A surprise awaits…

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Every morning, opening up gmail is a surprise. I get frequent updates from family and friends all over the world. Over the course of a week, I learn about births, deaths, marriages, parties and the dates that my dear ones will be arriving for a visit. Gmail serves up photos, recipes, jokes, book and movie recommendations, reminders of promises made and debts unpaid.

As well, I receive a huge amount of bulk mail. This is sometimes useful and sometimes useless. I get entertaining and happy news, and I get stuff I don’t even want to think about. But either way, it’s all food for thought.

Yucatan Expat Life keeps me abreast of Merida’s international community news:

http://yucatanexpatlife.com/womens-march-allies-join-forces-merida/

For what I don’t even want to think about – Mexfiles’ predictions and points to ponder keep my consciousness on alert:

The Obama Administration record in Mexico

Here’s a video that’s too-funny-for-words – courtesy of my friend Lou who sends this clip from the Dutch equivalent of the John Stewart show:

But of course, not everyone has a Dutch sense of humour. The next message is an example of the point-of-view that has landed our world in its current state – I give you The Unseen Moon – no further comment

https://unseenmoon.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/adios-barry/

Steve Cotton, a blogger who lives way over on the other side of Mexico posts nearly every day. His writing is always thoughtful and sensitive.

http://steveinmexico.blogspot.mx/

Another of my favourite blogs comes just once a week. It is a “journal” and today it contained some wonderful quotations:

http://sylviasaltwater.com/of-all-the-things-ive-lost-i-miss-my-mind-the-most/

And finally, a warm-the-heart photo attachment from my friend Cliff Hinderman at the Grassroots Oaxaca Street Children’s holiday party. He tells me that many of the children’s gifts were donated by the participants on last year’s International Women’s Club fundraising tour:

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If a picture paints a thousand words…

Thank you to Hennessy’s Irish Pub for giving a home to the Merida Solidarity March.

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Pub owner, Sean, low-balled the numbers we’d have. He said 50 – 80 people would turn out, and the committee that put the event together also came up short – we  said, “50 – 200”. That sounded hopeful.

Milling about , not marching...
Milling about , not marching…

Committee member Elizabeth Holland spoke for us all…

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And as it turned out, we figure there were somewhere between 400 and 500 who came to Hennessy’s between noon and 3pm.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thank you Everyone for supporting women, the people of Mexico, and human rights for all.

 

They do us proud

Merida has fine representation at today's Women's March on Washington
Merida has fine representation at today’s Women’s March on Washington

Not much time to post just now… I am off to set up at Hennessy’s. This image of our friends who are in Washington (as I type) makes me feel proud.  DOING something when our hearts are in turmoil is an option. It is the option I choose…

I hope to see you at Hennessy’s Irish Pub on Paseo de Montejo TODAY… noon until 3 pm.

Some FAQs… and… FYI

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This past week, much has been written about the Women’s March on Washington and the Solidarity March Merida. The events will be held simultaneously. In Merida, we will gather together:

Saturday January 21st, from 12 noon – 3 pm, at Hennessy’s Irish Pub

From what I hear, many members of Merida’s international community would like to participate, but they need further information. The most frequently asked questions seem to be:

  1. What are the aims of Solidarity March Merida?

The first aim is to show support for all those participating in the Women’s March on Washington. Apart from the D.C mega-march, 1,364,010 people have agreed to join one of 616 sister marches or events – in support of women and other marginalized groups – that have been organized all over the world. Ours is one of fifteen to be held in Mexico.

  1. Who will be attending?

The organizational committee estimates that “between 50 and 200 people” will be at Hennessy’s.  To date, 75 people have confirmed their participation on Solidarity March Merida’s facebook event page. It would be helpful to have a closer estimate, so if you have decided to join us, you can register here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1661755250783901/

However, you do not have to do so – everyone is welcome – and the event is free of charge..

  1. Is there a program? What will we do at Hennessy’s? Will we march?

Our informal program includes music and mingling – but no marching. We have no wish to disrupt traffic or any of Merida’s regular Saturday activities.   Inside the restaurant, a banner will be stretched out on a long table, so bring your felt markers and write a personal message in support of what matters most to you. That could include:

Parity and equality for women

Fair, respectful treatment of immigrants, migrants and refugees

Support for social programs and health care

Opportunities for young people – they need to feel hopeful about the future

Education and loving support for children

Services for seniors – they need to feel safe and protected.

Respect for diversity – no one should be marginalized because of their ethnicity, socio-economic standing, sexual orientation, political views or religion.

At the close of the event, the banner will be hung on Hennessy’s outside wall for all to see.

We also hope to connect via cell phone with the 30 Merida residents who will be in Washington. If we are successful (we have been warned that the connectivity will be limited) we hope to show live feed on the pub’s TV.

  1. Will there be food available?

We will be at Hennessy’s over the lunch hour, so if you wish, at your own expense, you can order food and drink from the regular menu.

  1. What about the legality? Foreigners in Mexico are not allowed to take part in political events.

Solidarity March Merida will not address Mexican law and order or politics. In fact, an important part of the event is to show our support for Mexico, and use our voices to defend the country we call home during all or part of each year. We want the people of Mexico to know that we appreciate their hospitality and kindness. We do not support anti-Mexico rhetoric or bullying.

If you still have a question or would like to express an opinion, please use the comment section. I speak for all members of the event’s planning committee when I say that we want everyone living in the area to feel comfortable and committed to the Solidarity March Merida. We hope we’ll see you at Hennessy’s, noon until 3 PM,  this coming Saturday!

It has never been easy

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It is understandable to feel burned out and fatigued when problems seem to stretch ahead forever. There are times when we all wonder if our voices make any difference at all. What is the point of protesting against what seems inevitable?

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The struggle for women’s  equal rights has been in motion for longer than most people realize. In England, women began fighting for the vote in 1792, and forty years later, in 1832, a petition was presented to Parliament. The idea of women’s suffrage was not considered seriously. But over the course of the next century women kept up the pressure – reinventing and re-energizing their fight – and passing the baton from woman to woman, generation to generation. In Great Britain the right to vote, on the same terms as men, was granted in 1928.

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Mexican women’s struggle for equality began during the Mexican Revolution. During that decade-long conflict that began in 1910,  las soldaderas – female soldiers – fought on the front lines. They also worked as nurses, cooks, did the laundry, and other jobs that the men were unable to accomplish by themselves. Some women took their deceased husbands place in order to maintain full military regiments. Others joined the peasant armies, composed of “the widows, wives, daughters and sisters of rebels” The First Feminist Congress of the Yucatan was held in 1916. At that historic meeting, women demanded equality, education and citizenship. Yucatan was the first state to recognize women’s right to vote in 1923. However women in Mexico did not get the right to vote federally until 1953. Since Mexico elects its presidents every 6 years, women did not get to vote in a presidential election until 1958.

In the late 1930s, when World War II began to look unavoidable, Canadian women joined the fight. The Women’s Volunteer Service was established in Victoria, B.C. , and soon, similar volunteer groups emerged in all the provinces and territories. To be an enlisted woman during the early stages was not easy – to begin with, women were initially paid two-thirds of what a man at the same level would make. As the war progressed the military leaders began to see the substantial impact the women could make. This was taken into account and the women received a raise to four-fifths of the wages of a man.

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 When a military junta ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983, dissent was silenced. Protesters were dragged from their homes, and across the nation those who spoke out suddenly “disappeared,” into prison or into their grave. The silence was broken by a brave group of mothers, searching for their missing children. They gathered in the Plaza de Mayo in front of the presidential palace, the national cathedral, and various government ministries. The Mothers of The Plaza de Mayo (who were also sometimes called “The Mothers of the Disappeared”) empowered others to speak out about human rights abuses in the country and by the early 1980s, support for the oppressive regime began to erode.

During the next four years women will make a difference in the U.S.A. . They will be vigilant and protest the erosion of human rights.  Their work will not always be appreciated but they will gain inspiration and strength from the many examples of women’s tenacity seen throughout history – all over the world. It will not be an easy task. But women already know – it has never been easy.

“NEVER GIVE UP
No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy
Is spent developing the mind
Instead of the heart
Be compassionate
Work for peace
In your heart and in the world
Work for peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up”
― Dalai Lama XIV