Tag Archives: Hero of the Week Award

Hero of the Week Award: July 28, Margaret Atwood

29 Jul

Hero of the Week

Margaret Atwood has been a personal hero of mine for at least 25 years.  Her outspoken feminist belief that women should be treated equally and their reproductive rights be respected earned her a permanent place in my heart. Now Atwood has taken up the torch to save libraries in Toronto, thus earning her this week’s HWA.

Much to the disdain of Councillor Doug Ford, (idiot at large) Atwood has waged an on-line campaign to save Toronto’s libraries from budget cuts. Her outreach to her Twitter followers was so successful that the respsonse briefly overloaded web servers. The hypocritical and quite foolish Ford said in response to Atwood’s efforts:

Well, good luck to Margaret Atwood, I don’t even know her. If she could walk by me I wouldn’t even have a clue who she is…But she’s not down here, she’s not dealing with the problems, and if she did, tell her to go run in the next election and get democratically elected and we’d be more than happy to sit down and listen to Margaret Atwood.

Sorry Ford, but you are a raging idiot.  You are an elected official. You work for Atwood and the rest of your constituents.  Your job is to listen to the people.  If I did not know better, I would say he is one of the many misogynistic character’s in an Atwood novel. Click here to see the full article.

Brava, Margaret Atwood. You are a treasure for Canada and much beloved here in the States.

Hero of the Week Award: July 15

15 Jul

Hero of the Week

As the world goes to see the final installment in the Harry Potter film series, let us celebrate the wonderful woman who brought us so much joy. This week’s hero is J.K. Rowling.

Rowling is appropriate for celebration on TSM for many reasons. Besides crafting a wonderful series of books that encouraged a generation to read (despite being challenged in libraries across the United States), she used those books to encourage people to be honest, fair, and and true to themselves. Using her magical world, Rowling addressed poverty, oppression, politics (compare the Ministry of Magic to the Bush administration), slavery, and racism.  By showing the noble side of a nerd like Longbottom or the true friendship of an outcast like Luna, she encourages her readers to take a look at their preconceptions and judge people by the depth of their character. In the character of Professor Albus Dumbledore, Rowling also created a wise, compassionate gay role model for LGBTQ youth and their straight peers. Not insignificantly, her work has also inspired those who have voiced her characters to do good works themselves, as characterized by the charitable work of Daniel Radcliffe, the Harry Potter of the screen.

The wonderful Ms. Rowling has not stopped with her books. As a woman who wrote her first book as a single mother living in poverty, she understands the power of the money she now has and is committted to using it for good. In 2000, Rowling established the Volant Charitable Trust, which uses its annual budget of £5.1 million to combat poverty and social inequality. The fund also gives to organisations that aid children, one parent families, and multiple sclerosis research. Rowling said, “I think you have a moral responsibility when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently.” She engages in substantial other philanthropic work.

Rowling has also contributed heavily to the British Labour Party, recognizing the dangers of a Tory government. Responding to Prime Minister Cameron’s patronizing plan to give couples that do not divorce a £150 tax credit, she said:

Nobody who has ever experienced the reality of poverty could say “it’s not the money, it’s the message”. When your flat has been broken into, and you cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money. If Mr Cameron’s only practical advice to women living in poverty, the sole carers of their children, is “get married, and we’ll give you £150″, he reveals himself to be completely ignorant of their true situation.

Cheers to J.K. Rowling for bringing the world joy with a message, for compassion and giving, for providing a voice for social justice.  Rowling through her actions, deeds, and novels gives the world a moral compass to adhere to and emulate.

Hero of the Week Award: July 8

8 Jul

Hero of the Week

Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe was honored by the Trevor Project for his work in preventing LGBT teen suicides. TSM just recently celebrated Dumbledore during LGBT History Month and it is now such a pleasure to honor Radcliffe with the HWA.  Radcliffe has consistently used his celebrity to help with issues around social justice for the LGBT community.  Upon receiving the award from the Trevor Project, Radcliffe said:

The fact that I’m able to help with something like this makes me very, very proud. It’s a huge honor, and it’s lovely of them to give it to me. I’ll say it again later, but the real heroes are the people who are staffing those call centers and picking up the phones saving lives every single day.

Bravo, Daniel Radcliffe.  We all look forward to the many ways you will continue to contribute to making the world a better place for all.

Hero of the Week Award, July 1

1 Jul

Thank you to Jennifer Lockett for inspiring this story.  While it is true that I typically show great disdain for the state of Texas, home of Rick Perry, there are little gems that are worth celebrating. The Fort Worth school district is making a bold move and expanding their anti-bullying policy to include and protect gender non-conforming and LGBT students, thus earning them the HWA.  Unlike Tennessee, where you are not even allowed to say the word gay, Fort Worth is proving to be a spot of progressive activity in the very bigoted and homophobic south. Let us hope that Fort Worth will be setting the standard for other school districts in Texas.  Click here to see the full article.

Hero of the Week Award: June 24

24 Jun

Hero of the Week

First, I have to give an honorable mention to Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, NJ for his stand on marriage equality:  “By law, a mayor can conduct marriages.  But I won’t do so until I can freely conduct them for all my residents equally.  I dream of that day.”  I also want to thank my friend “Voice of the Trailer” for her nomination of Jason West, the Mayor of New Paltz, New York.

West has been marrying same-sex couples since 2004 and his dedication to marriage equality earns him this week’s HWA.  West said:

I hope that we have one more republican do the right thing, but even if we don’t I feel that there’s going to be somebody who walks out of that chamber and regrets it and votes yes this year.

I also love that West looks at his job and at marriage equality through the lens of, “my job is to uphold the constitution of the United States and New York State.”   Bravo!  Bavo, Mayor West.  Click here to see the video and the article.

Hero of the Week Award: June 17

17 Jun

Hero of the Week

As New York gets ever closer to full marriage equality, we have seen a great amount of ugliness from right wingers, including teabagger Michele Bachmann.  So it was quite refreshing and impressive to see Republican New York State Senator Roy McDonald break from partisan politics and stand up for marriage equality, thus earning him this week’s HWA.  The following quote by McDonald certainly gives me some renewed hope in humanity:

You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn’t black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing.

Click here to see the full article.

Hero of the Week Award: June 9

10 Jun

Hero of the Week

When my husband shared this video that Sean Chapin made about the proposed law that would make it illegal to use the word gay in that state, I could not hold back my tears.  Sean’s song “The Don’t Say (Gay) Song”, is about the homophobic, idiotic law that would make it illegal to even talk about one’s parents.  Yes, the state of Tennessee really is that backwards!  I guess the Scopes trial was not embarrassing enough.  Sean Chapin also made videos for marriage equality, Prop 8, and DADT.  Chapin’s video about the currently proposed legislation in Tennessee earns him this week’s HWA.  I strongly encourage you to watch his video.

Hero of the Week Award: June 3

3 Jun

Hero of the Week Award

While I know he may have many detractors, I have always admired the activism of the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian.  Jack Kevorkian earns this week’s HWA. Kevorkian helped 130 people die with dignity.  I am very fortunate.  My husband and I live in a state where there is legal protection for terminally ill people that are suffering.  Kevorkian served eight years in prison for helping terminally ill people–I wonder how many people today would be willing to serve prison time for, what I would label, helping extend civil rights, even the right to die?

Millennial Generation: Interview with Zach Wahls

2 Jun

Zach Wahls

Many of you may remember the name Zach Wahls; he earned a Hero of the Week Award on the TSM.  Seeing the courage of this 19 year old in Iowa made me want to interview him for the Millennial Generation Series.  I have to say that, had my husband and I had children, Zach is the type of son I would be so proud to have.  His parents, Jackie and Terry must be kvelling!  Than you, Zach.  We look forward to your many more contributions to making the world a better place for all.

Zach is 19 years old and studying in college.  He has a younger sister.  He identifies as “a lifelong Unitarian Universalist.”

Politics

I’m a registered Democrat, but am not opposed to voting for intellectually honest Republicans. My biggest frustration with politicians is not about specific policies, usually, but about whether or not the politicians are being honest about what those policies will do, why they are presenting those policies, etc. Way too much of our policy making is about emotionally-charged and intellectually dishonest claims instead of realworld problem solving. Any politician with the courage to put forward solutions–that actually solve problems, even if they’re unpopular–is worth consideration in my book.

LGBT Issues

As important as marriage equality is, I think the bigger challenge facing the LGBTQ movement is the quiet, presumed homophobia of our social interactions. The casual use of the words “faggot” “queer” and “gay” in derogatory contexts is what fuels the culture of discrimination. Once we have, as a society, gotten to the point where we’re unwilling to permit such slander, I think most of the other challenges facing the movement will resolve themselves. This isn’t to say that we don’t have to do anything–quite the contrary. Getting to that point will take a *lot* of work.

Frame of Reference

Growing up, certainly 9/11 was a defining moment, politically, for most of my generation. I also vividly remember watching keynote speeches at the 2004 GOP National Convention that viciously attacked my family and me–something you hope never to hear from your elected officials, the people who are supposed to be protecting you and representing your interests.

I’ll also never forget the day that the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that same-sex couples had the constitutionally-protected right to enter civil marriage. I don’t listen to a lot of U2, but I listened to their song, “Beautiful Day” literally all day. Restored my faith in our government.

Biggest Anxiety

People have expected big things from me my whole life, and I’ve come to expect big things from myself as well. From whence these high expectations came, I’m not entirely sure, but they’re persistent–at time frustratingly so. My biggest fear is of waking up one morning, realizing I’m 40 years old and having made no significant contribution to my community–be it local, state, national or global. I often find myself walking a fine line between “Don’t try too hard,” and “Work like you’ve got a gun to your head.” I guess this is related to the previous question as well, but I look at the world and I see lots and lots of suffering. One billion people on this planet wake up every morning without a secure source of safe, clean water. One out of six. Young gay people are about eight times more likely to commit suicide than a young straight person. This is terrifying stuff. But then I look around and see so much happiness and so many people enjoying life, and I think to myself that this is what life needs to be.

Biggest Dream

Haha, I’m not one for dreams. I’m more about what we can actually do. I did really like *Inception*, though.

What do you want to be known for—your indelible mark?

I’d rather make a significant contribution to something that actually mattered without recognition than canonized for doing something that didn’t matter.

What do you want your generation to be known for?

Well, I think my generation is uniquely situated. I have more technological power in my cell phone than NASA had when they put a human being on the surface of the moon. I am–and if you’re reading this on a computer, you are too–a walking, breathing technological superpower. Not only that, but we grew up with this technology in such a way that it’s really second nature to us. We’ve got the capacity to advance the average human condition on this planet in immeasurable ways. Huge potential. The question is whether or not we’ll deliver. And that remains to be seen.

Hero of the Week Award: May 27

27 May

Hero of the Week

What an absolutely wonderful surprise this week.  While TSM had several nominations for HWA, two of the nominations were so compelling that today marks the first day that there are two winners.

Nominated by “Voice of the Trailer,” Congresswoman Jackie Speier earns this weeks’ HWA for her heartfelt and compelling self-disclosure of her own abortion in defense of Planned Parenthood:

You know, I had really planned to speak about something else, but the gentleman from New Jersey has just put my stomach in knots, because I’m one of those women he spoke about just now. I had a procedure at seventeen weeks, pregnant with a child that had moved from the vagina into the cervix. [...] I lost a baby. For you to stand on this floor and suggest that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcome or done cavalierly or done without any thought, is preposterous. [...] There is a vendetta against Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has a right to operate, Planned Parenthood has a right to offer abortions, last time you checked, abortions were legal in this country. You may not like Planned Parenthood; so be it. There’s many on our side of the aisle that don’t like Halliburton [...] but do you see us filing amendments to wipe out funding for Halliburton? No, because frankly that would be irresponsible.

It clearly did not take much to expose New Jersey Republican Chris Smith for the misogynistic hater that he is.  Brava, Jackie Speier! Click here to see the full story.

Nominated by Jennifer Lockett, Lisa Lampanelli also earns this week’s HWA. The funny and irreverent stand up comic, Lampanelli, was performing in Topeka, Kansas, also home to the nefarious and homophobic  Westboro Baptist Church.  When Lampanelli  learned that there would be protesters from Fred Phelps church present, she made a pledged to to donate $1,000 for every protestor who shows up to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis — the nation’s oldest HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care services provider.  Click here for the full story.  Brava, Lisa!  Click here to see the video of Lampanelli giving a check for $50,000 to the GMHC.

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