If you have the urge to scream at a 16 year old, you may need The Greta Helpline

Some people are outraged that a 16 year old child is the only global citizen courageous enough to stand up to world leaders and explain the facts about climate change. They don’t want anyone talking about science, or obligations, or the fact that the world will come to an end if we don’t make some serious changes. And if anyone is going to talk about these things, it sure as heck should not be a child.

Luckily for the outraged, salvation has arrived! The Greta Thunberg Helpline has been set up just for adults angry at a child and needing to vent.

Watch this clip to see how satisfying the helpful has been for callers, so far:

OTH if you’re a Greta admirer wanting to see her socking it to world leaders at the UN, here’s that clip as well.

Pases grátis a parques nacionales para estudiantes del 4º grado | Free passes for 4th graders to government parks

Los pases se proveen a los estudiantes del 4º grado y sus familias. Son validos por un año y son grátis de costo. Visite everykidinapark.gov para conseguir su pase hoy! Esta oportunidad es proporcionada por el gobierno de los Estados Unidos.

Passes are available for 4th Grade students and their families. They are valid for one year and are completely free. Visit everykidinapark.gov to get your free pass today! This opportunity is brought to you by the U. S. Government.

Some ways the GOP tax bill will destroy the environment

Margaret Mead Quote
Source: quotefancy.com

Camila Thorndike offers a list of some ways the GOP tax scam intends to destroy the environment. She found these items less than a day after the 500+ page tax bill was released to Capitol Hill politicians for the first time last night, just an hour before the GOP began pushing for the bill to be voted on. So more horrible measures will probably be found over time.

  • Hands out a billion dollars to oil companies and preserves $14 Billion in fossil fuel subsidies, more than renewables by a 7:1 ratio.
  • Suddenly axes tax breaks for electric vehicles.
  • Eliminates the commercial solar investment credit.
  • Jeopardizes wind energy by reducing credit for future projects by a third and threatening those underway.
  • Randomly opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, making an industrial oil field of this wild land, which is sacred to the indigenous Gwich’in people and home to 250 species and migratory birds from all 50 states and 6 continents. This, after three generations of bipartisan protection.
  • Further weakens the EPA (think: drinkable water, breathable air, EJ), DOI (think: national parks and public lands
  • and NOAA (think: oceans, weather), and then all state agencies that will scramble to fill in the gaps.

Bill Maher guest talks about Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s excellent training

Bill Maher guests
Bill Maher guests

If you’re still wondering whether Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is worth putting time into, here’s another testimony to mull over. On Bill Maher’s RealTime, guest Bradley Whitford talks about the high quality training CCL offers to teach Americans how to talk about climate change with Republicans. Because climate change needs to be a lobbying priority and conversations about it must take place on both sides of the aisle.

10 year old girl sings a sweet, pure and strong “Hallelujah” that might make you cry

Killard House School choir
Source: Killard House School via YouTube
Ireland has music deep in its soul. Phenomenal 10 year old Kayleigh Rogers leads her special classmates of The Killard House School in singing such a sweet, pure and strong Christmas rendition of Hallelujah that it brought me right to tears. It will do the same for you, if you’re lucky. God bless.

The BBC comments about Kayleigh’s stellar performance:

Kayleigh is one of 200 students aged three to 16 at Killard House School in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland … (she) often sings at the local Christmas concert at First Presbyterian Church, Newtownards, but this year she lost her voice and had to pull out of last Sunday’s service. Instead her headteacher played the video above, which had been filmed just weeks before at the school, and it left many of the congregation in tears.

The video, filmed by Billy McAuley, was uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, and reported in the local press. It has since been viewed and shared hundreds of thousands of times, and the school has taken calls from people in Australia, America and Japan who have all seen the video.

Kayleigh started at Killard House School in year four and has autism and ADHD, which results in learning delays with literacy and numeracy.

Music teacher Lloyd Scates spotted her talent early on and encouraged her to sing solos during school shows, to help develop her voice and her confidence.

An important essay by an honored student on the hypocrisies of inclusion in higher ed

Sung Yim with shaved head
Source: Sung Yim, courtesy of lutherxhughes.com

Sung Yim wrote an essay to Columbia University after essays the Korean poet was asked to submit as a student representative of Columbia College Chicago’s Nonfiction writing department were twice rejected and the last essay, cut down to almost nothing to eliminate any controversial bits. The author writes about the author’s own work:

It’s important to keep in mind that my work has always been scathingly political. That is, I would think, part of why the writing faculty nominated my work. It’s also important to keep in mind that they were soliciting short work of a long-form artist. I was clipping and revising each piece I was submitting to them, which took hours of free labor.

Why I am using difficult sentence structure to speak about Sung Yim’s work? It is to respect the author’s desire to meet the world as a, “bisexual genderqueer person,” a term which I don’t understand very well and don’t know which pronouns to apply to. I have asked for enlightenment on this issue, though. Here is a description of Sung Yim from the author’s own mouth:

I’m a South Korean immigrant and a bisexual genderqueer person. That means I’m gendered without consent day to day and experience misogyny because I’m read as a woman. A lot of people don’t even believe in nonbinary genders or know what they are, so my identity is often erased or invalidated in daily exchanges. I’ve also dealt with a lot of biphobia from both straight and gay people–I’ve been told that bisexuals are just confused, that we’re greedy, that we “might as well be straight.” And there are a lot of harmful stereotypes that are perpetuated within queer communities like “never trust a bi girl”or “bi girls are just straight girls trying to prove something.” All of those have simultaneously invalidated my gender identity–how can I be straight or gay if I’m nonbinary? There are a lot of questions I want to ask, and there’s a lot of unpacking I want to do of these harmful notions in the face of these interactions, but I seldom find the courage because it’s rare for me to find a space where I feel safe and comfortable as both a bisexual and nonbinary person.

But first and foremost, I’m a Korean immigrant. All of those intersections of my identity–my gender, my sexuality, and the expressions of them–are filtered through my navigation of a culture that fetishizes stereotypical notions of East Asian femininity. And as much as people love to ask why we need labels, I don’t see it that way. For me, differentiating aspects of myself this way by saying aloud, I am queer, I am yellow, helps me communicate to others that this is my daily experience and affirm to myself in a world that doesn’t seem to think I’m real that yes, this is true and yes, there’s more.

This year, Sung Yim was invited again to represent the student body as a writer and this is what the author read to the assembled, august audience:

Columbia, you don’t give a fuck what I have to say or why. No matter who does actually read it, is touched and comforted by it, and wants it to be heard.

Columbia, all you give a fuck about are funds. You care about ensuring your trustees comfort in their whiteness and wealth. You care about placating the artists you feel you own. You care about your retention rates and name.

You love what I’ve got to say so long as it has no material bearing.

Columbia, you are throwing us a big party and parading us around again and expecting us to be satisfied and even grateful to be given such a grand opportunity to be your shining merit badges.

I won’t sit here and act like it’s not a life-affirming gesture. I won’t act like it isn’t an honor to know that your faculty members—your teachers, nurturers, healers—believe my work deserves this platform.

But Columbia, you as an institution? How you’ve rendered my work politically inert again and again?

I will never be fucking satisfied and I will never be happy to be used as a mascot.

I don’t give a good goddamn about standing on your stage and being seen. I don’t give a good goddamn about celebrity, persona, recognition.

Whatever happened to helping people produce good work? Work that leaves somebody wonderstruck and aching. Work that leaves the artist feeling cleansed and whole? Work that gives somebody a reason to keep living for another day. Work that reminds someone of their importance, reminds someone that they’re not alone. Work that comforts and takes the breath away.

Instead of helping everyone and their mother sell themselves as a lucrative product.

Here’s a non-fiction essay by Sung Yim.

Hat tip to Okaikor Aryee-Price for the great find.

New White House #DiaperGap program will cover every baby’s bottom!

#diapergap
Source: whitehouse.gov
This may sound way out there but I can totally relate to the difficulty 1 in 3 families have with the expense of diapering their babies, because I had it too when my kids were diaper age – a couple of decades ago. Tomorrow at SXSW, President Obama will announce the new ublic-private-donation partnership the White House is brokering called The Community Diaper Program, which is designed to bring a comfy diaper to every baby’s bottom.

The combination of these efforts created the Community Diaper Program, launching today, and available to any 501(c)(3) organization in the United States. Now, any non-profit (whether or not they currently provide diapers to families they serve) will able to purchase diapers as much as 25 percent cheaper than the current available price, with no minimum order and 48 hour shipping. This process addresses head on the storage and timing challenges expressed by non-profits in the field. The National Diaper Bank Network, which nationwide operates over 280 diaper banks (similar to food banks), estimates that their members will order more than 15 million diapers through this program in 2016 alone. Best of all, the Community Diaper Program is sustainable, fiscally and organizationally, and will continue to benefit families for years to come…

We the People
We are a country built on the idea that every person deserves a fair shot, yet even basic baby essentials are more expensive for our neighbors working hard to make ends meet. We must do more to afford every American a great start in life?—?and by investing in early education, summer nutrition assistance, and other essentials of early childhood, President Obama’s budget sets us on that path. But today’s announcements demonstrate the tremendous power of Americans responding to the President’s call to action, and using their talents and expertise to meet the needs of working families. That commitment to civic collaboration and active citizenship will help us solve the challenges of the 21st century, in the land of opportunity for all.

Find out how you can get involved today:

  • Spread the word using #DiaperGap on your social media channels
  • Find a diaper bank near you and get involved
  • Sign up to become a diaper distributor

Many excellent reasons young people like Bernie much more than Hillary

The Youth Vote Matters
Grfx source: whatkidscando.org
My answer to friend Bryan Alexander‘s question to friends earned me the top spot in his Facebook post list for 2016. He asked: “Here’s a question for readers of any political stripe. Why is Bernie Sanders winning much more of the youth vote, as compared to Hillary Clinton?”

My response. I’ve got 2 millennials at home, both social/environmental justice champions. They love Bernie for a plethora of reasons:

He explains how political and financial systems work, and they want to know.

Bernie fights like a motherfucker for decency and the rights of the poor and middle class – in other words, human beings. And my sons think this is the best characteristic and passion any politician can possibly have.

Bernie is sensible, honest and loyal to his constituents, all qualities my children admire. Vermonters like guns, so he isn’t against them – but he’s against assault weapons sales and is for responsible gun ownership and background checks.

Bernie stands up to old money, big money and corporatized interests. It’s a dirty job, but somebody really needs to do it. My children stand with Bernie because those interests oppose their own interests.

Bernie’s democratic socialist values resonate with my boys. Of course we should have government funded universal healthcare – every major country does. Ditto for higher education.

My sons have a vague idea that what the poor and lower middle class are living today is some kind of pimped up slavery, and it seems massively wrong to them. They get the sense that Sanders will fight to bring more fairness into society.

Banks are completely f-ed up. They need to be much, much, much better controlled and Bernie seems to understand what strategies can be brought into play to make this happen. My guys like this.

Bernie won big points with my sons for walking off the stage in response to the overwhelming, nasty viciousness of white liberals who lost every iota of their veneer of pretend sympathy or empathy with minority communities at that Seattle event when the crowd went nuts because #BlackLivesMatter activists wouldn’t get off Bernie’s stage. My boys totally appreciated Bernie’s gesture – which by the way they perceived as being also a kind of punishment to the white audience for being so extremely freaking selfish and nasty.

Sanders is practical. He obviously loved his seedy, wild-haired look but appreciated the need to spiffy up his image if he wanted to be a presidential contender, and he did.

Sanders is brave. It’s not easy to run for president and if he wins, he will never have a personal life again. Like Obama, Sanders is running for the people, and my sons appreciate this greatly. They know the world is running to hell in a hand basket and that if courageous souls like Obama, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren don’t step up to the plate to lead The People in attaining protection from political conservatives – including HRC – that their world is going to be sooooo messed up.

Bernie represents Vermont – small farmers, raw milk, cheddar cheese, maple syrup. That’s cool.

His campaign is well managed.

His appeal grows and grows despite everything Hillary throws at Sanders.

He does what he says. Promised autobiographies for any sized donations and actually sent their mom a book for her $1 donation.

Sanders represent my sons’ political and social interests and opinions.

Sanders seems to be the single politician in the field of presidential candidates who understands how crucial it is to take care of our world and environment right now.

There are probably more pro points, but this is a good list.

On the other hand, Hillary is manipulative. She gets support from prison privatizers. Doesn’t want America’s minimum wage to be at living wage level. Her husband and Joe Biden – and herself – are the people who set in motion everything that ended up with about 1% of America being in jail today. Her dang hair looks like a helmet. She wears a condescending grin in every darn debate and speaks in a superior tone of voice to Sanders and O’Malley. She has unfairly used her klout to make sure debates are held at times that are disadvantageous to Sanders – and to make sure Sanders didn’t get any media coverage. Ignored women until it became politically smart to be known as a woman’s champion. Is in bed with all the bankers. Is completely out of touch with average American’s needs and appears not to give a s•••. Seems to think that she should be elected on the strength of representing the old guard and isn’t aware enough of reality and The People’s needs to realize that young people have grown to understand what the old guard represents – and they know they don’t want to live under its thumb anymore.

PS, my sons couldn’t give 2 figs about HRC’s email “scandal” and think its just a GOP ruse to discredit the Democratic candidates.

PPS my sons think that Hillary’s constant fearmongering is disgusting and shows how aligned she is with Republican values and tactics.

PPPS My sons recognize that Hillary’s a foreign country specialist – after all, she takes advantage of every little opportunity to rub that in everyone’s face. But they think it’s high time to take care of things on the home front – and this is more important than focusing on all the other countries’ domestic issues while our society falls apart.

Kafkaesque police capture boy & grill him for not saying his clock is a bomb

Ahmed and his clock
Photo composite courtesy wtvr.com
In a Kafka novel, a man is accused by the police of a crime that’s too top-secret for them to discuss or reveal which government department has brought charges against him – and that’s the whole novel. In a similar circumstance, 14 year old Ahmed Mohammed from Irving, Texas brings a home-made clock to school to show his engineering teacher and she accused him of making a bomb to threaten her. The police arrive to handcuff, arrest and then grill him for hours because Ahmed wouldn’t say that his clock was something other than a clock. Because it’s a clock.

Yes folks, this really happened to one of our country’s brilliant young students. But next, Pres. Obama saved Ahmed’s day with his Tweeted invitation to visit the White House. At his press conference on Sept 16 Ahmed said, “Yes!” he intends to accept the invitation. The New York Times reports:

“Cool clock, Ahmed,” President Obama said on Twitter. “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.” Mr. Obama’s staff invited Ahmed to the White House for Astronomy Night on Oct. 19, an event bringing together scientists, engineers, astronauts, teachers and students to spend a night stargazing from the South Lawn.

Ahmed’s response to America is sweet:

Ahmed also mentioned at his press conference that he’s still suspended, the police still have his property … he intends to transfer to a different school, but hasn’t picked one out yet and that he’s not willing to speak with the Irving Police Chief without his attorney. Smart young man 🙂 .. watch for yourself.

Some other interesting reports by The Dallas Morning News and PBS.

Updated 17 Sept to include news and video of the 9/16 press conference and the PBS article.

10 ways well-meaning white teachers bring racism into schools

cultural sensitivity components
Photo credit: uvm.edu
I’m blown away by this great list of 10 ways well-meaning white teachers bring racism into schools. Number 2 is my favorite:

2. Being ‘Race Neutral’ Rather than Culturally Responsive

In my work with teachers, I sometimes meet teachers who claim that they “don’t see Color,” both in naïve attempts to be “progressive” but also in an ill-advised attempt to avoid tracking students based on race/ethnicity.

But our students don’t need a “race neutral” approach to their education.

There is endless research about how students of all races need a culturally responsive education; it’s just that White students who have White teachers are far more likely to receive one.

Culturally responsive teaching is not just a box that we can check with simple changes to curriculum. Instead, it is a pedagogical shift that all teachers must work to cultivate over the course of a career, one that works its way into every aspect of how we teach.

Part of culturally responsive teaching also demands that we not simply focus on the races of our students but, instead, turn the lens on our own racial identity.

Race neutrality lends itself to defensiveness to the ways Whiteness and racism are problematic in our teaching.

Cultural responsiveness demands that we do the difficult work of exploring a different way of being White, one where we see our liberation as bound up with that of our students and their families.

What to Do Instead

Start by reading the amazing literature on culturally responsive teaching, looking to Geneva Gay, Beverly Daniel Tatum, and Gary Howard for starters…

Hat tip to Marcella Simadris for the great find!

Lovely Peruvian Renata does Michael Jackson cover in hauntingly beautiful native Quechua

renata flores' bandThe fabulously talented Renata Flores Rivera offers a Michael Jackson cover of “The way you make me feel” in Quechua, the ancient native language of Peru.

Fusion online mag writes

Flores’s mother, Patricia Rivera Canchanya, kicked off the campaign this year through a cultural association, la Asociación Cultural Surca, which she founded 11 years ago to promote arts and Peruvian culture in their home city of Huamanga (also known as Ayacucho). Rivera is also a musician, and set up a music school through the association. She said she saw an urgent need to pass on Quechua to younger generations, before the language is forgotten in Peru.

Follow Renata on YouTube or Twitter. Like her on Facebook.

Thousands join mayor’s Occupy the City rally on Saturday to support Newark, youth & to stamp out violence

Mayor Baraka and CommonLed by Rapper-activist-actor Common joined Mayor Ras J. Baraka, the Newark Municipal Council and actor-rapper-activist Common, thousands of Newark residents united to “Occupy the City” on Saturday, August 8, meeting at a designated location in each of Newark’s five wards at 3:30 pm and marching to the City’s historic downtown “Four Corners” at Broad and Market Streets for a huge anti-violence and community support rally.

Building on the success and support from Newark residents during his “Occupy the Block events, Mayor Baraka hosted the “Occupy the City” event to unite residents against despair, violence, and crime in Newark and to promote love, hope and empowerment. “Occupy the Block” is a community engagement tool modeled after the historic “Occupy” movement, which advocates the social disruption of harmful or ineffective social constructs. Marchers wore purple t-shirts specially made for the occasion.

Marchers

The Mayor called upon residents to take action against violence in their neighborhoods by reporting incidents of crime to the police, organizing themselves and their neighbors as communities and providing hands-on nurturing and mentoring to children, beginning in their own homes and neighborhoods.

“We need peace in our community. We need it now. No more silence! Stop the violence,” the Mayor urged. “It’s not enough to be on Twitter and Facebook cursing people out. You have to get out into the street and stop blaming people. How many kids have you talked to? How many kids have you mentored? How many organizations have you joined? What are you doing? Have you gone into your schools? Have you joined the PTA? Have you gone to School Board meetings?”

Walking up Market St

“Our kids should not have Chinese-made assault rifles. It’s easier to get a Chinese-made assault rifle in our community than a decent loaf of bread. Our children should not lie on our streets, dying in pool of their own blood, from bullets from a foreign-made assault rifle. Our children should not have to lie on the floor to avoid the bullets. Our children deserve to live in a safe neighborhood and grow up to be surgeons and doctors and Supreme Court justices,” he asserted.

The Mayor also spoke directly to parents and guardians of children in attendance. “Do you talk to the child in your kitchen? Do you talk to the child in your living room? Do you talk to the child on your corner, wearing his pants down and a white t-shirt? You should be talking to him.

“These kids who are committing crimes are babies, 14 and 15 years old. They don’t pay taxes, they don’t vote, they don’t run this city, and they don’t bring jobs to community. They don’t decide who is the Superintendent of Schools or who the mayor is. So how are they in charge of your house, building, street, and block? You are the adults! You have to stand up straight.”

Mayor Baraka called upon parents to set examples by using culture as a positive force, noting that while many parents use social media to complain about conditions in Newark, their neglected children are misbehaving and listening to music that preaches violence and destruction.

Mayor Baraka speaks“Turn off that radio,” Mayor Baraka exhorted repeatedly. “They listen to songs that say ‘I got high last night’ and ‘murder, murder, murder.’ We need music that is positive. Teach your babies to sing positive songs at age 8, 9 and 10. We want them to sing at age 10, ‘I am beautiful on purpose and outstanding.’ Not, I’m going to shoot some dude on the corner. Put on songs that make babies love each other and make kids think they are big strong and powerful. Put on songs that say we can do anything we want to do and that we should love each other. If you don’t have one, I’ll give you my playlist. Listen to that in your house instead of complaining on Facebook about where are police at. They should be in your living room. Take responsibility. Culture is a weapon. It can be for us or against us. It is for us and kept us as a people from slave shouts to gospel, jazz to blues. The music that is going on is aiding in death and destruction of own children.”

The Mayor also addressed pain the community experiences as an underlying cause of violence. “We have to address the pain of hopelessness, poverty, unemployment, and death. We have to address the pain of destruction in community, of powerlessness and of inequality. We have to address the pain our kids feel – of having no money in pocket, having no clothes to wear to school for five days, and no food in the house when our kids get get home. We have to address the pain of having an older brother in jail or a youth being in jail at age 17 or having just got out of jail and not being able to get a job, or a driver’s license. We have to address the pain of being a crime victim. We have to address the pain of being 17 years old and can’t read.”

Mayor Baraka called on residents to organize outside their homes. “When we leave here, what are you going to do? We didn’t come here just to make you feel good. When you go home, become part of a block association. If you haven’t got one, start one. If you have one, join it. Start a block watch. Patrol your neighborhoods. We need people to question people who are on the block who don’t live there. If you live on the block and don’t know your neighbors, that’s a problem. Ring doorbells and introduce yourselves.”

The mayor also reminded attendees of the importance of speaking up, particularly when the criminals are known to community residents or are family members.

1000s rally

“People aren’t dropping these kids from helicopters or UFOs into neighborhoods. We know these kids. They’re related to you all. They are our sons and brothers. But instead of taking action, you hide them in your basement. You get them out of town. They cause havoc in the neighborhood in the neighborhood and you protect them. You don’t stop them. You don’t grab them up. You don’t tell on them. But then you’re on Twitter complaining about what the mayor should do when your son is out there creating havoc. You need to say something to hem. Pull them aside. Have a rally in your own living room and kitchen. Hold an ‘Occupy Your House’ rally,” he said.

“We have to open our mouths. No more silence. Tell. It’s over. When you tell, you’re not a snitch. It’s different. When you tell, you’re saying, ‘I’m not with you. I’m not part of what you’re doing. Being a snitch means ‘we’re together.’ Telling means you’re saying: ‘You don’t belong on my block – you’re causing problems in the community, I’m calling the police. We should all be telling. Then go to the next block, and make them tell, too.”

The Mayor also called upon state and federal agencies to replicate the Marshall Plan that rebuilt western Europe after World War II in America’s urban cities. “When we fought wars in other countries, we rebuilt their roads, gave money for police and built hospitals, schools, and the whole infrastructure. Our cities and infrastructure are crumbling. We need new schools, hospitals and roads. We need jobs. Not 100, or 1,000, but 5,000 and 10,000. We need this in Newark and every city in country. We need it now.

“We must end poverty. It is the number one enemy. It is the worst form of violence. It is killing us. That is why we are fighting. Violence is a public health issue. Violence is a disease that spreads everywhere. It kills people. We all know mothers who have lost children to prison and shootings. We must treat it as a disease. No more silence. Stop the violence. Say, ‘We are human beings. We don’t deserve to die on sidewalks at age 13 or 14 years old.'”

The rallying points and contact organizers for each ward were:

  • North Ward: Victoria Avenue and Cutler Street. Contact: Daniel Figueroa (201) 566- 6097
  • South Ward: Brunswick Street and Astor Street. Contact: Stacey Hillsman (973) 715-3629
  • East Ward: Pennington Court. Contact: Ligia DeFreitas (201) 566-3137
  • West Ward: 15th Street and 15th Avenue. Contact: Marques-Aquil Lewis (201) 566-5108
  • Central Ward: Central Avenue and 9th Street. Contact: Al’Tarik Onque (201) 463-6372

Many groups joined in led by city and community organizers and Municipal Council members led marchers from their wards to the rally. Chief of Staff Amiri Baraka, Jr. served as Master of Ceremonies.

Common speaks“From Chicago to Newark, we are one people. We must work to find peace within ourselves and to be at peace with each. Violence destroys the beauty inside of us and kills our communities. Let’s unite and do what is right,” Common told the crowd.

Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, co-founder and President of GrassROOTS Community Foundation and Assistant Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, served as the rally host. Speakers included Abyssinian Baptist Church pastor Reverend Perry Simmons; Nicole Paultre Bell, fiancée of police shooting victim Sean Bell; and representatives of clergy and community organizations.

Actor, director and Newark native John Amos“When I was growing up here and misbehaving, people would say, ‘Amos, if you keep doing that, you’ll wind up in Rahway State Prison,'” recounted Newark native and actor John Amos. “Well, I cleaned up my act, and I did wind up in Rahway, only I was making a movie with Sly Stallone! We need for our children to be able to achieve the same dreams – to be actors, lawyers, doctors or Supreme Court justices.”

During the rally, the Newark Fire Department provided information about their drive to recruit new firefighters, while the Mayor’s Read and Believe program gave out free children’s books.

Photo Credits: City of Newark Press Information Office

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Thanks to Iko’s designer, kids can build their own hands using Lego

lego-prosthetic-arm
Credit: Carlos Arturo Torres/Umeå Institute of Design
Carlos Arturo Torres is a believer in fun and childhood now living in Chicago. In 2014, as a student at Sweden’s Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden, he also became the creator of Iko – “a prosthetic arm for children that also acts as a platform for creative Lego projects.” Iko responds to signals traveling through its wearer’s arm nerves to move, pick up and manipulate objects and it’s got a great grip.

Torres explains,

sometimes a functional element is everything (a kid needs), but some other times it might be a spaceship, or a doll house, or a telescope, or a video game controller, or a swim fin. What if kids could use their imagination to create their own prosthetics, their own tools according to their own needs? Learning. Creating. Being kids.

Iko brought fun, sharing and ability into the lives of eight year old prototype tester Dario and his friends and family in Bogota, Colombia. See it in action for yourself.