A World Apart

A World Apart

How it feels to march for someone who doesn't know that feminism exists.

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For the past two January's, I've attended the Women's March on Washington. In 2017, I hadn't wanted to go to anything more than I did that march. It was to be the day after the President's inaugural address, and as I sat there watching the speech unfold on my TV screen, I felt both utterly surprised and completely unfazed by who ended up giving that inaugural address. I called a friend, and without hesitation, we decided that we had to go to the march.

As I exited the metro station somewhere in D.C., I entered a sea of pink cat hats and fearless signs. Prior to joining the march, I thought that I was going to be greeted with a sense of empowerment and pride, but I was wrong. It was instead an overwhelming feeling of confusion that welcomed me. Nonetheless, I walked, I chanted, and I hoped. I hoped that at some moment I would suddenly understand why I was there, or what I was trying to achieve in being there.

A year passes by, and this time, it wasn't the inaugural speech I was staring at. It was a speech that I fell in love with; Oprah's Golden Globes speech. There wasn't a second in that speech that didn't make me feel inspired, not a word that made didn't make me feel empowered, and certainly not a speaker that made me fear my future. And I thought I have to go to the Women's March this year. I talked to another friend, and we decided to go and bring our own signs. Unsurprisingly enough, I wrote on my poster a quote I don't think I'll ever be able to forget; "there's a new day on the horizon."

I had high hopes for this march. I was younger last year and perhaps didn't fully understand the purpose of these marches, I thought to myself. I'd convinced myself that I became wise and mature enough to comprehend the importance of the Women's March. And so, I entered yet another crowd, hoping to be hit with the feeling that I was there for a reason. A reason that I felt deep in my heart, that drove every step I made and every chant I roared to that day. But alas, that reason never appeared.

I didn't have the slightest idea why I wasn't getting this feeling that everyone who was walking beside me seemed to have. I mean, I've always cared about equal rights and I certainly never wanted to be treated any lesser for my gender.

However, I did know one thing. I knew that I lied to my mother before I left my house that day. I knew that I told her that I was spending the day wandering the D.C. museums with a couple of friends. I knew that if I were to tell her the real reason I was going to D.C., she would tell me to sit right at home and forget about the whole thing. I also knew exactly why she would say that.

My mother never finished middle school. She grew up in a rural town in Saudi Arabia in a household of five brothers and one sister. She got an arranged marriage at 20 and found absolute comfort in spending all her time raising her children. She wouldn't have said no because she isn't a feminist, she would've said no because there isn't a single concept that would come more foreign to her. This was the one idea that didn't escape me during those marches.

It's a very odd feeling, knowing that the one person you were marching for didn't have a clue that you were marching, let alone why you were marching. My mother can't comprehend the idea that a large part of why her life unfolded the way it did is because of the deep-rooted misogyny in our society. And I know that there are so women out there just like her. They are women whose names we may never know and stories we may never hear. They go every day of their lives with the belief that life is just meant to be this way and that there's nothing they can do about it.

Perhaps this is the reason why I felt so lost during those marches. How privileged I felt knowing that I was taking part in something to ensure my rights while my mother went every day of her life with incredible patience and acceptance towards the way her life turned out. How ungrateful I felt that the rights that I already had and the kind of future that I was expected to have are both things that my mother didn't dare to dream of when she was my age.

My mother and the many women out there like her may never hear of feminism or understand it. They may never attend a march or continue their education or speak out against the males in their family. They may continue to live every day of their lives just hoping and praying that things will change one day. And to those women I say, there's a new day on the horizon.



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Customer Service Expert, Gary Brewster of Oneida Provides Tips for Displaying Appreciation to Your Customers

By taking a more direct and proactive approach to managing your customers, you can open up a new avenue of success for your business.

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Customer relationships are a core part of your business success. Many businesses that outperform their competitors are just more responsive in this area. By taking a more direct and proactive approach to managing your customers, you can open up a new avenue of success for your business. How can you display genuine appreciation to them? Here are tips and practices from customer service expert and accomplished entrepreneur, Gary Brewster in Oneida, Tennessee that you can adopt.

Event Sponsorship

There are many small signs of appreciation you can show to customers, but hosting an event provides significant evidence to customers that your business genuinely acknowledges and cares for their support. With these events, you can treat customers as guests - which can be a great way to elevate your relationship with them. After these events, you can follow-up with your customers, build upon that relationship, and gain additional insights into their expectations.

Customized Products and Services

Customers will be pleasantly surprised to see products specifically catered to their preferences. This shows that you do respond to their feedback and are appreciative of the information they provide. Also, you are reinforcing the fact that your business firmly puts a priority on their needs and is committed to elevating their experience. You can personalize your products through a couple of means, including offering them in certain colors, modifications, labels, and more.

Use Handwritten Notes

A handwritten note is one of the best ways to convey authenticity in your messages. When you use this medium for sending messages of appreciation to your customers, it generates a more positive response. In a world saturated with emails, social media messages, and mobile text, a handwritten letter can stand out. You can work with your team in organizing a schedule where customers are sent handwritten notes. These can especially work great for the holiday season as customers are more receptive to goodwill messages during this time.

Develop a Loyalty Program

While your business benefits form loyalty programs, they also make the customer feel more appreciated. For your most consistent customers, you are sending the message to them that their loyalty has not gone unnoticed and that you are truly grateful. When repeat business is rewarded, the long-term benefits will be valuable. Instead of merely creating a loyalty program from scratch, consider doing research and recognize specific purchasing patterns within your customer base. You can then highlight certain products they favor and make that the focal point of your loyalty program.

When it comes to maintaining a high standard of customer service, communication and goodwill are valuable. Showing appreciation to your customers is more than simply communicating with them, but also conveying a general sense of commitment to their needs. Your business stands to gain immensely by developing this unique approach to customer service. Consider adding more of these elements as you build your customer service strategy with your team.


About Gary Brewster:

Gary Brewster in Oneida, Tennessee is an entrepreneur and commercial roofing expert. Driven by building excellent relationships, he takes pride in providing the best customer service possible. As a business owner, his goals include delivering exceptional service, solving complex problems, and giving back to the community. Outside of the office, Gary enjoys spending time on his family farm with his wife, children, and grandchildren.


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The 2020 Race Is Feeling The Bern

Everything you need to know about Bernie Sanders entering the presidential race.

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This morning, February 19, 2019, Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders announced he is running for president once again.

Unlike his run in 2016, though, Sanders now joins a crowded field of progressive candidates, one of which is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

In Sanders's own words, this campaign is "about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life". Sanders went on to say that this is a "pivotal and dangerous moment in American history," and "We are running against a President who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction".

In his interview with CBS, Sanders explained that it is "absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated", and described candidates whom he is running alongside as his "friends".

Regarding policy issues, his focus remains the same as in previous years, planning to focus largely on women's reproductive rights, lower prices for prescription drugs, and criminal justice reform.

Sanders is also widely recognized because of his goal of universal healthcare. His Medicare-for-all bill that was drafted in 2017 outlines the establishment of a "national health insurance program to provide comprehensive protection against the costs of health-care and health-related services". According to estimates, however, such a plan would increase federal spending by $2.5 trillion a year.

When it comes to education, Sanders plans to make preschool for all 4-year-olds free, aiming to fund this plan through tax increases on the wealthy as well as Wall Street transactions.

More widely acknowledged is his "College For All Act", which would provide $47 billion a year to states in order to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. Additionally, the act would cut student loan interest rates nearly in half for undergrads.

In terms of social issues, Sanders is pro-choice when it comes to abortion rights and opposes policies which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, such as Trump's push to ban transgender people from the military.

The New York Times discusses the idea that the political field of the 2020 run might leave Sanders a "victim of his own success", in that the multitude of Democratic candidates are embracing policies which Sanders championed in the last race.

"Ironically, Bernie's agenda for working families will be the Democratic Party's message in 2020, but he may not be the one leading the parade," said talk show host Bill Press.

Moreover, victories by women, minorities, and first-time candidates in the 2018 midterm elections suggest that "fresh energy" is preferred by Democrats, which potentially poses a challenge for Sanders.

Conversely, though, Sanders is also starting off with certain advantages, such as a "massive lead among low-dollar donors that is roughly equivalent to the donor base of all the other Democratic hopefuls combined".

Donald Trump responded to Sanders's announcement by saying, "First of all I think he missed his time, but... I like Bernie. He sort of would agree on trade... the problem is he doesn't know what to do about it. But I wish Bernie well."

By and large, Sanders is another strong candidate, and it will be interesting to see if he can generate the same energy and support now that he did in 2016.

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