Wolf Hollow

Well, I finished my #43 birthday list with a week to spare. #44 commences on December 1. I still have to report on eight items from #43, one of which is: Wolf Hollow.

Wolf Hollow is a wolf sanctuary north of Boston. I’ve been wanting to visit it for years, so I’m glad to have finally made it there. Visitors sit on benches and listen to a one-hour presentation about wolves while watching about six wolves wander around and interact with other staff. I was hoping to be closer to the wolves, but I understand that the several layers of fencing between visitors and the wolves is there to protect both parties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wolves were so comfortable with the staff that they acted like dogs! The staff rubbed their bellies and stroked their backs. The presenter said that if you found yourself facing a wolf, it would not attack you. (Unless you provoked it.) I also learned that there are no wolves in the Northeast. (Unless they visit from Canada or other parts of the U.S.) Wolf populations were decimated by humans over the years and many types of wolves have been on the endangered species list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the presentation ended, visitors could visit two other wolf “packs” in separate enclosures. This allowed us to get a closer look at the beautiful creatures. Thanks to Wolf Hollow for educating the public and taking good care of the wolves!

 

 

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Stride Toward Freedom

After seeing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice speak a few months ago, I decided it was time to start reading MLK’s books. I have always loved his famous quotes, so I knew I would love any of his books.

I started with Strive Toward Freedom, his account of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and 1956. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to. I didn’t think it was possible for me to revere him more than I did…well, I do now, after reading in detail what he and his colleagues accomplished and lived through during the boycott.

Courtesy of wikipedia.org

He and his wife, Coretta, met while they were both studying in Boston. He had job offers in the North after graduation, but he and Coretta decided they would be of more service in their native South. He became pastor of a church in Montgomery, Alabama, and immediately got involved in several civic groups to tackle segregation.

The arrest of Rosa Parks sparked the bus boycott. MLK and his colleagues decided it was time “to refuse to cooperate with an evil system.” First they convinced black taxi drivers to charge the bus fare on their routes. When they were told about a law that limited taxis to a minimum fare, they mobilized 300 volunteer drivers and set up an entire system of pick-up and drop-off points around the city.

They hired staff to oversee the car pool and had community meetings regularly to keep people informed. At these meetings, MLK and his colleagues stressed the importance of non-violent resistance. He and his colleagues met with city officials to talk about their demands: courteous service, seating first come, first served, and hiring of black drivers for routes in black neighborhoods.

The city wasn’t having any of it, so it started arresting people, including MLK, and declared boycotting to be illegal. MLK and his colleagues received threatening phone calls and letters day and night. MLK’s house was bombed.

I won’t explain any further because I want you to have some surprises when you read the book. But, in short, it was an uphill battle for blacks but they prevailed. As November 6 approaches, I will leave you with some quotes from the book’s conclusion:

“In short, this crisis has the potential for democracy’s fulfillment or fascism’s triumph; for social progress or retrogression.”

“This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for rigorous and positive action.”

Pursuing Justice from a Place of Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

A friend and I saw Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest child, Bernice, speak at the Boston Public Library as part of the Lowell Institute Lecture Series. Like her father, she is a minister, as well as being CEO of the King Center.

She inherited her father’s mesmerizing speaking skills. She started out by encouraging the audience to visit the new Legacy Museum and Memorial that just opened in Montgomery, Alabama. I had heard a little about the lynching memorial, but I made a promise to myself to really read about it and the museum. She then launched into her (and her father’s) philosophy of nonviolence to create social change.

A theme she repeated a few times was that justice must come from a place of love, not anger and retaliation. She quoted her father’s work and explained that when he had the idea for the bus boycott, his goal was not to shut down the bus company, but to infuse justice INTO the bus company.

I asked myself multiple times during her talk, “Is MLK Jr. rolling in his grave, knowing that 50 years later, we are still failing at combating racism?” His hope that his four children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin is still a hope and nowhere near a reality.

I haven’t read any of MLK Jr.’s books, but hearing her quote from them, I am eager to read them. I’ll start at the beginning, with Stride Toward Freedom.

Even though King barely knew her father (she was five years old when he was assassinated), she seems to share his passion for this crucial social justice work.

 

 

Sea Turtles

I visited a friend in West Palm Beach, FL, last month, and we went to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, an animal hospital for injured sea turtles.

The turtles were massive and adorable. Many of them were there because they had gotten tangled in boat equipment or been attacked by sharks. We saw one turtle being moved from the hospital to a tank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a museum section that featured information about the sea turtles. I had no idea that only one out of thousands of sea turtle babies make it to adulthood.

This is a super-cool nonprofit and I’m so glad that I was able to visit it.

 

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

I’m reporting on the birthday list out of order because of a sense of urgency.

One week ago, I participated in the Boston Women’s March for America. Although I participated in a small march for water justice for the birthday list years ago, this march is going on this year’s list. It was a rally AND a march…and I have never been to a rally and a march with 175,000+ other people!

I attended with a group of friends. We arrived about an hour before the start of the rally. We were pretty far back, so once more people arrived and filled in, we couldn’t see the stage. But we were able to hear all of the motivational speeches by our mayor, senators, and local human rights advocates and community members.

Boston Women's March for America

An hour before the start of the rally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t put into words what the experience felt like. If I were forced to, I would say it was peaceful, positive, and purposeful. There were people of all ages, gender identities, and nationalities. Many of the signs that people were carrying made us laugh out loud in solidarity. The event organizers were not prepared for the number of people in attendance, so we waited in a logjam for two hours before approaching the start of the march route.

Boston Women's March for America

Waiting in the logjam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The march was great because people were yelling chants into bullhorns to encourage us to use our voices. One of my favorites was “This is what democracy looks like!” By the time we reached the halfway mark of the 1.5 mile route, my friends and I had been on our feet for six hours. Hungry and tired, we peeled off and headed home.

Boston Women's March for America

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing that there were 700+ marches taking place around the world made me feel even more empowered and hopeful. There are millions of people who care about equality for all. As one of the speakers said, “There are more of us than there are of them.”

Boston Women's March for America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I completed the first of 10 actions for the first 100 days. I sent postcards to my senators, writing about which causes I care most about and why. Join me!

 

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