July 6, 2008


      George Washington Carver was thought to have been born in 1864 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Carver worked at the Tuskegee Institute, teaching former slaves farming techniques so they could be self sufficient. In order to take education to the farmers he built a mobile school called the Jesup Wagon.

     Carver earned National attention by speaking in favor of a peanut tariff before The ways of means Committee of the U.S House of Representatives.

     Carver wrote 44 practical agricultural bulletins for farmers. However most of his fame was because of his research and promotion of crops other than cotton, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes. Cotton depleted the soil and the Boll Weevil destroyed a lot of the cotton crop.  He encouraged poor farmers to grow alternative products some as a food source and others that would improve their quality of life. Carver himself created or used around 100 products made from peanuts including, cosmetics, gasoline, paints and plastics.

     Carver is also remembered for improving racial relations, mentoring children, religion, painting and poetry. He has been widely admired for his humility, humanitarianism, good nature, frugality and lack of economic materialism.  He even made a list of 8 virtues for his students to practice living by:

1-Be clean both inside and out.

2-Neither look up to the rich or down on the poor.

3-Lose, if need be, without squealing.

4-Win without bragging.

5-Always be considerate of women, children and older people.

6-Be too brave not to lie.

7-Be too generous not to cheat.

8-Take your share of the world and let others take theirs.

     One of Carvers most important roles was in undermining the stereotype of that time, that the black race wasn’t as smart as the white race. In 1941 Time Magazine called him a “Black Leonardo”, referencing Leonardo Davinci. George Carver died on January 5, 1943. January 5 is now celebrated as George Washington Carver Recognition Day in the United States.



July 3, 2008

    Amy Carmichael was born in Millisle, County Down, Ireland in 1867. When she was 20 years old she heard Hudson Taylor (Founder of the China Inland Mission) speak about missionary life at the Keswick Convention of 1887. Shortly after the convention she became convinced that missionary work would be her life long calling.

     She applied to the China inland mission first, but was rejected because of her battle with Neuralgea, a disease of the nerves. Some time later she decided to join the Church Missionary Society and traveled to Japan for 15 months, however, after a brief trip to Sri Lanka she decided to settle in India.

     Much of her work was with young girls, many who were saved from forced prostitution. Her organization was known as Dohnavur fellowship. The fellowship became a sanctuary for over 1000 children who probably would never have had a future otherwise. In order to respect Indian cultures all those who assisted with Dohnavur wore Indian attire and the children were given Indian names. Carmichael dyed her skin with coffee and she would often travel long distances on foot in the worst weather conditions just to save one child from suffering.

     She was also a prolific writer, producing 35 published books. She served in India for 45 years while at times the Neuralgea would weaken her body so much that she could be bedwridden for weeks at a time.  Amy Carmichael died in 1951, she was 83 years old.


July 1, 2008


     Craig Kielburger was  born in Thornhill, Ontario in 1982. He is a childrens rights advocate and leadership specialist. He is also an award winning author and popular speaker.

     When Kielburger was 12 years old he learned of a child laborer who became a childrens rights activist and was murdered because of it.  He decided to take a stand which led to his co-founding a childrens rights organization called Leaders today. In 1999 Craig and his brother Marc founded Free the Children which quickly became the worlds largest network of kids helping kids through education. Free the Children has built over 500 primary schools providing education to over 50,000 kids and ultimately touching over 1 million children worldwide.  Kielburger realized that the best way to free children from the clutches of poverty would be to give them an education so they can help themselves.

     He has traveled to over 70 countries, speaking out in defense of childrens rights, meeting with political and religious leaders such as Pope John Paul the Second, The Dalai Lama, Queen Elizabeth the Second and Mother Theresa.  He has been featured on Oprah, CNN, 60 minutes, Larry King and The Hour.

     Kielburger has earned many awards for his courage including the Nelson Mandela Human Rights Award, The Roosevelt Freedom Metal and The Community of Christ International Peace Award. In 2006 he became the youngest person listed on the Globe and Mail Top 40 under 40 list. Craig Kielburger is only 25 years old but he has already made an incredible impact on the entire world.


June 26, 2008



      Thanks to the heroic people who started fighting for freedom many years ago, I am entitled to express my ideas and opinions freely. In my experience, the more we prove we can be trusted with freedom, the more freedom we are given. Still, freedom of all kinds can be dangerous, as it comes attached to great responsibility. The simple truth, many people are not responsible. At age 19 or 21, individuals are of legal age to drink alcohol and are given the freedom to make some new choices, choices that come with much responsibility. Whether to drink, how to return home after drinking too much. Statistics show many people make the choice to drink and drive, resulting in many, injuries and deaths each year. This is just one of the many examples on how freedom can be abused.


      I believe that each of us must make a choice about whether we continue to protect freedom so our children grandchildren can also enjoy these same rights. It takes one generation for our freedom to be lost, D.H. Lawrence once said “Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.”


 It seems to me that the people in society who stand above the crowd, and continue to lead the mass today are the strong minded, the ones who instead of following trends decide not to and set them instead, not worrying about what others think. EACH OF US IS FREE…We are free to be leaders either in a community or in our homes and classrooms and the world can never have enough people standing up for what is right. Can you imagine how different our lives would be without some of the people in this blog? Freedom requires thought and action as it something that is always evolving. As a society and as humans, we are making progress and trying to protect the pursuit of freedom and liberty in very difficult and dangerous times.


 When the U.S. Constitution took effect in 1789, it did not “secure the blessings of liberty” to all people. Slaves and women were not given the same rights as free white men. At the time of the first Presidential election in 1789, only 6 percent of the population-white, male property owners-were eligible to vote. The expansion of rights and liberties has been achieved over time, as people once excluded from the protections of the Constitution asserted their rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence. Individuals fostered movements resulting in laws, Supreme Court decisions, and constitutional amendments that have narrowed the gap between the ideal and the reality of freedom.


 The Fifteenth Amendment extended the right to vote to former male slaves in 1870; American Indians gained the vote under a law passed by Congress in 1924; and women gained the vote with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Susan B. Anthony devoted some fifty years of her life to the cause of woman suffrage. Women gained the vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1920, fourteen years after Anthony’s death.


 There are many reasons to stand for freedom, still who is to say how much freedom we should be entitled to, how much is too much? How much is not enough? It is my belief that common sense may be one of the most important tools needed when applying our rights set forth by freedom. We must look for heroes, and accept that they are human, although they may make mistakes they are still heroes. The thing we all have in common is humanity, and the great humans who have paved the way for us. To find ourselves maybe we need to look back for inspiration and gratitude.



June 23, 2008

 AMA-GI was a symbol used in 3000 BC; many scholars believe that this ancient Sumerian cuneiform symbol was the first written reference to the idea of freedom or of liberty. The leader of the Sumerian city-state of Girsu/Lagash, established new laws that guaranteed the rights of property owners, ensured freedom of slaves, reformed the civil administration, and instituted moral and social reforms. He banned both government and religious authorities from seizing land or goods as payment. He made laws to ensure officials could not abuse their positions to wrongly get money from citizens and made certain that any legal process was held in public to try to prevent wrongful conduct by legal officials. This means the idea of FREEDOM in written laws and code is actually over 5000 years old!







June 20, 2008


The unexamined life is


worth living.




 Socrates lived in the fifth century and did not write any works, but was a teacher and philosopher. His student, Plato, wrote Apology and this quote is attributed to his teacher, Socrates. Plato’s dramatic picture of Socrates, who was willing to die rather than abandon his commitment to moral thought presents Socrates as acting morally to his last breath.

JIM MAYOR – My everyday hero

June 18, 2008

     Jim mayor was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1957. He is the acting captain for the city of toronto fire services now in his 25th year as a firefighter. Jim grew up like any other ordinary child, he took piano lessons and was admittedly an over achiever when it came to sports.

     Funny enough, Jim never really wanted to be a firefighter at all, he had his sights set on being a police officer or a doctor, anything where he could help people. When he was in his 20’s he answered an ad from the newspaper on a whim and so his career began as a firefighter.

     Jim has seen his fair share of unusual things, once he rescued a naked man from his balcony. There was no where to set the ladder so he wedged it between a guide wire and a hydro pole to bring the man down safely. Another time he spent 6 hours in a subway tunnel after 2 trains collided, they were the second truck on the scene which meant they had to search for survivors in the dark and lead people out of the tunnel safely. Some people were pinned in their seats unable to move and it was his job to keep them calm while they released them, “It’s a matter of being a human, you need empathy, you have to ask yourself, how would i feel if this were my family”.

     Being a firefighter definitely does have it’s rewards, Jim says it’s a good feeling when you rescue peoples animals. Although one time his skin was ripped to pieces after he rescued a cat by keeping it in his jacket until they were safely out of the blaze.

     I asked Jim what the funniest thing he’s ever seen on the job was , he said that one time a lady called 911 from the hospital, when he arrived she told him her emergency was that the nurses were not treating her well and she wanted to be transferred. Jim currently lives in Oakville, Ontario, he is 50 years old.


June 16, 2008


     George Mason was born in Fairfax County, Virginia in 1725. He was a lifelong friend of George Washington.  He had no interest in politics but, when Washington was named Commander of the Continental Army, Mason reluctantly took over Washington’s seat on the Virginia legislature and was assigned by chance to the committee to write the new state constitution.

     Mason had read about the philosopher John Locke, and he liked Locke’s idea that all people are born with certain rights, and that government’s should protect those rights. George Mason believed that the best way to protect those rights would be to list them in the constitution itself. This led him to the creating Virginia’s “Declaration of Rights,” the first government document in history that specified the absolute rights of individuals.

     Mason’s ideas about rights and freedom influenced James Madison, who passed them along to his friend Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson used Mason’s ideas in his own draft of the Declaration of Independence. Years later James Madison, introduced the Bill of Rights into the first session of Congress in 1789, and Madison used Virginia’s Declaration of Rights as the model.  Along with James Madison, he is called the “Father of the Bill of Rights”. George Mason died in 1792, a year after those freedoms and rights became law. He was 66 years old.


June 10, 2008


     The woman who gave us Thanksgiving. Sarah Josepha Hale was born in Newport, New Hampshire in 1788. She is well known as the author of the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” She is also known as one of the major forces behind the declaration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday in the United States, which had previously been celebrated on different days in each state. She helped raise money in Boston for the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument as well. 

     Early on in her life, she was educated by her mother and her brother Horatio who taught her what he had learned at Dartmouth. She was self taught the rest of her schooling.  In 1813, she married David Hale, a lawyer and Freemason, with whom she had five children. In 1823, with the monetary support of her (then late) husband’s Freemason lodge, she published a collection of her poems entitled The Genius of Oblivion.


     From 1827 until 1836, Hale served as editor of Lady’s Magazine in Boston. In 1837 she began working as editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book in Philadelphia. She remained editor at Godey’s for 40 years, retiring when she was 89. During this time, Hale wrote many novels and poems, publishing nearly fifty volumes of work by the end of her life. In the middle of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, prompted by a series of editorials written by Hale proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863. 


     Sarah Hale is my hero for a couple of reasons. I think Thanksgiving is an important holiday. It is not commercialized, it is about family getting together, and it reinforces the idea that almost regardless of personal circumstances, there is much to be grateful for in this life. She pushed for a national Thanksgiving in the midst of the Civil War, when families were torn apart and the country was at risk of dividing.

     The other reason I include her is because in a time when women could not vote she pushed onward writing, editing, publishing and writing about her ideas even as a widow with five children to raise. Sarah Josepha Hale died in 1879, she was 90 years old.


June 9, 2008


     Ed Sullivan was born in Manhattan New York in 1901. He’s the man who shaped popular culture in America for almost twenty-five years.  When he was forty-six years old, The Ed Sullivan Show, originally called Toast of the Town, premiered live on CBS, the year was 1948. Within a few years roughly 50 million people watched it every Sunday night!

     At that time, television was so new that the network producers didn’t really know what to do with it. Sullivan modeled his show for the world to see, his show did a little of everything. It had opera singers, rock stars, novelists, poets, ventriloquists, magicians, pandas on roller skates, and elephants on water skis.

     At a time when Hollywood saw television as a threat, Ed Sullivan was the first person to persuade movie stars to come on his show and talk about their new movies. He brought celebrities into everyone’s living room. His formula was “Open big, have a good comedy act, put in something for children, and keep the show clean.” Women were not allowed to show any cleavage. When Elvis Presley performed, the camera shot him from the waist up only so as not to show his hip movements. When the Rolling Stones came on the show to play their song, “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” he made them change the words to make it more suitable for television. His show required the performers to act with dignity. It is interesting to note however that this was censorship, done in order to keep the broadcast to Sullivan’s standards of dignity.

     Sullivan was a shy man who couldn’t tell jokes or sing or dance. He was a handsome man when he started the show, but unfortunately a car accident in 1956 severely damaged his face and his teeth. Many people said he looked like he was in pain, and he was. He loved talented performers and he personally chose every guest for his show. He spent most of his free time searching for talent in nightclubs, often staying out until 4:00 in the morning. It was Ed Sullivan who discovered the violinist Itzhak Perlman on the streets of Tel Aviv.

     Sullivan broke down barriers, even though his sponsors begged him not to, he invited African American performers and celebrities onto his show, including Jackie Robinson, Duke Ellington, Richard Pryor, and James Brown. All he cared about was talent. At the end of his career in 1971, there were twenty different variety shows on television, all appealing to different demographics. He said, “If you do a good job for others, you heal yourself at the same time, because a dose of joy is a spiritual cure. It transcends all barriers.” Ed Sullivan died in 1974, he was 73 years old.