I’ve been gone from home for 2 weeks. The first week I was in Miami with Richard. I guess you know by now that I love Miami—at least if you read my blog of January 8th.
I posted so many photos then that I didn’t take many this time (I tweeted a few, though). While I was there, I spent time with my son and daughter-in-law and with friends of Richards and mine and it was fun. The most vivid memory, however, was of a Tern seagull who flew into our large glass porch door while we were out. We found him lying on the deck with what appeared to be a wounded beak or perhaps worse. It was hard to tell. I told Richard to leave him be (I assumed it was a male and privately named him Homer) and I put out water and seeds from a cracker. Homer would occasionally move to a new place, sometimes standing, sometimes huddled up on the ground and we felt there was a chance he’d recover and fly away. But by the 3rd morning, we realized he needed more help and so we called Animal Protection Services who came, put him in a crate, and took him away. The female vet said she thought he “might get better with TLC.” It was all I could do to not call and check on him.
I wondered why I felt such empathy and grief over an anonymous seagull. I think Homer symbolized to me all sentient beings who are suffering right now and I recalled the comfort I felt when I saved a drowning bee from a swimming pool the day we learned about the Tsunami hitting Japan. Sometimes when circumstances feel overwhelming, all we can do is aid and comfort the smallest living things very close to us. I’m sure some of you know what I am talking about.
Anyway, after Miami, Richard went home and I spent a couple of days in Atlanta having meetings with the staff and board members of The Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential. This year GCAPP turns 20 and we are planning a big celebration next September 24th. It is none to soon to begin putting all the pieces in place for that important event. I am so proud of the work we are doing under the leadership of our CEO Kim Nolte who came to us from the CDC and is a nationally recognized expert on youth development and teen sexuality. Check out our website. Since we started in 1995, teen pregnancy rates in Georgia have dropped by more than 50% which translates into more young people being able to stay in school and grow to adulthood without the challenges of raising a child. It also saves the state 100s of millions of dollars. GCAPP can’t claim credit for all this, HIV/AIDS has motivated more sexually active young people to use contraception and abstinence has gained traction among some young people. But GCAPP has kept the issue on the front burner, has brought evidenced-based sex ed curricula into 100s of schools and after school programs and, with our Second Chance Homes, made it possible for young girls with babies to live in safe environments, finish high school, learn to be parents and gain job skills.
From Atlanta, I managed to get to New York, although a day late because the airport was closed when a plane from Atlanta nearly slid off the runway…could have been me! I then spent a day and evening at the Conference on Men and Masculinities at the old Roosevelt Hotel.
Left to right: Niobe Way, author and activist, me, Michael Kimmel who founded the Center on Men & Masculinities at Stony Brooke University and has written many books on the subject including “Guyland,” and Michael Kaufman, author and founder of the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC), a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls.
Here I am at dinner with my Egyptian activist friend Hibaaq Osman
- 139 countries now guarantee gender equality in their constitutions
- 125 outlaw domestic violence
- 117 have laws against sexual harassment in the workplace
- 117 have equal pay laws and 115 countries give women equal rights to own property
- and 22 out of 28 African countries where female genital mutilation is practiced now have laws against it.
While at the U.N. I met Rachel Moran, an Irish lass, who survived being a victim of sex trafficking and has written a book about her experiences and is building a movement of other trafficking survivors.
Original Source: Jane Fonda