Lake Itasca, MN – Embarking on a voyage to feminize and “decolonize” the wilderness, two women in a canoe have started their expedition down the entirety of the Mississippi River. Immigrant Indigenous Latina, Cory Maria Dack, who’s also a transracial transnational adoptee, along with Espoir DelMain, a queer white woman are aiming to empower and inspire others to enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature. On a sunny Sunday afternoon in August, friends and family gathered at the Mississippi Headwaters in northern Minnesota to witness the launch of Cory Dack and Espoir DelMain’s 2,552 mile thru-paddle of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. Dack and DelMain said they would like to “decolonize the concept of ‘thru-paddling’ to empower and inspire others from underrepresented demographics to see the wilderness as a place where they belong as well.”
An open letter signed by 700-plus feminist groups and activists sent on Aug. 8 to UN Women, protesting a recently announced partnership between the agency and BlackRock, a United States-based hedge fund, resulted in the cancellation of the arrangement. The letter pointed out that BlackRock personifies “crisis-prone speculation-based capitalism” and that the May 25 joint press releases announcing the partnership by both parties offered no useful or explicit details on what it would accomplish. Such vagueness, the letter writers contended, could give UN Women the appearance of “pinkwashing” BlackRock, since there was no clear benefit for gender equality stated in the partnership goals.
When Dobbs vs. Jackson was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, overturning Roe v. Wade, the case drew all eyes to reproductive rights issues in the United States. For half a century, advocates around the world looked to Roe v. Wade as a landmark decision and advocacy model for reproductive justice. But the Dobbs decision now places the United States behind other countries that center women’s autonomy and human dignity in the regulation of abortion. As Latin American feminist advocates, we have seen firsthand how the lack of access to safe and legal abortions has impacted the life and health of many women, girls, and pregnant people across the Western hemisphere. Making access to sexual and reproductive health services a reality is a matter of social justice, democracy, and human rights.
This Pride month is a one of great fear and grief for many. After decades of (slowly) advancing queer rights, we are in the midst of the worst backlash we’ve seen in years. Laws are being passed across the country that dramatically roll back queer rights and specifically target trans children. These policies being put forward by far-right politicians would (in effect) forcibly detransition and socially isolate trans children, and in many cases they are already being used to attack the lives of trans people. These attacks are in direct contradiction with supposed ideas about progress that many of us have been told for years. This can have a demoralizing effect, making us feel as if struggling for our rights is futile, since the right wing seems so much more powerful than we are.
Julian Akil Rose: Yeah, so I actually got my grounding in organizing for a few reasons, and to be honest the timeline isn’t 100% clear simply because so many things were happening at once. So, don’t read this as a timeline, these are the co-incident layers. Layer One: when I arrived at UConn in 2012 there was a big class action lawsuit against the university for mishandling sexual assault cases…I believe it was 7 women that came forward. Layer Two: I was invited to participate in a program called The Men’s Project – the goal of the Men’s Project is to train students who identify as men to positively influence their peers by challenging social norms that promote gender-based violence; understanding their connection to survivors of gender-based violence; and role modeling effective bystander interventions – permanently changed my life.
Feminist Movements in Latin America have recently made incredible strides in women’s rights after generations of struggle against a society founded in machismo. When supporting and celebrating progress in Women’s Liberation in Latin America, mainstream media often tends to focus on countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Mexico and the rise of the #NiUnaMenos, (not one more) anti-femicide movement. Although the feminist movements in these countries have been successful in achieving some essential rights for women, with the exception of Mexico, these predominantly white countries are also intentionally centering cis straight white women in the feminist movement, rarely if ever speaking on issues that specifically target Black women while also marginalizing Queer, Gender Non-Conforming, Black and Indigenous Women.
A government truly committed to a “feminist foreign policy” would support Haitians striking to boost their 70-cents-per-hour wage. But thus far Canadian officials have responded to the workers’ action by paying a celebratory visit to a sweatshop and ignoring protests repressed by Canadian-funded police. At the start of last week thousands of Haitian apparel workers launched a strike for a higher minimum wage. Thousand have taken to the streets in Port-au-Prince calling for a tripling of their 500 gourdes daily salary (CDN $6.20). The largely female workforce stitches shirts and other apparel for brands like Gap, Walmart, Target, JCPenney as well as Canadian apparel giant Gildan. The Canadian government has a long history of promoting Haiti’s export processing zones as a means of “development”.
The Black Experience in the Americas has always been, by circumstance, design and by purpose, inextricably tied to the land and to forms of Resistance expressed through different peoples in different territories throughout the Americas. Climate change affects communities and regions differently, even within the same country, depending on their cultural, economic, environmental, political and social context. But climate change also affects people differently within these same communities and regions depending on their race and genders, both at an individual and collective level. For Black communities, an underspoken issue that is usually left out of organizing spaces related to climate change is migration.
Gloria Watkins/bell hooks Presente! Here we go again. Another passing of an intellectual giant, a Black revolutionary love warrior and fugitive from an academy that doesn't love us. After nearly two years of relentless premature deaths, we lose four comrades in six or seven days (Julius Scott, Greg Tate, Tyler Stovall, and now bell hooks), all in their 60s. Too much. I discovered bell hooks in 1981, when I read Ain't I a Woman in college and realized that we can't claim to be radical without being feminists, and as Barbara Smith told us, feminism is not white-owned. bell refused to be disciplined by the academy, living life on her terms and writing for a much larger audience when it wasn't in vogue.
Since the Taliban took control of Kabul and Afghanistan’s central government on August 15, efforts to support Afghan women have become extremely challenging. According to some prominent US feminists with strong ties to Afghan women, the Taliban “has no legitimacy beyond the brutal force it commands,” and governments, the United Nations, and regional actors should not recognize or work with it. For some, this means isolating the Taliban by continuing to freeze Afghan funds held overseas and suspending any assistance that is coordinated with a government agency. But does that position actually help Afghan women? There’s little question that gains made by Afghan women over the past twenty years, particularly urban women, have been rolled back since the Taliban returned to power.
As Israeli settler-colonialism finds its perfect ally in U.S. settler-colonialism, U.S.-based advocates of Israel have been reifying this pattern for decades by consistently bullying Palestinian community leaders and activists, and threatening them (not only women) with rape and sexual assault. The recent attack on Palestinian Feminist Collective (PFC) member Rasha Mubarak, president of Unbought Power, is but one example of how this repression strategy especially targets women organizers. After she co-led an effort demanding that Florida state legislators condemn Israeli violence and support free speech on Palestine, pro-Israel advocates accused her of being an “Islamist” who targets “Jews and Gays.”
June 3 marked the sixth anniversary of the formation of the Ni Una Menos or ‘Not One (Woman) Less’ movement in Argentina. Since 2015, every year, the movement organizes massive marches across the country to raise voice against violence against women and non-binary people and demand justice for numerous of its victims. This year, like last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the collective called on the people to mobilize virtually with hashtags and photos.
Last fall, two powerful hurricanes, Eta and Iota, slammed into Central America within two weeks of each other, causing massive flooding and landslides and affecting millions of people, primarily in Honduras and Nicaragua. Thousands were uprooted from their homes, and women, many with children in tow, suffered the greatest. The events followed a disturbing but familiar trend: The United Nations estimates that 80 percent of people displaced by climate change are women. And it's not just storms that affect them; researchers in India have found that droughts, too, hit women the hardest, rendering them more vulnerable than men to income loss, food insecurity, water scarcity, and related health complications.
Within minutes, the signatures started coming in, not as a trickle but a surge - from the US and Palestine, but also from England, Ireland, Australia, Argentina, Sweden, Canada, Kenya, Italy and more. On 15 March, to mark Women’s History Month, the newly formed Palestinian Feminist Collective (PFC) had just launched its first public action: a pledge and open letter asking US women, feminist organisations, social and racial justice groups, and people of conscience to adopt Palestinian liberation as a critical feminist issue.