Posts Tagged ‘Beyonce’

Celebrating International Women’s Day with CHIME for CHANGE

chime_for_changeToday, March 8, is International Women’s Day, with events running worldwide to help move us toward our corrected-course future of absolute equality. This day of recognition and action has been celebrated for over a century. It is, of course, embarrassing to all of us in this global family that equality is not simply a matter of course. It is beneath us that in some cultures, half the population is held back. It will be looked back on as abhorrent that women in every community are not constantly supported and celebrated, allowed to give and receive, allowed to learn and contribute. We have done ourselves wrong and impeded our own progress through history, and change is, thankfully, coming.

I’m pretty fond of a new organization that recently launched, Chime for Change, headlined by superstars like Beyonce and Salma Hayek, and sponsored by Gucci, to increase awareness among millions and create a global movement toward women’s equal access to health, education, and justice.

Do yourself proud, and your mother, sister, daughter, wife, girlfriend, aunt, grandmother, mother-in-law, cousin, neighbor, teacher, friend, doctor, lawyer, president, architect, astronaut, artist, construction worker, volunteer, engineer, firefighter, police officer, soldier, gardener, ship captain, fill in the blank…your actions and efforts to secure equality make you a better person.

VH1 Do Something Awards Tonight

Tonight is the broadcast, on VH1, of the 2012 Do Something Awards. This is a national award for community service, honoring those under the age of 25 who are committed to making big changes in our world, and already moving mountains to do so. A whole lot of entertainment powerhouse performers will be on hand for the show to present awards and keep the evening moving along. Some of the big names on tonight’s star roster are Ben Affleck, Kristen Bell, BeyoncĂ©, Will Ferrell, Kelly Osbourne, and Dax Shepard. The young finalists are an amazing and inspiring group of people who have created foundations and programs in their own back yards or across the world, to have a positive impact on the environment and social issues that are most pressing right now. Some of this year’s finalists are taking on issues in the Sudan, hunger, homelessness, arts education, artisans and sustainability, health in Nepal, international micro-grants, brain tumors, at-risk urban youth, classroom environmental education, and more.

DoSomething.org is a website I hope the young folks in your life already know about–it is a huge information clearinghouse that makes volunteering and being of service cool to teens and tweens, providing inspiration and direction for ways to get involved in your community, or maybe even start your own movement, like the people receiving awards tonight. Find out more, watch with a young person. Giving back really is the best thing going on right now.

The Lunchbox Fund

The Lunchbox Fund is a charity founded in 2004 to aid school children in Soweto, South Africa. The students of economically impoverished Meadowlands School and, now, three additional schools, are directly impacted by the Fund. The cause is simple–feed the hungry. Even simpler is the methodology–provide a free nutritious lunch at school. For far too many it may be their only healthy meal of the day, and it adds a great incentive for attendance. Keeping kids in schools and keeping minds and bodies fed. Answers to some of the world’s largest problems needn’t be complex.

The Fund also does a celebrity-driven annual fundraiser, where stars decorate lunchboxes that are then put up for auction. From Bono to Bill Gates to Bill Clinton to Beyonce to Chef Mario Batali to Bowie (and a whole bunch of folks who don’t alliterate with the B’s), everybody does a box, and the money makes an entire generation grow.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

hands

I should probably strive to not let this bother me so much…but I’m having a really hard time with the tremendous (and tremendously public) lack of basic human respect these days. Three of the top news stories of the past several days are about low-class/no-class arrogant exhibitions of disrespect. Serena Williams is not a third grader on the playground, she is a seasoned professional who has played a ton of tennis and undoubtedly disagreed with more calls than most of us will ever hear…but her outburst at the US Open was childish, graceless, and appropriately smacked down.

Kanye West somehow decided his own arrogance superseded the right of Taylor Swift (a teenager, I might add!) to enjoy her moment in the sun. Kanye’s idiocy sank to a new, no-class low and his stealing of the moment not only was theft from the rightful winner of the reward, he also stole the evening from Beyonce, who he thought he was championing–as she, in a graceful and sophisticated move, forfeited her own acceptance speech to allow Taylor to have her moment (if this is all sounding like code–google the Video Music Awards to see spoiled brat behavior taken to the extreme).

And where does Representative Joe Wilson get off shouting out during the President’s speech? Did you notice your job title? Representative?! Nobody wants to be represented by that crap. You can disagree with anything you want, but you cannot dismiss civility. He was clearly wanting to get the sniggering approval of his buddies nearby and a few playful punches in the arm as he forgot he wasn’t an eleven year old at a school assembly. His spotless professional judgment continues as he has begun signing autographs on photos of the moment of his outburst. Wow–sure–I trust you to make decisions.

Where is the penalty box in life? These folks need to spend some time there. Who has the dunce cap? These three heads are lined up to wear it and be put in the corner to be jeered at and laughed at. Sadly it’s a long, long line. Surely they didn’t have any foresight to see themselves on the other side of their in-the-moment actions, and how they would come out the other side looking like such spectacular asses.

Luckily, as an antidote to this epidemic of disrespect, there are beautiful, graceful examples of people reaching out in a way that is immensely respectful. The Care Through Touch Institute, led by Mary Ann Finch, provides massage, bodywork, healing, and empowerment for the poorest, often homeless people of San Francisco. Additionally there are life coaching, leadership skills building, meditation, art therapy–all provided in a safe, non-judgmental way in the Tenderloin.

Finch, who spent time working with Mother Teresa, said in a recent interview, “I want them to know that they’re valued, that they’re seen, because this is a population of people that are for the most part, unseen and untouched.” There are also international outreach programs for CTI–as well as plenty of volunteer opportunities…

Support programs and people who see respect as a basic human right, and need, and that not one person among us is undeserving of it. It makes us better, bigger people to reach out. Do you see an arena in your world where someone is being marginalized? How can you fill that hole and be a force for healing—an individual, a community, our society…?

http://www.carethroughtouch.org/volunteer/