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.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Inspiration for Girls and Women: Media! Let's talk about ALL of Michelle Obama's personal qualities!

Smart, Driven, Spiritual, Activist for Social Change, Family a Top Priority...

Biography: Lawyer, Chicago city administrator, community outreach worker and wife of President Barack Obama. Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama was born January 17, 1964, in Chicago, Illinois.

Michelle was raised on Chicago's South Side in a one-bedroom apartment. Her father, Frasier Robinson, was a city pump operator and a Democratic precinct captain. Her mother, Marian, was a Spiegel's secretary who later stayed home to raise Michelle and her older brother, Craig. The family has been described as a close-knit one that shared family meals, read and played games together.

Craig and Michelle, 16 months apart in age, were often mistaken for twins. The siblings also shared close quarters; they slept in the living room with a makeshift sheet serving as their room divider. Both children were raised with an emphasis on education. The brother and sister learned to read at home by the age of four, and both skipped second grade.

By sixth grade, Michelle was attending gifted classes, where she learned French and took accelerated courses. She then went on to attend the city's first magnet high school for gifted children where, among other activities, she served as the student government treasurer. "Without being immodest, we were always smart, we were always driven and we were always encouraged to do the best you can do, not just what's necessary," her brother Craig, has said. "And when it came to going to schools, we all wanted to go to the best schools we could."

Michelle graduated in 1981 from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago's West Loop as class salutatorian. After high school, she followed her brother to Princeton University, graduating cum laude in 1985 with a B.A. in Sociology. She went on to earn a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988, where she took part in demonstrations demanding more minority students and professors.

Following law school, Michelle worked as an associate in the Chicago branch of the law firm Sidley Austin in the area of marketing and intellectual property. There in 1989, she met her future husband, Barack Obama, a summer intern to whom she was assigned as an adviser. "I went to Harvard and he went to Harvard, and the firm thought, 'Oh, we'll hook these two people up,'" Michelle said. "So, you know, there was a little intrigue, but I must say after about a month, Barack...asked me out, and I thought no way. This is completely tacky." Initially, she refused to date Obama, believing that their work relationship would make the romance improper. Eventually she relented, and the couple soon fell in love.

After two years of dating, Barack proposed. "We were at a restaurant having dinner to celebrate the fact that he had finished the bar," Michelle remembers. "Then the waiter came over with the dessert and a tray. And there was the ring. And I was completely shocked." The couple married at Trinity United Church of Christ on October 18, 1992.

Michelle soon left her job to launch a career in public service, serving as an assistant to Mayor Daley and then as the assistant commissioner of planning and development for the City of Chicago.

In 1993, she became Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies, a non-profit leadership-training program that helped young adults develop skills for future careers in the public sector.

Michelle joined the University of Chicago in 1996 as associate dean of student services, developing the University's first community service program. She then worked for the University of Chicago Hospitals beginning in 2002, as executive director of community relations and external affairs.

In May 2005, she was appointed vice president of community relations and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she continues to work part-time. She also manages the business diversity program and sits on six boards, including the prestigious Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.

Michelle Obama first caught the eye of a national audience at her husband's side when he delivered a high-profile speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate from Illinois that November.

In 2007, she scaled back her own professional work to attend to family and campaign obligations during Barack's run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Michelle says she's made a "commitment to be away overnight only once a week – to campaign only two days a week and be home by the end of the second day" for their two daughters, Malia (born 1999) and Natasha (2001). It has been reported that the Obama family has no nanny, and that the children are left with their grandmother, Marian, while their parents campaign. "I've never participated at this level in any of his campaigns," Michelle says. "I have usually chosen to just appear when necessary."

Since her husband's political role pushed the Obama family into the spotlight, Michelle has been publicly recognized for her steely, no-nonsense campaign style as well as her sense of fashion. In May of 2006, Michelle was featured in Essence magazine as one of "25 of the World's Most Inspiring Women." Then in September 2007, Michelle was listed in 02138 magazine as number 58 in "The Harvard 100," a list of the most influential alumni for the year. She has also made the Vanity Fair best-dressed list two years in a row, as well as People Magazine's 2008 best-dressed list.

Michelle Obama became the 44th First Lady of the United States on January 20, 2009.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

2009 Presidential Proclamation on Women's History Month

Obama pays tribute to women who helped preserve, protect the environment.

Office of the Press Secretary
March 3, 2009
- - - - - - -

With passion and courage, women have taught us that when we band together to advocate for our highest ideals, we can advance our common well-being and strengthen the fabric of our Nation. Each year during Women's History Month, we remember and celebrate women from all walks of life who have shaped this great Nation. This year, in accordance with the theme, "Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet," we pay particular tribute to the efforts of women in preserving and protecting the environment for present and future generations.

Ellen Swallow Richards is known to have been the first woman in the United States to be accepted at a scientific school. She graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1873 and went on to become a prominent chemist. In 1887, she conducted a survey of water quality in Massachusetts. This study, the first of its kind in America, led to the Nation's first state water-quality standards.

Women have also taken the lead throughout our history in preserving our natural environment. In 1900, Maria Sanford led the Minnesota Federation of Women's Groups in their efforts to protect forestland near the Mississippi River, which eventually became the Chippewa National Forest, the first Congressionally mandated national forest. Marjory Stoneman Douglas dedicated her life to protecting and restoring the Florida Everglades. Her book, The Everglades: Rivers of Grass, published in 1947, led to the preservation of the Everglades as a National Park. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993.

Rachel Carson brought even greater attention to the environment by exposing the dangers of certain pesticides to the environment and to human health. Her landmark 1962 book, Silent Spring, was fiercely criticized for its unconventional perspective. As early as 1963, however, President Kennedy acknowledged its importance and appointed a panel to investigate the book's findings. Silent Spring has emerged as a seminal work in environmental studies. Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1980.

Grace Thorpe, another leading environmental advocate, also connected environmental protection with human well-being by emphasizing the vulnerability of certain populations to environmental hazards. In 1992, she launched a successful campaign to organize Native Americans t o oppose the storage of nuclear waste on their reservations, which she said contradicted Native American principles of stewardship of the earth. She also proposed that America invest in alternative energy sources such as hydroelectricity, solar power, and wind power.
These women helped protect our environment and our people while challenging the status quo and breaking social barriers. Their achievements inspired generations of American women and men not only to save our planet, but also to overcome obstacles and pursue their interests and talents. They join a long and proud history of American women leaders, and this month we honor the contributions of all women to our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2009 as Women's History Month. I call upon all our citizens to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that honor the history, accomplishments, and contributions of American women.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

March is Women's History Month!

So many accomplishments in such a short amount of time!!!
Please visit National Women's History Project - a FANTASTIC Website chock full of Info on Women's contributions to our Great Nation!
"Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet," is the present focus, paying tribute to the efforts of women in preserving and protecting the environment for present and future generations.