Health & Wellness

Justice Rallies for Trayvon Martin Continue Around U.S.

Organized rallies arose all around the USA this past week and weekend, protesting the verdict after a jury of six women found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin last Saturday, July 13, 2013.

After the verdict was read last Saturday, protestors continued to rally outside the courthouse where the trial was held in Sanford, FL.

The crowd chanted, “Shame, shame, shame, shame…” after hearing the verdict and seeing Zimmerman walk out of the courthouse, across the hallway.

It was reported that over 100 cities across America held rallies and protests in the wake of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was slain by Zimmerman back in February 2012.

Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Orlando, Miami, New York City, Brooklyn, San Diego, Oakland, Los Angeles—these were only a few of the named cities that participated in these rallies supporting Trayvon Martin and his family.

This past Wednesday on July 17, a peace rally was held in Orlando, FL. Protestors marched from Lake Eola in downtown Orlando to the Orange County courthouse. Organizers of the rally spoke to the crowd through a megaphone on the courthouse steps. They encouraged everyone to stay peaceful and that there will be justice to come for Trayvon Martin.

Shayan Modarres, one of the organizers of the Orlando rally, said that he thought it was a great turn out. “Everyone was peaceful, we demonstrated peacefully. In two days to have this many people come out and support the movement, I think that’s amazing. And this is only the beginning, we’re going to keep the momentum going and we’ll do more and more.”

“We just want people to know we’re not going to relent, we’re not going to quit, we’re not going to give up. We’re going to keep the momentum going and we are not going to move on,” Modaress continued to say.

Celebrity singer and DJ Solange Knowles organized a peaceful rally in downtown Brooklyn at Borough Hall on July 14. The singer tweeted, “seeing & gathering with people today/tonight all for the same fight helped to restore my faith in humanity…”

Superstar couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z attended a rally in New York City with thousands of other people on Saturday morning, July 20. Rev. Al Sharpton, community activist, commented on speaking to the star-couple before the rally. Sharpton said, “Jay Z and Beyoncé said they didn’t want to speak and they didn’t come for a photo op.”

Sharpton continued, “Jay Z told me, ‘I’m a father. Beyoncé is a mother.’ We all feel the pain and apprehension – the laws must protect everybody, or it doesn’t protect anybody. We do not come from hate, we come from love of children.”

Justin Jones was one of the rally organizers in Oakland, CA. Jones just recently graduated from Hercule High School and is 17-years-old—the same age that Martin was when he died.  Jones said he did it to encourage and reach out to other young people in the East Bay area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mye-Dash Youth Empowerment: Comedy for a Cause Show

The Mye-Dash Youth Empowerment organization arranged a Comedy for a Cause entertainment show on May 31, 2013 to benefit the adolescents of their program. Patrons came to enjoy the festivities and to also make donations to the organization to further their movement in supporting young and underprivileged children.

Held in the Winter Park, FL area in a Rollins College facility, the room was full with people all supporting the Mye-Dash event. The Comedy for a Cause show was a complete success; the crowd was alive and receptive to the witty jokes of two featured comedians of the night. The show also featured live music from Bobbi Ruffin and The Band singing new school and old school songs in the R&B/Soul genres.

Some of the causes of violence amongst youth are displayed here in this info-graphic. Source: Turner Consulting Group.

Some of the causes of violence amongst youth are displayed here in this info-graphic. Source: Turner Consulting Group.

At the end, a few of the students of the Mye-Dash organization got the chance to represent themselves. The girls got the opportunity to get on stage and share why they felt they have benefitted from Mye-Dash and what the program has done for them. This was a great moment of remembrance to help close out an inspiring and entertaining event.

Moreover, the info-graphic shows the main “roots of youth violence,” showing the causes as to why some youth may resort to this kind of negative behavior. Examples of the causes of violence among youth include, “lack of self-esteem, no sense of belonging, little empathy for others, poverty, and family issues.”

The Mye-Dash organization works with youth to lead them in the right direction as a helping guide, in the case that they are led astray. The non-profit features programs such as Mye-Femininity and Mye-Manhood, to guide transitioning girls and boys into womanhood and manhood to help them into becoming strong men and women.

The Kennedy Krieger Institute offers specialized programs for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Autism Affects America: Every 1 in 50 Children

This charts shows the different types of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Source: Parenting Healthy Babies.

This charts shows the different types of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Source: Parenting Healthy Babies.

 

In the present day, Autism has become more relevant than ever in the United States. In an updated study in 2013, the CDC has reported that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) affects 1 in 50 children in America. And this number is only based on the parents that actually report their child’s disability.

In 2002, the CDC reported that 1 in 150 children were affected by ASD. In 2004—1in 125, in 2006— 1 in 110, and in 2008— 1 in 88 children were affected.   Over the span of 11 years, that is about a 300 percent increase in the number of reported cases of ASDs. What could be the cause of such a rapid increase?

This 2012 info-graphic shows the rising prevalence in ASDs in America. Source: CDC

This 2012 info-graphic shows the rising prevalence in ASDs in America. Source: CDC

ASDs are called “spectrum disorders” because they range in varying degrees from person to person, according to the CDC. One child may have very severe symptoms while another child may have very mild symptoms. However, all individuals suffering from ASDs share common issues with social interaction. From the CDC, here are the three main types of ASDs:

  •  Autistic Disorder – Also referred to as “classic autism,” individuals may show signs of difficulty in socialcommunication, language and speech, and also may display intellectual disability and unconventional interests and behaviors.
  • Asperger Syndrome – Individuals with Asperger syndrome do not usually show signs of language delays or intellectual disability, but may display unconventional behaviors or interest and difficulty with social interactions.
  •  Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified – Also referred to as “atypical autism,” individuals with PDD-NOS may have lesser symptoms than those with autistic disorder, but still display communication and social difficulties.
Scientists of Durham University did a trial study on four-month-old Matai Reid to make strides toward autism research. Source: The Telegraph

Scientists of Durham University did a trial study on four-month-old Matai Reid to make strides toward autism research. Source: The Telegraph

The Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, FL offers help to autistic children through diagnosing an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the child, and through providing services or referrals. Nemours uses methods of developmental and neurological assessments, family counseling, brain imaging, psychiatric medication treatment, and also through speech and occupational therapy.

Leslie Gavin, Ph. D., is a psychologist at Nemours Children’s Hospital and works with many children on the ASD radar. Gavin says that Nemours is planning on creating an “early multidisciplinary evaluation team for local and out of state children.” Also, Nemours plans to start an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) team to provide outreach in the Orlando community. Out of all her patients, Gavin said that she has seen about 90 percent make some type of progress with their autism.

Gavin stated, “I follow many toddlers and young children that I have diagnosed and then referred out to the community for treatment. Some have made amazing progress and their autism is invisible for all intents and purposes. Some make slower progress. I would say that 90 percent make some progress in terms of speech and language, social interaction and ability to function independently in their self care.”

"Understanding the world of Autism helps the autistic understand the world." Source: Twenty Four Seven News

“Understanding the world of Autism helps the autistic understand the world.” Source: VIVA Jusoor

Kathy Chandler of Pennsylvania is a stay-at-home mom of three children, two out of which have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Living with her husband Lamar, who works over 40 hours a week, and raising three children—let alone two that have an ASD—is not an easy journey.

“Fox is 10, August is 8 and Ronin is 2.  Fox and August both have autism. Fox is very high functioning while August is severely autistic with a secondary diagnosis of mental retardation (MR).  August is non-verbal and still wears pull-ups,” she said.

She continued to discuss the difficulties Autism presented in their everyday family life. “We are limited to where we can go and what we can do.  Lamar and I are in need of time together, but autism seems to force us to do things separately.  A typical family event usually means that one of us has to stay back with August, so

"The longer a child with autism goes without help, the harder they are to reach." Source: The Inspiration Room

“The longer a child with autism goes without help, the harder they are to reach.” Source: The Inspiration Room

we cannot go out as a family all the time.  We are tired.  I struggle with depression constantly.  As a parent with a child with autism, you sometimes feel like a prisoner in your own home.  It is very isolating,” she said.

Eight-year-old August with severe Autism, receives services such as, Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech Therapy (ST) and also Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). August additionally receives Home Health Aids (HHA) for 25 hours a week during the school year and during the summer, 40 hours of HHA. Chandler says she is actively trying to get August registered with the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.

Chandler knows that if she can get her son registered on the MR waiver, extra services will be provided to

The Kennedy Krieger Institute offers specialized programs for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Kennedy Krieger Institute offers specialized programs for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

August for the long-term run, when he is adult. She said, “I know that he will need constant support and care for the rest of his life.  My son Fox does not have the intense needs as his brother.  He gets wrap around support, which helps him stay on task and teach him how to self regulate himself during a period of high stress and anxiety.”

Although August’s progress is slow, Chandler said that he has been improving each year in his receptive language. This was the result of an intense home therapy program before August started school. “His receptive language is improving each year.  He understands a lot of what is said to him, even though he may not be able to always respond immediately.”

Barbie doll heads packaged as meat shows a strong display of objectification. Source: Flickriver

Accepting New-Era Objectification: Is this the end-all? (Audio Story)

It seems that sexual objectification has come to a rising plateau in the era of 2013. Now more than ever, Americans may readily accept overly sexualized advertisements more so than they would have years ago.

Although this may come across more as a mindless behavior, we have been programmed to accept this kind of behavior. The fact that no one has ever told us any different plays a big part in the acceptance of objectification.

Barbie doll heads packaged as meat shows a strong display of objectification. Source: Flickriver

Barbie doll heads packaged as meat shows a strong display of objectification. Source: Flickriver

Aleshia Highland, an alumni of Virgina State University and public relations guide and Monique Mason, an instructor at Full Sail University and entertainment promoter shared their opinions on objectification in this audio story. Highland is the first speaker, while Mason shares her opinion second.

Moreover, advertisements run by companies such as American Apparel and Mercedes-Benz display ultra provocative images to market their products. These ads are funneled through into everyday society and were too racy to post on this blog, but you can view them in the link above. Although the average person may not even be alarmed at the content of some theses ads, they are put right in front of our faces just like text books are put in front of school children.

In a thesis entitled, The Objectification of Women in Mass Media: Female Self-Image in Misogynist Culture, by Stephanie Berberick, University of Buffalo, she talks about the effects that objectification has on today’s society and culture. Could the dramatic increases in plastic surgery procedures have a direct correlation to the increase in objectification acceptance?

The infographic, also available interactively, shows the increase in plastic surgery trends from 2000 to 2009: Increases in Plastic Surgery Procedures from 2000 to 2009

  • 132% increase in buttock lifts
  • 65% increase in breast lifts
  • 36% increase in breast augmentation surgery
  • 84% increase in abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
  • 4,184% increase in lower body lifts
  • 4,191% increase in arm lifts

 

 

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