Archive for voice

If you think speaking out is pointless, think again.

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think before speaking out did I just say that

Speaking out is the one thing we can still do of effect change. We are still able to use our voices in print, in letters to the editor, in blogs, on the Tee Vee, Radio, and Internet Machines, and most importantly, at the ballot box. Speaking out is our strength, our peaceful show of force, our (non-lethal) weapon against discrimination, inequality, and oppression.

Yes, it can be frustrating, ineffective, an exercise in futility, and drive us nearly insane when we are ignored. However, occasionally, speaking out leads to victories, big and small. Here is one of the smaller ones that could morph into something huge. Via the Los Angeles Times:

Responding to a sharp public backlash, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler revised his proposed Internet traffic rules as he tries to secure support for the agency to start formally considering them this week. [...]

In a nod to criticism from many Democrats, Internet companies and public interest groups, Wheeler tried to soften the most controversial part of his proposal by allowing broadband providers to charge higher fees for faster delivery of content as long as consumers and competition are not harmed, an agency official said.

We may have a long way to go in this area and so many others, but as I have said repeatedly (scroll), our voices matter.

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Seventh grade student spoke out, got kicked out. "My school is run by fear."

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Maia Wu student speaks out, kicked out of school

Having taught all grade levels in a couple of school districts, and having been a huge student advocate at those schools, when I hear about a story that starts out with this, I listen:

"My name is Maia Wu. I am 13 years old, in the 8th grade and I'm student body president of my school carrying a 4.0 GPA.... As a 7th grade student, I couldn't understand what there was to fear. ... I stood up for I believed was right... I decided to step up and help students shake off their fear and find their voices. The administration didn't seem to like this too much. I guess you could say this is where things fell apart."

That sure got my attention.

Now it's time for you to give Maia Wu some attention. (Added: She was "too outspoken" about a decision to build a fence around the school without parents and students being told first. The video explains everything, please watch, you won't be sorry.)

What happened here is an outrage and it's time to publicize her story as widely as possible. The district is all that really mattered to the district, certainly not the students, not the parents, not fairness, not open, honest, civil discourse.

Please share this post.

Via Maia Wu:

On January 17, 2014, my mom received a letter informing her that our permit to attend school has been revoked. My brother, sister, and I were kicked out of school. This is my open letter in response to the letter we received.

I was kicked out because my mom asked questions that needed to be asked.

I was kicked out because I am a free-thinker and can think for myself.

I was kicked out because I am not afraid to be heard.

I have a vision of a school that will embrace student voice and student participation in civic matters. I want to learn in an environment that welcomes free-thinkers and welcomes opposing view points as a positive means to perpetuate the democratic process.

If this is the current environment, we will produce children who live in fear of authority and not have the ability to think for themselves and will only use ideals given by higher authorities rather than trying to formalize their own.

This is the number one threat to democracy in our country. I am 13 years old, not afraid to let my voice be heard and all I wish is to return back to my school.

Wow.

But come on, Maia, protest? Peacefully? Moms attempting to communicate? Kids "think for themselves"? Don't you realize this is today's America? We are no longer encouraged to do those things here. Oh, but I kid. Sort of.

Here are a few excerpts. Transcript via EdWeek.org:

I decided to step up and help students shake off their fear and find their voices. The administration didn't seem to like this too much. I guess you could say this is where things fell apart....

Based on these flimsy, weak and ridiculous points, my brother, sister and I had our permits revoked, which essentially meant we were kicked out of our school. When we first found out, we had an overwhelming amount of support from teachers, students, friends, and family. We also immediately set up a meeting in order to organize our appeal. We were told to wait five days. The fifth day rolled along and there was no letter. My mother called the district at 4:00pm but was told the specific person we were looking for was in a meeting. She then called again at 4:40, that person was still in the meeting. Finally, at 4: 58 she called, and was told that that person had gone home. On Chinese New Year's Eve, we finally received the letter denying our permit, and our last day being the following day, Chinese New Year's. Not only had we been strung along until the last minute, but kicked out on Chinese New Year Day. That's comparable to kicking a child out on Christmas.

The letter they wrote and their revocation can easily be seen as childish retaliation to a parent standing up for her first amendment rights. My mother is a responsible, caring responsible adult who the principal and the school district is trying to paint as a deranged woman who doesn't seem to have a clue about anything. If my mother and I are guilty of fighting for our rights as American citizens and guilty of wanting America to be America, so be it. Monterey Highlands and Alhambra Unified School District are obsessed with control and are no longer thinking about students when they make choices such as revoking permits from children like my siblings and I.

I have a vision of a school that will embrace student voice and student participation in civic matters.  I want to learn in an environment that welcomes free-thinkers and welcomes opposing view points as a positive means to perpetuate the democratic process.  If this is the current environment, we will produce children who live in fear of authority and not have the ability to think for themselves and will only use ideals given by higher authorities rather than trying to formalize their own. This is the number one threat to democracy in our country. I am 13 years old, not afraid to let my voice be heard and wish to return back to my school.

These words were spoken by one remarkable seventh grader. Maia is clearly brilliant, reasonable, and rational, certainly more reasonable and rational than the "adults" in charge. You'd think any school would be honored to support and encourage Maia, her voice, and her family.

Those so-called educators could learn a lot from that 13-year-old.

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VIDEO-- BLUNT: I love #Obamacare because...

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CA Calls

Blunt is a lot like letters to the editor. YOUR take, short, to the point.

You have a voice, now use it.

Please share this one. You'll recognize a face or two, but IMHO, the most memorable, poignant, and meaningful segment belongs to @RachelPoPachel (third segment in), who I've known on Twitter for years. We became online friends, and when she emailed me about her heartbreaking situation, it came as a complete shock to me.

I cannot thank her enough for sharing her story:

And special thanks to all who contributed, especially those who participated for the first time. It's wonderful seeing new faces and hearing new voices.

And to California Calls, I couldn't have had a better partner. You're doing amazing work, never stop.

For more information about how to contribute to a Blunt video, follow this link.

It’s your turn. Go.

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Video Overnight Thread- Epic Movie Trailer Voice Prank

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Via.

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