-CULTURES EXPOSUREs is on; right here! Right Now! Are you thinking of Cultures right now? Of course not, why would you? Yet, as you quietly contemplating this, you’re a part of some culture in some society, somewhere; following some traditions, some systems, some ways, of which some of those ways may be followed blindly.
Enjoy the Youtube videos on ViWiDA’s Cultures Exposed! program; These videos from various artists are intended to educate, and empower our participants with general knowledge, awareness of other cultures and how an impact it has on oneself, in businesses, our economies around our country and the world in general. .
Queen – We don’t like these people in our society anyways, they have primitive traditions
King – Why don’t we get rid of them then; how about genocide?
Let Victory Women in Development Association-(ViWiDA)USA exposes you to that complex world, which includes knowledge, musics, laws, the arts, beliefs, customs etc..The World of Cultures
Culture and society are not the same thing. While cultures are complexes of learned behavior patterns and perceptions, societies are groups of interacting organisms. People are not the only animals that have societies. Schools of fish, flocks of birds, and hives of bees are societies. In the case of humans, however, societies are groups of people who directly or indirectly interact with each other. People in human societies also generally perceive that their society is distinct from other societies in terms of shared traditions and expectations.
While human societies and cultures are not the same thing, they are inextricably connected because culture is created and transmitted to others in a society.
English Anthropologist Edward B. Tylor said that culture is “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” Of course, it is not limited to men. Women possess and create it as well. Since Tylor’s time, the concept of culture has become the central focus of anthropology.
Culture is a powerful human tool for survival, but it is a fragile phenomenon. It is constantly changing and easily lost because it exists only in our minds.
There are three layers of culture that are part of your learned behavior patterns and perceptions. Most obviously is the body of cultural traditions that distinguish your specific society. When people speak of Italian, Samoan, or Japanese culture, they are referring to the shared language, traditions, and beliefs that set each of these peoples apart from others.
The second layer of culture that may be part of your identity is a subculture. In complex, diverse societies in which people have come from many different parts of the world, they often retain much of their original cultural traditions. As a result, they are likely to be part of an identifiable subculture in their new society. The shared cultural traits of subcultures set them apart from the rest of their society. Examples of easily identifiable subcultures in the United States include ethnic groups such as Vietnamese Americans, African Americans, and Mexican Americans.
The third layer of culture consists of cultural universals. These are learned behavior patterns that are shared by all of humanity collectively. No matter where people live in the world, they share these universal traits.
WE SALUTE U.S. VETERANS – GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS
An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) was approved on May 13, 1938, which made November 11 in each year a legal holiday, known as Armistice Day. This day was originally intended to honor veterans of World War I. A few years later, World War II required the largest mobilization of service men in the history of the United States and the American forces fought in Korea. In 1954, the veterans service organizations urged Congress to change the word “Armistice” to “Veterans”. Congress approved this change and on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor all American veterans, where ever and whenever they had served. Follow @viwidausaFollow @viwidausa
The State of Veterans Affairs in Philadelphia
By Minister Ari S. Merretazon
I am Minister Ari Sesu Merretazon, Chief of Staff for Pointman Soldiers Heart Ministry (PSHM). I am a decorated-Bronze Star Army Commendation Medal, honorably discharged, 100% disabled, Vietnam War Veteran, of Headquarters Recon, 3rd Brigade, 4th and 25th Infantry Divisions, U.S. Army, from 1967-1968. My war narrative is Chapter 7, in the book, Bloods, an Oral History of the Vietnam War told by Black Veterans, by Wallace Terry, 1985. My story was used to make the movie Dead Presidents. Actor Larentz Tate played my character. My expertise is quoted in A Vietnam Trilogy: Veterans and Post-Traumatic Stress, 1968, 1989, and 2000.
In 1978, I was invited by Senator Alan Cranston, to testify on matters related to incarcerated veterans. I was hired by the Veterans Administration as a member of the first team to setup and staff a “Vet Center” in Little Rock, Arkansas, under a Congressional mandate of 1979 (Public Law 96- 22).
I am a White House Honoree, President Jimmy Carter, honored for establishing the first Office of Incarcerated Veterans Affairs inside of a prison recognized by the VA. In 2012, I was one of 10 African-American men, out of 1,000 applicants in Philadelphia, to receive the heralded Black Male Engagement Financial Award from the Knight Foundation for my work with vulnerable veterans in Philadelphia with Pointman Soldiers Heart Ministry.
According to the research, findings, and testimony of Pointman Soldiers Heart Ministry, the state of veterans affairs in the city of Philadelphia is critical, and in a state of emergency. To understand the state of emergency of veterans affairs in Philadelphia one only has to understand the rationale for the Veterans’ Preference Act of 1954 and compare and contrast the facts and circumstances to current day regard, service and assistance the city of Philadelphia has for its veterans and the documented record of service and assistance to its veteran citizens today.
In 1954, President Roosevelt said, “It is absolutely impossible to take millions of our young men out of their normal pursuits for the purpose of fighting to preserve the Nation, and then expect them to resume their normal activities without having any special consideration shown them.” These words of President Roosevelt are the basis for service and assistance to armed forces veterans.
Surely these words apply today. I remind Mayor Michael Nutter and Council President Clarke, that the Veterans Preference Act of 1954 is still law, as amended!
The Act, in essence, was a consolidation of the various preference provisions already in effect by the various Executive Orders and Civil Service Commission regulations. It went a step further by broadening and strengthening existing Veterans preference rules by giving them legislative sanction. In addition, The Act made clear that preference was reward for patriotic duties by a grateful country willing to recognize the sacrifices of its servicemen. The Act, and subsequent amendments, would help ensure that veterans obtain or regain an economic position they otherwise would have attained had they not served in the armed forces.
On February 7th, 1957, by Resolution 123 of the City Council, the Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission (PVAC) was created and is composed of seven members appointed jointly by the Mayor and the President of Council. The Commission’s first members were appointed in November, 1958. At that time, the PVAC was “directed to consult with all governmental agencies engaged in the distribution of veterans’ benefits and to advise veterans of those to which they are entitled, and to report periodically to the Mayor and Council their findings and proposals for legislation which it may think useful in such matters.”
Coming forward to the honoring of veterans by the State of Pennsylvania in the spirit and letter of the Veterans Preference Act of 1954, and subsequent amendments, Pennsylvania offers over 40 special benefits for its military service members and veterans including Veterans Emergency Assistance, Disabled Veterans’ Real Estate Exemption, Educational Gratuity, Veterans Employment, Blind Veterans Pension, Paralyzed Veterans’ Pension, Civil Service Preference, Special Vehicle License Plates, as well as Hunting, Fishing license and State Park privileges. Eligibility for some benefits may depend on residency, military component, and veteran disability status.
There are more than a hundred veteran service organization and self-help groups in Philadelphia, many of them are here today. James “Jim” Abram, president of Pointman Soldiers Heart Ministry applauds the commitment of veteran self-help groups for not leaving our fellow veterans on the field of despair in Philadelphia, just as they vowed to never leave your fellow soldiers on the battlefield.
Nevertheless, without units of government at the city, county and state levels facilitating and advocating for the rights, benefits, and preferences before the federal U.S. Veterans Administration, all of the work of our veteran organizations cannot and will not significantly increase the relevant number of Philadelphia veteran claims for service-related disability or pensions filed with the VA, nor will they be able to develop collaborative methods to increase rates of economic recovery paid by the VA to Philadelphia veterans.
This is so, because there is no single database to track the number of homeless veterans, the number of unemployed veterans, the number of veterans with PTSD and TBI, nor the number of incarcerated veterans, and women veterans in Philadelphia who were sexually assaulted during their time in the military.
In the real veterans affairs world in Philadelphia, according to research conducted by The Institute of State and Regional Affairs, Penn State University, published in July 2012, entitled, “Examination of Rural County Veterans Affairs Offices,” Philadelphia is only one of two counties without a Director of Veteran Affairs Office in the state of Pennsylvania. This makes Philadelphia the only county in Southeastern Pennsylvania without a Director of Veterans Affairs to facilitate access to earned economic benefits to its veteran citizens.
This examination of Rural County Veterans Affairs Offices was done five years after Senate Bill 915; PN 1436 was signed into law as Act 66 of 2007. The goals of the Act 66 legislation include enhancing service delivery to veterans, increasing the number of Pennsylvania veteran claims for service-related disability or pensions filed with the VA, and to develop methods to increase rates of economic recovery paid by the VA to Pennsylvania veterans.
In what seems to be an effort to meet the intent of Act 66, the City of Philadelphia revitalized the PVAC. In a 2008 letter from Edgar A. Howard, the last director of the PVAC, it stated its resolve/purpose, which is different from its founding purpose, as:
“Whereas, Many veterans are unaware of the benefits which are distributed through various departments and agencies of the City and to which they are legally entitled; and
Whereas, The City desires to establish a Veterans Advisory Commission which would apprise veterans of the benefits to which they are entitled and consult with and advise City departments and agencies engaged in the distribution of such benefits…”
Mr. Howard became ill in 2009, and subsequently, for some odd reason, the terms of all of the PAVC’s appointed members expired. It was not until earlier this year that new members were appointed.
Today, the city has no published, accountable, or measurable program to outreach, assist, facilitate or advocate for veterans and their families obtaining economic benefits for their patriotic and honorable service. This level of un-readiness by the city is a major barrier to veterans accessing economic benefits they earned, and contrary to Senate Bill 915, PN 1436 signed into law as Act 66 of 2007. This state of veterans’ affairs in Philadelphia is unacceptable, and we all should work diligently to improve it.
More recently, the legislature of Pennsylvania amended Title 51 (Military Affairs) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, with Senate Bill 302, providing for county directors of veterans’ affairs. Also known as Act 5, it was signed in to law by Governor Corbett on May 15, 2013.
Distinctly different from the PVAC, which is only advisory in form and purpose, the duties and responsibilities of the County Director of Veterans Affairs Office is, per Act 5, is to:
(1) Serve as a local contact between the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and an individual who was discharged from the service and dependent of the individual
(2) Advise an individual or veteran of available federal, state and county veterans’ benefits.
(3) Aid an individual in the armed forces, a veteran or dependent of the individual in completing required federal, state and local veterans’ affairs forms in compliance with current regulations and policies.
(4) Work under the direct supervision of the county commissioners and within the guidelines provided by the Department and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
(5) Participate in programs provided by the Department….
Our research has revealed that the city’s readiness and preparedness for the influx of veterans from America’s wars needs restructuring and operationalizing. According to the president of PSHM, James Abram, “this state of unreadiness is more the result of the ineffective leadership and the failure by those veterans appointed to the PVAC to advise about veteran affairs than the mayor and council president. This neglect is liken to leaving soldiers on the battle field and the refusal of a soldier to fight in the heat of the battle. “Those responsible for the city unreadiness are those veterans appointed by the mayor and council president.” With approximately 88,000 veterans living in Philadelphia and vicinity, with more coming home every day, it is shameful that:
a) There is no Director of Veterans Affairs Office serving the County/City of Philadelphia.
b) The city has no accountable, measurable, or publicized program to outreach, assist, facilitate or advocate for veterans and their families obtaining benefits for their patriotic and honorable service.
c) The City of Philadelphia has not used grants available under Senate Bill 915, PN 1436, Act 66 of 2007.
d) The City of Philadelphia has not conducted a formal needs assessment of their veteran citizens.
This state of unreadiness juxtaposed with the national realities put veterans in Philadelphia at a great disadvantage because:
• As many as 31,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans nationwide may have been improperly discharged for personality or adjustment disorders, even though they may be suffering from service-connected disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, the signature injury of the wars.
• According to DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, about 19,000 service members a year experience sexual assault, and the vast majority go unreported, in large measure because the victims believe nothing will be done or are afraid of retaliation or being labeled a troublemaker.
• On 3/25/2013 disability claims backlog hit 903,286, an increase of about 8 percent, or 7,448 claims, from the previous week. 70% of the claims in the current backlog, or 633,589 claims, had been sitting more than 125 days.
• VA is shamefully slow to help vets. Iraq & Afghanistan vets filing claims with the VA in New York, Philadelphia, or Los Angeles, you will wait an average of 600 days.
This state of veteran affairs in Philadelphia is one of the reasons why our organization is a veteran advocacy and service organization. In the coming days, it is more likely than not that the state of veteran affairs will become more stressful as more veterans return home to their families. PSHM encourage veteran self-help organizations to stay the course and continue to fight for the benefits they earned. There is relief on the horizon provided the veteran assistance community and our elected officials cover these gaps with direct liaison, facilitation, and engagement with the Veterans Administration.
It will be veterans themselves who will win this most important battle of veterans readjusting to civilian life if they continue to speak truth to power about the consequences of war and work proactively to strengthen the veterans support infrastructure in Philadlephia.
Welcome home hero, you’re not alone, Pointman got your 6!