What better way to start a new century than to attend the Feminist Expo 2000 (March 31-April 2 in Baltimore). From Afghanistan's Taliban to the U.S.'s religious right, there were plenty of challenges for the 7,000 attendees to confront and even more causes to champion.
The Feminist Majority Foundation, organizers of the Expo, sought to gather a diverse band of feminists. Participants came from 45 countries and hundreds of organizations—from Central American women's artisan groups to local abortion rights coalitions. The presence of more than 2,000 college students upped the energy.
In addition to general sessions exploring the current state of feminism, winning women's economic empowerment and political equality, and envisioning the future, there were more than 200 exhibition booths and 106 symposia, roundtables, and training sessions. You could talk funding strategies for women's initiatives, learn about "Global Perspectives on Fighting Poverty" and "The True Costs of Free Trade," discuss the "Grrl Thing" with teen activists, or take part in training sessions geared to campus activism. There were indigenous women's crafts, book signings by a slew of famous and lesser known writers, a career center, and a surprising number of law enforcement officers looking to bring more women in to their ranks.
From letter-writing campaigns to forming global alliances, the mission was to get women together and work for change. The thrust of the gathering seemed to be by-the-book activism, empowering women to work within the system—not every femme's shtick. But for others the Expo was a great place to jump-start their activism.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .