01 December 2015


Small victory: I haven't blown up my bank account in preparation of Christmas (yet).  I didn't shop at all on Friday, over the weekend, or even online on CyberMonday. I did go into some stores yesterday, in preparation for the Mister's trip to parts abroad, where the temperatures (brrrr) required warm clothing expenditures. Surprisingly, it was useful for me to go into those Big Box discount-ish stores, for two reasons:
1) In realizing I missed out on some major markdowns, I also twigged that I'm not much different from the people shopping on those days. As much as I don't relate to their pre-holiday frenzy of consumerism, I hold nothing against the average American shopper who wants and probably needs to save a buck.

2) It's the corporations and the their marketers I have a beef with. They don't REST trying to figure out new ways, both insidious and banal, to separate us from the $$ it seems to be increasingly difficult to earn. Case in point: No matter how fabulous I feel or how much I love my outfit when I walk into a major retailer, I walk out thinking I look like garbage. Most of my clothes come from the thrift store, so its not a total stretch. But small, independently-owned and operated shops don't bathe me in shame the way big box stores do. Lesson learned: avoid these stores when possible. 

Since I had a little bit of money to spare today, on #GivingTuesday, I thought I'd let you know where I decided to make my (very small) donation.

Dignity and Power Now fights for the dignity and power of incarcerated people, their families, and communities.

Why them? They are a black-led, grassroots organization building future activist leaders in my hometown.

And, because, as they point out on their site:

The United States has 5% of the worlds population but over 25% of the worlds prison population.
There are over 2.2 million people incarcerated in prisons and jails across the country.
There are 33 state prisons in California alone.
Since 1980, California has built 23 jails and one university.

Of course, people of color are disproportionately represented in the prison system, so this is a racial justice issue, too. As if that wasn't enough,    

 64% of those held in jail across the country have a mental health condition.

The Department of Justice has issued a consent decree over the Los Angeles Jail system because the treatment/living conditions of the mental health population have been deemed “unconstitutional.”

Twin Towers JAIL, just down the road from me, is considered one of the three largest Mental Health facilities in the United States.

People with mental health conditions are three times as likely to experience abuse while incarcerated.

Incarceration doubles the possibility that someone with no previous mental health history will develop a mood disorder such chronic anxiety, major depression, or bi-polar.

Suicide is the leading cause of death in jails across the country.


Please consider giving to a charitable organization in your neighborhood that is fighting for something you believe in.  Maybe further the good deed and name your organiztion of choice in the comment section below, while you're at it. As of this moment, I've had over 49,000 individual hits @VJR.com (only 10,000 of which were either me checking for errors, or my mom). That's a lot of eyes on your favorite charity's name!!