OUR WORLD NOW
Brief Bio: Graduated of UB, co-founder & first president, Hispanic Women’s League
Ms. Lillian G. Orsini was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and raised in NYC. She is the oldest of 4 children and born to a teen age mom. Ms. Orsini has tirelessly invested over 3 decades of leadership in Western New York. In the early 1980s in Buffalo, she co-founded and was the first president of the Hispanic Women’s League, which still stands today for over 40 years.
She graduated on a scholarship from the University of Buffalo with a major in Psychology/Public Administration. In 2005, she and her husband opened S.A.F.E. Center in North Miami which was a place of safety for young girls. In 2006, she went to London, England where she was trained and certified in Solution Focus as a Trainer/ Therapist. In 2007, soon after graduating with her M.S. with high honor, she elected to go to Central America where she was instrumental in establishing a shelter for minor girls who are and were physically and sexually abused.
THE WHOLE WORLD MATTERS
April 2020 Issue
During these times of worldly crisis, it makes me appreciate things that money cannot buy.
I have been fortunate to witness many people formally trained or not, show these qualities.
Compassion: The deep feeling of sharing the suffering of another in the inclination to give or provide aid. I have seen compassion rule many decisions, but mostly to take care of the sick. I have learned to deeply admire people who work, at a high risk to themselves, to treat and protect the rest of us.
Wisdom: Understanding of what is true, right or lasting. I have learned about wisdom from people making just, healthy decisions and how to handle this crisis. It does not matter the education, income or religion, I have seen it happen.
Courage: The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger with self-possession, confidence and resolution. I have learned the courage it takes to serve people while you know it is their last moment. People who continue facing danger while still working to serve the sick, the weak and vulnerable despite it all.
I have learned that if you polish and apply these values, in your life, you still will not come close to what these
people are doing all over the world. There is no preparation on how to address this nor do we know when it will end.
Like many other people, I feel helpless, just staying home. Like many other people, I feel scared for my loved ones. Like many other people, I wait for the crisis to end.
How can we help?
1- Stay tuned in to reliable sources of information: i.e. CDC, your state department of health.
2- wash your hands.
3- minimize your human contacts.
4- Take only what you need.
5- Check on your elderly, the vulnerable and the children.
I would like to take this moment to bow my head to all those people who keep providing us with food, electricity, water, protection, medical provisions, etc. All these which I need on a daily basis. It is at these moments that I see how the whole world means to me.
For however long or short, it may be, this is our life journey, and the whole world matters.
MARCH – MONTH OF THE WOMEN
March 2020 Issue
MARCH 8th is a global day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, worldwide.
Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively, everywhere. IWD is not a country, group, or organization specific.
There are more women in the boardroom, more equality in legislative rights, and an increased visibility of women as role models in every aspect of life. The unfortunate truth is that women are still not paid equally, women are not equally present in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse. Great strides have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, schoolgirls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family. Each year the world sets aside a date to recognize and inspire women and celebrate their worldwide achievements.
1909: The first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the U.S. on 28 February.
1975: First time the United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day.
1977: The General Assembly proclaimed United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.
1979: The Hispanic Women’s League became official in Buffalo, New York.
1996: The UN adopted the theme “Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future”.
1997: The second theme was “Women at the Peace table” at the United Nations.
1998: Third theme “Women and Human Rights”.
1999: Fourth theme was “World Free of Violence Against Women”.
2011: The first IWD event was held exactly a hundred years ago in 1911. In the United States, President Barack Obama proclaimed “Women’s History Month”, reflecting on how women have significantly shaped our country’s history. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the “100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls. In the United Kingdom, celebrity activist Annie Lennox led a superb march across one of London’s bridges raising awareness.
If you still do not know why women need your support:
1- The women in your life have had their herstory invalidated.
2- Women are paid $.70 to the men’s’ dollar.
3- Women’s health is not easily accessible or appropriate.
4- Violence against women is at an all-time high.
“As long as women’s’ happiness is sacrificed, peace for humanity can never be realized. When women shine, they shed light upon their households, their communities and their societies. Therefore, we need to make the 21st century a Century of Women, a time when women will take center stage.” — The quote comes from “Living Buddhism.”
February 2020: So, make International Women’s’ Day your day…. Make a positive difference for women….
THIS IS FEBRUARY: THE MONTH TO PONDER ON LOVE
February 2020 Issue
I wish to write about the first man I loved so much that many fallen short of him.
Age 12: I remember when I was busy trying to dress appropriate for an ice-skating party. Not only did you help me buy the clothes, but showed me what colors work for me.
Age 13: I recalled how we walked from our home to Lincoln Center, miles away. Not only did you try to patiently answer all the questions I had about life, but you told me I could change whatever I wanted.
Age 14: I remember taking the train and following you to a gang fight where you were the leader. Not only did I follow you, but I quickly stood next to you.
Age 15: I sadly remember seeing you cry when your girlfriend left you. You said if they are worth loving, they are worth crying about.
Age 16: I remember when you told me, you would not shoot women and children. You said it was their land and those women and children were not soldiers.
Age 17: I remember you saying, finish what you start and don’t start something you are not going to finish. You said you would be at my high school graduation, the first of many of my milestones.
Then you are getting ready to leave and I cannot take the train to get there. When will I see you again? Do they know how far this is?
In between a young girl’s tears, I asked you, who can be more important than me. Who will dress me? Who will walk and talk with me? Who will teach me how to fight with honor? Who will teach me about loving and crying?
It was then that you said, “We all stand for something.”
“I stand to be a soldier and you stand to be the general.”
“You will tell others what to do to improve our world, just like on our walks.”
“There are many more soldiers waiting for their generals’ orders.”
“I may not be back, so make sure you stand for something.”
I almost did not want to graduate because you were not there. I almost cut off all my precious, long hair in protest. I almost walked lifeless for months because you would not be back. I almost died from a life threatening surgery, and mom brought me your picture.
I want you to know I stand for something. Someone who always fights with honor.
You are my older brother who died in Viet Nam, and I cried for you most of all.
B U L L Y I N G
January 2020 Issue
This topic has shown its ugly head in far too many places. Most of us are abhorred at the simple idea of it and many seek solutions to address it.
What is bullying? For minors, it is when an individual is taunted, belittled, and sometimes physically assaulted by insecure people. It is usually carried out in packs. They sometimes wrongly justify their actions. It really does not matter the reason before they project their ugliness onto an undeserving individual. Sometimes, it causes so much hardship that socially the individual leaves school, town and/ or maybe ends their life. Decisions taken depends greatly on their inner strength, their support system (if any) and what and who is available to help them salvage their dignity. More times than not, their lives are ruined or close to it when they continue to be invalidated. I think most adults would agree they will not tolerate this type of behavior, especially if they have children in schools.
Let’s step back for a minute: Bullying has existed for centuries and it rests on the shoulders of adults. Yes, adults. When an individual solicits a consensus from their family, co-workers, colleagues or others to belittle or ruin someone’s reputation and credibility, it carries the same implication. In some circles of our society, we call it sexism, racism, ageism, and many other politically definitions but as adults we think we are above bullying. NOT!!!!
What makes this situation even worst is the indifference and apathy others show while this is happening. Some may even claim to not know. The irony here is that the prosecuted is usually stronger than the offender but does not have weak followers to be accomplices to their atrocious actions. They have been on a solo journey for so long they would not think of soliciting dysfunctional obedience from anyone around them.
I have been a witness and recipient to this type of behavior, adult bullying. Fortunate for me, I had an older brother who protected me while being raised in the ghetto and prepared me on how to handle it later in life. The harsh reality was to accept that it is going to happen. He said only the weak resorts to violence, must be in dysfunctional groups, and only survive when others condone their demented behavior. I not only empowered myself with extensive education, confidence and self-defense but made sure I myself would not resort to adult bullying. It is always the offender who is a coward, low life individual who spends his/her time trying to steal the dignity of others. That I am not!
When we create lifelong memories
December 2019 Issue
First, everyone is running around trying to outguess and outshine anyone. Your loved ones would prefer a less stressful you.
Second, people out of guilt make purchases that do not match the recipient of the gift. Your loved ones would prefer your greatest gift, time.
Third, there is the argument, how to greet people during this time. Your loved ones would settle for a smile. So, what are the holidays really all about??? That is a very good question.
My fondest memory of Christmas was when my sisters and I would get up early, crawl under the angel hair on the big, shiny tree and sneak our gifts out to our bedroom before Mom caught us. We never thought about how we were going to place them back and avoid the harsh scolding afterwards. It was drilled to us that we were to get a single gift and anything more would be given to the less fortunate children under five in the neighborhood. We did not mind that, since that meant they could come over and we would all play together.
While the parents were in the kitchen drinking coquito and coffee, the kids took over the living with toys, tape and surprises. It was fun and magical. There were about 15 children, all under five, who looked forward to this moment. We taped each other, wrapped each other in wrapping paper, played with each other’s toys, hair and cherished each moment. We were not only being playful but safe from all the other harms of poverty. Children were treasured and we knew that for this one day we all peacefully, played.
My mother always felt Christmas is for the children and Rockefeller Center, Macy’s parade and Santa always took a back seat to what was happening in their homes.
These children looked forward to playing and enjoying the joy of Christmas. They knew that once a year they would find presents at my mother’s home and just for that day, there would be no fighting, crying, or complaining. Ghetto children had to settle for much less throughout the year but not at my mother’s and not at Christmas.
I want the holidays to always be like those little kids in the ghetto who once year shared laughter, giggled and were silly and so very grateful that Santa left gifts for them. Fast forward. All those kids (about 15) have grown up and gotten out the ghetto. They still reach for each other across countries, states and time to share those memories. In their homes, there are always gifts for other children.
They all share Christmas memories, forever…..
By Lillian Orsini
NOVEMBER, OUR THANKSGIVING MONTH
November 2019 Issue
On this month, many years ago we are to believe that pilgrims and Indians sat down to eat and gave thanks. Over time, I have learned that accurate history and herstory is not what was taught to us as children, so I have decided to capture the essence of what was done in my home, as I was being brought up, on this month.
First, we come from a long line of Tainos Indians in Puerto Rico and we always gave thanks, every single day. We gave thanks for the crop, for the weather, for water, for a loved one, for a new birth, for the sun, for the rain, for simply being alive.
Carried this over the centuries, and gratitude is still an instilled habit. The following are just a few of the things, your writer is grateful for:
To My Teenage Mother: Who always wanted more for us. To My Sisters: Whose courage and loyalty withstood the test of time. To My Friends: Who did not let distance or time alter our bonds.
My Foes: Who remind me what I would never want to be.
My Teachers: Who taught me the beauty of learning. My Neighbors: Who share the same environmental challenges.
My Family: Whose daily struggles did not deter them from helping others.
My Accidents: To remind me that everything could quickly be taken away.
My Illnesses: To accept vulnerability and still survive.
My Car: That promotes my much-valued independence.
My Bed: That provides a comfortable rest place for my body and soul.
My Heritage: That gives me a strong sense of identity and purpose.
My Eye Glasses: That allows me to clearly see what I need to see.
My Lovers: That reflect I am worth their love.
My Gender: That combines beauty and boldness.
My Education: That always lets me know, there is so much more to learn.
My Brother: Who bravely fought for us back home. My Colleagues: Wherever they are, provide a safe place for us.
My Computer: That allows me to communicate, quickly and anywhere.
My Doubts: They allow me to sieve and seek the truth
My Spiritual Leaders: They have lifted me up and above expectations.
My Mail Carrier: Timely delivers my valuable mail with a warm smile.
My Childhood: Always reflect dignity despite the poverty.
My Aunts: Who were always there with welcoming arms and advice.
My Grandmothers: My role models forever.
On this month, take the time to share appreciation and be
BREAST CANCER: WHAT TO DO?
October 2019 Issue
Discovering a lump in your breast can be cause for concern. Most breast lumps and other changes don’t turn out to be cancerous. Still, it’s important to know why lumps occur and what steps to take.
What causes breast lumps? Most women have some type of lumpiness in their breasts. For example, some women may have areas of their breasts that are denser than other areas. These lumps usually go away by the end of your period. Lumps can also occur at other times when hormone levels fluctuate, such as during pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. You may also notice lumps or other breast changes if you use hormones such as:
Birth control pills, Injections, and Menopausal hormone therapy.
If you find a lump, you should see your doctor and get it checked out. Your doctor can examine your breasts and the surrounding tissues for any other changes that could indicate a problem. Be prepared to answer questions:
Do you have a family history of breast cancer?
When was your last mammogram?
What was the date of your last period?
Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
What medications are you taking?
When did you find the lump?
Has the lump gotten smaller or larger?
Also be sure to tell your doctor about any other breast changes, including:
Nipple discharge or tenderness.
Redness, dimples or puckers.
A change in breast size or shape.
Your doctor may also request other tests. These tests can include:
1- Diagnostic mammogram: Though mammograms are used mostly for screening, this x-ray of the breasts can also be used to get a closer look at breast problems.
2- Breast ultrasound: Using sound waves, a breast ultrasound can be used to target a specific area of concern found on a mammogram. This test can help distinguish between fluid-filled cysts and solid masses and between benign and cancerous tumors.
3- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This test creates detailed pictures of the breast that can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue.
4- Biopsy: In this procedure, a sample of cells from the lump is removed for examination. A biopsy is the only definitive way to find out whether a lump is cancerous.
Protect yourself with regular screenings: Finding breast changes early can help detect breast cancer early, when it’s most treatable. Generally, the ACS (American Cancer Society) recommends that women have regular mammograms beginning at age 45. Your doctor can suggest a screening schedule.
Women should get to know their breasts….
IN OBSERVATION OF LATINO HERITAGE MONTH
September 2019 Issue
In 1979, an article from a Buffalo local paper, claiming that there were no “Hispanic professionals in Buffalo”, set off historic repercussions lasting decades. It has had an impact of immeasurable effect in Western New York.
I was yet 30 and changing the diapers of my second child. I was new to Buffalo, having spend the greater part of the last four years in school and raising my family. I knew some of the women by association but none on a personal note. I had caught the jest of murmurs and adamant reactions to this recent slap in the face.
There were women from all walks of life but mostly educated, professional women, not new to Buffalo. I casually walked back to join the others and very quickly and without hesitation, one of the women said, “We want you to be president. While I may not have known much about this expected role, I knew this was a moment to remember. Within minutes the other positions were nominated for and we now had the first officers of the Hispanic Professional Women’s League.
I was once asked “what were my goals” when I was first elected. I quickly answered “to protect it and make matters officials so we would be respected forever.”
Besides a stern response to that Buffalo article, we now consolidated the most powerful force in herstory: educated, talented, professional women who were advocating for all Latinos in Western New York. You see, we were the wives, sisters, aunts, and mothers who had had enough of unacceptable, and biased belittlements through various public medias.
Besides the “ridicule” and inappropriate jesting, most of us had to endure, the league continued to grow. The largest portion of the league were bilingual educators.
In my first year, I felt like all I did, was nurse my son and the league. Every time we had a meeting it was never a question what to do, it was more like we do not have time to do it all. We decided on promoting Latinx representation across the board, annual dinners, a logo, seek non-profit status, membership fees, and set up scholarship funds.
Now 40 years later, despite the many challenges of life many of the women maintain the spirits that has persisted over decades and many of the daughters and grand daughters carry the torch. Now in Hispanic Heritage month, I salute the Hispanic Women’s League and proud to have been your first president and one of the co–founders.
We are still making herstory, in Western New York…
Editor’s Note: As Puerto Ricans, the Buffalo Latino Village does not observe Hispanic Heritage Month, we honor and observe Latino Heritage Month; however, we do not interfere with our writers’ perspectives on the issue.
HOW TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF CANCER SURVIVORS
August 2019 Issue
Many times, we think we mean well, when we say, “OOOOHHH, Yes, my aunt had cancer and she died”. Or “my grandmother had cancer, but you know how she suffered so much.” Or maybe, “I know it because my mother had cancer and I had to take care of her.”
Well to be honest, if someone trusts you enough to share this horrible situation with you, honestly tell them, I do not know what to say, but that is shitty.
How can I support you? The following are some simple suggestions on how to be supportive:
Bring them their favorite meal: The last thing fighting survivors want to think of is cooking but they have to eat.
Get their favorite movie and share viewing it with them: They need quiet company and laughter, not pity.
Take out their garbage: The smell alone will bother their tummy while in treatment. Simple but greatly appreciated.
Help them de-stress: Pay for them to have a massage, pedicure, and/ or manicure.
Do their laundry: Anything tedious takes away their strength and time to heal.
Ask to see their photo albums: Happy memories will boost their immune system.
Offer to take them back and forth to treatment. Many times, people do not have the courage or time, so they stay away.
Here is a real, simple one: send a card that you are thinking of them.
Pick up some groceries for them.
People overlook this one, offer to pay one of their medical bills.
Insurance never pays the total amount, and now while they fight for their lives, while they may face financial ruins.
Cancer can hit anyone in their lifetime. It does not have to be genetically inherited. It does not matter how healthy of a lifestyle you may have had, and it does not discriminate on age, gender, and/ or ethnic background. There are many treatments, but none makes you feel like you are in control of your life anymore.
As a matter of fact, many will feel like you have lost your decision-making power so they will speak above you and even make decisions for you without soliciting your consent. You might even need lawyer (more money) if your employment starts wanting to get rid of you since they may not observe the Federal Disability Act, never mind implementing it.
Cancer is not contagious. Many people will no longer touch or hug a cancer person. Give your loved one a hug and assure them you are on their side, no matter what.