Civic-organization

5

Obama makes first public appearance since leaving office 

  • At long last, former President Barack Obama has made his return to the public eye.
  • Obama appeared at the University of Chicago on Monday to deliver a speech on “community organizing and civic engagement,” per CNN.
  • On Twitter, users rejoiced at the prospect of having the 44th president back in the continental United States. Read more (4/24/17)

I love how he says this as if it’s a bad thing. All that so-called “activism” and “organizing” and “civic engagement” and “getting involved in the policial process” and “paying attention to what’s happening” and “standing up for what’s right” and “being an active constituent who keeps the pressure on elected officials” is getting to Donald.

Ten Ways To Pay For College Right Now

Sometimes, the hardest part is simply knowing where to begin. Here are some tips:

1) Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, even if you don’t think you’ll qualify.

2) Apply for national grants. Options include Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants and National SMART Grants.

3) Apply for local scholarships. Civic organizations and religious institutions often have meaningful amounts of aid to dole out.

4) Getting into more than one school translates to a higher likelihood of receiving a big financial aid package.

5) Bargain! Even schools that only provide need-based aid sometimes come up with drastically different offers.

6)  AmeriCorps, Peace Corp, National Health Services Corps and ROTC programs offer college money in exchange for a service commitment.

7) Look abroad. At Scotland’s St. Andrews, U.S. students pay only $21,650.

8) Stay home. Starting out at a low-cost community college and transferring to a four-year college for the final two years will wipe away a hefty chunk of room and board costs, as well as some tuition.

9)  The American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit are two excellent options.

10)  Don’t forget to consult your local expert – guidance counselors are often aware of options you may not have considered; best of all, their help is free.

Read more.

abcnews.go.com
Violence warned over US dropping conflict minerals rule
By ABC News

Increased violence and corruption in central Africa could be the result of the recent decision by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission not to enforce a rule requiring American companies to report their use of conflict minerals, warn Congolese civic groups, rights groups and U.S. senators.

“The conflict minerals rule has played a critical role in reducing violence in mining areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, who recently signed a letter with five other Democratic senators urging the SEC to uphold the rule.

The conflict minerals reporting rule, part of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations law, has largely been successful in ensuring that minerals worth trillions of dollars don’t benefit armed rebel groups blamed for human rights abuses, a coalition of groups from Congo and southern Africa told the SEC in a series of public comments earlier this year. In an opposing view, some business groups in the U.S. dismissed the regulation as ineffective and an unnecessary burden.

In April, acting SEC chairman Michael Piwowar said his organization will no longer enforce the 2012 rule that requires companies to verify their products do not use tantalum, tin, gold or tungsten that have been mined or trafficked by armed groups in Congo and other central African countries. Although the SEC is independent from the Trump administration, Piwowar was designated as acting chairman by Trump, and the SEC’s action appears to be in line with the president’s view that the government should reduce regulations of company operations.

In addition to the SEC action, Republican legislation to roll back the Dodd-Frank law, expected to pass the House in coming weeks, would repeal the conflict minerals rule. The bill’s prospects in the Senate are unclear.

Armed rebels and criminal gangs have been funded for decades by the illicit trade in Congo’s minerals, estimated to be worth $24 trillion, according to the U.N. The minerals are essential ingredients in smart phones, laptops, tablets and other high-tech products.

Dropping the conflict minerals rule implicitly supports conflict in the Great Lakes region, Leonard Birere, president of the Coalition of Anti-Slavery Civil Society Organizations in Goma, Congo, told The Associated Press in an email.

“The activity of the armed groups in the mining sites had decreased substantially as well as their capacity for violence” due to the conflict minerals regulation, Birere said.

Some leading American companies also support the conflict minerals regulations. “Apple believes there is little doubt that there is a need to enhance gold trading due diligence,” the company wrote in its 2016 conflict minerals report to the SEC…

Congolese groups have a nuanced understanding of the conflict minerals rule. When the regulation was introduced in 2012, many U.S. companies pulled out of Congo.

“All sectors of our economy were suffocated or very nearly ground to a halt,” wrote a group of 31 civic organizations in eastern Congo to the SEC. But eventually the rule helped to cut off funds for armed groups and reduce child labor in mines, according to the coalition, the Thematic Working Group on Mining and Natural Resources.

The crackdown on illicit mining succeeded in reducing opportunities for armed groups to exploit the illegal trading of minerals, according to a report last year by the U.N. panel of experts monitoring sanctions on Congo.

Eastern Congo has experienced insecurity for decades from a myriad of rebel groups. More than 16,000 U.N. peacekeepers are based in the Congo with one of the world’s most aggressive mandates to defeat militia groups.

The conflict minerals rule “undoubtedly contributes to reducing the rate of crime and human rights violations, including rape of women and exploitation of children in mining areas,” 41 Congo-based non-profit organizations related to natural resources wrote to the SEC . “All these efforts and progress will be destroyed if the U.S. government decides to contradict itself.”

The Aftermath of Jeffrey Dahmer’s Crimes

It’s been almost 26 years since Jeffrey Dahmer’s arrest, yet it seems nothing can wash away the memories of his crimes.

Dubbed, “The Milwaukee Cannibal,” he preyed upon young men in gay bars and clubs, luring them back to his apartment with the promise of sex, money and booze. He killed 17 young men; he was convicted of 15 of those murders.
But, what happened after all was said and done and Dahmer was behind bars? What happened after his murder in prison in 1994?

The now-infamous Oxford Apartment building was destroyed in 1992. When Dahmer’s crimes were fresh in the news, the building became a macabre tourist attraction. His neighbor, Pamela Bass, said that people offered her money to sit on a couch that Dahmer had given her. Of course, residents became fed-up with all of the attention and some moved. Once plans were made to destroy the building, others were forced to move.

The Oxford Apartments then and now.

There were plans for a memorial garden to be built for Dahmer’s victims on the site of where the Oxford Apartments stood but the plan fell through. To this day, all that remains of the building that once housed Dahmer’s house of horrors is an empty lot.

There are mixed accounts of Jeffrey Dahmer’s brief life in prison. While in prison, Dahmer officially converted to Christianity and was baptized. Some say he adjusted well, and that he had a macabre sense of humor. There is a photo circulated online of an order form filled out by Dahmer for the prison commissary, requesting two cyanide tablets. Prison officials filed a report on this and also for him mocking a prison guard with a speech impediment. He also reportedly hung a sign up for a “Cannibals Anonymous” support group meeting.

In July of 1994, Dahmer was attacked by another inmate in the prison chapel.
Jeffrey Dahmer’s father, Lionel, published a book, entitled “A Father’s Story” in 1994. His now-infamous son, Jeffrey, agreed to do a lengthy, in-depth interview with his father. During the interview, Jeffrey admitted he did not agree with everything his father had written in the book, in particular Lionel’s impression of Jeffrey as being a shy child.

Christopher Scarver

Shortly after the interview with his father, Jeffrey Dahmer and another inmate, Jesse Anderson were murdered by fellow lifer and convicted killer, Christopher Scarver on November 28, 1994. Both Dahmer and Anderson were bludgeoned to death by Scarver while the three were performing their assigned cleaning duties that morning.

Scarver claims that he killed Dahmer because of how the serial killer allegedly taunted other inmates by taking food and shaping it to look like human organs and dousing it with ketchup. He claimed that Dahmer was an insubordinate and difficult inmate.

Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother, Joyce Flint, expressed her grief with an angry statement: “Now is everybody happy? Now that he’s bludgeoned to death is that good enough for everyone?” Dahmer’s victims reportedly had mixed emotions about the death of their loved ones’ killer.

Dahmer family photo, from l., Jeffrey, parents Lionel and Joyce and younger brother David.

Lionel Dahmer and second wife Shari during the trial.

Joyce Flint during a 1994 interview.


The family members of Dahmer’s victims sued for damages and were awarded Dahmer’s estate. The items left over from Dahmer’s life were to be auctioned off. Thomas Jacobson, one of the lawyers representing the families, hoped to raise $1 million. Upon hearing about this, the citizens of Milwaukee sprang into action and formed Milwaukee Civic Pride. The civic organization hoped to raise money to purchase all of Jeffrey Dahmer’s possessions and have them incinerated. The group got their wish after making a $407,225 pledge for the items. Five out of eight of the victims’ families agreed to have the items destroyed. The charred remains of Dahmer’s worldly possessions were buried in a landfill in Illinois, the exact location of which remains undisclosed.

As for the Dahmer family, Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother, Joyce Flint, died of breast cancer in 2000. His younger brother, David, has since changed his last name.
Retired from his career in chemistry, Lionel Dahmer has become a strong public supporter of creationism. He is still married to his second wife, Shari, and the two reside in Ohio. Shari Dahmer is active in their community as a member of the Medina County Ohio Horseman’s Council. Both supported Jeffrey Dahmer throughout his trial and brief imprisonment.

Over the past 26 years since Jeffrey Dahmer’s arrest, the blood-spattered memory remains of the soft-spoken, bespectacled blonde man who lived in a make-shift macabre museum of his crimes. Various merchandise bearing Dahmer’s image is available for purchase online from t-shirts to pins to action figures.

There have been many books written and movies about him and are still being produced. In recent years, books and films about him include the 2012 documentary, “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files,” “Across the Hall,” written by Dahmer’s former neighbor Vernell Bass in 2013, “Dahmer Detective,” a book published in 2016 by retired Detective Pat Kennedy and an upcoming film in 2017, “My Friend Dahmer,” based on the graphic novel of the same name written by Dahmer’s former classmate Derf Backderf, which was published in 2012.
Info from documentaries and various articles around the web…

Violence warned over US dropping conflict minerals rule

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Increased violence and corruption in central Africa could be the result of the recent decision by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission not to enforce a rule requiring American companies to report their use of conflict minerals, warn Congolese civic groups, rights groups and U.S. senators.

“The conflict minerals rule has played a critical role in reducing violence in mining areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, who recently signed a letter with five other Democratic senators urging the SEC to uphold the rule.

The conflict minerals reporting rule, part of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations law, has largely been successful in ensuring that minerals worth trillions of dollars don’t benefit armed rebel groups blamed for human rights abuses, a coalition of groups from Congo and southern Africa told the SEC in a series of public comments earlier this year. In an opposing view, some business groups in the U.S. dismissed the regulation as ineffective and an unnecessary burden.

In April, acting SEC chairman Michael Piwowar said his organization will no longer enforce the 2012 rule that requires companies to verify their products do not use tantalum, tin, gold or tungsten that have been mined or trafficked by armed groups in Congo and other central African countries. Although the SEC is independent from the Trump administration, Piwowar was designated as acting chairman by Trump, and the SEC’s action appears to be in line with the president’s view that the government should reduce regulations of company operations.

In addition to the SEC action, Republican legislation to roll back the Dodd-Frank law, expected to pass the House in coming weeks, would repeal the conflict minerals rule. The bill’s prospects in the Senate are unclear.

Armed rebels and criminal gangs have been funded for decades by the illicit trade in Congo’s minerals, estimated to be worth $24 trillion, according to the U.N. The minerals are essential ingredients in smart phones, laptops, tablets and other high-tech products.

Dropping the conflict minerals rule implicitly supports conflict in the Great Lakes region, Leonard Birere, president of the Coalition of Anti-Slavery Civil Society Organizations in Goma, Congo, told The Associated Press in an email.

“The activity of the armed groups in the mining sites had decreased substantially as well as their capacity for violence” due to the conflict minerals regulation, Birere said.

Some leading American companies also support the conflict minerals regulations. “Apple believes there is little doubt that there is a need to enhance gold trading due diligence,” the company wrote in its 2016 conflict minerals report to the SEC.

The SEC’s action risks rolling back efforts to “combat human rights abuses and potential cases of conflict financing,” Carly Oboth, a policy adviser at rights group Global Witness, told the AP.

Another activist group claims the SEC chairman does not have the authority to drop the conflict minerals reporting rule.

“One commissioner cannot remove the reporting requirement unilaterally. Companies are still legally required to file conflict minerals reports and disclose their due diligence,” said Sasha Lezhnev, associate director of policy at Enough Project. “We plan on issuing a new company rankings on conflict minerals this year, and one of the criteria will be whether companies submitted complete SEC reports disclosing their full tracing, auditing, and other due diligence steps on conflict minerals.”

Congolese groups have a nuanced understanding of the conflict minerals rule. When the regulation was introduced in 2012, many U.S. companies pulled out of Congo.

“All sectors of our economy were suffocated or very nearly ground to a halt,” wrote a group of 31 civic organizations in eastern Congo to the SEC. But eventually the rule helped to cut off funds for armed groups and reduce child labor in mines, according to the coalition, the Thematic Working Group on Mining and Natural Resources.

The crackdown on illicit mining succeeded in reducing opportunities for armed groups to exploit the illegal trading of minerals, according to a report last year by the U.N. panel of experts monitoring sanctions on Congo.

Eastern Congo has experienced insecurity for decades from a myriad of rebel groups. More than 16,000 U.N. peacekeepers are based in the Congo with one of the world’s most aggressive mandates to defeat militia groups.

The conflict minerals rule “undoubtedly contributes to reducing the rate of crime and human rights violations, including rape of women and exploitation of children in mining areas,” 41 Congo-based non-profit organizations related to natural resources wrote to the SEC . “All these efforts and progress will be destroyed if the U.S. government decides to contradict itself.”

___

Associated Press writers Marcy Gordon in Washington and Andrew Meldrum in Johannesburg contributed.

Happy birthday, Pura Belpré!

Pura Belpré (1899-1982) was the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City. She was also a writer, collector of folktales, and puppeteer.

Belpré was born in Cidra, Puerto Rico. There is some dispute as to the date of her birth which has been given as February 2, 1899, December 2, 1901 and February 2, 1903. She graduated from Central High School in Santurce, Puerto Rico in 1919 and enrolled at the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras. Soon thereafter, in 1920, she interrupted her studies in order to attend her sister Elisa’s wedding in New York City, where, except for brief interludes, she remained for the rest of her life.

Belpré’s career in the New York Public Library commenced in 1921, and she pioneered the library’s outreach within the Puerto Rican community. However, like many of the Puerto Rican women who migrated to New York in the twentieth century, Belpré’s first job was in the garment industry. Her Spanish language, community and literary skills soon earned her a position as Hispanic Assistant in a branch of the public library at 135th Street in Harlem, having been recruited and mentored by Ernestine Rose, head of the Harlem library. Belpré became the first Puerto Rican to be hired by the New York Public Library (NYPL).

In 1925 she began her formal studies in the Library School of the New York Public Library. In 1929, due to the increasing numbers of Puerto Ricans settling in southwest Harlem, Belpré was transferred to a branch of the NYPL at 115th Street. She quickly became an active advocate for the Spanish-speaking community by instituting bilingual story hours, buying Spanish language books, and implementing programs based on traditional holidays like the celebration of Three Kings Day. In her outreach efforts, she attended meetings of civic organizations such as the Porto Rican Brotherhood of America and La Liga Puertorriqueña e Hispana. Through Belpré’s work, the 115th Street branch became an important cultural center for the Latino residents of New York, even hosting important Latin American figures such as the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. Belpré continued these efforts at the 110th street (or Aguilar) branch.

More on Pura Belpré

History’s Ten Greatest Polymaths

10. Benjamin Franklin

One of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath and a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove. He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia’s fire department and The University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution.

9. Immanuel Kant

German philosopher who is regarded as one of the most important thinkers of modern Europe, and his influence on Western thought is immeasurable. He was the starting point and inspiration for the German Idealism movement in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries, and more specifically for the Kantianism which grew up around him in his own lifetime. His works, especially those on Epistemology, Metaphysics and Ethics, such as his masterworks the "Critique of Pure Reason" and the "Critique of Practical Reason,“ achieved a complete paradigm shift and moved philosophy beyond the debate between the Rationalists and Empiricists which had dominated the Age of Reason and the early Age of Enlightenment.

8. Baruch Spinoza

Dutch Philosopher who laid the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe. He developed highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible and the nature of the Divine. His notable ideas were Pantheism, determinism, neutral monism, parallelism, intellectual and religious freedom, and the separation of church and state. He came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. Spinoza's magnum opus, the posthumous "Ethics,“ in which he opposed Descartes' mind–body dualism, has earned him recognition as one of Western philosophy’s most important thinkers.

7. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist.

6. René Descartes

French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. Dubbed the father of modern western philosophy, much of subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Descartes’s influence in mathematics is equally apparent; the Cartesian coordinate system—allowing reference to a point in space as a set of numbers, and allowing algebraic equations to be expressed as geometric shapes in a two- or three-dimensional coordinate system (and conversely, shapes to be described as equations)—was named after him. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, used in the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the scientific revolution. In his theology, he insists on the absolute freedom of God’s act of creation. Descartes laid the foundation for 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz.

5. Archimedes

Ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Generally considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time, Archimedes anticipated modern calculus and analysis by applying concepts of infinitesimals and the method of exhaustion to derive and rigorously prove a range of geometrical theorems, including the area of a circle, the surface area and volume of a sphere, and the area under a parabola. Other mathematical achievements include deriving an accurate approximation of pi, defining and investigating the spiral bearing his name, and creating a system using exponentiation for expressing very large numbers. He was also one of the first to apply mathematics to physical phenomena, founding hydrostatics and statics, including an explanation of the principle of the lever. He is credited with designing innovative machines, such as his screw pump, compound pulleys, and defensive war machines to protect his native Syracuse from invasion.

4. Aristotle

Greek philosopher and scientist. At seventeen or eighteen years of age, he joined Plato’s Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (c. 347 BC). His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government – and constitute the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great beginning in 343 BC. The fact that Aristotle was a pupil of Plato contributed to his former views of Platonism, but, following Plato’s death, Aristotle immersed himself in empirical studies and shifted from Platonism to empiricism. He believed all peoples’ concepts and all of their knowledge was ultimately based on perception. Aristotle’s views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship. Their influence extended from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages into the Renaissance, and were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics. Some of Aristotle’s zoological observations, such as on the hectocotyl (reproductive) arm of the octopus, were not confirmed or refuted until the 19th century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into modern formal logic. In metaphysics, Aristotelianism profoundly influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the Neoplatonism of the Early Church and the scholastic tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as “The First Teacher.” His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today.

3. Leonardo Da Vinci

Italian polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He has been variously called the father of palaeontology, iconology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time. Sometimes credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter and tank, he epitomised the Renaissance humanist ideal. Today, Leonardo is widely considered one of the most diversely talented individuals ever to have lived.

2. Isaac Newton

English physicist and mathematician (described in his own day as a “natural philosopher”) who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy,” first published in 1687, laid the foundations for classical mechanics. Newton made seminal contributions to optics, and he shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for the development of calculus. Newton's Principia formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation, which dominated scientists’ view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. Newton’s work removed the last doubts about the validity of the heliocentric model of the Solar System. Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into the many colours of the visible spectrum. He formulated an empirical law of cooling, studied the speed of sound, and introduced the notion of a Newtonian fluid. In addition to his work on calculus, as a mathematician Newton contributed to the study of power series, generalised the binomial theorem to non-integer exponents, developed a method for approximating the roots of a function, and classified most of the cubic plane curves. Beyond his work on the mathematical sciences, Newton dedicated much of his time to the study of biblical chronology and alchemy, but most of his work in those areas remained unpublished until long after his death.

1. Nikola Tesla

Serbian-American inventor, discoverer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, theoretical and experimental physicist, mathematician, futurist and humanitarian. Tesla was a hyperpolyglot who could speak eight languages fluently including: Serbo-Croatian, English, Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, and Latin. Tesla has more original inventions to his credit than any other man in history. He has been accounted for 278 patents in 26 different countries. He was the true father of radio and a man far ahead of his time. He is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system that we still use today. He was the first to invent and patent a commutatorless alternating current induction motor that led to an AC/DC war with Thomas Edison. All electrical machinery using or generating alternating current is due to Tesla, without which our long distance trolley cars, our electrified power lines, and our subways would be impossible. The Tesla Induction Motor, the Tesla Rotary Converter, the Tesla Phase System of Power Transmission, the Tesla Steam and Gas Turbine, the Tesla Coil, and the Oscillation Transformer are perhaps his better known inventions. In his labs he conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He is also the father of remote control, building a wireless controlled boat exhibited in 1898. Although not recognized for, he was the first to discovery the electron, radioactivity, cosmic rays, terrestrial resonance, stationary waves (standing waves), and the first to invent fluorescent light bulbs. He first demonstrated wireless energy/power by lighting his phosphorescent light bulbs wirelessly in a demonstration given before the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia,1893. He also theorized a particle beam to be used for defense in war, and also to produce an artificial Aurora Borealis to light the night skies. In his later life he wanted to bring humanity so much more with his inventions and discoveries, but lacked the investments and funds to finish his work on a large scale. He would eventually die penniless and alone in his New York apartment, but like all the greats above, he lives on through all his inventions and contributions to this world that last until the end of man.

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Public Space for Free Expression: A Letter to Mayor De Blasio 

As long-time advocates for the fundamental role of public space in cities, Van Alen Institute joined 12 New York City organizations to call Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attention to the importance of ensuring and expanding safe spaces for demonstration. We at ARCHatlas wholeheartedly agree with the request. Below is the letter that has been shared with the Mayor:

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

We truly appreciate your forceful defense of New York City’s most deeply held values. Your call for appropriate public demonstrations to protect our rights and freedoms is the correct response to the encroaching threat that so many New Yorkers now feel.

As more New Yorkers take to the streets in the coming weeks and months, we see a powerful opportunity, and an urgent need, to make strategic improvements to our public spaces — our civic commons — that would make these vital gatherings of free expression safer, more effective, and even welcoming to all New Yorkers who want to participate in civic action.

You have demonstrated your commitment to make our public spaces more accessible and equitable through Parks Without Borders at the Department of Parks & Recreation and the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency. The significant steps that you and NYC Department of Transportation have taken to enhance our public plazas, particularly those in high-need areas, are already paying dividends for free expression. On November 11th, just three days after the election, the “Rally for Unity” in Jackson Heights’ Diversity Plaza drew hundreds of New Yorkers desperate for a locale in which to connect, and was followed by a successful letter-writing event. That same day, Avenue C Plaza in Brooklyn was the site of a powerful display of unity with Kensington’s Muslim community.

We recommend seven steps that your Administration can take to ensure that these events of free expression are welcoming and successful, as New Yorkers come together in greater numbers to celebrate and protect our rights. All of these steps will alleviate pedestrian congestion, and many will alleviate vehicular congestion.

  1. Continue your support and funding for the public plaza program.
  2. Expand space at popular protest sites.
  3. 14th Street as Key Locus of Public Expression.
  4. Expand weekend street programs.
  5. Networked simultaneous citywide protest events.
  6. Facilitate Mass Bicycle Rides.
  7. Pedestrianize 5th Avenue Midtown.

Follow the Source Link for full letter and more information.

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HERStory Matters: Pioneering educator Maria Louise Baldwin was born on September 13, 1856.

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mary received all of her education in Cambridge’s schools. In 1874, Baldwin graduated from Cambridge High School and went on to graduate from the Cambridge Training School for Teachers.

Baldwin wrote to then-Cambridge School Board member Horace E. Scudder, asking him to help her secure a teaching position. Scudder told her, however, that it seemed to him that it was clearly her duty to go south and work for those with more limited educational opportunities. Unable to land a teaching job in Cambridge, she headed south for Chestertown, Md., where she taught for two years.

Baldwin did not give up the hope that she might one day obtain a teaching post in Cambridge. After discussing the matter with several people, she became convinced that there was work to be done in New England — living down race prejudice and demonstrating that black women could perform good and worthy work wherever they might cast their lot.

Perhaps caving in to pressure applied by the African American community, in 1882 the Cambridge School Department hired Baldwin as a teacher at the Agassiz School, making her the only black public school teacher in Cambridge. In 1889, she became principal of the school, making her the first African-American female principal in Massachusetts and the Northeast. As principal, Baldwin supervised white faculty and a predominantly white student body.

In 1916, as a new Agassiz school was erected to include higher grades and Mary Baldwin was made schoolmaster, supervising twelve teachers and five hundred students. She was one of only two women in the Cambridge school system who held the position of master and the only African-American in New England to hold such a position.

Baldwin ultimately served as master of Agassiz school for forty years. Under her leadership, the school of Agassiz became one of the best in the city, attended by children of Harvard professors and many of the old Cambridge families. She introduced new methods of teaching mathematics and began art classes. She was also the first to introduce the practice of hiring a school nurse. Her school was the only one in the city of Cambridge to establish an “open-air” classroom.

A lifelong learner, Maria took many classes at Harvard University and other colleges. She also was an instructor who taught summer courses for teachers at Hampton Institute in Virginia and the Institute for Colored Youth in Pennsylvania.

She won praises all over the country for her lecture on the life of Harriet Beecher Stowe and presented lectures on presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln as well. Baldwin often gave readings from the works of African-American poet, novelist and playwright Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Her home became the center for various literary activities. There she held weekly readings for African American students attending Harvard.

Maria Baldwin held leadership positions in a number of civic and educational organizations. Not only did she help Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin establish the Woman’s Era Club — a group comprised chiefly of prominent black women who dedicated their efforts to cultural enrichment, charitable work and women’s suffrage — but on Jan. 17, 1894, she became the club’s vice president.

Baldwin belonged to many social and literary clubs, including the Twentieth Century Club, the Cantabrigia Club and the Banneker Club. She was also a member of the “Omar Circle,” a small group of black intellectuals. In 1897, she and Booker T. Washington were elected honorary members of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.

Baldwin volunteered her time raising money for the education of African-American children and young adults. On March 27, 1900, at the Madison Square Garden Concert Hall, she and W. E. B. Du Bois addressed a meeting to raise funds for a free kindergarten for African American children in New York City.

While addressing the council of the Robert Gould Shaw House Association at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston, on January 9, 1922, Maria Baldwin collapsed and died suddenly of heart disease.

In her honor, the League of Women for Community Service dedicated the Maria L. Baldwin Memorial Library on Dec. 20, 1923.

In 1976, the Maria Baldwin House was named a National Historic Landmark. It is located at 196 Prospect Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts. A private home, it is not open for tours.

On February 12, 2004, Agassiz School was officially renamed the Maria L. Baldwin School as a result of a campaign initiated by an eighth-grade student at the school and actively supported by other students and the principal of the school.

4

On this day in music history: February 29, 1980 - Buddy Holly’s signature horn rimmed glasses are found in the archives of the Gordo County Sheriffs office in Mason City, IA. Thought to have been lost in the plane crash in February 1959 that claimed Holly’s life, they are discovered in a sealed manila envelope in the Sheriffs office in Mason City, IA. The prescription glasses were originally found on April 7, 1959, two months after the crash buried in a snow drift. Holly originally purchased the glasses from his optometrist Dr. J. Davis Armistead in 1957 for $20, who in turn acquired the Faiosa plastic frames while on vacation in Mexico City. They are returned to Holly’s widow Maria Elena, who keeps them until October 1998. The glasses are purchased from her for $80,000 by the non-profit cultural organization Civic Lubbock in Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, TX, and are on permanent display at the Buddy Holly Center along with numerous other artifacts that were owned by the rock & roll icon.

Kumu Hina Launches Kickstarter Campaign

Help spread the true meaning of aloha – love, honor and respect for all - through community outreach and education.

At a time when gender-nonconforming people the world over are bullied, harassed, beaten and killed just for being who they are, KUMU HINA presents the remarkable story of a transgender native Hawaiian teacher who uses traditional culture to empower her students and create “a place in the middle” where all people are valued and respected. We want to share this inspiring story with the world as a model for building more gender diverse and inclusive communities, schools and churches. Weʻre asking for your help to take Hina and the documentary on a year-long series of special screening events and community gatherings, and to create an educational version of the film that will be distributed to elementary, middle and high schools and colleges, and community, civic and religious organizations across the U.S and around the globe.

Please check-out and support Kumu Hina’s Campaign for Gender Diversity on Kickstarter HERE.

During the war years Spain sought, with considerable success, to divide Cubans along racial lines by portraying itself as the defender of white “civilization” and the rebels as black barbarians pursuing the goal of an Africanized, Haitianized Cuba. Once the rebels had been defeated, Spanish policy changed direction, making an open bid for Afro-Cuban support by gradually repealing the caste laws. Spanish officials did not act spontaneously but, rather, under pressure from a well-organized civil rights movement based in the social clubs, mutual aid societies, and civic organizations of the Afro-Cuban middle class. Under the leadership of journalist and political activist Juan Gaulberto Gomez, in 1887 these organizations formed an islandwide Directorio Central de las Sociedades de la Raza de Color to coordinate the civil rights struggle. Between 1878 and 1893 Afro-Cuban activists obtained government edicts outlawing restrictions on interracial marriage; segregation in public education and public services; and the keeping of official birth, death, and marriage records in volumes separated by race.
— 

Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000

 By George Reid Andrews

from the chapter: The politics of Freedom

I just want to stress that although there wasn’t a mirrored Civil Rights Movement [as it was in the U.S.] in Latin American countries, there has always been Civil Rights MovementS throughout the regions. Afrodescendants have always fought for justice, human rights and right to life, but each country/region had their own historical processes. Very important to be aware of that. 

So it’s two days after I went to see Age of Ultron, and I’ve had time to process it more fully.

Here is the thing: The spoilers did not make me happy, but I was willing to be proven wrong in my initial judgments of the film. Anyone who doubts that can to stalk my tumblr from the time in which spoilers about CATWS starting coming out. I was sure that movie was going to be a messy clusterfuck, but in fact, it ended up being easily the best movie that the MCU has ever delivered. I am willing to admit when I am wrong, and I was wrong about the movie that  I thought CATWS was going to be. It was amazing.

I was not wrong about AOU, and it was not amazing.

The non-spoilery reaction is this: The Avengers are billed as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and I should absolutely leave their movie feeling good and upbeat. That does not mean that the movie has to be watered down or made simple - I felt good and upbeat after the ending of CATWS, and that movie dealt with torture, enforced servitude, shadowy government organizations violating civic rights for a perceived public good, PTSD, and dementia.

AOU was a movie about an evil robot ffs and I could not feel good when I left the theatre.

So that’s your warning before you click to read more. I fucking well despised everything about this movie. This is not a positive post. There were things I enjoyed about this film, but they are the size of a Krabby Patty and the rest of the film is the size a herd of elephants. I am not here to gush about this film. You want to do that, go do it in your own space, because if there is one thing I am fucking tired of on tumblr in the past few days, it is fandom’s ongoing self-righteous indignation and insistence that people have to be positive in anyway about this vile wretch of a film. Fuck you, I don’t owe you that, and if you think I do, well. Whedon owed us a good film and he sure as fuck didn’t deliver it so we don’t always get what we want.

That being said, this is why I hated this awful film

Keep reading

theguardian.com
Progressive causes see 'unprecedented' upswing in donations after US election
Nonprofits such as Planned Parenthood and ACLU saw more fundraising as they approached end-of-year drives, with many donating instead of gift-giving.
By Joanna Walters

One man wrote a check for $10,000 to an organization that helps women get elected to office, saying he was “embarrassed” that Donald Trump won the presidential election.

Someone else walked into the office of an organization advocating for immigrant rights and handed over a bag of cash he had just collected from members of his local community civics group.

From smaller local organizations to household names such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, nonprofit organizations across the US reported fundraising tallies many magnitudes higher than in previous years as they approached their end-of-year donation drives.

“This is always our big time of year, but this year it’s huge,” said Loretta Prescott, development director for the Immigration Legal Advocacy Project in Maine. “Instead of giving gifts, people are making donations to causes they believe in.”

Progressive causes in the US saw a spike in donations immediately after the election on 8 November from voters dismayed, outraged or even frightened by the outcome. In the weeks since, this wave of strategic giving has compounded.

Planned Parenthood has received more than 300,000 donations in the six weeks since the election, 40 times its normal rate. Around half the donors were millennials and 70% had never given to the family planning organization before, a spokesman told the Guardian.

Women’s reproductive rights are considered under threat on many fronts from an incoming Trump administration. Vice president-elect Mike Pence has such a reputation for being anti-abortion that since the election, 82,000 of Planned Parenthood’s donations have been from pro-choice supporters making gifts to them in his name.

The ACLU donations web page crashed the day after the election as visitors increased by 7,000%, and in the next five days it raised more than $7m from 120,000 donors. Now it says it has raised almost $23m from more than 300,000 individual gifts in just online donations.

Advocacy consulting group 270 Strategies – created in 2013 by veterans of Barack Obama’s two presidential election campaigns and which specializes in advising progressive causes on grassroots organizing – said many of its hundreds of clients were reporting a surge in support.

“We work with gun safety groups, environmental groups, immigration and voting rights organizations, unions pushing for a higher minimum wage, supporters of public education and women’s reproductive rights, and many are seeing an extraordinary uptick in support both by way of donations and volunteers,” said Hari Sevugan, a director of 270 Strategies based in Chicago.

A new website encourages people to make donations to liberal causes not just in honor of Trump or Pence, but for some of their wildly controversial senior staff and cabinet picks.

The site, DonateBigly.com, is a wry take on one of Trump’s nonsensical sayings, where during the campaign he was being mocked for apparently inventing the word “bigly” as an adverb.

Read More

buzzfeed.com
BREAKING: Boy Scouts Executive Committee Unanimously Votes To End Gay Leadership Ban
A final vote is set for July 27. The move would allow individually chartered troops to make their own decisions about leadership standards.
By Chris Geidner

WASHINGTON — A key leadership panel of the Boy Scouts of America voted unanimously last week to end the ban on gay leaders in scouting, the organization told local leaders on Monday.

The move — raised as a necessary step by the organization’s head in May — came from the executive committee of the Boy Scouts on July 10. A vote of the full executive board is scheduled for July 27, at which point the change is immediately effective.

The resolution passed by the committee does not require councils or troops to allow out gay leaders, but lifts the prior ban on such leaders. Specifically, the resolution “affirms the right of each chartering organization to reach its own religious and moral conclusions about the specific meaning and application of” the organization’s values.

In a statement, Zach Wahls, the executive director of Scouts for Equality, said, “Today’s announcement hopefully marks the beginning of the end of the Boy Scouts of America’s decades-old ban on gay leaders and parents like my two moms.”

He continued: “For decades, the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay adults has stood as a towering example of explicit, institutional homophobia in one of America’s most important and recognizable civic organizations. While this policy change is not perfect—BSA’s religious chartering partners will be allowed to continue to discriminate against gay adults—it is difficult to overstate the importance of today’s announcement.”

In the resolution, the Boy Scouts national organization specifically states that it will “defend and indemnify to the fullest extent allowed by law” any chartered group that is a religious group and is challenged in court for making a “good faith refusal to select a unit leader based upon the religious principles of the chartered organization.”

Boy Scouts memorandum sent on Monday:

From the unanimously approved resolution:

In addition, the resolution makes it clear that individually chartered Boy Scout troops may continue to ban gay leaders: