It seems that there is no place on earth that is immune to bigotry. Not even Canada, which has been regarded by many as one of the world’s last bastions of sanity. After a campaign that was eerily similar to the Trump-vs-Hillary battle, Ontario elected as its Premier a man who is eerily similar to Trump.
Since this provincial government took office about a month ago, the following has happened:
* The cap-and-trade program, meant to benefit the environment and combat climate change, has been scrapped.
*$100M dollars that had been budgeted for school repairs has been taken away. The school repair backlog in Ontario currently sits at about $15B.
* A basic income pilot program, which was enabling low-income people to do things like put a roof over their head and food on their table, has been canceled.
* Prescription drug coverage for people under the age of 21 has been removed.
* A budgeted increase in funding for people with disabilities has been cut in half.
* Money that had been slated for mental health supports has been taken away.
* With spectacular disregard for democracy, the Premier has decided to slash the size of Toronto City Council in the middle of a municipal election campaign.
* An updated health and physical education curriculum has been repealed. The sex ed component of this curriculum was teaching kids about consent, bodily autonomy, online and physical safety, and respect for members of the LGBT community.
The education system is in for a rough few years. A lot is going to change in the school boards. Funding is going to be taken away or redistributed. Curriculums are going to be replaced with older, outdated versions that are not relevant to today’s world. Teaching conditions are going to become more challenging, and students are going to emerge from high school without all of the tools they need to cope with the big bad world.
The time for me to sit back and complain about the government is over. I have decided that I need to be proactive in advocating for kids – not only my own kids, but all of the kids in my community. And so I have thrown my name into the hat for the role of school board trustee. If I am elected, I will be throwing all of my energy into ensuring that during this political upheaval in our province, the voices of the kids are not drowned out. I will do whatever it takes to ensure the wellbeing of students in my neighbourhood. I will join committees, go to meetings, propose new policies and defend our kids against attacks on their education.
Of course, I first have to convince voters that I am a better person for the job than the eight people I’m running against. Knocking on doors and talking to complete strangers is not my idea of a fun time. But if it gets me into a position where I can make a difference, it’ll be worth it.
Have you ever run for an elected office? What is the education system like where you are?
This is an original post for World Moms Network by Kirsten Doyle of Toronto, Canada. To follow Kirsten on the campaign trail, visit www.votekirstendoyle.ca, or follow her on Twitter @kirstendoyle_to, or Instagram @votekirstendoyle.
Photo credit: Peter Gabany
This August in our neighborhood playground, a child threatened my toddler son, saying “Trump will kick you out of here when he becomes President.” For the past two months I’ve been praying for the victory of Hillary Clinton, so that I can tell my child “hate never wins”. The polls gave me some hope. But on the night of November 8, as the election results rolled in, I saw a very different America than the polls had predicted.
I put my child to bed that night right before the Canadian immigration website crashed. I stayed up late, thinking about how I would explain this to him. A few hours later, he woke up full of questions. He asked me if she had won. I told him no.
“But I want Hillary to be my president!”
“I know, baby.” I held him tight. He is too young to understand the candidates’ policies; all he knows is that if Donald Trump is in the white house, the bullies in the playground get a good line to yell at him.
Once again, I assured him, “We are American, this is our home, no one is going to kick us out of here, not even Trump.”
I’ve been repeating this to him for the past two months. Apparently it’s not enough. He asked me if we’re moving to Asia to be with his grandparents. I told him no.
“But I don’t like Trump!”
“But you do like America, don’t you?”
He thought about it carefully and then nodded.
“That’s right, baby. As long as it doesn’t change, we’re here to stay.”
“But I’m upset.”
“That’s okay, baby. I’m upset, too. We all get upset sometimes. But we’ll be fine,” I told him.
“If anybody ever tells you that Trump will kick you out of the country, just say, ‘No, I am American, this is my home, no one can kick me out of here.’”
He practiced the sentence a couple of times and seemed to be comforted.
There is so much more that I wanted to tell him. I wanted to tell him it’s not the end of the world. I wanted to tell him that human beings are resilient. I wanted to tell him that we can do better than running away. I just don’t know how to make a 3-year-old understand all of these things.
In spite of all the frustrations at this moment, I still believe in America. Sure, the election had modeled the exact opposite of the values I believe in and hope to instill in my children: the xenophobia that came directly out of Trump’s campaign has harmed my family. But I see that most of my fellow American don’t believe in the racism and sexism either. Clinton won the popular vote. Which means the majority of American believe that women should be paid the same as men, they care about climate change, they don’t want the implementation of aggressive surveillance programs that target certain ethnic groups.
This is the moment not to sit down with frustration, but to stand up and fight against discrimination, bigotry and hate. And there is so much we can do. We can volunteer. We can donate. There is Showing Up For Racial Justice that combats racism, Planned Parenthood that gives women the opportunities for proper healthcare, ACLU that upholds the individual rights guaranteed by the US Constitution. Most of all, as parents, we can continue teaching our children the values we believe in: honesty, gender equality, love. The election changed none of that.
Just like President Obama said on election day, “The sun will rise in the morning.”
What was your reaction to the US Presidential election? Did you or will you talk to your kids about it?
This is an original post to World Mom Network by To-Wen Tseng. Photo credit to Mu-huan Chiang.
A while ago, when my toddler son was playing in our neighborhood playground, another child said to him, “Trump will kick you out of here when he becomes President.”
It happened during the afternoon of hot summer’s day. My three-year-old bumped into an older child—probably five or six years old—when going down a slide. As much as I was tempted to defend my own child, I had to admit that it was his fault. I thought that I needed to remind him to apologize.
As I was walking up I heard, “Trump will kick you out of here when he becomes President.”
I froze in spite of the high temperature. It took me several seconds to realize that it was the other child who had spoken these words.
I wanted to ask, “I beg your pardon?”
I wanted to ask, “Why would you say that?”
I wanted to ask, “Do you believe that anyone should be kicked out of here?”
But before I could say anything, my son looked up at me and said, “Mama, I want to go home.”
So we left. I looked back a couple of times, trying to find the child’s parents. I didn’t, and I did not know what I would have done if I had found them.
My son was silent all the way home. Anyone who didn’t know him that well would have simply thought that he was tired. I drove, waiting for him to ask questions, but he didn’t.
So I broke the silence and said, “You know, you should say ‘sorry’ when bumping into other people.”
“And, you know, this is our home. No one is going to kick us out of here.”
It was too hard to continue the conversation, so I stopped there. We went back to silence, and I hated myself for not being able to come up with anything better to say.
When it comes to unfriendly comments about immigrants and minority groups, many Asian American people, including me, often have an illusion of “safety”. Trump has accused Hispanic American of bringing crimes;he has called Muslims terrorists. But hey, we are Asian Americans. We are quiet and shy, we do our math and science, we hurt nobody, we don’t even attract attention. Anyway, Trump said that he “had a very good relationship with China” right before having that crying baby ejected at one of his rallies!
But what happened in the playground in that afternoon taught me a lesson: when a hate movement and white nationalism becomes the mainstream, everyone can be a victim. Even a three-year-old boy can be threatened in his neighborhood playground.
My son was quiet for the whole evening. At the dinner table his dad noticed and asked, “Are you okay, buddy?”
“I want to go to bed now.”
He insisted that I sleep with him. I laid on his toddler bed with him. Just when I thought he was falling asleep, he asked, “Mama, who’s Drump?”
“Trump? He is a businessman. He is running for President.”
“Will he become the President?”
I got up and showed him the book “Hard Choices” with Hillary Clinton’s portrait on the cover. I was hired to translate the book into Mandarin Chinese when it published in 2014. “This grandma is also running for president, and one of them will become President.”
“Will she let us stay here?”
“Oh baby! We are American, and we’ll stay here as long as we want, no matter who becomes the President.”
I was telling the truth. Both my husband and I came to the States as international students. He earned his PhD in computer engineering from NC State University and I earned my Master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University. We eventually naturalized through H1B working visas and EB2 green cards, which requires an advanced degree and exceptional ability. We’ve been calling America home and contributing to this country for more than a decade, and I honestly don’t think anyone can legally “kick” us out of here, not even Trump.
What worries me is that this kind of hate speech will hurt our family and our children, turning our country into a place that is no longer suitable for living in.
We’ve all heard Trump’s supporters shouting violent words and making crazy statements at the Presidential hopeful’s rallies, but it feels different when such words comes out of a young child’s mouth. I wonder if he really knew what he was talking about.
Either way, he certainly made it clear what Trump’s brand of hate is doing to this country. In spite of the frustration, I still hope for a hate free society to come. So vote wisely. It’s not about political correctness. It’s about being a decent human being.
Has your child been the target of discrimination at the hands of another child? How did you handle it?
This is an original post to World Moms Network by To-Wen Tseng of the United States. Photo credit: Mu-huan Chiang.
RESULTS staff and volunteer moms and kids in DC bringing paper dolls to senators in support of the Reach Act
Photo Credit: RESULTS Educational Fund
Today is Election Day in the United States. You may not have heard much about it since we aren’t voting on a president this year. Sadly, since most of the items on the ballot are at a local level, most Americans won’t bother to go to the polls and our media will mainly view Election Day 2015 as merely a kick-off to next year’s presidential election. Many citizens of my country are excited yet also fearful about what a change of president or Congress will bring for the issues they care about. Helplessly, they feel like the only thing they can do is wait a whole year until they get a ballot full of dubious choices.
They feel oddly powerless even while living in a country often held up around the world as an example of democracy. Is that the way we have to feel for 365 more days?
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way! Election Day in any country shouldn’t be the only time a citizen raises her voice. Here in the United States especially, we should live up to our fine reputation of democracy by engaging in it any day of the year to make progress on what matters to us most. Take, for example, the global issue of maternal/child health.
In September, UNICEF released new data showing that the number of children under five dying every year has been cut by more than half since 1990. Longstanding, bipartisan U.S. support for child survival has played a key role in this progress. Yet the world still loses 5.9 million children every year, largely from preventable causes. We know that we can do better for these kids and we don’t want to lose any progress we’ve made. The last decade has seen effective reforms in the way the U.S. provides nutrition, immunizations, and assistance for infants and expecting mothers. If we have a change of leadership that doesn’t value these positive changes, we could lose valuable ground in the fight against child mortality. Thankfully, expert champions of moms and babies at RESULTS – an anti-poverty advocacy group – brought together a bi-partisan group of senators and representatives to introduce the Reach Every Mother and Child Act to prevent loss of progress and propel us toward a day when no child suffers a treatable or preventable death.
The Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 would enshrine important development reforms into law, ensuring the U.S. does its part to help countries to end preventable child and maternal deaths by 2035. It would require clear targets, better accountability, investment in the most effective strategies to save lives, and a focus on the poorest and most vulnerable populations. I like to think of it as a “Don’t Break What We’ve Already Fixed” and “Do More of What Works” kind of policy. The Reach Act would help make certain that mothers and children can not only survive, but thrive.
Cindy Levin at Representative Ann Wagner’s office with her daughter and volunteers from RESULTS and the United Methodist Church asking the Congresswoman to co-sign the Reach Act
Photo Credit: Cynthia Changyit Levin
Citizens acting together to urge their leaders to pass this kind of altruistic legislation never makes headlines at CNN. Yet it is exactly the kind of actions that make the U.S. and many other nations great democracies. I believe in citizen action so much that I get my daughters into the act as much as I can. In addition to calling and writing to tell my elected officials to support the Reach Act, I’ve asked my kids and their friends to color paper dolls in solidarity with other kids at the RESULTS office in DC to deliver to senate offices. It’s never too early for kids to learn how to save other kids lives even before they reach voting age.
If you live in the U.S., I hope you go to your polling place and make your vote count for the local issues that are closest to you and your family. After that, however, I urge you on behalf of moms and babies everywhere to contact the offices of your U.S. senators and representative. Use the following weblinks to ask them to co-sign the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (“S.1911” in the senate and “H.R. 3706” in the House of Representatives) to help save the lives of mothers and kids around the world. You can even tell them that you voted this year and you intend to vote again next year based on how they respond to your request!
What issue will you bring to the attention of your government representatives?
This is an original post by Cindy Levin for World Moms Blog.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Lately, I have been avoiding my Facebook feed and deleting people who I realize have views much different from mine. Yes, I am aware that we all have varying opinions on all issues, large and small. However, as the United States Presidential election moves closer, I am reminded of the enormity of the race factor in this country. Hence, I no longer wish to be bombarded on Facebook with hate based words and images.
Despite the fact that an overwhelming number of caucasians voted President Obama in to office, there are still large portions of the population that, without verbally admitting it, are uncomfortable that a black man is in charge of our country. And yes, he is considered black, not biracial, despite the current climate of political correctness. If he wasn’t considered a black man, I highly doubt that the legitimacy of his birth certificate would STILL be a topic of conversation.
Has he been a good President? I can’t say; history will make that distinction for me. Will he be re elected? I hope so, despite the fact that I do not vote. (Another topic, for another day) Has he proven that race should not be the defining characteristic of a person? Sadly, not yet but maybe when my children are grandparents, having a multicultural President will be the norm and not the exception. (more…)