Flint

I promised that I would blog about Flint’s water crisis and here it is. It’s going to be long, ugly and at times controversial. So, if you came here for a light-hearted post or are easily offended, I promise not to get angry if you decide to leave now.

Now, that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about Flint, shall we? The water crisis isn’t the first problem that has occurred in Flint. It’s been a boil that’s been festering for years now and finally burst. It was loud enough that it finally caught the world’s attention. I say that the world should have been looking into Flint’s problems years ago.

Decades of political corruption, racism and a declining economy have wreaked havoc on a once great and proud city. First, we had GM pull out of Flint. That left behind countless unemployed. Real estate value dropped, business that had been in the city forever closed their doors, the schools became neglected. Worse of all, we forgot that the city is full of people. People who are living, breathing and feeling, just like the rest of us. In short, people whose lives matter just as much as those in Bloomfield Hills and Rochester, the more wealthy cities in Michigan.

I never truly realized the scope of the problems until I became a paramedic. I was assigned to Flint. It was a happy time for me. I thought that I could make a difference. I was going to go in there and make a change. Help out the poor and lift up their spirits.

What a stupid, white, privileged woman I was. It wasn’t until I held the hand of a grandmother, who was weeping, that I saw how wrong I was. She had been beaten by her own grandson, because she’d refused to let him sell drugs from her home. All I could do was pray with her, for that is what she requested.

Then there was the time I went to a home of a poor, white family. Their baby was having an asthma attack. The home was filled with cigarette smoke. They didn’t even realize that they were adding to the problem, because the hospital lacked the funds to teach them about such things. Now, I know that some of you are saying that was just a common sense thing, but they really didn’t know that simple fact.

Or I could tell you about the numerous pregnant women I picked up. When they hopped into the back of my rig and I asked them why they called, I was told they needed to have a simple pregnancy checkup. Why did they call us? Because the hospital was their only option for free prenatal care.

Then, just when I thought that things couldn’t get worse, they did. The city closed two of their four hospitals. They told the public that they were consolidating them into one bigger hospital in Grand Blanc. All of us in the EMS community knew that was bullshit. All four of the hospitals were filled to their capacity. On weekends, some patients even had to lay on cots lining the hallways of the ER. There was no way that they could drive to Grand Blanc. Even if they did, none of their family members could afford to come and be with them.  

So, once again the city officials did what they did best, offer the people of Flint false hopes and straight-out lies. Sorry if I sound a bit bitter about this, but watching a once beautiful city turn to shit over the past two decades has left me mad.

The citizens of Flint don’t stand a chance from the moment they are born. They aren’t given good medical care as children. From day one, their school system is below standards. Do you know that some students graduate from high school, yet they can’t even read?

So, what does the higher government do about all this? They continue to close their eyes and turn their backs to these people. So I guess it is left up to individuals like you and me to take up the fight.

We must fight for the prosecution of these corrupt officials. Demand better education and medical standards for Flint youth. Most of all, we must continue to fight for equality of all Americans.

Posted in flint | 4 Comments

Out Now!!!!

The Great Unicorn Hunt Begins is finally out at eXtasy Books!!!!

Blurb:

Alice could not help her lips curling up into a smile as she began, “Do you know, I always thought that Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! I never saw one alive before.”
“Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”
–Lewis Carroll, The Lion and the Unicorn, Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There.

Charlie is a happy Unicorn. He has a place to live, all the sugar he could ask for, friends, and he’s safe. Or, at least he was until some Vampire put a billion dollar bounty on his head. Not wanting to put his friends in danger, Charlie leaves and makes a run for it on his own.

Ever since William was cursed with immortality, he knew he’d never be able to find someone to love. But one look at Charlie challenges that thought and sends William’s life spinning.

Will William be able to rescue Charlie? Or was their love doomed from the very beginning?

Posted in extasy books, Little Monsters, New Release | Leave a comment

And the winner is…

Stace!!!

Congratulations 🙂

Please send me an email at pa.stephanihecht@gmail.com so that I can get a copy sent to you 🙂

Thank you everyone for entering. I will put up a blog post as soon as The Great Unicorn Hunt Begins is available from eXtasy Books.

Posted in Contest, extasy books, Little Monsters, New Release, Winners | 1 Comment

Contest!!!

Hey everyone!

Contest time! The Great Unicorn Hunt Begins comes out this Friday at eXtasy Books!

To celebrate, I’m taking over and running a contest *winks*

To enter all you need to do is comment and tell me what your favorite mythological creature is. 

I thought I’d kick it off and tell you mine, but after ten minutes I still couldn’t pick just one! So a handful of my favorites are: Phoenix, Gryphon, Unicorn, Pegasus, Hippogriff, Hydra…okay I’ll stop there!

Posted in Contest, extasy books, Little Monsters | 10 Comments

Free Speech – Who Decides?

Last Sunday in Chicago seven people were stabbed during a neo-Nazi demonstration. My understanding is that various anti-Nazi groups showed up and clashed with them. Who the groups were are up to question, since I’ve read conflicting news stories. Now, the neo-Nazi’s did have a permit and had claimed that it was to be a peaceful speech. Although, I don’t know how anybody can say that spouting hate speech while carrying knives is peaceful. In the end, seven people ended up stabbed or injured.

This made me think hard and sent me through various emotions. It’s was on the two-week anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre. With forty-nine people dead, it marks the largest mass shooting in America. It was, also, a hate crime. One that was directed at people of Latino heritage and the LGBT community. In short, two groups that neo-Nazis are not known to be friendly towards.

I scrolled through the many comments left on these news reports. Many of them sided with the neo-Nazi group. They’d gotten the permit to demonstrate and there is that First Amendment. The one that gives us freedom of speech.

Yet, part of me wants to rebel against that. Don’t get me wrong. I’m an author and words are my life. Nobody embraces the First Amendment more than I do. Yet, in the wake of the attacks, I find myself wondering if some are crossing the line.

All over the country we have governors, senators, Presidential hopefuls and other elected officials trying to pass discrimination laws. Whether it be not allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom that they identify with, or laws that would protect LGBT people from being fired from their jobs. It’s no wonder that LGBT youth continue to be bullied. The number of black, transgendered women murdered, just this year alone, is staggering.

Even on the day of the Pulse shooting, several preachers stood in front of the congregations and praised the shooter. A man from the Orlando prosecuting office tweeted that Orlando was a “void” and a “cesspool”.

Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s because of hate speech that the Orlando shooting took place. Yes, I know that this individual was mentally ill and had a history of violence, so the fire was already going. But, the words that these people said added more fuel to the flames.

So, it’s natural for all of us to say that this has to stop. We have to start holding people accountable for what they say. That we need to end hate speech and these groups that thrive because of this.

Yet, on the other hand. Free speech is free speech. The First Amendment doesn’t say Freedom of Speech, unless certain people don’t like it. Plus, I worry that if we were to pass laws that limited this right, it could be used against us, as well.

What’s the answer? How can we end this? Damn, I wish I knew. I don’t know how we can stop this. I just guess that we’ll have to make our own voices louder, so we can be heard over the hate.

That’s what kind of America I want. The one who accepts everybody as who they are. The one that opens its arms to the weary and the weak. The one that allows freedom of religion. Isn’t that what our forefathers really wanted?     

 

Posted in #Pulse | 1 Comment

The Great Unicorn Hunt Begins – Pre Order!

The Great Unicorn Hunt Begins is up for pre order at eXtasy Books
(Note: If you pre order you can get the story a few hours before it is officially released!)

Coming 8th July 2016

The Great Unicorn Hunt Begins

Alice could not help her lips curling up into a smile as she began, “Do you know, I always thought that Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! I never saw one alive before.”
“Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”
–Lewis Carroll, The Lion and the Unicorn, Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There.

Charlie is a happy Unicorn. He has a place to live, all the sugar he could ask for, friends and he’s safe. Or, at least he was until some Vampire put a billion dollar bounty on his head. Not wanting to put his friends in danger, Charlie leaves and makes a run for it on his own.

Ever since William had been cursed with immortality, he knew that he’d never be able to find someone to love. But, one look at Charlie challenges that thought and sends William’s life spinning.

Will William be able to rescue Charlie? Or was their love doomed from the very beginning?

Posted in extasy books, Little Monsters | Leave a comment

Funeral Service & Celebration of Life for Edward Sotomayor

Although I only knew him for a precious few moments, he never failed to make me smile.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: We at ALandCHUCK.travel along with the family of Eddie Sotomayor would like to thank everyone for their outpouring of love and support during this difficult time. We are happy to hear that so many of you will be traveling from all over the world to attend the funeral service and celebration of life + candlelight walk in St Pete Pride Parade that immediately follows for Edward Sotomayor, one of the victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando. #OrlandoStrong

We have created a Facebook group for your convenience in order to communicate effectively the most up to date information regarding the event details of Saturday, June 25, 2016.

This is the Official Page with the correct information in order to alleviate any confusion: https://www.facebook.com/CelebrationOfLifeForEdwardSotomayor/

This is also the perfect place to ask any questions regarding Saturday and the events planned.

We are expecting a tremendous number in attendance for both his funeral and the celebration of life and ask you to click on the event and RSVP if you plan to attend. We also encourage you to share this event on Facebook with anyone who might be interested in showing their support. Thank you again to everyone.

Funeral Service & Celebration of Life
for Edward Sotomayor

Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 2pm in Robarts Arena
3000 Ringling Boulevard | Sarasota, FL 34237

Join the family of Edward Sotomayor and the staff from ALandCHUCK.travel to celebrate his life as the incredibly loving, witty and magnetic personality he will always be remembered as. We will commemorate him for always living life to the fullest and on his own terms and for leaving every person and place better than he found them. With great love we honor our “Top Hat Eddie” and hope that you will join us to do the same for him and all 49 victims who lost their lives at Pulse. #OrlandoStrong

If you would like to speak at this Memorial Service, we would encourage you to do so. Please send your request and a summary of what you would like to say to: Memorial@ALandCHUCK.travel

Legendary Journeys / ALandCHUCK.travel will provide complimentary roundtrip transportation from Robarts Arena Memorial to St. Pete Pride & Candlelight Walk (up to capacity).

Immediately Following Celebration of Life, please join us for:

Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 5pm until 8pm at King of Peace MCC
3150 5th Avenue N. | St. Petersburg, FL 33713

You are invited to join the family and friends of Edward Sotomayor for a candlelight walk in the St. Pete Pride Parade. We will be meeting at the King of Peace MCC from 5pm until dusk (for the start of the parade) to pay respects to our beloved “Top Hat Eddie” and his family as well share in the remembrance of this incredibly special person. You are encouraged to speak to honor the 49 victims of the Pulse shooting. #OrlandoStrong Refreshments and air conditioned facility with bathrooms will be provided. We encourage everyone to join us for this special walk as we stand together in love and solidarity.

We ask you to please bring (if possible):

  • White Candle
  • Wear a White Shirt
  • Black Top Hat (available at any party store)

Legendary Journeys and ALandCHUCK.travel are providing the link below for anyone that would like to donate to support Eddie’s family during this difficult time. Your support and kindness mean the world to them. Click to go to the Offical GoFundMe for Eddie’s Family

“Do all the good you can, to as many people as you can, as often as you can.”
– Edward Sotomayor –

Posted in #Pulse, Orlando | Leave a comment

Eli Lieb & Brandon Skeie – Pulse

Hi Everyone,

Steph is working on a story for the MLR Orlando Anthology where all the proceeds will be donated to the families affected by the Pulse Nightclub Shooting.

In the meantime she asked me to share this video with you all:

To donate to the families affected by the Pulse Nightclub Shooting click: https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund

Grief hotline: http://www.allianceofhope.org

Posted in #Pulse, Orlando, youtube | Leave a comment

Orlando

It’s at moments like these where I often find myself at a loss for words. Which is a funny conundrum for any writer to face. Words are our art form, our life, the way we work through the darkest points of our lives.

Like all of you, I awoke yesterday and was greeted by the nightmare images of what happened in Orlando. President Obama said it perfectly, it was an act of terror, but it was, also, a hate crime. A hate crime that was directed at my son, my friends, my loved ones. In short, some of the most important people of my life.

When my son came out, the LGBT community welcomed us with opened arms. They helped us learn how to navigate this new world that we were faced with. For as sad as it may seem, at that moment in the eyes of many, my son had become a “lesser than.”

It was a bitter pill to swallow and it still hurts to this day. Even though we have made great strides in equality in recent years, the hate is still more prevalent than ever. The words that I hear spilling from certain politician’s mouths, city officials who refuse to issue wedding licenses, and just from ordinary people continue to confuse and anger me. I thought that we would have progressed more as a society. Learned more from the mistakes that have been made is history. Yet, this issue of prejudice and hatred continues to flourish.

So, I have some things that I will be doing. I will continue to fight harder than ever against hate. I will speak out against those who are building a breeding ground for more hatred to grow. Most of all, I will not be stopped.

This is what I won’t do. I will never speak aloud or write down that shooter’s name. He does not deserve that honor. Instead, I will embrace the names of the victims and their families. I will burn each name into my memory and never forget about them.

One more thing I will refuse to do is to blame one religion for this. ISIS is not Islam any more than the Westboro Baptist Church is Christianity. Islam is a religion of love, respect and kindness toward their fellow men. We must not let this change us and make us stigmatized an already unfairly ostracized group of individuals.

What I call for all of us to do is to make sure that we always say “I love you” to the most important people in our lives. Not be afraid to step out of the shadows and speak for what is right. For if we do, then they will win. That we can’t ever allow.

Posted in #Pulse, Orlando | 5 Comments

Winner, News and a new Contest!

Hi everyone *waves*

First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is CJ and I’m Stephani’s PA, which basically means I get to bug her about a lot of things (it’s fun!).

Stephani will be doing a weekly blog post on Wednesdays starting next week. It was going to be today but for those of you who are friends with Stephani on Facebook will know the reason why she’s not writing a post for today.

So instead, I’ve taken over *evil laugh*

The first thing on my list – announce the winner of Steph’s contest for a copy of Opposites Assent. The winner has been drawn by random.org and the winner is…

*drumroll*

Mattie!

Congratulations Mattie 🙂
Please send an email to pa.stephanihecht@gmail.com with your preferred format of Opposites Assent and I will send it to you. If you’ve already got it, email me and let me know and we’ll come up with something 🙂

Now, the next thing on my list – the Little Monsters series!

Stephani has finished writing book 2 in the Little Monsters series – The Great Unicorn Hunt Begins. It will be sent to the publisher early next week (after a final read through) and it still has to go through the editing process but it’ll be out in no time!

To celebrate, I’m kicking off a contest for a copy of The Hunt Begins (Little Monsters #1) or if you’ve got it, a $5 gift card from Amazon or ARe (since I’m not sure exactly when book 2 will be released).

To enter, all you need to do is tell us which character you like the best so far. Bronson (Well Heeled Jack), Nixon (Brownie), Charlie (Unicorn), Ice (Abominable Snowman) and Brute (Big Foot) are some, but not all of the characters.

So who do you like best?

Winners will be drawn next week (Wednesday).

Posted in Contest, Little Monsters, Underground Fortitude | 5 Comments