To Mom And Dad At High School Graduation: Thank You

To Mom And Dad At High School Graduation: Thank You

My parents aren't perfect, and that's what makes them incredible.
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Dear Mom and Dad,

Everyone is congratulating me for graduating high school, but it’s you who should be getting balloons and cards. I wouldn’t have made it to this point without your love, dedication, and occasional screams of frustration. Let’s be honest: I probably wouldn’t even wake up every morning without you yelling at me to get my butt out of bed OR ELSE.

Yep, I better make some major life adjustments before college or I’m screwed.

I know you’ll miss me as much as I’ll miss you. At least your water bill will be much lower without my hour-long showers -- but then again, any money you save on the water bill will just go towards my tuition (feeling the Bern yet?). If I forget to call, I’m sorry. You are the most important people in my life, and I’ll try to remember that when I’m intoxicated with first-semester freedom. If I do really stupid stuff, I’ll make sure it doesn’t show up on Facebook. I’ll probably stress you out at least once or twice over the next four years by switching my major to peace studies or art history, but don’t worry. I’ll switch it back.

We don’t see eye-to-eye on everything (and by “everything” I mean rap music), and no, you still haven’t convinced me that seven agonizing years of orchestra were necessary for the development of a decidedly unmusical person. But you’ve turned out to be right about pretty much everything else ever, so I’ll take your word for it.

I used to get angry at you for not being perfect, but now I know that this is exactly what makes you amazing. If you were incapable of doing wrong, parenting would be easy for you. But you are humans. Like the rest of humanity, you are constantly attacked with fear, doubt, worry, and confusion. And you have been selfless enough to hide that from me. You have put my interests before your own for the last seventeen years and counting.

I hope someday I can raise my own children as bravely and selflessly as you have raised me, but if I fail, at least they will have amazing grandparents to fall back on.

I am especially grateful that you taught me not only to love and honor God from a young age, but also to reasonably support my faith. We all reach a point where we must stop believing things because our parents tell us they are true, and start believing them because we are convinced of them ourselves. You gave me the tools I needed to do that.

I can never repay you for all of this. But you can be proud of who I’ve become. I know what is right and good and true, and I know that it is my duty to fight for those things. Everything you’ve poured into me is the fuel that will allow me to spread light over the darkness of this big, bad world.

Dad, Mom, thank you for everything. Thank you for the worry and schedules and budgeting that went into the opportunities I took for granted. Thank you for sticking to the rules you made even when I pushed back against them. Thank you for the 5-hour Calculus lessons that I didn’t appreciate at the time. Thank you for sheltering me from evil until I was ready to fight it. Thank you for the family writing contests, daily home-cooked meals, weekly hour-long drive to church, and everything else that has made being your daughter a privilege.

Can I make up for seventeen years of not saying “thank you” enough by repeating it over and over again now? Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I love you both so much.


Your daughter

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Starbucks Corrects Its Wrongs In Light Of Recent Racial Bias Issue

All stores in the U.S. will be closed on May 29th to perform racial bias training.

Recently, a video of two African-American men being arrested in their local Starbucks for simply standing and waiting for their friends in the lobby/seating area surfaced on the internet. Since this situation was brought to light, there has been an uproar of public outrage focused on the blatant racial bias these men were faced with. Even Starbucks itself had something to say about it.

For many African-American citizens, this situation is all too common. Being racially profiled is not a thing of the past and more than just these two men have experienced it. The ACLU writes about the experiences of citizens being racially profiled, stating,

"We rely on the police to protect us from harm and promote fairness and justice in our communities. But racial profiling has led countless people to live in fear, casting entire communities as suspect simply because of what they look like, where they come from, or what religion they adhere to."

In light of the recent incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks, many fans expressed outrage in the comments section of this post, but Starbucks responded to almost every viral, angry comment:

However, in the midst all of the outraged comments were fans who appreciated the message that Starbucks was trying to send:

Despite the mixed reviews on Starbucks' course of action, the company is standing strong in their choice to address the issue and correct it.

People come to Starbucks stores to drink coffee, hang out, talk with their friends, and have a good time. It is absurd that these two men were escorted out and arrested for doing just that. I, personally, have done that same thing and have never once been asked to leave.

As a country, we need to think about the way we treat people of color and other minorities. It is a shame that this kind of public outcry had to happen to bring racial profiling to our attention. People are treated unfairly for no reason other than the color of their skin every day.

Way to go, Starbucks.

Thank you for recognizing that this was not an isolated incident and that racial profiling happens all the time. Thank you for taking the time to publicly announce that you are willing to go through the proper training with your employees to ensure that it doesn't happen ever again. But most of all, thank you for making a statement to the rest of the nation and the world about what kind of company you are, what kind of people you represent, and that racial injustice will not be tolerated.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Why Earth Day Is Underrated, And What You Can Do

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” –The Lorax

April 22 may be just another day to most, but with climate change on the rise and wildlife becoming extinct, it’s more important now than ever to recognize Earth Day and understand what it entails. Our society as a whole cannot let this day pass with nothing done. It has to serve as a reminder of the action that must be taken.

Late January of 1969 would come to be a turning point for our nation. At the time, the worst oil spill in history occurred in Santa Barbara, California. Founder of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson was horrified, yet inspired. Soon after, he announced his idea to teach the nation about the environment and built a staff to promote events across the country.

Earth Day brought thousands of colleges and universities together to fight for the cause. It became a sense of unity for everyone. No matter who you were, what race you were, where you came from, Earth Day was able to empower these people and help them realize they all wanted the same thing for the home we share. This kind of behavior is exactly what we need today, and should enable us to see that we’re all on the same side.

By the time 1990 came, Earth Day became a global event. 200 million people were involved to fight for environmental issues.

Today, Earth Day and the environment face many challenges. With those who deny climate change, deforestation, oil lobbyists, fracking, dying animal life, politicians dividing our nation on these issues, and much more, Earth Day astoundingly continues to prevail through the obstacles. With over 190 counties participating in the event each year, and more than 1 billion people, it’s never too late to do your part and contribute to the day.

Here are some basic things that anyone can do to make a change. Every day counts, and anything you do matters.

1. Join a local outdoors cleanup

Rivers, forests, beaches, whatever is near you. Help clean up litter and debris.

2. Carpool

This is probably the simplest thing you and your friends or family can do. If you’re going to the same place, drive together. For every mile you don’t drive- you’re reducing your carbon footprint by 1 pound.

3. Bring reusable bags when you shop

They’re cheap, cute, and save an abundance on plastic.

4. Use a reusable water bottle

Save on wasting plastic bottles every day.

5. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products

Typical cleaning products are high in chemicals and toxicity.

6. Always recycle!

Paper, plastic, cans, anything you can. Every individual thing recycled makes a difference.

7. Use LED lightbulbs

This can reduce your footprint 450 pounds per year.

8. Volunteer at local environmental groups

See if your school has an environmental club, or anything local in your town. See how many people you can get to do it with you and make a day out of it.

9. Donate your clothes and check out thrift stores

Instead of throwing them out, give them to somewhere they will be of use. Also, thrift shopping is inexpensive and you can find some really unexpectedly great items!

10. Don’t wait until Earth Day to do all of these things

Keep up the green behavior year-round.

Do your part, and do what you can today.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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