Breaking Boundaries & A Night of Spoken Word

This weekend the Sarah Lawrence community will be celebrating Women’s History Month with our 13th Annual Women’s History Month Conference, Breaking Boundaries: Body Politics & the Dynamics of Difference.  Friday, the conference opens with a plenary featuring Marilyn Wann (author of Fat! So?) then a Night of Spoken Word featuring Maria James-Thiaw and Lara Frater, plus other artists: Ms. MaDonna Awotwi a.k.a. Sankofa the Poet, Jennifer Bartlett, Andrea Baker, Sheila Black, Shaashawn Dial, & David Wolach.

flier by Kate Wadkins | illustration by Cristy Road

A full conference schedule can be found here.

– Kate Wadkins

This Week: Trust Black Women, Egypt Against US Colonialism, & more

Egypt’s Nawal El Saadawi: ‘We Will Not Let Egypt Burn’
The Root: “NS: I don’t expect the power or support or interference of anyone, of any government. We here in Egypt are fed up with U.S. colonialism.”

Sister Song and the Trust Black Women Partnership:
“Black women are not the pawns of these white people who erect such billboards. We find them offensive, racist, sexist and – most of all – disrespectful of our decision making, our 400-year history of raising and caring for black children, and our human right to make health care choices for ourselves.”

Shattering Voices from the Military Rape Lawsuit, Verbatim
Jezebel: “Last week, a group of women and men sued Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, for creating a culture that enabled and protected their rapists. The words in this video are taken directly from their complaint.”

Googlebombers turn “Abortion” into the second result for “Murder”
BoingBoing: “Someone has spoofed Google into making the Wikipedia entry for “abortion” into the second result in searches for ‘murder. “

The Wisconsin Labor Fight: An Attack on Women, Too
Dana Goldstein: “The Wisconsin GOP’s war on public sector unions–except those representing police officers, firefighters, and state troopers–is not only a craven attack on the Democratic base, but sexist, too, since predominantly male professions are deliberately protected while female ones are targeted.”

VA OKs bill to likely close most abortion clinics
AP: “Virginia took a big step Thursday toward eliminating most of the state’s 21 abortion clinics, approving a bill that would likely make rules so strict the medical centers would be forced to close, Democrats and abortion rights supporters said.”

Police join protesters in Wisconsin; Thousands rally in New York


Today, as reported by Jenn Breckenridge at The Understory, police officers joined protesters inside the Wisconsin State Capitol:

From inside the Wisconsin State Capitol, RAN ally Ryan Harvey reports:

“Hundreds of cops have just marched into the Wisconsin state capitol building to protest the anti-Union bill, to massive applause. They now join up to 600 people who are inside.”

Ryan reported on his Facebook page earlier today:

“Police have just announced to the crowds inside the occupied State Capitol of Wisconsin: ‘We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what’s right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!’ Unreal.”

read the full article at The Understory.

Across the country, thousands of New Yorkers rallied with Planned Parenthood to protest the Pence Amendment which cuts all federal funding from the provider.

courtesy NY1

“They give out HIV and STD screenings, they give out cancer screenings, they give out safe sex kits, they do safe sex classes for so many women. And so many women in so many towns like New York don’t have access to anything except Planned Parenthood,” said one demonstrator. “So if you slash that, you’re literally slashing their health and their rights.”

see the NY1 article for more information & a video.

– Kate Wadkins

This Week: Reproductive Justice Under Attack, Wisconsin Protests, & More

This is what “pro-life” means?
Salon: “The excuse used by Republicans is that we are saving taxpayer money. Saving money in exchange for breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, STD testing and care: Welcome to the movement that has long billed itself as ‘pro-life.'”

When rape is a risk that comes with the job
Feministing: “In fact, when it comes to many dangerous professions, it’s only by women’s inclusion that conditions can begin to change.”

‘First Amendment Remedies': How Wisconsin Workers Grabbed the Constitution Back From the Right-Wing Royalists
The Nation: “The purpose of the First Amendment, the essential amendment for those who believe in a real and robust democracy experiment, was to detail the rights of citizens to object when wrongheaded and dangerous policies are proposed by their elected officials.”

Mrs. Bush, Abstinence, and Texas
New York Times: “Tortolero, who lectures around the country on effective ways to prevent teenage pregnancy, once testified before a committee in the Texas House that was considering a bill to require that sex education classes only provide information that was medically accurate.

The bill was controversial. I’ll let you ponder that for a minute.”

Iowa Wrestler Defaults Rather Than Face Girl
Associated Press: “A standout Iowa high school wrestler refused to compete against a girl at the state tournament on Thursday, relinquishing any chance of becoming a champion because he says wrestling a girl would conflict with his religious beliefs.”

South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers
Mother Jones: “‘The bill in South Dakota is an invitation to murder abortion providers,’ says Vicki Saporta, the president of the National Abortion Federation, the professional association of abortion providers.”

Rep. Gwen Moore & Rep. Jackie Speier: Amazing Speeches on the House Floor

As House Republicans argued for extremist measures to cut assistance to women, children, and men who use Planned Parenthood’s services, Gwen Moore and Jackie Speier bravely shared their own personal experiences on the House floor.  Their words are a reminder of the dire necessity to have more women and people of color serving in legislative positions.

Stand Up For Planned Parenthood

Please sign this petition: I Stand With Planned Parenthood.

As budget cuts loom, Planned Parenthood is in danger of losing crucial federal funding, including funds to provide HIV testing, cancer screenings, birth control access, and many more services that Planned Parenthood provides on a sliding scale in communities across the country.  As one of millions of women who used these services during the years I did not have health insurance to cover basic health necessities such as annual gynecological exams, I am appalled at the Republican-controlled House of Representatives who just voted to bar all Planned Parenthood centers from receiving Title X funding.  Please stand up against this outrageously cruel, anti-women vote.  Protect women’s health and sign this petition today.

–Rosamund Hunter

Women Who Rock: Making Scenes, Building Communities


Jamie Varriale Velez and I are participating in this great conference this week in Seattle. We’re on a “DIY Media” panel at the University of Washington/Seattle University’s Women Who Rock: Making Scenes, Building Communities conference. Here’s a blurb about what we’ll be talking about:

“Disassemble it and dialogue with me”: Communication as Punk Feminist Cultural Activism

Using our experiences within the New York City DIY/Punk feminist community, we argue that learning to communicate effectively, both interpersonally and through media like music, blogs and zines, is the activism that produces the change that we want. Learning to communicate requires us to listen to each other and expand our cultural vernacular, bringing previously marginalized voices into a new narrative and changing the way we think. This process of learning to dialogue respectfully and productively does more than merely facilitate our feminist work; it is our feminist work.

Our presentation shares how this work has enabled us to organize and contribute to our communities, and create feminist art and spaces.

Facilitators: Jamie Varriale Velez, Kate Wadkins

10am – 12noon

at Seattle University
901 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

Bldg/Room: Administration 321

For more info: University of Washington & Women Who Rock Research Project

We are among other great folks, too, so please see the full conference schedule here.

– Kate Wadkins

This Week: Miss San Antonio Fights for her Crown & More

The Women of Tahrir Square
PRI’s The World: “Women have long been told, by the government and even by opposition groups here, that their rights are a priority — but that economic reforms, or security concerns, or cultural considerations must come first.”

How Microbicides Could Forever Change HIV For Black Women
ColorLines: “This year marks 30 years since this epidemic officially began. During that time, it’s become an increasingly black one for many complicated reasons.”

Widow’s Tax Lingers For Military Families
Huffington Post: “Tens of thousands of the nation’s war widows find it perplexing and downright disrespectful to their late military husbands: In order to fully collect on insurance their husbands bought for them when alive, they must marry another man.”

Miss San Antonio Goes to Court to Keep Crown
ABC News: ” A teenage Texas beauty queen is in court to keep her crown following accusations that the recently coronated Miss San Antonio violated her contract and gained too much weight.”

White House to Cut Energy Assistance For the Poor
National Journal: “In a letter to Obama, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., wrote, ‘We simply cannot afford to cut LIHEAP funding during one of the most brutal winters in history. Families across Massachusetts, and the country, depend on these monies to heat their homes and survive the season.'”

New Cash Cow For Big Pharma: Female Sexual Dysfunction
Jezebel: “If you can’t have an orgasm and you’re a lady, then you’re sick and you need medical intervention, or, at least that’s what companies that stand to profit from your perceived dysfunction want you to believe.”