As I walked out of my small high school in a rural southern town on my final day of classes, I was excited about all of the possibilities that awaited me when I reached college.
One was the prospect of being surrounded by politically like-minded individuals at the liberal arts school I would attend in the fall. I naively thought that because of this relocation, I would never have to bang my head against the wall after hearing a fellow studentâ€™s comments on politics ever again. I was entirely wrong. Although the political climate here is much less hostile than it is at home, it still seems that thereâ€™s a disconnect between whatâ€™s happening politically and the students who call themselves activists.
Many of them have never voted even though the majority of them are of legal voting age. Theyâ€™re perfectly content to protest outside Trump Tower on the weekends, but when it comes to mobilizing voters and going to the polls themselves, they fall painfully short. Additionally, there is too much focus placed on Trumpâ€™s personal issues. As awful as Trump can be, spending too much time gossiping about his relationship with a porn star and discussing his latest inflammatory tweet wonâ€™t do anything to prevent his political agenda from succeeding.
Millennials – the non-voting majority!
Millennials have to step up our game if we want anything to change. We are now the largest voting-eligible generation in the country! This power that we have is being undercut, however, by the fact that we have the lowest voter turnout rate of any age group. This is completely unacceptable. It is fair to feel disempowered when we are young and our elected officials seem so out of touch. It is fair to be frustrated. However, it is up to us to change that.
Millennials have the numbers now to turn the tide of elections. We have to stay informed, research candidates, and support the ones we believe in. Even when there are no candidates that perfectly align with our desires, that does not mean we have a free pass to sit out. We must – in these cases – vote preventatively to keep the people who seek to destroy our rights out of office. We must fight back against conservatives whose mission it is to tear us away from our contraceptives and our access to safe and legal abortions. We must fight back against candidates that have been accused of crimes such as sexual assault and sexual harassment. We must fight back against candidates who seek to take away power from women in any way.
Our days of being trapped in the kitchen voiceless and oppressed are over and we must keep it that way. Any time we choose to sit out an election is a time when we could have kept such candidates out of office with our votes. Let this serve as a call to action. Take your anger not only to the streets, but to the polls and to the offices of your representatives.
– What we feared is indeedÂ the new reality –
This White House is in the hands of
anti-Semitic misogynistic whiteÂ supremacists.
Dear Pro-Choice Voters,
Donald Trump and his closest advisers have turned the clock back to a time where discrimination and hate were an accepted, commonÂ trait of American life. They began before the General Election with hate mongering intended to stir the base and intimidate everyone else.Â Beginning with the Muslim ban to reinstating and expanding the Mexico City Policy* toÂ trampling on LGBT rights**, Trump was laying the groundwork for the resurgence of the KKK and Nazi demonstrations and violence we saw this weekend.
But make no mistake, this ideology of hate and the intimidation tactics the Trump administration employs areÂ not limited to Charlottesville or the South. It is right here in Westchester County and being spirited forward byÂ Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
On August 17th, Â Astorino vetoed the Immigration Protection Act – a bill that was in total compliance with federal law and that had passed the Board of Legislators 10-5. Â The goal of the bill was toÂ stop local law enforcement from acting as federal immigration officials, thereby protecting county resources and building trust in our communities.Â
Why did Astorino do this?
You need look no further than the praise Astorino’s veto received fromÂ Trump’s AG Jeff Sessions.
Remember this is THE Jeff Sessions who said the KKK is “OK”*** and used a Supreme Court case permitting the racial segregation of swimming pools to justify the Muslim ban.
This was not Astorino’s first attempt to please Trump. Back in the fall, when swastikas and racist graffiti started appeared around Westchester, Astorino blamed Obama and Clinton supporters, telling both leaders to calm their supporters – just as Trump blamed those who were demonstrating peacefully against the Nazis and KKKÂ in Charlottesville.
Only you can put an end to this hate mongering by our elected officials here in Westchester.
And that is by VOTING – And if you are not registered, do so: Register Here
Dorothy Height – “The godmother to the Civil Rights Movement” President Barack Obama
A portrait of Dorothy Height is on the Black Heritage forever stamp this month. She was an amazing woman with more credits to her name than most of us could ever dream of. She spent almost 50 years of her life fighting for race and gender equality.
She helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, and was the only woman to stand on the stage with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Â But, despite being a march organizer and representing the National Council of Negro Women, she was not asked to speak.
Dorothy Height recognized a fundamental truth – a truth that we must embrace today. Women’s rights, including the right to choose – the very right to control your own body – encompasses all women and must, therefore, include all women on the front lines.
Height and other black women leaders sought to empower the black community to fight restrictions on abortion. The African-American Women for Reproductive Rights, an influential black political, social and grass-roots organization, gave voice to that.
We will include Dorothy Height on our 45th anniversary wall Recognizing the Pro-Choice Voter.
The irony that it took until Trump was in the White House for her image to appear on our 1st class postage stamp cannot be overlooked. Trump and his administration seek to Â destroy all we have fought for, for Â so many years â€“ including birth control and abortion rights. Dorothy Height’s portrait stands as a reminder that we can neither stand idly by nor can we isolate ourselves in groups as we wage this battle.
We are targeting all 8 IDC* districts beginning with NYS Senate District #38, David Carlucci’s district.
Why start with Carlucci’s District?
He is one of the original 4 founding members of the IDC,Â AND he joinedÂ immediately upon being elected to his very first term. Carlucci started betraying his constitutents on Day One of his first term in the NYS Senate.
To educate voters about the IDC and their State Senator!
fyi: The IDC Â is blocking all progressive legislation including the Reproductive Health Act, Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act, and Â Contingency funding for Planned Parenthood from coming to the floor of the NYS Senate,Â INCLUDINGÂ a New York State bill that would force Trump to disclose his taxes.
On June 20th, in a much-welcomed victory, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman introduced a lawsuit to â€œprotect women from abuse and intimidation outside of a reproductive health clinic in Queens.â€ If successful, it would create a cushioning of 16 feet outside of the clinic to guarantee women have the freedom to exercise Â their constitutional right to access reproductive healthcare without the intimidation and harassment that has become far too familiar.
This is a much-needed, celebrated win for the women of New York. We commend the Attorney General for his continued support and empowerment of women when too few officials are willing to stand up for basic human rights.
In the time of Trump, this is exactly the kind of action that is imperative, now more than ever. We hope AG Schneidermanâ€™s action will inspire others in cities and states across the country to follow New York Stateâ€™s top law enforcement officerâ€™s lead.
Read more about AG Schneiderman’s action to protect the rights of women to safe access.
On May 23, 2017, join us for an educational forum to discuss the national reproductive rights landscape as it has changed since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, and how the Trump Administration has already impacted women’s health choices. We will examine what it mean for abortion to be a stateâ€™s rights issue and where, exactly, New York State fits into the equation.
This forum is being co-sponsored by WCLA – Choice Matters & the Ethical Culture Society of New York.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
7:00 pmÂ â€“ 9:00 pm
The Ethical Culture Society of New York
2 West 64th Street
New York, New York 10025
Today marks the 44th anniversary of the U.S Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which recognized that women have a constitutional right to have control over their own bodies.
Before Roe was decided on January 22, 1973, women fought for years for the right to have a safe, legal abortion. In Chicago, there was J.A.N.E., a secret group of primarily women who refused to stand by as women died in dirty back-alley abortions. Other women provided an â€œunderground railroadâ€ for those who needed to travel to get an abortion. Women, just as with the Suffrage Movement, courageously battled for years.
Yesterday, women stood together again in cities across the nation and countries around the world – and this time, some men stood with us. We will not stand idly by as our rights are trampled upon.
Here in New York, we officially launched our campaign, Make New York State a Reproductive Rights Sanctuary â€“ and Governor Cuomo recognized it by announcing a contraceptive coverage administrative action that serves as a stopgap measure until we can get the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act (CCCA) passed by the New York State Senate. (The Assembly passed CCCAÂ last Tuesday.)
Please note, an administrative action is NOT adequate. Like a presidentâ€™s Executive Order, it can be wiped away by a successor, just as we are witnessing Donald Trump act on his commitment to undo President Obamaâ€™s Executive Orders.
NowÂ the New York State Senate Must JoinÂ the Assembly in Standing up for All Women and pass the “Comprehensive” Contraceptive Coverage Act!
Together, like allÂ who fought for Roe and for the right to vote, we stand united.
We are calling on the Governor to use the powers he demonstrated when he got the Senate to pass Marriage Equality, and Safe Gun and Anti-Fracking Legislation. Governor Cuomo mustÂ convince the seven rogue Democrats of the IDC to return to the Democratic Caucus, so that they can do what they were elected to do — the People’s Business.
Excerpt from The Worst of Times, Chapter â€œCoroner Fred,â€ by Patricia G. Miller, HarperCollins Books, 1993.
In the coronerâ€™s office, â€œthe dead women we saw had either bled to death or they had died from overwhelming infections. Some had tears along the vaginal tract where they had used coat hangers to get up into the uterus and break things upâ€”like rupture the amniotic sac.
Mostly, of course, I only saw the women after they were dead, but once I saw someone before she died. That was in the early sixties. It was a woman who worked in the hospital lab with me. She was a very nice person. I donâ€™t know anything about her personal situation or why she wanted an abortion, but she had one, and she bled and bled. I remember she called in sick and told us that she had a bad cold. Finally she did come to the hospital, but it was really too late. She died just a few hours after she came in.
Probably the death rate wouldnâ€™t have been so high if people had come to the hospital earlier, but the way it was, with the shame and the secrecy, they tended to stay at home as long as they couldâ€”sometimes too long, as it turned out.â€ â€œMost of the dead women I saw were in their teens or twenties.â€
â€œThe deaths stopped overnight in 1973, and I never saw another abortion death in all the eighteen years after that until I retired. That ought to tell people something about keeping abortion legal.â€
From an article by Stephanie Brown, In These Times, July 19-August 1, 1989.
â€œJust take off your panties anâ€™ lie down, darlinâ€™,â€ â€œMrs. Jones,â€ my â€œobstetrician,â€ told me.
I did it.
She went into the other room and came back with a long, red tube. Later my friend explained that this was a surgical catheter with one end sealed. The catheter was supposed to be inserted into my womb, and a few hours later the presence of this foreign body would cause me to abort naturally. I would â€œhaveâ€ the baby.
I opened my legs, and Mrs. Jones went to work. She sweated and grunted. She couldnâ€™t seem to find my cervix, where the tube needed to be inserted. I felt no pain. At last she said that the tube was in place, that I should go home and wait.
I gave her my $150.
Ida took me home. I paid off the baby-sitter, gave my kids supper and waited. Nothing happened.
So I called Ida. She said it had been too long, maybe weâ€™d have to go back to Mrs. Jones, but that she would almost certainly want more money.
I hung up the phone and went into the bathroom to check the tube. It had fallen out.
I thought it over. I now had the tube.I knew where my cervix was better than Mrs. Jones. I, moreover, understood the value of sterilization and the danger of infection. And, most important of all, I cared whether or not I survived this damned procedure. I decided to do it myselfâ€¦
Then, I went into the kitchen and put a big kettle of water on to boil. I took some picture wire from the kitchen drawer (to stiffen the catheter). I boiled the catheter and the wire for half an hour and took them, still in the kettle, into the bathroom to cool. Then I washed the toilet seat, my thighs, arms and hands with liquid Phisohex soapâ€¦
I sat down on the toilet seat and threaded the wire into the tube. Then I put my feet up, one on the towel rack and one on the sink, and leaned back. I reached a finger up my vaginal canal and found my cervix. Then I took a deep breathâ€¦and started the end of the tube into my cervixâ€¦I carefully withdrew the wires as I inserted the tube further and further, never allowing the wire inside my uterus, where anything rigid might cause a fatal puncture.
The tube seemed miles long, but finally it was all, except for a short tail I left dangling, inside me. I optimistically put on a sanitary napkin. Then I laid my will on the pillow next to me and went to sleep.
I awoke early the next morning with cramps. I smiled to realize that I was, so far, okay-no fever, no hemorrhaging. I went into the bathroom and found that the bleeding had started. I slowly removed the tubeâ€¦
The bleeding was heavy now, and unusually large clots were coming throughâ€¦ I felt a bit lightheaded but kept goingâ€¦ The bleeding subsided and I recuperated without eventâ€¦
For years after that I hung onto my precious red catheter. Catheters were hard to come by then, as surgical supply houses knew that midwives and registered nurses were using them to perform illegal abortions.
I hid mine under the lingerie in my top drawer until abortion was legalized on January 22, 1973. Then, glad to be rid of the thing that I had so both hated and needed, I took it out to the incinerator of our apartment building hallway and burned it.