Dear Electoral College:

Dear Electoral College members:

Trump can still be stopped. The Founding Fathers foresaw just this catastrophe, and built a fail-safe into the Constitution. YOU, the Electoral College. Alexander Hamilton was explicit: this mechanism was designed to ensure that “the office of president will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” In short, it was designed to prevent just this situation: the rise of an unqualified demagogue like Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is unfit to occupy this role, and you know it in your hearts. Besides having no experience or knowledge needed for the position, he has financial conflicts of interest that will make his presidency a money making enterprise. The presidency shouldn’t line the pockets of the person holding the office.

Also, I would like to introduce you to my family.
Valley Family

We are an interracial family. Additionally, my brother is married to an immigrant from Nicaragua. and we have transgender and gay family members. I fear that this administration under a President Trump will target my family unfairly. I fear for their safety. One of daughters has already received an anonymous death threat. This is not an academic exercise for us. It’s life and death.

So I implore you to vote your conscience. Anybody but Trump. I’m a Democrat, but seriously, I will be happy with any Republican other than Trump. (John Kasich would be my top choice, but it is up to you.)

America is better than a President Trump.

Thank you for your time,

Stacey Valley

November Events at the Clinton Presidential Center

The Beatles

The Fab Four at the Clinton Center

Beatlemania has taken over the Clinton Center! Our new exhibit, Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!, includes more than 400 pieces of memorabilia, as well as a sing-along booth where guests can record their own version of “Yellow Submarine” with Ringo Starr, and a wall graphic of Abbey Road where guests can recreate the iconic album cover!

clinton centerClinton Center November Calendar
Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles! – Now –  April 2, 2017
FREE Admission Day for Veterans –  November 11
12th Anniversary FREE Admission Day –  November 12
Ideas Matter Essay Contest Deadline – November 19
Deadline to Order Thanksgiving Dinners – November 19

Thank You, U.S. Veterans!
To honor and thank our country’s veterans for their service, all active and retired military members and their families will receive FREE admission to the Clinton Center on Veterans Day. 
The Clinton Center Celebrates 12 Years12years
Each November, the Clinton Center celebrates its grand opening with a FREE admission day. Tour the permanent exhibits, as well as the current temporary exhibit, Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!, free of charge, on November 12.
essaycontest
Ideas Matter Scholarship Essay Contest, Deadline: November 19
For the sixth year in a row, the Clinton Foundation invites Arkansas students in 11th and 12th grades to participate in the “Ideas Matter” essay contest. First prize is a $2,500 scholarship.
Start Holiday Gift Shopping Early!
The Clinton Museum Store is your one-stop shop for gifts this holiday season! From our new Maya Angelou collection and lovely scarves to toys, books, and autographed items, we have something for everyone on your list!
Stress-Free Thanksgiving Dinnersturkey
Let Forty Two, the Clinton Center’s award-winning restaurant, do all the cooking for your Thanksgiving dinner this year! Order your turkey, dressing, side dishes, and desserts by November 19, and enjoy your holiday with family and friends.

Black Lives Are Not Expendable

black lives matter

It’s been another sad week in America’s history. Two more black men were gunned down by police. Keith Lamont Scott was shot in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, leading to more civil unrest, and many people are just plain tired of it. But we can’t become numb. We must refuse to let this be the new normal. Black lives are not expendable.

I don’t understand how Ahmad Khan Rahami (a man who made, planted and exploded bombs in New York and New Jersey over the weekend with the intent to kill and terrorize as many people as possible) can be taken in alive, but not Mr. Crutcher who’s SUV has stalled on the highway. I don’t understand how Dylann Roof, accused of the racially motivated massacre of nine African American parishioners last year at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, was taken in alive and treated to a burger, but not Mr. Scott. So what if Mr. Scott may have had a gun on him. North Carolina is an open carry state. The cops there should know how to take someone with a gun into custody without having to kill them.

Black people are mad, and I don’t blame them. I’m mad too.

See…these are my people to raise, love and protect…

kids at Crater of Diamonds State Park
My kids digging at Crater of Diamonds State Park

I don’t like having my seven year old tell me that she had another nightmare about Donald Trump sending all the brown and black people away. I don’t like having an internet troll threaten to kill my baby girl. And I don’t want to have to explain to my daughters that their daddy didn’t make it home from work because he had a flat tire and then got shot by a police officer.

I’ve written about race on my blog before. I hoped these stories of injustice would be isolated events, but sadly they are becoming commonplace.

Quotes on Race and Privilege — July 2016

Am I Polarizing? — July 2016

Dear White People — July 2016

7 Ways Whites Can Contribute to #BlackLivesMatter — July 2016

Dear Mayor Smith — July 2016

When Racism Hits Home — March 2016

To the Girl in the Hijab — December 2015

That Time I Was in Slate Magazine — October 2015

I Have a Dream in 2014: rules if stopped by the police — September 2014

Color Blind is a Lie — August 2014

When will the madness end?

Local theatre production benefiting foster kids

Cover Photo by Katie Childs
(LtoR)  Jenny Moses, John Michael Murphy, Kayla Walker

 

THE STUDIO THEATRE’S PRODUCTION OF
JAMES and the GIANT PEACH
AUGUST 11-21, 2016

James and the Giant Peach

DATES AND TIMES
Performances are August 11, 12 (Special Performance), 13, 14, 18,19, 20, 21, 2016
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances (August 11, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21) will begin at 7:30pm.
Sunday matinees (August 14 and 21) will begin at 2:30pm.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets are $25.00 for general admission.
Tickets are $20.00 for Seniors (65+), Military, and Students.
There are no assigned seats at The Studio Theatre.
The box office will open at 6:30pm on performance dates and the house will open approximately 20 minutes prior to curtain.

Tickets may be purchased at Eventbrite. We highly recommend that tickets be purchased in advance, as we cannot guarantee availability at the door. The Lobby Bar is open before and after the show and during intermission. The show is rated PG.

SPECIAL PERFORMANCE AUGUST 12
On Friday, August 12, “James and the Giant Peach” will host a special performance, in which a portion of ticket sales will be donated to Project Zero. Tickets for this one night only even are $35 for adults, $25 for students/seniors. Additional donations will also be accepted.

Project Zero Mission statement:
The goal of Project Zero is to raise awareness about adoption through the state foster care system with the ultimate goal of finding a forever family for every child that is waiting.

Also, throughout the run of the show, a bin will be available for patrons to donate school supplies to The Call in Pulaski County.
Needed Items:
• New mesh backpacks
• Mead Composition Notebooks
• mechanical pencils
• Other school supplies are also accepted.
The CALL is a locally-founded, statewide nonprofit that recruits, trains, and supports the needed Christian foster and adoptive families for children in foster care in Arkansas. The CALL’s vision is to achieve no waiting children in foster care in Arkansas.

Tickets available at: Eventbrite

ABOUT THE SOURCE MATERIAL
James and the Giant Peach was Roald Dahl’s first classic novel for
children. Although The Gremlins is sometimes referred to as an earlier example of his writing for children, James was Dahl’s first conscious attempt to write for a younger audience after several years of writing primarily adult short stories. Dahl started writing James and the Giant Peach in 1959 after encouragement from his agent, Sheila St Lawrence. In the orchard at Dahl’s home there was a cherry tree. Seeing this tree made him wonder: what if, one day, one of those cherries just kept on and on growing bigger and bigger? From giant cherries Dahl also considered ever-increasing pears and even apples, but eventually settled on a giant peach as the method for James’ magical journey.

The book was first published in 1961 to glowing reviews and marked the beginning of Dahl’s prolific career as a children’s author.

James and the Giant PeachSYNOPSIS
When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion that results in a tremendous peach… and launches a journey of enormous proportions. Suddenly, James finds himself in the center of the gigantic peach, among human-sized insects with equally oversized personalities, but after it falls from the tree and rolls into the ocean, the group faces hunger, sharks and plenty of disagreements. Thanks to James’ quick wit and creative thinking, the residents learn to live and work together as a family. The dangerous voyage is a success, but the adventure takes a whole new twist once they land on the Empire State Building.

THE STUDIO THEATRE
320 W. 7TH Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
501.374.2615
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA @StudioTheatreLR

Am I Polarizing?

Yesterday, a sweet friend messaged me privately to tell me that my posts (political posts on Facebook specifically) were polarizing and that it is “making it hard to listen to anything else you are saying.”

I responded that I would take the comments under consideration because I definitely don’t want to water down my message of anti-racism. (Side note: I’m not using the term “racial unity” anymore. Unity, unfortunately, still can hide underlying racism.)

But after sleeping on these comments overnight, I am calling BULLSHIT. (Sorry for the strong language, but I can’t think of a better term at the time.) I will not be silent. When I see injustice and racism, I will speak up. When I see people justifying a candidate who proves over and over again that he is a misogynistic, xenophobic, racist narcissist, I am going to call you out.

This is what the Republican Party has come to:

US Rep. Steve King preaches literal white supremacy on national television

Scott Baio ducks question about tweet calling Clinton a ‘c*nt’: ‘It’s just a picture’

RNC forced to close online convention chat after anti-Semites turn it into a Jew-bashing hatefest

Here Are 10 Examples Of Donald Trump Being Racist

Politifact has fact-checked Trump 180+ times. 75% of those statements turned out to be Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire. So tell me again who is a liar? (Hillary Clinton gets 51% True or Mostly True on Politifact. FYI.)

I admit that Hilary Clinton has a likeability issue. I really think it’s because she’s a smart, determined woman — and people hate that. But she’s experienced, level-headed, and is for the betterment of the United States. Trump is only for the betterment of Trump.

So if you don’t like what I post, hide me, unfriend me, whatever. I don’t care. Honestly. This isn’t 8th grade. This is LIFE and DEATH. My husband and children are black. They have been threatened. They get followed at the store. They don’t get invited to parties that white kids get invited to. Things are assumed about them just because of the color of their skin. They wonder if they will make it home alive each day. Let that sink in a minute.

I’m done worrying if I offend YOUR WHITE PRIVILEGE. Too bad. Until you walk a day in my shoes, the shoes of my husband or children, just hush with the whining.

And THINK. Really think for yourself. Not what you heard on Fox News or conservative radio. Not what your Southern Baptist preacher says either. (I know — I went there.) PRAY that your eyes will be opened to the truth.

“But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:11)

Dear White People:

Yesterday I was on the air with Deborah Robinson Allen on KARN. The topic of the one-hour show was “Dear White People, Do Black Lives Matter?” We could’ve talked for hours with all the callers that lit up the phones: some siding with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and some not. I’m so glad to be a part of the narrative.

Here are few snippets from the show:

This is a subject of which I am still learning. I got some really good info and history from an interview between Moms Rising executive director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner and anti-racism activist Tim Wise:

American history is filled with racial tension and white supremacy — ideologically and structurally. It’s part of America since our inception. We (white people) have a legacy of injustice aimed at black and brown people — and most white people don’t want to deal with it. But it’s that history that explains the current tension and conflict. Too often white Americans ignore that. We need to become more familiar with that history and see what black and brown people have always seen.

We need to listen, learn and take action. Don’t get stuck in the listening. But also don’t act impulsively without having listened enough.

Action — don’t do it alone. Connect with organizations doing the work already like: Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100, SURJ (standing up for racial justice), Color of Change, Innocence Project, Cure Violence.org, Moms Rising, etc.

Only when we get together and have that collective conversation can we figure it out.
K-Swiss Tubes Shoes

7 Ways Whites Can Contribute to #BlackLivesMatter

Last week just sucked. It’s a tumultuous time in our nation. Innocent lives have taken too soon by gun violence. People died at the hands of police, as well as the hands of the deranged. It all can seem just hopeless.

But I will not give up hope. I will not back down. It is now, in this moment, that I have chosen to stand up against injustice. I’m not sure what I’m doing all the time, but I am moving forward.

My letter to the mayor of my city is bringing forth fruit. We have a meeting tomorrow night at city hall with the mayor, the police chief and a local congressman. It’s an open meeting, so I hope to see a good showing of concerned citizens who are ready to put our differences aside and find the common good.

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!  Amos 5:24

I have a few suggestions for my white friends who feel unsure about how they can contribute to the #BlackLivesMatter movement or who just want to see more peace in their community between them and their black and brown neighbors.

  1. Admit your white privilege.
  2. Examine your life. Do you “do life” with people who don’t look like you? Do you have people of color over to your house for dinner?
  3. Think about the subtle messages you send to your children. Do books and toys in your house reflect diverse populations or are all the dolls white? Do your children feel free to invite a black or brown friend over to play?
  4. Get involved with your local government. Study the policing policies in your city. Do officers in your city undergo consistent racial bias training? Does your local police department require officers to use minimal force and de-escalation tactics? If not, let them know that these things are important to you.
  5. Get to know your local police officers. Let them know that you care about their safety AND that you care about the safety of black and brown people too. NLRPD
  6. VOTE. And don’t just vote along party lines like you normally do. Really look at the candidates and what their stance is on these issues. Here’s a handy-dandy candidate tracker from Campaign Zero.
  7. PRAY. Pray your eyes will be opened to injustice around you. Pray for wisdom. And pray against the true enemy, Satan. We are obviously under a spiritual attack in this country. Satan loves to see us divided and killing each other. But he will not win. I’ve read the end of the story!

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Eph 6:12

I certainly am not an expert in the matters of social justice or the black experience. But as a white woman married to a black man and mom to four black daughters, I have learned a few things along the way. I hope these suggestions help you.

UPDATE: Here is a podcast from Tim Wise that speaks perfectly to this subject:

Tim Wise on “Breaking Through” (w/Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner) 7/11/16: Discussion on White Anti-Racism

 

Please offer up more suggestions in the comments. (Keep it positive. Obscene or racist comments will be blocked.)

New Nano 6.0 now available at Reebok.com!

Dear Mayor Smith:

July 7, 2016

Dear Mayor Smith,

My name is Stacey Valley, and I am a long-time resident of North Little Rock. I’m sure you are aware that in the past two days two black men have been killed by police officers in other parts of the country. While we don’t know all of the details, the outcomes of both events could have been avoided.

black father
my husband and youngest daughter on Father’s Day

As a wife of a black man and the mother of four black daughters, I am obviously concerned about their safety when they leave home. I am not suggesting that we have a problem in North Little Rock. In fact, we have several wonderful cops in our city that want to make a difference in the lives of people of color. However there is an inherent danger in being black in this nation, and honestly, I’m scared for my family.

black children
my children enjoying a cool treat at Pineapple Whip

I would like to discuss with you what we can do to ensure that black men, women and children are not viewed as an automatic threat when North Little Rock police interact with them. Perhaps we can create a forum where officers meet the black citizens in this city before pulling them over or stopping them on the playground. Maybe doing so will decrease North Little Rock’s risk of ever having an Alton Sterling incident. Please let me know your thoughts on this matter.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Stacey Valley

 

This letter was inspired (and mostly plagiarized) from a similar letter than Shun Strickland wrote the mayor of Springdale, AR. 
K-Swiss Women's Metallics

Rock of Ages Coming to Little Rock, July 7-24

THE STUDIO THEATRE’S PRODUCTION OF

ROCK OF AGES

JULY 7 – 24, patient 2016

Rock of Ages

DATES AND TIMES

Performances are July 7, 8 (Grand Opening Celebration), 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 2016

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances (July 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23) will begin at 7:30pm

Sunday matinees (July 10, 17, 24) will begin at 2:30pm

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets are $25.00 for general admission

Tickets are $20.00 for Seniors (65+), Military, and Students.

There are no assigned seats at The Studio Theatre

The box office will open at 6:30pm on performance dates and the house will open approximately 20 minutes prior to curtain.

Tickets may be purchased at eventbrite.com through the link below:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rock-of-ages-the-musical-tickets-25747129357

We highly recommend that tickets be purchased in advance, as we cannot guarantee availability at the door.

The Lobby Bar is open before and after the show and during intermission.

Rated R for language, adult humor, and suggestive clothing.

GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION INFORMATION

Tickets for the Grand Opening Celebration (July 8, 2016) are $50 and include a catered cocktail buffet and an open bar (beer and wine) from 6:00 pm-7:30 p.m.  Following the show, a champagne toast with the cast and crew will end this amazing evening!

Curtain is at 7:30 p.m.

Ticket link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rock-of-ages-grand-opening-gala-tickets-25747038084

ABOUT THE SHOW

Rock of Ages is a rock/jukebox musical, built around classic rock songs from the glam metal bands of the 1980s, including Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, and Poison among other well-known rock bands.

The show is designed to be a hybrid experience that lies somewhere between rock concert and musical theatre.  During the performance, the performers directly address the audience.

Despite the musical’s title, the Def Leppard song of the same name is not included in the musical.

The original Broadway production ran for 2,328 performances, closing on January 18, 2015 as the 27th-longest running show in Broadway history.

On July 1, 2009, the cast set a new Guinness World Record for the Largest Air Guitar Ensemble. A total of 810 participants, including audience members and fans, shattered the previous record of 440 people playing air guitar simultaneously.

SYNOPSIS

It’s the tail end of the big, bad 1980s in Hollywood, and the party has been raging hard. Aqua Net, Lycra, lace and liquor flow freely at one of the Sunset Strip’s last legendary venues, a place where sex machine Stacee Jaxx takes the stage and scantily clad groupies line up to turn their fantasies into reality. Amidst the madness, aspiring rock star (and resident toilet cleaner) Drew longs to take the stage as the next big thing (and longs for small-town girl Sherri, fresh off the bus from Kansas with stars in her eyes). But the rock and roll fairy-tale is about to end when German developers sweep into town with plans to turn the fabled Strip into just another capitalist strip mall. Can Drew, Sherri and the gang save the strip–and themselves–before it’s too late? Only the music of hit bands Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and more hold the answer.

ROCK OF AGES CREATIVE TEAM

Music Arranged & Orchestrated by
Ethan Popp

Book by
Chris D’Arienzo

Director
Justin A. Pike

Music Director
Chuck Massey

Assistant Director
Tanner Oglesby

Chorerographer
Sara Adams Reynolds

Stage Manager
Beth Ross

Assistant Stage Manager
Jennifer Jackson Restum

Scenic Design
Justin A. Pike

Lighting Design
Joey DiPette

Costume Design
Trent Reese

Production Assistants
Tye Davis
Antwon Staton
Shawn O’Brien
Rachel Brown

ROCK OF AGES CAST

SHERRIE CHRISTIAN – Bridget Davis

DREW BOLEY – Micah Patterson

LONNY BARNETT – Michael Goodbar

DENNIS DUPREE – Danny Troillett

STACEE JAXX – Adam Smith

JUSTICE CHARLIER – Leiloni Brewer

HERTZ KLINEMANN – Harold Dean

FRANZ KLINEMANN – Benjanmin Mills

REGINA MCKAIG – Gabi Baltzley

MAYOR/JA’KEITH – Jeremiah James Herman

JOEY PRIMO – Michael Smith

WAITRESS/CONSTANCE SAK – Hannah Fairman

WATRESS/YOUNG GROUPIE – Brooke Melton

WAITRESS – Molly Rosenthal

WAITRESS – Reagan Hammonds

WAITRESS – Casey Labbate

PIT SINGERS
Tamara Murry Boggs
Cole Chandler
Mikala Hicks
Luke Johnson

THEATRE LOCATION & CONTACT INFORMATION

THE STUDIO THEATRE
320 W. 7TH Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

501.374.2615

www.thestudiotheatre-lr.org

 
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iPhones and Bernie Sanders

I had some random thoughts this morning after seeing Bernie Sander’s win in Wisconsin, no rx so amuse me as I dare to put them in print.

Nobody expected Bernie Sanders to still be in the presidential race…including Bernie himself, I’m guessing. So why is he doing so well? Why is this 70-something senator drawing in thousands of young people? I think the answer is the iPhone.

Young people (and even old ones like me) love iPhones. Mine is never far from me — even when I’m asleep. My teen and pre-teen daughters are the same. No longer do they have to use a card catalog at the library to do a research paper — they just “google it” on their phones. No longer do they have to WAIT for information — it’s at their fingertips 24/7. I think this access to technology has changed an entire generation. Delayed gratification is a thing of the past. And they don’t mind paying a monthly premium for that privilege.

Bernie Sanders is an idealist. He wants free healthcare and college for all Americans. He wants equality and justice. He wants to take the big boys down a notch. Even Bernie himself admits that these ideas will be hard to achieve — that it takes collaboration with Congress. But he dreams, he hopes for a better future.

I think that’s what appeals to the young people in our country. They too dream and hope for a better future. And they don’t mind paying a little extra for it via taxes. And let’s admit it, they won’t have to work as hard if college is free. I’m not saying that young people are lazy, just that they have the “there’s an app for that” attitude.

So even if Bernie Sanders doesn’t win the presidency, I think he’s been good for this election cycle. He’s dared us to think about possibilities, to think about a USA that doesn’t have to be stuck in the status quo, and to open our minds to what could be. I hope the young people in our country will take that ideal and run with it.

Not sure if my political musings this morning have any merit, but thought I’d just put it out there.