Too many Black families


This week marks the holidays for millions of people across the country. It’s a time of celebration and joy, but every year there are too many Black families who have empty seats around their holiday dinners.

This year, it’s the families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Tanesha Anderson, John Crawford, and many, many more.

But there’s a vibrant movement on the streets demanding that our country value and protect Black lives, and it’s forcing many Americans — particularly our elected officials — to wake up to the realities of everyday violence against Black people.  We’re in the middle of a transformative moment, and ColorOfChange has bold plans for 2015.

We are going to:

  1. Strengthen the police accountability work we’ve spear-headed throughout 2014. From ensuring Darren Wilson, Daniel Pantaleo, and other police officers are held fully accountable, to securing nationwide structural reforms addressing discriminatory police violence, there’s a lot to be done.
  2. Lift up the voices of our 1 million members to fight back against the new right-wing Congress. The Republicans who now control both houses are determined to pass legislation that will put our communities in harms way. And we’re determined to hold them accountable.
  3. Continue to combat toxic media representations of Black folks and the movements for justice springing up everywhere.
  4. Keep our fingers on the country’s pulse, ready to jump on rapid response moments and influence the national dialogue.

…and there’s a lot more in the pipeline.

Make a $1 holiday donation today to strengthen ColorOfChange’s civil rights campaigns this coming year. (Or give whatever you can.)

Every donation you make, every dollar you give, makes a BIG difference. Our small staff will stretch it out and ensure it has a real impact in 2015.

Thanks and peace,

–Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Bhavik, and the ColorOfChange team

Cosmo … 15 things Soul Mates may understand


PinterestRedGifts1. No love is perfect. It has its highs and its lows — and some of them are very high, and very low — but the lows are not a sign of weakness or that you shouldn’t be together. Rather, they’re something that brings you closer to each other.

2. Sometimes you just need to hold your partner’s hand or give them a hug, and not ask questions or give them any advice. Just knowing that you’re there is more comforting than words.

3. You can be mad at someone and still love them senseless. Getting mad at someone doesn’t forecast the end of your relationship, it just means you’re humans who have feelings and screw up from time to time.

4. Someone can come from a broken family or make it through a tough childhood, and show no trace of it. This doesn’t mean they have skeletons hiding in their closet that you’ll stumble upon one day, it just means they’re not who they grew up around.

5. Alone time together is sacred. You reach a point in your life when you’re so busy you feel like you don’t ever see each other, much less get alone time together when you’re doing something other than sleeping.

6. Just when you think you can’t love someone any more than you already do, something happens to bring you closer. It might just be a really hilarious joke that only you two would find funny or taking the next step in your relationship, like moving in or getting married, but passion doesn’t have to fade.

7. Compromises are worth it. Because at the end of the day, nothing beats being with the person you love, even if you have to do something you wouldn’t otherwise do to make the relationship work. Because their happiness makes you happy.

8. Communication solves all problems. You can’t expect anyone to read your mind, even your soul mate. And your soul mate will always be able to tell if you’re upset, so you know it’s better just to tell them why instead of leaving them guessing.

9. A whole day with nothing to do but hang out with each other is the hands-down best. This is why honeymoons are the best best BEST best.

10. Cuddling with the person you love will always make you feel better. Nothing beats crawling into the arms of the person you love. Even sometimes when you think you just want to be alone, your partner will scoop you up to comfort you and you’ll feel instantly calmed.    and vice versa -Nativegrl77

11. When you really love someone, you realize you can totally lay bare your insecurities to another person. Even when they feel so personal you never expected to discuss them with another soul. And you feel more secure as a result.

12. When your partner wants to do stuff without you or needs alone time, that doesn’t mean you’re in a fight or things are bad between you two. You know that maintaining lives independently of one another’s is healthy. And chances are, when he’s off with his friends, he’s talking about how wonderful you are.

13. You don’t have to share the same friends for your relationship to work. You just have to be respectful of the people your significant other values.

14. Emotional intimacy and physical intimacy feed each other. It’s a never-ending cycle that brings you closer and closer together, and you feel like you can’t have one without the other.

15. Your soul mate will make you a better person. You’ll want to be kinder, more understanding, more supportive, and more empathetic not just to be the best significant other you can be, but because your S.O. inspires you.

Happy Friday

Chick-fil-A


Help The Simpsons Co-Creator Sam Simon Take a Bite out of Chick-fil-A’s Animal Cruelty

Sam Simon and Mercy For Animals

Don’t miss the final story in our Product of Mexico series: Children work the fields


Los Angeles Times
Dear Readers:Meet Alejandrina. She was 11 when Los Angeles Times journalists first began reporting her story. Alejandrina, a little girl who likes lip gloss and longs to go to back to school, works 14 hours a day picking chile peppers for a farm that supplies a U.S. distributor.
Mexican law requires workers to be at least 15, but Alejandrina is among an estimated 100,000 children younger than that who work the fields. As she told The Times: “I work because we don’t have any money and we need money to eat things.”
Times reporter Richard Marosi and photographer Don Bartletti tracked Alejandrina’s nomadic existence for a year. Read her story, which is also the story of so many others: Children harvest crops and sacrifice dreams in Mexico’s fields
This marks the fourth and final piece in our Product of Mexico series, an investigation into conditions on Mexican farms that supply Americans with much of our tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other produce.
We’ve told readers about unbearable conditions at labor camps and taken them into Bioparques, a supplier to Wal-Mart and one of Mexico’s biggest tomato exporters, where Mexican officials found workers held captive. We’ve examined company stores, where a lack of price tags and big mark-ups leave many farmworkers trapped in a cycle of debt.
I want to thank all of you for reading this important series and sharing it with others. Here’s a sneak peek at a video coming Monday that features Marosi and Bartletti talking about the reporting behind this eye-opening series.
Davan Maharaj, Editor
P.S. We’ve created some extra content available only to our subscribers. Bartletti, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist whose interest in photography dates back to his service in Vietnam, has covered Mexico for decades. He shares some of his best photos and memories of what it took to capture the images.

Mining & Canada … Latin America, First Nations, Mexico


Nickel Rim South Mine, near Sudbury, Ontario, ...

Nickel Rim South Mine, near Sudbury, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  Guest PERSPECTIVE:

The good, the bad and the very, very ugly of Ontario‘s new Mining Act

By: Stan Sudol*
2012-11-08


Ontario’s first Mining Act was passed in 1869 with a significant revision in 1906. Since that time the Act has continuously evolved alongside technological and environmental changes and political and public demands.

So let’s start with some of the good news. There is a new on-line Mining Act Awareness Program that sooner or later every current and new explorer will have to take. A non-issue!

First Nations communities are now able to withdraw sites of Aboriginal significance so mining claims cannot be staked. This is a terrific idea eliminating potential conflict.

MNDM will also be conducting 44 workshops in strategically located in Aboriginal communities to help educate communities about the mineral sector.

Individuals or companies can now rehabilitate existing mine hazards they did not create and not be liable for pre-existing environmental issues.

Plans are also in the works to provide funding for Aboriginal Mineral Technical Officers who will be located in First Nations communities to deal with plans and permit applications. However, they have not decided on the number, and due to resource constraints, I fear too few will be hired.

Now let’s get to the bad and very, very ugly issues.

You will now be expected to fill out exploration plans and exploration permits that will highlight your activities over the next two and three years respectively. These plans and permits will be vetted by First Nations, surface rights owners and the general public.

In a perfect world, if no problems arise, it will take 30 or 50 days to get approval for these plans and permits. If there are problems, be prepared for significant and costly delays. And what is to prevent environmental groups from using this process to needlessly delay exploration activities that have very low impact on the environment?

In addition, the timeframe of these documents do not reflect the usual operating procedures of explorationists. Who knows where they will be drilling in two or three years? So any changes to these plans must go through the same 30 or 50 day process.

Expect a lot of additional paperwork and potential holdups for activities that have very little impact on the environment even if you have engaged with First Nations communities at an early stage.

Many small junior companies have only three to five employees and subcontract much of the field work to contractors and consultants.

Demanding investors, flow-through share funding time limits, spectacular or terrible drill results all require agility and rapid decision making to exploit opportunities as they occur.

Many small juniors and First Nations communities presently don’t have the capacity or the financial ability to handle the enormous increase in regulations and red tape.

Furthermore, this is an enormously risky time to implement these changes. Global financial instability has caused enormous volatility on stock markets putting downward pressure on stock values. This has been a brutal year to try to raise funds for juniors and many fear these changes will cause a significant migration to other provinces or international jurisdictions.

Now let’s touch upon the real elephant in the room that these changes do not address.

That issue is the additional payments to First Nations communities that are used purely as an “access or permission fee” for explorers to work on their claims. These fees are roughly averaging two or three per cent of exploration budgets. Many in the First Nations communities feel this is an acceptable form of “taxation” due to disruptions on their traditional territories or a way of establishing self-sufficiency.

This is a highly contentious issue throughout the exploration sector ranging from hardliners to the more pragmatic that have factored in these fees as an additional cost of doing business. However, everyone is concerned about the increasing escalation of these financial demands and if they become too high, some juniors may have no choice but to leave the province.

MNDM does not condone these fees yet is doing nothing about them.

So where do we go from here?

A vital first start is to find some consensus among ourselves that these additional payments have now become a cost of doing business. Unfortunately, the barn door is now open and you are not going to get those horses back in.

Industry and government reps should then meet with the First Nations leadership from the various tribal councils, NAN, Union of Ontario Indians and Grand Council of Treaty 3 to hammer out a consistent and transparent fee schedule.

Then ensure that government ministries will treat these “fees” as expenses that can be tax deductible.

A second valuable initiative is for MNDM to fund Aboriginal Mineral Technical Officers in most of the First Nations communities throughout northern Ontario. Some of these individuals should be able to be responsible for two or three reserves that may be very small or not in a currently active exploration area.

Train these individuals on how to efficiently deal with the plans and permits. In addition, they should also be responsible for educating their respective communities about the exploration and mining sectors.

And finally, since this knowledge/capacity does not currently exist in most First Nations communities, we must delay the mandatory requirements start up on April 1, 2013, for an addition six months or a year. During that time period, we could implement these initiatives and work out any potential bottlenecks or problems with the least amount of disruption.

The exploration industry was worth slightly over one billion dollars in 2011 and is the critical starting point for Ontario’s $11 billion mining sector.

It’s worth delaying the “mandatory” requirement of the new Mining Act regulations to get this right, especially during a cyclical downturn in the industry!

No one ever said this business was an easy one. There is enormous risk, but enormous gain as well.

However take heart, even though the entire global mining industry is slowing down, the commodity super cycle is still with us. Over the next few decades, as billions of people in China, India and the rest of the developing world become middle class consumers, the demand for metals will only continue to grow. Northern Ontario – including First Nations communities with economic challenges – can be the beneficiaries of this enormous global transformation, with the high-paying jobs that come from new mines.

But we need to meet, talk and come to a consensus that will benefit both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

The wealth is definitely there but we need to allow the prospectors and junior explorers access to the land to find these future mines that will eventually provide long-term, well-pay jobs to many Aboriginal communities.

*Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant, speechwriter and columnist who blogs at www.republicofmining.com. These remarks are from a speech given at the Ontario Prospectors Association: 2012 Ontario Exploration & Geoscience Symposium in Sudbury Ontario, Nov. 6, 2012.