JadeRider Journeys

2011


By Rice Stadium

by on Sep.30, 2011, under 2011, photography

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Posted con the move.

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Freedom cry

by on Sep.05, 2011, under 2011

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Lost behind the dark walls of modern day slavery

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September 1st

by on Sep.01, 2011, under 2011

Happy Birthday to me.  Yep, this is an entry to quickly celebrate my own day, by sharing a few blessings.  First and foremost, the love of my beloved wife Sandra, and my beloved daughter Adelina.  My first congrats actually came from Adelina, who, being in Vietnam, celebrated Sept. 1st ahead of me.  So, below is an appropriate photo sent to me yesterday.  Very appropriate I will say, since I spent the afternoon, yesterday, napping, and trying to ward off a nasty cold going around the office.

motoNap

Then came a greeting from Uncle Henry, my favorite uncle in Palo Alto, which included the following Haiku:

“A BIRTHDAY HAIKU POEM FOR THE MAN

Biker with a cause:
Kicking off the Fall with God.
He is don Carlos!”

Pretty cool; referring of course to my pending motorcycle trip, that will start in two days.

This morning I was taken to special breakfast by Sandra, and the owners of Barnaby’s surprised me with French Toast, as a gift after my migas.

Birthday French Toast

At work I got to see Adelina’s smile as we chatted on Skype for a bit, and loads of facebook congrats have come my way.  What a blessed day.

And to consider that today is the beginning of Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

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A Day in Galveston

by on Aug.27, 2011, under 2011, art, photography

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Street art

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IJM: Humanitarian Activists Deliver Letter to President Obama

by on Mar.31, 2011, under 2011, Abolition, Freedom

This is a letter that IJM (International Justice Ministry) sent to me, as one of the 21,000 co-signers, as a follow up to the petition that IJM members sent to President Barak Obama, calling for the eradication of modern day slavery. By joining organizations such as IJM and the NotForSale campaign, you too can make a difference.

Dear Carlos,

Thank you for joining with IJM and calling on President Obama to make the eradication of modern-day slavery a priority for his Administration. Last week, I had the honor of delivering our letter – signed by you and nearly 21,000 other modern-day abolitionists! – to Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director at the National Security Council. Ms. Smith is responsible for global development and IJM - Holly Burkhalter - Thank you videoWatch a special thank you from Holly Burkhalter >>

humanitarian assistance issues for the Obama Administration, and has been a leading voice on foreign aid reform. I talked with her about how we can secure more resources for combating slavery around the world, especially in the context of proposed deep cuts in U.S. foreign aid.

Ms. Smith told me, “It is amazing that when there’s so much going on in our own country,21,000 Americans want the President to know that they care about trafficking victims abroad.” She said that the strong bipartisan support around the country is very important to confronting slavery.

Your help does make a difference. Thanks in part to those of you who supported this effort last year, the President requested an increase of $400,000 more for the Trafficking in Persons office in 2012 over his request for the previous year. Having been active in the human rights field for twenty-five years, I am increasingly aware that building the political will to protect the most vulnerable among us requires an active constituency of people who care enough to speak up to those in power. Thank you for raising your voice on behalf of children, women and men who are living in bondage. IJM greatly appreciates your partnership in this work.

Warmly,

Holly J. Burkhalter

Vice President for Government Relations

 

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Modern Day Abolitionists get a new tool for fight for freedom.

by on Mar.29, 2011, under 2011

free2work

Today, those concerned with fighting for the freedom of the estimated 27,000,000 people enslaved around the world get a new tool.  While the media typically focuses on sex trafficking, and often equates it with human trafficking, a larger segment of those who are exploited and enslaved is accounted for by labor trafficking.  Yet, up until now, the average Joe, and Jane, on the street has not had a quick and easy way to make informed decisions when it comes to spending money in ways that have the potential to create pressure points towards fair labor practices.  Consumers have also not had an easy way to know if the materials used by manufactures come from supply chains that are clean, and accurately accounted for.  For example, when buying chocolate, how do you know if the cocoa beans used by the manufacturer were harvested by child slaves in Africa, or if they come from a fair trade supply chain?  How do you know if the shoes you are about to buy were put together in a sweat shop, under atrocious and exploitative conditions?  After all, the products are delivered to us in nice, and fancy wrappers, at clean stores, or by a friendly delivery driver who is the last link in an online purchasing front with glitzy graphics.
With the release of the Free2Work app into the Android market, the Free2Work arm of the NotForSale campaign starts the process of pealing off the fancy storefronts and providing buyers the necessary tools to make informed decisions.  This app, which was previously only available form iphones, puts at the finger tips of consumers an increasing amount of information about products and manufacturers that can quickly be accessed at the point of purchase.  For example, when buying chocolate at the grocery store, you can quickly pull up the records for Mars candy, owner of Milky Way and M&M’s, and find out that it is rated D-, as it fails to demand visibility into the supply chain from the processors from whom it buys its cocoa.   Same is true for Godive.  In contrast, Divine Chocolate gets a B+, since it is owned by a Ghanaiian cooperative that produces its cocoa, and its one the few companies able to source ethical cocoa supplies in West Africa.
Like the example above, consumers can make decision on shoes, flowers, jewelery, toys, and electronics, just to name a few.
The abolition of modern day slavery is a hard and complex process, but enabling consumers to ethically, and wisely spend their money can create enough incentives for companies that would otherwise continue to operate in the dark.
For more information visit http://www.free2work.org/ and http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/.  The Android app, available for Android phones and tablets is downloadable  directly to you device via the market place application, or by visiting https://market.android.com/
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Open Letter to the mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, and Houston City Council

by on Mar.22, 2011, under 2011

RE:  Human Trafficking during Final Four

City Council  March 22 2011
Good afternoon Mayor  Parker and members of Houston City Council 

The link between major sporting events, such as the SuperBowl, The Rider Cup, NBA finals etc. and the increase in human trafficking into the cities that host these events has been a major concern for the abolitionist and humanitarian community.  As thousands of fans flood the hosting cities, human traffickers take advantage of the increase in market demand and move their captives into the area, to reap the dark benefits of their trade.a
The Dallas SuperBowl last year provided the general public with significant exposure about this issue, but this has been a concern in the abolitionist community for at least 5 years, since it became apparent during the 2006 World cup.
Houston is about to become the center stage of yet another sporting event, the Final Four.  With an expected 75,000 in attendance, the conditions are here once again to create a spike in human trafficking into Houston with the result of countless to acts of rape,  and abuse being perpetrated against women, boys, girls.
In the last week I have seen the media reports and the efforts that the city has put forward to highlight all the good things that our city has to offer, and the financial and tax benefits that the city will reap from this event.
However, I have also become painfully aware of the total silence surrounding the impact that this event has on Human Trafficking, and how it is hitting Houston’s own backyards.
It has been mind blowing to witness the lack of responsiveness from the media and from city offices when this issue has been brought to their attention.  One has to wonder if people really understand this problem.
I am here today to ask each of you to become a leader in our community, and to engage the media in creating an elevated state of awareness of the dark and inhumane impacts that Final Four, and others like it have on hosting cities.  Fighting crime, any crime, is a more effective endeavor when the community is involved and can help point cases out to the authorities.
You, mayor Parker and Houston City Council, still have time to stand up and say, “Yes The Final Four will bring this city huge benefits in business and taxes, but lets also become aware of undesired side effects. Lets fight these negative effects together.  This is what you can do, as a member of this community to spare men, women, boys and girls from the horrors of human trafficking and modern day slavery.”
It can all start with a very well planned press conference. Furthermore, we are asking you to announce during that conference that you have passed a Zero-Tolerance Resolution on Human Trafficking during Final Four.

If Houston was ashamed, not to long ago, of being labelled the Fattest City in the United States,  it should be infinitely more vexed of being known as the Number One Human Trafficking Hub in this country.
I am urging you today to engage this community and its resources in creating a new label for Houston: The City That Takes a Stand against Modern Day Slavery, at Every Opportunity.  Maybe you can play a major part in letting Houston reclaim the name “City of Sanctuary or Refuge” rather than “City of the Enslaved”.

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Good bye to old friends as spring arrives

by on Mar.20, 2011, under 2011, Abolition, Adventure, Freedom, Motorcycle

This has been an interesting day.  It has been a day of contrasts. A day when saying good bye as part of letting go for simplicity’s sake comes about as new life springs all around me.
The story goes a bit like this.  As I looked in my closet, this afternoon, I spotted, in the corner, my motorcycle riding boots.  They have been sitting there since I returned from the Chains-Breaking-Chains ride to Death Valley last year.  These boots are not meant for walking.  They are meant for motorcycle riding.  At this job they are outstanding.  We have been adventuring together for more that eight years, and boy have they done a great job.  These boots are made for motorcycle riding, and as such they have built in protection on the ankles, the shins and the toes.  They are waterproof, and they are strong.
These boots proved themselves worthy just a few days after I got them.  I was on my way to the Texas Hill Country to do a photo study on the painted churches of Texas when, less than three miles away from my apartment, I got hit from behind by a woman who accelerated while looking to her left.  As I fell down, the landed on my leg, with the engine trapping my foot underneath.  Miraculously my foot was not crushed.  The boots did their job.
In the years that followed we rode thousands of miles together.  I wore these boots when I rode from Denver to Houston, in what was my first long distance motorcycle endeavor.   I also wore these boots when I took my first ride, just a few months after back surgery, and which took me on an exploration of the east and west sides of the Mississippi river, all the way to Memphis.  This was a ride designed to be a living testimony of God’s unending love for all of us, and of His amazing healing power.
A year later, these boots were on my feet while I rode from Houston to Bonneville, in northern Utah, to fulfill the dream of seeing and riding on the Salt Flats, while I was recovering from back surgery.  These boots were also on my feet as I rode to Death Valley last year, as I strove to raise funds to aide victims of modern day slavery, and to raise awareness about this dark crime. In the middle of this trip I started noticing the soles had started separating and I even wondered if they would hold up until I made it home.
In the middle of these big adventures there were lots of shorter trips involved.  Some of these trips were one-day trips, and some of them are were weekend trips.  But regardless of the length of the trips, and the marvels that I witnessed along the way, a common element was the protection I got from flying debris, mega soakers brought about by sudden storms in the middle of the Arizona desert, while riding the windy and icy curves of Wold Creek Pass in Colorado, and day long storms while riding with fellow Christian Bikers.  These boots bear on them a testimony of adventure and trial.  They have done an amazing job, and the once lustrous black surface has long been turned into scuffed and dull leather, with the soles hanging on just by a thread.
So today the time has come to say good bye.  Wonderful memories will remain, as we part ways in an effort not to cling to material things from the past, and in an effort to live a simpler, less cluttered life.  It just so happens too, that this is taking place the day when Sandra and I went out for a walk and I noticed that in our own, very small front yard, the life that comes about with spring starts to make itself manifest with vigor and power.
Just a couple of weeks ago I took the chainsaw to our crepe myrtle, and the oleanders, and did some serious pruning.  When I did the cutting I knew that these resilient trees would come back.  What filled me with surprise today was the fact that the new and tender leaves were not coming out from the strong and thick branches that remained, but rather, from the almost hair like branches that barely seem to cling on the sides.  Life was also making itself manifest in the myriads of yellow aphids that are eagerly sticking their beaks into the tender shoots of the oleander, using the muscles in their mouth parts, not to suck out the juices of the plant, but to regulate the flow of these high pressure, nutritious fluids into their bodies.  Like small, shiny yellow pinheads, these wonderful insects appeared seemingly from nowhere, providing what our former preacher used to call “an ocular demonstration” of the miracle of life.
In the middle of this moment of letting go, and of the welcoming of new life amongst us, I have take the time and pray that, just as life gets renewed in spring, we, as followers of Christ, can make a decision to bring about a renewal for the millions of people that are caught in modern day slavery.  I pray that as we seek to becomes God’s agents of change, we can see that lots can be achieved by doing small things with greatlove, and that we can make a difference in the life and suffering of others.

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