Saturday, January 19, 2008

HOTHANDS FOR THE HOMELESS - ULTIMA THULE, NEW ORLEANS, LA

A few observations from my trip out today Ultima Thule to distribute HotHands and Mylar emergency blankets amongst the homeless:

There are more people.

How many of these new beds, blankets, bedrolls, and tents are from people who were staying around Duncan Plaza and were given temp hotel rooms at Christmas?

It seems as if a lot of people were not there because many were working, some are hustling, or just trying to get some food. Some may be staying at the shelters or families or friends temporarily for the next few days.

I meet amongst my planetary brothers and sisters, all types; from the mentally ill, mentally handicapped, the physically handicapped, the malevolent, the needy, the Iraqi vets new to the streets; the hustlers, prostitutes, junkies, chronic alcoholics, husbands and wives, the elderly, and those who are just plain down on their luck and poor. Also there are the chronically homeless and those who deliberately choose to live homeless who thought it would be warmer in New Orleans and some who want to be here for Mardi Gras.

There is way too much sensory and extrasensory information for me to process when I am under the bridge.

As I walk around, I don't feel the malevolent will harm me and I can feel who they are. When I walk around one particular group of men, I have found that the tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention and I am briefly creeped out, but I just shout out "hand warmers, anyone need some handwarmers for the night?" And whatever it is that I am perceiving as a malevolent force seems to back away as someone new walks up to me for some handwarmers.

As I wrote in a previous posting, I think there are a few of the men who get physically too close, I think that they are emotionally/affectionately starved. Yet even so, I am challenged with my boundaries with a few of the men, there is one in particular who wishes to hug me and give me a kiss on the cheek, I feel okay with his agenda and his doing so and know that if I ever feel uncomfortable I can say so to him and he is cognizant and caring enough as a soul to honour my wishes; it is his friend who seems to take a liberty with me anew each time I see him, and he seems to think he can do the same as his friend. This man's agenda - not so good. Today I veered away as he was coming towards me and told him it smelt like he was hitting the "cocktails". Which I can understand why and still I make it pretty clear to those who are drunk who try to interact with me that I am not interested nor do I have the time, to interact with drunks.

Often, as I walk around the Homeless Pride of Ultima Thule, I don't have time to feel out the situation, there is too much stimuli around me, too many cars speeding by, on the highway above and on both sides of me. In the midst of this frenzied activity and reverberating sounds of moving vehicles is Ultima Thule.

There are those souls whom I meet in Ultima Thule who are just so happy to be seen and known they are cared for, and I give Jah thanks for these shared moments. I met a grandmother, mother and child, out there today, trying to get some money, trying to survive. The child seems to have it together more than the mother who seemed slightly mentally handicapped and the grandmother who seemed to be holding it all together and distracted and ?

There are way too many elderly people under the bridge.

There are way to many planetary brothers and sisters living exposed, without a tent.

Plenty of food and clothing.

People are bringing individual meals, hot meals. I even saw packages that had been left of King Cake.

When I was walking around today 2 Latin American women and a child, were giving out styrofoam containers of hot food out of the back of their pickup. I don't know if they were with a church group, if they were sent from a restuarant, or they were doing it on their own like me. Being New Orleans, it could be any of the three. I love it when I am priveleged to experience such moments on the streets of New Orleans.

Cool, someone has set up porta-potties for the homeless. Excellent humanitarian gesture. Bravo.
(note: I found out later that it was the The Coalition to Stop Demolition)

God, I almost broke down when I went across the highway to one camp, near the ramp. These guys leave the blankets and sheets on their exposed mattresses, neatly made. Hey, I am crying those tears now, revisiting my experience there. I left them all an emergency blanket and pair of HotHands by their pillows.

It was a small camp. 2 tents, 3 exposed mattress. The whole encampment, tidy, as organized as you can be living under a highway.

Little sister, that is my affectionate name for one woman I have met in Ultima Thule, (she is a grandmother), is getting help from CC, but she is afraid that they may be sending her to a neighborhood which has an apartment available in her price range, she lives on SSI and SS, which may be in a "drug" neighborhood. She is afraid of the crime and violence. She is also 2 years clean of of drugs and she is doing her best to stay that way; living in a tent under the bridge. I told her I would come earlier on Sunday and when I was done distributing, I would take her over to the place to check out the neighborhood for herself.

When I walked up to one group of men, one of the men said to his friend, "go ahead, tell her." He then looks at me and addresses me, "He has a poem for you." I stood in front of this beautiful being who was warming himself in front of a hibachi burning coals, on a chair in between 2 beds, one where someone was sleeping (he poked out his head and reached out for a pair of HotHands). I wish I had a memory that could remember peoples words without having to write them down. But I can't listen with my heart and remember with my mind. It was a rap style poem and it was a profound exposition of my heart, my personality and my soul. It was as if I was standing before a wise guru. My heart was so very touched, I bowed in honour to him with prayerful hands when he finished reciting.

There is an elderly man who lives at the end, he has a red chair which he sits on, watching people and life speed by, he has stories to tell. I can see his stories when I look in his eyes each time I briefly speak with him. He also has painful arthritis. He got double packages of HotHands tonight.

I wanted to give emergency blankets and a pair of HotHands to each exposed mattress I came upon but there are too many. I gave many of the emergency blankets to people who were staying warm under blankets on their exposed mattresses. At one tent, I met a husband and wife who remembered me from when I came during the last freeze. I was happy they remembered me and sad that they are still living under the bridge, it is hard for this couple, they seem to me to be really nice people having really difficult experiences.

Here is a planetary musing which has been looping in my consiciousnes for a few weeks now. An incident occured tonight which has now given me the platform I needed to share this particular musing with you dear readers. There is a man who lives under the bridge who in my opinion, is clearly mentally ill and he still has control over his mind and personality, sometimes. I perceive that he suffers from the type of mental illness that causes him to suddenly become very violent. I can see him sometimes, making a conscious effort, to contain this personality and behavior. At other times he lets it reign free. He believes that I am someone who did not follow through with a promise to him having to do with his feet, I believe. I can't change his mind on this nor help him with it.

After interacting with this particular being and feeling/perceiving the energies of psychotic rage just beneath the surface in him, I knew with clarity exactly what I wanted to share with you dear readers.

It is this: never forget, as I never do, that the places I choose to go and serve my planetary brothers and sisters can sometimes be very dangerous. And in a moment, someone may take my life or do some form of harm to your planetary sister.

What I wanted to say about this is that I hope that those who know me or are my readers, never ever, get angry if something happens to me. I understand the risks I am taking and I am prepared to leave this planet, in this way, if this is the will of the Universe. And, I'm not making any plans to leave this planet and I am not in charge of this part of my embodied destiny anyway. If my life ends whilst I am in service to my planetary brothers and sisters, or if I come to harm, remember my words, "I have consciously choosen to place myself in situations where those who were suffering were also exposed to violence and harm." You can qoute me! Peace, my planetary brothers and sisters, may we exist in peace with each other.

A man asked me for $7 to get his LA. ID and I answered quickly in a distracted manner, with my "I don't carry money when I come here". Only later when I had time to process this particular interaction, did it come to me that I could have told him about Covenant House on Rampart Street, I will look for him tomorrow. He got a little disgruntled with me because when I first encountered him, in the area that unsettles me, he seemed to be asking me for a lot all at once. As it was my first time meeting him, I have to remember even if I feel the type of energy he carries, (stealing, hustling, cheating), that in that moment, I must not to "react" to these energies and just give to him or others who carry these same energies, as many HotHands as they need. His feelings seemed to get hurt when another guy I know came up and asked for 7 pairs of HotHands for his buddies who were at work (where-ever, I do not judge or take inventories). I know him from before and know these guys do take care of each other and distribute them. Well, the guy who asked me for extra HotHands and money kinda sniffed at me when I offered him another pair of HotHands before leaving. He was right, I should have just given him 2 pairs when he first asked. I have so much to still learn. I hope he and the Universe will give me another chance on this valuable lesson in serving.

I went out with all of Cole's and Liza's donation of HotHands (40) and used 2 boxes (80) = 120 pairs of HotHands. The other 2 boxes came from the case from Lydia. I also used 21 mylar emergency blankets from Jeff Meyers and I have 29 left for tomorrow night. I could have used more tonight, I left half of the emergency blankets in the car for Sunday night which is supposed to be the coldest.

For Sunday January 20, I have 160 pairs of HotHands and 29 emergency blankets. I have 6 of the FootWarmups that Jeff sent out of the blue, via priority mail which arrived on Friday and 3 of the large HotHands singles, which I am going to give to the 2 elderly men with severe arthritis tomorrow. This is all inventory that I have left to distribute for now,

I hope that rumour is true about putting the homeless overnight in hotel rooms for the Martin Luther King, Jr. offical celebrations on Monday. It is going to be so cold tomorrow night and cold all day today.

I distributed @ 120 HotHands to @ 80 people. @ 40 people got double the amount as I felt they needed it or they asked. Especially the elderly and those who were sleeping on exposed mattresses or even worse, on the concrete.

I had more time to talk with those I met today as I left the house at 4:00. Sometimes, not all the time, I wish I had someone going out with me as it is hard to see what peoples needs are, be as present as I can, and set and reinforce boundaries with some of the men.

I mistook 1 of 3 indies of some sort who were doing interviews and photographing the homeless. I had asked if he wanted a pair of hand warmers. He looked at me briefly with disdain then ignored me. I said to him, "people have mistaken me for homeless under here, sorry."

This expereince leads me to the end of this posting with a bumper sticker I saw on the drive home tonight and another line of planetary musings which I have been processing for some months now.

The bumper sticker read "I BELIEVE IN NOTHING".

It reminded me of some the people I have met in New Orleans who come to volunteer or help in the rebuilding process, who seem to be incredibly disconnected from themselves and their hearts.

With some who are like this, their coldness is often abrupt and disconcerting and I wonder of their expereinces here, are they helping to melt this coldness and abrptness? With others, it sometimes takes me time to see that they are not really able to be in their hearts, that they are creating an illusion of being in their heart. Naively, I take it for granted, that if someone is volunteering, especially long term, then there has to be some level of heart connection. Yet there are those who have no heart connection, perhaps volunteering is the closest they may ever get to understanding what it might be like to live a life from their hearts.

Another group who I perceive to be disconnected from their hearts who are in New Orleans "helping," turn out to be in fact, psychologically disconnected. I am speaking of the sociopaths whom I have met in my work and in my meeting volunteers. I have been musing on how those who are often diagnosed (or not) as sociopaths could be in New Orleans "helping," for some months now. Recently, it dawned on me that that the sociopath and the anti-social personality folks, can't feel and they need dramatic expressions of emotionality or suffering to identify what emotionality or suffering might be like. There continues to be enough devastation and suffering in New Orleans to meet such a need. It continues to be surprising emotionally when I meet them or interact with them or with those with borderline expressions of aspd or sociopathy. I am surprised at their being able to be involved (as much as they can be for as long as they can tolerate it) in volunteering or helping the poor and the indigent.

It is funny how many have come to New Orleans to help who "BELIEVE IN NOTHING". And the irony isn't lost on me that some of the most faithful, trusting and BELIEVING, people I have ever met, seem to live under the bridge and in many of the more dangerous and devastated (still) neighborhoods of this beautiful city of New Orleans.

There's something about the spirits of New Orleans.

Lastly, on the drive home I saw groups of people waiting on St. Charles for the trolleys to take them to see Krewe de Viuex march in the Quarter tonight. I felt really bad for those waiting on the eastern side of Napoleon and St. Charles, for it is bitter cold and the next 3 trolleys coming towards them were packed with people sitting and standing to capacity. Yet for some reason when I saw one trolley filled like a can of sardines, a loud laugh burst forth from me. An odd reaction to anothers discomfort.

peace.


ULTIMA THULE - "Ultima Thule in medieval geographies may also denote any distant place located beyond the "borders of the known world." wiki


Love is all we have,
the only way that each can help the other.
--Euripides


VOLUNTEERS YOU ARE NEEDED! ONE DAY - JANUARY 21, 2008 - MARTIN LUTHER KING'S BIRTHDAY IN NEW ORLEANS - HERE ARE 2 EXCELLENT SUGGESTIONS!


OUTREACH NEW ORLEANS:
MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY OF SERVICE MONDAY JANUARY 21, 2008



Hands On New Orleans 1

Transforming the grounds through front yard landscaping including the construction of planter boxes, planting a community garden and other beautification tasks.

Guided Neighborhood Cleanup and History Tour Renovate the school by creating murals on canvasses with social justice and academic themes Install a much needed marquee and signage for the school

F.Y.I. FROM YOUR PLANETARY SISTER - The kids who go to this school in the above picture, (yep, the above facility is a middle/high school for kids) these kids also get to wear Guantanamo orange colored shirts. It is really disturbing to see these children walking around in a prison camp like structure and see this color orange on children. Kinda like institutionalizing the consciousnesses of the young psychologically and spiritually isn't it? Who ever thought that a prison camp like compound and the wearing of 'prison orange' would be good for these children?


The number of remaining spots available :
TOO MANY ! 90

Address of Project : Carver High School 3059 Higgins Blvd, Desire LA MAP

Make a difference to these kids - show up and help them and the folks from Tulane and Hands On New Orleans on Monday January 21, 2008

These kids need witnesses and advocates.
They need you!


What should I wear/bring? Wear clothes you are ready to work in. Supplies provided.




Hands On New Orleans 2

Bywater History Tour & Neighborhood Tour Volunteers will learn about the history and community renewal work of area around Douglass High School, participate in the neighborhood cleanup, and renovate Douglass High with landscaping, murals, and install a marquee and signage for the school. Sankofa Sunday: cultural education with children. This includes Mardi Gras Indian music , drumming and African tales and a king cake ceremony.

The number of remaining spots available : 139

Whoa! Not Cool! More bodies and love needed!

Address of Project : Douglass High School -3820 St Claude Ave MAP

What should I wear/bring? Wear clothes you are ready to work in. Supplies provided


Want to help? Just show up!

Just "be" there...


need contacts?

TULANE OUTREACH NEW ORLEANS - MLK DAY OF SERVICE
HANDS ON NEW ORLEANS



A Planetary P.S. - this is New Orleans ain't nobody gonna say - "nah, we don't need your help!"

Post Katrina New Orleans is about the LOVE, community, and helping!


OMGosh - if I am wrong and you have the opposite experience - let your Planetary Sister know...


Any opinions expressed by your planetary sister in this posting do not reflect the ideas or policies of the organizations your planetary sister is recommending who are helping these kids and these neighborhoods.



PEACE
1 PKV OF 1+ MILLION


WORK ON THE NEGATIVE AND MAKE IT POSITIVE - NATURE MAN



Don't worry about the LOVE AND CARING that you have in you

Don't worry about that

The LOVE AND CARING will always be comin in

You have to worry about the negative side in you

That is what you have to work on

You have to work on the negative in you and make it positive



-Nature Man
(Poet, Rastafari - New Orleans)


“I and I” is an expression to emphasize the concept of oneness.
No person is more privileged in life than another; all are considered equal.
A further meaning is that God is in all human beings; it stresses the collective unity and
experience of all individuals.




FOR YOUR CONTEMPLATION: Rastafari developed among an oppressed people who felt society had nothing to offer them except more suffering. Rastas may regard themselves as conforming to certain visions of how Africans should live, reclaiming what they see as a culture stolen from them when their ancestors were brought on slave ships to Jamaica, the movement's birthplace. The messages expounded by the Rastafari promote love and respect for all living things and emphasize the paramount importance of human dignity and self-respect. Above all else, they speak of freedom from spiritual, psychological, as well as physical slavery and oppression. In their attempts to heal the wounds inflicted upon the African peoples by the imperialist nations of the world, Rastafari continually extol the virtue and superiority of African cultures and civilization past and present.WIKI



Jah Guide. Jah Bless. Peace.
your planetary sister


RACISM 101: THERE ARE IN EVERY AGE NEW ERRORS TO BE RECTIFIED AND NEW PREJUDICES OPPOSED



When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.
Japanese Proverb


not active? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hVvMfgvocE


People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803 - 1882)



Your Planetary Sister first received and watched this video on Monday January 14, 2008. It has taken me 4 days, its now Friday the 18th, to process its content. How much easier it is for those who might watch this video and dismiss the men speaking with with anger or contempt - "they're just racists".

But racism isn't a black and white thing is it?

Look into the eyes of the man who speaks the most in this video. You can see in his eyes that he is sincere about what he is saying. He believes in the truth of what he is saying. And that is what has taken your Planetary Sister the longest to process - that the quality of sincerity could still come forth through a mans eyes whilst his mouth and mind are aligning with, and spewing forth, inner vileness.

RACISM. It is a sickness of the mind and of the heart which may be obvious to those of us who are awakened to and (celebrate) our longstanding planetary kinship. Yet for our planetary brothers and sisters afflicted with the spiritual and mental sickness of RACISM, they are like the chronic alcoholic or drug addict - always the last to know the truth of themselves and the effects of their disease which keeps them separate from the experience of planetary LOVE.



I believe much trouble would be saved if we opened our hearts more.
-Chief Joseph




There are, in every age,
new errors to be rectified
and new prejudices
to be opposed.

Samuel Johnson
(1709 - 1784)



Thursday, January 17, 2008

ALMOST HOME - UPPER 9TH WARD NEW ORLEANS


"I am tired now all the time."
Mrs. G - age 76
rebuilding on her own in the 9th Ward



REPEATING AN UNSUBSTANTIATED RUMOUR

January 21, 2008 - The rumour proved to be untrue. I stand by my musings and own that the rumour was wrong.

Your Planetary Sister is REPEATING a rumour and I wanted you to know I was REPEATING a rumour from the moment you saw the posting title. Nay, even as you read the first line...

Okay, here is the rumour:

I heard that ____________ is paying for, making sure, that the homeless are 'off the streets' for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday celebrations on Monday, January 21, 2008, in the city of New Orleans. The rumour went on to say that these very same homeless men and women, are going to be put up in hotel rooms. (a note: I hope it is at least for a few days for the sake of the homeless, two nights inside can make all the difference when you are without an inside space of your own).

So here is the ethical and moral quandary:


It is good for the homeless to get off the streets for one, even two nights and a night is not enough is it?

Whilst being a good gesture in honour of the Reverend Martin Luther King (and being in the South I wouldn't put it past Southerners to do good gestures - it is in their genetic code); I also wonder if it may also be part of a callow gesture perhaps brought to you by the folks who are trying to market New Orleanians and the world, the brand New Orlean$?


Get the homeless off the streets, put those drunks and gutter punks in jail, get those hippies out of here, hey you - clean up your political humour, hey - somebody tell those yahoo's to keep it down...


You know the type of marketers I'm talking about don't you?


What these marketers claim to be bringing seems like the dream we have all secretly and exclusively been waiting-praying for... then you wake up and it is year 7 with George W. Bush as President and the person you hear screaming... is yourself.



Here is another rumour - innuendo, story, fable, I was recently told:

Once when campaigning, GWB was criticized for not having his own opinions;
President George W. Bush responded:

"I do have opinions of my own,
very strong opinions,
I just don't always agree with them."




"With all it's racism, crime and poverty, New Orleans has kept it's culture alive".

American Experience Documentary - New Orleans



You planetary sister hopes New Orleans culture can now survive the branding of New Orleans.



Preserve all the cultures of New Orleans.



In Peace

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

HOTHANDS FOR THE HOMELESS (poor and the elderly) UPDATES


T
HANK YOU'S


THANK YOU to the community of Light Omega from MA, for their collective love and donation of $110 for (240 pairs) of the HeatMax-HotHands which was matched with another case of 240 pairs personally from Jeff Meyers THANK YOU at Meyers Supply.

THANK YOU to Janet from Wisconsin whom I have never met, for the lovely surprise box of 40 HotHands for the homeless (poor and elderly).

THANK YOU for the donation of $60 which went towards (2) boxes of 40 pairs (80) sets of HotHands from my dear planetary brother and sister - Matthew and Corinne from MA (much love). Their donation was distributed to @60 people on the last day of the 3 day freeze. (A couple of the homeless men really needed to have 2 sets it was so bitter cold). I found during the time of the freeze that there were also people whom I met who were "working poor" and the elderly, who suffer from crippling pain related to arthritis, which is worse when the weather is cold so @10 people in this category got HotHands to help with their pain.

THANK YOU to Lydia, with a generous $120 donation from Lydia from Texas I now have waiting for distribution this weekend (240 pairs) of HotHands and Jeff added 50 Mylar emergency blankets with no extra shipping costs. THANK YOU Jeff! You are awesome Lydia much love!

THANK YOU and love to Cole and Liza from MA, for the surprise shipment of a box of 40 pairs of HotHands that arrived yesterday.

We have a cold front moving in Saturday and Sunday with lows in 30's. Whilst it is not a freeze, coming from someone who has experienced homelessness in cold weather, I can tell you that when you are living outside 24-7 it is hard to get warmed up at night when you are cold all day. So I am really glad that I am ready for the next 2 days. I have a total of 280 pairs of HotHands for the homeless, elderly, and poor,as needed.

THANK YOU Eldon for your gift of $10 which from you my dearest brother has the same impact of one who receives a $1000, for I know how you suffer so my brother.

I have a donation of $54 waiting from the piggy banks of Elijah and Noah and their parents Beth and Dan from MA THANK YOU, waiting for the next cold front. I am hoping to save up another $41 to match this donation and get a case (240 pairs) of the FootWarmUps for $105.

For those of you who are reading this post and may feel an inclination to donate HotHands to the Homeless (and the poor and elderly as needed) for the next bout of cold weather in New Orleans, here are the options available to us from Jeff through Meyers Custom Supply. You also have the choice to order through Amazon.com who gets their orders filled from Meyers Custom Supply.

If you choose to go through Jeff Meyers at Meyers Supply let him know either when you call or place the order (attach an e-mail) that what you are ordering are for Johanna (your planetary sister) in New Orleans for the Homeless. (Jeff has my shipping address and he is willing to ship cases (240 pairs of HotHands) in a case at cost $110 which includes shipping. This price of $110 is for HotHands shipped from the factory ONLY. The shipping is less because the HotHands are coming from the factory in GA to New Orleans.

A case of 240 from the factory - would cost $110 and will take 3 days to arrive from the factory to New Orleans.

You can order online and send an e-mail to Jeff or call Meyers Custom Supply and say they are for Johanna and he will drop ship them to me or call FootWarmUps800- 451-6105.

If you would like to send a box of 40 pairs of
HandWarmers through Meyers Custom Supply they are $18.00 box plus $8.95 shipping (please remember to attach an e-mail or let Jeff know in the phone call they are for Johanna in New Orleans for the homeless as he has a lot of customers!) A box HotHands hand warmers will take about a week to arrive in New Orleans from California.


Anything sent is gratefully welcomed and there are never any expectations!
Whatever I am given to work with is what I have to work with.

For the next month: January 16th until @February 15:

Jeff has an extra a pallet of FootWarmUps which can be used for the feet or the hands. These are just as helpful as the handwarmers for the homeless as they require less oxygen to warm up - often the people I give the HotHands to are so cold that they hold it close in their hands trying to warm them up when and it sometimes takes a little longer to get warmer. These “air-activated” Foot Warm-Up® are designed to work in low oxygen environments like boots, shoes or closed hands! They are ideal for those who will be sitting still and not generating much body heat or sleeping outside in the freezing cold.


HotHands - Foot warmups

Call Jeff Meyers @ 800- 451-6105 for this order.

case of 240 pairs $24.00 shipping from CA $105 total. Allow for a week for delivery.

He can give us this great deal because they are an extra pallet sitting his warehouse - the shipping is the expensive part because they are coming from his warehouse in CA and not the factory in GA.


THANK YOU you everyone
for your thoughts, your prayers, and for those who can... your help.



Tuesday, January 15, 2008

CELEBRATING THE BIRTHDAY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR

Today is the actual day that this Sacred Planetary Brother came forth in an embodied state, onto this planet.

I may not be able to quote Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr off of the top of my head spontaneously in a conversation with you. Nor, can I tell you that as a child I was exposed to many visual images of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yet his essence, his spirit, his stance, the stances of those around him when marching, the way he and they held hands - the way in which they walked talking and being "with" each other and him - these are the things about the man and the soul of this this Planetary Brother which is burned into my soul.

There is song written and sung by Dion from 1969, called Abraham, Martin and John. I was 1o when this song came out and even at that tender age it stirred something within my heart - my soul - deeply. 38 years later and this song still resonates deeply (I just cried again watching this video before posting it for you). What this song represents to me about Martin and Abraham most especially (to my heart), and John and Bobby, is the integrity each brought to the arena of inequality and social injustices, and the Light they carried,

Your planetary sister cries because she grieves when she hears this song - for all of her planetary brothers and sisters who have come in the name of peace, justice, and love for one another and have died by the very sword they sought to spare others from.

I am so happy you were born on this day Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.





May I walk in peace in the ways you have taught and walked.

Monday, January 14, 2008

KEEPING IT GREEN: CONSIDER BUYING YOUR MARDI GRAS BEADS FROM ARC: BEAD RECYCLING and HELPING THE DISABLED!


Bead recycling program employs people with disabilities.



To donate or purchase beads call Levesque at
504-837-5105




In a warehouse at the end of Labarre Road, more than 1,600 bags of Mardi Gras beads are stacked and wrapped on pallets, ready for another Carnival season.

"There's about $40,000 worth of beads in there," said Vance Levesque, controller of Arc of Greater New Orleans, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting the mentally retarded.

Each plastic mesh bag of beads is separated into three categories: long, short and white.

They didn't arrive that way, however, Levesque said.

After Carnival, families drove up to the Arc warehouse in vehicles jam-packed with tangled masses of green, gold and purple strings they dropped on the curb. Tulane University students cleared out their dorm rooms and donated more than 5,000 pounds of intertwined balls of throws.

The idea was to sell the beads back to the krewes but first they had to be un-knotted and categorized.

"Let me show you to our workspace," Levesque said.

In a room across the hall, six workers stand over mountains of beads, untangling one strand at a time, measuring for size and placing each in the appropriate pile.

"My boyfriend likes to give me the green ones and the red ones," said Anna Bullock, who, like the other workers, is mentally retarded.

Bullock is part of the Arc's recycled Mardi Gras bead program that employs individuals to separate and sort throws that are resold to parade-riders in 30-pound bags. The main goals are reducing the amount of non-biodegradable waste in the landfills and providing employment for adults with disabilities, said Levesque.

"In October we're going to hire someone full time to go into elementary schools with our clients to teach the benefits of recycling and keeping the beads out of the landfills because these things never biodegrade," Levesque said. "A million years later there will be roaches and Mardi Gras beads, the two things left on the planet."

The program has been around since the 1960s but is in the process of expanding to provide minimum wage, year-round employment to at least 20 individuals. But to do that, Arc needs more beads to fund and make the program self-sustaining, Levesque said.

"When we started we had to turn beads away because we didn't have a clue how it was going to work out. But you can see we need beads now. Instead of having one room full of beads, we want three and eventually five."

The Arc helps the mentally retarded find housing and employment. Many work for hotels, fast food restaurants, landscapers and janitorial crews. But some, Levesque said, are more severely disabled and cannot function in unsupervised environments, which makes the bead recycling project a perfect alternative.

Arc-GNO Executive Director Cliff Doescher said the program instills in the mentally disabled a sense of pride and purpose while promoting the recycling of beads and a healthy environment.

Doescher said Arc eventually wants to hire teenagers to work alongside their clients to expose the youth to people with disabilities while giving the mentally retarded the opportunity to interact with other people in the community.

Arc-GNO has formed partnerships with Jefferson Parish Public Libraries, Whole Foods, Krispy Kreme Donuts, the Green Project, Boy Scouts and several public schools in Orleans and Jefferson parishes to collect and donate beads, but more help is needed.

Levesque said the more beads the community provides, the less the impact on the environment and the greater the likelihood his clients will stay employed.

"Our main mission is to get them integrated into the community," Levesque said. "These people can work. They're at a functioning level. They just can't do every job. But this is one they can."



To donate or purchase beads, call Levesque at 504- 837-5105.



Copyright 2007 Dolan Media NewswiresProvided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

SEEN: PAID MERCENARIES WORKING SECURITY IN BRAND NEW ORLEAN$

Another fence goes up. This time "protecting" the quarters of 'tourists' working in the security industry from Chile and Brazil who come to the US -New Orleans - on 3 month visas to work as private security for N.O.P.P.

That's right boys and girls, mercenary private security in Brand New Orlean$ and these mercenaries also pay the same man who hires them for their quarters. As of today, Sunday, these same paid 'security' mercenaries from Chile and Brazil, are now cut off from interacting with the neighbors by an metal fence.

How many New Orleanians need jobs?

Is this constituational?

Are we having any discussions about out of country mercenaries working private security on US soil? Are we having ethical discussions as a nation about the possible implications as this industry grows? We have seen the type of government non-regulation that contractors - paid mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan have enjoyed.

Ironic isn't it - the new darker meanings attached to the symbols of security - not only in Brand New Orlean$ but in our times.

the security industry

In my humble opinion, the busine$$ of protecting human beings can not be a for profit private enterprise without the corruption of and loss of, vital constitutional rights and civil liberties.

Oh, and the beauty of using mercenaries from other countries to protect certain parts of the population of "We the People"?

Paid mercenaries from other countries working "security" on American streets, do not have the same genetic code so to speak, as we Americans have in our hearts and minds, when it comes to our inalienable rights and freedoms. Paid mercenaries have no allegiance to "We the People".

The allegiance of paid mercenaries, especially from other countries, is to the corporation and who ever pays them. And the corporation is not a US citizen.

Hang on America, its going to be a bumpy ride :>(