Do not give, teach them the road and hands ready to work!

by Lilia M. Fiallo

A MOMENT OF REFLECTION

We all have intelligence, common sense to get our livelihood and to give us pleasure in what we want!

Mirtha was working for more than 30 years as a Secretary of a solid factory management in the capital. She lived well, in her parents’ house, with her four unmarried siblings. One day, she decided to join a charitable foundation, providing a monthly amount.

A few years later, at a meeting of which were used in that institution, Mirtha proposed, to buy two homes, and give them to families that appear to be in need. Studied and approved the proposal by all board members, they gave way to the project to crystallize it.

Beatrice, a woman head of household, mother of four children, unmarried, was selected first, to deliver a simple, habitable house in perfect condition, with all the furniture and belongings documents in rule that demonstrate she was now the owner. The day came and the formal delivery took place, but the one that was happier for this event was Mirtha.

Two years had perhaps passed, when one day, Mirtha with some members of the foundation were near Beatrice’s house, and decided to go visit her. They hoped to see her happy enjoying a reality with which many dream, having a home!

They knocked twice. When Beatrice answered the call and opened the door; all smiling, they hoped to be invited to come in, but they were surprised, when she scolded them saying: “I would have been more grateful if you would have not given me anything, I´m fed up and tired of paying bills (electricity, water, telephone, gas)”.

Everyone secretly looked appalled, while their eyes had traveled the enclosure. The picture was of abandonment, there was dirt, clothes everywhere, and you couldn´t see the furniture was damaged. The visitors turned and left, as they walked speechless, someone broke the silence and said: what will the abandonment in which the children will be like?

May 17 at 5:30pm in Las Margaritas Lina says to Sofia. Look what happened to me. One thing is to respect and be consider with people, and another very different, is that some people believe, that when someone with kindness and humility, gives them a hand, a phase of encouragement, they confused it and want to abuse. My friendship is purely human and my presents are not of this world because my budget doesn´t allow me. The last time I visited to Juana, I promised myself to never go back, because abysmal I was, when she said, that if bring her something she needed, it had to be the brand that she indicated to me. However, I soon forgot it and again when she did not answer the phone, I went to visit her.

Today I think that I will hardly return. Had not noticed that while I spoke to her, she observed what I  wore and she interrupted to say: “Look at this watch I have one the table, it was given to me a boyfriend I had, I´m selling it and if someone gives me a third of what it costs” I sell it, it´s gold. I naively took it, looked at her and saw that it was no big deal. Fast mind I have, gave me the answer. Ah! Is my bracelet that appears to be fine; my ring. –a little fair-, is mounted on the ring so that it cannot fall, it looks like a great jewel, that´s why she is offering me that watch! I thought… Actually, I found out the value of the famous watch, and new, it does not cost even a third of what Juana wanted. Which fantasy and which lack of genuineness of some beings, that confused and believe that the unwary and compassionate to be is his instruments of time, says Sofia. That is why it is difficult to find authentic hearts, thoughts and good feelings. I´m not like you, I do not gift anything, because God gave us intelligence and hands ready-to-work.

Lilia M. Fiallo was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where, between tasks and free time, she found a place to write about subjects, somehow forgotten by others. With gold letters engraved in her memory, she began her working life, in the heart of the technical part, of the air traffic control of her native country. In the midst of aeronautical phraseology and codes, the world of aviation gave her one of the highest experiences, because of the precision required by this craft, where a single mistake could cost many lives. It is there, where in her concern to communicate her ideas, she begins to write with dedication, themes a little relegated by society, the Church and the State. Discovering a truth that nobody wants to talk about, but much more real and every day, than it seems. It is thus, as it appears, her first work, “Parir por parir”. You can find her book at for sale in Amazon and if you want to connect with her send her an email to lilianim2003@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birds of a Feather by Lorin Lindner

Provided by Linda A. DeStefano

Book Review by Collette Charbonneau

Translated into Spanish by Rob English

This is a true story – a sort of autobiography of how two parrot sanctuaries in California came to fruition. It is a recollection of life events by the author, Lorin Lindner, an animal lover and vegan. She recounts how she transitioned from running her own psychology practice to creating a rehabilitation program for veterans (and parrots). It all started when she took in a parrot while still in college. She was determined to navigate through the complexity of how to properly care for such a bird. She realized many people do not know how to do so and she had to do something to help.

She weaves her miraculous story into the sad, but true, story of why she had to build a parrot sanctuary in the first place. She presents honest, horrifying, and hopeful words to the plight of the parrot, a bird that is taken from his/her home in the Amazon as a baby and transported to the U.S. and sold to the highest bidder – overcrowded and uneducated/untrained pet stores or breeders who sell to unassuming people who just want a “pet”. As Lindner explains several times throughout her book, parrots need companionship, attention, proper food, clean cages, and room to fly around and spread their wings. While this can be easy for people to provide early on in their relationship with the parrots, it becomes harder as their lives get busier and the parrots continue to need a high level of attention and support. Most people do not realize, myself included, that parrots can live up to eighty years in captivity! It is hard for parrots to move around from home to home because they “imprint” or develop a deep connection to another bird, animal, or even a human. When they are separated by life circumstances, the parrot can have a difficult time recovering and moving on from that incident. Lindner wanted to help parrots.

Early in her career, after being approached by a homeless veteran needing someone to talk to, she realized other veterans needed help too. She began working with veterans at a nearby VA hospital and brought her two rescue parrots to work with her. The veterans often found it easier to communicate with a parrot than a person. She opened a parrot sanctuary for parrots in the community who could not stay with their human companions. Some of the veterans accompanied her each week to help clean cages, prepare their food, and socialize with them. Lindner then founded a rehabilitation program for veterans at the much closer VA hospital, that also happened to be a place for parrots.

Serenity Park, which opened in 2005, is described more like a garden sanctuary next to a hospital complex. The parrots, many of whom are severely traumatized, warm up to the veterans over time. They establish trust and help one another cope with the trauma they have experienced by learning that not all encounters with other humans are bad.

Lindner ends the book with hope for the veterans and parrots for whom she dedicated her life’s work. This book is a gentle reminder that people and our non-human companions both have feelings and past experiences that need to be recognized and addressed, in order for lifelong, meaningful relationships to exist. Just like us, they can find new meaning in life with the proper attention and care. Lindner reminds us that if we treat every living being right, we can all achieve true happiness and be successful in life.

Collette is a member of People for Animal Rights. You can contact People for Animal Rights at P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, people4animalrightscny@gmail.com, (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.  Visit us at peopleforanimalrightsofcny.org

The Rock Bottom Myth

by Maximilian Eyle

Everyone is familiar with the concept. We see it in movies, books, and on stage. Someone’s life spirals downward until they are struck with a lightning bolt of clarity and begin to make amends and change their ways. The message is clear: What do people who use drugs need to do? Hit rock bottom. How do we help them? Tough love or they’ll never learn. In many cases, we are afraid to show support or compassion for fear of becoming an “enabler”. There is an assumption that the person needs to be “torn down” before they can decide to change their behavior. The problem is that this concept is patently false. Not only that, but it has led to disastrous public policy results.

But what about all of the stories from people who described “hitting rock bottom” before changing their behavior? The key here is precisely defining what we mean by Rock Bottom. Many people do decide to make a change in their lives once they recognize the damage that their behavior is causing. However, this does not mean that they have to be coerced or “lose everything” to reach this point. What it does mean is that they experienced a shift in perspective. To quote Dr. Peggilee Wupperman, a professor at both John Jay and Yale University, it means that “they reached a point when they realized their life was extremely (and distressingly) different from the life they wanted or a life that fit their values.” Yet it is extremely important to recognize that this can be achieved without being torn down in therapy or experiencing severe material or emotional loss.

This idea that fostering shame and suffering is somehow the right thing to do is the natural conclusion of the Rock Bottom Myth. As a result, we turn our backs on our instincts for compassion and support. Tragically, this only makes things worse. Dr. Wupperman is a vocal critic of this philosophy. She points out that: “Despite widespread (and erroneous!) beliefs, shaming does not stop dysregulated behavior. In fact, the reality is the opposite. Shame actually increases the chance a person will continue to engage in dysregulated behavior.” This should not come as much of a surprise. We know that many people use mind altering substances to self-medicate their trauma and to ease their suffering. Consequently, when we increase the trauma and suffering in their lives – they will often consume more, not less.

It is imperative that we disengage ourselves from the punishment approach to substance use. The failed War on Drugs, the AIDS crisis, and the overdose epidemic are just some of the examples of how our determination to shame and marginalize people for their substance use has only served to worsen the problem. We have the opportunity to rethink our approach using evidence-based strategies that emphasize compassion over stigma, and empowerment over persecution.

Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He works as a media consultant and writes each month about a variety of issues for Spanish-language papers across New York State. Maximilian has a love of Hispanic culture and learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher. He can be contacted at maxeyle@gmail.com.

The Millennials

by Aixa G. López

I hear much buzz regarding the “Millennials.”  Yes, those who were born between the 1980s and 2000s. Some also call them Generation Y. The Millennials are often described as confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat, and open to change. They are too impatient, focused on themselves, and not willing to compromise on certain matters they think are non-negotiable.

I have to admit that sometimes I have been guilty of judging them as not committed, selfish, and lazy, but in reality, what happens is that they see the world through a different perspective. Older generations were people that were trying to conquer the world and breaking the established, but they were also people that respected the authority figures in a very extreme fashion; to the point that sometimes they sacrificed their rights. That being said, having both, a member of the “Millennials” and a member of the “Silent Generation” living in my household, is quite a challenge sometimes.

I remember one day when my daughter was 9 years old, she came home very upset. She said that the principal of her school had done something to a student that she considered unfair. She wanted to send an email to the principal, expressing her opinion. I wanted to die. I felt proud because she had a strong feeling and opinion about it, but at the same time, I couldn’t understand how this young kid had the confidence to want to email the school’s supreme authority. Of course, I didn’t let her do it, but I had to sit down and explain to her why sometimes it is better not to react so quickly to our feelings.

I think this generation is ideally suited for the world they are living in. Even though I have some disagreements on certain aspects with the Millennials, I have to say that sometimes I wish I had more of their free-spirited personality and confidence. They go for the things they want in life and from life, and they have their priorities very clear. Another thing I admire about them is that they are not afraid of changing minds about things. Older generations would stay on the same job for 30 years even when they were miserable. This generation would change jobs (sometimes too often) until they find what they like. It is an interesting dynamic, and I can see it unfolding in my own house all the time.

I am looking forward to the challenge, and I am also looking forward to learning from them. I’m sure we can teach each other one or two things, right?

Aixa G. López, P. E. is a Consultant, Leadership Development, Digital Marketing, Organizational Process Improvement living in the Elmira, New York Area. She is a strategically minded, analytical Industrial Engineer with 27+ years of experience providing operations management, organizational process improvement, leadership & team development, and digital marketing. She has been recognized for improving organizational effectiveness and efficiency through leadership, aligning business processes to realize cost savings and revenue growth. She’s an industrial engineer who entered the field because of her passion for fixing things. As a columnist for CNY Latino, Aixa shares with the readers this passion and the lessons she has learnt along the way.

New Music Director at SU

VPA Names Pianist, Scholar Milton Laufer New Setnor School of Music Director
by Erica Blust

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) has announced that Milton Rubén Laufer, a pianist and scholar and current director of Western Carolina University’s School of Music, has been named director of the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music, effective July 1.

Laufer will be responsible for the Setnor School of Music’s creative, academic and strategic leadership, and he will provide public advocacy for the school at the University, regional and national levels. He will also serve as an associate professor of music.
Laufer succeeds Martha Sutter, who will return to the faculty following a one-year research leave.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Laufer to Syracuse University, the college and the Setnor School,” says VPA Dean Michael S. Tick. “Our hard-working search committee, led by Ralph Zito, chair and professor of our Department of Drama, commended him for being a skilled and dedicated musician as well as an accomplished entrepreneurial leader in music education, arts consulting and arts advocacy. I look forward to collaborating with him on his vision for the Setnor School.”

“I am so honored to have been chosen to serve this remarkable institution,” says Laufer. “Music has been woven into the fabric of Syracuse University for 142 years. I endeavor to honor this great legacy while working alongside the extraordinary faculty, staff and talented students of the Setnor School of Music toward a bright and prosperous future.”
A Chicago native of Puerto Rican and Cuban parents, Laufer began playing the piano at three years of age, and his training includes studies at the Music Institute of Chicago, the Gnessin Institute, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Michigan (B.M.) and Rice University (M.M., D.M.A.).

Laufer has delighted audiences on four continents in prestigious venues from Lincoln Center to Tchaikowsky Hall. A versatile artist, he has shared the stage with artists ranging from Natalie Cole to Guerassim Voronkov. His appearances on Spanish-speaking television and radio have been aired throughout Europe, South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Laufer is recognized internationally as a leading interpreter and scholar of Spanish piano music. His editions of Isaac Albéniz’s Three Improvisations for Piano and “La Vega” are published by G. Henle Verlag of Munich and available worldwide. Currently he is writing the book “The Pianist’s Guide to the Repertoire of Spain.”

In addition, he has two recording projects planned: an album featuring piano and vocal works by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona and recording of Latin works for cello and piano with Canadian cellist Nigel Boehm. His recording credits include albums on the Naxos, Zenph Sound Innovations, Bis Records and Beauport Classics record labels.

As an educator, Laufer is guided by the principle that students must be adaptable to the changing vocational landscape that awaits them. They must not only be skilled, expressive technicians, but also entrepreneurs and convincing communicators who understand the value of their art as a commodity in the marketplace and its power as a force for change within their community.

Laufer is a charter trustee and lifetime member of the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame and an active voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys) and Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Latin Grammys)

Everson Museum exhibits the art of Juan Cruz

by Ricardo Loubriel

Juan Cruz is a Puerto Rican artist who at the early age of five was forced to leave the island and move to New York City, where his journey as an artist took form. Life situations and setbacks sparked the flame of creativity.

Cruz is 77 years old and a resident of Syracuse NY since 1975. He has been invited by the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse to present a retrospective exhibit that includes works from 1960 to the present. The show titled Juan Cruz: A Retrospective, opens on May 4 at 10am, at the Everson Museum, 401 Harrison St. Syracuse, NY 13202. The show will remain on view through August 4th, 2019.

In recent days, we had a chance to interview the artist, who has contributed so much in the fields of painting, sculpture, and the education of our youth in the arts. This is an excerpt of our conversation.

RL: What was the reason for your family to move out from Puerto Rico?
JC: Necessity and lack of resources.

RL: At what age did you first hold a brush?
JC: I was around 20 years old, but even as a five year old, ever since I can remember I spent my time drawing with pencils. This exhibition at the Everson will include one of my first paintings, a portrait of a young girl. That was in the 1960s.

RL: Did your parents in any way influence your career as an artist?
JC: I think about that and a lot. We were a poor family. I met my father when I was 12-years-old. My mom was a seamstress and she had that creative vision for drawing and designing dresses.

RL: Do you feel that the island of Puerto Rico influence your work?
JC: I do not know. My first influences were when I decided that art was more than painting pretty things, like flowers. I felt there had to be something more profound. I used to paint what I saw, very realistic. At that time I was struggling to make money. But when I started to analyze what I was doing, I opened my eyes realizing that art is not painting everything that you see. My work evolved in an attempt to reflect my experiences and my moods.

RL: Do you have a memory or anecdote that continually comes back to mind in relation to your art?
JC: I always liked to draw; I never had an interest in baseball or other sports. The truth is that all children are creators. The first thing they do is draw on walls, on the floor or the stove. We are all artists, but there comes a time when we take other interests or shift directions. For me, art comes from another planet. I am centered on personal experiences and social problems such as abuse, in all its manifestations.

RL: What does your art express, or what is the primary focus in relation with your work?
JC: My experiences, what I have lived through. Art for me is like music. Sometimes it grabs you and it speaks to your spirit. It pulls something out of us that provokes a certain connection. It is different for each person. The same happens with painting.

RL: How do you feel about this upcoming exhibition at the Everson Museum?
JC: Last New Year’s Eve, I was wondering what would happen to me this year. I was sick, alone, far from my family, broke and very cold. I read in a horoscope, “This year, something will open up for you.” I thought to myself, “There’s no other way around it!” One week later I got an invitation from the Everson to organize a show.

RL: Is there anything else you would like to say?
JC: Yes, art is therapy. I would like to send a message to our youth and tell them to think about what they are doing. Life in street gangs hit me hard when I was 17 years old, and landed me in prison without even speaking English. I did not know to read or write. I learned
to read, write and paint in prison. Not knowing English was a problem and one of the reasons why I would not advocate in my own defense. I learned that it is important to think before taking any action, rather than act without thinking. Any decision made thoughtlessly can change your life in a second. I spent 16 and a half years in prison, for a moment’s action that I made without thinking. That can take you to jail or to your grave. I want to advise our youth and tell them that it is never too late; that education is super important and it is what will pull you out of many miseries. It is important to be patient, think about what you do and work hard to move ahead. I was able to overcome that crisis in my life. I held on to my art. It saved me. Many do not have that life support. I want to tell our young people to not waste time, to get an education, seek understanding and do not let anyone pressure you to act without thinking. Art is therapy

The diplomatic siege around Venezuela

by Juan Carlos “Pocho” Salcedo

We seek to understand the role of Colombia in the Venezuelan crisis. This is not a bi-national scenario, but rather a multilateral one. Colombia has inserted itself as the central axis of the diplomatic siege on the Maduro regime.

There are domestic reasons such as stopping the massive influx of Venezuelans to Colombia. However, Bogotá sees a far-reaching future role, possibly to be the leading partner of the United States to unseat powers such as China, Russia and their allies in Latin America.

Today we have a Colombian internationalist with excellent credentials to address this complex issue.

Juan Carlos “Pocho” Salcedo Internationalist @Pochosalcedo

See full interview here: https://youtu.be/0eYUQRenuh4