Why I Don’t Wear my Badge : Micro Lessons on Empathy

I am on sabbatical and had to come into a county building to turn in timesheets.
I had 2 choices, pop on my Badge and breeze past security or keep it in the bag and wait.

I chose to wait.

It is so easy to work in a service position and be angry that appointments came late. it is easy to toss away the resentment and impatience of customers who have been waiting in a line I bypassed and then they had to sit in a room I crossed and escaped from.

I chose to wait and sit .


Dot Head … Freedom of Hate Speech 

There has been a change in our culture within the last week. Has there been a change in your behavior ?

wp-1479185700669.pngA proposed change in-country leadership has put a man who has used words and phrases that alienates pacific groups of people. A man who is followed and celebrated by the white power in Klu Klux Klan and older white gentleman is posed to accept the presidency in the beginning of next year.

Leaders lead. Followers follow.
What I love about the country of the United States of America is that our Preamble says we the people.

We are the people. This is our government and it is made out of us and it is for us. All of us.

It is up to each of us to accept a role and lead one another in a path of decency no matter who hold official positions of power. Your president will set the country’s business agenda and will be in charge of writing how we interact with

Your president cannot dictate what is decent or socially acceptable. You decide the words that come out of your fingertips and tongue: the president does not.


So before you say something which marginalizes you in the history books as somebody who uses hate speech or disparages entire groups of people based on their religious and cultural habits or the color of their skin or the type of employment in which they have or where they live or where they are from or what they’re fleeing or what language they speak or what is in their underwear or what they wish was in there underwear or what is in their heart or where they pray and even if they pray, give a good thought to how you sound. Are you the president of your soul? Are you exercising good judicial and executive judgement?


Be a Safety Pin

Hopefully you were told to “be kind” when you were growing up.

Hopefully you were told to “do unto others as you wanted them to do to you“.

Hopefully were told to be loving and tolerant and accepting of others.

But maybe you weren’t, and maybe you are a special snowflake who needed to be first and needed to think that you are better than everyone else. Maybe you just accidentally discovered that things were easier for you than they were for everyone. Maybe you are entitled to the best of everything and to have strangers smile for you and move so that you have a place to sit on the bus.

Maybe you never thought that racism was a real thing because it never impacted you, no matter what color your skin was. Maybe you think you’re  color-blind because you never noticed that your friends came from other cultures or ethnicities or colors.

None of that excuses you from recognizing the fact the not everyone is treated as equals in a country where our Constitution says ” all men are created” equals….(unless you were a black man because then you were 3/4th of a person and women were still property….).

Life is not fair but you should be. You should be fair.

I have read the Torah and The Quran  and The Holy Bible and studied Hinduism. Each of these Professor basic belief and leading by serving and kindness. Each of these believe power of inner goodness and Enlightenment.

I have noticed that we are not always kind to one another. I have noticed that I am not always kind. I get mad and I name call. I get into swearing contest where I always win. I am super extra really very good at being a b****. If being an awful person or an Olympic sport, I would metal internationally.

But right now I want to tell you about being fair and being kind and healing rooms. I want to talk to you about taking the torn pieces of our country and putting it back together. I want to talk to you about safety.

Be a safety pin.

Perhaps you really think that your skin color makes you better than somebody else. Okay, I get that. Hopefully you will not go out into the world and say that out loud because that will make you sound incredibly stupid and aweful.

Perhaps you believe in the depths of your soul that your religious standing is proof that God loves you more than he loves anyone else and you are the best person on the face of the Earth and already pre-selected to go into heaven and pass judgement on other people. Fabulous! That’s wonderful! Good for you! Keep that information to yourself, it does not sound good. It makes you sound elitist, stuck up, and just a little bit very much crazy.

Maybe you are attracted to somebody that the world says you can’t be in love with. Perhaps this gives you a deep burning pain. Do not go into the world and pass judgement on anybody else you suspect has the same feelings. Please worry only about yourself and learning to accept and love yourself without interfering with anybody else’s acceptance of themselves.

Love yourself like mad. Appreciate and know your value. Let others convert to believing you are terrific without screaming this good news in their faces.

Don’t write your self praise on buildings. resist the urge to spray paint your opinions of others on walls and cars or churches . 

Be a safety pin

  • Refuse to let anyone else be hateful in your hearing or sight .  
  • Defend anyone being picked on. 
  • Protest oppression 
  • Teach your children to be fair
  • Take a hard look at who you spend time with and how you behave as a group
  • Smile at strangers
  • Do small and large acts of kindness as many years times a day as you can
  • Ask yourself “what is true for me in this moment” before you act poorly
  • Give others room and permission to be their true selves
  • Listen to the voices of dissenters and try to understand

Be a Safety Pin 

   or at the very least, don’t be a sucky person.


What is it really like to walk into the DPSS in Van Nuys

Sometimes I come in wearing a badge. today I am here as a member of the public seeking aid.

  1. Going  through security I had too much in my pockets…. ( “I am here until 5”, said the guard with a smile.)
  2. I’m in line to talk to the kiosk worker. Without  looking up she sends me to reception.

  3. stand  in reception line and am told that I missed my appointment so my case was denied 2 days ago and they won’t use the same application to reopen the case because “it was never approved” . I do not correct the  worker and she gives me a new printer view worksheet.

  4. I fight and lose my battle with their pen.

The first pen is literally “sketchy “

5. 10 minutes later a security guard hands me the wallet I left by the broken pen

  1. I wait and wait ….. and wait. I have been here for an hour and have not seen an application yet.
  • I try their pens again.

  • Broke with a broken pen

    Broken pen, maybe they don’t want me to apply.

    1. I discover the seating is too low and has no armrests. If I sit I might be trapped.
  • I am regretting that the online application does not work well and I have to be in LA at 1pm. 

  • my face is breaking out in hives from nerves.

  • I notice the calls of “next” and watch the  flow of clients through the lobby. nour one is yelling, everyone is pleasant , everything is slow but survivable . 

  • To be continued …

    Lobby art of DPSS Zev Yaroslavsky building

    Slavery is Keeping Me Awake

    t is 2 am and I am awake. Every semester I have ever done in college has been focused on a theme – sometimes related to course work and sometimes on my own for fun. .

    At CSULB I: learned to draw faces, read about the history of abortions and women’s health, learned to use industrial kitchen equipment .At Citrus I explored adaptive technologies, the history of rock and roll, and bowling (I am terrible still).
    At La Verne I studied cults, Russian and French Literature, and Urban Decay with a final thesis done on the “Definition of Sex”.

    At USC I have mastered the Los Angeles Freeways, and dug into homelessness among Vets.

    Please explain why I decided that this semester I picked Human Trafficking – every paper is on human trafficking and it is noxious, nasty and unnerving.

    Actually – I can tell you that I had just finished a bit of pulp fiction on the subject when I had to pick a research topic.

    I am so sorry
    I can’t sleep

    What just happened?

    Dear Stuart of Best Buy store 1511 in Pacoima,

    I was just in your store. I had to ask for a manager three separate times. I was verbally assaulted by a customer in the presence of two different sales people and they did not stop the interaction even though I asked the other customer to walk away.

    The blind salesman at the end of this photo yelled at me from across the store and interjected himself in my conversation with the sales person I was working with at the front of the picture. I went into your store to pay bill and to buy a full-priced smartphone from Verizon. I explain this to the salesperson once I found one who would help me. I stood in line at customer service and the people behind me were served while I was ignored until I attracted the attention of a manager by loudly complaining.

    I explained it all I needed to do was buy a new phone. Your sales person did not listen to my needs and was not following my lead. He wanted to look into my account and check out my upgrade date and upgrade status and he was concerned about my termination fees and none of that apply to me. I maintain that I simply needed to buy a phone and could he help me pick out a phone. He then charge Carlos and started asking Carlos questions about my account instead of walking me over to the phones and helping me pick one out.

    I went to the customer service desk by the exit and ask to speak to a new manager and explain what was going on and walked her through my experience where then a customer came up and started yelling at me and my five year old daughter and the customer service people in your store did nothing I stood there between two blue shirt at Best Buy employees while this man verbally accosted me and your store employees did nothing to stop it.

    They should have called the police. I was being harassed but a customer in your store in their presence and all they said was that they can only control the employee’s behavior that they did not want to lose a customer by asking him to stop his aggressive behavior.

    I expect you to call me. 626-755-8015. I expect an answer. I will be filing a police report and I will be complaining with corporate. This is not acceptable. Every time I come into your store this service is worse.

    They told me that when you took over the store you would correct the situation. I have not seen any evidence that your salespeople address customers as they walk around the store and have them help and today I did not see any evidence that your sales people are very good at their jobs.

    Please tell me why I should patronize Best Buy.



    50% of Homeless Women have Experienced Sexual Violence

    The #Trumptapes have made sexual assault a topic of conversation again. Donald Trump said he likes to grab pussies. FYI, “Pussy” is a synonym for vagina. Grabbing one without permission is violating someone. He said women let hem do anything to their bodies because he is a celebrity.

    That logic translates often to housed people thinking that homeless people should be so thankful for being noticed that they will hand over dignity. Homeless people are expected to be thankful for being put on YouTube accepting shoes off the feet of donors who have strategically placed a camera to capture the interaction. Craigslist has ads offering free housing to beautiful homeless women in exchange for being a sexual “resource” – in other words turning themselves into a sex slave for housing.

    The idea that access to the sexual features of a woman can always be trans actual ( for the fame or housing) demeans women and reduces them to a commodity.

    How do you feel about that?