‘Ain’t I A Woman’ March Highlights The Need For Black Women’s Voices Now

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By Taryn Finley for The Huffington Post – Organizers created the event to fill a void they felt was left by January’s Women’s March. More than 1,500 people gathered on Saturday to participate in a black women’s rights march in Sacramento. The march was organized by Black Women United, a non-profit organization “dedicated to the education, protection, and advancement of Black women.” BWU, founded in February, came up with the “Ain’t I A Woman” march as a way to include black women more in today’s women’s rights movement. The event was intended to uplift and empower black women while highlighting the multitude of issues affecting them. Imani Mitchell, one of the organizers, told HuffPost that the overwhelming whiteness of the Women’s March in January left many black women feeling as though the event wasn’t for them. “This event we had is kind of a response to the Women’s March back in January. More so, though, we just wanted to continue the conversation but with a focus on black women and black women’s issues,” Mitchell said.

Women In California’s Largest Immigrant Prison Hold Hunger Strike

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By Victoria Law for Waging Nonviolence – On June 14, 33 women who have been detained and incarcerated by ICE in California’s Adelanto Detention Facility launched a hunger strike. They were protesting the poor conditions at the facility as well as the policies that were keeping them away from their children and loved ones. The Adelanto Detention Facility, with a capacity of 1,940, is the largest private immigration detention facility in the United States. Run by the GEO Group, ICE pays $111 per person per day for the first 975 detainees, thus guaranteeing GEO a minimum of $40 million each year. If more than 975 people are detained inside Adelanto, the daily rate drops to less than $50 per day. Immigrant rights organizations, such as Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement, or CIVIC, and Detention Watch Network, have sharply criticized Adelanto for its widespread and systemic abuses towards immigrants in custody. Since March 2017, three people have died at Adelanto. Others have reported medical neglect and, on at least one occasion, being punished for seeking medical care. Norma Gutierrez, one of the women on hunger strike has suffered multiple strokes during her incarceration at Adelanto. Instead of receiving proper medical care, she was placed in solitary confinement.

In Red Pairs: Handmaids Are Resisting

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By Abby Zimet for Common Dreams – Women occupying senators’ offices Friday aren’t alone in resisting the all-male “declaration of war on women” that would be repeal of Obamacare and enactment of a GOP health plan widely blasted as “catastrophic.” Getting creative, women from Texas to Ohio have increasingly been protesting assaults on women’s health care by dramatically donning red robes and white bonnets to channel Margaret Atwood’s dystopian-themed “The Handmaid’s Tale,” wherein women are forced to bear children in a totalitarian society. Their goal: To remind persistently-backwards-looking conservatives that Atwood’s vision of women defined purely by their reproductive capacity is not, in fact, “an instruction manual.” Atwood’s 1985 novel depicts women stripped of their rights in a theocratic, patriarchal, not-so-distant Gilead – aka America – rendered barren by environmental disaster, where fertile women, or handmaids, must bear the children of regime leaders and are controlled by them. Initially seen as a cautionary tale, the book has seen new life as a hit TV show on Hulu; it gained new resonance when Trump got “elected” in the middle of filming. Atwood has long argued its premise is based on old, real human themes: Historically, she notes, “There is no totalitarianism worth its salt that doesn’t try to control women.”

Women Imprisoned Under Drug War Speak Out Against Sessions' New Policy

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to reporters in Richmond, Virginia, March 15, 2017. (Photo: Chet Strange / The New York Times)

By Victoria Law for Truthout – In the federal prison in California, Michelle West described people standing in front of the television in shock this past Friday as they learned about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ memo, which promises to intensify the war on drugs. “They knew it was going to be bad because of his past comments regarding the criminal justice system, but not this bad,” West said. In federal prisons across the country, a similar scenario played out as people, many of whom were sentenced under the drug war policies of the 1980s and 1990s, learned about Sessions’ two-page memo entitled Department Charging and Sentencing Policy. The directive instructs federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious, readily provable offense. It thus resurrects the emphasis on mandatory minimum sentencing requirements, which have required judges to impose draconian sentences for drug crimes, even when they don’t believe these sentences are warranted. Sessions’ memo rescinds and reverses the reforms implemented by former Attorney General Eric Holder, which urged prosecutors to charge people with low-level drug cases to avoid triggering mandatory minimum sentences. Nearly half (or 92,000) of the people in federal prison are serving sentences for drug convictions.

Women Hold Nearly Two-Thirds Of America’s Student Loan Debt

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By Catherine Pearson for The Huffington Post – Are you a college-educated woman who is being buried under a pile of student loan debt that devours your paychecks and gives you heart palpitations at 2:30 a.m.? Well, take heart — at least you’re not alone! According to a depressing new report released this week by the American Association of University Women, women hold nearly two-thirds of this country’s student debt ― or a whopping $833 billion in outstanding loans. (And that’s probably a low-ball estimate, because the report doesn’t capture women who enroll and take on a whole lot of debt but don’t graduate.) Oh, and female graduates also have a significantly harder time paying those loans off ― making it clear that the student loan crisis is now most definitely a women’s issue. “Time spent in college now sometimes means unmanageable student debt that drags down those seeking greater opportunity, especially low-income women, women of color, and women who drop out before completing a degree or credential,” Patricia Fae Hoe, board chair of the AAUW ― an advocacy and research group ― wrote in a forward to the report.

Trump Attacks Women Of The World With Global Gag Rule

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By Laura Bassett for The Huffington Post – WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump’s administration announced the details Monday of the president’s unprecedented international anti-abortion policy, which drastically expands the “global gag rule” that past Republican presidents have placed on U.S. health assistance funds. The gag rule, also known as the Mexico City policy, blocks international family planning assistance through the U.S. Agency for International Development to any groups or programs that provide or even mention abortions to women, or speak out about abortion laws in their own countries. It was last implemented by President George W. Bush and then was repealed by President Barack Obama. Trump’s plan, called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, goes much further than that. The policy applies the anti-abortion rule to $8.8 billion in global health funding furnished by the State Department, USAID and the Department of Defense, instead of only $600 million in family planning funding. This means that a clinic receiving U.S. assistance for HIV or Zika relief will lose all that money if it so much as gives pregnant women information about safe abortion care.

Baltimore Action Legal Team Joins National Mama’s Bail Out Day

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By Charlene Dukes for BALT – BALTIMORE, MD — In the days leading up to Mother’s Day, Baltimore Action Legal Team (BALT) is joining a coalition of racial and criminal justice organizations across the country to bail out “mamas”—mothers and other transgender and cisgender women—who would otherwise spend Mother’s Day in a cell because they are unable to afford bail. Starting at noon on Friday, May 12, Baltimore Action Legal Team bailed out 6 individuals who were all being held on minor charges because they could not afford to pay bail. BALT partnered with Baltimore Jail Support who provided support upon their release, including emotional support, water, food, transportation, and basic first aid for people being released from Baltimore’s Central Booking and Intake Facility. People who were bailed out ranged in age from 20 to 44. It cost as little as $100 to as much as $1,000 to secure their freedom. The effort took around the clock work, clearing up wrong information, and waiting hours in the room to greet moms with gift baskets. Although bails were posted as early as 1 PM on Friday May 12 – no one emerged from Central Booking until almost 3 AM the following morning. The last person was not freed until Saturday morning.

No Joke: U.N. Elects Saudi Arabia To Women’s Rights Commission, For 2018-2022 Term

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By Staff of UN Watch – The Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch condemned the U.N.’s election of Saudi Arabia, “the world’s most misogynistic regime,” to a 2018-2022 term on its Commission on the Status of Women, the U.N. agency “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “It’s absurd — and morally reprehensible.”“This is a black day for women’s rights, and for all human rights,” said Neuer. Interview: Why Saudis Joined Women’s Rights Body“Saudi discrimination against women is gross and systematic in law and in practice. Every Saudi woman,” said Neuer, “must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia bans women from driving cars. Why did the U.N. choose the world’s leading oppressor of women to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women?” Saudi women feel betrayed by the UN. “I wish I could find the words to express how I feel right know.

Trump Reverses Rule Protecting Women’s Access To Basic Healthcare

Marking International Womens Day 1975, the feminist magazine Spare Rib reported: '4,000 women marched through London's East End.' Photograph: Red Women's Workshop Red Women's Workshop/Public Domain

By Staff of Center for Reproductive Rights – In the past few years, an increasing number of states have tried to block trusted reproductive health care providers—including providers that offer abortion care with non-Title X dollars—from participating in Title X. Since 2011, at least 13 states in which Title X funds flow through the state government have approved restrictions that would exclude qualified providers from the Title X network. Mounting evidence shows that the exclusion of reproductive health care providers from publicly funded health programs harms health outcomes, widens disparities, and erects new barriers to care. These barriers are particularly pronounced for those who are already have trouble accessing care—including low-income individuals, people living in rural communities, and people of color. In response to these political attempts to restrict where a woman can get her health care, President Obama issued the rule last year reinforcing that Title X grantees—which in many cases are states—must select subrecipients solely based on their ability to provide care to Title X patients…

6 Ways Trump Administration And Congress Have Threatened Women’s Health In Just A Few Months

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By Miriam Berg for Planned Parenthood – Since Ronald Reagan was in office, a harmful policy known as the global gag rule has been taken off the books by every Democratic president and put back on by every Republican president. It bans foreign NGOs that receive certain kinds of American aid from counseling on, referring for, or even advocating for abortion. It’s a policy that hurts the world’s most vulnerable women – and stifles free speech. In one of his first executive actions in office and surrounded by smiling white men, President Trump instated an even worse version of this already dangerous rule. His action will be catastrophic for communities around the world that rely on U.S. funding to fight against Zika and to provide HIV/AIDS and maternal health care. This expanded version of the global gag rule threatens to undermine and reverse progress that family planning has made in lowering maternal mortality rates and preventing unsafe abortion worldwide. In fact, it could endanger the lives of millions of women and girls, and their babies.

U.S., March 8, 2017: This Is What Feminism Really Looks Like

Marking International Womens Day 1975, the feminist magazine Spare Rib reported: '4,000 women marched through London's East End.' Photograph: Red Women's Workshop Red Women's Workshop/Public Domain

By Chen Michelle for ESSF – On Wednesday, women around the world gave themselves a day off… from the system. Not that a woman’s work is ever done. But for one day, to mark the International Women’s Strike, women in dozens of cities in the United States and across the world redeployed their productive energies to fighting for gender and economic justice. Women downed their tools on multiple fronts. Mothers outside the waged workforce restructured their schedules to share the burden of care work. Others refrained from shopping, or participated in local direct actions, or undertook the challenge of starting provocative conversations with neighbors about the real value of women’s work.

Women’s Strike Organizers Arrested In NY On A Day Of Protests Worldwide

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By Robert Mackey for The Intercept – In more than thirty countries, women will refuse to do work — any work, paid or unpaid — that they do not wish to do. They will not cook breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They will not clean, watch children, buy groceries, drive carpool, fold clothes, wash dishes, or have sex — at least the kind of sex that feels like work. They will not work the assembly line or the phones, take your order or ring you up. They will skip shifts at hospitals, universities, and labs. They will not send emails (“sorry for the delayed response!”) or schedule appointments, braid hair, paint fingernails, or wax groins.

A Day Without A Woman’ Was A Day Of Activism Across The Country

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At San Francisco City Hall, hundreds gather to honor International Women’s Day on Wednesday.

By Sebastian Murdock , Andy Campbell , Antonia Blumberg , Kim Bellware, and Lydia O’Connor for The Huffinngton Post – Cities across the country were awash in red on Wednesday as thousands gathered to show support for International Women’s Day. The rallies ― which mobilized men and women in New York, California, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., among other states ― was part of “A Day Without A Woman,” which organizers described as a day of “economic solidarity.” Women were encouraged to take the day off and strike to “highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the U.S. and global economies,” Women’s March organizers said.

‘Day Without A Woman’ Strike Is Closing Schools Around The Country

Marking International Womens Day 1975, the feminist magazine Spare Rib reported: '4,000 women marched through London's East End.' Photograph: Red Women's Workshop Red Women's Workshop/Public Domain

By Laura Bassett and Catherine Pearson For The Huffington Post – WASHINGTON ― Dozens of schools up and down the East Coast have announced they will be closed on Wednesday as their teachers, the vast majority of whom are women, participate in the “Day Without A Woman” strike to protest President Donald Trump. All 16 public schools in Alexandria, Virginia, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina, and at least one preschool in Brooklyn, New York, have canceled classes for International Women’s Day on March 8, anticipating staff shortages. The Maple Street School in Brooklyn sent a letter to parents last week explaining that the preschool supports the political statement teachers are making by staying home.

On March 8: Massive Women’s Rally At Department Of Labor In DC

Marking International Womens Day 1975, the feminist magazine Spare Rib reported: '4,000 women marched through London's East End.' Photograph: Red Women's Workshop Red Women's Workshop/Public Domain

By CJ Frogozo for Women Workers Rising – Washington, DC – On International Women’s Day, Wednesday, March 8th, women are rising at a massive rally in DC – WOMEN WORKERS RISING. Women workers will come together and RISE for Dignity, Equality, and Respect at and surrounding the US Department of Labor in DC. Organizers are calling all women and allies to come and be in solidarity with women workers – for an end to workplace violence and harassment and to promote pay equity, one fair living wage, paid leave, and labor rights at work. This rally will be on the day – and in solidarity with – women around the world rising for women’s rights, including the International Women’s Action and The Women’s March: A Day Without a Woman.