Not long ago, Essence.com featured a lesbian couple in a popular, regular feature on weddings. The response surprised them.
The web editor told NPR of his decision to feature Aisha Mills and Danielle Moodie's wedding, one of the first legal lesbian marriages in Washington D.C., “I though, instead of just covering it as a straight news story, why don't we normalize it and cover the wedding as an amazing same-sex black lesbian wedding?”
The only reference the short feature made of their lesbianism was the legal implications. The rest focused, as all the Bridal Bliss posts do, on their personal stories, including how they met (Aisha “focused on the vision of love in front of her. It was love at first sight”) and the proposal (a ring nestled in sushi at the restaurant they went to on their first date.)
Web editor Emil Wilbekin pointed out that in addition to 5,000 Facebook likes, “A lot of the comments were, you know, this is not something I would normally think about or I would normally know about, but I think it’s amazing because I think what translates in this story is that this is really a story about love. And I think that regardless of your politics, and regardless of your values, you have to look at that and see that these two women love each other and are very happy.” There were conservative and religious objections, he added. “We expected that. But what was more interesting were the people who were not exposed to this and actually took a stance against the people who were making the negative comments.”
The brides thanked the readers in a followup blog post. They also wrote about not seeing themselves in representations of weddings in familiar language:
Just imagine how disheartening it is to never see an affirming reflection of yourself. How challenging it must be to construct a healthy self-esteem without role models. It’s what life was like for the little Black girl growing up in a time before dolls had brown faces. This is the invisible reality that many Black lesbians face each day…Your comments reminded us just how powerful images of Black love can be, and confirmed what we already felt in our hearts — that images can inspire, empower, and ignite hope.
A Pew poll found a higher rate (64 percent) of American blacks saying homosexuality was morally wrong, compared to 49 percent of the country overall. But besides the perfectly natural introduction of a lesbian couple on Essence and the overwhelmingly positive response, there are other encouraging signs. NAACP head Ben Jealous recently made a point of reaching out to gay rights groups, and told The Root, “When [my brother] has been beaten up by the cops, it’s been very clear that it’s both because he’s black and gay.”
The boy insisted for months that he wanted to be a robot for Halloween. We looked at various robot images on the computer and he was most intrigued by Robocop. After I showed him the trailer, there was no convincing him otherwise. He was going to be Robocop.
A historic deal to halt the mass extinction of species was finally agreed upon in what conservationists see as the most important international treaty aimed at preventing the collapse of the world’s wildlife.
Delegates from more than 190 countries meeting in Nagoya, Japan, agreed at the 11th hour on an ambitious conservation program to protect global biodiversity and the natural habitats that support the most threatened animals and plants.
Bollywood star Preity Zinta gave herself a surprising gift on her 34th birthday - she decided to “adopt” 34 Indian girls.
She says that she wanted to give them an education and greater opportunities in life.
The Indian actress is involved in many humanitarian campaigns to help women and children, and she has just visited the UK to receive an honorary doctorate for her work from the University of East London.
She is a UN Aids Goodwill Ambassador - working against the transmission of HIV/Aids from mother to child - and works with the Loomba Trust to help widows and children.
She says that “in a lot of places in India women are treated like second class citizens” so she was inspired to give the 34 girls a better chance in life.
Preity Zinta spoke to Aasmah Mir for Outlook at the BBC World Service, and told her more about her surprising birthday gift.
The Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital just named its pediatric surgery center for country music group Rascal Flatts, which has donated more than $3 million to the hospital. For six years, band members have visited patients and played at an annual party.
VERNON -The Vernon Women’s Club presented handmade winter hats to all of the students at the Vernon Elementary School on Oct. 21. This is one of many projects the club has undertaken since beginning in January.
In June, the club met and picked up trash on Vernon Road. Members are also collecting Boxtops for Education for the school by collecting and donated school supplies to students in August. They also helped a needy single mom buy school clothes for her three children. At present, club members are working on warm coats and gloves for several students and filling baskets with food to present to needy families at Thanksgiving.
The club also visited Bannon Spring Ranch on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, delivering homemade goodies and gifts. Residents were given handmade crocheted hats. The club recently acquired an electronic keyboard for musicians have a place to play music.
Club members have helped at fundraisers and delivered homemade goodies to the Vernon Fire Department. Donations were given to the Bread of Life homeless shelter in Holbrook and they collected pop tops for the Ronald McDonald House in Phoenix.
Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.
But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.
He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.
"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, ‘Here you go,’" Diaz says.
As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.”
The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, “like what’s going on here?” Diaz says. “He asked me, ‘Why are you doing this?’”
Diaz replied: “If you’re willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me … hey, you’re more than welcome.
"You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help," Diaz says.
Diaz says he and the teen went into the diner and sat in a booth.
"The manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi," Diaz says. "The kid was like, ‘You know everybody here. Do you own this place?’"
"No, I just eat here a lot," Diaz says he told the teen. "He says, ‘But you’re even nice to the dishwasher.’"
Diaz replied, “Well, haven’t you been taught you should be nice to everybody?”
"Yea, but I didn’t think people actually behaved that way," the teen said.
Diaz asked him what he wanted out of life. “He just had almost a sad face,” Diaz says.
The teen couldn’t answer Diaz — or he didn’t want to.
When the bill arrived, Diaz told the teen, “Look, I guess you’re going to have to pay for this bill ‘cause you have my money and I can’t pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I’ll gladly treat you.”
The teen “didn’t even think about it” and returned the wallet, Diaz says. “I gave him $20 … I figure maybe it’ll help him. I don’t know.”
Diaz says he asked for something in return — the teen’s knife — “and he gave it to me.”
Afterward, when Diaz told his mother what happened, she said, “You’re the type of kid that if someone asked you for the time, you gave them your watch.”
"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It’s as simple as it gets in this complicated world."
Anonymous donor ‘knocked down’ by fire tragedy, attorney says
The funerals Wednesday for the five victims of a Harrisburg fire were made possible by donations from the community, including a $10,000 contribution by a man who wishes to remain anonymous.
abc27 News spoke with the donor’s lawyer and learned what compelled him to make such a generous move. Attorney Bill Tully said the donor has been a client of his for years, adding that he’s done this kind of thing before and was really touched by the tragedy.
"It really kind of knocked him down," Tully said. "Not only was it tragic, as he told me, losing those kids and losing them that way, and then learning about the family not having the ability to pay for the funerals, he felt that he could at least alleviate the concern about paying the funeral bills."
Tully says the donor has not made any contact with the family.
"When he does things like this, he doesn’t usually make contact and it’s usually done anonymously. He does it for the sake of doing it and not because he wants anyone to know about it."
Here’s the thank-you note from the teacher about this fully-funded project:
Dear Katie and Carolina Biological Supply Company,
What a wonderful surprise to get the message that our owl pellet project will be fully funded. I was entering test scores into my computer at 5:45 pm, and feeling weary. Now I’m getting excited thinking about the fun investigation day that we’ll have.
We saw a live owl on a recent field trip, and we just finished an animal classification study. These materials will be a great support, and I’ll be able to do this investigation year after year with future classes with minimal expense.
Your gift is amazing, generous and so appreciated. I’ll send photos soon.
Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 4:00 pm | Updated: 2:12 pm, Wed Oct 27, 2010.
By Shantra Hannibal, Herald staff writer
MOSES LAKE - Almost 200 decorated Halloween pumpkins were delivered to the Moses Lake food bank this week.
High school students teamed with the Knolls Vista third-graders to paint the pumpkins for kids visiting the Moses Lake Food Bank to take home.
Visitors to the food bank can choose their favorite pumpkin until Thursday, but Peny Archer at the Moses Lake Food Bank says they are going out fast.
"The kids are just tickled because pumpkins are really expensive," Archer says. "Moses Lake is really caring and during the holidays they’re still so willing to dig deep, even if they themselves are struggling."
The food bank helps more than 1,800 families each month, according to Archer. The food bank itself relies on funding and donations based on the weight of the food they are able to distribute in Central Washington.
Now in the program’s eighth year, Don Key of Skillsource Moses Lake says he originally coordinated the event with grocery stores, but quickly discovered that the stores couldn’t get enough pumpkins.
For the past two years, Qualls Ag Labs in Ephrata donated the pumpkins and grows more than 4,000 pumpkins for charity every year.
Key says students painted rather than carved the pumpkins so they could still be used for food. Of more than 30 regular volunteers, Key says the holidays always bring out more people willing to help.
"Getting community service to be a regular part of students’ lives, they can be part of something bigger than themselves," Key said.
The Moses Lake Food Bank is located at 1075 W. Marina Dr. in Moses Lake.