Hostile Comment Sections & Why They Make Me Sad

Long time, no see, folks! Here’s the sitch:

I read an article today on USMagazine.com saying that Scooter Braun and Yael Cohen welcomed a new baby boy into the world. I wanted to know more, so I read to find out more details. I made the mistake (which I often do) of reading the comment section. I tried posting a reply twice, but it was instantly deleted. Thinking it might’ve been the person to whom I was replying, I posted it as a general comment. That, too, was deleted.

I’m a bit taken aback, to be honest. What really is free speech if not the freedom to express a new perspective to an issue? Yikes. So, I’m going to post it here. Not simply to be snarky, like, “Well I’ll just post it here, then.” Rather, I want to open this up. If anyone reads this post, I truly want to know your thoughts. Not on Scooter, Yael, or Justin, though you’re welcome to engage in that discussion as well.

I want to know what you think about the deeper point I’m trying to get at. Have a look-see, then let me know in the comments:

“This comment was removed, likely by the person to which I was replying, but I hope to post it here as more of a group topic, anyway. It’s not an attack on anyone, but rather an attack on how easily we stereotype and categorize. I don’t know if anyone will read it, or if it will even matter, but I think truth is important, regardless.

People say Braun is a “dbag” or attack him because of Justin. When, actually, Braun has been heavily involved with what he calls “giving back” to communities. He works very hard to support various charities, especially that of his younger brother, Adam’s, which has built over 250 schools in places with little to no education. He is dedicated to creating a better world and pursuing dreams; he has mentioned he’s had a tough time helping Justin maneuver through his teenage years, but all-in-all, hopes to see him through as a good young man in the end of things. I would hardly call him a dbag. He’s done more for this world than any single person I know personally, whether by encouraging young people to follow their dreams, giving moms and kids free tickets to shows, or helping third-world communities cultivate a voice and self-empowerment via education. If you want to know more, you can go to PencilsofPromise.org to see the charity with which he’s most involved. He really is a great, great man who, I believe, is making history in a good way (which is hard to come by nowadays!).
I wish people could either be excited for this couple as they welcome a new life into the world, or simply not say anything. This is supposed to be a joyful time for two people, just as it should be for you or for me if either of us were welcoming a new life. It deeply saddens me to read the negative, hostile, and cruel comments (which would probably tear us apart if they were about us). I know, I just shouldn’t read them, then. I guess I simply want to check in once in a while to see where we are as an internet community; I usually hope to see improvement. I’m sad I didn’t find much of it here. Hopefully one day we’ll progress to a place in which we look down upon such negativity, even though it will still exist. Anyway, that’s just an opinion of a larger issue triggered from a small article, but I hope to see a day in which more internet pages exude integrity and even encouragement. We need more HONYs around here :)”
Advertisements

#MotivationMonday : Adam Braun and Pencils of Promise

HAPPY #MOTIVATIONMONDAY : )

For today’s motivation, I wanted to share the organization that I am personally really passionate about. Being that I am studying to become a teacher, it might not come as a surprise to you that the organization I care most about has to do with– you guessed it– education!

Ever heard of Pencils of Promise?

If you said yes, then hello and let’s be friends forever. If you said no, I still want to be your friend forever, but be prepared for a quick education about education : ) It’s definitely an organization I would love to be directly involved with!

Quick Sweet Fact: One of the coolest stories from this organization, in my opinion, comes from how the organization was founded. Adam was walking in a developing country and ran into a boy who was begging on the street. He asked the boy what he would ask for if he could have anything in the world, to which the boy replied “a pencil.” What a simple request with such huge implications. Thus, five years ago he gave up everything, invested just $25 in his organization, and has since built over 150 schools in developing countries. How. Incredible.

This video is 1.5 minutes dedicated to telling you exactly what it is that PoP does:

This video is about 2 minutes. There isn’t much said, and it isn’t the most moving video they have, but what you get to see are the conditions some students are forced to learn in; there are classrooms under trees outside. I think you can only imagine what that might be like if the weather didn’t comply. Not to mention that, in this technology-driven world, many students don’t have access to even one computer. Check it out:

The Pencils of Promise YouTube channel has tons more videos if you want to find some other goodies : ) I challenge you guys to go to the PoP website and learn more. There are options for everyone to get involved, including everything from direct donations, to ordering a T-shirt, to becoming an intern. They even have a Twitter! The point is, they’re super accessible and I want to urge you guys to at least check them out. I believe everyone deserves a school to learn in. No one should have to sit outside or in a lousy, falling-apart building each and every day. Every child should have a pencil. Every child should be given the key to a future–education.

OKAY STOP FOR A SECOND. If you’re feeling like, “Hey, you blogger person, I was hoping for a TED talk or something,” which you might be, I’d like to accommodate for you. So, did I mention that this is one of my hero’s organization? And that his brother is my other hero? If you remember me mentioning Adam or Scooter Braun in any one of my earlier posts, this is Adam’s organization. Please ready yourself to meet one of the most inspirational, driven, and kind people I know of. Just listen to the endless amount of wisdom and drive in this man’s voice and TELL me you don’t want to drop everything at this very moment and go conquer the world.

Make it count, folks. Til next time!

Ideas. Ideas. Ideeeaas.

HELLO GOOD PEOPLE!

I’d like to first preface by saying that my roommates probably think I’m crazy.

Why, you ask?

Because I just got home, ate a container full of macaroni (okay that’s a little irrelevant), dashed up the stairs, lit the candles in my room, turned my lights off, and began spitting out improv slam poetry at my wall.

I hope some of you understand. I love feeling inspired. You do such strange things.

That being said, I’ve had a lot of ideas running through this noggin of mine in the past few hours, and I’d like to share just one. It is a first-draft idea, but hey, that’s how all good things start, right?!

Alright, so as you know if you’ve read my last post, I am in my final year of college and am currently pursuing my degree in English Education. In one of my recent practicum experiences, I’ve been paying attention to which students schools label as “at-risk.” I’ve also been paying close attention to kids who come from low-SES backgrounds (generally, students whose families have low income, may have limited educational experience, may have relational problems in the home, may have health complications, etc.). Many times, low-SES and “at-risk” are intertwined (though, not always). Anyway, I noticed the other day that a student had been wearing the same shirt and shorts for 2 weeks in a row.  Could that be a fashion or self-expression choice? Sure, it could be.

My guess is that it isn’t, though.

If I become a teacher–even if I don’t, really– I would love to set up a before and after school project once a month. I’d call it Closet Free or something. Probably something else. Definitely something else. I would set up an empty room to lay out donated, nice clothes and kids could stop by before or after school and pick some things up if they wanted. I would open it up to used or new shoes, socks, (obviously newly bought packs of underwear), jewelry, shorts, pants, you name it. I want it there.

You’re probably thinking “Yeah, but what if a student comes in who doesn’t really need it but they take it anyway?” It’s definitely a thought that’s ran through my mind, too. The answer is this: I don’t know. I would rather that anyone could take anything they needed. I would rather not have them “qualify” or “be eligible.” I would just like for kids to know that someone gets it— someone cares.

There a million and one details I’d need to iron out. It would have to be a community effort, too; I only have so many too-tight shirts in my closet.

So, Scooter Braun, where you at?! Haha. (Seriously, though).

Or DoSomething.Org (Check them out!!)

Anyway, happy Monday, everyone! I hope you’re drowning in this week’s possibilities. I don’t actually hope you’re drowning.

Who I am. Why I am. (Imperative to understanding me)

I have a lot of explaining  to do. The first thing you need to know about me is that I’m a dreamer. The word “realistic” makes me cringe; it’s a word that sets off something fiery inside of me that makes me want to sit the person who dared to use it down and give a lengthy speech about how nothing is “realistic” (split infinitives suck sometimes). I’ve always believed in dreaming the impossible dream and working to achieve it. Besides things that are physically not possible to do (I can’t actually sprout wings and fly), I don’t think anything is impossible. Imagine what the Wright brothers had to say about the “impossible” task of flying; sure, they didn’t actually fly with their own biological wings, but they blazed a new trail, thought outside the box, and made it happen in a different way regardless of what was “realistic” or not.  For the record, airplanes blow my mind. What even. How.

Anyway, dreaming big has always been an integral part of who I am. Or so I thought. My world was turned upside down one day when I discovered that my “big dreams” had been small in comparison to the ones I’d unveil later that night. The following is the big anecdotal explanation of who I am and why I’m doing what I’m doing. If you want to fully understand who I am, well, here you go:  One of my best friends and I had been drifting apart this past October.  We’d been planning on driving to a concert together for a few months, even though we didn’t have tickets. I guess we thought we’d just try our luck to get in without them. We drove a few hours to the venue and waited outside to see if we could talk to any crew members or something (we knew that the crew hands out extra tickets once in a while to some very lucky people).

Please withhold your judgments and BEAR WITH ME, but it was a Justin Bieber concert. For those of you who might not exactly be fans of his, please hear me out. I like Justin Bieber because I respect his philanthropic view on life and because he really is an incredible vocalist (not because I think he’s “soooo hot” or want to marry him or anything). I love what he does for other people. If half the good things he did were in the tabloids (that really goes for any celebrity), I think his image would be very different. Anyway, I have crazy respect for his manager, Scooter Braun, and his videographer/friend Alfredo Flores as well. The things those people do for this world are mind-blowing and beautiful. I hope to join forces with them someday in some way.

Anyway, we waited for a long time outside until the concert began at 7. We knew we weren’t getting in since the concert had already started.  Jacklyn and I felt a little defeated, but we decided to talk to some of the security guards before we left just to pass some time before we turned around to go home. Just before we were going to leave, we saw Alfredo Flores segwaying past us through a gate. We called him over and he graciously spared some time for us. I am not the kind of person to fangirl, but I did momentarily. Alfredo Flores is such an inspiration to me; he is one of the few people who keeps me accountable for my mission and keeps me moving forward each day with every inspirational tweet (that sounded a lot less lame in my head). I was able to tell  him all of this and have a short conversation with him. Jacklyn and I were both very lucky to be able to express our gratitude for his efforts. We were also very, very lucky that he handed us 3rd row tickets to the show : )

It was a crazy moment. All of my and Jacklyn’s friends and family doubted us from the second we got into our car to go get tickets earlier that day. It was a slim chance. It really doesn’t happen very often. We even left late and didn’t think we’d be there in time if, by some chance, the crew would be handing out tickets. But you know what? IT HAPPENED. Not to mention that one of the most influential people in my life was the person to give them to us. You have to take chances– you have to dream the impossible dream. How will you ever know if you don’t try?

 

JDSCN0342acklyn and I have always wanted to be world changers: people who lift others up and bring a new, positive attitude to the world.  Before the concert, we were so comfortable in our suburban homes with our “easy” lives. We always talked about aspirations and chasing our dreams, but it was strictly talk. Never doing. We took a chance that night and it ended up changing my life. The moment following our interaction with Alfredo, Jacklyn said “How we react to this defines us.” I don’t think any truer words could’ve been said. In that moment, we realized our duty. What Alfredo had done for us–that feeling of hope, the act of reaching out to simply make someone smile– that was a responsibility we felt we needed to pay forward for the rest of our lives; it was and is heavy on our shoulders. Suddenly I saw everything in my life very differently: I was going to figure out a way to be my own Alfredo Flores or Scooter Braun. I was going to be a world changer. And no one, no thing, no force of nature could stop me.


DSCN0313

To be continued…