I wore a pantsuit


What I did: attended the Bellevue/NYU Survivors of Torture Benefit

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What I wore: gold hoop earrings that were a gift from the Bacon Provider in the 80s, blue Fluevog Guides, navy pantsuit that I bought back when I thought that straight As and an extra leadership certificate would lead to some interviews when I got my MBA and sent out my resume, a pale blue Italian-made blouse with covered button placket, a big pointy collar, and long, weird cuffs that require cufflinks, tiny turquoise Furla evening bag with a long, gold cross-body chain that serves as a strap, new navy overcoat that I bought at Zara on a recent trip into the city and discovered I was under-dressed. 

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What I did beforehand: riding lesson, bought bagels, shower, shot past the strip mall where the salon was, turned around, got stuck in a dead end, found a service entrance, haircut, got dressed, made online account to bid on silent auction items, drove to town and parked, bought a peak/off-peak round trip train ticket, got on train, smushed onto subway at rush hour, walked across Washington Square Park, read a flyer about vaginas.

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Who went with me: my friend R., whose Chit-chat-with-strangers Game is better than mine.
How I got tickets: I was invited by a NYC contact who has persistently attempted, through her continued invitations to lunch, to demonstrate to me that not all New Yorkers are toads.

Why I went: the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture provides comprehensive care, in the form of medical, mental health, social and legal services to survivors of torture and war trauma and their family members. Last year they offered multidisciplinary services to over 900 people from more than 70 countries. Since 1995, the Program has developed an international reputation for excellence in their clinical, educational and research activities. Their stated mission is “to assist individuals and families subjected to torture and war trauma to re-build healthy, self-sufficient lives, and to contribute knowledge and testimony to global efforts to end torture.”

Where I sat: Table 4

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Things that were sad: this year, the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture welcomed 135 new clients and 93 new family members.

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Things that were funny: I dropped both of my forks.

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Things that were not funny: that pale blue Italian blouse fits better in theory than in practice.

What it is: this benefit recognizes both the efforts of the many professionals serving clients in the program and also honors some of the achievements of its clients. There was also a silent auction.

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Who should see it: Americans needing a reminder of what our 240 year old experiment in democracy stands for in the world.

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What happened on the way home: I fell down the stairs on the subway.

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A Letter to the Governor of New York

On a recent Saturday night, I wrote a bunch of letters to politicians in New York, starting with this one to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.  I received a form letter reply from the governor’s office about two weeks later.

16 March 2013
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo:
Though we moved to New York in July of 2011, I still consider myself to be a brand new New Yorker. I am proud of the leadership you showed getting marriage equality for New Yorkers, and admire your ability to get the budget passed with bi-partisan cooperation.  
I recently read the story of William Blake, a prisoner in administrative segregation at Elmira Correctional Facility who has been in solitary confinement for nearly 26 years.
I am terribly sad to learn that William Blake is but one of many prisoners in extreme isolation in New York State; a cruel and de-humanizing practice, extended periods of solitary confinement exacts physical and psychological harm on prisoners, prison staff and their families (according to investigations by the New York Civil Liberties Union).  I have also learned that prisoners are locked up for 23 hours a day and separated from meaningful human contact or mental stimulation for breaking minor prison rules.
I sincerely hope you join me in supporting reforms to end the common use of this inhumane practice. New York needs to establish strict criteria to ensure that inmates are separate only in limited and legitimate circumstances for the briefest period and under humane conditions and perform an audit of the current population in isolation.
Effective and fair criminal justice maintains public safety and honors our state’s commitment to basic human dignity. Please, help restore New York’s reputation as a progressive leader for the nation. Please, make me proud to be the brand new New Yorker. 
Form letter from Gov. Cuomo