February 18 – Travel Africa Day

Posted on February 18, 2020

(Third or fourth Tuesday of February)

A lot of people dream about going to a tropical paradise such as Hawaii, Tahiti, Curaçao, Bali, the Canary Islands, Bermuda....

Those and many other island destinations lie in the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, or the Northern Atlantic. But there are beautiful tropical paradises off the coast of Africa, too! I give you the Seychelles: 

And many people love to spot wildlife in places such as Alaska, the Galapagos, and Australia. But what could be better for wildlife than the plains of Africa?

If you love mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and hiking, you may dream of trekking in Nepal, mountain climbing in Switzerland, or checking out Canada - but Africa offers gorgeous treks and climbs and sights as well:

Basically, whatever sort of trip you want, whatever you want to see, you should consider Africa as a possible destination!!

February 17 - Happy Birthday, Julia de Burgos

Posted on February 17, 2020

The life of Julia Burgos - who later changed her name to Julia de Burgos - was filled with hardship. She was the oldest of 13 children, born in Puerto Rico on this date in 1914. Her father was a farmer, and the family was very poor - to the point of some of her siblings dying of malnutrition! She had African ancestry, which is common in the Caribbean but which was considered lower status. 

She studied at university and became a teacher. She is most famous for her poetry and her activism in an attempt to make Puerto Rico independent and in an attempt to win civil rights for women and African/Afro-Caribbean people.

De Burgos left Puerto Rico at age 25 and never returned while alive. She lived a short time in Cuba but largely in New York City. She supported herself and her family by writing and also by serving as an editor of a socialist Spanish-language periodical. 

When De Burgos died at age 39, she gained recognition in Puerto Rico, earning an honorary doctorate, having schools named after her, and appearing on a postage stamp! 

It's so important for citizens of the United States to understand that Puerto Rico is part of the U.S. It seems to me that it would only be fair for Puerto Ricans to be able to join the U.S. fully, as a state, or to gain independence; it's now a territory, with Puerto Ricans being U.S. citizens - but citizens who lack full representation in D.C.! 

Also, because Puerto Rica has been recently devastated by a hurricane and then again by an earthquake, it needs all the help it can get to rebuild!

Also on this date:

Louis Riel Day in Manitoba
(Third Monday in February)

(Third Monday in February)

(Third Monday in February)

Plan ahead:

Check out my Pinterest boards for:
And here are my Pinterest boards for:

February 16 - Happy Birthday, LeVar Burton

Posted on February 16, 2020

What does the 1977 mini-series Roots...

...sci-fi series Star Trek: The Next Generation...

...and children's program Reading Rainbow all have in common?

Of course, I am sure you already know - today's famous birthday, LeVar Burton!

LeVar Burton was born on this date in 1957 in West Germany, where his father, a photographer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps, was stationed. However, his family soon moved back to the U.S.; he grew up in Sacramento, CA, and he went to USC, a prestigious California university.

Burton had a shockingly quick rise to fame when he went to his very first professional audition - and won the role, at age 20, of Kunta Kinte, an African man who is kidnapped, enslaved, and shipped off to colonial America. The plot involves attempted mutiny and horrific treatment and learning. The mini-series captured really high ratings (the finale is still the third-highest-rated episode for any type of TV series and the second-highest-rated series finale in U.S. television history! It also captured 37 Emmy Award nominations (!), 9 Emmys, and other awards as well. Two sequels and a related movie followed (Burton starred in the sequels), and the original Roots was rebooted by the History channel a couple of years ago!

Burton has done a lot of other acting jobs in his long career, including a blind Starfleet Lieutenant in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Because of his role in this geeky fave show, Burton has had the opportunity to play a humorous version of himself on shows such as Community and The Big Bang Theory.

Burton's most award-winning show is the one he not only hosted but also served as executive producer: the PBS children's show Reading Rainbow. This series ran for 23 seasons - one of the longest-running children's shows on the network - and accumulated more than 200 awards, including 26 Emmys. Burton, who was nominated for Best Actor in the mini-series Roots, but didn't win, won 12 Emmy awards as host and producer of Reading Rainbow!

Burton is also a director and author and podcaster and philanthropist. Very cool, LeVar, very cool!

Check out some LeVar Burton wisdom: