Marching On

The founder of MomsRising wrote a book Marching On about how to be effective in lobbying for change. Everything she talks about is right.

This will be the last political communique for now. I want to move on.

For today I want to add my own thoughts to the author’s.

In July 1999 I fled Staten Island for Brooklyn.

The Verrazano Bridge was known as the Guinea Gangplank because Italians moved to Staten Island from Brooklyn.

I drove over the bridge in the opposite direction long before it was popular to live in Brooklyn.

For years I had a taste of Conservatism in my own family. I couldn’t abide the Republican mentality on Staten Island.

I had a preview of what was to come: about five years ago a cop killed with his bare hands Eric Garner in a choke hold on Bay Street.

The guy’s only crime was selling loose cigarettes.

Five white guys assaulted a guy I know in a bar down on Bay Street. And none of them were arrested even though one was identified in a police lineup.

They lived; Eric Garner died.

I simply can’t–okay–understand the defenses other people give to justify that cops kill mostly unarmed People of Color.

I try to understand these arguments and can’t.

Here’s the real deal: if you’re a cop who is strong enough to kill a guy with your bare hands then you don’t need to shoot a person to remain safe.

If you’re not strong enough to subdue a person without a gun should you really be a cop?

This is what I think. Years later I’m still thinking of Eric Garner.

I won’t join a protest in the streets. This is because I take medication. If I were arrested and sent to jail I’d deteriorate without treatment.

Since I can’t protest in the streets I will use this blog to speak out when I’m able to.

The cost of silence is too high for any of us.

I used to live on Staten Island. I used to walk on Bay Street. I fled that outer borough as soon as I could.

I can’t breathe thinking of what happened to Eric Garner.

This is all I wanted to write about before returning to my “regularly scheduled programming.”

Yet be aware I will most likely return to political commentating in the future.

I urge American readers to buy and read the book Marching On.

Change is possible. It starts when each of us has the courage to speak out.

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Write Where You Are

I’m not a Hipster. I don’t follow trends.

What I write about might not make the bestseller list like James Patterson. It’s called a bestseller list for a reason–those books sell millions of copies.

Yet I’ve always been a Visionary in thinking that you can have your own version of a full and robust life living in recovery.

To this end I’ve formed a business and I’m set to publish a second nonfiction book.

That’s what it’s like to be a writer of left of the dial topics:

You’re not Danielle Steele. You won’t live in a building on Central Park West.

You prefer the hidden streets and neighborhoods that no one else wants to explore.

You toil away every day on your writing. If you’re lucky, there’s no writer’s block.

You have something to tell the world so you say it loud and clear.

You create a blog when the New York Times won’t publish you.

You won’t quit in your goal of championing recovery for everyone.

Here’s the scoop:

The writing life is not for everyone. It’s for those of us with an artist’s temperament.

It helps if you have a head for business too so that you can sell tons of copies of your books.

Having a mission for what you want to accomplish by writing a book is imperative.

My goal is to help mental health peers succeed at going to school and finding and keeping a job they love.

In a perverse way, this would satisfy the Republicans and Conservatives who would like to see that no one uses up “entitlements.”

Yet riddle me this: isn’t the mortgage tax deduction on an income tax form a kind of entitlement?

My goal is to help mental health peers live full and robust lives.

A J.D. is not required to have this kind of life.

A Sense of Place

I’m giving a talk on employment on Saturday, November 12 from 5:40 to 6:40 p.m. at the 2016 NAMI-New York State Educational Conference.

In employment as in housing environment makes all the difference. Finding the job you love is imperative. Finding a home to call your own is imperative too.

I’ll talk here about a sense of place. Living in a city or town you love makes all the difference. I’ve lived on Staten Island. I’ve lived in Brooklyn: boroughs of New York City.

I’m not a fan of moving into neighborhoods and gentrifying them. I’m proud that I wasn’t ever guilty of gentrifying a neighborhood.

Where you live and where you work can sustain you emotionally not just physically or financially. Making money by making art–what’s not to love if you’re a quirky or creative person?

Staten Island was all white all the time when I lived there years ago. It’s where a cop killed Eric Garner in a choke hold.

Sometimes where you start out in life is not where you have to remain. A lot of times you have to leave that place to have a better life.

Everyone needs to live and work in a place where they feel they belong.

I’ll be talking at the educational conference about how I coach peers and others in writing resumes and finding a suitable career.

The info about the conference will be posted on my website on the author appearance page so you can click on that link for more details.