Politics

Here’s What President Obama Told His Daughters After Trump Won

The election of Donald Trump has been tough for millions of Americans.

But it has been especially difficult for parents of girls.

The President-elect has a checkered history (to be mild) regarding women and his lack of respect for them.

Many have tried to figure out what to say to their young daughters.

It should come as no surprise that President Obama has had similar thoughts as those parents and has come up with a pretty good answer, at least for his two daughters.

In an interview with the New Yorker, Obama recalled what he told Sasha and Malia:

“What I say to them is that people are complicated,” Obama told me. “Societies and cultures are really complicated … This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn’t stop … You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.”

Man, he always knows the right thing to say.

We are going to miss him.

Watch A Young Barack Obama Rise In The New Trailer For Netflix Movie

H/T: New York Magazine 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Mike Pence Just Got Booed To Hell And Back At “Hamilton”

So this just happened.

According to the Huffington PostVice President-elect Mike Pence attended the Friday night showing of the hit Broadway play “Hamilton” and things didn’t go well.

While a few people clapped, most were mad as hell.

Bernie Sanders Just Got A Really Important Job In The Dem Leadership

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was just announced to the leadership of the Democrats in the Senate.

According to The Hill, Sanders was named Chairman of Outreach during a closed-door session of the Democratic Senate Caucus Tuesday morning.

In that role, Sanders will focus on reaching out to blue-collar voters who have drifted away from the Democratic Party in recent years.

“I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure that the budget that leaves the United States Congress is a budget that represents the needs of working families and a shrinking middle class and not billionaires,” Sanders told reporters after the meeting.

It is believed that Sanders’ populist message will be able to help Democrats make gains among this critical voter group.

“We want to expand on that, and he will be reaching out to all our allies,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) told reporters after the event. “We have a tremendous amount of talent in our caucus and we want to make sure everyone is contributing.”

Sanders will also be serving as the ranking member of the Budget Committee starting on January 3rd.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: AFGE/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

What Do I Tell My Daughter After Trump’s Win?

By Caroline Galloway

What just happened in America is beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

The soul of this country was torn apart at the very moment when we had a chance to rise above the hateful rhetoric we have been forced to listen to for months and to unite with a compassion for those who are different, a love for our country beyond measure and an acceptance of opinion and ideals that makes this country great….Not Great Again … GREAT!

Instead we watched a wild witch-hunt supported by a predominantly white male force incessantly run after our first female candidate as if she was the most horrendous human being alive. The emails, the emails, and the emails….must I say more.

We have allowed a man to escape the same trials beset on a woman and skate free through a remarkable path of no consequence for things that otherwise make us gasp in disbelief.

Corruption?

Has anyone, including the media, dared to bring out the stories of Donald Trump’s association with a convicted sexual predator who he has called “a decent man?”

Has anyone, especially the media, given any of the women who accused Donald Trump of mishandling them more than a story or two, or a conversation sparking protests and demands for the truth within their own circles?

Does anyone who voted for Donald Trump even understand how many lies he told during the campaign and how many facts he got wrong, all proven in written form by fact-checkers, historians and other leaders?

Does anyone who voted for Donald Trump really think he is going to be honest with anyone when he takes the Oval Office?

What do I tell my teenage daughter when she asks why a man who has obviously done so much wrong in his life doesn’t get held to the same standard as a woman?

In this case, one who devoted her life to public service and the betterment of the lives of children and women?

What do I tell my teenage daughter when she asks me how an election can be won by a man who has proven to be unfit?

Donald Trump fed into the weaknesses of this group just like the schoolyard bully.

He surrounded himself with people who feed negative and unfair propaganda to the masses each and every day.

He has been fed by a silver spoon all his life and has never known what it feels like to mine for coal, live in rural America on a fixed income or work all day every day for minimum wage barely making ends meet.

I do. How can anyone expect him to understand? What do I tell my daughter?

This president-elect has admittedly, and in his own words, grabbed women by their “pussy” and let’s not forget had extra-marital affairs.

A man who has bankrupted companies more than I like to count at the risk it puts such great fear in my heart for our country that I can’t even keep my head up.

Photo Credit: mathiaswasik/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: mathiaswasik/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

A man who openly made fun of a disabled person on national television with the world watching. A man who couldn’t even bring his ego in long enough to pay respect to a four-star father who lost his son fighting for our country.

A man who has no military experience whatsoever and had the fortune of money behind him when he escaped serving our country because of a spur in his foot, a spur he cannot even remember correctly.

A man who has made clear he has no tolerance for immigrants, minorities, gay people and the like. Is this really what my America looks like? What do I tell my daughter?

I am old enough to remember several elections and while my candidate of choice didn’t always win, I don’t remember our country protesting with such fervor at the prospect of an individual not fit to run our country ever before.

How can this be? Why didn’t the majority of people who voted for this man understand this? How can a narcissistic egomaniacal liar make it to the oval office? How can bad behavior continue to be awarded in a country that was to represent “strength, power and honesty?” What do I tell my daughter?

He fed into the uneducated and the displaced, allowing them to believe he will save them. That’s what bullies do.

They find the most disenfranchised weak individual on the playground and pick on them. Does anyone not see this and how this played out for someone who has the world in dismay and our allies bewildered?

Does anyone not notice that headlines across the globe are using such words as “W.T.F” and “Are you Kidding Me?. While those headlines circulate, can we not sit here and really ask ourselves if that is OK, if it is OK for a man to allow our country to now be a joke, a misfit, a low-lying power that doesn’t take all the risks involved with letting this man through the front door seriously. What do I tell my daughter?

I worked for someone who bears the exact same traits and behavior of Donald Trump.

They don’t change my friends, but they keep on winning despite their arrogance, lies and ugly behavioral traits.

I worked for a narcissistic man who treats women horribly, depletes the human spirit as a game of fun and thrives on power he exerts to make the “little person” feel even smaller.

The day I was able to leave that horrendous work situation was the best day of my professional life.

It is because of that and why I anxiously wait for four years to fly by faster than anything imaginable.

I am ashamed our country has gotten to the point where decency didn’t outweigh ignorance.

When I woke this morning I was hopeful to feel a bit of anxiety leaving my body, a sense of “we shall overcome” and a certain bit of optimism that would take me through the next four years.

It didn’t happen.

The tears keep flowing and the idea of uncertainty and embarrassment override any sense of understanding I can possibly relate to what just happened in this country…my country.

We have an Electoral College system that I believe is flawed and antiquated.

We have a process that doesn’t allow for certain standards of conduct to be upheld for the highest office in the world.

We have people who still believe that black Americans and women have only defined places in their lives.

Yet none of that thought process, none of that diabolical way of life compares to the remarkable and unprecedented statement on humanity in which the election of Donald J. Trump leads to.

And that is the purpose of why I write today.

Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

As of this morning Hillary Clinton continues to win the popular vote. I now know how Al Gore felt.

Our electoral college process which Donald Trump, in his own words and in his own tweet said “our electoral college process is a disaster, it is not democracy” proves once again to not honor the real power of our people.

I am hopeful that enough Americans join in to petition for this process to be reviewed, refined and changed so the people do speak in our next election and that the process is changed.

I know that I will do what I can to encourage and persuade those I come in contact with or know to support this change. “We the People” is exactly what we should be thinking!

I will close with recognizing that people wanted change. They wanted change in Washington and they wanted change in policy and for this, I can agree.

There were so many better choices for change throughout the entire election process. There were so many candidates who could have brought about change while keeping our country’s reputation alive with our allies, protected our country from the threat of all kinds of evil, changed our education, health system and environment for the good and protected our children.

But yet the hate-filled people who couldn’t get past their own simple way of thinking that someone who has billions will also make them billions have a very rude awakening coming their way.

It is hard to try to determine how change will be brought on by someone contemplating putting the same “old white men” in his cabinet and some who have questionable pasts…Giuliani, Gingrich, Christie. Is that an example of the change this country was looking for?

When the DOW drops 7,000 points in one night everyone needs to pay attention. When social media trends with #notmypresident in a democratic society, everyone needs to pay attention.

When women are asking “why have we not come any further?” everyone needs to pay attention. When immigrants who are the very fabric of our nation, and black Americans who gave more than they should have ever had to so we could build this country, ask am I safe, everyone needs to pay attention and when gays and transgender people ask if they can walk the streets and be free anymore, everyone needs to pay attention.

I simply ask “What will I tell my daughter?” And what will my daughter tell her daughter?

Open your eyes and ears America.

Be a voice stronger than you ever expected.

Please bring about change and force yourself to not tire in this fight and trying to make a difference, blocking hatred in any way or form possible. Be proud of who you are and for who will become.

Take a stand and be a force for those who need to be held up.

Don’t let this get away from you over time, don’t become complacent and don’t ever stop making sure your path to greatness is an important opportunity for all of us!

This is what you can tell your daughter.

Caroline Galloway is a PR specialist with 23 years experience in Entertainment and Consumer Brand Marketing & PR. She is based in Cleveland, Ohio and is a working mother of two, who has published numerous announcements and articles on a variety of topics.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Obama Defends ACA To Miami Millennial Audience Just Before Critical Early Vote Period

By Matthew Alvarez

MIAMI- President Barack Obama came to Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus Thursday afternoon to defend his signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act.

He used his speech to highlight the results of the law six years after it was passed, in the midst of a presidential election that may decide the ACA’s fate.

Obama showcased the ACA’s success in states that took advantage of its programs. However, Obama discontentedly addressed our governor (Republican Rick Scott) on Florida’s hostility toward the act.

If Florida were to take advantage of the ACA federal incentive and expand Medicaid, Obama said that more than 700,000 Floridians would have access for coverage.

Hearing some of the crowd’s displeasure with our state government, Obama stopped himself to comment: “If your governor – don’t boo, vote.”

To which the audience proudly cheered.

Even though Obama was focused on building up the ACA, he also wanted to shed light on the fact that it’s not perfect.

The primary problems, according to Obama, lie in two areas: states who are not supporting the act and private marketplaces that have low competition or low consumer incentive.

“That shouldn’t be surprising. If state leaders purposely try to make something not work, then it’s not gonna run as smoothly as if they were trying to make it work – common sense. You don’t have to go to Miami Dade to figure that out.” Obama said.

Miami Dade College students waiting for Obama's speech. Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

Miami Dade College students waiting for Obama’s speech. Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

The President argued that Obamacare should not be directly blamed for these problems, and outlined a number of solutions such as state cooperation, encouraging states to experiment with ACA implementation, and adding a public plan fallback.

The public plan fallback would give more economic options to rural areas where there is a lack of private competition, which was originally a republican idea.

Attendees, who were mostly MDC students, had been lining up outside the venue since 11:00 am, waiting in the South Florida heat to get to hear what our commander in chief had to say.

The Freedom Tower, which is near Miami Dade College's Wolfson campus. Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

The Freedom Tower, which is near Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus. Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

Faculty, visitors, and select students alike were eager to see the president face to face; a rare opportunity for South Floridians.

It was clear that the Miami Dade College community welcomed the President, as they erupted into applause as soon as he took the stage with a surprised smile, returning the favor as he excitingly greeted everyone in the room.

The President spent the bulk of his speech giving context to the ACA and addressing how it has successfully reformed our healthcare system.

He emphasized the statistics – our un-insured rate is lower than ever; insurance companies can no longer discriminate based on gender and pre-existing conditions; there have been no significant changes for the 80 percent of Americans who get coverage through employers, Medicare, or Medicaid; children have been able to stay on their parents plans longer; the inflation rate for premiums has slowed down (but are still increasing); and most importantly, the ACA has insured over twenty million people who previously did not have any coverage.

Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

“I don’t want to see anybody left out without health insurance.” Obama said. “I don’t want to see any family having to choose between health insurance now, or saving for retirement, or saving for your kid’s college education, or just paying their own bills. So the question we should be asking is what do we do about these growing pains in the affordable care act and how do we get the last nine percent of Americans covered?”

On the issue of partisanship, Obama welcomed working with Republicans.

He cited that a lot of the ideas for the ACA originated from Republicans, who then turned on the act once Obama himself became heavily involved.

“I don’t care whose idea it is, I just want it to work. They can even change the name of the law to Reagan-care, or they can call it Paul-Ryan-care. I-don’t-care.” He joking added. “Breaking gridlock will only happen when the American people demand it.”

Obama gave his thanks to Miami Dade College for helping spread awareness and putting together free workshops to sign up for affordable healthcare plans through the ACA.

MDC has been preparing to start giving enrollment assistance on November 1st through January 31st, 2017.

Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

During this period, MDC students can receive help on getting a health insurance plan or looking at better alternatives.

While directing people how to look at insurance plans, Obama sarcastically repeated throughout his speech: “And you just need to go to Healthcare.gov – which works really well now.”

Miami Dade College hosts students from all walks of life, and the President’s choice of venue was no accident or favor.

A crucial component of the healthcare system is young and healthy citizens (half of which the room was filled with), since their insurance plans pay for the old and sick, which have a profound effect on premiums.

Although the college body broadly supports the ACA, many Cuban students (who tend to be republican) are against Obamacare due to its association with perceived socialist values.

Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

Arseni Kusakin, a Miami Dade Honor student in attendance, was very interested in what Obama had to say.

“I hadn’t really considered it cause it didn’t really affect me on a personal level.” Kusakin said. “I like that he was calling for people to work together, I think especially now that’s pretty important. There’s so much divisiveness in this country, and I like that he drove that point home.”

Obama made appearances throughout South Florida later in the day, leaving a trail of traffic and political rallying in his wake.

As early voting officially kick starts in Florida next week, Obama is certainly trying to get the call out to participate, and making his case on which candidates will continue to follow his values and vision along the way.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Bernie Sanders’ Brother Larry Is Running For The British Parliament

Larry Sanders is not just any doomed Green Party candidate. He is a doomed Green Party candidate that has a political pedigree that now thrives on two continents.

Sanders is the older brother of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and he is embarking on a long-shot bid to replace former Prime Minister David Cameron in Parliament.

It is a long-shot campaign for a number of reasons, but none bigger than the fact that the Witney constituency is a Conservative Party bastion.

Cameron won it last year with 60% of the vote.

But Larry Sanders doesn’t really expect to win.

“Win or lose, the Green Party doing well would make a bigger impact on the country,” Sanders told ABC News. “And we really need to make this impact because dreadful things are afoot.”

The Green Party currently has one member of parliament out of the 650 seats.

Bernie Sanders endorse his brother in a heartfelt video last week.

“I do not know a heck of a lot about British politics,” Sen. Sanders said in the video. “But I do know a lot about my brother, Larry Sanders.”

Larry Sanders is running on a campaign platform that focuses on reducing income inequality and fixing a massive funding shortfall for the National Health Service.

The election will be held on Oct. 20th.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

The Obstacles For Normalization With Cuba Will Be In The $1.9 Billion Time Forgot

By Eugene Harkins

In June of 2015 the United States and Cuba reopened their embassies in their respective countries, re-establishing partial diplomatic relations for the first time in five and a half decades.

Full and formal diplomatic relations will have to await settlement of the thousands of claims by U.S. citizens and corporations resulting from the expropriation of American property rights by the Castro Government in the early 1960s.

The U.S. responded to these expropriations in 1962, by imposing a total trade embargo on Cuba that has virtually crippled the Cuban economy, and is still in effect causing deprivation and suffering for the Cuban people.

The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC) is an agency of the Justice Department. In the 1970s, while memories and evidence of the expropriations were still fresh, the Commission established a program to “adjudicate” the international claims of US citizens against the Government of Cuba.

The first FCSC Cuban Claims Program in the 1970s “adjudicated” a total of 8,816 claims submitted, finding 5,911 to be compensable. The total value of those claims was $1,851,057,358.00. The FCSC proceedings were ex parte, that is without the appearance of the defendant Cuban Government.

The lion’s share of that $1.9 billion consists of 899 claims of large corporations—Exxon, Texaco, ITT, Coca Cola, General Motors, several large sugar companies, and a long list of US S&P 500 companies.

The rest, nearly 6,000, were brought by individuals, totaling some $230 million. The Commission took it upon itself to impose a 6% rate of interest on both individual and corporate claims, increasing the total value of the claims to some $9 billion.

The FCSC’s findings were certified to the Secretary of State for use in future settlement negotiations with the Cuban Government.

The Cuban government asserts counterclaims against the United States of some $100-$180 billion.

Cuba alleges economic damages from the trade embargo and personal injury damages suffered by its citizens from the “aggressive acts of the United States,” including the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Since the embargo is still in effect, the damages continue to accrue. As part of the U.S. rapprochement, Cuba has agreed to hold claims settlement negotiations.

However, they state that lifting the trade embargo must be an integral part of the overall settlement. The embargo was imposed by the U.S. Congress, and the Congress will have to enact legislation to lift it. A political struggle is guaranteed.

One quick and easy way to settle these mutual claims would be to “off-set” the U.S. $9 billion against the Cuban $100-180 billion, which would result in a “wash.” Cuba’s Foreign Minister has already indicated their interest in an off-set.

Under that scenario U.S. claimholders would not receive any compensation. There is little chance that the U.S. will accept an off-set.

However, under long-standing policy and precedent, the State Department has the absolute discretion to “espouse” or not to espouse a US citizen’s claim.

The diplomatic interests of the United States take precedence over the interests of the citizen claimant.

What are the other possible ways of settling these long-standing Cuban claims?

(1) Cuba could agree to pay the $1.9 billion of corporate and individual claims by issuing bonds with a ten-year or longer maturity and with or without interest.

(2) A more likely scenario would be for Cuba to pay the small, individual claimants the full $230 million as a lump sum payment with or without interest. It would earn them some credibility; and it’s not an overly large amount of money, especially in light of the rush to Cuba by so many American tourists, spending lots of Yankee dollars.

(3) A variant of the aforementioned would be for Cuba to issue bonds or pay the $230 million over a period of time with interest. The return of an individual’s house or other realty is totally unrealistic because of the more than 50 years of property transfers, demolitions, etc.

Unlike the individual claims, the 899 corporate claims represent a very large sum of money and would likely be burdensome for Cuba to undertake at this early stage of rapprochement with the U.S. experts in the field have proposed creative alternative solutions, and Cuba has already expressed interest.

The Cuban Government could grant incentives and benefits to these corporations to re-enter Cuba and establish profitable businesses. These incentives would be valued as compensation for their claims. For example Cuba could offer tax free status for a period of years.

Corporate claimants could form joint ventures with Cuban entrepreneurs or with government entities, place the value of their claims on the balance sheet and through these new businesses and incentives work off the value of the claim.

These measures would stimulate the growth of a new 21st century Cuban economy. Such solutions would of course require fundamental ideological, political and legal reforms.

Cuba can emerge from the nightmare of more than a half century of bitter struggle with the United States; settling these claims is a step in the right direction. There is a precedent.

Last summer at the flag raising ceremonies in Havana, Secretary of State John Kerry cited the remarkable transformation achieved by Viet Nam.

“A long and terrible war inflicted indelible scars on body and mind, followed by two decades of mutual healing, followed by another two decades of diplomatic and commercial engagement. In this period, Vietnam evolved from a country torn apart by violence into a dynamic society with one of the world’s fastest growing economies.”

Eugene Harkins is an international lawyer who worked in the Latin American Bureau of the U.S. State Department. A published author, his new book, The Sweet Gardenia, is set in Cuba and Charleston, South Carolina during the U.S. Civil War.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Theodor Hensolt, Street Fotographer/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

So What The Hell Is Going On In Colombia?

The conflict in Colombia between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla movement has been present in the lives of millions for over 52 years.

This armed conflict has not only severely affected the country in terms of violence but has also brought detrimental social and economic consequences.

The current Colombian administration took important steps into achieving a peace settlement, but after a plebiscite the Colombian people decided they would not agree on the terms of the agreement the government had negotiated.

This is what you need to know about Colombia and the current situation in regards to the peace process with the FARC:

FARC- Who are they?

The seeds of the FARC was started in 1953 when Colombia had a dictator as a leader called Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. (The group was officially founded 11 years later in 1964.)

Pinilla was against the liberal guerrillas (a group that favored the federalist system) and he was constantly attacking these groups.

Read More: Is This South Africa’s Tiananmen Square Moment?

As a consequence, self-defense groups formed and they “sought to protect themselves from the action of government militaries” (Leach 2011). These groups believed in a greater justice for the field.

While the FARC was at first ideologically motivated, it became more than that- involved in drug running and kidnappings to name a few.

A cache of FARC weapons collected by the government in 2013. Photo Credit: Policía Nacional de los colombianos/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

A cache of FARC weapons collected by the government in 2013. Photo Credit: Policía Nacional de los colombianos/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The FARC-EP is still fighting 52 years later and as the years have gone by they have started to utilize terrorist tactics and commit gross violations of human rights, they also profit from the illicit drug trade.

Peace Negotiations and the October Plebiscite

In 2012, President Juan Manuel Santos announced that he was going to initiate peace talks with the FARC; his goals were to end the conflict.

President Santos’ strategy for implementing a peace process with the FARC had major differences compared to the ones made by former Presidents Pastrana and Uribe.

Scholars such as Meuci noted that there were three major differences of the peace negotiations that took place in La Habana, Cuba:

1) The Colombian Government was negotiating in a strong position because the FARC was extremely weak, 2) Venezuela and other neighboring countries were taken into account, 3) the peace process had a pre-negotiation stage in 2011.

The peace talks were limited to five negotiation points- these being agrarian reform, the political participation of former FARC members, the procedures and statues that would bring an end to the armed conflict, The FARC involvement in the international drug trade, and the sources of reparation for victims. (Alvira 2013)

Colombian President  Juan Manuel Santos. Photo Credit: Ministerio TIC Colombia/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Photo Credit: Ministerio TIC Colombia/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

After four years of negotiations, Santos promised the Colombian people he would release the final agreement and subject it to a popular vote.

On October 2, 2016 a non-binding plebiscite was held.

The question to answer in the vote was “Do you support the final agreement to end the conflict and the construction of a stable long-lasting peace?”

Colombians were to vote Yes or No.

Colombians rejected the peace accord and the “No” won by 50.2 percent against the “Yes” 49.8 percent.

What’s Next?

After the announcement of the results,  Santos acknowledged the results as the will of the people and called for national unity.

He talked about his commitment with achieving peace and desire to reach a consensus with Colombians that did not agree with him.

At the same time, one of the FARC leaders talked about his compromise to reach peace and to keep the cease-fire agreement in place.

The leaders of the “No” camp reassured that people were rejecting the concessions that the government made with the FARC but not rejecting peace.

They argued the government was more or less rewarding terrorist and that this emphasized the need for renegotiation and for a better deal with the FARC.

Photo Credit: SV-AS10 ImageData

Photo Credit: SV-AS10 ImageData

The current situation is an opportunity for true consensus through renegotiation.

Santos’ new plans are to include the thoughts from leaders of the “No” camp such as Alvaro Uribe Velez, Marta Lucia Ramirez, and Andrés Pastrana Arango.

Read More: What The Revolution Wrought: The Umbrella Movement Two Years On

This is essential to help mitigate the division and polarization in the country.

The next step is to truly form points of discussion and agreements that both sides (within the government) agree and then renegotiate with the FARC.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Photo Credit: bixentro/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Sources cited in piece: 

Leech, Garry. The FARC: The longest insurgency. London and New York: Fernwood Publishing, Zed Book ltd, 2011.

Meucci, M. (2013). Proceso de paz en Colombia. Posibles implicaciones para Venezuela. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 3-19. Translated by Juliana Carvajal

Alvira, G. (2013). Toward a New Amnesty: The Colombian Peace Process and the Inter- American Court of Human Rights. Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law, 22, 119-144.

It’s Not Locker Room Talk, It’s Sexual Assault

Two weeks ago an audio recording of Donald Trump, obtained and released by the Washington Post, caused an understandable amount of outrage in the public.

The recording is a disgusting and vulgar conversation between the current presidential candidate and Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” back in 2005, in which Trump describes his sexual advances of a married woman, saying to Bush “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab ‘em by the pussy. You can do anything,” and other very explicit things about women.

Although there are many, many people who are rightfully outraged that the man who is currently running for the most important job in the nation thought that speaking about women in such a demeaning manner was okay, there are still too many people who are still blindly defending his bigotry.

Using the logic of “All men talk about women that way when they aren’t around. It’s just locker room talk,” to attempt to justify blatant misogyny and normalization of rape culture.

But the thing that they don’t understand, or maybe just completely refuse to recognize, is that what he said isn’t infuriating just because it’s Trump saying something ignorant and stupid, like he always does.

It’s not harmless talk, or just “boys being boys.” They aren’t “just words” as Trump keeps saying. It needs to be taken more seriously, especially since Donald Trump is actually an alleged rapist.

He is currently in the middle of civil litigation for the rape of a thirteen-year-old girl.

The now adult “Jane Doe,” whose actual identity has not been revealed, claims that Trump along with a registered sexual offender, Jeffrey Epstein, sexually assaulted her in 1994. Epstein served 13 months in 2008 for the solicitation of an underage girl for prostitution. Both deny these allegations.

The case will be brought to court on December 16th, which is well after the election date. If Trump were to win, he could attend a civil trial only weeks after being elected President of the United State for the sexual assault of a minor.

And Jane Doe isn’t the only woman coming forward after the release of the tapes. A former journalist at People Magazine says Trump physically assaulted her in 2005. “I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” Natasha Stoynoff writes in a recollection of the incident published by People Magazine on October 12th.

The New York Times also released an article on the 12th of this month, which includes the testimonies of two other women who claim they were touched inappropriately by Trump in the past.

Donald Trump was never qualified to be president to begin with, but people still backed him anyways.

But we need to stop encouraging this behavior, it’s only going to get worse.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Daniel Oines/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

For All The People That Think “Locker Room Talk” Is No Big Deal- Just Read This

The following piece was originally posted on Facebook. We have republished it here with the permission of the author. 

By Ashley Draper Sanchez

Many people who know me now, don’t know about or have only heard me tell of my days as a teenager with extremely large breasts.

My first memory of realizing my body was different than others was in the 5th grade.

My teacher handed me a note and told me to give it to my parents, and not to read it. Of course the very first chance I got, I tore it open.

It was a letter from my teacher, asking my mother to please take me to get a bra as my playtime in PE had become “distracting” for everyone else.

I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I was excited to need a bra! Even at the age of eleven I knew that a bra meant womanhood-maturity!

I was always an older soul in a little body and thought that this would be a step towards being taken more seriously. That night we ventured to the local department store, and I’ll always remember the size of my very first bra; 32 B. I remember my mom being shocked. My physical development had seemed to happen overnight. I blame the hormones in the milk

We drove home and as soon as we got there, I ran to my room and put it on. I turned to face my baby pink full length mirror hung on teddy bear wallpaper.

I looked at myself, thinking “I look like the ladies in the magazines!” I smiled widely. As a 5th grader I felt a sense of worth in my appearance.

I want you to let that sink in and think about it for a moment.

It didn’t take long for that feeling to go away. Just one short year later (and one full cup size bigger) I entered the world of Junior High.

And as soon as I crossed the threshold of my middle school, the lie I believed (that looking like a magazine cover would make me happy/loved/respected), melted away into the ugly truth behind a very real rape culture driven by female objectification and misogyny.

I spent the majority of those middle school years in the counselor’s office, and made excuse after excuse to not have to face my classmates on a daily basis. I was shamed by my classmates male and female alike for the way I looked.

By the time I was in eighth grade I weighed barely 100 lbs, but wore a DD cup bra. I was assaulted and tormented on an almost daily basis. Let me just recount some of the incidents I clearly remember:

The boys would whisper and plot…and then “accidentally” bump into me and grab my breasts. This was almost a weekly occurrence.

Sitting in the courtyard, a group of eighth grade boys took turns throwing stuff in my direction to see who could score a “basket” in my cleavage. My worth that day was relegated to “3 points”.

An older student approached me, and asked if I could settle a bet with him and his friends, “How big are your nipples?! They must be huge!”

Many boys claimed to have made out with me, slept with me, and felt up my breasts. Some said they were fake, others said they were real. No one cared I had hardly ever held a boys hand in real life.

On what I am guessing was a dare, a boy leaned over in algebra and undid my bra in the middle of a test.

I got a special note from my doctor that I wouldn’t have to participate in PE, because during my first semester I was traumatized as I had to run a lap around the gym to the audience of boys in the stands cheering me on and catcalling as I jogged by.

The author (L) with her husband.

The author (L) with her husband.

In the cafeteria in 6th grade, I was asked by a boy if I could squirt some milk into his cup because the lunchroom was all out. He then offered to let his black friend do it so that the milk would be “chocolate”.

In 7th grade a group of girls would whisper the word “slut” whenever I walked by. I didn’t even know what that word meant.

In 7th grade I had a guy ask me if he could see how many pencils he could stick in my cleavage. I let him, and then cried for 30 minutes in the bathroom afterwards. My worth that day was 7 pencils.

I was offered $25 to let a group of boys see my boobs.

One day I wore a graphic t-shirt that said 49 on it. The rest of the day I was called “49 DD”.

From that day forward (much to his shagrin) I wore my older brother’s oversized shirts to school.

I cannot count the times my bra straps were snapped, or the many incidences in which I would look over a see a group of boys making “motor boating sounds” or even the amount of times males would lose their filter all together and yell out something like “damn girl! Your tits are huge!”

I moved schools and states in 10th grade. It didn’t take a full day at my new school for the rumor of me being “a stripper in downtown Atlanta” to take hold.

My breasts were fondled, mocked, ogled, hit, objectified…and as they were all of those things, so was I.

By the time I was in high school, I looked in the mirror and had the same thought I had that day I tried on my very first bra, “my worth is based on how I look” but this time there was no smile. I was so much more, wasn’t I? Wasn’t I funny…and kind? Wasn’t I smart? I thought I was. I was failing many classes because I spent them crying and hiding.

From the time I was 11 until I was 18, even adult men would ogle me in public. My sweet grandma on my mother’s side, who has a pretty severe case of dementia, can still recount with gusto being with me in the grocery store when I was 13 and hearing a grown man make a loud comment about my breasts. My sweet grandma went off on him, and then I consoled her.

My father was a minister and I recall finding a letter written to him from a member, about me being a “distraction” at the church.

Now I was keeping people from God. What kind of foul creature was I?

I had money thrown at me out of cars.

Grown men in cars would roll down their window and ask me how much for a “titty f***?”

This is just a sampling for you. A “locker room talk” pupu platter, if you will.

I graduated high school weighing 105 lbs with FF breasts. The moment I turned 18, I submitted a claim to insurance to have a reduction done. I was told over the phone it would take 30-60 days to hear back but to please fax my photos and documentation. They called me back two hours later with a fully funded approval for surgery.

I have physical scars that remind me of that time in my life, but the emotional scars are far more prominent. I struggle daily with self worth.

It’s something my husband and I are working through together, but it affects me and my marriage every single day. The only reason I made it through as in tact as I did is because I knew Jesus, so I ultimately knew I was loved and had worth in who I was in him.

Sometimes the assault was physical, sometimes it was verbal but let me tell you the damage is the same.

For those of you who don’t think “locker room talk” has lasting effects, watch my face when I receive a compliment and witness my inability to comprehend your sincerity.

For those of you who don’t think it’s “that big of a deal” watch my breathing get faster when a male approaches me without my husband near.

For those who’d call it harmless, if you could only see how many tears I shed some mornings as my husband consoles me while I breakdown about my “worthlessness” and inadequacies.

These boys and men, they felt a sense of ownership over me and my body. A seemingly innate dominance, and what’s worse, I was dehumanized through the process in which they exerted their false sense of ownership.

Where did they learn that this was okay? Who told them this was acceptable? There are so many answers to this question.

But the biggest one is; American Culture. The porn industry, the media, the President (yes, Bill Clinton was president at the time and I was compared to Monica Lewinsky more than once). A women’s worth lies in their sexuality, and the men get to assign that worth.

The scars of youth don't heal as quickly as we would want. Photo Credit: Chad Cooper/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The scars of youth don’t heal as quickly as we would want. Photo Credit: Chad Cooper/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

That is what our children are being taught on a daily basis.

“Boys will be boys!” Do you know how many well intentioned people told me that to console me? Guess what affect that had? It set up a pattern of “settling” from me that led me into some unhealthy and abusive relationships.

Last night when I heard Donald Trump brush off his comments as “locker room talk”, there was a feeling of desperation and panic that rose up in me that I hadn’t felt for 15 years.

My 5 year old daughter lie asleep in her room mere feet away from my TV screen. In one moment I could see her closed door, behind which she slept peacefully unawares, and his face on the screen at the same time. And I was angry.

By elevating and looking past this type of behavior you are saying it’s okay.

You are telling young boys that degradation is normal, that assault is okay, that you can tear down half the human race and still rise to the most powerful and venerated position in the world.

This is not progress. There is no policy, no bill, no appointment that is more important to me than stopping the evil that is rape culture.

Because that’s what this falls into. I don’t subscribe or adhere to any type of excuse that allows humans to brush off reproachable behavior. This idea that “it’s just the way they are” or “they’re going to do it anyway” has to go away.

We have to start expecting and demanding more of ourselves as human beings, and a big part of that is NOT electing someone who engages in the verbal or physical assault of someone else.

Many people would say Hillary has verbally assaulted victims, and that’s fine if you believe that. Don’t vote for her either.

This isn’t an endorsement of a candidate. It’s a denouncement of behavior we’ve clearly approved of or settled for, to bring us to this place in history.

Real, good, amazing people exist out there. Unfortunately none of them are running for president.

It’s a broken system, it’s a broken country. But can we come together and agree that our daughters deserve more?

Can we teach them to raise their standards and not tolerate behavior or treatment that diminishes their worth as human beings?

Can we start by raising OUR standards as a country? By demanding and raising up leaders who have vision, experience, plans, AND integrity? No more excuses. No more “boys will be boys” and “politicians will be politicians”.

America, all I can do is tell you the same thing my sweet amazing husband has to tell me almost daily, to get me into the right frame of mind when I doubt my worth and tears fill my eyes. And hope you believe it.

“I love you. You are the standard by which I measure everyone else. I struck gold when I found you, and I’m the luckiest person in the world to call you home. You deserve the best”

You do. I do. WE do. My five year old daughter does. STOP the madness. Don’t settle, America.

No matter what happens on November 8th, I will teach my daughter and my sons that it’s not okay. It’s not the way it is or the way it’s supposed to be.

And even if we can’t get there now, maybe the next generation of voters will demand more from each other and God willing, more from their leaders.

My first and last political post of the season. Carry on.

This was originally posted on Facebook by Ashley Draper Sanchez.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Jenni C/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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