Mercy in Justice

Lady JusticeJustice has been on my mind for a long time.

Our older daughter is a lawyer who wants to be a prosecutor. She is getting a daily dose of the balance and big picture prosecutors must cultivate when working in the justice system. In some of her job interviews, the question, “What do you think justice is?” was specifically asked, and she had to articulate what she has observed and internalized as working justice. For her, it boiled down to trying to find the fairest and most restorative path for people through the justice system. Even in misdemeanor situations, she thinks long and hard about the balance between what her options are under the law, and what will be the most constructive for the person sitting in front of her. Continue reading

“Reality” TV and Young Love

Two children kissing on the cheekNo management advice here. There aren’t any parallels to the tightrope you will walk as your young one falls into, and out of crushes, infatuations, and eventually true feelings for another person. Continue reading

“Date Grape Kool-Aid” and a White Hat Lawyer

[Photos: Facebook, KHQ]

[Photos: Facebook, KHQ]

This is not a joke. This is the name that a bar in Spokane, Washington has decided to give to one of their daiquiri drinks.

Daughter 1, who is nearly through law school, brought this to my attention and disclosed that she had decided to take this on. She said on Facebook, “Date Grape Kool-Aid is not a clever or funny name. It is offensive and condones sexual assault.” She received over 2,000 “likes” on that comment alone. But she wasn’t finished.

Her next move was to alert Kool-Aid (Kraft Foods) to the misuse of their brand through their Facebook page.

She posted the following: Continue reading

Compassionate Medicine

Andi Sloan

She is our hero!

I have written a little about Texas Advocacy Project’s Executive Director, Andrea Sloan, in a post called “One in Four.”  Today I will ask you to help me save her life.

There is so much I could tell you about Andi, about her joy for life, her deep faith and unending positive outlook, and her passion for helping the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Texas…but I will let reporter Shannon Wolfson do it better than I ever could. Shannon aired a wonderful piece on KXAN TV recently, and it is worth a few minutes of your time to learn about Andi.

Andi was diagnosed with ovarian cancer over seven years ago, and has undergone every available treatment as it recurred over and over again. She is now out of options…except for one.

There is an experimental drug called BMN673 that has a 40% chance of saving Andi’s life since it targets her specific cancer but the maker, Biomarin Pharmaceuticals, refuses to release it to her for compassionate use.

They have their reasons, and I understand them, but I cannot stop asking. And neither can the thousands of people who have joined Andi’s Army and Andi’s Army Official on Facebook and the nearly 30,000 people (as of today) who have signed the petition for Andi at Change.org.

Take a moment and join Andi’s Army. Sign the petition, tweet about @andi_sloan, reference #biomarin and include the term “single patient access” so they understand you are asking for a compassionate use for an individual who will simply die without it. Is it guaranteed to work?  Of course not, but it is the best chance Andi has.

Thank you.

Update: January 2014

The world is left with one less Super Girl, as Andrea passed away this month. The funeral is done and the memorial to her life is over, but her work goes on in the movement for reform of compassionate use of experimental drugs.

Interested in learning more and joining Andi’s Army? Click here.

One in Four – Domestic Violence and You

Texas Advocacy Project iconI have recently become involved with the Texas Advocacy Project, a group I became aware of during my work with Impact Austin.  I will join the Board of Directors of Texas Advocacy in January, 2012.

I remember when I met Andrea Sloan, the Executive Director of the Texas Advocacy Project. A small group of Impact Austin Focus Area Committee Members met with her and her staff, in order to discuss their presentation as a finalist for the Impact Austin $100,000 grant. (they won!)

Andrea is a petite,dark blonde woman with fine features and intense, green and gold eyes. She has a depth in those eyes that belies her youth and we were impressed with her passion and her transparency when she told us what Texas Advocacy does for Texas’ victims of domestic violence, teen dating violence and sexual assault.

We discussed the statistics on domestic abuse and violence and Andrea said that it was often difficult for people to believe how much goes on right here in Austin, or in the next neighborhood, or perhaps even next door.

She said that they know, “One in four women in America will experience severe physical abuse from an intimate partner and that number goes higher when you include emotional abuse.” However, many victims hide this information and so if you are one of the lucky ones who does not experience it, you may think it is an exaggeration.

The Centers for Disease Control will argue that point. Continue reading