Saturday, August 29, 2009

Miscellaneous Musings

I am emotionally very moved, intellectually/ politically greatly inspired, and physically drained by last night’s and today’s tributes to Ted Kennedy and his dignified twilight burial. It is amazing to me that while his colleagues on the “other side of the aisle” rightly came to respect and appreciate him, I’ve seen so many comments from the public that still harp on Chappa-quiddick – even though the senator frankly and frequently acknowledged his human flaws, foibles, and serious mistakes, then worked for decades of his adult life to redeem himself through tireless public service. How interesting that human memory can be so short when it comes to the good, and so long when it comes to the bad – and how entitled many people feel to be judgmental in a very ugly way!


Although I greatly appreciated today’s extensive media coverage of Ted Kennedy, it is nonetheless unfortunate that the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005) got rather lost in the news shuffle. A bit of attention was paid, but as has been the case over the past four years, American media – and much of America – seems to have consigned Katrina to history, when in fact, the physical ravages of that killer storm are still hugely evident all along the Gulf Coast; the displacement of many thousands has yet to be restored; and the existence of those who remain or have returned despite enormous obstacles, rivals the misery of those in the slums of a Third-World country.

New Orleans, in particular, is unique in its place in American history and culture – African-American history and culture in particular. The lack of vigorous rehabilitation of New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf is a national shame, but it looks like the Obama administration, despite the many urgent issues on its plate, will find the time and resources to focus attention on this situation with a competence, concern, and swiftness that his predecessor did not.


I want to introduce you to my dear friend and longtime colleague, Nadine Hack, the president and CEO of beCause Global Consulting, Inc. As it says on her company’s Web site, “Nadine B. Hack is recognized internationally for her proven expertise in strategic planning, creative problem solving, insightful policy analysis, and politically sensitive negotiations, she has provided innovative guidance to and created crucial partnerships for institutions from multiple sectors and has imparted tactical direction for their various campaigns, collaborations, and special initiatives throughout the world for over three decades.”

Recently, Nadine made a vitally important post on her company blog, entitled “Women, Girls and Philanthropy,” a rousing endorsement and enlargement of the issues (and solutions!) raised by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in their New York Times Sunday Magazine article (8/23/09), “Saving the World’s Women/The Women’s Crusade” and in their new book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide. Their work details the great success and enormous future potential of micro financing, which, with pathetically-small amounts of money by First World standards (usually less than $100), women are able to start their own businesses and lift themselves, their families, and often their communities, out of poverty, as well as oppression and abuse.

I heartily encourage you to read both the Times article and Nadine Hack’s blog; the latter offers many linked references to other written resources and active organizations. Practical and transformational social initiatives, and fascinating reading!

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