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united we stand


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Reblogged from cloudyskiesandcatharsis

rivernymph:

samwinchesterhatesfire:

quads-for-the-gods:

bellecs:

winningthebattleloosingthewar:

On the morning of September 4, 1957, fifteen-year-old Dorothy Counts set out on a harrowing path toward Harding High, where-as the first African American to attend the all-white school – she was greeted by a jeering swarm of boys who spat, threw trash, and yelled epithets at her as she entered the building.

Charlotte Observer photographer Don Sturkey captured the ugly incident on film, and in the days that followed, the searing image appeared not just in the local paper but in newspapers around the world.

People everywhere were transfixed by the girl in the photograph who stood tall, her five-foot-ten-inch frame towering nobly above the mob that trailed her. There, in black and white, was evidence of the brutality of racism, a sinister force that had led children to torment another child while adults stood by. While the images display a lot of evils: prejudice, ignorance, racism, sexism, inequality, it also captures true strength, determination, courage and inspiration.

Here she is, age 70, still absolutely elegant and poised.

she deserves to be re-blogged. 

this makes me want to cry

(Source: cloudyskiesandcatharsis, via rainestaylor)

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Trending Upwaard

When I was struggling last fall with ‘less than stellar’…to say the least….grades in ‘Economics for Policy Analysis’, one of my professors put things in perspective for me by saying, “If you are achieving constant perfection throughout a process of any sort, that process is not a true challenge for you. Life is so much more rewarding, if there are true challenges. You’ve hit a true challenge at this time. During a true challenge, perfection along the way is the not goal. The goal is steady improvement with each step of the process. You are ‘trending upward’. Don’t waste time and emotion in worrying about the lack of perfection you are seeing. You need that energy to methodically trend upward through the process.”

I’m amazed by how many times this comment has popped into my head since I first heard it. I believe those few sentences are doing more to ‘rewire’ my brain than all of the time and effort I’ve expended in struggling with my ‘perfectionism’ throughout the years. What a major impact…and the professor probably doesn’t even remember the incident. You never know how deep a footprint you leave as you walk along your path.

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Reblogged from pulitzercenter

fotojournalismus:

With support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, photographer Amy Toensing and writer Jessica Benko spent several weeks living among the thousands of widows who populate the holy Braj region of rural Uttar Pradesh in northern India. There they investigated the taboos and social structures that leave many widows and their children struggling to survive.

The sandstone steps of the Keshi Ghat lead into the swift current of the Yamuna, the second most sacred river in Hinduism, an important stop for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who visit the holy town of Vrindavan each year. At the foot of the ghat is a line of wooden barges strung with colorful flags, captained by teenage boys who use poles to guide the boats to sand bars in the river where those willing to pay can bathe away from the trash strewn banks.

Two young boys stand knee deep, tossing stacks of magnets tied with string into deeper water and dragging them across the river bottom, hoping to capture coins tossed in by the bathers. A small girl in a threadbare pink tunic patrols near the beached boats, steadying a tray of red, orange, and yellow marigolds balanced on her head. As a family climbs into one of the boats, she clambers onto the one next to it, leaning across the wooden rail to accept 5 rupees (about 8 cents) for a small cup of the flowers, which will be offered to the river in prayer.

The flower girl is 8 years old and her name is Gunjan, a Sanskrit word that describes the pleasant humming sound of a bumblebee. She spends her days—all the daylight hours, every day of the week—hovering at the river’s edge, collecting a few rupees at a time from as many bathers as she can. She’s a beautiful child, quiet, not aggressive but vigilant for new arrivals to the banks, and many of the visitors choose her flowers. She buys marigolds every few days—200 rupees for a bag as wide as her arms can reach, 100 rupees for sack as wide as her tiny shoulders—and arranges them in small bowls made of pressed leaves, each topped with a wick soaked in ghee that she can light expertly with a match, even on the windiest of days.

When school is out, a gaggle of other children come down to the river banks to play. They draw a sort of hopscotch court in the sand with a stick for a game they call titi, tossing a rock to a farther box with each turn, hopping in every square that hasn’t already been captured. When they’ve gotten through the whole board, they make it harder for themselves, tilting back their heads and fixing their gaze up at the sky as they jump.

Gunjan directs her friends in her small, hoarse voice, moving the game along briskly. Her attention to her work never wavers, though, and each time a new group shows up at the foot of the ghat, she sweeps her flowers back onto her head, and strides away to greet them. On a quiet day like this one when no one else bothers to compete with her, she might still bring home 100 or 150 rupees (about $1.60-$2.40) after the cost of flowers—more than many adult unskilled day laborers make—and on a busy, auspicious holiday, she can make quite a bit more. And that’s the source of one of the biggest dangers to Gunjan’s future.

She lives with her mother Meena, and three siblings—sisters Tanuja, 13, and Hema, 5, and brother Shiva, 3—in a 6ft x 10ft room tucked into a maze of buildings up the hill from the river. Her father died three years ago from a septic infection after being stabbed by his brother over a property dispute. Meena is illiterate and can only get occasional work as a day laborer, so 8-year-old Gunjan has assumed responsibility for supporting the family of five. She hasn’t been to school in a year or maybe two.

The flower-selling work falls to Gunjan because although her older sister Tanuja looks much younger than 13, she is on the cusp of puberty and in their conservative neighborhood, where women must veil their faces in the presence of male relatives, it is considered dangerous for her to be out of the house. If her mother is able to get a day of work, Tanuja strings prayer beads at home while watching after Hema and Shiva. When her mother doesn’t find work, Tanuja has the chance to go to school, the only acceptable destination for her outside the home. She loves school, but she knows she will be married before long and she worries what her mother will do without her help once she is taken away from home to her new husband’s village.

“If you give me money, I can get her married,” Meena pleads with us another day, apparently unaware that our instinct would be to give her money to delay Tanuja’s marriage, rather than encourage it. But her rationale, in these circumstances, is understandable. If a girl is past puberty and unmarried, it is considered a mark of a family’s bad morals, which can be perversely interpreted as justification for sexual assault. From Meena’s perspective, the only way to protect Tanuja is to get her married as soon as possible, though without any money from her family, the only suitors will be men so undesirable that they have no chance of attracting a bride with a dowry.

Gunjan’s future looks no brighter. Unlike Tanuja, she wasn’t in school long enough to learn to read and write before their father died, and now there is little chance for Gunjan to get back into school, not while her income is so vital for the family. She’ll continue selling flowers until she, too, is approaching puberty. When that happens, it will be Hema’s turn as flower girl.

There’s no indication that the cycle is about to break. Meena, too, was married as a young teenager, kept strictly in the house by her husband, dependent on him, and then rejected by his family after he was killed. Her own family, in a village hours away, has six brothers without enough resources to split among themselves, much less with her. Her girls are headed down the same path, and because of their poverty, they are likely to be married to much older men, who may leave them as unskilled, illiterate widows with young children, as their mother is now.

But tomorrow, dawn will break over the river and over little Gunjan, standing at the water’s edge with a tattered pink sweater against the winter chill, one arm wrapped around her waist, elbow propped on her hip, another day’s bright flowers resting in the palm of her hand.

There are 35 million widows in India, where the marriage of girls to much older men makes widowhood a common outcome, and many are shunned as bad luck and can lose their status and ability to support themselves. Find out more about Benko and Toensing’s project here.

(via pulitzercenter)

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Reblogged from rainestaylor
rainestaylor:


Follow the link below for a fantastic summary of our short-n-sweet winter farming experience, written by the ever-amiable Jack G-M. Take a look, pals.
http://avantgardica.blogspot.com/2014/02/organic-farming-pilot-project-group.html

rainestaylor:

Follow the link below for a fantastic summary of our short-n-sweet winter farming experience, written by the ever-amiable Jack G-M. Take a look, pals.

http://avantgardica.blogspot.com/2014/02/organic-farming-pilot-project-group.html

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Reblogged from awkwardsituationist

awkwardsituationist:

daily life in the streets of kathmandu. photos by (click pic) niranjan shrestha, navesh chitrakar and parakash mathema

Such wonderous pictures of a different culture

(via nepal)

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We’l!\l be seeing you soon, Asia!

Several phone conversations yesterday with our DC Peace Corps Placement officer led to a Peace Corps invitation this morning. Stewart and I will be departing the first week in September, 2014 to serve in Nepal. My sector was changed to Health (nutrition) and Stewart is in Agriculture. We both will work in the food security. Woah…..Kathmandu….Mt. Everest…..and Yaks. We will be in the lower foothills of the Himalayas. The main diet is vegetarian. Nine year old nephew, Gabriel, has warned us against using any of our vacation days to climb Mt. Everest…”People die up there”. Good to know.

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Reblogged from thepoliticalnotebook

thepoliticalnotebook:

Starting about two minutes in to July 12th’s daily press briefing from the State Department, AP reporter Matt Lee decided to give a master class in grilling government officials for answers. He asked State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki for specifics on the US attempts to silence Edward Snowden and to threaten Russia over potential asylum and resisted her attempts to evade him. The above video is of the entire presser, which is about an hour long, but the relevant exchange does begin only about 2 minutes in.

Here is a sample:

QUESTION: Can we start in Russia –

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — with Mr. Snowden? I’m wondering if, since he has now asked the Russians for asylum, there has been any contact between this building and the Russians about your feelings about his status.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I can tell you – I hadn’t seen – or I don’t have independent confirmation, I guess I should say, about any request he’s made. I can tell you that we have been in touch, of course, with Russian officials. Our Embassy in Moscow has been in direct contact on the ground. We are disappointed that Russian officials and agencies facilitated this meeting today by allowing these activists and representatives into the Moscow airport’s transit zone to meet with Mr. Snowden despite the government’s declarations of Russia’s neutrality with respect to Mr. Snowden.

QUESTION: So I’m sorry. You’re disappointed that they let someone into their own airport?

MS. PSAKI: Well –

QUESTION: I don’t get it.

MS. PSAKI: Well, that they facilitated this event, of course.

QUESTION: Well, why?

MS. PSAKI: Because this gave a forum for –

QUESTION: You don’t think that he should have a forum? Has he – he’s forfeited his right to freedom of speech as well?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, Mr. Snowden –

QUESTION: All right. MS. PSAKI: — as we’ve talked about – let me just state this –

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. PSAKI: — because I think it’s important. He’s not a whistleblower. He’s not a human rights activist. He’s wanted in a series of serious criminal charges brought in the eastern district of Virginia and the United States.

QUESTION: Okay. I’m sorry. But I didn’t realize people who were wanted on charges forfeited their right to speech – to free speech. I also didn’t realize that people who were not whistleblowers or not human rights activists, as you say he is not, that they forfeited their rights to speak, so I don’t understand why you’re disappointed with the Russians, but neither that – leave that aside for a second.


(Emphasis my own.)

That’s just a quick segment of the exchange. Lee goes on to push Psaki on whether or not the US was essentially threatening the human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch whose representatives recently met with Snowden. The remainder of the transcript is at Democratic Underground. The conversation continues and other reporters (whose names I don’t know) add valuably to the exchange pushing for more information on US actions and positions toward Snowden. 

(HT @cjchivers)

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What do Zimmerman and Zombies have in common?

In 2011, the National Center for Disease Control (CDC) changed up their emergency preparedness education a bit. CDC is extremely important and the information they share can make the difference between life and death…..but….they don’t really have the most exciting reputation. And their budget is even less impressive than their reputation. With no money, man-power, or new facts to trot out in 2011, they decided to go with a different theme to gain public interest and promote their mission. They linked their information to zombies.

The Center for Disease Control is not worried about a zombie apocalypse.  I’m pretty sure if you ask them if they believe in zombies, most CDC people would laugh. However, the CDC is attempting to accomplish something and if they need to use a theme that evokes emotion and interest….a theme that is not real…so be it. The end justifies the means, yes? Was the zombie link to the CDC emergency preparedness platform successful? They started their “zombie campaign” with a tongue-in-cheek blog post that linked to their CDC emergency pages. The blog site crashed within 10 minutes as more than 30,000 people tried to read their 101 on zombie preparedness. Overall, the page had more than 60,000 views per hour. Eventually, traffic flowed to the main CDC website. Successful? Yes. Successful is an understatement.

I’ve been obsessed with virus transmission of late because I am a germaphobe planning on living outside my safe zone(literally) in the future. I realize that I need to gain information in order to avoid panic attacks every time I get lake water in my eyes or have a mosquito land on my arm while I’m overseas; thus the in-depth knowledge about the CDC zombie campaign. (which btw, further led me to the “Harry Potter Alliance”…another interesting use of fiction to promote a platform)

But, the reason the subject of using a theme to promote a platform is swirling around my mind today is actually because I’ve been inundated with on-line responses to the Zimmerman court judgment this weekend. I’ve distanced myself from the whole court case. I pretty much ignore all court cases involving crime that catch the attention of the media.  I don’t really believe it is possible for anyone to know what happened in such a situation….except the people who were involved…and even those involved may be confused about the facts due to the affects of trauma and shock on the human brain. However, I do know the main players in the case and the basic arguments presented by the different media. (I don’t live under a rock)  The overly emotional on-line responses to the court judgment are fascinating to me because they appear so righteous, whether the response is in support or outraged by the jury decision. Yet, what I really find fascinating is the responses from many of the people I know personally are landing in certain camps that reflect their common political affiliation. 

It appears that several groups have jumped on the Zimmerman case to promote their platforms and gain support. Since none of us were right there on the scene, we certainly don’t know what is true and what is not true in this scenario. We only know what we are fed by whoever we trust to give us the truth of the matter. All of the ‘facts’ in this court case have been shaded one way or the other in order to utilize the power of suggestion before they even reach us. I believe different political factions are using this media circus court case to promote their platforms. In my mind, it is a similar method to the CDC and their zombie campaign….only the Zimmerman ‘campaign’…..sadly involves the loss of a real life.

People will use anything as a marketing campaign, won’t they?…..because humans are so so susceptible. And I know most of you reading this are pointing your on-line fingers at others and agreeing with me, right?  “Yep…..all of them….out there….will believe anything they are told.” ; )

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Reblogged from flowersgardenlove
smarterplanet:

Very simple explanation.

smarterplanet:

Very simple explanation.

(via adventuresinlearning)

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Reblogged from evergreen12