Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Family Day, 2009


President Obama declared September 28, 2009 Family Day in the United States. In his proclamation, he spoke with inclusive language that I really respect and appreciate. This is one key to making a difference and a climate of equality: inclusive vocabulary.

"Our family provides one of the strongest influences on our lives. American families from every walk of life have taught us time and again that children raised in loving, caring homes have the ability to reject negative behaviors and reach their highest potential. Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things. Today, our children are confronting issues of drug and alcohol use with astonishing regularity. On Family Day, we honor the dedication of parents, commend the achievements of their children, and celebrate the contributions our Nation’s families have made to combat substance abuse among young people.

A strong and engaged family can make all the difference in helping young people make healthy decisions.

By coming together as a family and discussing the events of the day, parents can foster open communication, share joys and concerns, and help guide their children toward healthy decisionmaking."

Dialogue is the most important part of developing strong relationships, becoming strong in your core values and beliefs and working to affect change.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Equality Walk in DC - October 11th

Broadway Impact, a grassroots organization created to rally the theater community to get involved in the fight for gay marriage, has made a lot of waves in the past few months. Now, they’re focused to getting as many people as possible to Washington, D.C. on October 11, 2009 for the National Equality March.

Want to go? Since this is the day before the PFLAG NYC Annual Dinner and my sister will be in town to play, I'm not 100% about whether I'm going or not. If you're interested in going, please contact me.

"Equality now."

Something to think about...

I don't like [or read] email chains or forwards. But since I opened this one from my dad of all people, I decided to give it a chance.

Lessons to make you think about the way we treat people.

Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz.. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

'What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?'

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times.. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last ques tion would count toward our quiz grade.

'Absolutely,' said the professor.. 'In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello.'

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:3 0 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.

Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 60s.. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached..

It read:

'Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the o ther night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away.... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.'

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Always remember those who serve. (my favorite)

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

'How much is an ice cream sundae?' he asked..

'Fifty cents,' replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

'Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?' he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

'Thirty-five cents,' she brusquely replied.

'I'll have the plain ice cream,' he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies...

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

Giving When it Counts...

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, 'Yes I'll do it if it will save her.' As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did,seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, 'Will I start to die right away?'.

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister ALL of his blood in order to save her but he had chosen to save her anyway.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Video Time!

I've accumulated a few videos that I'd like to share ...

I was researching videos for an email I sent out a while ago and came across these couple videos from the Tony Awards Red Carpet this year hosted by Broadway Speaks Out. They were handing out Marriage Equality ribbons for people to attach to their sparkly dresses and expensive black suits. It's just neat to see Audra McDonald talk to her daughter who "remember[s] the conversation about marriage equality the other day" and Barbara Cook who is of a generation that doesn't traditionally accept homosexuality.

And watching people accept the ribbons and tell great personal stories.

And when Kate Shindle has more than a quick conversation, speaking out about gay rights, pageants, the combination (or clash) between the two and whether beauty justifies a voice.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fashion Show!

I have so much to update. For starters, the fun stuff...


I've done 2 fashion shows before, but they were small and not really "high fashion." So how cool to be in New York City, during Fashion week, and walk in a show? This was a show for the launch of the Michael Masoy Agency and Fashion Show Production Company. It was also a benefit for Keep a Child Alive, the AIDS organization. Keep a Child Alive does exactly what it says: it provides the medicine to children and families in Africa to keep them alive. It also helps to protect the 13 million orphans who exist because of the devastating epidemic that is AIDS in Africa.

We arrived at 11 am on the Upper Upper East Side to a man's house that used to be a church before he renovated it. It. was. beautiful. Well kids, I learned why models are so skinny. Common sense, you may think, they just don't eat. From 11:00 am until we left the place at 11:00 pm. No one ate. They just drank Red Bull. awesome. I packed almonds and raisins though - I'm JoJo's daughter. Hair and makeup - jazzy. 3 giant swirls on the top of my head (all my hair! well plus the white tracks), which started with the most awesome side/high pony, ever. I walked for 4 designers and in the 'fantasy' finale. Some wearable...some not so much - but all fun, nonetheless. Inga Schlingmann, Miss Manhattan, was the emcee and experienced fashion show model who first got me into this and then was giving me pointers and encouragement right and left :) Thanks lady!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Sweetheart Post.

First of all, GOOD LUCK to Inga Schlingmann , who is the current Miss New York at National Sweetheart! For those who don't understand how there are 2 Miss New Yorks, it's easy. Miss New York, Alyse Zwick, goes to Miss America. THEN, as a bonus, the first available runner up from the state - ie: Inga, 1st RU to MNY - goes to National Sweetheart where she competes against all (40 this year) of the other state runners up in order to have the experience of meeting girls from all over the country and competing at a national level (without the pressure of Miss America). Basically it is a week of incredible fun, laughter, insight and memories. I went last year and it was amazing.

Segue...last year at Sweetheart, I was so incredibly lucky to meet the people I did. It's just kind of fate that I was moving to New York and happened to be in the carpool consisting of Delaware, New Jersey and DC, right? I talk to these girls often and we are all big time members of each others' fan clubs :) Since Jen won Miss DC this year, I have created her website, blog, autograph cards, business cards etc and it is so fun to be able to support her in that way in her experience as Miss DC and perhaps Miss America!

And then there was Tennessee. Brooke Waddell. Not an east coaster, but one of the most fantastic people I've ever met...ok as you can tell by the entire post I wrote about her. She's the one I went to watch in Miss TN right before Miss NY this year. We both went through the preparation, dedication and disappointment of not winning our states and we were really there for each other through that process, good and bad. Even though Brooke has one more year of eligibility, she's chasing another title instead. Well, not chasing. Brooke's next title won't be Miss Tennessee; it will be Mrs. Pancratz. This chica is engaged, folks, and I'm "gonna be wearin' a bridesmaids' dress." Going to Miss TN was worth more than supporting Brooke, it gave me the opportunity to meet Mark - this amazing man who is head over heels in love with her and will be forever. and vice versa.

See the benefit of this organization? You meet some of your best and closest friends. I know I have, and I never expected to. I remember sitting at a breakfast my first year at a state pageant and a girl (probably teary-eyed) said, "I've met by best bridesmaids in my wedding through MAO," and I think I chuckled inside -- jeeez, it's a paaaageant. Even then I didn't get it. But you fast-forward a year+ from then and I'm standing up in a yellow bridesmaids dress for Kaleena (Dale) McCormick as she wed her husband Eli. And I was there with her just days before she gave birth to their new son, Carson this July. So I'll be there standing next to Brooke as she marries Mark, and I'm sure she won't be the last. (Am I Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses?) I'm clearly no where near marriage, but I know that my bridesmaids will be quite comfortable in 4 inch heels...AND they'll have great makeup :)

Photo by Megelaine

Friday, September 4, 2009

More for sale...

Here's an addition of a new state wardrobe -- Maryland.
Contact Heather at