway.  It also comes with a bit of a bonus because I can pick more unique fabric than the usual curtains at Bed, Bath, & Beyond.
  6. Cook!  Yes, I love going out to eat, but cooking at home saves money.  It is so underrated.  Make something that you can eat all week and bring for lunches.  For example, I love quiche.  I will make quiche on a Sunday for dinner and then bring a slice for lunch all week.  It’s basically meal prepping, which isn’t an original tip, but I can’t do grilled chicken and veggies every day.  BONUS HINT: Whenever I go out to eat, I always order something I am not skilled at making or otherwise wouldn’t make for myself.  If I see something I want but I know I could make myself,  I take a mental note and make it for dinner later that week.  This isn’t really money saving but it helps me get my money’s worth out of going out to eat.
  7. Shop with credit cards–then pay them off.  I have a store card to my favorite place to buy clothes: Loft (don’t judge, I’m a teacher).  I pay with my credit card, get discounts and coupons often, and always pay off the balance as soon as I get home.  If you are loyal to a specific brand or store, this can help a lot.
  8. Figure out what you love, then splurge.  My fiance and I love going to karaoke bars.  There really isn’t any way of getting around the cost.  We go out with our friends, order appetizers and scorpion bowls…and it adds up.  We know this.  We set money aside to go out, so we are mindful when doing something else.  If we end up doing other things for entertainment, we remember that means no karaoke for a bit.  It helps us prioritize what we like doing and keeps us from going out too often and wasting money on stuff we don’t love.  It doesn’t keep us from hanging out with friends, but it definitely helps us make the decision between a bottle of wine together with them or a night on the town.

For All of Us We Must Not Forget

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For those who had traumatizing pasts, embarrassing pasts, disappointing pasts, shameful pasts, for those who are not lucky enough to remember your pasts due to illness or harm, and for those who are no longer here on this earth to do so either, this is for all of us!

Its okay to not talk about the past but its not okay to forget about it and act like that part of your life didn’t exist. Some pasts can be scary, uneasy, even traumatizing, so its completely okay to not want to talk about them but what is not okay is erasing them, forgetting about them, acting as if moments did not happen. The pain they brought has happened, an outcome came of it, but you made it to this point. The point where you get to stand here and say “THAT moment happened, THAT pain was endured, THAT was THAT”. Call it tough love but something most need to hear and others need to view from a different perspective. 

I’m not going to sit here and say cliché things like “the past is what made us to what we are today” and yes while that holds a good amount of value I feel as if saying that quote makes pasts always seem so bad. That being said yes some peoples are but there are also people who’s pasts were not bad. And to be quite honest I wish we could see more positive pasts without people calling them privileged or lucky! I am sorry that some people had such horrible pasts that have made you incapable of not being happy for others who did not! What people need to realize is be lucky your here to remember a past, to be able to be here and to have grown from a past, some souls out there never got that chance for a past.

But no matter what your past WAS, if it was something painful you were put through or if you were the person inflicting pain and hurt on others; it does not matter. This isn’t to discredit or devalue some peoples traumatizing pasts, its for people to know that its okay to not talk about things you did not like or make you feel a negative way; but we must never forget them. Lessons were taught and events occurred that pushed you to where you are now (some might not be at a good place right now but give it time). So please stop thinking its okay to forgive and forget, that nothing good can come from remembering the hard moments, when in fact someones everything now came from those moments. Our past has everything to do with our present and future. Think about it- if we only talked about whats ahead never wanting to recognize what happened how would we know what to reflect off of?

You don’t have to talk about your past, you don’t have to think about it all the time either but we must not forget. We are lucky enough to get the chance to reflect and remember!

Paradise vs. Poverty

This weekend, I was Cinderella.

I grew up modestly.  My parents never had a lot of money but we didn’t suffer because of it.  We went on family road trips and would go out to eat on birthdays, but we were a typical family of the lower middle class.

But this weekend, I was Cinderella.

My boyfriend’s family took us on a vacation to the Dominican Republic.  All expenses paid, all inclusive, and every single need or want we could possibly think of was taken care of.

I had unlimited tropical drinks served by bartenders that always remembered my name and order.

I shot archery on the beach, danced in a nightclub, and gambled in a casino all in the same day.

I walked on the beach, went snuba diving, and swam in a freshwater-filled cave.

Every time I walked into my hotel room, there were new animals made of towels that were covered in fresh flowers.

When I broke my glasses, guest services took care of every single detail with only the small fee of paying for the super glue which was brought up to my room by a butler.

I didn’t deserve any of it.

I never expected any of this, but the saddest part was what I didn’t expect about the environment.

The second we drove off of the 5 star hotel’s land, garbage littered the streets.  Kids wearing clothes both far too big and far too small were begging and selling their drawings to tourists.  Stray cats ate scraps and cows that had their ribcages showing walked through intersections.

At an off-site beach, we were pestered by vendors.  Some would try to hand us bottles of beer.  Others sold paintings and jewelry.  One man, without my knowledge or consent, put an iguana on my head in an attempt to get me to take a picture–for a fee, of course.

When I went to the five star resort, I felt like the poor girl who was swept off her feet by a man and brought to the lap of luxury.

The Dominican Republic took me back to the sad reality.

Among the beauty of the palm trees and endless pina coladas, there was extreme poverty.

We were the exception to the rule.

We were the white tourists, eating gormet food to our heart’s content while a mile away, so many starved.

We spoke in broken Spanish to servers who knew that learning English and working in a resort was one of the best–and only–ways to make a living.

I was the Cinderella who saw the dark side of her fairy tale.

6 Interview Prep Tips for Awkward Adults

It’s interview season.

For teachers looking to change schools and college graduates, it is time for finding new jobs.

As someone who has done a lot of interviews over the last couple years, I have picked up a lot along the way.  I consider this one of my skills, and luckily, it has led me to some moderate success.

Here are my tips to prepping for an interview to help yourself feel less awkward:

  1. Come to the Interview Prepared: This includes doing research on the company, the position you are applying for, and–if you can find out–the culture of the company.  It may seem trivial when you are desperate for income, but if you find out as much as you can about the job before interviewing or even accepting, you can save yourself from being miserable (or quitting) in a few months.
  2. Have Something in Your Hand: For me, I like to bring in a packet with a cover page, cover letter, resume, letters of recommendation, and a write-up of a sample lesson.  For others, this may be a portfolio, sample writings, or something that the interviewer has requested.  You will feel much more confident walking in if you know you have something you can give them.  It will help them remember you and you will feel more prepared, giving you more confidence.
  3. Eat Something: Make sure you’re not walking into this new office with your stomach growling.  It will be not only distracting to you, but make you uncomfortable.  Pro tip: don’t eat spinach or anything else too leafy because you will need to…
  4. Smile!: It really goes a long way.  If you are feeling awkward, sometimes smiling through it can help.  If you are afraid it will come off as unnatural, try practicing smiling in the mirror.  I’m totally serious.  (Make sure to check your teeth while you are at it).
  5. Wear Something Comfortable, but Not Too Comfortable: I have a pair of dress pants that I always go to that are stretchy and not too stiff.  Ladies, wear heels if you have pant legs that flare out, you don’t want to be stepping on them (I’ve learned this the hard way)  because there’s nothing less comfortable than tripping over your own clothes.  Gentlemen, I am going to say it, wearing a little makeup won’t kill you.  Steal some of your girlfriend’s/sister’s/mom’s concealer if you have a big zit (which was probably caused by the stress of an interview coming up).  An employer will look past blemishes, but if having a clear face would make you feel more confident, there’s no shame in covering it.
  6. Arrive Extra EarlyIt may seem obvious, but arriving early has its benefits other than being able to save you from any unexpected traffic/navigation issues.  Arriving early will give you a few minutes to focus and calm yourself before going inside.  You can take your time sitting in your car if you’re feeling anxious.  Text your mom.  Take a deep breath.  Watch an episode of “The Office” (okay, I haven’t done this but one of my friends has and he said it helped him relax).

 

BONUS

After the interview, Treat Yo’ Self.  Do something for you.  Talking about yourself and trying to seem perfect for thirty minutes can take a toll on you.  Grab a coffee and put it out of your mind–until the next one. Good luck!

The Simple Truth About Interviewing with a Sexist

Hold up–that’s a pretty accusatory title.  Sexist? Really?

I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.  I really did, I swear.

I can’t remember the exact moment I realized who I was dealing with.

Maybe it was when he talked down to me, explaining why leads are called leads. “Because they lead to a sale!  Get it?”-Actual quote from the man I am choosing to call Mr. Wasp.

Maybe it was when Mr. Wasp talked for over 90% of the interview or when he invited a male candidate in who had been waiting outside to join us as he talked down to me, giving the other looks that said “you get it, I have to explain it to her though”.

But I think the most telling moment was when I explained to him why I wanted a job and he left the interview while I spoke, to show me how I was wrong, about the truth that I was revealing and he was trying so desperately to conceal: that there were almost no women in the field.

____________________________________________________________

Last week, I interviewed at a car dealership.  I was prepared.  I knew exactly why I was there.  I was inspired by Girls Auto Clinic in Toronto, a garage that is exclusively run by women in an effort to empower women car owners who feel intimidated at dealerships. Every woman I know who has been in a dealership has been talked down to, oversold, and made to feel clueless when talking about cars.  I wanted to help be this change.

I was asked the question, “Why do you want to work here?”.  Here is what happened:

Mr. Wasp: “Why do you want to work here?”

Me: “I was inspired by the women of Girls Auto Clinic.” (here I explained what that was) “In my experience, every time I have gone to a dealership, the only women I have seen have been receptionists, so–”

Mr. Wasp, cutting me off,: “We have women here that are more than receptionists.”

Me: “Well that is great, I am glad to hear it.  But in my experience that is usually not the case.  You see,–”

Mr. Wasp, interrupting me again: “We DO hire women.  There is even a woman on the sales floor.  She is here right now.”

Mr. Wasp then gets up, leaves the room, and looks down to the sales floor and says, “She is around here somewhere”.  He proceeds to look and wait.  I sit in the room, waiting, until finally…

Mr. Wasp, pointing: “There she is! See? We hire women for sales.”

I wish I could write here what I was able to say in response to this absurd action, but truth be told, I had no chance.  He talked at me.  I had no chance to ask questions, talk about my qualifications, nor respond.  I was thanked for my time and told that I would hear back soon if I was moved forward in the hiring process.

___________________________________________________________

The simple truth is that interviewers are not always so openly awful.  They don’t always create tokens out of the employees and use other candidates as pawns to justify talking down to women.  They don’t interrupt the candidates or walk out of the room.

The simple truth is that this man did all of these in a manner that was almost comical, like something out of sketch comedy or an exaggerated comic strip parody.

The simple truth is that this happens.  Every single day.  This was not my first experience and it will most likely not be my last.

And the worst part, you ask?

This man was not a possible future boss.

He did not work for the company.

He was from an outside hiring agency.

An Open Letter to Covington Catholic School

I’ll make this brief.  I am a devout Catholic and a student of Catholic schools.  I believe in Catholic education.  I believe in the participation in March for Life.  The horrific events that transpired on January 18th concern me.
I won’t waste your time and tell you to expel these students.  I won’t waste your time and tell you to forgive them and teach them better.  These decisions are up to you.
I will ask you though, why you would let these students wear MAGA hats, essentially a modern symbol of hatred, to the March for Life event?  Traditionally, the Republican party has been associated with being anti-abortion.  I choose my words very carefully here because I will not say that the Republican party, especially Trump’s Republican party, is pro-life.  Being pro-life means having compassion for our fellow human being.  It means providing single mothers who choose life with assistance and support.  It means treating everyone with respect.  March for Life should be that–a protest in favor of the pro-life movement, not just a protest to end abortion.
I am disgusted that these students were allowed to bring and wear these hats on your trip.  The fact that this was associated not only with Catholicism, but with Catholic schools, disgusts me to my very core.  I believe you have failed in your mission as a Catholic school.
The Catholic church has found itself on the wrong side of history too many times.  I am from Vermont and now live in the greater Boston area–two regions that were deeply hurt by too many child abuse cases.  These and other stains upon our church need to be met with a greater consciousness.  You, as leaders for our young people, are tasked with this.  I am embarrassed on your behalf.
Your job as educators is to teach your students the true values of Catholicism.  You failed in that mission when you let those students bring and wear those hats.  Catholics are pro-life, not just anti-abortion.  I am saddened by what you let spiral on January 18th.
Feel free to contact me further if you feel necessary.  I will be praying for you and your school, as well as for the students who have so much to learn.
Sincerely,
Jessica Bruso
I sent this email on January 23rd to the principal, assistant principal, dean, and guidance counselor of Covington Catholic School.
I am Catholic.
I am pro-life.
I am disgusted.

lose, find, navigate

Loss is a weird concept

because

you can Lose a lot of things

you can Lose a soccer game,

a chess match,

or a hot dog eating contest,

or come in last in a dance recital

 

you can Lose time, and you can Lose hope

you can Lose pets, and you can Lose people

you can Lose your car keys,

or,

Lose your way

(which is more difficult to find if,

you also happen to Lose

your gps)

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

i’ve been fortunate

to not have Lost a lot of people

but the ones I have,

Hurt.

 

you know the school saying,

quality,

over quantity

 

sometimes you may feel

like you’ve

Lost yourself

 

you may go

on a spiritual

or soulful

journey to find you

again

 

but the you

that you find

is different every time

beige analog gauge
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

i think the scariest thing,

is not spiders or monsters,

not killers or WWIII

but ghosts, of sorts.

 

the scariest thing,

i believe,

is Losing memories of those

whom we love

but can no longer

make new memories with,

because they,

also,

have been Lost.

 

when you Lose something,

important.

something,

that hurts your heart

to Lose.

 

you may try to find new ways

to look at the world

for better

or for worse

 

but the problem is,

what are you to do

when you realize

nothing can help find them.

person s hand on black board with hello text beside brown mug

when you figure out,

that just being kind,

or reaching out,

while great in the moment,

can’t find someone you’ve already Lost.

 

it can’t bring back

your Lost friend

your Lost sibling

your Lost parent

like you can find your car keys

or practice your soccer skills

 

but it can,

possibly,

prevent someone else from Losing

something they love

 

it can help

navigate

the strangeness of our hearts

white and gray textile
Photo by Tobi on Pexels.com

it can help mellow

the way we sway

through the winds

that whistle like our lost items,

our Lost

emotions.

 

Loss is a weird concept

because

sometimes I feel like I have

Lost something

that I never even had in the first place.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

xoxo

On Being a Boulder Brook Mom (and the ramblings of a young poet)

The women around here are not JUST women – they are Titans. They grow up knowing that they have to be brave, fearless even. That they have to have grace and know their own worth – know that they are not cut out to simply be an accessory in their own life. That husbands aren’t guaranteed, because time is not kind and old age and good health is as good a gift as any other.

Women around here wield water skis like swords and dirtied hands like first place prizes. Women here are the reason we believe that there is a future beyond the hateful words we hear anywhere else. Women here are the reason this writer – has a voice that says something other than “like and um” when speaking in front of crowded rooms. Women here are the reason I write.

There’s Something About a Place Like This

I said it once but I will say it again, I grew up around powerful women. Strong women who loved, lived and cried for the future of their families. I grew up around Roxy the riveter types – women who were true heroes in their own right. I grew up around WOMEN – and when I say there is something about a place – I mean, there is something about THIS place that makes being who you are a little less frightening and a lot more possible. And maybe that feeling could be attributed to a mothers touch or maybe it could just be called what it is – this place is love.

It is my father’s heart still beating as the waves crash on the beach that reminds me of him – its my mother’s smile from before she knew what true unending hurt was. It’s dirty feet, sandy carpets and a love for people that are so much more than family.

In a place like this – like home, the wind moves like poetry and the waves crash in such a way that could make a natural disaster pause and watch. In a place like this – drunk thoughts become sobering memories of sunsets that reminded you of a childhood you can’t return to. It’s a place like this that becomes your identity and it is from mothers like ours that we can translate what all this poetic bullshit means.

So How do you Put words to this kind of Music?

Well I guess you don’t… but instead of stopping to correct the music – maybe its better just to sit down, pause and listen.

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this post is dedicated to all the powerful and influential men and women we have lost this year. thank you for all you have taught me – thank you for being titans among men

It’s Never Just a Job

my sophomore year of college I became a ref

See mom always tells me “water seeks its own level.” meaning we search for the people we think we deserve. When I joined intramurals I wasn’t looking for more than a steady paycheck and a way to straighten my life out but – you can imagine my surprise when [after sipping the fit and rec Kool-Aid] I bought into the “we’re a family” mentality.

truth is I never thought I’d be a ref

I grew up saying “I love sports, but I can’t JUST watch – I have to play.” And until college this was true – but really I just hadn’t met the right leaders – or the right family – to get me to buy in to what it meant to be a part of a team – even if that team specialized in playing off the field and on the sidelines.

A couple names come to mind when I think of people that shaped my life. John Concannon, Matt Gordon, Jon Conley, David Chance, Lia Nawn, Justin Flory, Phil Gilbride and Rebecca Scott. And what they all have in common is that they taught me how to be a great leader.

See the people above weren’t just Intramural refs, they were the people that – come hell and high water – you knew you could depend on them. Concannon in particular stands out because he wasn’t just on the field, but he was a resident advisor who literally watched me and my friends commute to hell and back every weekend – never judging openly, but letting us grow.

today we said goodbye

This morning 8.18.18 a member of the Merrimack college community was laid to rest. But in truth he was so much more than a member of the Merrimack community. His name was Craig Maxfield, he was 23, and words cannot describe what he meant to his friends and family.

To me Craig was quiet, kind, and a great person to work with. He was someone to look up to and he was a part of my best years on the Merrimack Intramural Staff.

See I learned a lot at Merrimack over the years. I took a lot of classes, made a handful of friends, and worked a number of jobs – but what I learned is that it is never about the job.

it’s about people – and by that I mean family

I don’t know what it was – scratch that, I know WHO it was. You see the people I named above, they are what made a job feel like home – they are what got me to appreciate working more than I ever had because suddenly someone as small as me – who USED TO BE QUIET suddenly had a huge voice and the power to make people listen. And I wasn’t the only one who experienced this metamorphosis.

Truth is I wasn’t always the best worker – truth is I fell off a little when the leaders I truly believed in left, but the fact still remains that no one I know – whole heartedly, and cheesily buys into family as much as that 2015-2017 staff did. Sure we were lost, and maybe it was just the Kool-Aid, but I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.

so today we said goodbye

To a brother, a friend, a Merrimack Family member, and with hearts heavy we have watched a chapter end too soon.

But what I can promise you now – is the same I bought into then. The people I met at Merrimack are family, the people I worked with for Intramurals were family – and yeah we were dysfunctional at times, yeah I was delusional some nights but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

You see it’s never just a job. It’s a shot in the dark – that turns into a passion – that transforms into a home and suddenly you realize that that rut you thought you were in before, was really just the breadcrumbs you needed to guide yourself to something you could truly believe in.

and then suddenly you’re home.

 

It’s Y(our) time, now

Connecticut, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Vermont had their primaries yesterday.

General elections across the nation are on November 6th.

And voting is as important as breathing.

I’ve been learning a bunch about so called “adulting” since the tail end of college.

If anything stuck, it’s that the most important aspect of being a young adult is to put into action our training of being active members of society.

It’s one of the most mature, and critical things we can do for the world around us:

Vote.

Now, politics really have never been my ‘thing.’

The whole subject is confusing, complicated, and ever changing to say the least.

And I haven’t had enough education that actually taught me how things work; at least not past the general School House Rock structure.

I have been left to teach myself and learn about what is going on in my own government all on my own.

What I have learned, you ask?

My generation is CRUSHING the political game across the country.  We are suspected to be the most politically active generation over the course of our lifetimes the country has seen yet.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

For example:

On Sunday, the students of Parkland, Florida and other March for Our Lives members concluded their ‘tour’ around the country in Newtown, Connecticut; and I was fortunate enough to see it happen and speak with them first hand.

They visited over 20 states, with over 50 stops along the way – all within the span of about 2 months.

They have been actively registering people to vote, speaking to crowds that gather to hear their ideas, and informing the young voters on just how much they can impact their communities, and our country, with just their voices.

An amazing movement that started due to hundreds of tragedies across the nation.

crowd on the road
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s the ‘kids’ making moves to change policies.

It’s the high school and college students who just want to feel (and be) safe on their campuses that are encouraging people to get out and vote for what they believe in.

It’s the young adults that are pushing to have the voting age lowered to 16, because all of these policies going into place are affecting THEM.

It’s the millennial generation, just barely pushing through the beginnings of adulthood, that are so passionate about encouraging people to get out and vote.

1.jpg

So, my first valuable life lesson of adulthood:

Go out of my way to learn all about my political candidates and what they believe in.

My second lesson is to go out and vote for them.

Third, is to always listen to those younger than you are.  They see the world in a different light.  They have different experiences and education.  Putting our heads together, maybe we can find a solution to our nation’s issues.  Maybe we can get new perspectives and implement programs and policies to keep everyone safe, happy, healthy, and educated.

2 (2)

As I learn the ins and outs of adulthood, these students changing the nation will be my reminder that I can change the world.  A little bit at a time.   One voice at a time.  One day at a time.

Dear Racism

my mom always taught me that putting others down to push yourself up was wrong.

She always said that the ones that push hateful thoughts are the ones who lack love the most. In the past two days I have seen stories about  Laura Ingraham and her statement that:

In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people. And they’re changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like.

have proved to me that Laura Ingraham not only lacks love in her life, but she is blind to the fact that while she can point one finger at a “guilty” party – she neglects the three fingers pointing right back at her.

Stories published by CNN, GQ and the Washington Post are creating a platform to share Ingraham’s message – but luckily they strongly disagree with the stance she has taken.

In these articles, prominent writing platforms share how Ingraham is trying to boost and rally President Trump’s base. In this, she strongly states supporting evidence [one or two examples] that Illegal Immigrants are “rapists” – effectively generalizing a whole population that hasn’t earned the level of disrespect they have been given by the Trump administration.

But what gets me the most – this generalized opinion and racist tirade neglects to realize that this country was founded by men who were known for their sexual digressions. So when I hear “Make America Great Again,” when I hear that “the America we know and love doesn’t exist any more,” I hear that we loved oppression, that we loved violence, that it was ok for American born men like Thomas Jefferson to rape his slaves – but of course me stating that is wrong because the real villains are the ones crossing the boarder [not to help their families, not to find prosperity, but to rape, steal and incite fear].

Now I am not in any way supporting assault by any party, because you cant generalize rape by age, gender, race, or even the act [the qualification of what each victim defines as their own sexual violation]. What I am saying is that – it is so easy to pull one or two bad people out of a crowd and label them. It is so easy to put a witch on trial and say “if she floats she burns” but what isn’t easy and what isn’t right is that our country’s leadership and media is leveraging one or two reputations based on color rather than creating support for the massive population of people who have been sexually assaulted or effected by racial bias.

Dear Laura Ingraham,

When I hear that “the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” I am reminded of wars that aren’t currently happening, agriculture is flooded with pesticides to meet population needs, and that groups who identify as a minority or under a certain religion have a little bit of a chance of walking out of their homes without being scared of discrimination.

I am reminded that while we have countless members on the border, keeping their eye on ‘potential criminals and illegal aliens’ we have no one safeguarding our schools, or pushing for mental health and gun reform. When you say “the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” I say damn straight and thank god, because 20 years ago there was no #METOO, there was no Black Lives Matter, there was no Marriage Equality, and there sure as hell was no one under 25 with a voice and a hand in government policy on gun control.

Mrs. Ingraham, you may have lost your career with Fox this week, you may be getting quite a bit of back lash for what you decided to say, but let me give you one more thing to think about.

My name is Rachel, I am 22, I am an American – and I am not afraid of Immigration, I am not afraid of ‘Mexicans’ and I certainly don’t believe that they are terrorists.

Dear Mrs. Ingraham, my name is Rachel and I think the real threat to this country isn’t the people trying to enter it illegally – it’s the ones with the privilege, the power, and the influence to distract us from the people trying to tear us apart from the inside.

In the past 24 hours Ingraham has received large amounts of backlash, but I hope this issue doesn’t just become another blip in the grand scheme of the media and the public. Racism isn’t gone, prejudice is still very prevalent in this country, and day by day I realize that we as a country have given voice and power to the wrong people.

Hate is as violent as war, and I will not continue to watch people preach hatred.

My mom always taught me that putting others down to push yourself up was wrong.

She said that the ones who are the most cruel are the ones who need the most love because someone neglected to love them in the ways they needed. I hope the people who hate the most find the love they need, because otherwise we will never be the Great Country we were destined to be.