Stop using the R-word!

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Here is what famous athlete Kasey Studdard has to say about being in Special Education for Learning Disabilities as a child:

“I was teased, ridiculed, and isolated.”

“It wasn’t for a lack of intelligence, but I simply couldn’t comprehend things in the same ways the other kids did.”

“Though I often nodded my head to signal that I understood, I did not.”

“Kids can be very mean…” ““Ha-ha, you’re in the RETARD class now!,” they mocked. “Kasey’s so stupid, they had to kick him out of our class,” they teased.”

“In my early teens, to my surprise, I found that I could do things on the court and on the field that other kids could not. Sports became my salvation.”

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t live solely on sports fields. That meant years and years of remedial coursework, time spent before and after school, and countless late nights just to keep up. My mother always made sure the work got done — and for that I will be eternally grateful.”

“it wasn’t the hard work that impacted me most growing up. It was the other students, my special education classmates — the ones with severe mental and physical disabilities who had it far worse than I did — who taught me more about life than any lesson plan ever could. For them, the struggle wasn’t just about self-esteem or fitting in or being “normal,” it was about survival itself.”

“That’s why I have always stood up for the less-fortunate.”

“Whenever I saw a disabled or disadvantaged child at one of our training camps, I would always take time to greet them with a smile and a hug, and to ask how they were doing .”

“I was one of the lucky ones — with sports providing salvation just in time — but everyone deserves an opportunity to shine.”

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Here is a video showing how the R-word (“retarded”) can be as offensive as any other insult against minorities.

https://youtube.com/R-word

You can take the pledge to stop using this mean word!

http://www.r-word.org/

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Plus-sized model shows curves look good in Sports Illustrated Magazine

Whereas swimsuits models are usually very slim, this size 14-16 model, Ashley Graham, shows that curvy women can look great in bikinis too. This ad was accepted in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated Magazine. It’s good to see that women can be allowed to show some curves and that all sizes can be beautiful!

▶ Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition features ad with plus-sized model for first time – YouTube.

Tens of thousands march across to protest police killings of Black citizens

People in New York City and Washington DC have protested yesterday against police violence which recently killed several Black persons.

Those marches show young and old, Black and White, together in their demands for more equality and less violence by the police.

Click on this link to read the article and watch what CBC News reporter describes:

Eric Garner, Michael Brown: Tens of thousands across U.S. protest police killings – World – CBC News.

Watch Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

“Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Pakistani girl, gave an incredible speech as she accepted her Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway on Wednesday after becoming an icon of the fight for children’s education rights. She just became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate in history, and her speech shows her spectacular wisdom...’I tell my story not because it is unique but because it is not,’ she said. ‘It is the story of many girls. Today, I tell their stories too. I have brought with me some of my sisters from Pakistan, from Nigeria, and from Syria who share this story…This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education,’ Yousafzai said. ‘It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change. I am here to stand up for their rights, to raise their voice.'” – Business Insider

via ▶ Watch Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech – YouTube.

“I Can’t Breathe” congressman’s tribute to Eric Garner

Wednesday night, a grand jury in New York City refused to indict police officers in the killing of Eric Garner, a man who died after officers used an illegal chokehold on him. The decision set off protests across the country.Some in Congress have already expressed their solidarity with Garner.

Hank Johnson, the sponsor of legislation to curb police militarization, made a moving tribute to Garner, including the phrase, “I can’t breathe” between each statement—the phrase  Eric Garner said as he was being strangled, and which has since become a rallying cry for protesters.

“Buy Nothing Day”

buy nothing

Buy Nothing Day (BND) is an international day of protest against consumerism. In North America, Buy Nothing Day is held on the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving; elsewhere, it is held the following day, which is the last Saturday in November.

The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Canada in September 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.” In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called “Black Friday”, which is one of the ten busiest shopping days in the United States.  Soon, campaigns started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, and Norway. Participation now includes more than 65 nations.

Muslim prayer in American national cathedral

Muslim prayer in American cathedral

The Washington National Cathedral, considered the United States’ “national prayer house,” hosted a Muslim service Friday, the first such event in the sanctuary’s history.

Muslim prayer rugs were laid and “the Arabic call to prayer echoed among the vaulted stone arches,” which the dean of the cathedral, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, called “a beautiful sacred language in a beautiful sacred space,” according to The Washington Post.

Welcoming the worshipers, director of liturgy Rev. Canon Gina Gilland Campbell said, “Salaam, shalom, peace. You are all so very welcome here.” She also used the occasion to issue an impassioned call for interfaith understanding, saying, “Let us stretch our hearts and let us seek to deepen mercy for we worship the same God.”

Christian and Muslim leaders also spoke about the need for religious dialogue and harmony, including South Africa’s Muslim Ambassador to the U.S. Ebhraim Rasool, co-organizer of the event. Rasool used the sermon, or Khutba, to call for the protection of Christians in the Middle East, as well as greater Muslim tolerance for other religions, saying: “I think that we must return to the Muslim prophetic tradition in which the Prophet, may peace be upon him, invited Christians to his own mosque that he established in Medina – and said to them, you can pray here.”

Islam is the third-largest religion in the United States, behind Christianity and Judaism, and with at least 2.6 million adherents, constitutes approximately 0.8% of the country’s population.

 

90-year-old man arrested for feeding homeless people

(CNN) — Arnold Abbott handed out four plates of food to homeless people in a South Florida park. Then police stopped the 90-year-old from serving up another bite.

“An officer said, ‘Drop that plate right now — like I had a weapon,'” Abbott said.

Abbott and two pastors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, were charged for feeding the homeless in public on Sunday, under a new ordinance banning public food sharing.

Now they face possible jail time and a $500 fine.

“Just because of media attention we don’t stop enforcing the law. We enforce the laws here in Fort Lauderdale,” Mayor Jack Seiler said.

He defended the law in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

“I’m not satisfied with having a cycle of homeless in the city of Fort Lauderdale,” Seiler said. “Providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive.”

“These are the poorest of the poor. They have nothing. They don’t have a roof over their head,” Abbott said. “Who can turn them away?”

It’s a battle Abbott has fought before. In 1999 he sued the city for banning him from feeding homeless people on the beach — and won.

He said the threat of charges won’t stop him from doing it again.

“I’m not afraid of jail. I’m not looking to go, but if I have to, I will,” he said.

On Wednesday, Abbott said he’ll be at Fort Lauderdale Beach, ready to serve another meal.

▶ Officer: 'Drop That PLATE, Right Now' – recalled 90-year-old Man Arrested for Feeding Homeless – YouTube.

Kurdish women fighters against IS

kurdish women fighters

“We either die or win. No fighter is leaving,” Esmat al-Sheikh, leader of the Kobani Defence Authority, told Reuters. “The world is watching, just watching and leaving these monsters to kill everyone, even children…but we will fight to the end with what weapons we have.”

Some people have more motivation than others. Those people include women. A very large percentage of the YPG fighters are  women. (YPG: the Kurdish People’s Protection Units)

I asked her about YPG’s women’s wing, the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), and the women fighters coming from Turkey. She said Kurdish women were as equally involved in defense affairs as in social services. “We have set up training camps for women in all three cantons. Women are active in all fronts,” she said. “Of the first 20 martyrs we had when IS attacked Kobani, 10 were women. Last year, of our 700 YPG martyrs, 200 were women…”

I reminded Nimet of the legends we hear of IS militants fearing to encounter women fighters. She replied, “This is not a myth but reality. I personally met IS fighters face-to-face. They believe they won’t go to paradise if they are killed by women. That is why they flee when they see women fighters.”

From The AlterNet

Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi awarded Nobel Peace Prize

▶ Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi Awarded Nobel Peace Prize – YouTube.

Malala Yusafsai is the youngest ever Nobel Peace prize winner, whereas Kailash Satyarthi is in his sixties. She comes from Pakistan, he comes from India: their countries are close neighbors yet have often been at war since the Partition of India in 1947. She is a woman, he is a man, but both fight for the rights of children (all children!) to freedom and education. She is a Muslim, he is a Hindu: the proof that different religions can agree and work together towards a humanitarian goal that is common to both. Their joint prize is a message of hope for the world!

“Not in my name” Muslims say

A group of young British Muslims have joined the fight back against Islamic State militants with a video and social media campaign.

After the murder of David Haines and kidnapping of Alan Hemming, the East London-based group Active Change Foundation decided to voice their anger.

They set up the #notinmyname campaign to spread the word that British Muslims reject IS, its ideology and actions and to show that IS do not represent the Islamic faith or the Muslim community.

Hanif Qadir, founder of ACF. said: “The murder of an innocent man has no justification in any religion or walk of life.

“These terrorists ISIS are not true Muslims, they do not practice the true teachings of Islam; peace, mercy and compassion, and they are the enemy of all mankind.”

via ▶ Not in my Name – Muslims against ISIS – YouTube.

Emma Watson makes UN speech for gender equality

Emma Watson Tells Men It’s Time To Fight For Gender Equality – YouTube.

Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson delivered an emotional and powerful speech at the United Nations headquarters on Saturday to help launch the HeForShe gender equality campaign.

Here are some extracts from her speech asking for equal rights for men and women:

We want to end gender inequality and to do this, we need everyone involved. This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN. We want to try to galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change”

the more I’ve spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”

for the record, feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”

I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.”

But sadly, I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights. No country in the world can yet say that they have achieved gender equality. These rights, I consider to be human rights”

Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued les by society despite my needing his presence, as a child, as much as my mother’s.”

We don’t want to talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are. “

We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are. We can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.”

If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists that I spoke of earlier and for this, I applaud you.”

I am inviting you to step forward to be seen and to ask yourself, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?'”