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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

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by Sarah Baker

March 25-March 31 is National Farmworker Awareness Week.  National Farmworker Awareness Week (NFAW) is a week of action for students and community members to raise awareness about farmworker issues on our campuses and in our communities. 

85% of our fruits and vegetables are harvested by hand, but the farmworkers that harvest our produce remain largely invisible.  Farmworkers are one of the most exploited and marginalized group of workers in the US.  They are exempted from many of the US federal and state labor laws that protect workers.  Issues that farmworkers face include low pay, job insecurity, health and safety hazards such as pesticide poisoning, inadequate housing, child labor, social isolation, food insecurity, and barriers to accessing healthcare.   Many farmworkers come on H-2A guestworker visas or are undocumented and therefore fear retaliation or deportation for speaking out against these conditions.

When we think about farmworkers, we usually imagine them to be men. While farmworkers are mainly young men, women make up 22% of the agricultural workforce in the U.S.  Farmworker women endure all the issues that farmworker men face, as well as issues that are unique or amplified because they are women.  Female farmworkers are frequently even more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and marginalization than farmworker men.  Farmworker women face issues such as hiring and pay discrimination, sexual harassment and assault, and violation of reproductive rights.

Farmworker women face hiring and pay discrimination  within our agricultural system.  H-2A guestworker visas are generally not given to women, so more farmworker women must come into the US as undocumented to work, which creates conditions that are ripe for exploitation and marginalization.  Also, farmworker women are under greater pressure under the piece-rate system of pay and often need to work longer hours in order to earn the same income as a man.  For example, the average personal income of farmworker women is $11,250, compared to $16,250 farmworker men.  Women also face discrimination in accessing more desirable jobs, such as machinery operation or pesticide appliers, or being promoted to supervisory positions which are better paid.

Sexual harassment is a major and prevalent issue that farmworker women face.  In a survey of farmworker women in California, 90% of women identified sexual harassment as a major problem.  Sexual harassment of farmworker women can range from inappropriate touching and comments to rape.  Many women are forced to have sex with supervisors to keep their jobs or put up with constant propositions for sex by supervisors.  Farmworker women may not report instances of sexual harassment and abuse for fear of losing their jobs or being deported, especially when they have families and children depending on them.

Additionally, farmworker women face violation of their reproductive rights.  Women in the fields are exposed to toxic pesticides, of which pregnant women (and their fetuses) are particularly vulnerable to.  Exposure to pesticides is linked to infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects.  For example, a child, Carlitos Candelario, was born in 2004 without arms and legs after his mother was heavily exposed to pesticides while pregnant and working in tomato fields in Florida.  Farmworkers face barriers to health care and for farmworker women this means barriers to accessing prenatal care while pregnant and also other reproductive care, such as access to birth control.

These are just some of the issues that farmworker women face.  Farmworkers play a vital role in harvesting our food, but are the most exploited and marginalized group of workers in the U.S.  and farmworker women are even more vulnerable than farmworker men.  These hardworking women are part of the backbone of the U.S. agricultural system while also holding their families and communities together.   When working to advocate for and improve conditions with farmworkers, we must not forget about the issues that farmworker women face.

To take action and get involved:

Come out to an event being hosted on UNC’s campus as part of National Farmworker Awareness week!  Events are listed here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/207363392698801/

-Join Alianza, the farmworker solidarity group at UNC!  Email alianzaUNC@gmail.com and like us on facebook for more info. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alianza/234322143298572

-Sign Alianza’s petition asking Board of Governor David Powers to meet with UNC students to discuss the abuse of farmworkers that is occurring in North Carolina! http://act.aflcio.org/c/758/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=3122

-Visit www.saf-unite.org to learn about Student Action with Farmworkers, get involved in one of their programs, learn more about farmworkers, and hear their stories.

Sarah is a member of FSU, a member of Alianza, and a student organizer with Student Action with Farmworkers.  At UNC, she is currently working on the Reynolds Campaign with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) to bring justice to tobacco farmworkers in North Carolina. 

______________________________________________________________________________________

Sources:
http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/publications/injustice-on-our-plates
http://www.seattleglobaljustice.org/food-justice/food-justice-resources/farmworker-sexual-violence-facts/
http://nfwm-yaya.org/resources/farm-worker-issues/women%E2%80%99s-issues/
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/files/like-machines-in-the-fields.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farmworker

Join VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Feminist Students United, the LGBTQ Center, and Interactive Theatre Carolina for a day long workshop on reproductive justice!

The goal of this training is to allow participants to gain an understanding of what reproductive justice in the US means, the roles and services of Planned Parenthood, the conflicting messages that pregnant people face when confronted with the possibility of abortion, and the specific challenges that LGBTIQ individuals in the US face in the arena of reproductive justice.

Free lunch will be provided!

We would greatly prefer if you would register for this event so that we can know how much food to order, but if you show up without registering, we won’t turn you away!


To Register for this workshop: Click Here

For more information, check out our  Facebook Event Page

Good news, everyone: VOX is making a ZINE! That being said, a ZINE is no simple feat, so we are looking to you, feminists!

The theme of this zine will be, quite generally, Reproductive Justice & Freedom!

This collection of awesome will be a celebration of SEX, Sexualities, Women’s Rights, and anything else you dream up.  Have you been searching for a way to vent your frustrations with recent attacks on said rights? Here’s your chance!! Do you want to express your opinion or share an experience with how our legal and social norms limit these rights? We want YOU!

That means:

  • Art work
  • Poetry
  • Stories
  • Information
  • Anything your heart desires!

About:

  • Contraception
  • Education
  • Periods
  • Sexualities
  • Stigma
  • Social Norms and how/why they suck
  • Pregnancy
  • Abortion
  • Exams
  • Health care
  • Sexual Experiences

In addition, we are looking specifically for short anecdotes surrounding sex education, Planned Parenthood, sexual relations and the like.

Tell us: What went wrong? What went right? How did being educated impact this experience – OR – how did this experience demonstrate the importance of sexual education?  Have a notable experience with PP?  We want to hear about it!!

The deadline has yet to be set, but we welcome submissions immediately and will keep everyone updated.

Email your submission as an attachment to: uncfsu@gmail.com and be sure to include your name and any other relevant personal information so that we can give proper credit.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with an questions OR if you would like to be added to the VOX listserv! 

Follow us on Twitter @VOXforPP or join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/2200126824/

Peace and Solidarity,

VOX!!

These days, all sides of the political spectrum attempt to claim mothers as a demographic they represent.  When it comes to Democrats and Republicans, it seems the mothers they speak of have “mom haircuts”, are white, “middle-class”, Christian, married, and around 40 years old.  But what about the hip, new moms?  What about working-class, single moms who educate themselves and raise a family?  What about black, feminist women?  Or young moms, who may still be in high school or college?

Screech.  Hold the phone.  Now it’s gettin’ sticky.  Most articles/pictures/sociological studies about young mamas end up shaming the women, how the public school systems/government has failed them, whether or not they should have the choice to terminate the pregnancy.  But what about celebrating these mamas? On this Mother’s Day I ask that viewers watch the above video, and think of one of the kickass young mamas in my life: Cathey Stanley.

Cathey is 23 years old, and just finished her first year of a Master’s program in teaching.  She aspires to teach secondary-level english, she is a gifted poet and writer, and she did her undergraduate degree in English at Carolina too.  She is one of the first FSU members I remember meeting, with her ponytail and her grace, she was a staple of meetings for me when I was an undergraduate myself.  About two and a half years ago, Cathey gave birth to a beautiful young boy, Jaiden.  Jaiden is a fun toddler, who likes monkeys and trains, babbles in the English and Spanish that Cathey taught him to speak, and is a proud little Tarheel.  Cathey is now a single mom, she is a student-teacher, ie she is in the classrooms almost full-time at Carrboro High School, but still has her graduate classes and exams, and an activist.  She is in the Coordinating Committee for FIST, a local socialist youth organization, where she fights for equal access for quality education.   She is working on her official candidacy for joining Worker’s World Party.  There have definitely been difficult times for Cathey, including not always having a reliable source of childcare, raising a multiracial child as a white woman, having to explain again and again why/how she is a pro-choice mama, and working on battling depression and taking time for self-care.  But she remains an inspiration to our feminist community, and is a great mom to J, on top of everything.  J is another leftist regular at meetings, rallies, and protests.

Here are some links to check out

Feminist Mother’s Day Gift Guide from Viva la Feminista, a blog about motherhood and feminism written by a Latina woman.

Feminist Mothering Advice from the megablog Feministing

Strong Families Initiative

On Tuesday, April 13th from 4:30 to 5:30pm, about twenty people attended an action organized by Feminist Students United, to oppose the existence, federal funding and false advertising of a local Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC), or Fake Abortion Clinic. This included UNC-Chapel Hill students from Feminist Students United, the Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans, Straight Alliance, VOX- Voices for Planned Parenthood and some people from Young Democrats.

We sat at a picnic table in front of the Chamber of Commerce to finish up some signs and a man came out and told us that the CPC people weren’t in today (who knows how he knew, bc they are in a different building) and that the police had been following our action on facebook. I guess that was his way of threatening us not to do anything.

Anyway, we stood at the big intersection of East Franklin and Estes and down West Estes toward the CPC holding signs that said:

FAKE ABORTION CLINIC ===>, Federally Funded Fake Clinic, Keep Abortion Legal (VOX brought these), HONK if you heart reproductive rights, Government control of women’s bodies is government control of human bodies

We chanted “Not the church! Not the state! Women must decide our fate!” and “Women’s rights are under attack! What do we do? Stand up! Fight back!”

The two people holding the four part FAKE ABORTION CLINIC ===> sign went all around the four way intersection ensuring that traffic going any direction saw the sign.

Hundreds of women young and old, men young and old, workers, couples, parents with their kids saw the signs and honked and raised fists in support. Aside from regular traffic, we got honks and good responses from bus drivers, postal workers and even an ambulance!

After an hour during traffic time, we wrapped up and folks caught the bus back to campus.

Overall we got a really positive response from passersby.

Every week, check feministstudentsunited.org for our This Week in Feminism post – a list of the most current strides in feminism and instances of sexism and racism and class inequality, from a rotating round of co-collaborators.  Do you have a link you think would be appropriate for this section? Please feel free to leave it in the comments.Right on the tails of our event last night on Crisis Pregnancy Centers, many of this week’s links are about reproductive rights being cut across the country and world.

— Jessica & Eva

LOCAL
This Saturday is HKonJ – Historic Thousands on Jones St – a huge rally in Raleigh, NC put together by the NAACP and attended by progressive activists across the State.

Apex mayor’s op-ed piece on why the Town Council unanimously voted to stop coverage for abortions in town employee’s insurance plans.

NATIONAL
Project HOPE publishes a new study with findings confirming that “…immigrants are not contributing disproportionately to high health care costs in public programs such as Medicaid.”

Eviction has become typical in the lives of poor black women – a piece on this new reality for people in lower income neighborhoods.

A Camarillo, CA hospital has banned midwives from delivering babies – are women-centered practices not welcome?

A proposed bill in Utah will make it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage, and make induced abortion a crime in some instances.

Lousiana ordered to issue a birth certificate naming a same-sex couple as the parents of their adopted child.

New anti-abortion billboards in Atlanta boldy proclaim “Black Children Are An Endangered Species”.

INTERNATIONAL
Marjan Kahlor is the first woman to represent Iran in the Winter Olympics.

Kenya poised to constitutionally ban abortion.

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