This piece is from Jurbid, a legal start up.
They serve and protect – the legal profession fails them. Veterans in need.
While today should not be the only day we honor the fearless and brave men and women who protect our great country and ensure that we can go about our lives safely, it is an important day to take note how we fail them at home.
Currently, there are nearly 40,000 homeless veterans. In fact, veterans make up nearly 20% of the male homelessness population.
Sadly, women veterans are the fastest growing homeless population in the US.
Women veterans are four times as likely to become homeless as male counterparts!
Per several sources, New York and Florida have among the highest veteran homelessness population in the country.
It is estimated that there are 3,500 homeless veterans in New York City alone! In Central Florida, there are about 4,500 homeless veterans.
Why are so many veterans homeless you may wonder?
They are often unemployed and disconnected from their families upon their return home because of mental illness and substance abuse.
They are simply not given the proper support to be re-integrated in civilian life.
They don’t know how to apply for social benefit programs that are designed to help them.
Lawyers are trained to provide such services and can ensure that veterans receive the benefits they deserve.
Currently, there is very little legal support for them.
How can we as proud Americans live with ourselves knowing that these veterans are in dire need of support and help and they receive none?
Jurbid will make a stand.
Starting today, Jurbid will provide the lawyers in its network incentives to provide pro bono services to veterans including free or discounted services.
Additionally, all veterans will receive a 5% discount off their paid legal service.
We are here for you because you have been there for us.
With much respect and love.
Your Jurbid Team.
Jurbid is your legal connection. Our innovative platform connects you with top quality legal counsel. From employment disputes to immigration. You can learn more at www.jurbid.com
This piece is part of the RISE NEWS Marketplace, a place where startups and other companies can post articles about what they are up to. If you would like your company to be included, please email [email protected].
Cover Photo Credit: Embajada de los Estados Unidos en Uruguay/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
What Do You Think?
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By Jud Nirenberg
On April 18th, a teenage boy I have never met, Mitko, stood up for me. Shortly after being beaten by a white supremacist, Mitko got to his feet and defended me some more.
Mitko is Romani, a member of Europe’s largest ethnic minority and, according to many polls, the minority against whom people hold the most prejudice.
He was on his way home in the small Bulgarian village of Ovchepoltsi when the much larger twenty-four year old Angel Kaleev approached him and asked him whether he thought that they were equals. Kaleev was video recording the encounter.
A nervous Mitko tried to smile and was clearly aware of the risk of assault: “Well, if you’re not going to hit me, I’ll say we’re equal.”
The attacker did hit him and forced him to the ground.
He cursed and berated the boy. “Am I a Gypsy?” he asked, repeatedly kicking Mitko and making him apologize for supposing that they were equal despite their ethnic difference.
Kaleev posted the video with his own racist commentary on social media.
Mitko was hurt but not convinced that Romani people are inferior to others. He made something of his own statement for social media.
He had a picture taken of himself holding a sign that reads #RomaAreEqual.
His defiance has provoked Roma across Europe and beyond to add their own #RomaAreEqual photos online.
It has also drawn out many racist social media posts by Bulgarians who find the slogan of equality offensive.
When this young man dared to say that Roma are equal to the face of a bigot with obvious violent intent, he was not only reaffirming his own dignity. He was defending my dignity, my son’s dignity, and that of all Romani people.
Knowing that he would have to get up the next day, go to his segregated school (in towns all over Bulgaria, Romani children are placed in segregated education) and then walk home on the same street where Kaleev stopped him before, Mitko chose to publicly show that this story is not over.
Advocacy organizations like the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Center are now asking the Bulgarian government to offer plans to better respond to hate crimes.
The current political mood does not make equal rights a high priority.
If you see this, Mitko, you and Angel Kaleev are not equals. You are better.
Jud Nirenberg is the author of Johann Trollmann and Romani Resistance to the Nazis.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Romani Arts/ Twitter (Screengrab)Post Views: 716
What Do You Think?
By CieCie Tuyet Nguyen
I often wonder what my life would have been like if I was not a refugee.
On the other hand, what would have become of me had I not spent my childhood in a war-torn country, in a war that seemed to be forever a background to my memories?
Those questions and those ‘ifs’ are not for me to contemplate,as I would not be able to change history or be born anywhere but Vietnam.
However, it is not to say that my childhood was full of images of war, atrocities, death, mass graves or miseries.
There was happiness and joy. I had loved being together with my siblings, catching the double-wing like yoyo fruits in front of my house, running wild with the wind and gathering fallen dead leaves to set up a mischievous campfire.
Being with friends after school wandering the streets of Saigon enjoying street food was enough. It was simple, a few moments to let loose, albeit momentarily.
Although in hindsight, there was never a complete picture of happiness or joy with sunshine, laughter, and contentment, as peace was an important but absent part of that 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
I had never felt fully at ease, or in other words, completely carefree.
That was before the war ended. When bombing, gunfire, and fighting had ceased.
Then peace arrived.
Finally, that missing piece was found to replace the empty space in my picture. Horribly and strangely, other pieces began to disappear. Freedom, then prosperity, dignity, and kindness were taken away swiftly.
They were replaced with oppression, poverty, degradation, and revenge that left peace a lonely part in my peculiar jigsaw puzzle, like a pitiful hostess in an empty house full of ghosts.
I could not understand it at all.
Without realising it, what I had wished for dearly had destroyed everything I valued most before.
Perhaps it was my fault that my childhood was scarred. My sensitivity and perception of life was too acute back then.
Moreover, they still are now.
See, I can taste the sweetness of freedom and touch the holy peace every day, every morning now, then feel alive and complete.
Years of living with freedom and peace in Australia has transformed my being to accept them readily but not to take them for granted.
The scars are my reminders.
I was born with a photographic memory.
Some would have said, “You’re lucky!” Ah, I would proudly have expanded my chest fully and answered, “Yes, I am.”
Even though there were images or memories I would gladly let fade away quietly and set me free.
Then I could have pretended that I had once been a child living happily and contentedly in a carefree environment with cute baby dolls to play with during the day and sweet dreams every night.
Not in a refugee camp, where I had spent a brief three months when I was sixteen, full of sad stories and images that I could have lived without.
That morning on the crammed boat escaping from Vietnam, I remember standing on the upper deck next to my mother, clinging tightly to her, feeling dejected and full of shame when the Malaysian coast guards shouted angrily at us, shooing our boat away in disgust.
The little riverboat, barely 10 metres long, 3 metres wide, had served its life miraculously attempting to deliver 50 people to shore.
It then had to resume its journey to some unknown destination because the refugees were not accepted there.
I stood there and cried.
Tears of shame and hopelessness were silently rolling down my cheeks as gunshots fired rapidly in the air, scaring the bunch of battered and wearied boat people away.
It was only at that moment I had realised I was a stateless person, a nobody, a refugee.
As a small child, I had never understood the real horror and suspense of trying to escape by boat to sea.
I was full of hope and anticipation before my departure. I grew up very quickly during that seven-day voyage.
I escaped from my country, away from the barbaric treatment of the communists.
I survived a sea full of stormy turbulence and remained relatively unscathed from two pirate attacks.
Then the Malaysian authority refused to let our boat anchor on their shore. I could not understand the coast guards’ language but their gesticulations were enough. I was rejected!
An equally devastating feeling of hopelessness had resurfaced, as much as when my boat was rolling madly like a tiny egg in a giant boiling saucepan in the storms a few days ago.
Why must I leave my country? Were freedom and peace worthy of my sacrifice of being a stateless person?
Those were the questions that I dared to answer because without gaining freedom and peace,followed by human rights, dignity and prosperity, my life would have been a waste.
I would have felt miserable being a refugee for nothing.
Indeed, I am glad that I have been a refugee once in my life. Mind you, once is enough!
The experience came with a high price and for some of us that included death by drowning at sea; witnessing family members raped, murdered by pirates; or being stranded for months on an island and becoming a cannibal to survive.
I am lucky that I am here right now.
Back then there were times I thought I was not.
I was miserable. Assimilating into a new country with nothing familiar to the old world I had left behind was a struggle.
I cringed every time thinking if I had to do it again.
It was no fun at all and that added to my lost childhood years.
I would love to be sixteen again as an Australian, but definitely not a refugee.
There were times I thought I would like to keep my old world with me, to go home, or to “go back to your country,” as I was told many times in the beginning by the locals. It hurt and I cried a lot, being a silly sensitive person as I was.
In hindsight, I now know a refugee must take that obvious path. Just like a book with a prologue, a main story and an epilogue.
I must take various paths and go through various chapters to re-establish myself.
It was not fun in some chapters, but I think I can differentiate happiness and grief philosophically now!
Gradually, I was accepted and I often reminded myself that I could not possibly be comfortable and at ease in my newly adopted homeland until I acclimatised successfully.
I was uprooted from my familiar though wretched environment and I needed time to get accustomed to my new land to grow stronger.
It was not easy. I had to make efforts to stay afloat.
There were language, cultural, and social rules that seemed so bizarre to me, probably as much as the locals viewed mine.
There were times I thought I had lost my identity and I tried desperately to retain it by keeping everything the way it was.
However, time passes, and so I have evolved.
I have become a Vietnamese-Australian to the extent that I cannot go ‘home’ because home is now here.
I lost my identity as a Vietnamese, but I have gained a different one.
There were times when that concept was not visible to me.
I felt confused. Now, I am proud of my heritage but I no longer need to be a Vietnamese, because I am not living in Vietnam.
There is no more pressure for me and I am glad of my new identity, as I do not want my children to go through my experience.
They should not have to struggle with that disorientation.
They are Australians.
They must feel like Australians with the local language, culture, and social rules even though those are less bizarre to me now.
I would not want my children to feel alienated in their own home. They are Australians, luckier and richer with an extra bonus heritage in their background.
CieCie Tuyet Nguyen was born in Saigon and witnessed its fall in 1975 when she was 13-years-old. After continuing to live there for three years under the communist regime, she escaped with her family by boat to Malaysia in 1978. After staying in a Pulau Besar Refugee camp for three months, she resettled in Sydney, Australia, where she has remained ever since. She graduated with a bachelor of pharmacy in 1985 from Sydney University and has operated her own pharmacy since 1989. Shock Peace: The Search for Freedom is her first novel. For more information about Shock Peace: The Search for Freedom, you can visit Nguyen’s website or Facebook page.
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: Ani Bashar/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 1,079
What Do You Think?
By Mashal Mirza
Mascara. Eyeliner. Lipstick. Blush.
These are the essentials for many women around the world. You can walk into any woman’s bathroom and see at least one tool used to enhance her appearance.
Makeup is a universal language, spoken and understood by women of all ages, races, and cultures.
However, we live in an era where young girls are constantly receiving conflicting messages about makeup. The back-and-forth debate often sounds like this:
“Be natural! You don’t need makeup to be beautiful.”
“Makeup is transformative! Wear it to gain confidence!”
As a woman, I am torn between the #nomakeup selfies that trend on Instagram and to be “easy, breezy, beautiful” with CoverGirl.
But why should I be convinced of one idea or the other? Makeup is a personal choice.
While I do choose not to wear makeup on most days, when I do decide to put some on, it is not to please anyone but myself.
The application of makeup is fun, and for many, including myself, the end product is the best part.
Looking into a mirror and seeing the sharp lines of contour, the flawless shading of eyeshadow, and the crispness of a perfect cat-eye is one of the most satisfying feelings.
Makeup is an art. Every face is a blank canvas, and how a woman chooses to apply makeup is indicative of her style.
Every woman has her own unique taste and modifies the application of makeup to fit her face. Makeup is a celebration of diversity, because it’s available to transform faces of all shapes and colors.
I have dark skin and round eyes, and I can walk into Sephora and find hundreds of products that suit my aesthetic. On the other hand, my friends with light skin and almond shape eyes can also walk into Sephora and do exactly the same thing.
So what am I getting at here? Not to lecture girls about makeup? Sure. To let girls make their own decisions about makeup? Absolutely. But what I want to stress most is this:
Makeup is an art form. It is a timeless tradition that unifies women globally. We should celebrate its unique ability to not only make a woman feel beautiful, but to also empower her.
Her empowerment isn’t simply derived from her ability to whisk her mascara wand, but it is her ability to take on the world. Whether she walks out with bare face or with perfectly crafted smokey eyes, the confidence that she has in herself and her capabilities is something to be honored.
To wear makeup or not to wear makeup is not the question. When girls question their ability to love themselves, it is our responsibility and duty as a society to assure her that self-love is always the answer.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.Cover Photo Credit: ePi.Longo/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 657
What Do You Think?