Facing Race 2010: On Power, Money, and Populism

September 30, 2010

"Total philanthropic spaces are at about $120 billion plus. Organizations led by people of color, or serving people of color, is less than 5% of that." - Maria Teresa Kumar, VotoLatino
We were sorry to miss Facing Race 2010 in Chicago this past week, but have been catching up with the videos posted by Colorlines. You can follow them on Twitter or YouTube for the latest. Here's a highlight from their closing plenary, with Rinku Sen, Tim Wise, Van Jones, and Maria Teresa Kumar: (Watch the full video of the plenary here.)

Posted in: Community, Movement Building

Feminism Was Here: At the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

October 14, 2010

feminism was here, kai gurley of third wave and lee roper-batker Third Wave's Mia Herndon (our Executive Director) and Tara Ellison (Deputy Director) visited with the Women's Foundation of Minnesota to see from the inside how they do -- from visits with donors and grant partners to spending some quality time sharing stories and victories. Here's Third Wave's Board chair, Kai Gurley, hanging out with Lee Roper-Batker, WFMN's Executive Director -- and her amazing red lady hat.

Posted in: Community, Feminism Was Here, Philanthropy

Feminism Was Here: Choices in Childbirth

February 14, 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!

Posted in: Blog, Community, Feminism Was Here

Feminism Was Here: Women’s Philanthropy

October 14, 2010

feminism was here, women's foundation of minnesota The Women's Foundation of Minnesota has been a major player in women's philanthropy for over 25 years. Their core values of Justice, Social Change, Inclusion, Feminism and Hope, guide their investment in the advancement of equality for all women and girls in the areas of economic justice, safety and security, health and reproductive rights, human rights, and political power, centered in the state of Minnesota.  Check them out!

Posted in: Community, Feminism Was Here, Philanthropy

Home and Homophobia

October 11, 2010

In the wake of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi's death, a freshman who died by suicide after his roommate and a friend taped his sexual encounters with an older man and broadcast them over the internet, pundits are yammering about internet privacy. I have been tormented by questions of privilege that have been unacknowledged. I grew up in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, an affluent town although relatively diverse, and share my origins here with Tyler's two harassers, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei. I have always credited my upbringing in this community for my motivation to do social justice and equality work. As the daughter of an immigrant who was raised speaking my "second language" first, I grew up among an immediate group of friends in which at least six languages were spoken fluently, three or four world religions were represented, most of us were people of color and many of us were immigrants ourselves or the children of diaspora. I have a profound love for these friends with whom I weathered the trials of middle school, high school, college and now life-after-graduation. I was honored to be standing shoulder to shoulder with these amazing people as we encountered the various challenges of immigration status or queer identity, our struggles with mental health, violence, illness and the myriad forms of alienation that arise in young adult life. I was and still am infinitely lucky for these friends: in my home community, I learned the beauty and freedom of fully living out our complex identities. As a feminist and queer activist in college, I thought I learned not to be surprised by hate. Now, as I reflect on the events of the past month and on the sheer number of suicides by LGBTQ youth, I am stunned. In the wake of these deaths, while the mainstream media panics about young people's lack of boundaries in the digital age or the vast power of the internet being so unknowingly manipulated, I wonder at the unrecognized power of privilege. The published yearbook photographs of Dharun Rhavi and Molly Wei are like any number of faces I know from senior portraits in my own high school yearbook years ago. Their familiarity is haunting. Our local paper reflects this same astonishment: here were two typical West Windsor Plainsboro students, as the article says, "smart, well-liked, on the threshold of promising futures," (as were we all.) They are the younger versions of the friends I grew up with, we would have taken AP classes and participated in music ensembles together, we left behind the same vapidly optimistic yearbook quotes. I am asking the question that goes unspoken: what does it mean that our hometown – our happy, high-achieving hometown – has produced Ravi and Wei? How have we collectively precipitated lethal homophobia? How complicit are we? (Are we?) I am deeply sorry that I never realized the malice and the suffering that could be at work under the surface of my own beloved community. Here is unrecognized privilege: why are we reluctant to see homophobia when it screams at us in the face? Blaming some combination of youth and the internet for Tyler Clementi's death is just as naively privileged. Instead, let us discuss education access and the impact of homophobic educational environments that prevent students from meeting their full potential. As a result of intense harassment from their classmates, queer students are over four times more likely to skip school and three times as likely to drop out of high school than their non-queer-identified peers. Let us discuss the disproportionate rates of homelessness among queer youth, realizing that between 20 and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, recognizing those for whom home is not a safe place. Above all, let us realize how these hostile environments contribute to the overwhelming rate of suicide faced by queer youth: over one third of LGB youth and one quarter of transgender youth have reported a suicide attempt, rates that quadruple that of cis-gendered heterosexual young people. Let us observe in the identities of Wei and Ravi as people of color the possibility for members of various oppressed communities to work together rather than to tear each other apart. Oppression is a life-or-death reality for all of us, despite the exact nature of our difference. If we forget this, if we couch these realities with words like "diversity" or "civility," or if we substitute a "kids-these-days" quandary about the internet for a discussion of violence and privilege, we do so at our own peril. Following Tyler's death, demonstrators at Rutger's University challenged the impulse to create a "teachable moment" out of a very real body count:

At the end of the inaugural event for the university’s “Project Civility” campaign on Wednesday, nearly 100 demonstrators gathered outside the student center, where the president spoke. They chanted, “Civility without safety — over our queer bodies!”
For me, this is a moment to be reminded of Mother Jones' advice to "Mourn for the dead, and fight like hell for the living." (A quote, incidentally, that was hung prominently in my college's Queer Resource Center.)

Posted in: Community

Khmer Girls in Action Listening Campaign Launches in Long Beach

April 13, 2011

Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) empowers young women of Cambodian and Southeast Asian descent in Long Beach, California to be leaders within the reproductive justice movement. KGA's members learn the necessary educational tools and organizing skills to create positive change in their communities, including participatory research as a tool for organizing and action. This Spring, KGA is kicking off a listening campaign to share the results of their first Participatory Action Research project on immigrant and refugee rights, reproductive justice, health, and safety. The youth members of KGA designed the study and carried out the research, collecting findings related to how young people in the Khmer community in Long Beach face harassment and discrimination, and how they are taking leadership to change it. Check out their survey and share their video PSA.

Posted in: Community, Criminalization, Khmer Girls in Action, Participatory Research, Youth Organizing


March 2, 2011

Thanks to everyone for coming out last Thursday to our second ever last night's feminist party! Ever seen a Reproductive Justice photobooth?

Check out your great photos on Facebook and on Flickr. We look forward to more silly radicalism with you all in the future! If you'd like to share them with friends who couldn't make it, you can direct them to the slideshow at Many thanks again and hope to see you in a few months for the next "last night's feminist party."

Posted in: Blog, Community, Reproductive Justice

Medicaid Is No Band-Aid: When Hospitals Discriminate

October 25, 2010

We're excited to have this guest post from Dashaya Craig of Chicago Abortion Fund, a 3W grant partner. There is a real scarcity of clinics in my community that are available to provide reproductive health care to poor people. The City of Chicago does have public health clinics that were designed to serve people that can't afford health care and don't have a private insurance or Medicaid. There are three public health centers on the south side of Chicago, but it usually takes months for someone to get an appointment. When a person does get an appointment it takes an entire day to get seen which could possibly be a day that they have to miss at work. Those conditions cause poor people to not utilize the public health centers and just not go to see a doctor. Now due to the current economical situation the City of Chicago is "cutting the budget" and two of those three clinics are going to close. So they are referring people to just one clinic and because they can't accommodate the overflow of people they are just turning people around. Other than the public health clinics there are no other in our community to provide health care for the poor and uninsured. This is one of the main reasons that poor communities are plagued with high rates of STI's, HIV/AIDS, and unplanned pregnancies. People in poor communities are not properly educated about sexual health, and they don't have equal access to reproductive health care. Until there is access to reproductive health care available in poor communities there will be a continuous increase in sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. I know a young single mother of two who was pregnant with her third child. She was reliant on Medicaid because she lost her job. The hospital in her neighborhood was a very prestigious and well known hospital in Chicago. It was blocks away from her house -- she had both of her older children there, and it was a great facility. When she made her first appointment they were under the assumption that she still had private insurance. However, when she arrived at her appointment and presented her state Medicaid card she was refused service, and referred to another hospital that wasn't nearly as prestigious and far away from her house. This hospital in particular is constantly turning women away that don't have private insurance. It's not that they don't have any insurance at all -- it's just not private insurance. That is another form of discrimination, because the only people that have Medicaid insurance are poor people. So this could lead you to believe that particular hospital didn't want to serve the people in the community they’re in. Regardless if a person is poor or don't have insurance they shouldn't be refused health care in their own community, especially when they are pregnant. This young mother with two children ended up not even getting proper health care, because she couldn't make it to her appointments. This isn't just her story -- this is the story of many poor women of color.

Posted in: Chicago Abortion Fund, Community, Healthcare, Reproductive Justice

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

March 8, 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.

Posted in: Actions, Anti-Violence, Blog, Community, Media, Young Women United

Nominations Open! 2011 Mario Savio Young Activist Award

May 3, 2011

The Mario Savio Young Activist Award is presented each year to a young person (or persons) with a deep commitment to human rights and social justice and a proven ability to transform this commitment into effective action. The recipient/s will receive a $6000 award in recognition of their work. The deadline to submit a nomination is June 30th. Thanks to Dom Brassey at Tides (who is also a proud Third Wave Board member) for her inspiring announcement, complete with videos featuring some powerhouse poets and activists, like this one: If you'd like to nominate a young activist who inspires you, check out the full details (and videos of free speech activist Mario Savio, for which this award is named) over here.

Posted in: Community, Leadership, Philanthropy, Youth Organizing