Education is an essential component of the fight against inequality. A fair and equal education not only offers up opportunities, but builds hope in a future that is bright and secure. Battling poverty, hunger, and social injustice begins with battling inequities in public education. In New York State, education is under attack. Over the past three years AP, IB, and elective courses have been reduced or eliminated. Music, Art, Theater and sports programs have been reduced or eliminated. 35,000 educators and support staff have lost their jobs statewide, and many New Yorkers have come to know record poverty. New York State has forgone its constitutional promise and moral obligation to provide a quality education to all students.
W and I are both 100% in support of reproductive rights and health. I worked at Planned Parenthood for half a decade. During my time there, I got into reproductive justice. I got in deep. I learned a lot from others in the movements. I also spent a lot of time helping others, especially those deeply rooted in pro-choice activism, to “get” what repro justice is. Pro-choice and repro justice aren’t synonyms. Here’s a definition of reproductive justice from SisterSong:
The reproductive justice framework – the right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments — is based on the human right to make personal decisions about one’s life, and the obligation of government and society to ensure that the conditions are suitable for implementing one’s decisions is important for women of color.
It represents a shift for women advocating for control of their bodies, from a narrower focus on legal access and individual choice (the focus of mainstream organizations) to a broader analysis of racial, economic, cultural, and structural constraints on our power.
Reproductive Justice addresses the social reality of inequality, specifically, the inequality of opportunities that we have to control our reproductive destiny. Our options for making choices have to be safe, affordable and accessible, three minimal cornerstones of government support for all individual life decisions.
Repro justice takes the conversation beyond birth control, abortion, and sex ed and makes us ask questions like:
How do class and race play a role in reproductive rights work?
How are trans* and gender non-conforming people accessing sexual and reproductive health care?
How do the issues of education, literacy, and language access play into sexual and reproductive health outcomes?
What are the points of connection between taking care of the environment and taking care of our bodies?
How can we repair tensions between the disability rights communities and the pro-choice/repro justice communities?
I could write a whole post about any of those topics. There are lots of questions to raise. The question I want to address is this one: Who has the right to parent?
From the 1850′s to the 1930′s stereograms were considered cutting edge home entertainment technology. Two photos taken at the same time from slightly different angles would be view together using a special set of lenses called a stereoscope. The result would be an ever so subtle (yet mind-tingling) simulated 3D view…
Submitted by T. Forsyth / Take Back The Land - Rochester on Thu, 2014-01-09 14:04
Rochester, NY - In an unprecedented victory, Catherine Lennon, who gained local and national attention after moving back into her foreclosed home after being evicted, was according to public records, recently deeded back her house, without a mortgage.
It is easy to forget how America, with all of its faults, is still an exceptional country, governed by laws for the people and to some extent by the people. Even those who commit crimes, and find themselves on the receiving end of retributive punishment, can understand the importance of a legal system that punishes criminals and holds them responsible for their actions. There is a predominant element of retribution, which is meant to consequentially evolve into restoration (rehabilitation and repairing damage). Its primary objective is to achieve justice for the victim and assure the safety of law-abiding citizens. Its secondary objective is to rehabilitate the criminal, preparing him or her to be released at some point as a law-abiding, taxpaying, productive member of society. This is where the travesty begins which is vividly illustrated in the following piece from a 9/16/13 New York Law Journal article, written by John Coher:
“Some judges, most recently Supreme Court Justice Richard Mott of Columbia County, have taken the Parole Board to task for its policies and procedures. In a trio of decisions this year, Mott has ordered the Parole Board to grant new interviews to inmates where it used boilerplate language to deny release, but offered nothing to back it up.
I got to see Let the Fire Burn at the Little on November 12. It's been a while, but I did want to give it a bit of a review.
It's an impressive document of the misguided actions of the Philadelphia government and police against the MOVE organization that led to them bombing and burning a house in 1985 containing 13 members, eleven of whom perished. In a way, it's a microcosm of war: both are avoidable, expensive, and deadly acts.
I always thought if I started a blog, it’d be about sexual justice. Or rape culture. Or sex-positive sexuality. Or feminist rants. When I’ve dabbled in guest blogging, it’s been on those issues. I never ever, ever though it would be about parenting. In fact, the thought still kind of makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Not because I’m not excited about being a parent, but because I have worked SO HARD to be seen as more than the stereotypes of my gender.
Children assigned female at birth are generally socially conditioned to care about things like weddings and babies and home-making. And pink. All things pink. Even those of us that don’t follow the social script know that we are supposed to. My parents never pushed that girly stuff on me, but I got the message anyway through TV, peers, and subtle social cues.
This is a guest post from Larisa Karr [on the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State website]. Larisa is a writer currently residing in Syracuse, New York who is planning on pursuing a degree in international relations and journalism. Having lost a family member to cancer, which was developed as a result of working in a sweatshop, Larisa has become increasingly more active in learning more about the state of the garment industry and what can be done to help those who are in precarious situations.
“We want jobs and we want them with dignity”
“Namaskaar”, Kalpona Akter greeted a small audience at the Ford Foundation auditorium on November 20th means ‘hello’ in Bengali. Please repeat.”
Jocular and light-hearted, the incredible Akter gave the keynote address in Manhattan as part of the human rights focused Mary Robinson Speaker Series. A victim of child labour, Akter has endured much persecution in her quest to seek g justice for the many factory workers in Bangladesh. With her father becoming disabled when Kalpona was twelve, Akter soon found herself in a factory making around the equivalent of 778 Bangladeshi taka, or ten US dollars a month. Angry at the situation, she began organising a group to protest against the low wages, and then found herself being tear gassed, arraigned with false charges of criminal activity, and fired from her job. One of her friends who also helped organize the group was tortured and subsequently murdered by the government.
Press Conferences: Fri. Jan 3, 4pm & Sat. Jan 4, 9am with US Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark
DEWITT, N.Y. December 27, 2013 On Friday, January 3rd at 5pm, sixteen people will begin trial in the DeWitt Town Court for protesting the piloting of MQ9 Reaper Drones at Hancock Air Base. They will defend themselves against charges of Trespass and Disorderly Conduct. The defendants will hold a press conference January 3rd at 4pm and US Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark will join them for the second press conference on January 4th at 9:00 am at the DeWitt Town Court. The trial will follow at 10:00 am. The court is located at 5400 Butternut Drive, East Syracuse, NY.
On October 25, 2012, the sixteen served a War Crimes Indictment to Hancock Air Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing of the NY Air National Guard, and were arrested. The base is located on the backside of Syracuse Airport. Base personnel fly MQ9 Reaper drones in Afghanistan, train operators and maintain MQ9 Reaper drones for domestic use.
With the talk of the town in Rochester, NY being about whether or not former interim Rochester Police Chief Cedric Alexander, who lead the RPD for 9 months in 2005, will return to serve as Chief under Mayor-Elect Lovely Warren's new administration, I thought it would be a good opportunity to remind my fellow short-term memory Rochesterians, of Alexander's failed tenure as Chief.
In a 2005 write-up on a site called The National Psychologist, former Rochester, NY Police Chief Cedric Alexander is lauded as a hero of sorts for his creation of the Emotionally Disturbed Persons Response Team (EDPRT), a team of officers "specially trained to deal with emotionally unstable and mentally-ill individuals."
A couple months ago we took a look inside the Iola tuberculosis hospital on Westfall Road. The buildings have since been demolished. But for Marilyn Casserino, 79, those photos triggered memories, and questions that will linger on…
For as long as we have been doing this, Chris and I have always wanted to go see Temple Sinai due to its unique architecture and its mysteriousness being tucked away back in the woods off of Penfield Road. We have reached out to the powers that be at Temple Sinai before and have been informed that while they do not offer tours, we are more than welcome to attend a Shabbat service on a Friday evening. Chris and I have gone back and forth on this idea as one we will “eventually do when we run out of other places to see.” Plus, Chris did go to Temple Sinai on a reconnaissance mission when the Temple was hosting a public book sale and returned with the message of “Dude, it’s a very cool sanctuary that we will have to check out some day.” So we continued to sit on it…until now.
Submitted by SusanGalloway on Sat, 2013-12-21 01:37
Rochester had the honor of screening the film "The Throwaways", which documents the life of Ira McKinley, an ex-felon and homeless man as he attempts to show the viewer "the throwaways" in our society.
The first blog post is always the…awkwardest. So let’s start with this really basic question: What makes a family queer? What is a queer family?
When we think of LGBT families, we usually think of two moms or two dads. More specifically, we think of two cisgender lesbian moms or two cisgender gay dads. When the acronym “LGBT” is used, the “B” and “T” are often silent. The “Q” isn’t even there. LGBT is often used as a catchall acronym for our communities–it’s pretty common. But LGBT organizations, service agencies, and media outlets often focus primarily on cisgender gay men and lesbian women. That’s also pretty common. There’s nothing wrong with two cis moms or dads and those families could certainly be queer, but these representations are not inclusive of all queer families.
The documentary, Unmanned: America’s drone war, was released this week. You can download a copy from the Internet or view it here. It was powerful and disturbing on an emotional level, and at the same time made a case that the drone strikes benefit nobody except avowed enemies of the United States, and certain corporations who get billion-dollar drone contracts.
The following article is written by Katrina Josberger, a student from Coxsackie-Athens High School.
Living our comfortable, busy lives as Americans we often forget an entire world exists outside our country. We overlook the basic structure of our economy and how most of the material products purchased in department stores and apparel shops are made using cheap, inhumane labor in India, Cambodia, and Bangladesh. Millions of people, mostly young women, work in factories all seven days of the week, often clocking over 100 hours. Women are forbidden from taking a maternity leave, like Bangladeshi worker Morium Begum who lost her unborn baby at seven months when she was forced to work through illness and exhaustion. The Ha-Meem Group, the factory company employing Begum and 30,000 other garment workers, produce 70% of the apparel for Gap and Old Navy. Workers are paid 20 to 24 cents an hour, denied paid maternity leave, banned from organizing workers’ unions, and physically beaten. They are refused basic human rights and live in poverty, unable to afford food despite working 14 to 22 hour shifts. How can this be permitted? These women are being treated worse than working animals and are desperately in need of someone to speak up for them.