Monday, May 30, 2016

confused?

Is today the official start of summer? Is this a boating and picnic celebration? Is today's holiday meant as a time to rest from work? Actually, folks will hang all of those tags on Memorial Day, and an extra day off as summer approaches (it doesn't actually begin until next month) with a little time out on the water, or holding a cookout, can certainly be fun. Please don't think for a second that I dislike any of those things, but today has a larger purpose, and all too often that is overlooked. Even folks who know of a connection to military personnel, will often get it wrong.

Today was NOT set aside to honor and thank all those people who served honorably in our military (that's Veterans Day). The purpose of Memorial Day is to remember and be thankful for all the men and women who died fighting for our country, or from wounds sustained while fighting.  While cemetery ceremonies do indeed happen on Veterans Day (and even to some extent on Independence Day), remembering those who died while fighting is the specific focus of today.
 
But yes, we can have a barbecue or play some softball or even head out to the sales on lawn furniture.  None of those are bad.  Just pause at some point and remember the brave men and women who really made a difference in this world!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Walking in New York

Right now in New York's Central Park thousands are taking part in the annual AIDS Walk New York, which not only raises funds and awareness, but also helps fight the stigma that still exists. This is such an important event, and my hats off to all of the participants, volunteers, and of course the sponsors!

Later this summer, I will be taking part in AIDS Walk San Francisco, as I do each year, and I urge you to become involved in any of the many AIDS Walks that take place all over the country. Not one anywhere near you? You can still sponsor someone (like me) at one of the events, make a general donation to any of the walks, or think about organizing something where you live. What a great way to make a difference!

I'm happy with the news I am hearing right now from New York and wish I could be with them and this very successful event. If you want to donate to today's event there, or just learn more about it, go to http://ny.aidswalk.net/ - there are also links there that will lead you to many other interesting facts.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Back on my soapbox

So very many things that I could talk about at length today, and many of them quite important, but instead, I will just briefly get up on my soapbox and say a few things that I am feeling this morning. In the days ahead, I will likely go into these things in greater detail.

Last night I learned of one of my former bosses. His name was Chuck, and he hired me at a time when I didn't know if I would ever work in broadcasting again. He believed in me. Oh my! That makes all the difference in the world. It's been many years since then, but I will never forget this man who taught me many things and showed me every day the importance of family and friends. I've never had an employer quite like him. Rest in peace boss.

This morning I am waking up to more sad news. A giant in the activist community took his life last night. He was someone who really made a difference, and as an intactivist he made so many aware for the issues surrounding circumcision. it does matter where you stand on the issue, this man opened up dialogue. Jonathon, you will be missed.

Something that I will scream and yell about until no more lives are lost, is suicide. We need to do more. Please note that blame does nothing to help move us forward. Certainly don't blame the person who takes his own life, especially when you don't know what drove him to that point. More love and more support in this world might be a good step in the right direction. A person who is suicidal, may not ask for help, but that does not mean that help isn't wanted. If you are reading this, and you have been thinking of taking your life, talk to someone you trust and remember that a national hotline is there for you every moment. Call the suicide prevention number at 1-800-273-8255.

There was excellent news yesterday from our federal government. How many transgender individuals take their own lives each year? How many transgender individuals are victims of discrimination? How many are violently assaulted or killed? Too many family members have turned their backs and there has been little official supports from governments, that is why yesterday's words from US Attorney General Loretta Lynch are so incredibly important. Someone even said it was the transgender community's "I have a dream" moment. Announcing a federal civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina, Ms Lynch said "They created state-sponsored discrimination."

The transgender community must think at times that they are all alone and that nobody at all cares if they live or die. I have numerous transgender friends, and nearly all of them have expressed to me the feelings of fear and isolation that are all too common. Yesterday, the Attorney General of the United States said she stands with them. Her words were pretty powerful, and so before I step down from my soapbox, I want to quote her.

"Let me also speak directly to the transgender community itself. Some of you have lived freely for decades. Others of you are still wondering how you can possibly live the lives you were born to lead. But no matter how isolated or scared you may feel today, the Department of Justice and the entire Obama Administration wants you to know that we see you; we stand with you; and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward. Please know that history is on your side. This country was founded on a promise of equal rights for all, and we have always managed to move closer to that promise, little by little, one day at a time. It may not be easy – but we’ll get there together."

I like that last word especially - together. It's the best way to do anything.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Paid in full

I think about my mom a lot.  It's been three years since she passed away.  I'm tempted to tell you something about her this morning, but I've done that before, and after all, this blog is NOT about me.  Instead, here's story for you that isn't even mine but it's particularly timely since Sunday is Mother's Day.  I really like it and hope you do too.  I'm not sure who wrote this - it's been floating around for years, but it just might touch you and perhaps even make you think -

A little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his Mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:

For cutting the grass: $5.00 For cleaning up my room this week: $1.00 For going to the store for you: $.50 Baby-sitting my kid brother while you went shopping: $.25 Taking out the garbage: $1.00 For getting a good report card: $5.00 For cleaning up and raking the yard: $2.00 Total owed: $14.75

Well, his mother looked at him standing there, and the boy could see the memories flashing through her mind. She picked up the pen, turned over the paper he'd written on, and this is what she wrote:

For the nine months I carried you while you were growing inside me: No Charge

For all the nights that I've sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you: No Charge

For all the trying times, and all the tears that you've caused through the years: No Charge

For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead: No Charge

For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose: No Charge Son, when you add it up, the cost of my love is: No Charge.

When the boy finished reading what his mother had written, there were big tears in his eyes, and he looked straight at his mother and said, "Mom, I sure do love you."

And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: "PAID IN FULL".


Perhaps it's because I miss my own mom - she died just a few years ago, that I think more about the value of mothers.  This story though is not just about the love of your mom, it's also about giving and I guess that's what's so special about it.  Giving is always a good thing, whether from a mother or from anyone!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Still loving Lucy

Did Lucille Ball or Desi Arnaz make a difference in this world? My answer is YES!! Indeed they did.   For one thing that brought a lot of joy and happiness through their entertainment, especially with their program I Love Lucy, which broadcast its last episode on this date in 1957.

All these years later, I'm still loving Lucy!   Hard to believe it's been that long, huh? Of course the constant reruns ever since then have allowed generation after generation to know and love their humor.

On that show, they always took the high road too. It seems like most entertainers have long since forgotten how to do that! Ethnic humor as well as jokes based on physical handicaps or mental disabilities was not allowed on I Love Lucy. While it's true that Ricky's accent was made fun of, that could only be done lovingly by Lucy.

Both Lucy and Desi lent their names to various charitable endeavors. In later years, Lucy could be seen playing tv games shows for charity.

While it is true that they divorced and both remarried, they remained friends throughout their lives. In his latter days, Desi Arnaz is said to have stated "I Love Lucy was never just a title."

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

have I got some questions for you!

How are we doing with this blog? When do you read it? Who do you think we should mention here? What kinds of things have we left out? Where might we find more hometown heroes? Why is this even important? When will more folks get involved? How can folks interact here?

Okay, so there are a lot of questions I can ask about this blog. You may have questions of your own. Right under each day's entry is a space that says comments. Write something there. Ask a question or make a comment. I have a never-ending supply of questions, but I certainly don't have all the answers. Perhaps you can help.

This blog has always been about making a difference in this world - about giving back and contributing to our communities. There are tons of ways we can do this. I humbly offer some suggestions that come to mind or tell you about some folks who have done a stellar job of being a superstar, but I need your help. I would love to know about some of the really positive people you may have encountered. Who is a hero to you? Tell us the what, when, where, and why too!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Our moms and dads

How many of you have kids? Do you realize how much a parent means to a child? Yes, there are times when both the children and the parents may want to scream, but overall, if it is a good and healthy relationship, there is love and devotion that lasts forever.

It's been over three months since my mom died and even longer since my father passed away, and I still think of them both and recall with fondness times we spent together. I can remember my mother pushing me in my baby buggy when I was just a baby, and then doing the same thing for my sister, with me walking beside her. I can also recall my dads last moments in the hospital, and the moment when my mom passed away too.

There are some images that never fade. Sadly some of us have horrible memories and we wish they would go away. The choice is up to every father and mother though as to how they will be remembered. The world would be such a better place if all moms and dads chose to carefully mold their children into good kids who respected others and who would go on to fondly recall those formative years.

Mother's Day is this month, and then Father's Day in June. It is my hope that every parent will be one who is worthy of a celebration and that kids will always be grateful for the love of their parents. Good parenting can have a huge impact!