Court sends message to Springfield Police: you CAN be found guilty of abuse!

It's not like the criminal injustice system is ever off-duty in Springfield, but sometimes it runs in the background; people don't say much and organizing falls off   But former police officer Jeffrey Asher kicked us into high gear in December of 2009, when he beat Melvin Jones to a pulp.  On Wednesday, Asher was found guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.  Sentencing will take place on March 28.  Here's a link to an excellent summary of the case by Buffy Spencer at the Republican.   The article reminded me that former DA Bill Bennett refused to convene a grand jury to investigate the conduct of officers in the Jones beating; victim Melvin Jones had to file an application for a criminal complaint himself.

It seems necessary to say here that most Springfield police don't go around assaulting members of the public with flashlights-- but also that no officers seem willing to speak out against misconduct by a fellow officer.  We saw that in play yesterday when Michael Ververis' lawyer, Luke Ryan, called officers to the stand to ask if it was unusual for a cellphone that might be a critical piece of evidence in the criminal case against Michael-- which very well might have exonerated Michael-- was released to the cellphone's owner without a sign-off by the DA.  Nothing to see here, move along.  I haven't heard a report back yet from Arise and Out Now members who were in court with Michael yesterday as to whether the judge agrees that this destruction of evidence-- a video of Michael's arrest which disappeared from the cellphone, apparently while in the evidence room -- is sufficient to dismiss charges against Michael.

Momentum is increasing in the case of Charles Wilhite.  From his website:

On September 17th, 2009, Charles Wilhite was arrested and interrogated as a murder suspect in the shooting death of Alberto Rodriguez that occurred on October 14th 2008. On December 6th, 2010, a jury delivered a guilty verdict against Charles Wilhite, for murder in the first degree, sentencing him to life imprisonment without parole.
As a community, we have significant concerns about the way the case was prosecuted and the way the verdict was reached:
  • There is no physical evidence linking Charles Wilhite to to the shooting.
  • The testimonies presented at trial were contradictory, including the initial testimony linking Charles to the shooting.
  • During the trial, one of the Commonwealth’s key witnesses recanted her testimony.
  • After the trial, another key witness, immunized for his testimony, recanted his statement, including his identification of Charles. He cites police intimidation as one reason for his falsehood.
  • Jury deliberation lasted only three hours, despite the need to examine over fifty exhibits.
Charles has not known freedom since September 2009. Charles pleaded his innocence then, as he does today, and will continue to do until he is freed.

The campaign to free Charles will kick off on March 3, noon, at Spring of Hope Church, 35 Alden St., Springfield.  The concerned community is urged to attend.  On Thursday, March 8,  Judge Peter Velis will hear the motion to discharge after jury to set aside Charles' guilty verdict.

Last but not least, we've simply got to mobilize against the proposed Three Strikes legislation.  Not only is the bill unnecessary (we already have a Habitual Offender law), not only will it cost the state a fortune, we have to remember that innocent people are convicted every day.  Tell the Governor, NO!

Heart of Darkness. Part I

A digression.

It's well known the JFK was a man who honoured his wedding vows in their breach. He was a notorious philanderer and the the passage of time seems to have exposed the majority of his lovers. Very few people, with the exception of hard core Democrats, think of him as the saintly knight of Camelot, and therefore Mimi Alford's biography, where she recounts her sexual liaisons with him, seems not to have changed people's opinion of him too much.

I quite surprised that none of the man-o-sphere has taken much interest in her story. With the exception of Sibling of Daedelus, who really isn't part of the manosphere, Ms Alford's story has flown under the radar, which is a shame, since the the book is a powerful exposition of the power of hypergamy, animal instinct and the dangers of "five minutes of alpha".

Were I American, I would be a Republican with all the anti-Democrat sentiments that it would engender. But I am a realist, and though the Kennedy administration was rotten to the core it possessed style in spades.  In front of me is a copy of Life's "In Camelot", and even now the administration possess a degree of glamour that with the passage of time has grown. Compared with the frumpiness of subsequent administrations, the Kennedy's were "Hot". I think people need to remember this when they read her biography. As a young nineteen year old virgin, unexpectedly summoned to work in the White House as an intern, Ms Alford (then Ms Beardsley) was keenly aware of the glamorous universe she was about to enter.  The center of that universe was JFK.

Ms Alford, has recounted her first experience with JFK on his wife's bed. What's interesting about the story is two things. Firstly, just how little effort JFK took in "seducing" her. He simply walked her to the bedroom under the pretext of a "house tour", walked her over to the bed, and started having sex with her; so powerful was his socio-sexual status. The entire "seduction" must have taken only seconds. People may think that it was his presidential status that conferred this power, but its hard to imagine Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter getting away with the same.

Secondly, in her description of the event, she describes an almost involuntary magnetic attraction and sense of powerlessness as he starts to have sex with her. The feminist harpies of the media have tried to reframe the event as a rape, but Ms Alford has been adamant that JFK would have stopped if she said no: The thing is that she didn't want to say no. Media depictions of the event tend to portray Ms Alford in a passive light during the incident, but in her book she's not so passive:
Then he reached up between my legs and started to pull off my underwear. I couldn't believe what was happening. But more: I could not believe what I did next. I finished unbuttoning my shirt dress and let if fall off my shoulders. [Ed] He pulled down his pants and then he was above me.
He paused briefly when he felt some physical resistance.
"Haven't you done this before?" he asked.
"No," I said.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"Yes," I said, and he resumed, but more gently.
"Are you okay?" he kept saying.
I nodded, propped up on my elbows.
Once things got going she was an active participant with the power to say no at any time. She was actively unbuttoning her shirt dress. Remember this was a nineteen year old virgin from a WASP'y family on the "Social Register" with a good upbringing; not some trailer trash. The whole story serves to illustrate the fact that a woman's sexual response to a suitable mate is unconscious; she goes into sexual autopilot. Such is the power of alpha.

The talk shows have apparently been full of stodgy wives who have reported that she should have said no the President, and I agree, but there for the grace of God go I. I imagine if I were nineteen, alone in a bedroom with Keira Knightley or Megan Fox and they started unzipping my trousers, I would have a very hard time saying no.  She was taken by surprise, her defences were down; it just happened.  I really can't blame her at all for what transpired and her failure of moral virtue. I think Kennedy was a bastard for doing what he did, especially when he found out she was a virgin. But he was so narcissistic that he didn't care, not that Ms Alford minded, it seemed to thrill her that the most powerful man in the world desired her. It intoxicated her.

No, where I find moral fault in Ms Alford is in what transpired later. After the shock of what had happened had worn off Ms Alford was not sure what to do. Her answer came some days later when she received a phone call inviting her  back for a swim with the president (i.e meaning sex). She correctly identified this a juncture in her life. She had a choice.  Had she refused she would have returned to a life of normalcy, missing out being part of "Camelot" with all its associated glamour, something she did not want to do. She wanted to be part of the "in crowd" and the price of that was spreading her legs. It was a price she was prepared to pay. By all accounts, with few exceptions she had a satisfying sexual time with the President. A time she does not appear to regret.

Being this is Lent, and I'm Catholic, I can't but see the similarities with the tempting of Christ by the Devil on the mount and Ms Alford's own temptation. Some men are tempted by power, some by money and others by the pleasures of the flesh; she was tempted by the Camelot glamour and of being the object of the presidents desire. On deeper reflection is a an appeal to her pride and it was a temptation she failed. For as the Master said, "What does it profit a man if he gains the world but loses his soul?"  In taking the path that she did, a part of her soul died and the consequences were to be felt for the years to come. I still don't think she realises how dead she is.

Under Construction

change is very important to everyone. its a sign of moving on. a sign of better things. although there's change for the worst: there's a bit of chance that its preparing you for the better, so inevitably change is good. i think its in a way you steer it; in a direction of where you want to this change to take you.

change: embrace it!

God Save L.A.

I think being a blonde I’m naturally drawn to neutral tones. This silvery/Pewter and white pant combo is one of my favourites, I literally feel I could go from work to lunch and then on to after work drinks wearing it. When I have the time I can also press the hems on these pants and then secret stitch them, that way they can be worn with lovely gold flats for that ‘chic lounge wear’ look. Usually the only accessory I need to accompany the outfit is a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand.

Shell Top / God Save L.A :  Pants / Sass & Bide : Shoes / Zu Shoes, The Iconic : Bracelet / Gifted from Beginning Boutique : Sunglasses / Topshop : Ring / Tiffany & Co

Photo's by Suzie

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Chilling with Vice talking about how music is such a great aspect of life. How it makes you feel in a way you can’t explain. How we know people like kid Fonque, wireless g, Leftoo, Kuriosoul & Gilles Peterson. These are some of very few names that got me open to a whole new world of music. Pleasure, in all its glory. Music we love you! ☺

THESIS Social Jam Sessions was inspired by such a vast range of music. Monthly we give a report back illustrating a new point of view about Soweto & a different kind of lifestyle. Change is undergoing at the Thesis Concept Store & for that all will be unveiled on 4 March 2012.

On the decks we got the finest Djs our ears can listen to. We have Trevor the Japanese, Khumza, Housecats & PlayKayStat. Tickling our funny bones is Jason Goliath. Band on stage is The Fridge. Do yourself a favour & come through. Bring your friends too & lets just chill out!!!

Our Place.

I've never been a "go out get loose" kind of girl. So over crowded places and excessively drunk people mixed with hot sweaty dance moves and over priced drinks never really goes down as a good night for me. Don't get me wrong, I love going out and I declare any weekend sitting at home doing nothing and not out and about, to be a boring one. I just like chilling where I can actually hear what my friends have to say, and I can make it to the bar with out someone party boying me or where they are playing music I can sing along to enthusiastically, instead of just bopping my head too. I was rather excited at the prospect of attending the launch of Brisbane's latest little hub  "Our Place" where the feeling is warming and homely and the idea is to sit around and chill like you would at home with friends and loved ones. The quirky touches make the difference, such as the make shift clothes line strung from the ceiling and the blend of rustic and vintage furniture that reminds of the same lounges you have previously spent time on when visiting your Nana. What really appealed though was the amazing band playing down stairs (may or may not have had a little jig with some friends to an acoustic version of Justin Timberlake) and the endless selection of ciders (lets face it - the latest craze since the widespread of Rekorderlig) and craft beers. These sort of places just make me so happy, and last Thursday nights opening was (safe to say) a great success.

P.S They were also playing Pulp Fiction and Billy Madison.. so awesome.

Next steps in fighting Three Stirkes legislation

 We had our panel on the Three Strikes legislation Thursday.  The more I learn about this legislation, the worse it gets.  Gov. Patrick proposed Three Strikes after the murder of a Woburn police officer, John Maguire, in December, 2010, by a parolee-- a parolee who still would have been released from prison even under the proposed bill.

 Patrick attempted to sweeten his harsh legislation by including two needed reforms: reducing school zone drug violations to 100 feet instead of 1,000 feet, and ending mandatory minimums for drug convictions.  But for all the harm this bill would do, it's not worth the trade-off.

I have rarely seen such a racist piece of legislation.  Only four white legislators had the guts to vote against this,  and it was voted against by every member of the Black and Latino legislative Caucus-- except for Springfield's Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera.
You can get all the info you need in this special edition of the Blackstonian-- or you can pick up a copy at the Arise office, 467 State St., Springfield.
Although this bill has tremendous momentum (it's an election year, after all), there is still a strategy to kill it.  First, massive numbers of calls to the Governor's office, telling him to veto the bill and send a message back to the Legislature that he will not sign anything that does not include school zone and mandatory minimum drug sentencing reform.  Then, real pressure on our legislators to rethink their support for the bill.  If Patrick will do what we ask, chances are good that the bill will die before the end of the Legislative session.
A rally is planned at the State House on Thursday, March 15.  You can reserve a free seat by calling EPOCA at (508) 410-7676 or / (617) 606-3580.  If you want to go as part of an Arise contingent, call Ruben at 734-4948.
A statewide network of community organizations and supporters will be holding a major demonstration and lobby day in opposition to the 3-strikes bill being considered at the State House.  The rally will highlight a diverse group of speakers who will warn of the economic and social consequences of these regressive criminal justice policies.
State House Steps (Beacon St.)
The Rally and speaking portion will run between 11-12pm.  Between 12-1pm, participants will visit the offices of legislators and deliver signed advocacy cards.  The goal for the action is to show the breadth
of opposition to the misguided policies and add power and media attention to the resistance effort.
We are calling on our allies to join the growing movement against 3-Strikes.  Please complete the endorsement form by following and completing this link:

More resources from the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition:

THESIS x 5 Roses Superbowl

Molofo cultural bowl situated in Mofolo, Soweto! Is remembered as far as the 1970’s. A great place to have existed in the hearts of all Sowetans. SA: you know about it. World: you know about it too. Named after legendary poet, writer & author: Thomas Mofolo. 5 roses got into the mix & gave the bowl a refreshing feeling. Hence now we all call it 5 Roses Superbowl. It was made for funerals, conferences, weddings & festivals. It had a little lake running behind it, giving it that warm feeling of a festival. And it was perfect for festivals. It had a little Centre & offices where youth & community development was exercised on a daily basis. The history is rich with local & abroad artists preforming to thousands of people. We’ll miss the original structure, art & culture has promised a come back. I bet its even going to be better than before.

THESIS did a tribute to 5 Roses superbowl. Its part of our heritage & it’s a landmark for Mofolo. Just like the Thesis Concept Store. Crossing our fingers for a modern, fresh & innovative structure to be built. Hope your eyes enjoy!

Police brutality: Jeffrey Asher finally on trial-- and don't forget Michael Ververis!

Ellen, Holly and Dan dashed off to Chicopee District Court for the first day of former Springfield  police officer Jeffrey Asher's trial yesterday.  He's charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon against Melvin Jones.

Getting police accountability in Springfield is a battle many activists, including Arise and the NAACP, have been working on for years.  Last year Ward Four City Councilor E. Henry Twiggs held public hearings in an attempt to change the form of police oversight to a police commission or a civilian review board, only to be stymied by the terms of Police Commissioner Fitchett's contract.

Last year, Michael Ververis was beaten by the Springfield police but of course at the moment, all of the charges are against Michael.  this Monday, Arise members will gather at 8:45 am. at Springfield District Court for a short solidarity stand-out, and at 9 am., we'll watch the motions to dismiss that Michael's lawyer, Luke Ryan, has filed.  Turn up and support Michael!  Here's his website, Justice for Michael.

  Following  are some of Holly's observations and a link to Buffy Spencer's coverage for the Republican.

so, i was there for the tail end of the questioning of the woman who released the cell phone video tape...dan said she had been in sheer panic prior to testifying - though she did it.  i think it went ok.  then melvin jones came (after a court break).  the da's attorney went through all of her questions to him.  then for the defense....that lawyer (older white man, whose name i do not know)....was just like a gross lawyer would be trying to win his case.  went through every single solitary past crime (one by one, and unfortunately there were many) of melvin's. then focused a lot on melvin's attempting to run, and his "not remembering" things (because his head was bashed in) - and the lawyer kept on with, the questions like --- so, you don't remember kicking at the officer?"  so, you don't remember attempting to grab at the officer.."  etc....then there were a ton of objections and calling of the lawyers to the judges bench (which i don't know enough of the law to know what it was all about), and then lunch break- at which time dan and i had to leave.  melvin continued thereafter. 

it was, though, the truest display of the racist prison industrial complex so much in front of us - an all white jury (of melvin's 'peers'); all white lawyers- on both sides, from the DA's office to the defense; white judge; and then the all white press surrounding them all.  yikes is about all one can say...

dan and i are going to hold signs at 8:30 am tomorrow if anyone wants to join us.

Pantry Pretty: Dollar Store Pantry Makeover

After my first visit to Trader Joe's a couple of weeks ago (seriously, how can we NOT have this in Canada- the place is INSANE!) I realized that I needed to up the ante on my pantry prettiness. The vintage graphics and nostalgic packaging of many of Trader Joe's house brands just filled me with complete and utter glee. I even left the bag of flour on my counter for a good two weeks just so I could stare at it while I was cooking. So, at that I decided to redesign my pantry labels and pick up some more containers and get this pantry (aka just a cupboard since I don't have a pantry) into shape.

First things first, I needed more containers. After the onslaught of "Pinterest Pantries" out there, I made it my mission to find affordable containers. Considering the ones I wanted cost $20 A PIECE, and I needed a lot. So if I were to buy the 20 large containers I wanted at $20 each and the 20 small containers I wanted at $10 each, this pantry would have cost me $600. Goodness gracious!

Instead, I headed to the dollar store (Dollorama to be precise) and here is the cost break down:

8 xVintage Looking Square Glass Containers $1.50 each = $12
6 x Large Plastic Bulk Containers $2.00 each: $12
6 x Glass Round Containers $2.00 each: $12
20 x Clear plastic "disposable" containers $2 for 10 = $4
4 x White Plastic Baskets $2 Each: $8
Total Cost: $48

Not bad, hey? Of course, I think the labels really help make it (if I do say so myself!). I ended up printing out a gazillion of them for everything I could think of to label. I even labeled the canisters I keep on my counters because they are just so pretty. I LOVE the white baskets. I've put them in my fridge as well, and in person they are sturdy and clean and modern looking and definitely not "dollar storey".

I'm not going to lie, sometimes I walk over to the kitchen and open up the cabinet and just stare... and smile. That's what organization should feel like, right? Well, let's just say I'm certainly inspired to continue the label love throughout my entire home...

These plastic lunch containers above are not the best quality around... at all. They do crack sometimes... they aren't super seal proof so not sure I would ever use them for wet stuff, but at 20 cents a piece, I can afford to replace them when the kick the bucket. And they've held out for me for a couple of months already. That being said, when I find something better (but same sort of profile) I will likely upgrade.

The baskets that I used in the fridge are amazing! Why have I yet to think of something so simple? All those bits of cheese and containers of feta and chevre, well, they now have a place! Leftovers, you know where you go! So simple yet so genius. And they don't cost a fortune like other fridge inserts I've seen.

And to finish it all off, they even look pretty on the counter (especially framed by my new bianco marble backsplash- that I scored for $2/square foot instead of the $30 retail price per square foot- but that is a story for another day!).

UPDATE: Thanks to all stopping by from iHeartOrganizing or a linky party! I have some follow up posts I'm planning on getting to this week, including how to laminate labels yourself (no fancy equipment required!), other areas of my home that I've organized with my labels, and an updated house tour with project info. In the meantime, here are some answers to some common questions I've got on here as well as on iHeart Organizing.

Where can you get these labels? Well, Jen at iHO was kind of enough to put these up (I seriously couldn't for the life of me figure out how to create a direct link to allow you to download the labels). There are 2 versions (long/low and square) and they are generic, meaning hopefully you use some of these things in your own cupboards!

Rectangular Labels
Square Labels

If you want custom ones, I blew the dust off my old etsy shop and put up some new listings. You can visit The Paper Society on etsy here or go check out my facebook page for some unlisted label designs. I'm always open to designing new things so feel free to contact me if you have an idea of what you want but can't seem to find what you're looking for.

How do you print these babies? On paper. Haha. Actually, any paper you like will do (well, not computer paper!) but I recommend mailing labels. Weatherproof ones are much more durable, so go for those. You can also just print on a thick cardstock and use as is, or laminate for extra durability (post to come!)!

About the containers? Yes, these are all from a dollar store in Canada, but shop around a bit and I'm sure you can find something similar in the US!

Is that a clock on the counter? Yes, yes it is! I got it at an interior design warehouse sale for $10.

Why are all of your posts a year old (other that this one?) Okay, this wasn't really a question I got, but felt the need to address it. Because I'm a poor excuse for a blogger. I finally figured out how to sort of use my camera, so hopefully I'll get some good DIY posts up sometimes soon.

Linking up with: A Thoughtful Place

Winter (?) photos from Arise

On December 21st, we honored homeless people that had died in the past year.  Two dozen of us gathered at the condemned River Inn with Rev. Charla Kouadio.  "Pray for the dead, fight like hell for the living."  Mother Jones.

Our quasi-homeless cat, Pretty Girl as we call her, Hobo as the guy upstairs calls her, so sometimes she is P.G. Hobo, has, in three months,  gone from keeping her wary distance to running over to our cars when we pull into the parking lot in the morning. The way to a cat's heart.....  

Ruben made a rainstick as a raffle prize for our Black History Month potluck.  His artwork is fantastic and his next rainstick will be even better.  A beautiful sound.....

Stuff like this keeps us going

We've been organizing around an issue that is important to the community and that also affects a local family.  Yesterday Holly got an email from one of the family members, which I'm sharing here.  We don't do our organizing so we can get accolades, but wow, it's nice to be appreciated every now and then.

Hope you're well. I've been thinking about you guys lately and I talk about you all the time to my friends, you all inspire me. You stand up for what's right and fight for it. Most people when they see something bad happen they feel bad but don't want to get involved, they stand on the side lines or maybe even walk away and turn their back on it. Not you guys you get right in there and speak up and protest until the right thing is done. It's people like you that have made this country great if it wasn't for people like you there would still be black slaves,women with no rights, and so on and so on. You guys are amazing and my heroes!   I want to be just like you!

Photo from Cheerytomato's photostream at Flickr.

Observations on American Women.

During my trip the U.S., a person who frequently came to mind was Roosh V.  I often found his observations of America and the American sexes similar to my own.

I'd planned to do these series of posts whilst on the trip but  I'd often wonder  how to convey to Americans the difference between them and the rest of the world without appearing to be either snarky or ill informed.  I came to the conclusion that most people would impute bad motive to me and so my advice to Americans is for them to travel, something that Roosh V advocates.  Nothing beats first hand experience.

Still, I'd thought I make a couple of comments the men and women of America as they appeared to me.

Firstly, a bit about my standards. I evaluate women on two parameters, both physical beauty and that essence which we call femininity. In order for me to find a woman attractive she must possess both features. Sure, if your standard is "bangability" then your standard is different to mine and its a standard that America can cater to. On the other hand, if your standard is feminine beauty then you've got a real problem in the U.S. It case of Pamela Anderson vs Audrey Hepburn: America has lots of Pamela Andersons.

When making generalisations about a culture, what a man is concerned about is the both median and standard deviation of the societal parameter in question.  Aspergy types tend to forget this and tend to emphasise  exceptions in an attempt to disprove the rule. Still generalisations are to sociological observations what the median is to statistical measures; a valid measure. Exceptions do not render them invalid. To me at least America has a reasonable amount of "bangable" women but very few feminine ones. Compared to Europe, where a man can honestly get whiplash from some amazingly beautiful and graceful women, American women were, well....... meh. American women are comparable to Australian ones in physical beauty but are less feminine.  To quote my wife, there is a "butchiness" about them that you don't see anywhere else I have traveled.  Even in that bastion of prolification, England, there large pockets where a man could find both femininity if not beauty,  in the U.S. femininity was rare. ( Note, do not confuse feminine beauty with moral virtue). The problem was least evident in the South, but compared to global standards, U.S women are in a class of their own. Even German women appeared more feminine.  It's not that the American women weren't well mannered, it just that they weren't "girly".

I've often thought the Roissy's criticism of the over-forty-year-old's was a bit harsh, but after coming back from the U.S. I think his opinions justified. In Las Vegas, for example, nearly every stylish woman I observed who appeared over forty, was both thin and spoke with a foreign accent.  Most of the older local women looked tired and seemed to have given up on trying to be attractive. Strangely enough though, quite a few of the older women (over 60's) I met, particularly in the South, still managed to maintain a significant degree of grace and femininity. It would appear that the failure of femininity in the U.S. seems to have begun in the generation that come of age in the mid 70's.

There were some notable exceptions however.  Whilst most coloured women were just like the rest there was a small but significant portion of them who were surprisingly feminine, elegant and graceful. The best dressed black women blew the white women away in both grace and style.

Sibangani Ncube #RunsJozi

A chance to associate with Nike was never on my mind, especially through running. Which is something I do to benefit myself. Being a friend of Nike has installed in me confidence and has made me more comfortable running in my environment. Wednesdays have become half day for me at work as I have to make way to Rosebank for the once a week Nike Run Club starting at 17:30.

Thesis Concept Store in Soweto being my everyday zone means #RunJozi will be removed from reminders on my phone. This is because there is a pretty cool painted wall you can't go without noticing just outside Thesis. For me it will be a constant reminder as it is the first thing I spot when I get off the taxi, walk to the shop and that's always been my favorite space to take random pictures.

#RunJozi is to be the greatest experience in my relationship with Nike. For me its not about being number 1 but seeing Jozi people [especially the youth] come out to take part in such positive event. People have a chance to run through Jozi , have fun, network and take back the city. Unless they never had it. I'm hoping to see you there.

Mother Tongue Day

Today, February 21, 2012, is International Mother Language Day, or Mother Tongue Day, first observed by the international community in 2000. 
5 Things You Can Do to Observe Mother Language Day:
1.  Send an audio postcard in five Native American languages at to introduce others to America's first languages via email or Facebook.  Speakers and learners at the Alutiiq, Crow, Eastern Cherokee, Lakota, Navajo (Diné)and Yuchi (Euchee) language programs offer beautiful images of cultural events and practices dependent on future generations speaking today's endangered tribal languages.  Show your support, thank your speaker mentor, or just help spread the word about Native language endangerment in the Americas. 
2.  Help language advocates in Wisconsin reach their goal of 20,000 signatures!  Sign the petition in support of a 7th grade student from the Menominee Nation in Wisconsin who was punished by teachers and coaches at her parochial school for "attitude problems" after teaching a fellow Menominee students how to say "hello " and "I love you" in the Menominee language, an endangered tongue spoken in North America for thousands of years. Learn more.
3.  Watch scenes from WE STILL LIVE HERE (Âs Nutayuneân), celebrate the power of dreams, "leaving children possibilities," and meet the nearly twenty year-old Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project, which is "bringing language home" to the Wampanoag Nation of southeastern Massachusetts after many generations passed without fluent speakers.  Order copies of the film for personal, institutional, or activist use at Makepeace Productions, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting WLRP.  Read more. 
4.  Watch extended scenes from Kanien'kehá:ka:Living the Language at Our Mot her Tongues, to witness how one of the oldest tribal language schools in North America links classroom, home-based, and ceremonial education in a Mohawk community spanning the U.S.-Canada border in upstate New York. Then visit Mushkeg Media to purchase the  language revitalization film profiling the Akwesasne Freedom School, and explore several seasons of the international television series Finding Our Talk: A Journey Through Aboriginal Languages, featuring Mi'gmaq, Mohawk, Algonquin, Huron, Attikemekw, Innu, Cree, Inuktitut, Ojibway, Michif, Saulteaux, and Sencofen tribal communities and many more.    
5.  Connect the dots. Value all languages and participate in language learning.  "I think people are passionate about language because it's about sovereignty and nationhood," says Ojibwe scholar and historian, Jean O'Brien, author of Dispossession by Degrees: Indian Land and Identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650-1790. "A language is not just words," says scholar Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. "It's a culture, a tradition, a unification of community all rolled into one."  Visit Cultural Survival's and Makepeace Productions' companion website to WE STILL LIVE HERE,, to hear more from Drs. Chomsky and O'Brien, and to hear community leader Earl Mills, Sr., in Why Learn Your Mother Tongue?  video clips. Also look for additional Found in Translation video clips about the precision of the Navajo language in describing positions of the moon, and meet a young family intent on restoring the chain of language transmission, connecting a grandmother and grandson through the educational opportunities available at the Tséhootsooí Diné Bi'ólta' Immersion School in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

Byron Cherry.

Having always lived approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Byron Bay, I have never had a reasonable excuse for not going. I've heard people bang on about how great it is, so I figured it was about time I did something about been one of the only people amongst my friends and colleagues who had never been. Without much planning I booked what I could find and we headed down South for a little weekend getaway. Minus the unbelievable amounts of young teens and oddly smelling backpackers, I rather enjoyed the whole experience. By far some of the best beaches I have ever seen (and that's a big deal coming from what is considered the sunshine state) and some amazing scenery to go with them. There is nothing better then when the trees meet the water. Some exceptional dinning and food options, just to name one in particular, The Balcony Bar & Dinning is now going on my top 20 list of places I have dined in Australia and is a must do in Byron (there is a reason why it's booked out on Saturday nights). So if you are like me and have never bothered to venture as far as the QLD boarders, or you from far away lands looking for the true Australian experience. Make sure you put Byron Bay on your list of things to-do. We were very happy campers to say the least. 

For more pictures from my weekend adventure and much more, please follow me on instagram @socialemissions. I'm a serial instagrammer now and I never miss a moment to upload what's happening around me. 

All photo's and editing by Social Emissions

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