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Let’s Join Hands and March

January 16, 2017

At noon on January 20, 2017 Donald Trump will be sworn in as the nation’s 45th President. We have little real knowledge of what will happen during his Presidency but the feeling is it won’t be good for the nation or the world. Thus far we see a man who will be President make pronouncements in 144 characters using twitter. Bizarre to say the least. 

I will not go to the inauguration but will join hands with the anticipated over 100,000 for the Women’s March on Washington at 10:00 am on Saturday, January 21, 2017. We march to tell the new administration we will fight any effort to take our nation backwards. The  mission statement of the march reads, “The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us - immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault - and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. HEAR OUR VOICE.”

There are eight ‘Unity Principles’ that bring people together. They are; ending violence, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights and environmental justice. 

We raise our voices to defend progress made over decades and moved forward under Barack Obama. We will not sit by idly while a new administration turns back the clock on equality. Instead we unite and work tirelessly to continue to make progress until there is a guarantee of civil and human rights for all. 

The world is watching as the Trump administration begins. We cannot allow those who look to America for leadership to believe there is no active resistance to the words we are hearing from him and those who would be part of his administration. 

President Obama spoke out on all these issues. The first piece of legislation Obama signed after taking office in 2009 was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act soon followed by the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. He signed the Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare giving more than 20 million people healthcare insurance for the first time in March of 2010.  But  much of what the President did during his second term was by Executive Order and those can be even more easily overturned by Trump; some with the stroke of a pen.

Much is at stake. Trump has committed to nominating Supreme Court Justices who oppose Roe v. Wade and some on his list would like to overturn marriage-equality.  There are those who will assume Cabinet positions who support dismantling Medicare and Medicaid and curtailing Social Security.  The progress made to slow climate change is at risk to say nothing of our other treaties and alliances around the world. 

That is why I will march and why it is so important for you to join me, and Gloria Steinem and Harry Belafonte the March honorary Co-chairs. We march because we believe we must say to this new administration; we are watching and we are united; ready and willing to act to save the principles and rights we believe in. 

Note: The Women’s National Democratic Club will serve as a clubhouse for the March and will be open all day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For more information the club number is 202.232.7363.

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'The Children of Willesden Lane' with Mona Golabek at the French Embassy

January 5, 2017

Fresh from her acclaimed performances in London, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, American concert pianist, author, and radio host, Mona Golabek, shares her mother’s story, based on her best-selling book, The Children of Willesden Lane Mona Golabek is the daughter of Lisa Jura, a concert pianist, and French resistance fighter Michel Golabek. Her mother was born in Austria, and was one of 10,000 Jewish children brought to England before World War II as part of the Kindertransport, a mission to rescue children threatened by the Nazis. Although Mona's mother was rescued, her maternal grandparents died at Auschwitz. Her Father, Michel Golabek, received the Croix de Guerre for his heroism in the French Resistance during WW II.


Set in Vienna in 1938, and in London during the Blitz, The Children of Willesden Lane tells the true story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist who dreams about her concert debut at Vienna’s storied Musikverein concert hall. But, with the issuing of new ordinances under the Nazi regime, everything for Lisa changes, except for her love of music and the pursuit of her dream, as she is torn from her family and sent on the Kindertransport to London. 


The story intrigued me because my mother was also from Vienna and escaped the Nazis at the age of fourteen. She didn’t escape on a Kindertransport but rather with her mother and also went to London before immigrating to the United States. Like Mona’s grandparents my father’s parents died in Auschwitz. 

Mona Golabek (Photo by: ) Mona Golabek


The Washington premiere of this work by Mona Golabek will be held at the La Maison Française, 4101 Reservoir Road, NW on Sunday, March 5, 2017. Immediately after the concert at the Embassy, The Defiant Requiem Foundation will be hosting a dinner. The concert is one hour in length and features the music of Grieg, Beethoven, Debussy, Bach, Chopin and more.   


Proceeds from this benefit performance and dinner will support the mission, performances and educational programs of the Defiant Requiem Foundation. The Foundation was founded by Maestro Murry Sidlin, distinguished conductor, educator, and artistic innovator in 2008. It is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC. 


The work of the Foundation is dedicated to preserving the memory of the prisoners in the Terezín concentration camp during World War II. Despite monumental suffering, disease, and the constant presence of death they found hope and inspiration in the arts and humanities. The Foundation achieves its mission by presenting live performances of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín and Hours of Freedom: The Story of the Terezín Composer. Distributing the award-winning documentary film Defiant Requiem to the broadest possible audience and perpetuating the Rafael Schächter Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Terezín in both the Czech Republic and the United States. The Foundation nurtures opportunities for Holocaust education centered on Terezín, including the Defiant Requiem film curriculum guide and the University Residency Project. Creating new initiatives and artistic programs to honor the creativity and courage of the Terezín prisoners and expanding overall awareness of Terezín.


Tickets to the concert and dinner begin at $250 and space is limited. For information please contact the Foundation office at 202.244.0220.

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Vegetable Gardening with the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild

December 6, 2016

Founded by Franciscan friars in 1899, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America is one of Washington's hidden gems, with a stunning Byzantine-style church; replicas of Holy Land shrines, Lourdes Grotto and catacombs; cloister walk; and beautiful gardens with more than 1,000 roses and other plants, flowers and herbs located on 42 acres. 

One of their community projects is the work being done by the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild (FMGG), an all-volunteer 501(c) 3 non-profit. This project led by Louis P. Maroulis is growing and donating literally tons of vegetables to those in need in the District of Columbia. The Garden Guild are the stewards for the greenhouse and urban farm located at 1400 Quincy Street, NE - within a 10 minute walk of Brookland/CUA Metro Stop - Redline.  

Since 2014, FMGG has harvested and donated over 13k lbs. (6.5 tons) of vegetable produce to various civic and religious organizations in the metro DC area such as the DC Central Kitchen, Martha's Table, Capital Area Food Bank, SOME, Joseph's House - Adams Morgan, and Iona Senior Services Center – Tenleytown.

In addition, FMGG is collaborating with the Casey Tree Foundation for replanting the Monastery's orchard with various fruit trees and the DC Beekeeper's Alliance to rebuild the Monastery's apiary of 20 beehives.  FMGG also provides workshops for natural soap making, jam/preserves, herb salts, herb propagation and educational tours to elementary school students.  FMGG received 17 ribbons in August 2016 from the Howard County, Montgomery County and Maryland State Fairs for home-made natural soaps and vegetables grown on their urban farm.  

You can volunteer at the farm as an individual or as part of a corporate or university group. Volunteer groups have included: Viacom/BET, Corporation for National & Community Service, Catholic University of America, American University, and Trinity Washington University.

In order to continue the amazing work they do the group is now raising money to rebuild and expand operations in their 100 year old greenhouse. This would allow them to cultivate organically and harvest vegetables year-round.  To learn a little more about the greenhouse click on this video.

The estimated cost of the greenhouse project is nearly $650,000. If you are interested in donating to this very worthwhile project or would like a tour of the existing greenhouse and to learn more about the work, contact Garden Guild

A tax deductible donation can be charged or checks mailed to FMGG, P.O. Box 29059 Washington, DC 20017. Make sure you put "Greenhouse Renovation" in the check's subject line.  Helping those in need get healthy meals is one of the best gifts we can give to a community. Rebuilding this greenhouse will multiply your gift and make it last for years to come. 


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