Category Archives: Redefining Hero

“American” dreams really do come true?

Owning your own home was a trend perpetuated by Nixon during his time in office, around the ‘white flight’ and ‘urban sprawl’ era around the 1950s and ’60s. This dream of homeownership was something to be proud of, and has encouraged further enchantment of the purchase, so much as to set a status quo of bigger and shinier as ‘better’. In reality, this may not be the case. Buying a bigger home comes with more household cleaning and maintenance or repair tasks, as well as higher property taxes and insurance rates.

Though, the greatest form of generational wealth in the US comes from real estate; while a high effect of generational poverty also correlates with the status of ‘renter’. After WWII, soldiers were given GI Bills, and thus allowed to put that towards houses, many of which may still be passed down in the family today. But, these policies were not as great as they seemed, for only white soldiers were given the GI Bills; this racial inequality persists today.

Renting may not be all bad though, because it means you have the freedom to move, and live a nomadic life, if you please. Our generation, X, has actually been called the nomadic generation, because many of us do not recognize or fulfill this ‘dream’ any longer. Rather, in our globalized society we have traveled and learned of other cultures. We dream of building new lives elsewhere. Often, those of us who can afford a ‘higher’ education end up falling into more perilous financial situations at future times when paying back our student debt. In the end though, we recognize the benefits of habitual freedom. Growing up our generation witnessed the crash of an entire, obviously unstable, economic system where, in the past decade, many families lost their homes; income inequality growing deeper and deeper. We were witnesses of this forced migration into a nomadic culture immersed in a very idealized, static society.

What does this mean then…”American” dreams really do come true? I’ll sit this one out…
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Redefining Hero: Cheree

Cheree O’Shields is a registered nurse who works at Kateri Residence, a program of St. Stephen’s Human Services that serves Native American women and children. She has worked as a nurse and advocate for homeless youth in the Twin Cities since 2005. She is currently working on her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in Public Health Nursing and Adolescent Health at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

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Props, Girl.

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Photo via Creative Commons: Flickr

Lizz Winstead (pictured center), a force behind The Daily Show and a female comedy trailblazer, released her book of personal essays in 2012. The collection, entitled Lizz Free or Die, is hilarious, personable, and touching.

Raised in a Conservative Catholic family in Minneapolis (holla!), Lizz embarked on a brave and admirable career to bring humor to the masses, while bringing attention to progressive causes. Her work is emboldened by the fight for reproductive rights, and equality for all. She became everything her family feared she would — a liberal, open-minded, and fearless supporter of everything left of the Catholic Church. She charged on regardless, championing her beliefs and knowing the innate fight within her was what she was meant to do.

She speaks candidly and with humorous bravado about growing up as the youngest child, the tides of musical change in Minneapolis, her bold break into the comedy circle, moving across country more than once, the death of her parents, her stories of her time as a roommate of Michele Norris had me fangirling all over the place. Most notably: an abortion she had as a high school student. She forgoes the details of the operation or the weight of the emotional aftermath to focus on her life as is — and how it so, due to the abortion. She has been everything she aspired to, because she made a choice for herself that was right for her — despite the criticism. She ends by including this article she wrote for the Huffington Post, that critiques the bias towards rape and abortion in modern society.

The book had me cheering to the rafters — she was her own advocate through and through, displaying grace, composure, and a wise equanimity that encouraged her success — it made me proud to read her book, to know of her presence and the path of empowerment she has blazed for so many. I will continue to sing her praises long after this book (I’ve already told so many friends to read it ASAP). Lizz free or die, y’all.

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