Some Days

My literature education was bereft of James Baldwin. Recently, I fortuitously saw his poem, Some Days, posted on a nondescript wall. While I find the entire poem comforting, my favorite line is:

I know that love is the only answer.

Go ahead, read the poem for yourself! I hope, like me, you were smiling by the end!

Quotation of the Day

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor,”

~Desmond Tutu
Tutu also penned the forward to the forthcoming Global Guide to Animal Protection edited by Andrew Linzey, for which Tutu writes,

I have seen firsthand how injustice gets overlooked when the victims are powerless or vulnerable, when they have no one to speak up for them and no means of representing themselves to a higher authority. Animals are in precisely that position. Unless we are mindful of their interests and speak out loudly on their behalf, abuse and cruelty go unchallenged.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Outside Tuto House, Soweto by Johan Wessels
licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Love Wins

“Love wins. This is what we taught her: to honor, to praise, to be loving,” – Nelba Márquez-Greene, mother of Ana Grace, one of the children killed last year on this day during the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut

Last year on this date, twenty-six people, twenty children and six adults, were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School by Adam Lanza, who had previously shot dead his mother. Minutes after the massacre, Lanza took his own life.

Instead of retreating into hate and bitterness, the families of many of the victims have used the unspeakable losses to promote healing rather than revenge. Since their precious daughter loved animals and even made business cards for “Catherine’s Animal Shelter” with herself as Care Taker [sic], Catherine Violet Hubbard’s family has created a foundation working with The Animal Center to raise funds to build a sanctuary.

Earlier this fall, Catherine was posthumously honored as the ASPCA Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year. In an interview with WFSB Channel 3 News, Jenny Hubbard, Catherine’s mother, remarked,”We’re (going to) create a place where creatures can come and heal and find tranquility, and Catherine is going to be so proud. She is going to be thrilled that we brought her all her animals.”

You can download the “I am a Butterfly” icon here and use it as your profile in social media to raise awareness of Catherine’s vision.
A therapist, Nelba Márquez-Greene, mother of Ana Grace, decide to put her work counseling troubled individuals on hold to work on community-level initiatives aimed at promoting compassion and connections through the Ana Grace Project. In partnership with the Klingberg Family Centers, Márquez-Greene founded The Center for Community and Compassion with a mission of reducing violence through promoting connections and compassion.

Ana Grace, Photo from The Ana Grace Project

Please follow the example of these families and use the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings to make a positive impact on your community and your world.

  1. Be kind. Matt Crebbin, coordinator of the Newtown Interfaith Clergy association reminds us, “Kindness is a choice that we all make,” (HuffPost). 
  2. Advocate for gun reform. Moyers and Co. provides a primer on how to take a stand against gun violence. Since Sandy Hook, 194 children, with an average age of six, have been killed with guns (Moyers & Co.).
  3. Donate to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation or The Ana Grace Project.
  4. Practice compassion. If you have children, actively teach compassion to them.
  5. If you are a teacher, consider the Classes4Classes program to promote compassion among school children.
Remember, love wins.


Compassion Games

A string of links led me to the Compassion Games, a friendly rivalry between cities to promote kindness within communities. (I am hoping Ithaca will participate one day, maybe even Ardmore!) The organizers of the event outlined four principles of compassion to inspire participants:

  • To cultivate a disposition of loving-kindness and respect in ourselves. 
  • To exhibit that in how we approach each human we interact with. 
  • To commit to the service of others — in our neighborhood, in our country, even across the world. 
  • To adopt an open-mindedness — and generative, generous spirit – that leads to creativity in solving the world’s challenges. 

I would never have stumbled upon the Compassion Games if I hadn’t been playing SuperBetter and saw mention of the Compassion Games on the app’s facebook page. And I started playing SuperBetter because I watched Jane McGonigal‘s Ted Talk, “The Game That Can Give You Ten Extra Years of Life.” (My secret identity is Violet Springs, by the way.)

Watch the talk – you’ll be inspired! After you watch the video, be sure to adopt the principles of compassion in your daily life. Undoubtedly, you yourself will gain the benefits!