Lupita Nyong'o was a smashing success at this year's Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood. Not only did she win an Oscar for best supporting actress in Twelve Years a Slave, but her words touched the hearts and souls of so many who listened to her. As she accepted her Oscar, Lupita said "When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you're from your dreams are valid."
I know, I know. The email gurus say NEVER, NO not EVER do you send an email on Friday. People are taking long weekends. People are checked out from work. They won’t read it, so don’t do it. But I couldn’t wait. I couldn’t wait the ENTIRE weekend without telling you the exciting news at GCE-US.
Library For All was founded because 250 million children across the developing world are not achieving the basics of literacy and numeracy, even after 4 years at school. We are a NYC-based non-profit [Go read logo] organization that exists to unlock knowledge to the developing world by providing access to a cloud-based digital library. Our mission is to increase educational opportunity for students in developing countries, giving them an opportunity to learn, dream and aspire to lift themselves out of poverty.
In my native Spain, January 6 is a very special day for little boys and girls. All over the country the Reyes Magos (the Three Wise Men) riding their camels brought the gifts and toys the children requested several weeks ago. These imaginary characters, with a little help of the adults in their lives, will fulfill the children's dreams. Some will be disappointed. They will not have received the doll they asked for or the expensive video game their friend owns, but, even if they don't get all the toys they wanted, they will have what many children can only dream about. They will return to school the next day.
I have to admit that I am not much of a fan of holiday decorations. My mother, who loves the spirit of giving and the idea of Santa, collected over 250 Santas in the last 20 years, and something about dragging those down from the attic each year hasn't really inspired me to deck the halls. This bah humbug spirit doesn't extend to Christmas music, though. I grew up in choir, so I know and love the lyrics to most of the classical and pop songs on the radio during the holiday season. Nonetheless, there's one song that really, really gets to me.
The holiday creep has started. The pumpkins of Halloween are no longer joined by turkeys and harvest arrangements as we transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving but are instead quickly replaced with wreaths, ornaments and other greenery that signify the winter holidays. While I enjoy winter holidays as much as the next guy, I think it is important to give all holidays their due---to appreciate what they bring and to celebrate them all on their own.
A few weeks ago, I took a trip to the post office to mail some 'getting started' items to Emory University, home to one of our newest chapters. While waiting in line, I overheard the man in front of me addressing the clerk. The customer was inquiring about how to change his address and the clerk kindly responded that all he needed to do was fill out a form.
School supplies are my thing. There was nothing like going to shop for new school supplies each year. I would pack them in a book bag, toss it on my back and head out to a new school year--to see friends, get new workbooks, find my desk and get settled in. This desk would be my space for the next school year--my space to learn, to work and, yes, probably get into a little trouble (I was a talker, what can I say?). But 57 million children around the world don't have access to this and by extension their right to education. They don't get to ready a book bag, button a school uniform, claim a desk next to a friend, and, yes, even get into a little bit of trouble. They won't have a first day of school this year and for some that first day of school will never appear.