USCCB Calls for Stand Against Racism

When I first watched the video of George Floyd’s death, I was physically sickened. I cried as the life poured out of him, breath by breath. I didn’t know his criminal history. I didn’t even know why he was under the police officer’s knee. The only thing I knew, in my heart, was that this human being was having his life unjustly snuffed out before my very eyes like an animal and not a child of God by someone charged to protect and serve. George’s cry for his mother reverberated in my soul.

As a mother, I was angry. Instantly.

I took to my social media with a fury. I lashed out at the white community. It was loud and vengeful. Then, I lay silent for days, giving way to those who deserve more than I to be heard.

Looking back now, those first words written were not Christian. Although my post contained phrases like “as God intended” and “treat our neighbors as ourselves,” the rest of the mini-tirade was less than honorable. Still, it gave me needed insight into the rage that erupted from the black community. The actions of some were less than honorable–many more have died in the ensuing riots–but their anger is more than justifiable. It was heartening to see the world react with similar, yet peaceful outrage in support.

Today, I came across a YouTube video that contains a much better message than I could hope to put together. Since I’m still heartbroken and at a loss for the right words, I wanted to share it with all of you. Perhaps, it can bring you a bit of peace.

The Catholic Church has taken a clear stance on the unfolding events surrounding the death of George Floyd, and recognizes the pattern in American society at large. This message from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is beautiful, powerful, and clear.

I am proud to be Catholic. I stand with my church. I stand against racism.

Be the Change.

Kristine


If you’re interested to watch Pope Francis’ calming and heart-felt reaction to the death of George Floyd, the civil unrest in the U.S., and the evil of racism: watch this video from the Catholic News Service.

Women’s Unique Stress Response: Key to Change

You have probably heard of the survival instinct labeled “Fight-or-Flight.” It’s a natural, biological response for humans and animals in the face of danger. What if I told you, however, that women also have another innate biological response to danger that is not so well known?

According to a study from the University of California, Los Angeles, led by Shelley E. Taylor and published in the Psychological Review, women respond much differently than men in high-stress situations (411). This uniquely feminine response may explain a lot of our daily dealings with our children and others, and it is what Mothering Humanity believes positions women as the perfect change-makers in an imperfect world.

Our natural response, as women, to stressful situations is not to put up our dukes or run away scared. Women are not initially concerned with self-preservation. This may not be a surprise to many of you. So what is our response? What does our biology tell us to do?

Taylor and her colleagues say, women “Tend-and-Befriend.” (Click the link to see the full scholarly article, courtesy of Harvard University’s online archives.)

At first glance, you might notice the word ‘and’ in our natural response versus the ‘or’ in fight-or-flight. As women, our response to stress is two-fold.

Not only does our mothering instinct kick in and we tend to those around us, but we seek to befriend in an effort to reduce risk.

Instead of battle, women look to peace. Instead of creating enemies and opposite sides, women seek alliances and nurture interconnectedness. Pointing to this distinct biological difference as part of the backbone of Mothering Humanity may seem divisive or counterintuitive (women vs. men)—the exact opposite of tend-and-befriend—but I whole-heartedly believe in you.

As the founder of Mothering Humanity, I believe women can bring out the best in all those around us and raise the next generation of peacemakers. This is an opportunity to embrace our biological difference and harness it to build a better tomorrow.

In addition to creating a beautiful and powerful web of women alliances, let us extend our tending and befriending tendencies to our partners, co-workers, community members, and online connections. Together, we can become the change!

In the true spirit of tending, I will continue to post helpful content here at Mothering Humanity, including more on this very important study, where I will break down both aspects of this theory and discuss how we can and are putting it to work in the world.

I hope that befriending all of you will be a natural result of our time spent together here and on Facebook, cultivating relationships and creating change within our own spheres of influence.

If you can’t wait to continue this discussion with Mothering Humanity and your curiosity is begging you to dive deeper into this topic right this instant, here are some helpful links:

Sustainability at The Oscars & Suzy Amis Cameron

I stopped by Mind Body Green today and read an article about the upcoming Oscars that featured a related campaign called Red Carpet Green Dress (RCGD). In an effort to promote ethical and sustainable formal wear and jewelry worn by event attendees, Suzy Amis Cameron founded RCGD in 2009.

“Now going into its ninth year, the positive fashion campaign sets the challenge for creatives, emerging and established designers worldwide to create a Red Carpet worthy dress, or tuxedo, from environmentally and socially responsible fabrics – thus fulfilling the Green Dress criteria,” the RCGD website stated.

suzyamiscameron

Photo Courtesy of SuzyAmisCameron.com

Amis Cameron, a mother of five with an impressive laundry list of accomplishments, may look familiar. She’s acted in more than 25 films and is the wife of Academy Award winning director James Cameron. This environmentally conscious power couple has projects around the globe that promote “plant-based solutions to address climate change” and sustainable agribusiness.

The RCGD campaign, which doubles as a fundraiser for MUSE School in California (the first school in the country to be 100% plant based, which is also solar powered and zero waste), helps partner interested Oscar attendees up with participating designers, so that when the actors and actresses hit the red carpet at the Academy Awards they can bring attention to important environmental issues through their responsible fashion choices.

Amis Cameron is a shining example of a person who is acting as the change she wants to see in the world. Founding MUSE School in 2005 with her sister, Rebecca Amis, she was driven to build a better world for her children. “MUSE School’s mission is ‘To Inspire and Prepare Young People to Live Consciously with Themselves, One Another, and the Planet.’” At the top of her list of efforts is perhaps the Plant Power Task Force (PPTF). It certainly deserves mention here at Mothering Humanity for its global efforts. Most notably: “PPTF supported the first multi-country studies on global diets and climate change by the independent U.K.-based think tank, Chatham House: Livestock—Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector and Changing Climate, Changing Diets. PPTF also spearheaded the My Plate, My Planet initiative, representing over 200 leading environmental and health organizations, in support of the historic opportunity to link food and the environment in the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines.”

Here at Mothering Humanity, the belief is that the food that goes into our bodies is worth significant attention as it effects multiple aspects of life. MH doesn’t claim to have the answers, but it is interested in promoting those organizations that are searching for a sustainable solution that may be able to correct some of the scary health trends facing the world today. We applaud efforts like the ones mentioned.

Amis Cameron is a mother who is using her power and authority within her own sphere of influence and beyond to better our world. This Sunday, I will be tuned into the 90th Academy Awards, Red Carpet Event for a much different reason than years past. This year, I look forward to hearing all about the sustainable fashions that environmentally conscious attendees are showcasing.

BeTheChangeFI

 

References

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/red-carpet-green-dress-2018

https://www.redcarpetgreendress.com/rcgd/

http://www.suzyamiscameron.com

 

 

 

School shootings and the AR-15

When tragedy occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in 1999, I was a junior in high school a few states away. We were all shocked to learn that 12 students and one teacher were gunned down by two high school boys, who later turned the guns on themselves. In all, 15 people died and 20 more were injured. The incident rocked the nation. A massacre of that scale—perpetrated by high school students—had never happened on school grounds in U.S. history and it sparked a national debate on gun laws that continues today.

As a kid growing up in California, we performed fire and earthquake drills. When my family moved to Kansas, I had to learn how to handle a tornado drill. I was lucky enough to grow up in a time when active-shooter drills were unheard of. I can’t imagine the psyche of American school children today who worry if one of their classmates will unleash a spray of bullets on them at any moment, and are forced to practice in preparation of such an event.

I’m not against guns. I was in the military for seven years. I have avid hunters in my family. I have relatives who are or were part of law enforcement for many years. However, I do believe that guns have a very specific place in modern-day society. What is happening in the United States is breaking hearts around the world. Innocent children should not have to fear going to school every day. School grounds need to become the safe-haven they once were.

After yet another school shooting Friday in Florida, a self-proclaimed firearm enthusiast and Second Amendment supporter, Scott Pappalardo, posted this video to his Facebook page with a simple “My drop in a very large bucket” and the hashtag “oneless.”

I want to applaud Mr. Pappalardo for having the courage to say that his particular weapon, the AR-15, should not be allowed to exist in the hands of an average citizen anymore. According to a recent Time article, “AR-15-style rifles have been used in recent mass shootings at in Aurora, Colo.; Santa Monica and San Bernardino, Calif.; Orlando, Florida and now Parkland.” There is no place in our civilized society for the capabilities that this weapon offers to regular citizens. Unless you are on an actual battlefield, the AR-15—the closest thing to an M-16—should be illegal to own.

If America can’t get this military-style weapon off the streets, lawmakers should be doing their best to limit the weapon’s capabilities. Specifically, the parents of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 2012 that claimed the lives of 28 people have a petition to outlaw large-capacity gun magazines like those used with the AR-15 in the massacre in Newtown, Conn. They believe that this will give children and faculty a few more crucial moments to flee.

I think any kind of regulation to get these sorts of weapons or their capabilities reduced is a step in the right direction, but laws can’t change hearts and minds. I’m hoping more civilian gun owners like Pappalardo will have an attack of conscience and do society and American schoolchildren a favor and dispose of their own military-style weapons. The real change needs to happen at home. Not only in regards to gun ownership and responsible use, either. These troubled-children-turned-shooters were the first casualties in each tragedy since Columbine. We must find a way to change their hearts and minds, or innocent school children will continue to suffer the consequences.

 

References

History.com Staff. “Columbine Shooting.” History.com. http://www.history.com/topics/columbine-high-school-shootings.

Drabold, Will, and Alex Fitzpatrick. “The Florida School Shooter Used An AR-15 Rifle. Here’s What to Know About the Gun.” Time.com. http://time.com/5160267/gun-used-florida-school-shooting-ar-15/.