Saturday, October 27, 2012

Even with the kids right there?

Ethan and I had the chance to be in a funny video about the importance of voting! Thanks to Beth Messersmith for letting us borrow her son to play Ethan's brother.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gay Marriage ≠ Child Porn

Recently, I got an interesting message on Facebook from an old high school friend of mine. We literally hadn't spoken since high school, and frankly, were never close friends. Nonetheless, I'm glad that he felt comfortable enough to approach me about this subject.

It turned out to be a really interesting conversation, so I wanted to post the text of it here while keeping his information anonymous. I hope you enjoy the read.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Semper Fi and the Safe Chemicals Act

Cross-posted from

Last night I went to a showing of Semper Fi, a shocking documentary about the families of Camp Lejeune who were literally poisoned by contaminated drinking water for 30 years. The reason this topic was of interest to me is because Camp Lejeune is in my state and I’ve been learning about the need for toxic chemicals legislation for years now through MomsRising.

Here are the basics of what happened:
Between 1957 – 1987 an estimated 750,000 to 1,000,000 people may have drank and bathed in tap water containing extremely high concentrations of toxic chemicals at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. It is believed to be one of the largest water contamination incidents in US history.

Leaking underground storage tanks, industrial area spills, waste disposal sites and waste from an off-base dry cleaning business were identified as the sources of the contamination. The chemicals found in the water include benzene, vinyl chloride and trichloroethylene (TCE), three known human carcinogens, in addition perchloroethylene (PCE), a probable carcinogen.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wilmington Toxic Free Kids Event

Last weekend I took my family down to Wilmington, North Carolina to hold another "Toxic Free Kids Olympics." It was a sweltering hot day, but some families still came out to enjoy some toxic-free fun while advocating for updated, common-sense regulations on the chemicals we bring into our houses every day.

We had a great time and even got some decent news coverage. Here's the story from the Wilmington Star News:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Atheists have no obligation to help their fellow man?

Recently, I had an online discussion with a friend of mine who, during one of those infamous Facebook political debates (which I was not a part of), took an unexpected pot shot at atheists.

Here's what she said:
"Let me say this just to clear the air (not that it matters), but I voted for Bush in 200[4]. I don't love Obama. But I do like him. And I try to keep a pretty level head about these things. But honestly, it's so difficult for me to equate Christianity and the sanctity if life to people who want to kill anything or anyone. You would think that it would be Atheists who would protest providing for their fellow man because they philosophically have no obligation. But no, it seems more often than not it is the right wing christian base, like Ted Nugent, Glenn Beck, etc that threaten the president with his life and promote this terrible rhetoric. Christ would be appalled. I'm so tired of it. It sickens me. And I refuse to ever be okay with it."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Supreme Court Rules on the Affordable Care Act

Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled on whether the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") was constitutional. While they upheld the individual mandate under the taxing powers of Congress, they also, unfortunately, made the Medicaid expansion in the states optional. Many of the red states have already indicated that they will opt-out of this expansion, leaving hundreds of millions of federal dollars on the table and millions of their citizens left out to dry.

This fight may be decided, but the battle to make sure that no one in the richest country in the world dies because they cannot access affordable medical care, is not yet won.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

NC Moms Hold a Toxic Free Kids Olympics

Cross-posted from

Last week I joined with other Triangle families down at the North Carolina General Assembly for a “Toxic Free Kids Olympics” in the Children’s Garden. The purpose of the event was to highlight the need for legislation to get harmful chemicals out of the products we buy.

Moms and kids played games like the “Toxic Tub Toy Toss” and “Jumping through hoops to keep your family safe” relay, all in an effort to get legislators to recognize that we need their help. It really hit me while we were playing games how common toxic chemicals are in the products we buy every day. Common plastic tub toys were tossed with tongs from one container into another. In the “find the toxics” under a bucket game, it was surprising to see how many of them I had in my house. We saw common canned foods, a plastic football that’s similar to one my son plays with, and some plastic bowls just like some that I (formerly) used in my kitchen.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Toxic Free Kids Olympics (remarks)

We had a great time at the Toxic Free Kids Olympics downtown in the Children's Garden next to the General Assembly. Here are my remarks from the press event:
Thank you all for being here today to stand up for toxic chemicals reform!

MomsRising members have been fighting for a less toxic, healthier environment for our children for a long time, and we welcome the NC Toxic Free Kids Act as an important step for the families of North Carolina. Today our members from across the state applaud Representative Harrison for introducing this bill and we want to say, "Thank you."

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Stay calm and be brave: Have the conversation about Amendment One

Today I had a long conversation with my devoutly Mormon, very conservative parents about Amendment One. I'll be honest, I was dreading this. I often have a hard time not starting out upset or irritated when I talk to them about politics, just in anticipation of how I think it'll go.

But today I forced myself to stay calm and be brave.

I started out by telling them that there was something really important to me that I wanted to talk to them about. Then I explained what the amendment is, how it is different from the already existing law that bans same-sex marriage, how it will affect some of the people we know, and how laws like these have affected others in states that have passed similar amendments.

Friday, March 30, 2012

How NationBuilder's "Legacy" Function Can Save You a Lot of Time

Cross-posted from

For sites that have a lot of older, outdated content (like blog posts and press releases) NationBuilder has a "Legacy" solution that will keep the pages intact, without you having to go to the trouble of recreating everything.

On NationBuilder, before you shut down your old site, you can do a "Legacy import" that recreates all of the pages and content from your old site in kind of a 'frozen' state (meaning that you can't edit these pages like you would a normal NationBuilder page).

After you bring your URL over to your new NationBuilder site, if someone tries to go to one of your older posts directly, it will still be there. However, it will look exactly like it did on your old site.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MomsRising: An N.C. mom goes to Washington

Last week my son, Ethan, and I had the opportunity to go to Washington, DC, for a press conference with House Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, and an afternoon in the West Wing. As a member of MomsRising, I was among thousands of moms who had shared their family's story about how the Affordable Care Act has impacted their life, and was invited to come and share our story in person.

Ethan was born with a benign, but very harmful, vascular tumor that required chemotherapy. He underwent treatment for the first year of his life, which was followed by nearly a year and a half of developmental therapies. He is now 5 years old and completely healthy. Yet, without the Affordable Care Act, he would still face a lifetime of struggling to get health insurance because of his medical history. Pre-existing conditions can no longer be considered by insurance companies for children’s coverage, which has allowed our family to officially close that chapter in our lives. You can read more about our story here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Photos and Video from Washington DC press conference

Leader Pelosi posted some photos of Ethan and me from the press conference. Unfortunately, mine is mid-word, and I look a bit goofy, but hey - Leader Pelosi posted some photos of us!

Check it out:
Here's the video of the press briefing:


And here are more pictures from our day

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Advocates celebrate 2nd anniversary of Affordable Care Act

Cross-posted from NC Policy Watch.

On the second anniversary of its passage into law, legislative proponents and advocacy groups gathered at the NC General Assembly to discuss the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Felicia Willems of NC MomsRising shared her experience with the new law and spoke of how it improved the quality of life for her family, literally overnight.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Momma grizzlies: Rise up on International Women’s Day!

Mothers are considered to be among the most revered members of our society. Celebrities publicly thank their moms for helping them to achieve their dreams. Politicians wax poetic about valuable childhood lessons bestowed upon them by their mothers. Even female politicians talk about how their motherly instincts give them some sort of special insight into public policy.

“… Moms kinda just know when something’s wrong … I always think of the mamma grizzly bears that rise up on their hind legs when somebody’s coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse toward their cubs … You don’t wanna mess with the momma grizzlies.” – Sarah Palin

And everyone knows, you never make a joke about someone else’s mom, unless you want to stir up some trouble.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Love Wins in North Carolina (on a budget)

Cross-posted from

A small coalition of North Carolina families came together last weekend to fight against Amendment One, the proposed measure that would define marriage as between one man and one woman in the state’s constitution. With the help of NationBuilder and plain-old kitchen table conversations, about 20 families organized to hold a very successful fundraising event.

They decided to hold a dance party because "Too much of the anti-gay amendment debate has focused on fighting hate instead of celebrating the love bringing these couples and families together. A Valentine’s Day Dance offers the perfect opportunity to celebrate love and commit to working for justice."