April 12, 2021

Let’s say it was 24 hours before you were born

From John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, 1971…as told by Warren Buffet and modified by Simone Joyaux

Let’s say it was 24 hours before you were born, and a genie appeared and said: “What I’m going to do is let you set the rules of the society into which you will be born. You can set the economic rules and the social rules and whatever rules you set will apply during your lifetime and your children’s lifetimes and even the lifetimes of your grandchildren.”

And you’ll say, “Well, that’s great. I get to define what kind of world I want to live in.” But you’re smart, too. You ask: “What’s the catch?”

And the genie says, “Here’s the catch. You don’t know if you’re going to be born poor or rich, of color or white, female or male or some other sexual identity.”

Now what rules do you want?

April 5, 2021

Philanthropy: voluntary action for the common good

I write Simone Uncensored issues whenever the spirit moves me. And then I schedule them for future posting – mostly weekly.

I wrote this issue in February 2021. I was thinking about the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Women’s Fund of RI, which I founded with the Rhode Island Foundation.

Part of my inspiration came from one of my favorite books: Robin Hood Was Right – A Guide to Giving Your Money for Social ChangeAuthored by Chuck Collins, Pam Rogers, Joan P. Garner. And the most marvelous Preface by Alfre Woodard. Published in 2000.

So musing about social change and giving time and money and heart and spirit – and fighting! – for social change.

I began with definitions of “philanthropy”.

• Philanthropy … philanthropia (Greek) … love of humankind

But the definition that resonates more with me: voluntary action for the common good. Drs. Robert Payton, Dr. Michael Moody and Dr. Elizabeth Lynn. Bob was the first professor of philanthropics in the USA. See this article from the Lilly Family Schoo of Philanthropy.

Consider this quote from George Bernard Shaw: “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.”

One comment from Woodard “Charity is good, but supporting and creating social change are about power. Power can infuse lives with purpose and dignity. That opens up the possibility of joy. The life of the giver, as well as that of the receiver, is transformed…No matter who we are, no matter how much money we have, whatever our color, gender, age, religion, or language – we can bring change to the world around us. We can open our minds, roll up our sleeves, and reach out our hands.”

And Alfre reminds us of one more thing: “Giving isn’t a posture reserved for the rich or powerful. It is the responsibility and privilege of every man, woman, and child to participate in the task of building more just and human societies.”

Please yes! Think about giving your money for social change!!!

And one final comment – from Teddy Roosevelt: “Of all forms of tyranny, the least attractive and most vulgar is the tyranny of mere wealth.”


April 1, 2021

A postcard in my office

A postcard in my office

From le Site-Mémorial du Camp des Milles – It’s purpose statement: Comprendre pour agir. (Understand in order to act.)

Ton christ est juif                                                               Your christ is Jewish.

Ta voiture est japonaise                                                    Your car is Japonese.

Ton couscous est algérien                                                Your couscous is Algerian.

Ton café est brésilien                                                        Your coffee is Brazilian.

Ton chianti est italien                                                       Your chianti is Italian.

Et tu reproches à ton voisin d’être un étranger          And you blame your neighbor for being a stranger…a foreigner…different.

Filed under: Social Commentary

November 9, 2020

P.S. to Sunday’s blog “Gone So Long”

Special thanks to Wendy Weinstein who responded to my blog’s return with these 2 marvelous quotes to join those that I had posted. Wendy is the Director of Development at the Clay Art Center, Port Chester NY.

Thank you thank you, Wendy…For these glorious additions.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” (From our beloved Martin Luther King, Jr.)

And from the brilliant author Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

All this is leadership and social justice. Fundraising and donor centrism and governance and management. And life, too.

July 13, 2020

AFP Global Town Hall about racism…And my resulting article

On June 15, 2020, AFP Global town hall: Anti-Racism, Inclusion and Fundraising. Speakers were: Marco A. Corona. Michelle T. Edgerton. Kishana Palmer. Ken Miller. And me, too.

I then translated my oral remarks into an article.

Here’s just the start of my remarks and the article…. Check with Bloomerang to see if they published the whole article.

My name is Simone Joyaux. I’m a white, heterosexual, well-educated, affluent woman. HUGE unearned privilege. Except for being female…I’m here today in great anger and sadness … which I’m having trouble managing even though I’m white.I begin by thanking Papa Georges. Even as a child, I knew that different was cool, even if it hurts sometimes. I’m here at this town hall to pose questions. Questions to……..

Filed under: Social Commentary

June 6, 2020

Just wandering around in my head…memories…

The other day, I was talking with a woman who had worked with Lee Weiner.

One of my heroes…a member of the Chicago Seven. Do you know them? Abbie Hofman. Jerry Rubin. David Dellinger. Tom Hayden. Rennie Davis. John Roines. And Lee Weiner.

Another star story of USA history:  The Chicago Seven were charged by the federal government with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and a whole bunch of bullshit because of their stance against the Vietnam War. Bobby Seale was one of the original…Chicago Eight. But then his trial was separated from the others – so there were only the Chicago Seven.

Later, Bobby and Huey Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party. Have you read the Ten Point platform for the Black Panther Party? Anything you’re curious about? Anything you disagree with? Why?

  1. We Want Freedom. We Want Power To Determine The Destiny Of Our Black Community.
  2. We Want Full Employment For Our People.
  3. We Want An End To The Robbery By The Capitalists Of Our Black Community.
  4. We Want Decent Housing Fit For The Shelter Of Human Beings.
  5. We Want Education For Our People That Exposes The True Nature Of This Decadent American Society. We Want Education That Teaches Us Our True History And Our Role In The Present-Day Society.
  6. We Want All Black Men To Be Exempt From Military Service.
  7. We Want An Immediate End To Police Brutality And Murder Of Black People.
  8. We Want Freedom For All Black Men Held In Federal, State, County And City Prisons And Jails.
  9. We Want All Black People When Brought To Trial To Be Tried In Court By A Jury Of Their Peer Group Or People From Their Black Communities, As Defined By The Constitution Of The United States.
  10. We Want Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice And Peace.

But back to the Chicago Seven. Do you know about the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago? The protest activity then? Rallies. Demonstrations. Marches. Attempted marches. Anti-war groups petitioned the city of Chicago for permits to march … but the city mostly said “no.” And yes… tear gas and verbal and physical confrontation and those police batons beating people and protesters retaliating and and and…

My French cousin Fabienne watched it all on TV at our home in East Lansing, Michigan. I was in summer school at MSU ... taking classes and working. My French dad kept asking “Why do you Americans think you can win in Vietnam? The French were there for 20 years and we never won.” (That’s French Indochina if you haven’t heard of that precursor to the USofA’s Vietnam war.)

In the summer of 1970, I married Bill,  who’d just returned from Nam. Ah yes, my war. I’ve written about this. Bill and I lived in Junction City, Kansas, home of the Big Red One, huge military base. Bill wasn’t out of the military yet.

With my teaching degree, I could substitute teach. That’s all I every wanted to be, you know. Teach French and English in middle school and high school. Even with my masters’ degree in 20th century French and American comparative literature…. I still just wanted to teach in middle/high school. (But how my life changed after my divorce and no teaching jobs and meeting up with the nonprofit/philanthropic sector.)

So I substitute taught a little bit in Junction City, Kansas. But only once in the military post school. Because I raised the issue of the Chicago Seven in the high school class. And said that we should always question war. And that maybe Nam hadn’t been such a good idea.

Yes, I realized the risk I was taking. But FUCK ALL AND EVERYONE! I’ll question and speak out and and and…

Thank you Chicago Seven and Eight. Thank you for questioning that war. Thank you all. I’m proud that the military post school didn’t want me there because I was questioning.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I ended this story now? Ending with the Chicago Seven/Eight and protesting the war in Vietnam.

But that wasn’t the end of the USofA Nam story. Nor was that the end of demonstrations and the killing of demonstrators.

So here goes…More and more… Seemingly forever…

Where were you on May 4, 1970? The Kent State shootings….the May 4 massacre….the Kent State massacre.

T’was a Peace Rally on the Kent State University Green. 

I very strongly urge you to read Jill Lepore’s article in The New Yorker magazine, May 4, 2020…the 50th anniverary of that shooting: “Blood on the Green. Kent State and the war that never ended.”

Read this article as you read all the articles about George Floyd and racism and… and…. and… Right now, I’m ordering Derf Backderf’s graphic nonfiction novel, Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio.

Does anything sound familiar to you? Shooting demonstrators…Police beating and killing protestors… (However, do let’s always remember that all the police and all the National Guard don’t indiscriminately kill.) But something sure as hell is hugely fucked up in this country. And sure, perhaps other countries, too. But this one is kinda my country. So that’s what I’m writing about. My shame and sorrow and anger and on and on and on…Seemginly endless.

And how can we the USofA forget the school shootings? Doesn’t happen in other countries because there’s gun control. Honestly…WTF and don’t you dare say anything about the right to bear arms. That’s just crap. Check out this list of school shootings. Maybe this country’s goal is to partner Black Lives Matter and School Shootings. Quite a pairing, eh?

On and of course…the rights of women are basic human rights…And the USofA ranks #51 (down from #45 a couple years ago) – with the rights of women. And how about gender identity and trans and and and and ….

I give up right now. I have to stop now. My anger and sadness. My apology to all people of color. My wish for justice and speaking out.

P.S. Do you know where the word “lynch” (e.g., to lynch…lynching people) comes from? Read the appalling wikipedia history of lynching.

Filed under: Social Commentary

April 21, 2020

Feeling weird

PERSONAL…….. Sometimes I just feel weird … and kinda sad … and …  (And, of course, so do you and so does everyone else, too.)

I was listening to DANIEL over and over… The Elton John/Bernie Taupin song. Elton is the famous one. But without Bernie’s lyrics??… So maybe I feel badly for Bernie?

And DANIEL always makes me think of Nam. Nam (Vietnam) was my war. For my generation. My first husband. My brother. Even my father … as Papa Georges used to say: “Why do you Americans think you can win in Vietnam? The French never did.” Ah yes, French Indochina…L’Indochine… My dad served in the Free French Army after the liberation (WWII). He and a bunch of his friends re-enlisted. (WTF?! I should have asked him why.) His re-enlistment papers were lost. That’s good. Because all of his re-enlisted friends went off to L’Indochine – and died there.

Have you ever read my story about Viet Nam?

Or how about this Simone Uncensored?

Shit…How did I start thinking about Nam this morning. WTF? Talking with my great accountant…another Tom. Talking about gift giving and then Elton John and then Daniel…And then Nam.

Maybe I need to cry?

Cry because of the world. The older world and Nam. The newest world and the coronoa virus.

One more listen to Elton and Bernie’s DANIEL. And then BENNIE AND THE JETS – to change the mood. Getting ready for a 10 a.m. client meeting. And I have 20 minutes to get it together!!

Filed under: Social Commentary, Stuff

February 10, 2020

Anger. Sadness.

I’m in a strange place right now. Politics. My country. Justice. Competence and excellence for my beloved nonprofit sector. Whatever…

ANGER. And, of course, how about anger management.

Lots of statements – often directed at women – “curb your anger…”

But then I read “Why Tinkerbell Quit Anger Management.” A poem in a book called Fierce Fairytales, by Nikita Gill. Why did Tinkerbell quit anger management? “Because whole kingdoms have already spent millennia trying to keep women subdued, only to be discarded in old age.”

I searched “telling women to top being angry” on the Internet. Tons & tons & tons of articles…. Here are a few of my favorite titles:

And as long as I’m on the subject of anger. How about we acknowledge and honor the anger of people of color, too? I’ve said it before…Read Ta Nehisi Coates books. See his marvelous articles in The Atlantic. Find so many other righteous books and articles. Read Peggy McIntosh’s Invisible Knapsack of sooooo many years ago.

Not enough progress. Too damn little change.

And even in our own beloved philanthropic sector. We’re supposed to be better. See my own Philanthropy’s Moral Dilemma.

Am I more angry or more sad? Am I equally angry and sad?

Looking back to why Tinkerbell quit anger management…

I had to give up on their remedies. They kept trying to make me less angry, but I refuse to surrent my rage. Because who kingdoms have already spent millenia trying to keep women subdued, only to be discard in old age.

My fury gets things done, it has saved lives, it has made the world listen where I could not speak, my anger screamed.

….So no I love my tinderbox heart so easy to light up, all it takes is half a spark

I am small and I am angry, it is how I channel my energy and I like me that way.

Thank you Nikita Gill.

I am angry and will continue to channel my anger and speak it and share it.

I am deeply deeply sad. And still see to manage it.

December 12, 2019

Equity. Justice. Respect. DIGNITY…

A very special newsletter… TRANSFORMATION

And check out this article about dignity.

Just imagine if you and I treated others with dignity. Imagine if you and I were treated with dignity. And how about this: Treating everyone with dignity..


Filed under: Social Commentary

April 29, 2019

So beautiful…So meaningful…An unjust law is no law…

Have you ever watched The Great Debaters? The movie is sooooo fantastic.

White university against Black College. True.

James L. Farmer, Jr. is on the debate team…And he made the last – and winning – point. Farmer was known as 1 of the big 4 four civil rights leaders of the 60s.

So here was – and still is – the issue…

  • Civil disobedience is anarchy OR is civil disobedience a moral act?
  • Nothing that erodes the rule of law can be moral. OR. An unjust law is no law at all.

And in the movie, the young James Farmer (in college at 14 years of age) says to all those white people… “I have a duty to resist … with murder or civil disobedience. You should hope I choose the later.”

Civil disobedience… I will fight. We will fight. Against racism and sexism. I will embrace others – trans and cis and Latinx and whites. We will embrace and fight. I will resist and resist. Will you?


Filed under: Social Commentary

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