As the needle plunged into my arm I squeezed my eyes shut, not because it hurt, so much as I was not expecting to have to get a Polio shot that day. To travel to South Africa from the USA you do not need a Visa, and very few vaccines are suggested. This makes it one of the easiest African countries for us Americans to travel to. So I was surprised when the Polio vaccine was one of the highly suggested ones as I prepared for an Insight Trip to Johannesburg with Global Team of 200 and its founder Jennifer James.
As a United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Champion I shouldn’t have been surprised, one thing I have learned is that as long as Polio exists anywhere in the world it is still a threat to all of us. Although it hasn’t been found in South Africa since 1989, we know from the recent cases of the disease popping up in countries like Somalia and Kenya, that the virus is only one boarder crossing or plane ride away.
If you ask anyone old enough to remember back when it existed In the US, they grow wide-eyed at the topic. They all remember the terror that gripped communities before the Polio vaccine arrived in 1962.
My own mother had been the victim of a Polio outbreak as a young child. She was lucky enough to survive, but with one leg shorter than the other that served as a reminder to the ordeal. I can only imagine how frightened my grandmother must have been that her first-born might succumb to the disease.
Today Polio has been eradicated in 99% of the world; only the countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria still have the problem of indigenous wild polio virus transmissions. Rotary International established World polio Day in honor of Jonas Salk, who developed the vaccine against poliomyelitis. The Polio vaccine has led the fight in eradicating the disease, but if polio exists anywhere, it is a threat everywhere. As a global community we are in the final push to eradicate Polio once and for all.
It is important that action is taken now before we lose this opportunity. The gaps in funding have forced those implementing the vaccine to scale back their polio vaccination efforts creating vulnerable populations worldwide. If we do not stop this disease now, it is estimated an additional 200,000 children a year will become paralyzed.
Today, October 24 is World Polio Day; a day to commemorate the progress we’ve made and how much further we have to go. In honor of World Polio Day, a resolution has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to commemorate this important day, and we need your help to get it passed. Contact your Senator and tell them to support S. Res. 270.
Won’t it be great when no one needs to get the Polio vaccine anymore?
“To tell a great story about American art is a particularly RISD story”-John W. Smith Museum Director
As the leaves turn to bright colors in New England, and the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the air chills and the American history that surrounds us is subtly evoked. Our children study our early history in school this time of year and the RISD Museum in Providence Rhode Island has joined the conversation with their retrospective exhibit entitled Making It In America. Rhode Island School of Design is known for its focus on the making of art, and with this recently opened exhibit, the Museum of RISD outlines how the works of our past remain relevant, and revelatory to the makers of today.
There was a tandem progression of American development and mastery of design that took place early on as settlers and then influences from varying cultures staggered into the country. The craftsmanship and personality of objects seen in furniture styles, and portraiture tell the story with a perspective on how we portray ourselves within the context of the American Dream.
Co-Curators Elizabeth Williams of arts and design and Maureen O’Brien of painting and sculpture collaborated by pulling together pieces from the RISD collection. Together their selections narrate the way in which our American identity evolved through the objects both functional and decorative that were crafted and displayed between the early 1700s and the early 1900s. The curators then brought in the celebrated decorator and decorative arts historian Thomas Jayne to really make the objects pop.
Thomas Jayne used his understanding of how important color and pattern were to American design as a context for the geometry of the objects in the space. A number of portraits are mounted on replicas of early American wallpapers that coupled with Rococo frames, as Thomas Jayne put it “makes the Copley’s sing in a way white walls never would”. Thus exhibiting the 18th century paintings in a uniquely pop culture look.
In an exhibit that is as much about opportunity in America as it is the art that came out of those opportunities; the varied experiences are on display, a wood spindle chair remade out of a spinning wheel, set nearby an ornate silver serving piece. A cabinet by a Finnish immigrant highlights the varied styles that merged as the cultures did to become a uniquely American style.
The making of art in America merges with American ambition, but as you walk through the collection you realize the story begins and ends with the Native Americans. One of the first pieces upon entering the gallery is the Painting entitled Native American Sachem and one of the last is the Paul Manship tabletop bronze pair of sculptures created nearly 200 years later, the Indian and Pronghorn Antelope atop a Frank Lloyd Wright table. The modern architecture of the Chase Center Galleries serves as the canvas for this collection of more than 100 outstanding works of painting sculpture and decorative arts made in between. The exhibit opened on October 11th and will run through February 9th.
The RISD Museum was established in 1877 “American art has played a central role at the RISD Museum since it’s earliest days, and we celebrate this legacy with Making It In America.- Museum Director John W. Smith