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Hate crimes legislation has long sought to keep personal prejudice from boiling over into public violence, by stiffening the consequences for bias-based crimes. Yet one routinely victimized class of Americans is left entirely unprotected by hate crimes laws― even though violent attacks on this population outnumber all other categories of hate crimes combined. On behalf of homeless Americans, CA Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal is hoping to redress the oversight with Assembly Bill 312, which would allow bias-related violence against homeless people to be designated as a hate crime.
When Erik Weihenmayer stood at the summit of Mount Everest, when Mark Wellman scaled Yosemite's El Capitan, their accomplishments rendered irrelevant one more distinction: the difference between 'normal' and disabled. Weihenmayer, who is blind, and Wellman, who is paraplegic, are founding members of No Barriers USA, whose June No Barriers Summit 2011 is an international festival that gives people living with disabilities access to adaptive outdoor clinics, education and demonstrations of cutting-edge technologies, and arts and entertainment.
National Teachers' Day
On May 3rd, the United States celebrated the 26th official National Teachers' Day, to show appreciation for educators all over the country. While 1985 marked the first federally recognized day to honor teachers, the history of teacher appreciation runs far deeper.
Tool of TEACH
Power of PROTEST
Another extraORDINARY Person this month, Erica Fernandez, exemplifies how the tool of PROTEST can effect positive social change. Unfortunately, our souring political climate has called for more PROTEST than usual, to preserve civil liberties, workers' rights and essential social programs in the face of unprecedented government cuts.
(Ecological Society of America)
The Ecological Society of America established the SEEDS program in 1996 "to reduce, over time, the serious under-representation within the field of ecology of individuals from certain minority groups." By diversifying and advancing the profession of ecology among these groups, SEEDS can champion the ideals of environmentalism in communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental justice issues, and lack the political capital
to ensure equity.
As an education- and experience-based organization, SEEDS nurtures underrepresented students' interests through opportunities like student field trips, undergraduate research fellowships, Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting awards, and campus ecology chapters. This month's extraORDINARY Person, Erica Fernandez, is co-president of the Stanford University Chapter.
On April 22, schools around the country will celebrate Earth Day, with record participation from young students. Whether for the entire week or just the day, hands-on activities will raise students' awareness about their relationship with the planet, how they can help improve the air, water and soil for future generations, and how environmental health is essential to peace and harmony all over the globe. However, it wasn't so long ago that Earth Day didn't exist, and young environmentalists didn't have the voice they have today.
Building Unity Through Environmental Justice
Building unity requires numerous stakeholders acting together on distinct but interlocking
platforms to create positive social change. Environmental justice is one of these platforms, and is inseparable from the social justice we work toward every day. Improving the planet and building harmony go hand-in-hand.
Changing Perspectives and the Climate
One of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas pollution is the bulldozing, clearcutting, and rainforest burns necessary for crop cultivation. This is current practice in India, where commercial tobacco farming requires vast clearcuts of precious forest. Greenhouse gasses are released when trees are burned; what’s more, the loss of these natural carbon sinks, harms the planet’s ability to regulate our climate, exacerbating the effects of existing greenhouse gasses.
The Institute for Advancing Unity believes that positive social change requires groundbreaking Tools for Transformation.
This month, we highlight Florence Jones, who used the Tool of EMBRACE CULTURE to promote the values of harmony at the core of Wintu heritage and culture.