Current Events

Nelson Mandela Day

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”- Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela, respectfully referred to as Madiba, turns 95 years old today. Madiba devoted his life to fight for racial equality and social justice in South Africa. He led the struggle in South Africa to replace the apartheid governmental regime with a multi-racial democracy. During his 27 years of imprisonment for political activism, he refused to compromise his political opinions in order to garner an early release and continued to fight for what he believed in. For his brave actions, today he is known as more than just a man. He is a symbol of justice. Even as his health declines steadily, what he stands for and what he represents remains strong.

In honor of Madiba and the work he has done, the United Nations has declared today, July 18, to be Nelson Mandela International Day. They ask that people around the world honor Madiba and the 67 years of his life that he devoted to the struggle for human rights by spending 67 minutes of their day today in the service of others. The theme of the day is to “take action, inspire change,” just as he did during his lifetime involvement with the African National Congress (ANC) and his fight for racial equality in an apartheid South Africa. Ban Ki-moon has said that “this is the best tribute we can pay to an extraordinary man who embodies the highest values of humanity.”

So what can you do for your fellow man to honor Madiba’s name? The options are limitless. You could spend your day educating friends and loved ones about a social or environmental issue that is important to you. You could spend some time picking up litter from the sidewalks or in a local park. For those interested in a longer time commitment, there is no need to stop at just 67 minutes or even at just today. You could go volunteer at a local soup kitchen, animal shelter or hospital. Want more ideas? Check out the official Nelson Mandela Day website or any of the resources listed in the Pearltree below to find opportunities that interest you in your community. Any difference you make in your community, no matter how small, will still be a change for good.

Volunteering in Jobs / Volunteering / Justice / Sustainability Resources / HumanCoral (humancoral)

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Whistleblowers: good humans, bad citizens

A whistleblower is a person who exposes misconduct and/or alleged dishonest or illegal activity occurring in an organization. But whistleblowers are more than that. It is imperative that we understand the historical importance of whistleblowers, how we can support them, and how we can encourage others to follow their own moral compass.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

To honor Dr. King on his day, I wanted to share his 1970 speech in which he spoke out against the war in Vietnam for perpetuating violence and racism overseas while affecting first and foremost the poor everywhere. This speech is said to have sealed his fate and is still painfully relevant today. I have included some of my favorite quotes below. Well worth to listen.

I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal."

I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government."

We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered."

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing, unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of mankind. And when I speak of love I'm not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. "


Martin Luther King Jr. removes a burnt cross someone had hammered into his lawn as his young son stands beside him. Original: Library of Congress

End Of The World As We Know It

Around the world, many people have prepared for the end of days as the ancient Mayan calendar counted down to December 21. The long awaited day came and went without so much as a snap, crackle or pop in most places and people accepted the reality that the world is staying put. Nothing changed and perhaps that is the real tragedy.


While there were many that believed that December 21st would mark the end of time, there are many more that hope it can mark the beginning. In September of this year, Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, spoke to the UN about what the Mayan calendar foretells. “December 21st marks the end of non-time and the beginning of time. It is the end of hatred and the beginning of love. The end of lies and beginning of truth.”

Predictions may only take one so far. The reality is whatever we, as a collective whole, choose to make it. The importance we place in a day exists only because we have placed it there. It is up to us to make these predictions a reality. While the beginning of an era of truth and love has a very nice ring to it, what we need is action. What we need is to work together to create a tangible, positive change in the world.


In Chiapas, Mexico, tens of thousands of members of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) marched silently into the central squares of the major cities of this poverty-stricken Mexican province. Wearing the traditional Zapatista pasamontañas and paliacates, they silently occupied the very same cities they once took by force during a 1994 rebellion. This time, they brought forth a message of peace and change. A reminder to the world that they still exist and that they are still working, patiently, towards a new future.


Their message reads:

Did you hear?  This is the sound of your world crumbling. The sound of ours re-emerging. The day that was the day, was night. And the night will be the day that will be day. DEMOCRACY! LIBERTY! JUSTICE!”

They bring with them a message of hope and of change. These descendants of the Mayas bring a new prediction. We can choose to end this world, not through destruction, but through the creation of something new.