Monthly Archives: February 2017

7 posts

When Armed Police Attack Unarmed Children, Adults Need To Speak Out

A statement from NOW President Terry O’Neill:

Another gut-wrenching video has been released showing unchecked police violence against unarmed–and in this case underaged–civilians. This time, it’s an off-duty officer in Anaheim, CA who was enraged when a young girl walked across his lawn. He responded by calling her a “C-word” and when a 13-year old boy came to her defense the policeman grabbed the boy by the throat and pulled him through his yard. When three other boys came to the 13-year old’s defense, the officer pulled out his gun and fired.

The LAPD arrested 13-year old Christian Dorscht and another minor involved in the initial confrontation, along with 22 others, including four minors, who gathered in the streets to protest the incident. The officer in question was not arrested but was removed from the field for three days, while the LAPD investigates the incident.

Not good enough. Law enforcement must not be allowed to tolerate police violence against unarmed civilians or give the appearance that they condone such behavior. The officer must be placed on leave immediately, and the young people he terrorized should receive adequate compensation for the officer’s recklessness.

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Shame on Donald Trump for Rolling Back Rights for Transgender Students

A statement from national NOW President Terry O’Neill:

Donald Trump’s decision to discriminate against transgender students is a shameful and unconstitutional attack on civil rights and human decency. Title IX is clear—the federal law prohibits sex-based discrimination in educational programs. Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos are choosing to ignore Title IX in order to please their religious conservative base and to further an overarching white supremacist, misogynist agenda.

Seventy-five percent of transgender students report feeling unsafe in school, and if/when a transgender student is pushed out of school, they are at heightened risk of ending up in the juvenile justice system or being targeted by sex traffickers seeking at-risk youth. Tragically, nearly fifty percent of transgender people report attempting suicide, a figure that is further elevated among people who experience rejection, discrimination or violence at school or home.

In a letter to Donald Trump signed by more than 1000 parents of transgender children, the president was told, “No young person should wake up in the morning fearful of the school day ahead.” NOW calls on Donald Trump to reverse this ruling and instruct the Departments of Justice and Education to enforce—not erode—Title IX protections on behalf of transgender students.

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Attention Must Be Paid to Jehmu Greene’s Candidacy for DNC Chair

A statement from national NOW President Terry O’Neill:

As the DNC gathers this weekend to choose a new party chair, they would be wise to listen to the progressive, feminist voice of Jehmu Greene.

Women, especially women of color, have been the backbone of the Democratic Party for many years, and this was abundantly clear in the 2016 elections. Let’s not forget that in 2016, Democrats adopted the most progressive, feminist platform ever, and Hillary Clinton made history by winning the popular vote by 3 million. Women’s voices, articulated by next generation leaders like Jehmu Greene, need to be prominent, not sidelined, in the debate over the future direction of the Democratic Party.

As the Republican Party becomes more and more entrenched in advancing a white supremacist misogynistic agenda, our nation needs a political party that will fight for us — even when the experts insist we can’t win. Even when the consultants insist on taking for granted — and therefore turning away from — women and communities of color. Even when they say we can’t overcome the dark money of the radical right.

We need at least one of our major political parties to stand for real democracy, for shared prosperity, for social, racial, economic and gender justice.

Jehmu Greene knows that in order to succeed, the DNC needs to be bolder than ever — including setting moonshot goals of 80 percent voter turnout and full gender parity in elective office; ensuring at least half of staff and consultants be women or women-owned businesses and at least half be people of color or minority-owned businesses; and transforming donor participation so the majority of funds come from grassroots fundraising.

NOW has not historically made endorsements in intra-party elections; nevertheless, we deeply appreciate Jehmu Greene’s courage and vision, and we urge the party to embrace the priorities she has laid out.

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Next Labor Nominee Must Support Workers, Not Exploit Them

A statement from national NOW President Terry O’Neill:

The withdrawal of Andy Puzder’s nomination for Secretary of Labor comes at a pivotal time for U.S. workers.

Andy Puzder built his business on exploiting workers, bilking them out of fair wages and humane workplace conditions, and using the sexual objectification of women to sell hamburgers. His business model was built on policies that harm low-wage workers, who are predominantly women, disproportionately women of color. All that was acceptable to the rubber-stamp Republican Senate, but when they saw the videotape of his former spouse detailing his vicious threats and abuse they finally pulled the plug.

Now that Andy Puzder has withdrawn his nomination to be Secretary of Labor, Donald Trump must be made to see the choice he faces. He can pick another crony capitalist or Wall Street billionaire with whom he likes to golf at Mar-a-Lago, or he can pick someone who has an actual track record of supporting workers.

The next Labor nominee needs to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the well being of workers in three crucial ways: First, the nominee must promote a true living wage — at minimum, $15 per hour, although that may already be too low in some cities. Second, they must be committed to programs and policies aimed at eliminating the gender and gender-race wage gaps, as well as sexual harassment in the workplace. Third, they must support the right of all employees to join unions and bargain collectively for decent wages and working conditions.

Donald Trump should have been mortified to even nominate Andy Puzder to lead the U.S. Department of Labor. Trump isn’t likely to change, but he can wake up to the political reality his disastrous nomination of Puzder has created. NOW calls on Trump to pick a nominee who will support and strengthen workers—not exploit their labor or use them to line his own pockets.

Andy Puzder’s nomination was unsustainable, but a nominee with the same views in a more palatable package will be equally unacceptable. NOW leaders and activists around the country are newly energized, and we will carefully scrutinize Trump’s next Labor Secretary nominee. Donald Trump is having a bad week, but it will get worse if he nominates another crony capitalist to be Secretary of Labor.

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Meet Lauren Pizzoferrato, CT NOW’s Representative to the Connecticut Coalition for Choice

Age: 32
Residence: Wethersfield
Occupation: TV broadcasting sales coordinator at Tribune Media
CT NOW member since: June 2016
Other previous feminist work/volunteer activities: Earned an MA in Women’s Studies from SCSU, have freelanced opinion pieces on feminist issues for the Hartford Courant
What made you want to take a leadership role on the Connecticut Coalition for Choice?: In 2012, I wrote my master’s thesis on the reproductive rights movement and its need to transform into a more inclusive reproductive justice movement. It’s really cool to see that actually happening five years later. I jumped at the chance to be a part of the Coalition. I view reproductive
rights as basic human rights that not only need to be protected, but enhanced.
Have you always been passionate about this issue?: I wasn’t passionate about it until after college. I experienced difficulty getting affordable healthcare coverage and started paying attention to the politics surrounding that issue. I had a hard time understanding the hostility towards women’s health care services, so I studied it. This is just one of the many issues that drew me into feminism.
Connecticut has always been a leader in reproductive choice and freedom. Is there really a risk that this could change here?: There is a lot at risk right now and it depends on our actions and the actions of CT elected officials to maintain CT’s status as a leader on this issue. We do have some special legislation in CT. For example, even if Roe vs. Wade were to be overturned, abortion would remain legal in CT. But, in regard to federal funding being lost to Planned Parenthood, that is a real threat. If we want CT to continue to be a leader on this issue, we need to move forward with protecting funding. We also need new legislation that would do things such as: make crisis pregnancy centers illegal (as California has), put a paid family leave policy in place, and enhance school sex education.
You also volunteer for CT NOW on Facebook, posting news and other interesting items to our page several times a week. Why do this too?: I enjoy helping with the Facebook page because I don’t get to use my education for my day job. I’m usually reading about feminist issues anyway, so why not share?
Interested in getting in touch with Lauren? Contact her at
Thank you Lauren for everything you do!!
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Trump’s Cabinet Picks: White, Rich, Misogynistic

A statement from national NOW President Terry O’Neill:

Donald Trump has assembled a Cabinet in his own image—rich, white and tone-deaf to the problems of ordinary citizens. Senate Republicans shrugged off the White House’s failure to vet nominees, suspended Senate rules, muzzled opposing voices, and ignored troubling conflicts of interest to move Trump’s picks out of committee.

As the Senate gets ready to vote on the nominations of Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary and Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services, and with Andrew Puzder on deck to lead the Department of Labor, lawmakers who’ve put their consciences in a lock-box need to show some integrity.

Steve Mnuchin falsely testified during his confirmation hearing that the bank where he served as chairman and CEO had not engaged in aggressive foreclosure practices. In fact, in one five-year period, the bank was responsible for 16,200 foreclosures on government-backed reverse mortgages, or 39 percent of all foreclosures nationwide.

Tom Price benefited from sweetheart deals, ethically challenged stock transactions and interventions with federal officials to benefit campaign contributors. He lied when asked by the Senate Finance Committee if he’d ever been subject to an ethics investigation. Price has proposed turning Medicare into a voucher program, eliminating the guarantee of health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, and kicking 14 million low-income people off of Medicaid. And he supports defunding Planned Parenthood, and doesn’t believe women’s basic care should be fully covered on the same basis as men’s.

Andrew Puzder is staunchly opposed to paid sick leave protections and to increasing the minimum wage, demonstrating his disregard for the needs of working families. He is CEO of CKE Restaurants, which has been accused of numerous labor violations, and he has proudly expressed his support for the company’s wildly misogynistic advertising campaigns. A major donor to the Trump campaign, the multi-millionaire has shown time and time again that he will not stand up for workers’ rights.

A White House that’s fueled by white male supremacy, “alternative facts” and alt-right hysteria cannot remain unchallenged. Abraham Lincoln assembled a “team of rivals,” but Donald Trump is most at home with a team of oligarchs. The Senate must vote to reject these unqualified nominees. NOW’s message to Senators who would rather kowtow to Donald Trump than challenge his abuse of power is simple—we will see you on Election Day.

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‘In the Name of Justice, We Will Resist a White Male Supremacist Agenda’

A statement from national NOW President Terry O’Neill:

In approving Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General, the Republican-dominated Senate showed its true colors. The white nationalism, misogyny and intolerance on view was appalling.

When Elizabeth Warren stood up to read from a letter the late Coretta Scott King had written about Jeff Sessions, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told her to sit down, and shut up. He pushed his colleagues into voting to formally rebuke her, using a Senate rule that has rarely, if ever, been subject to a vote. Not a single Republican Senator stood up to allow King’s words to be entered into the Senate records. They would rather erase history than recognize its lessons.

But while the Republicans follow a course of division, racism and injustice, others are charting a more courageous path. Senators including Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley, Bernie Sanders, and Tom Udall took the floor to read the same passages from Coretta Scott King’s letter. Tellingly, after silencing Elizabeth Warren, Mitch McConnell did not invoke the same rule against his male colleagues.

Coretta King’s daughter, Bernice King, reminds us to “keep your message positive; those who oppose peace and justice want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow.”

In that spirit, NOW expresses gratitude to the senators who are standing up for equality and fairness. And we celebrate the resistance movement that is daily finding ways to reject the white nationalist agenda being fomented by Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and the Republican Senate. Jeff Sessions may now be Attorney General, but he in no way represents our ideal of justice.

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