Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lilly Ledbetter Act Signed, Ensures Equal Pay

Yay for Pay Equity!! 

Wonderful news out of D.C. this morning where President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a bill that overturns a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that said a person must file a claim of discrimination within 180 days of a company's initial decision to pay a worker less than it pays another worker doing the same job. 

Video courtesy of Huffington Post: Lilly Ledbetter Act: Obama Signs His First Bill

In his full remarks, President Obama noted:
"So signing this bill today is to send a clear message: that making our economy work means making sure it works for everybody; that there are no second-class citizens in our workplaces; and that it's not just unfair and illegal, it's bad for business to pay somebody less because of their gender or their age or their race or their ethnicity, religion or disability; and that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory, or footnote in a casebook. It's about how our laws affect the daily lives and the daily realities of people: their ability to make a living and care for their families and achieve their goals.

Ultimately, equal pay isn't just an economic issue for millions of Americans and their families, it's a question of who we are -- and whether we're truly living up to our fundamental ideals; whether we'll do our part, as generations before us, to ensure those words put on paper some 200 years ago really mean something -- to breathe new life into them with a more enlightened understanding that is appropriate for our time."

Join us in D.C. this March at our National Young Women's Leadership Conference and celebrate the passage of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act! 

A bientôt!
- Olivia

Black HERstory Month

During the month of February, many activities and events are planned to celebrate the histories or herstories and cultures of people of African descent. How can you participate? Want to put on an event, but fresh out of ideas? Well have no fear! Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Host weekly screenings of films or documentaries about, directed & written by and starring people of African descent such as: NO! The Rape Documentary; Chisolm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed; You Have Struck a Rock; Unchained Memories: Readings of the Slave Narratives

  • Collaborate with your campus Black Student Alliance, Multicultural Center or other multicultural groups in planning your event

  • Host a Libations Ceremony to pay homage for past sheroes and heroes of African descent who have contributed greatly to our world

  • Celebrate the diversity in cultures and music throughout the African Diaspora by hosting a luncheon that exhibits the various cuisines and entertainment of the Afro-Caribbean, African, African American, and Afro-Latino heritage

  • Invite a local or campus cultural theater troupe to perform or host an open mic/spoken word or poetry slam competition

  • Launch a flyer campaign to recognize prominent historical and modern-day Black feminists

  • Host a panel forum to discuss Black women’s history and involvement in the women’s movement

  • Incorporate Black HERstory Month in your annual Vagina Monologues event

Remember, Black HERstory Month is a time to acknowledge the achievements and contributions made by people of color to the rest of the world. So let’s take this time to recognize all our sisters in the struggle. HAPPY BLACK HERSTORY MONTH!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Inaugural Festivities in Washington D.C.

Let me start with a BIG “woot-woot” and hurrah! 

A week ago this Tuesday, an estimated 1.8 million people converged upon our nation’s capitol to witness and celebrate the swearing in of the 44th US president: Barack Obama. 

My voice still hoarse and my feet still aching, I am happy to report that I was one of those nearly 2 million.

My trip back east for the Inauguration of Barack Obama was pretty amazing to say the least. Sandwiched between two venerable days of significance - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade - I knew that what was in store for the Inauguration and the week ahead was an extremely special occasion to celebrate all things free, equal and feminist.

Wanting to take part in as many Inaugural festivities as possible, I arrived in D.C. early on Sunday morning and made my way to the National Mall and the Lincoln Memorial. This was the site for the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration Concert and I wanted to get a good spot for the show. The performances were powerful. It was both fun and inspiring to watch such a diverse gathering of actors and musicians commemorate a hope and vision for the future where liberty, justice and freedom do exist for all.

On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, I witnessed - along with 1.8 million of my closest friends - the swearing in of this country’s first African-American president, Barack Obama. Acknowledging the difficult times our country is in, “that the challenges we face are real,” President Obama made it clear that we will meet these challenges, but not without sacrifice and not without choosing “hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.”

Echoing a familiar feminist principle, President Obama charged each one of us - whether watching on TV or in-person - to choose our better history and work, work hard, to ensure that from generation to generation we build a future and make real the belief that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. 

Yes, the voices of the people have been heard. This is what a feminist future looks like.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pro-Choice Rally at the Supreme Court

A few days ago FMF celebrated the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade by rallying at the Supreme Court. What did you do to celebrate 36 years of reproductive rights?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Global Gag Rule Repealed!

President Barack Obama issued an executive order today that repealed the Global Gag Rule.

This executive order will have a monumental impact by saving the life, health, and suffering of literally millions of women worldwide yearly. In part because of restricted access to reproductive health services caused by the Global Gag Rule, more than 70,000 women annually die from unsafe abortions worldwide and the incidence of HIV/AIDS is skyrocketing.

The Global Gag Rule prohibited family planning programs in other nations that receive US aid from using non-US monies for abortion counseling, advocacy, and referrals. The rule was instituted by President Reagan in 1984, was repealed by President Clinton, and was reinstituted by President George W. Bush.

The Global Gag Rule inhibited women worldwide from access to gynecological exams, AIDS prevention and treatment, and contraceptive options. It also halted shipment of condoms and contraceptives to more than 20 countries.

We are overjoyed with this victory and thank all the feminist activists out there for their tireless work on this issue!

What global challenges will you be taking on this semester now that the Global Gag Rule has been repealed?