The Women In White

The Women In White

The Symbolic Meaning of Wearing White During the 2019 State of the Union Address


On February 5, 2019, President Trump delivered the State of the Union Address after its delay due to the partial government shutdown, stirring controversy amongst whether or not to hold the Address on its intended scheduled date, which was January 29th. All conflicts aside, this particular Address was nothing less than encouraging and prideful to witness, as the Democratic women of the House "...put on a stunning display of solidarity" as well as to symbolize the suffrage rights in which were historically fought for women to be represented equally in politics.

There are more female representatives in the House than there has ever been (more than 100), and this mere fact I say with pride and hope that women will continue to be empowered and to rise above, throughout this nation and worldwide. Rather than competing alongside one another, men or women, Democratic or Republican -- I hope for a future where progress will be made through teamwork and cooperation. Though the majority of the House is comprised of mostly Democratic women, having roughly over a dozen Women representing the Republicans, I see this as a stride forward. As we should not divide ourselves by our mere labels, rather, as the faces of women who are taking the steps necessary to create more room and more acknowledgment of women serving in politics.

I particularly pride upon the young Representatives taking initiative within our nation. Politics aside, I view these Representatives as those who desired change so they [became] the change, or the movement for it, thereof. These people can be the young political faces of your city or state; whomever you look up to. We often complain of things we do not like within this political era, but rarely does anyone actually DO something about it beyond sharing a Facebook video. I can not say that I have taken even a quarter of the leaps many of our female representatives have taken today, in terms of gender equalizing politics and fighting for the change they desire. But I look up to the men and women we have that we so often see on the news headlines, taking the initiatives and even risks that many of us can not speak for, to progress our nation's politics and further diversify the platform.

I would like to, in particular, applaud Representative Ocasio-Cortez, whom at the young age of 29 was able to claim a seat in the Primary and be amongst the group of Women, proudly wearing white, during Trump's Address. I would also like to point out that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez stood out, as she wore a pin in solidarity for young Guatemalan girl, Jakelin Caal, who was amongst the illegal migrants in the hands of Border Protection Custody, tragically dying shortly after detainment. The argument of whether or not PBC is at fault for this young girl's life is not relevant to my reasoning for mentioning this story. Rather, an act of sentiment, respect, and empathy that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez brought with her during the Address in which I simply would like to commemorate her for. Though nothing can ever relieve the pain of a family's grieving, it is small moments of remembrance and tribute that can create the public attention necessary to prevent similar tragedies from repeating itself.

I applaud the prideful faces of all the diverse women taking strides within politics today. I would also like to applaud the men who have helped women to rise within politics and increase the platform to be wider and more equal, where men and women can serve alongside one another, regardless of labels. The only label I emphasize here is that of unity, for, without unity, we will fall short.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.


While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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