With Bush II in office, it's more crucial than ever that progressives join in and work for change. If you want to get involved, here's our fifth installment on organizations doing important activist work.
IFCO/Pastors for Peace (Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization) This group brings progressive racial and ethnic community organizers together with funders. It has garnered support for grassroots groups such as the Audre Lorde Project in Brooklyn, N.Y., the only community center for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people of color in the nation. The organization is also developing "people-to-people foreign policy" by taking caravans of aid to places adversely affected by U.S. foreign policy such as Cuba, Honduras, and the Chiapas region of Mexico.
"In taking these caravans to Cuba, despite the U.S. blockade, we are engaging in a very conscious act of civil disobedience, in the same way we fought for women's rights, voting rights, and civil rights. We do this with a clear sense that we are acting in the tradition of social justice in this country, which has earned us our most progressive social policies, not because corporate leaders or politicians tried to do the right thing, but because we, as activists, made these things happen. Our domestic projects led us to do international work. Many young activists we work with point to their national origins. We keep our ear to the ground and follow the lead of the grassroots." -The Reverend Lucius Walker, Jr., executive director
Equality Now Equality Now is a grassroots organization dedicated to the international human rights of women. With letter and fax campaigns, video witnessing, media events, and public information activities, Equality Now mobilizes action on behalf of women whose rights are being violated. Through the Women's Action Network, the "nerve center" of Equality Now, information about specific abuses and ongoing violations is transmitted worldwide.
"We feel a huge commitment to women in other parts of the world because our government is so powerful. So to the extent that human rights are a component of foreign policy, we want to see women's issues raised, and we will work to empower women worldwide. The countrywide, apartheid-like oppression of women in Afghanistan is not generating the outrage in the U.S. that it should be. But if we can't unite around the tragedy in Afghanistan, what can we unite on? We wrote to Colin Powell and told him our concerns, because we believe that equality should transcend political partisanship. If equality is not an issue for this administration, we want to know why." -Jessica Neuwirth, president of the board
October 22nd Coalition This is a national movement that addresses problems in policing, from racial profiling to the killing of innocent civilians. The coalition's Stolen Lives Project collects and documents names of those killed by law enforcement. The Speakers Bureau Project brings movement supporters to schools and community centers to speak about police brutality. They also refer people to support groups and lawyers. The October 22nd namesake is the annual nationwide protest supporting those slain by police.
"We need mass resistance. We need to build a movement that gives heart to those who face police brutality 24/7, so they're empowered to fight back. We also need support from people who may not experience brutality, bu
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .