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Know No Differences

October 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Malala Yousafzai Stands Up for Us All

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

There are a couple of old saws that I was taught as a young journalist, which I continue to pass on to my media studies students now.

One is: if it bleeds, it leads.

And another: one powerful human interest story is worth a million statistics.

We saw both of these principles in action with the news of Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani girl who New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof calls “one of the world’s most persuasive advocates for girls’ education.”

Everyone probably knows by now of how the Taliban viciously shot Malala in the neck as punishment for her outspoken insistence that girls should be allowed — and indeed, encouraged — to go to school, just like boys. (more…)

Power of Women

August 31, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Economy, Politics

Having It All By Having Choices…

by Diane Lefer

When you walk into a room and fewer than 50% of the people there are women, “it should look peculiar,” said Madeline Di Nonno, executive director of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, “and it doesn’t.”

Marianne Williamson, in her lead-up to the upcoming November conference SISTER GIANT: Women, Non-Violence and Birthing a New American Politics, points out that woman make up only 16.8% of our elected representatives in Congress — a figure very close to the 17% cited by Di Nonno as the percentage of female characters we see “in the environment” in film and on TV. What’s going on here and how do we change it?

Last week, the West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board observed Women’s Equality Day with Understanding Our Power, a roundtable discussion moderated by Dianne Callister, academic, theologian, and director of foundations that benefit children and mothers around the world. Di Nonno brought her expertise in media; attorney Angela Reddock spoke from her experience in labor and employment law and city politics while licensed clinical social worker Judi Miller Levy based her remarks on extensive work in the field of domestic and sexual violence. In spite of the power women clearly have and 92 years after we won the right to vote, the speakers considered why, in Di Nonno’s words, “women have stalled out.” (more…)

Progress, Not Commerce

May 21, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Jerry Elmer, Politics

Human Rights and Dignity Are Larger than the ‘Jobs Issue’

by Jerry Elmer

On May 7, North Carolina voters, by a margin of over 20 percentage points, approved an amendment to the state’s constitution banning same-gender marriages. In the days leading up to the vote, former President Bill Clinton recorded a robocall to North Carolina voters, urging voters to vote against the proposed constitutional ban. Clinton’s message said, in relevant part, “I’m calling to urge you to vote against Amendment 1 on Tuesday, May 8…. What it will change is North Carolina’s ability to keep good businesses, attract new jobs, and attract and keep talented entrepreneurs. If it passes, your ability to keep those businesses, get those jobs, and get those talented entrepreneurs will be weakened.”

I understand completely why President Clinton framed his argument in terms of jobs. Clinton was trying to think of an argument that would be persuasive, and in today’s economy, economic arguments have weight. Moreover, Clinton’s argument had the added benefit of being factually accurate; states that have enacted marriage equality, such as Vermont and Massachusetts, are benefiting economically from an upswing in marriage tourism. So, Clinton is making a sincere effort to be politically persuasive on a controversial issue — and he is doing so by telling the truth. I get it. (more…)

Equal(ity) Time

April 05, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Diane Lefer, Economy

Seeking Unity Across Sex, Race, and Class

by Diane Lefer

In an era when we see the faces of women, people of color, gay and lesbian people and people with disabilities among the 1%,”All the movements we have founded for our liberation are now represented in the establishment,” said women’s rights and anti-racist activist Selma James, “but we are not.”

And we remain unlikely to prevail without unity.

James, born in New York, one-time resident of South LA, veteran of anti-colonial struggles in the Caribbean, and now UK-based, was back in the US to launch her new bookSex, Race and Class — The Perspective of Winning. As the keynote speaker at the Teach-In, “Sex, Race & Class: What Are the Terms of Unity?” on Saturday, March 24 at the Southern California Library in South LA, she drew on  decades of organizing experience to talk about how to bridge the divide among the different sectors that make up the 99%.

The answer may well be “Money.” Not as the root of all evil, but the source of both autonomy and commonality. (more…)

Justice, Equality, and a Decent Life

April 26, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, David Bacon, Economy

Decades After General Strike, Bay Area Workers Continue Struggle

by David Bacon

In the 150-year history of workers in the San Francisco Bay Area, the watershed event was one that happened over 70 years ago — the San Francisco general strike. That year, sailors, longshoremen, and other maritime workers shut down all the ports on the West Coast, trying to form a union and end favoritism, low wages and grueling 10- and 12-hour days. Ship owners deployed tanks and guns on the waterfront and tried to break the strike [3].

At the peak of this bitter labor war, police fired into crowds of strikers, killing two union activists. Then workers shut down the entire city in a general strike, and for four days, nothing moved in San Francisco [4]. The strike gave workers a sense of power described in a verse in the union song Solidarity Forever[5]: “Without our brain and muscle, not a single wheel can turn.” (more…)


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