Friday, October 28, 2011

Sun, 10/30: Day of Solidarity to Amplify All Marginalized and Underrepresented-Meeting

From our taskforce member Arielle:

Hello Organizers, Supporters, Allies and Friends! 


What an amazing experience we've been having. Our vision has become more obvious and more tangible. We have the potential to make significant and lasting change. We have now held our second meeting (and impromptu participation in the Washington Square General Assembly). We have some concrete needs to attend to. The first goal is to plan for Day of Solidarity to Amplify All Marginalized and Underrepresented. 


Apologies to anyone who came to Liberty Square and was unable to find the group. There was some confusion due to a scheduling conflict with the group Women Occupying Wall Street and being asked by police to relocate from the Red Cube. So far it seems that there is consensus about meeting on Sundays. For our next Sunday meeting (Oct 30th), we have decided to meet at 2pm. Location: 60 Wall Street.


Proposed Agenda for Next Meeting (Sunday. 2pm , 60 Wall Street)

-Common goals/Common Values. 

Possible Name for the Day/Messaging

Where and how.[Nov. 19?/Dec. 3?]

    -March?

    -Rally?

    -Teach–Ins

    -Permit?


NEEDS: We'd like to find an indoor space where we can host these weekly meetings. Please be in touch if you can offer space. Concerns about accessibility and relocating beyond the Liberty Plaza region were discussed as a possibility. 


We would like to secure interest from someone/some people) who would like to help facilitate, take notes, report to the GA (at Liberty Plaza and perhaps additionally to Washington Square Park) and do outreach. One or many can do all of this so long as we work together and remain transparent. 


The following are notes from the meetings thus far. We look forward to your participation! See you Sunday



MEETING 2


Sunday Oct. 23rd: Planning for Day to Amplify All Marginalized and Underrepresented 


  • We have support from Eve Ensler, Code Pink, Gloria Steinem and Liz Abzug.
  • Paradigm Shift (http://www.paradigmshiftnyc.com/) and Permanent Wave (http://thepermanentwave.tumblr.com/) for helping get the word out.
  • Outreach to more diverse populations needed. Reaching out to groups at OWS (People of Color/Women Occupying WallSt/SpeakEasy/Divine Feminine/ Labor/Outreach/Education) and outside (Occupy the hood/ Black Women's Blueprint/ Organizers from Slutwalk/ Women's Media Center/ Students). These are examples of groups that we brainstormed and NOT a final list. We would like to create a coalition of groups working together.
  • More accessible location for meetings.
  • What do we want from the day? March, Rally, Permit?
  • Importance of 'Step up, Step Back in our communication with each other and in the communication at OWS in general. ' This is an effort to allow space for everyone to speak. It involves personally assessing the number of times we speak and evaluating how necessary something is to say to the group. It also means opening the space for those who haven't contributed.
  • How to be an ally/ Assess our own Privilege. Privilege-A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a group of people or person. "an invisible package of unearned assets"—Peggy McIntosh 
  • Avoid 'Issue Silo-ing'  
  • Intersectionality, - It is a theory that seeks to understand oppression as a whole, taking into account the overlap and complexities of multiple oppressions as these operate in individual lives.  For instance, though a more classical view of oppression is strictly divided between race, class, gender, etc, intersectionality seeks to understand how these oppressions may operate together, strengthen or repel each other. Essentially, it is a recognition that a single human life is often the site of multiple oppressions, the effects of which cannot always be easily separated.  
  • Possible Names/Branding/Messaging: Day of Solidarity/ Amplify All/ Amplify Intersectionality/ Inhabit Intersectionality
  • Consider working with the Spokes council style. (For more info, start here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/23/1029101/-Spokes-Council-A-Complementary-Proposal-for-Governance-of-OWS)


MEETING 1


Open Letter and abridged minutes from Oct. 16th meeting with Eve Ensler:

http://www.paradigmshiftnyc.com/2011/10/call-to-action-marginalized-voices-unite-occupy-wall-st-movement/



PS: For those who do not know, there are also gatherings happening in Washington Square Park. Right now, it is not an occupation, but that is an ongoing discussion. On Oct 23rd, it was decided to hold General Assemblies three times per week in this space. 


A few of us went from our Sunday afternoon meeting to Washington Square and participated in that night's GA. We were invited to create small group discussions to dream and state visions. We mentioned the intentions of the group meeting to amplify all voices and invited people to join. Also discussed in the small group were the following: 


  • Solidarity with Immigrant populations. 
  • Demand CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) be ratified 
  • Remember the issues of the world are as crucial to acknowledge as US
  • Continue to occupy ideas/concepts as they prove more useful (Occupy Education/Occupy Religions etc) 
  • Pledge to Liz Abzug's  OccupyGovernment.org: http://www.occupygovernment.org/ -- Be Your Own Government Mission


For more information, and to see the visions discussed in all the small groups, please see http://www.occupywashingtonsquare.org/

--

In solidarity,  

Arielle Cohen

TellArielle@gmail.com

@ariellecohen

ariellecohen.org

The whole world is listening. What do you have to say?

Hello World!, 

An amazing thing happened just this weekend. I asked some of the  women who most inspired and influenced me to help amplify my voice and in turn give voice to all those who remain unheard. The remarkable thing is they said 'Yes!'. The loudest yes came from Eve Ensler, original 'Vagina Warrior,' Tony Award winning Playwright, performer, author and activist. Her answer has emboldened me and countless others. You may have heard the chants at Zuccotti Park, or on the Brooklyn Bridge, or coming from Washington Square Park and Time Square. 'The whole world is watching, the whole world is watching!' I wasn't so sure until now. 


As the whole world listens in, some of the marginalized voices who help make up the 99% are speaking out and sharing their story. I am determined to make sure their voices are heard. Eve met with me and Melanie Butler of Code Pink NYC at Zuccotti Park at 4pm this past Sunday. They helped me facilitate an open dialogue with a huge group of people equally as impassioned but varied in every way.


We all are concerned with the ways this unlivable economy has promoted sexism, racism, classism, trans-misogyny,the legacy of colonialism and has furthered the mounting war on unions and women's health. The brutality and exploitation disproportionally harms people who are not being heard. This sort of injustice is linked to the unbearable circumstances we face globally. 


We have called for a day of action where we explicitly focus on the voices unheard. We must provide a space for those voices to be amplified as they have for too long been silenced. We now have the opportunity to join together and challenge those who profit from these excessive barriers. We demand that the media, corporations, government, and the global community take notice. 


Although the dialogue began by approaching feminism and gender equality, we quickly decided that focusing on this alone fails to address the varied experiences that have made this movement so compelling to the entire world.  We have learned from movements past that and we cannot allow a homogenize group to further the message of all.


I have attached the minutes of the first meeting and plan to be at Zuccotti Park this Sunday. We will continue this dialogue until the conditions that necessitated this discussion are resolved.  


I need your help in order to really pull this off. I know first hand how easily such amazing opportunities can be lost. This is our moment, it's crucial that you do what you can. The mere fact that what we now know as the Occupy Wall Street movement has given me the means to reach Eve Ensler, my personal inspiration, is proof to me that this is real, that this is big, and that it is already breaking down barriers.  There are a few things you can do to help me.


  1. Come to Zuccotti Park and contribute to this dialogue and find out how you can help plan the day of action. We will meet again this Sunday October 23rd at 4pm.
  2. Contact me (TellArielle@gmail.com) or Melanie Butler (Melanie@codepink.org) and let us know you want to help and what you can provide, especially in regard to the day of action. 
  3. Ask people who inspire you to join you at Zuccotti Park. Hold your heros to task and ask them to help amplify this message. We all deserve better than what we face and everyone faces different obstructions. 
  4. Be a hero, examine your own privilege and inquire about how you can utilize it to give others voice and help express their story. 
  5. Share your story! Eve Ensler is committed to amplifying your stories. Ambiguous UpSparkles From the Heart of the Park  is the first in a series from Eve Ensler which she is publishing weekly.


I thank you listening to the start of my story. I hope that you see the potential and feel as compelled to act as Eve Ensler, Melanie Butler and the diverse countless others that have already joined in.


In solidarity,  

Arielle Cohen

TellArielle@gmail.com

ariellecohen.org

Saturday, Oct 29th: CUNY on the March: Against Tuition Hikes and Growing Inequality

The Occupy Wall Street movement has energized an unprecedented movement of activists around the globe to speak out against a growing sense of inequality.

Albany's failure to increase funding to CUNY in these difficult economic times is a striking example of inequality here at home. The steady climb in tuition has placed a financial burden on CUNY students, many of whom belong to working-class families, that many can no longer bear.

Please show your support by joining CUNY students this weekend.

March Against Tuition Hikes and Growing Inequality

Join students, community activists and concerned citizens at noon on Saturday, October 29th to march from Union Square to Zuccotti Park.

For more information, please e-mail: CUNYonthemarch@gmail.com or visit CUNY on the March on facebook.

Join the Conversation

OWS has definitely got people talking and we would like to hear what you have to say. Please share your thoughts with us on twitter @greaternycforchange or on facebook.

To get the conversation started, here is the President's views on OWS along with an excellent article by Matt Taibbi. Agree? Disagree? Let us know.

Thank you for your continued dedication to change.

  • Aliya, Greater NYC for Change
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©2011 Greater NYC for Change | New York, NY 10001

Thursday, October 27, 2011

NOW News: Abortion, 2012 Elections, Dr. Pepper TEN, Love Your Body Day


NOW News and Action Summary

National Organization for Women:
News & Action Summary

OCTOBER 25, 2011

IN THIS ISSUE:


Tell HHS: Assure Access to Abortion Insurance Coverage

keep abortion legal NOW round

Join NOW in advocating that women's access to abortion care coverage be made simple and affordable under the new health care reform law. Send your comments to Health and Human Services by Oct. 31. Take Action NOW!



Join Terry O'Neill at Rollins College on Sat. 10/29

Join the Veteran Feminists of America (VFA) in celebrating the 45th Anniversary of the Modern Feminist Movement. At the gala awards dinner, Gloria Steinem will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to NOW President Terry O'Neill! Read more.


NOW/PAC Candidate Profile: Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis., U.S. Senate)

After serving as the representative for Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district since 1999, Tammy Baldwin launched her bid for the state's open Senate seat with NOW/PAC's endorsement. Baldwin faces competition in the primary, and a number of Republicans have entered the race to battle for the seat, left open by retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D). Read more.


NOW/PAC Candidate Profile: Susan Bysiewicz (D-Conn., U.S. Senate)

NOW/PAC is pleased to endorse Democrat Susan Bysiewicz in her bid for U.S. Senate. Bysiewicz is one of four Democrats vying for the seat of retiring Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman. She could face Linda McMahon (R) in the general, who ran a close senate race in 2010 and is considering another run in 2012. Read more.


NOW/PAC Candidate Profile: Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore. 2nd Congressional District)

Suzanne Bonamici (D) is running a special election, following the resignation of Rep. David Wu. The primary is this Nov. 8 quickly followed by a general election on Jan. 31, 2012. Oregon has had no women in their congressional delegation in recent years making Bonamici's candidacy especially important for women's rights supporters. Read more.


NOW Calls on TransUnion to Stop Sale of Employment Credit Reports

NOW has joined national groups calling on TransUnion to discontinue its sale of credit reports to employers, which have a discriminatory impact on women, people of color, people with disabilities and the elderly. TransUnion has led the credit reporting industry in fighting state legislation that would restrict the ability of employers to check credit on job applicants. Read more.


NOW Calls on HHS to Preserve Private Insurance Coverage of Abortion Care (PDF)

In its comments to the Department of Health and Human Services, NOW recommended that extraordinary measures be taken to assure that the maximum number of women are able to obtain insurance coverage for abortion care, at a reasonable cost, under the new health care reform law. Read more.


NOW Foundation Urges Women to Speak Up On Love Your Body Day

2011 Love Your Body Day Poster, by Kyla Hollis, Poster Contest Grand Prize Winner

On Oct. 19, the National Organization for Women Foundation celebrated its 14th annual Love Your Body Day -- a day when women of all sizes, colors, ages and abilities come together to celebrate self-acceptance and to promote positive body image. Read more.


Better Wage Data Needed from Federal Contractors (PDF)

NOW Foundation submitted comments to the Department of Labor expressing support for a new comprehensive survey of federal contractors to improve enforcement of laws prohibiting pay discrimination. Such information could help shrink the stubborn gender wage gap and would encourage employers to voluntarily comply with the law as they could better gauge their pay policies. Read more.


Watch U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Online Presentation

Watch U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Online Presentation

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women (SR VAW), Rashida Manjoo Esq., discusses the report she made to the U.N. General Assembly on Oct. 10 about the situation of violence against women in the U.S. Read more.

Action Spotlight

YouTube Video - Terry O'Neill, Rally and March for Jobs & Justice 10/15/11
NOW President Terry O'Neill spoke at the Rally and March for Jobs & Justice on Oct. 15, organized by the National Action Network in honor of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Watch the video »

YouTube Video - Erin Matson, Rally to Protest Virginia TRAP Laws 10/15/11
On Oct. 15, NOW Action VP Erin Matson spoke at a rally to protest the Virginia TRAP laws. Watch the video »



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They Voted to Let Women Die



It's hard to think of anything more callous: The U.S. House of Representatives, in the grip of zealous right-wing leaders, passed a bill that would allow pregnant women to die in the emergency room. We are determined to stop this bill in the Senate, and I'm asking you to stand with NOW at this critical hour.

We've been tracking the offensively named "Protect Life Act" all session. Not only does it permit Catholic hospitals to allow a woman to die rather than perform a life-saving abortion, it also prohibits insurance plans on state exchanges from covering abortion care. It's part of the radical right's core strategy to chip Roe v. Wade to bits. They won't outlaw abortion per se, they'll just make it virtually impossible to access.

Click to donate - Keep Abortion Legal!
Click to donate today!

Not only must we stop this bill in the Senate, we must also mobilize the women's vote so we can replace the anti-woman legislators who voted for it with feminists who will stand up for our right to reproductive health care. You can help by making a generous donation today.

Through NOW's network of hundreds of grassroots chapters and hundreds of thousands of online activists, we are writing, emailing, tweeting, blogging and phoning to get the message out: We won't go back. We are fighting back.

Please give today. I can't overstress how difficult this fight is going to be.

For women's lives,
Terry O'Neill, President
National Organization for Women

P.S. You can be proud to stand with the National Organization for Women in the fight for abortion access, not just for women with private insurance, but also the many women currently at risk under the deeply unjust ban on federal funding for abortion care. Your help makes a difference.
 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Leaders of Women's Organizations Call on Congress to Consider Legislation That Would Strengthen Social Security


NOW Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Latoya Veal, 202-628-8669, ext. 116

Leaders of Women's Organizations Call on Congress to
Consider Legislation That Would Strengthen Social Security

October 26, 2011

Today, the Older Women's Economic Security Task Force (OWES), part of the National Coalition of Women's Organizations (NCWO), delivered a letter to members of Congress, calling on Congress to consider three pieces of legislation that would assure Social Security solvency for the next 75 years by lifting the cap on payroll tax contributions -- a move that an overwhelming majority of the public has said they support, according to recent polls. The National Council of Women's Organizations is composed of 240 member organizations, with more than 12 million members; the OWES Task Force is co-chaired by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR).

The letter from the OWES Task Force states, "Social Security is a program that binds generations of Americans together, and we should strengthen, not weaken, this critical program. While these are tough economic times for everyone, a balanced budget should not come at the expense of millions of vulnerable Americans."

The Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act (S. 1558), introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the No Loopholes in Social Security Taxes Act (H.R. 797), introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio, would close Social Security's 75-year funding gap by applying Social Security payroll tax contributions to cover earnings of $250,000 or more. Currently, only wages up to $106,800 are taxed. These bills would preserve the Social Security Trust Fund by closing a tax loophole so millionaires would pay the same percentage of their salaries to Social Security as the average American worker. This will guarantee that Social Security remains solvent for at least 75 years.

The Preserving our Promise to Seniors Act (H.R. 539), introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch, changes the COLA calculation from the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to a Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which places more weight on the goods and services purchased by seniors. The CPI-E would account for the rising costs faced by seniors when determining Social Security cost of living increases.

According to a national survey conducted last month by the Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint, U.S. voters overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare as a way to reduce the deficit. By a 50 point margin, they oppose cuts to these programs as a part of a potential Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction proposal. By a margin of 66 percent to 22 percent, they oppose reducing COLA increases for beneficiaries now and in the future.

"Social Security continues to keep many older women out of poverty," said NOW President and OWES Co-Chair Terry O'Neill. "We urge Congress to leave Social Security out of any deficit-reduction plan produced and to consider these three bills which could truly strengthen, not dismantle Social Security for future generations."

IWPR President and OWES Co-Chair Dr. Heidi Hartmann said, "Studies consistently show the critical importance of Social Security for many Americans; in fact, we have found that both women and men are increasingly reliant on Social Security income at this time of high unemployment and declining home and investment values."

Signers to the letter included leaders from the National Women's Political Caucus, U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Mothers' Centers, Global Women's Project at the Center of Concern, American Association of University Women, Black Women's Health Imperative, Business and Professional Women's Foundation, National Association for Female Executives, Feminist Majority, Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement, Wider Opportunities for Women, Jewish Women International, Women's Committee of 100, Media Equity Collaborative, Women's Research and Education Institute, National Women's Law Center and Older Women's League.

The National Council of Women's Organizations is composed of more than 240 women's organizations representing more than 12 million U.S. women. The Older Women's Economic Security (OWES) Task Force was formed in 1998 to study, monitor, and act to enhance older women's economic security. NOW and the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) are co-chairs of the OWES Task Force.

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