Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Archbishop Desmond Tutu's Address

On November 13, 2007 I joyfully attended Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s address on reconciliation at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. It was a heartfelt address in which the Archbishop emanated charm, wit, compassion, and humor. Through a couple of humorous self-deprecating jokes, Tutu quickly became one with the audience.

He proceeded in a very biblically based way to discuss human potential to forgive. He stressed that the human capacity to love and forgive even the most reprehensible deeds in a way reaches towards the divine. Although not going into great detail about the reconciliation process in South Africa, he did draw on heartfelt examples in which South Africans had shown an immense ability to embrace their oppressors in an embrace of reconciliation.

Although relatively small in stature, his sheer presence was powerful and yet gentle at the same time. Impressed by his intellect and captivated by his oratory abilities, the address was truly a memorable one for me. The full video of the address can be seen on the National Cathedral’s website

http://www.cathedral.org/cathedral/ - (Scroll down and look for the same picture of Tutu as presented here)

I highly recommend all to view it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gender Liberation Week!

This week (Mon., Nov. 26- Fri., Nov. 30) on campus is Gender Liberation Week, sposored by GU Pride and cosponsored by Diversity Action Council (DAC), The Office of LGBTQ Community Resources, The of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Action (IDEA), Take Back the Night, MEChA de Georgetown, the GU AIDS Coalition, FOCII, the Lecture Fund, and the College Democrats. The purpose of Gender Liberation Week is to address issues facing transgender and intersex communities, and gender norms and feminist issues. I reccomend checking out the invite on Facebook for more info on what events will be going on.
I think the issues being addressed affect a lot of people outside the gay community, and there will be some interesting events. I think GU Pride events have been very well done (and numerous!) this year, so I am looking forward to walking through Red Square this week!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Let's exchange your gun with 100 dollars!

On 18th, the civic police of Cleveland, Ohio, collected no less than 421 guns in 5 hours from their citizens- the police held the one-day event where citizens could exchange their guns with 100 dollars' worth of a ticket with which they can purchase gasoline.

They turned the jump in oil prices into advantages of preventing gun-related crimes.

When I heard of this news, I simply thought that those who did not know what to do with their unnecessary guns decided to trade them with the tickets. The deeper I think about this news, however, I started wondering those people might be too poor to buy expensive petrol and the police was seeking a way to prevent crimes comes from poverty.

Though it was not mentioned where the resources had come from and I guess it was tax, if 100 dollars could save one person's life, it is incredibly cheap and I'm so curious how many guns would be collected if this kind of event was take place throughout the US.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Detention! ....For Hugging?

Among the slackers, kids who are tardy to class, and kids with “attitude problems,” fourteen-year-old Cazz Altomare joins the merry band in detention…for the unthinkable crime of hugging. In Bend, Oregon, Sky View Middle school officials have implemented a school rule banning hugs in an effort to create an “environment that’s focused on learning, and learning proper manners.” But if this middle school truly is interested in providing an environment conducive to learning, why would it strive to implement a rule stunting emotional growth?

Sadly, Sky View Middle School is not the only school that has enforced such a policy. In Oak Park, Illinois, Oak Park Middle School has cracked down on the hugging problem because as principal Victoria Sharts states, “Hugging is really more appropriate for airports and family reunions.” The ban on hugs is part of the school’s new “comprehensive” campaign to stop bullying. As a part of this plan, and to stop the apparent inappropriateness of any physical contact whatsoever, Oak Park has decided that even high-fiving in the hallways will be frowned upon.

By banning hugs and other forms of affection, the schools teach students that physical displays of affection are unnatural. They create sterile environments devoid of caring and love. In a society that already is largely disconnected with its feelings and is preoccupied with things like reality TV, video games, and alternative reality simulations, schools need to promote true emotional responses instead of the shallow responses fostered by technology. If more schools continue to enforce this ridiculous “no hugging” policy and treat displays of affection as a criminal offense, children of the next generation will have a better relationships with their cell phone than with other human beings.

This clip is 22 News' coverage of the policy banning hugs in Forest Park Middle School in Illinois.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Stand Up, Keep Fighting!

On October 25th I attended a memorial service at the Longworth House Office Building for the late Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife, daughter, and three staff members whose lives ended abruptly in a plane crash five years ago in Northern Minnesota. At that time Wellstone was in the final chapter of a heated campaign to keep his seat in the Senate for a third term. But a movement greater than just some politician and his family went down with that small aircraft on October 25, 2002.

Few political figures have the human ability Wellstone did to truly represent the people who elected him. Standing 5'5" tall, Wellstone was known as a fiery debater, defender of the weak, and strong voice for those who are not always heard in the discussions of America's welfare. He was a champion of laborers, the mentally ill, victims of domestic violence, Native Americans, children, immigrants, environmentalists, and peace activists. A Democrat representing Minnesota, Wellstone refused to vote along party lines when his conscience told him otherwise. He was the only senator up for reelection in 2002 who voted against a US attack on Iraq. He concluded his October 11, 2002 speech with a genuine thank-you to his staff for not trying to convince him to vote otherwise. (Iraq Speech clip:

Wellstone emerged from Academia (Carleton College of Minnesota, more precisely, http://www.carleton.edu/) in 1990 to run against 2-term incumbent Rudy Boschwitz. His campaign had little funding (by the end he was outspent 7 to 1), he was largely unknown, and his was widely dubbed a long-shot campaign. Yet Wellstone's clever television advertisements (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbmMlTsKo30), and signature big green bus helped get his name out. And his compassion and honesty, apparent in even a simple greeting, helped gain him the support that won him the election.

Being in the presence of Senator Wellstone's friends and former staffers that day, I was once again reminded of my own brief exchanges with the senator who made such an impact on my own life. Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, are my heroes because they symbolize real change through American politics--the way our democracy should be. Paul once said that politics is about improving people's lives. And I know he really truly felt so.

"Never separate the life you live from the words you speak." His words.

For more information on the nonprofit organization carrying on the Wellstone movement go to: http://www.wellstone.org

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Take Back the Night week!

Take Back The Night Week: November 5-9, 2007
Women and Men United in the Fight against Gendered Violence

For more information, please e-mail us at gutakebackthenight@gmail.com and/or visit our Facebook group page at http://georgetown.facebook.com/group.php?gid=11023075715, where you will also find links to all of the TBTN Week events on the column on the right-hand side of the group page.

Monday, Nov. 5th
Open Mic Night
8-10pm, Uncommon Grounds
Come enjoy a wonderful night of spoken word pieces, poetry, songs, and more, including a performance by Harmony! Bring your own amazing lyrics, spoken word, poems, testimonies, stories, etc... to share! Performers receive free drinks. And be sure to try out TBTN's Drink of the Month at UG. And add a Shot of Charity to your drink to help out House of Ruth.

Tuesday November 6th
How to Be An Ally to a Survivor
8-9pm, Village A Community Room
1 in 4 women will experience rape or sexual assault during their college careers. 1 in 8 males will experience rape or sexual assault during their lifetimes. Will you be ready if it happens to someone you know? Learn how to be a prepared and supportive friend by listening to a panel of experts (including GU’s Sexual Assault & Health Issues Coordinator Jen Schweer, GU’s Assistant Director of Residence Life Christy Anthony, Joe Vess from Men Can Stop Rape, and a representative from the DC Rape Crisis Center) and engaging in meaningful discussion. Mouth-watering cupcakes from *CakeLove* and drinks will be provided, so bring a friend and your appetite!

Wednesday, November 7th
Gender Motivated Violence and Perspectives
Co-Sponsored by GU Pride & LEAD
7-8pm, McShain Small
An expert panel will be addressing the important issue as related to local campus events, nationally, and globally. Don’t miss being a part of this very important discussion. Snacks and refreshments will be served.

Thursday, November 8th
“Tough Guise” Documentary & Dinner
Co-Sponsored by GUMARR
6:30-8:30pm, Village C Alumni Lounge
Thursday nights were practically made for eating take-out and watching a movie. TBTN, in a most appropriate (and kind of adorable) conjunction with GUMARR (GU Men Advocating Relationship Responsibility), is hosting (A FREE!) dinner and a movie. Bangkok Bistro will be catering! Jackson Katz's "Tough Guise" is a documentary which examines the media's role in encouraging violence as an expression of masculinity. I would venture to say that "Tough Guise" is about how and why guys are taught to be tough. This "real men are tough" idea has a profound impact when it comes to gender-motivated violence and sexual assault. A discussion will follow the film.

Friday, November 9th
Vigil and Rally
Co-Sponsored by GU Pride
6-7pm, White Gravenor Esplanade
Listen to survivor’s stories, rally against gendered violence in our community, and join us in a candlelight vigil to conclude TBTN Week. Speakers include students, faculty, and administrators, and the night includes a performance by GraceNotes.

This week is a wonderful opportunity to make your voice heard and show your support in the fight against violence. I encourage all of you to come check out the great events we have planned!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Enjoy Your Favorite Shows While They Last!

All of the shows that we love to watch could be over around the holidays if the Writer's Guild of America decides to follow through with the strike that they have said is a possibility on November 1st. The writer's contracts run out on October 31st and the WGA, along with all of its member's support, has announced that they might decide to strike after the contracts end. Many shows, including NBC's Heroes have been rushing to film as many future episodes as possible before November 1st. Another result of the strike is that stations will need to find fillers for all of the primetime spots. It is suggested that they would probably begin to air more sports, reality shows, and reruns.
There are many reasons for the strike, but the general idea is that the writer's are not being given enough credit and payback for their work. Shows do not compensate writer's for things like episodes viewed on the web and dvd/itunes sales. Also, the issue of reality shows being unionized has been raised. One of the biggest complicators is how traditional tv is going to combat with new-media, like webcasts and youtube.
It is suggested that if the writer's go through with this strike, the damage could be dramatically worse than the strike in 1988, which cost the industry an estimated $500 million. In the writers defense, I do have to say that because they have such a huge network of people who are influenced by them, this strike will almost surely result in change. Best of luck to them, and all my hopes that they sort out this issue sooner than later!