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Melissa Blythe
a wintertime girl in a summertime world
a wintertime girl in a summertime world

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Was introduced to an amazing organization today:

They get perfectly good food that would otherwise be trashed -- like veggies too ugly to sell @ grocery - and get them to hungry, people who use food banks and so on.

I know someone in Seattle involved in this - in their corner of the Pacific Northwest, they call it "gleaning". I heard and it and wondered if there was an organization here that does that. Now, thanks to the East End Food Co-op, I know there is! And so do you. Please share with anyone in Pittsburgh area in need. 

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Dear Pittsburgh: it’s trying to be winter again. 

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Look at this sword-wielding badass woman!

That's Simi Azimi, leader of the Shaolin Wushu club in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she's teaching 9 other young women and girls the ancient Chinese kung fu martial art.

"I like to help girls in my country in order to improve their skills, so they can be the same as girls in other countries. Also, I want to help bring an end to violence against women in Afghanistan." Sima Azimi

Simi Azimi is only 20 years old, but she's already an award winning kung fu athlete. She trained in Iran for several years, but returned to Kabul to share her skills in the hopes of building support for a national team to participate in the Olympics. Martial arts are quite popular in Afghanistan, but only for men. Women's participation in sports in extremely limited, and especially for contact sports like kung fu. But Simi is hoping to change that.

Her father encouraged her to study martial arts when she was younger and the family was living in Iran. While in Iran she participated in competitions, winning a gold and bronze medal. Now, back in Kabul, he helps her continue her training. She uses her experience to encourage parents to allow their daughters to take lessons in kung fu for self-defense: once a thief grabbed her purse, but Simi fought back and ran him off.

But she also recommends martial arts for the mental and emotional benefits. "It's really effective for body and soul." And for the confidence that comes along with both the strength and mental training. Her students are mostly Hazara, a Persian-speaking minority in Kabul, but she's hoping to expand her class to include more girls from other ethnic groups.

It might be a tough goal to accomplish. Her students have to deal with increased abuse and taunts for breaking the social restrictions limiting activities for women, as well as the increasing dangers they face as a Shi'ite minority targeted by the Islamic State militants. But student Shakila Muradi says they aren't going to be deterred. "There are many people harassing us but we ignore them and follow our goals."

Read more about the Shaolin Wushu club:

See more beautiful photos by Mohammad Ismail featuring the Shaolin Wushu club:

Read about other kickass young women:

Support the work of SRPS:


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Too awesome for words.

This is old news, all the way from last September, but I've only just learned of it. I heard plenty of criticism about Colin Kapernick for his refusal to stand for the National Anthem, and I knew his reasons for doing it. But I never heard of this.

(Kapernick) also said he will donate $1 million to groups that help people affected by the issues he is trying to spotlight — such as racial inequality and police brutality — with his continued protest.

“The media painted this as I’m anti-American, anti-men-and-women of the military and that’s not the case at all,’’ Kaepernick said after playing the first half of the 49ers’ 31-21 victory over the Chargers. “I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put themselves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee so I have the utmost respect for them.

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Today's the birthday of Rosa Parks.

This is one of my favorite photos of her, sitting next to Septima Poinsette Clark, the "grandmother of the civil rights movement," at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, taken during her visit there in the summer of 1955.

She attended a session there to learn from others active in the civil rights movement about what they were doing, and to take back information and inspiration to the activists in Montgomery.

For years, her story started that day in December 1955 when she refused to give up her seat. But she'd been active long before then, working for the NAACP helping girls and women in the area deal with discrimination and sexual assault.

When I see this photo, and the quote that usually goes along with it, I am heartened to know that Rosa Parks, the woman so many hold us as a pillar of civil rights activism, at one point felt uncertain about her role in the movement, and looked to Septima Clark for inspiration and guidance.

No one can do it all alone. We need each other. To be successful in the long run, we need to reach across generations and backgrounds and learn from each other and support each other.

Now when I see a photo of Rosa Parks in the news or on the web, I also see, in my mind, the faces of other women whose lives intersected with hers -- Septima Clark, Bernice Robinson, Claudette Colvin, and so many others -- and know that she wasn't just refusing to move for her own sake, but for all of them.

To learn more about Septima Poinsette Clark:

To learn more about Claudette Colvin:

To learn about other influential women in the civil rights movement:

To support the work of SRPS:

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Pittsburgh - don't drink the water!


Can someone who was around at the time detail what the public did when Nixon had the Watergate special prosecutor illegally fired? What can the general public DO, that will work, to keep the president from playing fast and loose with the Constitution, since we're facing another law-breaking president?
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