“It’s a Girl”: A Film Discussing The Systematic Elimination Of Female Children and The Three Deadliest Words In The World

its a girl

” A daughter is a burden on her father’s head.”

” A thief has come”

” Daughters are someone else’s property.”

All of these are common Indian sayings regarding daughters.

The Three Deadliest Words In The World: “It’s a Girl”

In India, China, and other various countries, girls are often abandoned, killed, and neglected simply because they are girls. It is estimated that as many as 200 million girls are missing due to “gendercide”. It is evident that some girls who survive childhood are still at risk of crimes against women.  ” It’s A Girl” reveals this issue and questions not only why it exists but also why it persists.

” The film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.”

Toxic Chicken

Be a Seed for Change

Tyson Foods: Stop pouring dangerous chemicals on chickens     

                                                By Sherry M.
                                                Washington, Alabama

Change.org

I didn’t expect to already be on disability, seeking early retirement. But I’m here because of companies like Tyson which require the use of hazardous chemicals on poultry in facilities like the one I worked in. That’s not safe for workers. And it’s allowing companies to cut corners and put the public’s health at risk. I want Tyson to be an industry leader and stop using these chemicals, especially peracetic acid, which is poured all over these carcasses. Having well-trained experts rather than an over-reliance on chemicals will help keep meat contaminated with feces or pus or harmful bacteria off our plates.

I am proud of my work as a USDA poultry inspector where one of my primary duties was to protect the public from foodborne illness. My parents and grandparents worked…

View original post 464 more words

The Legacy Of A King

nicholaikhan.com_catalog_albums_album-5_lg_martin_luther_king-web.b384f4cbb21ff685dbb26e8b5c8f4ab745

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. “-Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is important that we follow Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings and realize that each of us are reflections of our communities. Dr. King was an American hero who was known for his non-violent resistance methods and his pursuit of civil rights for African Americans. He was also known for his efforts to strengthen communities and aid man kind in campaigns such as the Poor People’s Campaign, which addressed the issues of economic justice and housing for the poor in the United States.

Now that the days of the Civil Rights Movement has gone to pass, many tend to question whether or not the ideals of the movement or any other humanitarian movements still effect those of today. Fair Culture is a movement that goes about helping the  global community and shedding light to issues that some may not think twice about.

Unfortunately, not everyone is charitable. Throughout my youth I have witnessed many cases of rudeness and ignorance. We are so quick to judge another but reluctant to help. We watch another man as he stumbles and look away, but when he falls we patronize him. Our cups run over with more than we need, but we do not want to share a minuscule drop of our prosperity.

kellie_newsome_booker_t_washington_24_x_30_lightbox

“The highest test of the civilization of any race is in its willingness to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate.” -Booker T. Washington

Some of us want to help our communities but do not know how. Dr. King has taught us that even the simplest efforts can prove to be beneficial to the common good. We do not have to be wealthy to be a philanthropist. You can change the world if you care enough. We can speak for those who have been silenced. We can educate the untaught and we can liberate the oppressed.

marian-wright-edelman

“Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.” -Marian Wright Edelman

giovanni

” There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.” -Nikki Giovanni

A Cycle of Horror: A Glimpse Into The Realities of Global Torture and Detainment

Terror and torture are the factors that contribute to a cycle of violence that has developed into a global crisis. Individuals around the world have been forsaken of their rights and are being detained, battered, and killed without trial and despite of the Geneva Conventions which forbids torture in all circumstances, stating “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also bans ill-treatment in all circumstances and many nations have laws against domestic torture. Victims are subjected to immense physical and emotional maltreatment such as being beaten, suffocation, having to be forced to murder another detainee, and electric shock. These tactics are immoral and incapable of being justified.

Because of the threats to national security that have occurred throughout the years, many people believe that allowing torture to go without condemnation will increase security. American citizens believe that Guantanamo Bay will prevent another 9/11, the North Korean government believes that their various concentration camps will keep the country from deteriorating, and the Chinese government feels that their tactics will keep China powerful and in order. One cannot be completely sure whether or not a suspected terrorist is indeed guilty. There are too many circumstances when a person can be subjected to accidental detentions which lead to too many innocent men and women having their lives taken from them. There have been people who have been found not guilty of terrorism after decades of torture and imprisonment. By infringing on the rights of others, it is not solving the problem, but fueling it. It is adding to the animosity and hatred between nations which has been evident through history to only make the situation worst.

The Gitmo prisoners are the latest victims caught in the cross fire of a broken system of government.

The Gitmo prisoners are the latest victims caught in the cross fire of a broken system of government.

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is one of the most controversial issues in America history and should be closed as an embarrassment to American decency. Continuing operations at the camp is corrupt and immoral. It is unlawful for any country to lock away those who are deemed a threat without a fair trial. The innocent should not be sacrificed to weed out criminals. Enhanced interrogation techniques (burning, drowning, whipping etc.) are wicked and a human rights violation and should never be neither tolerated nor implemented.

Annual Report 2013
Kaechon concentration camp is a large prison compound, around 300 m (1000 feet) long and 300 m (1000 feet) wide, surrounded by a 4 m (13 feet) high wall with barbed wire on top.[2] The prisoners, around 4000 men and 2000 women (in 1992), are political prisoners mixed with usual criminals. Theoretically prisoners should be released after reeducation through labor and serving their sentence. But as the prison sentences are very long and the conditions are extremely harsh, many do not survive their prison sentences.

Kaechon concentration camp is a large prison compound, around 300 m (1000 feet) long and 300 m (1000 feet) wide, surrounded by a 4 m (13 feet) high wall with barbed wire on top. The prisoners, around 4000 men and 2000 women (in 1992), are political prisoners mixed with usual criminals. Theoretically prisoners should be released after reeducation through labor and serving their sentence. But as the prison sentences are very long and the conditions are extremely harsh, many do not survive their prison sentences.

“North Korea is one of the world’s most isolated nations. For over sixty years, North Koreans have been governed by a totalitarian regime that controls all information entering and leaving the country.
Widespread violations of human rights continued, including severe restrictions on freedom of association, expression and movement, detention, torture and other ill-treatment resulting in death, and executions.
Detainees were subjected to forced labor and dire conditions. A combination of poor economic policies and management, adverse weather conditions, and reduced international aid left millions of people without sufficient access to food. Essential medicines remained beyond the reach of millions of people.
Thousands crossed the border into China in search of food and economic opportunity; many were arrested by the Chinese authorities and forcibly sent back to North Korea where they faced detention, interrogation and torture.”

The reasons for detention vary from criticizing the government to being the great grandchild of a man who was suspected of being disloyal to the government in any shape or form.

In order to bring an end to the injustices that have plagued the world, there must security for human rights. There must be an end to unlawful and abusive detention, states and individuals responsible for torture and other human rights violations must be held accountable to the law, and the deliberate targeting of civilians must never be deemed acceptable. These steps are necessary to promote human rights and a better future, for human rights means justice and security for all of humanity.

‘Hooded’ is an exploration of visual and auditory senses to convey the horrific nature of torture. It combines extensive sound design with abstracted visuals to provide a disturbing experience. It is a powerful reminder that torture is barbaric and never justifiable.

3 Simple Ways to Give Back to Your Community

Volunteer

COURTESY OF EHRLO.COM

“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” -John F. Kennedy

When you take time to giveback to your community it can have a bigger impact than what you first lead on to. Your donation could help a young boy finally reach the rank of Eagle Scout, Feed a family that is down on their luck, and or provide a child with some warm clothes to wear in the winter. Giving back however does not always have to be a monetary thing it can be donating your time, skills, knowledge, and or talents for a  greater cause. Even if your town is big or small it is still possible to lend a helping hand where it is needed and also feel good for doing it. In this list i will go into detail about possible things that can be done around or in your local community.

 

1. Volunteer

Within a community there are typically some organizations that offer volunteer positions for people who just want to help other people. Check around your area for any events that will be happening by going to your city’s main page  and then if there are sign up to help out. Do you love to read books? well go by your local school or retirement home and offer your time to read to the children or just to talk to some elders who might just want a listening ear. Do you like building things? well check to see if you can work with Habitat for Humanity and see if you can help build or fix someones home. Do you love animals? well check out the Humane Society or a local pet shelter to take care of animals and help them find a home. Do you like cooking or meeting new people? well help out in a feed the homeless campaign that will help provide hot meals for those without homes during the holidays or just in general. Some of you might already have a background in this or might be interested in Firefighting so i have some news for you! Your local community might actually have a volunteer fire department where you could join if you are 18+ and help protect your community! Just use Google or stop by any of the locations mentioned to see if you can help out.

2. Donate

If you do not have time to volunteer anywhere that is still no excuse to not help out your community in that case you can donate various things to help your community. In some areas they may host a blood drive where you can donate your blood and it will be stored in a bank for use at your local hospital check the American Red Cross for any local events. If you hate needles like me you can help out a local food drive or start one up at your school or company with permission of course. And i am pretty sure most of you have heard about Goodwill but i found an even better clothing donation called The National Kidney Foundation where they support charity’s who are helping to fight kidney disease. Here is a website named Donation Town who will even pick it up for you and drop it off so you don’t even have to drive over. And if you have toys that your kids have outgrown that are in good condition check out local toy drives that help others. Also as mentioned before animal shelters would love to have some of your newspapers that you have already read check and see if they will take them.

3. Organize

if there is something you want to do to help your community and you can not find it don’t give up, it just might be a fine time to start a chapter in your area. Check with some charity’s or drives that you would like in your area and ask if they have any plans on expanding or opening a chapter in your area. If they are planning on starting a chapter tell them how you are interested in helping out or running it and ask others if they are willing to help you out. Once they let you know they are willing to open a chapter spread the word about it so it will become a successful event or group which may led to future events or groups coming into your town.

 

And if my suggestions are not what you would want to do but you still want to volunteer check out VolunteerMatch. That website offers an assortment of  nonprofit organizations, volunteers and business leaders committed to community volunteer efforts. The site lets you search by keyword or location for ways to give back. Simply click the opportunity that interests you, fill out a volunteer application and you’re on your way to giving back!

My New Favorite Store: Abe’s Market!

While I was in college, I had the opportunity to experience  co-op after co-op, and an abundance of natural food and product stores. However, as I returned home it become clear that I lived in a land of Walmarts and chain stores. It was a dismal reality, and the thought of picking up another organic soda or cookie was purely nostalgic. I actually began to embrace my environment as I excepted that the natural life would soon become a thing of the past.

But wait…

While searching relentlessly online for some natural and chemical free hair color, I stumbled upon this glorious website: Abe’s Market! I am completely overwhelmed with bliss. It was as though I had died and woke up in an crunchy, Fair Trade paradise.

Behold! The socially conscious bear!

Behold! The socially conscious bear!

My Personal Highlights

1. Food

abes-market-dd1

As stated, I SO detest my inability to casually walk down the street to purchase some decent whole foods. Abe’s Market is like a pocket grocery store! There is a plethora goodies to choose from, as well as a nifty filter to help you choose your ideal snack. There are so meals from breakfast to dinner, and teas to kosher options.  It is really neat that this exists if you are like me and haven’t the patience to skim through labels.

2. Beauty

abes-market-dd4

I have to admit, prior to my discovery of this store, I was purchasing any makeup that caught my eye. Can you blame me? The claim that that particular brand of mascara could make my eyelashes X times its original length is definitely worth it…

Abe’s Market provides a variety of ethical beauty products from face to nail care. By ethical I mean  green, vegan, charitable, and again, Fair Trade! Never again will you apply dangerous blush to your perfect face again.

3. Fashion

abes-market-dd8

 I want to buy something from someone I know is not struggling to sew together my cheaply made shirt for pennies a day. That is not cool. I understand that attire produced locally or fairly were most likely produced without the use of sweatshops and may cost a bit more, however it does not bother me in the slightest. I do not live in the most diverse of towns. There are not many options for style beyond the local malls and I have found it incredibly difficult to find local stores that sell ethical clothing.People are aware that it is possible to buy Fair Trade and organic food and coffee yet do not know how to access fair clothing. It is tedious as there are not as many ethical clothing stores as there are Whole Foods.  For this reason, Abe’s Market is ideal for people who are not able to purchase such clothing in their area.

I really appreciate how easy it is to shop at Abe’s Market and how accessible everything is. It was a truly exciting experience and I found it perfect for my needs as someone who is new to the natural lifestyle . Abe’s Market guides you through helpful tips and topics to keep you motivated and grounded in your discovery for self improvement and mindful living.  I urge anyone to check out the store to see what all the hype is all about!

The World According to Monsanto

There’s nothing they are leaving untouched: the mustard, the okra, the bringe oil, the rice, the cauliflower. Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as their property, royalties can be collected. We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it — it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world. The story starts in the White House, where Monsanto often got its way by exerting disproportionate influence over policymakers via the “revolving door”. One example is Michael Taylor, who worked for Monsanto as an attorney before being appointed as deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991. While at the FDA, the authority that deals with all US food approvals, Taylor made crucial decisions that led to the approval of GE foods and crops. Then he returned to Monsanto, becoming the company’s vice president for public policy.

Thanks to these intimate links between Monsanto and government agencies, the US adopted GE foods and crops without proper testing, without consumer labeling and in spite of serious questions hanging over their safety. Not coincidentally, Monsanto supplies 90 percent of the GE seeds used by the US market. Monsanto’s long arm stretched so far that, in the early nineties, the US Food and Drugs Agency even ignored warnings of their own scientists, who were cautioning that GE crops could cause negative health effects. Other tactics the company uses to stifle concerns about their products include misleading advertising, bribery and concealing scientific evidence.

Let’s FEDEX And UPS The Polar Bears and Penguins?!?

Detroit Free Press Editorial cartoon by Mike Thompson.

Detroit Free Press Editorial cartoon by Mike Thompson

We’re not going to move polar bears to Antarctica, they would cause the extinction of several penguin species. That’s not preserving biodiversity– Dr. Camille Parmesan

As we all have heard a billion times by now the ice is melting and animals are at risk of dying as seen in the cartoon above, however nobody really suggested a hands on approach and others just put it on the back-burner, until an international team of conservation scientists from Australia, the United Kingdom and United States, including University of Texas at Austin Professor Camille Parmesan made some action suggestions. Dr. Parmesan ,one of the teams members, is a butterfly ­biologist at the University of Texas at Austin, she  has observed the effects of rapid climate change on ­species  but mostly those who cannot adapt to or ­escape from rising temperatures for about more than decade now. Dr. Parmesans and the scientific teams idea that is so controversial involves relocating an organism that is at risk of becoming extinct due to climate or environmental changes, or more commonly known as “Assisted Migration”.

Imagine this if you will, there is a species of bear that is trapped on mountain tops in Southern Europe and it is becoming too hot for them to survive in that area , their only hope is to reach Northern Europe but that is a near impossible task without some type of human aid. If we can deliver a package from France to Sweden in roughly two and a half hours why cant we help an animal who is already at risk of extinction from making a months long trip. This example explains the philosophy behind the Assisted Migration project proposed by the science team. Parmesan and her colleges know that Assisted Migration will not be a solution to the problem but it can help prevent extinction of animals. They said that there will be extensive research and simulations run before actually introducing the organism that has been migrated to prevent any issues such as competition for resources and it will most likely be implemented for organisms on the verge of extinction rather than all of them.

A decision guide for assessing the feasibility of whether or not to attempt the movement of a species to prevent its extinction or ecosystem collapse. Image courtesy of Camille Parmesan

A decision guide for assessing the feasibility of whether or not to attempt the movement of a species to prevent its extinction or ecosystem collapse. Image courtesy of Camille Parmesan

This controversial idea of Assisted Migration has drawn a line between conservationist who are with Dr. Parmesan and those who are preservationist. The preservationist group believes that we should not move organisms intentionally and introduce them to new environments as to not upset the balance.  Professor Jessica Hellman a Biological Science professor at the University of Notre Dame is one of those said individuals. Hellman said “More than anything the fear of assisted migration is about who we think we are, what we think our place in the world is. It’s about the hubris of thinking we can just reorganize life on earth”. One can agree with Hellman that in the past humans have relocated species of organisms only to introduce an invasive species upon the land. This occurred with Asian Kudzu that was introduced in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and then introduced to the Southeast in 1883 via the New Orleans Exposition. It was originally used to combat soil erosion on southern plantations and also used as a decorative plant around homes however it was very aggressive and grew at a rapid pace. Unlike back then we have a wide array of technology available in order to make it possible to examine all or most of the possible side effects of relocating an organism to a new environment with a similar ecosystem so that the balance will not be upset.

Although this new and innovative thought process might be years away from reality there are bound to be even more studies conducted to further research into the possibility of Assisted Migration. And even if there is enough substantial data to show that the moving of an organism to a new environment will not be consequential to the existing Eco-system there will be legal matters to discuss which might add on additional years. But it is good to see people actually coming together to try and make a plan that will assist the situation now rather than a plan that we can enact now but will only see the results years after it may be too late for some.

How To Not Get Raped: What is “Rape Culture”?

Say No To Rape Culture

Rape, is the domination of another being. It is something that has been bastardized to the extent that rape may be justified under certain circumstances. These circumstances essentially revoke the victims’ right to pleasure, appearance, and freedom. Society insists that sexuality does not belong to women and those who participate in it are a disgrace. Women who enter night clubs do not deserve to be assaulted. Their outfits and behaviors do not permit rape. Yet those are the factors that are used to validate incidents such as this.
One may claim that it is the woman’s fault for parading around in such provocative attire whereas one may blame the men for attacking her. Yet, it was society that facilitated this kind of thought process. Society has constructed a culture of victim blaming, sexual objectification, and the trivialization of rape which has normalized, excused, and in some cases condones rape.  There is a double standard when it comes to the behaviors of men and women. Men are able spit, swear, and drink whereas women should never participate in such activities. A woman can cry, complain, and express her feelings whereas if a man were to do that he would be abandoning ever bit of his masculinity. Men are able to have a multitude of sexual partners and be titled a “player” and receive accolades from his peers whereas a woman is damned for eternity.

“Slut shaming” is used to restrict the sexuality of women by exposing her to shame. She is forbidden from revealing herself in however she pleases. She is not allowed to causally flirt and indulge in sex. Basically, she cannot portray herself as a sexual being lest she wants to be taken by a man who because of her actions, has no other choice but to seize and devastate her body.
This practice is often used when a victim of rape attempts to seek justice or wants to express her misery and is struck with the disapproval of a judgmental and misogynist society. Initially, society does not look towards the perpetrator and wonder “what overcame you?” or “what is wrong with you?” but whips it head and shakes its finger at the victim and demands to know what she was wearing, if she was acting as though she wanted it, and insinuate that she in fact provoked the man.

The concept of blaming the victim contributes to a trend of women being reluctant to professing their abuse because they are under the impression that they will not be taken seriously or they would be seen at fault. This act is relevant in any case where the rape victim believed that she was able to go out that night and enjoy herself. She believed that she had every right to dress how she desired and to speak to whom ever she liked. She also believed that she could be whimsical and get in the car with a man and let him touch her slightly without the fear of being attacked. Yet after she was attacked, she became aware that as a woman, she simply may not go out without being weary of a possible rapist and that she the victim, is held accountable for the actions of her tormentor. Not only does this trend pardon the perpetrators, but it also insinuates that men are barbaric creatures that have minimal control over themselves.

The media profits substantially from the use of sexually charged images and innuendo. It is present in commercials, music videos, and even billboards. Women (especially women of color) are portrayed as objects to be lusted over rather than equals or someone to be loved and respected. Things such as pornography have perpetuated the image of women of being sexually available by default, thus creating a sort of mind set that concludes that women are sexually subservient to men. The images create a false representation of women and essentially brain washes its consumers to believe that women are merely tools of pleasure and do not deserve any input in the matter and men may have accesses to them. This mentality further externalizes an increasingly accepted “rape culture” in society by the trivialization of the crime.

Society subconsciously effects ever aspect of a person’s life, attitude, and state of mind. It can manipulate an individuals mind like putty to construct something that appeases the masses. It can dictate how one perceives a group of people or one particular type of person. A society is created by those who inhabit it. Those in a society may target a group and take away whatever privilege that they posses and expect them to abide by a status quo and whenever they stray away from it, they wish for a punishment to ensue.
Incidents that occur are no fault of the woman affected. She did not intend to get assaulted and did not view her actions and attire as a sacrifice. The man who assaulted her was most likely not savage by nature, but was the product of a backward society.

Are You Ready?

This is absolutely perfect!

unizensunited

4262428715_d449019780_b

Foreign debt, hunger, and poverty,

all this i inherited, is my property,

coloured i am though bodily,

my life lifeless is colour free,

for mine is an underdeveloped country.

Educated i may be of the first rate,

unemployment keeps waiting at the college gate,

for it has become the inevitable fate,

all my dreams, hopes, and ambitions brave,

are to be dumped in the deepest grave,

for, my country is corruption’s slave,

Opportunism, favouritism, selfishness and greed

with all these qualities my leaders lead;

With cast and creed as qualifications to succeed,

a generation of corrupt officers every year they breed,

all these public servants are serpents indeed,

swelling with the vanity of power and post,

hissing at public of their venom they boast.

Disappointed with them to religion i move,

for when distorting to a society its politics proves,

religion comes forward to its condition improve,.

Civilisations thus balanced…

View original post 685 more words