Life After Kavanaugh Confirmation

Christine-Blasey-Ford-triumphantAnita Hill

Hello readers,

Where are we as activist feminists after the disastrous confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court?  I chose the above photo of Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford for its strong and cheerful outlook, despite the pain I think we all are feeling.  Anita Hill, too – she is still out there kicking! There is so much pride and joy in seeing a woman stand up to power the way she did.  And I have much hope that this will re-energize our work.

I haven’t written for a long time, myself reeling from the painful dismantling of the Minnesota Legislative Office on the Economic Status of Women more than a year ago.  My project has been on hold (since before that) to publish a video and book series (Unfinished Business) highlighting the way forward for our movement, based on interviews with 36 women in 8 states.  (You can still see the first few episodes I did publish – just surf below on this blog.)  Two reasons for the hiatus.  One, while I am strongly supportive of Black Lives Matter, the movement for transgender rights, and the vital importance of “intersectionality” with all human rights and environmental issues, I often felt the energy was lacking for focus on what I now call the classical women’s issues.  Two, I have been enjoying and working on what it means to be retired, exploring community, health, relationships, family, and creative undertakings I had neglected for all those workaholic years.

By the way – What are the classical women’s issues?  I’ve simplified the 30+ issues from the Houston Plan of 1976 and Beijing Platform of 1985 to these five dreams:  51% representation of women everywhere;  health and health care that recognizes and supports women’s bodies as central to the human condition;  human rights and self-determination including abortion rights, lesbian rights, and right to an equal education;  safety and peace in our homes, communities, and the world; and economic justice including earnings, business, child support, pensions, and ending poverty.

But now, as we are all still reeling from daily Trump horrors, rise of the echoing right wing everywhere including our once-progressive Minnesota, and this Kavanaugh thing, I feel a little seed of energy coming back for “women’s work” – and hope you might, too.  I am reminded of the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas, when Anita Hill powerfully spoke out.  There too it seemed we lost.  But the women’s movement was revitalized.  I dare to quote from In the Company of Women (Watkins and Rothchild, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1996):

“In 1991, the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the treatment of Anita Hill for her testimony on sexual harassment re-energized the movement.  The growing conservative mood of the country and the heightened power of the political Right brought home the fragility of women’s gains.  For many early feminists, none of this came as a surprise.  They had settled in for the long haul…”

Well, I am constantly surprised by the depth of misogyny and the shamelessness of patriarchy/capitalism.  But I am in this for the long haul!  I can’t say much more right now in part because I am working hard for the elections coming in just a few weeks.  But I hope you are there, maybe thinking and working and getting ready for another powerful wave of love, joy, laughter, and fixing the world.

PS: You may have come to this page seeking a group called US Women Connect, a member organization of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium.  I hope you will hear more about, and be a part of, THAT, in the months to come.  It’s on my agenda.   

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October 17, 2018 · 11:16 am

OESW At Risk, Act Now

Tina Smith and DFL women legPosted in part as Minnesota State Coordinator for US Women Connect.

Let’s keep learning the INCONVENIENT FACTS about rural women, single moms, older women, and women of color – and maintain a nonpartisan resource with solid info about all 2.7 million women and girls in Minnesota.

Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, Governor Mark Dayton, and 24 women legislators spoke out on May 11 about the bill passed by House and Senate Republicans, which eliminates the staff for the legislative Office on the Economic Status of Women (OESW).   What a change from the days when there were only 6 women, grand total, in the legislature!  But still, women make up only 32% of the 201 state legislators, down from 34% after previous election. At the press conference, the women also opposed the pre-emption bill hurting local minimum wage & paid leave, and another bill killing campaign finance reform – both of which have disproportionately negative effect on women. Governor Dayton has vetoed these bills, but  constituents must keep the pressure on to be certain this vital office continues to give all of us the FACTS needed to improve women’s status.

Note that yes, sadly, it is women “across the aisle” who oppose the OESW along with others. Sometimes they say “women have achieved so much in the past 40 years – not needed any more” – but YOU know we are far from equality in representation, in economic security, in so many ways.  By the way, OESW is a ONE-person office, and eliminating it does nothing for the state budget.  Sometimes they say, “Oh we are just trying to strengthen it by supporting an advisory committee” – but hello, an advisory committee with no staff cannot undertake vital research or Greater Minnesota listening sessions as OESW staff have done. So – will you make sure YOUR state legislator knows your view on this?  Visit oesw.leg.mn to download substantive reports.

Don’t know who is your state Representative and state Senator?  Please, please find out through the state “district finder”.  Many legislators will be voting whether to again pass the bill which eliminates OESW staff.

And the conference committees will be meeting again to consider changes to the bills they passed before – by the way, for this and many other provisions, there never was a public hearing or public testimony, provisions just inserted willy nilly.  So please consider leaving messages for the members of this conference committee:  KEEP staffing for the Office on the Economic Status of Women, in the State Government Finance Omnibus Budget Bill.

HOUSE members (all Republicans)

Rep. Sarah Anderson, District 44A, Plymouth, 651-296-5511.

Rep. Tim O’Driscoll, 13B, Sartell/St Cloud, 651-296-7808.

Rep. Bob Dettmer, 39A, Forest Lake. 651-296-4124

Rep. Kelly Fenton, 53B, Woodbury. 651-296-1147

Rep. Jim Nash, 47A, Waconia. 651-296-4282

SENATE members (4 of 5 are Republicans)

Sen. Bruce Anderson, District 29, Buffalo. 651-296-5981

Sen. Mark Koran, 32, North Branch. 651-296-5419

Sen. Dan Hall, 56, Burnsville. 651-296-5975

Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, 30, Big Lake. (651) 296-5655.

Sen. Carolyn Laine, 41, Columbia Heights. PLEASE THANK HER.   (651) 296-4334. 

Additional calls to THANK, besides Sen. Laine (above) who spoke at the pro-OESW press conference:

Sen. Sandy Pappas, St Paul, convened the press conference, 615-296-1802

Rep. Connie Bernardy, New Brighton, defended OESW, 651-296-5510

Rep. Rena Moran, St Paul, usefulness of OESW data to her authorship of the Women Of Color Opportunities Act, 651-296-5158

Thanks for your help with this, and please stay tuned.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” – especially when drastic changes are inserted into important bills seemingly in the middle of the night!

 

 

 

 

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Video from the bus & DC march

One of my beautiful bus-mates, from Bus #4 named after Winona LaDuke, was Lisa-Marie Greenly.  She has made a great 10-minute video that can give you the feel for the long long ride and the excitement of being there.  Yes, there are signs with profanity and vulgarity — but that is what democracy (and passionate engagement by some who have not been doing this for decades – which is a good thing) looks like.

 

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More Signage for Women’s March

OK my armbands are done (two sets).  Ready to be registered as… whatever the new administration wants to register.  armbands

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Still Packing but Fired Up

3-signs-for-march

Hello all, I am still recovering from a luxurious vacation in Mexico and at the same time trying to be ready to hop on the bus tomorrow WAY early for the Women’s March on Washington.  It will be a three day trip, 18 hours each way and something like 9 hours of rally and march on the 21st.  Here are the three signs I have so far, still planning to make  arm bands too.  Then food and clothes and a few other details!

I’ll be on the Winona LaDuke bus.  Love the “Resist In Peace” sign from Stacy Karzen.  Made my own womb sign, inspired by one from Iowa women.  And of course I’ll have my pussy hat thanks to Kiarina and Kristin… Stay tuned!

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Ready to March in Washington?

Hello friends,

get-your-ownOn the morning of January 20 I will board the bus for the 18-hour ride to Washington DC for the Women’s March on Washington.  Please feel free to check in here, and/or follow me on Twitter @MinnBonnie or @uswomenconnect.  And, make sure I have your Twitter handle and blog name so I can find what you are doing about Trump’s many threats to women’s rights.

I have a week to go and still thinking of what to wear to show my outrage and determination to make a difference. I have my official “Women’s March” long sleeved T and have ordered a sash – or think I have (hard to keep track of all the products).  I think/hope somebody has knitted me a pussy hat.  I have also ordered – but who knows if they will arrive in time? – several posters with the beautiful raised fist inside women’s symbol.  But I might also make a sign copied from the Iowa women, that has a big beautiful pink uterus and the words:  Get Your Own/ Then Tell It What To Do.  And, I am thinking if I can make (muslin and markers?) shoulder bands, one with the crescent and star (Muslim), one with Star of David (Jew), one rainbow (LGBTQ), and another woman symbol – and maybe a Stars N Stripes.  (Got two shoulders after all.)

Stay tuned.

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Women of Color Opportunities Act

Dear friends, YES I still have a lot of unedited footage, from wonder-women in Kentucky, New Hampshire, New York, and more, directly addressing the questions about next steps for the women’s movement.  I WILL get that to you in coming months.  Meanwhile, here is an important legislative proposal, the Women of Color Opportunities Act, from Minnesota state Representative Rena Moran.  In this press conference she is supported by Senate author Sen. Patricia Torres Ray and remarks by four brilliant women of color.

 

 

 

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