Troy Talk

The Color Pink: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

tt130.jpgIf you asked me, I would most likely have said: never. Watching professional football players wearing pink as part of their uniform. They have in the past, and I suspect some players will do so this entire month in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In what is one of the most visible and successful efforts to promote awareness, the appearance of pink ribbons or simply the color has become part of the cultural landscape in America. And, it appears that support for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month had garnered support from a broad cross-section of the country, from professional athletes to your neighbor.

It isn’t difficult to understand why. Many of us have had a family member or friend affected by breast cancer. When I hear about it, the news stops me cold.  And while breast cancer is a scourge, I must add that in a time when there seems to be so much divisiveness throughout the country on numerous subjects, we finally have something that we can agree upon: We have to defeat breast cancer.

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Helping Veterans Reach Their Educational Goals

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What does it mean to be a "veteran-friendly" university? There is no clear definition of what is a "veteran-friendly" institution, because the educational choices that our colleges offer students take different shapes and forms on every campus. The diverse offerings of today’s higher education communities oftentimes make it challenging to identify who is doing it best.

Campus culture, location, academic rigor, student body makeup, size, and more, all play a role in constituting “veteran-friendly” institutions. Today’s colleges and universities need to define “veteran-friendly” in a way that addresses both the needs of the veteran student and the institution.

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Words Can No Longer Describe

tt128.jpgI have reached a point where words can no longer describe my frustration and anger at the present situation we find our country in with regards to interactions between the police and people of color. Unfortunately we are once again forced to face the clear and present understanding of the divisions that remain in our country between law enforcement and predominately minority communities. The idea that these interactions are turning into deadly encounters should frighten us all regardless of your race, class or socioeconomic condition. 

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Living the American Dream

tt127.jpgI still remember the day. I signed my name for what felt like a thousand times and wrote the largest check I had ever written in my life. But, it was mine. And, when the agent put the keys to my new home in my hands I knew that I had grabbed my piece of the American dream.

Home ownership has always been a symbol of financial accomplishment in our country. Oftentimes it has marked a rite of passage into “finally becoming a grown up” when that purchase is made. Unfortunately for many, the American dream of home ownership is becoming more difficult to attain. It is especially hard for those just starting out on their own due to the challenges involved in saving up for the down payment. Despite all of the positive aspects and advantages of home ownership, affordability for first time homeowners continues to be a significant barrier for far too many New Jersey residents.

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National Suicide Prevention Month: A Path to Hope & Help

tt126.jpgSeptember is National Suicide Prevention Month. It is a time when we pay particular attention to helping those who might be in trouble. The danger signs of a potential suicide are seldom as obvious as those with many other emergencies. If you grasp your throat, most people would conclude that you’re choking. If a person suffers a stroke, unmistakable signs that something is seriously wrong include a drooping face, inability to lift up both arms, or being incapable of completing a coherent sentence.

Suicides are different. Some victims exhibit few signs that something is amiss. Indeed, a potential suicide candidate might appear to be as normal as everyone else, until the tragedy happens.  

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Why You Don’t Labor on Labor Day

tt125.jpgOn Monday, we will celebrate Labor Day. For many, it represents the “unofficial” end of summer. The day that follows this holiday also signals a return to numerous classrooms. Labor Day remains a punctuation date that some welcome and others treat with a touch of regret.

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From Battlefields to Boardrooms

tt124.jpgBeing unemployed can be difficult for anyone, but it is particularly painful for one special group: our military veterans.

There is a saying that comes with those who have given of themselves to defend our country, “Some gave all, but all gave something.” This statement underscores the covenant that thousands of men and women have made with our country. An agreement that demands that we honor their service by treating them every day with the dignity and respect that these patriots deserve.

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The Agony & the Ecstasy

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ABC’s “Wild World of Sports” was a popular TV program that ran for 37 years. It had a memorable intro, “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat,” as it showed the spectacular wipe-out of a Slovenian skier, who was unhurt. That slogan remains in our lexicon to this day.

The show was wildly popular not only because it highlighted major sporting events, but also minor sports that seldom got any media attention. I also think then, as now, it allowed all of us a moment of vicarious pleasure to daydream about how it must feel to win or lose in pursuit of an athletic goal. That’s a feeling that many viewers must be sharing as they watch the Olympic Games.

As I watched the greatest sporting display on earth, I couldn’t help but wonder whether there weren’t lessons that we could pluck from the games by simply being an observer. The Olympics, like everyday life, is far from perfect. But mostly in this great competition the vast majority of competitors, with some notable exceptions, have taken the high road, looking for commonality and camaraderie in the pursuit of a common goal — victory — even as they compete against each other.

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Preparing For A Financial Rainy Day

tt122.jpgThe difficulty with complicated economic issues is that many of us find it difficult to see the relationship between a major fiscal policy and its impact on our own pocketbook.

Rainy day funds are an exception. I believe we all fundamentally understand this concept.

Let’s assume that you’ve set money aside for a long weekend at the shore in late August. The day before you leave, your air conditioning unit breaks, and the HVAC technician comes out and quotes a $900 repair. Do you still go on vacation? If you’ve been prudent, you dip into your savings (You always keep the equivalent of three month’s living expenses, right???), write the check and enjoy your vacation.

But what if you’ve been imprudent? What if you haven’t been saving money or if all you’ve saved is $300? You have a shortfall, and the fiscal problem is apparent.

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What’s in a Word?

tt121a.jpgOne of the earliest life lessons that my parents taught me was in the importance of the language we use in our interactions with others. So often, a word or a phrase can reshape a relationship or re-frame a moment if we are not careful in how we employ their usage. I was reminded of that lesson as I sat down to write this week and thought about the word “feminism”.

Having been exposed to many powerful strong woman over the course of my 43 years on this Earth, I believed I knew what the word meant. However, I don’t think I have fully considered what “feminism” means to me or as my parents taught me the importance of this word. I wonder if it’s the “ism” that becomes a jarring note. In some circles, it’s a proverbial red flag, used with the intention of conjuring up negative images of a stereotypical man-hating women bent on a tirade of anti-male criticism directed at men.

 

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