The Path To Peace II
As I close my eyes and drift away to a land where there is love, health, blessings, and peace. I wanted to take the time to think and reflect. The truth is that these words have been taking a rest. Yet, the need to share them has finally arrived. As I take a moment, I reflect upon my previous thoughts, which were posted on September 11th 2016. These thoughts were taking a time to honor the hero's of the terrorist attacks that took place in New York - The Twin Towers and also The Pentagon - Washington DC. These thoughts were also asking the question: How can we as a nation, society, and world heal from wounds, with a sense of honoring that also incorporates remembrance.
As I reflect, I think that maybe there was some insensitivity upon my part to post divergent thoughts especially on the day of 9/11 anniversary. However, I was deeply anxious, full of tension. Watching National Football Players kneel down before an anthem, prior to 9/11 (and also on the day of) made me think about the deep tensions that are taking place within a nation. For individuals to kneel, during an anthem especially, in the realm of a public sphere where there will be publicity - highlighted, that these players are symbolic of a protest. Protesting a deep dis - satisfaction with a nation. These could be due to the shootings that take place and continue to take place. August recorded the bloodiest month for Chicago where there were at least 400 people shot and 72 homicides. These statistics are deeply shocking and disturbing. These shootings continue in other states.
For me it was not just the tensions that were conveyed through the kneeling of the flag / anthem protests. It was also the death of Greta Friedman that took place a day before the remembrance day of 9/11. It was deeply upsetting, because it happened before the anniversary of 9/11, and also because the photograph itself had a deep personal connection.
By all means, the words that I wrote in my previous thoughts do still hold true today. It is with these words I hope to clarify to my readers if there was any feeling of insensitivity conveyed. Nothing can substitute the loss of a loved one.
If we as a nation can stand united, in solidarity for the remembrance of the losses on one day, because of the terrorist attacks that took place by foreigners. Then what about the bloodshed, hate crimes, or violence that is taking part inside a nation? Why can't we put a stop to these? Why can we not all stand united to the hatred, and "terrorism" that is taking place in America?
As a nation we really have to think deeper. What are the values that the United States of America stands for? Are these values being upheld today? If they are so - then why are we seeing protests such as the kneeling of the anthem? I think that it is really a time for Government to put their differences aside, and take moments to reflect. Are you putting your own interests before the good of the people?
To touch upon my thoughts with regards to Eid - Ul Adha, also known as the sacrificial Eid, that marks the completion of the Hajj pilgrimage. This day also took place on the anniversary of 9/11. This to me really did invite the thought: The greatest sacrifice of Abraham fell upon the greatest sacrifice of the American people. This was of great spiritual significance. Abraham known as a prophet in the Islamic tradition and a forefather. also integral to the Christian and Jewish faith. Abraham's sacrifice signified the need to try to take steps to renew and rebuild relations through the idea of sacrifice.
As human beings we are always so entrenched in the idea of "how can I benefit from this? or what will I get out of this?" When we work from the mindset of "what can I give?" How can I give - do my small part to benefit others, we free ourselves from attachment. Also it is important to remember that we should not get so caught up in religious ideologies that we forget that we are all human beings.
Sacrifice is not just on the day of Eid, or any other day. It is a small constant act. It is not called upon special people. It is called upon everyone, at any level, or any position. Even a simple smile.
My thoughts to share with love & kindness! :)
Dedication: The words of this being are dedicated to all beings. They invite a question, invite your thinking? Do we need all this bloodshed? If foreign terrorism can spur so much hate, then what about what is happening within a nation? Is it not time to unite not just on one day, but everyday?
These thoughts were originally hand - written on September 21st 2016
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On 19th of September I attended my first ever hockey game with daughter. It was truly an honor to be present for our players. My visit was specifically designed as an invitation to foster good relations with Russia, as I was reminded that my first friend in Canada was Russian. Thank you to our fans and, players and supporters.
Scotia Bank - Fan Village 2016
On September 24th, 2016 we had the honor of visiting the Scotia Bank Fan Village. This was an amazing experience, truly giving to the fans of the World Cup Of Hockey.
There is truly beauty in imperfections.
No human being wants pity. Give a person a chance, that's all they need. Thank you to all our athletes, volunteers, officials and everyone who made the Rio 2106 Paralympic games a success. You have symbolized what it means when a world becomes united.
Thank you. :)
Thank You Rio - See You In Tokyo 2020 - We Love You!
The photos (Screen Shots) were taken from the Rio 2016 closing ceremony that was live streamed on You Tube.
During the Rio 2016 Paralympic games, on most days I tweeted which day it was of the games with the following message: Dear #Paralympics, you are our Olympians, we give you our heart! :)
From the years 2012 - 2014 I joined a committee called Access York, through York University, Toronto. My time here was of great value. I enjoyed sharing my ideas to improve access for persons with physical and invisible (dis) abilities. These could range from students being deaf, blind, wheel chair access, to mental / mind health challenges or learning impairments. This experience strengthed my thoughts, with regards to persons who require access:
We are all human beings, we just need a little bit more support and accommodating, that's all. Watching the Paralympics has really shown and proven that anyone can reach a goal.
Dear #Paralympics you are our Olympians we give you our heart! :)
Dedicated to all of the athletes and to the Iranian cyclist who tragically passed away on September 17th 2016. We honor you.
Forever In Our Hearts - 9 / 11 We Honor You.
As I close my eyes and drift away to a land where there is love, health, peace and blessings. I wanted to take a moment to think and reflect. The truth is that September 11th 2001 was a day of great sorrow for New York and America. The effects, deaths, and enormity of the terrorist attacks created a wound that not only jolted Americans, but also the world. Innocent lives that were going about their daily endeavors were lost. Families were broken and torn apart from this devastation. The lives that were lost, the hero's that sought to save lives, will and should always be honored.
As we continue to think of the enormity of these attacks, we can also think about the invasions that took place in Afghanistan, as the War on Terrorism was announced. The war took place to find the "culprits' of these deadly horrors. During this war many many more innocent lives and families were torn apart. The many American soldiers, and from other countries around the world were lost or wounded. They should always, always be honored.
As we continue to honor the lives lost with slogan such as "Never Forget". I begin to think about a family member who lost a child at a very young age. He was young. It has been many years since he passed away. Every day the mother visits his grave. She has not missed a day. Everyone should grieve death. We all cope differently. How do rituals such as visiting a grave yard everyday bring healing? Can a wound be healed if we are constantly reminded of the cut? Grieving is normal, however the grieving should take place in the realm of a certain time. Memories are never lost.
I think what about the life that we are living? What about the life that remains? Trauma, wounds, death happen. We cannot predict what will happen to us in life. How we re-connect back to life - back to living is what defines us.
In the same sense, I think about September 11th 2001. These attacks took place 15 years ago. The wounds and memories remain. Memories will always remain. However, as we continue to progress in a nation that is built upon its diversity, we have to begin to question - how do slogans such as "Never Forget" negatively impact those who are Muslim or of an ethnic origin? Is this slogan continuing to create tensions and divides within a nation, that should seek unity and think about the positive progression through it's diversity?
I think about myself, as I heard the news and watched the planes burst into the Twin Towers. I was a young new mother, busy with the little ones. To tell you the truth, I was quite new to Canada at the time as well. I was just adjusting to this new life, not knowing much also about the significance of the Twin Towers in New York. I just watched and was in shock.
Fast - forward to the present moment. Much has happened from then to now. Relationships, family, divides, tensions. The struggles, the rising and the adjustments. There have been hurts. However, I am glad that there are no hostilities in my heart.
In the same sense - As much as 9/11 has left a scar upon the hearts, I ask: Is it not time to turn a new page? Why not turn "Never Forget" it a memory of honor? Let us honor the memory of those that have fallen. Let us honor this memory to a hero's memory. As a nation united; a diverse nation that flourishes. Erasing the hostility, to transcend to the path of peace.
9/11 - we honor our hero's.
A thought to ponder:
This year 9/11 has fallen upon the time of the yearly pilgrimage of Hajj. From a spiritual perspective - is this a divine indication of hearts asking for healing?
Dedication: The words of this being are dedicated to our fallen heroes, their families, the ones who helped to save lives, all the support systems, an entire nation, an entire world. Our hero's - your memory we cherish. And to the innocent lives lost in Afghanistan - you too were innocent. - Our hero's we honor you.
My thoughts to share with love & kindness.
notes: These words were originally hand written on September 10th 2016.
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Congratulations to everyone who was honored today through the Hoop Hall and Hoop Class honors. May you accepts these honors, live, smile and be joyful each and everyday.
To those who were honored and are no longer with us. Your memory remains, you will always be loved.
Members who were honored:
The Class of 2016 inductees includes ABA superstar Zelmo Beaty, 27-year NBA referee Darell Garretson, 11-time NBA All-Star Allen Iverson, two-time NABC Coach of the Year Tom Izzo, the first African-American coach in a professional league John McLendon, three-time NBA Finals MVP Shaquille O’Neal, Early African American Pioneer Cumberland Posey, iconic Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, four-time WNBA Champion Sheryl Swoopes and global ambassador of the game Yao Ming.
2016 Inductees and Presenters
To learn more about the 2016 Enshrinement please refer to Basket Ball Hall of Fame Website.
As I close my eyes and drift away to a land where there is love, health, peace and blessings. I wanted to take the time to think and reflect. The truth is that I have been contemplating writing these thoughts for some time. However, I was unsure because I did not want to feel judged, or was worried about a bias towards me. Anyway, the blockage was there. I wasn't able to think about anything else. So I have decided to give my thoughts some meaning, rather than allowing them to wilt away.
Inclusion and equity are concepts that are very important to me. Not just because we have read about them during studies, or having experiences that have hurt,because these were encountered outside of the space of inclusion, but also because of seeing others. Being a witness to the suffering of others. Inclusion and equity are topics of importance. So let us begin with some working definitions:
"Inclusive." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.
"Human Rights." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.
Inclusion can be fostered at the level of the collective when we take these concepts, and apply them through our interactions. However, to foster an inclusive attitude at the level of the collective, we must first be able to create a mindset at the level of the individual, that honor's inclusion. If we have this at the level of the individual, then automatically we can live or work together with our family, and a working environment.
From an educators perspective:
I have often thought of the work of an educator to that of a philanthropist. As we are reaching out to a diverse audience each and every day, we must have the inclusive mindset that we want to foster, for our safe environment. We want students to feel safe, we want them to feel that they belong in the classroom, regardless of the "baggage" that they bring with them. For some students the classroom is where they meet their friends, form relationships, find mentors, and also teachers who love and care for them - unconditionally. As teachers, educators or, lead learners we must be fair and equal to all of our students. This includes racially and sexually diverse students.
As I begin to turn towards sexuality, my thoughts are turned back to an assembly that I attended. This assembly was to raise awareness of the LGBTQ community. At first the assembly was just describing the differences, which I was fine with. As the topic was explored deeply gender, biological sex, dress codes and also genitalia were discussed. As I listened to the speaker, I observed that a teacher actually left the assembly.
From the perspective of a teacher I think what I can say is that the administrators should have examined the content of this presentation before booking the speaker, that was taking place before Grade 7 - 9 students. From the perspective of a researcher, I was not happy with the depth of the content that was explored. I did not think that it was appropriate. Yes we can learn about human organs and their function, but do we need content that is almost a form of conditioning or social constructionist? I could go in to evolutionary or social psychology perspectives, but without deterring from the core of the topic: It is almost as though this new take on sex education is beginning to create a sub - culture, or manipulation. We have to be careful with young minds, especially when it comes to sexuality. Instead of showing them different ways of sexual expression, is it not better to teach inclusion for all?
As a parent, I feel that parents of students should have the power to opt their child out of assemblies of sex - education classes that go beyond what they would like their children to learn about. Yes, make it mandatory to teach inclusion, but mandatory to a curriculum that could potentially mold a sexuality, this is where my disagreement stems from. Can we as parent or educators accept this? When we know the effects upon the brain / mind?
At this point I would like to remind readers to continue to read whilst focusing on inclusion and belonging.
We have established that there is an LGBTQ community who's rights must be protected as equal citizen, we must also remember that heterosexuality is important. These are also relationships where human beings express their sexuality. They are also necessary for the purposes of natural reproduction. If schools are placing an emphasis upon mandatory curriculum with a focus on LGBTQ community, we must also remember heterosexuality. It is also important to note that students are learning new material everyday. Just because LGBTQ curriculum is new to them, it may also mean that heterosexuality is new to them as well. Also, just because technology is available, or drugs that can benefit reproduction or gender identity are availible - these also arrive with a cost. The financial costs, and also the psycho - social emotional costs. Not to mention the invisible stereotypes that arrive with class. It is easier to say "I am gay" when we have a certain financial status or certain skin colour. Being open will be easier. On the opposite end of the spectrum - being open about sexuality can be detrimental, which is why once again I place the emphasis on belonging and inclusion.
To conclude my thoughts I think back to the teacher who walked out of the assembly and ask: How do we as educators negotiate the work of teaching and learning to that of a philanthropist?
Instead of making sex education mandatory inoculation, why don't we place a higher emphasis upon belonging and inclusion?
How do we negotiate our personal values when we are in the realm of philanthropy without blurring the lines?
If you think about it; sex education itself can be a form of intrusion that dislocates from the space of inclusion, and belonging.
As we continue to celebrate LGBTQ community through pride parades and celebration. I think as movements become accepted why not move to parades that celebrate everyone regardless of sexuality? Do we need to parade sexuality to become accepted? Should a sexuality be paraded to be accepted? Our sexuality is honorable, it is part of who we are as human beings. It should never be thought of anything less, above all should be honored.
Dedication: The words of this being are dedicated to all beings. All life is precious and must be protected. They are also dedicated to Phyllis Schlafly, may you rest in peace, 1924 - 2016.
My thoughts to share with love & kindness. :)
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What Is At Stake?
As I close my eyes and drift away to a land where there is love, health, peace and blessings. I wanted to take the time to think and reflect. The truth is to gain access to what we are passionate about, is truly an honor and a privilege. It truly is. However, it is easy to forget the realization of what we are truly blessed with. As I listened to the Professors, and administrators at the orientation for the graduate program. I realized how lucky each and every one of us students are, to gain this opportunity. For us to be able to begin to explore our ideas, as a deeper level is quite special.
After taking the time to think about my thoughts above. I thought some more about having an idea, and how these should be taken seriously. The thoughts that turn into an idea must be taken seriously. Meaning that we ourselves have to realize the value of our self. The value of our idea. This is necessary if we want to actually see the idea progress. Not only should we take the idea seriously, but others should also be respectful about what we have to say, and vice - versa.
When we are in any institution, company, or organization where there are policies or procedures: As the artists, innovators, scientists, writers, poets who claim their artistry to inform a society - as thinkers we must too. We must push against these structures to further thought, to further progressions of a society. We must challenge what we are learning, and build on what we have learned. We must not be afraid of sharing our ideas.
This is why we need an intellectual space to be so profoundly safe. The space must be safe enough so that we feel that we can share our ideas as well as, have room for ideas of opposition. We must be able to metaphorically speaking "hold each other" in a way where everyone can feel safe, and share, without judgement.
When I say "must", "Should" my tone may appear to be rather rash. But think about it - What is at stake? The stakes are our freedom as thinkers, as artists, as musicians, as innovators. This is what is at stake. If we don't fight to keep our freedoms in tact, then how are we going to continue to evolve, continue to progress as families, communities, societies and nations?
As much as you will find those who are pushing against you, remember that we are also fighting the plights of the invisible boundaries. We are not here to attain anything in life. We are here to claim what we are truly passionate about. This is what is at stake. The Artistry Stakes.
Our thoughts, to invite and inspire. With Love & kindness. :)