A Day for the Hidden
A day for the disabled, to show support and awareness for those suffering with physical and mental setbacks. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities was celebrated once more on December 3rd; "Not All Disabilities are Visible'' was the theme for 2022. This theme was designed to include disabilities that are invisible to the common eye such as mental health disorders, chronic pain, fatigue, and much more. The other part of this year's theme was “Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.” This 28-year-old holiday has had many themes in the past such as "Leadership and Participation of Persons with Disabilities" (2021), "Empowering Persons with Disabilities and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality" (2018), and "Removing Barriers to Create an Inclusive and Accessible Society for All" (2012).
One of the most common invisible disabilities is neurodiversity; according to the Diversity & Inclusion Speakers Agency, people with neurodiversity “uniquely view the world, as their brains are wired differently from their able-bodied counterparts." As these impairments are not seen as a more known disability such as paralysis, loss of limbs, and more, it is often mistaken for mental health issues instead. Examples of neurodiversity include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, dyslexia, Tourette syndrome, and multiple others.
Disability inclusion is an essential law to upholding human rights. On the United Nations (UN) website, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs wrote, "The commitment to realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is not only a matter of justice; it is an investment in a common future." Along with this statement, the Secretary-General for the UN created The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy in June of 2019, providing the foundation for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion. The Secretary-General also released a report last year in October 2021 on the steps taken by the UN system to implement the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy in 2020 and the coming years.
The observance of the International Day of Disabilities aims to promote an understanding and awareness of disability issues as well as to mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities, hidden or not. Here are some ways to help support others even after the holiday has passed:
World AIDS Day
Each year on December 1st, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the body's immune system, and if left untreated, the disease could develop into Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). People around the world unite to show support for individuals living with HIV and to remember those who have passed from AIDS-related illnesses. Every year, the world is focused on an important topic. This year will be “Equalize.” Founded in 1988 by the World Health Organization (WHO), World AIDS Day was the first-ever international day for global health. An article from UNAIDS mentioned, “Every year, United Nations agencies, governments, and civil society join together to campaign around specific themes related to HIV.”Campaigning for diseases such as AIDs promotes funding for research and rehabilitation, raises awareness and provides a sense of hope, and strengthens the local community.”
Over time, HIV weakens a person's immune system, making it difficult to fight off diseases. Most people experience short, flu-like symptoms in two to six weeks after contracting HIV, and after an average of two weeks, these symptoms disappear. If a person's symptoms do not seem to go away, and they worsen instead, a doctor should be notified about the problem. Whether or not an individual living with HIV experiences symptoms during the acute stage, the disease continues to wreak havoc on the immune system.. The three stages of HIV infection are acute HIV infection, chronic HIV infection, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). These illnesses are usually contracted via blood contamination, mother-to-infant transfer, sharing needles, and sexual contact. Since most individuals develop the disease(s) via sexual intercourse, abstinence and contraceptives are the primary methods to prevent and contain the disease according to stanfordheathcare.org. Under the direction of a licensed professional individuals may benefit from taking preventative and maintenance medications for HIV or AIDS.
World AIDS day is a solidarity for people around the world who are affected by AIDS. On this day, anyone can use their voices to share experiences or to support someone that has AIDS. Society has made progress in fighting these illnesses, but this disease remains a public health challenge. People can support this cause by wearing a red ribbon or red colors to support and show awareness on December 1st. “Let's Stop HIV Together” campaign resources on social media, or donate to a community that supports others with these diseases. Living a life with HIV or AIDS is not that easy. Having a friend or a relative with HIV or AIDS is extremely painful for them since no one knows if they are getting better or worse. World AIDS day was founded to support people that live in really intense conditions and to give them a chance to live in happiness, and not be disclosed or treated differently.
Epilepsy: The Abnormal Disorder
Epilepsy is a common disorder which causes the nerve cells in the brain to be disturbed by a change in the firing pattern of neurons, causing seizures that affect day-to-day life. Epilepsy can make life difficult, especially with the causes of obtaining the disorder, the risk factors, and the complications it brings.
Mayo Clinic states, “Epilepsy has no identifiable cause in about half the people with the condition. In the other half, the condition may be traced to various factors such as genetic influence, brain abnormalities, and developmental disorders. Some types of epilepsy, which are categorized by the type of seizure you experience or the part of the brain that is affected, [tend to] run in families.” Epilepsy has been connected to some genetics; although the genes are only part of the cause. “Before birth, babies are sensitive to brain damage that could be caused by several factors, such as an infection in the mother, poor nutrition or oxygen deficiencies. This brain damage can result in epilepsy or Cerebral Palsy.” These disorders could be caused by many factors. For example, the mother might not know about the consequences of her actions or she chooses not to acknowledge them.
There are a good amount of risk factors that play into epilepsy that can cause this disorder and bring more concern for a person. Winchester Hospital states that epilepsy can be caused by other things like Meningitis, AIDS, Viral Encephalitis, head injuries, lack of oxygen in the brain, strokes, problems with vesicles in the brain, and brain tumors. Meningitis can root to epilepsy because of the unregulated seizures that are caused by this infection. Another disease called viral encephalitis based on the bursts of abnormal synchronized activity form seizures as well. These details show that this disorder can be obtained by a multitude of unknown occurrences of life.
In addition, epilepsy has many complications to know and understand. Mayo Clinic states, “Having a seizure at certain times can lead to circumstances that are dangerous to yourself or others.” Some of these dangers expressed are drowning, mental health, falling, status epilepticus, pregnancy complications, and car accidents. These elements are key to know because if someone does not know about the complications, then people who have this disorder could get seriously hurt.
In short, epilepsy is something common. A condition that is caused by genetic influence, brain abnormalities, and developmental disorders. The risk factors and complications bring a difficulty to a person's day-to-day life.
Thanksgiving Around the World
On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States. This holiday consists of families and friends gathering together for a large meal, football, and parades. Other places around the world also celebrate Thanksgiving just in their own way. Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Liberia are some of the places that also celebrate this holiday.
In Canada, citizens celebrate Thanksgiving just like the U.S.; Canadians feast with their loved ones and typically watch football at the end of the day. On the table, they have turkey, ham, or chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and pumpkin pie. Their pumpkin pie could be swapped with flaky butter tarts or a pastry filled with raisins, walnuts, or pecans. Thanksgiving is similar for each nation except Canadians refer to the holiday as Action de grâce, since French is one of the primary languages of the country.
Unlike the United States, Japan participates in a quiet public holiday; Japanese do family trips to a green space, amusement parks, or dinner. Most businesses remain open, and kids still attend school. One of their biggest traditions is that the elementary kids make cards or prepared gifts and give to the workers in the labor sector including police officers, firefighters, and hospital staff to celebrate their dedication during the year. Most of the people have mainly consumed fish, rice, and tea for dinner on this holiday. Even though Japan celebrates the same way as the United States, they still reverse this day as a national holiday.
In the U.S. the Americans celebrate Thanksgiving by watching or going to the Macy’s parade in New York, which is well known for their giant inflatable balloons that float between the skyscrapers. People would also break the wishbone for good luck, they would have their traditional Thanksgiving dinner. An article by EF Academy said ”Must-eats are: roast turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Green bean casserole has become a popular dish, especially in the Midwest. Completing the meal is, of course, pumpkin pie for dessert.” Some people love taking their holiday naps. People also share what they are thankful for, watch football, and run a turkey trot. A turkey trot is when people across the U.S. run a half marathon; this race brings out the runners, walkers, and fans in local communities. It is a fun way to earn and burn calories from Thanksgiving dinner, and of course, Black Friday is another favorite American tradition.
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks around the world. This holiday is not just for the food; so many places around the world have their own tradition and there are many more coming. Whether countries celebrate to honor their founders or their harvest season, time with loved ones should always be cherished.
A Borrowed Hour
Daylight savings’ annual disappearance and reappearance never fails to catch citizens of many countries off guard. Daylight savings was originally used by Germany during World War I to consume as little gas, oil and electricity as possible for the war effort. The United States then followed Germany in this process and began utilizing daylight savings time. By implementing this, it aided the U.S. in saving materials that the government needed to provide for the soldiers during World War II. Saving power and fossil fuels also encouraged the production and transportation of bullets, guns, military vehicles, bombs, and even canned foods. Although the U.S. used daylight savings throughout the world wars, daylight savings was not officially accepted until 1960 by the Department of Transportation or DOT. Soon after the DOT announced the need for the change, the U.S. federal government made it official to spare the country of confusion. The confusion of so many different times was too complicated for the DOT due to scheduled train times, boat arrivals, and plane flights, so daylight savings was eventually instituted throughout the United States. Daylight savings is not explicitly needed today, although it does give an extra hour of sleep to participants. Daylight savings is managed by the Interstate Commerce Commision to ensure plane flights and scheduled events can be safe and possible. Daylight savings also helps regulate times within the four different time zones in the United States. These time zones include Pacific, Mountain, Central and Eastern.
According to a survey taken at Bonneville High School, daylight savings is not very beneficial to the community due to the confusion it causes. One student answered: “We don’t know what time it [is] anymore.” Another remarked: “It throws off my internal clock and my siblings[’] as well.” These quotes show that daylight savings may not be as beneficial as it is credited to be and has conflict that shouldn’t be ignored. Daylight savings is also unfavorable for those who have depression and anxiety. According to a student at Bonneville, daylight savings causes them to feel depressed due to the sudden change and the amount of darkness it brings when the day is coming to an end. Daylight savings will continue to be a conflict until it is either proven more beneficial or abandoned completely.
Elon Musk “Frees the Bird”
After fighting a battle in court for trying to back out of the purchase, Elon Musk has finalized his deal with Twitter Inc. to purchase the company for $44 billion USD. While it is debated whether this decision was economically or socially in his favor, there is no doubt that he has major plans for the social media corporation. The decisions he has made thus far have already affected the platform in many ways.
His first plan of business was to lay off large groups of people, including programmers and many of the top executives, especially the legal team lead, Vijaya Gadde. By now, Musk has already fired over 3,700 of his employees, with more forecasted to lose their jobs as well. “[Musk] eliminate[d] about 3,700 jobs at Twitter Inc. … in a bid to drive down costs following his $44 billion acquisition,” stated Bloomberg writers Edward Ludlow and Kurt Wagner.
On the topic of money, Musk has also completely revamped the verification system. Whereas it was once a way to prevent scam bots and impersonators, it is now an $8 monthly subscription for just a blue checkmark beside their handle. This sparked major criticism from people who were already verified, including celebrities and popular streamers. “[T]his is making Twitter a pay-for-play system, and we know that propagandists… are very much willing and able to finance their operations,” claimed Samuel Woolley, assistant professor at the University of Texas’ School of Information. Not only are people angry at this choice, other users have chosen to abuse the system. Recently, people have been impersonating Elon Musk by verifying their accounts and creating meaningless tweets while claiming to be him. This caused Musk to crack down on parody accounts, even banning some accounts even though they properly follow Twitter’s guidelines on the topic.
Along with these poor decisions, the primary reason that he had purchased the company is so that he can implement “free speech” onto the social media platform; however, this moral does not translate well. What he meant by “free speech” is the ability to say anything and have no consequences, which is difficult to implement in a world where people are free to criticize what people say. “People eventually realize that the Wild West needs a sheriff… for ensuring the safety of citizens,” said Colin Crowell, Twitter’s former head of global public policy. Crowell predicts negative changes in Twitter’s community, which have already been seen with the recent unbanning of former president Donald Trump’s account on the site, and the mass exodus to other platforms.
Finally, Elon Musk has taken Twitter private. This means that there will be no shareholder meetings to report to, and he can keep his changes to the company away from “prying eyes,” according to the New York Times.
The current Twitter community has mixed feelings about the situation. While some people appreciate the new changes, others are vehemently against them. Regardless, Musk has made up his mind, and these decisions are probably not changing any time soon.
For Freedom I Give My Life
Black Consciousness Day, also known as Black Awareness Day, is celebrated on November 20th in Brazil. This day is used to spread awareness of the African-American community and the journey their ancestors made to Brazil. The date also serves as a social movement committed to acknowledging the value and importance of the Black people in the world by cherishing their existence and standing against racial discrimination.
Black Awareness Day was established to honor the anniversary of the death of Brazil’s Black hero Zumbi dos Palmares. Zumbi was a Brazilian warrior and the greatest civil rights activist in their country. He fought courageously against slavery and colonialism and touched the souls and hearts of countless African-Americans. He was not born into slavery, however, but was born in a quilombo. Quilombos were communities in Brazil of people who had been enslaved and managed to escape. Zumbi fought for the protection of his people against those who enslaved them. The important date to commemorate Zumbi has been celebrated since the 1960s, but the holiday was made official by the Brazilian federal law in January 2003.
Brazilian cities, such as Rio De Janeiro, Alagoas, Amazonas, Amapa, Mata Grosso do Sul, and Rio Grande do Sul, mainly celebrate this holiday. These places campaigned for a symbolic celebration for the end of the city’s continuous discrimination and inequity. Black Consciousness Day is a way to praise the valiant people who contributed to Brazilian culture and were wrongfully enslaved. Teaching Afro-American culture finally became a part of the official curriculum for schools in Brazil, which now includes activities and projects that celebrate the history of African-Americans. Brazil’s main goal is to make everyone aware of the importance with people who have different skin colors, and teaching schools about their history is just the beginning. Even though Brazil has yet to announce any further plans, they have made it known that they want to spread awareness about Black Americans around the world.
This holiday holds great value to the Brazilans who wish to remember Zumbi and commend him for giving them a voice. Not only is Zumbi honored, but all the slaves who fought for their liberty are commemorated. Zumbi once stated, “Pela liberdade entrego a minha vida,” meaning “For freedom I give my life.”
Soup and Van Gogh: A Terrible Mixture
On October 14th in London, something unfortunate happened. In room 43 of London’s National Gallery, two young women opened cans of tomato soup and threw their contents onto Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting Sunflowers. The women donned shirts reading “Just Stop Oil,” the slogan of an activist group that has been staging nonviolent demonstrations across the United Kingdom to protest the production of fossil fuels. One of the activists, 21-year-old Phoebe Plummer, began to speak to the room and said “What is worth more—art or life? Is it worth more than food? Worth more than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting, or the protection of our planet and people? The cost of living crisis is part of the cost of the oil crisis.” The activists were arrested soon after. Fortunately, the painting was covered with glass so it was not damaged. Van Gogh painted seven versions of Sunflowers in total. Five of them are displayed in museums and galleries around the world. One of those, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, said it was keeping “a close eye on developments” that might affect its own security measures.
In May, an activist at the Louvre in Paris tried to break the glass that was protecting one of the most famous paintings in the entire world, the Mona Lisa, before launching a cake in her face for alleged environmental reasons. The reason why the activists chose the famous painting is undetermined, but it is speculated that it was to draw more attention from the public. Luckily, the activist was not able to break the glass protecting the Mona Lisa.
“Experts have predicted acts of so-called ‘climate sabotage’ will increase as extreme weather events such as droughts, wildfires and storms proliferate and the urgency to act grows,” said by aljazeera.com. Many supporters believe the time to understand that vandalism is a real problem. Now is the time to do something to change this situation. “But many critics are questioning the effectiveness of an escalation strategy, saying destroying property undermines the climate movement’s credibility and alienates supporters,” said by aljazeera.com.
One example that stands out in the activist field for the environment is Greta Thunberg, a pacifist activist that was recognized for her actions and her young age. Thunberg protested outside the Swedish parliament in 2018, when she was just 15. She held a sign saying "School Strike for Climate" to put pressure on the government to meet carbon emissions plans.
By December of 2018, more than 20,000 students around the world follow her views. Talking about climate change can start a big controversy. Activists across the globe are trying to make people understand the danger the world is facing. Temperatures are higher and glaciers are melting. These things are important, but there are better ways to draw attention to this without making a mess around the world. The act in the London National Gallery drew many people's attention. The activist wanted to be seen and to appeal to governments for the good of our entire society. To make a positive difference, there are a lot of better ways that Activists can protest.
Small Steps, Open Doors
In 1995, President Bill Clinton proclaimed November to be National Adoption Month. National Adoption Month began as National adoption week in 1984 and is initiated by The Children’s Bureau -an adoption awareness organization. The campaign seeks to “increase awareness of adoption issues, bring attention to the need for adoptive families for teens in the U.S. foster care system, and emphasize the value of youth engagement” (ChildWelfare). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “nearly 424,000 children” living in the United States are currently in the foster care system, and “over 122,000” of them are eligible and waiting to be adopted. However, over 114,000 children and youth nationwide are at risk of aging out of the system without permanent family connections. This is why in recent years, the Children’s Bureau has focused its efforts on adoption for teens. Their reason is that “teens in foster care wait longer for permanency than younger children and are at higher risk for aging out.” The goal is to provide and secure lifelong connections for young adults who are currently being overlooked by potential adopters.
Each year, a new adoption-related theme is picked and becomes the main focus of the Children’s Bureau outreach and awareness campaigns. 2022’s theme is “Small Steps Open Doors,” which represents the difficulties of finding permanency for young adults and how “small steps along the way can make all the difference.” The topic focuses on how to earn the trust of teenagers in the foster care system, help them become more engaged in their own permanency planning, and create an environment where they can be honest and ask questions by taking the time to listen and talk with them. They believe that youth should be involved in these decisions and should be involved in the decisions being made about their permanency planning. Their initiative is supported through a partnership with two other adoption awareness organizations; Child Welfare Information Gateway and AdoptUSKids.
National Adoption Month aims to further educate communities and provide support for the youth currently facing hardships that being in the foster care system can produce, such as neglect, abuse, frequently moving from one family to another, loss of important relationships, and so much more. According to AdoptUsKids, People across the United States can help by mentoring a child in foster care, offering free photography and videographer services to adoption agencies, fundraising or donating supplies to foster care organizations or families, and much more.
To learn more about National Adoption Month and how to help support this month's efforts, go to:
A Post-Mortem Reunion
El Día de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that has been around for 3,000 years. During this time, families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion. According to Mexican traditions, at midnight on October 31, the gates of heaven open and children's spirits can reunite with their families. On November 2, the same thing happens to adult spirits.
The Day of the Dead originates in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and is celebrated in many Mexican regions. In order to help the dead get on their journey to Mictlán, a heaven-like final resting place, family members put food, water, and tools on their graves to help the dead on their difficult journey. They also put flowers and lit candles to illuminate the dead souls’ way back to their homes.
The holiday is not commonly thought of as a Mexican version of Halloween, although the two holidays do share some traditions including costumes and parades. Popular costumes that are worn during el Día de los Muertos include women wearing traditional Mexican dresses, big feather hats, flower crowns, sugar skull paint, and anything colorful. Men wear guayaberas, which are traditional summer shirts, or they wear an elegant dark blazer. On the Day of the Dead, people believe the border between the spirit world and the real world is dissolved. During this period, the souls of the dead awaken and return to the living world to feast, drink, dance, and play music with their loved ones. The living family members treat the dead as an honored guest in their celebration. Surviving family members will leave all of the deceased family member’s favorite food and other offerings at the graveside or at the ofrendas built in their homes. An ofrenda can be decorated with candles, bright flowers like marigolds and red cockscomb, and heaps of fruit, bread, tamales, and more. The most prominent symbols that relate to the Day of the Dead are calacas (skeletons) and calaveras (skulls). During the Day of the Dead festival, most people wear skull masks and eat sugar candy molded into skull shapes. To wish someone a happy Day of the Dead in Spanish, say “Feliz Día de los Muertos!”
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