BOOKS FOR DAD

22 September, 2014

KT TERRY THE POETIC QUEEN SELECTED POET LAUREATE FOR INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR MEN AND BOYS 16 NOVEMBER 2014



            PHILADELPHIA, PA (USA) – 22 SEPTEMBER 2014  -- Playwright, actress, producer, director, songstress, and Founder and Organizer of Homeless Not Hopeless Poets For Change, KT Terry The Poetic Queen has been selected as Poet Laureate for the City of Philadelphia’s observance of the International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys on Sunday, 16 November 2014 at the First Unitarian Church at 2125 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.  The  International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys will launch the observance by 80 nations – including the United States – of International Men’s Day – Wednesday, 19 November 2014 – under the theme, “Working Together For Men And Boys”.  


               In her role as Poet Laureate for the International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys, Ms. Terry will deliver an inspiring poetic narrative she has composed for the observance entitled, “The Foundation For Life Is Love” and perform a song, “You’ve Got The Power”. A passionate stage performer, Ms. Terry is presently touring with the “For Women Collective”, an ensemble of contributing writers of a book which honors the late Nina Simone, an internationally acclaimed songstress, pianist, arranger, Civil Rights activist, and songwriter.   Ms. Terry’s many credits include producing a powerful play, “Olivia”, which premiered in April 2014, penning her first poetry book, “God’s Property”, organizing the annual Homeless Not Hopeless Poets For Change Finale, as well as penning her own personal story in a book entitled, “Story Teller” which is edited and published by Esther Yarrington.  Ms. Terry is the recipient of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for Community Service Citation; 2014 The Spirit Of The Dove’s “Organization of the Year Award”; and the 2014 Authentic Servant Award.


             For further information about Homeless But Not Hopeless Poets and KT Perry The Poetic Queen’s empowering creative projects, send an e-mail to vauntee23@gmail.com or call (610) 259-3687.

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            For further information about the City of Philadelphia’s observance of the International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys on Sunday, 16 November 2014, contact Dr. Sandra Wilks, the City of Philadelphia Coordinator for the International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys at (215) 908-9640.

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21 September, 2014

TRIBUTE TO MANDOLIN SRINIVAS: UMA CHALLA (REPRINTED WITH AUTHOR'S PERMISSION)

On Friday, September 19, 2014, I logged into my Facebook account in the afternoon, to find numerous posts on the demise of Mandolin Srinivas, a child prodigy and an international musical legend. Aside from the many posts hoping that his soul rests in peace, I read several posts which expressed shock and dismay. I read a post which even said the author was unable to get out of bed after hearing the news. Most people felt that the death was premature.

 Having experienced and understood death very closely as a result of losing my father, my son and a brother all within a span of less than five years (2005-2010), death due to old age, ailments, accidents...almost all reasons of death (except murder or suicide) seem very natural to me. Premature death, to me, is if one comes with a "date of expiry" stamped on them, and they die sooner than that date. Incidentally, September 19 happened to be the fourth anniversary of my brother’s demise, who died at the age of 38. So, my perspective on the matter was very clear. Unlike most people who were mourning, what I wanted to know was how Mandolin Srinivas lived. I wanted to know if he lived well, because that’s what would have mattered to him.

 I remembered attending Mandolin Srinivas’ live concert once when he was a ten year old boy and once when he was slightly over twenty. I remember him as a very unassuming, pleasant artist on stage. Except for those two instances, I heard his music mostly through recordings. Like most people, including ardent fans, I never wondered nor bothered to find out what his personal life was like…but on September 19, I did.

 I found a couple of news items which talked about his marriage, which took place in 1994, and fell apart in 1997, following which he fought a legal battle for 15 long years to obtain a divorce. The news articles mentioned that Mandolin Srinivas was subject to “mental cruelty” in the hands of his wife, which was the foundation for the divorce litigation, which eventually concluded in the Supreme Court in 2012. There were references about Srinivas' wife threatening to use the Indian Penal Code and the Dowry Prohibition Act to ensure that he would be sent to prison for at least one day.

 I do not wish to delve into the rest of the allegations by and counter allegations against a departed soul, but what stood out was the fact that for a good 15 years of his life prior to his demise, Mandolin Srinivas was dealing with unpleasantness in marriage, inability to know and build a relationship with his son, and the resultant bitter legal battle. The world of music and Srinivas himself were blessed that he continued to charm us with his unassuming smile and enthralled us with his music even during those difficult years.

 Lakhs of men in India go through identical personal struggles and prolonged legal battles every year. Unfortunately, not all of them have the emotional and spiritual strength, financial ability nor social standing like Srinivas, to help them sail through the rough weather without losing their edge in career nor losing the smile on their face. Lakhs of men live lives of quite desperation, and lakhs of men have given up on the battles, and ended their own lives.

 When I mentioned Srinivas’ personal struggles, a friend said to me, "musicians are soft at heart, and they need to have the mental peace to be able to practice and deliver the best to their profession”. I cannot help asking, “What about the average Joe who is not such a soft heart nor an ace musician, but is still trying to pursue a profession to make ends meet, live a decent life, and take care of himself and his family? I believe that every man deserves mental peace and personal space to do well in whatever he does. I believe that every man deserves more than “shock and dismay” and condolences upon his demise. I wish that everyone would pay more attention to how men they know are living their lives - be it one's father, brother, son, husband, colleague, a favorite movie star or a musical legend - and extend care and support to them when their life gets rough.

 I understand that Srinivas endured emotional pain for several years with amazing spiritual strength. I hope that he was also blessed with enough strength to deal with his physical ailment prior to his demise. Here’s to a gifted soul who filled the world with the nectar of music, and in doing so, attained immortality!

19 September, 2014



P R E S S    R E L E A S E
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


CONTACT:


Ms. Marie Roker-Jones
Founder, Raising Great Men™



MRS. MARIE ROKER-JONES DONS LEADERSHIP MANTLE FOR NEW YORK FOR 2014 INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY


          NEW YORK, NY (USA) – 19 September 2014   – The State of New York will be joining states in 80 nations throughout our global village in observing 2014 International Men’s Day under the theme, “Working Together For Men and Boys” under the leadership of Mrs. Marie Roker-JonesMrs. Roker-Jones, an author, Men’s Issues Thought Leaders, Founder of Raising Great Men™(http://www.goodmenproject.com) and  Senior Editor of Raising Boys for The Good Men Project (www.goodmenproject/author/mrokerjones) has accepted an invitation to serve as the New York (USA) Regional Coordinator for 2014 International Men’s Day.  International Men’s Day will be observed on Wednesday, 19 November 2014.  Inaugurated in 1999 by Jerome Teelucksingh, Ph.D., a Gender Issues Thought Leader, humanitarian, author, and faculty member in the History Department at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, International Men’s Day celebrates the sacrifices and contributions that men make every day to our families, our communities, and world.  It shares a 48-hour partnership with Universal Children’s Day which is celebrated worldwide on 20 November of each year and is endorsed by the United Nations.


               “Mrs. Roker-Jones is no stranger to International Men’s Day.  In observance of 2013 International Men’s Day, through Raising Great Men™, she issued a ‘Call To Action To Women’ to support the emotional and mental well-being of the boys and men in their lives. In addition to launching the ‘Call To Women’, Mrs. Roker-Jones and Raising Great Men ™, hosted a ‘safe space’ for Men on 2013 International Men’s Day – an online ‘space’ that provided Men – particularly Fathers – with an opportunity to address how they wanted to be role models for the Next Generation of Men and to discuss the support they need from the women in their lives in order to be healthy whole men,” remarked Diane A. Sears, USA Coordinator for 2014 International Men’s Day and member of the International Men’s Day Coordination Committee.


            Individuals, institutions, and organizations in New York that are interested in participating in and raising awareness for 2014 International Men’s Day, should contact Mrs. Roker-Jones, the New York (USA) Regional Coordinator by sending an e-mail to: mroker@raisinggreatmen.com.


            For information about International Men’s Day, visit its website at www.imd-global.org.

    For information about Raising Great Men™, contact its founder, Ms. Marie Roker-Jones by sending an e-mail to: mroker@raisinggreatmen.com or visiting http://www.raisinggreatmen.com/


17 September, 2014

WHY THE NEED FOR INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR MEN AND BOYS?: JEROME TEELUCKSINGH, Ph.D.


Thousands of persons on Sunday 16 November 2014 will be observing the First Annual International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys. In the future, thousands more will continue to observe and benefit from this special day. Ms. Diane Sears (member of the IMD Coordination Committee and IMD United States Coordinator) who conceptualized this Annual International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys envisions it as being able to “…bring together religious institutions and religious leaders of all faiths and denominations in a collaborative effort to bring healing to men and boys, their families, and their communities.” Such vision and philosophy is badly needed in a world that is filled with sadness, confusion, pain, destruction and evil.


I cannot boast of being a spiritual or religious person, but I know the power of prayer and respect those who can effectively use prayer to positively transform lives. Some of us will realize that one of the easiest answers to overcome daily challenges is to pray.
Below is a prayer that could be used on 16 November. Anyone is free to use it or modify it t fit their special event.



 A PRAYER FOR MEN AND BOYS


Let us pray for courage and faith to be given to divorced and incarcerated fathers.
Pray for single fathers who struggle to raise a family;
we pray for justice and fair treatment of non-custodial fathers.
We pray that those boys and men with addictions will have the will-power to end their destructive habits;
pray for healing of men who are depressed, physically sick and injured.
Pray for the mentally and physically challenged so they will not feel forgotten and useless.
Let us pray for those men who work in dangerous situations;
we pray for strength for those boys who face peer pressure and bullying.
Let us pray that men will be positive role models and continue building families and communities;
we will keep praying for the peacekeepers to bring lasting peace to our world.
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03 September, 2014

VOICES OF OUR FATHERS


          Of the 7.2 billion souls who occupy this space and place we know as Planet Earth, at least approximately 1 billion souls are Fathers.  They are Our Fathers -- old men, young men, poor men, rich men, homeless men, incarcerated men, wise men, married men, divorced men, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Quakers, Buddhists, and agnostics.   If each of these approximately 1 billion voices – Voices of Our Fathers – were to speak as one voice, what would they tell us?  Would they speak of the dreams they have for Our Children --  the “heart and soul” of the village – and “Emerging Keepers of the Planet”?  And when asked to speak about their dreams – the dreams they had before they became Fathers – dreams they cast aside so that Our Children can have the freedom to dream dreams and transform those dreams into realities that the world can see, feel, hear, and touch, would these approximately 1 billion voices become pensively silent?  Would they urge us to fight against injustice, search for truth, step out on faith, and find the courage to stand in our own truth even if it means we must stand alone?   


             The Voices of Our Fathers remind us of our connectedness to one another and that we are more than mere extensions of them.  Listen as at least 1 billion voices speak as one voice  – urging us to never discount history – our own and the history of others who may not look like us, dress like us, speak the same language that we do, and who may worship differently.  Yes, we may be different.  But it is our differences that make each of us unique.  Differences are to be embraced.  And yet, despite our differences, there is an invisible thread that connects each of the 7.2 billion souls throughout our global village.  We all dream the same dreams; have the same hopes and fears; and experience moments of deep despair and intoxicating jubilation.  .  Our Fathers – at least 1 billion men who are old, young, poor, rich, homeless, incarcerated, wise, married, divorced,   Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Quakers, Hindus, Buddhists and agnostics – with one voice are telling Our Children:  “Transcend the boundaries of religion, ethnicity, politics, language, culture, class, and economics. It is my fervent prayer that you inherit a world that is peaceful . . . compassionate . . .  and economically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually vibrant.  My greatest wish is that you will learn to create your own happiness.  Happiness is something we can only create for ourselves. We cannot and should not rely on others to make us happy.  Find your purpose in life.  Everyone has a purpose --  a reason for being on this space and place we know as Planet Earth.   Make each day better than the day before.”


        For centuries, Our Fathers have quietly and unceremoniously gone about the business of positively shaping the minds and souls of Our Children – our bridge to the future. They elected to remain silent about what they needed and wanted to raise Our Children – a task which has always been daunting.  As we approached the 21st Century something changed.  Married Fathers, Divorced Fathers, Incarcerated Fathers, Custodial Fathers, and Single Fathers took a long look at their reflection in the proverbial mirror and embarked upon a journey to redefine their parental roles and responsibilities.  They spoke aloud about what they needed and wanted to raise the Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers.   But it did not end there. Our Fathers are transforming public policy which is creating equal parenting legislation that gives Fathers equal standing in legal custody battles to obtain full and/or equal physical and joint custody of Our Children.  While this is not the case in the United States, a number of nations provide paid paternity leave to Fathers.   Our Fathers are not just talking about what they need and want, they are going about the business of getting what they need and want to sustain fully functioning family units and empowered communities.  Where programs do not exist which meet their needs, they are creating them. They are staging boycotts against sponsors of television shows that portray them in negative stereotypical roles.  The Voices of Our Fathers – at least 1 billion voices – speak as one about their humanity:  “I am a human being!  I am not an emotionless automaton.  I laugh.  I love.  I hurt.  I cry.  Yes, I shed tears.  But my shedding of tears by no means is a reason to call my masculinity into question.  I am a man.  Respect me.  Respect my humanity.  I will walk through fire if that is what it takes to protect my family.  My children are my reason for being.  I am capable of loving, mentoring, and nurturing my children – even if it means that I must do it alone.”

19 August, 2014

MARKETING PROFESSIONAL TAPPED AS COORDINATOR OF PHILADELPHIA'S OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY OF PRAYER FOR MEN AND BOYS


PHILADELPHIA, PA (USA)19 August 2014 - Native Philadelphian and marketing professional, Mrs. Sandra Wilks, has been tapped to serve as the Coordinator of the International Men's Day of Prayer for Men and Boys for the City of Philadelphia. The International Men's Day of Prayer for Men and Boys which will be observed on Sunday, 16 November 2014 throughout our global village and will launch the worldwide celebration of International Men's Day on Wednesday, 19 November 2014. Eighty nations throughout our global village will celebrate International Men's Day (www.imd-global.org) under the theme, "Working Together For Men and Boys".

  "In times past, religious institutions and religious leaders of all faiths and denominations have played a pivotal role in the strengthening and stabilizing our communities. In the Millennium, religious institutions and religious leaders have a 'key piece of the puzzle' to strengthening families, empowering communities and transforming them into a nurturing, fully functioning, and vibrant oasis. We are calling on Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists to lift their voices in prayer on Sunday, 16 November 2014 for Men and Boys. In Philadelphia, the International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys will be convened and hosted by ‘Ambassador for Peace’ Sam Lackey during his ‘Sunday with Sam ‘ event and observed at the First Unitarian Church at 2125 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 3:00 P.M. through 7:00 P.M. The event ‘s theme will be ‘Thank You for Peace’," Mrs. Wilks remarked.

  For further information about the International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys in the City of Philadelphia, contact Mrs. Wilks at (215) 908-9640 or send an e-mail to: spwilks@hotmail.com.
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17 August, 2014

CALL TO PRAYER FOR OUR SONS, HUSBANDS, FATHERS, GRANDFATHERS, GREAT GRANDFATHERS, UNCLES, BROTHERS, COUSINS AND NEPHEWS.....


            Many of us are members of  what has come to be regarded as one of the last generations of children raised by the village.  It seemed that every adult and every institution made positive contributions to the growth of the village.  Religious institutions and religious leaders were the “center of the universe” for the village.  And the village embraced its religious institutions and religious leaders.   Wisdom comes from all places.  Our religious institutions and religious leaders have “key pieces of the puzzle” to strengthening our families, empowering our communities, and bringing healing to our global village.  This is an observation that is not lost on a number of International Men’s Day Coordinators. 


          International Men’s Day Coordinators have issued a “Call To Prayer”  to religious institutions and religious leaders of all faiths and denominations to engage their congregation in prayer for Men and Boys on the Sunday immediately preceding 2014 International Men’s Day.  We have designated Sunday, 16 November 2014 as International Day of Prayer for Men and  Boys .   We are asking every church, synagogue, mosque, and temple to engage its congregation in prayer for the spiritual, mental and physical well-being of Men and Boys – our sons, fathers, stepfathers, husbands,  fiancĂ©es,  uncles, grandfathers, great grandfathers, brothers, cousins, and nephews.   TheFirst Annual International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys on Sunday, 16 November 2014 will usher in 2014 International Men’s Day (www.imd-global.org).   Individuals, institutions and organizations in 80 nations throughout our global village  will observe International Men’s Day on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 under the theme, “Working Together For Men  And Boys.”  Our religious institutions and religious leaders have a key role to play in helping  to keep Men Boys safe and helping to eradicate some of the key challenges which make it extremely difficult for Men and Boys to live happier, healthier, and longer lives.


           Imagine if you will, the powerfulness of 7.1 billion souls who occupy the space and place we know as Planet Earth -- of all faiths and denominations --  lifting their voices in prayers of thanksgiving for the Men and Boys in our lives and for the selfless sacrifices and valuable contributions that Men quietly and unceremoniously make to our families, our communities, ,and our world – every day.    What if on Sunday, 16 November 2014 – the International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys --  Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists throughout our global village embarked on a journey to work together in a loving and collaborative spirit  to end Fatherlessness, gender wars, homelessness, intolerance,, poverty, hunger, and violence? 


         The International Men’s Day of Prayer for Men and Boys is a call for peace; it is a call for bringing hope to the hopeless.


It is a call for transforming our spiritually, psychologically and emotionally toxic communities into a loving, nurturing, and spiritually vibrant  oasis.  


It is a call to end the “school-to-prison” pipeline. 


It is a call to end the rising suicide rate of Men and Boys. 


It is a call to level the educational playing field for boys and put an end to boys – Our Sons – the Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, and Fathers being arbitrarily misdiagnosed as “behavior problems” and “unteachable”,  placed on Ritalin or other psychotropic medications, and warehoused in Special Education Classes.  


It is a call to end the rising high school dropout rate among Our Sons. 


It is call to end the violence that plagues our communities and prematurely snuffs out the lives of Men and Boys. 


It is a call to provide Boys and Men with real-life options. 


It is a call to bring spiritual, emotional, and psychological healing  to our families, our communities, and our global village. 


It is a call for understanding – an understanding that each of the 7.1 billion souls who occupy this space and place we know as Planet Earth are connected to one another.  And an understanding that  we all live in grave peril if we are not working to keep Men and Boys safe.