EARTH DAY

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. “ Buddha

Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. Founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in held on April 22, 1970 and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.  While the first Earth Day was focused entirely on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes—the original national coordinator in 1970—took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Earth Day is now observed each year on April 22 in virtually every country on Earth. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network . World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5 in a different nation every year, is the principal United Nations environmental observance.

Skillet – One Day Too Late

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” Martin Luther King Jr.

*I am here in New York City, having fun . Living Day by Day, one minute at a time.Carpe Diem!Ban Ki Moon UN general Secretary and Adriana Sassoon.

ALEXIS WINGATE

Success DIVA

What choice will you make?

 (The Success Diva Speaks)

Although this may sound like a simple argument to set forth, life really is about choices. Almost everything you do each day is a choice— even those things that you think you must do or that someone else is expecting you to do. Sometimes I think that our society conditions us to believe that we have to live a certain way and make certain decisions because the world, at large, thrives upon control. To hold on to individuality in a universe of conformists requires strength and courage. Even those who seem to rebel against the confines of society are often in prison cells of their own making. They do not realize that they aren’t free because the bars of their prison obscure their view, thereby preventing them from seeing their lives and the circumstances of their lives clearly.

For a long time, my favorite quotation has been one that the poet E. E. Cummings once said: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” When I first read this quotation, I found myself asking, why should being ourselves be our hardest battle? Why is it so important to everyone that we all conform to the preconceived image of what they think we ought to be?

It’s ironic, really, that rebels and those who step away from the crowd are ever admired or held up as role models, considering how strongly we are all urged to be like everyone else. Of course, many who have been courageous enough to embrace their individuality and live authentically have been vilified and maligned by the world, at large. Throughout history, this has been the case, and from Jesus to Martin Luther, King, Jr., we have seen the revolutionary leaders cut down, oftentimes in their prime. It is easy for people to criticize, mock, and demean that which they do not understand. And we can all point fingers at those who choose to forge a new and unchartered path for themselves, particularly if we are one of those unfortunate souls who remains entrenched in a life of mediocrity.

Oddly enough, I have encountered so much criticism and mockery at this point, that none of it touches me anymore. I am like the bird who will not be deterred in its migratory flight. But a friend of mine has recently been attacked for some of the choices she has made. When I read the negative comments others made about her, I realized how true it is that those who try to tear others down only end up tearing down themselves. Those who create beautiful castles do not build their masterpieces by destroying the castles that other people have built. 

When we were children, sometimes we may have done things that hurt others without meaning to. Perhaps, we wanted to be liked by our peers. Or maybe we just had not yet learned that there can be lasting consequences to our actions. However, when we grew up, we learned that even those things that are seemingly insignificant can have lasting affects on not only our lives but also the lives of others. And unless we derive satisfaction from cruelty, most of us do our best not to injure other people. At the same time, there are exceptions. If we knew why this was the case, we would be able to solve a question that has been puzzling cognitive scientists, psychiatrists, and philosophers for centuries. As it is, we can only speculate and try to content ourselves with the very plain yet frustrating truth that there are many mysteries in life that will never be understood.

From now on, I am making no more efforts to turn enemies into friends or detractors into fans and admirers of my work. If someone doesn’t like the articles I write, I would suggest that he/she stop reading them. A person’s life  is too short to spend time on things that he/she will never make a choice to appreciate or understand. We each have our own journey to take. Therefore, I encourage everyone to go his/her own way, with both my blessing and my request that he/she gives  me the freedom they are giving themselves. When we let others walk their own path, we should be secure enough in our own choices that we feel no need to criticize them.

I tend to think that those who feel the need to tear down others do so because they have so little power in their own lives that they feel they must try to take the power away from others. This is why you will oftentimes notice that those who are at the top of their chosen professions are more caring, generous, and gracious than those who are living what Henry David Thoreau would call “quiet lives of desperation”. When we feel content in our lives and we are truly aligned with our own purpose, we want those around us to be engaged with life the same way that we are.

But when we are not happy or fulfilled and we see others who seem to be leading lives that are successful and joyful, some of us start subscribing to the idea that we have been shortchanged in some way. Why? Because it’s easier to turn ourselves into victims than to take responsibility for our lives and the choices we have made. If we can blame someone else for our mistakes and our missed opportunities, even if it doesn’t do any good, it can leave us with a temporary feeling of satisfaction. But can it satisfy us on a long-term basis?

Some people speculate about what the driving force throughout the world is. They debate whether it’s love or money or both. Well, although I am still examining this issue, I am relatively certain that it’s neither love nor money. Rather, I believe that it’s desire. If you will look around, you will notice that most of the choices we make have begun with a desire. The problem with this, of course, is that in allowing desire to control our choices we are being moved by passion rather than by critical thinking. Yes, there is something to be said for intuition and “gut feelings”. But by its very nature, desire is a force that should be used with care and caution.

Yet, since desire is what I believe rules this world we live in, it is being misused and abused in ways that most of us would never even be able to imagine. And, it is what brings about most of the pain in the world, too. For it is a desire for power and control that prevents people from giving other people the freedom to lead their own lives and make their own choices. Even crimes like murder and rape are rooted in desire . . .  the desire to take the life of another person or the desire to have sexual and physical power over another person. Neither love nor money is involved in either rape or murder, but both of these vile acts are more prevalent in the world we now live in than ever before.

Do not misunderstand what I’m saying and subscribe to the erroneous idea that I’m saying desire is a completely negative force. Desire can be very positive as well. I think the question we all need to examine is this: are we controlling our desires or are our desires controlling us? When we tear down other people, it isn’t because we are powerful but because we are weak. When we criticize, complain, and demean, we are relegating ourselves to the role of victims, rather than victors. We are saying, “My sense of self-worth is so low that I have to try to make others feel less valuable in order to feel good enough about myself.” Once we realize that this is the message we are sending out, it forces us to rethink our behavior—or, at least, it should.

Like everyone else, I have had moments in which I have offered criticism when support and encouragement was what was called for. But this is because I am human as opposed to being a divine being. Thankfully, I’ve learned that I will never have freedom in my own life if I do not let others have their freedom, too. We cannot expect to have something that we try to take away from other people. And we can expect that we will be criticized if all that we offer others is criticism, just as a spirit of hate provokes strife and malevolence breeds disdain. Life seems to have a way of giving us back what we have given to others, which brings us once again back to the issue of choice.

In the past, I have shared certain aspects of my personal story in my SuccessDiva articles. But since everybody has a story, I feel that more can be accomplished if I do not share all of mine. I would rather focus on you and the changes I can inspire you to make if you choose to let my words enter into your soul and bring your deepest and most exquisite dreams to the surface of your consciousness. 

What do you want to accomplish in your life? If you must end your life with regrets, which regrets do you want them to be? Would you rather regret not reaching a goal in spite of all your efforts or would you prefer to regret not ever having tried to reach the goal in the first place? Do you want to regret having stayed in a relationship that never made you happy because you were unwilling to give up your security? Or would you rather take a chance at finding the man or woman of your dreams, even if you never find him or her?  

Yes, life really is about choices. And the choices you make today truly will influence not just tomorrow but also the rest of your life. Choosing wisely isn’t enough—you also have to choose courageously. Taking risks is part of what will bring you the life you want to live. None of us have a user’s manual to help guide us through our lives. To imagine that we will never have self-doubt or fear or moments of panic and anxiety isn’t realistic. What the determining factor in each of our lives is is whether we overcome all of these things. Do we let society dictate our needs and desires? Do we let other people make our decisions for us? Do we waver in our choices, even when we know we are making the choices that are right for us?  

A life of purpose is a life that is lived with a sense of conviction. A person who wants to live freely and authentically must be brave enough to break free from the boxes that others try to keep him/her trapped in. He or she must understand that it is better to be rejected for his/her authentic self than to be accepted for a role that he/she is playing. The approval of the multitudes matters not when we have lost all genuine respect for ourselves. And how can we respect ourselves unless we are being authentic?

One reason I have ceased to care what others say about me is because I have tuned in to who I really am. When you reach this point, you become aware of the fact that it doesn’t really matter who says what about you, if the things they say don’t match up with reality. We may all see the world through our own pair of glasses. But if we take the time to examine ourselves, we can get to the truth of who we are. If we don’t like that person, no matter who else may like us, we will be unhappy. But if we do like that person, then no matter how many people don’t like us, we should be content.

I only like the authentic me . . . the me who does not want to be identified with a specific persona or “image”. And because of this, I have chosen to let go of the image of me to embrace the authentic me. This is a choice I will never regret—not now nor at the end of my life.

What choice are you not making right now that you know is right for you? What’s holding you back?

Live today as if there will be no tomorrow . . .

Until soon,

Alexis, your SuccessDiva

http://successdiva.wordpress.com/

This page and all written material at the SuccessDiva Pages is written by Alexis Wingate (C) Copyright 2010 by

WHAT DREAMS MAY COME

Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King, Jr. (15 de janeiro de 1929, Atlanta, Geórgia4 de abril de 1968, Memphis, Tennessee) foi um pastor e ativista político estadunidense. Membro da Igreja Batista, tornou-se um dos mais importantes líderes do ativismo pelos direitos civis (para negros e mulheres, principalmente) nos Estados Unidos e no mundo, através de uma campanha de não-violência e de amor para com o próximo. Se tornou a pessoa mais jovem a receber o Prêmio Nobel da Paz em 1964, pouco antes de seu assassinato. Seu discurso mais famoso e lembrado é “Eu Tenho Um Sonho“.

Vida familiar

Luther King Jr. nasceu em Atlanta, filho de Martin Luther King que era agricultor e Alberta Williams King que era pastora. Graduou-se no Morehouse College, em 1948, com um bacharelado em sociologia. No Morehouse, teve como mentor Benjamin Mays, um ativista dos direitos civis. Em 1951 viria a formar-se no Seminário Teológico Crozer, em Chester, Pensilvânia, e em 1954 se tornou pastor da Igreja Batista, em Montgomery, Alabama. Em 1955 recebeu um PhD em Teologia Sistemática pela Universidade de Boston, razão do uso comum do titulo de Doutor.

Em 1955, Rosa Parks, uma mulher negra, se negou a dar seu lugar em um ônibus para uma mulher branca e foi presa. Os líderes negros da cidade organizaram um boicote aos ônibus de Montgomery para protestar contra a segregação racial em vigor no transporte. Durante a campanha de 381 dias, co-liderada por King, muitas ameaças foram feitas contra a sua vida, foi preso e viu sua casa ser atacada. O boicote foi encerrado com a decisão da Suprema Corte Americana em tornar ilegal a discriminação racial em transporte público.

Depois dessa batalha, Martin Luther King participou da fundação da Conferência de Liderança Cristã do Sul (CLCS, ou em inglês, SCLC, Southern Christian Leadership Conference), em 1957. A CLCS deveria organizar o ativismo em torno da questão dos direitos civis. King manteve-se à frente da CLCS até sua morte, o que foi criticado pelo mais democrático e mais radical Comitê Não-Violento de Coordenação Estudantil (CNVCE, ou em inglês, SNCC, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee). O CLCS era composto principalmente por comunidades negras ligadas a igrejas Batistas. King era seguidor das idéias de desobediência civil não-violenta preconizadas por Mohandas Gandhi (líder político indiano também conhecido como Mahatma Gandhi), e aplicava essas idéias nos protestos organizados pelo CLCS. King acertadamente previu que manifestações organizadas e não-violentas contra o sistema de segregação predominante no sul dos EUA, atacadas de modo violento por autoridades racistas e com ampla cobertura da mídia, iriam criar uma opinião pública favorável ao cumprimento dos direitos civis; e essa foi a ação fundamental que fez do debate acerca dos direitos civis o principal assunto político nos EUA a partir do começo da década de 1960.

Martin Luther King Jr. profere o seu famoso discurso “Eu tenho um sonho” em março de 1963 frente ao Memorial Lincoln em Washington, durante a chamada “marcha pelo emprego e pela liberdade”.

Ele organizou e liderou marchas a fim de conseguir o direito ao voto, o fim da segregação, o fim das discriminações no trabalho e outros direitos civis básicos. A maior parte destes direitos foi, mais tarde, agregada à lei estado-unidense com a aprovação da Lei de Direitos Civis (1964), e da Lei de Direitos Eleitorais (1965).

King e o CLCS escolheram com grande acerto os princípios do protesto não-violento, ainda que como meio de provocar e irritar as autoridades racistas dos locais onde se davam os protestos – invariavelmente estes últimos retaliavam de forma violenta. O CLCS também participou dos protestos em Alabany (19612), que não tiveram sucesso devido a divisões no seio da comunidade negra e também pela reação prudente das autoridades locais; a seguir participou dos protestos em Birmingham (1963), e do protesto em St. Augustine (1964). King, o CLCS e o CNVCE uniram forças em dezembro de 1964, no protesto ocorrido na cidade de Selma.

Em 14 de outubro de 1964 King se tornou a pessoa mais jovem a receber o Nobel da Paz, que lhe foi outorgado em reconhecimento à sua liderança na resistência não-violenta e pelo fim do preconceito racial nos Estados Unidos.

Com colaboração parcial do CNVCE, King e o CLCS tentaram organizar uma marcha desde Selma até a capital do Alabama, Montgomery, a ter início dia 25 de março de 1965. Já haviam ocorrido duas tentativas de promover esta marcha, a primeira em 7 de março e a segunda em 9 de março.

Na primeira, marcharam 525 pessoas por apenas 6 blocos; a intervenção violenta da polícia interrompeu a marcha. As imagens da violência foram transmitidas para todo o país, e o dia ganhou o apelido de Domingo Sangrento. King não participou desta marcha: encontrava-se em negociações com o presidente estado-unidense, e não deu sua aprovação para a marcha tão precoce.

A segunda marcha foi interrompida por King nas proximidades da ponte Pettus, nos arredores de Selma, uma ação que parece ter sido negociada antecipadamente com líderes das cidades seguintes. Este ato tresloucado causou surpresa e indignação de muitos ativistas locais.

A marcha finalmente se completou na terceira tentativa (25 de março de 1965), com a permissão e apoio do presidente Lyndon Johnson. Foi durante esta marcha que Stokely Carmichael (futuro líder dos Panteras Negras) criou a expressão “Black Power“.

Antes, em 1963, King foi um dos organizadores da marcha em Washington, que inicialmente deveria ser uma marcha de protesto, mas depois de discussões com o então presidente John F. Kennedy, acabou se tornando quase que uma celebração das conquistas do movimento negro (e do governo) – o que irritou bastante ativistas mais radicais e menos ingênuos.

A partir de 1965 o líder negro passou a duvidar das intenções estadunidenses na Guerra do Vietnã. Em fevereiro e novamente em abril de 1967, King fez sérias críticas ao papel que os EUA desempanhavam na guerra. Em 1968 King e o SCLC organizaram uma campanha por justiça sócio-econômica, contra a pobreza (a Campanha dos Pobres), que tinha por objetivo principal garantir ajuda para as comunidades mais pobres do país.

Também deve ser destacado o impacto que King teve nos espetáculos de entretenimento popular. Ele conversou com a atriz negra do seriado Star Trek original, Nichelle Nichols, quando ela ameaçava sair do programa. Nichelle acreditava que o papel não estava ajudando em nada sua carreira e que o estúdio a tratava mal, mas King a convenceu de que era importante para o negro ter um representante num dos programas mais populares da televisão.

Martin Luther King era odiado por muitos segregacionistas do sul, o que culminou em seu assassinato no dia 4 de abril de 1968, momentos antes de uma marcha, num hotel da cidade de Memphis. James Earl Ray confessou o crime, mas anos depois repudiou sua confissão. A viúva de King, Coretta Scott King, junto com o restante da família do líder, venceu um processo civil contra Loyd Jowers, um homem que armou um escândalo ao dizer que lhe tinham oferecido 100 mil dólares pelo assassinato de King.

Em 1986 foi estabelecido um feriado nacional nos EUA para homenagear Martin Luther King, o chamado Dia de Martin Luther King – sempre na terceira segunda-feira do mês de janeiro, data próxima ao aniversário de King. Em 1993, pela primeira vez, o feriado foi cumprido em todos os estados do país.

Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an African American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. His main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States and he is frequently referenced as a human rights icon today.

A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president.

King’s efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. There, he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history.

In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means. By the time of his death in 1968, he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and opposing the Vietnam War, both from a religious perspective.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. national holiday in 1986.

Legacy

King’s main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States, which has enabled more Americans to reach their potential. He is frequently referenced as a human rights icon today. His name and legacy have often been invoked since his death as people have debated his likely position on various modern political issues.

On the international scene, King’s legacy included influences on the Black Consciousness Movement and Civil Rights Movement in South Africa.King’s work was cited by and served as an inspiration for Albert Lutuli, another black Nobel Peace prize winner who fought for racial justice in that country. The day following King’s assassination, school teacher Jane Elliott conducted her first “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” exercise with her class of elementary school students in Riceville, Iowa. Her purpose was to help them understand King’s death as it related to racism, something they little understood from having lived in a predominately white community.

King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, followed her husband’s footsteps and was active in matters of social justice and civil rights until her death in 2006. The same year that Martin Luther King was assassinated, Mrs. King established the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia, dedicated to preserving his legacy and the work of championing nonviolent conflict resolution and tolerance worldwide. His son, Dexter King, currently serves as the center’s chairman.Daughter Yolanda King is a motivational speaker, author and founder of Higher Ground Productions, an organization specializing in diversity training.

There are opposing views even within the King family — regarding the slain civil rights leader’s religious and political views about homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people. King’s widow Coretta said publicly that she believed her husband would have supported gay rights. His daughter Bernice believed he would have been opposed to them.

The King Center includes discrimination, and lists homophobia as one of its examples, in its list of “The Triple Evils” that should be opposed. Universally, moderate African-American civil/human rights activists and moderate gay rights activists support the middle view: gay rights is a private sexual matter between consenting adults. However, they contend gays’ social issues should be equated to more grievous social injustices such as the now defunct slave trade, past Jim Crow laws and the brutal murder of 14-year old Emmett Till.

In 1980, the Department of Interior designated King’s boyhood home in Atlanta and several nearby buildings the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. In 1996, United States Congress authorized the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity to establish a foundation to manage fund raising and design of a Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial on the Mall in Washington, DC.King was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established by and for African Americans. King was the first African American honored with his own memorial in the National Mall area and the first non-President to be commemorated in such a way. The sculptor chosen was Lei Yixin. The King Memorial will be administered by the National Park Service.

King’s life and assassination inspired many artistic works. In 1969 Maya Angelou published her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In spring of 2006, a stage play about King was produced in Beijing, China with King portrayed by Chinese actor, Cao Li. The play was written by Stanford University professor, Clayborne Carson.

What a Wonderful World – o original

Publicado por Marco Santos [18/Junho/2007]. Categoria: Música

Relacionado (ou não): Da Noruega aos bares de Nova Iorque [14/Fevereiro/2006]
Marcadores: ,

Louis ArmstrongEm 1967, ano em que foi lançado What a Wonderful World, vivia-se um dos períodos raciais e políticos mais conturbados nos Estados Unidos. Era o ano de Martin Luther King e de Malcom X, o ano dos happenings hippies e da contestação à Guerra do Vietname.
O artigo da Wikipédia refere-se à canção como tendo sido feita de propósito para apaziguar os ânimos raciais nos Estados Unidos, embora falhe por não especificar como ou por quem – e eu não encontrei nenhuma referência à canção como qualquer coisa “encomendada”.
Inocente ou perversa, a canção foi um fiasco nos Estados Unidos. Teve um enorme sucesso na Grã-Bretanha, onde chegou ao primeiro lugar dos tops, mas na América, numa primeira fase, não vendeu mais de 1000 discos.
Talvez o autor do artigo da Wikipédia baseie a sua ideia no facto de Louis Armstrong ter conseguido a proeza de ser uma figura aceite tanto por brancos como por negros, até mesmo pelos brancos racistas. O temperamento generoso e bonacheirão de Armstrong valeu-lhe críticas duras: chamavam-lhe Uncle Tom, ou seja, um preto subserviente em relação ao branco. E não lhe perdoavam o facto de dar concertos no Sul dos Estados Unidos, onde as audiências eram segregadas: brancos de um lado, pretos do outro.
O que Armstrong nunca quis foi comprometer-se porque, acima de tudo, tentava preservar a sua carreira. Em termos políticos, sabe-se agora, o jazzman preferia os bastidores: foi um dos que contribuiu com mais dinheiro para o movimento dos direitos civis encabeçado por Martin Luther King.
Desde então, a canção tem servido para tudo: elevar o espírito optimista (ou ingénuo?) nos homens mas, sobretudo, como contraponto irónico e sarcástico a imagens de guerra e violência. Para a história, eis a versão original de What a Wonderful World.