Tag Archives: civil rights

Give. Thanks.

Black Friday is almost upon us, holiday shopping is set to begin in earnest and many of us are wondering how best to spend our dollars.

I have more than a few folk in my circles who have stated they are simply donating to organizations doing the work that needs to be done, and I applaud them. I can’t think of a better gift to give or receive than knowing a few more dollars went to the organizations standing up for people’s rights, providing needed services to underserved communities and helping more people gain access to all of the rights, responsibilities and privileges that should come standard with US citizenship.

So, I decided that this year for Thanksgiving I would ask you all to give. There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about teaching kids fiscal responsibility by having them divide any money they get into three even jars – “spend,” “save,” and “charity” so why not do a similar thing with our gift giving. Sure, buy the kids in your life books and music and art supplies and science kits but balance that with gifts to charities in their name – that models the kind of thing we’re asking them to do and shows them that you care about leaving them with a better world. And as for adults, unless you have an adult in your life who really needs a thing – donating in their name might be the best gift you can give. I know I wish I could afford to give more to charities, so having someone give in my name feels great!!

And, since I’ve been talking non-stop about taking positive action in the face of a Trump election, what better way to do something good for the world than to donate to a righteous cause!?! Last, there is a national movement called #GivingTuesday, and many organizations can double your gift if you make your donation on that day!

givelove

Since I love you all so much, I decided to make it easy for you! Below you’ll find a list of verified, top-notch groups and organizations to donate to, as well as ideas for local places to look into to make sure your dollars have the biggest effect possible.

First: let me ask you to donate to the people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. What is happening to them is NOT OKAY and they need all the help they can get!

Once you’ve done that, here are my recommendations for getting the most bang for your bucks.

givemoney

 

  1. Donate to your local public school. Seriously, just write them a check. Almost all of them have a registered non-profit parent organization so you can get your tax write-off and get your employer to make a matching donation, if they do that sort of thing. (And if they don’t – ask why not. They should if they have more than a hundred employees.) If I can make a further recommendation – request that your donation go to arts, music or the library those are consistently under-funded programs and grants are hard to come by for those areas. Also, donating your money there reminds schools that the public still values art, music and literacy regardless of the educational fad of the moment.
  2. Donate to reproductive/sexual health organizations including: Planned Parenthood, Lilith Fund, The National Abortion Fund – or use this to locate your local/state abortion fund, Draw the Line, NARAL, or your local women’s health clinic. (If you don’t have a friend or family member to gift this donation to, I nominate Mike Pence to be the recipient of this receipt. Let him know you stand for reproductive justice! Information on how to do this follows.)
  3. Donate to organizations working to secure full civil rights and human dignity for LGBTQ* folk. I recommend GLBT, the Lambda legal defense and education fund, The Transgender Law Center, and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educators Network or GLSEN. Also check your local communities, see who is doing this work in your backyard and give them money. Also, look into the GSA at your local schools, I’m sure they could use a donation in order to help organize! And again, if you want to donate in someone’s name, but don’t have a specific someone in mind, I nominate Mike Pence to be the recipient of this piece of your mind!
  4. Donate to groups working to ensure civil rights for ALL people: The ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, The Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, The NAACP, The Native American Rights Fund, The National Congress of American Indians, The Innocence Project, The Justice Policy Institute, Black Lives Matter… There are more. If I didn’t find your personal brand of activism, check out this handy list of cool orgs… I highly recommend making your donation to these organizations in Donald Trump’s name. Info to take this step is below.
  5. Donate to your local food bank and/or homeless shelter.
  6. Donate to your local domestic violence shelter or organization working to end intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence.
  7. Donate to Flint, MI – those folk STILL need water and help mitigating the effects of drinking poisoned water for too long.
  8. Donate to an environmental group or organization. I am not linking to any specific groups because, I admit to being jaded here – the environment has been in dire danger my entire life, and I have given to many of these organizations over the years and I’m not sure what they are doing that is of tangible benefit to the environment. I feel like this issue is bigger than NGOs. I feel like this is an action we have to take to own smaller cars, drive less, consume less, and put pressure on our governments to invest in greener energy sources while also consuming less… BUT, if you have to spend money, I’d rather it went to an environmental organization than cheap plastic crap, so… (Also, if anyone wants to comment with a shout out to an environmental org they think is doing great work – do that! Post a link. Spread the word!)

givelight

To donate in the name of Donald Trump or Mike Pence, use the info below:

Office of Governor Mike Pence/State House Room 206/Indianapolis, IN 46204-2797

and

Donald Trump/ The Trump Organization/ 725 Fifth Avenue/ New York, NY 10022

moregiving

I’m sure there are organizations and causes that I have missed or accidentally overlooked – please, if you know of an important and worthy org, post a link in the comments, I will do my very best to screen them in a timely fashion.

In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of the holiday season and I hope that you are all able to spend time with people you love.

thankyou

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Naive idealism, Things that work

Redefining Man – A Modest Proposal

This is *hopefully* going to be a quickie.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

So – when our constitution was written there were lots of clauses defining the rights and responsibilities of “man” and “men.” Many of our laws still reflect this pronoun preference.

At that time, in that culture/society that word was loosely defined as “white propertied male.” People back then didn’t talk so much about sexual orientation, but I think we can safely add “straight” to the list of included adjectives.

Since that time we have had to add amendments to the constitution to grant basic rights – like citizenship, the right to vote – to African-Americans, women and other minorities.

At present some supreme court justices have said that they do not believe that the 14th amendment, put in place after the civil war to grant equal rights to former slaves and free African-Americans, applies to women! Or gays. Or…

In addition, that amendment was not enough to grant African-Americans the right to vote – that came later, with the 15th amendment. Which did not extend voting rights to women, only to men of all races, regardless of “previous conditions of servitude.”

It took another 50 years for voting rights, aka full citizenship status, to be granted to women.

And still… We’re not really there yet. We are still having battles over what is a right, what is a privilege and who is a real, full citizen.

We see it in the gay rights movement right now, as well as with the renewed push to ratify the ERA – Equal Rights Amendment, which would grant women the same actual, full legal rights and protections currently granted to men in this country. We see it in the push for immigration reform. We see it in the battles for full rights to be granted to disabled and differently abled people, including the right to marry.

But… What if we simply passed an amendment stating that throughout the constitution of the United States of America, the word man would be taken to mean “person.”

Non-gendered, non-racially charged, non-sexual orientated, non-ability specific.

Would that make a difference?

If people were legally defined as equal, would it help?

What if this amendment went a step further and redefined “man” in all legislation to simply “person” and the same for “woman”?

Then on documents regarding one man and one woman – well, it would just be one person and one person.

Is changing the language enough to change minds? Can we get to a place where we are all just people, regardless of the color of our skin, the language our parents speak at home, the organs between our legs – or the legs of the person we love, the gender we identify with in our core, our mental and physical abilities…

Is there a way to get there from here?

Is there a way to include all of the people all at once instead of this piece-meal approach where every couple of decades we recognize the humanity of a new sub-group of our nation’s population? Is there a way to wave a magic wand, or pen, and simply grant the full range of inalienable human rights to every living, breathing person?

Could it be as simple as affording the same rights, privileges and responsibilities of “man” to all people?

human rights

Human rights belong to everyone.

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Filed under Naive idealism, Of Course I'm a Feminist, Rant

Human Rights Can’t be Left to the States

I’m going to try to keep this short and simple.

Either I am a person, and thus have the same unalienable and legal rights as other citizens of my country, or I’m not.

This is not a State’s Rights issue. This is a Human Rights issue.

As “One nation, under God” we have to decide if we really believe what our founders proclaimed when they declared independence from England and stated,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…

Now, at the time that this was written – women were not people. We were property. Blacks were not people, they were property. Browns were not people, they were barbarians, savages and animals. Gays were also not people, because, you know, they didn’t exist. (Ahem.) So “Men” really meant, straight white dudes who owned property. Yes, our nation began as a plutocratic oligarchy. (A nation ruled by the rich few, for those whose Latin is a little rusty.)

But, times have changed a little since then. And “Men” now includes all men regardless of the color of their skin (at least on paper.), and in this country, it mostly includes women, in theory, though not so much on paper. (Although, we are allowed to vote, so if we all rise up together, perhaps we can change that…) And sometimes it includes gays, if they ask nicely and don’t want to get married. In fact, in many people’s minds “Men” in that context has come to simply mean “Humans”.

With these changes, slowly, but surely our Republic has inched ever closer toward Democracy.

Yet, whenever those of us who are not propertied straight white males ask for full, legal acknowledgement of our basic humanity, confirmation that we are, in fact, citizens born with the same unalienable rights and the associated full legal rights that come with them, we are told that our rights and equality are a matter for the states to determine.

Gay marriage? State’s Rights Issue.

Women’s Reproductive Rights and choices? State’s Rights Issue.

And now even skin color is becoming a State’s Rights Issue as more and more states claim the power to ID brown-skinned people without cause, or disenfranchise people with Spanish last names, or remove non-whites from voter lists.

These are not state’s issues. My liberty isn’t up for discussion, debate or deliberation. And I shouldn’t have to move to another state in order to have civil liberties and exercise my human rights (As adopted by the USA in 1948).

It actually is the role of the FEDERAL government to assure and protect my individual liberty and rights.

I know that the Equal Rights Amendment STILL hasn’t passed, granting me actual full citizenship and humanity under the law.

And I know that there are people who argue that women, gays, and browns aren’t covered by the 14th Amendment.

But again, I say – either all human beings in this country are equal – under the law, under God and in Nature, no matter what state we live in – or, our entire nation is built on a a house of cards.

I get frustrated when I see this Group Of People who would like to keep personal, individual freedom for themselves, while excluding others, as if somehow sharing freedom lessens it…

By deferring to the states, and allowing them to make legal decisions about the equality of individual citizens, they are abdicating their responsibility to uphold the fundamental American principle of “Liberty and Justice for ALL.”

I keep getting told by people who are voting for this group that it isn’t really about taking away individual liberty, it’s about money and taxes and deficits. As if somehow the rights of women, and gays, and browns, and blacks, and our children cost more to maintain than the rights of white, straight, propertied adult males. Or as if individual liberty is less important than not paying taxes.

Here’s the thing – to us “others”, it’s also about money. Because if we aren’t full people, if we don’t have the same basic human and legal rights as every other American, then… the money doesn’t matter. If we don’t have the same full say in how we live our lives, who we love, when and how we start our family and the environment that we raise them in… Then the rest is a moot point anyway.

If you want to talk to me about how paying less taxes is going to help my country succeed and move forward, go ahead. I’ll listen just as soon as we’re standing on equal legal footing.

Yesterday I cast my ballot for education, women, children, men, gays, straights, human rights, the environment, and the future, which is to say, freedom – for ALL citizens, regardless of the state they live in, the parents they were born to, or the genes they were born with.

What are you voting for this season?

Feeling Free?

How free are you?

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Filed under Of Course I'm a Feminist, Rant