In March, I received a call I was never prepared to receive.
Earlier this month, I received a similar call.
Both times, my mother called to inform me that someone I knew had committed suicide.
At first, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the realities of these situations. I’ve dealt with deaths. There’s an ineffability of the aftermath of a suicide. No words can fully contain it. I am the type of person that always feels better when I DO something, which is why I am walking in the Out of Darkness Walk in Pasadena on November 4.
Please help me to vanquish the darkness of suicide by raising funds and awareness.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of women in the world. Hollywood was reeling over the avalanche of harassment and sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The #MeToo hashtag is near-constant in my various feeds. I am saddened. I keep asking myself, “How do I take action?” And more importantly, how to take action that reverbs beyond just Hollywood?
I see Saudi women claiming their right to drive and wanting more of the rights that we in the USA take for granted. There’s been significant action to stop child-marriage in India. Men are expressing remorse, sympathy and solidarity for the women brave enough to tell world their “Me Too”. There IS progress.
I had a conversation with Nada Nasserdeen of Rise Up For You this morning. It will be up soon. We discussed so many things and one of the things that came up was the pay gap. What Harvey Weinstein did was horrible, and once the headlines fade on this, we still have to keep pushing for economic equality. Abuse of power is intimately tied to money. Having money does not give you the right to abuse other people. One of the things that stands out about the Harvey Weinstein debacle was how he was perceived as a “golden goose” to quote Scott Rosenberg, a long-time associate. If you haven’t read Rosenberg’s comments, read it. Weinstein’s ability to make box office money left him unchecked. Considering how little progress has been made to include more women in the decision-making process of commercial film and television, it’s no wonder that he would-be-Harvey-s would feel invincible.
How do we move forward beyond this week?
- Reach out to a woman in entertainment and let her know you support her. Let her know that you care.
- Go to a play or movie directed or produced by a woman. Support women in the arts. There’s an old maxim that “You’re only as good as your last picture.” Let’s support women making art.
- Do not tolerate bad behavior, “locker room talk” or any action that demeans a woman or girl at home, work or school.
- Support women globally, especially to empower them economically. A threat to women’s freedoms anywhere compromises women’s freedom everywhere. One of my favorite ways to do this is by funding a micro-loan on Kiva.
This is about more than the transgressions of one man. There are more Harvey-s in every industry, every country. This is not just a Hollywood problem. It’s a power imbalance that manifests everywhere from gilded Hollywood to the most humble villages on earth. As long as the pay gap is tolerable to the majority, women will still be a minority, even if women outnumber men.
Here’s a quick, fun way to alleviate hunger and get families access to fresh produce:
Take a selfie, including fresh produce and post it up on Twitter or Facebook and hashtag it #DrinkGoodDoGood. Naked Juice will donate 10 lbs of produce to those in need.
If I told you 13 million children in a country don’t have enough food, you’d be appalled, right? What if I told you that was happening in the USA? It’s true. One out of six children in our country don’t have enough to eat. Forty eight million children and adults, 15% of the US population, experience hunger and food scarcity.
That’s something to be #hangry about. Join me in fighting hunger this Hunger Action Month.
My talent manager Matt Chassin has glowing testimonials on his website and if you’ve ever met Matt, you’d see why. In honor of his upcoming milestone birthday, Matt is raising funds for Habitat for Humanity of Houston.
Happy Birthday, Matt!
It’s so important to support Houston at this time with funds to trusted charities like Habitat for Humanity. If you’d like to understand how funds do more than donations of items, please check out this article.
Check out Matt’s fundraiser on Facebook!
I was in Las Vegas as Hurricane Harvey was making its landfall, devastating Corpus Christi and Houston and a host of other small beach towns that I had been to. I tear up when I see the footage still and think about the little seaside shacks outside Corpus selling goods that are there no more.
When I was a student at UT-Austin, Katrina battered New Orleans, and then weeks later, refugee college students from Louisiana were being welcomed into our classes. I remember the face of one young man in particular, in our geology class, who had been through a lot. During college, I worked at Texas’ largest grocery chain and suddenly we had new co-workers of all ages, all from New Orleans, trying to make the best of a bad set of circumstances.
Devastated areas need support long after the rain stops and the winds stop howling. Please keep that in mind as you give to relieve the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey. Vet charities well. I recommend Charity Navigator, and this article from Business Insider also helps. I personally gave to the Food Bank of Corpus Christi and intend to give more. People will need housing, jobs and most importantly, hope, to move forward. Texas and Texans are resilient and right now, many need hope more than anything.
I am reminded of the words of “Texas our Texas”
God bless, you Texas, and keep you brave and strong…
The purple “Thankful” flowers that dotted the social media landscape on Facebook are gone–but not forgotten. If you’re missing the purple flower, tell Facebook! We want this emoji back!