Mercado Global
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The Glamourai

One of the things happening on the planet right now that really excites me is the proliferation of brands and charities that are marrying the love of beautifully made goods with a deep commitment to economic sustainability for women and men worldwide, particularly in the artisan-rich developing world. Among my favorite examples is the luxury fashion brand Maiyet, but today I learned about another that stokes my far, the charity Mercado Global, which I learned about via Kelly Framel, aka The Glamourai.

In this video, Kelly looks back on a trip to Guatemala with Mercado Global, which Framel describes on her Instagram page as “a revolutionary nonprofit group that is empowering indigenous Mayan women to break the cycle of poverty by connecting them to international markets, fostering sustainable livelihoods for their families, and pioneering a socially responsible business model within the fashion industry.” And let the church say Amen.

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Climate Warriors

01climate-change-portraits“For us it’s not the issue of regulation. It’s the issue of survival.” — Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim –

07climate-change-portraits“If I were a young person, I would start to ask my government very seriously,‘Why didn’t you listen?’ I would start to look at companies and corporations and ask, ‘What did you do when you knew?’”  Farhana Yamin–

Feminism is having a moment — and, increasingly, a multicultural one.

These things are seasonal, with seasons being marked by generations rather than in quarter years. Feminism and civil rights and all manner of movement towards an eventuality where we will be able to take for granted our common humanity, consigning no one to the margins, waxes and wanes, falling fallow in the winter of our collective lives only to surge forth again at the start of spring. It’s a perpetual cycling in which we continue to spiral upward, in fits and starts, to higher levels of human consciousness, and higher levels of manifest human possibility.

Young and very visible women,  like Jennifer Lawrence, Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer are using their considerable platforms to break silence with the many invisible ways in which sexism permeates the culture. They are working at the level of culture creation, which after every legal battle has been fault, is where the battle will ultimately be won. We can make the world different only when we change our hearts and minds.

Of course, hearts and minds follow experience, which is why it is essential that we see the faces, and hear the voices of women — and women of color in particular, without whose voices we cannot claim to be engaged in a serious conversation about making change in any corner of our world.

When I opened my computer on November 30, 2015, intent on doing a little procrastinating (ahem, I mean, warm-up for my writing day), I felt vindicated by Vogue.com’s piece,  Climate Warriors,  which centered women of all races, nationalities and economic circumstances in the essential conversation about climate change which, let’s face it, is really a conversation about humanity’s continued survival on Earth, a conversation whose public face is too often male, and  privileged and white — a kind of myopia we can no longer afford. The next leg of the human journey requires that we engage with the all-of-us, wherever it is that we come from, whatever the color of our skin, whatever our sex, whatever level of economic opportunity we enjoy. 

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The Interconnectedness
Revolution

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This post was first published on January 30, 2013. I’ve had occasion to think a lot about these ideas in recent weeks, which prompted me to share this one again. 

We are at an interesting crossroads, having made the long march up from the scarcity of our hunter-gatherer days, up through the genius of agriculture and animal husbandry (and the miracle of settled human society they made possible; up through the game-changing Industrial Revolution which birthed to the middle class and brought a tenfold increase in wealth to the capitalist countries — though often at the expense of people and the planet. Now we’re in the grips of another great transformative moment in human history, which I call The Interconnectedness Revolution. It’s marked by our growing awareness of the interconnectedness of all life, and our growing recognition that every man is our brother and this planet is our home. It’s the culmination of man’s 11,000 year journey from scarcity to abundance, and a high-water mark in the evolution of the human race.

The Zen Master Bernie Glassman spoke poignantly about this idea of interconnectedness in a recent interview on Charlie Rose, where he appeared with the actor Jeff Bridges to promote their new book, The Dude and The Zen MasterThere, he asked that we imagine that our left hand, right hand and right leg are part of the same body but do not know it. He then asks us to imagine that this right leg is injured and that, instead of helping, the left hand and right hand say, “I’m not gonna help, it’s not my problem,” and, in the end, no one helps, and finally the body dies. For most of human history, we have been like the left hand and right hand that don’t know they belong to the same body as the leg. Now, we are waking up to the idea that everyone, and everything, on this planet is part of the same body, and that we’ll perish or continue as one.

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The PR Battle For Equality

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The battle for Marriage Equality is almost won. Later this year, The Supreme Court will decide a case that will settle the marriage equality issue for all 50 states. The question they will answer is whether The 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause requires marriage equality, as surely it does. For those of you who are not Constitutional nerds, The 14th Amendment provides, among other things, that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws(emphasis mine).

The equal protection clause was one of the Reconstruction Amendments. Passed on July 9, 1868, it was meant to lay the legal foundation for full equality for African-Americans, including former slaves who, at the time of its passage, were just three years removed from the institution of slavery. It’s worth noting that prior to the passage of The 13th Amendment, even free blacks were at risk of being enslaved, as Steve McQueen’s luminescent film 12 Years A Slave so painfully illustrated. The 14th Amendment was meant to ensure that those newly freed slaves would be granted full equality under the law. It would take a century for the descendants of former slaves to gain full equality under the law (again, emphasis mine).

While The 14th Amendment was passed in the context of slavery and racial justice, it’s language, like most constitutional language, is broad. This is not an accident. The Founding Fathers, too many of whom were slaveholders, ensconced, in The Declaration of Independence and in The Constitution, language that spoke of aspirations that they themselves did not attain. The Declaration of Independence, for example, holds “these truths self-evident that all men are created equal.” All men. These are the words they chose though they themselves owed their wealth, or a portion of it, to slavery, though they themselves had households and plantations that were run on slave labor, on the blood and sweet and tears of people who were not compensated for their labor and who, furthermore, suffered untold indignities to their bodies and their spirits, including the indignity of brutal and premature death.

So too does The 14th Amendment use inclusive language. It provides for equal protection of the laws for all persons within the jurisdiction of any of the United States. And so when The Supreme Court extends marriage equality to all couples, regardless of sex, a move that this New Yorker article predicts will happen this June, it will be acting in a manner that is consistent with the framers original intent and with the intent of those who drafted and passed into law The 14th Amendment equal protection clause that will make it legally possible.

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Solange Knowles:
A True Original
On Her Wedding Day

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Image by Rog Walker

By now you’ve almost certainly seen the pictures of Solange Knowles and her long-time boyfriend, now husband Alan Ferguson on their wedding day. Their wedding was the shot heard around the world. So stunningly authentic and original were these nuptials, from the everyday glorious juxtaposition of Solange’s fierce natural and Alan’s equally fierce beard, to Solange’s regal cape dress, to the eco boho swag of arriving to wherever they were going (reception perhaps?) on wedding white bikes, to the cavorting through the heady streets of New Orleans, where the living may not be easy, but it sure is good.

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