Click the above link for fabulous feminist Heather Martin’s article in the Los Angeles Post on the April 28 Rally!
The National Organization for Women and my chapter, San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles NOW, The Valley’s Voice for Choice, are supporting the Unite Against The War on Women march and rally set for downtown Los Angeles. I’m happy to say that the rally has also been endorsed by our Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition ally, the California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC) and its national affiliate, the National League of Latin American Citizens (NLLAC).
I don’t have to tell you how critical it is to organize in today’s political arena if you’re alive, breathing, and have even a minimal concept of what’s going on in America. We thought that we were under assault with women’s clinic blockades and the murders of doctors who performed abortions. Today we’re faced with people trying to roll back the clock to well before the Roe vs Wade decision of 1973: fanatics are contesting the basis of the Griswold vs Connecticut decision of 1965 which legalized birth control!
Now is the time to unite against the attempt by fanatics to turn back the clock on women’s rights. We need to get out in the streets to demonstrate that we will not go back and that we will fight until full equality is won. Complacency and worrying about what our detractors might think about demonstrating and demanding equality in this situation is synonymous with defeat, for as Susan B. Anthony taught us:
Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences…
Saturday, April 28, 2012, 10:00am until 3:00pm
This event will start at Pershing Square located in downtown Los Angeles. We will gather starting at 10:00 a.m. at the south side of Pershing Square, along 6th Street, speakers will start at 10:30 a.m., at 11:00 a.m., we will march from 6th Street, to Main Street and then head up to Temple Street to Fletcher Bowron Square, which is located at Main and Temple, right across from City Hall. Our rally program will begin at 12:00 p.m. with speakers and entertainment.
Pershing Square has historically been a venue where protest has made its home. In 1900, King Camp Gillette (inventor of the safety razor) and Henry Gaylord Wilshire (for whom Wilshire Blvd is named) were arrested along with thousands of their fellow socialists (that year Wilshire was running for Congress in the 6th District of California on the ticket of the Social Democratic Party of America) were arrested and jailed for reading the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States without getting a permit from the police department to speak in public! We’ve come a long way in Los Angeles from those dark days and we dare not go back.
If you can volunteer time to work on the preparation committee for this rally, email:
firstname.lastname@example.org and, check out the Facebook Page to invite your friends:
- SFV/NELA CHAPTER NOW/SFV LULAC/CALIFORNIA LEAGUE OF LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS Holiday Party and Election Meeting
WhenSaturday, December 17, 2011
Time12:00pm until 5:00pm
WhereArleta, CA, 13845 Correnti Street , Arleta
San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles Chapter of the National Organization for Women and our Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition partners, SFV LULAC and California League of Latin American Citizens will hold their annual holiday party and elections meeting. CALLAC is also holding its historic founding convention as the newly chartered California affiliate of the National League of Latin American Citizens (you don’t have to be a citizen of the United States; you can be a citizen of any nation who resides in the 50 states or the District of Columbia).Potluck, but featuring our tradition of WATER SMOKED TURKEY with regular and vegeterian stuffing.
We are expecting an appearance from Rep. Brad Sherman and other elected officials and candidates for you to meet and greet.
For more info, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Somali women fleeing famine preyed on by rapists
By KATHARINE HOURELD – Associated Press | AP – Sun, Jul 31, 2011
DADAAB, Kenya (AP) — Refugee Barwago Mohamud huddles silently beneath a few blankets stretched over sticks at night, fearing for her life after a neighbor was raped, and a naked woman who had been kidnapped and gang-raped for three days in front of her terrified children was delivered to the medical tent next door.
Only a few hundred feet away stands a newly built camp with a police station, toilet blocks and schools. Neat thornbush fences in the camp separate residential areas for families to move into. But all the facilities are empty. The Kenyan government is refusing to open the new Ifo 2 facility as part of the world’s biggest refugee camp, Dadaab, saying the desperate Somali refugees flowing into the country are a security risk.
But for the women and children who fled war and famine and are now forced to build their shelters farther and farther away from the center of the camps, the extension would be a refuge from the armed men who prowl the bush at night. Some may be deserters from Somali forces across the border; others are Kenyan bandits who rob and gang-rape the stream of refugees fleeing the famine in Somalia.
The contrast between the squalid, insecure outskirts of the sprawling camp and the empty, silent facilities shows how regional politics can interfere with aid efforts, causing millions of dollars to be wasted and leaving women and children vulnerable to attack.
“What can we do?” Mohamud asked. “Our neighbors have been raped at night. We are afraid. Some boys are helping watch at night in case of trouble but they also work during the day.”
Mohamud and eight other women and girls share their rickety shelter on the outskirts of Dadaab, a camp designed for 90,000 people which now houses around 440,000 refugees. Almost all are from war-ravaged Somalia. Some have been here for more than 20 years, when the country first collapsed into anarchy. But now more than 1,000 are arriving daily, fleeing fighting or hunger.
The U.N. said this month that at least two regions in Somalia are suffering from famine and 11.3 million people in the Horn of Africa need aid.
To help ease the overcrowding, international donors including the U.S. and European Union spent $16 million building the Ifo 2 extension, which could house 40,000 people. But it is still unclear when or if the Kenyan government will open it.
Research shows that women are often attacked when they leave their families to go to the bathroom or gather firewood. When Mohamud’s three young daughters need to relieve themselves, she insists on going with them, and takes the only torch the nine women share between them. She has no shoes, so she walks barefoot over the thorny ground.
“Women express a lot of fear about going to the bush. They say there are men with guns there,” said Sinead Murray, an aid worker with the International Rescue Committee. Her organization has recorded a spike in rapes and attempted rape. Since the beginning of June, they have had double the number of attacks reported from January-May.
“More and more women are coming forward who have been raped,” said Murray, who said consultations with communities show the vast majority of rapes go unreported. Women may not know where to seek help, or fear ostracism by their community.
They are women like Sahan, who was on a bus coming over from Somalia when four gunmen stopped the vehicle. The women were ordered off and raped in the bush for three hours. She has not reported the rape because she was living far away from any medical services on the outskirts of the camp and did not want to leave her family. She asked her last name not be used to protect her privacy.
A reporter for The Associated Press drove around the newly constructed area in Dadaab and found rows of new toilet blocks standing amid the rows of empty lots, where women could more safely go to the bathroom and easily walk to police or medical services if they were attacked.
The Ifo 2 camp also houses a freshly painted primary and secondary school, police station, and headquarters for aid organizations ranging from Handicap International to the Norwegian Refugee Council padlocked shut. A medical facility for Doctors Without Borders lay half-built after aid workers said they were told to stop building early this year. The group now treats people in nearby tents instead.
More than two weeks ago, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga visited Dadaab and said the Ifo 2 extension would open in 10 days. On Saturday, Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua said that no decision had yet been reached.
Kenyan officials have said that they consider the influx of Somalis a security risk because part of the country is held by al-Qaida linked rebels. They also fear that if they provide the schools and medical care lacking in Somalia, families will simply move to Kenya to get better services. The Kenyans want aid agencies to deliver food in Somalia instead but charities face attack by bandits and harassment by Kenyan officials at the border.
But Somalis say they have no other choice than to flee their homes because they will be killed by gunmen or starve to death if they stay at home.
In the meantime, the refugees keep coming as the hunger crisis worsens but there is nowhere for them to go. The camps are full to bursting, and medical staff are setting up tents to treat new arrivals. Women and their children are being forced farther out, away from services and security. Aid agencies are appealing for more donations, unable to use the facilities they built. And Mohamud, whose door is only a blanket draped on a stick, keeps her daughters close and dreads each sunset.
“We are afraid,” she said again, as her 13-year-old daughter played in the dirt in front of her. “Maybe they will come back. But we have nowhere else to go.”
Rape in Sri Lanka
Rape in Sri Lanka
The rights Tamil women fought for must not be lost
By Tasha Manoranjan
Women, traditionally responsible for taking care of their families, watched helplessly as Colombo’s final military advance in early 2009 forced their loved ones to become refugees. Tamil women struggled throughout the assault, which comprised a ground advance, aerial bombardment, heavy artillery shelling, and a government-imposed embargo that restricted food and medical supplies from entering the LTTE-controlled area. This genocidal assault, as well as the conflict as a whole, has had profound ramifications for the cultural and political roles of Tamil women in Sri Lanka, who have reacted in diverse and diametric ways to these dire circumstances.
Walking past an Army checkpoint towards her house, a woman snaps at the soldiers harassing her. These soldiers have taken any opportunity to verbally accost her since she filed an official complaint against police officers stealing her property. Neighbors and friends told Murugesapillai Koneswari, a Tamil mother of four, to simply forget about the police’s crimes and ignore the daily injustices. However, her actions had already aggravated the military forces in her village. On 17 May 1997, two months after she filed the complaint, police officers barged into her house in the middle of the night, and then proceeded to gang rape and kill her.
Koneswari’s story exemplifies the precarious position of Tamil women in Sri Lanka, who have been a particularly vulnerable population during the island’s half-century—long conflict. Between 2004 and 2007, I spent a year and a half in the territory formerly controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), documenting Sri Lanka’s human rights violations and growing familiar with Tamil stories of suffering. I discovered Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war had caused an erosion of societal norms that disparately impacted Tamil women. Some women had even assumed unconventional societal roles by joining the LTTE’s armed struggle for independence, and fiercely fought against the government. Women who abstained from taking up arms also remained under extreme pressure, as the government relentlessly attacked the LTTE de facto government and its populace in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka.
California NOW (National Organization for Women) held its annual meeting followed by an executive board session at the Beverly Hills headquarters of the Feminist Majority and Ms. Magazine. Two resolutions were passed, one of which I authored—
Whereas, police misconduct in California and discredited police procedures have a disparate impact on women (such as sexual assault victims) and minority groups:
Therefore be it resolved that California NOW:
1. Joins the California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI) in calling upon the FBI and United States Department of Justice to adopt the Womens Law Center definition of rape for Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistical purposes;
2. Joins the California League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in supporting the Model Ordinance for Civilian Oversight of Police Misconduct and legislation to enact the recommendations of the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice;
3. Supports rolling back the Three Strikes law to apply retroactively to serious and violent felonies only.