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Tag Archives: Global Beliefs

Knowing the Klan

Ku_Klux_Klan_Virgina_1922_Parade
Three Ku Klux Klan members standing at a 1922 parade.
Picture credit: Public Domain, Library of Congress

 

Yesterday on our news was the story of a person who had been run out of office in one small town near us, only to show up in another.

He left and moved to a place just down the road a bit.

The causation for this furor was over his association and/or membership in the Ku Klux Klan.

This same group has made the news here repeatedly in the past few years.

We came here in 2004 and had a friend who unknown at first to us, was the son of a former Grand  Dragon of the Florida Klan.

This man was gentle, kind and sweet and had many friends.

It was hard to learn about his father.

We both have very strong feelings about the Klan, who even today still throw flyers into yard’s in mostly Black neighborhoods here in Central Florida, encouraging people to join them.

The papers are put into plastic bags with rocks in them.

Years ago in a College class about silent films, my instructor showed a film, The Birth of a Nation and implied that the Klan was, in the beginning, not just about hate, murders and hangings.

It was more about doing good for those in the South who had been ravaged by the Civil War.

As I read about it now, I can see that this is not the case, at all.

When it began in the 1860’s, it may indeed  have had more altruistic ideas, but as the years went on, these quickly faded and were replaced with those closer to what we now know as the Klan today.

On another personal note, years ago my best friend in California moved to Mississippi.

We were both pretty unhappy about this.

It was not her choice, her husband was from there and wanted to go back home.

To say that she was upset about the radical cultural changes in her life, was an understatement.

She was from California and the difference between the two states in so far as racism and race relations was/is huge, actually, it was more like a chasm.

On my first trip there to see her years later, I was shocked, dismayed and appalled at what I saw.

It was like the Civil War had never happened.

Too many of the local people looked as if all of their hope had been taken away and they were simply trying to just get through life, day by day.

There is one film that for me, best defines what it is like for many African-Americans living there,  or what the state has been like for entirely too many years: Mississippi Burning.

Think you know the Klan?

Think it is gone?

Think again.

As long as there is hate and fear of the differences between color and race, they will always be here, in fact they will flourish.

Those who belong to the Klan are cowards and their hate is what binds them together.

Only education, understanding and acceptance can change this.

These are the things that the Klan are most afraid of, and it is how we can change and defeat them forever.

 

Places to learn more:

Ku Klux Klan

Former Florida cop fired for KKK ties got a new job working in a Florida elementary school

Police in Fla.’s “Friendly City” were KKK members

The Legacy of Harry T. Moore

Ku Klux Klan in Florida

 

 

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It Must Be Our Choice!

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Brittany Maynard, an end-of-life choice advocate.
Picture credit: The Maynard family

 

On our news this morning was a story that needed to be shared.

As many of you by now know,  I am dealing with Cancer.

Mine is,  as far as I can see, likely under control.

The story this morning was about a very young girl,  whose was not.

She had stage four Brain Cancer and had been told by her doctor that she had six months to live.

This is news that no one her age should ever have to hear.

What she did after that point,  is why you must know about her.

Brittany Maynard lived in California and made the long trip to the state of Oregon to do, once again, what  no one her age should ever have to do, die.

California does not have the law that Oregon does called,  “Death with Dignity.”

In the interview this morning, Brittany expressed her feelings with enormous grace and courage.

Her strength in making this decision was way beyond her tender age.

I am not sure that in her position, I could have done it.

As a former Nurse in California,  I have cared for many Cancer patients and know the excruciating pain that they endure until they either recover,  or succumb to this ravaging disease.

My own mother in law passed away with the same disease, Brain Cancer.

She also did not live in a state with the law that Brittany used to choose her own path to dying.

My mother in law suffered terribly, had great pain and finally went into a coma from which she never recovered.

She lingered for a brief time and then she was gone.

Would she have, if allowed, have made the same choice that Brittany did?

We will never know.

When ever I spent time on the Oncology Ward, the sounds of pain were so very hard to hear.

Imagine how it must have been for those with the disease?

Someone who should know better,  this week told me that Cancer does not hurt.

I beg to differ with this person.

If it didn’t hurt,  why do nearly all of the patients in Oncology have Morphine drips?

But back to Brittany and her decision.

I may be in a minority here, what’s new, but my personal belief is that dying is each persons decision and no one should have the power to prevent,  or alter it.

Reaching the end of your life, whether as in Brittany’s case, or an elderly person who has had a long and full life, the decision as to when it should end,  should be theirs and theirs alone.

Anyone who disagrees with this,  needs to talk to those suffering with a terminal illness, or better yet, spend an hour or a day in an Oncology wing.

That should do it.

Dear Sweet beautiful Brittany, I did not know you, but I will support to my death,  your right to make that choice and you should not have had to,  in your time of suffering pain and illness,  have had to travel hundreds of miles away to another state,  to complete your final choice.

California and all states,  should recognize this situation and change it, now.

Every state in America needs to have a “Death with Dignity”  law.

I can nearly guarantee that it would happen instantly if and when,  any of those with the power to do it, had a beloved family member who was in Brittany’s  position.

America and  the world must admit that dying is extremely personal and how each of us does it, needs to be the patient’s choice.

We must each have the right to choose our own path to dying.

This is a Human Right and it MUST be our choice!

 

Places to learn more:

Brittany Maynard Could Revive the Stalled ‘Death With Dignity’ Movement

Brittany Maynard, terminally ill, takes own life

Brittany Maynard, 29-year-old right-to-die advocate with brain cancer, ends her life in Oregon

Brittany Maynard, advocate for ‘death with dignity,’ dies

Brittany Maynard – Wikipedia

The Brittany Maynard Fund

 

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Morgan Freeman, a Man For All Reasons and Seasons

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Morgan Freeman as God in Bruce Almighty
Picture credit: Still looking~

 

Seeing a story on the Weather Channel this morning about Morgan Freeman, was both a surprise, as well as a delightful joy.

It appeared to be mostly about his wide range of Humanitarian activism, but was also about the release of his newest film.

Dolphin Tale 2 is being released this week and Morgan is from the original cast and of course, returns as the kindly genius who created Winter’s artificial tail.

You see, Morgan Freeman is someone that I have deeply admired for many years and learning about all of his other passions today, only deepened that admiration.

It does not hurt that his calming, deep resonating voice is as smooth as melted butter.

Morgan who is 77 and lives primarily in Mississippi, does so much for many, it is hard to keep up.

I was not aware of some of his other environmental activities until seeing the story this morning on AMHQ.

Am I surprised?

No.

This quiet man of deep convictions, just goes about doing his job, giving unforgettable performances that will live in our memory banks forever:  Shawshank Redemption, Invictus,  Million Dollar Baby and  Seven.

Oh, this could go on forever….

Shawshank by the way, is still number one  on the IMDB all time favorite film list.

My favorite of his countless great roles, you may be shocked to learn, is when he has played God.

I would like to believe that God would be similar to the character that Freeman has portrayed of him and that he also has a wicked, or wry, sense of Humor.

It comes as little surprise, that just being an actor, is not quite enough to quench Freeman’s seemingly insatiable thirst for giving back.

To call him a world-class Humanitarian is a clear understatement of the man and his many missions.

Morgan’s opinion on Black History Month and Racism is commendable and well-known.

Freeman co-owns a Blues Club and as of this moment, is involved in all of these Organizations:

One Earth, Global Warming, The Grenada Relief Fund, Autism Speaks, Rebuilding Together and Oceana.

This multifaceted man who has meant so much, to so many, has achieved well deserved respect and admiration, that has grown exponentially over the years.

Morgan Freeman truly is a man for all reasons and seasons.

 

Places to learn more:

Morgan Freeman Bio – Wikipedia

Morgan Freeman’s Top 10 films

Morgan Freeman narrates new LGBT equality advertisement

Morgan Freeman on Ending Racism: ‘Stop Talking About It’

Morgan Freeman Global Warming PSA

Morgan Freeman fund for scholarships turns 15

Morgan Freeman proves he’s real-life action hero by landing malfunctioning plane 4 times

Morgan Freeman To Receive AFI Life Achievement Award

Morgan Freeman to Receive an Honorary Degree from Boston University

Rebuilding Together PSA featuring Morgan Freeman

 

 

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Elevating Art in Atlanta

Artwork%20by%20Branden%20Collins%20-%20photo%20by%20Brian%20Smith
Artwork: Brandon Collins
Picture credit: Brian Smith

 

This Press Release was received in my email this morning and because we may actually drive up for it, depending on Doctor Appointments that month, I thought that I would share it here in the Global Culture Blog.

This will be a really wonderful place and way to experience both the fantastic city of Atlanta, one of our very favorite cities and a Cultural Event that will probably be unlike anything that you have ever been to before~

Below is the Press Release, hope to see many of you up there in October.

We’ll be the ones being dragged around by an Airedale!

 

ELEVATE Invites Public To Explore A Social City With Arts Events From Oct 17-23

“This year’s ELEVATE contemporary art happenings in downtown Atlanta will be playful and interactive,” states Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

“Our theme is ‘Social City’ and, with the help of more than 100 artists, we are creating an environment ripe for exploration, discovery and conversation.

You’ll have a chance to engage with living sculptures, interactive gadgetry, artist panels, portable art and dance performances, and quite a few surprises.

We’re throwing a huge art and music block party on Friday, October 17 and presenting events and exhibits daily all over downtown through Thursday, October 23.

All events are free and open to the public. Come get social with us!”

Here are just a few things you can experience during ELEVATE 2014:

Branden Collins will use ancient forms of masking and costuming from various cultures as reference points in his exhibit at Gallery 72. His artwork incorporates brilliant colors and tribal elements and encourages the viewer to come closer.

The Goat Farm, working with over 20 artists and designers, will transform ten dumpsters into built galleries, installations and sculptures.  Utilizing art, science, technology and micro-manufacturing they’ll create cozy, inviting spaces.

Among the galleries, located in hidden alleyways and nearby parks, visitors will discover a Secret Garden to make a wish or a Giant Synthesizer where they can make public music.

Strolling through downtown at lunchtime you may encounter La Passante.

These walking French parasols invite you to join them for an intimate poem and a brief respite from the city’s hustle and bustle, an unforgettable experience.

La Passante is co-sponsored by France Atlanta.

Joanie Le Mercier’s unique, light-based projection art will create optical illusions and “geometricize” areas of Atlanta’s urban landscape.  His works combines math with art and immerses the viewer in a journey that conjures space exploration.

Dance Truck will present dance and performance art, complete with lighting, music and all the trappings that you find on a traditional stage…in a most extraordinary mobile setting.

ELEVATE 2014 is being created with a wealth of talented artists and organizational collaboration.

Just to name a few: Casey Lynch, Dustin Chambers, Romy Maloon, Joanie Le Mercier, Jane Garver, Igor Korsunskiy, Kris Pilcher, Branden Collins, The Goat Farm, Mammal Gallery, Dance Truck, The French Consulate and Eyedrum.

Locations for this year’s ELEVATE are:
Woodruff Park, Gallery 72, Five Points Plaza and the Fairlie-Poplar District.

However, many exhibits will take place in unexpected, non-traditional locations around town and some art will be mobile.

Financial support for ELEVATE 2014 is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and FORD.

ELEVATE is a program of the City of Atlanta, Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

For more information,  visit their website:  http://www.elevateatlantaart.com/

and like them on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ElevateAtlanta

 

Dog friendly places to stay and eat will be added here, as they are found, right up until the Event in October!

One place so far,  that has been confirmed as Dog Friendly,  is the Hotel Indigo, right downtown and across from the Fox Theatre.

More names to be here soon……..

 

As promised some updates.

 

Info on dog-friendly places in Atlanta:

http://atlantaeats.com/blog/pooch-friendly-patios/

http://www.bringfido.com/restaurant/city/atlanta_ga_us/

and here’s the Facebook page of Hotel Indigo:

https://www.facebook.com/IndigoATLMdtwn

 

 

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Choices

Picture credit:    Michael Hulshof-Schmidt

 

Living in California for over 30 years,  allowed me to have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.

Not judging people by their Color, Race,  Ethnicity or Sexual Orientation,  is one of the things that I am most proud of about the Golden State.

But today all over America and  even many parts of the World, personal partner or marriage choices,  are getting harder and harder to make happen.

Right now, here in Florida and in many other US States, people are being told that they cannot, may not,  marry the person that they love.

It is against the LAW and if they try to do so, they will be breaking the LAW!

Our laws, religious groups  and society,  seem to have drawn a line in the sand and refuse to listen, or accept the idea,  that they could possibly be wrong on this issue.

As a side note, it is just a bit difficult to stay focused completely on the “issue of freedom of marriage choice”  in this state, because as of today, Florida unbelievably, STILL has not passed the ERA.

The mood, the discussions, the emotions,  right now in Florida are hot and only getting hotter.

Every region,  or part of this state,  now has a Judge who approves of these marriages, but as soon as they are approved, our State Attorney General,  jumps right in and smacks them down.

And the issue is once again, back to square one, or, one step forward, two steps back!

But I digress,  the Issue here, is about choices.

I myself, am not gay, lesbian,  bi-sexual, or transgender.

But I will defend to my death, the right for any who are,  to have the right to choose WHO they wish to spend the remainder of their life with in a permanent,  loving relationship, or what we call Marriage.

I am ashamed and disgusted by the behavior of those who call themselves Christians,  who proudly march and name call, any and all that they view are wrong to wish to be married in a different way than they are.

Who each of us chooses to marry, should be our choice and only our choice, not Religious Groups, not the State or the US Government.

No one should ever have the right, to tell another Human being,  who they can,  or cannot be married to.

We are all granted, by our Constitution, Civil Liberties.

This should be a personal choice between two  consenting adults, and not subject to discussion or interference, by anyone other than the two persons involved.

Personally I have had, over my lifetime of various careers,  in various states in this Country, many friends who are gay, or transgender.

These relationships were some that have left me with wonderful, lasting memories and the thought that our Country, our World still in the year 2014, intends to forbid, to shame,  to stop them, from making their personal partner choices, makes me sick.

With the level of tensions, troubles and REAL problems on this Planet, right now, wouldn’t you think that they might focus on some of them,  instead of trying to impose their will on the millions who only wish to have a legal marriage?

By the way, many of my Word Press Followers are included in this painful, ugly situation and my prayer is,  that they will find happiness and peace,  in a World that is blinded by prejudice.

We are all the children of one God,  or another,  and as for me, I personally believe,  that any loving God would wish to allow each of us the freedom of CHOICE.

 

 

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Father Damien, the Apostle of the Lepers

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Father Damien in 1873 arriving in Oahu.
Picture credit: Wikipedia

 

If you ever have the chance to see the film about this man, it is an astonishing work:

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien.

So many biographies tend to be dull, or appear to be grasping for drama.

This man’s life did not need any more drama, it was filled to the brim with it as soon as he arrived in Molokai

I am not sure how many of us ever could, or would, have had the courage to do what he did.

I was a treatment Nurse in a Rehab Center for four years and was surrounded daily by those that society and the state of California considered to be wretched souls.

Many there were merely being housed in a state facility,  that kept them medicated just enough to be safe for the staff to work with, or somewhat controllable.

Some times however, they were not.

I ended up in the local ER three times,  as proof of this.

The third time was the end for my husband,  who said, ” you’re all done there, and you’re not going back.”

I wanted to stay,  knowing how much needed to be done there, but sadly, finally agreed to leave, knowing that he was right.

But back to the facts about Father Damien, who was said to be the inspiration for Gandhi in his struggle to make India and her people independent from England.

Jozef De Veuster was born on January 3, 1840 in Tremelo, Belgium.

He arrived in Hawaii on March 19, 1864 and began a journey of such love and courage,  that the world and its opinion of the disease he eventually succumbed to,  would be changed forever.

Disease was inflicted on the innocent people of the Hawaiian Islands,  by those who came to do business with them, mostly, sailors and traders.

By 1865,  health conditions on the Islands had reached such a crisis level,  that a law was passed to isolate those with what was considered to be the worst and fatal, Leprosy,  to Molokai in a Leper Colony and kept under strict quarantine.

When Father Damien began his work on Molokai, May 10, 1873,  it was assumed to be a death sentence.

Hawaii’s Bishop called for volunteers for this mission and Father Damien was the first to step up.

It was planned that three others would follow him.

The Island of Molokai was for those sad souls who ended up there,  a place of misery and death.

But, Father Damien came and brought with him the changes that would give those afflicted, hope.

Hawaiian people are normally quite happy, loving and affectionate.

Those who ended up on Molokai, were nothing at all like their relatives on the other Islands.

The dedication, devotion, love and passion of Father Damien made those on Molokai  believe that they could do something for themselves, and because of him, many of them for the first time,  found peace.

But their peace came at a high price for Damien, who after 16 years of selfless service to these terribly sick people, finally contracted the disease that would end his life.

Father Damien continued while he was sick,  fighting with all of those on Oahu,  to do what was humane, decent and right for the afflicted people of Molokai.

Before his death on April 15, 1889 at the young age of 49, he had fought against the tyrannical Catholic dioceses and those who controlled Hawaii, who did little to help him or them and forced them to change.

His body at the request of King Leopold III, was returned to Belgium to his place of birth, in January of 1936.

In 1995, his right  hand was given back to the Hawaiian people to be buried in his grave on Molokai.

Long after his death,  Father Damien was finally made a Saint in 2009.

Never has there been one who was more deserving of this,  than Father Damien, the Apostle of the Lepers.

 

Places to learn more:

Father Damien (Joseph de Veuster)

NPS Hawaii – Father Damien

Father Damien  –  Wikipedia

Father Damien

Father Damien

 

 

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Amish Attitude Adjustment

SharetheRoadGeaugaCountyOhioAmish_buggy
An Amish Horse and Buggy: Wikipedia
Traffic sign:  Ken Lund

 

Growing up in Indiana gave me a strong attachment to the  Amish people  and their unique culture.

Indiana has the second highest population of Amish after Ohio, which is where I was born.

Even after leaving and moving to California, the Amish were always of great interest to me.

My own grandfather, although of Prussian heritage,  looked and spoke very much like the Amish, his dialect of German was like the Old Order Amish and this may have encouraged my deep affection for them.

He was a master carpenter, as are many Amish men and took great pride in the quality of his work.

My abhorrence of guns, war and violence,  may or may not be a result of this.

Later, when my children were young, an Amish quilt was on every bed in our home, all hand-made.

Each time I went back to Indiana for a visit, going to one of the many Amish Communities, was always a part of my trip agenda.

The Amish are in many states across this country, including a few here in Florida,  but the highest population is in Ohio, at about 55,000, where the disturbing story on the news this morning was focused.

There has been a rash, or serious outbreak of measles in Ohio, said to be the most in this country since 1996 and it is believed to have come from within the Amish Community there.

People often believe, erroneously, that the Amish do not believe in any vaccines or immunizations for their children.

Some of them do, some do not, they have varying opinions on the subject, as do many who are not Amish.

The reason for most of the concern in this current measles outbreak is,  primarily because of the risk of it now becoming wide-spread throughout the Amish Community and then to others in nearby areas.

For so many years, both before and after growing up, I heard the snickers, saw the rudeness and listened to the cultural bias and complete ignorance from those on the outside,  towards these gentle, peaceable people.

This lack of understanding, or compassion for the Amish people and their culture, may have played some small part in the murder of  innocent Amish school children.

It seems incomprehensible, that when some people do not understand a cultural group, or a religion, they can and frequently do fear it to the point of spouting hurtful,  social insults, or even harming  those that they do not understand.

The Amish came to this country to escape abusive treatment, it is so disappointing that some here cannot allow them to pursue the religious freedom here that they seek.

So now that once again their community is in the glare of the public spotlight,  that they so constantly shy away from, could we instead of pointing fingers and playing the “blame game,”  perhaps offer instead a little kindness and warmth?

Long before all of the  movies,  the TV shows, the books,  exposés  and all of  the ugly Hollywood hype, the Amish came to America looking for a better life, for religious freedom, for peace.

This Country spends billions helping people all over the world, so why do we care so little for those who live right here in America, perhaps just down the street or across town?

If you don’t know anything about the Amish, won’t you please take the time to learn just a little?

The Amish really are pretty much just like you and me, they love their families and want peace in the world.

Right now, their Communities are hurting, how can you/we not show them some of the same concern that we do to those thousands of miles away?

Perhaps we could all use a little Amish attitude adjustment?

 

Places to learn more:

Amish Missionaries Implicated In Measles Outbreak In Ohio

Ohio Measles Outbreak Traced to Amish Mission Trip

Ohio cases among Amish drive bad year for measles across U.S.

8,000+ Amish Vaccinated As Measles Outbreak Continues

Ohio Amish bearing brunt of measles epidemic

 

 

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Rape on the Reservations

UNiTE_Poster

Picture credit: The United Nations End Violence Against Women Campaign

 

As many of you know, my partner for the past 15 years is Walkingfox, who is a Mohegan from Connecticut.

This morning while posting his weekly Blog on his website, the story left me both sad and disgusted.

It was about the many rapes and lack of punishment of Native American Women on Reservations.

Here are statistics from the National Native American Bar Association of some very disturbing numbers for Crimes committed against Native Women:    Violence Against Native Women

So, as this is still Women’s History month, I would like to offer you more about this very serious, ongoing problem that is happening to so many Women, but is out of the mainstream American News and you may not know anything about it at all.

Indeed, these are the kinds of stories that will most likely not ever be shown on your, local news, unless you live on a Reservation.

If these hideous crimes were being committed in other Countries, we would,  as a Nation,  be filled with rage, up in arms, you only need recall when a woman  in India was gang raped on a Bus last year,  there was an instant rush, an avalanche of rage here over this brutal rape.

So, where is the rage for Native Women in this Country?

Kathryn Rice, of the Pawnee Nation,  who spoke recently at UCA about Sex Crimes Against Native American Women in America,  stated that Native Women living on Reservations face these brutal statistics:
one in three will be raped in their lifetime.”

And, if you are wondering how that number compares with Non Native Women, their number is, 1 in 6.

Another stunning quote from the  recent speech by Kathryn Rice:
“Indian women are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from sexual abuse than any minority group. ”

If you are interested, here are some numbers for Global rape statistics:  Rape Statistics

You will notice, that Native American Women were not included on this website page, and  yes I sent them off a little note asking them why?

So, now for some conclusions.

After reading countless stories, one particular fact was often repeated, the victims were usually raped by off Reservation people, making the chance of any conviction all but impossible, as only the  US Government can prosecute the criminal.

This well-known fact may be the primary reason so many non natives commit this crime, they know full well, that they will never be put in jail or brought to justice.

For entirely too long in this Country,  Native Women had been considered easy targets of countless, brutal, violent  crimes, primarily because of the way our History has presented and demeaned them.

The ugly past of this Country, has kept Native Women fighting to retain their dignity,  while a living in a world frequently controlled by Non Natives who do not respect them and take their anger out on them with little fear of reprisal, because they can.

Another often repeated term was,  ” An epidemic of sexual violence.”

Well, if this was a viral epidemic, immediate and definite steps would be taken by all affected parties, right?

So then, what is the answer for the ugly crime of  ” Sexual Violence “ against Native Women?

How can Native Women protect themselves and stop this cycle of brutality, this madness?

In my opinion, changing the current  laws must be the first step to stopping this and it is beginning already with the recent new words written into the Violence Against Women Act  (VAWA).

But the law may need to be tweaked again, with even stronger language this time,  further applying to all Reservations and their Tribal Rights and Responsibilities, when it comes to contending with violence against their women and what they can legally do about it.

But it must continue right on to the Reservations as well. Women must collectively have open discussions about what they are going to do for themselves to change this.

All over the world, Indigenous Women are now learning how to demonstrate that they are quite capable of forming all kinds of groups to address problems for a myriad of other cultural Issues,  the time has come and even passed, for rape to be one of them.

When women join together, when they act and speak with one voice, they can conquer any obstacle, I know how strong they/we are.

Now it is time for women to let the rest of the World know too.

 

Here are some places to learn more:

Native American Women and Violence

Speaker Sheds Light On Sex Crimes

Sexual Violence Scars Native American women

For Native American Women, Scourge of Rape, Rare Justice

Rape on Native American Reservations

Rape Cases On Indian Lands Go Uninvestigated

Native American Women and Rape –  An Escalating Crisis on Tribal Lands

 

 

 

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My Most Admired Women~

Clinton_and_Aung_San_Suu_Kyi

Hillary Rodham Clinton with Aung San Suu Kyi
Picture credit:  U.S. State Department

 

They say that today is International Women’s Day.

This makes me just a bit curious, what about all of the other days?

What follows here is a selfish post.

I have always wanted to write about the women that I think have changed the world and influenced me.

So, with the excuse of what has been deemed their “day,”  I shall  begin!

I would like to speak of just a few of the women who have impacted my life and are especially worthy of mention here today.

 

I would of course, begin with my grandmother, who had 18 children and was the matriarch of our huge family and my mother, who raised me as a single mother, long before it was socially acceptable. Between them, these two very different, equally strong women, gave me all that was needed to become the person that I am today.

berthanugentmother

 

Of the women in my past not related to me, that I most admired,  I would like to mention a very special History teacher at Shortridge High School who made the subject come alive, for one who despised the whole idea of it, Mrs. Mary Walker.
She was a tiny, vibrant, African-American woman with beautiful white hair and I loved being in her class.
To this day, I can still hear her saying the word  ” Hapsburg’s.”

marywalker

 

Of all of the world’s current women leaders,  the one that I hold in the highest esteem is  Aung San Suu Kyi   of Burma/Myanmar. What she had done for her people and her country is  simply astounding and remarkable and there are few in the world who could have endured all that she has.

aungsansuukyi

 

Dr. Judith Marti was my first Anthropology Professor at CSUN and  taught mostly Ethnography Classes, which is basically, the study of a people through written observations.  She made a huge impact on all the years that followed in College. My classes with her and the lessons in life that she gave me, changed the way that I looked at  the world. She pushed me to always do better in every paper, every project, I would know little of real Anthropology if it were not for her. (Regretfully no picture)

 

Mrs. O’Brien, the dynamic, demanding,  Irish Charge Nurse at two of the facilities where I worked. She put the fear of God in all who were near, and not meeting her expectations in Nursing and patient care and taught me how to be a better Nurse. She often stood over me as I did treatments and remarked how perfectly they were done. As I told her, I had many times to practice with my son, who had years of skin breakdowns due to his paraplegia. We became very close and I will never forget her passion and her insistence on nothing but the best from all who worked with her. (Regretfully no picture)

 

For our current positive status in women’s liberation and equal rights we all owe much to many women, but for my own generation, my connection has always been to Gloria Steinem.  Those of us who came of age in the ’60’s, especially in Southern California, found their voice,  through hers. We were able to fight for our rights,  when no one wanted to give them to us and what she did made me a stronger woman. Regrettably, we are still waiting in this backwards thinking state of Florida for the ERA to be passed!

GloriaSteinem1972

 

In American politics, my choice must certainly be  Hillary Clinton  for being one of the most intelligent, powerful, accomplished women of my time. She is the closest we have come so far in putting a woman in the White House. For that I will forever thank her. Hillary has worked hard all of her life to make the world a better place for all of us.

HillaryClinton

 

 

 

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Keloids, Colors and Rainbows~

Rainbow_plasma_ball

We do all live in a Rainbow World~
Picture credit:  Ray Kurosumi

*** An update***
I owe a huge apology to the students at Harvard for comments written here yesterday.

My mistake was in only reading a caption and then writing this story,
I had not gone to the web site and seen the actual  pictures.
What I found there were the remarks by some students who feel, as I often have,
that they are only being judged by the color of their skin. Yes some of them are brutally honest,
but if that is what it takes to get people to stop and think about ONLY seeing color, so be it.
I stand most definitely corrected!

 

I read an interesting post this morning and felt compelled to comment on it.

It was about some students at Harvard and some not so kind remarks about the color of one’s skin.

I took umbrage to this and my reply was quick and may I add,  just a bit curt.

If you have seen the movie Invictus, you heard the word Rainbow used many times,  it struck a note deep in my heart.

Martin Luther King, Jr. used the word frequently as well, it brought him many followers who believed that his thinking was good for the country.

Anyway, back to the Harvard comments.

Do you, do any of us,  really know every single person that inhabits our DNA?

Do you know who all of your Ancestors are?

Not likely.

I spent my entire life  looking for my father, whom I never met and only saw his face for the first time on this past Christmas Eve. It seems that he was either Scottish or Norwegian.

So now that part of my life is known, but what about the hundreds of others before him?

Let me digress.

When I was in Nursing School many years ago, we spent a week on Dermatology, it was a week that would change my life.

One day, the Instructor decided to comment about a certain skin type of scar, she called it a Keloid.

I had never heard the word before, but was stricken by the sound of it.

She gazed around the room and then frowned, “ Well she said, I cannot show you what a Keloid looks like because we have no African-American students here today.”

Then she put a graphic on the screen of one up close.

Aha~

I raised my hand and said,  “ Excuse me, but is this one? “

I showed her the scar on my arm from an injury a few years earlier.

She looked at me in total disbelief, ” You can’t  have one, you are not Black.”

Quite the contrary, I was a very pale, blue-eyed, blonde.

May I say that in that moment,  you could have heard a pin drop in the Classroom!

I did not have a computer at that time, so had no way of confirming or dismissing her comment and as our precious little free time was severely limited, I never did check up on it until many years later.

This was the first of the new colors to come into my personal Rainbow.

Did I mention that as a child growing up, my grandmother seemed obsessed with constantly telling me that we were PURE Irish?

Now fast forward to the year 1999,  when I left California and became the now 15 year partner of Walkingfox.

We spent years traveling around the country meeting Native people on many Reservations.

It was a life changing experience and the beginning of a new course for me.

He was convinced that I had Native Ancestors, but I refused to believe it, due to the color of my skin.

Then,  late one night,  I called my Aunt and finally asked her if we had any Natives in our family, her reply like that of the instructors rocked my world,  she said , ” Yes we have Shawnee Ancestors, I thought you knew. ”

Well I did not know and later I found out that this Aunt was the ONLY one in our family that my grandmother had shared this information with.

Then  a few weeks later on one of our trips, we were in Ohio and met some wonderful Shawnee people.

One of them came up to and said, ” You are Shawnee.”

I admitted that this had only been recently learned.

She stared at my back,  as I was wearing a strapless sun outfit, and said,  ” The mark on your back is very important to our people.”

I had no idea what she meant,  but assumed she was referring to the quarter sized mole on my left shoulder.

Her next words would take my breath way, ” That is the mark of a Medicine person to us.”

My grandmother was a Nurse, I had been a Nurse, it seemed plausible.

I had spent so many years caring for others, how could I know this may have been predestined?

So, back to the present about why the unkind comment made by an unthinking student at Harvard about the color of skin, hit so hard.

Unless one has had a Genetic test of their DNA, one cannot fully know just who their Ancestors were, can they?

When you look at me, what do you see?

Do you see an African-American person, a Native American person, probably not.

All that you see is my very white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes.

But, that is not the entire picture and now you know.

I am Prussian, Irish, Native American, English, Scottish/Norwegian and African-American.

So to all of you in the world who ONLY see color when you look at people,  shame on you, you have access to excellent reference and education sources everywhere on the planet and this is your level of thinking?

Please, in the future, may we all try to see the Rainbow that exists in each of us~

 

 

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