What We Really Think About Jobs, The Economy, And Politics

To those who care about the United States,

Much has been said lately about how college students and recent graduates won’t stand for Obama to be reelected because the economy has not improved and job prospects are bleak. Instead of finding our dream jobs, we are moving back into our parents’ homes. While some of that may be true, here is another truth: we are smarter than you think – and we realize that Obama is not solely responsible for the economy.

I am employed and I am enjoying my job. Is it my dream job? Maybe, maybe not: but it is certainly putting me on the right path, whatever that is. Many of my friends who graduated in the past two years are employed across the country in just about every industry. And many other friends are still looking for jobs. Some had jobs, but left to look for other work or get another degree – because we aren’t here to settle.

Maybe it’s a generational thing, but we don’t want just any old job. We want to be happy and feel like we are contributing something to society. Many of us are willing to remain unemployed longer if it gives us the chance to end up where we want to be. Sure it sucks, and we wish the economy was better, but we also know that we have a lot to offer and we know that our turn will come.

Conversation about the economy has been hijacked to become a referendum on President Obama. Some say that Obama must not be reelected so anything he tries to do must be stopped. Therefore, any efforts Obama attempts to improve the economy are doomed to failure, or at least limited success. It is Congress and the states that prevent improvements to the economy when they refuse to participate in Obama’s plans if said plans could help Obama in the election. This isn’t solely Obama’s fault. It is those who refuse to work together. And this is not a pro-Democrat or anti-Republican analysis. It is the facts. Research them. We did and we will continue to do so.

Our generation is not content to sit back and be told what to think and who to blame. We have too much information at our fingertips. We will use it. And we want to pursue more and more opportunities. We believe in our future and in the future of the United States of America. What we do not believe in is the partisan attacks that prevent useful governance and which prevent our country from actually solving its problems. We demand that politicians work together, compromise, and understand that they are here to do something. Represent us – the future. We have voted and we will vote for or against you because this is how the economy affects us.

Sincerely,

College students and recent graduates

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‘Til The Morning We Dream So Long

I have a new song stuck in my head.  And I like it a lot – but, more on that later.  I’m about to begin week four (of ten) of Spring Quarter.  I knew this quarter was going to fly by, but wow!  I have no idea where the time is going!  I feel like it should be week one still – my classes still seem to be starting up and wham!  The work hits.  I am researching for several projects right now, doing a case competition, planning an awesome Diversity Summit, looking/interviewing for jobs, and trying to make the most of my time here with my Denver friends.

Yesterday was interesting.  I had conversation throughout the day that made me want to go back home post-graduation to rejoin friends and family there.  Then I attended Shabbat 200, the University of Denver’s largest Jewish event.  Chabad plans it every year and we had a great turnout.  I spent time with great people (Jewish and not Jewish) at the event and afterward that caused me to reexamine my convictions from earlier in the day.  I know these major decisions should not be based on chance encounters or single events, but I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people wherever I have lived.

No decisions yet.  Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to make some decisions on my post-graduation future very soon.  I am ready to end the uncertainty.  Regardless of what happens, I know that I will have to work hard to maintain relationships.  But they are relationships worth maintaining and that really is the point.

Lupe Fiasco has an incredibly catchy song right now: “The Show Goes On.”  It’s a great song and actually has a pretty good message.  It is also rather relevant in that it causes one to evaluate the reasons why we act the way we do.  It is definitely worth checking out (note that the language in the video and lyrics below is explicit):

LA-SER

Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!
Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

[Lupe Fiasco Verse 1]
Have you ever had the feeling that you was being had
Don’t that sh-t make you mad
They treat you like a slave, with chains all on your soul,
And put whips up on your back,
They be lying through they teeth
Hope you slip up off your path
I don’t switch up I just laugh
Put my kicks up on they desk
Unaffected by they threats than get busy on they ass
See that’s how that Chi-Town made me
That’s how my daddy raised me
That glittering may not be gold, don’t let no body play me
If you are my homeboy, you never have to pay me
Go on and put your hands up, when times are hard you stand up
L-U-P the man, cause a brand that the fans trust
So even if they ban us they’ll never slow my plans up!

Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!
Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

[Lupe Fiasco Verse 2]
One in the air for the people that ain’t here
Two in the air for the father that’s there
Three in the air for the kids in the ghetto
Four for the kids who don’t wanna be there

None for the n-ggas trying to hold them back
Five in the air for the teacher not scared to tell those kids thats living in the ghetto that the n-ggas holdin back that the World is theirs!
Yeah yeah, the World is yours, I was once that little boy
Terrified of the World
Now I’m on a World tour
I will give up everything, even start a world war
For these ghettos girls and boys im rapping round’ the World for!
Africa to New York, Haiti then I detour, Oakland out to Auckland
Gaza Strip to Detroit, say hip-hop only destroy
Tell em’ look at me, boy!
I hope your son don’t have a gun and that would be a D-boy

Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!
Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

[Lupe Fiasco Verse 3]
So no matter what you been through
No matter what you into
No matter what you see when you look outside your window
Brown grass or green grass
Picket fence or barbed wire
Never ever put them down
You just lift your arms higher
Raise em till’ your arms tired
Let em’ know you’re their
That you struggling and survivin’ that you gonna persevere
Yeah, ain’t no body leavin, no body goin’ home
Even if they turn the lights out the show is goin’ on!

Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!
Alright, already the show goes on
Alright, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

Spring Quarter – My Last at DU

It is Spring Quarter and there seems to be excitement in the air.  I can’t really put my finger on it, but there is certainly something different, something exciting about this quarter.  People are generally in a good mood and seem to smile more.  I like that.

My classes this quarter will be a lot of work and each of them involves at least one group project.  I am taking the following classes: Creating Sustainable Enterprises, Strategic Human Resource Management, Competitive Marketing Strategies, and Enterprise Solutions.  I like my professors so far and the content seems like it will be interesting and relevant to me post-graduation.  Enterprise Solutions is a capstone class that is meant to bring together concepts from the entire MBA program and function more as a consulting engagement.  My group will be working with Denver Health.

Working at the Center for Multicultural Excellence this quarter will focus mostly on the 10th Annual Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence.  We should have a great program and I am extremely excited about the potential the Summit has.  I will also be doing some wrap-up and evaluation of the Diversity & Unity Retreat and Voices of Discovery, while beginning planning for next year’s Diversity & Unity Retreat.  Of course, there will be our quarterly Dinner and a Movie and work with Joint Council.  Importantly, we will need to be developing some sort of transition/succession plan for after I leave CME.

I am participating in the Daniels College of Business’s Inclusive Excellence Case Competition this quarter with a great team.  We will be working with MolsonCoors to solve a real diversity/inclusion program that their enterprise needs to address.

A big part of the next 10ish weeks will be my job search.  I am constantly looking up companies and jobs and applying for opportunities.  I hope to have something lined up soon.  My goal is to have a job well before the end of the quarter, while making sure that it is a great fit for me and the company.  I am hoping for something that provides continued growth and long-term opportunity.

Then there are the other groups of which I am a part and to which I will continue to contribute.

In the midst of all of this, I hope to make the most of the end of my college experience.  It has been an amazing five years, better than anything I could have ever imagined.  I want to cherish each moment, each experience, every person, all of my friends and make the most of the short time I have remaining.

Here’s to the end of college and setting ourselves up for a successful future!

Quote #22 – Friendship

I realized that I have not posted any quotes on here recently, so here goes:

“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.”

– G. Randolf

I find this quote to be incredibly relevant to my life right now as I finish college and look to a future job and living location.  I have been reconnecting with old friends and making new friends, some of whom I most certainly hope to keep well into the future.  This complicates my life decision regarding living location/job but I have to trust that my memories will always remain and the relationships will continue to be built, regardless of geographic proximity.

DU’s and Denver’s Reaction to Recent Suicides

The recent string of suicides of young gay males has not gone unnoticed at the University of Denver or in the Denver community.  Today, Thomas Walker, Associate Director of the Center for Multicultural Excellence and LGBTIQA and Social Justice Initiatives Coordinator was interviewed by 9news, Denver’s NBC affiliate.

Check out Thomas’ video and the associated story:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

DENVER – The recent suicides of five gay teens has brought national attention to the issue of harassment and bullying of gay students on many campuses.

An estimated one-third of all suicides among younger populations involve people in the gay community.

“We are seeing shocking numbers of suicides and suicidal thoughts,” says Hope Wisneski, Denver Executive Director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Organization.

Just in the last month, 5 young men, as young as 13 years old, have taken their own lives.

The most recent was 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University Student.

Prosecutors say his roommate and another student streamed live images of Clementi having intimate relations with another man. Clementi jumped off a bridge three days later.

“I felt bad that he thought that was his only option,” says Dr. Thomas Walker, Associate Director of GLBT Services at the University of Denver.

But, he says, these numbers are nothing new.

“Unfortunately, students, young people, even older folks, hurting themselves or taking their own lives is something that happens more often than we’d like for it to,” says Walker.

“We know in Colorado that we have recently surveyed 300 participants, 40 percent of which said they have seriously considered suicide,” says Wisneski.

Wisneski also says that 70 percent of teenagers have reported feeling unsafe at school.

“There are resources that are available. If you’re struggling, it can get better. It can be better,” says Walker. “Here on our own campus I have a number of people contact me asking how they can help and what they can do to help people who are hurting,” says Walker.

“People are starting to realize and really honor and acknowledge how hard the world can be for some people and how hard our society makes it for people to be who they are. And when we learn about the lack of acceptance out there and learn about people being bullied to the point they take their own lives, I hope that it allows people to take a second and stand back and really understand how much it impacts us,” says Wisneski.

For those seeking more information or help, visit http://www.glbtcolorado.org, or contact the Colorado Anti-Violence Program at 303-852-5094.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

As well, the University of Denver sent the following email out to the DU community today:

To the DU Community:

As has been reported in the national and local press, there have a spate of youth suicides in the past few weeks by people targeted with specific or ongoing anti-LGBT bullying and harassment.  A just released national survey report in which DU students, staff and faculty participated (www.campuspride.org) sadly documents that the exclusion, intimidation, and devaluation of LGBTIQ classmates and colleagues is not occasional or uncommon at campuses across the United States.

The University of Denver is fully committed to an active engagement of all of our community members. Our diversity of perspectives, experiences, and identities is not just tolerated at DU, it is celebrated as creating the intellectual vibrancy that is fundamental to the University’s mission (see www.du.edu/chancellor/diversityStatement.html). There is no place at DU for words or actions that disrespect, discriminate, harass, or otherwise diminish or endanger others. We therefore call on our entire campus community – DU students, faculty, staff, and administrators – to refrain from behavior that excludes or intimidates others whatever their identities, and to intervene to prevent such behavior if it threatens to occur.

We do have resources at the University that are available for you or someone you know who needs support in the face of recent events, and we encourage you to use them. They include:

•    The Center for Multicultural Excellence (CME) supports broad equity and LGBTIQ & Ally specific programs and campus organizations, including Queer & Ally (Q&A) trainings. Multicultural Center (Asbury & University), (303)871-4614; www.du.edu/lgbtiqa.

•    DU’s Health & Counseling Center offers group and one-on-one counseling to address specific issues and/or improve the overall academic experience. Ritchie Center 3rd Fl North, (303)871-3853; www.du.edu/duhealth/counseling.

•    GVESS provides prevention and response training and resources for those affected by interpersonal violence, including sexual assault. Nelson Hall 103, (303)871-2220,www.du.edu/studentlife/Sexual_Assault.

•    The Office of the Chaplain is available to the entire DU community regardless of faith affiliation, or no affiliation at all. Driscoll South 29, (303)871-4488;www.du.edu/studentlife/religiouslife.

•    Campus Safety partners with campus constituents to prevent and respond to situations that put the campus community at risk.  In emergencies, dial 911 and then (303)841-3000. General inquiries (303)871-2334; www.du.edu/campussafety.

As the new academic year continues, we invite you to take advantage of these resources and the wide array of campus programs and activities to learn about the rich diversity of our University of Denver community.

Sincerely,

Robert Coombe    Gregg Kvistad

Chancellor            Provost

Hopefully, the situation for everyone will improve – we can all strive to be more understanding, welcoming, accepting, inclusive.

Suicide As A Result of Bullying and Intolerance

Sometimes things happen that are unacceptable.  There has been a string of suicides lately among young gay men.  What is unacceptable is not so much that they killed themselves (note: I am not saying that I support suicide), but rather that they were forced into a situation where the only way they thought they could get out was through suicide.  What is unacceptable is that intolerance and a refusal to understand and to accept creates this kind of situation.

There has been a series of suicides this past month – and their ages are quite simply too young.  No one should be treated this way – ever, for any reason.  That is especially true among 13 year olds, middle school students, high school students, freshmen in college:

Billy Lucas, 15, hung himself after being made fun of by classmates.
Asher Brown, 13, shot himself in the head after being bullied by classmates
Seth Walsh, 13, hung himself because of gay taunts
Tyler Clementi, 18, jumped off a bridge after college roommates posted a video online taken secretly of him in a sexual act

Whether or not you are gay, are an ally, an advocate, or think being gay is “okay”, you have to admit that each of these situations is horrible and that something needs to be changed.

Yet people still do not want to take responsibility.  The Dallas school district involved in Asher Brown’s suicide blames his home life.  Unacceptable.  While it is possible for his situation at home to contribute to his feelings, the situation at school was certainly inextricably involved.

There is a basic human instinct that requires one say “Why is this happening?”  “What can we do to make people feel safe?”  “How are we raising our kids?”  “What allows our children to treat others this way?”  “What kind of examples are we setting?”  We need to make this type of behavior unacceptable – because no one should be treated this way and no one should feel that killing one’s self is the only way out.

People ask “What else was going on that made him want to kill himself?”  As I read in one commentary this week, would you ask they same thing if someone were killed by a drunk driver or by a bullet from a gun?  No.  Yet, it seems not to be enough that these people killed themselves because of intolerance and the way they were treated.  And this double standard is exactly the point, isn’t it?

Ellen Degeneres had a short monologue recently about this “epidemic”.  Listen to what she says.  Ellen sums up the way I feel and the way I hope so many more people feel:

I feel for those who are in similar situations and the families of Billy, Asher, Seth, and Tyler.  I hope we can all change the way we treat each other.

As Our Lives Change, Come Whatever, We Will Still Be Friends Forever

Graduation is coming up.  For DU, it is Saturday, June 5, 2010.  Because of the Dual Degree program I am in, I am not technically graduating (I’ll stay an undergraduate for the fifth year).  I am walking with my class though.  As the University of Denver Class of 2010 graduates, I will be forced to say goodbye to some of my closest friends and some of the best people I have met in my life.  I certainly hope that some of these people will still be in Denver with me for at least the next year, but whatever happens, things will change.  I can only hope that we will be friends forever.

I have been trying not to think about any of this because it makes me sad.  I watched How I Met Your Mother tonight though, and the whole “Robots versus Wrestlers” episode was basically about friendship, friend groups, and how things change and people move apart.  It made me start thinking again.

Ted shared a poem titled “Friendship” by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

A ruddy drop of manly blood
The surging sea outweighs,
The world uncertain comes and goes,
The lover rooted stays.
I fancied he was fled,
And, after many a year,
Glowed unexhausted kindliness
Like daily sunrise there.
My careful heart was free again, —
O friend, my bosom said,
Through thee alone the sky is arched,
Through thee the rose is red,
All things through thee take nobler form,
And look beyond the earth,
And is the mill-round of our fate
A sun-path in thy worth.
Me too thy nobleness has taught
To master my despair;
The fountains of my hidden life
Are through thy friendship fair.

He concluded by narrating to his future kids as follows:

Kids, I’d love to tell you that over the years we didn’t all drift apart a little at one time or another.  We don’t mean for it to happen.  But it does.  But no matter what, to this day, come hell or high water, we still all get together every year for Robots Versus Wrestlers.”

While he ends on a light note, the purpose of his quote is not missed.  Even if we do move apart, we can still come back together, be with each other, be there for each other, and celebrate each other just as we always have. 🙂

One graduation song always touches my heart – Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C.  While the song is really about high school, it could also be true to college.  This song always makes me want to cry.

To my good friends: I truly hope that we really will be friends forever!  You mean so much to me!