Marching Against the War On Women

April 29, 2012

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Yesterday, I went to the march & rally against the war on women I mentioned in another post. While tweeting & fbing about it, my very good friend and awesome writer/editor (online news editor for the Indypendent), Manny Jalonschi, asked if I could write up a summary and he’d post it on the Indy blog. So I did and he did and now i’m so fucking giddy and happy and suffering from horrible self doubt and craving a vodka & cranberry on the rocks with a line wedge… LIKE REAL WRITER! (stereotypes, FTW!) You can read the slightly edited version here.
I’m posting the version I emailed to him on here, just because. And, of course, pictures!

On April 28, 2012, women and men gathered at events all over the United States. Their mission: to unite against the war on women. In the wee hours of a February night, Karen Teegarden from Michigan and Desiree Jordan from New York were on the phone, venting to each other about the attacks on womens rights being made in our government and in our media. They said something we’ve all said at one time or another, “We should do something about this! Take to the streets!” This time, instead of going back to their daily lives, they followed through. In the course of 10 weeks what started as a late night conversation between friends developed into a movement spanning the country. According to http://www.unitewomen.org, there were marches and rallies happening in over 40 states and solidarity rallies in other countries as well.

I attended the march and rally in NYC. We gathered at the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. There were roughly 100 people. What made me happiest was the diversity. People of all genders, sexual identities, races, religions, ages and physical abilities…it was amazing.

From there, we marched down Broadway to Foley Square. The signs people had were fantastic. “Mother of 2 for birth control,” “Birth control addicted whores, sluts and b****es vote, too!” A 12 year old girl whose sign said “Equality for my FUTURE!” There wasn’t a whole lot of chanting, but my favorite one was “not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate!” I’m not much of a chanter, but I liked that one a lot.

At Foley Sq., we met our host for the event, Leighann Lord, a stand-up comedian. She was able to keep the mood light and the program running smoothly. The list of speakers was long and full of great people. Assemblyperson Gottfried and Representative Jerry Nadler spoke about what they’re doing to support all women regardless of race, legal status or economic status. Author Erica Jong spoke about the importance of free public education for the advancement of the 99% as a whole, as well as women. Reverend Matthew Westfox of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice was a pleasant surprise for me. He spoke about his outrage at the blasphemy committed every day by people who use God’s name to oppress women.

By far, my favorite speakers were Representative Carolyn Maloney and actress Martha Plimpton. Rep. Maloney was the woman who sort of started it all. She walked out of a House oversight committee hearing on the contraceptive coverage rule because it was all male and Democrats were not allowed to be represented onthe panel. She stood outside and asked the fateful question… Where are the women? At the rally, she said she was happy to see us all out fighting for our rights but that it wasn’t enough. We have to remember in November.

Martha Plimpton was a fantastic speaker! She was fundraising on behalf of http://www.aisfor.org, selling scarlet As. (of course I bought one. Not only is it a great organization, she was also my favorite Goonie!) She made a lot of great points and her speech was full of interesting facts. Like, 1 in 3 women will be assaulted in her lifetime, there have been over 100 anti-women bills proposed just this year, and corporations have more rights as people than women. What I loved most is that she pointed out that it’s easier to make an issue of womens rights and to attack those rights than to fix the economy & create jobs.

I left the rally feeling inspired and exhausted. It’s exhausting to constantly be forced to fight for equality and still not have it (we still only make 77cents for every dollar a man makes. We are the majority in this country at 52% but still only hold 17% of seats in government). However, it’s inspiring to see so many come out to support us. There is another, national rally in D.C. in September. Hopefully, more people will come to understand that womens rights are HUMAN rights and come show their support.

This post is dedicated to my cousin (technically by marriage, but she’s been part of my family and a great friend for a long time). I christen her Redhot Blue, in honor of her love of the Red Hot Chili Peppers!

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Speak

April 16, 2012

I had Lil Blue when I was 19. I had to move back in with my mom. Mr. Blue Collar had to rent a room in another borough because there wasn’t enough space at my mom’s. I had to apply for W.I.C. so I could afford formula & such. I got a job working at ground zero when LB was about 2½ months old, working 7 days a week, 12hrs a day. It was tough, but we needed to move into our own place. We got an apartment. Everything was fine for about 3 months. Then I got laid off.

We tried to make it. I got a waitressing job that paid a fraction of what I was making. Mr. Blue Collar was (&still is) a security guard and took as many shifts as he could. Still, we couldn’t afford to pay the $1000 rent and eat. I was too proud to go on public assistance. I was foolish. Pride doesn’t put food in your kid’s belly. Anyway, we had to go to court to fight eviction. We had to promise to make payments to a faceless landlord that we knew we couldn’t make. We got the bright orange sticker placed on our apartment door warning that the marshals were going to come and kick us out. We left like thieves in the night. Where could we go? My mom still didn’t have space. Mr. BC reconcilled his relationship with his father and we went there to stay with him and his girlfriend.

Lil Blue’s crib was set up in the living room & Mr. BC and I slept on couches. I can’t go into details about living there because I don’t want to air Mr. BC’s business. I can say after about 2 months Mr. BC had to go back to renting a room elsewhere. Because our residences were so far apart, we only saw each other on weekends. Though Mr. BC’s father & girlfriend were good to my son, they were less so with me. I was miserable.

That lasted for about a year. One day, my mother told me she’d made an important decision. She was moving down to Florida for a fresh start and was leaving me “the apartment” (my family owns an apartment in an HDFC building). That was the beginning of better days for our little Blue Collar family. We still had and will have tough times ahead of us. But that feeling of debilitating anxiety and impending doom aren’t as bad as they once were.

Why am I telling you all this? Because neither Ann Romney or Hilary Rosen speak for me. They probably don’t speak for you either. How can anyone speak for me if they don’t know my story? And who knows my story better than I do? The only way people will know where you come from, who you are, and what you stand for is if you find a way to speak. Speak up. Speak out. In whatever way you can.

I hope you’ll all join me & women around the country in standing up and speaking out on April 28th at marches and rallies against the war on women.