Monday, February 28, 2011
CNN iReport Awards: Personal stories

Personal stories make CNN iReport special.

iReporters often share painful, difficult and potentially embarrassing experiences with CNN because they want to help others who might be facing the same situations. It takes a lot of guts to open up to strangers – especially on the Internet, where people can be cruel.

 

That’s why we are so proud of all of the nominees in Personal Stories category of the CNN iReport Awards.

 

Nominee 1: My escape from Vietnam

 

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Growing up in post-war Vietnam was a struggle for Faithe Chu, because she was born out of wedlock and her father was an American. Faithe wrote in her essay that she faced constant harassment and funny looks from her peers because she looked different and that her family had to move around a lot because the Vietnamese government didn’t look kindly on “Amerasian” children. Her mother dyed her hair black, burned her birth certificate and pretended she was adopted because of the shame. Faithe said she didn’t find out her mother was actually her biological mother until she was 18-years-old.

 

She eventually was able to come to the United States, but said it was difficult to fit in and that she felt like she didn’t belong anywhere. Faithe said she’s overcome that and has a great career, a wonderful family and is a proud American.

 

Nominee 2: My gay bullying experience

 

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Ryan Basilio faced a lot of bullying as a child and it only got worse when he came out as a freshman in high school. He said other students threatened to beat him up and even rape him because of his sexual orientation. Ryan had a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, so when four guys cornered him in a bathroom, the fight ended much differently then they had expected.

 

He said the school administration wasn’t very supportive and that he almost got expelled for fighting. Ryan said he ended up going to the ACLU and the school board to demand that the school take action. He said he made this video because he wants other kids to know that they can stand up for themselves if they’re being bullied.

 

Nominee 3: My kids use the ‘N-word’

 

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Trudy Stergiopoulos said she was torn when she heard her two oldest children using the ‘n-word.’ She wrote that she was raised to believe that the term was racist, derogatory and just wrong, but her kids and their friends – both black and white – don’t think it’s a big deal. Trudy said she’s come to accept that the word doesn’t have a negative meaning to her children and their friends.

 

Her story was controversial, to say the least. Trudy’s iReport sparked a passionate discussion about race and parenting.

 

Nominee 4: ‘I am not your joke’

 

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Tara Elizabeth Grieb said she’s very lucky to be surrounded by loving family and friends, but that it still hurts when someone points or makes fun of her because she’s tall and has a deep voice and broad shoulders. She summed up her message in a hand written sign.

 

She said transgendered men and women are just like everyone else and should be treated with respect, not greeted with fear and ridicule.

 

Nominee 5: My coming out letter

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Jeremy Johnson spent ten years in the U.S. Navy and said he hopes to return to the service once the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military is lifted. Jeremy said he had a rich and rewarding career in the military and that he was proud of his service. He said the constant fear of being “outed” was a physical and mental strain and that serving in secret forced him to give up his integrity.

 

In 2007, Jeremy wrote an impassioned letter to his commanding officer explaining why he was coming out and requesting to be discharged from the Navy. He shared the letter with CNN iReport because he wanted to others to know what a difficult situation gays and lesbians face in the military.

 

We want to thank every iReporter, who has shared their personal story with the world. It is an honor that you trust us to handle your story with respect.

 

Please be sure to check out all of the nominees for the CNN iReport Awards and be sure to vote for the Community Choice Award. You can vote once a day until Monday, March 7. We will announce all of the winners on Tuesday, March 15 at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

4 Comments
March 1, 2011
Click to view larena's profile

thanks David

March 5, 2011
Click to view 5thsfpatriot's profile

Maybe  just a crazy thought about how to save the USA economy and the  budgets  of each and every state and then around the world.

Lets  just say this is the satalite plan, that gets the ball rolling.  We  watch TV and there are tons of adds for save the children and  how to donate  money to the churches.

So why not ask  all Americans, all corporations, banks, businesses and  churcrhes  to do this one time.

I do not know the population of  America and the Americans abroad, but if  Every American donated  just $5.00 to cut the deficet I believe that would be  about 200  billion dollars. Then if we could get the American corporations  who  for some reason found their loop holes to avoid paying taxes  and got them to  just donate $100.00 each that would be another  30 Billion Dollars. Then we ask  the same of american small businesses  to do the same if only $50.00 each that  would be about another  3 to 15 billion dollars and last ask the churches, after  all it  does say on the American money "IN GOD WE TRUST" AND THEY ALL DONATED  JUST $25.00 EACH, then that would be maybe another billion dollars.  In total  sowhere around $346 billion to $531 Billion Dollars.  Then you add the dollars  from Americans aboard and we may have  another 10 to 15 billion. Not only that we  could ask actors and  musicians to do Live Aid concerts all over the land and  donat  all the money for a day of Peace and security for this nation.

If  it were a success then we could do the same in each state, the residence  contributing to thier own state budgets and holding live aid concerts  in each of  those state as the musicians all come from different  states. This would help  build funds in their states so they could  not only take care of their budgets ,  but for the first time be  allowed to hold on to a surplus of cash for the next  term.

Now  for a final desparate act to get even more money for the USA Run  a USA   Power Ball Lottery in all 50 states using numbers from1  to 236 for each year  America has been here and reduces those numbers  each time they play by the  amount of states that had winners,  such as if winners were from CA,  PA,WI,AK,DC,NY then the numbers  would be fro 1 to 230 as for the power ball they  would be from  1 to 56 to account for the 50 states and the 6 terretories  Drawings  could be made once a month and continue to help budget the Americas  for  eternity and once winners came from all the states and territorries  the number  pick would be from 1 to 180 and the Powerball from  1 to 56.

There is no reason that each state could not  have a powerball playoff each  week to help budget their states.

Now  lets talk about those winners, some may retire and invest in the  markets. Some may go out and build bunesses for the future from  Medical plazas  to shopping outlets to Auto dealerships and even  into the new Green Marketing  plan. These would all be for the  people to play and if any coropration played  its winnings would  be devided up amoung the workers on equal shares. By the year  2035  there would be so many millionairs and billionairs that Social Security  would be able to pay all claims forever. Education fights over  budgets would be  a thing of the past and students could enter  colleges just as the enter public  education, it would be free  to anyone who wanted to make more of themselves.  We'd have the  highest educated workforce in the world. Crime would drop  dramatically  as we could rehabilitate criminals to make better lives for  themselves,  while running specialized business behind the walls which would  afford the Prison systems to finance their own institutions. Now  if other world  governments followed the same plan they too would  be able to support and help  build their countries to a point where  they no longer needed our support  financially, taking the tension  off of the whole world.

 

I was a turnaround  specialist who always found a way to take companies out  of the  read and into the black. I always wondered what the plan was for  my life  and maybe this crazy thought is why God kept me here on  earth.

 

If you have a great imagination,  you can see the possibilties of this plan  taking us well into  the sopace age. Instead of single dwellings we'd be living  in  corporate condos., The medical field would find itself making leaps  and  bounds in new ways to heal all Americans. Our worldwide military  forces would go  from national policing to world policing and beyond  our galaxy.

Respectfully

Alan Bercini

591  Lengo Street

Pensacola FL

32534   Retired

850-512-7662

March 5, 2011
Click to view larena's profile

time is clicking my best wishes for the nominees and for the soon to be winners good luck to all of you thanks

March 7, 2011
Click to view jimbuko's profile

homosexuality is your choice, you are in a minority but you try to impose your lifestyle for us christians to accept. well sailor i retired in 2000 and it was one of the reasons i left the service early... because of political correctness. to me personally it is really disgusting for imposing to accept ur lifestyle, i am  glad i am now a civilian and don't need to be conform or accept ur sinful life.

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