Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Children’s rights’ Category

For my 19th birthday — declare #YesAllGirls

Today — my 19th birthday — I’m in Kenya visiting Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp.

Every year on my birthday I travel to meet girls who are struggling to go to school — to stand with them and to make sure the world hears their stories.

Today in Dadaab I met Rahma Hussein Noor, a 19 year-old who has struggled more than most of us can imagine just to go to school.

Rahma came to Dadaab at age 13, having never set foot in a classroom. She worked hard to catch up with her classmates and, in a few years, graduated primary school.

Rahma then enrolled in a secondary school in Dadaab. But when her family returned to Somalia last year, Rahma could not find another school to attend.

After two months, her father said her education was over and decided to marry her to a man over 50 years old whom Rahma had never met.

Rahma snuck out of her house and took an eight day bus ride back to the refugee camp…all to continue her education.

Rahma is not alone. Many girls from Syria, Burundi, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all around the world have lost so much and are then forced to fight for a right they already have — the right to go to school.

Last year, the world agreed to provide 12 years of education for every boy and girl. Yet, nearly one year after making the commitment, where do we stand?

We are facing a global refugee crisis and more and more girls like Rahma are at risk of losing their chance to go to school — and their dreams for a better future.

We cannot allow girls like Rahma to fight alone. It’s time to do right by girls — #YesAllGirls.

Today, on my 19th birthday, I’m asking you to stand with me and keep fightng for girls around the world who are denied an education. Will you make a gift today to ensure girls — #YesAllGirls — get the education we promised them?

Nothing would make me prouder on my birthday than knowing we are in this together.

Like this essay and respond to Malala here >>>>

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It began with a demand for Barack Obama’s birth certificate to legitimize his presidential bid.  Now, with bathroom laws in several states, you had best have your BC with you when you need to pee.

In a conference call today, Karen Finney mentioned a time when girls were not permitted to wear pants to school.  Some schools, amazingly, are citing BCs as the arbiter of what may or may not be considered appropriate prom attire.

The prom is more than a rite of passage.  As a school function, it is also an educational event where budding young adults first get to step into the social circle of adulthood.  Choosing prom attire is part of that process. (See the movie Carrie.)

Before the chicks fly at graduation, they get to test their wings and identities at the social event of the season sponsored by the school.  They will fledge as the products of their alma maters.  They should be allowed, whatever educators have stuffed¹ in their heads, to choose the feathers they feel best identify their individual varieties and should feel protected and resplendent in their right to do so.


¹“There are three things to remember when teaching: know your stuff; know whom you are stuffing; and then stuff them elegantly.” – Lola May


Why Were These Prom Outfits “Offensive”?  See the slideshow >>>>

<p>Prom season is in full swing, bringing about a flurry of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/08/magazine/the-awkward-charm-of-the-promposal.html?_r=0">creative “prom-posals,”</a> the occasional <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/2016/01/102240/gina-rodriguez-giving-golden-globes-dress-to-fan">touching tale</a> of a <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/2016/04/108882/prom-dress-memorial-catherine-malatesta">particularly meaningful dress</a>, and stories involving some <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/2016/02/103244/tim-tebow-haiti-night-to-shine-prom#slide">very deserving kids</a>. The big occasion also entails prom horror stories (being stood up, <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/2016/03/106212/lupita-nyongo-prom">like Lupita</a>, e.g.) — and, for some, unsolicited mass <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/2016/05/111024/free-crocs-high-school-prom">shipments of Crocs</a>. Unfortunately, the high school milestone that many students partake in also inevitably involves a slew of supposed dress code violations. As for the looks that have gotten people booted out of the grand event (or, for some, barred from even stepping foot inside)? They range from legitimately puzzling to offensive…that they’re considered offensive.</p><p>Oh, and did we mention that these ostensibly “inappropriate” looks are just from this year’s prom season? (There were plenty of <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/2015/06/88171/banned-fashion#slide">questionable dress code calls</a> in 2015, too.) Click through for six prom-dressing violations that have to be seen to be believed.</p>

Charlize Theron at Cannes yesterday.

Sarah Jessica Parker at the Met Gala earlier this month.

Helen+Mirren+Eye+Sky+New+York+Premiere+UUPyTrCTfhQl

Helen Mirren DBE at the “Eye in the Sky” premiere NYC 3/9/16

Hillary Clinton – next POTUS –  at evening events.
clinton-apec-singapore Hillary-signatureAs for those flesh-toned garments with nude and sheer material….


Just sayin’.

Read Full Post »

There were many ways this might or might not have ended.  Who expected this?  Of course, until the girls actually are physically home nothing is sure.

 

Nigeria: Deal Agreed To Return Kidnapped Girls

Nigeria’s presidency says it has agreed a ceasefire with militants Boko Haram which would see the return of 219 kidnapped girls.

Air Marshal Alex Badeh, chief of defence staff, said: “A ceasefire agreement has been concluded between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal Jihad (Boko Haram).

“I have accordingly directed the service chiefs to ensure immediate compliance with this development in the field.”

The president’s principal secretary Hassan Tukur told the AFP news agency that an agreement to end hostilities had been reached after talks with the Islamist group.

He said: “Boko Haram issued the ceasefire as a result of the discussions we have been having with them.

“That have agreed to release the Chibok girls.”

Read more >>>>

Read Full Post »

Seventeen days ago, and two weeks into the ordeal of what we now know to be nearly 300 young female Nigerian scholars, Al Jazeera America began publicizing the Twitter hashtag campaign #BringBackOurGirls.   I had not seen any other news outlet acknowledge the story at that point.  Plenty of time and money had been spent for weeks on the missing airliner and the sunken ferry, but it seemed at the time that no one was particularly concerned about thugs invading a girls’ dormitory on the eve of final exams and abducting them for doing exactly what they were there to do: studying.

First and foremost, at that time,  the story needed publicity – a higher profile – and the hashtag campaign seemed exactly what was needed so I came here, posted about it, and tweeted the post with the hashtag.  Reactions to that post indicated what I had predicted.  A lot of people did not know about this situation.  I continued posting and tweeting and as the days went by the hashtag campaign did what it was meant to do.  It went viral.  Big names picked it up and the media could no longer ignore the story.

The whole point of the campaign was to raise public awareness, and it worked.  Now it is a story.  Now it gets coverage.  People know.  The global hashtag campaign forced the hand of the Nigerian government which had done nothing to help the girls or their families.  Now on the evening news we see the girls, their faces sad and surrounded by veils.  We see the abductors, cocky and jeering.

The girls are not home yet.  We are not even sure where they are.  We have heard the stories of a few who escaped, and at least one says that she cannot return to school.  Mission accomplished, Boko Haram!  At least one young woman will not be studying Darwin,  or be looking online at powerful telescopic photos near the moment of the Big Bang, or grow up to find ways to build a greener future for her country – the leading oil producing nation on the continent.

The supremely ironic, crazy attack by right-wing media on the hashtag campaign and on Hillary Clinton (I predicted that here) should come as no surprise and is no coincidence.

Rush Limbaugh Claims Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama ‘Sympathize With Boko Haram

Read Full Post »

While everyone is paying attention to Greece and Spain, Italy is teetering  on the brink.  Some pundits say that the real  fate of the Eurozone lies in Italy’s ability to weather the current economic winds. It occurred to me that I did not know whether the Vatican was part of the EU.  It is not, but, oddly, its currency is the Vatican Euro which is made in Rome.

With brand names like Prada, Ferrari, and Armani continuing to do well, Italy may come through just fine.  That is not why I raised the subject.  It is pretty clear to anyone who knows anything about the Vatican why that sovereign state would eschew EU membership.  Legendary accumulated wealth and perennially resurfacing Vatican Bank scandals hint at roiling financial and economic storms beneath the serene surface.  A two thousand year history of borderline incestuous relations with European royalty may have established much of the Vatican’s wealth, but a side effect might be the belief that the tiny city-state gets to dictate what happens politically in other countries.  When Vatican officials tried to bitch-slap American nuns recently, the nuns not only stood their ground, but, in an all-American huff, decided to take their message on the road.

Nuns, Rebuked by Rome, Plan Road Trip to Spotlight Social Issues

By
Published: June 5, 2012

In a spirited retort to the Vatican, a group of Roman Catholic nuns is planning a bus trip across nine states this month, stopping at homeless shelters, food pantries, schools and health care facilities run by nuns to highlight their work with the nation’s poor and disenfranchised.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Sister Simone Campbell is organizing a bus tour to draw attention to nuns’ work with the poor and to protest planned aid cuts.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

The bus’s decal.

The bus tour is a response to a blistering critique of American nuns released in April by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, which included the accusation that the nuns are outspoken on issues of social justice, but silent on other issues the church considers crucial: abortion and gay marriage.

Read more>>>>

I am reminded of this incident.

5 Nuns in New Jersey Break Away Over Break With Tradition

By ROBERT HANLEY, Special to the New York Times
Published: October 08, 1988

Five cloistered nuns are protesting at their monastery here over the relaxation of rigid monastic lifestyles rooted in the 16th century.

Since Tuesday, the five have secluded themselves in the monastery’s second-floor infirmary, fearful they face eviction from the monastery because of their opposition to the recent introduction of a television, classical music and brighter lighting in the prayer chapel.

To the five sisters, these 20th-century society elements are distractions to their dedication to solitude, silence and daily contemplative prayer, and the abandonment of the reclusive principles of their order, the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, founded in 1562.

Read more >>>>

A brilliant friend, mentor, and colleague of mine, a naturalized American able to see our culture through eyes more objective than our own and trained in anthropology,  and I were driving past that cloister a few years later.  “I wish I could have spoken to the Pope during that stand-off,” she said.  “He didn’t realize he was dealing with protestant nuns.”  Her larger thesis was that all Americans, regardless of the religious tradition in which we are raised, are essentially protestants.  It’s what we do.  We protest.  Our nation was born in protest and the founders enshrined that right in the very first amendment to our constitution.  That is the importance they lent to the role of protest in our infant culture.

Sister Simone Campbell and her bus mates along with Sister Margaret Farley (whom the Vatican officials appear to regard as a ring leader in all of this disruption to their traditional message of vilification for the practices of birth control and gay marital union) stand with the grand majority of Roman Catholic American nuns who have not missed the connections between these practices and the economic health of the greater society.  Gay marriage more than affords equal rights to gay couples.  It permits medical coverage,  pension and social security benefits to dependents of those marriages – benefits that parties to straight marriage accept without the blink of an eye – to which, in fact, they feel entitled.  Birth control permits reproductive responsibility in families that calculate their fiscal ability to support a family at $235,000 per child per year 0 – 17 years (not including post secondary education).

The nuns are very much part of the fabric of American life.  Their long tradition of working on the ground with children and families allows them insights that men isolated in Vatican enclaves cannot possibly appreciate.  The Nuns on the Bus are out to educate Americans – voting citizens (which Vatican officials are not) – as to the dangers inherent in the proposed Ryan budget.  Les eminences grises could learn a thing or two from them as well.  American nuns have been educating Americans for more than two hundred years.  We applaud this effort by our all-American protestant Catholic nuns.  Go Sisters!!!!!!

Read Full Post »

If there were a reality show called “Who’s the REAL Feminist?” Andrew Sullivan evidently considers himself a candidate for judge.  He, predictably,  had the unmitigated gall to assume the role of “feminist maven”on an “Overtime” segment of HBO’s Bill Maher Show.  How appropriate!

He debated the issue with Wendy Schiller, associate professor at Brown University on the segment.  Talk about picking your opponent!  Sullivan, once again, has shown himself to be the good old misogynist we have all come to know and despise.  There is a video in the article. WordPress would not accept the code, so I could not post it here.  You can watch it when you click into The Daily Caller article.

Andrew Sullivan slams Hillary Clinton: ‘Not a feminist’

Published: 6:26 PM 03/24/2012

On Friday’s “Overtime” segment of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Newsweek columnist and The Daily Beast’s “The Dish” blogger Andrew Sullivan made a comparison between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

According to Sullivan, Thatcher’s legacy was “amazing” because she never played the sex card.

“Thatcher was amazing to me because … she never allowed another woman in her own cabinet, by the way, ever, in 11 years,” Sullivan said. “She’s also a woman in the 50s, got educated in chemistry and had a family and ran as a single woman, and never once in her entire life played the sex card. Never, never played it.”

“… she never allowed another woman in her own cabinet.”  What a testament!  These women would probably disagree with Judge Sullivan.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are many, many more like them.  Hillary Clinton has worked for 40 years for women, children, and families.  As Secretary of State,  her signature issue has been the empowerment of women and girls.   Meryl Streep stated,  introducing this amazing woman,  a hero to so many of us,  at the Women in the World Summit this month, that there are women in the world who are still alive today only because they had their pictures taken with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Comparing her unfavorably with the woman who showed not an ounce of empathy with the mothers of the Long Kesh hunger strikers, defies reason and serves to disqualify Sullivan as any kind of judge of feminism.

How dare you, Andrew Sullivan!  You crossed the line, and we are watching you!

Read Full Post »

Since this blog is about homegirls (and boys) and security,  I think it is appropriate to share here a brilliant analysis  by Karen Finney at The Hill exposing costs of war that fall through the cracks in budget proposals.

This is the real cost, and it is incumbent upon all of us to consider deeply how secure continued operations and deployments keep us and whether current levels are worth these  costs .   Equally important is our encouragement to legislators to be certain these costs are covered in current and future budgets.  Not worth merely a read, worth sharing every way you know how.  Homegirl Karen hit a home run with this one!

By Karen Finney
– 03/19/12 06:14 PM ET

We may never know all of the factors that led an American soldier to allegedly murder 16 people in Afghanistan. The more we do learn, the more it seems there were signs of the toll that repeated deployments, an injury and the stress of his situation back home were taking. None of that excuses what the soldier reportedly did. However, given the number of Americans who have served or are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who could be facing similar stressors, we have a responsibility to better understand and factor in these human costs in any conversations about the way forward — particularly for the benefit of the 40 percent of U.S. citizens who still believe the war is worth the costs.

Read more >>>>

Edited to add:

This is  more than an op-ed in a column.  In a comment in the thread below I called it a treatise.  Karen Finney may well be the 21st century Thomas Paine for women and others.  Looking at this text again, I see it as the basis of a doctrine,  the Finney Budgetary Doctrine.  This is very important information that Karen has compiled, and the implications are enormous and look far down the road.   That is where we all should be looking.

Read Full Post »