E Pluribus (Feminis) Unum

Yesterday could have been a historic event. It wasn’t – in spite of what the new administration might have you believe – not when we put yet another white, Christian male in the most powerful office in the country.

But today was.

Today, hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions) of women around not only the country but also the globe stood up, rallied, and marched for women’s rights, civil rights, and human rights in the face of what might have been the most devastating blow to our country in a very long time. Sure, we were all upset when Hillary lost in November, but the panic didn’t necessarily set in until that dreadful man was confirmed as our 45th president. It was not until we really realized what the extent of the damage he might – and could very well – cause so many people, not only in America but all over the world, that we decided to stand together against him on his very first full day in office.

The impact was so powerful that although it started as the Women’s March on Washington, it spread in a ripple across America, into Europe and Asia, even to Antarctica! Despite it being called a ‘women’s march’ or a ‘sister march’, it wasn’t just about us ladies – it was about minorities, about access to health care, about immigration and so much more. It was about standing together in this fight – not just today but for the next for years (at least).

While I kept my Snapchat updated throughout the rally at Lansing, Michigan (our capitol), a lot of people were posting on Facebook and all over social media about why they were marching. It wasn’t until I was at home again after the fact that I really had a chance to think about all of the reasons why driving an hour, standing in muddy grass with my socks soaked and my toes cold, and being jostled by too-many-people as they tried to navigate the close quarters of the rally seemed worth it to me. I suppose, like a true classicist, my reason for marching was three-fold.

I’m a Double Minority

Not only am I a woman, but, surprise surprise, I am also a black woman, which, in the past, has not led to the best of situations. Already are women and women of color harassed, marginalized, underpaid, underrepresented, silenced, discriminated against – the list goes on and on. But knowing that, somehow, a man who has been taped saying things which imply sexual assault (i.e. ‘grab ’em by the pussy’) and a man who is and has been against allowing women to have the power to make their own choices about their own bodies were elected into the highest office of the land makes me physically ill. Knowing that those same men, who also support the safety of police OVER the safety of citizens of color (re: the concern should be more equal imo), don’t see the need for stricter gun control, and have made it known that they support ‘stop and frisk’ procedures that encourage racial profiling, are calling (most of) the shots. It makes me nervous. It makes me angry. It makes me want to get out and do something every single day.

My Friends and Family

Even if my friends and family didn’t agree with me politically, I would care about their rights. I would care if their rights were seriously threatened by a corrupt and evil man sitting in the highest office of the country. I would care if they felt afraid, or hurt, or angry, or depressed. I stood up for them, and will continue to stand (though not literally) for them for the next four years, or until we know for sure that our rights as women, as citizens, as human beings will not be infringed upon.

It is appalling to me that anyone could honestly look at our 45th president (who shall remain unnamed), look at the things he has done, the lies he has told, the cabinet he has chosen, and the utter lack of knowledge of any aspect of the American government and not see how wrong of a choice he was. How, even if they don’t see that, anyone could not see that so many people’s lives – people who they might even care about – are going to be affected in a serious way. You can already see who might be the first targets: people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ, and Planned Parenthood. I sincerely hope that anyone who continues to actively support this man will look around one day and ask themselves if they’d really be okay with seeing any one of their friends’ lives fall apart because of him.

My Education

Although my tenure as a PhD student lasts far beyond the confines of this presidency (I hope), what concern me in the here and now are the choices that are being made about Education in general. Not only is Betsy DeVos nearly as unqualified for her position as our newly elected president is, but there has been talk that many programs and funding for these programs, including Arts and Humanities ones, are under threat as well. One particularly striking bit of news was that the Heritage Foundation is considering defunding the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, because the “government should not use its coercive power of taxation to compel taxpayers to support cultural organizations and activities.”

Whether or not this action will be carried out through the new presidential administration, and whether or not this will directly affect my education in particular remains to be seen, but the defunding of NEH especially could pack a punch since its grants typically go to cultural institutions like museums, archives, and libraries, as well as colleges and universities. Moreover, my interests academically are in academia and in museums, so if funding for those areas falls through under our new president, who knows what the aftermath could look like.

It is only day one and we have so much work to do. One can only hope that our voices will be loud enough for someone in that dreadful administration to hear us and help us maintain the equality and love that thrived in the last eight years. Today was amazing and eye-opening, but the fight isn’t over. Never forget: love trumps hate.

+ More photos from today:

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Why You Should Be Reading the Newspaper

As someone who has spent three-odd years as the web editor of her undergraduate school newspaper, this post should come as no surprise. What might come as a surprise is this confession: I never used to actually read any of the newspaper articles that were printed.

I had come up with a way of skimming and typing, copying and pasting, mindlessly transferring the words from print to web without ever spending any time sitting down and really reading what my peers had to say. Why? Well, I was always in a time crunch. The website needed to be updated ASAP, and I had better things to do with my time, so I cranked out the work that needed to get done, and then tossed the paper aside until the next issue. I’m horrible, I know, but luckily, I learned my lesson.

Eventually I realized that I needed to start paying more attention to what was going on, not only on my campus, but in the world at large. I downloaded the USA Today app on my phone, allowing it give me updates whenever new headlines would come out. But even that got old, and I found that I was rarely ever actually opening any of those articles when they sent me notifications about them. I still have the app, but in the years since I downloaded it, I’ve turned off the notifications and have all but forgotten its existence.

Similarly, I started following Buzzfeed News on Twitter and the Ann Arbor News and the Society of Classical Studies (with archaeology news) on Facebook. Social media in general is a great place to follow news sources because they not only give you the headline, but they often times give you brief descriptions of the news story so you can pick and choose what you want to read about. Additionally, your friends are probably posting about things that you care about so you can follow along that way, too.

However, my favorite way of staying informed, as is my favorite way of reading in general, is the old fashioned way of picking up a newspaper and taking a few minutes to glance through it. You don’t have to read it from cover to cover – pick a few things you care about or that seem interesting and read them. I’ve started picking up the Michigan Daily, a campus newspaper that addresses both campus issues and national issues as well as pop culture and sports, every week and reading the headlining article and a few others that catch my eye. It keeps me informed about what’s going on in the world but also familiarizes me with what’s going on in the city I’m living in, too.

Whatever way you choose to do it, pick up a newspaper and read it every now and then. Once a week isn’t a burden; if you’re reading the newspaper once a week, that’s enough to keep you up to date with what’s going on so you don’t look like a total idiot when you hear someone talking about something important. It’s also a super cool tool for starting Real Adult conversations, because if you read something interesting in the paper, you can bring it up with a colleague or friend and then you’ll be talking about The News and you’ll age like ten years. But in a good way.

There are plenty of free ways to keep yourself informed – TV, newspapers, phone and iPad  apps, social media. Find one you like and try to read something once a week.

Don’t let the Real World sneak up on you. Stay informed.

Taking Stock | June 2016

I can officially say that I have survived not only my first week of living on my own (woo!) but also my first week of Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide Pre-Training! Bonus photos from my walk around town and campus today at the end.

Drinking: As much water as humanly possible. It’s hot (yes, IN my apartment, because I’m too cheap to run the A/C 24/7). I ride my bike everywhere. Being dehydrated is no fun. Additionally, I’ve been enjoying Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss when not drinking water.

Cooking: I’ve made a lot of pizza in this first week… But something yummy I had that wasn’t pizza was a toasted asiago cheese bagel with smashed avocado + a hard boiled egg + pepper + chili powder.

Reading: The Parthenon Enigma by Joan Breton Connelly.

Playing: 2048. Always.

Enjoying: Solitude. After spending three days with my mom constantly nagging about my apartment, it’s nice to spend time alone and get my footing as a Real Adult.

Loving: My very first apartment. A Lot.

Buying: Everything Ikea. Notably my sofa-bed and bookshelf.

Marveling: At how I managed to successfully put together my dining table all by myself. Who knew I could be so handy (and follow simple directions)?

Noticing: A lot of people here are active – running, biking, walking. Like, A Lot. I have really got to try and keep up. The biking everyday helps.

Admiring: The small-town feel of the city. It’s not too big, but it’s also not too small. Walking places doesn’t seem totally daunting, although the heat doesn’t help.

Feeling: Perpetually tired. Walking and biking everywhere on top of daily yoga practice and Kayla Itsines resistance workouts every other day will do that to you, I guess.

Hearing: Nick Jonas’ Last Year Was Complicated. And Demi Lovato’s Body Say.

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