Manhattan Holistic Chamber of Commerce President Michele Risa

Want to Make History?

I believe these are historic times.  Tunisia topples its regime…then Egypt.  People are protesting from Libya to Bahrain to Yemen to Jordan.  Though each country has its unique challenges, the common denominator is people gathering and giving voice to their values- and some dying for them.

As amazing as this rallying cry is, I am more amazed at how it began.  Do you know how?Taking Action 002

One man in a small town in Tunisia was selling his products at the market.  A policeman removed his scale, preventing him from earning the few dollars a day needed to support his family.  He went to the police station and asked for his scale.  They refused to give it back to him.  He returned later, stood in the middle of the street, dowsed himself with kerosene and lit a match. (Signs at right: No Money, No Voice.)

From the courage of one individual man, people around the world have been inspired to take action.

Taking Action 004And it’s now reached our U.S. shores, beginning in Wisconsin.

How does what’s happening in Wisconsin affect me?  Today, I benefit from what unions fought for over 50 years ago- the right to have collective bargaining- which resulted in a 5 day, 40 hour work week, and healthier workplaces. (Sign at right: We are all Wisconsin.)

I also believe this fight is about preserving and growing our middle class rather than widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots.  I believe the middle class is critical to the survival of any Taking Action 005democracy. (Sign at right: United we bargain.  Divided we beg.)

So this past weekend on my day off, I gathered with them, took action, (took these pictures), and gave voice to my values.

This is the time to investigate our values and take action.  We are living in historic times.  Are you making history?

Look forward to hearing what you think,

“Enjoy Healthy!”
Michele Risa
Beyond Body Mind Spirit NYC

3 Responses to Want to Make History?

  • Hi Michele,

    Yes, people who have been oppressed for generations have found the courage to use their voice. It truly speaks to that aspect of human nature which knows – on a visceral level – when enough is simply enough!

    The impetus of this current movement reminds me of the one which occurred in Vietnam. I believe it was a Buddhist monk who set himself ablaze in protest of the communist party’s restriction on religious practices. Sadly, the outcome of that protest was quite different from this one, but the intention was similar.

    Earlier today, I was reading about the recent developments in Tibet. Now, that is one place in which I would love to see the people raise up and kick some butt! It’s a shame what’s happening to the Tibetans…what’s even more shameful is how the international community has turned its back on the slow genocide of such a beautiful culture and people. What are your thoughts?

    Be well,

  • Michele:

    Yes, the shot is being heard around the world, but for most people outside of the USA, they have been worndering for some time who was going to pay for the USA government’s spending more than what they take is, the same for almost all the states and the same for tens of millions of individuals who have liabilities greater than their assets or at least their cash flow is negative due to personal indebtedness.

    It is a tough situation and no one wants to pay for past excesses. Some want to put a cap on spending, but the current level of spending is far greater than is the income. Everyone is reaching their credit limits and few are willing to pay down the debt.

    At federal government level, I personally think the USA has to stop trying to be the world’s policeman. That is going to bring down the USA.

    In June last year, China strarted (on a limited scale) to allow importers to pay the foreign suppliers in Yuan. One would think there would be few foreignes willing to accept Yuan (when the USA dollar is the worlds reserve currency). But already foreigners have accepted 58 billion (US$ equivalent) in payment for goods shipped to China. That means exporters to China don’t want to hold US$ anymore. Last month China greatly increased the number of importers allowed to do this and for the first time is now allowing exporters to charge for their goods in Yuan.

    To date (since 1944 – Bretton Woods), the USA has had the luxury of borrowing in US$ and so can always print extra money to repay what they borrowed. Very soon the takers of US debt (mainly China and Japan) will no longer lend US$ to America but will lend in Yuan. Then the USA government will no longer be able to print extra money to repay its debts. It will have to BUY Yuan in the market to repay its debts. That is the shot not being heard around the world but is very much on the table at the IMF and US Treasury. They have to stop the defict spending quickly, but no one want to see a reduction in their services or be laid off.

    The day of recogning and confrontation is no longer some hazy time in the future, but upon us probably this year.

    I am sure it is exciting to be part of it, but I am happy to be on my little island, watching it unfold and guessing what will be the outcome.

    chris montgomery

  • Dear Tom,

    Thank you for sharing that information with me. It confirms my belief that this is a watershed moment and old short sighted habits can no longer be sustained.

    What I find most interesting is to try and understand when is too much…how far does the pendulum have to swing before enough people insist on change? How many people have to fall into financial ruin? Be slaughtered by dictators? Or die at the hands of doctors and big pharma? On an individual level, we tolerate a great deal of pain, doing the same thing again and again before we see it, take responsibility for it, and begin to change. And yet, we are powerful beyond our wildest imagination!

    This is my way of saying, if it requires China to demand the exchange be in Yuan in order for us to change our spending habits, I guess that’s how far the pendulum must swing.

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