Leaping from Our Spheres
My blog is not a “best of,” but rather an ongoing attempt to capture the good, bad, and mixed developments in the status of women and girls. To what extent do we see more justice and equity? To what degree have we lost ground?
This is not a comprehensive inventory, rather the gleanings from a practice I learned in theology school called findings. Taken from a daily practice developed by African American minister Howard Thurman, spiritual adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and beloved by Unitarian Universalists, it involves sitting with the morning papers, scissors in hand, in search of articles and columns that speak to us. Does it further our compassion? Does it illuminate our longings?
As the Unitarian Universalist organization whose mission it is to promote equity for women and girls, we keep a vigilant eye on the many issues impacting what is now commonly called reproductive justice. Conceptualized by a powerful group of women of color in 1994, reproductive justice is defined as the complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, social and economic well-being of women and girls, based on the full achievement of and protection of women’s human rights. As another blogger this past week observed, the slaying of unarmed black men – with no consequence—is a reproductive justice issue, as mothers and would be mothers justifiably fear for the health and safety of their male children. How chilling a prospect.
The Grand Jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City exonerating police officers in the shooting deaths of two African American men: one a teenage son of a bereaved mother, the other a husband and father, were horrifying acts of injustice against the women in their lives. Continue reading
There is unfortunately always some breaking news to report – or more accurately, old news that is finally getting some print and air time – about sexual violence against women and girls. This week was no exception, from collegiate football players who are apparently being shielded from rape charges in the midst of a winning season; to an esteemed comedian who had been accused for years of drugging and assault; to a gang rape just exposed in a University of Virginia fraternity which has brought to light years of inaction and cover ups of previous known incidents. Continue reading
This week in municipalities and states around the country, in a run up to Thanksgiving and what is arguably the annual season of conspicuous charity, “Give” days are being held. Citizens are urged to contribute financially to local nonprofits and schools, with incentives of matching gifts, Golden Ticket random money prizes, and other incentives, including free metro passes in some areas. In my town, the neighborhood email chat is buzzing with pitches for daycare centers for homeless children and urban wilderness preserves. In Minneapolis, there’s a running tally of the “votes” for Habitat for Humanity, a Twin Cities Dance company, an emergency assistance program – and the Minnesota Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).
The refusal of the US Supreme Court to hear appeals of favorable lower federal court rulings overturning bans on same sex marriage, opening up legal marriage for gays and lesbians in five more states, is being rightfully celebrated. Change of public opinion and change of legal status have come with great and gratifying speed.
However, while the SCOTUS decision not to hear any cases opposing legalizing these marriages protected and advanced prior actions in a number of states, their choice to stay out of the fray leaves another 20 states without such advancements – at least for now. Following the announcement, attorney generals and governors of some of our most socially conservative states wasted no time announcing they were determined to continue to staunchly defend their constitutional amendments prohibiting same sex union.