“We have given war, pestilence, hate, greed, judgment, ego, self-sufficiency a good try, and have failed. We need a new paradigm that consists of kindness, courtesy, justice, love, and respect in all our relationships.” – Dr. George Tiller
2016 Linda Smith Dyer Fellowship
Each summer, we get to work with an outstanding law student through the MWPC Linda Smith Dyer Fellowship, which was created to honor the memory of one of the original founders of the Maine Women’s Lobby. Linda was a model for Maine women and girls. The LSD Fellowship continues Linda’s strong example of public policy and public interest work by law students at her alma mater, the University of Maine School of Law. Linda Smith Dyer Fellows provide sophisticated research and advanced analysis on policies in our four focus areas: freedom from violence, freedom from discrimination, access to health care, and economic security.
Our 2016 LSD Fellow is Bryn Gallagher, a Juris Doctor candidate at the University of Maine School of Law (Class of 2018). Bryn is co-chair of the student-run Maine Law Policy Group, serves on the State’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, recently interned with Maine Youth Court (a local restorative justice diversion program), and was a 2014-2015 AmeriCorps member through LearningWorks where she worked one-on-one with elementary school students to improve their literacy and math skills. Bryn is pictured here with her dad at her 2015 graduation from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and minor in Criminology.
When asked about this opportunity, Bryn exclaimed, “I’m thrilled to be the Linda Smith Dyer Fellow this summer. Given my interest in women’s rights and policy, the opportunities afforded by this position are enumerable. So far, the highlights are a tie between digging around in the State House’s Legislative Library and sitting in on local and statewide coalition meetings.”
Welcome, Bryn! We’re so glad to have you join us for the summer.
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The U.S. Supreme Court continues to face challenges due to the vacancy created when Justice Antonin Scalia passed away earlier this year. While Pres. Obama has nominated Judge Merrick Garland for the bench, Republicans in Senate Leadership and on the Judiciary Committee are refusing to follow the process laid out in the Constitution by holding a hearing and vote on his nomination. We’re thankful to both of Maine’s Senators, Sen. Collins and Sen. King, for meeting with Judge Garland and for calling on their colleagues to let the process move forward. Most Americans—69%—say that Senate Republicans “should consider Obama’s nominee and take an up-or-down confirmation vote on that person.”
As Sherry Huber and Roger Berle wrote in this recent op-ed:
The argument that it’s too close to the presidential election to consider a nominee simply doesn’t hold water. The president and senators have an obligation to perform their duties during the duration of their term of office. We understand that 14 previous presidents have nominated a total of 21 justices during presidential election years. Since the Senate has never taken longer than 125 days to vote on a candidate from the time of nomination, with the average nominee confirmed, rejected or withdrawn in 25 days, there is plenty of time in which to conduct hearings and hold a vote.
What is lacking is a commitment to the orderly functioning of government, to justice, to the right of every American to be heard. Instead, the majority of the U.S. Senate has chosen to make weak excuses about why they won’t do the job their constituents elected them to and expect them to perform.
The Supreme Court vacancy highlights the problem ofvacancies throughout our federal courts system. In addition to the SCOTUS vacancy, there are 82 federal judicial vacancies—9 in circuit courts and 73 in district courts, 29 judicial emergencies—5 for circuit courts and 24 for district courts, 55 nominees to the federal bench—7 for circuit courts and 48 for district courts, and 19 nominees pending on the Senate floor. Learn more at bit.ly/1sK4Nbg.
If you care about civil liberties, clean air, privacy, reproductive rights, social justice, corporate accountability, equality, and fairness, then you care about our federal courts.
We were proud to see our Director of Program and Development honored by Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center on May 19th. Kathy Kilrain del Rio received the Ruth L. Lockhart Feminist Activist Award, named for one of the Center’s founders and its first executive director, who retired last year after 23 years of service. Kathy received the award for her tireless activism as a leader for women throughout Maine as well as her passion for making feminist organizations and advocacy inclusive for all women and raising up the voices of the most vulnerable in our work toward a truly equitable future.
Also honored that evening was G. Paul Savidge, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist, for providing compassionate, non-judgmental abortion care for four decades to the women of Maine, both in private practice and with Maine Family Planning and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, working most recently at Mabel Wadsworth Center.
Kathy’s final remarks reflect the way she approaches her work:
When I look out on this room, I see a beautiful glow from each of you. Everyone has something that makes their light shine out. What is it that makes you glimmer? What is that makes each of us blaze? I think the way we’ll triumph is to nurture each other’s sparks. Give each other a chance to be radiant. Together we are a dazzling ball of justice that is unstoppable.
We had a chance to meet lots of new friends and reconnect with old ones at the annual Maine Women’s Fund Leadership Luncheon. As one of the Fund’s 2016 grantees, the Maine Women’s Policy Center was tabling at the event. MWPC is receiving funding to improve the economic well-being of Maine women and girls; continue outreach to build a statewide network of women working on their own behalf; building on education efforts to highlight policy solutions; and ensuring that women are registered, informed, and voting. Learn more: Maine Women’s Fund 2016 Economic Security Initiative Grantees.
Empower The Immigrant Woman held its inaugural Conference and Trailblazer Awards on May 21st. Over 200 immigrant women from Maine’s communities attended the event. The Trailblazer panel opened the conference, followed by successive panels addressing workplace readiness and entrepreneurship, with key members of local organizations highlighting resources, services, and advocacy efforts. It was a day packed full of inspiration, ideas, and information to help immigrant women succeed. We were glad to be a part of this fabulous day with Kathy Kilrain del Rio acting as emcee for the conference.
Learn more about Empower The Immigrant Woman at www.empowerimmigrantwoman.org.
The Maine Women’s Policy Center is a proud member of MaineShare. MaineShare gives you an easy way to donate to over 40 statewide organizations working everyday to make Maine a better place to live. Through payroll giving contributions and direct gifts, our donors help these organizations achieve good health, environmental protection, safe communities, economic opportunity, human rights, animal welfare, peace, and much more. Your year-round giving at work provides these groups with a steady flow of dollars to keep important programs going.
Learn more about starting a workplace giving program at your business or organization at www.maineshare.org/workplace-giving/overview/.