Poetic Illustrations on YouTube

Poetic Illustrations on YouTube
Poetic Illustrations on YouTube

Ramadan: More than just fasting

Image result for ramadan mubarak 2019
Picture source: https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/life-style/happy-ramadan-2019-ramzan-mubarak-wishes-images-quotes-status-wallpaper-messages-greetings-photos-sms-and-pics-5711270/

Today is May 26, 2019.  I am writing during the month of Ramadan.  A holy month for Muslims (followers of Islam) to fast, pray and reflect.  Ramadan falls on the lunar calendar (instead of using solar calendar--the sun; the moon is used to measure the passage of time).  Therefor, each year Ramadan starts and ends on different days.  This year the starting date was May 5, 2019 and ends on June 4, 2019. In order to be able to fast, you must hit the age of puberty!  You cannot fast if you are pregnant, medically ill, or on medication.  You must be healthy, since the process can take a lot of your energy.  I wanted to walk you through my day of fasting.  First, Ramadan is not just about fasting, it is more about self reflection. Introspective, of how to be a better human being in our community; locally and globally.

Last night I was up until 2 AM, drinking water and snacking on fruit.  It is really difficult to have a meal at 2 AM, especially when you are half asleep.  The latest that I could eat a meal last night was 3:58 AM, which means that my fasting begins at 3:58 AM (when the sun is rising).  How do I know this?  I'll be honest, my brother helps me out with this part.  He emails us the schedule with the dates and times of when to break fast, prayer times, and when the sun rises.  He obtains a copy of the schedule from a local mosque (which can be obtained online).  So usually my last meal of some sort, is about midnight.  I do not wake up until 6 AM.  When I wake up, I am not allowed to drink my hot tea, or eat my bagel, or even put chap-stick on my lips.

Image result for dates and tea for ramadan
Pic source: https://www.timesnownews.com/health/article/ramazan-special-health-benefits-of-eating-khajoor-or-dates-popular-ramadan-food/413091

I head out to work, to see my patients throughout the day.  The first week was very difficult.  I could not focus or concentrate, so I had to pace myself a bit.  But as time passed, it became easier.  The entire day is without food or water.  No drinks of any sorts.  Not even gum, or hard candy.  This is to reflect on what we have and be appreciative.  This is to reflect on the many people in this world that do not have clean water to drink, or food to eat.  This is to reflect on not wasting food, and to eat the small portion that our body needs.  In the time of fasting, it is not just about the food and water, as I mentioned before.  You reflect on how to be a better person.  For example, no lying, cheating, or engaging in verbal or physical acts that are harmful to yourself and others.

Image result for inside a mosque
Pic source: https://mvslim.com/iranian-mosque-will-amaze-beautiful-islamic-architecture/

It is a time to be kind.  Love others and give back to your community.  It is a time to appreciate the goodness in your life.  To send peace to all mankind; friends and foe.  So today, on May 26, 2019 Sunday at 11:05 AM I am working on running errands, then I will do my prayer.  The fast breaks at 8:46 PM (each day the time moves later in the night).  I plan to go to my mother's home to break fast with some yummy food.  We typically start off with either hot water, hot tea and a date.   The Prophet Mohammad would break his fast with dates, and water.  Before eating, you do a prayer.  A prayer for the living (to be healthy, strong and have inner peace) and for the dead (to rest in peace and watch over us).  Then at 8:46 PM, we eat.  Tonight, on the menu, Ghorme Sabzi!  My favorite :)

The picture below of a traditional meal in any Iranian household that is about to break fast. To all, Ramadan Mobarak!!

Image result for ghormeh sabzi iranian sofreh
pic source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/509891989054612118/

May: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

(Image Source: drectionasia.com)
(Image Source: web.kma.go.kr)

Addressing Stereotypes in Celebration of Culture
May: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

In our household we talk often about the many cultures represented throughout the United States and the impact they've made on us personally as a family, and within the history of this country. We have a diverse family. We are from:  South Korea, India, Switzerland, Haiti, different parts of the UK, and many other countries. We are a mixed bag around here. We lovingly embrace our unique ethnic roots. We assign ourselves the responsibility to honor the customs associated with the cultures who make us who we are, though we know that our versions are a mere adaptation of the true fashion likely celebrated in the mother or father lands of our fore-mothers and fathers.

One of our sons is part South Korean, and his father is adopted. I am part Swiss, so this gives our son pale skin and freckles, while also granting him Asian features. He has always naturally taken to Asian culture and has long had a taste for flavors of the Orient. As a baby he loved raw Tofu. As a young man he is quite adept at using chop sticks and longs to learn more about his culture and who might have been his family in South Korea had his dad been raised overseas. He often questions why Asian culture is ridiculed and mocked so heavily in American culture and is regularly frustrated by how The United States and our culture here in the states utilizes stereotyping normalities to depict Asians and Asian culture. He has experienced a shift in how he is treated or how others address him once they realize that he is Asian. Our eldest daughter has similar experiences, which she laughs at and shirks off the surprise over, when friends learn that her dad is Asian though she is caucasian. She has gotten somewhat use to the bewildered look of an attempt to seek recognition of Asian traits within her features. They won't be found! She describes herself as, "painfully pale" and explains that she is half adopted. Further confusion carries on, which allows for an entirely different form of humor to be enjoyed. But alas, I digress. Our son actually looks a great deal like his sister, and together they are rarely mistaken for anything other than siblings. 

We contradict Ernie from Sesame Street quite often. Though as the lyrics say "One of these things is not like the other" in lieu of the intention of the song which points out that different things don't belong together, we are more along the lines of the Randy Newman melody from Toy Story, "We Belong Together". We have a wide cultural dynamic. We stick out from a mile away. Wen turn heads pretty much wherever we go. We are definitely not like one another, but we absolutely do belong together. Given that we are so different from one another, we do engage in discussions about the variety of cultures we come from regularly. In a recent conversation with my son Leo we discussed some common misinterpretations regarding Asians that he would like to address.

Some of the examples that came up in conversation are the following: 

The perception that all Asian people are good at math. For some reason this is seen as a code of honor or a badge of cultural requirement for all Asians. There are, however, just like any other culture, people of Asian descent who struggle with this subject just as they might struggle with any other subject they are being taught in school. If you are Asian and you struggle in math, welcome to the club! You’re not alone!

Take a look at the following article: You're Asian, How Could you Fail Math?! You're not Alone! By Wayne Au and Benji Chang

Another stereotype discussed is that of the almond shaped eye, which is referred to in the tackiest of ways with fairly degrading words which I’ll refrain from using. As his mother, with absolutely no Asian heritage in my background, I too have almond shaped eyes. Yet I have never once had the unfortunate experience of having someone refer to my eyes in such an appalling manner. So let’s all consider abandoning the use of degrading and pejorative terms, and stick with something more appropriate such as, “You have your father’s eyes!”. 
(Image Source: vetorstock.com)

The concept that all Asians are small is a bit interesting. Similarly to any continent, Asia is not one country, but 48 countries. Countries like Russia, Turkey, Siberia, and Southern India are just a few that are located on the continent of Asia. So perhaps this misconception should be reconsidered. Researching the average height of the Northern Chinese population should turn those assumptions around quickly! 

(Image Source: thinglink.com)
The idea that a country’s population is represented by its government! This is a BIG one. For instance, orth-K orea-K’s (use of Pig Latin is totally applicable here because we don’t want to boost the tag’s) population continues to needlessly suffer under the tyranny of a dictator. They languish in a post-war era, just over the border from a free South Korea where family members of loved ones torn apart by the division of the war must carry on with life with little to no knowledge of what has become of their loved ones in the north. The perception that those in the North agree with the political leanings of the Dictator who suppress them is nothing shy of absurd. It would be just as flagrant to assume that our entire country follows the political decisions of each president we elect. We know that is certainly not true based on how partisan and divided our political system tends to be. Based on who we elect our country shifts wildly from left to right like a teeter totter with one side or the other winding up in arms over the decisions made while a president holds power.

(Image Source: worldofbronze.com)
Among the many cultures represented in our home we have notes of Asian decor from tapestries to antiques, tea kettles and his and hers tables, coins and carvings, a blanket handmade and given to my husband with the South Korean flag adorned on it. We don’t attend formal ceremonies, and neither my husband nor my son speak the language, but we are proud of their heritage and are happy to learn more when we come in contact with those who have traveled to or have lived in South Korea. 

(Image Source: governor.pa.gov)
It is important for not only those who come from Asia to celebrate the heritage of Asian culture, but for our country to embrace and honor the history of our cultures. The celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage month began with Representative Frank Horton from New York, and Representative Norman Y. Mineta from California. These representatives initially brought forth a 1977 House resolution that Asian Pacific Heritage should be celebrated. Their resolution suggested a celebration during the first ten days of May.

May was chosen as a significant month of choice for a few reasons: In observation of the first Japanese immigrants to come to the United States on May 7, 1843. Additionally in celebration of the work done by Chinese immigrants who laid tracks in the transcontinental railroad system, which was completed on May 10, 1869. 

Following their House resolution, during the month of June 1977 Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii brought forth a Senate bill, later passed by President Carter. In October, 1978 the joint resolutions passed and the tradition was upheld.

After a 1990 bill was signed into law in 1992 by President George H. W. Bush, and the month of May became the official month we dedicated to celebrate on behalf of Asian and Pacific Island Americans. 

(Image Source: imdiversity.com)
Asia has played a significant contributory role in our nation’s history. It should not be underestimated that our allies from the Orient have long been undervalued and mistreated in our society. We are right to honor the relationship we have with this region filled with ancient wisdom. Perhaps as we grow, and with time, we will understand how lucky we are in having had such a beautiful mentor in this cherished jewel filled with a myriad of splendor and vibrant culture.

This piece was a collaboration between my son Leo and I.

Information Sources:

(Image Source: diversitystore.com)

Forced Relocation of A Continent of People

"315 years. 20,528 voyages. Millions of lives."

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Route and the gory details of hundreds of years of slavery have been considerably consolidated and meticulously captured in the following impressive video thanks Slate's Andrew Kahn.

Sometimes, fewer words are better. Watching this speaks volumes for itself. Please read the details in the article in this link pertaining to the information contained in the video, for instance how Mr. Kahn designed each dot representing an individual ship to be interactive. A viewer can click on each dot to see relevant information regarding the ship such as the country of origin, flag, and destination.

St. Patrick's Day in America

Image result for image of st. patrick
Source: www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/st-patricks-life-kidnapping-catholic
St. Patrick Day is an annual religious celebration intended to celebrate the death of St. Patrick. It has been celebrated for over 1,000 years. St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain. At the age of 16, Patrick was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave.  He eventually escaped. At a later time, he returned to Ireland and introduced Christianity to its people.  It is said that he used the three leaf clover, known as the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to the people.  It is believed that St. Patrick died on March 17, 461.  The Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s life and death by attending morning mass services followed by a feast with family and friends in the evening. 

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States was held on March 17, 1762 in New York City.  Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched to traditional Irish music. Over the following 35 years, a flood of Irish Immigrants poured into America to escape starvation.  Overwhelmingly, the Irish immigrants settling in the United States were not accepted and respected, but rather disparaged and disrespected. Unfortunately our American media portrayed Irish immigrants in the cartoons as "drunks" according to History.com.  In 1948 President Truman attended a parade, which was a significant moment for many Irish Americans. After many adverse experiences in the immigration process, the President's presence was noteworthy, and appreciated by many. It was a sign that their struggle was not going unnoticed and that they were welcome by the leader of our union. 

Image result for irish immigration
Source: https://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-events/when-irish-immigrants-werent-considered-white.htm
 In Ireland St. Patrick's Day is a religious holiday. Many of the pubs were closed by law until 1995 when a campaign was launched to increase tourism by showing Irish culture to the world.

In the United States there are approximately one hundred parades held annually. New  York City and Boston hold the largest celebrations. The New York City parade involves 150,000 participants, and nearly 3 million Americans line up to watch it in person.  Thank you to the Irish immigrants that have introduced St. Patrick’s Day to American culture! May the luck of the Irish be with us all!

Image result for st. patrick's parade new york
Source: http://www.irishnews.com/news/2016/03/08/news/new-york-st-patrick-s-day-parade-to-be-broadcast-in-ireland-and-uk-442339

Source: TheIrishGiftHouse.Com


Women's History Month


                                                                        (Picture resource: https://bilderbeste.com/foto/womens-history-c9.html)

I had to do some major research on Women’s History Month (March) to write a blog about it.  So here is a quick timeline:

  • 1911—International Women’s Day established on March 8th
  • 1978—School district of Sonoma, California began to celebrate Women’s History Week starting March 8th
  • 1982—The week of March 8th was declared by President Carter as “National Women’s History Week”
  •  1986—14 states declared March as Women’s History Month
  • 1987—Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which declared March as “Women’s History Month”

I see the timeline, and I realize that it has only been 32 years since Women’s History Month has been declared.  This month is a very special month for Jen and I.  Not only because we are working women, but we are mothers.  We have this joke of “how many plates are up in the air today?”  In addition to our personal and work life, we are collaborating on a book.  In this book, we have come across many strong ladies!  From all walks of life.  Just to name a few:

  •  Ruza Wenclawska
  • Ana Mendieta
  • Alicia Partnoy
  • Shoshana Johnson
  • Pailadzo Captanian

This list can go on, and on, and on!  Trust me.  Each of the women represented in our book are heroes in our eyes.  They all have some traits in common;  determination, dedication, devotion, ambition, and no fear.   The poem I have written is celebrating all the women that have sacrificed or set aside their dreams and goals for their partner and family to succeed.   This poem is dedicated to the ladies that are the backbone and spine of the family, without fear or any hesitation, they do!

i will manage the rails
as you sail the sea.
i will be the leader,
placing anchors on the rock
as you follow me up
to the mountain top.
i would be your shield,
and covering you from
the pain.

I will lift you up
with a song,
with a soft melody.
bring you down, to stay calm
when you are angry.
wake you in the morning
with a tea,
as we close the night
with a sweet kiss from me.

Immigration Laws, American Dreams & Nightmares

The United States has long offered a golden opportunity. The promise of opportunity and safety for those who seek a new life by traveling to our borders and our shores. A hope to have a life of happiness with the ability to thrive. A chance to contribute to a community giving to them.

It is what we call The American Dream.
Source: American-Historama.com
What has happened to that dream? The United States policies on immigration have changed over the years, particularly regarding refugees, unauthorized immigrants, and in supposed attempt to thwart terrorists from entering our country. Since the inception of the United States, limits have been placed on immigration. Favoritism is often placed on European immigrants. In 1965 a new law made it possible for immigrants to enter the United States from many countries worldwide. In recent years attempts have been made to drastically reduce immigration from certain countries, step up or enforce penalizations, and many in our country support the building of a wall at our southern border. In many ways, it feels like we are stepping backward in time in lieu of progressing.

Source: SecurityToday.com
Our country has acted on and implemented a similar type of policy in the past. During World War II when millions of families faced peril at the hands of hatred, they humbly asked for safe harbor in foreign nations. While many were granted that kindness, hundreds of thousands were instead denied. Some were even turned away when they arrived on ships just off shore and were informed by immigration officials that their documentation was denied, their ships were returned to their origin, and many met their grim fate. 

The immigration laws here in the United States have been through quite a few changes since their inception. Under President Harding in 1921, The Emergency Quota Act resulted in the enforcement of immigration quotas on Ellis Island. The quota was not enforced at US consulates, however, resulting in a monthly passenger ship rush known as a “midnight race”. Passengers would attempt to reach Ellis Island within the monthly quota. A few years later Congress passed an additional law called the Immigration Act of 1924, or the Johnson-Reed Act. It was also called the National Origins Act, which was intended to solve the “midnight races” issues. This become a permanent immigration law. The Johnson-Reed Act was rather discriminatory and selective in nature. It required that all documentation be presented abroad, resulting in the receipt of visas for travel to the United States from embassies and consulates prior to travel to the United States.

In 1929 the immigration quota was further reduced by a cap. A series of laws in the 1930’s based on “national origin” limited the number of immigrants who could enter our country. When Jewish refugees tried to flee the Nazi’s, these laws largely prevented their safe harbor in our country. Given that many may not have had family established in the United States at the time, they had no one to vouch for them for the immigration process. Complicating their attempts to apply for refuge, at the time, the term “refugee” had no legal standing under our laws. Thus, Jewish refugees were at a particularly difficult disadvantage when applying to the United States. If the odds weren’t stacked against them enough, American citizens were struggling with the complications caused by the Great Depression, and a general anti-immigrant sentiment  plagued our country due to fears that immigrants may take the few available jobs from struggling American families. Regardless of how much time has passed, some things remain the same.

The story of Anne Frank is likely known by many. I use it as an example of the time as it is a sadly it allows for a comparison and chronology of events that match up with a family that followed the process, submitted all of the proper documentation, and should have qualified to immigrate to the United States at the time. If only someone had taken the time to look at their documents. Their story illuminates how we as a nation failed during this period. Our quota system, and our fear failed this family and many more like them.

Born Annelies Marie Frank, on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany Anne was a young jewish girl with her whole life ahead of her. That was, until the rise of Hitler. She was given a diary and she loved to write in it. She became known posthumously through the publication of her diary. Her writings have been read world wide and serve as a voice of many lost to the Holocaust. Anne wrote about her experience as one of eight people hiding in an attic space for two years before being found by the Germans during the occupation of the Netherlands.

Source: AnneFrank.org
Source: AnneFrank.org
Public anti-anti-immigrant sentiment remained fairly high, and the U.S. Congress tried to pass several bills to aid refugees, but none passed. Applicants seeking admission to the United States had to go through an increased level of procedural steps. A new “relatives rule” was introduced. It required required the submission of sworn affidavits of support from family members living stateside on behalf of applicants intending to seek visas. Additionally, vetted formal personal affidavits and two financial records, fees paid in full, and all personal documentation supplied as requested such as: birth certificates, marriage licenses, etc. The U.S. State Department centralized the alien application process on July 1, 1941 through the visa control office in Washington DC. All alien applications were reviewed by: the Visa Division, Immigration and Naturalization Service, FBI, Military Intelligence Division of the War Department, and the Navy Department’s Office of Naval Intelligence. For many, this new process meant the end of their attempts to enter the United States to seek refuge.

Otto Frank, Anne’s father tried desperately to obtain visas for his family to travel to the United States to escape the brutality of the gestapo. He later explained the steps he took and the heartbreak he felt when a 1940 bombing of the Rotterdam Consulate destroyed everything he submitted with the applications he submitted in 1938 for his family. None of the original documents he had supplied for a sponsored visa application could be recovered. All of them were original birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. In desperation, Otto took further steps in hopes that a friend who was in charge of the United States Housing Department might be able to help him as he was also a mutual friend of both Eleanor Roosevelt and Nathan Straus Jr., the son of a co-owner in the department store Macy’s. Even with these rather impressive connections, Otto eventually found himself hiding his family in an annexed apartment at 263 Prinsengracht for two years until the fateful day when the Germans found them, separated his family, and sent them all to concentration camps.

The Anne Frank House,
Amsterdam, Netherlands
 Source: AnneFrankGuide.net
The hidden annex, accessed behind a bookcase
With fears rising as Hitler’s regime spread across Europe, The U.S. government started to question if Jewish refugees were a security risk, and an anti-immigrant sentiment developed overall. So much so that dwindling quotas even went unfilled. Why were we filled with so much fear that we didn’t allow families to fill these quotas? A file like that of the Frank family sat for two years after it had been submitted for review abroad, and our quotas were still open and could have accepted more numbers. So many people lost their lives while we let bureaucracy dictate decisions of morality.

After being discovered, Anne spent the last year of her life in a concentration camp prior to her death at the age of fifteen. It is unknown whether she passed away in February or March of 1945 of Typhus. She spent her final days at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp without her diary. Anne’s father Otto was the only survivor of the eight people living in the attic space who were sent to the concentration camps. He returned to the attic and found Anne’s diary. The home located at Prinsengracht 263, where the secret annex is located, is now a museum dedicated to the memory and the life of Anne Frank.

Anne Frank's father, Otto Frank
Source: AnneFrank.org
There is sadly a great bit of similarity between the nature of what Otto and his family went through in the process of trying to obtain visas to enter our country to flee the Nazi’s, the climate of fear around national security and immigrants and today’s tone on immigrants. It is for this reason that I wanted to draw the comparison to this story and point out why we have our current day refugee laws. It is important that we honor the history that has given us insight, and not abandon what we have learned from it. We should not repeat it.

Six million European Jews were killed and hundreds of thousands more suffered from deplorable conditions in concentration camps or from the diseases they suffered from subhuman care they experienced during their time hiding from the Gestapo, Hitler’s military force.

After World War II roughly only about 5% of the American public indicated a willingness to allow for additional immigrants. Even with photographic documentation and proof of the atrocities inflicted upon the Jews at the hands of the gestapo. President Truman took it upon himself to solve the issues Congress and the American public weren’t capable or willing to agree upon themselves. He established the “Truman Directive”, which allowed for the issuance of priority visas under a set of provisions within the existing quota system. Most of the visas issued between December 1945 through July 1948 were to people of Jewish decent coming in from Europe after the Holocaust.

An example of a Petition for Naturalization document
Source: TimeToast.com
The establishment of The International Refugee Organization (IRO), which was eventually taken over by the United Nations Commission on Refugees in 1951, which originated in 1946, and was implemented in 1948, was intended to help victims of displacement find their loved ones. The Displaced Persons Act, supported hesitantly by President Truman in 1948, allowed for up to 200,000 people displaced by conflict around the world to enter the United States. Additionally, it allowed for up to 50% of the unused remainder of the quota spaces to be filled by displaced applicants. Truman’s criticism of the bill was warranted. It focused primarily on applicants from Germany, Australia, and Italy. Excluding Jews and displaced people who had been in zones of Gestapo occupation. Congress later made an amendment to the bill. Geographical and chronological information that would have discriminated against people of Jewish descent was removed from the bill. Between 1948 and 1952 nearly 800,000 Jewish applicants entered the United States under The Displaced Persons Act.

The international community recognized the term refugee and gave it a specific legal status under international law at the 1951 Refugee Convention. A refugee was henceforth described as, “A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear is unwilling to return to it.” 

The 1951 Convention further defined a refugee’s rights as the following, “Refugees are granted the right to work, to housing, to education, to public assistance, to freedom of movement within the territory, and cannot be punished for illegal entry. Under Article 33, known as the “non-refoulement” provision, refugees cannot be returned against there will to a place in which they would be endangered, In exchange refugees must abide by the laws and regulations of the country of asylum. Those who have committed crimes against peace, war crimes, or non-political crimes outside of their country of refuge, are not eligible for refugee status.” These worldwide protective practices were expanded in 1967.

The United States opted to pass its own laws regarding refugees. In lieu of signing the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, in 1953 the Refugee Act defined a refugee as an “escapee” (fleeing communism), or an “expellee” (Ex: an ethnic German). This legislation was set to expire in 1956. Under President Johnson, in 1956, the Immigration and Nationality Act, or the Hart-Celler Act eliminated the “national origins” which complicated the quota system and now allowed for immigrants from southern European countries as well as from the continents of Asia and Africa to immigrate to The United States. This act allowed for 6% of the visas issued annually to be allocated among those escaping from a multitude of situations, including natural disasters. For this reason it resulted in refugees and immigrants to remain in one category under the immigration law structure.

Bill Gates Quote, Source: DoubleQuotes.net
“Parole” directives were issues by Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson in 1958 and 1966 to assist Hungarian and Cuban refugees fleeing turbulent uprising in their countries, and in 1975 and 1977 Presidents Ford and Carter advocated for the assistance of several hundred thousand Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees to enter the United States. Many would later become US residents.

The United States Congress responded to the international community by passing the 1980 Refugee Act stating it, “is the historic policy of the United States to respond to the urgent needs of persons subject to persecution in their homelands.” It further explained how the United States would go about following the United National Refugee Protocol. The United States had finally collectively caught up with President Truman’s example. Between 1980 and 2018 roughly 3,000,000 refugees have been allowed safe harbor in the United States.  

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Emblem
If a young Anne Frank could believe that something good could be found in even the most hardened of souls doing the worst humankind could think; we as a people should honor and care for others from the most beautiful place within us, the heart. Like Anne did. We can open our gates and our homes, place another chair at the table, and another glass can be filled. Those who are in peril today may be those who help us tomorrow. Today we feed our friends, tomorrow they may feed us. We orbit the sun together. We are all of the human race.

"It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality," Anne Frank wrote in 1944 in her diary, which helped personalize the tragedies experienced by millions of Jews. "It's a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”

- Anne Frank


Peace & Love

I discussed with Jen last week through our regular daily text, that I would love to do a blog topic of our other passions.  Particularly peace and love.  Jen and I strongly believe in those two small words.  These minuscule words carry intense and heavy connotation.  We both have strong conviction that it is these words, emotions and behaviors that will change humanity.  That will lead us to treat one another with respect and dignity.  There are two months in the calendar year that reflects these two words.  Guess what the month is for Love?  February? how did you guess?  Each February, Jen creates amazing valentine cards.  These are not just any cards, they are hand-made and tailored to the ones she loves.  She does not ask anything in return, no expectation.  Just spreading the love out.  As you can see below, lots of love goes into her hearts.  Now you are probably wondering what month is for peace.  Peace is in September.  To be exact, it is September 21st.  It is the International Day of Peace holiday, as it is recognized by the United Nations. During this holiday, the goal is for all to seize fire, put away their weapons, their harmful and hurtful words, and to not swing their fists at one another.  During this day, we embrace, love, support, cherish, and guide one another.  For past two years, I have asked for volunteers to be "peace ambassadors."  Each of the ambassadors receive 10 hand-made doves to pass out to others.  This year the target goal of making 300 doves total with 30 ambassadors!

Jen and I had a strong faith and belief in both peace and love.  In doing this book, we want for those words to be illustrated, not only in the art work but within the words of the poems.  We want the readers feel love and love the heroes that we portray in the book.  Hatred has never works in history, and it never will.  So as I write on my doves, I do hope that we all can do the following for just today, and everyday after...

Give a little
Smile a little
love a lot!

Ramadan: More than just fasting

Picture source:  https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/life-style/happy-ramadan-2019-ramzan-mubarak-wishes-images-quotes-status-wallp...