“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.” Martin Luther King Jr.
MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, marks the end of slavery in the South on June 19, 1865. As PBS proclaims, “in this sixth month of the non-stop stunner that is 2020, the country finds itself in a period of education and reckoning of the racism embedded in its birth.”
I write this message to apologize for using the “color blind” analogy in our previous newsletter. After sending out the newsletter to share solidarity, a few of our dedicated BTSYA volunteers politely emailed to inform me that the use of the words “color blind” is offensive in todays vernacular. (You may read excerpts below) I thank these brave individuals for their courage to stand up, express themselves, and educate all of us,
specifically me. One of my mottos has always been “Failure is fertilizer. Throw your mistakes on the compost pile and grow a new garden.” I made a mistake and from that I learned so much. I am sorry.
We are living in unprecedented times and the world is in chaos with Covid-19 and the largest wave of civil unrest since the 1960s, spurred by outrage over police brutality and racism. Here at Be the Star You Are!® we are INCLUSIVE. We don’t tolerate bigotry, racism, or any other negative attitude towards any race, religion, gender, culture, or viewpoint. We stand together as a colorful united family of brothers and sisters from many different countries and backgrounds. Take a peek at our website,https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org or our teen radio show athttp://www.expressyourselfteenradio.com and you’ll see that our volunteers represent the nations of the world. We are very proud to stand for freedom and equality for all.
My acting union, SAG-AFTRA released the following statement from President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David P. White on the murder of George Floyd. It states more eloquently what we at Be the Star You Are!® believe so I share this with you.
“The murder of George Floyd is deeply emblematic of a corrosive inequality and injustice at the heart of America. As protests spread across the country it is not enough to condemn injustice. It’s not enough to demand change. We must recognize that racism lives in our culture and only we can change that. We must speak up in the face of injustice and fight back against the indignities our fellow citizens face every day. We must be defenders and allies. We must be better than this.The ugly truth is that Mr. Floyd’s killing was one among many murders of black people over many years. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Jr., Marsha P. Johnson, Emmett Till, and the list goes painfully on and on stretching back for centuries. It must end. Black lives do matter.”
Again, I apologize if the newsletter offended, Please forgive me. It was never my intention to be offensive in any way.
There is no room for bigotry, brutality, or racism in our world. We are all on a learning curve and open to all feedback. Although we are all sailing together in this time of pandemic, I recognize that we are not in the same boat.
This is a time to be kind. To help one another. To be inclusive. We will not tolerate injustice. When we embrace diversity we increase peacefulness. Let’s remember that love always wins when kindness prevails. Smiles will keep us happy.
Juneteenth is not currently recognized as a Federal holiday but by celebrating it, we take one step forward towards reconciliation and the fight for freedom for all.
We want to hear from you. How do you demonstrate that Black Lives Matter? We’re interested in your thoughts and actions. Send your comments (less than 50 words) to our Kindness Coordinator, Karen Kitchel at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30. We will include a variety of responses (first name only) in our July newsletter.
I know I’m going to make many more mistakes. We all will. But let’s learn and grow from them. We are COLOR BRAVE!
Be strong, be brave, be safe.
And don’t forget to also celebrate Father’s Day on June 21. A salute to all the great dads of every color and creed.
Be the Star You Are!®
PO Box 376
Moraga, California 94556 Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org http://www.BTSYA.org
EXCERPTS FROM TWO POWERFUL EMAILS WITH RESOURCE LINKS
“I’m emailing you now about the newsletter I recently received that was titled Become Color Blind. I understand the need to be in unity in this fight against institutional racism and police brutality, so I do appreciate your response on this. But I feel that asking everyone to “become color blind” is counterproductive and incredibly tone deaf in light of recent events.
Saying you are color blind says that you ignore the fact that oppression/racism exists for people of color like me. As recent events have shown, we are all not treated equally, unfortunately. I in no way mean to attack you, but this was something I found to be offensive. Put short, I feel there are better ways voicing your support.
Here is a video that might help explain some of what I said
better. https://www.ted.com/talks/mellody_hobson_color_blind_or_color_brave Sincerely,
“I admire all of the work you do in order to enrich the lives of young people. I received your email earlier this week regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and in it you stated that your organization is ‘Color Blind’, I know this statement is not meant to have malice or be hurtful. So I felt obligated to explain why this popular statement is damaging and can make people of color feel uncomfortable.
I am Latina and for me this statement, while well intentioned, can feel as if my unique experiences with being Mexican are overlooked. We can no longer be colorblind, we must recognize people’s experiences and understand that someone who is Black has had a different experience than someone who is Asian. To say that your organization is ‘Color Blind’ diminishes the experiences of POC. While we all bleed the same blood we are all experiencing a different reality, while some of us may never struggle because of the color of our skin others will have to live in fear because of theirs. And these differences need to be acknowledged. What you must strive for instead is to not be color blind, but to be actively Anti-Racist. Being anti-racist means that you are actively acknowledging other experiences while educating yourself on how to be a better ally. We must realize and digest how Black people in our country carry the weight of hundreds of years of systematic oppression and learn how to fight for a system that values Black lives. Color blind and anti-racist are not interchangeable and while one diminishes the existence of oppression and experience the other acknowledges oppression and actively tries to counteract it.
I wanted to contact you to explain this because I know that your email had the best intentions and did not mean to diminish any experiences. I am very happy to see your organization be so accepting and so against discrimination. I wanted to mention that I mean no disrespect in sending this email to you and solely wanted to let you know how this term has changed and evolved. I understand that the words I use today when it comes to fighting against discrimination will be replaced in the future with other terms better suited for the fight against racism. I am very happy that I worked with a group that has taken a firm stance on this issue and I wish you all the best.
If my definition was not very clear here are some resources that may explain it better than I could:
Thank you for reading this and hearing my perspective in this issue. Best,
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Summit begins on June 20th, 2020 with a special guest featured each day .Be the heroine of your own epic life. Watch and learn from a league of leaders and trailblazers to help you to lead a life you love. Your dreams can be your reality!
Cynthia Brian is the featured guest on June 25th. FREE registration.
WRITER WEDNESDAYS and SUPER SMART SUNDAYS
As part of our Be the Star You Are! Disaster Relief Outreach program (https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of- operation-hurricane-disaste), Be the Star You Are!® has collaborated with the Authors Guild to showcase the new books launched by many authors from around the country in a variety of genres. We will also be showcasing artists, actors, and musicians, all of whom had had their gigs canceled and are out of work. We believe in supporting creativity and believe that books, art, music, and film provide escape and
joy, especially during tough times. For the next few months, make sure you are tuned in to both StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® on Wednesdays at 4pm PT for “Writers Wednesdays” LIVE http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are as well as our teen program, Express Yourself!TM airing on Sundays at 3pm PT for “Super Smart Sundays”, https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself
Both programs broadcast on the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel and will be archived on that site as well as iTunes, Stitcher, etc. It’s a giant artistic festival!
CHECK OUT BOOK REVIEWS
Our Star Teen Book Review Team is busy
reading and writing reviews for you to enjoy
this summer. Reviews are honest and the
personal experience of each writer. Check
them out at our website,
and at our partner, The Reading Tub,
you-are/. Many thanks to our Book Review Coordinator, Stephanie Cogeos, for keeping us on track. If you are interested in joining our team, you can find the info athttp://www.btsya.com/book_reviews.html,.
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Celebrate Freedom Day! &
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Be the Star You Are!®
PO Box 376
Moraga, California 94556 Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org
DAY TO EVERY AMAZING DADDY!
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Mother Earth. Mother Nature. Mother Land. Mother Tongue. All that nurtures and sustains our very existence as well as communication is referred to as ‘Mother” because as a human society, deep down at the core of our souls, we know that feminine power is undisputable. Female power is necessary for shaping all that is around us.
|As a Hindu child, I was raised to believe that being a woman is powerful and comes with great responsibility. Responsibility to nurture and support a family. Be the energy and vitality that anchors both home and society. For Hindus, God is part male and part female where the female aspect of God is called “Shakthi”, translated in English to mean Energy. Therefore, the strength of a woman is expected. The energy and strength of a woman brings each of us into this world. Without women, there is no life and most species will become extinct, including humans. Given this undisputable fact, I continue to contemplate why women’s rights and women’s empowerment is something we have to take on as a cause? Why is it looked upon differently than a Man’s given right?|
|I had the added advantage of being born and raised in Sri Lanka, a nation that gave to the world its very first female head of state from a modern democracy, Sirimavo Bandaranaake, in 1960. Women were heads of households and women can be heads of states was my childhood reality. However, as I grew older and travelled the world, I began to realize that was not the case everywhere. I began to realize there were those who were into empowering everyone including women and then there were those who controlled everyone including women.|
That meant, I as a girl growing into a young woman, needed to learn how not to give over control of my very being and take charge of my journey in life. A gift of life given to me by my God, who embodies the female energy, cannot be surrendered to insecure human beings who saw their path to success as controlling others. Instead, I needed to seek the mentorship and support of enlightened human beings to help me fully reach my full potential.
Being an empowered woman means owning one’s journey and empowering others, both men and women, along life’s journey. It is not about looking at anyone as the enemy but treating everyone as fellow travelers with a shared purpose of leaving this place, any place, better than we found it. Empowered women ennoble others. They bring out the noble qualities in everyone they touch. Empowered women shape their path by continually transforming themselves and those around them.
|Growing up in South Asia, it was engrained as part of our basic education that serving others in our free time is not optional or resume building but duty to society. We were taught that our civic duty is what earned us rights in a democracy for self-determination. This meant, I had the opportunity to engage in educating and empowering women as the pathway to empowering families and communities.
Basic literacy, finical literacy and other means of empowerment were activities I had the honor of participating in. I must admit, those activities prepared me more for life than anything else because it gave me the opportunity to learn empathy, walk a mile in another person’s shoes and partner with them to strategize a better future. I found my humanity and calling in that process.
With a young Dodderi Village girl during University Vacation where I spent the summer building a school and teching. Dodderi village is located in the State of Karnataka, India.
The true wealth of a society is not measured in currency or material assets, but in how the women of that society are treated. Be it education, healthcare, career choices, or life choices, when women are not free to make their own choices, the underlying society is not free and it is not truly capable of realizing its collective potential. Should women get equal pay? Should women have the right to make their own choices with regards to their own bodies? Should women be punished when their bodies were violated? Should women’s reproductive health matter? Could women pursue any career they want without hazing or retribution? If these questions are asked in a society, it is an indication of that society not yet being free in the factual sense of the word.
Supporting women, empowering women and celebrating women is not solely dependent on the men in a society. Good and strong men already do this because they know that they need a strong woman by their side to face their own challenges. Alongside these good men, we women should stand shoulder-to-shoulder and pull each other up. We can never forget that we hold our destinies in the palm of our own hands. This week, my guest will be Traci Campbell, the Founder of BIBO, an organization focused on recognizing empowered women, celebrating their positive social impact and laying the foundation for a collaborative effort to magnify the goodness to make it contagious. Please join me on the show and call in with questions. This is our world and it is our lives that we are transforming. Let’s get engaged!
May 31st, 2017: The Freedom to Be Yourself
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell
An amazing thing happens when you stop picking on yourself – you discover your own perfection. Ready to be free? Join the Kanes in Being Here and experience the brilliance of being yourself.
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What am I going to write about? The time I struggled and showed my ass by behaving like I’d lost my mind? There are moments I feel like I’m part of the circus or better yet starring in a sit-com. My life is far from always being full of laughter though we laugh a lot in our family.
I get tired of taking everything so seriously. So I put on a pair of “TV glasses” and see what each situation I’m worried about, frustrated with, pissed about, and enjoying would like through the camera of a sit-com.
I discovered this solution when Eli was an infant. I was alone and changing his diaper. He stuck one foot in poop, then another, then his hand. Somehow it got on my hands too. I was by myself at home. And as a new mom, I began to panic. How do I figure this out? How do I get my son and myself clean without getting poop everywhere. Every idea I thought of resulted in me seeing my son ending up falling to the floor. All the tools I needed were in other rooms, The thought of carrying poop from room to room with a dog and three cats standing by to enter the fray filled me with more anxiety. My body tensed and tightened. And then Eli began to cry. Big surprise, right? And then as he wriggled in more poop, for a split second I imagined my reaction if I was watching this on TV. What was the big deal? And I began to laugh. And as I laughed and my body loosened, Eli calmed and smiled. I have no idea how, but somehow I cleaned us both pretty quickly and easily. And from then on, I pulled out my “TV Glasses” during life situations. Any caregivers out there ever experience similar situations?
Which brings me to a few days ago when again I was struggling, frustrated and a little scared. Instead of picturing the sitcom, I cried. I disagreed with my producer for my upcoming radio show and participated in unnecessary arguing drama. I was not fit for human consumption and I felt it in my body. I reflected on all my “life plates” I keep spinning, my to dos. Are these life or death “plates”? Nope. What will happen if I don’t get EVERYTHING done? Nothing. What am I afraid of?
Truth? Falling on my face which is FAILING. Yet even as I say that most of me is not afraid. I know in the deepest part of me, even if I fall on my face there is a reason. I know the experience will provide me with an opportunity. Now truth be told. It isn’t comfortable to fail. So I don’t know of anyone who runs out and says Yes, I’ll choose Failure. What I know is if I don’t choose change, which comes with risks, and pushing out of what is comfortable, I stay stuck.
Complacency becomes another word for stuck. Don’t make waves. Status quo. Don’t ask a tough question because of what might happen. Did you know stuck means you don’t get to experience the fantabulous either?
Self-esteem plays a huge role in your willingness to embrace change. Change can have ALOT of unknown and unfamiliar feelings and factors. So of course complacency will feel better in some aspects because you know it. And you know your outcomes even if they are painful.
So here I go taking another leap: 1) I premiered my radio show heard globally 2) I stopped part of my business marketing which I believed until recently was the largest draw for meeting new clients. I do not know what I’m doing next to grow my community. I trust it will be revealed soon (there was a bit of GULP the first time I said that) 3) I am continuing to lovingly detach as a parent (more on this in future articles). Providing my son opportunities to grow and fail (as safely as I can) 4) I am visibly emerging with live videos on social media, radio, joint ventures with other healers 5) I am learning how to do my radio show from my computer and all the mechanics and marketing (there are at least 10 things here I don’t know) 6) I am allowing in my relationship with Marc instead of listening to the voice telling me to “drive the train”. With more leaping each week and sometimes daily.
And while some days it feels harder and some days I fail. I am still happy everyday. And more and more consistently, I feel an ease and a joy. I feel a freedom like I did as a kid riding my bike super fast with the wind blowing my hair kicking my feet out as I went down a huge hill and yelling WHEEEEEEE!!!
With Love and Gratitude,
Is there still pain lingering in the background of your being, even though youâve freed yourself from the infliction? Have you been told who you should be, or how you should behave? Do you feel like youâre walking on eggshells, but canât seem to push yourself onto a new path? I have experienced many of these moments of pain in the past. I simply chose to believe lies for far too long, that disempowered meâ¦That had me agreeing with others opinions of me that were UNTRUE.
Iâve emphatically demanded that me, my body, and the universe, create and empower me, as I choose to be. I speak up for those that canât yet. I live for the eradication of abuse off of this planet. So, let us explore and uncover, what YOU can gain, from the pain of the lies that were embedded in you, that blurred the definition of the TRUE YOU. What could life be, if you chose to change the perspective on the negatives of life, and used the experiences for your advantage?
Letâs shift from pain to GAIN.
In case you missed the show on August 22, listen to the recorded archive! Ancient Toltec’s believed life as we perceive it is a dream.Read More
In case you missed it! Embarking on a spiritual path does not mean you can simply throw away your past. Everyone has some sort of trauma, pain, loss or other negative emotions they’ve held held onto. Many of these emotions have kept you from living the wonderful life you were meant to live. Finding spirituality means you accept your past, and leave it behind you so that your past does not keep reoccurring in your future and so you can truly move forward in life.
Join us as Kellie shares her wisdom, knowledge and experience with all of us.
Every week, Express Yourself!â¢ will bring you a stimulating program based on a chapter from our award winning book Be the Star You Are!Â® for Teens.
With the return of our host, Henna Hundal, who is currently going to Harvard, Express Yourself!â¢ boasts three fabulous hosts for this important show on tolerance, Asya Gonzalez, Zahra Hasanian, and Henna Hundal. Henna provides an update on her Harvard experiences and the new radio network sheâll be working with at the university as the ladies chat. Â The hosts also discuss their personal viewpoints of what tolerance and intolerance mean to them. Â Prolific author of YA novels, Paullina Simons brings her fascinating insights about tolerance and how she writes her characters. Paullina grew up in Russia where she never saw a person of another race or color. When she came to America, she went to a school that was 80% Latin and African American. She advocates defining what tolerance is to you and surround yourself with people who feel positive and have beliefs that are similar. Be open-minded. Â Be respectful. We may disprove of what someone says, but everyone has the right to say it. Be vocal. Tolerate and Celebrate . Express Yourself!â¢
Bio: Paullina Simons is the author of the acclaimed novels Tully, Red Leaves, and Eleven Hours as well as the Bronze Horseman Trilogy. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, she graduated from The University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, and has lived in Rome, London, and Dallas. She currently lives near New York City with her husband and most of her children. paullinasimons.com
Congratulations to everyone at Express Yourself!â¢ Teen Radio for four years of excellent broadcasting.
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