The Global Citizen: Support Us
The scene of rescue workers frantically looking for survivors is all too familiar, especially in the past couple of years. 2012 was ranked as the 2nd most disastrous year on record, only behind 2011 (both years collectively brought in an estimated 25 billion dollars). With the latest disaster in Oklahoma already being called one of the worse in history, 2013 is not far behind.
Why is this happening?
According to NASA, "small changes in temperature correspond to enormous changes in the environment." In the last century, rising CO₂ levels, due to human activities, have contributed to the earth's temperature rising one degree Fahrenheit. Minnesota State Representative Glenn Gruehagen (R-Glencoe) recently made a statement on the House floor that climate change is a, "complete United Nations fraud and lie..." Climate deniers like Gruehagen, want us to believe that climate change is a hoax, something made up. Super storms like Sandy and Katrina and earthquakes tipping the Richter scale, prove one thing... climate change is very real.
On January 21, 2013 we lost Harlan Smith, educator, world citizen, peace activist, friend and leader. Harlan Smith's legacy will continue to impact thousands of young people and instill in them the desire to become the builders of a better world. What more could one ask for?
Let me tell you about this wonderful man. Harlan was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1914. During his sophomore year in high school he won second place in a peace essay contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. In the essay, entitled "Heroes of Peace," Harlan reached the conclusion that a world government would be desirable to bring peace to the world. It set him on a trajectory that would guide him for the rest of his life.
While attending the University of Chicago, Smith joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a religious pacifist group formed initially by pastors from both sides during World War I and took the Oxford Oath not to participate in war.
After Pearl Harbor he secured a position with the Bureau of Labor Statistics Postwar Division in order to finance an anticipated stay in a conscientious objector camp during the war. He obtained conscientious objector status in 1943 and entered a conscientious objector camp run by the American Friends Service Committee in Big Flats, New York.
Yesterday, GlobalSolutions.org staff and members joined the One Billion Rising rallies around the country to raise awareness about violence against women. The name of the rally pointed to the fact that 1 in 3 women worldwide---that's one billion women around the world---will be raped or physically abused in her lifetime.
Eve Ensler, the movement's creator, calls this an atrocity. This is truly a human rights crisis that is happening across borders and nations. It is easy to be numbed by the statistics, or to believe this problem is so widespread, so prevalent all over the world, that it is hard to know where to begin to address this problem. Yet, One Billion Rising relayed messages of hope and inspiration. In their words, "one billion violated is an atrocity; one billion rising is a revolution."
Earlier this week, the Senate voted and passed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. This bill has proven to save the lives of many women across the country who had been subjected to domestic and sexual abuse. The 78 Senators who voted to reauthorize VAWA demonstrated a strong commitment for protecting women's rights as human rights. There is no reason why those same 78 Senators couldn't vote to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the international women's rights treaty.
North Korea's latest nuclear test highlights the limits of what the United Nations and its member states can do when an outlaw nation is determined to run roughshod over existing international laws. Policymakers and diplomats in Washington, DC and at the UN are scrambling for a way to respond to the young dictator Kim Jong Un's latest delinquency. The bottom line is that North Korea's latest nuclear blast shows just how reliant we are on an effective global network of institutions and laws; and how relatively weak that network still is. Kim Jong Un's nuclear tantrum should be seen not only as a threat, but as a clear message that we need a cooperative global system with the capacity and means to ensure a safer future for us all. And we are not there yet.
This year I came up with the best Valentine's Day gift ever for my wife and daughter. It's inexpensive and, unlike a bouquet of flowers, should last beyond their lifetimes. They'll love it! I can't think of a better way to express how much I love them.
Rather than chocolates or jewelry, I am going to join a One Billion Rising rally to end the violence against women that has shattered lives and torn the fabric of societies around the world.
A billion women - one out of every three on the planet - will be raped or beaten sometime in their lifetime. That's one billion moms, sisters, daughters, and friends violated, one billion lives shattered, one billion hearts broken, and one billion reasons to rise up and put an end to this violence.
On February 14, rallies around the world are giving a billion women, and those who love them, an opportunity to dance, speak out and say, "Enough!" There are many ways to make a difference, but here in the United States we have a 32-year-old obligation that I'm focused on: Senate passage of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
On Wednesday, January 30th, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum expressing the importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls internationally. The Obama Administration has recently made it very clear that improving the rights of women and girls is essential to the foreign policy of the United States.
"Ensuring that women and girls, including those most marginalized, are able to participate fully in public life, are free from violence, and have equal access to education, economic opportunity, and health care increases broader economic prosperity, as well as political stability and security," President Obama states in the memorandum.
With the recent gender based violence events overwhelming the news and social media forums, I am very happy to hear that the Obama Administration has noticed the severity and significance of these issues. But what will our government do to help eliminate gender based violence and discrimination?
The memorandum states three goals for the upcoming years:
Jessica Valenti, author of Full Frontal Feminism, states “As different as we all are, there’s one thing most young women have in common: We’re all brought up to feel like there’s something wrong with us. We’re too fat. We’re dumb. We’re too smart. We’re not ladylike enough- ‘stop cursing, chewing with your mouth open, and speaking your mind’. We’re too slutty. We’re not slutty enough.”
Can you remember the last time you were scared to walk home by yourself? Can you remember the last time you changed your appearance or clothing in fear that someone might interpret who you are in the wrong way?
As my regular followers (that is, I am hoping to have ANY regular followers) you know I write about 99% of these posts about women rights. Here is an important one. And I want you to do EVERYTHING on the list below. Ready, set, read:
We've all seen the news. A young woman brutally attacked and killed by a gang of men in Delhi. Youth here in the US making callous comments that have since gone viral about the rape of a young woman in their town. One in three women will be raped or attacked in her lifetime. That is completely unacceptable.
This is an issue that affects us all. It's time to end this global epidemic. Each of us can make a difference. Whether you've got just a few minutes, or are eager to hit the streets, it's easy to get involved.
1. Rally with us on February 14! Rally with GlobalSolutions.org and One Billion Rising, a movement that is bringing hundreds of thousands of concerned global citizens all over the world to rally, dance and raise our voices to declare that we will not tolerate violence against women anymore. Join us at the DC rally or start one in your own community. We have signs you can print out, Global Citizen t-shirts, CEDAW petition forms, info on rally locations and more. Contact (ME!) Arielle Weaver, to find out more.
Two weeks ago GlobalSolutions.org CEO, Don Kraus, reminded us of the proliferation of bullets worldwide and of the essentially non-existent regulations currently governing international trade of weapons and ammunition. These issues are especially relevant as we start a new year, resolving to make right the mass tragedies of 2012.
The growing number of gun violence victims in our country hit home for me on Dec. 1, 2012 when Kassandra Perkins, a 22 year-old in my high school graduating class and a loving mother, was killed by her Kansas City Chiefs linebacker boyfriend after being shot nine times in the head with a firearm. Sadly, I had hardly interacted with Kassandra, but I was nonetheless overwhelmed by the shock and sadness of knowing someone close to me had been viciously killed. Her death made the tragedy that had already occurred in Aurora feel all the more real to me.
On December 10th, Human Rights Day, we lost a wonderful friend and leader. Floyd Ramp was a great supporter of human rights and world peace. During World War II he served as an ensign in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific where he witnessed the testing of the atomic bomb and the devastation wrought in Japan. He became committed to world peace and developing the laws and institutions to make it possible.
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