Parkland and Other Outspoken Student Activists Led Protests For Gun Reform – With No Plans Of Slowing Down!

march-for-our-lives-washington-17-gty-er-180324_hpMain_4x3_992In the midst of the highly anticipated and highly rated Stormy Daniels Interview on “60 Minutes” and the “Who Bit Beyoncé?” controversies, there was the student-led ‘March For Our Lives’ protest Saturday in Washington, D.C., with sister marches across cities in America supporting their mission for gun control reform. I was in D.C. for the march and I’ve been to many rallies protesting all the unfathomable and inhumane policies pushed by this new administration in New York City. But, this march was different. The cause felt universal. There was solidarity in the air that permeated and touched every man, woman, and child present. Emma-Gonzalez-MarchforOurLives-RTR-imgEmma González’s six minutes and twenty-seconds of silence included in her speech – to demonstrate the short amount of time it took the gunman to wipe out the lives of 17 victims – solidified the fact that this tragedy happened, and it could happen to ANY one of us, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. And, if we don’t fight collectively for effective gun policies from our government, these mass-shooting epidemics will cease to exist. González, one of the student organizers and survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting in Parkland, FL sparked a movement, along with her classmates, in just 5 weeks of the massacre on February 14, 2018. There were donations and support given to the teens by some of Hollywood’s A-listers, Oprah Winfrey and George Amal Clooney to name a few. Kimye (Kanye West and Kim Kardashian) and Steven Spielberg were in attendance. As much as I love these celebrities it was great to see that their association with the protest – or even their presence didn’t overshadow these students’ mission. Although the crowd was wowed by performances from Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Lin- Manuel Miranda – the true superstars were the inspirational Parkland students and fellow gun violence survivors/activists who took to the podium visiting from Los Angeles and Chicago.

imagesNaomi

Two little girls (King, (from left-to-right) Adler) that stole the spotlight and gave the most impressive and touching speeches of the day are Yolanda Renee King, Martin Luther King’s granddaughter and Naomi Wadler. King led a chant that had the crowd enthralled and enamored with this spirited 9-year-old, descendant from the iconic civil rights leader. Not to be left behind, 11-year-old Naomi Wadler quickly commanded the crowds’ attention with her choice words: “I am here to acknowledge and represent the African American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news,” Wadler said. “I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential. For far too long, these names, these black girls and women, have just been numbers. I am here to say ‘Never Again’ for those girls, too.”

The national and international ‘March For Our Lives’ protests continues to have momentum and is receiving equal parts media coverage and backlash from the NRA and pro NRA supporters. Close one million people attended the ‘March For Our Lives’ in D.C. alone. Rick Santorum, former Republican senator recently stated students should forego protesting and learn CPR – to which Parkland teens responded: “CPR won’t save gunshot victims’ lives” as drew ridicule from healthcare professionals and other ‘March For Our Lives’ supporters condemning the former politician. One thing is clear: these young leaders have proven they can articulate their message with eloquence and class and will not be silenced or bullied by adults with power. They have tenacity and conviction to AFFECT real change in Washington to prevent further mass shootings.

Advertisements

Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi Ad – Who’s at Fault? Everyone!

landscape-1491310986-screen-shot-2017-04-04-at-85853-am-copy

Social Media has revolutionized the immediacy of how the public reacts to news and entertainment. Forget the days of snail hate mail of yesteryear sent to networks and celebrities in large bags. Every single person has a voice – and social forum to be heard. Less than 24 hours since the new Pepsi ad was launched featuring Kendall Jenner, one of the hottest it-models of the moment – the ad has been pulled from every marketing vehicle imaginable. What happened exactly? I follow the Kardashians on social as I’m a pop culture junkie and after I viewed the fury-inducing ad on Kris Jenner’s Instagram, I wasn’t moved, I brushed it off, yet I had a sinking feeling it wouldn’t be well received by the public. It was awkward in execution, odd images of Kendall Jenner abandoning her “model” duties and joining a protest. After having attended two protests this year: The Women’s March in following the inauguration and Not My President’s Day March in February. This commercial didn’t necessarily poke fun at protests – it trivialized the protesting experience. It lumped protests into the next “cool” thing young people are doing or engaged with. Similar to the “Cash me outside, How bout’ Dat?” teen or the incessant iterations on the Internet of Salt Bae. Yeah, nope. The Twitterverse was not having any of it. Everyone and their, mom, aunt, dad and grandpa had to something to say about it. Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest daughter, Bernice King, posted: “If only Daddy would have known the power of #Pepsi” with a picture of cops strong-arming Martin Luther King Jr. in the 60s.

Pepsi is such a well-known global brand and being asked to be a Pepsi ambassador is mecca for any celebrity: A sign that you’ve made it. Recognition is absolute. Your star power is blinding! If you look at Kendall Jenner’s Instagram post just days before the controversy unfolded, there’s a picture of her idol, Cindy Crawford in a 1992 Pepsi ad.

C8MMivKVoAAlrv4

Kendall and her clan (momager, Kris included) were so clouded by the prestige Pepsi invokes – that they forgot the messaging behind this partnership. It was an afterthought. No one said, “Hey! maybe this is ad’s message is a little insensitive to people’s causes” As an adoring public, fans, spectators on the sidelines, we want our favorite models, actors, and sport stars to reach the pinnacle of success with all the advertising, movie, fashion deals out there – but one misstep and the crucifixion begins. Kendall Jenner has removed all traces of her ad on her social media accounts and Pepsi has apologized and lamented their insensitivity. But we as a the public must not go on the attack and instead educate companies, and clueless celebrities about history and what protests mean and can achieve for the misrepresented and people without a voice. Not once did I see or hear anyone say: “Hey Kendall, come to my town or join my group so you can see what protesting is really like and what the impetus behind this march means.”

Is There a Mass Exodus on the Horizon for Fox News?

I receive alerts from just about every career website out there as I’m looking for a full time gig. Today’s job listings seemed peculiar to me. As I entered the New York City search this morning, five consecutive job postings came up for Fox News. Working in editorial, when a new editor-in-chief comes on board – many people are unfortunately on the chopping block. It’s the way the industry operates. New creatives bring on their trusted friends, colleagues to replace editors, creative directors – and some times photo directors (position I’ve held). As  of a few mintues ago, 6:55pm EST, I peeped mediabistro one last time and saw seven open positions with Fox News.

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 6.46.56 PM

My screengrab could only capture five jobs, but’s really seven.

I guess these former employees realized the maneuer this network was peddling was just too much for them to shovel or eat. I mean, if you look at their coverage of this administration, it’s clear this news network is very conservative and pro-Republican and tip-toe around all the inconsistencies the administration has stated. They downplayed the James Comey (FBI Director) congressional meeting on Monday. Comey revealed that Trump is – in fact – being investigated and there is NO evidence of wiretapping from the Obama administration. Also, political news correspondent, Tucker Carlson has refuted the EPA’s stance and claims, citing the agency is making up the effects of climate change and “attempted” to disprove scientists and their data. Biased much?!

And in today’s denouncement of the Trumpcare bill and failure of it’s passing, Trump, of course, blames Democrats. But, guess what, we will take the blame! And will continue to do so for many of the riduculous proposals presented by this clownshow of an administration. As all the news outlets post headlines of the Trumpcare fail, Fox News feels the need to report on the ‘Flip or Flop’ star, Christina El Moussa’s inappropriate bikini pic with her daughter. Glad to know you’re on the pulse of what’s important, Fox News!

IMG_0504.PNG

Don’t Blame U.S.!

Boobstogether

The first time I traveled to a non-Spanish Speaking European country was in my early 20s. I had lived in Spain for a year after leaving Cuba when I was four, but most of my memories of Spain are visiting zoos and bitterly cold wind engulfing my little face. This time around traveling to France, Germany and Amsterdam, I didn’t know what to expect. I had bought the book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Europe – to make sure I didn’t mess up greetings or customs integral to these countries’ way of life – we all know Americans have been known to commit serious faux pas.

I noticed in France, when I spoke English, some of the waiters/waitresses or store clerks weren’t very receptive. They’d answer me, because they were forced to, as I was a paying customer, begrudgingly nonetheless. As my friends and I traveled through these European streets we realized there were a lot of Canadians wearing backpacks with their flags visibly stitched on. Why would they do this? I wondered. On my fourth day in France, I finally asked a blonde book-wormish looking girl staying at our hostel and she said: “Oh, we don’t want to be confused with being American.” “Why?” I inquired. “Because of Bush, you know, nobody respects him.” It was 1999 and George W. Bush was well on his way to becoming the Republican nominee. Now it all made sense to me. The Clinton era was coming to an end and the Republicans were assuming power with Bush at the helm; the sentiment was that he was a self-fulfilling tyrant with no education; felt by these traveling Canadian citizens, and shared by the people I’d come to meet in the countries I’d soon visit. My traveling companions didn’t fare any better with the French citizens. Jen, my neighborly, pet-loving, wouldn’t-hurt-a-living-creature, blonde friend from Syracuse was almost assaulted by the subway clerk when she asked if she could use her American dollars to pay the train fare. “Noooo! French Francs! French Francs! French Francs!” At first glance, it seemed as if this clerk had a bout of severe Tourette’s; screaming at the top of her lungs at Jen, but it was clear she had some serious animosity towards Americans. I started speaking Spanish soon after this incident in bakeries, banks, hotdog and crepe stands – anywhere I had to interact with the public. I readily admitted I was Cuban and my exchanges with the French citizens were pretty smooth for me after that.

My early experiences in France recently came to mind as I read this Washington Post article I came across:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/americans-vacationing-overseas-find-themselves-on-a-donald-trump-apology-tour/2016/08/11/cb6b30ac-5fd1-11e6-af8e-54aa2e849447_story.html

Here we are in August, no travel plans in sight because of my freelance status, and I was having extreme vacation-envy from friends posting their fabulous photos on all my social media feeds. But, I hadn’t thought about what this article points out: Americans traveling overseas are having to explain why Trump is the GOP candidate for the upcoming 2016 presidential elections OR apologizing for the outrageous statements he’s made through the course of his campaign. I feel better about my stay-cationing activities. I don’t have to explain to anyone the state of our political climate because we’re all facing the same crisis. But, when you travel abroad, foreigners expect you to come up with an answer as to why America would realistically elect someone “like him.” For me, this would get annoying and intolerable really quick. It’s like running into “that” neighbor, acquaintance, enemy, ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend or work colleague in the street or any place you frequent and engaging in idle chit-chat, and all the while it’s happening, you’d rather be anywhere but there: long lines at the DMV, the dentist wreaking havoc on your mouth coupled with his sardine breath, Times Square during tree-lighting season; you’d rather do all these things rather than talk to this said person(s). So no FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) for me, you can take the weight of Trumplaining – off my shoulders and I will visit Jones Beach with it’s 20-foot high drown-worthy waves, and freezing black water. Have fun travelers!