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173 posts

Purses Snatched While Pumping Gas

Many women are brought up in a culture teaching us to be aware of our surroundings. No one wants to fear their daily environment – but I think we can agree that a certain amount of awareness is necessary.

While men may not have as many threats to their safety and security, I am not under the bias that this is a ‘women’s only’ issue. However, when it comes to purses, it is primarily women who are on the lookout and men on the prowl.

 

When you go to the gas station, where do you leave you purse?

 Your wallet?

Your keys?

Do you lock your door?

Do you watch your car or the meet racking up your hard earner pennies?

 

Not to give you one more thing to add to you caution list, but you need to watch this . I know it changed my perspective and actions.

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Get Your CT NOW Blog and Survey On!

We are all very excited here at CT NOW about revitalizing our blog!  Once again, we have energized writers who are passionate about women’s issues and engaging others in a conversation on topics that range from reproductive rights to sexual assault to economic security to women’s roles in relationships.

*Blogger? Blogger? Blogger?*

We want to hear from you!!  What would you like CT NOW to explore?  

Want to jumpstart the conversation yourself?  Perhaps you’d like to blog for us.  Email President@now-ct.org and tell us about you, what you would like to write about and we will send you more information.

*Let Us Have It*

Also! Got 5 minutest to check out our online survey to help shape our programming? Click here.  You will be happy you were heard.

*Celebrate Good Times, Come On!*

And get out your calendar, because women need to celebrate this month!  August 26th is the date women got the right to vote.  CT NOW will celebrate by sponsoring another networking happy hour on August 27th!  Details are being released tomorrow– stay tuned!

There’s another event being sponsored by the Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women on August 26– a Women’s Equality Day Celebration.  It will be at 6:30 pm at First Church of Christ Congregational Church, 190 Court Street, Middletown.  Learn about the women’s suffrage movement and meet with your elected state officials, including State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, and others.  For more info, email Liz Duarte, eduarte432@gmail.com.

Enjoy your week!

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August 4-11 Weekly News Round Up

Weekly News Roundup

A roundup of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

Connecticut has approved insurance rates for its healthcare exchange, Access Health CT. Enrollment in the exchange will begin in October, and is part of the Affordable Care Act.  Created with uninsured or underinsured individuals, families, or small business owners in mind, the exchange is expected to offer insurance at more affordable rates than previously available.

Another much discussed benefit of the Affordable Care Act is no co-pays on birth control. If you’ve already benefited from this change, continue on your merry, protected way! But if you’re wondering why your plan has yet to get with it, Jezebel has you covered.

While the Affordable Care Act brings many improvements to healthcare for women, these benefits are not available to undocumented women and immigration reform could actually worsen the situation.  Failing to address healthcare for undocumented immigrants leaves a gaping hole in a healthcare plan that seeks to reduce healthcare costs by insuring more people.

The federal government is planning to transfer inmates at a women’s prison in Danbury, Connecticut to a prison in Alabama. A group of senators, including CT Senator Chris Murphy, have questioned the transfer. They rightly point out that the move would unfairly punish the women and their families.

Bei Bei Shuai, an Indiana woman charged with murder and incarcerated for attempting to commit suicide while pregnant, has finally seen the end of her legal struggles. Shuai’s case is a tragic but illuminating example of the persecution pregnant women will continue to face when our laws value fetuses over women.

 NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has released audio recordings from their undercover investigations into Virginia crisis pregnancy centers (commonly called CPCs). This is not the first time CPCs have been exposed for what they are – religiously funded organizations masquerading as medical centers that use scare tactics to keep young, pregnant women from accessing all of their medical options. However, NARAL managed to record such an impressive array of misinformation and outright lies (right wing conspiracies about condoms ahead!) that it’s worth a listen. More background info on CPCs here.

The Dream Defenders, a group of protesters occupying the Florida capitol in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, have yet to go home. Now, they’ve announced a massive voter drive meant to counteract Governor Rick Scott’s voter purge.

To end on a lighter note, watch this badass Texas woman refuse to back down after being told breastfeeding her infant in a recreation center is inappropriate. I could delve into all the reasons why this is so wrong (I mean, a rec center? Those are made for families!), but this fierce mother has it under control.

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PPYP Happy Hour in New Haven on Thursday!

Get out and network with other pro-choice young professionals!  Planned Parenthood hosting a happy hour this Thursday.  Details below.

 

Planned Parenthood Young Professionals Happy Hour

 
Please join us! 
 
Meet young professionals from the Greater New Haven area who are interested in reproductive rights, health and justice. 
Join us on July 18th for cocktails at Ordinary. Network with others, learn how you can join Planned Parenthood Young Pros, and enter to win free tickets to our August Brewery Tour!
 
The Details:
July 18th, 5:30-7:30pm
Ordinary
990 Chapel Street, New Haven
Happy hour: $10 half yards, $6 pies, $1 off all beer and drafts
$5 at the door
Enter to win free tickets to our August Brewery Tour and other prizes!
 
About us: Planned Parenthood Young Professionals (PPYP) is a group of young leaders in the Greater New Haven area who support the work of Planned Parenthood. We participate in our local community through social and educational events with a focus on reproductive rights, health and justice.
 
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TERRY O’NEILL RE-ELECTED PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN IN UNCONTESTED ELECTION

ELECTION SIGNIFIES CONFIDENCE IN O’NEILL’S LEADERSHIP AND THE FUTURE OF NOW
 
July 7, 2013 CHICAGO – The National Organization for Women (NOW) today re-elected Terry O’Neill president of the largest grassroots feminist organization in the country by acclamation. At NOW’s annual conference in Chicago, the organization came together to express overwhelming confidence in O’Neill and her sister slate of candidates.
 
“When I was elected four years ago, I pledged to modernize the women’s movement by tapping into the energy around the country, bringing people together to protect the rights of women on a number of fronts. During my time as president, together we were able to pass the Violence Against Women Act, elect a record number of women to the U.S. Senate and see marriage equality become a reality in a growing number of states,” said O’Neill. “We have made significant progress, but we’re not done yet. We still have more to do and will continue taking our message, enthusiasm and woman power to Virginia and New Jersey’s upcoming elections, the midterm races in 2014, the presidential election in 2016 and beyond.”
 
The other members of O’Neill’s team elected by acclamation are Bonnie Grabenhofer of Illinois as action vice president and Chitra Panjabi of Washington, DC as membership vice president. They will serve as NOW’s executive officers for the next four years.
 
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re-posted from email: NOW.org
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Office of Early Childhood: comprehensive access from policy to grassroots

Connecticut has put itself on the map by ensuring significant strides in children’s right to quality education and access for parents to social services through Governor Dan Malloy’s Executive Order Number 11 creating the Office of Early Childhood.  While the bill to create the office did not pass, it was included in the biennium state budget, which did.

With the Executive Order signed, key stakeholders have jumped in and begun working to get the initiative up and running. The goal of the Office of Early Childhood is to close the achievement gap and help better prepare children for the future.

The Office of Early Childhood is responsible for providing “a comprehensive, collaborative system for delivering improved programs and services to children age zero to five and their parents.” The Office is “comprised of related programs that were previously housed in five separate state agencies — the Department of Education’s School Readiness program, the Department of Social Services’ Care for Kids, Children’s Trust Fund, and other childcare programs, the Department of Public Health’s childcare licensing program, the Department of Developmental Services’ Birth to Three program, and the Board of Regents’ Charts a Course program — the OEC will improve continuity and the reach of early childhood programs.”

The office will ensure access to services, as well as knowledge of services available, are made both accessible and readily available in a more streamline and coherent manner. The office will provide both, cost and time savings – and, to be frank,  a sense of sanity to anyone who has had to run from office to office to figure out what exactly a family or child is rightfully entitle to.

Following the Governor’s Executive Order, he appointed the previous director of the Office of Early Childhood Planning,  Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, as the Executive Director of the Office.  Dr. Jones-Taylor brings significant experience and education to the position.  She “is a cultural anthropologist with expertise in early care and education policy.  Her research focused on the effects of early care and education reform on child care providers in low-income urban communities and the children and families who are intended to benefit from those reforms.”

The planning and of the Office (including original conception design, preliminary funding, and advocacy support) was made possible by support from the William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund, the Early Childhood Alliance, and the Early Childhood Collaborative Funders,  which include the following: American Savings Foundation, Children’s Fund of Connecticut, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, Connecticut Community Foundation, Connecticut Network of Community Foundations, Fairfield County Community Foundation, The Fund for Greater Hartford, William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, The Grossman Family  Foundation, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Liberty Bank Foundation, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.

 

Below is a list of Bills specific to the Office that passed in the 2013 Legislative session (now closed):
 
S.B. 887 – An Act Concerning the Care4Kids Program – P.A. 13-50
S.B. 972 – An Act Concerning the Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health of Youths – P.A. 13-178
S.B. 1002 – An Act Concerning Community Schools – P.A. 13-64 
S.B. 1096 – An Act Concerning Governance of the State Education Resource Center – P.A. 13-286
S.B 1160 – An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety – P.A. 13-3
S.B. 1137 – An Act Concerning the Definition of School-Based Health Centers – P.A. 13-187
H.B. 6506 – An Act Concerning State-Funded Child Care Facilities – P.A. 13-16
H.B. 6525 – An Act Childhood Obesity and Physical Exercise in Schools – P.A. 13-173
H.B. 6624 – An Act Concerning Minor Revisions to the Education Statutes – P.A. 13-122
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Difficult Circumstances Indeed

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’ heroic act of using her political weight to advocate for women who she has never met outweighed the physical feat of standing for over eleven hours talking on a single topic without learning or taking a break for water or the restroom.

I was impressed by the physical act that Wendy Davis accomplished and realize that it was as challenging as the content she spoke on. Davis came prepared – orange sneakers and a back brace – and knew the most important four words – “I will not yield”.

Davis was speaking for women throughout Texas to ensure the government kept its hands off their bodies. In a male dominated environment, she knew walking in that she would take heat after the night ended. But this was not new for Davis, she already cramped Texas Governor Rick Perry’s style once before. 

As background, Texas Senate Bill 5 contained language that if enacted, there would have been a ban on abortions after 20 weeks and would have imposed additional regulations on clinics, which would have closed as many as 37 of Texas’ 42 clinics.

Both patients’ and care-givers’ access and rights would have been affected. While the claim that the new regulations, such as proximity to a hospital, would have improved care, it actually would have prohibited the ability for countless women to receive services. For example, a woman would have had to drive more than 30 miles each way, twice, within a 48 hour period to receive the Plan B contraceptive pill.  There is no doubt that Texas Senate Bill 5 is an attempt to impose personal opinion and belief onto women’s bodies through the form of law.  

Anyone who honestly believes there is a divide between the personal and political is as mistaken as believing that there really is a separation between church and state. Just look to Gov. Perry’s remarks this morning at the National Right to Life Convention where he not only brought up Senator Davis and her (successful) filibuster, but also utilized her in his argument regarding right to life. He stated:

“No life is trivial in God’s eyes. And the fact is, who are we to say that children born in the worst of circumstances can’t grow to live successful lives? In fact, even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. She was the daughter of a single woman, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas senate. It is just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.” 

For Gov. Perry, it is God who dictates the correct decision of legislation pertaining to women’s bodies. Not only did Perry bring religion into a human rights and legislative debate, but he also found it relevant to bring Senator Davis’s past into the matter by claiming her own life choices were a mistake, and degrading her as a woman, daughter and mother – utterly inappropriate. Who is he to say that Senator Davis was born into “difficult circumstances” and share her life story?  Would she have not fought the same if she had not had these particular life experiences?

The gender double standard here is unmistakably sadistic. Women seek to terminate pregnancies for a plethora of reasons. A significant number of women seek abortions for rape, to which the rapist of a woman inevitably is a man. Women choose not to carry a child due to financial insecurity, which would not be a staunch problem were it not for the gender gap in pay. And the mere fact that this bill is being brought forward by a government body that is comprised mostly by men, and it requires a woman’s voice to delineate its detrimental effects is by no means a coincidence. Senator Davis is the advocate we needed, now we need women AND men to come forward to defeat this bill permanently. 

Instead of narrowly looking at Senator Davis’ personal past, why not expand that view to her accomplishments that have changed the voice of women in Texas. Women chanted “Let her speak” as her words became their own.

This morning, Gov. Perry called for a second special session. I expect this bill will be brought up for a vote early to decrease the possibility of a successful filibuster. However, Senator Davis has shown women everywhere anyone can become an advocate and create change today

Come prepared, be ready to stand up for what you believe in (for a very long time), and don’t let the bullies get the better.  And remember those four words, “I will not yield”

 

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“Please get married right away”

is what Edith Windsor said to a friend after learning about the success of her case. 

It is nearly impossible to sit still and focus when the nation is acting and creating the change we have been working so hard to embrace – right now!  Last night, I went to a meeting at the CT NOW office and upon leaving, I took a picture of a poster that had to be at least 10 years old (I think older than that). It was a simple white square 2ft by 2 ft with purple writing that says “Legalize Lesbian Rights” with CT NOW around the perimeter. I sent it jokingly to my girlfriend.

 

 “Take nothing for granted”… How about a 5-4 vote on the legality of human rights and happiness? Today, the Supreme Court ruled on DOMA. Thank you to those who voted in favor of justice and human rights, and just for the record, those with dissenting votes:  Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

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Text of decisions:

 http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-357_q8l1.pdf

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_g2bh.pdf

 

I tried to follow on http://www.scotusblog.com/ as the vote was happening. There are no words for the amount of confusion! As impatient as I was, I sat back and waiting for my co-worker to decode the tweets and announcements. Here are the findings from the vote:

The  vote was related to section 3 of DOMA:  “What section 3 of DOMA does is that it performs a find and replace of every instance of where ‘spouse’ or ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ appears and changes it so that it’s “opposite sex husband” or ‘opposite sex wife’…The effect is going to vary based on which of the thousand-plus statutes or regulations are affected.” 

Much of the debate is around financial rights. For example, “…married same-sex couples where one member is employed by the federal government are entitled to spousal benefits, just the same as any other married couple.”

In relationships of legally married couples who reside in a state that does not legally recognized their marriage it is still unclear if the “state of celebration” or “state of residence” holds precedent. However, since the “state of celebration” is most widely recognized, in my opinion, couples should in fact be entitled to spousal benefits.

Shortly after DOMA’s decision a post came through on SCOTUS blog that was loud and clear. Governor Brown is ordering all county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples: “After years of struggle, the U.S. Supreme Court today has made same-sex marriage a reality in California. In light of the decision, I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state’s counties that they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted.” Going back to the story of the text I sent of haphazardly to my girlfriend. Well it just so happens that she is in San Francisco today (Jealous? Yes!). As the Supreme Court chimed in on Prop. 8 to decide that gay marriage is now legal in California (understanding that the court makes no national ruling), she sent me the most appropriate picture… 

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With or without this decision – there is no doubt that same-sex couples would continue to live, to love, and to be happy together. However, this decision is a step in the fight for equality that is justified and deserved. Let me put it this way, no one should ever be viewed as less equal because of the person next to them when they say “I love you” and “I do”

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Here’s to having equal rights when you say “I do”, I love you! 

 

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Guest Post: April Activist of the Month Stephanie Blozy

Stephanie Blozy and her team at Fleet Feet West Hartford are being recognized for their amazing efforts in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. Here are her touching reflections from the latest edition of the Fleet Feet newsletter.

What a roller coaster week of emotions it has been. As the events unfolded, I felt like I was watching a spy-thriller movie. Only it wasn’t a movie where you can count on a happy ending. It was all too real. Instead of actors, those affected were friends, customers and colleagues. The community that I cherish was brazenly attacked. It hurt even more that it wasn’t necessarily runners who were the targets, but our family and friends who spectate, support and volunteer.

What happened next was the stuff movies are made of: bystanders using their own jackets and belts to make tourniquets, first responders and medical personnel running towards the explosion sites to help the injured despite the continued threat of danger, while athletes, depleted after running 26.2 miles, raced towards area hospitals to donate blood. Bostonians opened their houses up to strangers. The police and the FBI worked tirelessly and fearlessly to ensure that, just like in the movies, the Good Guys prevailed.

As staffer Schuyler commented, “One act of violence was met with a thousand acts of compassion”. And that made all the difference.

The compassion and perseverance of our community was never more evident that at last night’s Boston Tribute Run that honored the spectators, volunteers, first responders and runners in Boston. What I thought would be a small gathering of runners, blossomed into 450+ participants – young & old, fast & slow, fit & overweight, experienced & beginners – whose generously donated over $7,000 for the One Fund. Local running stores across the nation hosted similar events last night and it is estimated that together we raised $1 Million!

The crowd’s reaction as I introduced our honorees for the evening – Kate Rich, who cheered and high-5’ed runners at this year’s marathon, Melanie Borsari, our Adidas tech rep who was helping at Marathon Sports, a locally-owned running store that was the site of the first bomb, Peter Kot, a police officer for the city of Bristol and Doug Benedetto, who finished his first Boston Marathon less than 30 minutes before the bombs exploded – made me even prouder to be part of such a supportive community.

I got goosebumps as our honorees led the group, American Flag held high, in a meditative ½ mile loop that silently flowed up LaSalle Rd as bystanders clapped and nodded in support. I felt the love of family as we united to sing Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, and never got tired of exchanging hugs, smiles and cheers of Boston Strong!

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CT NOW CELEBRATES ELECTION OF NEW LEADERSHIP

CT NOW CELEBRATES ELECTION OF NEW LEADERSHIP

New Co-Presidents Take the Helm of Women’s Organization

Hartford, CT — The Connecticut Chapter of the National Organization for Women (CT NOW) is proud to welcome Jacqueline Kozin and Laura Bachman as the new co-presidents of the organization. Both women have served the organization in a leadership capacity for the past two and four years, respectively.

“The organization has grown significantly under the leadership of the immediate past presidents, Michelle Noehren and Jessica Fenner,” stated Bachman, who previously served as CT NOW’s secretary. “We look forward to continuing the energy and expanding the organization as a real force on women’s policy here in Connecticut.”

“I am excited to take on the organization at a time when women’s issues are playing a major role in this year’s elections,” remarked Kozin, who previously served as Treasurer for the organization. “Laura and I will seize the opportunity to increase the volume of women’s voices now and after the election, which will make a difference for Connecticut women.”

Also voted into leadership roles are Brian Jud as the Vice President of Action, Brie Johnston as the Vice President of Public Policy and Secretary Aviva Ron. The Board is thrilled to welcome in this new leadership and have already begun work on the organization’s programming for the year to come.

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CT NOW believes that the personal is indeed political; therefore it strives to impact and change attitudes, beliefs, and policies that harm all women by fighting for political, economic, and social justice through education, organizing and action. This purpose includes, but is not limited to, equal rights and responsibilities in all aspects of citizenship, public service, employment, education, family life, and it includes freedom from discrimination because of race, gender or perceived gender, ethnicity, origin, age, marital status, sexual preference/orientation, physical ability/health status, or parenthood. For more info, please visit our website, www.now-ct.org.

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