Celebrating Women’s History Month

Celebrating Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, we have chosen to highlight a tremendous force in women’s and Asian-American history: Patsy Mink. Mink served in the US House of Representatives as the rep for Hawaii from 1965-1977 and then again from 1990 until her death in 2002. She was the first woman of color elected to the US House of Representatives and the first Asian-American woman to serve in Congress.

         One of the many important contributions Mink made to this country was co-authoring the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act, which stated: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Mink’s work has been incredibly important in working toward creating a level playing field for all US citizens. After her death in 2002, the Title IX amendment’s name was changed to the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.

         Mink represents everything that FAV stands for. She pursued ideals that she believed in, even if she was the only person on her side. A quote from Mink that resonated:

“It is easy enough to vote right and be consistently with the majority. But it is more often more important to be ahead of the majority and this means being willing to cut the first furrow in the ground and stand alone for a while if necessary.”

Mink’s self-assuredness and passion for justice certainly serve as inspiration. We remember her legacy and all of the contributions she has made to both the advancement of women and the Asian-American community. Read more about Patsy Mink here.

As a final note, we have been shocked and deeply saddened by the growing rates of crime against the Asian-American community. We condemn all acts of violence and hatred, including the egregious act committed against massage parlor workers in Atlanta, Georgia. Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the victims: Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Paul Andre Michels, and Delaina Ashley Yaun.

Photo of Mink courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Honoring Black History Month

Honoring Black History Month

Dear FAV Community,

In honor of Black History Month, I thought it would be appropriate for FAV to emphasize the impact of African American leaders. They represent one third of our Board of Directors, Advisory Council members, Symposium speakers and many of our audiences. FAV strives for diversity in all of its aspects and mirrors our country’s founding motto, E Pluribus Unum, “out of many, one.” To quote Alan Inman on our board of directors, “People need to see themselves in the picture.” Thus, we work hard to ensure that African Americans lead our organization, speak during our programs, and feel welcome at FAV hosted events. We value the struggles and sacrifices made by the African American community in the United States and lock arms with our brothers and sisters to strive for the aspirational goals in our founding documents, that all men (and women) are created equal.

We have a lot going on this month! Don’t wait until March 1st to nominate a community leader for the Lowry Award. Learn more at our website quicklink and inspire others to live up to the values of selfless community service, being willing to work across partisan divides, encouraging volunteerism, and other leadership traits. Learn more by watch this short Lowry Award video or going to our website.

Last month, we congratulated our amazing volunteers during our annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. Congratulations to Tyler Boden, Volunteer of the Year, Aaron Johnson, Runner-up, and Kelly Kehoe, Honorable Mention. These amazing volunteers selflessly contributed hours and hours to ensuring that FAV content & programming delivered the same high quality you have come to expect. They represent the dozens of volunteers who helped make our programs, Symposium, and campaigns successful during the year. We couldn’t do it without them and greatly value their contributions. Read more from this San Clemente Times story.

Subscribe to FAV YouTube channel

Have you enjoyed watching some of our programs on video? Maybe you wanted to attend our recent Digital Detox program, but the timing didn’t work?  Check out the FAV YouTube channel and hit subscribe to stay up-to-date on all of our programs. Every fifth (public) subscriber gets a free FAV T-shirt! (Hint: get four of your family or friends to subscribe and guarantee you get a free T-shirt!) Don’t forget to click the thumbs up icon if you like any of our videos.

Membership Corner

Have you recently joined FAV as a member? Don’t forget all of the great benefits of membership: free attendance at coffee talks and workshops throughout the year, discounted attendance during the annual Symposium, quarterly member updates where you learn about new FAV programs, recognition, and get to ask questions, and much more. Sustaining members ($500 and up) get VIP passes during the Symposium in addition to learning about the impact of their donations, allowing us to produce products like the recent white paper on polarization in the U.S. Learn more at https://firstamendmentvoice.org/join/

FAV bids farewell to Alyx Wells, our membership coordinator. Many of you may have spoken to Alyx on the phone about your membership benefits or upcoming programming. She moves on to a sister nonprofit and will benefit them in amazing ways! We are equally excited to welcome Sydney Lantz. Sydney joins to enhance member benefits and value. Look to hear from her around the time your member renewal is due or to learn about new programming. Reach out at info@firstamendmentvoice.org to ask her a question.

Partner Spotlight

The 20th anniversary of religious freedom in faith-based and government partnerships, an essential cornerstone to advancing religious freedom for BOTH religious organizations and individuals receiving social services funded by the government. If you are interested in running it on First Amendment Voice, let me know: https://irfalliance.org/happy-20th-birthday-to-the-faith-based-initiative/

Reflections on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Reflections on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

FAV Community,

On this day, I reflected about the struggles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights advocates decades ago, realizing how much we have yet to achieve. I recall how even in combat in Iraq, we took time to pause on this day, considering the legacy and our own role furthering it. We compared the sectarian tension in Baghdad and other cities to the racial strife in our own country. Dr. King’s struggle was not just an African American struggle, but one on behalf of all Americans and many others around the world. He helped us inch forward toward the aspirations in our founding documents. I hope that you had time to reflect on the relevance of that struggle, 50 some odd years ago, to our contemporary challenges.

Keep inspiring each other and holding out a hand to your neighbors. During the health and economic crises, turning our attention to others not only brightens their day but brings health benefits to those in service. How appropriate that this day is designated a national day of service. Thank you for being a part of our community and inspiring us to continue on in the march to live up to the ideals of public service and civility.

In honor of Dr. King’s birthday, we take you back a couple of years ago in Philadelphia when we reflected on why our individual voices matter to the contemporary struggles in our country. The speakers represent different generations, ethnicities and perspective, but they all encourage us to live up the FAV motto that “Citizenship is not a Spectator sport.” Enjoy! 


Upcoming Dates

January 21, 11:30am – 12:45pm PST join the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce as they sponsor Digital Detox, facilitated by Steve Miska – Register here (https://www.scchamber.com/events/details/digital-detox-educational-lunchinar-12918 )

January 28, noon – 1pm PST FAV Quarterly Members Update & Volunteer Recognition Ceremony – Register here (https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYud-CgrjkrEtIou00WYC33f3c2poKSJSoW)

What are you thankful for?

What are you thankful for?

FAV colleagues,

Thanksgiving conjures feelings of gratitude. We celebrate this time of year thinking of all we are thankful for, even during hard times like the current health crisis and other challenges. Personally, I have been grateful for the lack of travel during the last eight months. It has offered the opportunity to learn more about my new home town, including co-sponsoring two special Candidate Forums to help voters be more informed at the polls. Over 800 people had a chance to participate live or watch the videos prior to casting their ballots, allowing FAV to live out our tagline that “citizenship is not a spectator sport.” I am grateful to the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce for inviting us to be a co-sponsor.

As an organization, FAV is grateful for our members who invest in our programming to help reach a broader audience. We offered a free Difficult Conversations workshop to members last month. Based on a special request from University of San Diego, we programmed another workshop in December during the student recess. Basic members and above are welcome even if you have participated in Kern’s amazing workshop before. I’ve done it five times, and I’ve learned something every time! Kern leads us on a journey of self-discovery in our relationships and ourselves. Send an email to info@firstamendmentvoice.org to inquire about registration. We’ll let you know if we have a slot or put you on our waiting list.

With Deep Gratitude!

Steve & the FAV Team

Summertime Covid Blues?

Summertime Covid Blues?

FAV Fans,

The virus has returned with a vengeance after most states relaxed restrictions, causing the case numbers and death toll to spike. We will get through this. It reminds me of dark times amidst sectarian violence in Baghdad. The hits kept coming, for servicemembers and the Iraqi people. It seemed like a never-ending spiral of death and violence. In times like this I found that the human spirit needs hope, something to cling to. We need to actively look for the silver lining. Emotionally, the bad experiences seem to weigh on us more than the positive ones boost us. Hope requires a level of activeness, many times achieved through gratitude. Expressing gratitude each day for the blessings we enjoy can lead us back to hope. For many, the losses have been shocking. Reach out to those in grief and help buoy them. Acts of gratitude and empathy will lift your own spirit in the process. Your family and colleagues will appreciate that you did too.

With gratitude,

Steve

Break the Monotony: Become an FAV Member

Break the Monotony: Become an FAV Member

FAV Colleagues,

Are you going stir crazy in your home, sheltering in place? When I was in combat, which seems to be the terminology that politicians on the left and right are using to speak about the pandemic, soldiers found it hard to see daily progress. Each day seemed repetitious with boring tasks interrupted by crises or high octane missions like combat patrols in dangerous areas. Some people may feel that way. Maybe a trip to the grocery store heightens anxiety. Maybe your daily routine seems overly repetitive to the point that so many Zoom meetings can’t solve.

FAV recently introduced a new coffee talk program, Digital Detox, that explores how we are all addicted to technology, many times without our knowledge. Tech firms have used complex neuroscience to engineer addictive qualities into the tools we use in everyday life, whether iPhones, laptops, tablets or even our automobiles. Learn more about the pervasive addictive qualities of technology and how to leverage it for good while minimizing the unhealthy aspects in our lives.

While you’re at it, let FAV help break up the monotony by inspiring you and others to make a difference in your community. Citizenship is not a spectator sport. Become a member during our June membership drive and help us bring programming like Digital Detox to others. Sign up for monthly automatic donations at $10/month or greater, and we’ll send you our new FAV T-shirt. Learn more at https://firstamendmentvoice.org/help-others-findtheirvoice/

Donate here!

Steve & the FAV Team