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Stacey Sobel and I met more than 20 years ago. I was a student leader at what was then known as the State University of New York at Albany (now it?s called the University at Albany, to make it sound more like a private school). She was a budding lesbian wanting to know how to be an activist.
Given what she?s accomplished for the LGBT community, I guess I gave her some good advice.
As the executive director of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania (EAP), Sobel heads a statewide organization that is one of a kind in the United States. Not only does Equality Advocates educate the public and advocate on LGBT public policy issues, it also provides direct legal services to members of the community - the only statewide LGBT organization to do so.
?We?re the home to the first law student clinic in the country dedicated to LGBT issues,? Sobel told me in a recent phone interview. ?The clinic started in 2000, the year before I got here, but we?ve really grown.? In addition to working with its first partner, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the clinic now has formal relationships with all the Philadelphia area law schools, as well as Yale, New York University, and the University of California at Los Angeles.
But it?s the public policy and advocacy part of the job that really makes Sobel?s blood pump.
Originally a lobbyist for the telecommunications industry, Sobel knew her way around the halls of Congress. During the summer of 1994, however, she was hired as a consultant by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) and ended up lobbying for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
?It was interesting. Since I had already lobbied, many of the folks on the Hill knew me in a different capacity,? she said. ?I had to out myself. Some people told me I ?would never work again? if I went to work on gay issues.?
Clearly, that?s not the case. Sobel is one of the few - she says there are no more than 50 - LGBT attorneys across the country who actually do LGBT civil rights work as a full-time job.
?I call myself a stealth rebel because I got a lot of my training as a more mainstream lobbyist,? she said. ?I walk around in a dark gray suit, [with an> attache case and a Blackberry. When I stand in the Capitol, I look and talk like the rest of them, and it gives me the ability to have our case heard.?
Sobel explained that the more radical groups in the community make her job easier because they scare the legislators. ?When the elected officials see me coming, I get a better reception,? she said. ?It?s great that the community can be represented in so many different ways.?
In the past few years, Sobel has been walking and talking her way to some pretty nice victories. She told me that when she first took her current job in April of 2001, the prevailing thought was that hate crimes legislation would be passed in Pennsylvania when hell froze over. After working the halls of the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Sobel saw former Governor Mark Schweiker (R) sign the bill into law in 2002.
In July of 2006, Sobel and EAP successfully convinced the Pennsylvania General Assembly to kill the bill that would have put a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the ballot. Then later that year, Sobel worked with a large coalition of groups and individuals to do all of us a really big favor - to throw homophobe extraordinaire, the Keystone State?s U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R), out of office.
?The greatest gift Santorum gave us was helping people realize how bad he was for Pennsylvania and the nation,? she said. ?I was thrilled that large segments of our community and allies were energized to go out, campaign, and get involved as never before.?
Another victory was the introduction of nondiscrimination bills in each house of the Pennsylvania legislature. Sobel thinks there is a good chance of the bill passing in the state House of Representatives before the end of the 2007-08 session.
Sobel also thinks that same-sex marriage will absolutely be a reality in her lifetime. And that?s good, since she and her partner of 13 years, Michelle Sperry, just had a daughter.
?It?s been fantastic,? she said. ?For myself and my partner and our family and friends, it?s been an absolutely wonderful experience, but it?s also brought home in a different way why I do the work I do.?
Sobel explained that in 2002, EAP successfully argued before the state Supreme Court for second-parent adoption. She is thrilled to be going through the process now to adopt her daughter, but it makes her angry that she has to go through criminal and abuse checks.
?I shouldn?t have to adopt my own child.?
And her work never ends.
Libby Post is the founding chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and a political commentator on public radio, on the Web, and in print media. She can be reached LesbianNotions@qsyndicate.com.
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Stay safe and get tested!
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Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
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Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at email@example.com.