Feminist leaders and activists rallied in Tennessee over the weekend declaring a state of emergency for women's rights with the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. In the midst of the National Organization for Women’s (NOW) national conference, the announcement of O’Connor’s resignation changed the agenda dramatically.
Activists marched on the Tennessee state capitol, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R-TN) home territory, chanting, “We Won’t Go Back” and “Keep Abortion and Birth Control Legal.” Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal said, "We have to raise such a loud voice that Senator Bill Frist hears it. We have to make sure that this majority leader knows he cannot turn back the clock on women's rights.” NOW President Kim Gandy, who was reelected by a 2-1 margin on Saturday, said that “Sandra Day O'Connor broke down barriers for women as the first female Supreme Court justice — and George W. Bush will try to replace her with a hard-right extremist justice who will put those barriers up again.”
At the rally, Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, a former US Senator and 2004 presidential candidate, told the crowd that "Ronald Reagan gave us Sandra Day O'Connor and she became a moderate that kept balance in the courts. George Bush can do no less. We demand no less. Never underestimate the power of a woman." O’Connor was the critical fifth vote in support of affirmative action and abortion rights.
Rally speakers included Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers and a Feminist Majority board member, who rallied the crowd chanting, “Si se Puede, Yes We Can” demand that President Bush nominate a judge who will uphold women’s rights, civil rights, and human rights. Martha Burk, chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, joined with the other national leaders in calling for a woman nominee. Alicia Daly, associate publisher of Ms. magazine, and Allendra Letsome, a member of NOW’s Young Feminist Task Force, spoke about what younger women have at stake in the fight over the Supreme Court. “This is our generation's fight,” said Daly. “We grew up with Roe v. Wade. We are not going to stand back and let these rights be taken away from us.”
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .