2016 has been a year of both victory and sorrow for women and LGBTQ people. There was the relief of the reproductive health ruling in Texas, and just prior to that the horrific systemic protection of the Stanford rapist. There was a historic ruling in Oregon, formally recognizing non-binary people’s identities, but there was also HB2 in North Carolina - the so called “bathroom bill,” which aims to discriminate against trans and gender non-conforming people. Federal guidelines for trans student safety and an extension of federal healthcare provider nondiscrimination clauses to protect intersex people arrived on the coattails of trans student activism demanding basic rights and protections at their schools. At the same time, trans and queer communities nationwide are reeling from the pain and horror of the Orlando massacre. Trans visibility has increased, but so have murders of trans women - particularly trans women of color. And the same politicians who launch attacks on gender equality, protections for women, and reproductive healthcare are simultaneously launching attacks against basic human rights for LGBTQ people.
Catholic directives endangers women
When we speak of women’s access to reproductive health care, we think of abortion and contraceptive access. But there is more to the full range of reproductive care to which women should have the right: quality and accurate sex education; contraceptives and the morning-after pill; abortion care; elective sterilization; appropriate care during miscarriage and stillbirth and pre-natal and post-natal care. The battle for each of these is not over yet.
While our attention has been focused (rightfully so) on the battle for abortion access for women in Texas (and around the country) which is being deliberated by the Supreme Court, another legal battle is taking place for access by those who have been turned away from full reproductive care at Catholic hospitals.
Recent reports show that one in six hospital beds in the U.S. are in a Catholic-run facility, and in some states it is more than 40 percent. At least 10 of the 25 largest hospital systems are Catholic-affiliated. While the number of church-sponsored or affiliated hospitals have increased by 22 percent in the last 15 years, the number of all types of non-profit hospitals or publicly owned hospitals have dropped. These facts are not necessarily a problem in and of themselves. But it is a problem because all of these hospitals are required to abide by the religious directives written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. These directives stipulate that hospital workers are not allowed to dispense contraceptives, conduct or recommend abortion or pregnancy termination or provide direct sterilization.Read more
By Meghann Adams, a WORD organizer in San Francisco.
Earlier this week in Washington, D.C., the White House Council On Women And Girls hosted the first “The United State of Women” summit featuring well-known speakers including President Obama, Vice President Biden, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and other celebrity women, non-profit organizers and union leaders. For the over 5,000 invitees, there were speeches, workshops and exhibits (including one called “Re-envisioning Rosie” that showcased women today who work in heavy manufacturing).
There is no way to deny that it was an important event to have happen. Women’s History Month is not the only time that we should put the spotlight on women heroes in the struggles against racism, sexism and bigotry. We need to learn the history of struggle that got us to where we are now and the opportunity to talk about what we need to combat right now.
The topics were important: raising the minimum wage and closing the wage gap, access to sick leave, affordable childcare, increasing resources for those experiencing domestic violence and protecting students from sexual assault.
But at the end of it all, I was left with questions: Is this all?Read more
By Danielle Norwood, a co-founder of WORD
Danielle Norwood speaks at Aug. 26, 2012, rally for Women's Equality Day organized by WORD under the banner "Defend Women's Rights: We Won't Go Back, We Will Fight Back!"
In a new campaign video, Clinton uses imagery from the women’s movement to position herself as a feminist candidate and her candidacy as a step forward for women. Seemingly without irony or self-awareness, she uses the images of powerful women of color like Shirley Chisholm to sell her campaign to women, working people and people of color.
Many who identify themselves as feminist seem to believe that any progress made by an individual woman, particularly a wealthy white woman, translates into progress for the rest of us. It does not. Wealth does not trickle down, nor does societal power. Dismantling oppression just doesn’t work that way. A few token members of an oppressed group being allowed into the halls of power will not set the rest of us free, and it’s disheartening to see people in 2016 still looking to women like Gloria Steinem, Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton as saviors of women.
As the ad continues, an image from a 2012 WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) rally in Los Angeles is featured. Co-founder Peta Lindsay is onstage under our very first big purple banner, which reads: “We Won’t Go Back, We Will Fight Back!” If Ms. Clinton were familiar with WORD, she might know that later banners featured a slogan much more relevant to her campaign: “The Status Quo Must Go!”
I remember that day vividly because I am also one of WORD’s co-founders, and I put my heart and soul into organizing that rally. Seeing our hard work and struggle used, even for a moment, to help sell a vicious capitalist status-quo candidate makes me sick. So let me set the record straight.Read more
By Jane Cutter, Article Reposted from Liberation News
Hillary Clinton is now the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, based on her wins in most of the June primaries. In California, there is significant evidence to suggest that her win was based on voter fraud and voter suppression.
“Tonight, we can say with pride that, in America, there is no barrier too great and no ceiling too high to break,” Clinton said as she becomes the first woman nominee for president of a “major” political party. Gag me. As a dear friend said today on Facebook, “Margaret Thatcher was a woman too.”
Hillary Clinton is no feminist icon. She is a warmongering neoliberal war criminal. (Perhaps that is redundant but I don’t care.) Standing behind Bill Clinton as First Lady, she colluded in destroying Aid to Families with Dependent Children, putting a million children into poverty. She supported Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill that accelerated mass incarceration and destroyed communities of color, referring to youth of color as “super predators” who must be “brought to heel.” As secretary of state, she laughed about the lynching of Muammar Gaddafi, saying “We came, we saw, he died.” She hangs out with other war criminals like Madeline Albright and Henry Kissinger. And then she dares to use the brave history of the women’s rights movement in the United States to justify and promote her campaign.Read more
An estimated 26 percent of people in the U.S. ages 18 and older, about 1 in 4 adults, suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Living in capitalist society means that many people with mental illness lack access to adequate mental health care. Capitalist society by its very nature inflicts stresses and trauma on people that can contribute to or exacerbate mental illness.Read more
International Worker’s Day, also known as May Day, has a long history of militancy and solidarity of workers through protests against exploitative and violent conditions. Women Organized to Resist and Defend (WORD) is joining rallies and marches across the United States because we believe workers’ rights are women’s rights. Just like all people, women deserve decent jobs with a living wage, educational opportunities, childcare and access to health and reproductive services, regardless of race or nationality. May Day is the day to stand in solidarity with all exploited groups: immigrants, workers, women, people of color and LGBTQ because we are being attacked by the same system that seeks to divide and exploit us.
May 1, marks the 10th year anniversary of the historic “Day Without an Immigrant March,” where millions of immigrant workers and their supporters participated in a national general strike in response to the United States House of Congress passage of the fascistic “Sensenbrenner” bill (the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act, HR-4437). The undocumented community is heavily Latin@, and the racist law targeted an expansion of the “Wall of Death” along the United States and Mexico border, and increased the criminalization of immigration violations to felonies rather than civil offenses. While the Sensenbrenner bill was defeated, the attacks on immigrant workers have continued. May Day continues to be a fight for the rights of immigrant workers, and thus for all workers.
On April 23, a disgusting series of actions were initiated by a misogynist anti-choice umbrella group targeting Planned Parenthood clinics across the country. One of the many clinics targeted was the Planned Parenthood of Southern New England in New Haven, Ct.
Under the leadership of WORD and the local community, people from across the state mobilized for an action of love and support for the clinic to counter the hate. Over 80 people lined the busy Whitney Avenue in front of the clinic, holding pink flags, trans and pride flags and banners and signs reading “Healthcare is a Right!” and “Stand with Planned Parenthood!” The demonstration was attended by a large number of students, including a strong contingent from the Yale Divinity School, as well as members of the faith community in Connecticut and activists from a wide variety of fronts. Despite the threats, fearmongering and deep pockets of many anti-abortion groups involved, the clinic support demonstration outnumbered the harassers by far -- only about a dozen anti-choicers showed up to their own action.
Steve Hall, a community member and father who was one of the first people to stand up to the anti-abortion hate on a weekly basis, said he is disgusted by the fact that bigots come in from affluent communities to harass poor people trying to gain access to healthcare at the clinic. “This is the only healthcare some people can afford. At the end of the day, it’s about denying reproductive rights,” he said.
WORD organizer and trans community activist IV Staklo said: “This beautiful show of force in defense of Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights as a whole is a huge testament to where the people of our city stand. Planned Parenthood serves people of all walks of life, all backgrounds and all genders, regardless of what their needs may be. We stand with Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood is often the only place that stands with us. So many of the people at the action are or were patients at the clinic. Standing up to this bigotry, harassment and hate is a personal thing for us as well as symbolic of a larger national movement. Access to healthcare, including abortion, is a basic right, and New Haven says firmly that no amount of threats will let us give that up.”
With a huge amount of support and gratitude from workers, patients and community members, WORD is continuing to build weekly clinic defense actions in Connecticut. We encourage anyone who wants to get involved in standing up for Planned Parenthood to contact us!
The New Yorker just published an extensive article on the vital work that Damayan does. Please read and share!
Damayan member and Damayan Cleaning Cooperative founding member Emma’s story sheds light on the lives of thousands of Filipina domestic workers who are forced to migrate to ensure their families’ economic survival. With massive unemployment and poverty in the Philippines, she migrated not only because she was poor but because the system keeps her poor.
Damayan believes that Emma and other Filipino migrant workers are in the best position to find solutions to their problems. Damayan offers services, educates, organizes, and mobilizes low-wage Filipino migrant workers in NY and NJ. We provide the immediate needs for migrant workers for fighting stolen wages, labor trafficking and modern day slavery, accessing health care, providing skills training and political education, and training them to become leaders in the organization.
Check out the article and share with your contacts so that more people can understand the organizing work that Damayan does. Working together, we can make the hardships of migrant workers like Emma a thing of the past!
Both vocal and silent protesters have become visible at Trump rallies across the country. Men and women alike have been denied entrance to the event; those who get in have often become the object of verbal and physical assault.
On September 9, 2015, Erica Fuentes had her hair pulled violently while attending a Donald Trump and Ted Cruz event called Stop Iran Now. Fuentes was with other immigration activists affiliated with United We Dream.
- On January 11, Rose Hammid, a 56-year-old Muslim woman wearing a hijab was removed from a Trump rally after standing in silent protest as Trump spoke.