Tag Archives: Eleanor Roosevelt

Women’s History Month 2015: Women on 20s

20 Mar

Rosa20What a great movement to initiate during National Women’s History Month — getting women’s faces on our currency. How sad that while women make up more than half the population, we only see white men’s faces on our currency.

How might we look at this more equitably? How can we work together to put a woman’s face on the twenty dollar bill? Who should it be? I know Alice Paul is getting a lot of traction, as is the amazing Shirley Chisholm. I must confess, I am rather partial to seeing Rosa Parks on the twenty dollar bill, although I do love Eleanor Roosevelt.

 

A Call To Action: Click here to cast your vote! A Women’s Place is on the money!

Eleanor Roosevelt and My Birthday

10 Dec
Me Age 6

Me Age 6

As 50 creeps upon me and I celebrate 47 today, I am comforted  that this day also marks the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted by Eleanor Roosevelt. Here is the Preamble to the now 30 articles in the Declaration:

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

I love that the goal is for this to be the “common standard of achievement.”  Sadly, we have certainly missed the mark here in 2013. I look at the structural and government mandated homophobia in Russia and Uganda.  I look at the racism we still are fighting against in our own country, as I read about Shannon Gibney, a professor of English and African diaspora studies at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and am in disbelief that three white students filed a complaint because they were uncomfortable; thus Professor Gibney was reprimanded for doing her job. I can only hope those three white students will evolve and have a better understanding of structural racism.

My Birthday Wish: My birthday wish is that all of humanity take some action, no matter how small a step, to STOP racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, ageism, classism, eradicate poverty, and all other forms of marginalization.  We must learn how to interrupt oppression and yet keep people engaged in conversations.  What does it mean to be an ally? I would argue that being an ally is not a status, but it is action.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and My Birthday…

10 Dec
Me Age 6

Me Age 6

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights document, drafted by Eleanor Roosevelt.  Here is just a bit of it to treasure.

We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere. We hope its proclamation by the General Assembly will be an event comparable to the proclamation in 1789 [the French Declaration of the Rights of Citizens], the adoption of the Bill of Rights by the people of the US, and the adoption of comparable declarations at different times in other countries.

I have felt very connected to both Eleanor Roosevelt and to the Universal Declaration of Human rights, maybe because it was on my birthday, or maybe just because I have spent most of my life working for basic human rights for all people.

Today, I am also sad at how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is just an abstract idea far removed from places like Uganda, where white, wealthy, heterosexual Americans fuel and finance hate. I find myself asking what can we do individually and collectively to make the world a better place.

My birthday wish is that all of humanity take some action, no matter how small a step, to STOP racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, ageism, classism, and all other forms of marginalization.  We must learn how to have courageous conversations and how to interrupt oppression.

Happy Birthday to Me: Reflections on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

10 Dec

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights document, drafted by Eleanor Roosevelt.  Here is just a bit of it to treasure.

We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere. We hope its proclamation by the General Assembly will be an event comparable to the proclamation in 1789 [the French Declaration of the Rights of Citizens], the adoption of the Bill of Rights by the people of the US, and the adoption of comparable declarations at different times in other countries.

I have felt very connected to both Eleanor Roosevelt and to the Universal Declaration of Human rights, maybe because it was on my birthday, or maybe just because I have spent most of my life working for basic human rights for all people.

My 45 years here have been both excruciatingly painful and at times filled with great delight.  The past six years have been some of the most difficult and some of the most rewarding.  I have a husband whom I love dearly and he loves me.  I am in school with such a tremendously wonderful group of people as my cohort works to get our MSWs to change systems and make the world a better place.  I believe Eleanor Roosevelt would be very proud.

As I write this post, I reflect that it is with a mixture of bitter acrimony and delight.  This past week, my husband and I have had to witness first hand the unethical abuse of power from certain white heterosexual men that I would easily qualify as sociopaths.  Rather than reflect on these white abusive men, I shall try to be optimistic and grateful for a loving husband and loving friends.

Call to action: My birthday wish is for all that read TSM to look to find ways to stop oppression on every level–to inject ourselves wherever and whenever we witness abuse of power, and oppression.  I shall continue to work to eradicate racism, misogyny, homophobia, and all oppression.  Let us hope my next birthday looks much better than this one.

Women’s History: April 9

9 Apr

Honoring Marian Anderson

Although Marian Anderson was one of the best known contraltos in the 20th Century, she did not have an easy time securing venues for her amazingly beautiful instrument. All during Anderson’s career and lifetime, America was a very race torn and divided country, not like today, cough cough cough!  In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused permission for Anderson to sing to an integrated audience.  I can just see Michele Bachmann again saying, ” we need to remember that all of us came here to be free,” and Marian Anderson looking at her saying, “Excuse me?”

With the help of President and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson performed her critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter Sunday, in 1939 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Anderson would spend the rest of her life breaking down barriers for both women and blacks.

While Antonin Scalia and Rand Paul will hate the introductory comments from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, they are certainly germane right now.  I hope you enjoy the video of the recording of Marian Anderson. Click here to hear FDR’s introduction and Anderson’s performance.

Celebrating Women’s History Month: March 31

31 Mar

Honoring Michelle Obama

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to First Lady Michelle Robinson Obama. Obama is the first African-American First Lady. Obama’s family has been in the US since before the civil war. Her paternal great-great grandfather, Jim Robinson, was a slave in South Carolina–all the more embarrassing for the racist behavior of much of the Tea Party.

As in keeping with the role of a First Lady (to adopt a cause), Obama has become an outspoken advocate for the poor and the prevention of childhood obesity. Unfortunately, Obama has been attacked for her advocacy work by Faux News and even with racist cartoons. Yes, just imagine the socialist plot to make Americans healthier and thus less dependent upon the health care system–sounds like complete heresy!  Obama’s Let’s Move movement works to set back the 21st century trend of childhood obesity.  Practicing what she preaches, the Obama family planted a vegetable garden, the first one to be planted since Eleanor Roosevelt.

Upon first becoming First Lady of the United States, Obama immediately became and advocate for the poor, visiting homeless shelters addressing the issue of poverty head on. I, for one, am excited to see what more First Lady Michelle Obama will accomplish. Click here to learn more about Michelle Robinson Obama.

Making Eleanor and Harry Proud…

18 Dec

December 18, 2010 Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the homophobic and discriminatory law/policy was repealed.  The vote was 65 to 31.  I can only imagine that Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry Truman must be smiling and very proud of this move towards equality in civil rights.  It was our Eleanor that pushed hard to integrate the troops–we can only imagine how “whitey” John McCain would have voted back then.  Bravo/Brava to the 65 Senators for moving equality ahead of personal agendas and biases.

Now, we must marshal our energies to create full marriage equality!  The time is now!

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