In Memory of Shimon Peres, Man of Peace

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Shimon Peres in Brazil, 2009. Photo by Elza Fiúza – Agência Brasil, via Wikimedia Commons

With the passing of Shimon Peres, I take the time to reflect on a man who dreamed of peace.  A quick search turns up many laudatory obituaries.

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A New Disability Advocate: The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation has long been a leader in philanthropy, supporting causes and efforts to repair the world. However, several disability advocates took the foundation and its president, Darren Walker, to task for omitting this key constituency. With noteworthy candor, Mr. Walker acknowledged his error of omission and issued a public apology, backed by a pledge to advocate for people with all disabilities. In this article I wrote for the blog of the agency I work for, Advancing Opportunities, I cite Mr. Walker’s original letter, along with two very favorable responses from disability advocates.

Celebrating Individual Abilities

dude-with-ipad Mature aged man with a disability operating touchscreen computer

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation makes a public effort to include people with disabilities.  He explained his organization’s initiative on the foundation’s blog in an open letter, titled Ignorance Is the Enemy: On the Power of Our Privelege and the Privilege of Our Power.   He cited the efforts of James Baldwin in the 1960s and 1970s and the Black Lives Matter movement of today as important forces in “confronting power, privilege, and ignorance.”  By privilege, Mr. Walker speaks of unearned advantages or preferential treatment one group holds over another.  And ignorance, he says, is such a ferocious enemy because of its conspiratorial silence.  As an African American gay man, Mr. Walker pledged his organization would focus on combating inequality.  At that time, leading disability advocates took Mr. Walker to task for overlooking a major…

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Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War Is a Tale of Moral Courage

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Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War is a powerful new film by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky.  The film tells of the courageous mission of an American couple in 1939, to assist refugees in escaping Nazi-occupied Europe.  During their two-year mission, Waitstill and Martha Sharp risked their lives so hundreds of Jews would find freedom.  It will be shown on PBS on September 20, 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Screenings in New York City are also planned; many other resources and links can be found on this website.
Update, Sunday, September 18:  Nicholas Kristof wrote wrote a masterful column, explaining both the background of the Sharps’ true story and why it is relevant today, especially regarding the Syrian refugees – Would You Hide a Jew from the Nazis?