From Memorial Day to Veterans Day, Dog Bless You, a non-profit community created by explore.org founder Charlie Annenberg Weingarten, will celebrate dogs and soldiers in America through a new campaign called Dog Bless USA. Funds raised by a challenge grant on the Dog Bless You Facebook page will be used to give service dogs to war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). explore.org will donate one service dog to a veteran suffering from PTSD for every 5,000 "Likes" on the community page, up to 100 dogs or $500,000. Post-traumatic stress disorder affects as many as 20 percent of military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. This crippling anxiety disorder causes anger, depression, major stress, fear, agitation, and numbness. Hidden from sight, PTSD isn't as obvious as physical injuries but can be just as serious. And sometimes the best therapy is the companionship of a service dog.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and an assortment of dog and veteran related organizations have come together to raise awareness of PTSD and the healing role that dogs can play in people's lives. This unique campaign offers people a chance to participate in spreading the word and raising money simply by clicking "Like" on the Dog Bless You Facebook page. The community page is comprised of over 260,000 people already, and features photos, videos, and discussions aimed and educating and inspiring. Join today.
For millions of girls around the world, going to school is a life dream that's out of reach. Why? Early marriage, child labor, pregnancy, lack of access, violence. Solving the problem is a gauntlet deeply grounded in cultural traditions and the ripple effects of poverty -- seemingly impossible.
In 2000, then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued the challenge: How can the nations of the world work together to stop the gender inequality around education?
His declaration, a formal recognition of the terrible tragedy of leaving an entire generation of girls behind, established the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI), a partnership that includes UNICEF and other organizations working around the world to provide equal access to education to girls by 2015. And as it turns out, educating girls is not just a moral duty or altruistic pursuit. As data from UNICEF and others now document, providing girls in the developing world with an education is a key link in the fight to alleviate global poverty and its many implications, including HIV/AIDs, challenges with sustainable development, and on and on...
Entry is $15/person, and all proceeds benefit School of the Madeleine Parents Association. (Free parking available in large lot entered off of Berryman @ Henry Street)
This one hour program is a highly informative look at how Muslims have been depicted in American film and television and how those portrayals are evolving away from negative stereotypes and toward more nuanced and balanced characters. The show's host is Ray Suarez correspondent on PBS's The NewsHour and former host of Talk of the Nation on NPR. Producer Lisa Aliferis will answer questions immediately following the screening.
The immediate threat of violence permeates throughout the documentary No Child is Born A Terrorist, as explore.org filmmaker Charlie Annenberg confronts an ever-present feeling of potential danger. Yet one calming influence exists in the form of a man who seems to stand above it all, everyone's friend and guide into an unknown world. That man, the great Juliano Mer-Khamis, was killed on Monday, April 4th, shot to death outside the very theater he hoped would provide alternative outlets besides aggression.
Juliano Mer-Khamis, right, with Charlie Annenberg and Zakariya Zubeidi
Mer-Khamis was a living bridge between Palestine and Israel. Half Palestinian, half Israeli, he was an actor who devoted his life to increasing cross-cultural understanding and artistic expression in one of the most oppressive areas of West Bank, a refugee camp in the city of Jenin. It was there where he opened The Freedom Theater in 2006 along with Zakariya Zubeidi, former military head of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Mer-Khamis was the son of Arna Mer, a prominent Jewish Israeli political activist, and Saliba Khamis, a Palestinian Christian. Arna Mer opened the original theater in 1987 as The Stone Theater, and Juliano was devoted to carrying on his mother's legacy. Mer-Khamis documented his mother's work in the 2004 film "Arna's Children," which won first prize a the Canadian International Documentary Festival. His best-known roles were in the 1985 film "Rage and Glory" and 2000's "Kippur."
Charlie Annenberg and the explore Team traced the steps that Mer-Khamis walked everyday, getting a firsthand view of this unique man's influence and dedication. The camp is home to more than 16,000 Palestinian refugees, half of whom are under 18. Mer-Khamis' work gained extra significance in this atmosphere, instilling an understanding of tradition and culture in Palestinian youth. In the film, Charlie conveys that, "The theater gave the kids in the camp a stage to express their joy, their frustration, anger and hope."
Palestinian security forces have made an arrest in the killing, although the suspect has yet to confess. With Mer-Khamis' death, No Child is Born a Terrorist becomes a living tribute to a person that described himself as "100 percent Palestinian, 100 percent Jewish" and sought to create a foundation for peace beginning with the youth. In the film, Mer-Khamis states his belief in Palestinian youth, saying, "As human beings, if you give them meaning, if you give them something to live for, they are not going to become terrorists, they will not be violent." His work will live on through The Freedom Theater.
Watch the explore film, No Child is Born a Terrorist, online now: