05.14.2013Lt. Dan Choi > View profile
I don’t really know Lt. Dan Choi, the Arabic linguist discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" and modern gay civil rights hero. I just know my friend Dan.
I first met my friend Dan in the spring of 2010, when I called to thank him for a favor he’d done for me. A gay Iraq war veteran myself, I had just begun to get some attention for my writing and I’d been courted to lecture at colleges and universities about my own serving and coming out as gay.
When Dan found out we’d possibly be working with the same people, he responded with exuberance that there would be more stories being told and welcomed me into the fold. After listening to roughly 30 seconds of my awkward thanks, he decided that he wasn’t much of a phone person and wanted to meet me in midtown Manhattan for sushi. What followed was a thrilling conversation that ran the gamut of politics, race, and sexuality in this new age of gay rights.
I’d made a new friend, one who began pushing me further into the world of LGBT politics and activism beyond my role as a writer, where I was most comfortable. I was somewhat aware of who he was in the community before, but it wasn’t until becoming his friend I became aware of the pressures he was under, of the constant travel he undertook, and the eyes that would always be on him when we walked the streets of New York City.
I became aware of his struggles with PTSD and his mental health, struggles that I’m also familiar with. Dan’s texts, Twitter messages, emails, and late-night phone conversations while we were both holed up in hotel rooms from coast to coast while we were advocating for gay rights helped change my voice from one that was once timid and unsure to one that is commanding and powerful.
In 2010 many things had happened with DADT and with Dan’s place in the world in general. There seemed to be a never-ending slew of magazine covers, articles, news stories, and appearances. That summer he’d also hinted at a major betrayal by people who were close to him. It seemed like every positive remark made by anonymous Internet commenters was outweighed by 10 negative ones. The pressure was mounting for DADT to be dealt with decisively.
As his profile rose, so, seemingly, did the target on his back. On November 15, 2010, I chained myself to the White House fence in protest of the DADT law with 11 other protesters and, of course, my friend Dan. We were arrested, and our activism was met with mixed reactions from the community, but our protest was one of many pieces of the puzzle that led to Congress voting to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" that December and officially ending it in September 2011.
I recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to support Dan at the closing day of his trial and to stand in protest of the charges at a rally at the White House and a march to the courthouse. You see, the 13 people who were arrested at the White House on November 15, 2010, were brought up on federal charges. Twelve people took a plea bargain. Dan didn’t.
Like every human being on earth, my friend Dan has problems. I wonder sometimes if those problems are multiplied and heightened by the pressure that he’s put under at all times, of trying to be everything to everyone. The evening before the rally, a group of friends, advocates, and supporters gathered at the home of an ally to plan the next day’s events. I found myself talking with a young lesbian active duty soldier who will be the first to tell you that Dan’s sacrifice made it safer for her to serve openly. As he stepped up to say a few words to the crowd, I found myself looking not at Dan but at her. Her big brown eyes were brimming with tears and pride and all the hero worship that one could possibly have for another human being. I wondered what it would be like to exist in that space in the minds of others. To live life not as a living, breathing human being but as a true symbol of the modern day gay rights movement and a hero to others. It seemed kind of dangerous to me, to live in that world. A world that demanded perfection at all times, a world that couldn’t wait to tear you down once it decided you’d had one too many magazine covers or appearances on MSNBC.
But I know that my friend Dan isn’t perfect. He’s flawed. He doesn’t get enough sleep. He tells jokes offensive enough to make this black man blush. He doesn’t know when to step back and appreciate what has been accomplished, because in his mind there is so much left to do. I know that Dan is not the same man I met that spring night in 2010. He’s lost weight, and the lines in his face have deepened with his experiences since. Along with his thousands of Twitter followers, I know that he still struggles with his mental health. But my friend Dan has done a great deal for me. He helped me to find my voice. He taught me the value of my uniform and my service after I’d devalued it for far too long due to my sexual orientation.
Though the verdict was not what any of us wanted, what I want the most for my friend Dan is to find peace and rest, to know that no matter what happens in the future, he’s already inspired a generation of fighters. I just hope all those fighters know there’s a human being behind the symbol. > View article
05.13.2013Charles Best > View profile
When I was a high-school student in Dallas, my math teacher Mrs. Bauer went to a conference and saw a demonstration of one of the first personal computers. She thought, These are going to be big. She enrolled in a night class in computer science so she could teach us how to use computers, even though she had to pay the tuition herself. Her dedication to bringing innovation into our classroom changed my life and launched a career I could never have imagined. How many of us had a teacher like Mrs. Bauer? Wouldn’t it be great if we had a way to support the amazing educators who work so hard to expose their students to the world around them?
Well, we do, through DonorsChoose.org, which makes it easy to help teachers bring their ideas to life. DonorsChoose.org provides a simple way for people who want to lend a hand to help teachers meet their classroom needs.
Teaching is a very demanding job, and it’s even tougher if teachers don’t have a way to get the resources their students need. From kindergarten to high school, many public-school teachers routinely use their own money to buy materials for their classrooms, including basic items like pencils and books. If schools can’t provide more expensive supplies, such as those for a chemistry lab, students have to go without and their learning suffers.
Through DonorsChoose.org, anyone can be connected to a specific teacher in a specific school with a specific idea about a project for students. You can support teachers in your child’s school, in your community, or anywhere in the country. You can choose projects in particular subjects you find interesting, from math and science to the humanities.
When you browse some of the projects at DonorsChoose.org, I think you’ll be as impressed as I am by the creativity and resourcefulness of America’s teachers. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is proud to support teachers and students by donating to DonorsChoose.org, and we encourage others to do the same. You never know how big an impact even a small contribution can make. > View article
09.19.2012Zach Wahls > View profile
Activist Zach Wahls addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, remembering watching the 2004 Republican National Convention. "I remember politicians talking about protecting marriage from families like mine," he recalled. "Now, supporting a view of marriage as between a man and woman isn't radical. For many people, it's a matter of faith. We respect that. Watching that convention on TV, though I felt confused, frustrated. Why didn't they think my family was a real family?" (Advocate) > View article
09.19.2012Michio Kaku > View profile
Today Dr. Kaku answers the question of whether it is possible to resurrect the dinosaurs by “turning on” their ancient genes? Moreover, now that we have also sequenced the genes of the Neanderthal man, at some point in the future it may be possible to bring him back. And then of course, if a young Neanderthal boy is born then the question is where do you put the boy, in a zoo or at Harvard? (Big Think) > View article
09.19.2012Geoff Colvin > View profile
Remember when Motorola (MMI) ruled the mobile phone business worldwide? And then Nokia (NOK) did? And then BlackBerry (RIMM) did? And now none of them do? As Fortune headlined a recent BlackBerry article, "What the Hell Happened?" (Fortune) > View article
09.19.2012Ned Vizzini > View profile
Kiersten White of Epic Reads interviews Ned Vizzini at San Diego Comic-Con 2012. (Epic Reads) > View article
09.19.2012Shawn Achor > View profile
Learning that you or a loved one has a chronic illness is news you never want to hear. The knowledge of such information is often accompanied by feelings of fear, anger, and depression, which can cause debilitating, unnecessary stress. By understanding more about your condition and adopting a positive outlook on life, you can set the course for a better future. (Huffington Post) > View article
09.19.2012Donna Brazile > View profile
ith the 2012 Republican National Convention about to begin in Tampa, CNN asked veteran insiders Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist and former campaign chair for Vice President Al Gore's presidential bid, and Ari Fleischer, Republican communications expert and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, to give us their tips on how to navigate a political convention. Here are Brazile's tips. (CNN) > View article
09.19.2012Richard Roeper > View profile
It was the ultimate “First!” If Foursquare had existed in 1969, Neil Armstrong would have had the rest of us playing for second place forever. (Chicago Sun-Times) > View article
09.19.2012Richard Florida > View profile
The geography of high-tech startups and venture capital appears to be changing, according to new data from the National Venture Capital Association reported yesterday in USA Today. The data charts the total number of high-tech startups, the number receiving venture capital investment and the dollar value of that investment for the ten largest high-tech regions in 2011. (The Atlantic) > View article
09.19.2012Dr. Peter Diamandis > View profile
Chairman & CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, a humanitarian non-profit launching innovative global initiatives, entrepreneur Dr. Peter H. Diamandis pushes the boundaries of creative ideas, tirelessly seeking to make the impossible possible. (Huffington Post) > View article
09.19.2012Chester Elton > View profile
A great story about Carlos Aguilera and the Dallas/Ft. Worth Avis location–one of the most successful in the entire company. What’s his secret? (CBS) > View article
09.19.2012Frank Bruni > View profile
Jason Goldberg and Christian Schoenherr are having their wedding Saturday evening at the acclaimed Manhattan restaurant Craft, where roughly 100 guests will dine on lobster, squab and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, and the couple is registered at Sur La Table, for French cookware, German steak knives and such. (New York Times) > View article
09.19.2012Daymond John > View profile
There are shelves full of business books that offer intricate case studies, anonymized anecdotes, and bromides based on academic research. What makes this advice from FUBU founder Daymond John so valuable is that every bit of it is based on his own experience. And the lessons can be applied not just to fashion businesses, but to plenty of other startups, too. Who is your customer? What's your price point? Start local. Don't sell out too early. (Fast Company) > View article
ABC News Exclusive: Diane Sawyer Talks to Bob Woodward in His First Interview About His New Book “The Price of Politics”
09.19.2012Bob Woodward > View profile
ABC’s Diane Sawyer will speak with Bob Woodward in an exclusive interview about his much anticipated book, “The Price of Politics.” In a presidential election year when control of the House of Representatives, Senate, and White House hang in the balance, Woodward’s reporting provides a sweeping you-are-there account of how President Obama and the highest profile Republican and Democratic leaders in the United States Congress attempted to restore the American economy and improve the federal government’s fiscal condition. (ABC) > View article
Subscribe to receive our news: