Activism: Clint Smith and The Danger of Silence

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.   ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968

Clint Smith has provided one of the best TED talks I’ve seen on the hidden power of everyday advocacy – advocacy is not just found in prolific uprisings and protests of society’s activists, but also in our own simple refusal to keep quiet when we are confronted with the wrongs of the world in our daily lives.  You can be an activist in your smallest of circles and with your smallest of actions.

Smith reflects, “Everyday all around us, we see the consequences of silence manifest themselves in the form of discrimination, violence, genocide, and war.” Systemic atrocities or institutional violence/discrimination are not born overnight – they begin with a trickle of negativity or intolerance that is permitted by our silence to grow into a cascade of dangerous, galvanized action.

In his classroom, he encourages his students to find ways to open up and fill the void left by silence with these four core principles:

Read critically. Write consciously.  Speak clearly.  And tell your truth.

Call to Action 

Listen to this talk.  Enjoy the cadence of this man’s spoken word.  And then, I encourage you all to find your voice and speak up when injustice sneaks its way into the world around you.

“Validation doesn’t need words to endorse its existence.” 

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Merry [Pump] Christmas!

merry christmas batman

After eleven stinking months of bitching at strangers on the phone, switching over to Oregon Health Plan (due to losing my job at the shitty, shitty restaurant), and fulfilling all of the compliance requirements in order to be approved for a pump by Kaiser’s weirdo DME committee….

I FINALLY HAVE A NEW PUMP!!!

Allow me to introduce you to Mister Plum, my brand-spanking new Medtronic Revel 523:

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What a handsome little fellow!  

This little monster is CGM-compatible and comes loaded with new, handy features (and complimentary gadgets) that will improve my diabetes management, including:

  • Post-meal BG reminder:  My A1c was recently rose back up to a dreadful 9.0, and my endocrinologist determined that a large part of the problem is my failure to test after meals. I simply forget. This function allows me to set my pump to squawk at me two hours after I eat, so forgetting is out of the question. The sooner I catch highs post-meal, the better I can control my overall sugars until I can determine what I’m doing wrong to get high post-meals in the first place. So stoked.
  • Capture Event function:  This function lets you capture certain moments in time that can be incorporated into your overall trends, such as BGs, exercise, insulin intake, and meals.
  • Missed Meal reminder:  If you have a problem forgetting to bolus with dinner, you can set a span of time to remind yourself to do so.  This is not as helpful for me at the moment because I do not eat at the same time every day.  Also, I generally do not forget to bolus with meals.
  • Bayer Contour Next Link blood glucose meter:  I *love* this thing:
    • The lancet device is less painful and the strips require much less blood than One Touch Ultras.
    • This meter is programmed to automatically ask you to categorize your reading as “Before Meal” and “After Meal” before you even see the reading itself.  This makes it easier to analyze whether you are off on your basal, carb-to-unit ratio, or are possibly in need of a carb-counting refresher.
    • Additionally, this meter has a built-in USB port, and communicates with your pump when plugged into the computer.  And now that CareLink has been upgraded to be more Mac-compatible, I will be able to get a better sense of my overall trends and behaviors.

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BG Reminder!

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The fancy Bayer Contour Next Link BG meter.  My new love. 

Lessons Learned

If you are in pump purgatory as I was, hang in there.  Be patient with the health administrators on the ground who are trying to get this done for you.  I promise you that they want to accommodate you, but because of the administrative hurdles instituted by top-down execs who mercilessly seek to cut costs, it will take time.  Try to humanize yourself to administrators to gain their sympathy (read: cooperation) and remind them why you are an excellent candidate for insulin pump therapy.  As an athlete, I argued that my dynamic and active lifestyle would be jeopardized by the constant eating you have to do while taking long-acting insulin* injections.  You can’t ramp down your insulin intake after you’ve taken a shot, so if you decide on an impromptu bike ride or random mountain climb, you have to eat beforehand or you’ll go low.  This makes weight management difficult, which in turn can affect how much insulin you require in the first place.  It’s a cycle, and remind them of that.  Keep your head up! 

Here’s to great control in the future with my new gadget!

Photo Credit: memecenter.com/keptinkurk

*Nota bene:  I am not full-scale attacking syringe-based insulin therapy.  Many respectable athletes use long-acting insulin.  I just believe that you have to be extremely regimented to make it work.  I am not.

Shameless Plug: Help me fund my public interest law firm in ONE WEEK!

For those of you for whom I do not have email addresses: 

Dear Inner Tribe of Friends, Family, and Colleagues,

Thanks for taking the time to read this message! As most of you know, I moved to Portland shortly after earning my law and environmental masters degrees. I moved here for several reasons – the amazing landscape, temperate seasons, tasty food, amazing craft beer, active outdoor/mountaineering community, and to finally fulfill my childhood dream of journeying out West for adventures. But the most important reason I moved here is to fulfill my ultimate professional goal of protecting the environment and those people most impacted by its degradation.

The road hasn’t been easy – traditional governmental and non-profit jobs are scarce in a market saturated with new lawyers and environmental professionals. But if there is one thing I have learned in the past two years, it is this: There may be a shortage of jobs, but there is not a shortage of work to be done. And so, I realized that I must carve my own path toward helping the greater good.

But I need your help.

I wish to open my own private public interest law and consulting firm. A private public interest law firm is a rarely-utilized, hybrid-structured firm that is dedicated to promoting social, political, environmental, and economic welfare, while maintaining a profit-generating arm that keeps firm financially sustainable without the assistance of grants. In my firm, my areas of practice will be strictly harmonious to public interest ideals, so as not to undermine the integrity of my public interest work. I intend to work with low-income, minority, and tribal communities to ensure their voices are heard in regard to environmental decisions that directly impact their well-being.

My profit-generating practice areas will include FOIA requests and FOIA litigation, benefit company formation and annual reporting, non-profit formation and assistance with organizational best practices, employee rights, disability rights, and real property due diligence for property redevelopment. As my expertise grows and my team expands, I hope to increase my impact.

I am currently a woman-owned sole proprietorship functioning as a contract attorney. This means that my clients are my fellow attorneys and I am under their direct supervision. I have spent the past two and a half years cultivating my legal skills under the guidance of several amazing lawyers in Portland. But now is the time for me to step up – there is a lot of work to be done, and I have the skills necessary to contribute meaningfully to the greater good. 

How can you help?

Oregon lawyers are required to purchase malpractice insurance before they are able to independently take clients. Due to these restrictions, my earning potential is limited, and this has negatively impacted my ability to acquire enough capital to form my firm.

In one week’s time, I will be launching a crowd funding campaign on indiegogo.com to raise $7,500.00 in funds. In addition to being able to finally purchase malpractice insurance, these funds will go to the following expenses: marketing and branding consulting, website assistance, assorted legal software, business entity formation, and a few pieces of office equipment. Please note that I intend to be an Oregon benefit company and engage in sustainable business practices.

While I cannot as a lawyer offer direct perks to individual donors because it may affect my professional independence, for every $250 raised, I will donate one hour of my time to help preserve Native Alaskan water rights and keep harmful chemical dispersants out of Arctic waters.  If we get past $7,500.00, I’ll double those hours.

Irrespective of your individual ability to give, I want to thank each and every one of you for helping me in some capacity along this journey – it truly takes a village of all kinds of support to begin your own venture, and you all have given me just that. If you can’t donate yourself, please pass the word on to someone who loves the environment as much as I do!

I look forward to your participation in the Sharing Economy.

Yours Truly,

Kellie