Friday, October 31, 2014

Comfortable

Before I plug the Jubilee Project video that they just released, I want to tell you what an important subject I think this is.  Too often we are led by media into thinking that some of us are just not all that good looking and that maybe some cosmetic surgery would be in order.  How comfortable are YOU in your body?  Is there anything YOU would change?  Think about it for a moment.
 
I love the Jubilee Project because they tackle some really important issues and they help to make us think.  They also urge us to do good things and to make a difference.(Pretty much the same as we do here, huh?  Perhaps that's why I like them).  There have been numerous blog entries here about these guys and their videos - I've been writing about them since their very beginning.  This morning I won't go back and repeat myself, but for those who haven't heard of them before, go to their website at http://jubileeproject.org/ and to view this latest video, click HERE.
 
Now from time to time I have glanced at the comments under some of their videos on youtube and am a bit shocked to see negative responses.  Already for this new video there are a number of critical messages posted.  I think one important thing to remember is that whether you agree with the message or the end result, it is the spotlight on a subject that we should zoom in on.  The Jubilee Project makes videos that raise awareness.  In the case of this new video, it's about our own beauty and how comfortable we are with our own bodies.  The Jubilee Project set up cameras and then asked one simple question.  Whether you agree with the answers or even with the premise, think about it yourself for just a few minutes.  Was there ever a time when you thought your nose was too big or maybe your breasts too small?  Did you ever regret the color of your eyes or the fullness of your cheeks?
 
There will always be Negative Nellys out there and while I will continue to push for positive attitudes, I know I won't always be successful.  That I am not alone is a very comforting feeling.  In fact, that the Jubilee Project keeps on going is a wonderful feeling!  Thanks guys for encouraging us and for opening our minds up to think.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The triduum of Allhallowtide

Just the mention of the triduum of Allhallowtide probably has you scratching your head, but that is what is coming up beginning tomorrow. We first have Halloween, then All Saints' Day, and finally All Souls' Day. This started out as a Christian observance. These days, while there is certainly still a Christian celebration of All Saints, the rest has become very commercialized and secularized.
 
Remembering the dead, especially our own family members, is a wonderful part of the three day observance.  This particularly gets attention on the last of the three days.  Many Catholic and Anglican churches will have special masses on All Souls' Day to pray for the departed.
 
Halloween gets the most attention of course.  Here in San Francisco, it is practically an actual holiday!  People dress up in costumes and attend parties and it isn't just for the kids anymore! Oh and don't be surprised to find traditional foods like potato pancakes, caramel apples, colcannon (a traditional Irish dish made of mashed potatoes and kale), cider, popcorn balls, and soul cakes.  There are numerous Halloween customs and trick-or-treating (going door to door in costume and asking for candy "treats") is probably the best known.

As you probably have heard a million times by now, the San Francisco Giants last night won their third World Series trophy, and even though it has nothing at all to do with the Allhallowtide triduum, there will be big celebrations for that tomorrow as well, including a festive parade with all of the ball players.  It may be hard to tell if the orange and black is for the Giants or for Halloween, but it really won't matter.

I could easily go on and on about the many associated traditions for these upcoming three days, but why not look into it a bit yourself?  Oh and whatever you do, but safe and have a positive experience.  I'll see you on Monday as I finish my packing!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

good

The world is full of good. I know that sometimes it's very hard to believe that, but despite all the train wrecks and earthquakes and gang shoot outs, and despite all the prejudice and hate crimes and negativity, there are still some marvelous things happening out there.

Now don't get me wrong.  I don't walk around with blinders on and I don't think everything is wonderful.  I do think that everything should be wonderful and I do think that if we all work at it we can make some wonderful changes for the better.  I've been saying that here for years!

Just this morning while I was drinking my coffee, I read about a school program that a student began and which will help many impoverished people. Ellen's talk show gave me another example the other afternoon. That one, about a teacher, really warmed my heart.  I am privileged to know a number of people who are always doing fundraisers for charity or who are volunteer for this cause or that.  Yes, we can always use more, but don't lose sight of what is already out there.
 
Have you some particular examples of good you would like to share with us?  I'd love to hear some stories that we might not otherwise hear.  Please add your own examples of good in the comments below. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ripples from the other side of the world

Wherever you are in this world, you can make a difference! Today, I want to tell you some stories from Singapore because I was very moved by them myself. Singapore is a very young and diverse country with many languages, religions, and cultures. Although English is commonly spoken, so are Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and a number of other Chinese dialects, including Hokkien, Teochew, and Cantonese. The video I want you to see is in English. Click HERE to watch.
 
I love seeing programs where folks do good things for others.  If you noticed at the end of the video, there was a link to an organization in Singapore called Care and Share, a national fund-raising and volunteerism movement led by Community Chest.  There are some heartwarming stories on the Community Chest website at http://www.comchest.org.sg that I hope you will check out.  There is also more about Care and Share HERE.  Share this with your friends too (especially on twitter or facebook).
 
If you are just reading along and did not watch the video I mentioned above, I urge you to go back and take a look at it.  In it, a family struggles to pay for their purchases. A young man is reminded then of his childhood and does something quite remarkable.  Watching it warmed my heart.  It's right HERE - you can have your heart warmed too!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Whatever happened to Susan Spotless?

More and more I am discovering trash cans blocking sidewalks and litter all over, when I head out on my morning walks.  Before the sun was even up this morning, I ventured down a neighborhood alley that had so much trash on the ground that I turned around and went a different way.  Whatever happened to Susan Spotless?
 
A Keep America Beautiful campaign back in 1964 featured the character Susan Spotless and for some reason I can still hear her voice.  I actually dug up and old public service announcement featuring Susan Spotless HERE.  Check it out!
 
Litter is not a new problem.  That's proof.  It wasn't new in 1964 either.  Somehow people keep forgetting though.  We can ALL do something about this one.  Let's keep our neighborhoods, our cities, and our country beautiful so that everyone can enjoy the natural attractiveness of our world!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Dr King said

I'm sure you know that The Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was a very wise leader who is often quoted. I thought on this Tuesday I would give you a very simple post here, using the words of this great man.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

By the way, this is one of my favorite quotes of all time.  Think about it as you go through your day.  If you are a particular fan of Dr King, you might also like "Thou, Dear God": Prayers That Open Hearts and Spirits Collection of Dr. King's prayers. (2011), edited by Dr Lewis Baldwin.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

mouth watering holiday meals

Thanksgiving and Christmas and a number of other celebrations make your mouth water during that month or so beginning at the end of November.  Think of those office holiday parties or that banquet to celebrate the New Year.  Of course the biggest feast of the year is usually on Thanksgiving Day.  Turkey and potatoes and stuffing and cranberry sauce and maybe even some pumpkin pie!  Yum! 
 
Now picture yourself just barely able to make ends meet or perhaps not making it at all and going without meals more often than not.  Those mouth-watering holiday meals might not even be on your radar.  It would be lovely to have such a feast, but not everyone can afford it.  Well, here is an opportunity for those who have, to help those who don't have.  During the next month or so, many places set up canned food drives or special collections for holiday meals.  In addition, there are many places that serve special holiday meals for those in need.
 
Here in San Francisco places like Glide Memorial and Tenderloin Tessie's are known for stepping up at this time of year.  Other organizations are doing things too.  The Northern California Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is partnering with SF-Marin Food Bank to donate turkeys to families in need. Each individual who fundraises $250 between November 18-23 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, will have a turkey donated in their name to SF-Marin Food Bank.  (You don't have to donate the whole $250, if you donate on my fundraising page and I can raise that amount from all of my donors, a turkey will be given!  Click HERE to help).
 
In just a few days I am moving to a new community and I already know that the local Catholic church is doing something for Thanksgiving.  There are events just about everywhere.  If there isn't something already where you live, why not start one?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

They say the neon lights are bright

I can almost hear George Benson singing. "They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway. They say there's always magic in the air." Magic indeed!  How about the bright lights of Las Vegas?  For that matter, check out this picture from San Francisco.  The lights of The Castro can be pretty bright and we KNOW that magic is in the air around here!
 
And my point?  Well I could make a number of them and one might be that bright lights can bring the darkness of night into a magical party!  how about that?  Sing a song about wherever you are though my friends.  There can always be magic in the air, if we allow it.  There are dark days for all of us to be sure, but gloom and doom never puts a smile on your face.  Turn on the lights of your life and celebrate!
 
I say the neon lights are bright whenever we decide that happiness is going to win!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Arrow to the sky

I'll admit it.  I am prejudiced.  I happen to think San Francisco is the most wonderful city in the world!  I also like our skyline.  It's distinctive, but not cluttered (yet).  There is something special too about the Transamerica Building.  For me, the pointy triangle seems to be an arrow pointed at the sky.
 
I'm a happy upbeat guy and even though this blog is NOT about me, I just had to mention that I tend to be optimistic about most things.  Somehow the Transamerica Pyramid helps with that.  I recall the times my mom and I walked around downtown San Francisco and every time we would catch a glimpse of the Pyramid Building we would burst into singing "See the pyramids along the Nile."  That building pointing straight up though just seems to be saying keep getting better and keep going up!  It's encouragement from a building.
 
Oh you might be thinking I have gone crazy, but look around you.  The should be encouraging things everywhere.  This is just one of many.  It's easier to point out because it is more obvious.  We all have our own arrow to the sky though pointing us in the best directions.  What are yours?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Walking across the country for equality

One of the most incredible people I have ever met is Helene de Boissiere-Swanson, Founder of Katrina's Dream. There are so many things that make Helene the amazing woman that she is. I suppose the top of that list is love. I never have met anyone who is so full of love. I haven't known her for that many years, so I don't know how much might have come from her late husband or from her in-laws. I do know that the entire family is one where love has always been present.

I first met Helene's father-in-law, Father George Swanson, an Episcopal priest serving in New England, many years ago. Father George's late wife Katrina, was also an Episcopal priest. In fact, as one of the Philadelphia 11, she was one of the very first women to be a priest in the Episcopal Church back in 1974. So perfect too for her to be among the first because justice and equality were so important to her. When I met George and Katrina's son William, I could see immediately that he was from that family. He was full of love and commitment. Meeting William's wife Helene was an almost magical moment. The passion and the love were so visible! After Katrina's death from cancer, her husband with son William and daughter-in-law Helene founded Katrina's Dream.

Now I could spend a lot of time telling you amazing things about Katrina's Dream and about things that all three of them have done. I could tell you about Olof’s Brothers’ Love Feast and some truly inspiring things in Sausalito, California. There are many stories to tell though and I want to get back to Helene, so please check out some of the facts yourself by visiting the Katrina's Dream website at http://www.katrinasdream.org/ and consider making a donation to them too (which you can do through the website).

Last year there was sadness once again when William died in an accident, leaving Helene with the whole weight of an equality mission that she had been working on since long ago conversations with Katrina. Father George Swanson is in advanced years living on the East Coast, and still cares deeply about their mission too, but isn't physically able to do as much as he once did. Now Helene seems to be superwoman! Nothing slows her down and she certainly has had some obstacles in her way. She has also had a lot of supporters. Right now she is walking across the country!

Some people might not realize it, but the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was never passed! On March 8, 2014 Helene launched her cross country pilgrimage for the ERA on International Women’s Day with a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Since then she has been going from town to town and from church to church and politician to politician and an effort to FINALLY get the ERA passed.

If you would like to give her a hand (and there are a number of ways you can do that), click HERE.  You can also follow her remarkable journey at http://deboissiere.wordpress.com/

Friday, October 17, 2014

an abundance of things to write about

There is an abundance of things to write about these days. I suppose I should simply pick one thing and go with it, but I can be a bit difficult when I see so many wonderful things happening. I want to tell you more about Dan Choi's exciting energy and his plans for the future and I want to tell you the very latest about marriage equality where there seems to be new information every single day and I want to write more about many people who are making a difference every day like a woman who is walking all the way across the United States to promote the Equal Rights Amendment.  That is just a tiny bit of the huge amount of things I want to say.
 
I'm a pretty optimistic person.  I'm very sure the San Francisco Giants are again headed to the World Series, for example.  Still, there are times when the negativity in our world can be not only depressing, but almost overwhelming.  The situation in Hong Kong and the Ebola outbreak and the continued fighting in the Middle East and the hate crimes that keep being committed are all very depressing.  "Where is the good in this world?" some might ask.  Well right now I am seeing an abundance of it, and that makes me very happy.  Some of the things I want to comment on might be days away, but I'll get to them.  In the mean time, help us out by commenting on some of the good news in our comments section below.
 
There really is such an abundance of wonderful good things happening right now here locally and around the world.  That is so very encouraging!  Go out and do some wonderful things yourself and maybe I'll write something here about you too!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

When Life Gives You Lemons

The other day I saw a story on one of the morning tv shows about two boys running a lemonade stand to raise money so that one of them could buy a dog. His mom had promised that if he could earn $500, the dog would be his. Enlisting the help of his friend, they were on their way and apparently having a fun time doing it too. Then they were robbed.
 
Now if you think the story ends there, you are wrong.  I could be getting ready to tell you about how mean it was to steal from these two kids who were trying to so something positive with their lives, but I'm sure you all agree with that anyway.  I could tell you about the search for the thief, but I don't know any details on that at all.  I'll just continue to tell you how the story unfolded, because it is quite inspiring.  The boys didn't give up.  In fact they re-opened their stand!
 
When word got out that they had been robbed, people came in increasing numbers to buy lemonade and tipped heavily.  A local bookstore owner gave them a copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid with $15 enclosed and a note saying, “Please don’t lose faith in people.”  Oh and then (it keeps getting better folks) the author of that book Jeff Kinney heard all about the boy's story, and video-chatted with them, telling them to not give up, and he gave them $150 towards the new dog.  In the end the almost made enough.  Almost.
 
Don't worry.  There is a good ending here.  It seems that another neighbor gave them a dog!  Now they have money to help take care of their new pet and they have learned a good lesson too.  While there indeed are bad folks in this world, there is also a lot of good!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

G is for Gullicksen

You might have thought from his thick Boston accent that Ted Gullicksen, leader of the San Francisco Tenants Union, was an outsider, but you would be so wrong. Although this was not the place of his birth, San Francisco very quickly became a place he loved and a place that loved him. As news came late yesterday of his unexpected death, great sadness came too in this place he has called home for the past 30 years. 
 
With his little dog Falcor, you would see him at meetings and protests in support of tenants rights and working hard on campaigns like Proposition G.  Ted was an organizer and a leader and he was so skilled that even those who disagreed with him, respected him.
 
Urging voters to Yes on PROP G  and stop the Ellis Act evictions was the big thing Ted was working on when his life ended yesterday.  Even though the letters assigned to propositions are assigned in order and have nothing at all to do with the subject matter, it seems somehow appropriate that Ted Gullicksen's last campaign should be Proposition G.  That G could easily stand for Gullicksen.  There will be news reports and testimonials today about Ted and likely there will be some memorials in the days ahead.  He will deserve all of the praise because he was truly a hero, but the best tribute we can give him is an overwhelming passage of Prop G.
 
Rest in peace Ted.  Nobody will evict you from heaven.  Thanks for fighting for the little guy and for all of your love.
 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Your thoughts on Hong Kong

It has been a huge news story, and I've written about it a number of times here, yet I haven't heard a single comment from you. On facebook at twitter there is a lot of chatter and many people have changed their profile pictures to yellow umbrellas. I'm talking about the fight for democracy that's going on in Hong Kong.

China took back control of Hong Kong from Britain back in 1997, and as was expected, there were some changes. Now change is not always a bad thing of course, but the issue here is representation. Should the people of Hong Kong have a voice in their future? Should anyone, for that matter, or should a few dictate how things will be for the rest of us?

Most people - perhaps ALL people who read this, will be supporters of democracy.  The issues are complex though and I really would like to hear your thoughts.  Feel free to add your comments below.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Coming Out With Keith Haring

Last month, when the Rainbow Honor Walk was dedicated here in San Francisco, I had the great privilege of joining with a friend to unveil the plaque in honor of Keith Allen Haring an incredible artist whom I have always admired.  You likely saw in social media over the weekend, one of Keith's most famous pieces, the logo for National Coming Out Day.  I would have written this Saturday, but with all of the moving plans, I am cutting back and (just temporarily) writing this blog only four days a week.

Keith Haring's life was way too short.  It is amazing to me that he accomplished so much in that short time, but his art is known the world over and it has touched so many people.  Because of that coming out logo - a man stretching his leg out of an open closet door, I find myself thinking about Keith every year on this day.  It would be easy to talk about his wonderful creations and it would certainly be easy to talk about the many reasons why coming out is important and why this day still needs to be celebrated.  I'm not going to do either though.

I will say that coming out isn't just about saying that you are gay or bisexual or transgender.  Coming out is about being honest and about not hiding.  It means that even the non-gay community should be participating by saying that they too believe in equality and that they do no support hate.  Allies are important indeed.

I want to say more though about Keith Haring whom you can now see looking up at you from the middle of Castro Street in San Francisco (between 18th and 19th Streets). He lived for only 31 years, but his art and social activism will live forever, because he was not afraid to be seen. He did not live his life in secret, but he boldly let the world see him, and in doing so let the world see his brilliant work. One of his creations became a logo for National Coming Out Day because he was truly a logo in the way he lived, and that should inspire us all to lead an uncloseted life.

Friday, October 10, 2014

the importance of voting

Some places on this earth do not let the people have a say in pretty much anything. Then there are countries, like ours, where the people do have a voice, but sadly don't always use it.  It's not Election Day just yet, but most places allow for early voting, either by absentee ballot or by voting in person at the elections offices.  Just a few short weeks from now will be Election Day itself.
 
Why does this matter?  In the United States, the people decide who holds office.  The people choose their mayors and governors and legislators and sheriffs and of course we the people decide who will be our president.  We have the power!  State and local propositions are there for our consideration too.  There are important things for us to decide on.  Sadly, some folks never even register to vote and of those who do register, many don't even bother to cast a ballot.
 
It's sad when we have this incredible right and we ignore it.  To be able to shape our towns and states and our country is a great privilege that, as I said, folks in many parts of the world cannot do.  Let's all step up and let our voices be heard!  VOTE!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pink Ribbons

You may have seen an increase in pink ribbons during the past week or so. Perhaps as a regular reader of this blog, you remember the Octobers in the past in which I have written here about breast cancer. Perhaps you have noticed that Ellen DeGeneres has been devoting time to it. If the pink ribbons are setting off an alarm in your brain, that's a good thing. This is breast cancer awareness month and the whole idea is to make people more aware.
 
Women should certainly be more aware.  Early detection can and does save lived.  Also, did you know that breast cancer can occur in men. Over 2,000 men are diagnosed each year. Find out more at http://1.usa.gov/1pMJvou

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one in eight women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.  This isn't something we should be afraid of though.  If breast or ovarian cancer runs in your family, talk with your doctor.  Get the facts.  Stay informed.  Get regular checkups.
 
What can we do to wipe out breast cancer?  Well the good news is that this is very treatable and, as I have said, early detection is so very important.  Still, research and treatments are ongoing and organizations like the American Cancer Society can always use volunteers and donations.  They are also an excellent source of information.  Wear a pink ribbon this month and stay aware!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sorry for inconvenicnce

Watching the live feed from NBC News, I see thousands of protesters out once again this morning in Hong Kong and I am seeing some amazing pictures. This one really caught my eye. "Sorry for inconvenience. We are changing Hong Kong."  By the way, the NBC News live coverage is available HERE.
 
There will be those locals there who will complain about the inconvenience and about the protesters being in the way.  I'm sure the business community has been complaining the loudest.  When rights are slowly taken away though, it effects everyone.  Everyone should care.
 
It has been amazing to me these past few days at how much the care and concern around the world has grown.  Yesterday there was yellow everywhere.  College campuses saw numerous supportive events and there were marches in various cities all in support of Hong Kong democracy.
 
In San Francisco yesterday, a large group gathered at Portsmouth Square, in Chinatown and they marched to the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office in the Financial District.  Once there, they presented a letter of solidarity with the peaceful protesters in Hong Kong, which also denounced any violence and brutality by the Hong Kong Police.

Yellow ribbons and yellow umbrellas are everywhere these days.  A LOT of people care.  Yes, to some it may be an inconvenience, but more importantly, it is the beginning of a great change.
 
 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

First they came

Once ruled by Great Britain, Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997 with promises that have since eroded and that is the basis of what we have been writing about here for the past several days. This didn't just begin, but slowly, over the last several days, people are noticing. People outside of Hong Kong are speaking up. What a wonderful thing when everyone lends their voice. We ALL need to be concerned about justice and democracy, not only in Hong Kong, but everywhere.
 
I might be mistaken, but it didn't seem like that many people were taking notice of Hong Kong at first, but slowly more and more are getting involved and are speaking out.  This reminds me of "First they came,” that famous statement attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller about the many Germans who stood by and did nothing during the Nazi rise in power. The most well known version goes like this:
 
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."
 
Speak up when you see prejudice and bigotry.  Speak up when you see injustice.  Your voice can make a difference.  Never be afraid to speak up for others. We are ALL people!




Monday, October 6, 2014

Meanwhile, back in Hong Kong

We ended last month and began this one by writing here about what has been going on in Hong Kong. Democracy would be dearly welcomed by so many there, but the movement that was capturing world-wide attention just a few weeks ago, seems less popular now. Just yesterday, some government officials hinted that there might be room for maneuvering over how a committee that nominates Hong Kong's leader is selected, and that changes to elections could take place after 2017. Will this be enough? Of course even this might not happen.
 
Freedom is such a wonderful thing and many in the United States and Canada take it for granted.  Hong Kong of course has it much better than many parts of the world, to be sure, but when the British left there were changes and there continue to be changes.  That is at the heart of what this is all about.  The people of Hong Kong are not making the decisions, the Chinese government is making those decisions.
 
For a while things looked peaceful and there was hope that something positive was going to happen.  People around the world were dressing in yellow and holding up their umbrellas in solidarity.  Much of that worldwide support though seems to have faded.  News coverage was very light all along, although for a few short days it seemed to be increasing.
 
The bottom line is this:  Hong Kong is still under Chinese rule, communist rule.  It is not a democratic state.  People who live there, like people everywhere, deserve to be free.

Friday, October 3, 2014

the feast day of our city's saint

It has been six years since La Porziuncola Nuova, a scaled replica of the Porziuncola in Assisi, Italy, was dedicated at the National Shrine of Saint Francis here in San Francisco. (Porziuncola, by the way, means "small portion of land" and refers to the chapel that Blessed Francis restored when he was a young man). The church on Vallejo Street is an inspiring structure, but the Porziuncola which is housed there is simply breath-taking. Visiting it is quite a spiritual event.

I mention this because tomorrow is the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron of this city. There will be animal blessings around town over the weekend and I imagine there will be some sort of celebration in all of the number of churches that bear his name. There are also Franciscan religious orders here in San Francisco.
 
You can find out about the Capuchin Roman Catholic Franciscan Friars HERE.  You can find out about the Anglican brothers HERE and the Anglican sisters HERE.  Information about secular Franciscans can be found HERE.  If you don't happen to be Roman Catholic or Anglican, you might be interested in an ecumenical group.  Click HERE for information about them.  That is only a tiny bit of the many links you might explore.  Saint Francis has many who follow in his way in a variety of religious communities and in secular life.

Here in the city of Saint Francis it isn't surprising to see such a large Franciscan presence.  A visit to many of these treasures should definitely be on your to-do list.  There's even a lovely gift shop which has a new home (that I haven't even visited yet myself).  It's Francesco Rocks at 1318 Grant Avenue and I'm told there are many lovely items featured from Assisi as well as things appropriate for baptisms, confirmations, and all kinds of gift-giving.

More on the National Shrine on Vallejo Street can be found at http://www.shrinesf.org/ including more details about the Porziuncola.  Also, click HERE to find out about the Knights of Saint Francis.  His life of poverty and preaching on the streets and his enormous love of all creation have made Saint Francis one of the most venerated religious figures in all of history.  Happy Saint Francis Day!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Democracy for Hong Kong

The Democracy for Hong Kong movement grows larger and stronger by the minute! I am so happy that social media is really stepping up and there is such wide support. The Wear Yellow event I told you about yesterday is happening today and there will be gatherings at a number of places. At 1pm people will gather at Portsmouth Square here in San Francisco for a program that will last just under an hour. Be sure to wear yellow there and wherever you may go today!

Today, be sure to also use the hashtag #wearyellowforhk as often as you can. Here is a very simple way for us ALL to come together in support. As I mentioned, social media has exploded with many people on facebook changing their profile pictures to yellow ribbons. There is a special tumblr page that is showing pictures from today's many events and also explains the issues more clearly. Go to http://wearyellowforhk.tumblr.com/

Very happy to see the mainstream media increasing their coverage too. Democracy for Hong Kong is something everyone should care about! This really is a big deal. Just look at how many days now I have been writing about it! A CNN reporter was covering protests last night when tear gas was thrown by police. The reporter and his cameraman had to run, but they continued their coverage. Time magazine and Mother Jones and all kinds of media are now looking at what is going on in Hong Kong and the thousands of people who each day are filling the streets.  More and more people are getting involved.  There is even a petition to President Barack Obama on the White House website (HERE).

Today is a National holiday there and so we will be watching with special interest the events of the day. Even though you are not in Hong Kong, this is the time to step up and join them with your support.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

wear yellow

The past two days I have been writing here about what is happening in Hong Kong and I remarked how there doesn't seem to be much coverage in the news. This really is too bad. People should know what is going on! Tomorrow tens of thousands of Hong Kongers plan to take to the streets of their city once again to demonstrate against the Chinese government's decision to renege on its promise to allow them to freely elect their Chief Executive on 2017. The whole world need to know about this.

Help spread the word. Search for as much information as you can find. Look at the pictures of all the people in the streets who want democracy. Wear yellow. Huh? That last one sounded weird, right? Here's the idea: We are making October 1st "Wear Yellow for HK" day all around the world. When people see classrooms filled with students wearing yellow and bus stations and airports and shopping malls and restaurants with yellow shirts and yellow dresses and yellow jackets, they will certainly take notice. What's going on? Well take a look at Hong Kong!  Some pretty good coverage and more about Hong Kong's Occupy Central movement, HERE.

This is such an easy thing and we ALL can do it. Tomorrow, wear yellow. Show your support for our sisters and brothers in Hong Kong. Help spread the word, too!