Sunday, July 20, 2014

Repost - Tazi's Corner #70 - Honoring Nelson Mandela

Ed. Note: In honor of Nelson Mandela Day, which occured this past week, Tazi. is reposting this article.

Dear Readers,

This week, I have seen an outpouring of love and support in the memory and commemoration of human rights leader Nelson Mandela, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 95. My question to those who have posted quotes from Mandela, RIP messages, and sympathies for the loss to the world is this: So what are you going to do now? 

To say that Nelson Mandela was a giant for human rights and racial equality in a gross understatement, but the only words I know that can express his importance to the world. Over the course of his lifetime, Mandela made sacrifices that made him both a living martyr and a saint to the causes he supported. He leaves behind a legacy of greatness in his humility and his shoes will be nigh on impossible to fill. This does not mean that we should not try, though. So I ask again, what are you going to do now?

Does the legacy of Nelson Mandela inspire you to stand up to injustice in any way that makes you even slightly uncomfortable? Does it inspire you to stand up to hate speech - even if your boss is the one making hateful comments? Does it inspire you to break ties with companies that suppress their employee wages in favor of higher stock returns for their investors - even if it means paying a higher price for your consumer goods at another store or local small business? Does the legacy of Nelson Mandela make you want to better yourself by making the hard sacrifices that the short-term requires in order to make your world a better place in the long-run? And if this legacy does inspire you to do any of this, will you actually commit to doing it? Or will you remain complacent within the confines of your comfort zone?

To follow is a short list of the simple ways you can make a difference in the life of someone who is oppressed:

1. Commit to volunteering once a week at a local soup kitchen. If you can afford it, bring a small donation of cash or food with you every time you go there. Save your loose change and donate what's collected by the end of the week.

2. Go through your closets and look for business attire that you do not wear. Donate it to a program like Dress for Success. Once a season,  go to the department stores and search for business attire on clearance; buy it and donate it. (Mommie and I once donated a brand new ladies' business suit that we found on sale at J.C. Penney for only $9.98! It didn't look right on either of us, but it looked great on the recipient).

Tan is not my color...

3. Are you handy around the house? Habitat for Humanity is always in need of regular volunteers to help build homes for those in need of quality, low-income housing. Grab your tools and offer a donation of your time and talents!

4. Is there a human rights issue that sticks in your craw? Start a petition, directed at your government representatives, to fight for change! If you have an Internet connection, you don't even have to leave the comfort of your own home - will administrate for you, but you will need to be vocal! Email your petition to all of your contacts, explain to them why the issue is important to you and ask them to petition others to build momentum! Spread the word via social media - if you don't use sites like Twitter and Facebook, start with this project!

5. Can you do math without a calculator? Many school-age children cannot, and struggle with basic concepts like multiplication tables and fractions. Talk to your local school board representative and see if there are programs where you could volunteer your skills as a tutor.

6. Is there a prison or juvenile detention facility in your community? Look into working as a mentor for a non-violent offender. Many correctional facilities have pre-release programs, which have been shown to cut recidivism rates, and are desperate for qualified volunteer mentors.

To often, people fail in life and at life because they believe that nobody cares about them; without a helping hand, those failures start to oppress and in time become overwhelming. The difference you choose to make by your actions or inaction will matter to someone - work to make that difference a positive one by making an effort to affect positive change. The life you change may be your own, as well!

Nelson Mandela was more than a man who cared - he was a man who cared with a passion, and who took steps to express that passion! Do not dishonor his memory by quoting his words while failing to follow his example in your actions.


Rest now in peace and know that others will continue your journey for you

Nelson Mandela
1918 - 2013

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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