I am that I am

I was born in Topeka, the oldest of seven children by the same two parents. I grew up with my extended family, and counted my cousins among my closest friends. My Grandparents were average post-modern Americans who had grown up in the Depression Era and survived WWII. I was raised with a sense of Family, the benefits of Education, and always had a roof over my head and clothes on my back, but with so many children, please trust, I’ve known poverty. It has taught me gratitude. 

Today, in the U.S., there is no logical reason for any person to be poor. 

I became an activist for several reasons, the first being extreme income inequality. As an adult I sought my career in several different venues, from restaurants, movie theaters, retail, etc. because my parents couldn’t send me to college. When I left High School I had learned that college isn’t for kids like me. My family wanted me to go on to law school but couldn’t give me even a letter for a scholarship (dysfunctional communication background). I tried my hand at trades available, even worked a year at the pawn shop. Made my way up the ladder at the restaurant and retail biz. 

My husband gave me the courage and support, and we took out student loans (big mistake) so I could go back to school, starting with Early Childhood Ed. I do have an associates degree, but with my own two children and the ‘two-income trap’ it made more sense for me to stay at home than to pay half my child-care provider’s paycheck on separate childcare for our boys. This unequal exchange of human resources, and the poor value of women’s work in general, is the 2nd reason I joined NOW. In our recent history, women have moved from cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing in the home, to doing these same tasks outside the home for a paycheck. But the pay is minimal. 

Essentially I just got fed up. I began following the red tape of childcare and education policies, and found ALEC. I followed the red tape of incomes earned and the costs of goods, and found the Koch and Walton families. And I still am quite frustrated with our American society and the slow painful death of the Dream we still tell our children. That if you work hard, study hard, and are a good person, you can have a career you enjoy, a home and family, and the Good Life. This dream is still not true for all Americans. The extremely wealthy, a majority of both parties in congress, continue to squash this dream with the corruption of government and the confusion of what is valuable. 

Overall, I am defending the rights I was born with in 1972. The peak of the women’s movement gave me a glimpse of a world where men and women could be equal partners in social policy, in business practices, and in career fields traditionally exclusive to men. Today, those rights I was born to are consistently being removed in the legislature, and I realized if I were to have any choices in my own life, I had to stand up and fight back. Without millions of dollars in my pocket, my voice is my only weapon, and I ask others to join their voice with mine, let go of fear, and demand equality not only for women, but for all people in Kansas and the Nation. 

My husband says I’m “Aware” and not “mindlessly following” and I strive to be honest and base my beliefs on facts along with faith. But the facts have to come first. If we continue to remain complacent and subordinate because of fear, we have essentially given up hope for a just and fair social structure. 

Be the change you want to see in the world. -Ghandi 

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to act in spite of it. -Nelson Mandela 

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