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Showing posts with label WOC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WOC. Show all posts

04 September 2018

Rose Tico and Kelly Marie Tran are the role models we need

Rose Tico emerged from "The Last Jedi" as the breakout character. Who would have guessed when we saw her zap Finn that so many people would fall in love with her passion for life and dedication for the resistance? Considering that Finn gets under my skin as an annoying brat, ME!!

A few weeks ago Kelly Marie Tran wrote a kick ass op-ed in the New York Times about the online harassment that pushed her off Instagram, as well as the importance of Rose Tico to nerds of color:

...the same society that taught some people they were heroes, saviors, inheritors of the Manifest Destiny ideal, taught me I existed only in the background of their stories, doing their nails, diagnosing their illnesses, supporting their love interests — and perhaps the most damaging — waiting for them to rescue me.
And for a long time, I believed them.

Bomber Command
Tran sums up harshly and eloquently why nerds of color need heroes that look like them. I guy came over to my office the other day to fix my phone and he saw my Wonder Woman swag everywhere. "You know she's Latina right?" I told him yes and he just went on and on about how much he loves Wonder Woman because she is Latina. "She's one of us!" Of course we're really talking about Linda Carter as Wonder Woman is really more Mediterranean with her Greek mythology background. And I wish I knew this about Cater when I was a kid running around in my Underoos. BUT I'LL TAKE IT!

Resistance Fighter
But for kids today, especially Star Wars fans with Asian heritage, sisters Rose and Paige Tico are here to serve as inspirations through two young reader books.

I highly recommend these books for Star Wars fans who are super into the details. The nerdiest parts of both books are the detailed plans for a ships, weapons, worlds, creatures, and people. For me, right now, that's more detail than I need! But I know for many fans it is exactly the details they are looking for, especially for kids of color to get engrossed in zoology or engineering.

What I loved about the books is that they are both presented as if pieces of their diaries. The stories move along as part inner dialogue, part reflection. It made their stories feel accessible and real. Of course my favorite part was Rose dragging of Finn for trying to escape. I've never yelled "Hell yeah!" to a young reader book before.

Seriously though, the way Jason Fry situates the Tico Sisters' passion for justice in an idealism that would had been candy for me as a young person especially in this political moment.

If you have a young Star Wars fan who has signed up for the Resistance IRL, get them Resistance Fighter and Bomber Command.

Disclaimer: These books were sent to me from a publicist in return for an honest review that was then prompted by Kelly Marie Tran's amazing op-ed. 

15 February 2017

AMERICAN MASTERS "Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise"

Credit: Ron Groeper
The first feature documentary about Maya Angelou, American Masters – Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, premieres nationwide Tuesday, February 21 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) during Black History Month as part of the 31st season of THIRTEEN’s American Masters series. PBS Distribution will release the film on DVD the same day, with additional bonus features, and on Digital HD February 22.

Most people know Angelou as a writer, but this documentary showcases all of her geniuses in literature, speaking, acting, signing, and dancing. The best part of a full-length documentary on Maya Angelou are the moments when she is reciting a poem while footage of the world runs.

This documentary is touching, but most importantly it is funny. Angelou's laughter rings throughout the film. It wraps around your heart like a warm hug...just the type of hug we need during these dark times. Seriously though, for progressives and feminists, these are dark days. Days when we lose hope than we can imagine before we even finish our commute to work. Days when we feel extra guilty of tuning out the world in fluffy and stupid pop culture. But watching this documentary will reground you in the belief that justice will prevail. Angelou does not promise us a happy ending, but her words, her breath, fill you with hope. Even when she speaks of dark times! I do not know how she does it, even years after her death.

Catch it. DVR it and save it for viewing when you lose hope.

Disclaimer: Thanks to PBS for letting me preview this documentary in order to review it for VLF.

01 November 2016

Why I brought Ida B. Wells flowers


As anyone paying a teeny bit of attention to this year's Presidential campaign knows we are now one week away from election day. Much has been written about taco trucks, emails, sexual assault, and adorable old (mostly white) ladies who were born before or around the time women's suffrage was written into the US Constitution. No matter what the outcome is, November 8, 2016 will be a historic day as it took 96 years from suffrage to having a woman as a candidate of a major political party. Many women have run before, but Hillary Clinton is the first to be steps away from being the first woman to be elected to the highest office in the USA.

This means for many women we are reflecting back. Reflecting on our grandmas and mothers who were our first women's studies teacher, who role modeled strong womanhood, and who could critique Hillary while still sporting a "I'm with her" button. It also means reflecting on the countless women who fought for suffrage including the most recognizable suffragist in the USA is Susan B. Anthony.

Anthony has been memorialized on the dollar coin and since at least 2014 had women voters visit her grave after they have cast their vote. The image of her grave full of "I voted" stickers has gone viral. The fact that I have seen that image frequently in the build up to election day made me stop and think.

First of all, I'm in Chicago. Even if I wanted to say thanks to SBA I can't.

Second, being a Chicago feminist means I know our history is chock-full of kick ass feminists and maybe there's someone here to visit. OF COURSE THERE IS!!!

My first thought was Ida B. Wells.

Wells famously gave the suffrage leadership a big middle finger when she refused to walk at the back of the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC. She was also a journalist, anti-lynching activist, and all-around bad ass. I said a quick prayer and searched for her grave. JACKPOT!!

According to "Find a Grave" her resting place is on the south side of Chicago near the Museum of Science and Industry at the Oak Woods Cemetery. Now to find someone to go searching for Wells. I enlisted Natalie Moore of WBEZ and author of The South Side (go get it now!).

On Monday we met up at Oak Woods, went to the office and asked how to find Ida B. Wells. After some navigating with a paper map*, we found her headstone. I left her some flowers as a thank you. I haven't voted yet, so I couldn't leave my "I voted" wristband** for her.

It is nice when my ideas pan out so well. Feminists of color continue to fight for our place within the movement, call out "white feminism" when it rears its head, and create spaces that center our lives and experiences.  Natalie and I stood there for a bit having a great conversation about racism in the suffrage movement, racism in the campaign, how we need to still have a much needed conversation about racism in the USA, and even swapping stories about our daughters. I haven't studied her work close enough to know for sure, but I'd like to think that Wells would be hella proud of so much of our work, from Donna Brazile to Opal Tometi, Alixia Garza and Patrisse Cullors. Wells would be proud of each of us who have been told to "stand over there" only to show up anyway. Some of us will cast our vote for Clinton, some won't. My visit there wasn't about who you we vote for, but to remember and mark this historic moment by saying thank you to a suffragist who was also a woman of color.

Instead of only thanking Susan B. Anthony for our ability to vote on the 8th, take a moment to do some research to find out who your local suffragists were and thank them too.

* We also got a packet of the Who's Who of Oakwood. Jesse Owens one of the many amazing people laid to rest here. It is also the future resting place of Roland Burris.
**  Chicago voters don't get stickers cause too many people put them on walls, so this year we are getting paper wristbands.

26 July 2014

Apply today for the FOCUS black women in tech Fellows program

Did you know that there is a program to help support black women kick start their innovations?

The digitalundivided FOCUS Fellows program is an intensive weeklong program that has a impressive track record of success: Over 30 percent of the black female startup founders who participated in the program have raised at least $50,000 in venture or angel funding and 10% have raised more than a half of million dollars. In contrast, studies have found that less than one percent of startups backed by tech investors were founded by African-Americans.

The FOCUS Fellows program takes place in New York City from September 30-October 5 and coincides with FOCUS 2014, the world’s most diverse tech conference.

I got a chance to ask Darlene Gillard, Partnership Director, Community & Events for FOCUS, a few questions that a few of you might be thinking...

Q: What should I tell my girlfriend who I send this to, but responds with "I'm just not ready for this!"
A: You won’t know if you’re ready until you apply. Women entrepreneurs are notorious for wanting their businesses and ideas to be perfect before releasing them to the world. Tell your girlfriend to review the application and apply then let someone else decide if she’s ready.

Q: Will the FOCUS conference ever travel?  
A: digitalundivided is a national organization that hosts events and meetups around the country. FOCUS, however, will always remain on the east coast.

Q: What is your advice for a young woman who aspires to be a Fellow one-day?  
A: Think big! Create a business or product that people will pay for, not what you THINK they want. Be persistent, be nimble and most of all invest in yourself.

So get going on your application! They are due August 1st! 

24 November 2009

Oh WaPo, you got me good.

Yes, I entered the Washington Post's Next Great Pundit contest. I cobbled together a piece about adoption, abortion, feminism and my undying love for Dawn Friedman. Then Latinos in America was on and I sent in an entry about how much I did not appreciate that series. I knew it was a publicity sontest for WaPo, but the fact that they excluded already published op-ed'ers made me believe I had a decent shot.

When I saw that the ten finalists were 5 men and 5 women, I was fairly happy. Four of the dudes appeared to be white. Strike. The women seemed fairly diverse in ethnicity as well as kinda age. Althou someone on one of the many listservs I'm on said they felt the candidates skewed young. Point taken.

Then the final two came down to a white dude, Kevin, and a woman of color, Zeba. I guess I thought the feminist media community would throw it's weight behind Zeba - She worked on Obama's campaign and while her pieces weren't screaming feminism, she fit what I thought we'd want to see in a new op-ed voice. I admit that before the final two, I tweeted the contest without backing anyone. I was leaning towards Zeba, but also thought that having Courtney win would be fine too. Honestly I didn't have a horse in this race, but did think that if we could will it, a woman of color should win. Once it was a two person race, I tweeted my support for Zeba. Alas Kevin won. Zeba came up 600 votes short.

If Zeba had been a contributor at Feministing or Feministe would she had kicked ass in the final vote? Did we get tired of all the voting? On the last day? She was disconnected, from my POV, from the feminist media community despite having gone thru the Op-Ed Project and thus we didn't rally for her. Perhaps many of us were just disappointed that Courtney had been eliminated.

I am eagerly awaiting Courtney's reflection post on the whole process. She was called perky and I believe I read some comments about her voice. All things that are rarely, if ever, mentioned about a man.

As I said, I know that this whole thing wasn't set out to find that hidden jewel of punditry, but to jack up the hits at the WaPo. But they did have a golden moment when it had the opportunity to anoint Zeba or Courtney (the second runner up) as the next great pundit. A lot has been said about the contest and the quality of the finalists, but I still held out hope that the result would be different.

Or maybe America really does just want to hear from white dudes...But I highly doubt it.

16 May 2008

There is too much, let me sum up

Because I have a presentation on gender equity on Thursday, found out about another extension on a chapter I was writing & gave up on, AND the hubby is out of town meaning I have less time for me this weekend, I present you with a bullet point blog post. Enjoy!

  • Help some awesome Radical WOC get to the Allied Media Conference. I swear, I'd be there myself to represent the not-so-radical WOC contingent, but I have to attend another conference that weekend. Oh...and if you've ever wondered where the super kewl WOC bloggers are, start with this list!
  • Peggy Simpson from the Women's Media Center sums up the fallout from the NARAL Pro-Choice endorsement. As does Scott at RH Reality Check is also following the fallout. (Is it me, or does he look like Bobcat Goldwaith? But of course, far less scary!)
    • My reaction? Award for the worst timing EVER! While I did give NARAL kudos earlier this month, I gotta say that I was shocked at such poor timing. I know that Kate Michaelman is an Obama woman, but come on...it's not like you were trying to submarine Lieberman! *sigh* I'm on a listserv with a lot of second wavers & 99% of them are working their tails off for Hillary. The heartbreak is unbearable.
  • The NY Times has a great piece on women in science and the hurdles they have to jump through AND why sometimes they just pack up their microscope and go home. KUDOS! But...there's always a but, eh? The article is in the fashion/style section. I mentioned it on another listserv I'm on and someone pointed out that perhaps instead of being in a more "serious" section, it's getting more attention. Thoughts?
  • Noemi reports, "In at least one case, a guard reportedly got a female detainee pregnant. It’s all happening at the South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall. News 4 Trouble Shooter Brian Collister brings you the fall out from his investigation." Read more.
  • Want to evacuate from a hurricane? Better have your papers ready!
  • The Ask a Working Woman Survey 2008 is out! "The survey is an opportunity for working women in America to tell decision-makers what it's like to be a working woman in America in election years. Opinions will be collected through June 20, 2008. The findings will be announced to decision makers and released in nationwide media in order to highlight and help improve the status of the working mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and nieces in all of our American families." Go take it!
  • Chicago Public Schools are tauting an increase in the number of graduates attending college. Parents United for Responsible Education isn't so sure we should be celebrating.
  • June 2nd is the 3rd Annual Blogging for LGBT Family Day!
  • Ward Connerly's Super Tuesday is losing steam. Maybe he can rename it Good Tuesday?
  • An interview with Amy Richards (not to be confused with one of my BFFs) at RH Reality Check is a must read.
  • Today Google had another special holiday logo, this time about the invention of the laser. So it got me thinking...have they tipped their hat to a woman? Answer, outside of recognizing International Women's Day in 2005, nope.

18 April 2008

Happy Fair Pay Day!

Blog for Fair PayToday is Friday, April 18th...the 109th day of the year. Why does that matter? Because Equal Pay or Fair Pay day marks the day when women have finally earned enough money to equal what a man made in the previous year.

In other words, if the dude in the cubicle next to you made $50,000 last year and on average you made $38,5000. That is 77 cents on the man's dollar....it would take you until today to equal his $50,000. Of course, he's still earning, so you're super behind for this year.

Of course my example is compared to a white man's dollar and that woman earning 77 cents on the dollar are white women. What about us Latinas?

Minority women fare significantly worse. In 2006, the median earnings of African American women working full-time, year-round were $30,3525 compared to $48,4206 for white, non-Hispanic men; the median for Hispanic women was only $25,198.7 This means that an African American woman earned just 63 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man, while a Hispanic woman earned only 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart.8 In both cases, this pay gap for women of color was only marginally smaller than it was in 2004. [link]
52 cents? Pinche 52 cents?

Instead of just getting all pissy about us getting the shaft there is something to be done! The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will be voted on at any moment. Contact your Senators!! Of course you known one of mine and he better get his hopeful ass off the campaign trail to make that vote, close or not. NOW describes the bill and why we need it passed:

The Ledbetter Act was drafted to overturn the Supreme Court's May decision in the case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which dealt a near-fatal blow to underpaid workers' ability to use the protections of civil rights laws to remedy pay discrimination.

Lilly Ledbetter had worked at Goodyear for 19 years when she discovered she was being paid significantly less than every single one of her male counterparts. A jury agreed that she had been paid unfairly, and awarded her $223,776 in back pay, and over $3 million in punitive damages, but a judge cut that to only $300,000 because of a 1991 law that limited a company's liability for damages — even when found guilty of willful wage discrimination.

In an "off with her head" moment, the U.S. Supreme Court took away every penny of the back pay and damages awarded to Lilly Ledbetter, saying incredibly that the 180 day filing limit had begun way back when the very first paycheck showed lesser pay. Eighteen years of continuing wage discrimination against Ledbetter by Goodyear held no sway with the Roberts court.

Fair pay is one reason why I push young women and girls into science & engineering. Women in some of these fields are earning a fair pay, for the most part, and sometimes are in such demand that they earn MORE than the white dude next to them. Go ahead and use that the next time your daughter tries to talk you into blowing off her math homework.

Women in the construction industry, for example, earned median weekly wages that were only 86% of what their male counterparts earned. And women in computer and mathematical occupations had weekly earnings that were 85% of the wages paid their male counterparts. [link]
Technorati tags: fair pay, equal pay, feminism, work, latina, National Women's Law Center

17 April 2008

New Blog -- My Voice, My Choice

The Chicago Abortion Fund has launched a new blog for their My Voice, My Choice leadership project. It's still brand-spanking new with only 3 posts, but make sure that you bookmark them, grab their RSS feed, or add them to your blogroll.

This blog will be THE place to hear from young women of color who have had abortions, aren't afraid to tell their stories, and tell the stories of others.

I've been in many, many meetings where feminists wring their hands and scratch their heads and wonder, "Where are the women of color?" "How can we get them to the table?" Well folks, they are right over at the CAF blog and they set their own table. Why don't you please join them?


Technorati tags: abortion, women of color, feminism, Chicago Abortion Fund

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