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“My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”

……..

“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. n the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway.

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.”

It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

I have pulled some quotes from this speech but reading or listening to the speech in its entirety is the only way to do this speech justice.  Please do.  Here is the speech in full text w/an audio: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm

Folks!!! FOLKS!! LOOOOKKK!!! An exciting opportunity to get together with ya radfolks and MAKE SHIT HAPPEN!

I know it’s tough to be politically conscious in this world, what with all the constant attacks on already marginalized folks and all, but the only thing that’s worse than this reality is the overwhelming feeling of HELPLESSNESS that accompanies a shit-avalanche like the one we’re seeing in North Carolina. There’s so much going on that I for one am still numb with confusion.  What was passed? In what secret midnight vote? Affecting whom? Closing down which clinics? Cutting which benefits? Wait – what happened to my right to vote?

And money = free speech still, right?

*cue cautiously optimistic, inspirational tune*

That’s why it’s important to arm yourself with education — not just about the issues and their effects, but what YOU — yes YOU!!! — can do to [resist the powers that be], [reverse the effects of damaging legislation] and [prevent this from happening again in the future].

Here’s a blurb from the [WIN] Conference event page:

“The [WIN] Conference will serve to educate the community about issues currently plaguing society. What this means is that we will have a bunch of awesome presenters teaching us about what is going on right now.

Learn more about current womyn’s issues such as reproductive rights/justice, politics, violence against womyn, and womyn in the media. Our keynote speaker is Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong. Organizations such as the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, Ipas, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, and Lillian’s List will be presenting and tabling throughout the day!

Come out to the Womyn’s Issues Now [WIN] Conference
WHERE: Union in room 3408
WHEN: Saturday, January 25, 2014 from 9 AM – 5 PM!

We will serve free breakfast and lunch. You don’t want to miss this great event!

 

Space is limited so register NOW!

[WIN] Conference 2014 REGISTRATION

[WIN] Conference Event Page

HB695

“URGENT! Sneak attack by NC Senators who seem committed to denying safe and legal abortion to NC women. HB695 inserts every anti-women’s health bill the GOP couldn’t get passed during the regular session, so they’re trying to push them through now. They think we’re not paying attention. BUT WE ARE!

The third reading is tomorrow at 9am at the NCGA. Let’s show them our power and BE THERE!

*Wear Pink &/or Purple

*FYI: As opposed to Texas, anyone who is disruptive in the Senate gallery will be arrested.*”
–via Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund

Hey – hey you?? You like scarves? You like wool socks? You like abortion access?

Well then do I have a deal for you!

FSU and SURJ have a combined 4 teams participating in this year’s National Abortion Access Bowl-a-thon, and in order to raise funds to meet our goal, I am selling things I’ve knitted over the years and haven’t given away.

If you are interested in helping bring access to abortion services to the women and female-bodied people of North Carolina, please do check out THIS ETSY PAGE

I will be updating with more items over the next week, so please do check back in and see if there’s anything that *strikes* your fancy.

If you would like to donate directly to the abortion fund, you can do so here: Smash the PINTRIARCHY!!

Wanna learn more about the Carolina Abortion Fund?  Here’s a snippet from their website:

The Carolina Abortion Fund has learned a lot this year, thanks to your continued support of our mission to improve access to abortion services for women and girls in North Carolina (and, of course, a rockin’ first annual Bowl-a-Thon!).

This year, we learned how to set up a compassionate and responsive intake system that has already helped more than 70 women pay their medical bills since the program started. We learned that our supporters are as passionate about bowling and access to abortion as we are. But the most important lesson we learned this year is that $300 a week does not go very far at an abortion fund.

You see, our budget only allows us to give out $300 a week to the women who call us. This weekly allowance barely lasts through our first hour of calls per week, let alone the first night. Why did we set this budget? We want to help as many women as we can, but we also want to build a sustainable fund that can serve women year-round.

This is why we need your help. It’s pretty simple: the more we raise, the more we can give out, and the fewer women we’re forced to turn away who need our help.

Contribute now–whether it is $10 or $50 or $500–to help women in North Carolina know that they have a place to turn to.

Your charitable contribution to the Carolina Abortion Fund is tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes. We are an all-volunteer organization, which means your contribution will go directly to help low-income women and girls with minimal overheard costs.

Read more here:Carolina Abortion Fund

How far will your tax-deductible donation go?

  • $300: Provides a maximum grant to a 2nd trimester patient or maximum grants to 3 1st trimester patient
  • $200: Provides grants to 2 1st trimester patients
  • $100: Provides a maximum grant to a 1st trimester patient
  • $50: Provides a half grant to a first trimester patient
  • $25: Provides a quarter of a grant to a first trimester patient

The CAF is a 100% volunteer-operated organization. Each tax-deductible you contribute will go directly to help a low-income person pay their medical bills.

NARALblog

North Carolina is a state with a rich history of reproductive struggle.  As one of the only states with a eugenics program that survived WWII and thrived into the late 70’s, we stand a relic, a link to the often-forgotten past – the last page in an unsettling chapter of our nation’s history.  While some might claim that “it was a different time then” and “nothing like that would ever happen now,”  NC is home to an estimated 1,500 – 2,000 living survivors of sterilization by the state who were recently denied compensation for said travesty just this past summer.   An estimated total of 7,500 people were either coerced into consent, forced by law, or were simply sterilized with out their knowledge during otherwise routine procedures, like, say – childbirth – during the reign of the NC Eugenics Board.

At the same time that mostly poor women of color were being preyed upon by “public health” officials, white women of the day were being denied sterilization because 1) they were the ideal race 2) their husbands wanted kids/more kids.

That being said, apparently, NC was fairly progressive in terms of abortion access some six years before the days of Roe v. Wade, though I cannot guarantee the purity of their intentions  – I honestly think it was somehow related to the eugenics program, but maybe I am paranoid.  A quick google search could probably solve this.  OH YEAH – and not only did they have this abortion access, though limited, that allowed for  “women to have abortions in cases of rape, incest, fetal abnormality, and when the woman’s health was endangered,” but they also set up a state abortion fund subsequent to the passage of Roe v. Wade when the Hyde amendment removed the affordability portion of the concept of “access” by barring medicaid from covering the procedure.  Jerks.

For those of you unfamiliar with the recent goings -on of the NC general assembly, the still-contested Women’s Right to Know Act, one of the multitudes of misnomers in the anti-choice effort, forces women and other people seeking abortion services to submit to government mandated, biased, BULL SHIT reading of “information” that has no basis in medical practice.  They must endure a waiting period that requires a patient make 2 visits and potentially, depending on which judge this matter falls to (its under an injunction), hear the heartbeat/endure a description of the fetus.  Yay.

I’m not a fan of the two-party system, but I can say honestly that this attack rests squarely on the shoulders of the Republican party and those asses need to cut the crap.  There I said it.

So — this little rant here, this is just a brief glossing over of NC, and I am sad to say that there are plenty of states whose histories and recent news lines read the same.  For instance, thanks to the efforts of anti-choice lawmakers and lobbyists, the closing of the last abortion clinic in Mississippi looks at this juncture to be an inevitability.  If you’ve checked out Mississippi’s poverty rates recently……nvm.  Logic won’t work this time.

And as if this all wasn’t enough to remind us of the need to fight to full reproductive choice and continue the struggle for reproductive justice for all……Check out what I found on DemocracyNOW

“A new study shows hundreds of women in the United States have been arrested, forced to undergo unwanted medical procedures, and locked up in jails or psychiatric institutions, because they were pregnant. National Advocates for Pregnant Women found 413 cases when pregnant women were deprived of their physical liberty between 1973, when Roe v. Wade was decided, and 2005. At least 250 more interventions have taken place since then. In one case, a court ordered a critically ill woman in Washington, D.C., to undergo a C-section against her will. Neither she nor the baby survived. In another case, a judge in Ohio kept a woman imprisoned to prevent her from having an abortion.”

I put a link down at the bottom there if ya wanna check out the interview in its entirety.

“So what is the point of this post?!?” you ask.  Well – I guess I wanted to illustrate that the fight for “choice” and the right to abortion is important – but only if it is considered as a part of the larger language of the reproductive justice framework.  The history of our country, and of states like NC in particular, exemplifies the need to consider the multiple stories and relationships that women and other people have had to this concept of “choice.”

As usual, SisterSong puts it best:

“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.”

So while defending access to abortion is important, please consider it just one of many other issues that need tackling in order to expand full reproductive choice for all people.

There are a number of intersections that I did not address, as I had intended this be a short piece to commemorate and remind, but consider, too, how issues related to freedom to adequate and safe housing, water, soil, air, nutritious and affordable food, healthcare, employment, leisure – ALL of these things should be considered when we utter this word: CHOICE.

blog

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/18/criminalizing_pregnancy_as_roe_v_wade

http://www.sterilizationvictims.nc.gov/

http://www.southernstudies.org/2013/01/voices-remembering-north-carolinas-pro-choice-past.html

http://www.sistersong.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=141&Itemid=81

Good evening, feminists!

So I know that today is election day, and I know that as a radical feminist I should be fighting this particular system of voting -since no one who will take office in January could ever possible represent radical feminist interests to the extent necessary (any) to gain my support/blessing/whatever – but I come to you today with a confession:  I totally voted within the system.  I’m not proud, but I’m still growing and developing in terms of my radical political affiliation.  Maybe next election I will act differently.  I dunno.  Maybe the scare tactics won, or maybe I just see an Obama victory as more conducive to the next step in the process of dismantling this distorted system, I’m not entirely sure.

What I am certain of is the importance of engaging in politics and, thanks to Michale Ferguson, the importance of forming political judgments.  This is a new concept to me, as I am in the habit of parroting a lot of political thought, but have never genuinely grappled with an original idea and come out victorious, confidently presenting a judgment or stance to public.  No, indeed, every time I form a judgment, I am sure to keep it well hidden, at least until I find already documented support of something similar, and then slowly that  anxiety melts away.

One thing Ferguson discusses in “Choice Feminism and the Fear of Politics,”  is the reasoning behind this sort of inaction.  Fear! Fear of rejection or fear of criticism/critique, fear of the sheer force of the power within, even! Ok, I added that bit, but still.  I speak from a place of personal experience when I say that there seems to be an assumption of incompetence with regard to a woman’s ability to form judgments that are sound, reasoned, and of any realm prior to now (or even still) deemed male.  This includes, but is not limited to, politics.  And not just your parents’ run-of-the-mill, boring debate, politics, either.  I speak now of even the so-called “progressive” political realm of which I am a part.

It seems that no matter what choice a woman makes, she’s not being “progressive” or “feminist” enough in her choices.  Now, true, voting for Romney in such a hostile political environment (you know, one that has attempted literally THOUSANDS of anti-choice legislative efforts in the last 2 years) is decidedly a poor move in terms of feminist thought, but then again, there is an entire branch of DREAMers who support Romney in name because of Obama’s deportation policies, so…there’s a lot going on.  With regard to the current election, this has manifested itself as the derision of any progressive/feminist woman’s “choice” to vote for Democrats in an attempt to protect Roe v. Wade from being overturned by a Republican dominated U.S. supreme court.  I use the term choice here lightly, because of the manipulable nature of this voting system.

The argument, of course, is that the Obama administration has been nothing more than an oppressive force for all people (that includes women), in any given country deemed “worthy” of U.S. intervention a.k.a. SALVATION AND FREEDOM! and that a vote for this administration is inherently anti-feminist.  Hell, participation in this intentionally limited system given ANY candidate who makes the cut is inherently anti-feminist.

What I will say about this simplified version of the argument is that I couldn’t agree more with the premise!  I mean it!  Of course the Obama administration is an imperialist, capitalist, farce!  It’s inherent in the position of President of these United States.

What I am tired of is being told how to be a “good feminist.”  According to some, there is no room in the discussion – Roe v. Wade is small potatoes in comparison, and can’t we see that?  if we really care –yeah, that’s right, IF we really care, we should be more global in thought.

Here’s what I have to say – that’s right- my very first PUBLIC ASS political judgment:

Step 1: Vote, Don’t Vote, Vote however you want.  If you think a vote AGAINST Romney is a vote towards progress, if you think voting for Roe v. Wade is the safe bet to protect your rights to abortion, if you think, like me, that Obama’s administration will be easier to work with in terms of progressive legislation or human rights initiatives, DO IT! Do it loud, do it proud.  After all, in a country where MOST PEOPLE don’t vote, and where marginalized populations are STILL fighting for that right, not voting at all IS NOT a revolutionary act.  Voting for the candidates that have been pushed from the limelight like JILL STEIN for instance, is arguably  revolutionary, but if you think that a vote for Stein at this juncture is a vote FOR Romney in terms of realistic outcomes, then do what you think is more important.  Make that choice for yourself.  Educate yourself, sure, but don’t let some uterus-less white man tell you that imminent rights to birth control “aren’t important” enough to be the basis of a vote.  After all, regardless of the outcome of this election, the rights of women around the world will remain in peril.  That won’t change.  But the legal status of abortion in this country very well may.

Step 2: Now – after you do all of that voting, non-voting, strategic, manipulated voting, or what have you, take a moment to reflect. Did anything change? How did it make you feel?

Step 3: And this is the really important one – Realize that election day, especially this sort that comes only once in four years, will only ever do so much.  As lovely as it would be to see change stem from the current political system, the old adage probably remains true: If voting changed anything, it would be illegal.  I do leave an exception for local elections, of course, because these elections in particular have the potential to enact changes and policies that will have real effects on the constituencies.

In terms of national and global politics, however, if you have gone through this grueling process of deciding who, why, when, where, at what costs?!?!? because of how much you care, because of issues that matter, because of your interests in a better future for your children, you would be remiss to begin and end your political engagement every year on the Tuesday after the first Monday every November.

As history has demonstrated over and over again, the power lies with the people.  We cannot continue to put our hope for real societal change in  group of wealthy career politicians,a majority of whom are straight, white, men.  Sure, they are there.  If we can codify something and push for a paradigm shift ever so slightly in that manner, it certainly won’t hurt, but rest assured that this will not be the path by which we achieve social justice.  This will not be the path by which we will obtain a humanitarian ……..

So yes, vote.  But what about the other 364 or 365 days of the year?  What will you do to encourage progress in the interim? The one thing you will do if you really care, is stay involved.  You will seek out coalitions in your area.  If there are none to be found, you will start them.  You will disseminate literature and exercise your ability to engage in the formation of political judgments.  You will engage in radical/progressive discourse.  You will start a radical feminist knitting circle at a locally owned bread and coffee shop.  You will question your own choices and actions.  Are you unintentionally reinforcing messages that you actively speak against? Examine that shit.

You don’t have to give up your life as is and transform everything about yourself, but you do have to find a way to keep these conversations going.  If the personal is political, then every choice you make is a vote for something.
UPDATE:  As a bad ass comrade of mine so eloquently put it today:

“Democracy exists when engaged citizens practice it every day, when we organize our communities and let the voices of the marginalized be heard loud and clear. We like to say that we know democracy in this country, but it is not true, we have so much to learn, and going to the polls today is just the first step.”

-Ana Maria R

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27TH from 11AM-5PM
at the UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA at CHAPEL HILL
Seating is limited: REGISTER NOW

The goal of the Carolina Reproductive Justice Conference is to expose student activists championing various causes to the Reproductive Justice framework which we hope will provide the foundation to see how our “disparate” causes are in fact intersectional.

We aim to give our community a more inclusive lens through which we can view our own work and the work of others. Through this lens, we can come together to support one another, build strong cross-issue coalitions, and gain power as a collective voice and champion for all social justice issues.

As Students United for Reproductive Justice is invested in the reproductive health, rights and justice of all people, we want our fellow campus organizers and activists to understand how the issues that they champion–racial, economic, environmental, political etc.–also have a strong affect on people’s reproductive health and reproductive freedom.So come, one and all, for a day of workshops, speakers, and solidarity. Space for this conference is limited, so please REGISTER AS SOON AS YOU ARE ABLE

 

WOW! WOW! All my posts begin with WOW!

I can’t actually even begin to delve into all of the amazing things we have coming your way, so in a way, the title of this post is a lie…it implies explanation. BUT I APOLOGIZE! And clarification will swiftly follow.

I just HAD to take a moment and tell you all that our little baby VOX has grown up and moved out of the house and changed its name. I am proud to introduce: SURJ! Students United for Reproductive Justice!!! I strongly encourage you to check out SURJ’s new SITE

You will also notice that there is an event for which one might register – There will be more on that, more details, more info, more talky-talk….but if you want to, NEED TO KNOW NOW, please visit the EVENT PAGE

Feminist Students United (FSU) is a progressive feminist organization which affirms that no form of oppression can be overcome until all aspects of racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism are dismantled. We acknowledge intersecting identities and strive to be mindful of these intersections in all our work. We endeavor to create an environment which is non-hierarchical and supportive in nature, and we work to bring about change in our community through education, outreach, direct action and community organizing.

Weekly Meetings

Spring 2015: Wednesdays at 7:30 PM in Murphey 202

For a better look at events, check out FSU's Calendar

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contact us

uncfsu AT gmail (dot) com