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'Attractive & Fat'
May 23rd, 2013
01:43 PM ET

'Attractive & Fat' ad spoofs Abercrombie

By Sarah LeTrent, CNN

(CNN) - Jes Baker is cutting retailer Abercrombie & Fitch down to size.

Baker, who blogs under the name "The Militant Baker" and wears a size 22, changed the brand's A&F logo to "Attractive & Fat" in a mock, black-and-white Abercrombie ad to challenge the line's branding efforts.

The photos come as a provocative response to contentious comments Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries made in a 2006 Salon article about the multibillion-dollar brand's target audience.

"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," Jeffries said. "Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

The divisive remarks resurfaced earlier this month after a series of protests went viral, from Greg Karber's video of himself giving homeless people Abercrombie clothing to a Change.org petition for larger sizes by a teenage eating disorder survivor.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: How we look • What we think • Women
Violence Against Women Act shines a light on same-sex abuse
Protesters note the issue of domestic violence doesn't apply only to heterosexuals.
March 14th, 2013
11:00 AM ET

Violence Against Women Act shines a light on same-sex abuse

By Sarah LeTrent, CNN

(CNN) - Patrick Dati had reached his breaking point.

With a metal pin in his arm and Vicodin coursing through his veins, he picked up the phone to call his psychiatrist.

Dati had undergone surgery for a broken arm after his then-boyfriend allegedly threw him down the stairs when he tried to leave their home.

Now he sat on the phone with his doctor, explaining why he couldn't carry on, as he tried to overdose on painkillers.

The attempt to end his life, which landed him in a psychiatric ward for two days, resulted in part because he felt trapped in the abusive relationship and saw no way out.

"I couldn't let my boyfriend go because he wasn't allowing me to," Dati said.

Dati is one of an estimated 3.4% of adults who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, referred to as LGBT, in the United States. He's also one of a quarter of gay men in America who report having encountered intimate partner violence.

While Dati reached out to LGBT resources for help while he was ensnared in the abusive relationship, including the Center on Halsted Anti-Violence Project's 24-Hour crisis hot line in Chicago, many in his position find that help is hard to come by.

Now, thanks to new LGBT-inclusive language in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, signed into law this month, domestic violence victims like Dati will have access to many of the same abuse and trauma services as victims of heterosexual partner violence.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: How we live • Politics • Sexual orientation
"Great food with a mission" at Harvest Cafe
October 12th, 2012
04:03 PM ET

A cafe on a mission of empowerment

By Sarah LeTrent, CNN

(CNN) - Drake takes drink orders, greets regular customers with a warm handshake and sets the tables for the next wave of the lunch crowd. It’s a stark change from the sheepish man who patrons first encountered when Harvest Café opened its doors in the beginning of 2011.

“My goodness, it’s like night and day. You’d see the change in him week by week,” says Jean Ringhoff, a regular at the café who works at a nearby bank. “At first, he barely made eye contact.”

Drake, like the restaurant itself, now commands a second look.

The pale yellow house with the white wrap-around porches serves not only as a fully-operating restaurant, but also as a day habilitation program for people with developmental disabilities.

Harvest Café is owned and operated by A Very Special Place (AVSP), a not-for-profit corporation for people with varying degrees of developmental disabilities on Staten Island, New York.

Day-to-day operations in the café – whose slogan is “great food with a mission” – are carried out by both paid, trained restaurant workers and AVSP trainees (or “consumers” as AVSP calls the people in their programs) with disabilities. On-site, the latter receives occupational training to prepare them for entry into the workplace, and ultimately, a more independent and fulfilling life.

Read the full post on CNN's Eatocracy blog
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Filed under: Disabilities • How we live • Who we are