For fourteen years, the third weekend in September has found me celebrating the birth of country music with thousands of my best friends along State Street in Bristol, TN/VA. During that time, I have been incredibly lucky to have been at the epicenter of the booking process for the festival. For a music junkie, helping to craft the line up for such an expansive roots music festival, which covers everything from country and bluegrass to blues and indie rock, is a “pinch me I must be dreaming” kind of experience. A bit over two weeks ago, the downtown area of the two Bristols – the state line separates the twin cities – was crowded with music enthusiasts from across the country. Wandering patrons found bands in every nook and cranny, playing before intimate crowds on a small stage in a local bar or eatery or before thousands on a giant outdoor stage. I cannot overemphasize the worth of the friendships I have made or the pride that I feel in a festival well designed, during my time with the festival. This year, I was lucky enough to have a great photographer, Josh Moore, and his wife, Jody Moore, working with me to grab photos from all across the weekend. Check out the gallery below for just a glimpse into some of the great talent that we had at this year’s Reunion. And if you are looking for something fun to do next September, be sure to check out the festival’s website for upcoming line-ups and ticket announcements. We are already steamrolling towards our 2020 festival – which happens to be our 20th anniversary – and I promise it is going to be a big one.
By Taciana Moury/Diálogo July 18, 2018 The Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) seeks to foster women’s interest in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions. The goal is to respond to the UN’s call to troop-contributing nations to increase women’s participation in missions from 10 to 20 percent. At the end of 2017, the UN released guidelines to facilitate female participation. According to the UN, as of May 2018, more than 90,000 blue helmets of different nationalities participate in 14 peacekeeping operations worldwide. Only about 4 percent of military forces are women. According to the Peacekeeping Operations Office under the Joint Operations Command of the Brazilian Armed Forces’ Joint Chiefs of Staff, 65 Brazilian service members—armed forces and military police—are currently deployed in UN peacekeeping missions as military observers or as part of the general staff. Of these only nine are women: three from the Brazilian Navy, two from the Brazilian Air Force, one from EB, and three from the Military Police. The UN’s steps to promote volunteers within the female population include shortening mission time from one year to six months for women with children 5 to 10 years old, developing mission positions with roles other than officer, and creating a female engagement force, a component whose duty would be to embed all troops deployed in the field. For EB Lieutenant Colonel Ivana Mara Ferreira Costa of the Department of Peacekeeping of the Land Operations Command (COTER, in Portuguese), UN guidelines are meant to incentivize women. “The reduction of mission time will allow female service members to better manage their time away from home,” she said. To encourage female service members interested in taking part in UN missions, EB posted a link on the website of its Directorate General for Personnel at the end of 2017. “So far, of an estimated 3,000 EB career officers and noncommissioned officers, only 49 women enrolled,” said Lt. Col. Ivana Mara. Another EB initiative consists of enrolling female service members in the peacekeeping mission preparedness internship of the Brazilian Joint Center for Peacekeeping Operations. Some enrollees don’t have a defined mission. “When an opportunity arises, we will have women already prepared,” the officer said. EB has 42 service members deployed in peacekeeping missions. “There is only one woman in this group, but we already have three candidates to replace service members in these missions,” said Lt. Col. Ivana Mara. EB service member, a MINURSO pioneer Lieutenant Colonel Andréa Firmo Louriçal is the only EB female in a UN peacekeeping mission. She joined the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO, in French) as a military observer in April 2018. She is the first female Brazilian service member to take on this role. The officer is based in the city of Laayoune, the administrative center of Western Sahara. Her monitoring duties focus on the maintenance of the cease-fire agreement and operations to reduce landmines and unexploded ordnance in conflict areas between Morocco and the Polisario Front. The greatest challenge, Lt. Col. Andréa Firmo said, is being separated from her children: two girls, 16 and 12 years old, and a 7-year-old boy. “This is one of the most challenging tasks for a female service member,” she said. “Adapting to operational activities was also difficult. We have to conduct long daily patrols, most of which are near minefields,” she said. The yearlong mission will last until April 2019. Lt. Col. Andréa Firmo told Diálogo she decided to volunteer to make a difference in the field, and support vulnerable groups in need. “I hope to echo the voices of women and children who need help in areas of conflict,” she said. According to the officer, her participation may create opportunities for many other women. “I am opening previously unknown paths. I want to be the eyes of other female military colleagues who will come after me,” she said. An operational need The presence of women in the field, according to Lt. Col. Ivana Mara, is an essential requirement for mission efficiency. “Female peacekeepers perform a crucial role interacting with the community. When you combine men and women in patrols, the result is much more productive,” she said. The officer deployed to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH, in French) in 2013 and in 2017. “More than a gender issue, a woman who serves in the field is an operational need in peacekeeping missions,” EB Lieutenant Colonel Luiz Cláudio Talavera Azeredo, from COTER’s Department of Peacekeeping, told Diálogo. In 2017, the officer was Sector East chief of operations of the United Nations Multidimentional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA, in French). During his mission, Lt. Col. Talavera Azeredo said, some operations were only carried out with the presence of a female service member. “If there were no female service members in the contingent, then who would conduct on-the-ground screenings of women when necessary?” asked Lt. Col. Talavera Azeredo. “Women have the right to be screened by other women,” he said. According to Lt. Col. Ivana Mara, EB increased female participation in 2013, in MINUSTAH. “This is when we began to incorporate instructions about sexual abuse and exploitation to prepare the contingent that would deploy to the Haiti mission,” she said. Brazil led the Haiti peacekeeping mission for 13 years. Nearly 30,000 service members participated—among them 200 were women. According to the officer, a joint man-woman effort is necessary to achieve gender balance in the armed forces. “It’s the responsibility of the UN, governments, international organizations. It’s a commitment for all,” she said.
Facebook7Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Oly Town ArtesiansThe Oly Town Artesians wrap up the home slate of their inaugural outdoor season on Sunday, July 23 when Tacoma’s Washington Premier South Sound FC comes to town. First kick between these two teams who are separated by just one point in the Evergreen Premier League standings is set for 3:00 p.m. at Wembley Soccer Shop Field at The Evergreen State College.Oni Mayer. Photo courtesy: Jo ArlowAdvanced tickets are just $6 and can be purchased at www.olytownfc.com/tickets, and all youth soccer players in uniform will be admitted for free and can accompany the Artesians onto the field during introductions. Pregame festivities start at 2:55 p.m. Tickets at the gate are $8 for adults and $5 for kids 5-12-years-old.The Artesians enter the final two games of their first season in the EPLWA sitting at 4-5-3 overall with 15 points, just one point behind South Sound (5-5-1, 16 points). The Shock will take on the first place Seattle Stars on Saturday before making the trip to Olympia on Sunday. The Artesians and South Sound will wrap up their seasons one week later with a rematch in Puyallup.Oly Town is led by goalkeeper JJ Olson, who is tied for second in the EPLWA with two shutouts and has logged 889 minutes over 10 games this season. JT Meyer leads the team with three goals while Kyle Witzel has two goals since joining the club three games ago. Gabriele Zaccagnini racked up six assists before heading to Europe last week.South Sound FC are a charter member of the EPLWA playing in their fourth season in the league and have been through an up and down 2017 campaign. They absolutely drilled the Stars 5-1 on May 7, but have suffered losses to Olympic, Yakima and Spokane this season but are coming off of a 2-1 win over Vancouver last weekend. Isidro Prado-Huerto leads all Shock scorers with three goals.This weekend’s game marks the first time that three Olympia brothers will take the field together. Jake Zimmerman, a senior at Evergreen, and Alec Zimmerman, a senior at Capital High School, have each logged major minutes for their hometown team and Jake’s goal in Bellingham led the Artesians to their first league victory. Meanwhile, their brother Jordan Zimmerman, a junior at Evergreen, has scored one goal in his time with South Sound despite spending the preseason with the Artesians. Jordan scored the first ever outdoor goal for Oly Town in a friendly against the Washington State Club Soccer team on April 1.Follow the Artesians all season long and beyond including the 2017-2018 Western Indoor Soccer League season by visiting the Oly Town Artesians website, following them on Twitter, and liking them on Facebook.