SOCIAL justice

Sustainability is very important to me but I wonder if it comes at a cost.

I listened to this awesome lecture by Charlotte Gerson, the healthy 88 year old with no doctor and no problems, thanks to her vegan diet. I totally agree with everything she talked about but it really made me wonder about a few things. Really, the only thing that goes against my beliefs are social outings. By that I mean, generally, I don’t eat out, except when with friends. I don’t use disposable cutlery/cups except at parties. I don’t go to malls, except with people. In her lecture, Charlotte says she NEVER goes out to restaurants. She NEVER does anything harmful to her body (putting bad processed substances in) and I can’t help but wonder if it is becasue she is old and doesn’t have to follow social conduct as much.

Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with people, I just wonder if we could all be happy and healthy together without harming the planet. Can we fight for social justice and be sociable?

Post Secret LIVE

CIRCA FALL 2010

Wow it’s been a while. I’ve had so much going on in my life lately and i’m so grateful to have all of this activity accessible to me!

One special experience I should blog about was my attendance at the UBC PostSecret Event. I got to see Frank Warren, the founder of post secret speak. It was pretty cool because I had actually looked into having him come speak at SFU but after looking at the cost involved decided it wasn’t feasible. We ended up with front row seats, which believe me were RIGHT in the front. I had to look up at the stage! Awesome.

The first thing Frank asked was if anyone had sent in a post secret. I proudly raised my hand and he asked me to share how it felt “awesome”. For that he gifted me a copy of the latest Post Secret book (and the only one missing from my collection) Confessions on Life, Death, and God. Yayyy! He shared some of the secret secrets with us and told a few stories. Time went so fast, I didn’t want it to end! Before he opened the mic to allow people to share their secrets he turned to me once again. These was a secret message written inside the front cover of my book that he asked me to stand up and share with the theatre.

The world needs to hear your voice.

After the presentation Frank was there to sign books and meet people. He told me that he gives out a book at every event and it usually has some special meaning or importance in the person’s life. At the time it filled my desire to contribute to the presentation (not having a secret to share at the mic but instead getting to share my special message with the room), but I must since since him mentioning that it’s become a bit of self fulfilling prophecy. It’s been lingering in the back of my mind and forcing me to speak up.

Afterward we went to eat at one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants, The Naam! Highly recommended, I love the bohemian vibe : )

Telling our secrets to Frank : )

Telling our secrets to Frank, the most trusted stranger (in the world?) : )

Raise you voice,speak up. The world need you hear you : )

XOXO

Jenni

Let’s Talk KONY 2012

If you haven’t seen it yet please watch the KONY 2012 video. You don’t have to agree with it, or support Invisible Children, but I think everyone should watch it to at least be able to contribute to the conversation.

Some people have responded to the KONY 2012 video (and there are many more but these are the ones that stood out to me):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wLCagapv38g http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J2P4Diu-TM&feature=related

Invisible Children has responded to their critics in writing and in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQABpjCalJk

And to the response to their KONY 2012 Video:

First I would like to write about Joseph Kony.

Now I think it is one thing to break a law and be punished for it. I think that all laws are debatable. In some countries some laws take away human rights (often specifically relating to freedom in relation to gender and sexuality) so I don’t think the law should be the final word in any situation… however, according to the video, Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court. According to their website:

The International Criminal Court (ICC), governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The ICC is an independent international organisation, and is not part of the United Nations system. Its seat is at The Hague in the Netherlands. Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC/About+the+Court/

Their website also has an update on what it calls the “Situation in Uganda”:

The case The Prosecutor v. Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen is currently being heard before Pre-Trial Chamber II. In this case, five warrants of arrest have been issued against [the] five top members of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). Following the confirmation of the death of Mr Lukwiya, the proceedings against him have been terminated. The four remaining suspects are still at large.

http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC/Situations+and+Cases/

I think it makes sense that if many countries and their international court agree that someone should go to trial, then it is worth following up on. One thing I have heard some critics of the KONY 2012 video say is that Joseph Kony is evil and should be punished. I disagree. I do not think anyone is evil. I think all beings deserve love and respect and compassion – for if I were to deny these basic things to Joseph Kony, I would only be perpetuating the terrible allegations that have been committed in his name. I am not saying that I agree with his actions, or that I think the acts committed by the LRA should be condoned – however I think it is possible to still love someone, and know that they may have made a mistake or have done wrong.

Secondly I would like to write about the KONY 2012 video itself and some of the allegations and criticisms of it.

I disagree that the video proposes a simple solution, I think that the video presents one step in reaching a goal. Much like other activist campaigns that target small milestones on the road to an end goal (in this case: INVISIBLE CHILDREN USES FILM, CREATIVITY AND SOCIAL ACTION TO END THE USE OF CHILD SOLDIERS IN JOSEPH KONY’S REBEL WAR AND RESTORE LRA-AFFECTED COMMUNITIES IN CENTRAL AFRICA TO PEACE AND PROSPERITY). I love that IC has a very clear and specific goals and I really like the way they are so good at empowering people by giving them a common goal and realistic ways to contribute that everyone can be part of. It’s an interesting experiment on social change. As a North American Citizen, apart from sending US or Canadian military (which are not purely conflict based – I used to be very opposed to anything related to the military but I have learned that they also are a valuable civil service – helping when there are floods or hurricanes etc.. in Canada anyway), I can’t think of any other actions me and my government could take to end this conflict. I don’t think that in itself, tweeting a message, sharing a video or sending an e-mail can end a major world conflict, however I think it is important to make supporters a part of a movement. These small acts of sharing information can contribute to major shifts in priorities and thinking for individuals. I know my life changed the first time I saw a video from Invisible Children (which I found via Pete Wentz btw several years ago). Some people have said the video is creating more war and conflict. I don’t know how to end a war. I don’t know the right answer here. I do know that whatever action has been taken in the past 25 years has not been effective, because there is still a war… so I think a new approach may be necessary. Maybe instead of trying to end war, we should be trying to create peace. Even in this case though, I think the two are very inter-related. I think it will be much easier to create peace when the LRA is disarmed and no longer causing children to do terrible things.

I read many articles calling supporters of KONY 2012 young and idealistic. So? Join the party.

So do i support KONY 2012? I don’t have a problem with spreading information and creating conversations about Joseph Kony. I think the more people that think about the well being of others and the world we are creating the better. Love it, hate it, as long as you are thinking and engaged I think that is extremely valuable. Maybe you think Invisible Children is using the wrong tactics targeting policy makers and celebrities. Maybe you or someone you share the video with will have a better idea of how to create peace. I think that is the power of video, it can inspire other ideas and actions.

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with people being critical of the video or of Invisible Children. In fact I love that. I think critical thought, questioning, sharing ideas, and making informed choices. I think if everyone was more critical Kony probably wouldn’t have had enough followers to start and continue to build a child soldier army in the first place. And being critical doesn’t always mean supporting the social justice or “left-wing” side of things. I think being critical is about looking at both sides of an issue and deciding what is right for one’s self. Perhaps education is the way to support critical thinking – perhaps we should support building school in developing countries a la the world’s largest network of children helping children or other groups… but when I reflect on my own life I am not sure that the current school system in most countries supports this. Sitting and learning from a book or a teacher isn’t engaging in critical thought in my opinion. Maybe I should be trying to create the next generation of critical independent researchers…. I really don’t know (nor do I think there is) a “right answer” here.

I do know that my involvement with invisible children (like this, this, this and this) gave me something to belong to. I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself, and I was. I have connected with other people as a result of past work with IC, and on several dark evenings I was not so alone in the world. So I am going to keep creating conversations about Kony. Maybe it will inspire someone to come up with a way to create peace, who knows. Everything is connected.

See you on April 20th.

UPDATE:

I have started this post several times and the situation keeps changing almost more quickly than I can keep up with. You may have heard that there are some allegations again Invisible Children founder, Jason Russell. IC released this responce video:

This message was released on behalf on Jason’s Family:

“Thank you to everyone concerned with Jason and his health. Jason has dedicated his adult life to this cause, leading up to KONY 2012. We thought a few thousand people would see the film, but in less than a week, millions of people around the world saw it. While that attention was great for raising awareness about Joseph Kony, it also brought a lot of attention to Jason—and, because of how personal the film is, many of the attacks against it were also very personal, and Jason took them very hard.

Let us say up front- that Jason has never had a substance abuse or drinking problem, and this episode wasn’t caused by either of those things. But yes, he did some irrational things brought on by extreme exhaustion. On our end- the focus remains only on his health, and protecting our family. We’ll take care of Jason, you take care of the work.

The message of the film remains the same: stop at nothing.”

-Jason’s wife on behalf of the Russell Family

I think Jason is human, and I wish him and his family all the best.

I think Angsty Music Makes Me More Angsty

Circa February 2012:

This past weekend I went to see some of my favourite bands play downtown – ALL TIME LOW! Mariana’s Trench, These Kids Wear Crown… oh and the headliner Simple Plan. I mainly went to see the openers and I was really excited to enjoy the mosh pit and throw myself into other people for a few hours.

It was super squishy at the beginning – we were almost like an ocean the way the whole crowd swayed together – literally leaning on one another during ATL. I was glad that a bunch of girls actually started a pretty wicked mosh pit during Simple Plan’s set. I got my wish! Yay! I love it when dreams come true : )

MT was pretty awesome! They had glitter! And I love how harmonic their music is. And Simple Plan has been around for a really long time so it was nice to know so many of their songs.

At the very end they played one of their really old songs, perfect:

And do you think I’m wasting my time doing things I wanna do?
But it hurts when you disapprove all along

– Perfect, SImple Plan

I find this song awkward. I feel uncomfortable singing song of the lyrics. Maybe it’s because to me they represent an awkward phase of life… those angsty teenage years… Anywho this one really hit me. I was sitting at the back of the floor enjoying a full view of the stage, and I cried. Well almost. My eyes got all watery and my face was all screwed up. Anyways, I was very sad, but very grateful at the same time. And I think it is totally valid to feel these things and need to express them – I have written my fair share of things like this – but I can’t help but wonder if these types of songs influence the world in a negative direction.

Recently a friend of mine in Sociology was telling me that some research says that in cultures where suicide is talked about more often there are higher rates of suicide. I wonder if music describing sad themes is the same way.

And now i’m all excited to see Ingrid Michelson next month!

These Kids Wear Crowns: A Personal Invitation to SFU LipDub

Dear These Kids Wear Crowns,

My name is Jenni Rempel and I am an Assistant Director on the SFU LipDub project. I am personally writing this letter to you to invite you to participate in the SFU LipDub – tomorrow, March 14th in the evening.

I know this is fairly short notice, however I until a few hours ago I was under the impression that you were still in Australia on tour. Given that you are just a hop, skip (or a jump?) away from Burnaby Mountain I think it would be super cool if you would come out and support our event. I have been involved in this project for two years now and it would really be a dream come true to see it come to life in the most amazing way possible.

I understand that SFU LipDub has legally acquired the rights to use the song “Jumpstart” by These Kids Wear Crowns in our LipDub Music Video. One of our producers has just informed me that previous requests for you to attend the SFU LipDub were denied because you thought it was unfair to other groups that have used your songs in their videos.

I think you should attend the SFU LipDub for a few reasons. Unlike other projects, I have been working on the SFU LipDub for two years. This substantial time commitment speaks to the amount of effort and the large scale of this project, run entirely by unpaid volunteers. Also, the whole thing is a fundraiser for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and it would be really amazing if we could raise the profile of this event benefitting the community. Furthermore, unlike many other groups who make online videos, SFU LipDub has actually gone through all the ropes to legally acquire the rights to the song instead of stealing it or using it without permission.

Apart from the huge benefits to SFU Students and the Food Bank, you may be wondering how this will benefit you personally. The SFU LipDub is great opportunity for you to get exposure to a huge audience. There will be hundreds of students, well connected university students, with hundreds of friends who would be ready and willing to promote These Kids Wear Crowns. These students could “like” the band’s Facebook page, follow the band on twitter, request them on the radio, buy their songs and more! As if that isn’t enough, I volunteer to personally call all the radio stations in BC to request they play These Kids Wear Crowns! I will bake you cupcakes! You can even be invited to our after party!

Anywho, if you happen to receive this request it would be wonderful if you could contact myself or any other member of the lipdub team. My personal cell phone number is 604.230.4936 and my e-mail is jenni.rempel@gmail.com. You can also contact our Associate Producer Manjot Badesha by phone at 778.859.6074 or by e-mail at manjot@sfulipdub.com

Thank you very much, Alex, Alan, Matt, Joe, Josh and “Gypsy”.

 

With Hopeful Optimism,

Jenni Rempel

Assistant Director

SFU LipDub

604.230.4936

jennir@sfu.ca

 

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

There are many reasons I love having short hair. Saving water is a big one. I can shower in under a minute! And it is so fast to style! And it doesn’t get in my face! And I can make it cool colors and change it as often as I please. And I think when I spike it up there is something really sexy and badass about it. It’s good to be back! : )
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Woofs of Wisdom

I went to a storytelling event. It was really amazing to hear all of the stories… There was sadness, happiness, and mystery in all of them.

The biggest thing I took away was not from a story though – it was from the dog. When I was younger I was afraid of dogs. It took me a long time to get comfortable with dogs but now I am often the person a dog will spend most of the night getting rubs from. I like to think it’s because I am vegan.

Usually when I am with an animal ( dog, cat… any animal) I try to lure it closer to me, to sit on my lap or next to where I am sitting. I realized that instead of trying to force the dog to sit by me, I could move to accommodate the dog. And I did. I got to sit in a new place and discover something new. By listening I find that I can discover so much : )

Simple Shoes

I’m so sad that one of my idol companies Simple Shoes has gone out of business! I was planning to wait until my old sneakers got holes in them to buy some but I wanted to make sure I got some before they became unavailable. I ordered these from Moo Shoes and they came quite quickly.

PS: I feel like i’m walking on air… must be the recycle tire sole hehe.

PSS: I think the next best thing would be adbusters shoes. Check em out!

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