“American children need our help too!” – Christopher Lee | #AllKidsMatters

#AllKidsMatters | @TheIconofComedy​ | #HausOfTwinks

“American children need our help too!” – Christopher Lee

The Icon of Comedy is raising money to help exiled youth.

If you know or have heard of Chris, he’s the Asshole with the heart of gold. For the last ten years he’s been making people laugh, and raising money for great organizations but now it’s time to cut out the middle man and get the money directly to the children.

The most important thing to realize is that the proceeds of this go to getting food, school supplies and clothes to children (who for whatever unfortunate reason, no longer have parents in their lives) around the United States, then the world.

“My campaign for Allkidsmatters has been going strong for 4 weeks now with helping 3 different children’s organizations from 3 different states completed. The goal is to help children in every state then continue until the funds run out. None of my book sales or the donations would be possible without people like you.

Wednesday, I am flying into Denver to meet and greet with the staff of the Denver’s Children Home and complete the shopping for the wish list of daily items. As well as take care the Children of Phoenix Arizona on some items they said they are in desperate need of.

So this Friday on the four week anniversary I will give thanks to those who purchased my book trusting I would use the money for good as well as those who didn’t even know me and liked what i was trying to do. I appreciate and will not let you down. I understand times are tough for people and I appreciate those who share [this] because they can’t donate, just know this, I’m just trying to do my best to be human at this point in my life.”

The long list of people he wishes to thank includes:

Paul E. Zimmerman Andre Jensen Turea Antoinette Adrien Leland
Tom Leggett Graham Marlitt Sean Cogan
Tom D’relio Galen Ryan Tyler Oestreich Greg of FIRE
Kat Prill Jay Girard Mike Small Pieter Robinson
Derek Higgins AJ VanderPol Brad Picard Christian Canfield
Amy Speer Machery Mitchell William Cole Stevens
Austin Beasley Eric Ball Rosie Krauss Henry H William Cramer
Henry Baker Eric Stewart Kevin Prather Jessica Silva
Greg Wandro Erik Johnson Dustin Kenyon
Hadley Alley Spring Johnson Shawn Winchell
Kenneth Ellis Josh Parman Kyle Seagraves Matt Jarrett
David Cuthbert Aaron Rhodes Laura Wickman Kevin Harland
Zach Haveman Sara Haveman Conrad Wrobel Damien Petruzzelli
Billy Brisebois Christopher Lee Wyche Claire Vilk Brett Smith

“It’s amazing having this many people […] support my cause. Have a great weekend everyone!”

Donate to #AllKidsMatters here.

Til It Happens To You x Lady Gaga | #ItsOnUs | #EndCampusRape

One in five college women will be sexually assaulted this year unless something changes.

This video may be unsettling. But it reflects the reality of what is happening daily on college campuses.

“Til It Happens To You” is a song written by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga, from motion picture The Hunting Ground.

A portion of proceeds from the sale of Lady Gaga’s new song will be donated to organizations helping survivors of sexual assault.

Join the movement at ItsOnUs.org

For immediate help, call National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

Join the discussion #ItsOnUs #EndCampusRape

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama | #LetGirlsLearn

This article is derived & edited from the official Let Girls Learn portal.

First Lady Michelle Obama and the Peace Corps have formed a powerful collaboration to expand access to education for adolescent girls around the world. Educating girls is essential to healthy and thriving communities but, globally, 62-million girls are not in school, and barriers prevent adolescent girls from completing school are numerous. In some countries, fewer than 10% of teenage girls complete secondary school.

This program will address that challenge by empowering local leaders to put lasting solutions in place. Peace Corps Volunteers who live and work at the grassroots level will serve as catalysts of community-led change, and every American can get involved and make a difference.

Peace Corps has selected the following 11 countries to launch the Let Girls Learn collaboration.

Albania

There are 76 Peace Corps Volunteers in Albania working with communities on projects in health, community economic development and English education.


Benin

There are 112 Peace Corps Volunteers in Benin working with communities on projects in education, environment, health, and community economic development.


Burkina Faso

There are 101 Peace Corps Volunteers in Burkina Faso working with communities on projects in education, health and community economic development.


Cambodia

There are 91 Peace Corps Volunteers in Cambodia working with communities on projects in education and health.


Georgia

Empowerment and encouragement of female voices will lead to greater emphasis on women’s issues. More than 585 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Georgia since the program was established in 2001.


Ghana

More than 4,410 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Ghana since the program was established in 1961.


Moldova

There are 120 Peace Corps Volunteers in Moldova working with communities on projects in English education, health and community economic development.


Mongolia

There are 132 Peace Corps Volunteers in Mongolia working with communities on projects in English education, youth development and health.


Mozambique

There are 211 Peace Corps Volunteers in Mozambique working with communities on projects in education and health.


Togo

There are 77 Peace Corps Volunteers in Togo working with communities on projects in education, the environment and health.


Uganda

There are 154 Peace Corps Volunteers in Uganda working with communities on projects in English education, agriculture and health, including Volunteers in the Global Health Service Partnership program.

This initiative continues to increase gender awareness by delivering targeted training to thousands of Volunteers and tens of thousands of community leaders over the next six years to be champions of girls’ education.

Thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers work side by side with local leaders to achieve community-based solutions through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. From a school library to this technology camp for girls, Peace Corps Volunteers are working on gender-related projects and can now apply for support through a newly established girls’ education fund.

A major component of the initiative will support Peace Corps Volunteers working to break down the many barriers to girls’ education in these 11 communities. Let Girls Learn allows the Peace Corps to expand the number of Volunteers focused on advancing girls’ education and empowerment.

Pledge your support now for Let Girls Learn by sharing this page.

Join the discussion with the hashtag #LetGirlsLearn.

Seattle performer Kaleena Markos was basically kidnapped last Friday night | #ThisIsWhy


“I just want to raise awareness on Capitol Hill. On Friday night I was confronted by 3 men a block from my house on Boylston who appeared to be normal. After a quick convo was pushed into their SUVs and taken out of the city. After parking and being grabbed at and them removing some of my clothes was able to kick them off and run away. Leaving behind part of my outfit, keys, ID, debit card, and phone. So glad to get away not realizing I was stuck in an area with no means to get home. Terrified and frantic I began to ask for help and finally found a kind man ( a saint) who let me use his phone and drove me home with a coat he gave me to cover up! Filed a report with the police and now I’m safe I just want tell everyone to watch out and please let your guard down for no one! The authorities have now found my ID and phone.. Next up.. The ass holes who did I this! They are coming for you 3! Wrong QUEEN.” – Kaleena Markos

To help prevent another situation like this, there are newly established public services in Seattle that are immediately available if you need help. Check out the new SOSeattle Safety Shuttle! There’s even an app for that!

Happy Labor Day!

In America, we take great pride in being a nation that values both hard work and family. And yet we’re the world’s only industrialized nation that does not promise workers paid leave. It’s time for us to lead on paid leave.— Labor Secretary Tom Perez

U.S. Department of Labor on Facebook

U.S. Department of Labor on Twitter @USDOL

U.S. Department of Labor on Instagram

26th Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez on Twitter @LaborSec

Chris Crocker | Growing Moment

“You know, I do funny videos and I try to stay in that comedic place as an escape from whatever I’m going through in life. And whatever we’re all going through. As a country. I always try to see the funny side of everything. But sometimes things get so dark that it’s hard to. For me, even. And my motto is always that, ‘You take what’s wrong and you recycle it into good.’ And you use it as motivation. But what I’m seeing happen is that we’re not realizing we can’t change one another.

Instead of taking what’s wrong, we’re using it as motivation to try to change each other’s minds. When it’s really not about changing one another’s minds as much as it is about unifying. You don’t have to agree with gay marriage necessarily. You don’t. I don’t have to tell you that. You probably already feel that way if you don’t agree with it. And I don’t begrudge you if you don’t feel that I should have the same rights as you. I’ve dealt with it all of my life, I’m not playing the victim, but it’s something I’ve dealt with from Kindergarten on, so it’s nothing new to me.

And what my mind will never understand is how can I not – how is it possible that I can not be offended that you don’t think I deserve the same rights as you? How is it possible that I can swallow that down? And agree to shake your hand. But there is so much hatred from people – that even me saying that ‘okay, I understand if you don’t understand.’ How come I can extend that, but that cannot be extended to me or my community?

How come we can’t have a conversation about the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the validity in that movement without being personally feeling like we’re being attacked as white people. Why can none of us step outside of ourselves and have a growing moment?

You know, I’ve heard really religious people think that this is the end of the times. The only times I think this is the end of is small minds. I do think it’s the end of people being able to sweep hatred under the rug under the veil of religion. I do think it’s the end of the times where the times were to be subconsciously racist – and not look at what we’re conditioned to think through media.

I think it is the end of the times where we stop – we stop not thinking for ourselves.

I think it’s the start of the times where we are beginning to go, ‘Wow, there’s a lot of programming, brainwashing that happens to us as a society. And it’s up to us now to look at what we really think we were taught versus what we truly know. And a lot of times what we believe is what we were taught. And I don’t ever want to make someone feel that I’m attacking their beliefs, but when someone questions my identity, and someone makes me feel like I’m the scum of the Earth for who I am – what are we to do as a community?

You know, when we know you haven’t walked — it’s a little different, you know. You can’t really compare being ‘born Christian’ to being born gay or being born transgender. Because you could have a million different beliefs. Religions; there’s plenty for the choosing, if you know what I’m saying. And that sounds bizarre to Christians because they’re like, ‘Well there’s only one God. There’s only one true God.”

And my point is: I was born gay. You were taught religion. I was taught to not be gay. And I still am.

You were taught religion, and I’m not telling you to unteach yourself that. All I’m telling you is that what you believe versus who you are, there’s a straight level with who you are. What you believe can not combat who I am.

And what we believe about the validity of Black Lives Matter is not for us to say as white people. That’s a part of who they are and how people perceive them. There was a lot of struggle in that in the beginning to fully understand. And I felt offended because rap inspires me and a lot of things in the black community have inspired me endlessly for years. And I had to really go, “Wait a minute, I didn’t create these things. I didn’t. These weren’t things that I created out of strife to empower me so who the hell am I to question how that might make them feel when I go around and use certain slang and stuff like that.

And it’s something I’m still reconciling. Because I’ll always you know be inspired by hip-hop and so – But the point is that it’s not the end of the times.

It’s the beginning of a new time and that time is: We gotta get past the war to get to the peace. We gotta get past this standing divided to get to the standing united. Because divided. We fall. And united we stand. And I don’t care if it takes you a lot of examining your own beliefs and what you think but if you realize that you find a group of people disgusting and you think that they’re the scum of the Earth, you have a lot of work to do on yourself. And it says more about you than it ever will the person or the people that you hate.

I love you guys. Even the ones who don’t love me. I love you. Let’s start extending – let’s start shaking hands instead of shaking our heads at one another.”

Azizaa & Wanlov Interview with Benjamin Lebrave @ TheFader.com

How Ghanaian Artist Azizaa Is Challenging Christianity’s Grip On Ghana
by Benjamin Lebrave | TheFader.com

According to a 2012 Gallup International survey about religiosity and atheism, Ghana is one of the most religious countries in the world. At first glance, there is some evidence for this: when you land in Accra, you’ll notice churches everywhere you go. If you look even closer, you’ll see Mormon missionaries on their bikes throughout the country.

But are Ghanaians very religious or are they a very spiritual people invaded by highly organized, predatory religious structures? A quick Google search will give you countless links to Methodist, Apostolic, Pentecostal, Latter Day Saints (Mormons), and many other churches, many of them based in America or funded by Americans. If you do a search for pastors in Ghana, every single result on the first page is a link to list of the richest pastors. Where that information comes from is not as clear as what it expresses: Christianity is big business in Ghana. Going to church means many things to many people, but one fundamental aspect of the majority of Sunday masses in Ghana is people with very little income giving away a substantial amount of their salary to their pastors.

What’s also disturbing about churches and missionaries spreading their gospel in Ghana is that Christianity fundamentally rejects any other religious customs. For Ghanaians, that means any spiritual practices which preceded colonizers—spiritual practices that are often misunderstood and grouped into the animist and polytheist boxes. Given the big role that religion plays in Ghana, this rejection creates a cycle of self-hatred that arises from the conflict of adoring a foreign deity that demands the rejection of elements of local culture and tradition.

Music artist Azizaa and rapper/video director Wanlov the Kubolor recently tackled this issue head-on with the video for Azizaa’s “Black Magic Woman” (watch it above). Growing up between Accra and New York, Azizaa is a rising voice in Ghana. She speaks and occasionally sings in her native Ewe tongue, and has managed to always stay in touch with her Ghanaian roots. Wanlov—who featured in the very first Lungu Lungu column—is one of the most vocal rappers on the continent, using humor and parody to bring up difficult issues, both in his solo work and as one half of Ghanaian rap duo FOKN Bois. In 2014, he co-directed the pidgin musical Coz ov Moni 2 and has continued to play a role behind the camera ever since, as he did for Azizaa’s video. The FADER caught up with the pair to ask them about “Black Magic Woman” and their take on religion in Ghana.

Q: The opening scene of the “Black Magic Woman” video shows two young Christians pressuring a young woman in the name of Christianity. Does this reflect pressures you observe or personally feel?

AZIZAA: Yes, these pastors are something else. I’ve seen and heard worse—this is just a lighthearted version of a cold, harsh, bitter reality. I’ve seen trotro preachers aiming their messages at me to repent because of my nose and lip rings, and the blue/green/purple hair. This is not just it—I think Christianity should be banned and made illegal in Ghana, and all of Africa. How can anyone of African descent be worshiping the same tool used to uselessly murder their ancestors?

WANLOV: There are many videos from Ghana circulating of church members caught in the very act they preach against. This is because their religion shames a natural act and when nature calls very few can resist.

Q: Is “black magic” an expression used in Ghana? If so, what does it refer to?

AZIZAA: The term black magic is loosely used in Ghana just about as much as juju. Ghanians are very religious and somehow still manage to be very superstitious. I have yet to understand that. Every death in Ghana has a superstitious tale behind it .

WANLOV: Not verbatim…we call it agbala or juju. It refers to any spiritual practice which is not Muslim or Christian.

Q: What are the implications of Azizaa being portrayed as a “black magic woman” in the video? How would you expect this to be interpreted in Ghana?

AZIZAA: For me, being interpreted as the “bad” person is never a problem because I know who I am and I am very comfortable with myself. In the video we bring light to a huge problem in Ghana, or Africa as a whole, one that many refuse to acknowledge. Many religious leaders are abusing the people in different ways and taking advantage due to vulnerability and desperation of the people. It’s also a mental problem. Hoarding—to hold on to as much money as possible, in order to live like colonial masters.

WANLOV: The older closed-minded generation will not approve, but the seeking youth and the open-minded will love her.

Q: Is the strength of Christianity in Ghana left over from colonial times or is there more to it?

AZIZAA: History has it that the colonial masters came with the Bible and the gun, gave the Bible to the Africans, as they pointed their guns at their heads.

WANLOV: It is a perfect self-perpetuating system. They took away our spirituality and gave us religion; they banned us from gathering under a tree by the fireside and herded us into churches. Now we love going to church, because it is the only place we can have a weekend retreat from the mundane work week cycle also imposed on us by the colonials.

Q: I have been told that most people in Ghana will not admit they practice or believe in juju, yet fear juju and resort to it when all else fails, in particular Christianity. What does that mean?

WANLOV: It means there is still hope for us. We have not completely been brainwashed. More and more pastors now have traditional deities they secretly consult. They do not fully believe in their religion, but are duping others to do so in order to have control over them to survive off them because the system is getting harder and harder to live in.

AZIZAA: In Ghana, most people believe in following the crowd just to stay alive, not to be scrutinized. There is stigma attached to vodou [voodoo], so Christianity is a very safe choice. But deep down, in their souls, hearts and minds, they can’t fight or ignore the voice that tells them to go back to their roots, sankofa, it’s the only thing that works. The Christian thing is just another way of slavery taking its toll and Ghanaians copying and pasting blindly. Ghanaians don’t like blood, they prefer to poison instead of shooting or stabbing, so they would juju their enemy to keep themselves safe. Not many would know, it’s not as loud as a gunshot, nor as messy as a knife wound.

Q: What would be the outcome of a fight involving John Mahama, the current president of Ghana who has been highly criticized for his incompetence, TB Joshua, probably the richest pastor in Africa, and Mamiwata, the Goddess of water?

WANLOV: Mamiwata always wins coz wata got no enemy.