How a Cal dorm changed my life

Tonight, my closest friend from when I attended UC Berkeley, sent me a friend request on Facebook after searching for her online for years, sometimes what felt like hours at a time. I just about screamed when I saw it and ended up actually crying while sending her my first message. Over the years I have also unsuccessfully searched for others I made friends with from our 7th floor dorm in Freeborn Hall at Unit 1. (I have even sent messages numerous times to people through various social networks with the same names asking if they knew me from Freeborn Hall and all apologized for having to say no, lol).

Decided to search again, now using Facebook, and to my absolute delight found four more. These 10 to 15 friends that I knew for only a year, almost 20 years ago, had forever changed me.

I transferred l in my junior year after Napa Valley College in 1991. I chose not to live in junior transfer housing because I am lazy and there was a freshmen dorm closer to the campus. I chose an all girls floor because I didn’t want to share my bathroom with boys. Both of these decisions ended up being some of the most valuable ones I made regarding college.

Growing up in the very secluded and then mostly white town of Napa, moving to Berkeley, particularly the closeness I gained to so many amazing people from different races and ethnicities, a whole new world opened up to me. Even though I had always had an interest in race issues, diversity, other cultures, countries, etc. my actual experiences consisted of visiting Chinatown in SF a few times. Even though I was 21 and some of these girls hadn’t even turned 18 yet, they seemed so much more mature and obviously more “cultured” than I did.

Instead of scoffing at things like my thinking Asian markets only existed in Chinatown, let alone that most Asians are Chinese, these girls took me under their wing and shared each of their cultures with me. I learned about life being East Indian, Korean, Creole, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Black, and the daughter of a Mexican farm worker. My life has been forever changed because of it and most likely they have no idea of the magnitude their influence had on me. Within weeks I even changed my major from History to Social Science so I could have an “interdisciplinary field studies” major with a concentration in Race/Ethnic Issues in Education. Because of this I not only got to take undergraduate Education courses but also ones from different departments like Ethnic Studies, Mexican American History, Sociology of Race Relations and many other truly, truly amazing classes.

Getting the opportunity to re-connect is so important also because these were really the only “college friends” I had. The majority of us became close living on the 7th floor of Freeborn Hall. My next and only other year at Cal, I spent in an apartment living my first year being married, involved in a fast growing ministry, working at my first real job, being active in social justice causes, and writing my senior thesis. This led to very little time to make new friends at school, let alone grow close to them.

Some of these girls had such a positive experience in our dorm that they decided to do it again for a second year. All reported at the time that it was nothing like ours and that everyone pretty much kept to themselves with their doors closed most of the time. This is a far contrast to us who lived in each other’s rooms. To me, it felt like we lived as one huge family involved with each other’s lives. We even waited for each other to go to the dinning hall for meals each day in one huge group.

I invited my entire dorm floor to my wedding the following summer and many of them came. One even transported and played her harp while my guests were being seated. They all chipped in to buy us an expensive rice maker that we still use today. This was a larger model of the Asian ones they brought from home that I fell in love with.

So, I would like to express deep appreciation to for the friendships we shared and for making my first year at UC Berkeley one of the best ones I’ve had. Like I said, my life has been impacted more than you know. At the time I’m not sure I even knew how much.

Pat Robertson & Rush Limbaugh vs. things like the truth, being moral, and humanity

Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh’s are false; much like the rest of their other propaganda, hateful prejudice and ignorant claims that spew from their lying tongues. Their toxic radio and TV shows can be directly related to suffering and death when considering the amount of money loyal supporters will not be sending.

You can read the real history of Haiti relating to this subject in an article by Jean R. Gelin, Ph.D called God, Satan & the Birth of Haiti (2005). This is part one to his response Robertson and anyone else stupid enough to believe that because you are not the one struck by tragedy, it is God punishing others. Gelin writes about the origins of the Satan pact myth and includes an accurate accounts of Haiti’s history. He cites all sources including some with links for further reading.

No doubt that Pat Roberson’s has influenced millions of sheep-like conservative Christians to feel conflicted contributing monetarily to a nation in need that has just been proclaimed “Satanic” by someone they believe to be ordained by God. It is beyond me how so many Christians have been deceived to buy into right-wing values so fervently that are in direct contradiction of those of Jesus Christ. I realize a large number of politically conservative Christians don’t go as far as supporting extremists like Robertson or other wealthy TV evangelists, but most adopt strong views against tolerance, peace, equality, not caring for others in need with “hand outs”, to name a few. There are over 2000 scriptures in The Bible commanding us to give alms to the poor, financially support widows and orphans, take care of those with less, share your blessings, etc. I haven’t found one of the top issues that the religious right fight for to have close to this many scriptures supporting it, not to mention such clear language as to the intended meaning.
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
1st Corinthians 13:13

Rush Limbaugh came out against the relief effort stating Obama has given enough (and that his only motive was a political play to gain favor with the “light-skinned and dark-skinned black [communities] in this country.” Most likely comforting to those who were never going to contribute to a humanitarian cause anyway (certainly not one that has to do with saving poor, non-white, people who aren’t American citizens), but I don’t believe that all his listeners are as hateful as he is and think that many would have supported and/or donated that may not now. At least he doesn’t herald he speaks for God.

Alright he does. Well… at least not in the same way as Pat Robertson does; from the pulpit of Christian Chruch praying to Jesus in between his evil rants and while scamming for cash.

Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking in the Mainstream Media

After years of feeling extreme frustration with mainsteam media ignoring what I consider the world’s most atrocious issue I can’t describe the joy and relief I’m going through now that I see stories, legislation, or activism being covered. Obviously this is only the beginning but at least people are being made aware that slavery still exists.