Nelson Mandela

When Nelson Mandela came here he thanked Californians for supporting BDS ( boycott, divestment and sanctions) which he said made a big difference in shortening the time it took to dismantle apartheid. When Mandela was still in prison, we heard White South Africans talking about it. In August this year in Israel/Palestine we heard many urge BDS as a way to end the occupation. The parallels are striking. Intel is setting up a factory; HP furnishes the computerware for use at check points; Veolia has pulled out of supplying segregated transport for Israelis only, but still profits in other ways from the occupation. Non violent activists are on both sides representing varied religions and ethnicities and sometimes working together. They are the Mandelas of that struggle.

Science / We Can Make a Difference / Solar Project

Solar & other projects in Haiti
Visit “If Pigs Could Fly- Haiti” For Environment, Science, Foreign Policy, Int´l Relations, Solidarity.

John Hunter on the World Peace Game

About this talk

John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4'x5' plywood board -- and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches -- spontaneous, and always surprising -- go further than classroom lectures can.

About John Hunter

Teacher and musician John Hunter is the inventor of the World Peace Game (and the star of the new doc "World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements"). Full bio and more links

Source: World Peace Game and Other 4th Grade Achievements with John Hunter

National Committee To Free The Cuban Five

Leonard Weinglass, Presente! ( Click for details )

Two Choices

What would you do? make the choice.. Don´t look for a punch line, there isn´t one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

´When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.´

´Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.´

´Where is the natural order of things in my son?´

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. ´I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.´

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ´Do you think they´ll let me play?´ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a fatherI also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ´We´re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we´ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.´

Shay struggled over to the team´s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay´s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, g rinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay´s team scored again.

Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn´t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay´s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a s low ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.

Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman´s head, out of reach of all team mates.

Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ´Shay, run to first! Run to first!´

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.

He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, ´Run to second, run to second!´

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and strugglin g to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher´s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman´s head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, ´Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay´

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ´Run to third!

Shay, run to third!´

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ´Shay, run home! Run home!´

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

´That day´, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ´the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world´.

Shay didn´t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!


We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate.

The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you´re thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you´re probably sorting out the peo ple in your address book who aren´t the ´appropriate´ ones to receive this type of message Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference.

We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the ´natural order of things.´

So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:

Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it´s least fortunate amongst them.

You now have two choices:

  1. Delete
  2. Forward

May your day, be a Shay Day!!!!

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End of the World The 12-yr-old who Rocked the Earth Summit

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Dolores Huerta

from La Oferta ( bilingual SJ weekly)

Thursday, 07 October 2010

Dolores Huerta is seen here with the 2010 John Steinbeck “Soul of the People” award for her lifelong commitment to the common people who labor for their livelihood.

On Sept. 23, at 80 years of age, Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta, iconic madrina of the United Farm Workers Union, filled San Jose State University´s largest auditorium with admiring former union members and organizers, children and grandchildren of farmworkers-many now college graduates or professors, high school and college students.

They came to hear about and honor her decades-long struggle to organize the first successful union of farmworkers in the U.S.

Born of farmworker and miner parents in the mountains of New Mexico, later raised in Stockton, California, Dolores (as she prefers to be called) obtained a teaching credential from Delta College and taught school in the San Joaquin Valley to the children of farmworkers. Trying to teach hungry and barefoot children, many who did not speak English at home and before bilingual education was even conceived, initiated her lifelong commitment to correct economic and social injustice. At that time, farmworkers were barred by state law from organizing into a union, could not receive Aid for Dependent Children nor disability worker´s insurance. So as a 20-year old, Dolores founded the Stockton Chapter of the Community Service Organization (CSO) to join with others to address these injustices.

At this time, a young Cesar Estrada Chavez was organizing another chapter of CSO in the Sal Si Puedes neighborhood of East San Jose. The CSO organizing efforts had been initiated by the Chicago-based Industrial Areas Foundation led by famed labor organizers Saul Alinsky and Fred Ross. It was Ross who introduced Dolores to Chavez, and they immediately recognized their identical commitment to social justice for the poorest of the poor--farm workers. Their meeting began their lifelong strategy to organize those with the least power in American society “so that they can discover,” as Dolores stated, “the power that people have within themselves, and with others, once they get organized.”

Organizing a union amongst immigrant and migrating farm workers, many not speaking English, many undocumented, most with large families, often dependent on the farm owners for their housing in addition to their wages was so difficult that prior efforts were give up in bitter frustration.

However, the cause, La Causa, for justice for farmworkers led to the national table grape boycott which attracted national political leaders such as New York Senator Robert Kennedy and California Governor Jerry Brown, as well as Hollywood actor Martin Sheen and folksinger Joan Baez. This “star power” attracted news reporters, highlighting the poverty and injustice suffered by those who Nobel Prize novelist John Steinbeck called, “those amongst us who will bend so low as to pick the food that we eat.”

The success of the United Farmworkers Union was a hard-won series of battles with great struggle, suffering and even tragedy that led to the creation of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board recognizing farmworkers´ right to organize, the banning of the backbreaking short-handled hoe, fresh water, clean bathrooms, shaded rest areas, and safe transportation (after the death of many men killed while riding in an illegal bus welded atop a flatbed truck, hit by a train, at Chualar, Ca.).

Yet to this day farmworkers are still brutally exploited, underpaid, sexually harassed, ill-housed and without adequate health care. Only recently, a teenage girl, unable to walk to the field water station, died of heat exhaustion.

Ms. Huerta is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of the Union, but still remarkably active in her advocacy work for farmworkers and indeed, all oppressed people everywhere. She recently went to Arizona to carry on the fight against the scapegoating in U.S. born Mexican origin Americans, legal immigrants, undocumented immigrants from Latin American nations, and in fact, any brown skinned and/or Spanish speaking persons who are the target of the just passed Draconian law AB1070, which requires all law enforcement officers to investigate and verify the legality of any person they “reasonably” suspect of being illegal.

In Ms. Huerta´s words, “This law is blatant racial profiling of all people the ruling elite of Arizona deem undesirable, not because they are criminals, but because U.S. born and legal immigrant Mexicans and other Latinos will soon be the majority ethnicity in Arizona, and the (Governor) Jan Brewers and (Sheriff) Joe Arpaios will be in the minority and lose their elective offices and power over other people.”

Dolores Huerta was presented with the 2010 John Steinbeck “Soul of the People” Prize for her lifelong commitment to the common people who labor for their livelihood, the descendents of those who picked “The Grapes of Wrath” that Steinbeck championed in his own immortal novels and essays. In receiving her prize, Dolores, “In spite of all our successes, we must organize once again to initiate a New Chicano Civil Rights Movement!” 2010 May Newsletter
Larry and Jane Levine

Click to read the Newsletter

Human Rights and Making a Difference…by Jon Western
Click to download the file

Father Andrés Tamayo

Father Andrés Tamayo, Salvadoran born, Honduran educated and working for environmental Justice.

Click here to see website

Father Andres Tamayo
Father Tamayo with his parishioners in Salamá, Olancho, Honduras. Photo courtesy of Christian Lazen Bernardt
Photo credit to

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Subject: Happy International Women´s Day

Latin American Working Group
Being Better Neighbors Towards Latin America

Norma Cruz speaks out against femicide in Guatemala.

Dear Vic and Barby,

We wanted to drop you a note to say happy International Women´s Day!

Although we rarely remember to celebrate it in the United States, today many of our partners in countries like Colombia, Mexico, and Guatemala are participating in marches, teach-ins, and even parties. Why? Because there are so many strong and brave women to honor and there´s still so much more education to be done before we see equal rights and an end to violence against women in Latin America.

In Colombia, we´re proud to celebrate strong women like Martha Giraldo and the women leaders of MOVICE, the movement of the victims of state crimes, who are pursuing justice for the murders of their loved ones even though it endangers their lives. As our partner Witness for Peace reported, Martha was recently driven off the road and told at gunpoint to stop speaking out or she would be killed. But she will not be silenced and neither will the many other women pushing for accountability for the murderers of their sons, daughters, fathers, nephews, and uncles. Take a couple moments to watch Martha´s video of her story, then click here to send a message of solidarity to Martha and wish her a happy International Women´s Day.

In Mexico, we remember Esther Chávez Cano, a powerful champion for women´s rights who struggled to eradicate gender-based violence and whose efforts raised worldwide attention to the ever-growing toll of unresolved murders of women and girls in Ciudad Juárez. Among her many accomplishments, Esther founded Casa Amiga, the first rape crisis center in the region, a place of refuge for the many women who survive rape and domestic abuse and a center of advocacy for the cases of women who have lost their lives to violence. Click here to read more about Esther´s inspiring life and the current situation in Cuidad Juárez.

Meanwhile, in Guatemala, our partners at Guatemala Human Rights Commission USA (GHRC) are marching with Norma Cruz, the director of the Survivor´s Foundation, to show their support for her efforts to end femicide and attain justice for victims of violence against women in Guatemala. With over 4,700 women brutally murdered since 2000 and domestic violence at an unacceptably high rate, Guatemala is a dangerous place for women. Click here to read Norma's words about their ongoing struggle for rights. So today, while you celebrate the strength, beauty, and wisdom of the women in your life, please join us in standing with these courageous women and the many others across Latin America who work every day to create a world in which there is justice and rights for all.


The LAWG Team
(Lisa, Mavis, Jenny, Vanessa, Paulo, Brian, and Travis)

Latin America Working Group
424 C Street NE, Washington, DC 20002   Phone: (202) 546-7010   Email:

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Justice Albie Sachs

Judging the law

Learn Justice Albie Sachs´s articles and events. Click to view the blog.

“The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law” is available from odw for $33 inc. postage.

family of Albie Albie and Barby
A photo of Family of Justice Albie Sachs and a photo of Justice Albie Sachs and Barby

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Dennis Brutus, anti–apartheid fighter

The following is excerpted from Patrick Bond′s obituary of his teacher and colleague Dennis Brutus, a South African poet, anti–apartheid fighter and internationalist known and admired by U.S. activists.

Dennis Brutus Dennis Brutus died at age 85 on Dec. 26, battling cancer, climate change and capitalism.

Trying to keep up with the octogenarian after his 2005 move to Durban dazed even the most Brutus–addicted staff at the University of KwaZulu–Natal Centre for Civil Society — where he was honorary professor and our visionary guru — and UKZN Centre for Creative Arts, for which he served as a fixture at their famous Time of the Writer and Poetry Africa festivals.

At least one overarching impression sings out from the cacophony of warm memories: the Brutus philosophy that genuine liberation — not the half–measures won in 1994, when class apartheid replaced racial domination in South Africa — represents a war to be waged on many fronts because as one battle is won and many more usually lost, there are still others on the horizon that make an engaged life fulfilling, that keep the fires of desire for social change burning long into the night.

The denial of opportunities to play sports across Port Elizabeth′s neighborhoods was Brutus′ youthful entry point into revolutionary politics, initially with the Teachers League and then the Congress movement centered on Nelson Mandela′s African National Congress.

In the process, Brutus received deep battlefield scars, suffering bannings (both personal in 1961 and affecting most of his poetry until 1990); a 1963 police kidnapping in Maputo, Mozambique, followed by a near–fatal shooting outside Anglo American′s central Johannesburg headquarters during an escape attempt; imprisonment and torture from 1963–66 at Johannesburg′s Fort Prison and on Cape Town′s Robben Island (he was next door to Mandela much of the time); and alienating times in exile from 1966–1991.

Those three decades in the U.S. spent teaching at leading universities gave Brutus opportunities for high–profile support to every crucial struggle: ending the unfair incarcerations of Philadelphia poet Mumia Abu–Jamal, American Indian Movement leader Leonard Peltier and Guantánamo Bay prisoners; halting sweatshops; imposing Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions on Israel; building Burmese solidarity; opposing Washington′s militarism by following Thoreau′s lead and refusing to pay a portion of his taxes; attempting to prosecute George Bush for war crimes; and supporting the successful Vieques protest against U.S. Navy weapons testing on the Puerto Rican island.

Upon returning to South Africa in 1998, he and Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane inaugurated Jubilee South Africa to demand rejection of inherited apartheid debt and to then launch the World Bank Bonds Boycott.

Other SA–based campaigning included leadership in protests numbering 10,000 against the U.N.′s World Conference Against Racism in 2001 — for failing to include Zionism and reparations for slavery, colonialism and apartheid on the agenda — and 30,000 against the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 because of the U.N. turn to water privatization, carbon trading and similar market–environmental strategies.

Brutus was subsequently the highest–profile plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by Jubilee and the Khulumani Support Group for apartheid reparations, fighting not only three dozen corporations which made profits and interest in SA prior to 1994, but also the Mbeki regime, which sided with the Bush regime and capital. Last October [after President Thabo Mbeki was pushed out of office], Pretoria finally reversed that position, to Brutus′ satisfaction.

For more information and a schedule of memorials for Brutus, see

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Bill Sutherland

Bill Sutherland Bill Sutherland, when he was Southern Africa Representative for AFSC, American Friends Service Committee ( Quaker ) convinced Vic and Barby Ulmer, Co-founders and Co-directors of our developing world, to go to South Africa when they were on sabbatical in Africa in ′75–′76. Bill said he couldn′t get a visa because he was Black, but we could. This experience led to a strong tie to the country and the many South African friends we made over the years whom we've been able to introduce to the many who have gone on odw Reality tours with them, also to Tanzania, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Bill Sutherland, Pan African Pacifist, 1918–2010

Bill Sutherland, unofficial ambassador between the peoples of Africa and the Americas for over fifty years, died peacefully on the evening of January 2, 2010. He was 91.

A life–long pacifist and liberation advocate, Sutherland became involved in civil rights and anti-war activities as a youthful member of the Student Christian Movement in the 1930s. Sutherland was raised in New Jersey, the son of a prominent dentist and youngest brother to Reiter Sutherland and to Muriel Sutherland Snowden of Boston, who founded Freedom House in 1949 and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship “genius”grant. He spent four years at Lewisburg Federal Correctional Facility in the 1940s as a conscientious objector to World War Two, striking up what became life-long friendships with fellow C.O.s Ralph DiGia, Bayard Rustin, George Houser, Dave Dellinger, and others. In 1951, in the early days of the Cold War, Sutherland, DiGia, Dellinger, and Quaker pacifist Art Emory constituted the Peacemaker bicycle project, which took the message of nuclear disarmament to both sides of the Iron Curtain.

In 1953, in coordination with the War Resisters International and with several activist groups and independence movement parties on the continent, he moved to what was then known as the Gold Coast. An active supporter of Kwame Nkrumah, he married playwright and Pan African cultural activist Efua Theodora, and became the headmaster of a rural secondary school. The call of Pan Africanist politics was very strong, and Sutherland was instrumental—along with a small group of African Americans living in Ghana at the time, including dentists Robert and Sara Lee–in hosting the visit of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King to the 1957 independence celebrations. In the early days of the first Ghanaian government, Sutherland also served on the organizing team of the All African Peoples Congress. He was appointed private secretary to Finance Minister Komla Gbedema. He was also central to the development of the Sahara Protest Team, which brought together African, European, and U.S. peace leaders to put their bodies in the way of nuclear testing in the Sahara Desert.

Sutherland left Ghana in 1961, working in both Lebanon and Israel for the founding of Peace Brigades International, and for the Israeli labor organization Histadrut. It was also in this period that he began a friendship with Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan of the Ismaili community, working in support of displaced persons as Sadruddin became United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He settled in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1963, as a civil servant. Sutherland′s chief work in Dar involved support for the burgeoning independent governments and liberation movements. A close friend and associate of Tanzania′s Julius Nyerere and Zambia′s Kenneth Kaunda, Sutherland helped develop the Pan African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa (PAFMECA). He served as hospitality officer for the Sixth Pan African Congress—held in Dar in 1974—working with C.L.R. James and other long-time colleagues to bridge the gap between Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora. He hosted countless individuals and delegations from the U.S. in these years, including assisting Malcolm X in what would be his last trip to Tanzania. His home in Dar became a camping ground for liberation leaders in exile from Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa and throughout the region. His love of music, especially jazz, his passion for tennis (which he played well into his 80s), and the pleasure he got from dancing, were hallmarks of his interactions, shared with political associates and personal friends the world over.

Despite Sutherland′s close association with those engaged in armed struggle, he maintained his connections with and commitment to revolutionary nonviolence, and joined the international staff of the Quaker–based American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in 1974. As the AFSC pushed for the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to South African anti-apartheid clergyman Bishop Desmond Tutu, Sutherland was working as the AFSC international representative. In 2003, the AFSC initiated an annual Bill Sutherland Institute, training Africa lobbyists and advocates in various policy issues and educational techniques. Sutherland was also the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from Bates College, and served as a Fellow at Harvard University′s Institute of Politics. He was awarded a special citation from the Gandhi Peace Foundation in India, and, in 2009, received the War Resisters League′s Grace Paley Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2000, Africa World Press published Sutherland′s Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan African Insights on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle, and Liberation, co–authored by Matt Meyer. Archbishop Tutu, who wrote the foreword for the book, commented that “Sutherland and Meyer have looked beyond the short–term strategies and tactics which too often divide progressive people… They have begun to develop a language which looks at the roots of our humanness.” On the occasion of Sutherland′s 90th birthday last year, Tutu called in a special message, noting that “the people of Africa owe Bill Sutherland a big thank you for his tireless support.”

Bill Sutherland is survived by three children—Esi Sutherland-Addy, Ralph Sutherland, and Amowi Sutherland Phillips—as well as grandchildren in Accra, Ghana; Spokane, Washington; Lewiston, Maine; New Haven, Connecticut; and Brooklyn, New York. In addition to scores of family members, friends, and loved ones, he will be missed by his niece, Gail Snowden, his loving partner Marilyn Meyer, and his “adopted” sons Matt Meyer and john powell. There will be a private funeral for family members this week, and memorial services will be organized for later this year.

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Not many people get a picture of this proud bird snuggled up next to them.

Freedom and Jeff

Freedom and I have been together 10 years this summer. She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings. Her left wing doesn't open all the way even after surgery, it was broken in 4 places . She's my baby.

When Freedom came in she could not stand and both wings were broken... She was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vets office. From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in. I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube feed her for weeks.

This went on for 4–6 weeks, and by then she still couldn't stand. It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn't stand in a week. You know you don't want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning. She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to go to the center that Thursday, because I couldn't bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear. I went immediately back to her cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle. She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then. That was a very good day.

We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western Washington . We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV . Miracle Pets even did a show about us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair - the whole bit. I missed a lot of work. When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer. This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000, the day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last checkup. I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. I went in Monday, and I was told that all the cancer was gone.

So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out for a walk. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and dressed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn't said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes, and we just stood there like that for I don't know how long. That was a magic moment. We have been soul mates ever since she came in. This is a very special bird.

On a side note: I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her. His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power course through his body. I have so many stories like that.

I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedom. Hope you enjoy this.

Roger E. Mundinger
US . Army Retired
Houston , TX .

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Mr. James P. McEntee Sr.
History, Heroes, and Whistle Blowers. It sometimes takes a while to be recognized.

After reading this bio, you may want to search for other heroes, recognized or not, who were whistle blowers or dissenters who acted as their conscience told them to.

On September 13, 2004, Jim McEntee Sr., a true hero in our community died suddenly. For 27 years Jim was director of the Santa Clara County Office of Human Relations until his retirement in 2003. Jim helped establish the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Emergency Housing Consortium, the Asian Law Alliance and many other non-profits that have helped hundreds of thousands in our community. Jim was a role model, a great humanitarian, a master at conflict resolution and a caring and loving person. His life was dedicated to peace and social justice for all people - immigrants, people of color, the homeless, farm workers and the GLBT community. Father to nine children, Jim was a Roman Catholic priest before leaving the active priesthood in 1973 to marry Ann Mainland, a former nun. Together, Ann and Jim modeled, for all of us, a partnership devoted to God, family and community.

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A recent graduate of University of Pacific helps others appreciate a disabled can lead a rich life!

Christine Burke
Christine Burke, A recent graduate of University of Pacific lives an active life. She loves to ski, swim, play tennis and basketball as well as drive around in her Toyota Matrix and hang out at the mall with friends.

Christine Burke, born with spina bifida, relies on specialized wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment to get around. Burke and her mother, Dawn Graeme, were among about two dozen people who participated in the Piedmont Middle School Diversity Day on April 7. Other speakers included Sarah Rush, the great-granddaughter of Booker T. Washington, who was born a slave and became an educator and activist in the 19th century; Guatemalan immigrant and artist Evelyn Orantes; Jon Bernstein, the regional director for the Anti-Defamation League; and Steve Toby, a marriage and family therapist who talked about gender identity and transgender issues.

Diversity Day was designed so that students could celebrate the diversity of experiences in society. "I hope that they´re able to see their own uniqueness and their own differences, but at the same time in hearing peoples´different experiences realize our own sameness, and then carry that with them all the time -- not just in celebration of diversity here today," said Anne Smith, event organizer and middle-school teacher.

Students in Penny Sullivan´s sixth-grade class listened intently to Burke´s speech and asked several questions. Each had an opportunity to test out one of two heelchairs. Sixth grader Peter Watson, 12, said he enjoyed the Diversity Day activities. "I think it´s kind of cool because we get to see people that we usually don´t see every day, and we get to learn lots of new things," he said. Classmate Austin Myers, 11, agreed. "We get to understand how everybody´s different, but everybody´s the same inside," he said.

Burke was pleased to hear she was making an impact in helping students realize disabled people lead full and normal lives. "I want them to feel comfortable around people in chairs and realize we are approachable," she said. Graeme said her daughter benefits from participating in such educational events just as much as the students. "It reminds her that she´s much more like other kids than different from them," she said. "She is just really hoping to demystify disability so people won´t be afraid to walk up to someone and talk to them or invite them to play a game," Graeme said of her daughter. "She is learning that she can have an impact and make a difference in other peoples´ lives."

Excerpted from an article by Lisa Coffey Mahoney


››More History, Heroes, and Whistle Blowers...

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