The Thing About Today – November 15

November 15, 2020
Day 320 of 366

November 15th is the 320th day of the year. It is America Recycles Day in the United States, the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Bundt (Pan) Day, National Philanthropy Day, National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day, and National Raisin Bran Cereal Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1806, Lieutenant Zebulon Pike spotted a distant mountain peak while near the Colorado foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It would later be named Pikes Peak.
  • In 1887, painter and educator Georgia O’Keeffe was born.
  • In 1920, the first assembly of the League of Nations was held in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • In 1926, the NBC radio network opened with 24 stations.
  • In 1929, actor, singer, and producer Ed Asner was born.
  • In 1939, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.
  • In 1940, actor Sam Waterston was born.
  • In 1951, actress, singer, and producer Beverly D’Angelo was born.
  • In 1966, Gemini 12 completed the program’s final mission when it splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • In 1971, Intel released the world’s first commercial single-chip microprocessor, the 4004.
  • In 1981, actress Krysten Ritter was born.
  • In 1988, in the Soviet Union, the unmanned Shuttle Buran made its only space flight.
  • In 1991, actress Shailene Woodley was born.

November 15th is the Day of the Imprisoned Writer.

The Day of the Imprisoned Writer is an annual, international day intended to recognize and support writers who resist repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information. It was started in 1981 by PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.

In addition to increasing the public’s awareness of persecuted writers in general, PEN uses the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to direct attention to several specific persecuted or imprisoned writers and their individual circumstances. Each of the selected writers is from a different part of the world, and each case represents circumstances of repression that occur when governments or other entities in power feel threatened by what writers have written. On this day, the general public is encouraged to take action, in the form of donations and letters of appeal, on behalf of the selected writers.

The day also serves to commemorate all of the writers killed since the previous year’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer. Between November 15, 2007 and November 15, 2008, at least 39 writers from around the world were killed in circumstances that appeared to be related to their professions.

The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

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