Happy TunesDay: Collection 45

Happy TunesDay: Collection 45

I hosted my annual #ThanksgivingBack Birthday event this past weekend. Essentially, I’ll invite friends over to eat snacks I was deprived of during my childhood (namely Totino’s pizza rolls) and ask them to bring donations for a different social cause each year.

This year, I wanted to support the Sacred Stone Camp & the water protectors who are using their bodies and voice to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. They’ve been under constant attack by law enforcement for peacefully protesting and standing their ground.  Some of the atrocities committed against the protectors are so outrageous, I can’t believe that DOJ hasn’t sent observers yet.

My friends & family are pretty wonderful people and donated some cashmonaymonay, but I woke yesterday morning to reports of police spraying fire hoses at Sacred Stone Camp in near freezing temperatures, injuring over 100 people.  It seems like for every step forward, we’re pushed 50 feet back (by fire hoses, apparently).

During this time, I implore you to donate to Standing Rock’s legal defense fund and/or contribute much needed supplies.  I know a lot of people don’t have the expenses to donate a lot, much less travel to North Dakota to be on the frontlines.  That’s understandable. That’s okay.  (as a sidenote, people who are going to ND…that’s super great, but, y’all better be trained in nonviolent protest, because shit is crazy and you need to be prepared so you don’t react negatively and screw up the credibility of the work that the water protectors have been doing since April.  Nonviolence and peaceful protesting is a skill that you need to learn like any other trade. Unfortunately, nonviolent social movements have always been demonized by media for speaking out against power structures, so if a rogue protestor becomes violent, that is all that the media will cover.  A sad truth, but a truth nonetheless.)

Anyway, although it’s okay to not be in a financial place to donate money or travel to Standing Rock, what’s not okay is to let this all slide–to just think that since others are speaking out, you don’t have to.  It is the ultimate irony that our country is preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving while Native lives and land are [still] seen as disposable.

And okay, we can’t just cancel Thanksgiving.  I mean, in all honesty, I would love to skip the whole ordeal (because I don’t eat turkey anyway) and instead have informal educational circles about colonialism and deconstructing white supremacy & post-colonialism, but like…that probably won’t fly in my family.  But what I can do, and what we all can do is call out our elected officials for standing by while Native people and their allies are attacked.  After your Thanksgiving meal, take twenty minutes to chat with your family about #NoDAPL and leave messages for the Department of Justice, Army Corps, and ND’s governor.  Sure, it might seem unconventional, but our tradition of sweeping Native lives and Native problems under the proverbial rug has resulted in huge proportions of Native children in foster care, disproportionate number of Natives killed by police, food deserts, and poor health outcomes.

We have a lot of work to do, and the response from our government and police state to peaceful protesting at Standing Rock surely demonstrates this.

To leave this post on a moderately high note, what I am hopeful for and grateful for are regular people who refuse to let history keep repeating itself.  I’m lucky and proud to know some of these people: to be their friends & learn from them in all ways on all days.  This year has been all sorts of horrible, but I have grown immensely from every person who walked in (and out) of my life.  And because of that, maybe it hasn’t been so horrible.  It’s also been shades of amazing and uplifting and full of soul-searching.  So, thanks for giving me that, world.

…And because I don’t have a nifty or clever segue into displaying this week’s TunesDay playlist, I’m just going to drop it here:

May you celebrate time with your loved ones if you are lucky enough to be with them this week.  And for those who aren’t, go buy a pie.  Pie makes 93.4% of things better.  I recommend pumpkin and dutch apple, but you could get a weird berry one too, I guess.  One of the best things the USA has going for us right now is our selection of gourmet pies. But in all seriousness, know that you are loved even if you aren’t sitting with your family and stuffing your face together.  As always, I’m sending you love and strength.


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Conscious Consumerism: A Commitment I Can Keep

Conscious Consumerism: A Commitment I Can Keep

Ever since I was young, I knew the value of a dollar–and that dollar could buy you a lot if you knew how to navigate sales racks and bargain bins.

In a world of fast fashion, I quickly became immersed in a desire for more, more, more.  New clothes gave (and still does to some extent) a kind of euphoria I never knew how to explain.  Materialism and American consumerism at its finest.

And yet, as I grew older and learned things about child labor, unfair wages, and unethically sourced materials, the satisfaction of getting that $5 top rapidly shrank.

I tried my best, though, to push those thoughts aside.  Those issues never became a reality for me.  It was and is easy to slip back into the mindset where you think your impact does not matter.

But let’s face it–the decisions we make, especially the decisions about what we buy and what companies we choose to support definitely do matter.

After returning from Kenya and Costa Rica, I find it extremely difficult to justify buying something for cheap if I know the person who made it could never afford to buy it for him or herself.  And it is equally difficult to justify knowing just how much the fashion industry pollutes our environment–that I know our unwanted donated clothes are actually shipped off to developing countries, purchased for cheap, and then sold in markets to families in poverty.

It is still difficult for me to reconcile the differences in what I am so passionate about.  Fashion is something I find to be such a vital part of creative expression and the human experience, though if it comes at the expense of our environmental sustainability or social well-being, I don’t know if it’s worth it.

It’s not to say that I would never buy clothes again, though.

Which brings me to the commitment I’m hoping to keep–and that I’m hoping you too can join me in.


I commit to minimizing the negative impact I will have on our earth and global society.  I commit to not buying items that are not sustainably sourced and where workers are not given a living or fair wage.  I commit to sticking to thrift stores if I am seeking cheap thrills, and investing in companies and clothes that are people-friendly (not made using slave or child labor) from companies that commit to minimizing their carbon footprint if I feel the need to buy something new.

I know it will be difficult, especially as a struggling university student and soon-to-be graduate.  But in the grand scheme of things, is the sacrifice I’m making really a sacrifice?  Ultimately, not really.

I will document my experiences here.  Please let me know if you decide to join me in this.