Thursday, May 19, 2011

One plus One plus One, or...Its OK to be Takei!

A bill pending in Tennessee will make it illegal to mention Homosexuality in the schools. George Takei of Star Trek fame has started a campaign against this with the catch phrase "Its OK to be Takei", playing off his coming Out (quite awhile ago) as Gay, the idea its OK to be Gay and his name. He has merchandise for sale to back it, and profits go to charity - you HAVE to go look, HERE, NOW!!!

The image of the famous Star Trek logo in rainbow pride colors with the words "Its OK to be Takei" is picking up speed and going viral - I am seeing it all over FaceBook! Its already on other blogs...Rachel Maddow has talked about it!

What makes this so exciting for me is that one of my best friends here in town DESIGNED the logo (I saw several incarnations of it as she fiddled with it, until she got the one she wanted!) and then, on advice from two of her friends, she sent the logo to George Takei for the fun of it. To her shock and surprise, he wrote her back and jumped on it!!! She immediately gave him permission to use the design, on condition of remaining anonymous and that she would receive no proceeds - she designed it as an activist and chose not to profit from it! So, dang it, I can't tell you her name! 

But I bring her up - and she is probably going to smack me when she reads this - I bring her up because I think she has another message to share. She pointed out that she created the design when she heard about the legislation in Tennessee, another friend posted a tweet about it and then said "make a button", and then another friend said " send it to Takei", and so she did...and now its EVERY WHERE! 

So now when people say that they feel that they can't do anything to make a difference because they're just one person, she can point out that  "me = one person + one of my friends who = one person + one of my other friends who = one person + George Takei = famous but still just 1 person..." 
So I bring up her part in this to make a point...

One person can make a difference. And that one person can be each and every one of us!!!

I think that what my friends and George Takei have accomplished is not JUST one FANTASTIC activist movement, but also that they have a second message - that each of ONE of us CAN make a difference, and that we make that difference in community as well as individually! So as you look at all the crazy legislation and homophobic slurs and hate pickets, don't become discouraged and think that there is nothing you can do, because you are just one person....each and every one of us may be one drop of water, but oceans are filled one drop at a time as the drops all join together!

Activism works! 
One by one and in community!
And all of us can spread it ever day!

1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1  + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Meet Our New Family!

 Our calico cat, Lucy had kittens last night - we haven't had any newborns in years, as we are trying to bring our cat population down to something sane - however a much older female cat evidently had one heat left, and we had one unfixed male left - do the math; May/December romance! *snort*. We weren't financially in a position to deal with getting them fixed, and they did what came naturally, of course....I have to say that as much as I didn't want more cats, there is a part of me that's going "Yay, Kittens!" Cyn and I are so soft hearted! LOL! 
This particular cat has never had kittens that survived well, so I don't know how this is going to go - we will love them while we have them and so far they appear very healthy! Last night there was  one tiny scrap of orange nursing, and that was all I could  see - she was being very shy and defensive, so I did not upset her yet by digging around in her basket under our altar initially. So I went and checked again, and we were up to 2, possibly 3, but it was hard to tell. 
And there was a lot of meeping coming out of that basket! 
Then a bit later, and by now at about 1:00 am in the morning, I checked again - four kittens, happily nursing. All good. I did some more stuff on the computer. Decided to make sure everybody was OK on my way to bed, and discovered...
That we had FIVE kittens!!! FIVE!  0.0
Cyn was asleep of course, but I had let her know earlier that Lucy had gone into labor and I would stay up with them. Cyn has to get up at 4:00 AM, so I was only going to awake her if we had an emergency. So I went on to bed, after the last one - really the last one - was born and everyone appeared healthy. I climbed into bed and Cyn mumbled something that sounded like ...mgyhrkittensmfr???" So I said, "She had five." 
Cyn: "nfethasni-FIVE!?!?" It was priceless. I am still giggling! 
So...we have a little dark tabby boy, a little orange boy, two dark calico girls who look like twins, and a softer orange girl. We will have names for them shortly, as personalities and names suggest themselves to us. 
I must add a note about the proud papa - Firedancer II....he is a young orange cat who is very CAT...he is aloof, dignified, and has an intense case of cupboard love for us - we feed him. He was curled up with Lucy in the basket at the beginning of the night, but she finally got irate and tossed him out, where upon he curled up on the floor next to the basket and stayed there all night long. Now he goes over constantly and sticks his head over the edge of the basket and checks on Lucy and the Kittens. He appears to be quite cogent of the fact that these are his offspring too, and is very interested.
So life will be interesting around here as they grow and start venturing forth from their basket over time. I am going to keep a run of posts going on the family's progress with pictures. 
We feel very blessed, and we hope that every single one of them grows up healthy and happy! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Luminous beings are we....

Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard Educated and published Neuroanatomist who experienced a stroke on the left side of her brain years ago. She actually remembers the experience of the stroke and how it affected her, and her thoughts are remarkable. She has some very powerful observations about this, that profoundly speak to how we think and live and feel and experience our world. She is amazing!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Remembering, hearing, speaking out...

Rudolf Brazda
Meet Rudolf Brazda. He will be 98 years old this June. He has worked most of his life as a roofer, and has lived the past 30 some odd years in Alsace, France.

But he was born originally, in 1913, in Brossen, Germany.

And he is a survivor of the Nazi Germany concentration camps. In fact, he was imprisoned in Buchenwald, one of the more infamous of the "work camps" the Germans created.  Between April 1938 and April 1945, some 238,380 people of various nationalities including 350 Western Allied POWs were incarcerated in Buchenwald. One estimate places the number of deaths in Buchenwald at 56,000.

Rudolf Brazda survived it.

He is not a Jew, or a Gypsy, or one of the Allies...
He is a 175er.
In fact, Rudolf Brazda is the last living "Pink Triangle" prisoner to have been incarcerated in the Death and Work camps for being homosexual.
Here, in his own words, is a little of his story:

He was living in Germany in the last days of the old Wiemar Republic, with its easy tolerance and safety for homosexuals, when the rise of Nazi Germany changed everything...after being arrested twice under the 175 law prohibiting Homosexuality, instead of being deported as he expected, he was taken to Buchenwald in 1942. And the prisoners uniform they gave him had the Pink Triangle patch on it - not the symbol of Gay Pride as it is today, but a public mark of shame and singling him out as homosexual.

He spent 3 years in Buchenwald in unimaginable conditions, and finally, after being hidden by a friend, in the area where they worked, Brazda, managed to avoid being taken on the infamous death marches, and was rescued by the Americans.
He emigrated to France, to Alsace and in the early 1950s, Rudolf met Edi at a costume ball, who became his life companion. In the early 1960s they moved into a house they built in the suburbs of Mulhouse, where Rudolf still resides. Rudolf tended to Edi for over 30 years after he was crippled by a severe work accident, until Edi's death in 2003.

In spite of old age, he is a keen observer and follower of the news. So in 2008, when he heard on German TV of the impending unveiling of a memorial to homosexual victims of Nazism in Berlin, he decided to make himself known. Although he was not present at the monument's inauguration on May 27, 2008, an invitation was extended to him to attend a ceremony a month later, on the morning of the Berlin CSD gay pride march. Since then, Rudolf has been invited to attend a number of gay events, including Europride Zurich in 2009 and some smaller scaled events in France, Switzerland and Germany. In 2010, Rudolf also received the gold medals of the cities of Toulouse and Nancy in recognition of his commitment to bear witness locally and nationally in France.

Age, and health permitting, Rudolf Brazda is determined to continue speaking out about his past.  Because he knows that the generations to come must know his story.  And we must listen to him while his voice is still with us.

 Because only in remembering, in hearing the stories, in speaking out and taking a stand, can we stop the barbed wire and the hate from rising again.

Rudolf Brazda as a young man. 

And then we too must speak...