Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Granola bars, Goodwill & VAWA

October 30, 2012

Every weekday morning, as I exit I-25 on the way to drop my daughter Adina off at pre-school, she and I are struck by two things: 1) how absolutely gorgeous the view of the Rocky mountains is from that particular point on Hampden Road, and 2) how sad it is that some people don't have homes.  There is always someone waiting at the light at the end of the exit ramp, holding up a sign, asking us for help.

This morning, Adina and I decided to fill a bag with peanut butter and oatmeal raisin granola bars and give them out over the next week or so to whoever is waiting at that light in the mornings.  Truth: We'd bought 100 or whatever ridiculous amount Costco sells in one box, and it turns out, my kids only like (read: will eat) the chocolate chip ones.  Easiest form of sharing there is.  

(Another truth:  I learned this easy sharing trick from my husband, a man who always asks for his leftovers at a restaurant to be boxed up, and then promptly hands the box to the first homeless person he encounters on the street after the meal.) 

After I got my daughter settled at school, I drove east on Hampden a quarter of a mile to a Goodwill donation center and dropped off four bags filled with clothes that my children had outgrown and that I no longer wanted.  How do my donated items help the Denver community?  Well, they are put up for sale in the thrift store and converted into cash that funds the organization's overhead as well as job skills and job development programs.  "Goodwill Denver is dedicated to programs that benefit the local community by inspiring high schools students, helping people get off welfare and back into the workforce and offering work options for the disabled." 

Then, I came home and sat down at my computer.  Before getting to work, I took three minutes to send emails to my Congressman and Senators to tell them that I think The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is an election issue and must be passed by the end of 2012.  Click here to see the simple script provided for me by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women.  Here is where I found my representative's contact information, and here is how I reached my senators.    

And the subtitle to this blog entry is: "Two basically effortless do-gooding acts and I share my opinion.  Again."  

e-impact, easy as pie.  Or granola bars.  Happy Tuesday to you all.  And now, back to work ...


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bucket list: Political ad? - Check.

What else can I say?  Attached is one of the scariest and most meaningful things I have ever done.  Thank you for your support.

link: https://vimeo.com/51958928

password: story

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Joining A Million Voices

October 15, 2012

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.              
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in a relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.  Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.  It can be economic actions or threats of action that influence another person.  Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender.  It can happen to couples who are married, living together, or dating.  Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

The first Domestic Violence month was observed in October, 1987.  That same year, the first national toll-free hotline was established.  In 1989, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress.  Such legislation has passed every year since.  Click here to read President Obama's 2012 Proclamation for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The first federal legislation acknowledging domestic violence as a crime and providing federal resources to encourage community-coordinated responses to combating violence was passed in 1994.  The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) created and supported comprehensive, effective and cost saving responses to the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  VAWA programs, administered by the Departments of Justice & Health and Human Services, dramatically changed federal, tribal, state and local responses to these crimes.  VAWA was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005.  The current authorization expired in 2011.  

The fight against domestic violence has long been a cause that moves me.  I've served as a pro bono attorney to victims of domestic violence, counseled a variety of nonprofit organizations on effective communications strategies and public education efforts surrounding the issue, and taught a class to high schoolers about healthy relationships and dating abuse.     

My efforts for this week are modest.  With this blog post, I am joining the National Domestic Violence Hotline's One Million Voices Campaign.   

Imagine the sound of one million voices in unison making the same pledge to help end domestic violence. That’s the goal and you can help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline and campaign founding partner General Federation of Women’s Clubs, along with many individuals and organizations, are dedicated to signing up one million people who are willing to educate, inform, and raise awareness about the problem of domestic violence and the programs that can help.  Learn more.
On a local level, I donated to SafeHouse Denver.  Not money.  I just sent some stuff.  Some really humbling stuff.  SafeHouse posts a wish list on its web site of various items such as clothing, household items, cleaning supplies and toiletries that are needed by its clients at the SafeHouse shelter and Counseling & Advocacy Center.  To make it even easier to make an impact, SafeHouse has registered its wish list on amazon so all you have to do is shop, and the items get sent directly to those who need them.  Macaroni & cheese, socks, children's advil - things for which I routinely walk into Target and $100 later, don't think twice about as I put them away in my safe, loving home.   

Thanks for tuning in.


p.s. There are many organizations working to provide abused women with a secure place to live and to eliminate domestic violence.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Love is Respect
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Hope Line
CHANA (Baltimore, MD)
Shalom Bayit (Bay area)
InMotion  (New York)
Jewish Women International - Mothers Day Flower Project

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My name is Evelyn Becker & I approve this message.

October 9, 2012

I was interviewed Friday morning for a political advertisement for Planned Parenthood and the Colorado State Senate races.  About my decision to have an abortion.  I wanted to do the ad.  I was honored to do the ad.  I was scared out of my mind to do the ad.

My day started at, oh shit, is it really 3 a.m?  I tried to relax and go back to sleep.

"Do something every day that scares you."  "Do something every day that scares you."  I repeated my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quote to myself a few times like a mantra.

Note to self: This is not a sleep-inducing mantra.  I was highly motivated and wide awake.

Thankfully, my parents were visiting so they got the kids out the door for school by 7:45 and I was able to release some cortisol with half an hour on the elliptical machine.  I ate a good breakfast and enjoyed a few minutes of calming quiet as I got myself as ready as possible to share the hardest decision of my life with the entire state of Colorado.

9:15 am:  The commercial crew showed up at my house.  The interviewer, Sarah Flowers, and her assistant Michelle from 76 Words.  The camera guy.  The sound guy.  And the make-up artist!  Didn't know I'd get a pro make-up job.  Well that's sorta fun.  I felt myself start to breathe.

I paced my living room as the crew arranged furniture.  Did camera checks.  Sound checks.   Set up the lights.  This was the real deal.

Finally, the interview began.  Sarah is a lovely human being and a savvy professional, and she guided me through the next forty-five minutes or so with grace and ease.  I told her my story.  (Please click here if you would like to read it.)  I read a few pre-scripted lines about a handful of extreme anti-choice candidates for Colorado state senate.

And just like that the gig was over.

Of course I will post the ad on this blog as soon as its cut!

In the meantime, I signed the Bill of Reproductive Rights.  The Bill of Reproductive Rights is an effort by the Center for Reproductive Rights to deliver a strong statement - backed by hundreds of thousands of signatures from concerned citizens - to the U.S. Congress and the President that they must guarantee and protect reproductive rights as fundamental human rights and stop the attacks by politicians who want to take those rights away.  


Monday, October 1, 2012

"It Takes One" - Getting Out The Vote

October 1, 2012

On Saturday afternoon, I canvassed for the Obama campaign.  Goal number one: register my targets to vote.  Goal number two: determine for whom they are planning to vote.  Goal number three: persuade them to vote for President Obama.  

This was the first time I'd ever gone door-to-door on behalf of a presidential candidate.  Despite years of comfort (as a PR pro) pitching to strangers on the phone, I was nervous to make the "cold call" in person.  I drove with a friend over to the home of the volunteer hosting the campaign organizer for the day's activities.  The organizer briefly explained the assignment and sent me off into my neighborhood.  

It was a clipboard, a few voter registration forms, a handful of pamphlets about Obama and the economy, women, etc. and me.

"Knock, knock."  Phew.  Not home.

Oh (door opens).  "Hi.  I'm Evelyn.  I'm your neighbor here in A-Lake and I'm out today making sure you are registered to vote ..."

A couple of more houses, and I was beginning to get my groove.  Then, the "I will definitely be canvassing again" moment: a great conversation with Rick, who told me that while he'd voted for Obama in '08, he was currently undecided.  Rick and I talked about his business and his concerns about the economy.  We chatted about the Republican's infuriating application of small government to taxes only; when it comes to what we do in our bedrooms and decide in our doctor's offices, they want to legislate, even amend the Constitution.  I left Rick with some campaign literature.  He left me with insight into the very real power of a one-on-one conversation in one neighborhood in one city to make a difference.  

If you think that your vote doesn't matter, please think again.  In a recent speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Michelle Obama drew comparisons between turning out the vote to the civil rights struggles of the past.  "Make no mistake about it, this is the march of our time," Obama said.  "Marching door-to-door registering people to vote, marching everyone you know to the polls every single election."  This, she said, "is the movement of our era - protecting that fundamental right, not just for this election but the next generation and generations to come."  


I enjoyed a couple more good chats on Saturday afternoon, and then, I got yelled at.  Scolded.  Chastised.  I had disturbed one (rather unfriendly) neighbor's peace by exercising my democratic rights.  

I'll be out canvassing again.
Please let me know if you would like to join me.  Please click here to learn more about the Obama campaign's voter turnout initiative - It Takes One.  And please vote.