#SWAAYthenarrative

An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos, From SWAAY

Lifestyle

Very recently, Jeff Bezos asked people to reply to his tweet with their ideas. Just a few hours later there were more than 3,600 such replies. A few days after that, tens of thousands of replies streamed in as numerous as they are varied. From Girl Scouts of America to funding a solution to the Flint, Michigan water crisis to international causes, the requests proliferated like mushrooms in northern Michigan springtime.


Bezos and his family have donated $35 million to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and $15 million to Princeton University, his alma mater. Crowdsourcing philanthropic ideas, especially presented in a single post, might lead to flooding. But at least it's a start. So, without further ado, a friendly letter to our friend Jeff is in order:

I'll respect your valuable time and keep this short and sweet: it's time for you to join us on the Feminist Jet as we fly off to visit four worthwhile causes that could greatly benefit from your fiscal intervention.

1. The first stop is Women on Wings. Founded by Maria van de Heijden and Ellen Tacoma in 2007, this organization connects women with entrepreneurs, who employ them and market their crafts, giving poor women living in India an independent income.

As you already know, as an admirer of India, it's a rapidly expanding economy with a population of 700 million people, who mostly still live on just $2 dollars per day. A quick visit to their website will reveal that they have created 221,000 sustainable jobs for women as well as saved 660,000 children from malnutrition, while additionally enrolling them in school.

2. The second stop, Girls on The Run, is dedicated to empowering girls to become healthy and confident young women. The organization achieves this by using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. They envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. GOTR was founded by Molly Barker and thirteen girls in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1996.

The following year Barker met Dori Luke and together they expanded programming in Charlotte and other communities. What began as one school is now more than 200 strong in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 2015 GOTR served its millionth girl and hosted more than 350 end-of-season 5K events across the United States.

3. Our third stop, Girls Not Brides, is a global partnership of more than 700 civil society organizations from over 90 countries committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential. Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18 – the equivalent of 28 girls every minute, or one girl every two seconds.

The first global study on the economic cost of child marriage shows that this human violation also has a major negative impact on national economies.

The Economic Impacts of Child Marriage research, conducted jointly by The World Bank and The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), shows that the biggest economic impacts of child marriage are related to fertility and population growth, education, earnings and the health of children born to young mothers.

The study highlights that investments in ending child marriage can help countries achieve multiple development goals. It explores the impacts of child marriage in five areas: fertility and population growth, educational attainment and learning, labor force participation, decision-making and investments, and health, nutrition and violence. The research found that child marriage could save the global economy trillions of dollars between now and 2030.

4. Our final stop takes you to the doors of SWAAY Media, a ground-breaking digital publication in Manhattan that harnesses the glamour of today's business-minded woman, and was founded by Ms. New York U.S. 2015, Iman Oubou. Offering an editorial platform for business-minded women, SWAAY serves as an innovative example of what female-focused media should embody: intellect, influence and a powerful visual of femininity.

Iman has also worked as a cancer research scientist and is a board member of 'Mission to Heal,' an NGO based in Washington, D.C. Like yourself, Iman boasts an engineering background and chose to pursue other passions.

Whatever you decide to do with your charitable donations, we appreciate you taking the time to invest in a good cause. The world needs more generous people like you.

Warm Regards,

Your friends at SWAAY Media

6 Min Read
Politics

All My Life I've Had To Fight

I live the pain and stress of being black in America every day: I am a black woman, the mother of a black son, sister to black men, and aunt to my black nephews. I remember what it was like as a young girl to be afraid to go to Howard Beach for fear of being chased out. I know what it's like to walk on Liberty Avenue and be called "nigger" and being so young that I didn't understand what the word meant, I had to ask my mother. I know too well that feeling in the pit of your stomach when a police car pulls up behind you and even though you know you haven't done anything wrong you fear that your life may be in danger from what should be a simple encounter. Like all African Americans, I am tired of this burden.

African Americans have a long history of having to fight for our humanity in America. We have had to fight for freedom, we have had to fight for equality, and we have had to fight for our lives. The fight continues to go on. I have often quoted that line from the character Sophia in Alice Walker's The Color Purple, "All my life I had to fight." When I say this to my white counterparts it can sometimes be uncomfortable because it's clear that they just don't get it. They view it as melodramatic. But it's not. It's part of the black experience, and it is the part of the black experience that black people don't want.

I have often quoted that line from the character Sophia in Alice Walker's The Color Purple, "All my life I had to fight."

While I was out yesterday, passing out PPE and talking to people, a woman asked me, "What is it going to take for this to change?" I told her that I think peaceful protesting is a good start. But it's just the start. We can't elect the same people for the past 20-30 years, some in the same positions, and then talk about how nothing has changed in the past 30 years.

This injustice, inequality, and inequity will not spontaneously disappear. It will take bold, outspoken, and fearless leadership to eradicate the systemic racism in our country. We must address the violence at the hands of a police force paid to serve and protect us. We must address the recurring experience of black people being passed over for a promotion and then being asked to train the white person who was hired. We must address the inequities in contract opportunities available to black businesses who are repeatedly deemed to lack the capacity. We must address the disparity in the quality of education provided to black students. We must address the right to a living wage, health care, and sick pay.

While we like to regard the system as broken, I've come to believe the system is working exactly as it was meant to for the people who are benefiting from it. We need a new system. One that works for all of us. I am running to become the mayor of New York City because I can't assume there's another person who has the courage to do the work that needs to be done to create a fair and just city.

We can't elect the same people for the past 20-30 years, some in the same positions, and then talk about how nothing has changed in the past 30 years.

There are some things we may not be able to change in people, but at this moment I think that whether you are black, white, purple, or yellow we all should be looking internally to see what is one thing that you can do to change this dynamic. Here's where we can start:

If we want change, we need a total reform of police departments throughout this country. That is going to require taking a hard look at our requirements to become a police officer, our disciplinary procedures when civilian complaints are filed, and a review of what and how we police. No one deserves to lose their life based upon the accusation of carrying counterfeit cash. We also need to hold police officers accountable for their actions. While it is their duty to protect and serve they should not be above the law. Even at this very moment, police officers are overstepping their boundaries.

If we want change, we have to build a sense of camaraderie between the police and community. A sense of working together and creating positive experiences. We have to be honest about the fact that we haven't allowed that to happen because we have utilized our police department as a revenue-generating entity. We are more concerned with cops writing tickets than protecting and serving. Even during these moments of protest we are witness to the differences made when the police supported the protesters and stood hand in hand with them or took a knee. It resulted in less violence and more peaceful protest. People felt heard; people felt respected; people felt like they mattered.

While we like to regard the system as broken, I've come to believe the system is working exactly as it was meant to for the people who are benefiting from it. We need a new system.

If we want change, we have to be willing to clean house. And that means that some of you are going to have to step up to the plate and take roles of leadership. In my city alone, there are 35 city council seats that are term-limited in 2021. There are some that aren't termed but maybe their term should be up. Step up to the plate and run. If nothing else it will let our elected officials see that they need to stop being comfortable and do more. We don't need you out in the street taking selfies or reporting the problems to us. We need solutions. We need you in a room implementing policies that will ensure that these things don't continue to happen.

If we want change, we need to support grassroots candidates that are not in corporate pockets, who are not taking PAC money, and who really want to make a difference to their community. We need candidates that know first-hand and can relate to the experiences that many of us are going through.

We are at a pivotal moment. It is inspiring to see people from all races and backgrounds in the streets protesting, standing up for justice, and wanting to see change. We must seize this moment, but we must also be mindful that change requires more.

People often ask me why I decided to run for office? I am running for me. I am running for the little girl that was called nigger on Liberty Avenue. For the woman who has been pulled over for no reason. For my nephew who was consistently stopped during the era of stop and frisk. I am running for your son, your brother, and your nephew. I am running so that the next generation will never have to say, "All my life I had to fight." Because although we won't stop until we see justice and changes that address inequality and inequity effectively, this fight is exhausting.