The following Activist Update is a joint communication from the Maine Women’s Policy Center and our sister organization, the Maine Women’s Lobby.
“I ALONE CANNOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT I CAN CAST A STONE ACROSS THE WATERS TO CREATE MANY RIPPLES.” ― Mother Teresa
APRIL’S MISSION…IF YOU SO CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT
Welcome to the fourth edition of Activist Update, your guide to activism in 2017! Our main focus this month is on the Judge Gorsuch nomination to the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch has three times taken positions that are specifically problematic for women receiving the most basic of health care. Judge Gorsuch could be the vote that undoes important court rulings affecting women’s health. Some of the previous decisions that Judge Gorsuch has made that raise red flags include:
- Joining in on the Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. v. Sebelius ruling in which he agreed that corporations can be considers as people when it comes to exercising religious beliefs, and that they have the ability to deny contraceptive coverage as part of employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
- Arguing against a Tenth Circuit decision to block the defunding of Planned Parenthood in the case Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert. He argued that the court should have deferred to the Governor’s claims that he intended to punish Planned Parenthood for alleged, unproven illegal activity.
- His writings that suggest he does not consider abortion to be a guaranteed right.
- Joining in on a ruling against an administrative assistant that reported sexual harassment and was then fired after her report in the case Pinkerton v. Colorado Department of Transportation. This ruling prevented her from having a jury trial.
We will be making phone calls the first week in April to Senator King and Senator Collins as they prepare to vote on Judge Gorsuch. Sign up for our e-alerts to ensure you get the most up-date-information and ways in which you can participate in protecting the open Supreme Court seat!
For more information on how Judge Gorsuch could impact workers’ rights, LGBTQ rights, disability rights, environmental protections, and more, check out the Alliance for Justice site.
2017 EQME Annual Awards Gala & Silent Auction hosted by EqualityMaine, April 1, 6:00― 11:00 PM
“Now more than ever, it’s critical for us stand together as a community. To remember that in the face of overwhelming odds we’ve never given up HOPE. Even in the depths of despair, we’ve found the COURAGE to get back up and continue our work. And in both victory and defeat, we’ve always found STRENGTH in one another…in our community!” Find more information here.
Girls Rock! Awards hosted by Hardy Girls Healthy Women, April 7, 6:00―7:30 PM
“You’re invited to The Girls Rock! Awards, our annual fundraiser, to honor girls from around Maine. Enjoy appetizers while you hear some amazing stories of girls from around our state who break stereotypes, challenge society and rock! Your attendance and donations make our year-round programming, serving over a 1,000 girls, possible. Stand with us to take girls seriously.” Find more information here.
Evening w/ Reza Jalali & Ekhlas Ahmed at Merrill Memorial Library hosted by First Parish Congregational Church UCC and The Merrill Memorial Library, April, 11, 6:30 ― 8:00 PM
“Reza Jalali is the Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Southern Maine. He is a teacher, an author and a much sought-after speaker. Ekhlas Ahmed is an AmeriCorps teacher at Casco Bay High School in Portland. She is a refugee from Darfur, Sudan. Ekhlas was recently featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Find more information here.
The Mask You Live In Screening at USM hosted by USM Gender Studies Student Organization, April 24, 6:00―9:00 PM
“The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. Pressured by the media, their peer group, and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men. Experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education, and media also weigh in, offering empirical evidence of the “boy crisis” and tactics to combat it. The Mask You Live In ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.” Find more information here.
Stand Against Racism 2017 hosted by YWCA of Central Maine, April 30, 12:00―4:00 PM
“Stand Against Racism will offer a keynote address from Portland activist, Hamdia Ahmed. Ahmed is a lifelong activist and has worked on behalf of the Adopt A Future program by the United Nations Association of the United States of America and the U.N. Refugee Agency, which works to provide resources to educate children in refugee camps. She is currently a student at the University of Southern Maine. Stand Against Racism will also feature the unveiling of a newly created mural by the Lewiston High School 21st Century Leaders in the YWCA gym! Student leaders will offer presentation and performance on their work creating a large-scale mural on the theme of Women of Color and Leadership. The presentation will discuss their work researching contemporary and historic women of color leaders and activists, the artistic process, and what leadership means to them. The mural was created with support from Bates College Department of Art students & faculty. Stand Against Racism will include several powerful small-group workshops led by local students and activists.” Find more information here.
BOOKS WE’RE READING AND THINK YOU SHOULD TOO
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
“Reflecting on the importance of Black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today’s struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles—from the Black freedom movement to the South African antiapartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today’s struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine.
Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. And in doing so, she reminds us that ‘freedom is a constant struggle.'”
PODCASTS WE’RE HOOKED ON
The Broad Experience tackles huge issues facing women in the workplace today. Host Ashley Milne-Tyte and her guests discuss the things everyone’s thinking about, but not always talking about. Each show is a quick 20 minutes.
Yeah, What She Said is Calgary’s only feminist/women’s radio program. Each week your hosts Emily, Sarah, Sarelle and Tyra explore various issues that affect women locally, nationally and globally. As the voice of Calgary’s feminist community we inform you about upcoming events and interview local women who are doing amazing things. We also bring you women’s stories and news from around the globe, exploring a wide range of feminist topics from serious issues like prostitution to fun shows on pop culture. Most importantly, we give a voice to women, introduce the public to feminist ideas, and hopefully leave you questioning, thinking and wanting to know more!
SHARE YOUR STORY
The Maine Women’s Lobby is collecting stories from community members all across Maine regarding access to affordable, quality child care services as well as paid leave. You can share your personal experiences accessing child care services here and paid leave here, or you may contact Victoria Rodriguez directly at email@example.com.
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Have a suggestion for the next Activist Update? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!