Monthly Archives: April 2016

INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY: APRIL 30, 2016

International Jazz Day

April 30 has been designated as International Jazz Day by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

April 30 will be celebrated as the International Jazz Day.
©iStockphoto.com/Mark Hatfield

International Jazz Day celebrates the historical, cultural, and educational contribution of this popular genre of music. The day aims to spread international awareness about this unique musical style; and to promote the cultural, and social values that Jazz stands for.

Background

Jazz is a uniquely American musical style that emerged out of the slave experience, primarily in southern United States. It is deeply rooted in the rich musical, and cultural traditions of Africa, and is heavily influenced by European music. New Orleans is generally considered to be the birthplace of this popular musical form, which is now seen as a voice of freedom and empowerment, and a statement against injustice, and oppression all around the world.

Today, Jazz has spread all over the globe, and is constantly evolving, being influenced by, and influencing other musical forms and genres.

The initiative to create an International Day of Jazz came from American Jazz pianist, composer, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogues, Herbie Hancock. The purpose of the initiative was to focus global attention to the role that Jazz has played in breaking down race and gender barriers around the world; and in promoting cooperation; mutual understanding, and communication; peace and freedom.

Celebrations

Several activities mark the celebration of International Jazz Day, including Jazz concerts and performances, film screenings, and conference and panel discussions.

International Jazz Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type Where It is Observed
Mon Apr 30 2012 International Jazz Day United Nations observance
Tue Apr 30 2013 International Jazz Day United Nations observance
Wed Apr 30 2014 International Jazz Day United Nations observance
Thu Apr 30 2015 International Jazz Day United Nations observance
Sat Apr 30 2016 International Jazz Day United Nations observance
Sun Apr 30 2017 International Jazz Day United Nations observance
Mon Apr 30 2018 International Jazz Day United Nations observance
Tue Apr 30 2019 International Jazz Day United Nations observance
Thu Apr 30 2020 International Jazz Day United Nations observance
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SKYWATCH: RUSSIAN LAUNCH SUCCESS, A MOON FOR PLUTO’S NEIGHBOR, AND MORE

LATEST NEWS

Russian Space Observatory Launches

Sky & Telescope

Russia’s Mikhailo Lomonosov observatory takes to the skies on the hunt for gamma-ray bursts, cosmic rays, and near-Earth asteroids.

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Recovery Attempts End for Hitomi Satellite

Sky & Telescope

The Japanese space agency JAXA has officially ended recovery attempts for the tumbling Hitomi space observatory. They’ve also released a timeline covering the spacecraft’s failure last month.

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A Moon for Kuiper Belt’s Makemake

Sky & Telescope

Astronomers have been searching for companions to the distant dwarf planet Makemake for years. Finally, they’ve spotted one.

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Milky Way’s New Neighbor: A Giant Dwarf

Sky & Telescope

Astronomers have discovered a “feeble giant”: one of the largest dwarf galaxies ever seen around the Milky Way.

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Speedy Stars Weigh Milky Way’s Dark Matter Halo

Sky & Telescope

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a . . . pair of hypervelocity stars? The surprising stellar duo may place constraints on the mass of our galaxy’s unseen dark matter halo.

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OBSERVING HIGHLIGHTS

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, April 29 – May 7

Sky & Telescope

The last quarter Moon shines tonight, and even though Sunday brings May, wintry Sirius still twinkles very low in the west-southwest at the end of twilight.

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Tips for a Successful Star Party
Sky & Telescope
Planning a sidewalk stargazing event? Here are a few suggestions to make sure people walk away smiling.

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Tour May’s Sky: Jupiter Leads the Way

Sky & Telescope

Sky & Telescope’s astronomy podcast takes you on a guided tour of the night sky. Watch for Mars and Saturn near Scorpius before dawn and Jupiter near Leo after sunset.

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COMMUNITY

Introducing Sky & Telescope‘s Celestial Globe

Sky & Telescope

Our state-of-the-art representation of the entire celestial sphere lets you explore the stars above as never before. Now in stock!

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DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF CHEMICAL WARFARE: APRIL 29, 2016

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare

The United Nations (UN) officially observes the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare on April 29 each year.

A gas mask, or respirator.
©iStockphoto.com/kramer-1

What Do People Do

The Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare gives people the chance to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare. It also allows governments and organizations to commit or reaffirm their commitment to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an organization that aims to end the threat of chemical weapons and promote the peace and security worldwide.

Public Life

The Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare is a UN observance and not a public holiday on April 29.

Background

In November 2005 the UN decided to observe a memorial “Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare” on April 29 each year. The date April 29 was chosen for this observance because it was when the Chemical Weapons Convention came into force.

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type Where It is Observed
Fri Apr 29 2011 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare United Nations observance
Sun Apr 29 2012 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare United Nations observance
Mon Apr 29 2013 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare United Nations observance
Tue Apr 29 2014 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare United Nations observance
Wed Apr 29 2015 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare United Nations observance
Fri Apr 29 2016 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare United Nations observance
Sat Apr 29 2017 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare United Nations observance
Sun Apr 29 2018 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare United Nations observance
Mon Apr 29 2019 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare United Nations observance
Wed Apr 29 2020 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare United Nations observance

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HOW OUR COUNTRY FAILS BLACK WOMEN AND GIRLS

How Our Country Fails Black Women and Girls

And why we need to talk about it.

 
Apr 28, 2016
 
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The following was delivered before the Congressional Caucus for Black Women and Girls earlier today.

I hold a professorship named for one of the most extraordinary Americans to live in the twentieth century. Born in 1928, Maya Angelou experienced childhood poverty and dislocation. She was raped by an adult man when she only seven years old. The brutality and unresolved trauma resulting from that early sexual violence stole her voice and shaped her young adulthood. Eventually she became an unwed teen mother. More than three generations after Maya’s childhood, poverty, familial disruption, sexual violence, interrupted education, and teen pregnancy remain key barriers facing black girls in America’s cities, towns, and rural communities.

Maya Angelou’s story does not end with her struggles; it only begins there. She was guided out of silence by the loving hand of an educator. Her teacher did not practice zero tolerance or call a school resource officer to slam young Maya to the ground. She saw the brokenness of a girl child who needed to be drawn gently back into the world. She helped Maya regain her voice through a love of literature and poetry. As a girl Maya was burdened with poverty and brokenness, but she also encountered meaningful opportunities to learn, grow, and discover her talents while experiencing the care of her community. Maya transformed these opportunities into a life of singular accomplishment and remarkable contributions.

Getty Michael Ochs Archives

Maya became a fierce advocate for voting rights and human rights, working first with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and later with both Coretta Scott King and Dr. Betty Shabazz.  Recognizing the importance of race and gender health disparities, Dr. Angelou gave her name to the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. In Washington, D.C., she enthusiastically contributed her name to the Maya Angelou Public Charter School offering second chances to young people emerging from juvenile incarceration. Maya Angelou’s path was not always pretty or polite, but it always affirmed that Black Girls Rock and Black Women Matter.

Girlhood has never been a shield against the brutality of white supremacy.

Indeed, Maya Angelou’s story embodies the barriers and pathways for black women and girls we have gathered to discuss today. I believe she would be pleased by this unprecedented gathering of scholars, activists, artists, journalists, citizens, and lawmakers committed to eliminating injustices black women face. I believe she would commend each of the co-chairs for the visionary leadership to develop the first Congressional Caucus for Black Women and Girls. And I believe she would ask of the larger legislative body, “What took so long?”

Vulnerability to Violence

What took so long? After all, it is not safe to be a black girl in America.

Black communities understand how unjust violence perpetrated against black boys is connected to our collective movements for racial justice and social change.  We know how the horrific murder of Emmett Till galvanized the courage of black Americans in the battle against Jim Crow. Because we know these stories we draw on them again and again. When Oscar Grant or Trayvon Martin or Eric Garner or Tamir Rice were taken too soon, we understand their deaths in historical context of racial vulnerability. We can see the need to make change―to keep our brothers.

We less frequently discuss historical violence against black girls and don’t adequately connect these stories to movements for social justice. As a result we think our daughters are safer than our sons. We forget Elizabeth Eckford walking a racist gauntlet toward Central High School in 1957; or tiny Ruby Bridges requiring federal marshals to attend elementary school in 1960, New Orleans; or four little girls murdered in their Sunday school in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.  Girlhood has never been a shield against the brutality of white supremacy. We cannot forget the vulnerabilities of black girls. Yes, we must keep our brothers, but what about our daughters? We must also say their names: Rekia Boyd, Renisha McBride, Mya Hall, Natasha McKenna, Sandra Bland.

From L-R: Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Natasha McKenna, Renisha McBride
are even more reluctant to acknowledge the violence black girls and women suffer at the hands of black men. According to the Black Women’s Blueprint, approximately 60 percent of black girls will experience sexual assault before they are 18. A leading cause of death for black women 15 to 34 is homicide by an intimate partner. Debilitating injury resulting from intimate partner violence is a health crisis for black women. Yet African American women are less likely to report rape and sexual assault than their white counterparts. [ix] When they do seek protection, black women face unique challenges in family and criminal court because many judges perceive African American women as less vulnerable, more hostile, more sexualized, and less worthy of official forms of protection.

Unequal Opportunity

What took so long? After all, black women have less economic opportunity.

Black women work more than all other women, but reap fewer economic rewards. According to a December 2015 report by the National Partnership for Women and Families, a state by state analysis shows black women’s wages range from 48 to 69 cents for every dollar paid to white men.  One in four black women live in poverty, a rate more than double white women’s poverty.

Perhaps even more shocking than black women’s poverty is black women’s wealth. According to a 2010 study by Mariko Chang, the median wealth for a single white man age 18 to 64 was $41,410.  But the median wealth for a single black woman in the same age range was $5. Five dollars is the cushion between these adult black women and an illness, an unexpected expense, a family member who needs help. Five dollars.

Education is not necessarily the answer. Neither the wage gap nor the wealth gap is resolved by educational attainment. Black women with a college degree earn more than black women with only a high school diploma, but the pay gap relative to their white male counterparts is wider. As a 2015 report by the Black Women’s Roundtable states, “It would take nearly two Black women college graduates to earn what the average White male college graduate earns by himself ($55,804 vs. $100, 620).” Finishing college does not ensure long-term wealth accumulation for black women. Lower wages, higher student loan debt, and significant expectations for redistribution within family networks means studying and working hard are insufficient remedies for the systemic economic inequities black women face.

Criminal Injustice

What took so long? After all, the criminal justice system is unfair to black women.

According to The Sentencing Project, the number of women in American prisons is increasing at nearly double the rate of men. These women are disproportionately black women according to statistics from the Department of Justice. The rate of incarceration is almost twice as high for black versus white women, 113 per 100,000 compared 51 per 100,000. Given that nearly 60 percent of these women are mothers who were caring for minor children before their sentencing, the jailing of black women has a devastating effect on black children and communities.

 

Black girls are suspended, criminalized, pushed out of school and into a juvenile system where they receive disproportionally harsh sentences often in the wake of severe emotional and sexual trauma.

Now consider this: Decades of research show the overwhelming majority of incarcerated women are survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence, childhood trauma, poverty, and broken foster care systems. When black women are guilty of being victims our response is to lock them away; strip them of parental rights; permanently damage their ability to seek educations, secure housing, start businesses, and choose their elected representatives. And it begins when they are girls. Black girls are suspended, criminalized, pushed out of school and into a juvenile system where they receive disproportionally harsh sentences often in the wake of severe emotional and sexual trauma. Imagine if eight-year-old Maya Angelou had been sent to a correctional facility instead of to the head of the class.

Health Disparities

What took so long? After all, black women’s health is suffering.

Black women have higher rates of hypertension and diabetes. Black women are far more likely to suffer from fibroids and undergo hysterectomies. While HIV-AIDS infections have declined throughout the United States, black women account for 66 percent of new cases of HIV among women. And there is this shocking disparity―black women are less likely than white women to get breast cancer, but more likely to die from the disease. In 2010, the CDC reported breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for black women 45 to 64 years old, a death rate 60 percent higher than for white women.

 

Babies born to black women remain twice as likely to die before their first birthday as those born to white women.

Perhaps nothing so powerfully illustrates how the bodies of black women carry the burdens of racial injustice as the persistent racial infant mortality gap. Babies born to black women remain twice as likely to die before their first birthday as those born to white women. The gap is not closed by access to health insurance, prenatal care, or education. Black mothers with advanced degrees suffer higher infant morality than white mothers who have not finished high school. The most promising research in this area suggests that black infant mortality may be an intergenerational result of historical experiences of racial inequality. It may be that black women literally carry the legacy of American racism and sexism in our bodies, making both our infants and ourselves ill.

Here I want to pause to note that despite important commonalities, all African American women do not share the same ideas, beliefs, and burdens. Age, region, queer identity, and skin color shape black women’s lived experiences. Black trans women are uniquely vulnerable to public and state violence. Black women living with disabilities face barriers we frequently overlook. Black girls in foster care or struggling with episodic homelessness will have very different challenges than those with more stability. But these variations between and among us do not invalidate the importance of thinking about black women and girls as a group.

I have offered up a lot of statistics. These are data you will hear more about, with more context, from other witnesses throughout the day. Together these data tell us that the intersections of race and gender strongly determine life opportunities for black girls and women. Therefore it is important to think about black girls and women as a meaningful analytic category and to target justice-oriented, community-centered, and culturally literate research and public policy toward addressing the challenges faced by black women and girls. The women you will hear from today represent organizations that have been doing this work for years, often without recognition or adequate support.

Even as we map these profound injustices, don’t get it twisted. Black women are more than the sum of their relative disadvantages―they are active agents who craft meaning out of their circumstances and do so in complicated and diverse ways. The exceptional generative capacity of black girls and women in circumstances of deep inequality is so profoundly incomprehensible to so many they have little choice but to understand it as black girl magic.

 

Don’t get it twisted: Black women are more than the sum of their relative disadvantages.

How else to understand that black women had the highest voter turnout of any category of voters in both 2008 and 2012, twice choosing an American president while no one asked a single black woman to moderate a presidential debate? How else can we understand that in 2014 black women candidates running statewide in Ohio and Georgia accumulated more than one million votes even though their state parties largely ignored their races? How else to understand that when black women picked up four Congressional seats in 2014, one of those seats was to the first black woman elected to congress from New Jersey, Representative Bonnie Watson-Coleman? And her first order of business was to come here to Capitol Hill and help form this first congressional caucus for black women and girls.

Bonnie Watson Coleman
Getty

Many call it black girl magic because it seems we can do what no one else can or will do. We seem to bear burdens heavier, run races faster, and absorb brutality more stinging than ought to be possible given how few resources are at our disposal. The legacy of black women’s lives and labors show an unprecedented capacity to survive in hostile conditions. This is not magic. It is grinding work that exacts deep costs from black girls and women. Yes, black women have long made lemonade from the lemons life handed them. The problem is somebody usually sat down and drank it after she made it. That is not justice.

 

We seem to bear burdens heavier, run races faster, and absorb brutality more stinging than ought to be possible given how few resources are at our disposal.

I want to leave you with one final imperative. On July 9, 2014, Tianna-Gaines Turner, an African American mother from Philadelphia, became the only person living in poverty to testify before Representative Paul Ryan’s House Budget Committee on poverty―the only person living in poverty to address the lawmakers creating policy about poverty. Her statement was powerful and clear. She concluded by admonishing the committee with these words:

My neighbors and I know what’s going on in our own communities, more than anyone else. We know our own hardships better than anyone. We have the energy, the grit, the creativity, and the strongest interest in overcoming our struggles. We’re fighting already for our families and our neighbors. We need to be taken more seriously by our state and federal governments. …

Nothing about us, without us. Congress should not make any decisions about programs meant to help families living in poverty without people who know poverty firsthand at the decision-making table…. It’s time to call in the experts.

As the work of this historic caucus moves forward, let us follow this rule set by Tianna-Gaines Turner—nothing about us, without us. Black girls must be at the table. Black women must be at the table. Not just the college professors, celebrities, business leaders, and elected officials, but our cousins, our sisters, our grandmas, the girls who didn’t make it out, the ones we locked away, the voices that have been silenced. Let us be the ones who find today’s Maya Angelou while she is yet mute, who remind her she has something to say, and then let us listen while she tells us her story.

SOURCE

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WORLD DAY FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK: APRIL 28, 2016

World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Organizations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations (UN) actively promote the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28 every year.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work
World Day for Safety and Health at Work helps raise awareness of workplace safety and health issues.
©iStockphoto.com/Eagle_373

What Do People Do?

The UN, ILO and other organizations, communities, individuals, and government bodies with an interest in workplace health and safety unite on or around April 28 to promote an international campaign known as World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The UN posts this event in its events calendar each year.

Community leaders and organizational representatives often promote the day by speaking out on issues such as workplace health and safety standards. Various media have promoted the day through news articles and broadcast programs. Different types of events and activities that center on workplace health and safety are held in many countries on or around April 28 each year.

Public Life

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an observance and is not a public holiday.

Background

The International Labour Organization (ILO) started observing the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28, 2003. The ILO is devoted to advancing opportunities for people to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. It aims to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, boost social protection, and strengthen dialogue in work-related issues.

Theme 2016: “Workplace Stress: A Collective Challenge”

World Day for Safety and Health at Work Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type Where It is Observed
Wed Apr 28 2010 World Day for Safety and Health at Work United Nations observance
Thu Apr 28 2011 World Day for Safety and Health at Work United Nations observance
Sat Apr 28 2012 World Day for Safety and Health at Work United Nations observance
Sun Apr 28 2013 World Day for Safety and Health at Work United Nations observance
Mon Apr 28 2014 World Day for Safety and Health at Work United Nations observance
Tue Apr 28 2015 World Day for Safety and Health at Work United Nations observance
Thu Apr 28 2016 World Day for Safety and Health at Work United Nations observance
Fri Apr 28 2017 World Day for Safety and Health at Work United Nations observance
Sat Apr 28 2018 World Day for Safety and Health at Work United Nations observance
Sun Apr 28 2019 World Day for Safety and Health at Work United Nations observance
Tue Apr 28 2020 World Day for Safety and Health at Work United Nations observance

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HATEWATCH; HEADLINES FOR 4-28-2016

Hatewatch Headlines 4/28/2016

Kansas wants out of refugee program; Roy Moore wants complaints dismissed; KKK rally stabbing victim wants L.A. police investigated; and more.

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Washington Post: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback backs out of refugee program, saying ‘the federal government has failed.’

The Hill: GOP Senate candidate from Florida proposes banning all Middle Easterners from the U.S.

Media Matters: Birtherism is Trump’s original sin, and now it’s the media’s latest one.

AL.com: Alabama justice Roy Moore to ask for ‘unfounded’ judicial complaints over anti-LGBT behavior to be dismissed.

Talking Points Memo: Top North Carolina Senate Republican wants to put anti-LGBT law on the November ballot.

Daily Courier (Prescott, AZ): Home occupiers spouting sovereign-citizen language appear in court, deny illegal activity.

Los Angeles Times: Man stabbed at Anaheim KKK rally calls for investigation of police.

The Conversation: The effect that racist rhetoric has on young Latinos, and why all Americans should care.

Vice: Hundreds of police officers gather to hear noted anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist lecture on Islam and terrorism.

Right Wing Watch: Religious right activists tell Target customers that their daughters could be raped.

Jewish Journal: Conference dedicated to science-fiction author Philip K. Dick disinvites white separatist.

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. . . .AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: “THE BESSEMER CUTOFF”

Black girls.

Never given value.

Never given credit.

Never given a chance.

Always stereotyped.

Always written off.

Always cutoff.

…before they have even begun.

The Bessemer Cutoff is a short beautiful film from the website The Bitter Southerner. One of a series of the Nowness Presents films, it gives a glimpse into the life of Jar’Derrica Kidd, who lives in Bessemer, Alabama, one of the most dangerous cities in America. She is a young Black girl who is graduating and ready to go out into the world. The 7:35 minute  film by Dillon Hayes, a film director and editor working in Birmingham, Alabama, touches on how so little is expected of Black girls and the odds they must prevail against to succeed in a world that often only offers them so many deaths by a thousand paper cuts.

“Why would you fear me?” asks 19-year-old Jar’Derrica Kidd. “If you do fear me, you fear a black girl who’s gonna build the world up.”

Hang in there, Jar’Derrica.

You are valued.

You are wanted.

There are still those who believe in you.

There are still those who love you.

SALUTARE.

 

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