Monthly Archives: October 2013

Subway wind

Weary, drained,
I stand on the platform
and wait for the train.

I know there is no
signal, yet still
I check my phone.

I step to the edge
and marvel at the
debris between the rails.

The air begins to stir;
then picks up force;
wind surges down the tunnel.

Displaced by the arriving train,
the wind whistles through the station,
and the wind whispers “home.”

And it revives me.

Shire on the Hudson
31 October 2013


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Purple flowers, Hyde Park 6

Purple Flowers Hyde Park 6 15 October 2012 (1024x683)


A blanket of purple
invites one to nap.

Hyde Park, Chicago
15 October 2012

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Orange Day: October 25 – safe public spaces for women and girls

Reposted from the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign

In July last year the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign proclaimed every 25th of the month as Orange Day. Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign Global Youth Network, worldwide activities implemented on this day by UN country offices and civil society organizations strive to highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.

Under the heading ‘Safe Spaces for Women and Girls’, this year the UNiTE campaign is focusing its Orange Day activities on highlighting recommendations of the agreed conclusions of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) which took place in March this year. In April, UNiTE focused on ‘Safe Work Places for Women and Girls’, in May, ‘Safe Homes for Women and Girls’ while in June, Orange Day coincided with the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26th) and the campaign focused on ‘State Custody and Care as Safe Spaces’ . In July it drew attention to ‘Cyber Space as Safe Space for Women and Girls’ while the theme for August was Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in Conflict’. Ahead of the International Day of the Girl Child (October 11th), the theme in September was ‘Safe Schools for Girls’ and on October 25 the UNiTE campaign will highlight ‘Safe Public Spaces for Women and Girls’.


Sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence in public spaces is an everyday occurrence for women and girls around the world and is a violation of women’s human rights. Women and girls experience various types of sexual violence in public spaces including sexual harassment, rape, and femicide. This violence may take place on the street, on public transport, in parks, in and around schools, places of employment, and other public spaces in urban and rural areas. Some cases are publicized and receive media and public attention, while most cases go unreported and unaddressed.

Violence and the fear of violence reduces women’s freedom of movement and rights to access education, work, recreation, and essential services, and can restrict their participation in political life. It also negatively affects their health and well-being. Despite these wide-ranging consequences, violence against women and girls in public spaces remains a neglected area, with few laws or policies in place to prevent and address it.


At the 57th Session on the Commission of the Status of Women, governments made specific commitments directed towards making public spaces safer for women and girls.

For the first time the Commission on the Status of Women, the highest global normative body on women’s rights, during its 57th Session specifically included several clauses in its Agreed Conclusions document devoted to safety of women and girls in public spaces, and particularly, in the cities.  It expressed “deep concern about violence against women and girls in public spaces, including sexual harassment, especially when it is being used to intimidate women and girls who are exercising any of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.”  (23, p4)

It called on the States “to increase measures to protect women and girls from violence and harassment, including sexual harassment and bullying, in both public and private spaces, to address security and safety, through awareness-raising, involvement of local communities, crime prevention laws, policies, programmes such as the Safe Cities Initiative of the United Nations. (ZZ, p13)


Launched in 2010 by UN Women, the Safe Cities Global Initiative, involving over 15 cities is working to make cities safer for women and girls. The Initiative builds on earlier efforts undertaken by women’s rights organizations and local governments in cities around the world, and is mobilizing more partners at all levels of society through two main programmes:

  1. The Global Safe Cities Free of Violence against Women and Girls Programme (2010-2016) implemented by UN Women in partnership with UN Habitat, Women in Cities International, the Huairou Commission, the Women and Habitat Network of Latin America and the Caribbean, UCLG, Microsoft, and other global and local Partners. This is the first-ever global comparative programme that develops, implements, and evaluates tools, policies, and comprehensive approaches on the prevention of, and response to, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls across different settings.  It is being implemented in Quito, Ecuador; Cairo, Egypt; New Delhi, India; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; and Kigali, Rwanda. Dublin, Ireland became the first city in a developed country to join the Global Initiative.
  1. In 2011, UN Women, UNICEF, and UN-Habitat launched the “Safe and Sustainable Cities for All” joint programme in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San José, Costa Rica; Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Nairobi, Kenya; Beirut, Lebanon; Marrakesh, Morocco; Manila, Philippines; and Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

The Safe Cities Global Initiative forms part of a larger global movement dedicated to building safe and inclusive cities with and for women and girls to end sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women and girls in public spaces.

Initial activities in the local communities revealed that, often for the first time, women and girls are identifying sexual harassment and fear of sexual violence in public spaces as barriers in their lives. The programmes have also engaged men and youth. By launching their safe city programme, local governments have committed to develop strategic and effective prevention strategies that other countries and municipalities can learn from and adapt.  Learn more.


This month, the UNiTE campaign’s Orange Day will focus on Safe Public Spaces for women and girls.

What can you do?

  • Organize a discussion with members of your community on the issue of sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women and girls. Talk about sexual harassment in public spaces and examine if it is an issue of concern in your community, where it may take place, and what concrete action can be taken to prevent and respond to it.
  • Share information with your municipality on the Global Safe Cities Initiative and mobilize local action.
  • On Friday, 25 October, the UNiTE campaign will host a tweetathon. Tell us about whether public spaces are safe for women and girls in your city, what you think could be done, and share stories of what has worked. Join in the discussion. The conversation will be facilitated by different partners for one hour each throughout the day. Follow @SayNO_UNiTE and #orangeday on Twitter.



  • On 25 Oct, #OrangeDay #UNiTE campaign says make public spaces safe for women and girls. v @SayNO_UNiTE
  • Happy #OrangeDay!This month #UNiTE focuses on safe public spaces for women&girls.Involved in local initiatives?Share:
  • Today is #UNiTE’s #OrangeDay! Talk about sexual harassment & other forms of violence in public spaces #endSH
  • Today is #OrangeDay!Wear orange & #UNiTE to support violence-free public spaces for women & girls v @SayNO_UNiTE
  • It’s #OrangeDay!Is ur city part of #Safe Cities?Find out&mobilize ur municipality2make public spaces safe4women&girls
  • Join @SayNO_UNiTE tweetathon on #SafeCities! Follow hashtag #orangeday throughout 25/10 & join the conversation.
  • How can we make cities safer for women & girls? Join @SayNO_UNiTE #orangeday tweetathon 25/10 & share ur thoughts.

Sample Facebook messages

The UNiTE campaign has declared the 25th of each month #OrangeDay. This month we are highlighting ‘Safe Public Spaces for Women and Girls’. Join the tweetathon on violence against women and girls in public spaces, and what can be done to eradicate it.   

Today – 25 October – is #OrangeDay, a day to highlight violence against women and girls. This month, we are focusing on ‘Safe Public Spaces for Women and Girls’. Bring your community together to talk about whether your area is safe, and what measures could be introduced.

Today is #OrangeDay. Is your city part of the Safe Cities initiative? Write to your municipality and invite them to participate.

Sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence in public spaces is an everyday occurrence for women and girls around the world. Are public spaces safe for women and girls in your city? How can we make cities safer? What is the Safe Cities Global Initiative? Join the [@SayNO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women] tweetathon all day on 25 October! 

 See you along the Trail.

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Teach your children

If you see
your parents

if you watch
your grandparents

if you witness
your siblingsbeaten,

if you view
your friends

if you observe
your people

what can you learn
from a teacher,
from a textbook

24 October 2013
Livonia, Michigan

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Choosing words

While waiting for a cab, I made the following observation:

I’m a New Yorker,
do y’all take plastic
to pay for cabs here?

An interesting choice of words, for one who bleeds black and gold.

See you along the Trail.

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Happy Birthday, UN!

On October 24, 1945 the Charter of the United Nations entered into force. The UN was born.

October 24, United Nations Day, marks its birth.

As the United Nations celebrates, I give thanks.

The United Nations is not perfect.

What institution, what person is?

But the United Nations makes a difference in the lives of people around the world.

Happy Birthday, UN! May you have many more. May you grow ever better.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, United Nations


Just when I gave away my last flea,
I see this:

photo (54)

If only I had waited.

See you along the Trail




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Purple flowers, Morningside Gardens 3


Pale purple flowers
extend tender antennae
to explore and monitor.

Morningside Gardens, New York
19 October 2013

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The Pirates made me happy, very happy

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ play on the field this year made me happy.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ call on Spirit Day for an end to bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered young people made me very happy.

On October 9, I watched in Louisville as the Pirates improbable season came to an end.

As have others who bleed black and gold, I have seen the Buccos endure a challenging stretch. After twenty years of futility that included promising beginnings and late season collapses in 2011 and 2012, I did not have high hopes for this year.

Things began well. That has happened before. On April 28, we held first place in our division.

The season continued and the Pirates played well. By mid-August, a winning season seemed likely. The day after Labor Day, the Pirates won game 81, guaranteeing the first non-losing season since 1993. And that made me happy. I dared to dream of the playoffs.

Four straight losses followed. Three of those games St. Louis won. Those losses knocked us back in the race for first-place. They did not eliminate us but it made a wild-card spot seem the most logical possibility.

Gerrit Cole, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon combined for a four-hit shutout on September 9. Win 82. A winning season. And that made me happy.

The wins kept coming. We lost some, too. Meaningful Pittsburgh Pirates baseball in September made me happy.

September 23 brought the win that clinched a wild card spot. There would be Buctober! And that made me happy.

Five days later we beat Cincinnati to gain the home field advantage in the wild card game. And that made me happy.

My friend Bob came by with Iron City Beer and on October 1, the Pirates beat Cincinnati again to advance in the playoffs. And that made me happy.

The Pirates met St. Louis in the divisional series. We took a two game to one lead. Then St. Louis won the last two games and the series and our season ended. And that made me sad.

Taking the year as a whole, I am happy. The Pirates played exciting baseball and achieved far more than I had expected.

However, on October 17, the Pittsburgh Pirates organization did something that made me very happy. They joined Major League Baseball and other teams to offer a game-changing statement of support through social media yesterday for GLAAD’s annual Spirit Day, asking fans to take a stand on bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

Go purple for #SpiritDay 10/17! Support LGBT youth and stand against bullying. Join us now: 

They added a purple frame to their Facebook icon. I should note that the Pittsburgh Penguins also participated in Spirit Day.

As do all people and institutions from the dominant culture, the Pittsburgh Pirates struggle with issues of race and diversity. But they have done things right as well. On Sept. 1, 1971, the Pirates became the first Major League franchise to field a starting lineup of nine players who were either African-American or Hispanic/Latino.

My favorite Pirate is Roberto Clemente – an amazing player and an even greater humanitarian and human rights activist. Each year since 1973, Major League Baseball has presented the Roberto Clemente Award to the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team. The award recognizes those individuals who truly understand the value of helping others.

The Pirates’ stand for justice and dignity made me very happy.

Then I learned that the Pirates had taken such a stand before in 2011:

And that makes me very happy too.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Baseball, Current Events, Human Rights

The day


Day follows day
like pages
turning in a book.


Until tomorrow
becomes today,
becomes the day,
and we act.

18 October 2013
Shire near the Hudson, New York

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