Author Archive

Gender JUST

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Gender JUST is a grassroots organization that seeks to build power and develop leadership among queer youth of color by organizing for racial, economic, and gender justice. Gender JUST has worked successfully within Chicago Public Schools to implement policy changes to ensure that all young people receive a safe and affirming education. With Third Wave’s support, Gender JUST will apply their successful organizing strategy towards winning comprehensive sexuality education and increased access to health resources for queer youth of color in Chicago.

Link: Gender JUST

Colorado Anti-Violence Program

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

The Colorado Anti-Violence Program is a community-based organization that works to eliminate violence within and against LGBTQ communities, including internalized, interpersonal and institutional violence. Third Wave Foundation’s grant is in support of the Branching Seedz of Resistance: Youth Violence Prevention Project, the first sexual violence prevention project in Colorado to center the experiences, leadership, and organizing capacity of LGBTQ high school-aged youth. Branching Seedz uses art and media, participatory action research, trainings, and community organizing to end cycles of violence and build power and safety. With Third Wave’s Support, Branching Seedz will bring trans-inclusive policies to shelters within Colorado, host a Queer Youth Summit in Denver, and bring their youth training program “Unite to Fight” across the state of Colorado.

Link: Colorado Anti-Violence Program

Brown Boi Project

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Brown Boi Project cultivates spaces in which masculine-of-center women and men of color can explore and develop healthy frameworks of masculinity within the context of family, gender, race, sexual orientation, and class. With this grant, Brown Boi Project will continue their annual trainings around masculinity with men of color, masculine-of-center women of color, and trans people of color and will sustain each cohort’s leadership with training circles and one-to-one coaching.

Link: Brown Boi Project

No More Lives Erased: Young Women United’s Call to End Violence

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Young Women United (YWU) is a Third Wave grant partner organization working to end violence against women with a two-fold campaign: calling attention to the deaths of young women in their community in New Mexico, and holding the media and public officials accountable for the ways these women’s lives and power are erased, even in death. In the wake of the mass shooting at Rep. Gabrielle Gifford‘s town hall in Arizona, YWU’s director Adriann Barboa shares a powerful remembrance and vision for “an America to be as good as these women needed it to be:”

Two years ago today, in a story that shook me to my core, a woman walking her dog found a femur in the desert. She alerted the police, who began a three-month dig, covering a vast area of the mesa near my home. The police found the bodies of 11 women, one of whom was four months pregnant. Many of the women were close to my age and grew up here like me. Were brown like me. Had struggled here, like me.

But when these women were found dead, President Obama did not come to town. There was no jam-packed memorial to mourn their lives cut short. What we had instead were devastated families whose greatest fear had been realized when their daughters’ remains were discovered on the mesa.

As the story unfolded, terrible sounds echoed in my ears. Not the sounds of shovels in the desert, but the sound of these lives being erased. Not only through death, but through the official description of the events. The women were not brave heroes who faced histories of poverty, abuse and trauma with the best tools they could find. They were “addicts.” And because they used drugs, many earned money the best way they could—by selling sex. And so they were “prostitutes.” The authorities thought the story could begin and end there: bodies found, case closed. 11 more prostitutes dead. Done.

Read the rest of Adriann’s call on Young Women United’s website and learn how to support their campaign to end violence and strengthen young women’s power.

Feb 24, 2011 / last night’s feminist party II

Friday, February 18th, 2011

last night’s feminist party II
February 24, 2011 / 7-9pm
White Rabbit / 145 E. Houston St / New York, NY

we’re bringing activism to the party! join local feminist, queer and allied young people for some generous acts of troublemaking to support 3W! (see some photos from our last party.)

come out for the festive feminist drink specials that benefit youth activists across the country. stay for the timely on-the-spot activism to promote reproductive justice in the current legislative session.

Why Are So Many Black Women Being Forced to Register as Sex Offenders?

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, in Louisiana’s Orleans Parish “seventy-five percent of the people registered as sex offenders for solicitation of a crime against nature (SCAN) conviction are women, and 80 percent of them are African American.” What’s SCAN, and why is it putting so many Black women on the sex offender registry?

Louisiana’s SCAN statute increases existing penalties on soliciting oral or anal sex in exchange for money, and classifies them as a serious sex crime. As a result, a SCAN conviction forces women to register as sex offenders, putting those women at risk for the loss of their jobs, children, and homes, as well as other forms of harassment and violence. Additionally, the people most likely to be charged under the SCAN statute are women engaged in survival sex and street economies — low income women, women of color, and transgender women.

Women With A Vision, the New Orleans based advocates for women’s reproductive and sexual health and justice and a recent Third Wave grant partner, have been working to educate the public about the effects of SCAN on their communities:

“Since our founding in 1991, Women With A Vision has been standing with the women of New Orleans no questions asked. We’ve been let into worlds that few others see, and trusted with stories that traditional public health workers rarely, if ever, hear. But little could have prepared us for that day when ‘J’ arrived at one of our Our Space events. Barely saying hello, she pulled out her photo I.D. card, which read ‘SEX OFFENDER’ in block red letters. She is only 23 years old, and one month clean from a heroin addiction; the ‘sex offender’ label will remain on her ID until she turns 48.” - Women With A Vision, “No Justice

This week, supported by Women With A Vision and their “No Justice” campaign, the Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a Federal civil rights suit challenging the constitutionality of the SCAN statute. Women With A Vision’s executive director, Deon Haywood, said in support of this suit:

“I work with the people directly affected by this statute every day: the toll it takes is devastating. Many of these women are survivors of rape and domestic violence themselves, many have struggled with addiction and poverty, yet they are being treated as predators.What this law does is completely disconnect them from our community and from what remains of a social safety net, making it impossible for them to recognize and develop their goals and dreams.”

We’ll be following the developments in this case closely and letting you know ways you can support Women With A Vision to protect the rights and freedom of low-income women, women of color, and transgender women. Their policy brief “Just A Talking Crime” was released this week.

Moving Beyond “Pro-Life” & “Pro-Choice”

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

La'tasha Mayes and Bekezela Mguni of New Voices Pittsburgh
(La’tasha Mayes and Bekezela Mguni of New Voices Pittsburgh, via NVP Facebook)

At The Root La’Tasha Mayes, executive director of Third Wave grant partner New Voices Pittsburgh, breaks down the ways our beliefs around abortion go beyond the oppositional frame of “pro-life” vs. “pro-choice:

La’Tasha Mayes, executive director of the activist group New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice, says that frequent descriptions of African Americans as conservative and pro-life are an overgeneralization. She argues that it’s time the country moved beyond the pro-life versus pro-choice binary of the abortion debate.

“It’s a limiting concept that says the choices that black women make are black and white. It’s not that simple,” Mayes told The Root, adding that the broader reproductive-justice movement — for access to health insurance, family-planning services and abortion — includes women with nuanced positions who identify as both pro-life and pro-choice.

“I’ve learned that it’s about people’s individual experiences,” she says. “Regardless of her politics and religion, if a woman does not want to have a child, she will not have a child. But the message from opponents of abortion is that we can’t be trusted to make these decisions for ourselves and our families. They want to shame black women for the choices we have to make, mostly out of survival.”

Mayes rejects the idea that black women are being targeted for abortion, arguing that the conversation lacks a full sense of perspective. “The leap from abortion to black genocide is missing many steps in between,” she says. “We can’t look at abortion in isolation, as if it’s a choice made independently from the context in which black women live.

“After years of doing this work, I’ve realized that abortion becomes a choice for women when they have been socially, economically and politically marginalized in complex systems of oppression,” she continues. “If you’re not talking about race, class, sex and gender issues before you start talking about abortion, then you’re missing the larger context.”

Feminism Was Here: Choices in Childbirth

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Feminism Was Here: Choices in Childbirth

From Third Wave community member Kelly Ren!

I wanted to send you two photos of some feminism in action. Attached is a photo of the 2011/2012 edition of The Guide to a Healthy Birth NYC Edition. This guide is a free resource for the public and it is produced by Choices in Childbirth. The guide is to help expectant parents access education and resources regarding pregnancy, birth and postpartum and to help the public become more aware of maternity rights and choices in our society. I was present at their guide launch on December 20th, with President, Elan McAllister, Executive Director Lisa Malley, Program Manager Malorie Schecter and staff Julia Jolly and new admin assistant Debbie.

Thanks for sending me the stickers, I will definitely be getting them out in 2011. Keep up the good work!

Redefining Rape, Forcing Pregnancy: Push Back on HR3

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

This weekend, feminist activists ramped up their opposition to HR3, the so-called “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act.” Speaker of the House John Boehner has called passing this act “one of our highest legislative priorities.” With a coordinated campaign to call Congressional representatives quickly underway (organized over the Twitter hashtag #DearJohn), it’s clear reproductive justice activists are determined to push back hard.

If passed, HR3 would put the burden on survivors of sexual assault to prove their rape was “forcible” in order to qualify for any public assistance for abortion. As Mother Jones reported last week, this Republican plan to redefine rape isn’t just a hateful attack on survivors of violence. It marks a shift in anti-abortion tactics with devastating implications:

“Since 1976, federal law has prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, and when the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman. But since last year, the anti-abortion side has become far more aggressive in challenging this compromise. They have been pushing to outlaw tax deductions for insurance plans that cover abortion, even if the abortion coverage is never used. The Smith bill represents a frontal attack on these long-standing exceptions.”

So in addition to rolling back almost all of the (very few) exceptions for Federal funding of abortion, House Republicans (and a handful of Democrats) are attempting to redefine rape in order to restrict abortion access.

Reproductive justice activists have long recognized that sexual violence and abortion access are deeply connected. As a matter of body autonomy, we all should have the power to decide when we want to have sex and when to have children.

These attempts to regulate reproductive and sexual health access out of existence aren’t just an attack on our rights. They are a form of institutional violence, and they disproportionately impact people of color, low income people, and young women, transgender and gender nonconforming youth.

HR3 has 173 co-sponsors. You can find out if your Congressional rep has backed HR3, and give them a call to let them know how HR3 will impact you and your community if it passes. Right now, HR3 is sitting in committee — there’s still time to have your voice heard. Once you’ve made your call, drop us a comment here, or chime in on #DearJohn on Twitter.

New Voices Pittsburgh: “Pregnancy Is Not a Crime”

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Pregnancy Is Not a Crime

This November, New Voices Pittsburgh, a reproductive justice and human rights organization and one of Third Wave’s grant partners, held a speak-out in honor of Amy Lynn Gillespie, who died in the Allegheny County Jail in January. Amy had been sentenced to jail when she became pregnant while serving parole. While in jail, she was denied medical treatment for pneumonia by guards, and died three weeks later. Her family has since filed a lawsuit against the jail.

In their campaign of support, New Voices states:

The recently filed lawsuit against the Allegheny County Jail must draw our attention to the grave Reproductive Justice issues and fatal Human Rights violations affecting incarcerated women. The allegations about the conditions in Allegheny County Jail raised in this lawsuit are of serious concern to New Voices Pittsburgh and our allies. The death of Amy Lynn Gillespie was seemingly preventable with basic medical care and reproductive healthcare. The death of any pregnant woman from preventable causes is reproductive injustice and is especially egregious in the custody of the Allegheny County Jail. We challenge the coercive and intrusive practice of conditioning work release on not getting pregnant. We must expose the criminalization of women and pregnancy as a threat to Human Rights that risks women’s health and women’s lives.

Since January of this year, NVP has been working on their FOCUS on Women Campaign, a community organizing initiative led by New Voices Pittsburgh to address the Reproductive Justice and Human Rights issues of incarcerated women in the Allegheny County Jail. “Our strategy for public policy change led to the passage of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1074, the “Healthy Birth for Incarcerated Women Act” in July through the efforts of our allied organizations,” says NVP. “Our campaign produced the Policymaker Leadership Institute with the Urban Initiative for Reproductive Health to “Protect the Rights of Incarcerated Women to Reproductive Health Care” in October.”

You can find photos from their march and speak-out, as well as updates on how you can support their campaign, at New Voice’s Facebook page.