Sunday, May 10, 2009

A tribute to Anna M. Jarvis, the mother of Mother's Day, who in an ironic twist of fate was never a mother herself.

     Anna M. Jarvis was born in 1864 in the rural community of Grafton, West Virginia, and she grew into a tall, attractive, redhead, eager to find her way in the world. She had watched her mother put aside pleasure and ambitions for the considerable duties of motherhood. At 27 and unmarried she took a bold, modern step and moved away from home to live in Philadelphia, working first as a stenographer and then as a writer for the advertising department of an insurance company. As to why she didn't wed, a family friend said, "she had a disastrous love affair when she was young. It left her shocked and disillusioned, and thereafter she turned her back on all men." After years of living on her own, Anna moved her widowed mother to Philadelphia. In 1905, she went into a period of "pathological mourning" when her mother died, creating an alter of dried flowers, and talking about little else.    

     In 1907, a few years after her mother died (and left her a tidy inheritance), she created and led the "Mother's Day Movement," and began one of the most organized and successful letter-writing campaigns in history, reaching out to influential businessmen, religious leaders, newspaper editors, mayors and eventually to governors of every state. Within seven years, a resolution was passed by both houses of Congress for a national observance of Mother's Day. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a "public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country," setting aside the second Sunday in May, which also commemorated the anniversary of Anna's mother's death.

     As it was her mother's favorite flower, and she was in charge, Anna declared the carnation the official Mother Day's emblem. Florists quickly began to reap the benefits. Soon confectioners and card companies wanted a piece of the action, and the holiday got commercialized to such an extent that Anna Jarvis could hardly recognize it. 

     "This is not what I intended," Anna wrote in letters to hundreds of newspapers. "I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit." 

     She spent the rest of her life (and life savings) in desperate battle against those who didn't demonstrate the proper piety and respect for what she considered a holy day.

     Thank you Anna Jarvis for commemorating your mother and all mothers with a Holiday because all Mothers deserve a holiday!  Their selfless nurturing, 24/7, certainly entitles them to a day to be doted on and acknowledged, whether by call, card, hugs and kisses, flowers, pampering at the spa, vacation or some other 'thoughtful' act.  

      It is my hope, that children and adult children show their appreciation in many ways, all year long!  Personally, I favor the hugs, kisses and "I love yous!".  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL!!!   Hugs, Amy

Monday, May 4, 2009

Well Done Uganda!!!

Female genital mutilation (FGM) previously known as female circumcision is banned legally in most of the countries of Africa. Sabny is one of the few  communities in Uganda still practicing the horrific act. Recently, Sabny have decided  to ban FGM. The local Kapchorwa district council is lobbying Parliament to make the ban part of National law. The ban , heavily influenced by last year’s UN resolution against FGM, has been enforced just before the start of the seasonal tribal ritual of the procedure.

        FGM is practiced in some communities in Africa . It is believed to be an old African tradition not promoted by any religion.

*Article found in the Magazine: Reading Bee - Essential Journal for Asian Women
Please take a minute to look at their many other interesting articles: Reading BEE
*Reading BEE focuses on deep social issues, political debates, literary and intellectual discussions. It deals with questions of gender equality and women’s rights, and also the more serious issues of domestic violence, forced marriages and female sexual mutilation. These situations, as well as those who are struggling to help them, usually get very little coverage in women’s magazines.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Soldier Kills Herself After Refusing to Take Part in Torture

Greg Mitchell wrote this article for the Huffington Post and it drew wide attention around the Web perhaps because of its tragic relevance to the current torture debate: The story of Spc. Alyssa Peterson, who committed suicide in September 2003 a few days after refusing to take part in interrogations that likely involved torture.

The piece has drawn more than 200 comments, including one from Alyssa's older brother, supporting the essence of the piece (Greg first wrote about Alyssa almost three years ago).

Please read it here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope"--Wangari Maathai

2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai

Billion Tree Campaign patron Professor Wangari Maathai is Africa’s foremost environmental campaigner, internationally recognized for her persistent struggle for democracy, human rights and environmental conservation. In 2004, the Nobel Prize Committee recognized her lifelong commitment to environmental sustainability and the empowerment of women by awarding her the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1977, Professor Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. In the past three decades, the movement has grown into a dramatic force for change. Along the way, nearly 900,000 rural women have worked to establish tree nurseries and plant trees to reverse the effects of deforestation. Now an international campaign, the Green Belt Movement has planted more than 30 million trees throughout Africa.

Born in Nyeri in 1940, Wangari Muta Maathai received her education in Kenya and the USA from where she earned a Bachelor from Mt. St. Scholastica College and a Masters from the University of Pittsburgh. She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, obtaining it from the University of Nairobi in 1971, where she also taught veterinary anatomy. She chaired the National Council of Women of Kenya from 1981 to 1987. Her campaign against land grabbing and the illegal allocation of forest land has made her a national heroine.

In December 2002, Professor Maathai was elected to Kenya’s parliament and appointed Assistant Minister for environment and natural resources. In addition to the Nobel Peace Prize, Professor Maathai has been awarded UNEP’s Global 500 Award, the Goldman Environment Prize and the Sophie Prize, among others.

“What I have learned over the years is that we must be patient, persistent, and committed. When we are planting trees sometimes people will say to me, ‘I don't want to plant this tree, because it will not grow fast enough’. I have to keep reminding them that the trees they are cutting today were not planted by them, but by those who came before. So they must plant the trees that will benefit communities in the future.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scarlett Johansson is P_____! A MUST READ!

BRAVO! This is a wonderful article Scarlett Johansson wrote for the Huffington Post, in response to the negative and untrue, media headlines pertaining to her "getting fit" for an upcoming role.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Know Your Power by Nancy Pelosi and Amy Hill Hearth - Hardcover - Random House

In these pages, she encourages mothers and grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters to never lose faith, to speak out and make their voices heard, to focus on what matters most and follow their dreams wherever they may lead. Perhaps the Speaker says it best herself in the Preface: “I find it humbling and deeply moving when women and girls approach me, looking for insight and advice. If women can learn from me, in the same way I learned from the women who came before me, it will make the honor of being Speaker of the House even more meaningful.”

Visit Random House to read more.

Has anyone read the new Nancy Pelosi Book? I would love to hear your thoughts.
What women influenced you and your success?


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Prosecuting Cyber Bullies - NPR

*If you missed this on National Public Radio this morning - Weekend Edition, please take a few minutes to listen to Linda Wertheimer talking to U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez of California, who is sponsoring a bill named after Megan Meier (who hanged herself after being bullied on My Space) that would make it a federal crime to engage in bullying electronically.