Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Day to Accurately Remember

The legendary Rosa Parks passed away today. She was 92. This passing represents not only her shift from labor to reward, but the passing of a legend.

No, she was not a legend because she did not give up her seat. The history books need to clarify. She's a legend because of the plans successfully implemented before and after that led to the events concerning the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 382 days in 1955, resulting in the U.S. Supreme Court to consider segregation on busses illegal.

Mrs. Parks is an icon. As a laborer for peace, she worked for the NAACP and was trained how to handle situations such as physical protest safely. Her longevity of life suggests she did that very well.

Rosa Parks should be remembered not as black lady who refused to give up her seat after a hard day's work, as some of our history books claim. Yet, Rosa Parks should be remembered most for her behind the scenes efforts during the Civil Rights Movement. Not giving up your seat was not new when Rosa Parks came along--other women had done so but did not meet the successful, subsequent litigating criteria outlined by the NAACP for what they thought would generate a campaign to end segregation on busses.

If just refusal to give up your seat was all the criteria needed for her great memory, we would be calling several other women the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement." But, perhaps only Rosa Parks deserves that title.

She is a testament to the fact that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s in the United States was not only about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but that many black women worked behind the scenes during an era of second class gender relations and understandings to get the job done.

Yes, our noted men leaders obviously did their part. But, behind each of them was a determined woman---whether it was a wife, a neighbor, a church member, or a friend. The woman proudly gave her all for the est of us to live better.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Drinking Fiasco

This post will hurt. I don't wish to bring anymore negative light to a precarious situation in the Democratic Governor's nomination race in Ohio, but my impartiality allows me to do so. Today's news in the Toledo Blade (http://www.toledoblade.com), has included an article of Frankie Coleman, the wife of Columbus Mayor and Democratic Governor Contender Michael Coleman. Mrs. Coleman, a possible First Lady of Ohio, was charged with drunk driving after side-swiping a parked truck. Her blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

This is the second mark of drunkiness on the Coleman Campaign. (http://www.colemanforohio2006.com)

The Colemans are black. Mr. Coleman, a friend of my family's, is running for Governor in a state that in some major cities, like his own of Columbus, and mine of Toledo are just coming around to seeing black executive leadership. He's running for Governor as a black man in the middle of a neo-conservative revolution in a state that is so important on the national scene. His race is not only watched in the state of Ohio, but nationwide. Ohio has voted with the successful Presidential candidate in every election since the 1960s and has 20 electoral votes, one of the largest in the nation. More Presidents have come from Ohio than any other state.

The nation has only seen one black governor, Wilder of Virginia, now Richmond's Mayor.

I hate to say it, but high-profile black candidates must be Angels when running for office in high profile races. Ohio's Governor's race is high profile because you have two black men running for their party's nomination: Secretary of State Blackwell, a Republican, and Coleman, a Democrat, among the usual white candidates. You also have the nationwide Tom Noe scandal and the lowest Governor's approval rating in the nation, bringing national attention to Ohio, the state where Toledo was the site of the "Tube War" of the November 2004 election, where Kerry and Bush spent more more in ads there than in any other market in the nation.

I wish Coleman the best and he does have my vote!! I also wish to work for his efforts, if he should ever call on me. I just hope to God, Ohioans are not fickle and see the campaign for its true face, and not today's news.

Buena Suerte!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Institutionalized Love

In actuality, if we're being real with ourselves---every last one of us, from the oldest to the youngest, the strongest to the weakest, the most mature to the most immature—and everyone right in between---- we are all guilty of being stingy with the gifts and talents God has given us, we are all guilty of holding on to the things God has blessed us with and keeping them to ourselves, we are all guilty of not walking in the blessings God has for us, we are all guilty of saying "I love you" with no feeling, no meaning, no purpose, and not much thought. We've been institutionalized!

Some of us have old school habits, old beliefs, and out dated opinions, that we know we need to get rid of. Some of us have people in our lives, co-workers, neighbors, friends, family—that we know we don't act right around, who don't mean us good, but we fake like we love them anyway! EVEN, some of us have become so dependant on earthly love and alleged affection from friends, romance, or entertainment sources, that we have allowed ourselves to cheat one another and somebody else----telling somebody it's ok, when it wasn't, telling ourselves, it won't happen again, and it does, telling somebody I'll pray for you, and we don't, or even worse, telling somebody "God be with you," when you know you felt like saying something else.

Institutionalized Love is a love based on habit, based on thoughtlessness, based on words and not action, based on fear and constraints on change. But, we know love without manifestation is not authentic. For those of us not tithing, I'm going to say that again---love without manifestation is not authentic. Our challenge, then, is to keep our love fresh. Sermons, for example, are to speak to the heart, not to bathe in agreement and Amens. There is always a goal with a sermon—the goal is for you to leave better than you came—for your daily walk to be changed by the Word---just like the Bible was never intended to be separated into verses and chapters, sermons are not intended to be a habitual form of practiced concepts.

Fresh love is the opposite of institutionalized love.

Fresh love does a few things: it keeps your mind away from human error of judgment, for example, where we're too stubborn to go to church school because we think we have nothing new to learn. Fresh love keeps our attitude positive, where we recognize "I have only made it this far by God's twins grace and mercy!" Fresh love keeps us in the spirit of learning, understanding that Christianity is a fluid religion that depends on personal growth of its believers to thrive and flourish.

So, admit it, trying to be a Christian is hard, as we learned in the parable of the three servants. We are not yet Christ-like---that's a battle we try to win daily, praying and hoping one day the war we will win also. We don't get the Christian thing right half of the time. We forget that we are holy—that we are set apart from the rest. We forget that going to church is not enough, we forget that saying "I love you Lord" without manifestation doesn't cut it, we for get that spiritual bondage will not break us free. But, we have today, been given an opportunity!

It's time to cash that check of blessings God has waiting for you in His storehouse! It's time to understand God's love is tough---not easy. The glory of the Lord is knowing that His love is authentic. Ja Rule might say pain is love, Usher might say love was here, and the artist Nazareth might say love hurts, love scars, love wounds, but Kanye West says Jesus Rocks! Knowing that He's your bright and morning star, knowing that He's your wonderful counselor, your prince of peace. He's your lilly of the valley---you know that kind of commercial love is not fresh, is not genuine, is not authentic, it is not of God. The true manifestation of love to God and from God is up to you, not the critics.

Database of Social Justice Organizations


The ACLU is the nation's guardian of liberty. They work daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Their job is to conserve America's original civic values - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Positions Available: Various

ADC is a grassroots civil rights organization which welcomes people of all backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities as members. The ADC was founded in Washington, DC by U.S. Senator Jim Abourezk in 1980 Advisory Board members include: Muhammad Ali, Her Majesty Queen Noor, several U.S. Congressmen, Edward Said & Casey Kasem among others ADC has members in all 50 states - and it is the largest Arab American organization of its kind. The three cities with the largest concentrations of Arab Americans are: Los Angeles, Detroit, & New York.
Positions Available: Volunteers

The American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world. Founded by Quakers in 1917 to provide conscientious objectors with an opportunity to aid civilian war victims, AFSC's work attracts the support and partnership of people of many races, religions, and cultures.
Positions Available: Volunteers

The Anti-Defamation League
The immediate object of the League is to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people. Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.
Positions Available: Various

Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services is a human services organization committed to the development of the Arab American community in all aspects of its economic and cultural life. Staff and volunteers have joined forces to meet the needs of low income families, to help newly arrived immigrants adapt to life in America, and to foster among Americans a greater understanding of Arab Culture as it exists both here and in the Arab world. To achieve these goals, ACCESS provides a wide range of social, mental health, educational, artistic, employment, legal and medical services. ACCESS is dedicated, in all its efforts, to empowering (enabling) people to lead more informed, productive, and fulfilling lives.
Positions Available: Various

Arcus Foundation
The Arcus Foundation seeks to contribute to a pluralistic society that celebrates diversity and dignity, invests in youth and justice, and promotes tolerance and compassion. The foundation was formed in the belief that all individuals have a right and responsibility to full participation in our society and with the conviction that education and knowledge can be an antidote to intolerance and bigotry.
Positions Available: Various

Association of Multi-Ethnic Americans, Inc.
AMEA's primary goal is to educate and advocate on behalf of multiethnic individuals and families by collaborating with others to eradicate all forms of discrimination. AMEA believes that every child, every person who is multiethnic/multiracial has the same right as any other person to assert a personal identity that embraces the fullness and integrity of
their actual ancestry, and that every multiethnic/multiracial family, whether biological or adoptive, has the same right to grow and develop as any other, and that our children have the right to love and respect each of their parents equally.
Positions Available: Volunteers

CAMBIOS "means "changes" in the Spanish language. It was established in 1997 for the purpose of working with teachers, parents, and youth to address the issue of racism, and work towards its elimination. CAMBIOS has donated 50 multi-cultural books to 25 public and private elementary schools, in Lenawee County, Michigan. The mission of Cambios is to celebrate diversity and eliminate discrimination by providing educational
programs and resources.
Positions Available: Various

Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL)
The mission of COOL (Campus Outreach Opportunity League) is to educate, connect and mobilize college students and their campuses to strengthen communities through service and action
Positions Available: Various

The Center for Community Change is a progressive social justice organization whose central project is to support the emergence of one or more movements for social and economic justice in the U.S. The Center strives to transform the national debate and national politics as well as the institutions, economic systems and policies that affect low-income people and working class people, especially people of color.
Positions Available: Various

Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College
The Center for Corporate Citizenship provides leadership in establishing corporate citizenship as a business essential, so all companies act as economic and social assets to the communities they impact by integrating social interests with other core business objectives. Through its research, executive education, consultation and convenings on issues of corporate citizenship, The Center is the leading organization helping
corporations define their role in the community.
Positions Available: Various

The Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), established in 1984, promotes a free enterprise approach to global economic justice through expanded capital ownership. CESJ is a non-profit, non-partisan, ecumenical, all-volunteer organization with an educational and research mission.
Positions Available: Volunteers

Center for Healing Racism
With the avowed purpose of healing racism, the Center established the goals that would guide this achievement. These goals call for the creation of a safe and accepting environment in which people can explore issues of racism, recognize manifestations of racism, examine assumptions and beliefs about racism, understand the impact of racism on themselves and others, and receive the support and encouragement to begin the healing process. In addition, the Center recognizes the benefits derived from active coalition building with other groups and associations that share a commitment to racial justice.
Positions Available: Volunteers

Home to socially-concerned, issue-oriented original audio, video, and written programming, civilrights.org is committed to serving as the online nerve center not only for the struggle against discrimination in all its forms, but also to build the public understanding that it is essential for our nation to continue its journey toward social and economic justice.
Positions Available: Various

Council on American-Islamic Relations
CAIR's vision is to be a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding. CAIR's mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
Positions Available: Various

Days of Dialogue
A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to be a catalyst in the community problem solving process by creating dialogue on sensitive social issues among diverse community groups. By facilitating respectful, purposeful conversation on a broad range of public issues and public policies and topics, we foster understanding, and encourage
citizens to improve their quality of life through civic engagement.
Positions Available: Volunteers

Facing History
For more than 27 years, Facing History has engaged teachers and students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. By studying the historical development of the Holocaust and other examples of collective violence, students make the essential connection between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives.
Positions Available: Volunteers, Research

Families USA is a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. Working at the national, state, and community levels, we have earned a national reputation as an effective voice for health care consumers for over 20 years.
Positions Available: Various

Fellowship for Reconciliation (FOR)
FOR seeks to replace violence, war, racism, and economic injustice with nonviolence, peace, and justice. They are an organization committed to active nonviolence as a transforming way of life and as a means of radical change. They educate, train, build coalitions, and engage in nonviolent and compassionate actions locally, nationally, and globally.
Positions Available: Volunteers

Hope's Voice
Hope's Voice is a national HIV and AIDS organization committed to promoting the education and prevention of HIV and AIDS to young adults. Hope's Voice uses open dialog and peer-to-peer education, through both speaker appearances of young adults living with HIV and AIDS and progressive programs to send a crucial message: HIV and AIDS does not discriminate. Hope's Voice aims to raise awareness and help young adults create the social change that is needed to end this epidemic.
Positions Available: Speakers, Volunteers

As America's largest gay and lesbian organization, the Human Rights Campaign provides a national voice on gay and lesbian issues. The Human Rights Campaign effectively lobbies Congress; mobilizes grassroots action in diverse communities; invests strategically to elect a fair-minded Congress; and increases public understanding through innovative education and communication strategies. HRC is a bipartisan organization that works to advance equality based on sexual orientation and gender expression and identity, to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

The Institute for Humane Studies was founded in 1961 by Dr. F. A. "Baldy" Harper, a former economics professor at Cornell University. Part of a generation that had lived through two devastating world wars and seen the rise of numerous totalitarian dictatorships, Harper set up an institute devoted to research and education in the conviction that greater understanding of human affairs and freedom would foster peace,
prosperity, and social harmony.
Positions Available: Various

InterAction: American Council for Voluntary International Action "InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based international development and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations. With more than 160 members operating in over 100 countries, we work to overcome poverty, exclusion and suffering by advancing social justice and basic dignity for all.”
Positions Available: Various

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
Positions Available: Various

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
MALDEF is the leading nonprofit Latino litigation, advocacy and educational outreach institution in the United States. MALDEF's mission is to foster sound public policies, laws and programs to safeguard the civil rights of the 40 million Latinos living in the
United States and to empower the Latino community to fully participate in our society.
Positions Available: Various

The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
Positions Available: Various

The purpose of the National Association for Community Mediation is to support the maintenance and growth of community-based mediation programs and processes, to present a compelling voice in appropriate policy-making, legislative, professional, and other arenas, and to encourage the development and sharing of resources for these efforts.
Positions Available: Interns, Volunteers

The National Civic League (NCL)
America's original advocate for community democracy. It is a non-profit, non-partisan, membership organization dedicated to strengthening citizen democracy by transforming democratic institutions. NCL fosters innovative community building and political reform, assists local governments, and recognizes collaborative community achievement. NCL accomplishes its mission through technical assistance, training, publishing, research, and the All-America City Awards, America's original and most prestigious community recognition program.
Positions Available: Volunteers

The National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI)
A nonprofit leadership training organization based in Washington, D.C. Since 1984, NCBI has been working to eliminate prejudice and intergroup conflict in communities throughout the world.
Positions Available: Volunteers

The National Conference for Community and Justice
NCCJ's purpose is to transform communities to provide fuller opportunity and to be inclusive and just – through institutional change – by empowering leaders. NCCJ's programming facilitates community and interfaith dialogues, provides workplace consultations, youth leadership development, seminarian and educator training. Its nationally recognized research provides data and analysis to the evolving study of intergroup relations; and, its public policy works with government leaders and
advocates policies that reflect understanding and respect.
Positions Available: Various

The National Lawyers Guild/Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice (a.k.a. Guild Law Center) is a national, non-profit, public interest law center that provides advocacy, representation, legal education and technical support to empower community and workers' rights groups and individuals seeking systemic change toward economic and social justice. The GLC was founded by the National Lawyers Guild to support the principle that economic justice and civil rights are inseparable.
Positions Available: Interns

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The Freedom Center offers lessons and reflections on the struggle for freedom in the past, in the present, and for the future. And it helps visitors discover the power of one voice - shared with many - by speaking out about the meaning of freedom.
Positions Available: Various

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
A Newark-based urban research and advocacy organization dedicated to the advancement of New Jersey's urban areas and residents. Established in 1999 by the Alan V. and Amy Lowenstein Foundation, the Institute provides a dynamic and independent voice for change necessary to create just, vibrant and inclusive urban communities throughout New Jersey. The Institute was formed in the belief that New Jersey's urban areas hold remarkable potential but also face dramatic challenges. Through thorough and independent analysis of barriers and identification and promotion of advantages, the Institute is committed to the undertaking actions necessary to effect positive change.
Positions Available: Various

Nonviolence.org continues to be one of the most highly-visible and visited peace websites, being highly ranked through Gulf War II, the biggest U.S. military action since the web began. This model of independent activist web publishing is still critical and becomes more appreciated every day. The Nonviolence.org mission of featuring the best writing and analysis from a nonviolent viewpoint continues.
Positions Available: Various

Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG)
PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgendered persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.
Positions Available: Volunteers

The Peace and Justice Studies Association
PJSA works to create a just and peaceful world through: The promotion of peace studies within universities, colleges and K-12 grade levels; The forging of alliances among educators, students, activists, and other peace practitioners in order to enhance each other's work on peace, conflict and non-violence; The creation and nurturing of alternatives to structures of inequality and injustice, war and violence through education, research and action.
Positions Available: Various

The National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition (RPC) is a multiracial, multi-issue, international membership organization founded by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., working to move the nation and the world toward social, racial and economic justice by uniting people of diverse ethnic, religious, economic and political backgrounds to make America's promise of " liberty and justice for all" a reality.
Positions Available: Various

Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute
The central mission is to motivate youth to reach their highest potential. The Institute has designed programs based on Mrs. Parks philosophy of "Quiet Strength" which engages youth in hands-on experiences to build practical day-to-day living skills. by promoting multicultural participation in the program to provide youth with a cross-cultural exposure for nurturing a global and inclusive perspective.
Positions Available: Volunteers

The Social Justice Center
A nonprofit office center cooperatively-owned by Madison Community Co-op, the Tenant Resource Center, Wisconsin Citizen Action Fund and Wisconsin Community Fund. The building houses the offices of the four founding organizations, plus offices of other nonprofits (in the incubator space on the lower level). There is also a community meeting room available for use by the organizations in the building, as well as outside
nonprofits, when sponsored by one of the four member organizations.
Positions Available: Volunteers

The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded in 1971 as a small civil rights law firm. Today, the Center is internationally known for its tolerance education programs, its legal victories against white supremacists and its tracking of hate groups.
Positions Available: Various

Swirl aims to unite the mixed community by providing support to mixed families, mixed individuals, transracial adoptees, and inter-racial/cultural/faith couples. Through various educational and social events, Swirl is a meeting place for members of the mixed community to celebrate and explore their heritages.
Positions Available: Volunteers

Triangle Foundation is Michigan's leading organization serving gay, lesbian, transgender, and allied communities.
Positions Available: Various

The United States Branch of the International Association of Educators for World Peace. IAEWP promotes international understanding and world peace through education and developing new and innovative educational strategies and pedagogies dedicated to the pursuit of peace, social justice concerns, and current challenges to the maintenance and extension of peace around the globe.
Positions Available: Various

The Urban Institute measures effects, compares options, shows which stakeholders get the most and least, tests conventional wisdom, reveals trends, and makes costs, benefits, and risks explicit.
Positions Available: Research

The Urban League is the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream.
Positions Available: Various

Volunteer.Gov/Gov consolidates volunteer opportunities available in the public sector, including: the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State of New York Division of Veterans Affairs. This online service lets prospective volunteers match their interests and abilities with available opportunities nationwide through searches based on volunteer activity, location of opportunity, effective date of the opportunity, the sponsoring partner and by keyword search. In the future, Volunteer.Gov/Gov will expand to include other channels for volunteer service to all levels of government.
Positions Available: Volunteers

Women Organized to Make Abuse Nonexistent, Inc. (W.O.M.A.N., Inc.)
A community-based, multi-service agency, was created in 1978 as a two bedroom shelter for battered women. The organization quickly realized that additional options were needed by women who, for many reasons, did not want to enter shelters. In 1979, the Crisis-Line was created, and immediately began receiving approximately 25-30 calls per month -- we now receive over 18,000 a year! Soon after the Crisis-Line was instituted,
the agency also began providing individual counseling and support groups.
Positions Available: Various

The Young Politicians of America is a service-learning movement composed of young Americans aged 14-22 working together to revive political discourse and awareness by establishing nonpartisan civic clubs in high schools and colleges. They deliver their services and spread their mission through an innovative Service-Chapter program.
Positions Available: Various


African Counseling Association
A network of counsellors and counsellor educators with an interest in counselling in Africa. Develop counselling theory and practice that is appropriate for the African context. Form working relationships with counselling organizations both in and outside of Africa. Disseminate information on counselling, counsellor education and counsellor supervision. Recognize the achievement of African counsellors.
Positions Available: Volunteers

Amnesty International (AI) is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights. AIĆ­s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.
Positions Available: Volunteers

The Centre for Social Justice is an advocacy organization that seeks to strengthen the struggle for social justice, committed to working for change in partnership with various social movements and recognize that effective change requires the active participation of all sectors of our community. Based in Ontario, CSJ work increasingly extends across Canada and into the international arena.
Positions Available: Various

CorpWatch counters corporate-led globalization through education, network-building and activism. They work to foster democratic control over corporations by building grassroots globalization a diverse movement for human rights and dignity, labor rights and environmental justice.
Positions Available: Various

The Ford Foundation is a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide. Our goals are to: Strengthen democratic values, Reduce poverty and injustice, Promote international cooperation and Advance human achievement. This has been our purpose for more than half a century. Created with gifts and bequests by Henry and Edsel Ford, the Foundation is an independent organization, with its own board, and is entirely separate from the Ford Motor Company.
Positions Available: Various

The Global Justice Movement (GJM) seeks to present well thought out alternatives to traditional globalization efforts. GJM emphasis is on inclusiveness and abundance for all, rather than a continuance of outmoded thinking and institutions. In particular, GJM examines and presents alternatives to the present money system.
Positions Available: Various

Jubilee USA Network consists of over 60 organizations including labor, churches, religious communities and institutions, AIDS activists, trade campaigners and over 9,000 individuals are active members of the Jubilee USA Network. Jubilee is a strong, diverse and growing network dedicated to working for a world free of debt for billions of people.
Positions Available: Various

The Social Justice Committee of Montreal
The mission of the Social Justice Committee is to: Analyze the underlying structural and global causes of poverty, human rights violations and other social injustices ; Contribute to informed popular participation in eliminating these injustices ; Work in solidarity to transform our world into a just society.
Positions Available: Volunteers

UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. We have the global authority to influence decision-makers, and the variety of partners at grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality. That makes us unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young.
Positions Available: Various

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Founded in 1915 during World War I, with Jane Addams as its first president. WILPF works to achieve through peaceful means world disarmament, full rights for women, racial and economic justice, an end to all forms of violence, and to establish those political, social, and psychological conditions which can assure peace, freedom, and justice for all. WILPF works to create an environment of political, economic, social and psychological freedom for all members of the human community, so that true peace can be enjoyed by all.
Positions Available: Various

Southeast Michigan

The Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace was formed shortly after September 11, 2001, to promote peaceful solutions to international conflicts and to protect civil rights and civil liberties. The Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace (formerly Ann Arbor Ad Hoc Committee for Peace) was founded by a small group of concerned residents desiring to carve out the space for principled dissent, promote nonviolent solutions to international conflicts, and advance friendship and understanding between people of all faiths and nationalities.
Positions Available: Volunteers

Avalon Housing is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and managing permanent rental housing for people with extremely low incomes in Washtenaw County. Avalon owns and operates 143 units of housing, scattered at a dozen sites throughout Ann Arbor. Rents are structured to be affordable to people with incomes at or below 30% of the area median income, and the majority of tenants include people who were homeless and who have a mental or physical disability. Support services are available to all tenants in order to assist them in maintaining their housing stability and enhance their quality of life.
Positions Available: Volunteers

Focus: HOPE
A nationally recognized civil and human rights organization in Detroit, Michigan. Our mission is to use intelligent and practical action to fight racism, poverty and injustice. Achievements include: A food program for eligible mothers, children, and senior citizens, Education and training in manufacturing, engineering, and information technology, Arts
programs to increase understanding of different cultures, Children's day care and education, A manufacturing operation that gives students hands-on work experience Conference facilities Volunteer and outreach initiatives
Positions Available: Various

Food Gatherers exists to alleviate hunger and address its root causes in our community by: reducing food waste through the rescue and distribution of perishable and non perishable food; coordinating with other hunger relief providers; educating the public about hunger; and developing new food resources.
Positions Available: Volunteers

Ginsberg Center
Through programs, initiatives and publications, the Ginsberg Center strives to engage students, faculty members, university staff, and community partners in a process which combines community service and academic learning in order to promote civic participation, build community capacity, and enhance the educational process.
Positions Available: Volunteers

SOS Community Services
We are a 501(c)3, non-profit organization that serves homeless families and children and others in crisis in Washtenaw County. Founded in 1970 by students at Eastern Michigan University, SOS has evolved from its roots as a peer-counseling program into an agency whose comprehensive services assist families in their move from homelessness to self-sufficiency and permanent, stable housing. Today, SOS occupies four program and administrative sites in Washtenaw County, Michigan.
Positions Available: Volunteers

Foreign Country Intersexuals

I don’t think it is easy for American students to label other countries' cultural practices, which they inherently label as below the “American” standard, with the possibility of it being something positive that Americans could learn from. This points to a “cockiness” attitude about American intelligence and superiority that I don’t think most are willing to admit that we are socialized to think accordingly.

There appears to be this notion that Americas have nothing left to learn from and that if we haven’t found the proper way to handle the situation, then it isn’t out there. This is true as you compare Canadian and American prescription drug availability and costs. The FDA argues that Canada’s policies would pose a risk to us, when in reality there is no evidence to suggest that claim is true, and the real setback and delay with cheaper drug costs is governmental bureaucratic interests.

I have always found it very odd that we all claim a child's birth in a nature and/or God-intended event; yet attempt to change its course when it doesn’t meet our socialized guidelines for normalcy and doesn't pose an “acceptable” future matriculation in society. It’s as though we are admitting as parents, that we choose not to raise a child naturally born unique from others due to a social pressure we create.

While I think parents should be able to choose whatever they wish to do as a result of being informed of a possible intersexed child, I do think that decision should be made alone, with the parents, and the child, without medical, family, and other social influences. I think this because in the end, it is only the parents and the child who need to be content and comfortable with the decision being made. The doctor will be forgotten and any real, trustworthy, loving family members will be content as long as the parents and child are happy with the choice.

I speak from lived experience, which I think can relate to this idea. I was born premature, weighing 1 pound, 15 ounces in 1982. Against medical advice and odds, my Mother choose to touch me every night nearly for 6-8 months while I was hospitalized before I could go home. She would pick me up from my incubator, sing, and nurture me while in the hospital. My Mother knew the importance of human touch well before the medical profession and the higher education profession would accept the reality. If it were not for her choice, I likely would have died from medical advice and ignorant socialization of the times from family member suggestions.The same applies to parents facing intersexed children unexpectantly at birth. Loving your child is more important that loving your social system.

Toledo Mayoral Debate Questions

1).Who/What is to blame for the multi million deficit inherited by Mayor Jack Ford when he assumed office in 2001?

2). We have heard use of the party labels Demorcat and Republican by each of the candidates on stage. Please describe what makes you a member of either party, and your definition of being such a member.In other words, How/Why are you a Democrat? What makes you a Democrat? The same for the Republican Party candidates.

3). With the image of neighboring Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick on the line, with national news media like Time Magazine calling him one of America's Worst Mayors and criticizing his "hip hop" image, how important do you think the image of the Mayor of Toledo is to the broader community, state and federal officials?

4).What state and federal connections and relationships do you have and with whom? Toledoans understand much of the City's funding for various projects comes from state and federal sources. How/Whom can you lobby on the state and federal level to work on behalf of Toledo.

An Article I'd Read

Dear The Blade:

Please consider this idea from an avid-daily online reader:

I strongly believe The Blade should do a long article on "What Makes You a Democrat?" for the Democratic candidates for Mayor, and "What Makes You a Republican? for Mr. Ludeman, before the Primary.Toledoans know there are three candidates that claim they are Democrats.

However, The Blade may consider asking each candidate in an article (not debate forum, because the opportunity to answer in depth is not there). What makes them a Democrat? Why are they Democrats?How are your policies (in action) or planned, Democratic policies? With both national parties redefining themselves over the last several years, a local highlight of this nature is appropriate.

The same should be asked of Mr. Ludeman. In a tense political election, I think it will prove significant the differences the candidates draw when they response to these are similar questions.

Parochial Change

Wilkowski was right during his mayoral primary campaign about the need for change in Toledo. However, the type of change is still under question. Change occurs with the constituents, the voters. When less than a majority of voters (and worse only 22%) of citizens vote in an election--whether primary or general, Toledo can never expect to grow. This suggests, no matter who is elected, a majority of voters do not care and likely during that elected official's term, he will be criticized by the majority--those non-voting citizens.

It is not the Mayor's or Council's job to take charge in Toledo--they only represent what we want. Toledoans should be embarrassed. To talk about change is one thing (which Toledoans have done for decades), but to foster change is another, and the only way to do that is by voting.

This recent primary is a sad day for any true lovers of representative government, whether your candidates made it through or not.

A Serious Question

Question for 11/1/05 Toledo, OH Mayoral Debate

What makes you a Democrat? How have you and do you plan to use that party affliation with the state and national party to benefit the City?

Preemptive Strike

Perhaps the phrase "ignorance is bliss" may best describe city residents and officials' initial hopes and intentions in regard to resident action at the Nazi sidewalk Rally in Toledo last Saturday. Yet, as a black man, I am insulted at the characterization that protestors to Nazis rallying are "ignorant." Some of The Blade's previously published letters to the editor include such phrasing in the title and body of the letter. These people, largely African American, were not ignorant. They were violently emotional. It's not acceptable, but ignorance is the wrong choice of grammar.

If they were ignorant of the event or their planned actions, they would not have known about it, effectively garnered intragroup support and did what they did. While their violence can not be supported, most of the arrestees were under the age of eighteen. Where were the parents and guardians?

While what the mostly juevenile crowd chose to do is not positive, it is simply a version of preemptive strike that turned ugly. Their aggression toward racial sensitivities turned to police. Again, while not the best option, with a mostly white police force, and mostly black crowd, that outcome is plausible.

Comparably, preemptive strike worked in Iraq, some say, and now it has turned ugly. Maybe we have finally learned our lesson.

Democrat or Not?

Does party affiliation only matter on the national electoral level? I don't think so. In cities heaviliy Democratic in our region, like Toledo, Ann Arbor and Detroit, that title more often than not, helps you win. But. in this Toledo Mayoral election and the last in 2001, we have two Democrats running against each other. What makes Finkbeiner a Democrat? What makes Ford a Democrat? Perhaps campaign contributions to fellow elected officials? Length of time as a member of that party? Strong affiliation with party leadership at the state and national level? Policies and initiatives?

These are questions no debate has asked, and no media have offered. But, Toledo should not take the logo "Democrat" for granted. Someone should ask the candidates what it means to them.

Fishy Business

Is it a coincidence that the Schyck household that allegedly was responsible for the Nazi group having information that prompted their visit to Toledo last Saturday, has a "Carty Gets Results" sign in his yard, as Carty runs for Mayor again on a premise of increased black gang violence?

Sounds fishy that the Nazi protest riots which occurred resulted in only black gang violence, in a tight race for Mayor, where the City's 24% black population will be a key determinant in the race.

Misleading Media Presentations

Mr. Troy:

I question your characterization of Carleton Finkbeiner as the "leading candidate" in Toledo's Mayor's race. (Toledo Blade, 10.5.05) "Finkbeiner criticizes radio host's comments" With primary percentages as low as they were, that unofficial title gives voters a biased image that journalism is not supposed to do.

I am sure you know the empirical evidence that suggests the media and journalists like yourself have an effect, (via their question wording and presentation of media coverage in campaigns) to contribute negatively or positively to candidates during elections--especially local ones in cities with one major route of access to print news. I am sure you know most Americans read only headlines and the first paragraph of news articles, also.

In a four-way primary, with very low turnout figures, and telephone polls with high sampling errors and questions of over or under representation of certain groups, the title of "leading candidate" is not just, nor politically accurate. Also, telephone polls economically disadvantage lower income residents who may not have phones. And, with the precinct vote of the primary, we know which historically-labeled disadvantaged group(s) are likely to vote for whom.

It's amazing how Carty is ethnically sensitive in election time, and physically overbearing to various groups when he's not a candidate, but an elected official.

Bush's Funny Numbers

HIV/AIDS Domestic Allocation and President George W. Bush:
Lives Hanging in the Balance

The media and the Whitehouse praise President George W. Bush for his efforts on the domestic front to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic. But, then I pulled out my books. Globally, says the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, developed countries have an obligation on historical grounds to provide monetarily for other countries. Both President Bush and former President Clinton make seemingly large global commitments to the cause; however, the domestic numbers for the current President are misleading.

Current government officials don't help to clarify either. Vice President Cheney publicly admitted in his debate with former Sen. John Edwards in the 2000 presidential race that he knew nothing of the epidemic's effect on African Americans, especially women. And, Bush's pledge, first mentioned publicly in his 2003 State of the Union address, along with Health and Human Services Secretary Leavitt's label of HIV/AIDS as a "top priority," upon Bush's recommendation to extend the Ryan White Care Act (RWCA) earlier this summer, have not yet become reality.

According to the Black AIDS Institute, the RWCA increased yearly under Clinton, and has decreased with Bush, with the President increasing international aid, and decreasing domestic aid. They claim, in accordance with Bush's 2003 pledge to increase global spending by $15 billion by 2008, the 2005 budget recommendations by the President did call for an increase in RWCA funding, but most was international and 75% went to "core medical services"—a concept not defined, posits editor Kai Wright. In addition, they demonstrate, the budget indirectly cuts many related services like transportation, prescriptions drugs, and food banks that are critical to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Johns Hopkins University AIDS Service says the RWCA, originally passed 8.18.90 by Congress is "designed to improve the quality and availability of care for persons with HIV/AIDS and their families," and that the Act is separated into four titles based on metropolitan rates, individual need, and medical support available. The Bush Administration and the Republican National Committee claim "The President's continued commitment to combating HIV/AIDS domestically is reinforced in his budget for FY 2005 with $17.1 billion in funding for domestic AIDS research, care, prevention, and treatment—an increase of 27% since 2001." But this is very misleading.

In comparison with his predecessor, Bush has done an exceedingly bad job of leveling domestic HIV/AIDS funding. Being a discretionary item, by law, the RWCA must be re-evaluated and extended every five years, with yearly caps on spending, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation. While Bush requested 19.8 billion for domestic and global funding for 2005, that is less than a 1% of the total federal budget, and only a 7% increase since 2004. Other entitlement social programs like Medicaid (the largest health coverage option of people living with HIV/AIDS), Medicare, Social Security Disability Insurance, and Supplemental Security Income received 51% of the funds or $10.1 billion, and 49% was discretionary.

Increase in funding is not novel, and should not be applauded, yet analyzed critically. My calculations, comparing the Clinton and Bush Administrations in their domestic commitment to Title II (HIV Care) of the RWCA, which allocates funds to extend and save the lives of HIV infected persons, suggest Clinton, on average increased HIV Care funding by 30.9% and total RWCA funding by 24%. Bush, on average, increased HIV Care by 5.7% since 2001, and total RWCA spending by 3.5%. The 27% he and the GOP account for, is the total of percent increase in total RWCA funding since 2001, not the average per year. For Clinton, that figure is 191.7%. (HRSA, Dept. of Health and Human Services RWCA Appropriations History: FY 1991 to FY 2005).

Bush has improved in other areas, however. The FDA approved Viread for HIV-1 infection in 2001, a new rapid HIV test kit in 2002, a new therapy, Aptivus, for HIV patients with advanced disease in June 2005, and just this month the first pediatric generic drug for U.S. marketing. Still, Bush Administration problems, with the commissioner of the FDA, Lester M. Crawford, resigning this month, may affect the FDA's implementation of these new policies.

With Katrina, Rita, and Iraq, it's doubtful to expect Bush to make significant changes in his appropriations of the RWCA or sustaining HIV + citizens' lives. Not only does his less than 1% of the federal budget allocation of HIV/AIDS funding severely under-estimate the scope of the epidemic, but it leaves lives in the balance.

Take a Trip and Get a Grip

Take a Trip and Get a Grip

Perhaps the reason people can support Carty over Jack for Mayor is because they don't have the opportunity or choose not to travel. If one did, one would see, with Jack in office, Toledo has done one of the better jobs in the entire country given its economic constraints to re-build a legacy lost long ago when downtown first began to fade.

Nearly every city Toledo's size and in the Midwest region of the U.S. has done worse than Toledo in critical areas of importance: jobs for city workers, taxes, downtown development, ethics, safety and fire workers, etc.

Perhaps if people had the chance to leave Toledo they could see and compare and judge accordingly and fairly. Yet, it might be Bush's tax cut for the benefit of the rich, and the national deficit, that results in squeezing the middle class that prevent people to see reality.

But, please, whatever the reason, have a conscience, have a true Democratic conscience, vote for Jack.

Delay Judicial Ethics

Delay's demand for a non-Democratic judge, as a prominent former national leader in representative government signals strong problems with our Constitutional assumption of non-partisan judicial advocacy. If Delay does not believe a Democratic judge would be impartial and non-partisan in a hearing, why should we believe a Republican judge would be more impartial?

This poses serious questions beyond the Delay case. Largely nationwide, if judges are elected and selected based on record and not partisan affiliations, why does and should partisan support and contributions matter once cases are heard by that judge? Perhaps, we should stop covering up the truth; conservative presidents nominate conservative judges, and this dichotomy trickles down to the local level. The variability of conservative differs as we've learned with Souter and O'Connor, but they're conservative nonetheless. Conservative, in today's political lingo means "Republican."

Let's be honest: Republicans back Republicans, Democrats back Democrats, it's the beauty and fallacy of a two-party system. A robe or title doesn't erase one's politics.