Social Action

U.S. Courts Punish Victims of Domestic Violence and Allow Abusers to Walk Free!

The United States “Justice” system still doesn’t understand domestic violence and why victims become too afraid for their lives to leave. In the case of Tondalo Hall, she is being punished in prison for 30 years for the crime of not protecting her children AND suffering abuse at the hands of her violent partner Robert Braxton Jr. who was allowed walked free after 2 years. How does this make sense to anybody?

First of all while victims of  domestic violence are technically putting their children at risk, they are still VICTIMS and therefore should be helped with counseling and treatment. They should not be sent to prison and certainly not for 30 years.

Second why did the abuser Mr. Braxton only receive 2 years of prison when he committed violence against his children and partner? He should be in jail and undergoing counseling and treatment.

So why are we handing out stricter punishments for victims than violent offenders? Two reasons.

Firt, because the system was set up by males who don’t understand and have no empathy for female victims. Blaming a victim for failing to report or flee domestic abuse is akin to blaming a victim of other abuse such as molestation, sexual harassment or rape.

Second, she is in prison because it’s clear that the prosecutor Angela Marsee had a vendetta. She wanted Braxton to go to jail for a long time, and blames the victim for basically not being a good enough witness.

“Marsee also had another reason for recommending a long sentence: Hall, she declared, was part of the reason the case against Braxton “fell apart.

So Marsee wanted justice and when she couldn’t get it with Braxton she turned on the easiest target nearby, Hall.

UGH! How immature is that!

What’s really messed up is authorities know that Robert Braxton Jr. was the abuser, yet they still punished Tolanda Hall much more severely.

“After Braxton admitted he had squeezed his baby daughter too tightly and cranked her leg, detectives concluded that he was the one who had injured both children, not her.

Read more about this injustice at:

If you are as outraged as me you can sign the petition at

You can also volunteer at a local domestic violence resource center. Find one at


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Social Action

Saving Women and Girls from Danger in Refugee Camps; The Darfur Women Network Supplies Safe Stoves to Women

by Leah Oviedo.

After escaping violence at home, women and girls in refugee camps face many dangers such as violence, hunger, displacement and looting. On top of this when they venture far away in search of firewood or water, they also risk rape, assault, abduction, beating and death.

Firewood is the main reason for these dangerous excursions out of camps near Touloum, Chad. As the conflict in Darfur, Sudan continues, more refugees arrive with few if any resources from home. They rely on aid organizations and donations to survive, but cooking food usually requires collecting wood far from their new homes. As more people arrive and more trees are cut down close to the camp there is less wood for each individual along with the added problem of deforestation. The cutting of so many trees has caused erosion and also creates conflict with locals who rely on the forest for their own survival.

The Darfur Women Network(DWN) is stepping in with fuel-efficient stoves and a reforestation plan to support the refugees. On August 25, 2014 they distributed 202 stoves to women in the camp. Many women showed up to receive a stove and witness the occasion dressed in their colorful, cleaned clothes. There was a  huge celebration and much appreciation.

The “safe stoves” are made with a mixture of mud, water and donkey’s dung and produced by refugee women in their own homes for a production total cost of $10 each. A woman can produce one or two stoves a day depending on her home chores, the time it takes to collect the materials, and drying time which is dependent on the season. The stoves are designed with two windows on its side, a big one for firewood and smaller one for air. A pot is placed inside the stove to hold and keep it stable during the cooking process. It can cook with as little firewood as one stick, unlike a traditional stove.

These clay safe stoves were chosen based on the test that DWN and refugees did for three stoves; a traditional stove, metal stove, and clay stove. As a result, the clay stove was chosen because it is efficient, safe, culturally acceptable, cheap and doesn’t create smoke. Since the stoves are made by refugee women, they are able to earn an income and become empowered. Once a stove is given the DWN continues to offer support. Recipients are taught to utilize all the benefits of the stoves, trained to use different cooking techniques in relation to time and consumption of firewood, and advising on how to change eating habits and cooking processes to benefit the women and girls.

Fuel efficient stoves are only part of the solution since refugees still need firewood. DWN is partnering with the Chad Agriculture Department to provide seedlings so each family can plant at least three desert-trees. “If the 7000 families do their jobs, the refugee mothers and girls will be safe and protected.” says DWN founder Mastora Bakhiet. With less danger and more time saved from searching for fuel, families will have the ability and strength to focus on education and income creation.

The organization is fully operated by volunteers and was started by Mastora Bakhiet who moved to the US from Darfur over 10 years ago. They supply resources, economic development programs, and partner with another organization that offers daycare for young mothers to attend school. Based in Mastora’s home town of Indiana, USA the mission of this non-profit is to empower women and girls from Darfur and improve their cultural communication among various communities. DWN works together with refugees determine their needs and collaborate to meet those needs via education, awareness, and empowerment. Also, this project will help women build their teamwork skills, small business management, and self-sufficiency.

Mastora has a goal to bring a total of 7,000 stoves to the camp. She is hopeful more people will get involved and donate so that all women in the camp are able to cook safely. “So, now, I call on those who value the dignity of women and girls and  who  support the survivors of Darfur genocide to help us continue to provide our clients with safe stoves.” says Mastora. You can help supply safe stoves to women and girl refugees through Global Giving,, Paypal, or send a check to 2902 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208-4715. Volunteer and get involved on the DWN website,

Many of the refugees in Chad are seeking safety from a violent conflict that started in 2003 when Janjaweed(an Arab Militia) allied with the Sudanese government to kill Africans and force them to leave their lands in Darfur. Genocide and violence have forced tens of thousands to seek refuge. Ongoing violence continues to create refugees, many of whom are women and children. Returning home is not an option. These stoves are needed now.

 Related links:

Bringing It All Back Home, To Darfur



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Social Action

Time for a Donation – North Texas Giving Day – Ending Domestic Violence

My amazing niece works for an organization supporting and saving women who are victims of domestic violence. Right now is North Texas Giving Day and I knew that I could afford donating $10 so I did. This is much better than splurging on a new shirt or hair gel.

Brighter Tomorrows, Inc.
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Thank you for donating $10.00 to Brighter Tomorrows, Inc. on North Texas Giving Day. Please print this page for your records. A receipt for tax purposes will also be emailed to the address you provided.
Your donation will be credited to Brighter Tomorrows, Inc.



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Social Action

Is Fear Holding You Back? Loretta Claiborne Wants You to Be Fearless

Loretta Claiborne could have spent her life institutionalized because of her intellectual disability. Instead her mother fearlessly worked to give Loretta a life similar to that of her siblings. Despite the sad and long-standing cultural idea that different abilities decides our worthiness, she became a celebrated athlete, a speaker, and fearless fighter for equal rights.

In this TED Talk Loretta talks about the struggle of living disabled, of being bullied, and societal bias which together grew into self-doubt and anger. When chance stepped in and pushed her into the Special Olympics, her life took on new meaning and she became a force for good. She is not fearless all the time, but she knows that we all have to be fearless if we really want to make difference. She closes her talk with this inspiring request. “I hope you will go home, if you fear something today keep your faith, keep faith in yourself, keep faith in what you believe, and you can be fearless”.

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Empowering Discussions, Social Action

If You Don’t Like Bullies, Don’t Teach Your Kids That Discipine Requires Violence

When parents defend their spanking with the statement,

I was spanked and turned out fine.”

You can reply with,

No, you grew up thinking it’s okay to hit a child.”

Ini the USA it’s illegal to hit a spouse or other adult, but children can be hit by their guardians and in some states by their teachers.

It’s simple logic, if you discipline your kids by striking them, whether hard or soft, you teach them to strike others as a way to create order. You create a bully.



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Social Action

It’s All Rosy Now For LGBTQ People … Or Is It Really? The Rooting Out of Homophobia

Despite the last few years of rosier media exposure for LGBTQ equality we still have along way to go. Like with slut-shaming and institutionalized racism, what seems to work is bringing the issue into the news on a daily basis. As long as we continue to point out hate and the problems it causes we will continue to diminish it and replace it with acceptance.

Read more about continuing homophobia in this article by Emelina Minero on The Human Experience Blog

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Social Action

International Anti-Street Harassment Week With Hollaback

Hooray for the women and men of New York City who are stepping up to end our nasty cultural tradition of street harassment.

Up To You Project

Nobody likes walking down the street and being harassed. Unfortunately it has become a cultural norm for men to harass women on the street with catcalls, vulgar language, and sexualization. Last week however people around the world took to the streets to protest this new normal with International Anti-Street Harassment Week.

Street Harassment Protest. Photo credit: Sayfty Street Harassment Protest. Photo credit: Sayfty

In support of this weeklong protest for human rights Hollaback! co-hosted a rally against street harassment in New York last week. The event was co-sponsored by 46 organizations and included over 20 speakers, short workshops on bystander intervention, using dance to address street harassment, and “cats against catcalls” facepainting. The event was funded with gracious support from the Caruso Foundation.

Cats against Catcals. Photocredit Sayfty Cats against Catcalls. Photo credit: Sayfty

Street harassment is a form of gender violence against women and LGBTQ individuals. “But it is rarely reported, and it’s culturally accepted as ‘the price you…

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Social Action

Sergio Rosales Flores is One More Reason Our Justice System is Broken: Reunite Him With His Son!

I will start this off by saying that I like how we have police in their roles of keeping the peace, arresting people guilty of violent crime or vandalism, and serving our communities, but when they spend more time arresting people for something as ridiculous as racist immigration laws then there is a problem.  Sergio was arrested by police for driving without a license and having no I.D. to prove who he was. He was then further mistreated by the police who didn’t allow him to speak or ask for anything. According to the report what they did tell him repeatedly was that I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) were coming to take him away.

If he had a criminal record or was wanted in connection with a crime or act of violence than it would make sense for his detainment, but not being treated so inhumanely. However his only offense is not showing up for a court hearing about his immigration status because he didn’t receive a notice in the mail about it.  As if that wasn’t enough the reason he didn’t receive the notice is because he was living with his aunt, but she died and he was forced to move out along with his 5 year old son. He continues to stay in prison and is now facing deportation without his son who is a U.S. citizen.

At this point in time it is clear that Sergio is not a criminal and as far as we know has not done anything purposely wrong. We shouldn’t be treating people like this, we shouldn’t be tearing families apart, and we should stand up for those who are treated unjustly. This is ridiculous! If you are as disappointed in our justice system as I am you can do something to help and sign the petition on Action.


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Social Action

Scottland Moves Forward With Anti-Rape Campaign Geared to Men

Fnally Scottland is doing it right with an anti-rape campaign that accompanies new laws stating sex without consent is rape. The campaign, “We Can Stop It” targets men, both hetero and homosexual.

This is the educational campaign we need in all countries, in our high school sex ed classes, and on our college campuses. I’m so tired of victim blaming and men thinking they have an inevitable right to have sex whenever and with whomever they want. We’ve created a culture that encourages boys to become men by having as much sex as possible as early a possible. That pressure increases the group mentality of gang rape, fraternity initiation rape, and tragedies like Steubenville. This is a small success, but very important because once you bring legal rights into a social issue our social fabric changes.

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Social Action

Bursting the Bubble of Corruption: A Nonpartisan Movement to Bring Democracy Back to the U.S.A.

Burst the bubble of corruption.

Below is an important political video presented by the Young Turks, a reasonable and intelligent news show. In this particular video they highlight political activsit Kai Newirk who did the impossible; he filmed a protest inside the Supreme Court chambers. Did you know it was illegal to video anything that goes down in OUR Supreme Court? We have a channel that records every senate and congressional moment, but not this important safeguad of our rights.

This isn’t a republican or democrat fight, it’s not about gender bias, skin color, sexuality, or religion. All citizens of the U.S.A. are losing their right to vote for our own leaders. Citizens United is just one of many stab wounds into our backs. We must bring democracy back into our own hands. We are the reason this country continues to exist. We matter.

Share this video everywhere you can and let’s take back our democracy the legal way without a violent and unncessary revolution. We are the people and together we have power to create a sustainable, peaceful, diverse nation.

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