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One of My Favorite Journalists and People: Zondra Hughes

17 May
Marcie & Zondra

Me & Zondra Hughes

You know how you take a liking to someone and you really don’t know why? Well, Zondra Hughes has done just that with me and I have no idea why.  I’m glad she has because the feeling is mutual.  She is one of my most favorite people even though I don’t really know her personally.  I do know that she’s an author, journalist, editor, and blogger. And she likes toys. Yes, those toys. How could you not appreciate someone who publicly admits that she has replaced boys for toys when a lot of people still act as if sex is a taboo topic even though it has invaded our households in so many forms? Sorry, I digressed.

Every time I see her, she’s always smiling, which is a reflection of her radiant personality.  I absolutely admire Zondra’s level of achievement. She’s always accomplishing new things.  Currently, she’s the Deputy Editor of Rolling Out magazine. Earlier this year, she created SixBrownChicks, a ChicagoNow daily relationship blog for women, which has grown to WCIU channel 26 in Chicago. Last year she ruffled many feathers with her book, Living the Ebony Life: E-mails From The Plantation.  She shared her experiences as an employee at Johnson Publishing, which has not been done by any of their employees to date (I don’t think).

I could go on and on, but I won’t. But I would like to thank Zondra for her words of encouragement during her book signing last year. She pretty much told me she was waiting for my completed book. That added a sense of urgency to the book I was thinking about doing at the time.  Now, I’m on a mission to be first with my topic.

So, Zondra, if you ever read this, I just want to thank you for taking a liking to me and being a source of support on my writing journey. I am proud of your accomplishments and admire your courage to keep moving. You are truly an inspiration.

Thanks for everything.


Dutch Government Taxing Prostitutes

20 Mar


I just read a story on BBC News about the Dutch government is looking to tax prostitutes.Apparently, Amsterdam has built quite a reputation for having an interesting red-light district. These days, it’s not just about servicing clients; it has become a tourist attraction. Now, the government wants a piece of the action.

There were a few things in the story that threw me off a bit due to contradictions.  The story reported that “Prostitution was legalised in Amsterdam in 2000 and sex workers are now classed as self-employed businesswomen.”  But earlier in the story it was stated that, “Officials have traditionally treated prostitutes with a little more leniency on taxation than other workers, seeing them as victims of pimps and people traffickers.”

Some women are there by choice.  In fact, the article stated that women from Africa, Asia and other parts of Europe came to Amsterdam just to work the red-light district for a couple months and fly back out.

Here’s a statement from one of the workers interviewed: “It’s hard to be a sex worker, not the job itself, but the way society is treating you. So it feels like a little bit of a double standard to pay tax to a society that doesn’t accept you.”

Honestly, I don’t know what made me read that article or write this story. I think it’s the mistreatment and the lack of respect toward women and girls these days. It has gotten worse over the years, and everyone –  especially women – act like it’s okay.

And, we know that this tax will be mostly be carried on the backs of women since, generally speaking, this is a predominantly female profession.

As I think about the ramifications of this tax, I have to wonder: are there any male-dominated professions that are being sought for taxation? I know that the government is looking at the industry as a whole, but I’m looking at the group of people that will have to pay most – women. And what about those women that are there against their will?

I may have to keep track to see how this plays out.


Image: Legal Juice

Free Event on The Perils of Foreign Reporting – March 16, 2011

6 Mar

Association for Women Journalists - Chicago

Join The Association for Women Journalists for a discussion on foreign reporting and the perils that come with it on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Columbia College. Visit AWJ’s site to register for the free event.