Thursday, May 27, 2010

One Year Later

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a year since the world lost Dr. George Tiller. Just writing that sentence makes my heart hurt--one year later and I still can't think about Dr. Tiller without shaking a little bit, without having to stop and catch my breath for a moment.

On May 31, 2009, Dr. Tiller went to church, like he did every Sunday. Most of the time, Dr. Tiller traveled with a bodyguard, a necessity thanks to the anti-choice extremists who stalked him and his family, the constant death threats, and the previous attempts on his life. But that Sunday morning, Dr. Tiller was without a bodyguard as he served as an usher and welcomed other congregants to the service. It was there, in the lobby of his church, his sanctuary, that Dr. Tiller was assassinated, murdered in cold blood by an anti-choice extremist. It was an act of violence, it was an act of hate, it was an act of terrorism.

It's tempting to write more about that terrorism, about the network of anti-choice extremists who perpetuate acts of violence, harassment, and intimidation every day. But I don't want this to be about Operation Rescue or Scott Roeder or Shelley Shannon (though you can learn more about them here).

This is about Dr. George Tiller.

Dr. Tiller was a loving husband, father, and grandfather, who spent a week at Disney World with his family just weeks before his murder.

Dr. Tiller was the leader of an embattled clinic, rallying his staff with his trademark catchphrases, among them "Trust Women," "Attitude is Everything," and my personal favorite: "When the going gets tough, the tough go to Dairy Queen." When anti-choice terrorists bombed his clinic in 1986, he responded by posting a sign in front of the clinic: "Hell no, we won't go!" He believed deeply in his work, and refused to be intimidated by the hordes of protesters who stood outside his clinic and house every day.

Dr. Tiller was a healer and a caring physician. True to his motto, he trusted the women who visited his clinic to make their own reproductive health choices. Some of the women he saw were in the final months of their pregnancies, forced to make a choice few of us can even fathom. Women who discovered their unborn children had severe birth defects and would soon die in the womb. Women who would risk their own lives by carrying their pregnancies to term. Children who had no idea they were pregnant until late into term because they were too young to understand the rhythms of their bodies yet. Rape survivors facing serious psychological issues. He offered these women a path to healing. He provided abortions to them when no one else could, gave them the compassionate and competent care that they deserved.

I can't help but consider these women every time I think about the life of Dr. Tiller. Then I think about his courage, his sense of humor, his stubbornness, and his extraordinary heart.

The world is a colder place without Dr. George Tiller. I never realized how much one could miss a person she had never met until we lost Dr. Tiller. I'm not normally the praying kind, but I think about Dr. Tiller and whisper into the ether: Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are missed.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nice day for a feminist wedding

My bff accepted a marriage proposal this weekend, so I've had weddings on the brain. I am of course thrilled for my friend, but really, weddings frighten me.

I don't have a problem with commitment or anything. It's great to see my friends pledge their troth before friends and family.

What bothers me is the way nice, smart, reasonable women get pressured into expecting decadent proposals, planning exorbitant weddings, micromanaging the decor/behavior/food/appearance/whereabouts of their friends and family, and then get judged for made-up etiquette breaches their friends will gossip about afterward. Almost makes you want to rethink marriage.

Weddings are a spectator sport. Like gladiator matches.

And the wedding industrial complex is all too happy to facilitate the bloodletting. Last year, Americans spent $42 billion on weddings, according to industry website The average wedding cost $19,581, and in Washington the average is even higher, at $50,000 a pop. Wedding vendors will sell you everything you can dream of, and we'll buy it.

Smells like patriarchy. I'm gonna generalize and say it's men who own the majority of wedding venues (ie, the real estate), the bridal porn media outlets, the thousands of trinkets you apparently NEED for your wedding, the film companies that keep producing stupid wedding movies, the diamond corporations, the toy companies that peddle wedding fantasies for girls.

They create all this to guilt you into worrying more and spending more. You'll be too exhausted to think about everything else you've been meaning to do - saving for retirement, studying current events, donating to charity, organizing and lobbying to erase the gender wage gap, etc.

No surprise most men are hands-off for their weddings - who needs that kind of hassle? They might be onto something.

I guess I'm guilty of adding to the woman-on-woman bashing by saying all this. I don't exactly mean to be Debbie Downer all the time, I just think surely we can find better ways to spend our time, energy, and money.

More on weddings:

Slate contributor Meghan O'Rourke's The trouble with engagement rings delves into diamonds as gendered status marker

Judith Martin and Jacobina Martin's Miss Manners' Guide to a Suprisingly Dignified Wedding bites back with practical suggestions to avoid the crazy. They're hosting a book talk this evening outside DC. I went to their discussion of the book a few months ago and thought they were engaging, funny speakers.'s Wedding Equality Checklists come in two versions: unconventional and more unconventional.

You can do your wallet and the environment a favor by buying a previously-loved dress from sites like

Photo credit: iVoryTowerz on Flickr

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Pill at 50 : What's Your Story?

The National Women's Law Center is compiling a list of ways that the birth control pill, celebrating it's 50th anniversary of FDA approval, has changed the lives of women (and men, too).

"Did you want to decide when or whether to have children? The ability to gain either economic or employment security? Have fewer PMS symptoms? Control your acne? Whatever the reason, big or small, if the pill was the right decision for you, tell us how it changed your life."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Power of the LBD

Never underestimate the power of the little black dress. Just ask Sheena, who, with the help of a few friends, started The Uniform Project to promote sustainable fashion and help a good cause.

The mission: wear one dress for one year (don't worry there were actually seven dresses for each day of the week) and raise money for The Akanksha Foundation to send boys and girls to school in India.

The result: 365 incredible styles and $94, 862 or enough to send 263 kids to school. They're already working on year number two and a new dress to change the world.

Now that's pretty powerful.

Monday, May 17, 2010

U of Arizona Prof Denounces AZ Law as Racist...and Gets Booed!

Over the weekend I reluctantly paid a visit to the U.S. state that is topping everyone's Places to Boycott list: Arizona. While I despise the racist, discriminatory anti-immigration law, SB 1070, that AZ Governor Jan Brewer recently signed into law, not to mention the new law eliminating ethnic studies from all K-12 public education curriculum, I love my sister and had made plans many months ago (before the law passed) to attend her graduation ceremonies at the University of Arizona.

On Friday, I attended the graduation ceremony for the School of Social & Behavioral Sciences which includes Women's Studies, Chican@/Latin@ Studies, African-American Studies, Government & Public Policy, and so on. Several hundred students were being honored and several thousand friends and family members crowded the stadium at the Tucson Convention Center.

After a few (cheesy and cliched) opening words from the Dean of the School, Professor Sandra Soto was invited to take the stage. Soto is an Associate Professor of Gender & Women's Studies, is the Director of Graduate Studies for the department, and is the Co-Coordinator for the G&WS Chicana/Latina Studies Concentration. Given recent events in Arizona, I think it is clear why Dr. Soto, with her particular background, was selected to address the graduates.

Presumably, graduates of the School of Social & Behavioral Sciences have been studying, well, society, for four years, and they should now be equipped to go off and work on the issues that society faces, like the need for immigration reform, promotion of diversity within our public school systems, or the abolition of laws that are racist and discriminatory, to name a few timely examples. Not surprisingly, I found it quite appropriate that Dr. Soto not only addressed these issues in her speech, but denounced SB 1070 as racist and discriminatory, criticized the recent call for the elimination of ethnic studies, and told the inspiring story of the Tucson high school students who protested the laws with classroom walkouts.

Sadly, others in the audience did not feel the same way. When Dr. Soto first mentioned SB 1070 large groups of people in the audience began booing her. At first, I thought they were booing the law and was pleasantly surprised. But boy was I wrong. She could barely get five words in edgewise before the boos and yelling became so loud that she was interrupted. The Dean of the School even had to rise to the podium to ask for decorum. I of course, continued my applause and vocal support for her speech.

Not only was I shocked at the sheer amount of people who were obviously opposed to her position on the issues (which is really quite sickening), but I was also shocked that they would actually boo her! I mean, this their kid's graduation, and in case they hadn't noticed (which I think it's safe to say they hadn't), these are the types of issues they've been studying for four years. News articles, as well as many people I talked to or overheard after the ceremony, thought that her comments were out of place, regardless of whether they agreed with what she was saying. They've painted the picture as Dr. Soto using the graduation ceremony as her own personal soap box to push her political beliefs upon a captive audience and I greatly disagree with that view of the situation. They've also made the argument that the speech should not have touched on political and sociological issues, but should have been congratulatory and inspirational. My question is: how does one inspire students who are studying SOCIETY and POLITICS to go out and make a difference with their knowledge, without discussing society or politics?!

Dr. Soto was rightfully addressing a law that has thrown the state of Arizona into the national spotlight, is causing cities nationwide to revoke their contracts with the state, is having huge economic impacts due to boycotts, and is causing its residents (and workers) to flee. If you're a recent graduate of Public Policy, Sociology, Government, Journalism, or Economics (to name a few relevant majors), you'd better be paying attention to this!

Dr. Soto was also addressing the law that will eliminate one of the very fields in which she teaches and in which dozens if not hundreds of students were graduating from, and even more have taken classes in and benefited from throughout their approximate 17-year long education (from K-Bacherlor's). She was addressing the state's attempt to eliminate the histories and cultures of a large portion U of A students and their families from the public education curriculum. I don't care what your major is, that should piss you off and make you want to do something.

Many who were opposed to her comments also claimed they simply did not want the graduation ceremony injected with such a "controversial" issue. At the University of Arizona, SB 1070 is NOT a "controversial" issue. In fact, there is very little controversy surrounding the law at all because the vast majority of students, professors and entities on campus oppose it and have been very vocal and active in their opposition.

Student protests, new student groups and a petition drive have erupted on campus. Furthermore, the Associated Students passed a resolution against SB 1070, touting it as "a bill that promotes racial profiling as a viable law enforcement technique" that will have a negative impact upon the University, financial impacts included.

So, to Dr. Soto, thank you for speaking your mind. While I'm not a student graduating from U of A this year, I found your comments inspirational and entirely relevant, and I feel certain that many students and audience members did as well.

Proposed cuts to California's Family PACT Family Planning Program

Governor Schwarzenegger released a proposed budget last Friday that would drastically cut funding for California's family planning program, Family PACT. Family PACT helps fund comprehensive reproductive health clinics that serve primarily low-income or uninsured populations throughout the state. Family PACT funding enables people to obtain essential services like birth control, prenatal care, STD testing and treatment, pregnancy tests, pap smears, cancer screenings and more.

For every $1 the state spends on Family PACT, the federal government matches it with $9. For every $1 the state spends on family planning services, the state saves $9.25 in future medical and social service costs associated with unintended pregnancy. Cutting funding for Family PACT will not help the state budget crisis, it will actually make it worse.

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California is leading the charge against the proposed cuts. You can take action from anywhere in the state by calling your legislators and following Planned Parenthood's sample script. You can contact your local affiliate group to find out how to take action in your area.

In Los Angeles, join in a lunchtime rally TOMORROW, Tuesday 5/18 from 12-1pm at the Governor's Office at 300 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, 90013. Planned Parenthood will provide signs.

If you're in California, take action on your campus! Educate students about the benefits of Family PACT and the dire consequences cuts to the program will have. Encourage students to call their legislators and ask them to oppose the proposed cuts.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cheers to the FMLA at Cal State Los Angeles

A quick shout out to our FMLA at Cal State Los Angeles. Last night at the school's Student Leader Awards, the FMLA received the award for "Outstanding Contribution to Social Justice" as well as the "Best New Organization of the Year." Not bad at all, feminists!

The group has been involved in raising awareness in the campus and community about issues of inequality and injustice. In February, they put together an event called SAVE (Standing Against Violence Everywhere), where they had an amazing turnout. They had speakers on various topics including Rape in the Congo, Women in Juarez, Human Trafficking, Honor Killings in the Middle East, and Domestic Violence in the United States. There were also performances and an open mic where people shared their personal stories.

They have also done a fantastic job fundraising for the group by holding an "Equality Bakesale"every quarter. They sell baked goods to women for $0.80 and to men for $1.00 to bring awareness to the wage gap between genders.

And a special HURRAH to Alexis Gardner, a former FMF intern, who received the award for "Best Student Leader."

Congrats FMLA!! You are amazing!

Do you have your own awards you'd like to share with us? Let us know by email your accomplishments to!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Call for volunteers - Girls Rock! DC

Need a feminist extracurricular this summer? Don't we all! An organization with which I volunteer needs feminist camp counselors, instrument instructors, and a whole bunch of volunteer needs - here's the info:

Call for volunteers!

Girls Rock! DC is a music education day camp for DC-area girls ages 8-18. Campers receive small group instruction on instruments, women in music, conflict resolution, & other skills girls need to rock! The girls form bands or DJ teams, collaborate to write an original song or set, & perform at the 9:30 Club.

Camp: Aug. 9-14, 2010
At The Kingsbury Center
5000 14th St. NW

Applications are due THIS WEDNESDAY 5/15. To learn more and apply, visit . Email for more info.

Send in your volunteer application today - I submitted mine!

I update Twitter and Facebook for GR!DC, and worked the camper showcase at the 9:30 last year. Every so often, I still find myself humming some of the song lyrics the girls wrote: "Eat this, it's a pie in your face. Ha ha!" It was awesome.

Photo credit: Kim Swartz

Friday, May 7, 2010

FEMMY for Ms. Congeniality: Kutztown FMLA

For their consistent commitment to serving the Kutztown community and women across Pennsylvania, the FEMMY for "Ms. Congeniality" goes to Kutztown University's Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance.

Before 2008, I didn't know Kutztown, PA existed. Then when I joined FMF 2 years ago as a national campus organizer, our president Ellie was quick to sing the praises of the Kutztown University FMLA.

KU is a medium sized public university about an hour from Philly and Harrisburg. Ellie likes to emphasize Kutztown's roots as a teachers college - an empowering place for feminists to learn and change the world.

The FMLA, led by junior Caitlin Smith, is unabashedly political and does great work advocating for women on campus and in the community year after year. Caitlin, Jesse, and all of the FMLAers are the next generation of leaders for the feminist movement, and I know they will be lifelong activists from whom we can expect big things.

Their list of accomplishments is too long to list - the abridged version includes...
  • Bringing iconic feminist Gloria Steinem to campus
  • Successfully petitioning the campus president to reinstate sexual orientation in the campus nondiscrimination policy
  • Contacting their senators to advocate for health care insurance reform
  • Sending a delegation of 8 students to FMF's National Young Feminist Leadership Conference
  • Pay equity bake sales
  • Earth Day festivities
  • Take Back the Night & Clothesline Project
  • Vagina Monologues
  • Love Your Body Day bra sizing, tshirts and posters
  • and much more!
It's been my privilege to work with the FMLA, and I can't wait to see the things they'll accomplish next.

This article was featured in our May 2010 monthly Choices eZine. Sign up for our alerts to stay up-to-date with the latest feminist news and to receive the monthly eZine.

FEMMY for Chicago-area Feminist Alliance!

When I came to FMF two years ago and found out I'd be organizing a group of states in this ethereal region called "the Midwest" on account of my Oklahoma roots, I had to laugh - though I did, indeed, spend 18 years in the Sooner State, the rest of the states on my list - Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana - I could identify on a map, and that was about it.

As I have gotten to know and traveled through the Midwest, with its different political climates and cultural sentiments, I've had the privilege of meeting some of the most incredible feminists the region has to offer. This last Spring, I traveled to the Chicago area, and I was really inspired by the feminist groups I met with there.

Particularly wonderful to see was groups that are taking it upon themselves not only to do a fantastic job with activism on campus, but to reach beyond them into the greater Chicago-area community itself. They're also in the beginning stages of reaching out to each other to form a Chicago-wide alliance of feminist student groups to co-host events, share knowledge, and learn from each other. Super cool!

Here at FMF, we love seeing activists work together to keep from reinventing the wheel each time, so for my FEMMY, I'd like to briefly acknowledge some of the fantastic feminist activists in the Chicago area that are reaching out to each other and the community to work smarter, not harder!

Feminists United at the University of Illinois Chicago - This group, a soon-to-be affiliate (yay!) of FMF's campus program, is living proof that activist groups can redefine their presence on campus! When I met with Jenna Andriano, the leader of the group, in February, I was really impressed with their motivation and desire to ramp up their activism and solidify a relationship with FMF. Though I've only been in touch with this group for a few months, I've been impressed with them already!

The Feminist Collective at Northeastern Illinois University - What an amazing group of women! Though they face some challenges making a name for themselves on a mostly commuter-based campus, these folks have proved that activism can find a home anywhere. Bolstered by support from the Women's Studies department on campus, one of the coolest things about this affiliated group is that they don't limit themselves to on-campus activism. They also actively seek partnerships in the community and are really trying to get the aforementioned Chicago-wide feminist-student-group alliance up and running.

Feminists United at Roosevelt University - Another group that I met with during the Chicago trip, this group is so fantastic! FU won Student Organization of the year at RU in 2009 - how awesome is that? One of the co-leaders, Haley Leibovitz, deserves some special props for her devotion to community involvement. Much like the NEIU folks, this group is bound and determined to not just make a difference on their campus, but in the wider community as a whole, and I applaud them for being so devoted.

Thank you, Chicago feminists, for being so fierce! You definitely deserve this FEMMY!

This article was featured in our May 2010 monthly Choices eZine. Sign up for our alerts to stay up-to-date with the latest feminist news and to receive the monthly eZine.

FEMMY for the Boston University Women's Resource Center

The Boston University Women's Resource Center, one of the only women's centers in the nation run completely by student volunteers, has shown us the power of perseverance and just how much you can do with limited resources. For their awesome ambition and dedication to creating a safe space for women on campus, the BU Women's Resource Center wins a FEMMY!

The Women's Resource Center officially opened its doors on October 18, 2008, but it has a long and storied history. For more than 30 years, feminists on campus worked to establish a women's center at BU as a permanent home for their very active student group. When the women's center space was finally granted to them, students quickly put together a detailed organizational structure that guarantees the WRC can put on tons of events and be a comfortable space for conversation around gender and sexuality issues, despite the lack of a large budget or paid staff.

A thirteen person board runs the Center, with the help of fifty student volunteers. The WRC is open every weekday from 10 am - 5 pm as a safe space where students can ask questions and get referrals from volunteers to different services on campus.

In the evenings, the WRC hosts a wide range of events, opening its space for all sorts of student groups and interests every week. Students are encouraged to plan events that fit their passions--among the topics most heavily covered this semester were women's health (including events on birth control and alternative menstrual projects) and feminist art. The WRC honors an artist every month by displaying her work in the Center and hosts open mic nights. Last month, artist Erin McKeowan performed at the WRC's Women Rock Concert, which raised money for FMF's Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls. Another highlight of the semester was a film screening of the feminist anti-pornography documentary The Price of Pleasure, after which a feminist porn director spoke to offer an alternative viewpoint. Co-coordinator Sarah Sullivan emphasizes that the WRC is a place for "non-discriminatory discource on gender and sexuality," and that the WRC does not shy away from respectful debate.

The WRC stays connected with the BU student body through its listserv, Facebook group, and Twitter. Check them out and consider them an feminist inspiration--if you have the passion, vision, and dedication, there is little your group cannot overcome.

This article was featured in our May 2010 monthly Choices eZine. Sign up for our alerts to stay up-to-date with the latest feminist news and to receive the monthly eZine.

FEMMY for Cal Poly Pomona's Female Sexualty Society

The Femmy for Best Fight Against a CPC goes to the Female Sexuality Society at Cal Poly Pomona!!

After finding that Cal Poly Pomona was renting out office space to a Crisis Pregnancy Center located across the street from a student dorm, the Female Sexuality Society was determined to kick them off school property.

Led by Jackie Lara, the group began to make a plan of action to expose this fake clinic (misleadingly named "Women's Pregnancy Center"). They were going to find out what kind of information this CPC was telling people; bring attention to the CPC by informing the students about what a CPC is; and talk to the administration about shutting the CPC down, or in the very least have "truth in advertising" policy that required the CPC to provide disclaimers about the services they do not provide.

At a health fair in the dorms, Female Sexuality Society encountered a representative from the CPC on campus property. “[She told me] the ‘truth’ about abortion and the various complications which are ‘always’ associated with them,” Jackie said. They knew then that this was issue that affected the health and well-being of the students at Cal Poly Pomona.

After much hard work with tabling, informing students, getting coverage for their story on the Ms. Blog, Choices blog, and, and writing letters to the administration, the school finally listened. They said that they would not be renewing the CPCs lease next year. What a victory! Great work Jackie Lara and Cal Poly Pomona! You deserve your FEMMY!

This article was featured in our May 2010 monthly Choices eZine. Sign up for our alerts to stay up-to-date with the latest feminist news and to receive the monthly eZine.

FEMMY for Christy Koester, President, Making Waves

Christy Koester is busy. Really busy. Like many student leaders, Christy manages to juggle projects like a magician -- balancing classes, work, student activities and motherhood every day. When the second leader for Making Waves, an affiliate of FMF's Choices Campus Leadership Program, stepped down last Fall to focus on class and work, an unlikely leader arose. Since becoming President last Spring, Christy has worked tirelessly to give a face and voice (and to find more voices) for feminist activism in a challenging campus environment at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

When did you discover feminism?

I honestly think the first time I encountered feminism was while watching "Saved By The Bell" when I was young. It is silly but TRUE! The character Jessie was always correcting the men around her when they would call women "chicks" or "babes." I adopted her attitude quickly and began to do the same thing myself. I believe feminism has always been a part of me, however being from a small town I had never even really heard the term until college. Years later when I ended up at SIUE one of the first courses I took was Issues in Feminism. There has been no stopping me ever since!

What inspired you to become a leader of Making Waves?

I wanted this group to thrive. For some reason others before me had a tough time making it happen. When I was offered the position I took it over with a knot in my stomach but I ran with it and I am so glad I did.

You seem to have an endless amount of energy. How do you juggle school, Making Waves and motherhood? Are they all connected in some way?

LOL! I have energy? Thanks for letting me know because I am exhausted all the time! Juggling everything has been so difficult but they are definitely connected! I find ways to involve my daughter in the things I am doing and everyone in the group loves her very much, we are like a little feminist family in a way. As an English major I am regularly able to find ways to express my feminist views through the literature and poetry we discuss in class and since I am a Women's Studies minor and work for the Women's Studies and Sociology departments on campus I am able to be involved a little more smoothly.

How would you describe the role of Making Waves at SIUE?

I believe our goal in the past has been to grow while promoting love and activism concerning women's issues. I believe in the future we will continue these goals but will also strive to educate ourselves and the campus about the issues both locally and globally still effecting us today.

What were your greatest accomplishments this year?

Love Your Body Day is always fun. We handed out mirrors this year and told women to "look and see how beautiful you are!" We also finally found a fundraiser to make some money for our group. We had a very large used books sale and made $658! We now have funds to do even more amazing things next year! Our biggest events by far though have been the VDAY events. We just finished The Vagina Monolgues this weekend and it seems we have raised over $1000 for our charities, including, A Call for Help, Oasis Women's Center, and Phoenix Women's Center that will help local women in need.

What were your greatest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Our greatest challenge has been keeping a steady membership base. People get busy and fall off the map but we continue to push forward hoping to keep people interested.

Now that the group has found its footing, what do wish for MW next year?

Making Waves will have The Vagina Monologues in the Spring but we will also bring in some speakers and performers to get more student attention to women's issues on campus. We have also discussed a "gender bending" calender, that challenges societies expected gender roles (men in the kitchen, women working on cars, etc...) as a fundraiser :) Another thing we hope to accomplish this year is volunteering at our local shelters. We really want to be more involved now that we are more stable.

Christy is a senior at Southern Illinois State University Edwardsville studying English and Women's Studies.

This article was featured in our May 2010 monthly Choices eZine. Sign up for our alerts to stay up-to-date with the latest feminist news and to receive the monthly eZine.

FEMMY For The Survivors! Montevallo's Feminist Majority

Many people may not have ever heard of the University of Montevallo in Alabama, and if they did, they would easily assume that this university in a small southern town is far from showing its hospitality to its friendly progressive feminists. But in the depths of southern conservatism lies the mighty force of feminist power. And in University of Montevallo's case, the student-led, Montevallo's Feminist Majority is alive and well, ready to stomp out patriarchy in every corner of the campus community.

The group began in 2005 becoming very active and organized around issues of violence against women, reproductive rights, and dispelling the misconceptions about what it means to be a feminist. Unfortunately, not too long after their launch, they struggled with retaining and recruiting members, fundraising, and developing action ideas that went beyond awareness-rising. These difficulties led the group to become inactive for some time.

Now, under the leadership of Emily Salinas and Chris West, the organization has surged in its membership and captured the attention of its campus media. Over the past year, they've consistently urged the administration to develop a comprehensive sexual assault policy and is currently proposing a sexual assault victims advocate & peer education program. Additionally, FM members volunteer several Saturdays out of the month escorting women entering the New Women All Women clinic in downtown Birmingham.

Last March, FM members drove over 12 hours to Washington D.C. to be represented as part of a southern contingent for the Feminist Majority Foundation's annual National Young Feminist Leadership Conference. Not only did they learn a lot, but they took back with them some very valuable connections.

I'm truly looking forward to see what else is in store for this phenomenal group. Congratulations to the Montevallo's Feminist Majority! You get the FEMMY for being survivors and reviving the legacy of your powerful organization.

Keep that feminist fire burning!

This article was featured in our May 2010 monthly Choices eZine. Sign up for our alerts to stay up-to-date with the latest feminist news and to receive the monthly eZine.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

UPDATE: Crisis Pregnancy Centers v. City of Baltimore (and Women's Rights)

Know of crisis pregnancy centers in your neighborhood? Contact your National Campus Organizer at the Feminist Majority Foundation and find out how you can expose fake clinics in your community today!