Hello my fellow human Beings:
There have been many celebrations this week in Canada and the US to celebrate the rights, freedoms and privileges we have living in these countries. Today is Independence Day in the US, July 1st was Canada Day in Canada and June 22nd to July 1st was Pride Week in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
For those who live in these places, not only do these days provide us with a holiday from work and a time to celebrate with family and friends, but they give us time to pause and reflect on all that we have here. For instance:
- Throughout Canada, same-sex couples can legally get married, just as their heterosexual counterparts to express their love and commitment to their life partners.
- In Ontario, gender expression and gender identity have been recognized in the Ontario Human Rights Code as grounds for non-discrimination. (Toby’s Law was passed in the Ontario Legislature, and received Royal Assent, on June 19, 2012 to provide protection for all transgendered people in Ontario to have equal access to good jobs, housing and protection from harassment. The passage of this bill into law was historic for two reasons, (1) it made Ontario the first major jurisdiction in North America to provide protection for transgendered people, and (2) it was passed with the support of all three political parties and without impetus from a court case.)
- Women can vote, work, run their own businesses, or wear bikinis in public as they choose in Canada and the US.
- People of different races, creeds, ancestries, colours, ethnicities, citizenships, ages, marital statuses, or disabilities/abilities can all live happily and harmoniously together in the US and Canada.
Oh how lucky we are to live in these countries where freedom and equality and safety reign!
Oh how thankful we are to not live in countries where:
- it is criminal to be homosexual (e.g. imprisonment in Kenya, death in Uganda);
- a woman cannot vote or drive or be unaccompanied (e.g. in Saudi Arabia all women, regardless of age, are required to have a male guardian); or
- where there was segregation for people of colour (e.g. the US before the repeal of the Jim Crow Laws or South Africa before the abolition of Apartheid).
The First Lady of the US during the Great Depression, Eleanor Roosevelt, in the book, How to Be Like Women of Influence, reminds us of the interdependence and connectedness of all people of the world:
“One part of the country or group of countrymen cannot prosper while the others go down hill, and that one country cannot go on gaily when the rest of the world is suffering. …If we can get back to the feeling that we are responsible for each other, the years of Depression would have been worthwhile.”
So there is still work to be done. We cannot sit back and just revel in our own rights, freedoms and privileges without trying to help our fellow human beings around the world share in these freedoms and equalities.
Eleanor Roosevelt, on her 70th birthday, said to the young people in the US:
“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitedly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of a competence.”
So as Canadians and Americans proudly celebrate all that they have where they live this week, pausing and breathing in their rights, freedoms, privileges and equalities, we must also remember that life is an adventure. We must live it bravely, excitedly and imaginatively, so that we can make this world a place where all people can proudly celebrate where they live too.
So I ask you all to be still, connect with the Source that unites all beings, proudly celebrate the good in your lives (even the little things) and then seek to connect with other human beings to understand their plight, help in their struggle and show your love of them as equals, so that we can all live abundantly!
HAPPY CANADA DAY, HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY and HAPPY PRIDE!