The International Day of Families, annually held on May 15, celebrates the importance of families and the work started during the International Year of Families.
What Do People Do?
A wide range of events are organized at local, national and international levels. These include: workshops, seminars and policy meeting for public officials; exhibitions and organized discussions to raise awareness of the annual theme; educational sessions for children and young people; and the launch of campaigns for public policies to strengthen and support family units. In some countries, tool kits are created to help people organize celebrations aimed at a particular section of the population, such as school children or young adults.
The International Day of Families is a global observance and not a public holiday.
The year 1994 was proclaimed as the International Year of Families by the United Nations. This was a response to changing social and economic structures, which have affected and still affect the structure and stability of family units in many regions of the globe. The International Day of Families, on May 15, is an occasion to reflect on the work started during 1994 and to celebrate the importance of families, people, societies and cultures around the world. It has been held every year since 1995.
The symbol of the International Day of Families consists of a solid green circle with an image in red. The image consists of elements of simple drawings of a heart and a house. This indicates that families are the center of society and provide a stable and supporting home for people of all ages.
Chuck Davis, a dancer and choreographer widely regarded as America’s foremost master of African dance, died on Sunday at his home in Durham, N.C. He was 80.
His death was announced by the African American Dance Ensemble, which he founded in Durham in the early 1980s and directed until 2015. No cause was given.
Mr. Davis, who often said that he considered dance an agent of social change, performed, choreographed, taught and otherwise evangelized for the dances of Africa and the African diaspora for more than a half-century.
He was known both for his re-creations of traditional dances from throughout the African world and for his contemporary choreographed pieces that fused African traditions with modern dance.
Mr. Davis was most renowned as the founder and longtime artistic director of DanceAfrica, a festival held each Memorial Day weekend at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Founded in 1977, the festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month.
DanceAfrica, a sprawling, multiday communal celebration, presents dancers and musicians from the United States, Africa and the diaspora, along with an outdoor bazaar selling African food and handicrafts. It has been reprised in cities throughout the United States.
Mr. Davis frequently traveled to Africa with his dancers to study dance and folkloric traditions, and lectured and gave master classes around the world. In North Carolina, he took his company to perform in schools, prisons and nursing homes, as well as on concert stages.
His “vast knowledge of dance and music from the African continent,” The Washington Post wrote in 2001, “has helped make African dance part of the American cultural landscape.”
All this from a man who in his youth had planned to become a nurse — until he realized that his love of dancing might well pre-empt that career.
Charles Rudolph Davis was born on New Year’s Day, 1937, in Raleigh, N.C., the only child of Tony Davis, a laborer, and the former Ethel Watkins, a domestic.
Growing up in the Jim Crow South, Chuck attended all-black schools. In high school, he entered a Navy R.O.T.C. program, training as a medical corpsman.
In the late 1950s, after completing his naval service, he worked in a Washington-area hospital and planned to enroll in nursing school. At night, in Washington nightclubs, he began dancing to the strains of Afro-Cuban music.
Smitten, he enrolled in dance classes at a local studio; he later studied a range of dance traditions at Howard University.
Mr. Davis, who stood about 6-foot-5, felt compelled to compress his frame until he began working with the Trinidadian-American actor, dancer and choreographer Geoffrey Holder. Mr. Holder, who was 6-foot-6, taught him to exploit his long limbs in performance, something Mr. Davis did ever after.
Before long, Mr. Davis had forsaken his plans for a nursing career.
“I decided that dance was the prevention, and nursing was the cure,” he told The Los Angeles Times in 1995. “And I’d rather be part of the prevention than the cure.”
During this period, he joined a small troupe, La Dalemo Trio, which performed in nightclubs around Washington.
“We had seven minutes and you name it, we did it,” Mr. Davis recalled in the 2001 article in The Post. “We wore skimpy little costumes and we danced our little tuchises off.”
In 1963, the day after he attended the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, the Nigerian-born drummer Babatunde Olatunji saw Mr. Davis dance. He invited him to join his music and dance troupe in New York.
Moving to the city, Mr. Davis “got there on Tuesday, learned the five ballets on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and premiered on Saturday,” as he recalled in a 2012 interview with the Dance Heritage Coalition, a national dance-history organization.
In New York, he also studied with many titans of modern dance, including Martha Graham, Katherine Dunham, Arthur Mitchell, Alvin Ailey and José Limón.
Performing with Mr. Olatunji’s troupe at the 1964 New York World’s Fair in Queens, Mr. Davis was galvanized by a dance troupe from Sierra Leone, also on the bill.
“I’d never seen such fireworks on the stage,” he later said.
He began to dream of traveling to Africa, studying its dance traditions and bringing them back to American audiences.
“African traditions are based on respect,” he told The Herald-Sun of Durham in 2006. “It’s my way of fighting racism.”
In the late 1960s, after a stint in the company of the Colombian-American modern dancer Eleo Pomare, Mr. Davis formed the Chuck Davis Dance Company in New York.
Reviewing a performance by the company in The Times in 1973, Anna Kisselgoff called it “witty and joyful,” writing that the troupe was “led superbly by Mr. Davis as both choreographer and dancer.”
Mr. Davis was moved to bring African dance traditions to an even wider audience, he said, after he happened to see an old Tarzan film on television.
“None of the ‘natives’ in the cast were Africans,” he told Dance magazine in 2004. “It was all just fantasy, and not a good one. ‘We are not ooga-booga,’ I thought, ‘and we must show that we aren’t.’ ”
A result was DanceAfrica, over which Mr. Davis, in flowing robes, presided each year like a traditional West African griot.
The festival’s emphasis on community meant that audience members could rarely expect to sit passively. Some might be called onstage to take part the dancing; all, by festival’s end, would have joined Mr. Davis in reciting “Peace, love and respect for everybody,” the phrase that had long been his mantra.
“As long as you’re dancing together,” Mr. Davis used to say, “you have no time for hatred.”
Mr. Davis retired as DanceAfrica’s artistic director after the 2015 festival and was succeeded by Abdel R. Salaam. At his death, Mr. Davis was the festival’s artistic director emeritus. He leaves no immediate survivors.
His many laurels include two Bessie Awards, formally known as the New York Dance and Performance Awards and named for the dancer and choreographer Bessie Schonberg.
In 1999, the Dance Heritage Coalition chose Mr. Davis as one of the country’s hundred “irreplaceable dance treasures.” In 2016, the Brooklyn Academy of Music created the Chuck Davis Emerging Choreographer Fellowship, an annual award in his honor.
Mr. Davis had no illusions that the dances he presented on this side of the Atlantic were exact copies of the African originals, which he made plain in interviews.
“We try to show African dances accurately, but they’re theatrical presentations,” he told The Times in 2010. “Authenticity happens in the space and on the soil.”
He had learned an enduring lesson about authenticity long before, at the World’s Fair. After a Nigerian troupe was unable to appear there, Mr. Olatunji’s ensemble was slipped in as a covert replacement.
“We were told not to speak English,” Mr. Davis told The Raleigh News & Observer in 2015. “The songs we sang were in Yoruba, so we sang the songs to each other so no one could accuse us of not knowing the language.”
The jig was up, however, after a performance whose audience happened to include one Mrs. Hicks, Mr. Davis’s third-grade teacher from North Carolina.
“I came off the stage singing,” Mr. Davis recalled in the same interview. “And when I danced past Mrs. Hicks, she said: ‘Charles Davis, you’re not from Africa! You wait until I tell your mother!’ ”
Powers Boothe, an actor best known for playing dark characters on television shows like “Deadwood” and in movies like “Sin City,” died on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 68.
The death was confirmed by his publicist, Karen Samfilippo. She did not specify the cause.
Mr. Boothe lent his burly frame and Texas drawl to numerous TV series beginning in the late 1970s. In addition to the acclaimed HBO series “Deadwood,” he was seen on shows including “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Nashville” and “24,” on which he played the vice president of the United States. Among the movies in which he appeared were “Red Dawn” (1984), “Marvel’s The Avengers” (2012) and Oliver Stone’s “Nixon” (1995), in which he played Alexander Haig.
He won an Emmy in 1980 for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or special for his performance as the leader of the Jonestown cult in the mini-series “Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.”
He crossed a picket line during an actors’ strike to accept the award. “This may be either the bravest moment of my career or the dumbest,” he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Powers Allen Boothe was born on June 1, 1948, and grew up on a cotton farm in West Texas, where “we didn’t have anything to do in my little town except drive fast cars, play pool and go to the bootlegger, the drive-in, and a lot of places I shouldn’t have been in,” he told The New York Times in 1979.
In his senior year of high school, he recalled, he surprised people in his hometown by quitting football to focus on acting.
“I decided I was not going to make my living beating my head against someone else,” he said in the 1979 interview. “I got a lot of flak; in Texas, football is not only the social thing you must do, but you do it also to prove your manhood. They all couldn’t conceive of why I’d want to stop to do ‘The Importance of Being Earnest.’”
He attended Southwest Texas State University — he said he was the first one in his family to go to college — and then received a master’s degree in drama from Southern Methodist University.
He began his acting career with two years at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He then moved to New York, which he described as being “like a foreign country.” He made his first and last appearance on Broadway in 1979 in the one-act play “Lone Star.”
In 1983 and again in 1986, Mr. Boothe portrayed the private eye Philip Marlowe in an HBO series based on stories by Raymond Chandler. Reviewing it for The New York Times, John J. O’ Connor praised Mr. Boothe for giving an “emotionally convincing” performance that “would have had Raymond Chandler’s approval.”
Information on survivors was not immediately available.
MICHAEL PARKS, ‘TWIN PEAKS’ ACTOR AND TARANTINO FAVORITE
“He was, hands-down, the most incredible thespian I ever had the pleasure to watch perform,” Kevin Smith wrote of ‘Red State’ star
Michael Parks, a character actor who enjoyed a career renaissance in recent decades thanks to high profile roles in films by Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith, died Wednesday at the age of 77.
Parks’ agent confirmed the actor’s death to The Hollywood Reporter, though a cause of death was not revealed.
Parks made his acting debut in a small role in 1961 on the sitcom The Real McCoys, and, over the ensuing decades, racked up dozens of roles on both television and feature films, most notably as the casino owner and drug runner Jean Renault on the second season of Twin Peaks.
After years playing bit roles in made-for-TV movies, Westerns and slasher films, Parks was cast as Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in Rodriguez’ 1996 vampire flick From Dusk ’til Dawn. Quentin Tarantino, an associate of Rodriguez’, then cast Parks in a dual role for Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Volume 2; in the former, he reprised the McGraw role, while the latter found the actor playing Mexican pimp Esteban Vihaio.
Parks would portray McGraw once more for Tarantino and Rodriguez in the directors’ Grindhouse films. Tarantino also recruited Parks for a small role in Django Unchained.
Parks’ career revival also resulted in roles in Ben Affleck’s Argo, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford and a pair of Kevin Smith horror flicks, Red State and Tusk.
“Michael was, and will likely forever remain, the best actor I’ve ever known. I wrote both [Red State] and [Tusk] FOR Parks, I loved his acting so much,” Smith wrote on Instagram Wednesday. “He was, hands-down, the most incredible thespian I ever had the pleasure to watch perform. And Parks brought out the absolute best in me every time he got near my set.”
At the time of his death, Parks was cast in the upcoming Christian Bale film Hostiles.
The United States already has the largest immigrant detention system in the world. Building a wall and expanding the deportation machine is not the infrastructure our country’s working families voted for or need.
World Migratory Bird Day is a two-day event annually held on the second weekend of May to highlight the need to protect migratory birds and their habitats. The United Nations is one of the many organizations that support this global awareness campaign.
What Do People Do
On the second weekend each May, people around the world celebrate World Migratory Bird Day by organizing public events such as bird festivals, education programs and bird-watching excursions.
World Migratory Bird Day is an official UN supported event and not a public holiday.
Although the event is usually on the second weekend of May, the first World Migratory Bird Day was launched on the weekend of April 8–9, 2006. The event was created to help turn the world’s attention to the wonders of bird migration and the need for their conservation. Each year, the total number of registered World Migratory Bird Day events has steadily increased along with the number of countries in which these events occurred.
BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS · A BLOGSITE FOR THE PRAISING OF ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL AND SUBLIME IN HONOR OF ALL BLACK WOMEN. "ONLY THE BLACK WOMAN CAN SAY WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER, IN THE QUIET, UNDISPUTED DIGNITY OF MY WOMANHOOD, WITHOUT VIOLENCE AND WITHOUT SUING OR SPECIAL PATRONAGE, THEN AND THERE THE WHOLE. . .RACE ENTERS WITH ME." ANNA JULIA COOPER, 1892