Posts Tagged ‘girls education’

The world is full of fascinating, inspiring, and very decent people, and Indiana has our share, too.


Here is our list for October.

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1. Malala

2. Deborah Simon

3. Grant Martin Shortridge

4. Chicks on the Right

5. Greg Toler

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1. Malala Yousafzai

The Nobel peace prize was awarded this week and it did not go to Malala.


Instead, Malala Yousafzai is the recipient of the civilized world’s affection. Just last year the Pakistani Taliban tried to murder her because she was, and remains, a threat to them.

They stormed her school bus and shot her in the head in an attempt to silence her campaign for the education of girls.

Malala Yousafzai is sixteen now, and this week made her way to the Land of Liberty and Freedom to speak of what is now her life’s mission: To see that every girl on the planet can receive the education she deserves. And it is far beyond school for every girl that she works for. Make no mistake. It is Freedom – Liberty – she is striving for.

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Perhaps in protest against the war in Afghanistan, or more exactly, the US’ war in Afghanistan, many people here in the luxurious safety and comfort of their freedom to do and say anything, forget that while we went there to stop Al Qaida from attacking our country or anyone else again, we already knew of the terrible oppression of women and girls in that country.

We already knew of the corruption of the so-called religious or theocratic government that would crush any freedom of anything but compliance to their twisted version of Islam; not Islam at all, but Islamacism – Islamist fascism, and a pseudo-religious autocracy that even banned music, even banned self-defense against a husband’s brutal beatings as faithlessness. One that would publicly execute a woman in a soccer stadium for defending her physical body from abuse, and her spirit from total subjugation.

This hateful veil of deceipt, lying to its own religion, its own people, the world; and sometimes not lying, rather openingly condemning and destroying any vestiges of another way of thought, another way of life; anything that they would choose to disagree with.

And they are so fanatical in their hatred that they would reach far beyond their own lives and concerns, to take the life of a child.


What threat?

Great threat. An existential threat.

It is called Freedom and Liberty.

And her name is Malala.

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We note at the beginning that Malala was not chosen to receive this year’s Nobel peace prize. Rather, instead it was given to the team that is working to dismantle and remove chemical weapons from Syria. Unquestionably an important and worthy endeavor. Our complaint is just this: Their work is not done; in fact it is hardly begun. There is no garantee they will be successful, either, although the world is hopeful; we are counting on them. But there is much to be done, and the timeline agreed upon to complete the task extends deep into 2014.

How is it that the Nobel committee now believes the beginnings of an effort; good intentions and well-laid plans are enough? Well, they too, are free to choose as they wish.

But it is not the first time they have awarded the peace prize to someone who has literally done nothing worthy of it.

It is not our intention to compare the quality of their work – yet to be successfully accomplished – to that of then-newly-elected Barak Obama, who was awarded the prize after only a few, scant months after taking the oath of office. We would not place them in the same category. By contrast, the weapons experts chosen to go into Syria and harm’s way were chosen for their well-established, documented expertise and experience. It seems to us the moment to award the peace prize for this action might be at its successful conclusion, to recognize their achievement.

As for Malala, she has given her security, her blood, effectively given her life, for the good of others. And she continues. She should be honored.

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Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Sakharov Prize for 2013. Interestingly, the complete title is the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. You may read more about the Sakharov Prize here.

You can find aditional reading about Malala here: CBS, BBC

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2. Deborah Simon

Those who have financial wealth have long been criticized by those who do not. But when it comes to giving – sharing – the wealthy get high marks.


Indianapolis’ own Deborah Simon is a case-in-point.

She recently committed a $100 million gift to the school that was “a lifesaver” for her; a place where she found refuge and direction “during a difficult time in her young life,” as she told the IndyStar.

Deborah Simon also heads the Simon Youth Foundation (SYF), which “exists to help youth – who are at risk of dropping out of high school – graduate, develop life skills, and pursue post-secondary education and career paths.”

Interestingly, and something we really like, is that SYF was actually founded by a small group of Simon Property Group employees.

Grassroots effort. Private enterprise. Private, personal resources set free to do good.

Very inspiring.


You can read the IndyStar article here. To explore the Simon Youth Foundation, just click on their logo:

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– – –

3. Grant Martin Shortridge

We are always impressed when kids show up and doing something big.

Tribune-Star-Jim Avelis

This young Hoosier wants to make a difference in his hometown by becoming a politician at the ripe old age of 18. But with the signals he’s putting out, we think he could go even further.

The newspaper article quotes a Clinton, Indiana city official as saying to Grant, “we’ve got great plans for you.”

Somehow, we think it’s more likely Grant has great plans for them.

Go man, Go.

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4. Chicks on the Right


Indy’s dynamic, pull-no-punches Conservative duo have created something unique among . . . well, any crowd they are placed in: women, conservative radio talkshows, conservatives in general, midwestern moms, blondes, entrepreneurs, stand-offish, cautious, reserved Hoosiers.

Amy Jo Clark is known as Daisy, and Miriam Weaver as Mockarena. They write the Chicks on the Right blog (www.chicksontheright.com) and host a show on WIBC-FM (93.1), Indianapolis.


We like their style, guts and content, so they’ve earned a place in AAH’s Top 5.

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5. Greg Toler

When you begin to worry about your kid’s future, or that you don’t have the resources to give your kids all that you wish you could, or just when you think all’s gone to hell in a hand basket with kids, generally; with families, with fathers, fatherhood, or the lack of it – there is a story of overcoming and going on, and achieving that may remind you that any one moment we may only see things dimly; that it may only be a brief snapshot from the full album of life.

Toler-Matt Kryger-The Star

When we become parents, we’re responsible for a lot; more than we can calculate, and much more then we can really grasp. Perhaps just enough to convince us we ought to panic. Or to get on our knees.

At some point in a child’s development, sometimes even in the most dire circumstances, we hope he or she gains an awareness, and it is a growing, deepening awareness of themselves, of the world around them, and somehow, part of the miracle of life is that they become independent, and begin to make their own decisions; they choose a path for their lives. Not all, of course, but even just one, then it is good.


Greg Toler seems to have come from somewhere out in that wilderness, and as the statistics bear out, it’s what too many children experience – especially black children, disproportionately so: life without a father.

But life with a good mother and a good aunt, too. And from within himself, a drive and desire, and talent practiced and driven and trained and disciplined into a man and athlete to be recognized and needed.

Not only is he changing the life of the Indianapolis Colts, but the lives of those he touches.

– – –

If you know of someone who really makes a difference, leads the way, inspires us to be more, reach higher, try harder, stay longer, give more, serve, push, challenge, stand up, help, or love more, let us know, and we’ll let everyone know.

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Audrey Williams

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