This land is our land: Lessons from a town hall meeting and folk song

As the high school gym filled with people, the room got noisier and noisier: people chatting, the squeak of metal as folks shifted in folding chairs, iPhone alerts, a kid laughing as she climbed the bleachers. Then another sound rose above the rest: People singing. From all over the gym, others joined in. Within moments, the nearly 2,000 people who had gathered for this town hall meeting were singing “This Land is Your Land.”

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

I have no idea who started singing—it wasn’t a staffer from Senator Ron Wyden‘s office, I’m pretty sure. Rather, the inspiration seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere at once. I hadn’t thought of this song since I was a kid, and I’m actually surprised I remembered the words.

But maybe I remember them because deep down, this song represents something fundamental about America. The country is made up of diversity—both in its land and geography as well as its people. And as this Woody Guthrie classic makes clear, America includes us all.

Activism // town hall meeting // make a difference // Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Lighting the way for refugees: Refugees welcome here

This week, my kids and I pulled on rain gear and headed into Portland at my kids’ witching hour. I ignored my better judgment that it was a terrible idea to go into public during the time when they’re usually screaming at the table because they want each other’s forks. The cause for throwing my caution to the wind: a candlelight vigil demonstrating our support for refugees.

I’m horrified that our federal government is upending this country’s foundational principle of welcoming people from overseas. Yet while an inclusive message is literally chiseled into our country’s most iconic symbol, America also has a long history of excluding people those in power deem to be too “other.”

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

My heart breaks for those who have been affected by President Trump’s immigration and refugee ban. I also fear for those who have already made it to the U.S., because despite living through harrowing circumstances to get here, they face an uncertain future—again.

So with these “tempest-tossed” individuals and families in mind, I pushed aside my comparatively minor anxieties around rain and low blood sugar-induced tantrums. My girls and I showed up at the vigil to demonstrate to everyone that we, too, say, “Refugees welcome here.”

Refugees welcome here // our America // doing good // family activism // Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Nevertheless, she persisted: A lesson for my daughters

On Tuesday, as Senator Elizabeth Warren was reading a letter from Coretta Scott King in opposition to the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, senate majority leader Mitch McConnell invoked an obscure rule to silence her. “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” McConnell later said. Democrats were outraged; Senator Warren continued reading the letter on Facebook live, which has been watched by more than 11.6 million people (and counting).

The phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted” became a feminist rallying cry overnight.

Nevertheless, she persisted: Lessons for my daughters from Elizabeth Warren on grit, persistence and justice. Ten Thousand Hour Mama
Observers can’t help but notice that Senator Warren was silenced, but majority leaders allowed democratic senator from Oregon Jeff Merkley—a man—finish it uninterrupted. And although Warren was silenced on the Senate floor, she persisted.

Her persistence—her grit—should be admirable to anyone on either side of the aisle. I sure hope my girls will look to examples like hers as a role model of persevering in the face of opposition, whether it be sexism, oppression or just the everyday difficulties that make us stumble. Read more

Doing good every day in January: What I learned

A Martin Luther King Jr. quote about doing good and making a difference. Ten Thousand Hour MamaAs you might recall, my New Year’s resolution was to do something good every day. In January, I just about succeeded at that. I missed a day here and there, but overall, I made progress on my resolution. In January, I helped build the world I believe in.

It hasn’t been entirely easy, and every day I fight against feeling overwhelmed. But I remember Mark Bezos’s quote and push myself to make someone else’s life better, even in a small way.

“It’s so easy to dismiss the opportunity to do something good because you’re hoping to do something great.

Don’t wait. If you have something to give, give it now.”

—Mark Bezos, Ted Radio Hour, Giving It Away

Here’s what I learned by doing good every day in January. Read more

How this family helps the homeless: Kids doing good

When Kristin Corona woke up to 10 inches of snow outside her Portland-area home earlier this month, her mind immediately turned to building snowmen, sledding and making snow angels with her two kids. But that’s not what Lucas, 6, thought of.

As he stared out the window at the untouched snow, he told his mom, “I’m really worried about people who don’t have houses right now.”

Kristin paused. “What can we do about it?” she wondered aloud.

That question has inspired ongoing action in the Corona household and beyond—through a kid-created Share the Warmth Club.

These kids do good and make a difference to help the homeless in the winter. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Sexual assault isn’t funny—and it shouldn’t sell t-shirts

Over the weekend on Facebook, I saw a photo that made me furious. It showed the storefront of a local Spencer’s store, which included a display of Trump t-shirts. One in particular—pretty sure you can guess which one—was so offensive that went on the offensive.

I tweeted, talked and shared with anyone who would listen or read the following message:

Sexual assault isn’t funny, and using it to sell a t-shirt is disgusting.

Sexual assault isn't funny. Calling out sexism and rape culture is our duty as citizens. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Raising activists: How to take kids to a protest

Today more than ever, we need to raise our kids to be world-changers. For us, that means we are committing to take kids to a protest, even if it’s not always convenient. That also means we’re raising our girls to be nasty women—a title I wear with pride.

The night before I took Peeper and Kiwi to their first demonstration, I didn’t know what to expect. But I wanted to prepare, so I asked some friends and activist parents I know how to take kids to a protest.

I followed their advice, and I’m happy to report our family activism went great! Both Peeper and Kiwi did great at the protest, and I put into action all the wonderful tips I got.

Now is the perfect time to learn more about how to take kids to a protest. After all, there are a ton of marches and demonstrations nationwide that match up with the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. (You don’t have to go to Washington, D.C. for the big march; here’s an article to find an inauguration protest near you.)

If you’re bringing your kids, here’s how to ensure your mini activists stay safe and happy.

Want to raise your kids to be activists? Here's how to take kids to a protest or political march. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more