Hello, .blog!

I’m excited that my website has a new url (look up there ^): lori.blog. There’s a nice symmetry to that: four letters dot four letters.

If you want your own .blog domain: get them while they’re hot. You can go to get.blog (Automattic’s registrar), or any of the 100s of other registrars that are selling the domain.

Highlights of a Day in NY

  • My flight arriving on time
  • Early check-in at the hotel
  • A beautiful sunny day in the 50s (in December!), perfect for walking around the city
  • A delicious NY diner breakfast of French Toast, eggs, bacon and sausage
  • Walking along the waterfront and seeing the Statue of Liberty in the distance
  • Hanging out with the Charging Bull on Wall Street, wreath around its neck
  • Honoring the memories of friends who died in the attacks of 9/11
  • Watching skaters at Rockefeller Center

And then…..

Visiting the New York Stock Exchange! I’m on the Board of Directors of Girls in Tech, and in honor of our 10th anniversary, we had been invited to ring the closing bell of the NYSE. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and the few expectations I did have were blown away. The folks at the NYSE were so incredibly gracious and welcoming. They shared the history of the stock exchange, took us on a tour of the building, and encouraged us to enjoy ourselves during the closing bell ceremony. I was shocked that anyone would need encouragement. We were on the floor (and then overlooking it) of the New York Stock Exchange! I was struck by how quiet it was. My impressions of the NYSE are mostly from movies in the 80s, where people yelled as trades were made. The floor had a calm air to it and people were friendly as we walked by. On the podium, we could see the floor in its entirety. We watched, expectantly, as the large digital clock counted to 3:59:45, the signal to ring the closing bell. We clapped and woo hoo-ed and high-fived as the bell was rung. It was a celebration – the end of yet another successful day.

 

Feeling Blue

I’m in Iceland on a work trip with my team. I fell asleep last night with Hillary Clinton predicted to win the election. Our first female president. Possibly the most qualified candidate that has ever run for the office of the president, objectively looking at years in public service and positions held.

I woke this morning to text messages and notifications, all saying that Donald Trump was the President-elect of the United States. Still sleepy, I struggled to comprehend what I was reading. Really? I read more. Really.

I’ve worked on/donated to political campaigns since I was a young woman. I had a shotgun pulled on me as I canvassed for Harvey Gantt when he ran against Jesse Helms in the NC Senate election (and lost). I had folks hang up on me when I called them from a rented storefront in San Francisco in 1992, encouraging them to vote for Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (they won). I had bruises and paper cuts on my arms from passing out signs (so many signs) at the DNC in 2004, hoping that John Kerry would win the election (he didn’t).

I’ve never cried after the results of an election were announced. Until today. Many times. I am sad. And I am despondent.

I believe in the democratic process. I feel so privileged to live in a country where I can vote. I have not missed voting in any election (federal, state, local) since I turned 18 and was eligible to vote. I research the issues, make notes, and vote. I get butterflies in my stomach when I cast my vote. I’m being heard.

And that’s what makes me so sad. That we have stripped the right to vote from so many people in the United States. That their voices are not heard. That only 55% of people eligible to vote actually voted in this election. That almost half of America’s voices were not heard in this election. That approximately half of those 55% of voters who made it to the polls voted for a candidate that has disparaged various groups of people in our country and promised to take away undeniable rights. African Americans. Transgender individuals. Homosexuals. Women. Muslims. Immigrants. This is where the political is personal. I love individuals in each of those groups. These are the people that are my friends, my neighbors, my colleagues. I am despondent because I am fearful of what the future holds. I am despondent that there is so much hate in our country. I am despondent because that hate is what is being heard.

I have not given up hope. I’ll work on campaigns again. I’ll speak out and donate and call and canvas and lobby. Just not yet. It’s too painful. Right now, I’m grieving. Not just for Clinton’s loss, but for what our country has become.

The Way to Papakōlea

The website said “you need to hike 2.5 miles (one way) from the parking lot to the beach.” That sounded like the perfect afternoon to me. I walked across the parking lot and a Hawai’ian woman in faded capris and an ill-fitting tank top, sweat causing strands of her long dark hair to stick to her face in clumps, said, “Wanna shuttle ride to the beach?” I smiled and said, “No, thanks.” She persisted, “It’s 3 miles. Each way. Over an hour walk.” Music to my ears, I smiled and said, “Thanks, I’ll walk.” I had my day pack, filled with plenty of water, snacks, and a jacket (so not needed in the heat of the afternoon but I’m from San Francisco and old habits die hard).

I walked towards the water, then along the coast. There wasn’t a path per say, just various road-ish ways where vehicles had driven over the years.

Paths to the green sand beach

I wondered if all the roads led to the beach. They sort of kind of looked like it. But they also looked like they could diverge and I had no idea which one led to where I wanted to be. I also wondered why I didn’t see any other walkers. I made my way to the coastline so that I could be closer to the ocean. The sound of the waves and the mist of salt spray calmed my soul. I sat on the lava and ate an apple, letting the sound and spray wash over me.

 

As I continued to walk, a pickup truck or two occasionally passed. Each time, the driver leaned out the window, waved, and said, “You need a ride?” I’d smile and say, “No, I’m good” and he’d say, “You sure?” I’d nod and wave as he drove off, a few people bouncing along in the back of the pickup. Red dust rose and I waited until it settled, somewhat, to continue walking. I came over a crest and saw a bevy of pickups parked atop a cliff. There it was, Papakōlea, the green sand beach, tucked away at the bottom of a cliff. I sat at the top of the cliff, relishing the cool wind blowing from the water. I sat, and thought, and sat, and watched, and sat, and was happy.

Panorama

100 Looks Great on You!

Happy Birthday, National Park Service! I hope I look as good as you do when I reach 100! To celebrate your big day, I spent the afternoon wandering through Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. There were very few visitors there, and I loved walking the ancient pathways and listening to the waves lap against the shore, taking in the peaceful atmosphere. As I stood staring at the sea, I witnessed a sea turtle resting. I watched as it breathed in, raising its head ever so slightly, then watched as it sort of harrumphed, dropping its head onto the sand and spitting a dribbly stream of water. I walked over hardened lava, and felt the heat, from today, from years, from centuries, rise.

On the Pacific Surfliner

It’s a perfect, foggy, mystical morning for a train ride down the coast of California. I feel at peace on trains. The methodical, rhythmic cadence of the car. The pace, staring out the window, seeing a new landscape every few seconds. And on this trip, the ocean. The tracks hug the cliffs dropping to the expansive ocean, blues and grey for as far as the eye can see. This morning, the chill, mysterious fog envelops the coast. Maybe it’s because I’m not naturally a morning person (I like to sleep), but when I’m up in the morning, I’m experiencing a secret world. I’m intrigued by the silence, the quiet, the peacefulness.

Morning train ride

Morning train ride

From the “Buts” to the “Ands”

I hear people say “Black Lives Matter, but…”

  • all lives matter, too.
  • they must have been doing something suspicious if the police pulled a gun on them.
  • they were armed as well (I think).

And I want the conversation to turn from the buts to the ands, saying, “Yes. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter and Philando Castile died too young and Alton Sterling died too young and Delrawn Small died too young and Jai Williams died too young and Kawme Patrick died too young and Tyrone Reado died too young and Lafayette Evans died too young and Sherman Evans died too young and Germichael Kennedy died too young and Donte Johnson died too young and Ismael Miranda died too young and Jay Anderson died too young and Deravis Rogers died too young and Angelo Brown died too young and Quencezola Splunge died too young and Isaiah Core III died too young and Antonio Richardson died too young and Rashaun Lloyd died too young and Clarence Howard died too young and Antwun Shumpert died too young and Michael Moore died too young and John Williams died too young and Lyndarius Witherspoon died too young and Keith Bursey died too young and  John Brisco died too young and Willis Walker Jr died too young and Henry Green died too young and Demarco Rhymes died too young and Willie “Meek” James died too young and Rodney Smith died too young and Michael Johnson died too young and Osee Calix died too young and Ollie Brooks died too young and Devonte Gates died too young and Terry Frost died too young and Doll Pierre-Louis died too young and Vernell Bing Jr died too young and Michael Wilson Jr died too young and Joshua Beebee died too young and Kentrill Carraway died too young and Jessica Williams died too young and Jabril Robinson died too young and Arthur DaRosa died too young and Jaffort Smith died too young and Arthur Williams Jr died too young and Michael Gibson died too young and Alton Witchard died too young and Deresha Armstrong died too young and Burt Johnson died too young and Reginald Dogan died too young and Charlin Charles died too young and Ashtian Barnes died too young and Joshua Brooks died too young and Willie Tillman died too young and Demarcus Semer died too young and Jorevis Scruggs died too young and Rico Johnson died too young and Demetrius Dorsey died too young and Richard Bard Jr died too young and Kisha Arrone died too young and George Tillman died too young and Edson Thevenin died too young and Robert Howard died too young and Rodney Watts died too young and Pierre Leury died too young and Quron Williams died too young and Diahlo Grant died too young and Lamont Gulley died too young and Dazion “Jerome” Flenaugh died too young and Laronda Sweatt died too young and Kevin Hicks died too young and Darius Robinson died too young and Cameron Glover died too young and Matthew Wood Jr died too young and Kimani Johnson died too young and James Simpson died too young and James Brown III died too young and Deriante Miller died too young and Jermon Seals died too young and Dominique Silva died too young and Alexio Allen died too young and Robert Dentmond died too young and Torrey Robinson died too young and Thurman Reynolds died too young and India Beaty died too young and Scott Bennett died too young and Christopher Nelms died too young and Lamar Harris died too young and Jacai Colson died too young and Peter Gaines died too young and Marco Loud died too young and Keith Montgomery Jr died too young and Tyre Privott died too young and Arteair Porter Jr died too young and Akiel Denkins died too young and Kionte Spencer died too young and Greg Gunn died too young and Cedric Ford died too young and Christopher Davis died too young and Travis Stevenson died too young and Marquintan Sandlin died too young and Kisha Michael died too young and Che Taylor died too young and Paul Gaston died too young and Dyzhawn Perkins died too young and Calvin Smith died too young and Calin Roquemore died too young and Ali Yahia died too young and Sahlah Ridgeway died too young and Peter Fanfan died too young and Mohamed Barry died too young and Jerand Ross died too young and Shalamar Longer died too young and Eric Harris died too young and David Joseph died too young and Marese Collins died too young and Wendell Celestine Jr died too young and Antoine Scott died too young and Randy Nelson died too young and Peter John died too young and Charles Smith died too young and Bruce Kelley Jr died too young and Randolph McClain died too young and Christoper Dew died too young and Christoper Kalonji died too young and Johnathan Bratcher died too young and Janet Wilson died too young and Cedric Norris died too young and Timothy Albert died too young and Crayton West died too young and Henry Bennett died too young and Rakeem Bentley died too young and Carlton Murphy Jr died too young and Rodney Turner died too young and Eric Senegal died too young and Germonta Wallace died too young and wow, that’s 136 Black people killed by police in the first 188 days of 2016 and that’s a whole lot of killing and maybe it’s time to address the systemic racism that allows this to continue to happen.”

Let’s Recognize Love

I’m in Washington, DC this week for work. My teammates and I walked through the city this evening, passing by the Capitol, listening as the symphony played out front, timpani drums booming. We walked further and found ourselves gazing at the  Supreme Court. I walked up the numerous steps to the massive door of the Supreme Court, reliefs etched into panels. I stared upwards at the huge columns. I touched the elaborate carved marble and felt shivers on my arms. This was where so many important decisions had been made. Brown vs Board of Education. Loving vs Virginia. Roe vs Wade. United States vs Windsor. Obergefell vs Hodges. Laws that guaranteed civil rights to all people, not just the ones who had previously accessed such rights to education, marriage, health decisions. I walked away as the moon rose feeling hope that, yes, our government is (eventually) a force for good.

As we turned to head towards Union Station, we passed the United Methodist Building. I identify as a Methodist. It’s been a part of my identity since I was five and my family moved to Rural Hall, NC. I’ve had periods throughout my life where I struggled with my faith, wondered if there was a capital G God, and preferred to sleep in on Sundays rather than attend worship service. But for the most part I value my Methodist upbringing. It’s one of inclusion and tolerance, mostly.

As we passed the building, I noticed the marquee had a phrase on it. I like to read church marquees; they often are a source of clever puns. This is what I read:

“Let Us Not Tire of Preaching Love”

And I was angry. Really angry. How about we recognize love instead? And not discipline clergy who perform same-sex marriages or clergy who are in same-sex relationships? It’s up for discussion in committee, but does it really need to be discussed? We say that all persons are of sacred worth. We say that we believe in grace.

Let’s believe in love in all forms. Let’s not just preach about it.

We can do better.

Let us not tire of preaching love

Let’s recognize love instead

Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship

From Lesbians Who Tech:

Are you or someone you know an LGBTQ women who wants to learn how to code?

Apply for the Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship!

Let’s be real, coding schools are expensive. And they’re not always the most accessible to the underrepresented communities who need them the most.

Learning how to code could mean a new job, a more inclusive app, and more visibility for LGBTQ women in the tech sector.

This is why our coding scholarship recipients receive 50% tuition coverage to the coding school of their choice, such as Dev Bootcamp, Hack Reactor, Make School, and more.

Application deadline ends July 1, so take the first step to kickstarting your coding career now and apply here!

All ages and backgrounds encouraged to apply.

I had the absolute pleasure of hearing Edie Windsor speak at the Lesbians Who Tech Summit event in San Francisco earlier this year. You can learn more about Edie Windsor’s amazing story here.

Joy and Pain

Today is my birthday, and once again I am overwhelmed and grateful for so many people sharing well wishes and messages of joy and love – by phone, by Facebook, by text, by phone calls. I spent the day at Stanford University, watching my godson graduate and listening to Ken Burns give one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard (commencement or otherwise) about what our government has done right in its history, and how that will be jeopardized if Trump becomes president. Burns urged us to vote and do whatever is necessary to keep that unqualified candidate out of office. I was surrounded by family/friends that I’ve known for over 20 years and that I’m so thankful to have in my life. I watched as families and friends cheered for loved ones, shed tears, gave hugs, and took photos together. It was a day filled with joy and love and pride and gratitude.

And pain.

One of the first things I read this morning, before all the birthday love, was of the mass shooting that killed 50 in Orlando. A crime of hate. A crime against LGBT people in this month in which we dedicate to celebrating pride and acceptance. A crime that could have been a lot more difficult to commit if we had stricter gun safety laws in this country. I said a prayer, not just for the 50 who lost their lives too early, in an act of violence that truly is unimaginable, but also for their friends and family and co-workers and neighbors and lovers – all that are grieving and overcome by sadness, disbelief, and anger. As I finished my prayer, I thought, “This is too much. Almost every single day I’m saying a prayer for people I don’t know; people whose lives have been taken too early by mass shootings. I’m saying a prayer and offering condolences to thousands of people for deaths born of hatred and enabled by irresponsible regulation. Prayer isn’t enough.”

When I returned home tonight, I decided to share my thoughts, not just with my Facebook and Twitter friends,  but with my elected officials. I want my elected officials to know that if they do not pass legislation to stop this madness, I will not only not vote for them, but I will do everything in my power to ensure that they are not re-elected. If you feel the same,  write your elected officials. You can find your Senators’ information at this page and your Representative’s here. If you’re interested in a template to send, a good one to begin with is here. The time for the violence to stop has long passed.