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There’s a gap somehow between empathy and activism. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of ‘soul force’ – something that emanates from a deep truth inside of us and empowers us to act. Once you identify your inner genius, you will be able to take action, whether it’s writing a check or digging a well. – Sue Monk Kidd
We want to help. In the face of converging crises worldwide, people of goodwill desire to take action. But how do we know the best way to act? Attend a protest? Give money? Volunteer? Inform others? Pray?
Activism takes many forms and all energies are needed now, from the most subtle and inward such as meditation and prayer, to the most outward and hands-on – rebuilding broken communities. No action is insignificant if it is guided by empathy and the will to serve, what Gandhi called satyagraha, soulforce.
The media have a special role to play, helping to frame events in context. Yet, to paraphrase Michael Skoler, Vice President of Interactive Media at Public Radio International, if we aren’t urging people to pause and consider action — then all we are doing is adding to the relentless stream of information. He shares some of the many ways new media is engaging citizen action.
Reflecting on ten years since the levees and the political system failed the people of New Orleans, it’s clear that community action is what rebuilt the structures, and more importantly the spirit of a city beloved by many.
And as Carla Goldstein, co-founder of Omega Women’s Leadership Center points out, “the means matters”. She asks that we bring awareness and alignment to the relationship between our ‘means and ends’ to bring more compassion and love into our activism, even when opposing sides on difficult issues are intractable.
In this 2015 Summer of Peace, we are asked to identify our own ‘inner genius’, through reflection, and also by listening deeply to others, especially those we seek ‘to help’. Collectively we are entering a new phase of direct action as we work to create a more just and peaceful world. May empathy guide us in all we do.
Peace to All,
Rhonda Fabian, Digital Editor
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“In a world where news and information now streams past everyone in an endless torrent, journalism excels when we help people to stop the stream, even for a moment, to consider how they might use our information in their lives. And when the only option we give them is a “like” or “share” button at the end of a story, we fail them.” – Michael Skoler, VP Interactive Media, Public Radio International
By Ruthie Frierson, via Nola.com
Katrina changed everything — and every one of us. More than 80 percent of our city was under water for more than three weeks. Our infrastructure was almost completely destroyed – public facilities, schools, homes and businesses. More than 1,800 of our citizens lost their lives, and many others were displaced.
Why would people return and rebuild homes and businesses if they didn’t feel safe from flooding? To rebuild New Orleans, citizens needed their trust restored.
By Carla Goldstein, co-founder Omega Women’s Leadership Center
“You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb it into peace.”
– Michael Franti
As a child of the sixties I was practically born marching. I was one of those babies in a stroller with a slogan sign around it, and as I grew up my feet replaced the wheels. I have marched as a group of two and in a sea of hundreds of thousands. Regardless of the demonstration size, being with others shouting in unison for what I believed in always left me with feelings of hope and strength. I thought that if enough of us screamed long enough we could be the tipping point that created peace and equality in the world.
“This is a course that is so valuable that I will retake it. It is taught by one of the leading planetary stewards, Johan Rockström, founder of Planetary Boundaries.” – Nancy Roof, Editor, Kosmos Journal
On Monday 14 September the second edition of the massive open online course (MOOC) on the state of the planet will be launched by the Stockholm Resilience Centre in partnership with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Education Initiative (SDSN EDU).
Kosmos will co-sponsor a reception at the Nicholas Roerich Museum Sunday September 20th at 7 pm in NYC honoring the International Day of Peace.
The reception follows the IDP event in Central Park Sunday afternoon and on Monday morning there is a Youth Observance at the United Nations. The 2015 IDP theme is Partnerships for Peace ~ Dignity for All.
Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, and philosopher, Nicholas Roerich was involved throughout his career with the problems of cultural preservation. From an early age, when, as a teen-age amateur archeologist in the north of Russia, he unearthed rare and beautiful ancient artifacts, he realized that the best products of humanity’s creative genius were almost always neglected, or even destroyed, by humanity itself.
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