Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holidays and Observances for December 2 2014


#GivingTuesday refers to the Tuesday after U.S. Thanksgiving, which is the fourth Thursday in November. #GivingTuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the giving season. #GivingTuesday was started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season (Black Friday and Cyber Monday).

The idea for #GivingTuesday was first announced in October 2012, a month before the first planned Giving Tuesday, November 27, 2012. Seeing an opportunity to channel the generous spirit of the holiday season to inspire action around charitable giving, a group of friends and partners, led by 92nd Street Y, came together to find ways to promote and celebrate the great American tradition of giving. Thought leaders in philanthropy, social media and grassroots organizing joined with 92nd Street Y to explore what is working in modern philanthropy and how to expand these innovations throughout the philanthropic sector. The concept gained steam, and by bringing together a group of founding partnersincluding the United Nations Foundation, DonorsChoose.org, Mashable,Blackbaud, charity: water, GlobalGiving, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Kiva, Darden Restaurant Group, Groupon, Unilever and VENTURE3Philanthropya nationwide series of discussions about how to make #GivingTuesday a success. Each week, new organizations joined the movement and provided creative ways people could embrace #GivingTuesday and collaborate in their giving efforts to create more meaningful results.

The announcement was made by #GivingTuesday founding partner Mashable, a technology website. Other founding partners listed in the story were Skype(launching Skype for Peace) and Cisco. Other partner organizations announced over the coming weeks included Microsoft, Sony, Aldo, Case Foundation,Heifer International, Phoenix House, and Starwood Hotels. Mashable provided detailed coverage of Giving Tuesday.

Other news and opinion websites that announced #GivingTuesday well in advance were CNet, the Huffington Post, and Deseret News.

Shortly before, during, and after the date, #GivingTuesday was covered by Washington Post, the White House official blog, ABC News, and the Huffington Post. Forbes used the occasion to publish a guide to effective giving.

In 2013, organizations in countries around the world have joined the #GivingTuesday movement, creating initiatives in Australia, Canada and Mexico; additional countries are expected to sign on in the coming weeks. #GivingTuesday communities joined a global movement of individuals and organizations that believe that everyone whether a large or small donor has a role in helping solve challenges at a local and global level.

Partners large and small developed innovative programs and campaigns to encourage their employees, customers and constituents, as well as the general public, to give back in 2013. Examples of partner plans for #GivingTuesday 2013 included:
  • Discover: Discover found ways for their cardmembers and employees to give more, give better and give smarter. For example, they encouraged Discover cardmembers to give by offering a 2 percent match on direct donations to the national chapters of their Cashback Bonus charitable partners when using Discover cards as well as a 2 percent match on Cashback Bonus donations made on that day.
  • eBay Inc.: By way of its global portfolio of businesses, eBay Inc. is committed to powering giving with new solutions to help customers support charitable organizations. To celebrate #GivingTuesday, eBay Deals teamed up with eBay Giving Works to bring consumers an easy way to shop for the hottest holiday gifts at the best prices. From December 3 until December 10, at least 10 percent of the proceeds from each of those sales benefited a non-profit. Also beginning December 3, PayPal kicked off a series of activities to encourage its customers to support the non-profits they love throughout the holiday season.
  • Juvenile in Justice: Through the power of art and action, InLiquid looks to raise awareness of juvenile justice system reform. On December 3, InLiquid hosted the #GivingTuesday Juvenile in Justice Day with the goal of: (1) sparking a local and national conversation on juvenile justice reform; (2) giving 500 at-risk youth a second start through Philadelphia’s largest-ever expungement clinic; and (3) honoring the individuals and organizations that work hard to reform the juvenile justice system.
  • Kenneth Cole: For #GivingTuesday, fashion designer and social activist Kenneth Cole promoted AWEARNESS ID bracelets featuring the messages “BE AWEAR” and “I HAVE ISSUES.” These aimed to encourage and inspire individuals to get involved and make a difference. Available at Kennethcole.com and select Kenneth Cole stores, 100 percent of the net profits from the sale of the bracelets was donated to
AWEARNESS. The Kenneth Cole Foundation promotes, encourages and inspires meaningful social change. Additionally, Kenneth Cole asked fans to share the causes they want people to “#BEAWEAR” of on their social channels.

The #GivingTuesday movement sparked interest in countries around the world, where people and organizations created their own initiatives to encourage giving whether money, time or both. These initiatives are celebrating local heroes and providing opportunities for people to connect with local causes.

Examples of international partner programs include:
  • Australia (www.givingtuesday.org.au): Lead by Australian nonprofit Connecting Up partners ‘down under’ have started registering using the theme of giving in different ways. Yelp Australia, Singapore and NZ all put their heart and “sole” into the day, literally. In doing what they do best, Yelp ran simultaneous "Giving Shoes Day" events nationwide to introduce locals to one of their city's best shoe shops and experience what gives a shoe its “walkability.” Entrance to the event costs a pair of used (but not abused) shoes that were donated to a local charity for those who can use them the most.
  • Canada (GivingTuesday.ca): In Canada, Mobile Giving Foundation Canada (MGFC), an organization that makes giving via wireless technology easier for registered non-profits, made #GivingTuesday mobile, offering any Canadian charity the opportunity to participate in a #GivingTuesday text-to-donate campaign at no cost. The MGFC campaign made it easier than ever for Canadian mobile users to give back on #GivingTuesday.
  • Mexico: Filantrofilia (the Mexican charity rating agency, similar to Charity Navigator in the U.S.) spearheaded the Mexican campaign, #DonaConConfianza 2013. Through the more than 200 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) it has rated, and by mobilizing the general public, it launched resources and a general promotional campaign in time for the holiday giving season to raise awareness about the great work Mexican NGOs are doing.
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): In 2013, the UN’s largest development agency highlighted stories from all levels of society, including the poorest nations on earth. UNDP celebrated the power of generosity and giving that is not necessarily the giving of funds, but rather the giving of time and knowledge through volunteerism and community work. The message was, “You do not have to be a rich to give; even the millions of people living on less than one dollar per day give every day in some form, and that deserves celebrating.”
  • In 2014, the UK joined the #GivingTuesday movement. The campaign is coordinated by The Charities Aid Foundation and Blackbaud, who are helping to coordinate this campaign by providing resources and tools, putting people in touch with each other, and leading the conversation in the media.
In 2013, #GivingTuesday supporters were encouraged to show their support by taking an #UNSelfie. Participants took a photo of someone or something that represented giving and uploaded it to their social media platform of choice, whether it be Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter with the hashtags #unselfie and #givingtuesday.

Mashable also covered #GivingTuesday in 2013, including a partnership with Google+ to hold a "hangout-athon" for Giving Tuesday. The Huffington Postalso covered Giving Tuesday extensively.

Giving Tuesday also received coverage in many philanthropy information websites, including Charity Navigator and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The December 4 Chronicle of Philanthropy article highlighted a donation by Good Ventures (a foundation funded by Dustin Moskovitz and run by his wife Cari Tuna) to GiveDirectly, Google's hangout-a-thon, and matching grants announced by the Case Foundation.

Giving Tuesday was also covered by mainstream newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and USA Today.

Charitable giving on #GivingTuesday in 2013 was approximately twice the value in 2012. Over 7,000 nonprofits participated in the 2013 Giving Tuesday.

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery Day

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is annually observed on December 2 to remind people that modern slavery works against human rights.

This holiday is not to be confused with the UN’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

Many people use the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery as an opportunity to share their perspective in writings through poetry, opinion pieces, interviews, feature articles, short stories and other published material. Classrooms may review the history of slave trade, its evolution and changes it has undergone through to modern times. Students may also learn about the negative impacts of slavery on society.

Online, print and broadcast media promote the day through news, debates, forums, and talks about modern day slave trade and why it is a serious human rights issue. Political leaders, including senators and those with ministerial responsibilities, also take the time to urge the public to work together in eradicating any form of slavery in modern society. Flyers, posters, leaflets, newsletters about abolishing slavery and slave trade are also distributed throughout universities and in public areas on this day.

The United Nations is committed to fighting against slavery and considers bonded labour, forced labour, the worst forms of child labour and trafficking people as modern forms of slavery. Some sources day that more than one million children are trafficked each year for cheap labour or sexual exploitation. These types of slavery are global problems and go against article four of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms”.

The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery recalls the adoption of the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV) of December 2, 1949). To remember the convention, a UN report of the Working Group on Slavery recommended in 1985 that December 2 be proclaimed the World Day for the Abolition of Slavery in all its forms. By 1995, the day was known as the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

On December 18, 2002, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2004 the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition. On November 28, 2006, the assembly designated March 25, 2007, as the International Day for the Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The UN also annually observes the UN’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition on August 23.

The UN emblem is often found in online and print material used to promote events such as the United Nations’ International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. The emblem consists of a projection of the globe centered on the North Pole. It depicts all continents except Antarctica and four concentric circles representing degrees of latitude. The projection is surrounded by images of olive branches, representing peace. The emblem is often blue, although it is printed in white on a blue background on the UN flag.

Note: It is unclear on when the name “International Day for the Abolition of Slavery” was first used instead of the “World Day for the Abolition of Slavery” but the new name was mentioned in a UN report in 1995.

National Fritters Day

It's Fry Day, Fry Day! - December 2 is National Fritters Day!

You may be asking yourself what exactly a fritter is on this fine, frosty day and we're here to tell you that it's nothing more than deep-fried goodness that warms you from the inside out!

Fritters are a mixture of different ingredients which are covered with batter, then deep-fried. "Fritter" derives from the Latin word frictura which translates as fried or to fry. Any ingredient dipped in batter and fried can essentially be a fritter, though it may not always be called so. Though we may be most accustomed to apple or banana fritters, it’s not unusual to have a fritter made from meat, like deep fried fish, or made from vegetables. In fact, vegetarian tempura is essentially vegetables dipped in batter and quickly fried, thus it certainly could be defined as vegetable fritters.

Food may be either dipped in batter, or mixed with batters. The American apple fritter, often sold with donuts, is a mix of cake batter and chopped apples. Clam or crab cakes could also be considered fritters, as could potato latkes, a mix of shredded potatoes, egg, and seasonings. Sometimes batter itself is fried with no other ingredients. These are also essentially fritters. A donut made from batter could be called a fritter, as could funnel cake..

You can really use your imagination when it comes to fritter ingredients, but the most important thing is knowing how to properly deep fry food. Oil that is too cold when food is added will impart an oily, greasy taste, which is undesirable. Too hot oil can also cause less then perfect fritters or burned ones. Electric deep fryers with controllable temperature settings often take the guesswork out of deep-frying, though for experienced cooks, a simple temperature gauge and a sense of how the oil appears and smells is often enough information to produce perfectly fried food.

Virtually any place in the world where people deep fry food will have its own types of fritters. In the UK for instance, you can order a mushy pea fritter as standard pub grub. Many Asian countries make banana fritters, and these are equally popular in France where they may be served with a lemon sauce. Malaysian cooks make deep fried yams and sweet potatoes, which are popular and sold in stands in urban areas. In the US, you’ll find a variety of fritter types, though apple seems to be the most common.

One of the great culinary questions is what a fritter really is. Is it a cake, a doughnut or a pastry? The deep-frying suggests its close association to doughnuts, especially to beignets and cake donuts. On the other hand, a fritter can be very crispy, suggesting it is better classed as a pastry. Regardless of where you come down on this argument, there’s no doubt that the fritter is one of the tastier and most popular foods in many parts of the world.

Whether you go sweet or savory, the truth is you certainly can't go wrong - if you can eat it, you can fry it. Enjoy a fine dipping sauce with your savory fritters and toss the sweet ones in powdered sugar for little bites of heaven.

And remember, there is no right or wrong way to fry, so don't fret over your fritters.

National Mutt Day

National Mutt Day was created in 2005 by Celebrity Pet Expert and Animal Welfare Advocate, Colleen Paige, and is celebrated on both July 31st and December 2nd. National Mutt Day is all about embracing, saving and celebrating mixed breed dogs. The biggest percentage of dogs euthanized in due to the constant over-breeding and public desire of designer dogs and pure bred puppies that are sold to pet stores supplied by puppy mills that often produce ill and horribly neglected animals. 

National Mutt Day was created to be celebrated on two dates per year to raise awareness of the plight of mixed breed dogs in shelters around the nation and to educate the public about the sea of mixed breed dogs that desperately await new homes. Mixed breed dogs tend to be healthier, better behaved, they live longer and are just as able to perform the duties of pure bred dogs - such as bomb and drug sniffing, search and rescue and guiding the blind.

There are millions of loving and healthy mixed breed dogs sitting in shelters, who are desperately searching for a new home. One of the county's most famous movie dogs is Benji, is a mixed breed Terrier.

So please visit your local shelter and find a new friend today! If you can't adopt a mixed breed friend on July 31st and December 2nd, please donate at least $5 to your local animal shelter, as they all need financial assistance and every dollar counts! 

You can also volunteer to walk a dog, donate food and other supplies needed to your local animal shelter or make a donation in the memory of a loved dog who has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. 

Safety Razor Day

King Camp Gillette (1855-1932) and William Emery Nickerson invented the world's first disposable razor blade in 1901. Until that time, portable shaving devices consisted of a wedge shaped heavy metal (forged) blade on top of a handle. When dull, the wedge was stropped by hand until it could no longer keep a sharp edge. It is said traveling salesmen referred to such shaving devices as cut-throat razors, as they were quite dangerous to use on a train.

Gillette conceived the idea of a disposable blade in 1895. He was told by leading metallurgists of the day that it was economically unfeasible to mass produce (stamp) such thin pieces of sharpened metal. He soon met W.E. Nickerson, and after six years they were able to invent the equipment necessary to produce the first disposable blade. They patented the invention in 1901 and started the American Safety Razor Company (re-named the Gillette Safety Razor Company in 1904).

The safety razor was a huge success. By 1910, King Gillette was a millionaire. His portrait was printed on every package of blades, which gained him great celebrity. In personal life he believed in utopian concepts, and wrote a number of books promoting common social advancement. Sadly, Gillette lost most of his fortune in the stock market crash of 1929. The Gillette Company thrived independently for 101 years, and was purchased by brand-savvy Proctor & Gamble Company in 2005.

King C. Gillette was a also marketing pioneer. He invented the Razors and Blades Business Model of selling razors at little or no profit, and making more money by selling great quantities of high quality disposable blades for those razors (today known as the Freebie Marketing Model). The Gillette Company has also been a text book product life-cycle innovator, with new features or products introduced every few years. This author has used the Trac II, Atra, Sensor, and Mach III (tm's) products over the past 30 years, and looks forward to future generations of shaving technology.

In 1926, Gillette built a large home on 588 acres of land in Calabasas, California. The mansion was later owned by Clarence Brown, a famous MGM film director, and then by comedian Bob Hope and others. The property is now a state park called King Gillette Ranch, and was thankfully preserved.

Special Education Day

Today is Special Education Day. United States President Gerald Ford signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), into law on December 2, 1975. Special Education Day, first celebrated in 2005, is an annual “holiday” that marks the anniversary of that very first special education law.

The landmark law guarantees a free and appropriate public education to children with disabilities. The law provides equal opportunities and access for more than 6 million students with disabilities and special needs.

Over the years, several innovative programs have been implemented to help students with disabilities due to Special Education Day.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have developed SpedEx, a dispute resolution program designed to assure children receive free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities.
  • The Procedures Lite program provides a voluntary option for parents and schools allowing them to bypass various procedural requirements.
Today provides the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to students with disabilities and special needs and their parents and educators as well.