Obama inspired, challenged, empowered. Incredible.
Obama inspired, challenged, empowered. Incredible.
Every night before we go to bed, my daughters and I talk about our
worst and best parts of the day. Today, we all agreed that the best
part was watching Michelle Obama’s warm and passionate speech, and then
seeing her girls come onto the stage. As a mom, I felt we were
experiencing a piece of history together…
The fact that today a smart, articulate, beautiful and accomplished
black woman from the South side of Chicago stood before seasoned
politicians, an audience of men and women, of whites, blacks, Latinos
(and did you see the Indian sardar on CNN!), and addressed the world on
national television, to celebrate the accomplishments of American
society through her own story, is something to be proud about.
When she spoke about being at the crossroads of a woman’s right to
vote and the anniversary of Martin Luther Kings “I Have a Dream”
speech, Michelle Obama recognized the accomplishments of the so many
leaders that came before her. Most importantly, she set a tone of
dignity and a reminder of what we are capable of as a humanity.
“And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister
into bed at night, I think about how one day, they’ll have families of
their own. And one day, they – and your sons and daughters – will tell
their own children about what we did together in this election. They’ll
tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our
fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start
dreaming. How this time, in this great country – where a girl from the
South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of
a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House – we
committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.”
As a mom, I was grateful that my daughters heard the words of
gratitude, hope, and pride from Michelle Obama. As I tucked my
daughters in tonight, Michelle Obama’s powerful, personal words indeed
echoed in our home…
The death of 140 people, including over 30 children, is utterly tragic. When I first read about the stampede, I immediately had a bodily sensation imagining the chaos and tragedy of the scene. Having done several pilgrimages in India, I could feel the crowds saying their prayers as they proceeded to the holy site. Women wearing chappals as they scurried their kids along. Some worshippers crawling, others being carried. The sounds of mantras and prayer and song, laugher from the children… The push of those eager to move forward, and the lack of personal space that is so foreign to those not living in India. Yet faith seems to prevail in the midst of such tragedies. Similar tragedies have occurred in Mecca during the Haj and in India — but the pilgrims still continue to walk in their steadfast faith.
Check out the reference to Gotham’s blog on McCain from Intentblog on this video — its at 4:53 on the time bar…
I have to admit, I do not know how to react to the pregnant man – who has now given birth to his daughter. For anyone who knows me, I am generally very “liberal” in my construct of family. I staunchly believe in gay marriage and the notion that all sexual orientations, like races, should be respected and are normal. I also firmly believe that gay parents are parents that love and have the same challenges as heterosexual parents, single parents, etc. So perhaps it just will take some time to accept the normalcy of a man – a transgender individual – giving birth. I confuse myself in my own rationalization – if he was a man who was once a woman who kept his organs does that really make him a man. And does any of that matter. I retreat back to my need just to take time to accept it. Beatie, the pregnant man, says: “Different is normal and love makes a family. And that’s all that matters.” That is a statement I do wholeheartedly do accept.
When I was 16-years-old, I spent a summer in the Dominican Republic volunteering to help build facilities in a remote village. Los Guantes was accessible best by foot, and you had to cross a river to get there. The rickety bridge across the river was so sketchy, that it was safer to actually wade through the water.
I lived in a two-bedroom shack, with a young couple, their elderly mother, 3 little girls, two dogs, 5 chickens and a goat. The kitchen was a separate shack, and the fields or the river bank served as our natural grounds for our morning rituals.
In my idealistic worldview, I had joined this organization to do my part to educate rural people about health and wellness (Our job in Los Guantes was to build latrines). I truly believed, when I left home, that I was setting out to help humanity. In reality, my parents reluctantly paid money for me to live in a shack where I dug up dirt to build make shift toilets that probably were never used!
That said, my summer
I LOVE this video!
In June 1964, Ahmed Kathrada, along with Nelson Mandela, was sentenced
to life in prison during the famed Rivonia Trial for sabotage against
the South African government. He was the only Indian among the famed
Rivonia 7 convicted. Kathrada is a major figure in the history and
shaping of the new South Africa. On Wednesday night, I had the honor
and privilage of co-hosting a reception to launch Ahmed Kathrada’s new
It was the second time I met Mr. Kathrada, a living hero who to me
represents truth, justice, forgiveness and the hope that peace and
reconciliation is a possibility.
My first encounter with him was during a visit to South Africa
several years ago when Mr. Kathrada was gracious enough to host several
of my classmates from Business School and me to Robben Island. This
event is one of the most memorable ones in my life. “Kathy”, as he is
referred to, took us through the prison, telling us about his daily
life with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and the many other heros of
the anti-apartheid movement. It was a rivoting day to hear about the
torture, the political planning, the games, the thrills, the fight for
basic rights, and the deaths that they faced over two decades in
prison. He told us about going over twenty years and not seeing
children or hearing their laughter.
And most remarkable to me was his sentiment of forgiveness. He writes in Memoirs:
While we will not forget the brutalities of apartheid, we will
not want Robben Island to be a monument of our hardship and suffering.
We would want it to be a triumph of the human spirit against the forces
of evil; a triumph of the wisdom and largeness of spiritu against small
minds and pettiness; a triumph of courage and determination over human
frailty and weakness; a triumph of the new South Africa over the old.
Nelson Mandela has written about Kathrada saying:
In the last week, I have had three American friends ask me if I can help
them with the adoption process for a baby from India. In parallel, I
have been reading about the controversy around Madonna and a little boy
in Africa. I am still trying to process the whole thing…
A couple of open ended realizations, thoughts and questions:
1. It seems that there are few adoption agencies in the US that help
Americans adopt in India. For example, I was told that in California
there are agencies that help Hindu’s in America adopt a baby from
India, but for non-Hindu’s you may have to do it from an agency in
another state. (So, American friends who are really committed to
adopting from India are having a very tough time.)
2. Several of Tara’s friends are adopted and are with lovely
families. I just do not understand the whole issue around keeping
orphaned children in their home countries when there are prospective
parents abroad who so desperately want to give them a home. This seems
to be an issue in the Madonna case, although at issue may also be
trying to get around the local laws in terms of the timeline. Madonna is getting a lot of attention on this because she is Madonna,
and it seems the Malawi government allowed the flexibility.
3. I admire Madonna for making the commitment to adopt a baby – as a
mother, I am in awe of people who can make such a commitment. Knowing
first hand how the media can be completely inaccurate, I am doubtful of
many stories. But I have to admit, this article which describes how the father of the baby she is adopting couldnt read
the 9 page adoption documents and seemed confused about what was
happening was a bit eye opening.
I strongly believe that adoption opens up the floodgates of love and
belonging and opportunity to many children and parents. I am realizing
though that the balance of protecting the rights of children (and their
birth parents) and the opportunities (loving homes, etc) afforded them
through adoption are multifaceted and compllicated.