Vote Tomorrow!

Please go out and vote tomorrow! Voting is one of the most important civic duties and responsibilities of American citizens! Yes, I know it often feels like it doesn’t make a difference, but if everyone in the 99% voted, it wouldn’t matter what the 1% wanted. Go vote!

TODAY: Rally at the Broadway Bridge for Add the Words

Come to the Broadway Bridge (Key Bank end) at noon today for a rally to support the Add the Words Capital protestors. At 12:04 pm, we will line the sidewalk on the south side of the bridge, facing west, and covering our mouths with our hands in silence.

This Week: Add the Words Happenings

We are coming up on the end of the Idaho Legislature’s session, and the Legislature has yet to take action on the Add the Words campaign and print a bill and hold a hearing on Adding the Words to the Idaho Human Rights Act that would make it illegal to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Idahoans in employment and housing.

There have been many protests at the Idaho Capitol, and many protesters have been arrested for blocking rooms and doorways in the Capitol. This week, Idaho Falls people are organizing their own vigils and rallies in support of the Capitol protesters, for those who cannot be in Boise. Details on the Monday Vigil and Wednesday Rally follow:

Monday, March 10:
Add the Words Vigil, 7:30 pm
Idaho Falls Greenbelt by the War Memorial (on Memorial Drive)
Candlelight vigil

Wednesday, March 12:
Add the Words Rally, 12 noon
Broadway Bridge Sidewalk (south side of bridge, east end)
Face west and cover your mouth in silence at 12:04 pm

Comments Due for UUA Reproductive Justice CSAI

The UUA comment period for the Reproductive Justice Congregational Study Action/Issue closes March 3rd.

A Congregational Study Action/Issue (CSAI) is an issue chosen by the delegates to the UUA General Assembly (GA) for UU congregations to study, ponder, think about, and act on. The current CSAI on Reproductive Justice was chosen at the 2012 GA. The comments that are currently being taken will inform workshops to be presented at the 2014 GA. Later, in November, a draft Statement of Conscience will be prepared for congregations to vote on in 2015 and to be presented at the 2015 GA. If approved, the Statement of Conscience will be acted on by UU congregations in 2015 and 2016. A new CSAI will be chosen for consideration at this year’s GA to be the possible Statement of Conscience for 2016.

The Reproductive Justice Issue (from the UUA website)

Reproductive rights and health services are seriously under attack nationally. Reproductive Justice represents a broader analysis of racial, economic, cultural, and structural constraints on women’s power. The right to have children, to not have children, and to parent children in safe and healthy environments is a human right.

Follow the link above to read the entire CSAI. If you have thoughts on the CSAI, leave them in the comments or contact me.

Transgender People in the Media

I ran across a very interesting article today, on a website called In These Times, about the portrayal of transgender people, and transgender women in particular, in the media.

From the article:

(B)elieve trans people when they tell you their gender.

And don’t focus on medical transition, especially when it’s not relevant. There is so much more to our lives. We also need to move away from press coverage that’s both objectifying and relentlessly negative. Tell stories about trans women that focus on their accomplishments or more mundane aspects of their lives. I know so many brilliant trans women doing incredible things, despite what they’ve faced. Tell these stories.

I genuinely believe that media that represents us on our own terms and as full human beings will go a long way to combat the dangerous dehumanization of trans women and the oppression that comes with it.

I highly recommend reading the entire article.

Difficult Discussion: The Failure of School Integration in America

Last week, I came across an article on Slate about the failure of American schools to integrate in the 60 years since Brown v. Board of Education. This is a hard conversation to have, but the author of the Slate article argues that busing was not the answer to segregated schools, and integration was doomed from the beginning since it depended on busing. He also argues that the black middle class was (almost) just as against busing as the white middle class — they wanted the end of segregation to be high-quality education for their children, like white middle-class children were getting, not busing to schools with average education and average students who just happened to be white.

My quick summary is definitely not doing justice to the original, thoughtful essay, and you should definitely read the whole thing.

Please share in the comments your experience of the American school system, and its segregation, integration, or something else entirely as you have experienced it.

New Liberal Vocabulary

If you read social justice works from the 1960s or 70s (or if you were around then) you’ll notice that the vocabulary of social justice has changed in the intervening decades. For example, privilege (with an emphasis on the benefits individuals derive from their position in the social hierarchy) is now used, instead of oppression (with an emphasis on the disadvantages accruing to large groups of people due to the system).

In general, the new vocabulary words emphasize the individual, as opposed to the old vocabulary emphasizing the collective and the group.

I highly recommend reading the entire article, The Rise of the Post-New Left Political Vocabulary on The Public Autonomy Project, a project of Stephen D’Arcy, a philosophy professor at Huron University College in London, Ontario.

The thing I have noticed is that both vocabularies stem from the particular way of thinking that goes along with a generation and the events that affect that generation. The old vocabulary comes from the Baby Boom generation, while the new vocabulary comes from the Millenial generation. As someone who doesn’t really fit in those generations (or any one, really, as a very young Gen Xer), I find that none of the vocabulary really speaks to me and the way I think, although I definitely feel more comfortable with the new vocabulary. How about you? Which vocabulary speaks to you more? Which one are you most comfortable with? Please share in the comments.

Protesters Arrested in Idaho Capital Building

Police in Boise today arrested 43 people for blocking the entrance to the Idaho Senate in the Idaho Capital Building. The protesters were asking that words be added to the Idaho Human Rights Act protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination. Among those arrested were former Idaho legislator Nicole LeFavour. Read the full AP article here.

Tentative Posting Calendar

I am thinking about creating a posting calendar for this blog, so that you, the readers, can expect certain topics on certain days of the week. I would, of course, make exceptions for breaking news, upcoming events, and holidays. Here is a tentative posting calendar:

Monday: Gender and Sexual Orientation
Tuesday: Peace
Wednesday: Prison and Drug War
Thursday: Environment
Friday: Mental Health

I know this is not all-encompassing, leaving out specific mention of anti-racism, anti-torture, and many other worthy social justice topics. I would hope to cover these topics and more on closely-related days. What do you all think? Do you like the calendar? Should I choose different topics?

Intersex Movement Gains Ground

There is a movement, called the intersex movement, to stop assigning gender at birth (through surgery) to children born with ambiguous genitalia. Germany just passed a law to allow birth certificates to be marked with a third gender (X) for intersex children. Read more in a Slate article.

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