Thank You For Your Support to #FreeGiGi!

Yesterday GiGi Thomas was given a 30-year sentence and 10 years were suspended. The sentence is 20 years, however, she will not serve all of them.

GiGi Thomas is a transgender woman of color who has worked for more than 15 years supporting people in need in the D.C.-Baltimore area. She served as a client consultant with the sex-worker rights and human services organization HIPS and recently completed a Masters in Social Work from Howard University. Over the years, GiGi helped thousands of community members find shelter and sustenance, reunited families, cared for the injured, and spoke out about injustice especially regarding the treatment of the trans community. Gigi’s peers describe her as “one of those people who just gives and gives with all they have,” and an “amazing woman with a heart of gold.”

Since October 2015, GiGi has been held without bail in a men’s prison, often in solitary confinement. At her trial in February 2017, her attorney argued for involuntary manslaughter and a jury (obviously not of her peers) found her guilty of 2nd degree murder. The prosecuting attorney misgendered her and erased the context of her experiences as a trans woman of color, social worker, and community leader.

The ongoing support from the community to right this injustice has been amazing — you’ve written letters, shared stories, and appeared in the courtroom.

The judge reported that she examined the strong community support — and that GiGi’s support was “different from normal support.” Your letters and presence at the courtroom demonstrated that GiGi is appreciated in our community and her work is valuable.

GiGi will be at the jail for about two weeks, and will then be transferred to Baltimore to be placed. You can write to her in the meantime at GiGi Marie Thomas (A65386), PG County Correctional Center, 13400 Dille Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772.

The work continues to #FreeGiGi, as well as other incarcerated Black trans women who fight this system daily.

Why You Should Get Your Ticket for Safe Space Jam Right. Now.

Our annual celebration is on Thursday, April 27th and oh, are we pumped! We’re pulling out all the stops: beers from DC Brau, gin from Green Hat, noms from Corcoran Catering and Insomnia Cookies and more! We’ll also have a bunch of fun activities including a photobooth and a silent auction with offerings from awesome local businesses — as well as author Roxane Gay! We’ll even have a mini bystander intervention training (it’ll be fun, we promise).

We have a new awesome name for our gala and some surprises in store, but the cause is the same: supporting work to make our fine city safer and more accessible for *everyone.* We worked hard in 2016 to build a better DC for all — and this is an especially important year for us to double down on our efforts to create communities rooted in dignity, respect, and justice.

We’re so grateful to the supportive organizations that have contributed to make this event great, including The Bird, Compass Coffee, Dan Carter Yoga, District Karaoke, Freed Bodyworks, Julie Ann Art, Potter’s House, [solidcore], SoulCycle, Summit to Soul, Tabletop, the Washington Nationals, Woolly Mammoth, Yoga District, Zengo Cycle, and more!

Still not totally convinced why you need to stop everything and get a ticket right now? Here are some reasons why folks are PUMPED to attend this year.

  1. “Every year, it is an uplifting experience to know that you are not alone. To know that people care and want to change society.”
  2. “The best part of our annual party is getting to meet interesting, passionate people from our community who support CASS. Oh, and the open bar.”
  3. “Somehow I consistently wind up in these awesome conversations where I’m one of the last to leave.”
  4. “The open bar speaks for itself, but my favorite part of the annual gala is the silent auction. Outbidding friends and snagging cool stuff from local businesses, all while supporting CASS with a drink in your hand — what’s not to love?”
  5. “I’m super excited to land a bunch of cool stuff at the silent auction – like spin classes, massages and theatre tickets, going 100% to a good cause!”
  6. “I’m excited for the photo booth. Obviously. Facebook memories reminded me of photos from the CASS gala I attended back in 2013 and I took photos with new friends. Realizing those friendships have totally blossomed over the past few years with our shared passion for safe spaces? Priceless.”
  7. “The massage chair last year was a wonderful addition for activists because we often forget to prioritize self-care.”

Excited?! Get your tickets now!

See you April 27th!

Calm over the horizon

posted in: Lifestyle, Business | 0

Many years ago, I worked for my parents who own a video production company. Because it is a family business, you inevitably end up wearing many hats and being the czar of many different jobs. I mainly managed projects and worked as a video editor. On production, there were times that I was called on to work as an audio tech and was made to wear headphones on long production days. In those days, having a really good set of headphones that picked up every nuance of sound was essential to making sure the client got what they needed.

First impressions.

Naturally, my first impression of these headphones is based off of the look of them. They have a classic over-the-ear style that is highlighted by a blue LED light that indicates the power for the noise canceling. The padding on the ear pieces seems adequate for extended usage periods.

They are wired headphones, but the 3.5mm stereo mini-plug cable is detachable. Something else I noticed right of the bat was the very nice carrying case that comes with them. It has a hard plastic exterior with a soft cloth interior that helps to protect the surface of the headphones from scratches. I never truly appreciated cases for headphones until I started carrying them from place-to-place. Now I can’t imagine not having a case.

A perfect fit.

Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable.

Quality.

Now that I had the headphones on my head, I was finally ready to plug and play some music. I plugged the provided cable into the jack on the headphones and then the one on my iPhone 6. Then I called up Pandora. I tend to have a very eclectic music purview and have many stations set up for different moods. From John Williams to Fallout Boy, the sound quality of these headphones was remarkable. There is an amazing depth of sound and incredible highs and lows that make listening to music a truly breathtaking experience.

It’s safe to say that because of my unique professional experiences, I’ve tested out a lot of headphones.

In order to test how voices sounded, and the overall art of sound mixing, I pulled up Netflix on my iPad Air 2 and watched a few minutes of a movie to hear all the nuances of the film. None of them were lost. In fact, I ended up hearing sounds that I hadn’t heard before. Echoes…birds chirping…wind blowing through trees…breathing of the characters…it was very impressive what the headphones ended up bringing out for me.

I would highly recommend these to any sound mixing specialist.

Inspired by clouds

[vc_row unlock_row=”” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”5″ bottom_padding=”5″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_use_pixel=”yes” font_family=”font-134980″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ column_width_pixel=”800″][vc_custom_heading text_size=”h1″ text_font=”font-202503″ text_uppercase=””]Take your time.[/vc_custom_heading][vc_column_text text_lead=”yes”]I’ve got a Fujifilm X100s. It runs about $1300. It’s easily the best camera I’ve ever owned. I take care of it as best as I can, but I don’t let taking care of it impact the photography. Let me elaborate on that a bit better. You’ll get better at each section of what we talked about slowly. And while you do, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it all is and how the habit forms. The best way to get better at photography is start by taking your camera everywhere. If you leave your house, your camera leaves with you. The only exception is if you’re planning for a weekend bender — then probably leave it at home. Other than that, always have it slung over your shoulder. It would probably help to get an extra battery to carry in your pocket. I’ve got three batteries. One in my camera, one in my pocket, one in the charger.

When it dies, swap them all.

For me, the most important part of improving at photography has been sharing it. Sign up for an Exposure account, or post regularly to Tumblr, or both. Tell people you’re trying to get better at photography. Talk about it. When you talk about it, other people get excited about it. They’ll come on photo walks with you. They’ll pose for portraits. They’ll buy your prints, zines, whatever.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row unlock_row_content=”yes” row_height_percent=”50″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”0″ top_padding=”0″ bottom_padding=”0″ back_color=”color-lxmt” overlay_alpha=”50″ equal_height=”yes” gutter_size=”0″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_percent=”70″ position_vertical=”middle” override_padding=”yes” column_padding=”5″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text_size=”h1″ text_height=”fontheight-357766″ text_font=”font-202503″ sub_lead=”yes” sub_reduced=”yes” text_uppercase=”” subheading=”— Rabindranath Tagore

“]Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.[/vc_custom_heading][/vc_column][vc_column column_width_percent=”100″ override_padding=”yes” column_padding=”0″ back_color=”color-wayh” back_image=”23132″ back_position=”center top” parallax=”yes” overlay_alpha=”0″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/2″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row unlock_row=”” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”5″ bottom_padding=”5″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_use_pixel=”yes” font_family=”font-134980″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ column_width_pixel=”800″][vc_custom_heading text_size=”h1″ text_font=”font-202503″ text_uppercase=””]Breathe the world.[/vc_custom_heading][vc_column_text text_lead=”yes”]I’ve got a Fujifilm X100s. It runs about $1300. It’s easily the best camera I’ve ever owned. I take care of it as best as I can, but I don’t let taking care of it impact the photography. Let me elaborate on that a bit better. You’ll get better at each section of what we talked about slowly. And while you do, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it all is and how the habit forms. The best way to get better at photography is start by taking your camera everywhere. If you leave your house, your camera leaves with you. The only exception is if you’re planning for a weekend bender — then probably leave it at home. Other than that, always have it slung over your shoulder. It would probably help to get an extra battery to carry in your pocket. I’ve got three batteries. One in my camera, one in my pocket, one in the charger. When it dies, swap them all.

For me, the most important part of improving at photography has been sharing it. Sign up for an Exposure account, or post regularly to Tumblr, or both. Tell people you’re trying to get better at photography. Talk about it. When you talk about it, other people get excited about it. They’ll come on photo walks with you. They’ll pose for portraits. They’ll buy your prints, zines, whatever.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row unlock_row_content=”yes” row_height_percent=”50″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”0″ top_padding=”0″ bottom_padding=”0″ back_color=”color-lxmt” overlay_alpha=”50″ equal_height=”yes” gutter_size=”0″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_percent=”100″ override_padding=”yes” column_padding=”0″ back_color=”color-wayh” back_image=”23131″ back_position=”center top” parallax=”yes” overlay_alpha=”0″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/2″][/vc_column][vc_column column_width_percent=”70″ position_vertical=”middle” override_padding=”yes” column_padding=”5″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text_size=”h1″ text_height=”fontheight-357766″ text_font=”font-202503″ sub_lead=”yes” sub_reduced=”yes” text_uppercase=”” subheading=”— Christopher Morley

“]Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water.[/vc_custom_heading][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row unlock_row=”” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”5″ bottom_padding=”5″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_use_pixel=”yes” font_family=”font-134980″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ column_width_pixel=”800″][vc_custom_heading text_size=”h1″ text_font=”font-202503″ text_uppercase=””]Enjoy the morning.[/vc_custom_heading][vc_column_text text_lead=”yes”]The best way to get better at photography is start by taking your camera everywhere. If you leave your house, your camera leaves with you. The only exception is if you’re planning for a weekend bender — then probably leave it at home. Other than that, always have it slung over your shoulder. It would probably help to get an extra battery to carry in your pocket. I’ve got three batteries. One in my camera, one in my pocket, one in the charger. When it dies, swap them all.

For me, the most important part of improving at photography has been sharing it. Sign up for an Exposure account, or post regularly to Tumblr, or both. Tell people you’re trying to get better at photography. Talk about it. When you talk about it, other people get excited about it. They’ll come on photo walks with you. They’ll pose for portraits. They’ll buy your prints, zines, whatever. I’ve got a Fujifilm X100s. It runs about $1300.

It’s easily the best camera I’ve ever owned. I take care of it as best as I can, but I don’t let taking care of it impact the photography. Let me elaborate on that a bit better. You’ll get better at each section of what we talked about slowly. And while you do, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it all is and how the habit forms.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_height_percent=”65″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”0″ bottom_padding=”0″ back_color=”color-wayh” back_image=”23132″ back_position=”center center” parallax=”yes” overlay_color=”color-wayh” overlay_alpha=”25″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_percent=”100″ position_vertical=”middle” align_horizontal=”align_center” override_padding=”yes” column_padding=”2″ style=”dark” overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/1″][vc_custom_heading heading_semantic=”h1″ text_size=”fontsize-155944″ text_height=”fontheight-357766″ text_font=”font-202503″ sub_lead=”yes” sub_reduced=”yes” text_uppercase=”” subheading=”— Gilbert K. Chesterton

“]There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.[/vc_custom_heading][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row unlock_row=”” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”5″ bottom_padding=”3″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_use_pixel=”yes” font_family=”font-134980″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ column_width_pixel=”800″][vc_custom_heading text_size=”h1″ text_font=”font-202503″ text_uppercase=””]Free your mind.[/vc_custom_heading][vc_column_text text_lead=”yes”]The best way to get better at photography is start by taking your camera everywhere. If you leave your house, your camera leaves with you. The only exception is if you’re planning for a weekend bender — then probably leave it at home. Other than that, always have it slung over your shoulder. It would probably help to get an extra battery to carry in your pocket. I’ve got three batteries. One in my camera, one in my pocket, one in the charger. When it dies, swap them all.

I’ve got a Fujifilm X100s. It runs about $1300. It’s easily the best camera I’ve ever owned. I take care of it as best as I can, but I don’t let taking care of it impact the photography. Let me elaborate on that a bit better. You’ll get better at each section of what we talked about slowly. And while you do, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it all is and how the habit forms.

For me, the most important part of improving at photography has been sharing it. Sign up for an Exposure account, or post regularly to Tumblr, or both. Tell people you’re trying to get better at photography. Talk about it. When you talk about it, other people get excited about it. They’ll come on photo walks with you. They’ll pose for portraits. They’ll buy your prints, zines, whatever.

Photography is better shared.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Make it clean and simple

posted in: Lifestyle, Business | 0

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Just the other day I happened to wake up early. That is unusual for an engineering student. After a long time I could witness the sunrise. I could feel the sun rays falling on my body. Usual morning is followed by hustle to make it to college on time. This morning was just another morning yet seemed different.

Witnessing calm and quiet atmosphere, clear and fresh air seemed like a miracle to me. I wanted this time to last longer since I was not sure if I would be able to witness it again, knowing my habit of succumbing to schedule. There was this unusual serenity that comforted my mind. It dawned on me, how distant I had been from nature. Standing near the compound’s gate, feeling the moistness that the air carried, I thought about my life so far.

This is what has happened to us. We want the things we have been doing forcefully to fail. And then maybe people around us would let us try something else or our dreams. We are accustomed to live by everyone else’s definition of success. We punish people for the things they are passionate about, just because we were unable to do the same at some point in our life.

I was good at academics, so decisions of my life had been pretty simple and straight. Being pretty confident I would make it to the best junior college of my town in the first round itself, never made me consider any other option. I loved psychology since childhood, but engineering was the safest option. Being born in a middle class family, thinking of risking your career to make it to medical field was not sane. I grew up hearing ‘Only doctor’s children can afford that field’ and finally ended up believing it. No one around me believed in taking risks. Everyone worshiped security. I grew up doing the same.

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‘Being in the top will only grant you a good life’ has been the mantra of my life. But at times, I wish I was an average student. I wish decisions would have not been so straightforward. Maybe I would have played cricket- the only thing I feel passionate about. Or maybe I would have studied literature (literature drives me crazy). Isn’t that disappointing- me wishing to be bad at academics. It’s like at times I hate myself for the stuff I am good at.

I feel like these concrete buildings have sucked our desires and our dreams. We are so used to comfort that compromise seems like a taboo. We have lost faith in ourselves. If we can make through it right now, we can do the same in the days to come. You only need a desire to survive and nothing more- not money or cars or designer clothes.

Staying locked up in four walls have restricted our thinking. I feel like our limited thinking echoes through this wall. We are so used to schedules and predictable life that we have successfully suppressed our creative side.

When you step out of these four walls on a peaceful morning, you realize how much nature has to offer to you. Its boundless. Your thoughts, worries, deadlines won’t resonate here. Everything will flow away along with the wind. And you will realize every answer you had been looking for, was always known to you.

It would mean a lot to me if you recommend this article and help me improve. I would love to know your thoughts!

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