Celebrating the human spirit can change the world

The Specials helped calm racial tensions and drew broad attention to the unjust imprisonment of Nelson Mandela

Celebrating the human spirit can change the worldIt has long been debated whether you can change the world with a song. If it’s not possible, one band came incredibly close. The Specials (or The Special AKA) rose to prominence in England in the late 1970s and achieved international fame in the early 1980s.  Their sound fused the music of Jamaican immigrants with…

Be brave enough to fulfil your potential

If we have an awareness of our inherent greatness, we really don’t mind looking foolish. From there, all it takes is time and hard work

Be brave enough to fulfil your potentialThis phrase has become popular in the last several months: “Be brave enough to be bad at something new.” As a teacher, it would be easy for me to impose this philosophy on my students. We’re always telling our young people to try new things, be it a sport, school subject or art form. By…

Labels just hurtful in search for Middle East peace

Trudeau insinuated that if you support the rights of Palestinians, you must be anti-Semitic

Labels just hurtful in search for Middle East peaceI like to think I’m not easily offended, but a recent speech by Justin Trudeau at the Yom Hashoah Virtual Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration pierced my spirit. In this ceremony, Holocaust survivors and their descendants not only remembered the crimes committed against the Jewish people, they celebrated who they are and the beautiful traditions that…

Don’t sacrifice truth for illusion of security

Very few people have ever had the freedoms Canadians enjoy today. May we always be mindful of this

Don’t sacrifice truth for illusion of securityLike many of my generation of German descent, I’ve had to grapple with an uncomfortable family history. Though I know he came to regret his decision, my grandfather was a member of the Nazi Party and was part of the populist movement that brought them to power. I could make excuses for his decision and…

Hang on to your compassionate ideals

Doing good is not only vital to humanity and to the planet, it’s one of the key ingredients to living a happy and fulfilling life

Hang on to your compassionate idealsBecause there are no sports on television right now, my favourite movie, Field of Dreams, has been getting a lot of airtime. Near the end of the film, the main character meets his father as a young man and comments on his appearance, saying, “My God, I only saw him years later when he was…

Staying connected and building spirit in isolation

We’re living proof that people are naturally active and creative, when given the time. COVID-19 has given many of us that time

Staying connected and building spirit in isolationThe COVID-19 crisis has been a challenge for many of us. We’re used to interacting freely and going where we want to go. Now many of us are forced to work from home and others are not able to work at all. Our movement is limited, we have to practise social distancing and we’re constantly…

Three generations of courage and commitment

When you search the name Henry Morgenthau, you find remarkable legacies left by three men of one extraordinary family

Three generations of courage and commitmentAs I examined the history of human rights in America, one name kept coming up: Henry Morgenthau. It turns out I was actually learning about three men: Henry Morgenthau Sr., Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Henry Morgenthau III, father, son and grandson. All of them spoke with courage and together advanced the cause of human rights…

Through crisis we can find a common humanity

After things settle and we look back on COVID-19, we need to recognize the lesson it taught us about looking after one another

Through crisis we can find a common humanityI always believe that life has something to teach us. We just need to listen. Experts in many fields have been warning about a global pandemic for years. Prof. Frank Chalk, the director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, for example, has pointed out that when we help the most vulnerable…

Making sense of the world and ourselves in challenging times

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is a book for these troubled times. It’s as beautiful as it is insightful

Making sense of the world and ourselves in challenging timesIt’s always good to rediscover an excellent book, especially in these times. I recently borrowed The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz from my local library to have an audio book to listen to when going for walks with my dog. What a treasure! Ruiz draws from his Indigenous heritage, teaching the ancient wisdom of…

Just do the right thing – no matter what

You may never know the outcome of your actions. But you can know with certainty the results of doing nothing

Just do the right thing – no matter whatIn studying the history of social change, I’m moved by the number of great people who died never knowing the full extent of their contribution to a better world. Three examples from the 20th century are Raphael Lemkin, Peter Bryce and Viola Desmond. Lemkin was a brilliant lawyer and professor. He was also a Polish…