Mr. T

MrTSome might argue that he was the greatest actor of his generation– at least the greatest actor of his generation who had a mohawk, myriad gold chains and feather earrings.

Mr. T was my hero when I was in Grade 8, watching Clubber Lang in “Rocky III” and B.A. Baracus in “The A-Team.” Mr. T was also a big part of the massive rise of the WWF in the 1980’s and played a key role in the very first Wrestlemania.

Rumours are that Mr. T will reprise his role as Clubber Lang in the Michael B. Jordan directed “Creed III.”

Mr. T was born on this day in 1952.


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Malcolm X


Born on this day in 1925, Malcolm Little grew up in poverty and lived a life of crime. While in prison he worked to self-educate and converted to Islam, Publicly he became known as Malcolm X, dropping what he referred to as his “slave name.” Intelligent, articulate and charismatic, Malcolm X would become one of the leading figures of the fight for equality for African-Americans. In contrast to Martin Luther King who called for non-violent protest, Malcolm X believed that violence would be necessary for black people to gain their rights. Early on he was considered to be a black-supremacist who believed that blacks and whites could never live together. However, he would eventually disavow that position, and would preach the equality of all people and express a hope for peaceful coexistence. In the years prior to his death, he began to reach out with a willingness to work with other Civil Rights groups and leaders. In particular it was after the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca required of all Muslims, where he experienced the coming together of people of all races and backgrounds, that he embraced the possibility of peaceful change rather than inevitable violence. Tragically, he wouldn’t live long in pursuit of those dreams. He was assassinated in 1965 by members of the group he formerly led, the Nation of Islam.

For more on the life of Malcolm X:

MalcolmX.com (official website of the estate of Malcolm X)

The Malcolm X Project at Columbia University

American Experience: Timeline of Malcolm X

Malcolm

Ali the Conscientious Objector

On this date in 1967, Muhammed Ali was arrested for refusing his conscription into the US military for the Vietnam War. Ali was the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, and arguably the most famous athlete in the world, perhaps of all time. Yet later that day he was stripped of his titles and effectively banned from boxing for more than 3 years, at the height of his athletic prowess.

Ali was already a powerful symbol for African-American Civil Rights. His decision to be a conscientious objector, refusing to be drafted for the Vietnam War, elevated his status in the US and around the world as a counter-cultural icon. He stated, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?” (source) Ali would eventually box again, regaining his championship belts, but it is his status as a champion of peace and of human rights that make him a true hero.

Find out more:


Muhammad Ali and Vietnam- The Atlantic

Why Ali Refused to Fight in the War- Washington Post

Muhammad Ali refuses Army induction- History.com

Muhammad Ali… – The Undefeated

The Ali Center

Chernobyl Disaster

DAVID HOLT, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

On this date 35 years ago, in what is now the Ukraine, what was then part of the Soviet Union, the Chernobyl Disaster began. This was the world’s worst nuclear power plan accident, resulting in incredible environmental destruction, hundreds of lives lost in the immediate disaster, and untold thousands of humans deaths as long term consequences unfolded over the years.

Find out more:

International Atomic Energy Agency

UNSCEAR (United Nations)

Chernobyl: National Geographic

World Health Organization

United Nations Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance

Let’s Talk Science

YaleEnvironment360

Wired: Nuclear Power

Greenpeace

Is nuclear power a feasible alternative to fossil fuels? The contribution of the burning of fossil fuels to the crisis of climate change must be accounted for, but are the risks associated with nuclear power too great? Check out the websites and books listed above, and then look for more resources to dig deeper to find out where scientists stand on these issues. Get informed and be a positive part of the decisions that will affect our future.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

In 2005 the United Nations designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The term “Holocaust” refers to the period in history in which the Nazi regime of Germany murdered over 6 million Jews, as well as millions of other victims, including Roma, homosexuals, people with physical and mental disabilities, and more. The Nazi persecution of the Jews began in the early 1930’s and reached its most horrific and brutal peak during the period of 1941-1945, as the Nazis adopted as official policy the “Final Solution,” the attempt at completely annihilating the entire Jewish population.

Holocaust RemembranceSource: CC / Sienda
Source: CC / Sienda

The Holocaust is not the only example of genocide in human history. What makes the Holocaust stand out amongst the long and plentiful list of human atrocities and evil?  Germany was amongst the most powerful nations of the world and a leader in science, technology, medicine and engineering.  The German contributions to art, music, literature and philosophy put German culture at the heart of what we would call Western Civilization. And yet this supposedly civilized people turned their great achievements and progress towards planning and carrying out ruthless genocidal murder with scientific and economic efficiency.

Children selected for extermination
source: wikimedia commons / public domain

The date of January 27 was chosen for this solemn observance as the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated on January 27, 1945.

Auschwitz Death Camp
source: Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0

For more on the Holocaust:

Yad Veshem

US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Jewish Virtual Library

Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

United Nations / UNESCO

Martin Luther King Jr.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on this day in 1929.

Dr. King was the leading figure of the Civil Rights Movement, as African-Americans struggled for freedom and equality in the United States. Dr. King was a brilliant orator and an inspirational leader. Dr. King was committed to the principals to non-violence, in part based on the example of Gandhi in India.  He believed that the only path towards a peaceful resolution of the plight of black people in the United States was through non-violence, civil disobedience, and peaceful protest.

source: CC / Wes Kandela

For more on the life of Dr. King:

Rick Rypien & Mental Health

source: National Post

Rick Rypien was born on this day in 1984. Rypien was a hockey player and a fan favourite during his time with the Vancouver Canucks. Sadly, he took his own life in 2011. Rypien suffered from the devastating effects of depression and other mental health issues.

Former team-mates, friends and family have honoured the memory of Rick Rypien in many ways, not least through the connection to Foundry (formerly known as Mindcheck.)

To find out more about mental health and some of the resources available to those who need help with mental health, visit the Foundry.

 

Bob Marley

Reggae legend Bob Marley was born on this day in 1945 in Nine Miles, Jamaica. Sadly, he died far too young, at only 36 years old, in 1981.  For more on the life of this amazing artist, take a look at some of the many books we have here in the school library.

Online you can also check out:

Believe in Yourself

Ziggy Marley was born on this day in 1968.  One of the children of reggae legend Bob Marley, Ziggy would go on to become a famous musician in his own right.  Many might disagree, but some feel his best work was “Believe in Yourself.”

“Believe in Yourself” is the theme song for “Arthur” the beloved animated program based on the books by Marc Brown.

ISLM and CLM Connections: Arthur gave us a library anthem, the “Library Card Song.”