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Friday, February 2nd: ‘Rockstars Wear Red’ Day

Rockstars dress in red dresses Rockstars dress in red dresses (ii)
Rockstars dress in red dresses. Originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

It wasn’t enough that I’ve been getting emails about children I never knew I had (Bethany is still quite busy unleashing her slacker tendencies, by the way). Now I’m receiving emails from the Office of the Governor…of the State of Kansas. This is better than Bethany, though, because the Governor of Kansas had this to say:

Dear State Employees,

Friday, February 2, 2007, has been set aside as National Wear Red Day. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to join me in wearing red as a showing of support for the fight against heart disease in women and to raise awareness that heart disease is the number one cause of death of women in Kansas, the United States and the world.

Wear Red Day is a nationwide movement that uses a Red Dress as the symbol for heart disease awareness in women. If you do not think heart disease is of concern to you, consider the following facts:

  • Each year more women die from heart disease than from the next five leading causes of death combined.
  • One-third of women will die from heart disease or stroke.
  • Every minute a woman dies from heart disease.
  • 64% of women who die from coronary heart disease had no previous evidence of the disease.

Fortunately, heart disease is largely preventable. I believe that preventive health can reduce the number of Kansans at risk for heart disease and urge you to know and control your risk factors:

  • Smoking is the single most preventable risk factor for heart disease.
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Unhealthy dietary habits

Your health care provider can work with you to develop a plan to lower your risk for developing heart disease. Additional information about heart disease and Wear Red Day can be found at the American Heart Association or National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

While this observance is a call for women, I am also asking male employees to be involved as a showing of support for the women in your lives.

Thank you for participating in this wonderful cause on this Friday, February 2, as a way to increase awareness, thereby hopefully preventing and controlling heart disease.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Sebelius
Governor of the State of Kansas

[Just to clarify, I am not an employee of the State of Kansas.]

Heart disease is the number one killer of American women (and men), in case you didn’t know. For more information about women and heart disease, check this. As the poster says, No matter how great you look on the outside, heart disease can strike on the inside. And being a woman won’t protect you.

I’m all for symbolism, but this is really about education. The Resources section of the NHLBI website includes a number of factsheets, print and radio PSAs, and one especially important infograph entitled, Questions To Ask Your Doctor/What’s Your Risk? Spreading the Go Red For Women message Love Your Heart raises awareness of heart disease and empowers women to reduce their risk.

Red is ROCKING. Wear it on Friday (and take the time to educate yourself beforehand about why you’re doing so), like the rockstar that you are. Guys, I’m looking at you, too.

Catch you on the flip side

One of the reasons why I've been so busy [Catch you on the flip side, next week!]
Originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

It’s over, but right now I’m too exhausted (and sunburnt) to clearly reflect on the experience. A huge gratitude-filled “Thank you” to the superstar SI, who called me Friday afternoon from the East Coast to wish us good luck. Photos and lengthy descriptions coming soon. Click the photo above, or check the website, to find out more. Meanwhile, as Preacher Moss said in a conversation we had just before the conclusion of the conference: “Shut up, and pass the peanuts.”

why don’t the newscasters cry/when they read about people who die?

Last night, on a whim, my sister and I rented and watched Promises, a powerful and compelling documentary that follows seven Palestinian and Israeli children over the course of several years, between 1995-2000. I’d heard about this documentary for years, but had somehow never gotten around to watching it until last night. In 2002 alone, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, and won Emmy Awards for Best Documentary and for Outstanding Background Analysis.

We meet Yarko and Daniel, twins who are secular Jews and more concerned with volleyball than politics; Shlomo, the ultra-Orthodox son of a rabbi, and Moishe, a militant denizen of the Jewish settlement of Beit El. We meet Mahmoud, a blue-eyed little boy whose angelic face darkens with hatred when he speaks of Jews; Sanabel, whose father, a Palestinian journalist, has been in an Israeli jail for two years without trial; and Faraj, a refugee who clutches the key to his ancestral home in Israel as if it were an existential totem. [Washington Post]

The interviewed children are between the ages of 9-12 in the documentary, living in and around Jerusalem, and their views on their world are breathtaking and, at times, even gut-wrenchingly disturbing, because, understandably, there is anger and intolerance at both ends. The children speak for themselves, but their words are a reflection of their turbulent times, just as their strong political statements and religious views (or lack thereof) reflect their own experiences and beliefs, and the hopes and fears of their families and friends. But they are all articulate and brutally honest. There’s both heartbreak and hope here, and, at the end of the film, I wasn’t sure which to give in to, because there is no such thing as an easy sentimental solution.

There are lighthearted, giggle-inducing moments, too, because children are children the world over, because whether they are Israeli or Palestinian, they all have issues taking apart stacked chairs and they hold impromptu burping contests and drink coffee when their mothers forbid them to and spritz on cologne like there’s no tomorrow. Because maybe there isn’t.

Wisdom does emerge from the mouths of these children, who are anything but innocent. “In war both sides suffer,” one of the twins says. “Maybe there’s a winner, but what is a winner?” [New York Times]

Rent the DVD and make sure you check out all the Extras, like the Summer 2004 update on the not-so-little-(or idealistic?)-anymore children who are actually now in their late teens.

I, in my self-absorbed life, need constant reminders like this documentary. Over the past year, it has admittedly become exceedingly easy for me to forget about Jenin, it has been easy to forget about Rachel Corrie, it has been easy to forget about everyday life in Palestine and Israel.

It has been shamefully far too easy for me to forget what I myself have never had to know.

we are hella paranoid, yes we are I could almos…

we are hella paranoid, yes we are

I could almost swear that the girl who cashed my paycheck for me at the Bank of America in my hometown yesterday morning waved, “Bye, Yaz!” to me as I turned away from her counter on my way out. Neither her name nor her face were even vaguely familiar. The ironic thing is, the number of people in my hometown who are apt to calling me “Yaz” has always been significantly low (i.e. three people?) compared to the number of people in the college town where I go to school, or even all the people who’ve picked it up online. [Read the first paragraph of this post for more info.]

Anyway, how the hell did she know to call me “Yaz”?

Okay, so either I misheard her or I’m paranoid or both of the above.