Halloween is just a few weeks away, which means it’s time to start thinking about a Halloween costume for the October office party. Office costumes are unique because they have to adhere to a professional dress code, which is something … Continue reading
I have been mulling over Australia’s annual National Sorry Day (May 26th), an event managed by the National Sorry Day Committee. The questions I keep chewing on are these: 1) why establish such a day, 2) is it positive/beneficial and 3) should it be an international holiday?
The human rights violations perpetrated against Australia’s indigenous peoples are the reason for both the day and the official governmental apology. Horrible things were done and the country has established one day per year to stand up and say ‘I’m sorry.’
While apology day is supported by indigenous peoples and human rights activists, the abuses continue. This begs the question – why do it? If nothing changes, simply apologizing for doing it seems…well..hollow.
Personally, I would argue that there are extremely good reasons for holding such a day, because the abuses continue. It’s common knowledge that the first step to addressing a problem is admitting the problem exists. Government officials making official, annual, and very public statements acknowledging wrong doing and apologizing for those wrongs, equates to officially admitting the problem exists.
Does taking this step result in any real, positive, change?
One key advantage to individuals in power publicly apologizing for human rights violations is the ability to bring up those apologies, and present-day (in)action, during future political events – elections included.
It is not a cure, it is a beginning. It is a step in a much larger, and very important, process. That said, is it an international concern?
Again, I would argue yes – it is something that should be occurring all over the globe. In fact, it is something that does not require an official holiday to participate in. Average everyday people can take to blogs or YouTube or the streets with cardboard signs…whatever…and make a public apology.
Personally, I took a look at the official Australian statement and made minor modifications, thereby Americanizing it (it required very little editing). My apologies to Australian speech writers for the plagiarism – I hope this action is taken in the spirit intended.
United States of America Sorry Day Statement
That today we honor the Native peoples of this land, among the oldest continuing cultures in human history.
We reflect on their past mistreatment.
We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Lost Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.
The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in American history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
We apologize for the laws and policies of successive administrations and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Americans.
We apologize especially for the removal of Native American children from their families, their communities and their country.
For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Lost Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.
To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.
We the citizens of the United States of America respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.
For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.
We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Americans.
A future where this Government resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.
A future where we harness the determination of all Americans, Native and non-Native, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.
A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.
A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.
A future where all Americans, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, The United States of America.
“At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe.”
–The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
“Never underestimate dainty little ladies.”
“Whenever Sarah found a spare moment, she wrote. But this time it wasn’t for the thrill of seeing her work in print – it was to keep her family from starving. Soon Boston magazines began to feature Sarah’s writing. Much to Sarah’s delight, with many publications came payment.”
“When Lincoln received Sarah’s letter, the nation was in the middle of a civil war. Lincoln understood that sometimes it was hard to remember good things in bad times. People needed a day to be thankful for food on their tables, roofs over their heads, and the blessings in their lives. Thanksgiving was exactly what this nation needed.”
Throughout November and December, most Americans are making costumes that fall under a ‘warm and fuzzy’ category. While Thanksgiving has it’s darker racial aspects (something to be examined later) and Christmas performances have similar issues, the objective and intent of … Continue reading
Anoka Minnesota puts on a huge Halloween celebration every year. While I have not had the opportunity to participate, I have heard about it and driven through the town during Halloween week. It’s a big deal. Really. Big. Deal.
Halloween and Community
While browsing my public library for books on the upcoming Halloween holiday, I ran across this local history text and found a few fun quotes about Anoka and Halloween. Perhaps the most striking aspect of the history of this celebration is the amount of community building that it provides – even during difficult times like the great depression.
“For most children in the early decades of the twentieth century, Halloween was a night for trouble making. The children of Anoka and their friends from the surrounding communities took this idea to a whole new level.”
“On the morning after Halloween, 1919, early risers in Anoka, MN were greeted by an astonishing sight. Cows, it seemed, had taken over the town! Bovines were browsing everywhere...in September of 1920 the citizens of Anoka turned to influential men in the community to see how to best avoid a repeat of the previous year’s trouble.”
“The following decade of the economic depression that devastated the nation affected Anoka, but the hard times did not dampen their spirits when it came to Halloween. The 1930s brought a series of new events to the Halloween celebration, including an activity that acted as a form of group therapy, the burning of Old Man Depression.“
In the interest of fairness, I must mention the tragic events leading up to the Anoka Halloween parade controversy. In 2012, bullying of GLBT students in the Anoka schools lead to several suicides and a lawsuit, which made big headlines. It also spurred the creation of an Anti-Bullying task force and the non-profit Justin’s Gift. Unfortunately, Justin’s Gift was denied entry into the parade of 2012. According to the group’s website Justin’s Gift is hosting a Halloween party (no mention of the parade) in 2014.
“Justin’s Gift still had a presence at the 2012 Grand Day Parade. The organization had a booth set up in the parking lot of a church on the parade route where they sold t-shirts, buttons, bracelets and other items. Floats from other cities also showed their solidarity with the group by mounting signs next to their waving princesses that read, “We Support Justin’s Gift.””
“Justin’s Gift was able to proudly walk among its community members in the 2013 Anoka Halloween Parade. The group was met with cheers and support from onlookers.”
–History and Hauntings of the Halloween Capital
“I had to convince Mom and Dad that Tootie really was a vampire baby. “Your sister is not a vampire,” Mom said. “Biting is just a phase.”
“…Back off, Bat Boy!” I said, scooping Tootie up. “And watch how you talk to my little sister. Tootie may be a vampire baby. But she’s my vampire baby.”
–Vampire Baby, written by Kelly Bennet and illustrated by Paul Meisel
If you want a classic witch costume then find something long, black and flowing. The most common costume images used for women-who-use-magic tend to involve striking colors and flowing fabrics. Combine a black dress with a black pointed Witch Hat … Continue reading
“And when he was done hiding the eggs,
Pete the Cat was all worn out!
“Helping others out
is what Easter is all about,” Pete said.”
–Pete The Cat Big Easter Adventure by Kimberly and James Dean