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TRAVEL ADVENTURES   .   .   .


PRESIDENT OBAMA SPEAKS ON DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD

Following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, viewed by millions on TV, Former President Obama addressed the nation in a speech that streamed live on his website and urged everyone to have hope despite such difficult times. He started by specifically speaking to the families that have been affected by police violence.

"Please know that Michelle and I, and the nation grieve with you, hold you in our prayers," he said. "We're committed to the fight of creating a more just nation in the memory of your sons and daughters."

He said that as tragic as recent incidents have been, it's also brought an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to inequality and injustice. He said he was most hopeful when seeing young people mobilizing given that historically, so much progress has been made by young people, including Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez and more.

"I just see what's happening with young people across the country, the talent and sophistication they're displaying," he said. "It makes me feel optimistic. It makes me feel like things are going to get better."

He also had a message for young people of color.

"I want to speak directly to the young men and women of color in this country who have witnessed too much violence and too much death… I want you to know that you matter," he said. "I want you to know that your lives matter. That your dreams matter. ...  I hope that you also feel hopeful even though you might feel angry. ... You have the power to make things better. ... You've communicated a sense of energy."

"There is a change in mindset that's taking place -- a greater recognition that we can do better," he added.

The speech was part of Obama's My Brother's Keeper Alliance Town Hall series. The former president launched My Brother's Keeper Alliance in 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and to ensure all youth can reach their full potential.

On Monday, Obama wrote an essay published by Medium addressing the nationwide protests following the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old Minneapolis man who died after former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. Titled "How to Make This Moment the Turning Point for Real Change," Obama said that despite such difficult times, he has hope when he sees young activists fighting for change.

"Ultimately, it's going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times," he wrote.

He urged those protesting to have specific demands for criminal justice and police reform, which should be tailored to fit different communities.

"Eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices -- and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands," he wrote. "So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn't between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform."

Obama also released a statement about Floyd's death on May 29, calling on everyone regardless of race as well as members of law enforcement to work together to fight systemic racism.

"It's natural to wish for life 'to just get back to normal' as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us," the statement reads in part. "But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal' -- whether it's while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park."

"This shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America," he continued. "It can't be 'normal.' If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better."

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ANNUAL EVENTS BEING CANCELLED OR POSTPONED DUE TO PANDEMIC

The need to stay safe and stay home has influenced a organizations and cities around the world to cancel or postpone long-time annual events and festivals. The complications with closures to tourists in various destinations along with flight organization and health restrictions that are changing often is making it too difficult for organizers and participants and attendees to be secure in planning.

In California things are opening up slowly but surely, however, many huge events have been cancelled and other have been moved three to six months ahead. It's wise to stay in touch on the web with these organizations to inquire their status or to know if organizations have moved their annual fundraisers to an online format until things are safe.

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ITALY REOPENS TO VISITORS

Villa d'Este, Como Italy

It was announced during week of May 22 that Italy was not closed to tourist and is welcoming visitors following their recovery from Corona Virus Pandemic.

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BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT

LIFE, LIBERTY, PERSUIT OF HAPPINESS

The death of George Floyd during an arrest for forgery is being considered a wrongful death, with the subsequent arrest of the police officer involved. Floyd's death has created ongoing protest marches throughout the US and London. What began as a peaceful march to draw attention to the wrong death of a black man has become a nightmare of looting, robbing and violence in every city they are marching that has left the entire world in shock. Some are stating the looting, and violence is being instigated by hate groups.

President Trump has called up the military to control these crowds in US cities. Twelve police officers have lost their lives during these protest marches.

The community of Santa Barbara held a very peaceful BLM gathering in the County Courthouse Sunken Garden that was said to be attended by 3,000 people and there was no violence. However, Santa Maria, a nearby city was looted and vandalized following their peace march.

This protesting combined with terrible conditions from the CoronaVirus has challenged American's who are suffering, as are local and international medical professionals and first responders.

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OTTAWA TULIP FESTIVAL

May 8-18, 2020

All programming for the 2020 edition of the Canadian Tulip Festival, a Celebration of the Gift of Tulips and the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands during World War II, will take place online. An outline of the festival programming is provided below.

Official Website

Visit the Canadian Tulip Festival’s official website for detailed information about this year’s programming line-up and schedule. Learn about the different blooms in Commissioners Park, and the origin of the Gift of Tulips, from the grateful Dutch people to all Canadians. Be sure to check out the Tulip Activity Pack!

Tulip TV

View Canadian Tulip Festival performance on their Tulip TV YouTube channel, featuring daily musical concerts and theatrical performances, and behind-the-scene museum tours.

Contests

Look for contests and engage with the Canadian Tulip Festival on Facebook and Instagram and use the #TulipTogether hashtag.

Boutique

The Canadian Tulip Festival has a new online boutique on their website which offers all the handcrafted, tulip-themed merchandise that would have normally been found at the Festival. Online order fulfillment will be done by the festival, with orders shipped via Canada Post.

For the full line-up and comprehensive information visit the Canadian Tulip Festival website. 

Keep Calm and Tulip On!


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