Join us for this Zoom Webinar which will take place on Saturday, June 13th at 11 AM PST / 2PM EST / 7 PM UK time and will feature survivors of forced marriage and child marriage who will speak their personal stories of the heartbreaking circumstances that led up to their human rights abuse, how they dealt with it and how they rose past it. This is not a presentation you want to miss as there are amazing speakers lined up. There will be five speakers, and Jasvinder Sanghera will be the moderator. Here is more information on the speakers.
Jasvinder Sanghera CBE
Founder of Karma Nirvana, and Forced Marriage Survivor
She is a highly acclaimed international speaker and an expert advisor to the courts in matters of child, civil and criminal proceedings, is a chair of domestic homicide reviews and was instrumental in ensuring that all UK police forces are required to improve their understanding of honour based abuse and forced marriage by inspections conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
Her memoir ‘Shame’ was a Times Top 10 Bestseller and described in the House of Lords as a ‘political weapon’. Jasvinder is recognised as bringing the issue of forced marriage into the public domain and Prime Minister David Cameron stated that her work ‘turned my head on the issue of forced marriage’. Her work is recognised as being pivotal to the creation of a specific UK forced marriage criminal offence in 2014. Her successful claim of sexual harassment against a peer in the House of Lords was the first in its 479 year history and has already led to an increase in reporting and resulted in significant changes in the House of Lords policy and practice including greater debates and reforms, resulting in a House of Lords independent inquiry into sexual harassment and bullying.
She has received numerous awards including the prestigious Woman of the Year 2007. She was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Derby in 2008. She was awarded The Pride of Britain Award in 2009 and was named Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman of the Year in 2010. In 2011 she was listed in the Guardian’s top 100 Most Inspirational Women in the World and in 2012 received the Global Punjabi Award. She was awarded Commander of the British Empire in 2013 in recognition of her outstanding contribution for the victims of forced marriage and honour based abuse and in 2014 was awarded Legal Campaigner of the Year. Jasvinder is also listed as an entry in the 2016 edition of the book Who’s Who and in the same year received the International Woman Award for human rights from the Italian media. In 2018 she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law by De Montfort University, Leicester, Woman of the Year by Leeds City Council and in 2019 she was awarded the Robert Burns Humanitarian of the Year Award and also the Sikh Woman of Substance Award. For more information please visit: jasvindersanghera.com
Child Marriage Survivor
Dawn Tyree is an author, activist, speaker, and a founding member of The National Coalition to End Child Marriage in the U.S. The story of her experience as a child forced into marriage has been published in The New York Times, Reuters, and translated into more than 12 different languages. She was featured in a two-hour documentary on child marriage in the U.S. as part of the A & E Network docuseries, “I Was a Child Bride: The Untold Story” with Elizabeth Vargas that aired April 2019. A personal essay, “I Turned my Child Marriage Trauma into Activism” was published January 2020 in YES! Magazine. Her poem, “The Forest Dweller,” appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of Portland Metrozine; and her essay “Spotlight On Child Marriage” was published in the Summer 2019 issue.
Twitter – @Dawnbtyree
Instagram – @dawnbtyree
Facebook – @DawnTyree
Forced Marriage Survivor
Davinder Kaur was born and raised in Bradford, England. She was just 14 years old when she was shown the picture of a man she would have to marry at the age of 18. Try as she might, Davinder could not get out of the agreement. Davinder knows only too well that many arranged marriages are really forced marriages. She escaped from her forced marriage 6 weeks after the marriage took place. She now shares her story in the aim of spreading awareness via social media as well as with public speaking. She is a strong believer in education first, then marriage, as her right to education was denied to her after High School as she was told that since marriage was on the agenda for her, there was no need for further education.
Davinder recently became a member of the National Coalition to End Child Marriage, as well as the California Coalition to End Child Marriage. She has already independently mentored a forced marriage victim from India who was referred to her by a friend, and now looks forward to mentoring forced marriage victims for Unchained At Last soon. Davinder wants to see an end to child marriage, not just here in California, but all over the USA, and all over the world. She met with Assemblymember Brian Maienschein’s office earlier in February 2020, to plea her case of ending child marriage in California and also presented her story as well as petition on Change.org. She’s hoping with the help of Unchained At Last and the CA Coalition to End Child Marriage, that California will become the next state to raise the marriage age to 18, with no exceptions.
Davinder welcomes you to sign her petition https://www.change.org/EndChildMarriageAndEndForcedMarriage as she feels that all petitions like this should be signed for very necessary change to take place. She would also like you to write a letter to support the Digital Letter Writing Campaign put together by the CA Coalition to End Child Marriage. Since Davinder lives in CA, this is where she will aim her attention first with making change. She also wants to see forced marriage criminalized here in the USA, just like it was in the UK. She is proud to have signed numerous petitions against forced marriage, and her signature was also on the petition to criminalize forced marriage in the UK. Davinder is a strong believer that oceans and borders are insignificant when it comes to the fight against human rights abuse. Anyone has the power to be part of change by adding their voice, and adding their signature. She also wants to see schools and colleges teach the students about human rights abuses such as child marriage, forced marriage and honor-based abuse. Davinder wants to see law enforcement trained here in the USA just like they were in the UK to improve their understanding of honor-based abuse and forced marriage.
Davinder moved to the USA when she was 22, and now lives in San Diego, where she graduated from university late in life with a Bachelors in Business Administration, and is the proud mother of three children. Her oldest daughter is 23 years old and has a Bachelor’s Degree, and is now pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nursing. Her son is 18 years old and at college and her youngest daughter is 11 years old. She likes to remind them about the importance of education first, then marriage! Davinder is in the process of writing her first book which is about her forced marriage experience.
Twitter – @luchank and @angel4many
Instagram – @luchanik
YouTube – @luchaniktravel
Facebook – @luchanik
Pinterest – @luchanik
Child Marriage Survivor
Sara Tasneem is a forced child marriage survivor. As a mentor and activist, she works publicly to enact legislation that would legally ban child marriage in United States. Sara works to create awareness of child marriage in the U.S. by sharing her story across national and international media outlets, through educational seminars, public speaking events, and by lobbying legislative bodies to end child marriage. She has a master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Golden Gate University.
Sara volunteers with non-profit Unchained at Last as a mentor to young girls and women who are leaving their abusive forced child marriages and is a member of the steering committee for the National Coalition to End Child Marriage in the United States, She works with multiple non-profits along with other survivors to create a network of survivor led advocacy to end child marriage in the U.S.
At just fifteen, Tasneem was forced to marry a 28-year-old stranger. Sadly, she is not alone. Statistics from non-profit Unchained At Last report that 248,000 children as young as 12 were married in the United States between 2000 and 2010. 87% percent of minors who married between 2000 and 2015 were girls. (Frontline, 2017). According to Sara, ending child marriage in the United States is an uphill battle because each state must approve new bills limiting the age of marriage to 18. Many states, including California, are reticent to pass such bills because of age-old patriarchal views of marriage and pregnancy. In 2017, Delaware and New Jersey passed the marriage laws necessary to limit the age of marriage to 18 with no exceptions. After the age of 18, individuals are considered adults and can access the vital services they might need if they experience abuse or want to divorce their partners. Currently, 48 out of 50 states still allow children under the age of 18 to marry with parental consent. Join Sara in her fight to end child marriage in California today by signing her petition at Change.org.
Child Marriage Survivor, and Campaigner, IKWRO
Payzee Mahmod is a survivor of FGM and child marriage, who lost her sister Banaz in a tragic “honour” killing, Payzee’s is a Kurdish immigrant, raised in London, with a successful career in the fashion industry, she uses her voice to speak out and has made it her mission to be a change maker, helping to tackle these harmful practices.
Payzee has joined IKWRO in the Campaigns Team, she has reached international audiences speaking widely on the need for changes to the laws surrounding child marriage and “honour” based abuse in her TEDX talk, across radio, television and newspapers, including The Sunday Times and the BBC. Through speeches at Parliament and meeting with government officials and the Home Office Minister to explain first-hand why change is needed, Payzee campaigns for better education, training and legislation to finally make child marriage a crime.
Twitter & Instagram: @payzeemalika
Founder/Executive Director, Unchained At Last
Fraidy was 19 when her family arranged for her to marry a man who turned out to be violent. But with no education or job, in an insular religious community where only men have the right to grant a divorce, she felt trapped.
Still trapped at age 27, Fraidy defied her husband and community to become the first person in her family to go to college. She graduated from Rutgers University at age 32 as valedictorian (called “commencement speaker” at Rutgers).
Her family declared her dead, but Fraidy persevered: With her journalism degree, she was hired as a reporter for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, eventually getting promoted to the paper’s elite investigative-reporting team. She went on to a career as an investigator at Kroll, the world’s largest investigations firm. At the same time, Fraidy managed to get divorced, win full custody of her two daughters and get a final restraining order against her ex-husband.
But Fraidy knows that most women and girls who want to flee or resist an arranged/forced marriage are limited by finances, religious law and social customs. For them, Fraidy founded and now leads Unchained At Last.
Fraidy is recognized internationally as an expert on forced and child marriage in America. Her writing on the subject has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post and countless other publications in the U.S. and beyond, and she has been interviewed and featured by those outlets as well as Financial Times, BBC, PBS, NPR, CBS and others. Legislation she helped to write to end or reduce child marriage has been introduced and, in some cases, already passed in multiple U.S. states.
Here is the flyer for the event and to register for the event, please do so at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/united-against-harmful-practices-tickets-106806695702
Happy New Year Everyone! Sorry that I haven’t written in quite some time. Life has been agonizingly busy, and I say agonizingly as you wouldn’t believe what I just went through – one of the worst moves of my life. I will leave this story for another day, but needless to say I was not happy about moving – I also had to downsize, and pay double the rent! 😦
Anyway, onto happier memories from last year….and hoping this year will be better for me and for all of you. We visited Santa Monica last summer, and I have had so much happen that I couldn’t even post my pictures until now. Well, it’s better to do it now than deciding to do it five years from now.
We loved Santa Monica, it’s quite close to Los Angeles, and we were just in Santa Monica for a day, but in the Los Angeles area for nearly three days. Isn’t it amazing that I live in San Diego, but don’t get up to Los Angeles that often any more, and that I have never visited Santa Monica until last year – and I’ve been in San Diego for almost 19 years!
Well, without further ado, here are some of my pictures:
This last picture is of main shopping street that is a block or two away from the beach. I will share more of these pictures another time. Well, that’s it for now, I hope you liked my pictures, and that you are already having an amazing year!
We had one of our big Diwali celebrations in San Diego on October 15, 2016. It was the Festival of Lights held at Balboa Park. It was a fantastic event, yet again. This year it was special, because as well as dancing, we had singing, and there was a world-class singer who entertained us, so it was truly magnificent. His name is Aditya Rao, and apparently he has won several awards, and has appeared in several videos like the one below:
Here he is performing at Balboa Park, and he’s also seen in this video that I made
Here is a video that shows the lighting of the lamps display, and the women carrying the lamps during the lamp parade.
Here is a video showing Punjabi music and specifically, Bhangra at the Festival Of Lights….spectacular!
Here are more photos showing Aditya Rao, and the performances that he was part of.
Here are some other pictures taken at Festival Of Lights
These are the lamps on display. I have never taken pictures of the lamps before as I always get a seat, and never venture towards the lamps, but this year I did, and I’m glad!
Here are some of the other performances
One of Aditya Rao again, with the main presenter
Here’s little Chandra having fun!
This is Aditya Rao standing with the main organizers and this is just prior to the Indian Anthem being sung
President Barack Obama graced Diwali at Balboa Park with his presence, even though it was just on screen. He wished us a Happy Diwali! This was ever so nice, just to see President Obama in Balboa Park!
I really love going to the Festival Of Lights, as I enjoy seeing the performances, seeing Balboa Park again, seeing the stage graced by beautiful dances in clothes that sparkle, and then of course the lights tinkle! I also enjoy eating the Indian food that is available from many of the vendors who participate in Festival Of Lights. This year I got samosas, chicken saag and rice, and gulab jamun – that was two trays of food for me and Chandra, which included passion fruit juice for her and a nice cup of Pumpkin Spice Chai that cost just $9. You can’t beat that price!
I hope you enjoyed my pictures of the Festival Of Lights, and I hope you all have a truly beautiful Diwali. May light conquer over darkness, may good prevail over evil, and may we all experience peace, joy and prosperity on Diwali, and in the year ahead. Happy Diwali!
Oh, the hills are alive with the beauty of flowers. You know I really am singing those words in my mind to the tune of “Oh, the hills are alive with the sound of music”. I often attribute songs to occurrences, or a single word or sentence conjures up a great song from long ago, but the classic goes so well with the Flower Fields.
The Flower Fields have been open since early March of this year, but we didn’t get to visit until the end of March, but to make up for it, we got a season pass. Now, we can visit an unlimited number of times until the season is over which I think will be the beginning of May.
Me and my little girl Chandra love visiting the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA – only 20 minutes drive away from where we live in San Diego. Just before my oldest daughter Niki went back to college, we were shopping at the nearby Outlet Mall on Paseo Del Norte, and the Flower Fields overlooks this outdoor shopping mall. Well, Niki and my son Luca did not want to go to the Flower Fields yet again as they put it….I have taken them various times in the past, and can’t understand why they would not want to go. However, I did drag them close enough to get them into a few of the pictures, but they are not quite in the Fields themselves. You will see Chandra and me about a week later on March 27, 2016 at the Fields, and then we visited again just yesterday on April 9th.
Here are some pictures:
And yes, I got the season pass for me and Chandra. It cost me a total of $46, but I have already been there twice, and if I go at least two times more, I have more than got my money worth out of it. Besides, it’s a great place to take a walk, and get in some healthy exercise, then top it off with the delicious out of this world strawberry milkshake. Both me and Chandra got one each, and they were $5 each, but really worth it.
So get to the Flower Fields before it closes in May, and before the flowers wither away. They are too spectacular to be not seen. Remember, the hills are alive with the flowers of beauty, or did I say with the beauty of flowers?
Lovely La Jolla, what more is there to say. This place which is just a 12 minute drive for me going south, or a 20 minute drive from downtown San Diego is spectacular. The scenery is amazing, and the wildlife is abundant.
Most of the time, the seals like to laze on the beach, and don’t move much at all, but all of a sudden, a few of them got up to take a dip in the ocean!
Look at this one! Doesn’t it look like a cross between a sea lion, and a tortoise?
We walked away from the ocean onto Prospect Street, and Chandra got to play with a massive globe that was a water-fountain feature. Oh, she rolled and rolled the globe around. She was enchanted!
Afterwards, we went for a treat to the Living Room, a really wonderful coffee house, that has wonderful pastries, and sandwiches. I got Chandra two macaroons, which she devoured before I got to take photos of them, and I also did the same with my pistachio baklava. Chandra then eyed my coconut mocha, and oh my gosh, it was delicious – it was made with low fat milk, and extra hot. I left a tiny bit of it for Chandi to try, as she really should not be drinking coffee at her tender age of 7! She loved it, well….it was delicious!
Then she got some gelato from a place called Gelateria, across from the Living Room, and again, I didn’t take pictures – but this was Chandi’s treat as mine was the coconut mocha. Then, it was time for a few more pictures.
This last picture was from a previous visit to La Jolla
I hope you liked my pictures of La Jolla. It really is a nice place to visit. I really enjoy it there, and I think I would like to say it is one of my favorites in San Diego.
Time’s already flying by, and it’s February now, but I still haven’t shared December Nights, 2015 with you. Must hurry up, or it will be December again. Just my luck! I don’t want time to go that quickly. There’s no rush…..I will get too old too quickly like this – slow down time!
December Nights at Balboa Park in San Diego is always a fun event. It’s a two day extravaganza, and my family really enjoys it. This year we had to go without Niki, my oldest – since she has started college, and moved away. Still, it’s a fun event for kids of all ages, and adults alike, and I think I might love it even more than my kids do!
This year, we went early. Even though the even starts at 12 noon or so, most people don’t go until 5pm, as they like to be there in the evening when all the lights are on, as well as the Christmas tree at the Organ Pavilion. However, traffic is crazy and hectic, and so is parking. A few times now, we have parked at Petco Park, and then taken a shuttle bus from there to Balboa Park, but this time I wanted to park at the Zoo, and combine December Nights with a trip to the Zoo. So, we got to the Zoo at around 1:45 pm, and were easily able to find a parking spot. We spent about one and a half hours there.
We then took the short walk to Balboa Park – an easy 5 or 10 minute walk.
We first saw the Fountain area, close to one of the museums, and had a little snack, then walked past the Botanical Gardens area where the beautiful flowers, and Reflective Pond is; then we went to the Grinch tree, which is by the Old Globe Theatre, and actually spotted the Grinch!
We then went to see some of the performances at the Organ Pavilion, and since Chandra wanted to eat, we went towards the International Cottages area. When I heard Indian music, that beckoned me, and I was so glad I had allowed myself to be beckoned like that – because that became the highlight of my entire evening. I normally enjoy the Organ Pavilion area, and the Christmas songs so much, and enjoyed them again this year, but this time I allowed myself to actually wander away from the performances at the Organ Pavilion to experience more of what was taking place at the International Cottages area, and these are two competing performance areas – one on the big stage, and the other on a smaller stage, but equally powerful in performance. While one concentrates on performances that are mainly musical, and showcases instruments being played, and singers performing – the smaller stage at the International Cottages focuses on dance. The dance aspect is really entertaining, as you still have the music and the songs, but now have further entertainment too. I absolutely loved it, and my little Chandra got up to dance on the stage for the Grand Finale of the Indian dancing!
Here are two videos that I made – one shows the Grand Finale that Chandra was in,
and the other one shows a variety of performances, and dances that were performed. This includes the performances at the Organ Pavilion, and the Scottish Bagpipe Band, as well as the San Diego Chorus, and of course, the Indian dance performances which took place at the International Cottages.
I love December Nights, there is nothing quite like it!
I went to the San Diego Zoo in December, and saw the beautiful Museum Of Man from the Sky Ride. You may have seen some of the pictures I have posted before of this particular amazing building, but I haven’t posted pictures taken at the Zoo of it. So here you are…..
You may wonder what the Sky Ride is, it’s a wonderful lift with seats for about 4 people that will take you from one part of the Zoo to another, and you go up, up, up in the air! Best of all, it’s a free ride with you annual pass, otherwise I think you have to purchase tickets. We love the Sky Ride!
Pictures may be taken near or afar, but San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park are two treasures that you have to see up close. Did I tell you we love the Sky Ride? Well, we also love the San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park!
Oh, I love to feel grand and what better place to have that feeling than at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego, located in downtown San Diego, near Seaport Village. Guess where an incredible Thanksgiving took place? You might have guessed…..at this grand hotel! Yes, we had our Thanksgiving meal there in 2015. So thankful for this beautiful hotel, because not only was the food good, but the entire experience – like spending the afternoon there just lounging around in the bar area, and walking through the lobby, and generally just feeling grand! I’ve also stayed at this hotel several times, and it has beautiful views of Seaport Village and the bay. This hotel is beautiful! Here’s some pictures:
A few more pictures for you, again this is a beautiful hotel, and the artwork incredible! I could sit here for ages and stare at the paintings or stare at their decor – masterpiece!
Can’t believe it’s 2016 already! By the way, Happy New Year!
I love the zoo! How about you? This is going to be a simple and short post, but just want to say it’s one of the best places in San Diego, and makes for a great day out.
This is Chandi at the Zoo when she was about 18 months old.
This was Chandi just yesterday celebrating her 7th birthday at the Zoo. She seems less afraid of the orangutans now!
Here are some more pictures of the Zoo taken yesterday, November 21st, 2015
My favorite part of the Zoo yesterday, hard to say between the monkeys, orangutans, elephants and koalas, I loved all those best, but really enjoyed seeing the elephants.
How could I not put a picture of a cuddly koala in this post? I so much would have loved to hold it!
So glad to have an annual pass again. See you again soon, Zoo!
Who said there could not be star sunsets? I’m sure this was a star sunset. To me a star, is something that shines bright. Yes, a star and the sun both shine bright, so let’s just for once call it a star sunset.
I wish the little reflection thing in the water (round green light) hadn’t shown up on my picture, but let it be part of it as I don’t do any retouching of my pictures.
On this same night of the star sunset, just a little earlier, I took a picture of the Star of India. I like to think this could be the Star of San Diego too.
Even more compelling for the argument of calling it Star of India, and Star of San Diego is when my little girl enters the picture – she is the star of India to me, even though she has not been there yet (India, of course is birthplace of my parents), she is the star of San Diego (her birthplace). She is the star of the UK (my birthplace) and also the star of Italy (her dad’s birthplace). My little star is associated with four different countries. Of course, she’s not really a star in these 4 places, just in my eyes.
This picture below was not taken this summer like all the other ones, it was taken last year (even time-stamped). I’m not sure if I like the time-stamp feature, I stopped using it. I did some posts previously on the Star of India, you can read it by clicking on this link.
So, I’m not sharing many pictures today, in fact, I have been quite stingy with pictures compared to usual. Sorry for not writing too much lately. I have been caught up in so many other life events, you wouldn’t believe it. I hope you are all having a wonderful October.