New Clear Vision


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Archive for the ‘Diane Lefer’

The Invisible War

October 29, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Politics

New Film Focuses on Combating Military Sexual Trauma

by Diane Lefer

After The Invisible War,  a documentary about sexual assault in the US military, screened Thursday evening, a woman stood up from the audience to say she had just celebrated her 80th birthday and that, as a young woman, she’d been raped by a stranger. She wanted everyone to know that today she’s a happy person. Yes, she said to loud applause, “it is possible to heal.”

Healing, being able to move forward with their own lives, is surely what everyone wishes for survivors of sexual violence. But as documentary producer Amy Ziering suggested to the audience during the post-film discussion, in the military, it’s a lot harder to recover if you are far from home, have no support, are called a liar and threatened with retaliation or even death if you tell, and surely worst of all, have to report to your job the next day to the very person who raped you.

Kori Cioca was stalked and harassed by her commanding officer in the Coast Guard for weeks before he attacked her. (more…)

Graduate, Don’t Incarcerate

September 20, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Diane Lefer, Family, Politics

The Movement to Keep Young People in School and Out of Prison

by Diane Lefer

The problem isn’t a secret: California schools suspend more students than they graduate, tracking them to jail instead of to success. But Ramiro Rubalcaba was surprised when he found himself being part of the solution.

Rubalcaba told his story at a forum on school discipline held in Los Angeles on September 10, sponsored by the California Endowment, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torkalson, and the Office of Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Two years ago, when Rubalcaba was assistant vice principal at Garfield High School, the school was suspending 600 students a year and was challenged to bring those numbers down. He didn’t see how it would be possible to do so and still maintain order on a campus unfortunately known for violence, gangs, and drugs. After all, the approach throughout the US has long been to get unruly kids out of the classroom so that teachers can teach. (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…)

Making Contact

August 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Diane Lefer, Politics

How Progressives Can (and Must) Lobby for Social Change

by Diane Lefer

Abbe Land, West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem, doesn’t want activists to think of “lobbying” as a dirty word. “In the purest form, it’s about educating and helping elected officials understand the issue,” she told more than 100 community members attending the recent workshop, “Your Voice: Learning to Lobby for Social Change,” organized by the Advocacy Committee of the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles.

“Paid lobbyists can keep knocking on your door till you let them in, keep telling you their side, their side, their side — till it’s possible forget about the other side.” Progressive organizations lobby, too, “to move our agenda forward,” she said in her keynote address, but don’t have the resources to keep up that kind of constant pressure without the help of the individual activist. The role of citizen lobbyist is crucial. (more…)

Frack You!

June 25, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Diane Lefer, Ecology, Economy, Politics

From Culver City to the Inglewood Oil Fields

by Diane Lefer

Since I don’t ordinarily attend Chamber of Commerce meetings or Tea Party gatherings, I’m not used to hearing hundreds of people object to new regulations for industry, but when the California Department of Conservation sent representatives from the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to Culver City on June 12 for a workshop seeking input on how to regulate fracking, the community response was close to unanimous: Don’t regulate!

What the standing-room-only and overflow crowd of several hundred people wanted instead was a total ban.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, makes it possible to exploit oil and gas resources that were formerly too difficult or expensive to reach — factors which, until recently, left California’s oil fields in a state of decline. Today, horizontal drilling techniques make it possible to access distant sources. Then, the high-pressure injection of water mixed with chemicals forces the oil or gas up to where it can be pumped or skimmed off the surface, but the process is controversial enough that it has been entirely banned by the State of Vermont and the whole country of France. (more…)

Dirty No More!

May 29, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Family, Politics

Cultural Recuperation and the Case of Southern Italy

by Diane Lefer

Last month I learned about a genocide I had never known of before. It happened not in an isolated unknown part of the world, but in Southern Italy, the ancestral home of members of my own family. Even more shocking to me, Southern Italians themselves are only now beginning to learn the facts of this ethnic cleansing, in large part thanks to the books of Pino Aprile, journalist and Southerner. Terroni: All That Has Been Done to Ensure That The Italians of The South Became “Southerners” had an electrifying effect on my friend Enzo Fina who comes from Lecce, in the heel of Italy’s boot. Enzo is half of the duo Musicàntica, the other half being Roberto Catalano, ethnomusicologist from Sicily. Based in Southern California, they keep the music and traditions of Southern Italy alive.

“You grow up knowing there’s something that isn’t right,” Roberto told me.

“You have feelings, even if unconscious,” said Enzo. (more…)

Mass Incarceration

May 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Diane Lefer, Politics

Points of Agreement on the Right and the Left?

by Diane Lefer

Civil rights attorney Michelle Alexander reported in her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, that largely as an intentional consequence of the war on drugs, there are more African American men under correctional control now than were enslaved in 1850. People of color have been rounded up en masse for relatively minor, non-violent drug offenses. Alexander concluded all this came about in part as a strategy to deprive African Americans of rights, including the right to vote.

William J. Stuntz, Harvard Law professor, evangelical Christian and self-identified conservative (who sadly died much too young, before his book, The Collapse of American Criminal Justice, was published in 2011) argued that black people are disproportionately imprisoned because they commit more crimes, that incarceration rates have risen in part because the system used to be too lenient, that incarceration keeps at least the incarcerated from committing more crimes, and that police carry out drug sweeps in certain neighborhoods as a strategy to get gang members off the streets when threats against witnesses and the no-snitch culture create daunting obstacles to the arrest and prosecution of violent criminals. (more…)