Daily Inspiration: Learn Beyond Your Prejudice

Nas Daily is a world traveler that posts videos on Facebook about the people he meets and interesting concepts about those places. His videos are informative and can be fairly moving.

In today’s video he had an interaction with someone who holds a prejudice against people from his home country. He tried to change the view of the people that he is conversing with.

Nas reminds us that no matter what we see, are taught, or experience it is unwise to generalize entire groups of people. You exclude yourself from amazing interactions and relationships when you don’t learn beyond your prejudice.

Daily Inspiration: Taking Responsibility For Your Life

Oprah is a superpower in her own right. Her accolades speak for themselves, as she has been tremendously successful in the media. In addition to her work on screen she is a generous philanthropist and motivational speaker.

In today’s video she explains that the only way to move forward is to take responsibility for your self. You cannot wait for a savior. You have to be willing to take the reigns.

Facebook: For Better or For Worse?

If you were born in the last century- you have heard of Facebook. The social media site has become a staple of daily life. With the amount of users climbing over one billion worldwide, it is safe to say it is wildly popular. Popularity though, has its drawbacks.

Former Facebook founder, Chamath Palihapitiya, isn’t necessarily proud of his achievements at the company. As reported by  The Verge, Palihapitiya voices his growing concern with the direction of social interactions on the platform.

“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, before recommending people take a “hard break” from social media.

Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

Facebook was founded in 2004 and initially garnered attention from college students. To sign up you needed a college email and you were able to network with other students from your school or others. Eventually, this platform was opened to everyone and was a place to stay in touch with loved ones to share pictures and silly statuses about mundane aspects of life.

Fast-forward over a decade later, and social media has centered itself  around the success of Facebook. The growing popularity, grabbed the attention of companies looking to jump on the this new technological tether. Ad’s are tailored to our preferences and news from around the world is available at our finger tips 24/7. Sounds great, right?

In theory this type of ‘social’ interaction is amazing. In reality, it has fed into the egos, insecurities and the dark side of its user-base. Instant feedback has driven many people to portray themselves to be living an envious life. The quest of perfection has also altered the perspectives of the youth on what is real and attainable in life, off screen.

Users also hide behind a degree of anonymity to spread negativity. Comment sections of highly viewed posts are often a graveyard for positivity. Trolling and bullying has gotten so out of hand on social media that it has been attributed to the decline of mental health among young people.  But- big changes are coming.

Shortly after Palihapitiya highlighted the damaging effects of using the platform, a conversation started. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder, has offered up a good faith measure. He said that the company would re-prioritize algorithms to focus on making more meaningful connections for users.

This change may bring back a sense of ‘community’ to the social media empire. Many of the negatives aspects aren’t likely to completely disappear; it is encouraging that Facebook is willing to start somewhere, to make the internet civil again.

Daily Inspiration: Forgive to Set Yourself Free

Tami Roman is a reality show personality that is determined to speak her truth. Official Bonnet Chronicles is her platform to share her comedy and advice.  In this video she explains how forgiveness is about the liberation of self.

Silencing Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is among the most heinous and under-reported acts committed against another person. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) the statistics surrounding these assaults are horrifying.

Every 98 seconds, another person experiences sexual assault. Sexual Violence affects hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. While we’re making progress- the number of assaults has fallen by more than half since 1993 — even today, only 6 out of every 1,000 rapists will end up in prison.

The media seemed to have a recent uptick in covering these stories after the sensationalized case concerning Bill Cosby. Since then, other public persons such as Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nasser have been accused of misconduct. While the desired legal outcome for many of the victims expired with the statue of limitations; a new sense of urgency arose for those who could still get legal or social justice.

During the height of this media coverage, the #MeToo campaign that encourages victims of sexual assault to share their stories in solidarity and support for one another, spread like wildfire on twitter. It was reported that over 1.7 million men and women shared the hashtag on the social media platform. Aside from the media frenzy that surrounded these incidents, the severity of this issue reaches closer to home.

Number_of_People_Victimized_Each_Year 122016

The victims of sexual assault are our sisters, brothers, neighbors and children. The statistics are just reflections of reported cases. Cases that can be identified by a person that has not been silenced by fear- the fear of being shamed, ostracized or not believed.  People often wait so long to report an incident, their right to justice is forfeited by time.

The silence is deafening. Whether the resistance is to protect family members, careers or powerful organizations- the message still remains. Victims are made to suffer while the perpetrator is free to inflict the same pain on others. Evidence is synonymous with credibility and time is of the essence.

Breaking the silence among victims is complex and multifaceted. The circumstances regarding each assault is different, along with its victim. The truth of the matter is, the outcomes will not always be what one will hope for. The devastation that is left behind in any sexual assault case will follow all parties because that is what it is designed to do. Resolution goes beyond a hashtag or a social media fad.

Creating safe places in homes is a place to start. Referring a friend in need to the appropriate resources can save lives. Silence doesn’t have to be permanent.

If you need help or know someone who does: visit RAINN or call the confidential  National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE.

Daily Inspiration: Humans of New York

Humans of New York is a blog that displays the unique stories of people from all walks of life. Brandon Stanton, the creator, gets people to open up and divulge a page of their autobiographies.

In this episode a woman talks about how she pushed herself to stand out in a traditional family where girls were not celebrated. In doing so, she takes pride in her achievements and ability to live outside the box.

For more episodes visit Humans of New York Facebook.

Are Cell Phones To Blame For Rude Broadway Audiences?

The beauty of theater is the ability to get lost in the allure of the acting and captivating story lines- not the glare of a cell phone. A story in the New York Post reports that audiences have become ruder than ever and it’s making the actors angry.

Actors practice for hundreds of hours to deliver amazing performances. While a ringing cell phone may seem like a mild annoyance to the average person; it can be viewed as an insult to their craft.

A cellphone went off as Laura Benanti was singing “Will He Like Me” during a performance of the 2015 revival of “She Loves Me.”

“I’ll wait,” she said. The phone continued to ring. “We’ll all wait,” she said, and the orchestra stopped playing until the phone was silenced.

Benanti later tweeted: “Anyone saying I shouldn’t have called out the ringing during my quietest, most vulnerable moment during yesterday’s matinee can suck my phone.”

Current Broadway shows are running an average of seven times per week. The probability of at least one person engaging in disruptive behavior via smart phone during each show is high.

Many theater houses are not able to enforce a no phone policy due to the massive culture surrounding social media and the use of this technology in everyday life. Apparently, using a cell phone in this space is an offense that is punishable by ticket. Cara Joy David cites that the probability of actually getting a ticket for phone use is unlikely.

When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg vetoed the New York City law that makes cell phone “use”—defined as dialing, talking, having it ring, etc.—in theaters a ticketable offense he cited the enforcement difficulty. The City Council overrode the veto and so it is law, but we all know the law doesn’t do anything.

To avoid being a rude audience member, general theater etiquette would include enjoying the hard work of the actors sans cell phone and being present to enjoy all the scenes. That way, the chance of you getting accosted by an usher or a side eye from an actor would be slim.

Daily Inspiration: To Complain or Not To Complain

This poem was performed by Rudy Francisco at the semi finals of the 2014 National Poetry Slam. He describes situations where people persevered through life and death situations and essentially said, “It could have been worse”. Life is journey where one can experience a lot of pain and heartache. However, many beautiful things also come out of this journey and he explains that sometimes it is best to focus on what keeps life worth living.

**Disclaimer: This poem has been criticized for being insensitive to those suffering from depression and anxiety. Its purpose is to provide motivation to help others keep things in perspective during tough times.

If you are suffering from Mental Illness and need help, you are not alone. Please seek the advisement of a medical professional or call the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Helpline today, 800-950-NAMI to see what resources are available to you.

Kansas Offers Opportunity For Student Loan Repayment

Student loan debt is no stranger to higher education seekers. As the demand for education has increased over the years, so has the price; leaving millions of people in debt and scrambling to make ends meet. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans owed more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

These loans are great avenues for people to get a degree, that simply can’t afford it. The government has found ways to make repayment of federal loans more manageable through income driven repayment plans and public service forgiveness. Private loans operate under the specific terms of the lender. If you fall under hard times with repayment some options include: refinancing, forbearance and bankruptcy.

Kansas is offering another repayment option. The Kansas Department of Commerce is inviting young people to find a better solution to their debt problems with the Rural Opportunity Zones program.

There’s something special about life in rural Kansas. Something authentic and wholesome. Something that makes it the ideal place to live, work and raise a family. And thanks to the new Rural Opportunity Zones program, there’s never been a better time than now to make rural Kansas your new home. If you’re looking for lower cost of living and better quality of life, Kansas is your best choice.

Rural Opportunity Zones are 77 counties that have been authorized to offer one or both of the following financial incentives to new full-time residents:

  • Kansas income tax waivers for up to five years
  • Student loan repayments up to $15,000

In this instance, one hand washes the other. Counties offer a chance to eradicate debt, while bringing new life to areas that have been declining since 2010. Small town life, isn’t necessarily idyllic to those graduating from college but great things can come from unexpected places. Kansas could prove to be an amazing opportunity to gain experience, save money, life comfortably and pay off debt.

To qualify for student loan repayment one must establish residency in a qualified county after July 1, 2011, hold a degree (associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s) and have an outstanding balance. For more information on this program visit Rural Opportunity Zones.