By FELICIA FONSECA in AP News
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — For Native Americans, Deb Haaland is more than an elected official on track to become the first Indigenous secretary of the Interior Department. She is a sister, an auntie and a fierce pueblo woman whose political stances have been molded by her upbringing.
News of her historic nomination electrified Indian Country. Tribal leaders and organizations for weeks have urged people to write and call U.S. senators who will decide if she’ll lead the agency that has broad oversight over Native American affairs and energy development. CLICK FOR MORE
Photo credit: Debbie Nez-Manuel at the Salt River-Pima Maricopa County Feb. 21, 2021
Women’s History Month March 2021
Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987. Women’s History Month 2021 will take place from Monday, March 1-Wednesday, March 31, 2021. CLICK FOR MORE
How Women Survive and What We Remember
By Sara Benincasa in MEDIUM
This week, I opened my phone and watched Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tell a story that managed to be both shocking and familiar. The congresswoman is an unusual individual, and her hour-long Instagram Live broadcast regarding the attempted coup at the Capitol was extraordinary. It was also horribly, painfully, and sadly ordinary.
Given her celebrity status and the seemingly endless cheers and jeers sent her way from all corners of the internet, it’s easy to forget that Ocasio-Cortez is also an actual human. She is not simply an amalgamation of some strangers’ hopes, dreams, and nightmares. She occupies an unprecedented place in American history as one of the youngest people ever to have served in Congress — and she is the youngest woman to have ever done so. She is one of the relatively few women of any age to have been elected to the House of Representatives. As a woman of color, she’s even more of a rarity in her particular line of work. CLICK FOR MORE
In Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, these survivors found a voice: ‘I felt with her the deeply vulnerable pain of telling someone’
Ocasio-Cortez’s explicit language around trauma may help facilitate other women’s healing, experts added
Alicia Sewell knows something about what it must have been like for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to reveal in an hour-and-a-half-long Instagram Live video on Monday night that she is a survivor of sexual assault.
Last October, Sewell — who works as an instructional technology specialist for Tuscaloosa City Schools in Alabama — shared in a Facebook Live video viewed by 2,000 people that she was raped as a teenager.
“It’s frightening,” the 34-year-old said of going public. “The thing about it is you want to be believed — you don’t want people to think that you’re lying or you’re doing it for attention.”
But Sewell pushed past her fears in an effort to destigmatize conversations about the struggles that survivors experience in the aftermath of assault, she said.
“I was just trying to bring awareness to mental health, and social and emotional learning is one of the things I’m passionate about as an educator,” she added. CLICK FOR MORE
FEDERAL AND STATE COURTS MAKE IMPORTANT RECENT RULINGS
Reinstate DACA and Provide Equal Protection for Same-Sex Domestic Violence Survivors
(Asheville, NC) – – Two different December rulings by federal and state courts are resulting in life-changing protection – – both to DACA “Dreamers” and also to same-sex domestic violence victims. Nonprofit Pisgah Legal Services (PLS) provides free, civil legal aid in Western North Carolina, and is working with clients affected by these recent changes in the law.
On December 4, a federal judge ruled that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must fully reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Renewals (DACA) program. Not only will current DACA recipients still be allowed to renew their participation in program, new applications will now be accepted for the first time in three years.
Pisgah Legal Services Attorney Shoshana Fried leads the team of staff and volunteers who assist immigrants in our mountain region. Fried says, “We see this ruling as a major victory for this group of young immigrants who were brought to the country as children. Many of our DACA clients have been working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, with jobs at assisted living facilities, grocery stores, and hospitals. We have already heard from clients who are relieved that they do not have to worry about deportation, at least not right now.”
Fried continues, “We still don’t know what the future holds for DACA, so we are encouraging our clients to renew their protections and work authorizations as soon as possible.”
To be eligible, DACA applicants must have entered the United States before age 16, lived in the U.S. since at least 2007, and have been born after June 15, 1981. They must also have earned a high school diploma or GED, or currently be in high school or enrolled in a GED program. Immigrants with serious criminal records are ineligible for DACA.
EQUAL PROTECTION FOR SAME-SEX DATING RELATIONSHIPS
In another case decided on the last day of 2020, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled that those who are in, or have been involved in, same-sex dating relationships are equally protected against domestic violence as people in heterosexual dating relationships. North Carolina was the last state in the nation to adopt this type of protection.
PLS Managing Attorney Julia Horrocks, who oversees this work at the nonprofit, says, “This case is a long-overdue step towards equal rights in North Carolina for members of the LGBTQ community. Pisgah Legal Services has advocated for this change to the law through its role on the Legislative Committee of the NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The NCCADV submitted an Amicus Brief that the Court cited in this decision.”
In this case the petitioner was a woman seeking a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) against her prior partner, another woman, who did not reside with her. The DVPO was denied based solely on a statutory requirement that petitioners can only file DVPOs against someone in a dating relationship of the opposite-sex, unless they are living together.
The Court of Appeals ruled that denying a DVPO based only on sex violated the petitioner’s due process and equal protection rights, quoting multiple recent Federal and State Supreme Court decisions addressing other LGBTQ rights. The Court stated that the lower courts must apply the statute similarly to all Plaintiffs seeking DVPOs, and that the nature of the petitioner’s relationship with the respondent as same-sex or opposite-sex shall no longer be a factor in determining whether the petition is granted. The Court’s opinion appears to be a clear declaration that discriminatory legislation against the LGBTQ community will no longer be tolerated.
In WNC, Pisgah Legal Services provides free legal assistance to more than 7,000 domestic violence survivors, and their children, each year.
Need Help? Call the main PLS number at 828-253-0406 or apply online at www.pisgahlegal.org. Pisgah Legal staff and volunteer attorneys will be in touch via phone and/or email. For help with DACA or another immigration issue, contact Pisgah Legal Services at 828-210-3437.
About Pisgah Legal Services
Since 1978, Pisgah Legal Services has provided free civil legal aid to help people with low incomes seek justice and meet their basic needs. Pisgah Legal provides a broad array of services in 11 WNC counties, and offers immigration law services in 18 counties.
PLS has offices in Asheville, Burnsville, Brevard, Hendersonville, Highlands/Cashiers, Marshall, and Rutherfordton. Pisgah Legal employs staff attorneys and harnesses the power of approximately 300 volunteer lawyers who work pro bono to assist PLS clients.
Evie Sandlin White Communications Director Pisgah Legal Services
Direct line: 828.210.3430 [email protected]
Paid family leave has never been on a state ballot — until this year
By Soo Youn in The Lily
‘The rest of the country will be watching’
This election season, paid leave is on the ballot in Colorado.
As voters cast ballots for national, state and local candidates, they will also be asked to vote on Proposition 118, to create a paid family and medical leave program. If passed, it would be the ninth state, plus D.C., to do so.
This is the first time it has been directly on a state ballot. In the past, it has always originated from a state legislature or, in the case of D.C., the city council.
If passed, workers in Colorado could expect up to 12 weeks of paid leave, with an additional four weeks for qualifying childbirth or pregnancy complications. (Voters in Colorado will also decide whether to ban abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions only if the person’s life is in immediate danger.) CLICK FOR MORE
On Election Day, a Performance Remembers a Woman Who Fled Enslavement
in Hyperallergic, by Valentina Di Liscia
Starting at Seneca Village and ending at the Manhattan Trump Hotel, artist Dragonfly honored the legacy of Ona Maria Judge Staines, who escaped from George and Martha Washington’s enslavement.
In recent months, the national conversation has focused largely on taking historical figures off the pedestal, as Confederate monuments come down and institutions drop names that index oppressive power. Just as important, however, is the dialogue around who should be remembered. On a momentous Election Day yesterday, a roving street performance in New York City commemorated someone who too many Americans may not be familiar with: Ona Maria Judge Staines, a formerly enslaved woman who courageously fled from George and Martha Washington in 1796.
Artist Robin Laverne Wilson, known as Dragonfly, conceived of her performance “Absconded” to honor Judge’s legacy by creating a living monument. Dressed in the garb of Judge, Dragonfly walked the streets of upper Manhattan, activating and engaging with historical landmarks and elements of the urban landscape that signal America’s history of chattel slavery and its insistent echoes in the present. CLICK FOR MORE
Sallie Krawcheck’s women-focused investment startup expands to debit cards and a membership model
in Ellevest – ellevesting Financial Services
The last financial crisis helped transform former top Wall Street executive Sallie Krawcheck into an entrepreneur. The current one seems to be turning her back into a banker—though of a less traditional type.
Ellevest, the women-focused wealth-management startup that Krawcheck cofounded in 2014, is expanding its financial products and launching a new membership model that will provide customers with debit cards and bank accounts for a monthly fee starting at $1. The shift is part of a new effort by the New York company, which has historically competed against the robo-advisers and wealth managers used by higher-income investors, to attract a larger, and broader, customer base.
“We want to be absolutely as approachable as possible,” Krawcheck, Ellevest’s CEO, tells Fortune in an interview. “Our reason for being is to get more money in the hands of women—and part of that mission is, Who needs us? It’s people who in many cases aren’t ready to invest.” CLICK FOR MORE
DANCING BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY
Posted by Nancy Dobbs Owen
In this three-part series for LA Dance Chronicle, I am studying the various ways that bullying and gender interact, affecting leadership, individual success and failure, mental health, and representation in dance. If you are coming to this series fresh, you can read the introductory article here. The second piece looks at bullying and the gender gap in leadership. This final piece addresses gay, lesbian, gender fluid and queer representation in dance, both how dancers who don’t fit into the binary have been quashed and how the dance community is finally expanding and starting to include all voices and stories, both in and out of mainstream companies. CLICK FOR MORE
Before 36-year-old Rhonda Jones was identified as a murder victim found on April 17th, 2017 in Robeson County, she was simply a daughter, sister, friend and mother. Before headlines, documentaries and controversies surrounded her name, Rhonda was loved by those who knew her best. Her mother, Shelia Price, wants the world to know that there is more to Rhonda’s story than what the media cares to share on the third anniversary of her unsolved death.
Transforming Hate is a project comprised of folded origami cranes, photographs, installations, artist books, other image-text narratives, and workshops with local community organizations. In this work, historical elements are used as a framing device to construct the evolution of our shared identity… Origami cranes were folded from pages of white supremacist books.
Last weekend, the Army Corps of Engineers announced they will halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through Standing Rock Sioux tribal land and look for alternative routes. The decision, which came after months of protest by thousands of Native people and supporters, will at least temporarily protect the tribe’s sacred ground and clean water supply. Continue reading
The new academic year has started, and once again students are attending seminars on staying safe on campus. These orientation workshops typically focus on tips for how young women can protect themselves — such as be aware and stay alert, don’t get drunk, and stick together in groups.
I’m sure all of this is good advice, but it misses what I have come to see as the crux of the matter: Teaching girls and women that they can avoid sexual assault if they just try hard enough places responsibility for rape on the shoulders of targets rather than on the shoulders of perpetrators and of political and cultural power-brokers. Continue reading
By Robert S. McElvaine in the Washington Post
Where does sexism come from? Why do evangelicals ignore the (former) president’s serial mistreatment of women? Why does the U.S. Constitution still not guarantee equality for women? Why do women earn less than men? Why didn’t most conservatives care whether the accusations of sexual assault brought against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh were true?
By Caroline Randall Williams in Reddit June 26, 2020
I have rape-colored skin. My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South.
If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument.
by Larry Allen
An open letter to friends and family who are shocked to discover I’m a liberal… I’ve always been a liberal, but that doesn’t mean what a lot of you apparently think it does. Let’s break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:
The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, may appear to safeguard women against discrimination, but Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia went on record insisting this isn’t the case.
“Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex, the only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever voted for that,” he said. (In an interview for the January 2011 issue of California Lawyer)
More than 45 years ago, we — the founders of Our Bodies Ourselves — first met to talk about our lives, our health, and our bodies. We had never discussed these intimate issues publicly. We came to believe then, as we do now, that there is no substitute for a small group of women, in the spirit of mutual trust and respect, listening, speaking, and honoring the truth of our own lived experiences.