Writing I Like: Melissa Chadburn

Melissa Chadburn grew up and currently lives in Los Angeles. I really like her writing and I really like her. She’s a hardworking, talented, kind, big hearted person. I’m grateful LA is lucky enough to have such a beautiful writer in the city.

She’ll be reading at READINGS on Wednesday September 26 at 7:30 p.m at The Pop-Hop. In case you have not yet read her writing, I wanted to share some links below.

Salon recently published her essay “I prayed my mom would leave.”    

One of my favorite of her Rumpus essays is “The Throwaways”  and “Here We Are Becoming Champs”                    

Excerpt from “The Throwaways”

 

When I pay my taxes I am telling my community I value you. What about hard work paying off? It’s true. I think we should be rewarded for hard work. I know that I would not have gotten where I am today were it not for my hard work. But even that is not a solitary effort. I was able to get where I am today because of the people who were here before me. I’m not just talking about the vast civil rights movement, or the woman’s suffragist movement, I’m talking about the guy who works for Caltrans who helped me get to and from school and thousands of job interviews. I’m talking about the teachers, Ms. Smith who was my High School English teacher and saw something in me. Ms. Marshall, the round sweet journalism instructor who as a licensed reporter did her job and got me into foster care, which was a long, achy road, but one that perhaps has saved my life. The nurses who tended to me when I was exposed to tuberculosis as a young child. The military that helped so many members of my family escape poverty and discover a nation they believed in so much they’d risk they’re lives for it. The firefighters who do the unthinkable, who run into burning buildings for perfect strangers. Firefighters who often had to come out to emergency cold weather shelters, where I worked, in the middle of the night to tend to a homeless person who was scared they were losing their mind. Sometimes all they needed was some attention. I’ll never forget one Christmas working in the shelter. A firefighter bent down in front of a homeless woman smiling placing a band-aid on her unwounded flesh just to give her a secret joy. Today the average pay of one S&P 500 index CEO could pay the salary of 252 firefighters.

 

If we are saying I value you when we pay our taxes, what is a corporation saying when they don’t pay taxes? Are they saying the opposite? Are they saying they don’t care about whether or not other people have healthcare? I think it’s not too much to ask for people to have healthcare.

 

When I pay my taxes I am telling my community I value you. What about hard work paying off? It’s true. I think we should be rewarded for hard work. I know that I would not have gotten where I am today were it not for my hard work. But even that is not a solitary effort. I was able to get where I am today because of the people who were here before me. I’m not just talking about the vast civil rights movement, or the woman’s suffragist movement, I’m talking about the guy who works for Caltrans who helped me get to and from school and thousands of job interviews. I’m talking about the teachers, Ms. Smith who was my High School English teacher and saw something in me. Ms. Marshall, the round sweet journalism instructor who as a licensed reporter did her job and got me into foster care, which was a long, achy road, but one that perhaps has saved my life. The nurses who tended to me when I was exposed to tuberculosis as a young child. The military that helped so many members of my family escape poverty and discover a nation they believed in so much they’d risk they’re lives for it. The firefighters who do the unthinkable, who run into burning buildings for perfect strangers. Firefighters who often had to come out to emergency cold weather shelters, where I worked, in the middle of the night to tend to a homeless person who was scared they were losing their mind. Sometimes all they needed was some attention. I’ll never forget one Christmas working in the shelter. A firefighter bent down in front of a homeless woman smiling placing a band-aid on her unwounded flesh just to give her a secret joy. Today the average pay of one S&P 500 index CEO could pay the salary of 252 firefighters.

 

If we are saying I value you when we pay our taxes, what is a corporation saying when they don’t pay taxes? Are they saying the opposite? Are they saying they don’t care about whether or not other people have healthcare? I think it’s not too much to ask for people to have healthcare.

 

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