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This Is What An Uprising Looks Like

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 08:22 AM PST

As NRA-backed lawmakers try to recycle their oft-used "thoughts and prayers" line after the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, students like Emma Gonzalez are railing against their inaction and deceit: "Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS. They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS."

A groundswell of Americans who have heard the pleas of Parkland students like Emma are rising up and taking action to prevent gun violence. For the last five years, Moms Demand Action — the grassroots arm of Everytown for Gun Safety — has been organizing on this issue, and we've already made huge progress. But our efforts can never be enough until, finally, this gun violence crisis ends.

And as someone who has served as a volunteer in this movement since the shooting at Sandy Hook School, I can say that this moment feels different. So many new voices are speaking out. In a little over a week, than 115,000 people reached out to Moms Demand Action wanting to volunteer — including at least 8,000 students, who will become the first Students Demand Action volunteers. More than 70,000 people have made donations. And nearly 1.2 million people signed up to learn about the gun violence prevention movement.

Across the country, the energy is palpable. Just last week, nearly 2,000 Moms Demand Action volunteers and gun violence survivors showed up for an advocacy day in Georgia. In Raleigh, North Carolina, more than 350 people showed up for a new member meeting. More than 200 people showed up for a new member meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas. And in Rhode Island, we had to have a new member meeting every day of the week in a different city just to accommodate all of our new volunteers.

This is happening everywhere — red and blue states alike. To respond to the influx of new interest, Moms Demand Action volunteers are even holding impromptu meetings in their living rooms and coffee shops. At a meeting in a restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, last week, more than 200 people showed up and stood along the walls when they ran out of chairs.

And we're already turning that energy into action. In Florida, just days after the mass school shooting in Parkland, Moms Demand Action volunteers drove more than 2,500 calls and 1,700 emails to members of the Florida legislature in a single day. Their voices helped to shut down a bill to put guns in K-12 schools in Florida. We also helped kill bad gun bills in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Utah since the Parkland tragedy — NRA-supported bills that would have endangered our children and communities.

We're also helping to pass good bills and change corporate policies. The same week as the shooting in Parkland, Oregon Moms Demand Action volunteers helped to pass legislation to close the state's "boyfriend loophole" to help disarm domestic abusers. And in just the past few days, more than a dozen businesses have cut ties with the NRA, following a public outcry from their customers.

Make no mistake: Gun violence prevention advocates are mobilized, energized and the momentum is on our side. From state houses to boardrooms, we are winning.

Americans finally seem to be making gun violence prevention a priority. Mass shootings are a small percentage of gun violence in America, but the scale of these tragedies holds a unique grip on the nation's conscience. It's critical that we remember — and act in honor of — the countless other lives impacted by gun violence that don't make headlines every day.

Ninety-six Americans are shot and killed and hundreds more are wounded each day in America. It's never been acceptable, and now, the tipping point is here. We know we don't have to live like this, and we don't want to die like this. We are refusing to accept the status of quo of guns everywhere, for anyone, no questions asked. We will no longer be subjected to the recklessness, cowardice and inaction of lawmakers beholden to the gun lobby.

This isn't a matter of political persuasion, it's a matter of life and death. Lawmakers have been put on notice by the American people: They can work with us to save lives, or we, the voters, will work to throw them out.

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Teacher’s Message To Parents Goes Viral: ‘Be Involved In Your Child’s Life’

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 07:54 AM PST

Her viral post is urging parents to be more involved with their kids

Since this month’s horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, there’s been a lot of talk about why these tragedies happen in the first place and how best to reach kids who may be feeling bullied or lonely. While we may never know why some perpetrators of mass shootings carry out their evil deeds, one teacher has a message for parents about knowing their children — so she can know them too.

Georgia teacher Amie Diprima Brown shared her thoughts about parental involvement in a Facebook post that’s quickly gone viral.

She writes that this marks her 15th year teaching, and while she’s aware of changes over the last few years such as “crazy new math” and rules about bringing electronics to school, she’s also noticed other things that aren’t the same as they were just a short time ago.

Brown explains that her yearly tradition since she started teaching is to ask parents to write a special letter. “I send a letter home asking parents to tell me about their child in a million words or less. I go on to explain that I want to learn the child's hopes, dreams, fears, challenges, etc and jokingly ask parents to limit it to less than a million words since we all know we could talk forever about our children.”

The teacher is flexible with the letters and is sure to tell parents that they’re not being graded, she’s not judging their grammar, and they can get the letter to her by sending it in with their child, dropping it at the office, or even by email. She just wants the information.

“I have learned about eating disorders, seizures, jealousy issues between twins, depression, adoption, abuse…just to name a few things. These letters give me a huge head start on getting to truly know my students,” she shares.

But recently, Brown made a sad discovery. Two of her students lost their moms unexpectedly, both in the same week. As is her habit, she went to pull up the letters from the deceased parents to give to the students so they can see in their mothers’ own words how loved they were. “As I was putting the folders back in the file cabinet I noticed something. I know that the percentage of parents that complete this assignment each year has gotten lower and lower, but looking at the size of the folders shocked me. That first year I had 98% of the parents send back some type of letter on their child. This year… 22%.”

Brown points out what a lost opportunity this is for her as an educator. The letters have helped her get to know her students better over the years, and in turn, has given her the tools to assist those in need. She also mentions that the lowered return rate on the letters isn’t the only change she’s picked up on — the rate of kids turning in homework has gone down too, from 98 percent to 67. “I remind students daily, I send text messages through Remind, it's on my website. The only other thing I could do is do it for them. Parents continue to let their child rack up zero after zero.”

In other words, Brown is doing everything she possibly can on her end to help students succeed both academically and otherwise, but there’s so much missing when parents don’t do their part too. “With all of our other responsibilities in our profession, how are we supposed to get to know students so that we can identify the ones with the mentality and disposition to become a school shooter if parents are checking out of the academic process? How are we supposed to educate children when their parents don't require, expect and demand their child complete their homework?”

Her solution? “Be a parent,” she writes. “Be involved in your child's life so that you can help them through the issues with friends, the possible suicidal thoughts, and problems academically. I promise you, if parents spent more time with their children and got involved in their lives, we would see drastic improvements in our schools and our society.”

So many families have two parents who work in addition to all the responsibilities that come with parenting and running a household. It seems like we have less free time than ever, but Brown’s post is a sobering reminder that any time spent making sure we really know our kids is time well spent.

“As parents, our job is to grow the most amazing humans possible. It’s the most important job in the world. The education and emotional stability a parent provides is priceless.”

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Florida Sheriff Defends Actions During School Shooting: ‘Of Course I Won’t Resign’

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 06:23 AM PST

People are asking for Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Israel’s resignation

Recent tension over the handling of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14 has some calling for Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Israel’s resignation. The resource officer, as well as three other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies did not immediately enter the building during the shooting and that, some say, is the responsibility of Israel.

According to multiple reports and recent video evidence, Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson,  the armed school resource officer at the scene, took cover outside for “upwards of four minutes,” while the shooting took place according to the New York Times.

Additionally, three other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies also responded while the shooter was inside the school, pistols drawn, but did not enter the school, CNN reported.

Shortly thereafter, nearby Coral Springs police arrived and entered the building. Additional Broward County deputies then arrived on the scene and joined Coral Springs inside.

But for some, it was too little, too late.

“Coral Springs police were stunned and upset that the four original Broward County Sheriff’s deputies who were first on the scene did not appear to join them as they entered the school,” CNN reported. What Coral Springs police observed on February 14th will be released in full in a report next week.

It is something to consider that armed and trained officers decided not to go into the school during an active shooter situation but we are currently entertaining arming teachers whose job it is to teach our children, not take down a gunman.

Those same people seem to believe if we arm teachers, shooters would be more hesitant to enter places of education to gun people down because they would feel “threatened” versus feeling entirely comfortable entering “gun free zones.” Except more often than not, these shooters kill themselves. They are not afraid of dying. Arming teachers won’t deter shooters, it will simply introduce more guns, and potentially more death.

Sheriff Israel publicly denounced Peterson actions, saying in part, “What I saw was a deputy arrive … take up a position and he never went in,” Israel said at a news conference. He should have “went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.” Peterson has since resigned.

"Do I believe if Scot Peterson went into that building, there was a chance he could have neutralized the killer and saved lives? Yes, I believe that," Israel told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

But Israel is not planning to step down anytime soon. “Of course I won't resign,” he told Tapper. When asked if he takes any responsibility for the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas, Israel said, “I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence. I’ve given amazing leadership to this agency.”

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Celebrities Join Shooting Survivors In Boycotting FedEx Over NRA Support

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 05:10 AM PST

Celebrities are calling on FedEx to end its NRA support

Celebrities have joined the survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in a boycott of FedEx for their support of the National Rifle Association. While grieving for the 17 people who lost their lives in Florida, the students who lived through the tragedy have worked tirelessly to push for common sense gun control in this country. And they’re not alone.

Actors, musicians, filmmakers and other famous names took to Twitter this weekend to vocalize their support for boycotting FedEx until the company cuts ties with the NRA. FedEx offers members of the gun association up to 26% in discounts as part of a deal it has with the NRA Business Alliance, according to the Daily News.

They join Parkland survivors in calling for FedEx to sever its ties to the NRA.

So far the shipping giant has refused to comment on the boycott. It also stopped using the social media platform Twitter when news of the boycott went viral. It’s bizarre that this is a hard choice for FedEx executives to make since the NRA only has 5 million members. That’s a small amount of the American population, which totaled 323.1 million in 2016, according to census data.

Plus, lots of other businesses have ended their similar discount programs with the NRA following the horrific shooting in Florida. Thanks to the survivors who’ve called on corporations to cut ties with gun lobbyists, there’s more pressure than ever to stop doing business with an organization that refuses to discuss gun reform options that the majority of Americans support – like universal background checks.

In addition to Delta and United Airlines, car rental companies Enterprise, Alamo, National, and Hertz all ended existing partnerships with the gun group. Hotel groups Best Western and Wyndham joined the growing list of corporations who will no longer offer discounts to members of the NRA. And MetLife and Chubb insurance companies announced their cancelation of special policies for the gun association.

Nothing worthwhile happens overnight, but the FedEx boycott is a small step in the right direction. As we fight to protect our children from senseless school shootings, we’ll all need to demand change from the companies, organizations, and politicians who support the NRA.

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This Is The Real F Word, Because ‘Fat’ Hurts More

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 06:00 PM PST

My kid was at his two-and-a-half-year-old well-visit the first time he said, “Fuck”.

“How are we doing today?” asked the doctor in his Snoopy tie and smart wire rims, breezily entering the exam room where my naked-by-choice toddler squatted under the exam table looking for lost change.

“Good,” Toddler replied. “I don’t have to get a shot and I didn’t say ‘fuck’.'”

“Good, good, glad to hear it,” the doctor replied, as luckily, while his vocabulary has always been expansive, my kid’s diction was about as good as his set of manners.

I conjured up my best shocked face, and looked at Toddler and firmly whispered, “We use kind words!” and then tickled him for distraction because I knew that would work as it had every other time he said “fuck” over the last couple of months. 

Let me explain. It was his first time using “fuck” in public, thus it was the first time it counted.  While I may have started out my motherhood journey in as an intense perfectionist (read: unrealistic idiot), with a 4-year old, 2-year old, and 6-month-old, my standards had grown markedly less perfectionistic and more realistic. Now, as long as my kids’ more minor transgressions happened in private, I could just go ahead and not count it toward the many, many, MANY items on the list running through my head for me to replay, analyze, criticize, and self-shame as I lay in bed. To a tired mom of 3 small children, it’s sound logic. If a kid pees on a tree in the forest and there’s no-one around to see him, does it make a sound? (Or something like that.)

Now, though, that my little linguist had exposed our dark secret in public to a professional who, thankfully, might be a little hard of hearing, I was concerned. Sure, it was funny that he dropped the F-bomb, his little ringlets framing the sweet face and tiny little mouth forming around the nastiest of curse words. Just ask my husband: It was his favorite parlor trick to show off to people and the first skill Toddler displayed that my husband could indisputably trace back to his own doing.

“I think that’s because of me,” Husband beamed.

“I know, babe. No, I am not rolling my eyes. It’s allergies.”

I had to strategize what I would do to break my child of what was surely the gateway habit that would eventually lead to harder words and bigger deeds, like shoplifting at the Jersey boardwalk or smoking the drugs. So I dug into my former-teacher toolkit and I tried to fix him.

I systematically ignored it, as clearly it was attention-seeking. Yet, it apparently wasn’t, because that didn’t work. I discussed with him how sad I felt when he used that word, in an appropriately educational and gentle “I statement.” He literally laughed in my face. I affirmed his other word choices. He asked me to stop doing that.

Then I tried time-outs. Huge success! Just kidding. It pissed him off enough to re-up his efforts and gave him some much desired alone time with mommy as I kept moving him back to his “stop and think” spot. I discovered what humankind has already figured out many, many, many a moon ago — “fuck” was here to stay.

I lived in fear that I would pick up my wee one from his sweet little 2’s class one morning and the teachers would give me a talking-to. My husband rooted for this, of course, as it would only make the situation funnier in his eyes, but I couldn’t imagine what teachers would think of me as my kid was walking around sounding like 1985 Eddie Murphy while other kids in his class were still working on replacing a grunt with a point with a word label.

This never happened, though.

No, it was not the “fuck” that I was confronted with one day after school. It was an F-word, but not the one we so carefully try to avoid in front of our children. It was an F-word though that is so much more hurtful, so much more pointed, and so little discussed, that I hadn’t even thought about it until that bomb, an actual F-bomb hit my kid, my oldest, 4-year old kid.

“Mommy? Am I fat?”

I looked at my beautiful boy in the rearview mirror as we drove to our favorite spot for green juices after Friday pick-up, one of our little rituals and one of our only times during the week when we could be alone together. His dark eyes were fixed on mine, hungry for a truth that I was ill-equipped to provide.

“You are perfect, every part of you! Why would you ask that?” I lamely bounced back.

“Because Zack told me last year that I have a big fat belly. But it didn’t make me sad. This year though, everyone thinks I am fat.”

I have never been punched in my gut. But I imagine it feels a lot like this moment.

“When I go out on the playground, some kids stand on top of the gym and yell, ‘Big fat boy coming!’ when I run past them.”

He states this matter-of-factly. Like he doesn’t know that he’s saying this to a mom who loves him so hard I could vomit at the thought of someone shouting anything but effusive praise at him.

“Those sound like friends who are making bad choices.”

I choke on these words as I say them because what I actually want to say is that those little shits are finished when I get their names. But alas, violence never solved anything and it is a cycle and the law looks down on adults physically harming small children yada yada yada.

As we sit and drink our celery-apple-kale juice, he goes on to tell me that he can’t tell his teachers because he doesn’t want anyone to get in trouble, but that he wishes there was someplace he could go where he could make his fat belly skinny tomorrow. He goes on to cry and tell me that he looks weird. He looks weird in his clothes, in his haircut, in his skin. He doesn’t want to look fat anymore.

With every word he shares, my heart cracks until I feel a deep physical pain in my chest. I feel the weight of every meal I have ever made my children, of every minute I have ever let them watch a screen, of every swim lesson I have let them skip when they were too tired. I think about all of the times I let them play with their Power Wheels in the driveway instead of pedaling their little bikes. And I want to make it all better, to change it all for him.

This is what parents do. We protect our children from hurt. We keep them from sticking metal objects in sockets so they don’t burn themselves up. We don’t allow them to jump off the top of the slide so they don’t break a leg. We keep them away from foods they are allergic to and toxic chemicals. But this? How do I protect my kid from this?

Suffice it to say, we tried. We read some picture books together about self-love and how everybody is different and how to stand up for yourself. We included my husband on the conversation who lovingly and confidently assured his son (and his wife) that he (they) were stronger than the words of some kids and that this too shall pass, as it had for him when he was teased for the same as a kid.

I consulted my therapist who told me to reframe the conversation into something positive — what can he do better than other kids because he is bigger than other kids? He liked that. And thankfully, 4-year-old attends a wonderful and supportive school and is taught by the most brilliant, compassionate people who, through a class lesson and a professional conversation with other teachers in charge of the playground and in a read-aloud story, addressed the issue without ever making my child feel like he had told on anyone or ever drawing attention to him in particular.

And the situation improved. For a while. Until the next time a child called him fat.

Part of me feels this need to describe my son here. To assure you he is not fat and to say all of the words (tall, broad, built big) that would make someone less harsh in their assessment of another’s size. Part of me wants to describe all of the healthy foods he likes and the active lifestyle he lives, all of the sports he plays. And part of you may want to hear that to know that I haven’t wronged my kids by relegating to him a life of obese ineptitude.

But here is the thing: it doesn’t matter.

I am sure they are many messages in here — messages about healthy eating and building confidence in our kids and probably even something about kids getting soft because of participation trophies and self-serve frozen yogurt and how they need to toughen up like generations before them. (This time it’s not allergies. I am actually rolling my eyes.) People will draw from this what they will. But there is only one point I want to make.

Stop using the word “fat” to describe people. Stop using it to describe yourself, and stop using it to describe others. Stop warning your children that if they eat too much sugar they will get fat. Tell them it will hurt their teeth and their body and their brain, but don’t use getting fat as their punishment. Stop forgetting about the boys when we talk about positive body images in girls and not focusing all of our attention on how pretty or unpretty a woman may be. Boys hurt too. Stop making overweight people the butt of the joke and assuming they are lazy or unhealthy or unhappy.

I read a few things that told me to teach my child to take back the word “fat.” Teach him it’s not a negative thing to be called fat if you don’t feel like fat is a negative thing to be. But it is engrained in our culture that FAT = BAD. So I am counting on you to change your behavior and to ask others around you to do the same.

See, the thing is, your child is not the only one you have to protect. Maybe your child is not at risk of being called fat. But everyone — everyone — is at risk of being called something and it will hurt when they are. And just like I am asking you not to let your kids use the word “fat,” I promise not to let mine use the words that will hurt your kids either. It doesn’t stop at “fat.”

Think about how you guard the word “fuck.” Think about how you never use it in front of your children and would die of mortification if they used it against another child.

All I am asking is that you do the same with the word “fat.” Because I have been called both and believe me, “fat” hurts more.

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Yes, All My Kids Are The Same Gender, And This Is What I Wish You Knew

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 06:00 PM PST

It's coming, this I know, as I watch their eyes widen while they take in the sight of my four girls. It's been going on for nearly a decade, so now my lips automatically purse into a thin line, and I wait for it.

"Four girls?! Wow, you must have your hands FULL. Poor Dad, he is seriously out-numbered. Are you going to try for a boy?” The grocery tellers eyes are full of sympathy as she awaits my reply.

"I feel really lucky to have all girls." I honestly reply, while gritting my teeth, hoping that she'll note my less than friendly facial expression and end the conversation. She doesn't seem to notice.

"Really?! Well you just wait till the teenage years," she laughs. "Poor daddy!" Without another word I grab my receipt and herd the girls toward the exit.

"Mommy?" My seven-year-old asks as her little brow furrows. "Why do people always say 'poor daddy' and ask if we are going to have a boy baby? Are girl babies not as good as boy ones? Is daddy sad that none of us were boy babies?"

Anger boils up inside me. Her sister asked me the same question about a year ago. I briefly wonder how long before my youngest is pondering the same thing. I paste a smile on my face.

"No way, your daddy loves having all girls. I love having all girls."

"Well, I think a lot of people don't think it's a good thing." Her earnest little face is still frowning. It had been the third such encounter of the day so I understood her doubt. (Eight in a single day is our record for a family outing.)

This is the crux of my problem. Wherever we go, people feel compelled to comment. For all of the thousands of comments we've received, I can count on one hand the number of times it has actually been complimentary when it comes to all my kids being the same gender.

Funny enough, my sister, K, has four boys. "We hear the same thing, constantly. Words of sympathy, jokes, people asking if we are going to keep trying for a girl. The thing is, I would have loved to have had a girl. Am I sad that I will never have one? Yes. Do I feel blessed to have my boys? Of course, I do; I wouldn't trade them."

The thing is, I understand that people are not trying to be rude or hurtful. In most cases, I think people are just attempting to make friendly conversation. But words hold weight. And to a small child carefully observing faces filled with sympathy and mock horror, followed by words of condolences, the weight of those words can be crushing.

My girlfriend, P, has three boys. "We really wanted to have a little girl. I wish we could try one more time, but financially we just couldn't manage. I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact I'll never have a daughter. Then I have strangers asking me if I am going to try again for a girl and it just brings the hurt right back up."

I know before having kids that there were things I always thought I would do, rituals, rights of passage that I just always assumed I'd get to experience with a son and with a daughter. I know my husband had the same expectations. He expected he was going to teach a son how to open a door for a lady, or how to shave. Yet he loves having girls.

More than anything it was a confirmation that we are getting older and for the first time in our lives a chapter was officially closing. All of our youth, we dream of futures that are filled with infinite possibilities. When all of your children are the same gender you close a chapter on the possibility of the experience in raising a child of the opposite gender. It takes a little while to wrap your head around it. That doesn't mean you aren't thankful for your kids. I wanted all girls. I prayed for girls, every single pregnancy. But it still took me a day or two to resign to the fact that I'd never be raising a little dude.

But whether you are someone who is ecstatically happy that you have all of one gender or not, they are your kiddos and you adore them. I think most families, with kids of the same gender, would agree that they'd be a whole lot happier without the constant commentary from strangers making jokes or disparaging comments. Whether the strangers realize it or not, the kids are listening and it can be hurtful.

I know we make quite the entertaining sight when we show up in a pink explosion. Sometimes bedecked in tutus, bows, and bedazzled crowns. But unless you're going to give us a thumbs up and tell us how awesome it is to have all girls, I wish you'd keep your commentary to yourself.

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I Am A Liberal, But I’m Not Open-Minded. Here’s Why.

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 06:00 PM PST

It is now popular in conservative circles to turn arguments over to progressives by stating what they believe to be a brilliant rejoinder: "Liberals brag about being so open-minded, but just look when someone has a different viewpoint! They aren't open-minded at all!"

I am here to agree with them. I am a liberal, and I am not open-minded in the least. I would correct you if you described me as such. Here's why.

As I write this, seventeen people, some of them children, have been murdered at school. Again, Congress overs their "thoughts and prayers." Again, they will do nothing, even though gun legislation has proven time and again to reduce gun deaths. We are a country obsessed with murder weapons. I don't know how to fix this. And I am not open-minded on this issue: I do not care about your guns. There is no argument on earth that will convince me that your guns are more important than my children's lives. My mind is closed.

When two people of the same sex or gender love each other and want to have the same rights as two people of different sex or genders, they get to do that, because they are humans and deserve the same rights as straight couples. It is no one's business but theirs, and it affects your life in no way whatsoever, except that you get the privilege of another loving couple in your community. This topic is closed for debate with me, and I'm fine with that.

When a transgender person wants to use the bathroom they identify with, or have protections at work, they get that right. There is no argument against that. Think I'm close-minded on that? Damn right. I have yet to hear a compelling argument against it.

When unarmed black folks are murdered by cops by the scores, and you hide behind the "blue line" instead of questioning the institutionalized racism of the justice system, then I have lost my respect for you as someone who will not care for the plight of innocent people. The discussion is closed; I don't need to hear your viewpoint, because racist rhetoric is useless and false. There are not two sides to racism; we were supposed to have decided that two hundred and fifty years ago. It's 2018; if you aren't caught up, you best get on the train.

I am not a "tolerant liberal." I will not tolerate your false equivalencies. Don't know what "false equivalency" means? I'll help you this once:

"[An] argument simultaneously condemns and excuses both sides in a dispute by claiming that both sides are (equally) guilty of inappropriate behavior or bad reasoning. While the argument appears to be treating both sides equally, it is generally used to condemn an opponent or to excuse one's own position." (credit: Bruce Thompson, professor of philosophy, Palomar College, 2017)

I will not tolerate your arguments that erase hundreds of years of history, that erase murdered children and broken women. So you can call me whatever you want, but if your insult is that I'm not an open-minded liberal, then I guess you've won that round. I am not.

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10 Must-Follow Body Positive Instagram Accounts

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 06:00 PM PST

I woke up the other morning, put on a sports bra, and peeled off my thermal top. But I kept my pajama bottoms on. I wanted to get in a workout before the kids woke up, and after tying my hair up, I was ready to go. With the push of a button, the app on my phone guided me through a quick, sweat-session and it was glorious.

I love working up a good sweat, but what gives me even more motivation is seeing women who keep it real and give us all the inspiration we need to unapologetically be ourselves. No one needs to see perfect poses where flaws are hidden, because let’s face it, we all have them.

I have cellulite in my ass, and I’ll always have a little belly no matter what I do — that’s just life, and we need to see more realness and encouragement, and less of the perfect bodies (that really aren’t a thing) on our screens that make us think we will never measure up.

Here are the 10 Instagram accounts to follow if you are looking to get motivated, inspired, and empowered:

1. Bender Fitness

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Melissa has been my go-to for three years. She’s a mother, shares recipes, and her workouts are effective and dynamic. Her messages are incredibly empowering and she includes all fitness levels in her workouts.

2. Ashley Graham

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Ashley doesn’t post solely about workouts, but when she does, it’s so inspiring. She shows women you can be healthy, fit, and hot as hell at any size and we love her for it.

3. Hannah Bronfoman

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I adore Hannah because her posts aren’t just fitness-driven, but they show women what true self-care looks like. She goes out and does amazing things with the energy she has, eats healthy food, and lives life to its fullest.

4. Fat Girl Flow

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Carissa Enneking posts badass pictures of herself wearing all the things. She shows women of all sizes they are not confined to a box– they are free to look and feel beautiful in bathing suits, lingerie, and sexy little dresses. She is a stunningly beautiful, positive woman, inside and out.

5. Busy Mom Gets Fit

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Val has 4 boys and has made it her mission to help other women get fit. She posts daily inspiration, and I love her memes. She reminds all women we are in this together and the importance of cheering for each other.

6. Jamie Eason-Middleton

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Jamie Eason-Middleton is a fitness blogger with two kids, and tons of experience. I love her honesty about how it can be difficult to combine fitness and motherhood. I’ve been following her for over three years now, and she was the one who made me decide it was time to get in the best shape of my life.

7. Jessamyn

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Jessamyn is one of my favorite kickass women who makes me believe I can do really hard fucking things. Look how she nails this pose. In this post, she talks about how being a certain shape or size or shape might make you feel like you are supposed to hide behind your clothes, and she’s not having it. It’s about loving yourself enough to wear what you want– no matter what that is, and it’s a message we need to hear more of.

8. Alison Kimmey

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This message from Allison Kimmel is incredibly powerful. The before shot when she was “chasing’skinny'” she talks about the unhappiness that comes with that. She’s right– we need to be chasing happy, and our body size should not be the deciding factor by any means.

9. Emily Skye

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Emily Skye is a fit mom who isn’t afraid to put it all out there and own her reasons for continuing to exercise. She also shows before and after pictures that are very real, and it’s so refreshing to see someone who lives a healthy lifestyle show us the reality of how having a child changes your body, no matter what your lifestyle is, and the idea to get back into your “pre-baby self” should only be done if it makes you happy.

10. Summers VonHesse

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Summers Von Hesse is a mother who talks about self-care and the importance of taking time for yourself. In every picture, it’s clear to see she’s living her best life, taking care of herself, and remembering her happiness does not depend on what others think of her.

Whatever your goals are, the key is to love yourself. If you want to feel the burn without an audience, or see real women willing to show your their whole self without filters and poses to hide their hips or thighs, these ladies deliver. They all offer something different, so you’re sure to find one you connect with.

Be ready, you are going to get addicted — these women will teach you how to be cool with who you are, no matter your size or shape, and really, I don’t know a woman out there who hasn’t tried to grasp that one time or another.

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