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The fight for justice has never been easy. But human history has always been shaped by courageous actions and a vision of a better world.

 

From the civil rights movement to the end of Apartheid, people with a vision of a better world have sparked and spread their passion for change in families, communities and countries… building social movements that changed things forever.

 

As Global Citizens, we stand against the greatest injustice of our time: extreme poverty. Because we know that a world that deprives 1.3 billion people of their basic rights and opportunities is unjust, and unacceptable. We know that we must do something about it. We celebrate the efforts made to cut extreme poverty by half, but recognise more still needs to be done. We know that people living in extreme poverty are working hard themselves, and that we need to learn, and take action, to change the rules that trap them in broken systems.  

 

We don’t ask for charity, we ask for justice. And we put our hands up to write the next chapter in the greatest story yet to be told… the end of extreme poverty.

 

Using Global Citizen we unite and amplify our collective voice, working together to learn more and take action on issues that perpetuate extreme poverty. We share our passion for the issues we care about, and mobilise around crucial moments for change.

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Ghost of Christmas Past

August 2, 2012


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You, rushing and on your way to work
I was a child, daydreaming by the window
About snowflakes and simple things
You looked at me and said,“Feliz Navidad, mi niño”
I smiled at the joy that the season brings

Soon you’ll be silent and
Every star will look down and cry
Leaving me wishing for one more day
Waiting, a child with my father’s eyes

You called to me from the kitchen
I was reading in the other room
Under an old, dim lamp, hollow and gray
You said, “Mantener tus memorias cerca de ti”
I said, “No one can ever take those away”

Trapped inside yourself
Struggling to endure
The fruits of your labor replaced with doubt
Now I watch your woods fill up with snow
Every hour the same; day in, day out

Soon you’ll be silent and
Every star will look down and cry
Leaving me wishing for one more day
Waiting, a child with my father’s eyes

Graduation

July 12, 2012

I saw this poem on a NYC 7 subway train last month. Part of Arts for Transit program.
Beautiful words for graduates as they move on to their next challenge.

Graduation

He told us, with the years, you will come
to love the world.

And we sat there with our souls in our laps,
and comforted them.

~Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012)

Libra

November 24, 2010


Libra (Part One)

Much of America heard about the death of John Lennon from Howard Cosell during Monday Night Football or from Tom Brokaw on the Today Show the next morning. I was a 13-year-old delivering the NY Daily News.

I remember the news death of John Lennon and the week following it extremely well considering all the things I’ve forgotten over the years.

One cold and early Tuesday morning, early in December, 1980, I was delivering the Daily News for my neighbor Ralph who couldn’t deliver his “paper route” that morning. (Yes, back then we still had young people delivering newspapers at 5 in the morning!)

Riding my bicycle and throwing the folded, bagged and rubber-banded papers to the doorsteps, most of the fifty or so papers I had to deliver were in garden apartment complexes on a fairly busy road called Liberty Street.

As always, when I filled in for these morning deliveries, I took notice of the cover story as I was bagging the papers: “John Lennon Slain Here; ex-Beatle shot.”
I knew the name Lennon because a month or two earlier, around the time of my birthday in late September (Lennon was a Libra, like myself, you see). I had received a bunch of “hand-me-downs” from an older cousin. My cousin was also a huge Elvis and Beatles fan and had sent a few Elvis and Beatles 45’s along with the sweaters and corduroys whose hem would have to be let down.

Having just turned thirteen years old, I had certainly heard of The Beatles. At that age though, my previous exposure was only through promotion for things like ‘Beatlemania’ on Broadway and the promotion of the cheesy Sergeant Pepper film with the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton.

Listening to the records from my cousin during the month of October and November was my real introduction to the band. It was also how I immediately knew the “Lennon” to which the headline was referring because most of the songs had the familiar “Lennon-McCartney” songwriting credit below them of course. I had also watched the film “Help” (or was it “A Hard Days Night”?) when it was aired on one of the local channels sometime that Fall.

So as little as I really knew about the man, I knew that this was simply very sad news.

I was not so young that I didn’t know that people kill for all sorts of bad reasons. After all, a few summers earlier all of the neighborhood kids were fascinated with the ‘Son of Sam’ murders. But this was different. The ‘Sam’ killings were the random efforts of a psychotic. This was the targeted killing of a well-known husband and father who, from what I was reading, was simply on his way home from work.

While the story was in the back of my mind the entire morning at school, it hadn’t really pre-occupied me. It was the typical Tuesday eighth grade experience, including the (dreadful) daily reading from Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer which our teacher, Miss Rotini, would read for about twenty minutes every day before lunch.

That Tuesday was different though, because before she dismissed us for lunch, Miss Rotini, a 60-something year old, unapproachable but entirely adequate (for what I knew back then) teacher gave us a warning. “You’re going to go home later and hear news about a man who lived a life of doing drugs and not following the rules,” she said. “He questioned the good people who lead this country, but don’t let them fool you –there’s a phrase ‘what goes around comes around’ and sometimes you pay a price for not following the rules.” She said nothing more or less and most of the kids didn’t even know who she was talking about because she didn’t allow him the dignity of even mentioning his name.

Immediately, I wondered – had I misread the newspaper? Had he overdosed on drugs or been killed trying to overthrow the government? During the short walk home for lunch, I wondered the whole time how I could have misunderstood that morning’s newspaper.

Of course I hadn’t misunderstood and I realized that shortly after as I heard more about what had happened and learned more about the life of the man.

And by presenting the story to me this way, my teacher taught me an early lesson. That was to always question, at least in my own mind, the information I was being given. Later, i learned that this rule was especially relevant if it came from the people who are the elected leaders of this country.

Imagine that.

Senator Joe Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-Independent from Connecticut, appears to be taking the lead in the Senate to expand gay rights.

President Obama has been working with Lieberman to create a strategy to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bans openly gay servicemen from the military, the Advocate reports.

“On ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ this administration is talking directly to the Hill — we are in direct discussions with Senator Lieberman,” John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, recently told the Advocate. Berry is the administration’s highest-ranking, openly gay official.

A spokesman for Lieberman confirmed that the senator, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, had been speaking to the White House about the bill, the Advocate reports. The spokesman, however, gave no other information regarding the senator’s plans.

Lieberman is already working to expand rights for homosexuals with legislation to grant the same benefits to gay federal employees and their spouses as given any married federal employee and their spouse, the Hill newspaper reports.

The bill has one GOP co-sponsor, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), along with 23 Democratic co-sponsors. Lieberman hopes to bring the bill to the Senate floor by the end of the year, the Hill reports.

With respect to repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Berry told the Advocate the White House would like to see Senate legislation gain bipartisan support.

While many in the gay community are losing patience with Mr. Obama for his lack of action on gay rights issues, the Washington Post points out in an editorial Tuesday that Congress shares the blame.

“Ending… forms of institutional discrimination based on sexual orientation requires leadership. Pity there’s not enough of it coming from either end of Pennsylvania Avenue,” the Post wrote. “Overturning ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and DOMA require legislation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) have been content to sit on the sidelines while Mr. Obama takes the hits. This can’t continue.”

Shame on Who?

January 26, 2010


Shame on Who?

For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, this Facebook “cut and paste” status campaign is making the rounds within moron circles:


“Shame on you America: The only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds and mentally ill without treatment – yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. 99% of people won’t have the guts to copy and repost this…”

WTF? Here’s my response to them. Feel free to use/share:
***************************************************************
Those causes are not ignored. You might ignore them, but other Americans give over $250 Billion to charity each year. There are hundreds of ways for Americans to give to national and local causes, if they want to put in a little effort. There are numerous programs to assist individuals who want that help.

The original spirit of this status message was meant to be negative. The tone of many of the threads I’ve seen drifts into resentment and anger because of their own lot in life. (“Nobody gives me a hand out…”) Why are you contributing to it?

You have a very narrow view of the world that hasn’t changed in a long time. For starters, you need a passport or a train ticket and a clue.

Some more facts for the ignorant:

After Katrina, $854 Million in aid was offered to the US by foreign countries around the globe.

After 9/11, several countries around the globe responded to help.

Google is your friend and can be used for things other than finding nail salons and porn.

If you Google: “programs for the homeless”
first result: “homeless assistance programs

If you Google:”government programs for the elderly”
first result:”http://www.usa.gov”

If you Google: ”programs for the mentally ill”
first result:”NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

(Their website currently has a banner that asks people to HELP HAITI. Wow, even the mentally ill care more about Haiti than these sociopaths.)

While America has our share of problems, those problems won’t be solved in one day. Haiti needs our help now as the death toll rises to 200,000.

They have only collected 50,000 dead bodies. What does that tell you?

Don’t sit there and cut & paste to me about how not doing a telethon to help Americans in need should make us feel shame. Fuck you.

You can sit there on your computer and tell us about how “America has problems” but what have you actually done to try to help make things better even in your own neighborhood?

Those of you that are all up in arms about sending money to Haiti “when we have our own poor, hungry, etc.” are a lot of the same asshats that get all up in arms about programs that help our own citizens. Hypocrites.

Cutting and pasting a status update is as easy (and helpful) as putting a yellow ribbon decal on your car, but *actually doing something* to help people might be a better use of your time. Go do something positive.

I’m not saying that I’m an angel as far as charitable giving, because I am not. I’m also not publicly bitching about a country that has billions of dollars donating to a penniless country that is literally bleeding in the streets.

If the US were struck by a similar natural disaster tomorrow, I wouldn’t count on many of the people who posted that status message to do anything positive to help anyone. They wouldn’t piss on you if you were in flames.

The people telling America to be “ashamed” need to crawl under a rock and reconsider their role as a member of the human race.

On Safire

September 28, 2009

safireW

William Safire, former Nixon speechwriter, conservative NY Times columnist, language guru, has died at age 79.

He was always fascinating on the subject of English language use and style(<~~ Ironically, a ‘sentence fragment,’ my spell-check tells me.) Perhaps one of the last among a generation of great writers, BUT Safire was often on the wrong on the issues politically and cannot be forgiven for being the Nixon speechwriter who introduced the word ‘values’ into their lexicon, helping to start the divisive, hateful era that we are currently in the middle of.

I’d like to say ‘Rest In Peace,” but instead have to say “Good riddance.” This country has a great deal of cleaning up to do thanks to how some of the language he introduced has been manipulated.

Lost My Driving Wheel

September 27, 2009

It’s amazing, how quickly our daily routine can be interrupted, or worse, shattered by a significant event. We are often forced to be strong when we are actually at our most vulnerable, such as in cases of loss or grief, where we need to support others and postpone our own inevitable mourning.

The words to this haunting song sound as if they could have been written a hundred years ago. Like Hank Williams’ “So Lonesome I Could Cry,” from earlier in the century, the evocative and solitary lyrics of “Driving Wheel” are undeniably American, despite its writer’s British roots. So literate, you find yourself listening intently. So sad, you find yourself sobbing for this person as if he were sitting in front of you.

With a steam locomotive, a driving wheel is a powered wheel which is driven by the locomotive’s pistons (or turbine, in the case of a steam turbine locomotive.) It is used in the song as an analogy that most of us can easily identify with.

Tom Rush (1970), Roger McGuinn (1973), Cowboy Junkies(1993) and Jayhawks (2000) are among the artists who have performed this song, originally written by Canadian singer-songwriter David Wiffen in the late 1960’s.

Wiffen originally released it on his early 1970’s album. The Cowboy Junkies’ version above is great, albeit a little sleepy. Vinyl collectors are encouraged to hunt down Wiffen’s original 1971 LP…

wiffen

Lost My Driving Wheel
Well I just came up on the midnight special how about that
My car broke down in Texas she stopped dead in her tracks
Just called to tell you that I need you
Just called to tell you how I feel
I feel like some old engine lost my drivin’ wheel
Feel like some old engine lost my drivin’ wheel
Took my money on the night train what a terrible fight
I gave my promise I would be there with you by Saturday night
I wanna tell you that I need you baby
I need to tell you just how I feel
I feel like some old engine lost my drivin’ wheel
Feel like some old engine lost my drivin’ wheel
Can’t say much in a phone call baby you know how it is
I have to tell you one short thing oh won’t you listen to this
I want to tell you that I love you baby
I want to tell you just how I feel
I feel like some old engine lost my drivin’ wheel
Feel like some old engine lost my drivin’ wheel

-David Wiffen

Magic and Loss

September 11, 2009

911a

When you pass through the fire
you pass through humble
You pass through a maze of self doubt
When you pass through humble
the lights can blind you
Some people never figure that out
You pass through arrogance you pass through hurt
You pass through an ever present past
and it’s best not to wait for luck to save you
Pass through the fire to the light

As you pass through the fire
your right hand waving
there are things you have to throw out
That caustic dread inside your head
will never help you out
You have to be very strong
’cause you’ll start from zero
over and over again
And as the smoke clears
there’s an all consuming fire
lying straight ahead

They say no one person can do it all
but you want to in your head
But you can’t be Joyce
so what is left instead
You’re stuck with yourself
and a rage that can hurt you
You have to start at the beginning again
And just this moment
This wonderful fire started up again

When you pass through humble
when you pass through sickly
When you pass through
I’m better than you all
When you pass through
anger and self deprecation
and have the strength to acknowledge it all
When the past makes you laugh
and you can savor the magic
that let you survive your own war
You find that that fire is passion
and there’s a door up ahead not a wall

As you pass through fire as you pass through fire
trying to remember its name
When you pass through fire licking at your lips
you cannot remain the same
And if the building’ burning
move towards that door
but don’t put the flames out
There’s a bit of magic in everything
and then some loss to even things out

Written by Lou Reed