I’ve got to be honest, the prospect of spending a beautiful, sunny NYC day cooped up for eight hours in a media workshop didn’t sound very appealing at first, but once Jasmine Burnett of the New York City Reproductive Justice Coalition started letting the F-bomb fly as she was explaining the day’s purpose, I enthusiastically settled in for a very powerful and enlightening day at the Reproductive Justice Media Workshop. By the end of the day, I felt reenergized and supported in my personal commitment to reproductive justice but more importantly, I was challenged and forced to check myself as an ally and a voice in this movement.
Like Parlourista Hillary, I too have identified with an episode of “Girls.” I remember having a Hannah moment in college when one of my roommates came home from the campus health center with tears in her eyes. As we sat together on our cheap first apartment furniture and I asked her what was wrong. “I have HPV,” she said through tears, “and there’s no cure.” While I wish I was the one who doled out my own smart, sassy retort, it was my other roomie who jumped in. “Oh. That? Everybody has that. It’s really no big deal.” And just like that, we kept on living as real girls do.
It’s no coincidence that “My Sister’s Place” is a common name for battered women’s shelters across the United States. The feelings and imagery that such a name conjures – that of community, safety, and understanding – is essential in what’s likely to be the most traumatizing and disruptive moments of a woman’s life. Women have been seeking out the company of our “sisters” for as long as we’ve walked the Earth, both in good times and bad. In Kenya, women have taken this safety in sisterhood ideal a step further, going beyond a women’s shelter, sister-circle, collective, or book club, in the founding of Umoja Uaso, a village where they can flourish.
Former Miss America, singer, actress, and mom, Vanessa Williams, revealed that she had been molested as a child in her new memoir You Have No Idea. Williams recalls that a family friend – a woman she trusted – touched her inappropriately during a sleepover when she was just 10 years old. One might wonder why an accomplished, mature woman like Williams would reveal such a personal and painful detail from her past many years after the fact. In an interview with PeopleMagazine, Williams said, “For years I kept Susan’s visit to myself. I didn’t really understand until college. “I was with my boyfriend and it hit me and I blurted out: ‘Oh my god – I was molested.’ ”
You’d be hard pressed to find a person who didn’t associate the words “I Have a Dream” with Dr. Martin Luther King and the struggle for African-American self-determination and equality during the Civil Rights Movement. While blacks have made significant progress, there’s a new generation struggling to achieve their own version of King’s dream. Through the DREAM Act, young immigrant men and women hope to fully participate in and benefit from America, a country they know, love, and contribute to every day.
Let me get this straight: we’re really going to let men decide that we can’t enjoy wedges anymore? I made it through the Kitten Heel Revolt of 2010 relatively unscathed and we’re still fighting the Cold War of the Ballet Flat but I cannot go quietly into the night this time. Wedges? Really? Let me back up a second and tell you why I think the debate is so utterly ridiculous.
It’s widely recognized that domestic violence is a serious human rights violation that affects women, children and families worldwide. Violence against women* impacts the stability of families, increases the burden on our bursting-at-the-seams healthcare system, and negatively impacts our economy. Violence against women can result in the loss of one’s home, job, and dignity or, in some cases, life. So you would assume that most people are all for ending violence against women, right? If by most people you’re including Republican leaders in Congress, you’d be wrong. With the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) up for reauthorization, there are forces within the GOP who would oppose this legislation simply because it contains provisions to protect LGBT and immigrant victims and recognizes tribal authority to prosecute domestic violence crimes against Native Americans.
I presented at South by Southwest Interactive on Sunday, March 11. The session was entitled Stand with Planned Parenthood: A Crisis Response.
Felt really good to impart some useful info to the crowd. As any SXSW attendee can tell you, it’s easy to get stuck in a crappy panel with sub-par presenters so I’m glad we got positive feedback. Also happy that the crowd came out despite the rainy weather, early morning session, and Daylight Saving snatching an hour of sleep from the partied-out attendees.
Shout out to my panelists Amy Bryant, Stephanie Lauf, Heather Holdridge, and Gabriela Lazzaro. Honorable mention to Alexandra Hart who was integral in proposing and planning the panel although she couldn’t participate. Check out some of the feedback below:
- Tweets about the panel via #SXStandwPP on Storify
- Panel review by Austin360
- Utilizing what she learned at panel by Shalama Jackson
- The Nonprofit Times reviews the panel (reposted at Meta-Activism)
- Philanthropy.com panel review
And other mentions:
March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, where government agencies, healthcare providers, community organizations, people living with HIV/AIDS, and more, come together to raise awareness about the continued impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of women and girls in the U.S. and around the world. As a woman interested in public health and activism, I always feel compelled to speak on the issue and do my little part to raise awareness. However, it’s that very desire that trips me up and smacks me in the head with writer’s block. It’s 2012 … we aren’t aware yet? What else is there to say?
The death of pop star Whitney Houston resulted in more than 2.5 million tweets in just the first hour after her passing was announced, the proliferation of numerous fan tribute videos, and most regrettably, the resurgence of the term “crack whore.” I personally hate the term and never use it along with others like “crackhead” and “crackish.” My self-inflicted ban comes from the belief that being addicted to crack is not something to be taken lightly. Furthermore, “crack whore,” a term reserved for women offering their bodies for a taste of the drug, has the added bonus of misogyny and slut-shaming that our society employs so well. No, I cannot clap to that.
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