Thursday, April 24, 2014

Holidays and Observances for April 24 2014

National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day

Today is National Pigs-In-A-Blanket Day! This delicious finger food is popular with kids and cocktail party guests all across the world. In fact, there are many different cultures that have their own unique twist on this comfort food classic.

In the United Kingdom, pigs-in-a-blanket are small sausages wrapped in bacon. People traditionally serve them as Christmas dinner appetizers. In Israel, kids enjoy Moshe Ba'Teiva (Moses in the Ark), which are miniature hot dogs rolled in a ketchup-covered puff pastry and baked in the oven. In the United States, pigs-in-a-blanket are hot dogs or Vienna sausages wrapped in biscuit or croissant dough and baked until golden brown. Yum!

No matter where you are or how you decide to cook your pigs-in-a-blanket, make this tasty finger food for dinner tonight and serve it with a side of ketchup. Happy National Pigs-In-A-Blanket Day!

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational program in the United States and Canada that revolves around parents taking their children to work for one day. It is the successor to Take Our Daughters To Work Day, which was expanded to include boys in 2003. It occurs on the fourth Thursday of April every year.

Take Our Daughters To Work Day was created in New York in the summer of 1992 by the Ms. Foundation for Women and its president, Marie C. Wilson, with support from foundation founder Gloria Steinem. The first celebration took place on Thursday, April 22, 1993 and has since been celebrated on the 4th Thursday of April every year in order for the 37 million children, parents, schools in over 3.5 million workplaces across the country, in addition to participants in over 200 countries around the world, to plan ahead for the annual event. The day has generally been scheduled on a day that is a school day for most children in the United States, and schools are provided with literature and encouraged to promote the program. Educators are provided with materials for incorporating career exploration into school curricula on the day before or after the event.

In 2000, when asked by the Minneapolis Star Tribune which activities he would propose for a national day for boys equivalent to Take Our Daughters to Work day, author Robert Bly suggested that fathers take their sons to the library and show them the books they love. Noting that women have often been excluded from the work world, Bly said, "I think it's just as likely now that men will be shut out of the inward world, the literature world."

According to Christina Hoff Sommers in her book The War Against Boys, one early proposal by the Ms Foundation to include boys was Son's Day. Son's Day would take place on a Sunday so the boys would avoid missing a day of school. Son's Day would require boys to stay at home, do cleaning and cooking and be educated about topics such as rape, sexism and violence against women.

The program was officially expanded in 2003 to include boys; however, most companies that participated in the program had, since the beginning, allowed both boys and girls to participate, usually renaming it "Take Our Children to Work Day" or an equivalent. The program's official website states that the program was changed in order to provide both boys and girls with opportunities to explore careers at an age when they are more flexible in terms of gender roles. The Ms. Foundation also states that men who have hosted children have benefited from being seen as parental figures in addition to their roles as professionals, which can contribute to combating gender stereotypes as well.

Prior to the inclusion of boys, the Ms. Foundation contended that the program was designed to specifically address self-esteem issues unique to girls and initially resisted pressure to include boys. Much of this pressure came from educators who did not wish to include the event in their curriculum given that their male students were not encouraged to participate.

In 2007, upon becoming its own separate foundation, the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work program was turned over to Carolyn McKecuen, a MacArthur Genius Award recipient, who took effective control as its Executive Director before relocated to Elizabeth City, North Carolina where it has remained since. Gloria Steinem continues to maintain a role with the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Foundation as a member of its board of directors.

Employees, across the United States and around the world, typically invite their own children or relatives to join them at work, but the program particularly encourages employees to invite children from residential programs or shelters who may not be exposed to many adults in skilled professions today.

Genocide Remembrance Day

You are unlikely to read about it in your daily newspaper nor are your children apt to learn of it in school, and yet what was done to Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire starting in 1915 marked the first genocide of the 20th century. It has been recognized as such around the world, as well as by 42 states—but not by Turkey and not by President Obama.

This despite the fact that, while running for president and garnering votes, he reportedly said, “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that president.” Last year, he called it “one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century” but avoided the term genocide and still does.

Make no mistake, however. Hitler knew what to call it and proceeded undeterrred against Jews, saying, “Go, kill without mercy . . . After all, who, today remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?” The answer, even today, is too few, and all the more reason for more of us to recognize Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24.

We here in Philadelphia certainly will. Marking the 98th anniversary of the genocide, we will gather at the Mher Stature located by the Philadelphia Art Museum at noon on the 27th for the sixth consecutive Philadelphia Armenian Genocide Walk. From there, we will walk to the Independence Visitor Center Liberty View Ballroom for a special program designed to both commemorate and educate.

You should also know that, in 2010, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute signed an agreement with the Armenian Film Foundation “for the preservation and dissemination of the largest collection of filmed interviews of survivors and witnesses of the Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the twentieth century.” Through interviews in 10 countries, more than 400 testimonies have already been collected and are available through the Institute’s Visual History Archive.

Their stories begin with the onset of World War I in 1914 and the siding of the Young Turks with the Central Powers—Germany and Austria-Hungary. The fighting that ensued in Europe then gave the Turks the cover they needed to begin their genocide against the Armenians, little noticed by the rest of the world. The final toll: more than 1.5 million dead out of a population of some 2.5 million.

They began by disarming the entire Armenian population, severely punishing anyone who failed to turn in a weapon—even those in the Turkish army. Then came the extermination orders. The first to be rounded up and executed were 300 of Armenia’s top political leaders, educators, writers, clergy, and dignitaries in Constantinople—now the capital city Istanbul. The date: April 24, 1915.

That was followed by the arrest and killing of Armenian men throughout Turkey. Meanwhile, the women, children, and the elderly were ordered to pack a few belongings under the pretense of relocation to a safe, non-military zone. Instead, however, they were forced on death marches that lasted for months and took them hundreds of miles to the Syrian desert Der-el-Zor. All told, about 75% of those poor souls perished.

As the war raged on, Russian troops eventually attacked along the Eastern Front, but then withdrew in 1917 with some 500,000 Armenian survivors following them into provinces in the Russian Empire already inhabited by some of their countrymen. In May of 1918, though, the Turkish army pushed into the region in hopes of expanding Turkey into the Caucasus.

While as many as 100,000 Armenians died as a result, survivors took up arms, fighting successfully and ultimately declaring the establishment of an independent Republic of Armenia. In November of that same year, World War I ended with the defeat of Germany and the Central Powers, including Turkey.

Although Congress rejected then President Wilson’s efforts to make the fledging Republic of Armenia an official U.S. protectorate in May of 1920, he did not give up. The result: the Treaty of Sevres was signed on August 10, 1920 by the Allied Powers, the Republic of Armenia, and the new, moderate Turkish leaders recognizing an independent Armenian state composed of much of its former historic homeland.

It was not to last, however. The moderates were ultimately removed from power in Turkey and replaced by Mustafa Kemel Atarurk who refused to acknowledge the treaty. And since none of the allies came to its aid, only a small area in the easternmost edge of Armenia survived, becoming part of the Soviet Union and remaining so for 71 years.

But that is not the end of the story. Armenia stands now as a nation in its own right, gaining full independence on September 21, 1991, a model of reliance and determination. Its watchword: Never again.

World Meningitis Day

Every year more than 1.2 million people suffer from meningitis!

On Thursday 24 April 2014, the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) will unite with our 43 member organisations in 28 countries worldwide to celebrate our sixth World Meningitis Day (WMD).

Held every year on 24 April, WMD is recognised to raise the global profile of meningitis, emphasise the importance of vaccination, and provide support to those dealing with the consequences of the disease.

Meningitis is a disease that can affect anyone, anywhere and at any time! This year, together with our members, we want to share information about meningitis and promote the important role of vaccinations in preventing the most deadly and most devastating forms of the disease.

Join us in our global fight to prevent meningitis worldwide because we can and we should! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on our WMD activities, to share meningitis facts, read personal meningitis stories, share your story and contribute to the discussions. Help us make meningitis a disease people know about and know it can be prevented with vaccines. Together we can help prevent this disease.

Every year more than 1.2 million people are affected by meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is the most severe and common form and it causes approximately 120,000 deaths globally each year.

Even with prompt diagnosis and treatment, approximately 10% of patients die and up to 20% or more sustain permanent damage and disability. What’s scary about this disease is that the signs and symptoms are similar to those of the common flu. These include, but are not limited to, fever, vomiting, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light and drowsiness. They can appear in any order and some may not appear at all. Those surviving meningitis can have their lives devastated as a result of long-term effects such as deafness, brain damage and when septicaemia is involved loss of limbs.

Find out more about meningitis including those at greater risk of contracting the disease and the different types of meningitis on our Facts About Meningitis page.

This can be prevented!
The most severe forms of meningitis can be prevented with vaccines. For many years now safe and effective vaccines have been used to protect against the three major causes of bacterial meningitis, commonly known as meningococcal, pneumococcal or Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

The Hib vaccine has been widely available for many years and this has caused Hib meningitis to be close to elimination. Sadly, this isn’t the case for the other causes of bacterial meningitis leaving all of us, and particularly children under the age of 5 and adolescents, at risk of contracting the disease.

What many people also don’t know is that introducing the pneumococcal, meningococcal and/or Hib vaccines not only help prevent meningitis but a variety of other diseases including pneumonia, otitis media (middle ear infection), septicaemia and epiglottitis.