Last year on this date, Maine poet Richard Blanco shared his poem “One Today” at the Presidential Inauguration. The poem reminds us of all we share : “One ground. Our ground… ” and reminds us that our differences also shape our uniquely personal path:
All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever.
In the end, Blanco reminds us that it is our collective vision, spirit, effort and attitude that will shape our collective future.
It is much this same message that No Name Calling Week proffers — a message to youth and adults and to the institutions within which we learn and work to embrace kindness and make it active… to Choose Civility in a big way. To resist a bullying culture is not just to punish those who cross the line but to develop strategies to encourage and enhance empathy in ourselves and our communities.
The GlSEN site offers many resources for engaging young people in conversations about bullying and about kindness — their suggested reading list is here.
Portland Public Library offers many provocative and helpful materials as well — a small sampling is here but a reference librarian can help you find just what you’re looking for!
Join us on Thursday January 24th for an evening of “Kindness Shorts” including winners from Kindness The Movie‘s video contest and an opportunity to watch Blanco read “One Today.”
Portland Public Library would like to thank the Board of Directors of the Camden Conference for their generous donation to PPL; allowing the Library to purchase a collection of books and films related to the conference’s theme: The Global Politics of Food and Water.
Click here to browse the books and films now available at PPL for those who wish to explore this important topic further.
The Conference convenes on Friday evening, February 21, with the keynote address at 8PM, and continues on Saturday, February 22from 8:30AM – 5PM and again on Sunday, February 23 from 9:00AM-12:30PM.
The 2014 Conference will provide a provocative look at the global dynamics of managing the world’s food and water resources at a time when the challenge to meet the ever-increasing demand has never been more critical. By 2050, our planet’s population may have grown by two billion, while other factors, including climate change, may have greatly reduced land and water resources essential for food production. The world will have to produce even more food without more land and with less water.
The Conference will address several issues related to food and water, including the contentious debate between industrial agriculture practices and small-scale farming operations; food security issues dependent on international cooperation; and innovations that encourage more productive farming and fishing.
Having outlined the issues, the Conference will examine options that can be considered by governments and citizens to promote secure access to food and water in sustainable ways. Throughout the weekend, enlightening presentations by leading international experts will cover promising policies and practices now being used in China, Africa, and North America.
The Corporation for National and Community Service has released a report on the state of volunteerism in the USA and the States in 2012. Overall, Maine is doing great, ranking 14th in the Country. However, we have some places where we could improve and the Choose Civility Initiative hopes to encourage even more participation in coming years!
A few highlights:
In 2012, one in four adults (26.5 percent) volunteered through an organization, demonstrating that volunteering remains an important activity for millions of Americans. In Maine, 32.5% of residents volunteer, combining into a total 43.8 million hours of service! And, more than 1/2 of Mainer’s report contributing financially to charities of some kind. If this moves you to consider volunteering in 2014, check out Volunteer Maine to learn about opportunities around our State.
While Maine reports very high voter-turn-out, only 9.9% of volunteerism is within a civic realm, and 18.8% of residents report participating in public meetings –what could we do to encourage greater participation in our civic life? Please share your ideas in the comments section!