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First Lady Michelle Obama To Governors: ‘Let’s Act‘ On Obesity

Posted by: Audiegrl

First lady Michelle Obama applauds the spouses of the nation's governors as she begins her address on childhood obesity at the at the start of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

First Lady Michelle Obama applauds the spouses of the nation's governors as she begins her address on childhood obesity at the at the start of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(AP)~~First lady Michelle Obama appealed to governors on Saturday for help in reducing child obesity and said they had a moral and financial imperative to act.

She praised states for their steps already and assured state leaders that the federal government had no interest in taking over their efforts.

Let’s stop wringing our hands and talking about it and citing statistics,” she told governors at their winter meeting. “Let’s act. Let’s move. Let’s give our kids the future they deserve.”

The first lady found a high-powered audience to make the case for her new campaign on obesity. One in three American children is overweight or obese, a condition that raises their risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other illnesses.

Obama sought support from leaders of both parties and made sure to respect the influence of the states.

The way I see this, there is nothing Democratic or Republican, there is nothing liberal or conservative about wanting our kids to lead active, healthy lives,” she said. “There’s no place for politics when it comes to fighting childhood obesity. And I know all of you agree.”

The first lady’s campaign has four parts: helping parents make better food choices, serving healthier food in school vending machines and lunch lines, making healthy food more available and affordable, and encouraging children to exercise more.

In talking to the governors, she emphasized the importance of empowering parents who feel helpless because they don’t feel they have the time, money or information to provide healthy meals or safe places to exercise.

First Lady Michelle Obama is greeted by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III, as she is introduced to speak at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

First Lady Michelle Obama is greeted by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III, as she is introduced to speak at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Mindful that the governors face economic crises in their states, Obama said the obesity solutions need not be expensive. She encouraged them to take steps such as providing access at school ball fields to the community at nights, or requiring the construction of sidewalks when new roads are being built.

Comprehensive and coordinated doesn’t mean centralized,” she added. “I’ve spoken to so many experts on this issue and not a single one of them has said that the solution is for the federal government to tell people what to do. That doesn’t work.”

The governors are trying to find political solutions to soaring health care costs as President Barack Obama seeks to do the same. Michelle Obama said the money crunch cannot be solved without addressing child obesity.

If we think our health care costs are high now, just wait until 10 years from now and think about the many billions we’re going to be spending then,” she said. “Think about how high those premiums are going to be when our kids are old enough to have families of their own and businesses of their own.”


Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under Barack Obama, Change, Childhood Obesity, Children, Culture, Democrats, First Lady Michelle Obama, Government, Governors, Health, History, Independents, News, Obama Administration, Politics, Pop Culture, Presidents, Republicans, States, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, US, Women's Issues, Young Men, Young Women

44-D Book Diaries with Audiegrl: Susan L. Taylor’s All About Love

Today’s interview features Susan L. Taylor, discussing her profoundly inspirational and thought-provoking book, All About Love: Favorite Selections from ‘In The Spirit’ on Living Fearlessly.

All About Love is a gathering of Susan’s favorite In the Spirit essays, as well as the favorites of many Essence readers. Several themes reoccur ~ finding harmony with ourselves and others; shedding the old skin of anger and bitterness; opening the heart and soul fully to love; wealth building and abundance; commitment to personal and social change; strengthening our families and communities; and primarily, keeping faith and finding the face of God in all our challenges. These are the principals and values that embody the wisdom Susan tries to live each day.

Susan L. Taylor is synonymous with Essence magazine, the brand she built—as its fashion and beauty editor, as editor-in-chief and editorial director. For 27 years she authored of one of the magazine’s most popular columns, In the Spirit. For nearly three decades, as the driving force behind one of the most celebrated Black-owned businesses of our time, Susan Taylor is a legend in the magazine publishing world.

She was the first and only African-American Woman to be recognized by the Magazine Publishers of America with the Henry Johnson Fisher Award—the industry’s highest honor—and the first to be inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame. She is the recipient of the NAACP President’s Award for visionary leadership and has honorary degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities.

A fourth-generation entrepreneur, Susan grew up in Harlem working with her father in his women’s clothing store. She founded her own cosmetics company, a first for Black women, which led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence. She is the author of four books: In the Spirit: The Inspirational Writings of Susan L. Taylor; Lessons in Living; Confirmation: The Spiritual Wisdom That Has Shaped Our Lives, which she coauthored with her husband, Khephra Burns; and her most recent, All About Love, Favorite Selections from In the Spirit on Living Fearlessly. She is a much sought-after speaker, inspiring hope and encouraging us to reclaim our lives and create sustainable communities.

AG: Susan, start by telling our readers about All About Love.

ST: These writings are my and Essence readers favorite “In the Spirit” columns, which I have rewritten and deepened. Essentially, they are to help us remember that we are not weak or incomplete, but more than enough. We are human and divine and with our mind, we can create the joyful, peaceful and prosperous life God created us to have. All About Love is our encouragement to cast off negativity, doubt or fear–they grow when we give them power–and keep on stepping toward our goals and plans with walk-on-water faith.

AG: What inspired you to create this collection of essays?

ST: For years, Essence readers have been asking me to compile the ones that have been most helpful to them in a single volume. I also wanted to be able to read the ones that are most meaningful to me, the truths that have saved my life and that I must remember and practice to keep balance and inner peace at the center of my crazy-busy life.

AG: You founded a mentoring program called National CARES Mentoring Movement. Can you tell us about this project and what motivated you to create it?

ST: This is the painful truth we can no longer avoid addressing: Of all African-American births, 6.6 percent are to girls under the age of 18. Among our children, 58 percent of Black 4th graders are functionally illiterate. In some cities, nearly 80 percent of Black boys aren’t finishing high school.

Everyday more than a thousand Black children are arrested. One in every eight Black men between the ages of 25 and 29 is incarcerated, and the leading cause of death for our Black boys is homicide. What I and people all over the country are saying is, “Hell no! Not on our watch.” Millions of our young are in peril and the negative forces claiming them–the mothers and fathers of our tomorrows–are more powerful than our community’s or country’s effort to secure them. The goal of the National Cares Mentoring Movement is to put a caring and loving adult in the life of every vulnerable child and to increase the rate of high school graduation among Black youngsters by 10 percent annually. Now there are 22 cities at various stages of launching local movements. Already in operation are Atlanta Cares Mentoring Movement, Chicago Cares, Memphis Cares, Baltimore Cares, and the fearless brothers of MADD DADS are organizing the state of Florida.

AG: Being the “face” of Essence magazine for a number of years, you left the magazine to work on building the National Cares Mentoring Movement. Was this a difficult decision for you?

ST: It’s time for the next generation to take the reigns of Essence. They are energized, well trained and hard working. At times we older ones hold on too long. I did what I came to Essence to do; my 37 years there have seasoned me well. Now I’m ready for the heavy lifting, for even tougher, mightier work–linking arms and aims with the many caring people throughout the nation who have a passion for justice and understand that neither public policy nor political will is going to rescue our young and that this is our call to commitment, Black people’s work to do.

AG: What are your long-term goals for the National CARES Mentoring Movement?

ST: Oprah Winfrey put out the call for one million people to sign on to mentor. She devoted a show to the National CARES Mentoring Movement and ran it twice within a month. This gave the movement a tremendous life. Mentoring costs nothing and saves lives. We asking every able, stable Black person to devote four hours a month in a one-to-one mentoring relationship, or to with a group of friends mentor a number of youngsters–say those in a group home. Not only do mentees benefit, mentors grow in ways that are immeasurable.

The long-term goal, is ending the carnage in our communities, the over-incarceration of our young and turning every failing public school into a top-tier, safe learning environment that young people want to be a part of. Also, the leaders of the four national Baptist convention, that together have over 16 million congregants, have agreed to encourage churches to open their doors after school and enlist retired teachers to offer homework help, and on Saturdays for the accurate teaching of our history. We need our women and men to organize their congregations in churches, temples and mosques to do this critical work. This is the overarching goal.

National CARES Mentoring MovementAG: Where can our readers find more information on joining this movement?

ST: Readers can log on to National CARES Mentoring Movement for more information and to sign up to mentor. Just enter your zip code and a list of mentoring opportunities in your area will appear on the screen. Select one that appeals to you, investigate it and sign on.

AG: Are you working on any other upcoming projects?

ST: I am working on a healing and stress-reducing meditation CD. And a book about how we sisters and brothers can build solid lasting relationships is in my heart. All of my work is in synergy. We need inner peace and we need to get along with one another in order to secure the children and rebuild our communities. Peace and love begin in our individual hearts and homes, then we can live and build together well. We have to practice forgiveness and non-judgment every day. This is the most difficult and most necessary walk we humans must take. The most revolutionary thing we Black folks can do is learn to love one another.

AG: Name one thing that the world does not know about Susan L. Taylor~the person?

ST: Many folks think I have it all together all the time. Life is a school room, and I am learning how to listen to my life and my own intuition. When I don’t, things fall apart, I get depressed, lose faith and suffer. Them I turn to a wisdom book, or someone who helps me remember this: Magnify God, not the perceived obstacle. We combine with whatever we focus on. “God’s ways are ingenious; God’s methods are sure.” Each day I’m learning to trust God more and more.

Please visit the National CARES Mentoring Movement website and watch Susan and Oprah discuss the movements inspirational success stories.

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Dan Brown’s New Book, 2012 – Are You Ready for the Consciousness Shift?

dan-brown-lost-symbol-420x0Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman Ph.D.—Like The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s new book, The Lost Symbol, is creating controversy. This time it’s about what’s real and what’s not in his interpretations of the many mysterious symbols that are in our nation’s capitol. Were our founding fathers, who carefully designed and placed these mystical symbols, trying to tell us something? (They were Freemasons whose motto is ordo ab chao or “order out of chaos“.) Are Brown’s descriptions of noetic science (exploring the nature and potentials of consciousness) and quantum-indeterminate electronic noise REGS (Random Event Generators) fact or fiction? Are his assertions true that existing organizations had “categorically proven that human thought, if properly focused had the ability to affect and change physical mass” and that “our thoughts actually interacted with the physical world, whether or not we knew it, effecting change all the way down to the subatomic realm?

noeticscienceBrown states in The Lost Symbol that in the hours following the horrifying events of September 11, 2001 the field of noetic science made a quantum leap forward in proving a connection between science and mysticism and bringing order out of chaos. “Four scientists discovered that as the frightened world came together and focused in shared grief on this single tragedy, the outputs of thirty-seven different Random Event Generators around the world suddenly became significantly less random. Somehow, the oneness of this shared experience, the coalescing of millions of minds, had affected the randomizing function of these machines, organizing their outputs and bringing order form chaos.” His fictional character Trish talks about “software that quantifies the nation’s emotional state.” Brown goes on. His fictional scientist Katherine “created beautifully symmetrical ice crystals by sending loving thoughts to a glass of water as it froze. Incredibly the converse was also true: when she sent negative, polluting thoughts to the water, the ice crystals froze in chaotic, fractured forms.” What is Dan Brown trying to tell us?

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First Lady Michelle Obama Named Honorary National President of Girl Scouts

Posted by Audiegrl

GIRL-SCOUTS-largeNew York, N.Y. – Girl Scouts of the USA is pleased to announce that First Lady Michelle Obama has agreed to serve as its Honorary National President.

It is my great pleasure to serve as Honorary National President of Girl Scouts,” said Mrs. Obama. “With their innovative new programming, ground-breaking research, and emphasis on service and leadership, Girl Scouts is preparing the women of tomorrow to be a positive force for change – in their own lives, their communities, and across the globe.”

In accepting the position, Mrs. Obama takes her place in a tradition stretching back to 1917, when First Lady Edith B. Wilson became the first Honorary National President of the Girl Scout movement. Since then, each successive First Lady has served in this post.

Girl Scouts plan to work with the First Lady on areas of mutual concern, such as healthy living, public service and leadership.

Connie L. Lindsey, Michelle Obama, Kathy Cloninger

Connie L. Lindsey, Michelle Obama, Kathy Cloninger

From bullying to obesity to concern over the economy, our nation’s girls are facing significant challenges,” said Kathy Cloninger, Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts of the USA. “Girl Scouts is excited to work with the First Lady’s office to ensure that all girls can overcome the challenges they face, and that they have the skills, resources and opportunities they need to become strong, independent young leaders.”

Girl Scouts can help girls from every background develop their self-confidence and leadership ability, and encourage them to make a difference in the world,” said Connie L. Lindsey, Girl Scouts of the USA National Board Chair. “The First Lady is a passionate, brilliant and inspirational woman – a fantastic role model for girls across the country. We look forward to an active and mutually rewarding partnership on issues important to girls’ lives.”

About Girl Scouts

180px-GirlScoutsLogoFounded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.6 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girls Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U (800-478-7248) or visit www.girlscouts.org.

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