I've been supporting my homegirl's project Feminist Enough from the sidelines for a while but I finally got an opportunity to jump in front of the camera myself. It was a lot of fun and I'm glad the project has rebooted with new content, a new look, and hopefully a new reach. Feminism is NOT a dirty word. It's NOT just for white women or old women or old white women! Our Feminism does not play well in boxes and through multimedia projects like Feminist Enough, we're telling the world how we view our feminism and color outside the lines of what others want it and us to be. Check out this and more of the series at Feminist Enough
Ladies, I’m sorry to have to inform you that the War on Women persists and you have been drafted into the fight whether you like it or not. The latest battleground to see action is the American college campus – a space that is supposed to foster our educational and personal growth, preparing us to be the leaders of tomorrow. Instead, colleges across the country are increasingly in the news for the sexual assaults occurring on their campuses. While campus sexual assault is nothing new, the complicity by college administrations in downplaying, mishandling, or covering up these crimes has fallen to a new level of shamefulness.
Yo. There’s a war on women. I know that sounds so 2012 because that’s when politicians and interest groups of all kinds beat us over the head with that phrase, “War on Women,” at every turn. I’m a woman who proudly wears the labels of feminist and activist but even I tired of the term during the last 12 months. I was especially turned off by the language of war being tossed around so cavalierly in some instances, when we have Americans and foreign civilians dying in actual wars right now. But (wo)man, there really is a war on women out here! How so? We’re barely out of the first month of 2013 and already we’ve been inundated by rhetoric, policies, and very bad blogging that attack women’s health, safety, sanity, and rights. Let’s review a few:
Trayvon Martin. Remember him? A lot has transpired in the world since the 17-year-old was shot and killed by George Zimmerman but the case against his killer is not over — attorneys for both sides are still filing pre-trial motions and a hearing on the “stand your ground” self-defense immunity has yet to occur. The impact that Martin’s death has had on communities across the country is not over either, with many young people, people of color, and others donning hoodies of their own in solidarity with the teen whose own hoodie was cited as cause for suspicion and likelihood of guilt. In the days and weeks after Martin’s death, everyone from Howard University Law School students and representatives of Congress wore their hoodies. Today, the deep meaning and symbolism of a person of color in a hoodie is being carried right into the voting booth by a grassroots movement called Hoodie Vote.
Did you know there was a huge international AIDS conference going on last week? Yep, the aptly named International AIDS Conference, held in Washington, D.C., drew world leaders, activists, public health professionals, people living with the disease, and other concerned individuals to talk about prevention, testing, treatment, a cure, and all the surrounding policy. All week long, I’ve been seeing tweets and articles about the conference but I just can’t get too worked up about what I know to be good work going on down in D.C. Why not? This is not very popular to say but I’m sovery over talking about AIDS.
Pro-choice advocates all over can breathe a tepid sigh of relief. U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan has extended a temporary order to allow Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic to stay open, despite efforts by that state’s government to close it’s doors. It’s not a total win – we won’t really be able to relax until the judge completes his review of how Mississippi plans to administer the law. Fingers are crossed that the ultimate ruling reflects the fact that this law, House Bill 1390, imposes undue burdens upon the state’s only abortion clinic and by extension, the women of Mississippi. Had things gone the other way, Mississippi would have become a shining example to anti-choice forces in similarly-situated states looking to ban abortion by targeting the sole facilities providing that service within their borders. Since that’s still a possibility, you should understand what this is all about?
March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, where government agencies, healthcare providers, community organizations, people living with HIV/AIDS, and more, come together to raise awareness about the continued impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of women and girls in the U.S. and around the world. As a woman interested in public health and activism, I always feel compelled to speak on the issue and do my little part to raise awareness. However, it’s that very desire that trips me up and smacks me in the head with writer’s block. It’s 2012 … we aren’t aware yet? What else is there to say?
I need a late pass. I was supposed to write this post on March 10, joining a number of bloggers and the Red Pump Project in observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. I must admit that my procrastination along with a weeklong stay in Austin, TX for South by Southwest pushed back the publish date of this post. Nevertheless, here I am with my 2011 NWGHAAD post. Better late than never. This is the third year I’m joining up with the Red Pump Project to write about this issue and I was really stumped about how to approach it this time around. Personally, I’m a bit frustrated because I feel like we’ve been talking about HIV/AIDS for most of my lifetime and, for the most part, we’re still having the same conversations. How many times can we warn of the risks? Don’t most people know by know how HIV is contracted/spread? If the statistics don’t scare you what will? It’s very frustrating to keep having this conversation here in 2011 but unfortunately it’s still necessary. I waited for inspiration to strike (another reason this post is late) and finally it hit me like an Acme anvil.
I’ve been following the hullabaloo in Congress that has anti-choice Republicans trying to cut Title X family planning funding from the budget. Make no mistake about it – this is an attack on women’s health and an all out attack on Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading provider of family planning services for many low-income, un/under-insured individuals, and others with limited access to health care.
Title X, signed into law in 1970 by President Nixon, helps provide care to more than five million Americans and includes cervical and breast cancer screenings, STD testing/treatment, and birth control services.
The House leadership claims that defunding Planned Parenthood and cutting Title X funds is necessary to save money and to “preserve life.” These people have a beef with abortion, obviously, but what they seem to ignore is the fact that Title X money can’t go to abortion at all due to a rule made up by CONGRESS itself. Whatever, that’s not really the main point here and you can read about it elsewhere if you like. For the purposes of this post and belated-NWGHAAD, I’d like to point out that defunding Title X would also impact HIV/AIDS testing and treatment.
A recent letter to Congressional leadership signed by 18 leading HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations — including HIV Law Project, the National Minority AIDS Council, and the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) — highlights the critical roles that Planned Parenthood and Title X play in preventing the spread of HIV.
As organizations committed to winning the fight against HIV/AIDS in this country, we are strongly opposed to the elimination of Title X funding and the amendment offered by Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) that prohibits Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funds to provide primary and preventive health care services to millions of Americans every year. The elimination of Title X and the Pence amendment—which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on February 18th—is political and ideological, and will result in millions of Americans losing access to essential health care services, including HIV prevention and care.…
The elimination of Title X would result in a crippling loss of funds for thousands of health clinics around the country. The Pence amendment, which would do nothing to reduce the deficit, would eliminate funding streams vital to Planned Parenthood’s provision of affordable, quality care, including Medicaid, Maternal and Child Health program funds, evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention funds, and CDC funding for HIV screening and infertility prevention. As a result, these dangerous provisions would take away health care relied upon by millions of women, disproportionately impacting low-income women and women of color and exacerbating already unacceptable health care disparities.
Well that just about says it all, right? HIV/AIDS advocates the world over agree that the first step to stopping this epidemic cold is for everyone to know his or her status and if positive, to seek treatment early on. We want to prevent the spread of these diseases as well as help those infected to manage their health and lives. How can we do this effectively if the first line of defense – often community-based health centers (like Planned Parenthood) – are disarmed by a political and social agenda?
This year, if we want to move forward in the fight against HIV/AIDS, especially for women and girls, we need to fight against these proposed cuts to family planning and Planned Parenthood in Congress. These attacks will not save money (Publicly supported family planning saves the government $3.74 for every dollar invested), they will not reduce the number of abortions in America, and they will not lead to money being redistributed to other health care providers. In fact, other clinics already fear the defunding of Planned Parenthood; afraid they cannot take up the slack. Instead, these attacks will leave millions of women and teen girls without a familiar, low-cost option to get tested for HIV and obtain support in maintaining a healthy, safe sex life.
Tell Congress that these attacks won’t fly. Tell them that family planning funding is important to fighting HIV/AIDS. Sign Planned Parenthood’s open letter.