Here, There and Everywhere

Archive for April, 2013

We Can Help Syrians

Dear Gabriel,

W1304EDMNA1As the bloodshed in Syria escalates, desperate refugees are trying to escape the violence.

In response, Amnesty is increasing our efforts to advocate on behalf of refugees seeking safety in neighboring countries.

Please make an urgent monthly donation to Amnesty so we can continue to advocate for families fleeing human rights violations in Syria and around the world.

More than 1.3 million Syrian refugees are trying to escape the ongoing bloodshed by fleeing to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

Many refugees attempting to cross into neighboring Turkey have been stopped, leaving people stranded inside Syria in terrible conditions. Credible reports have also emerged of refugees being forced to return to Syria.

In the face of this mounting crisis, Amnesty is pressuring the international community to provide badly needed financial assistance to support the efforts made by Syria’s neighboring countries.

We are also documenting the abuses experienced by civilians who remain in Syria. Our team of researchers on the ground found evidence that government forces bombed entire neighborhoods and targeted residential areas with long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

Amnesty has a strong track record of using our on-the-ground findings to pressure governments and the United Nations Security Council to hold those responsible for the slaughter of civilians accountable.

But we can’t do it without your support. We accept no money from governments for our research or advocacy — as it would compromise our efforts. Will you make a monthly donation to strengthen our work to help end the crisis and take action for the people of Syria? It’s a convenient, effective way to stand up for human rights each and every day of the year. Donate now.

Sincerely,

Sunjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa
Amnesty International USA

Mary Thom Takes Last Ride

Mary Thom Dead: Former Ms. Magazine Editor Dies In NY Crash
Huffington Post
27 April 2013

YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) — Prominent feminist Mary Thom, a writer and former editor of Ms. Magazine who also was an avid motorcyclist, crashed while riding on a highway and was killed, her nephew said Saturday. She was 68.

Obit Thom

Thom had a passion for riding motorcycles and died riding her 1996 Honda Magna 750 on Friday evening on the Saw Mill River Parkway in Yonkers, just north of New York City, nephew Thom Loubet said.

“The important thing to know about Mary is that she was a major leader of the 70’s Feminist movement, but never desired the limelight,” Loubet said in an email. “She stayed behind the scenes tirelessly crafting the message and simply making it better.”

Thom was one of Ms. magazine’s founding members and served as an editor there for about 20 years, leaving in 1992. She also was an author who wrote a book about the history of Ms. and was a co-author, with Suzanne Braun Levine, of an oral history of former congresswoman and activist Bella Abzug.

Most recently, Thom was the editor-in-chief of the Women’s Media Center’s features department, which produces reports and commentaries by national and international contributors.

Thom, an Akron, Ohio, native, lived for decades in New York City, where she became one of the women’s movement’s best editors, feminist icon Gloria Steinem said.

“She had a gift for helping people tell their own story, not for helping them sound like others, but helping them find their own voice,” Steinem said.

Thom loved baseball, especially the Cleveland Indians, and adored watching Jon Stewart’s hit Comedy Central program, “The Daily Show,” Loubet said.

Read entire post and other stories at Huffington Post

15 Years of Hard Work

Dear Gabriel,

In rural central Uganda, a lone woman makes her way though an expanse of prickly green leaves, below a hazy blue sky. Guided by instinct and experience, she spots what she is looking for – a perfectly ripe pineapple.

To you and me, a pineapple is something purchased in stores or from fruit stands, to be diced into a sweet snack or blended into a beverage to enjoy with friends.

For Madina Namanda, this pineapple represents 15 years of hard work; nearly 50 FINCA loan cycles; and a drive to do better for herself and her four children.

PINE-Header2_zpsa69d909d

Beginning with a US $40 loan, Madina has worked her way up the agricultural ladder. She currently runs a 12-acre pineapple plantation, a 3-acre coffee plantation, and a poultry farm, and she is installing a clean water distribution site on her property, for her neighbors to use. With so much work, Madina shrugs off the loss of some of her pineapples to marauding monkeys, who bite off big chunks of golden sweetness from some of the fruit on the edges of her farm.

Working with FINCA clients has given me the opportunity to see how clients like Madina can take a small loan, and turn it into a new life for themselves and a boon for their communities. With access to credit, Madina has been able to boost her family’s income and personal savings – they now own their own land and home, and have sent two children to university. At 45 years of age, Madina can even consider retirement, a rarity in cash-strapped Uganda.

The perseverance, business acumen, and entrepreneurial spirit of women like Madina are among the chief reasons why I come to work every morning. FINCA clients are individuals who merit our support, and who are not afraid of hard work to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

Help us support entrepreneurial women and men like Madina; donate to FINCA today.

Sincerely,

Soledad Gompf
Vice President FINCA

The Big Dipper

Luscious-Choc-SmoothiesFrom Luscious Chocolate Smoothies: An Irresisitible Collection of Healthy Cocoa Delights.
By Gabriel Constans

A healthy and delicious recipe from my book of chocolate smoothies.

The Big Dipper

Yields 6 Cups

  • 2 cups plain soy milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 12-ounce package soft silken tofu
  • 2 banans, in chunks
  • 1/2 cup mango slices
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix on medium for 2 minutes.

2. Pour into tall clear glasses and never go without.

per cup: Calories 175; Protein 7 g; Total Fat 4 g; Saturated Fat 1 g; Carbohydrate29 g; Cholesterol 0 mg

Find more recipes, humor, chocolate facts and stories at Luscious Chocolate Smoothies.
Read one of the many reviews at Five Healthy Recipes.

Hate Crime In South Africa

Dear Gabriel,

W1304EALGBT1Two years ago today, 24-year-old South African Noxolo Nogwaza was raped, repeatedly beaten and stabbed.

Why did a young mother, soccer player, and human rights activist die so brutally, her body dumped in a drainage ditch?

Noxolo’s murder was an apparent hate crime. It is believed that she was targeted because she was a lesbian and an active campaigner for LGBTI rights.

Two years later, Noxolo’s murder remains unsolved, and her friends, family and fellow activists wait for justice. Demand an end to the climate of fear for the LGBTI community in South Africa, and demand justice for Noxolo!

Raped, beaten, stabbed — but why won’t South Africa’s authorities fully investigate and solve Noxolo’s case? In two years, there has been no progress in the investigation into her murder and Noxolo’s killer(s) remain at large.

“Contempt, mockery or general disinterest” – that’s how police are often reported to respond when LGBTI individuals try to report hate crimes.

Homophobia in South Africa goes far beyond taunts and insults — behavior that in and of itself is already entirely unacceptable. LGBTI individuals are targets of terrible hate crimes, particularly in townships, informal settlements and rural areas, ranging from assaults to rapes to murders, just because of who they are.

Noxolo’s killer(s) remain unpunished. And as long as murderers and perpetrators of hate crimes are allowed to go free, LGBTI people will never feel safe in South Africa.

But there is hope. The world is marching towards justice — just yesterday, France became the latest country to pass marriage equality legislation.

Momentum is on our side and the world is listening to calls for LGBTI rights.

The time to speak out for justice is right now.

Today, march on and honor Noxolo’s memory by taking action. Demand a full investigation into Noxolo’s murder and an end to violence against the LGBTI community in South Africa.

Sincerely,

Samir Goswami
Director, Individuals and Communities at Risk Program
Amnesty International USA

Children’s Van In Tanzania

News From Building for Generations
by Cory Ibarra

The year 2011, board member Teri Smith and I visited our project in Tanzania. The first day at the site, the smiles of all the children captured my attention until I looked at my friend Teri whose eyes were welling with tears. She choked as she whispered to me “Look at their shoes.” Some were sizes too small with a foot snugly fitting into the front and a heel hitting bare ground in the back, others had the sole of the shoe fastened to its top with a shoelace to keep it held together. Aside from that we found that many of the enrolled children could not attend because they could not walk to school or walk to school safely.

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I believe the picture says it all!! Thank you for matching the funds we were offered this Christmas to make the Tanzania Van project possible. Look forward to stories on how it has made a difference, thanks to you!!!!! and the generous offer from our matching grantor!!!!!

About Building For Generations

As the parent of a young adult with special needs, I had the privilege of traveling to the developing world and witnessing the conditions there. The issues remain the same worldwide, that being exclusion from the mainstream and discrimination. It was, however, further exacerbated by extreme poverty and superstition. I understood their challenge and knew their spirit. Out of this, Building for Generations was born.

Our organization was founded in 2005 and received non-profit status in November 2006. The organization currently consists of a core volunteer team of ten persons and a Board of Directors. Founder and volunteer, Cory Ybarra, is the mother of a young adult with special needs and has a degree from San Jose State University in Health Science. She also holds a Certificate in Development Program Management from the Monterey Institute for International Studies.

Support and donate to Building for Generations

Boston’s First Responders

Gabriel —

My thoughts and prayers over the past week have been with the people of Boston.

As I’ve watched everything happening there, I’ve been completely awestruck by the first responders — the police, firefighters, and EMTs who ran toward danger without hesitation to help those in peril.

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Their courage and compassion is amazing to witness, and I’m grateful to live in a country where so many fine men and women commit their lives to protect and serve their fellow citizens.

After all they’ve done, I want them to know what it’s meant to Americans like me. So I’m writing these first responders a simple note to say thanks — and I’d like to invite you to join me.

Add your name to the note for Boston’s first responders here.

Whether you want to say thanks, share a story about how the past week’s events have affected you, or just let these public servants know that you’ve been thinking about them, I know they’d appreciate hearing from you.

We’ll collect every note we get and deliver them to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino so they can pass along your sentiments.

Join me, and say thanks to Boston’s first responders:

http://my.democrats.org/Boston

Thanks,

Debbie

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chair
Democratic National Committee

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