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America don’t give up! Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 15th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day hence why I wanted to take this opportunity to remind ourselves of the critical endeavor this great man has left behind. It seems to me highly appropriate to remember and to honor the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. because, without his marches, non-violent protests, and civil disobedience, America would not be where it is today.

We believe of man’s equality in front of God, that freedom and justice to all is a given; but it is not. It is quite frightening to anyone what the horrific injustices and acts of hatred committed over the last few years seems to have plungend America back into a period of dark times, albeit not as dark as the 1960’s. Nevertheless, the battle is still raging in America’s streets. America has defaulted on its dream of brotherhood and freedom. The President of the most powerful democracy of our time demonstrates bigotry and utters offensive tweets and remarks, oblivious that the World is watching closely and sadly, so are its children.

Social Media has rocketed hate and have made it visible to the World with a click of a button. More than half a century has passed since the famous “I Have a Dream” speech and while times are somewhat better then in the 1960’s, there is a lot more to be done. Should not our leaders be an inspiration of unification, freedom, and justice to all? It saddens me when I think of the message these influential people are conveying to the next generations.

President Obama,  in a speech he gave in 2011 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, said it eloquently:

Barricades began to fall, bigotry began to fail, the door of opportunity swung open for an entire generation. Laws changed, but the hearts and minds changed as well. Look at the faces here around you today, and you see an America that is fairer and more free and more just than the one Doctor King addressed that day. We are right to savor that slow but certain progress…but it is important to remind ourselves that this progress did not come easily…progress does not come from words alone. There were setbacks and defeats…even after winning the Nobel Peace Prize Dr. King was still under attack and was considered a controversial figure. He wasn’t always seen as a unifying figure”.

But where does America stand now? This struggle is not even close to being finished. Change depends on persistence, on education and on the responsibility of our peers to do and say the right things.

PLEASE AMERICA, do not give up the fight. The whole World is watching you. Our chidren’s values are swayed by your media. Everyone listens and learns from you. And most importantly, World Peace is in your hands. Please America, continue the work of Doctor King, because that is the reponsibility we now face since Martin Luther King Jr.  is not with us anymore.

 

2 In Featured/ Society

My journey into veganism

I was born in 1969. I was 15 years old when my favorite band “The Smiths” came out with the album “Meat is Murder.” This album was the soundtrack of my teenage years. We were the cool kids, and Morrissey was our God. I listened to this album over and over again completely oblivious to Morrissey’s message. How could we? We were the intimidating kids.  We dressed in black from head to toe, stuck pins through our clothes and bodies, drank and smoked heavily, and wrote anarchy signs all over the subway stations, not realizing what any of it meant. Now meat was murder?? What the F***!!  Did Morrissey lose his mind? I thought. I must have sung the lyrics to this song a million times over and over in my egotistical  “alternative” teenage head. I was unaware of the message. What was Morrissey ‘s point? Surely he didn’t want us to abandon our anti-establishment mission of anarchy to become vegans!? How dare he mess with us!

Vegetarians, we thought in those days, were hippies in California doing macrame and wearing flowery dresses. I just didn’t identify, even though the God of my World was a vegan. I could not nor would not at the time come close to understanding what was going on in Morrissey’s head.

But the seed had been planted. I pondered the issue, and a few years later, without telling any of my friends, of course, I read a book called a “Diet for a Small Planet” by Frances Moore Lappé. This book is one of the first to note the environmental impact of meat production as a waste and the underlying cause of the global food scarcity. My heart sank, and my thoughts changed, but I lacked the courage to follow through with action.

I started buying books about vegetarian cooking and all that good stuff, but I hid it from my friends in fear of not being so cool anymore. Fearing the unimaginable (not being one of the cool kids anymore), I turned my head the other way lacking the courage to face the reality that I was now aware of. Many years later vegetarian and vegan information was popping up in the social media, and I became curious again. This time there were tons of resources where I decided to educate myself on this matter. There were books, documentaries, conferences, and the statistics were bewildering. I finally understood what Morrissey was talking about for all those years, and so began my journey into veganism.

I understood that vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. But vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, did not use any animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products. My newfound way meant a complete transformation from being a “normal” carnivore into not only a vegetarian but it also meant I had to let go of everything I thought was “normal.” Understanding the impact of being a vegan has on climate change, as well as the health benefits such as the reduction of diabetes and heart problems, as well as giving animals back their right to life and freedoms were my new guidelines.

It took many years for my transformation to happen.  First I cut down my consumption of meat and fish, followed by becoming vegetarian and later on letting go of all dairy products.  About a year then I stopped using any animal product, and I was vegan. It took a lot of courage. I faced many critics but armed with a new passion and tons of facts; my journey was well on its way. I couldn’t turn my head away anymore. I wanted to be genuine and although it was not a smooth transition I now stand a proud vegan. I have no desire to revert whatsoever. I hope you can relate to my story because my deepest wish today is to carry this message of love and kindness to as many hearts as possible. It is time to face the facts and stop being hypocritical. The planet, animals, as well as the survival of the human species, are in a critical state of emergency. We need to take action NOW. Thank you, Morrissey, you were right: meat is murder.