Awareness, Communicate, Take Action: Stop Racism
Come November, the festive season starts and I just love the vibes. There is so much to look forward to. All the celebrations and the holidays. November and December hold major festivals for a lot of cultures and this year, I was happy and lucky to have been able to celebrate some of them with various families. Each Celebration was unique, different, and fun in its own special way.
November started with the celebration of Diwali. Many celebrate Diwali by lighting candles and lamps. Lighting firecrackers are also a big part of the celebration, much like the Fourth of July. Diwali is the festival of lights. Many keep all the lights on in their house to ward off evil spirits and invite positivity and prosperity into the house.
Diwali symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.
People who celebrate, decorate their houses with flowers and lamps and lots of varieties of traditional sweets are prepared.
Sweets and lamps are also exchanged with neighbors and friends and family. Many gather with friends and light lots of firecrackers. On the day of Diwali, all lights in the house are kept on to invite the goddess of prosperity.
I lit many firecrackers myself and it was very fun. I love to light firecrackers and watch them. Some of them are really big and some of them are small, but all of them are a bucket-load of fun.
Fun Facts about Diwali:
- Diwali is always celebrated on a no moon night, which is why the date of Diwali changes every year.
- Diwali is celebrated in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Fiji, Thailand, Mauritius, Australia, Canada and USA.
- More than 800 million people celebrate this festival in various ways.
- Diwali is the most famous festival in India.
- The estimated amount of money spent on firecrackers every year is about 1 billion dollars.
For a feel of Diwali, type Diwali into Google and click on the lamp image that comes right on top.
Its really cool how we can light each of the lamps. Try it out when you have a minute.
Towards the end of November, maybe some of you had a big feast and maybe you went shopping the day after on Black Friday. Well all of that was for celebrating the wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am sure that most of you know about Thanksgiving, but I can share with you about the history and the cool facts about it that I learned this year.
Thanksgiving is celebrated for the harvest and all other blessings that year. It is also modeled after the 1621 harvest feast between the Wampanoag and the pilgrims. It is celebrated all throughout the United States of America and Canada.
Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated by making a big feast for the evening, including a stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans, corn, dinner rolls, and my absolute favorite pumpkin pie. The whole family including extended family come around the table to have a scrumptious meal together. Just the thought of it, brings a smile because we are surrounded with so much of love. When things get busy, it is easy to forget our blessings. So this day sounds perfect to really count our blessings for the entire year.
My family and some friends also got together for a big feast and gave thanks for all our blessings. The food was awesome, and it was so fun to share in the celebrations.
Fun Facts about Thanksgiving
- Turkey was not on the menu for the first thanksgiving.
- There are four towns named “Turkey” in the United States.
- On thanksgiving the average calories consumed by one person is 4,500.
- More than 54 million people traveled this year on Thanksgiving.
- In 1939 thanksgiving was celebrated on the third Thursday not the fourth.
- Americans prepare 46 million turkeys each year for Thanksgiving.
- Only male turkeys gobble.
- In America, we consume about 50 million pumpkin pies each year on Thanksgiving.
Hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too.
Hanukkah started On November 28th this year and continued for 8 days until December 6th. If you saw a row of candles in someone’s window they were probably lighting their menorah for Hanukkah. Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of lights (similar to Diwali). It is one of the most famous Jewish celebrations.
During the Israeli Culture Club Be You Meetup one of the holidays we covered was Rosh Hashanah. The link to that Blog is here.
“Hanukkah Sameach!” (in Jewish) or Happy Hanukkah.
Hanukkah celebrates the lighting of the candles in the Second Temple. Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting a candle each night on the menorah. People also celebrate by singing special songs, reciting the Hallel prayer, eating foods fried in oil, such as latkes, sufganiyot and other dairy foods, playing dreidel games and many more. According to some of my school friends, the best part of this holiday is that kids receive special pocket money from their parents and get to eat delicious oily deep-fried ball-shaped jelly doughnuts called sufganiyot, filled with strawberry or raspberry jelly and topped with powdered sugar.
Our neighbors made some delicious jelly doughnuts and lighted the menorah to celebrate Hanukkah at home.
Some Fun Facts about Hanukkah
- The word Hanukkah means “Dedication.”
- Dishes eaten on Hanukkah are all fried.
- There is 16 different ways to spell Hanukkah.
- The dreidel was invented to be a distraction.
- Over 17.5 million jelly doughnuts are consumed in Israel every Hanukkah.
For a feel of Hanukkah, type Hanukkah into Google and click on the menorah image that comes right on top.
It’s really cool how we can light each of the menorah candles. Try it out when you have a minute.
Glad I could share this fun celebration with you. Email us at email@example.com. I can’t wait to hear from you all.
Christmas is celebrated on December 25th every year. Many families across the world celebrate Christmas and it is the most celebrated holiday around the world.
Christmas is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated by attending church, exchanging gifts, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. Santa Claus and his gifts have a special place in every kid’s life, such is the craze of Christmas. Christmas is one such festival that attracts people of all faith towards it. Christmas is truly known as the festival of joy, and it definitely teaches us to practice kindness and love towards each other and to help others in need.
Christmas trees are one of the biggest highlights associated with the festival and I had a fun time decorating our tree at home. It is special to take out the ornaments and setup the tree while sipping hot chocolate. It is one of the things that I really look forward to every year.
In preparation for Christmas, we bake the traditional plum cake and make rocky road fudge which is my favorite among all the sweets that Christmas brings. My sister and I always help in making the rocky road fudge and of course help a lot in eating it too! 😛
All of December, the radio plays Christmas carols. It definitely brings us into the Christmas spirit.
We got together with our friends to celebrate Christmas and we played some fun Christmas-themed games like the White Elephant and Candy Cane hook game.
Some Fun Facts about Christmas
- Jingle bells was the first song played in space.
- The average money spent per person this year for Christmas gifts was $1,500 in the US.
- The statue of liberty is the largest Christmas present ever.
- 1.5 billion Christmas cards are sent each year in the US.
- Over $2 billion was spent on Christmas day for treats in the US.
- There are 750 different versions of Silent Night.
- Home Alone is the highest viewed Christmas movie of all time.
- Around 28 Lego sets are sold every second during the Christmas season.
- The day after Christmas is National Candy Cane day.
Thank you to all of you for reading through the festive season blog. Hope you all enjoyed reading it.
Wishing everybody a very Happy New Year.
A few weeks ago, we had another Club Be You meeting. It was our first meeting after schools re-opened. In that meeting, we learned about the Indian culture.
We had spent hours researching about the Indian Culture and we couldn’t wait to present and discuss it to all with our Club Be You members.
The meeting started and as kids joined, it felt awesome. I was even more happy to see that my 5th Grade teacher Mrs. Seawell could also join us. Seeing lot of familiar faces calmed down my nerves. Without wasting anytime, we started with the presentation that we had prepared.
While researching and talking to families, I got to learn a great deal about the Indian culture and was so fascinated about all the cool facts of the culture. India is one of the most ethnically diverse cultures in the world.
What fascinated me most is that from East to West and from North to South of India, the culture changes a whole lot including food, language, attire, music, dance etc. All of that contributes to make the Indian culture really varied and vast. We learned about sports as well.
Foods in the Indian culture have great diversity and Indian cuisine is not one but combined taste of different food from all across the Indian subcontinent. In fact all the states and union territories have its own typical cuisine which is the expression of the local ingredients, spices and cooking methods brought together as its heritage. I have learned that the average Indian recipe has numerous ingredients.
India, being a culturally diverse society, celebrates many holidays and festivals. Most of those festivals are very vibrant and celebrated with a lot of pomp and enthusiasm bringing people closer. One of the families whom I talked to said that Indian festivals say that Life is a celebration. That thought has stuck with me.
Fun fact: Did you know that Vanarsi in India is the oldest surviving city in the world.
We had a kahoot as well and it was enjoyed by all participants.
Once the presentation was over, comments and discussions followed. Indian culture was a delightful topic to learn about. There are also links in the presentation to some of the culture’s most popular food.
Please see the presentation of the Indian culture here, and if you find some time, please read through it.
In September, Club Be You hosted a cricket tournament with the help of Beaverton Cricket Club. “There is nothing quite like sports that can bring us all together.” We thought the sporting event would be a great way to bring people together. During the tournament we also had a multicultural food sale. The food sale and cricket tournament were a huge hit and I really feel grateful for everybody who participated and helped make this happen.
It was Saturday night and I was helping for the final preparations for the food sale and tournament. My friends and some Club Be You members gathered at our place to make posters. As we made posters, we talked about how exciting tomorrow would be. I couldn’t wait. When we were finally done I went to sleep hoping for a sunny day.
The next morning, I was so pumped to go. After I got ready, I helped my family pack the supplies into the car and soon it was time to leave.
I got some of my stuff and jumped into the car. It was a perfect day to play sports. When we arrived at PCC Rock Creek campus, we started to set up the stand. We displayed the trophies on the stand.
There were four teams called Red Raptors, Green Gators, Blue Bears, and Yellow Yodas. 50 kids participated in the tournament. I was on the Red Raptors team. We warmed up well with some exercises and then went to our match.
Cricket is the 2nd most popular sport in the world. Cricket originated in England but Indians play it the most. Cricket is played by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia, England, New Zealand, Afghanistan, West Indies, South Africa, Ireland, Namibia, Netherlands, Oman, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, and many more countries that I do not know of. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was amazed at how many people were cheering and supporting us.
Me and my dear friends took turns to manage at the food stall. The items were: Chicken or Veggie kebab burger with a side of chips, a falafel Caesar salad, there were cookie brownies or as I like to call it a brookie, and lastly there were Kreme rolls. The chicken or veggie kebab burger was a mix of American and Asian cultures. The Falafel Caesar salad was from Mediterranean and American cultures. And the Kreme rolls were from Europe and East Asia.
Wow, talking about all of that just made me hungry again 😛
As people stopped by at the stall, it was a great opportunity to talk and distribute flyers we had made about my platform and the Oregon Kid Governor Program as a whole. I met so many kids who wanted to participate in the Oregon Kid Governor program when they were in 5th grade. So many people wanted to try the multi – cultural fusion foods and I was so happy to see so many people donating to help with our cause. We had many customers from kids to adults. When we wrapped up our food stall, we saw that we were able to raise $192.
I would really like to thank my friends and Club Be you members you helped immensely to make this event a success.
Just a few weeks ago I went to the State Capitol of Oregon. My most awaited day and I was thrilled!!
My family and I had been driving for the last 40 mins to get to the Capitol and finally it came into sight. Such a beautiful grand building.
After we parked, we went inside and waited for Nikki. Everything around me looked so cool, historical, and grand. When Nikki came, we all greeted each other and were ready to go. Soon after, Leslie, our tour guide, was so kind to give us a tour around the Capitol and explain a lot of things to us.
We first started with the Oregon Emblem in the middle of the Rotunda. Leslie told us that the 33 stars around the emblem represented that Oregon was the 33rd state of the United States. The Eagle on the top of the emblem is the country’s national bird. In its left claw it had an olive branch representing peace. In its right claw it had 3 arrows representing that it takes strength to make peace.
In the middle of the emblem there was a wagon with oxen pulling it. She told us it represented the Oregon Trail, a 2,000-mile-long route from Independence, Missouri to the Willamette Valley. I had learned about the Oregon trail at school in 4th Grade and seeing it as part of the emblem was very special to me. I enjoyed Oregon Trail so much that we also got the Oregon Trail Board game. If you have not played that yet, please check it out.
The emblem also had a piece of wheat and a pickaxe representing the natural resources and the hard work. Lastly the emblem had the date when Oregon became a state. It was February 14, 1859. It was on Valentine’s Day! How cool is that!!
After the emblem we went to look at the pictures on the wall in the rotunda. They represented important dates in Oregon’s history.
One of them was about the Oregon Trail and how it was one of the largest migratory processions by choice. The Oregon Trail was very brutal, and it took its toll on many, but many made it through as well. Another was about the fur trade which was very important back in the time.
After the rotunda we went to the Oregon Senate. The senate had a big picture in the middle. Leslie said that it represented the time when the news reached Oregonians that Oregon was now a US State. That date was March 17th, 1859. That’s St. Patrick’s Day! I wondered that it took a little over a month for the news to travel to Oregon, which is unimaginable to us as we live at this age of the internet.
I learned that anybody could see what senators are voting with big screens on the sides of the Senate. I liked how the process is so transparent. It is not private like voting for the president. Anyone can watch the voting happen either by actually going to the Capitol and watching or by tuning in virtually these days.
After that we went to the House of Representatives. It also had a big picture in the middle. This represented when all the people on the Oregon Trail voted for what type of government Oregon should have, an American style government or a British style Government. Somehow it was a tie 51 – 51. When they voted again one Spanish trader changed sides to the American Style Government and the score was 52 – 50. The House of Representatives was very similar to the Senate. The feel when I was in the Senate and the House of Representatives is unexplainable. I felt grateful to be in this great country of the United States of America.
Leslie got permission and then let me go onto the podium. It was so cool! The view and the feel from up there is like none other.
After visiting the House of Representatives, the tour was over. We went back to the rotunda. Then Nikki took us to the Governor’s Office.
As I stood at the door that says “Governor”, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would feel to really be the Governor of the State . A lady at the Governor’s office showed us around the office.
She also told us about an Oregon flag that had been sent to the moon. Every USA state had one flag sent to the moon and then given back along with some moon rocks. Oregon was one of the only states who still knew where their flag was. So proud to be an Oregonian.
The highlight was when I was given the opportunity to sit on the Governor’s chair and received a pen with the Governor’s signature on it! That is now one of my most prized possession.
After that we got to see the Conference room that the Governor has her meetings in and I remembered seeing her on TV and it was so cool to see in person where all of that happens.
Soon we went to the Secretary of State’s office. She had a White House made of Legos in her room and I loved how detailed it was! Her chair also had a Wonder Woman cape on it which was so cool. Secretary Fagan’s office had lots of games for children. One thing that really took my attention was a quote on the shelf which said “Be the Nice Kid.” It’s so true that in our daily activities, we want to be the cool one or the smart one or the popular one….but I think being the Kind One is the most important and everything else can come after that.
After the Secretary of State’s office, it was time to go. We took a few more pictures and then left the building.
Thank You Nikki for organizing this for me.
While we were going back home, I thought about everything we did there. It was a once in lifetime experience (and my mom took too many photos. as always 😊 ) I hope that I can visit the Capital again soon.
A very happy Shanah Tovah to everyone.
During the Israeli Culture Club Be You Meetup one of the holidays we covered was Rosh Hashanah. The link to that Blog is here http://or.kidgovernor.org/club-be-you-israeli-culture
Shanah Tovah or Happy New Year in Hebrew.
Rosh Hashanah is the two-day celebration for the Jewish New Year. It represents Adam and Eve, the beginning of humankind.
Rosh Hashanah is celebrated by eating apples and honey, and sounding an instrument made of the ram’s horn called Shofar. During Rosh Hashanah, candles are also lighted each evening.
Fun facts about Rosh Hashanah
- It’s traditional to eat a fruit you haven’t eaten for a long time on the second night of Rosh Hashanah.
- The Shofar is blown exactly 100 times per day.
- It is customary to eat the head of a fish on Rosh Hashanah
- Many people eat pomegranate on Rosh Hashanah and then count the seeds.
I hope you will also wish Shanah Tovah to a friend who celebrates Rosh Hashanah!! I am sure it will make them feel happy.
A couple of weeks ago I was given the opportunity to meet our Honorable Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and Deputy Secretary Cheryl. I have had a chance in the past as well to meet both of them and I have always been inspired. I was really looking forward to this meeting.
As the meeting started, I took a few deep breaths and was ready to go. A few seconds later, Nikki spoke about the agenda of the meeting then turned it over to me.
Secretary Fagan and Deputy Secretary Cheryl do know a lot about my platform and have always encouraged and supported me. I quickly gave an update about my platform, my plan and what I’ve been doing till date. We also talked about some fun things and shared some good laughs. So grateful to have this opportunity to meet, learn and feel inspired.
Soon it was question time if I had any and I wanted to ask these. “What is the role of the Secretary of State’s office” , “What was your most Proudest accomplishment?” And “What was the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?”
I am so thankful that they took out time from their very busy schedule and patiently answered and explained so much to me. A few things I have learned and wanted to share with you all.
- The Secretary of State’s Office’s main job is to build the trust between the Government and Citizens.
- The Secretary of State’s office passionately advocated for a Director of Diversity and Equity who is making systems and programs to embed equity in our state. She is working with the Secretary of State’s Office to promote equity and inclusion in all branches of the government.
- Another thing I learned is that the Secretary of State’s office advocated for a bill, otherwise known as a law, to make it so the voters’ pamphlet would come in 5 different languages other than English. I think this is so important so that the pamphlet can reach and be understood by so many more people. This helps more people to exercise their right to vote.
Picture time is always a happy time. I smiled my brightest smile. After the picture I thought to myself “Maybe I went a little overboard with the smiling.” 😛
The meeting came to an end and I think meeting with Secretary Fagan and Deputy Secretary Cheryl was one of the best experiences of my life and I will never forget it.
Also, I would like to take the time here to express my heartfelt thanks for everything Nikki does for me and the Kid Governor Program 🙂
A couple of weeks ago I met with Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. Can you believe it? I am so grateful that she was able to take some out from her busy schedule.
I had been waiting very excitedly for the last 3 days for this meeting and finally it was so close. Soon the time came to join. I didn’t think that my excitement could wait any longer. When I joined, Nikki told me that Attorney General Ellen would join soon.
When The Attorney General joined I took a deep breath and got ready to speak. Nikki then told us about the agenda of the meeting and then turned it over to me.
I talked about my platform, my 3 point plan and what I’ve been doing till date and some things that I am working on during this summer. When I was talking about everything that has been going on, I realized that it was almost 6 months since inauguration. The thought brought a smile to my face.
It was time to ask any questions I had. I had some questions in mind that I was so wanting to learn about such as “ What is the role of the Attorney General,” “What was your most proudest accomplishment in the past legislative session,” “ What was the most challenging part as Attorney General.”
The Attorney General was so kind to talk in detail about each of my queries . Some interesting facts I learned that I would like to share with you :
The Attorney General is like a lawyer who provides legal advice to the State.
Oregon Department of Justice is led by the Attorney general and is the largest law firm in the State. The 300 lawyers in the Department of Justice represent every agency of the Government.
Another important part of the attorney General’s job is to be “People’s attorney” and by that it means that she looks out for the people of the state who is the most vulnerable.
Consumer protection is also a big part of the Attorney General’s job, looking out for people who are most vulnerable to be scammed. It could be kids, seniors, immigrants or just about anyone.
I also learned that the Oregon Department of Justice has taken up a multi-year long project and created a task force for addressing Hate crimes and Bias incidents in the State. A hotline has been started and that means that anyone who feels targeted because of their race, religion etc, can call / email and they will be responded to and will receive services to address the issue and get them the help needed. This project was advocated by The Attorney General herself for the Civil Rights division.
We moved on to talk about The Attorney General’s favorite accomplishment. I was surprised to learn that the average amount that Oregonians owe when they finish college is around Thirty thousand dollars which has to be paid back. In the past legislative session, The Attorney General’s office was able to build a Student loan service program to provide licensed servicers to students/former students to help figure out how to pay back the debt effectively. This will definitely help so many students to start their professional life at a great note.
We had some sweet surprise visitors as well. I was given the wonderful opportunity to meet Attorney General Ellen’s grandchildren. Charlotte and Benjamin. We talked a bit about how the Oregon Kid Governor elections work.
After that Nikki helped click some pictures. I couldn’t believe I was going to have a picture with the Attorney General!
Soon it was time to leave and we said goodbyes and ended the meeting. Looking back I feel blessed to have had this opportunity to meet the Attorney General of Oregon . I hope I can meet her again in person sometime..
July 4th is the American Independence day. It is an awesome holiday celebrated by Americans all around the world. This year, I wanted to reach out to my friends and ask them what they usually do on July 4th. The answers I got were varied but one thing was common – parade and fireworks. Every year, I have also enjoyed parades and grand fireworks in and around Portland and it is always such a fun day.
July 4th is celebrated for the signing of the Declaration of Independence which gave the original 13 colonies freedom. Our great country is among the freest nations on earth and we are free to express ourselves, live and love freely without fear.
Many people celebrate July 4th with fireworks (especially Red, White, And Blue colors), watching sports, participating in parades, concerts, street parties, and sometimes just waving the American Flag and Singing the National anthem of America.
Some ways you can celebrate July 4th are to wear a patriotic T-Shirt or attend a fireworks show. A lot of my friends even have a picnic or barbecue. You could also raise the flag of the United States Of America.
This year, one way me and my family celebrated July 4th was by visiting a historic landmark. We visited the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park.
We also visited the Grand Teton State Park. True to its name, it was really grand. I feel fortunate to live in this beautiful country that also values traits like compassion, empathy and acceptance.
Fun facts about July 4th
- Americans eat about 150 million hot dogs over the July 4th weekend
- About 1 billion dollars are spent for fireworks each year for July 4th
- The Liberty Bell (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) used to ring 13 times on July 4th to honor the 13 colonies.
- Calvin Coolidge was the only American president to be born on July 4th
- July 4th is celebrated in the United Kingdom as well.
What did you do for July 4th? Email firstname.lastname@example.org we would love to hear what you think. See you next time
Hello everyone, in June, I had a leadership summit with the other Kid Governors, their cabinet members and my cabinet members. I was so excited about the meeting and it was everything I thought it to be and more.
It was 10:55 AM and I was getting ready to log on to the leadership summit. I was pretty nervous but excited to meet everybody.
Soon it was time. I logged on and saw the other Kid Governors and some of the coordinators of this wonderful Kid Governor program. Soon Brian Cofrancesco introduced himself as the head of the Kid Governor program.
In the first session, Rese (Connecticut Kid Governor), Charlie (New Hampshire Kid Governor), and I were only meeting. Brian gave us “would you rather” polls, to get to know each other better. Some of the questions were really funny like “Would you rather have moose antlers or cow horns.” Brian asked us why we chose what we chose. It was a very entertaining and fun game. This game was a good ice breaker and put us all at ease.
I learned so much about Charlie’s and Rese’s platform and the wonderful work they have been doing.
After that we asked each other questions such as “what was the most interesting thing you have done till date.” I answered the questions as best I could. Then we got a 5 minute break before our cabinet members came.
As I turned my video off and muted I thought “That was a very interesting session. I couldn’t wait for the next session.”
Hello Everyone, Just some time ago I met with Senator Merkley. Can you believe it? He is part of the two senators of the United State Senate from Oregon. He votes on bills for the whole country!
It was 12:10 PM and I was soon to meet Senator Merkley. My nerves were bouncing all over my stomach like there was a trampoline party in there. When I joined the meeting I saw that Senator Merkley had not come yet. I was then told that Senator Merkley had such a tight schedule that he would only be here for about 10-15 minutes.
For the next 5 mins I was going like “Is he here yet ?” “Is he here yet?” inside of me. I couldn’t control my excitement. For that 5 mins my nerves were crazier than ever.
I was so grateful that he took some time out of his super tight schedule to meet me. It is a big honor. I told him all about my platform and what I have been doing till date.
After I finished, I asked him some questions. One of the questions were “How does the Senate and the House work together” and “How does every Senator agree to pass a law” He was kind enough to take the time to answer and explain to me how the Congress works. It was so nice to learn about it. He patiently answered all of my questions. Senator Merkley also talked about voting, the filibuster, and For the People Act. It was very fascinating meeting and I wish I could do it again.
Meeting with Senator Merkley was a wonderful opportunity that I will remember forever.
June 2 was another big Club Be You meeting. We had a record breaking number of participants.
First and foremost, once again I would like to say a big Thank You to our wonderful core team who helped me research and create these presentations to share with the whole club. I would like to thank everyone who joined. Thank you for supporting Club Be You and me.
We thought of the idea of having a raffle to bring in more participants so that this learning reaches many many more kids and bingo it worked. Every participant was automatically entered into the raffle. As the raffle wheel spun everyone was waiting in suspense and excitement
We learned about the Mexican culture this time. Mexican culture is rich, colorful and vibrant, influenced by its ancient civilizations. The customs and traditions are varied and diverse. I was so fascinated to learn all about Mexico while I was researching.
Food is a reflection on a person’s upbringing in the cultural melting pot of America and becomes a great way of bringing people together over a table, whatever the location or occasion may be.
We also researched about sports. That is something that interests all of us.
Fun fact: Did you think that Egypt had all the pyramids? Well actually the largest pyramid is located in Mexico.
At the end of the presentation, we organized a Kahoot as well which was really fun for everyone. The kids were all very excited about the Kahoot and it was a tight race.
It was an interactive session with lots of questions too. We had kids in the meeting from the Mexican culture and they helped us answer a lot of questions as well. Together we are always stronger.
Just a few days back I got to know about the holiday Juneteenth. I was given the wonderful opportunity to have a meeting with Senator Merkley (I will be posting a blog entry about that as well). Oregon Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Meyers was also there and in that meeting she was so kind to tell me about Juneteenth.
On September 22nd, 1862 Abraham Lincoln signed the Proclamation or bill that got rid of slavery. Many people did not know that they were free until 2 ½ years later when Gordon Granger arrived in Texas to announce the end of slavery. The day this happened was June 19th 1865 and it was made a holiday. Recently President Biden made June 19th a Federal holiday. This day is now called Juneteenth.
Some ways people celebrate Juneteenth are going to rodeos, fishing, barbecuing, and going to baseball games. Also there are dances on Juneteenth. There were many events for Juneteenth in and around Portland as well.
Some ways for us to celebrate now or in the future are ordering from a black owned restaurant or celebrating with a family barbecue. We can also celebrate by spreading the word .
Some cool facts about Juneteenth are:
- Juneteenth is the oldest known holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in our great country U.S.A
- Some cities and groups have Miss Juneteenth contests
- There is a Juneteenth flag of freedom, it is half red and half blue with a star in the middle
What do you think about Juneteenth? Let us know if you did anything special on Juneteenth. Email us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you. See you next time.
May 12 was another Club Be You meeting. We learned about the Israeli culture during that time.
The Core team had spent hours researching, taking to families and learning about the Israeli culture and now it was time to finally present to all the kids what we had learned.
The meeting was starting soon but this time I felt more confident and of course I have a wonderful team. As I logged on I saw lots of kids who were there last time and also some new friends.
Soon it was 3 PM and we started. I was very excited for this Club Be You meetup because we had invited a special guest. Her name is Rhona Feldman. She was going to teach Club Be You some Israeli folk dancing.
As we presented and saw people nodding and smiling it gave us confidence that it was going well. Nitzan showed us how to write in Hebrew and say a few words in Hebrew.
Our special guest Rhona started to present. Rhona is an Israeli folk dancing teacher who teaches at the Multnomah Art Center. She taught us a really cool dance under the song Shalom which represents Peace in the world. We all danced along with her and had so much fun. Lots of kids asked us and Rhona questions and the session was very interactive. I would definitely want to go attend one of her dance sessions.
While I was learning about the Israeli culture from one of the families, I learned that Falafel was one of the main dishes in the culture.
So I decided to make Falafel with the help of my Mom and Sister. They were so kind to share their family recipe with us and so we decided to make it. It was a fun experience and it was yumm dinner. I even wanted seconds.
We also learned about the Dead Sea under Fun Facts of Israel. Its water is so dense that you can only float on it. You cannot sink nor dive. So cool.
It was an interactive session with lots of questions and answers too. Here is a link to the presentation of the Israeli Culture and if you find some time, please read through it.
One of our dear Club Be You participants, Aryav, also made Hummus but with an exciting twist…
Soon it was time to go. I said bye and closed the meeting. I thought the meeting went really well. Even better than last time. If you want to join Club Be you email firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next time
I am super excited to share that just a few days back I met Governor Brown!!! The Governor of Oregon. Can you believe it?
My nerves were on top gear as the time came closer and closer to 4:30 PM. I was going to meet the Governor! Before I knew it, it was time to log on. I logged onto the zoom and saw Nikki Fisher. I said hi and seeing her made me calm down a little.
I waited and then finally Governor Brown joined. I was so excited and nervous at the same time. I felt very grateful that she took the time out of her busy schedule to meet with me. Governor Brown asked me some questions and I answered them as best I could.
I then gave her a brief update about how the Kid Governor initiatives have been going and about all the things we have been doing in our school and community.
I was also given an opportunity to ask Governor Brown questions that I had in mind such as what was the most challenging thing she has faced to date during her term. What is the role of the governor and how does she work with the legislators and other statewide elected officials? I also asked her about her pets.
She explained a lot of things in great detail, such as the most challenging thing that she had faced was tackling the wildfires and the ice storms during the pandemic. She also taught me a new saying –“Throwing spaghetti at the wall”. She was so kind as to explain the meaning to me as well.
She also explained that as Governor her main goals are to work with other legislators by passing or vetoing laws. She is always seeing how to best help the state grow. She also tackles how much money to put into certain things in the government.
I also learned that she has a dog named Jory and a horse as pets. That is pretty cool right!!I listened carefully as I did not want to miss a word. When the time was almost up I asked her if I could have a picture with her. I was so excited when she agreed. I put a thumbs up still digesting the fact that I was going to have a picture with the Governor of Oregon!
Soon it was time to leave, I wished I could stay longer but the Governor had a very tight schedule so I said goodbye and Thank You. I logged off and was like Wow!! I just met the Governor of Oregon. It was a wonderful opportunity.
It was a really cool experience meeting the Governor and I can’t wait to meet her in person.
On May 5th, I heard about Cinco De Mayo from a friend of mine. I decided to find more about it. I am grateful that I could reach out to families who celebrate Cinco De Mayo and learned so much about the interesting holiday. It is also easy to remember when it is celebrated because the word Cinco De Mayo means “5th of May”.
Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of the day that the Mexican army defeated the French Empire in the battle of Puebla. Though it is not Mexico’s independence day.
I learned that this Victory was so special because the forces of the French were 3 times as big as the Mexicans and much better equipped. But the Mexicans worked hard enough to defeat them despite their disadvantage.
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by having military parades and recreating the battle of Pubela. Some of the foods served on Cinco de Mayo are, Guacamole, Salsa and chips, Poblano, Corn and many more.
Some Cool Facts about Cinco de Mayo:
- On Cinco de Mayo Poblano is the most beloved dish in Mexico
- Kids get school off on Cinco de Mayo in Mexico
- People in California were the first to party after they heard of the Mexicans valiant efforts to defeat the French.
- In America on Cinco de Mayo according to the California Avocado Commission Americans eat over 80 million pounds of Avocados on Cinco de Mayo (Crazy Right)
This year, I encouraged my family to do something that reflects the culture on Cinco De Mayo. Even if it’s not that big, we put together a quick Salsa looking at some recipes shared by our friends from Mexican culture and celebrated the day with Salsa and Chips. Little ways we can incorporate the cultural celebration in our lives.
Please email us your thoughts or other fun facts at email@example.com. We’d love to hear what you think. See you next time.
I am super excited to share with you that CLUB BE YOU’s first big meeting with all participants was just last Wednesday and it is off to a great start. The Club’s core team put a great deal of effort into the presentation and to start off I would like to immensely thank them. The members of the core team are Nitzan, Tobe, Meghan, Junwoo. This time, we presented and discussed about the African/Nigerian Culture.
As the meeting came closer and closer my nerves went higher and higher. As I started the zoom meeting and I saw people starting to come in, I was excited and nervous. My teacher had said that she would be joining as well. Soon it was 3 p.m. As I shared my screen, I saw many known faces joining. The presentation started and I felt a little more relaxed every second.
The Core team presented together. Sure there were a few hiccups here and there, but in all it was pretty good and it was better than I had expected. When people started asking questions a lot of people said that the food of the culture was really cool. Personally I felt that the fact that Nigeria had a film industry called Nollywood and is the second largest film industry only surpassed by India’s Bollywood, was pretty cool.
Soon I noticed that there was only 54 seconds remaining in the zoom meeting. So I tried to get as many questions and comments answered. Luckily all of them were answered with only 3 seconds remaining. We all said good bye and the meeting ended just in time.
As soon as the meeting ended my body muscles relaxed and I felt just wonderful because the first CLUB BE YOU meeting was a hit among the kids.
Please find below the link to the presentation of the African/Nigerian Culture and if you find some time, please read through it. There are also links in the presentation to some of the culture’s most popular food. I have been planning to try making the Puff Puff recipe with my family … If you do try some of them, please leave us a comment and send us pictures.
Thanks to all of you who joined and if you would like to join for our next meetup email firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next time.
In the last week of March, if you saw anybody playing by putting colors on each other they were probably playing Holi. Are you wondering what that is? Well it is the Festival of Colors. It is also called the “Festival of Love” and the “Festival of Spring” and is a much loved and fun celebration of the Indian culture. I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to a few families who play Holi and I cannot wait to share everything I learned with you.
Holee Mubaarak (in hindi) or Happy Holi!!
Holi commemorates the victory of good over evil. Holi is played by putting colors on their friends and family as on this day people get to unite together forgetting all hard feelings and the vibrant colors bring a lot of positivity into everybody’s lives. Holi is usually played in a large outdoor setting as it helps with the use of colors and water. You sneak up on friends and put colors on their face and clothes. Sometimes you have to chase the other person to put some color on them just like a paintball game. Even if you are careful the Holi colors will find their way to you 🙂 Holi is a bucket load of fun but when you get home the cleaning part is not that interesting.
I also got the opportunity to play Holi with a few of my friends in a park here. I made sure I got colors on all my friends and family but I also got bombarded with colors from them….red, green, blue, purple. I had to chase my friends a lot but would never spare them from getting colored. The colors definitely bring joy and positivity and for a lot of people, it brings hope with the arrival of spring.
Some other fun Facts that I learned:
- The festival starts on the night before Holi when people gather and start a bonfire which signifies the victory of good over evil. People gather around the fire to watch it while eating their favorite food items, and talk with friends.
- Holi is celebrated in many cities across US and also other parts of the world like India, Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
Glad I could share this fun celebration with you. Email us at email@example.com. I can’t wait to hear from you all.
As I had mentioned earlier, that as part of A – Awareness in my three point Plan A.C.T., I plan to create a club in which all of us will be learning about a different culture every month. This Club will give students the opportunity to express themselves and teach their peers about their wonderful culture including food, language, music/entertainment, fun facts, Festivals, and more.
The Club will be called Club Be You because I want everybody participating in it to be themselves. We are THE BEST when we are ourselves.
I wanted to give an update on where I am with the club. I have been working towards setting up Club Be You. With the help of my teacher and school, I have been able to get a core team together of 5th Grade representatives from various cultures. The Club’s core team has met multiple times in the last weeks to prepare and bring before you a great Cultural learning.
As a core team, we would like to learn and prepare about each culture from kids just like us and then talk about it in the club with all of you. I also would like to keep the club get-togethers interactive so that everybody gets a chance to share their experiences and perspectives. We are working towards organizing the first bigger Club Be You meeting in mid-April.
Here is the flyer for the club so that anybody who wants to joins can do so. Please contact us at the given email id and we can sent out the zoom meeting details to you.
It definitely took more time than I thought to gather representatives from various cultures but now it’s time for action. Looking forward to seeing you in the club.
Early this week, I overheard a conversation about St Patrick’s Day that my little sister was having in her class. I listened in a little bit and was fascinated with what I heard about the Irish culture and St Patrick’s Day. I talked to my teacher to see if I could get in touch with classmates who celebrate St Patrick’s Day. With the help of my teacher, my parent’s colleagues and my school friends, I was able to reach out to families who celebrate, wished them all an awesome celebration and I was excited to learn all about it from them. Wishing our friends make them feel special and accepted and we get a great opportunity to celebrate each other.
La le Padraig (in Irish), or Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in honor of the patron Saint of Ireland, St Patrick. This unique Irish holiday is also celebrated around the world and we all might have heard of it. Shamrocks, rainbows, leprechauns and the color green have become symbols of this great celebration.
The shamrock is one of the main symbols of Saint Patrick’s Day and is Ireland’s national flower.
Normally there are parades in all towns/cities to celebrate the occasion. Guess what!! The first St Patrick’s day parade on record took place in New York City.
I saw on the news yesterday that St. Patrick’s Day is also celebrated at the White House and usually Irish leaders gift the President with shamrocks. The White House fountain was turned green in celebration too. How Cool!!
Corned Beef and cabbage has become a St. Patrick’s Day staple for Irish Americans but I was surprised to learn that it doesn’t have anything to do with the grain of corn. Large grains of salt are used in meats, which were also known as “corns” and that is how the dish got its name.
Here are some other really cool fun facts I learned about the celebration and I am so excited to share them with you today:
- Saint Patrick was not born Irish. He was born in Britain. At the age of 16 St Patrick was taken by Irish Pirates to Ireland.
- Four leaf clovers are considered very lucky because they are a rare find. I wish I knew where I could find them.
- A leprechaun is an unfriendly Irish fairy. If you catch one they are forced to tell you where their pot of gold is! Now we know why we make leprechaun traps!!
- The green color, that has become the color of St Patrick’s day is the color of springtime and is connected with thoughts of hope and good things to come.
- Since 1962, the Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
- Leprechauns are actually one reason you’re supposed to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day—or risk getting pinched! I heard that leprechauns pinch everyone they see but we become invisible to them if we wear green…..I am now wondering, if we can wear green and then go trap a leprechaun?
- Some people also believe that sporting the green color will bring good luck, and others wear it to honor their Irish ancestry.
Let’s make it a point to make our friends who celebrate this holiday feel really special by wishing them every year on March 17th.
If you celebrate this day, please email me and I would love to read all about it.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear what you think.
Irish you a Happy
St Patrick’s Day!
Some St Patrick’s day riddles you might enjoy –
- Why do leprechauns recycle? They like to go green!
- What’s a leprechaun’s favorite cereal? Lucky Charms!
- What kind of bow can’t be tied? A rainbow!
Can you imagine, it has been one month since my Inauguration!! Time sure flies. I have been wanting to do a blog entry about my Inauguration so better late than never.
The date of February 8th was finalized for the inauguration and preparations were underway. This year it was going to be an event on zoom and not at the Capitol . That made me a little sad as I would love to visit the Capitol. As the day came closer, my anticipation grew bigger and bigger. I couldn’t wait for the big day and my mom had told me “With big privileges comes great responsibility.”
Finally the day arrived, As I was getting ready for my Inauguration I went over my acceptance speech in my head. My parents asked me to relax and savor the moment. I thought about my speech, my oath, the press questions, but most of all I thought about how nervous I was.
Soon it was time to log in to the zoom and I was getting more and more nervous. The event began and first our honorable Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan, gave the introduction. Then Dom, the 2018 Oregon Kid Governor and Erika, the 2019 Oregon Kid Governor started the Pledge of Allegiance.
When they finished, my class sang the national anthem. I was so happy and grateful to see my friends and teacher come support me. After some silence Dr. Chuck Currie started the Invocation. Our Honorable Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan talked about the Kid Governor Program and Representative Janelle Bynum talked about the legislative branch of Government followed by Chief Justice Paul De Muniz talking about the Judicial Branch of Government. It was interesting to learn about the branches of government.
Next, Mary Beth Herkert talked about the Kid Governor program and introduced the six other finalists, Lohith, Abhi, Ruthie, Brennah, Evi and Phia. They talked a little about themselves, their community Issue as well as their plan. I think they all have amazing platforms. After that Mary Beth introduced Raaga Mandala the 2020 Oregon Kid Governor. Raaga gave her farewell speech and I couldn’t help but think of the inspiring job she had done as Kid Governor.
Finally it was the time for the Inauguration Oath. At that time, my family joined me and my little sister held up the Bible for the Oath. The time had finally come and I repeated the oath after Chief Justice Paul De Muniz with my hand on the bible and I officially became the 2021 Oregon Kid Governor. It was a surreal feeling. I suddenly felt all motivated and made a promise to do my very best in this role. As I delivered my acceptance speech I could not help but think that I was now officially the 2021 Oregon Kid Governor and really felt grateful. When I finished, our Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan closed out the ceremony with some great words. I was so happy that she mentioned some of the things from my speech and also remembered the name of the club (Club Be You). I felt special. I then got ready for the press interview.
They asked only 4 questions and it was easier to answer than I thought. When I left, I felt so relieved that everything went well. All the nervousness had melted away. It was such a good feeling and I was getting more excited to start my term. Hope I can live up to the expectations.
A BIG Thank You to all the wonderful 5th Graders across Oregon who participated and voted.
Last Wednesday, I got a unique opportunity to participate in the NGA (National Governors Association) Winter meeting with remarks from a special guest….Guess who? When I heard it was President Biden, my excitement knew no bounds. I thought it was really cool to be given a chance to participate in this meeting.
The day of the meeting I couldn’t wait for 1:30 p.m. I had thought about it all day. When the time finally came I got on to the livestream and the meeting started.
As I watched the meeting I was amazed to hear that President Biden had a goal of 100,000,000 Covid shots in his first 100 days and that 50,000,000 people had already been vaccinated in just 37 days. I also learned about the economic slowdown because of Covid- 19.
I wondered many times during the meeting that if I wave, could President Biden see me… ?? How cool would that be!! I wish someday I can meet him in person. President Biden, are you hearing this? 🙂
Remember, I had mentioned about Chinese/Lunar New Year? I was going to make it a point to wish my classmates who celebrate this day. It was actually fun to reach out and make them feel special. I think it is the little things that matter to make everybody feel that we are all an integral part no matter what culture we belong to or how we look.
Over the past week I have been learning about the Chinese/Lunar New Year from my friends in school and neighbors. This year is the year of the Ox. It is a Chinese zodiac symbol for the year 2021. On the Chinese zodiac wheel there are 12 different animals. Each animal represents one year and then when all the symbols have been used it repeats. The last time there was an ox year was in 2009, the same year I was born.
I am so thankful to my classmates and neighbors who were more than happy to share their day with me. They were kind enough to share some pictures too for all of us to see.
The decorations are an integral part of the festivities. Red lanterns are hung to keep away bad luck. They also make paper cuttings which is fun craft and for decoration it is usually pasted on the window. They are almost always red because the Color red is considered lucky.
It is a tradition to gift bright red envelopes to kids, friends and family. These red envelopes are filled with money and symbolizes good wishes and luck for the New year. The importance of this tradition is not the cash held inside but it’s actually the envelope itself because Red color symbolizes good luck and prosperity.
On Chinese/Lunar New Year, families celebrate by eating lucky foods such as steamed fish, dumplings, spring rolls, tangyuan (those are sweet rice balls filled with sugar), nainguao (that is sticky rice cake).
As it is the year of the Ox , many foods are also prepared and shaped that way too.
How cool is that!!
Those sure do look yummy !!!
This is a salad dish…There is a tradition in which everyone gathers around to toss salad with chopsticks while shouting auspicious phrases like “Good luck or More blessings”… It is called a Prosperity Toss. That really sounds like a fun family gathering.
I also found out some other fun facts like:
- Noodles symbolize long life
- Chocolate coins are put in the center of some dishes for prosperity
- Oranges are traditionally eaten because round shape signifies wealth and prosperity
- Everybody wears special clothes mostly red with flowers on them
- Dragon dance is also a big part of the festivities
I loved learning about Chinese/Lunar New Year and everybody was more than happy to share their culture. I learned so many cool things and I wanted to share it all here so we learn as a team.
Yesterday, in my class, I got to know about Chinese New Year. In 2021, it is celebrated on February 12th. It is popularly called the Chinese New Year but many other cultures celebrate it too so it is referred to as the Lunar New Year as well.
I would like to wish a very happy and prosperous New Year to all kids and their families who celebrate this.
From the little that I understood, this festival is celebrated over a number of days, till the Lantern Festival. Below is my plan to learn more about it in the next few days.
I want to reach out to my classmates who celebrate the Chinese/Lunar New year, first wish them a great year and then tell them that I would like to learn about the significance and how they celebrate it. I am sure they would be very happy to share.
Do you have friends/classmates who celebrate the Lunar New Year? Reach out to them to wish them and see what you can learn about this celebration.
And to all kids who celebrate this with your families, we would also love to hear from you about what you enjoy the most on this day. Email us at email@example.com or post a comment here.
I cannot wait to share with all of you what I learn, over the next couple of weeks. Please keep checking this space for more updates!!
Happy Lunar New Year everyone
Gong Xi Fa Cai (Wishing you a Prosperity)
It had been three long weeks since we had submitted our campaign videos and we had been patiently waiting for the Oregon Kid Governor Election voting and results. Then on a bright and beautiful day of 18th November 2020, I joined my class at 8:30 in the morning as usual. I was a bit suspicious when my teacher told the class and me that that there were mystery guests… hmm…. As soon as Mrs. Seawell (my class teacher) gave us the clue “We have some news on who the kids have chosen”, I immediately thought about Oregon Kid Governor but I was not completely convinced. It could have been something else. Then our mystery guests started coming in. First came my Principal and Vice Principal, then I saw that the previous Oregon Kid Governors and other dignitaries from the Oregon Kid Governor program have also joined.
My hands and body were shaking like crazy. Mary Beth Herkert told us about the Oregon Kid Governor Program and how it was a civics lesson for 5th Graders. After that, Raaga announced that I was chosen to be the 2021 Oregon Kid Governor! I thought I was ready for the results whatever they were but it turns out that I wasn’t.
My feelings had gone B-E-R-S-E-R-K. I was shocked, happy, speechless and surprised all at the same time. I couldn’t even register that this was happening. It was like someone had taken out a white-out marker and drew all over my mind 🙂
I heard someone in my class say “Yesssss!!” I came to know that my teacher and my parents had already known this and they had to keep it a surprise. That explained all of my parent’s sneaky behavior over the weekend 🙂
Then Raaga, Dom and Erika talked briefly about their experience during their terms. I gathered that it was sometimes a little bit of extra work but a whole lot of fun and learning.
It was a Wednesday, so my class ended early. When I was dismissed after school, I was still registering that I was going to be the 2021 Oregon Kid Governor.
As things settled down and I played some wall ball, I thought more about it I got more and more excited to start my 1 year term.
I am really Grateful for giving me this opportunity , I promise to give it my best . I would also like to congratulate all the finalists and everyone who participated as well for your amazing platforms. We can together make a difference!!