Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

This is an historic day for AZ NOW and the National Organization for Women.
July 2, 2017, Orlando, Florida, National NOW Conference: The NOW membership passes policy for the survival, dignity, and well-being of the indigenous women of the world. A huge thank-you to our own Kathryn Mitchell, and to Tupak Huehuecoyotl (Yauhtachcauh) and Eve Reyes-Aguirre (Nahuacalli) of  Tonatierra, and the entire membership of NOW!
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Statement by NOW President Terry O’Neill

04.04.2017
The culture of sexual harassment at Fox News must stop. The National Organization for Women (NOW) calls for Bill O’Reilly to be fired and demands an immediate independent investigation into the culture of sexual harassment at Fox News.
An investigation by The New York Times revealed that five women who accused Mr. O’Reilly of sexual harassment received payouts–totaling about $13 million–in exchange for their silence. Three of these stories had been previously unreported.
The report indicates that Mr. O’Reilly abused his position of power and engaged in a pattern of predatory, misogynistic behavior–enticing women with promises of career advancement, and threatening retribution when they rebuffed his sexual advances. The reported use of his powerful position to repeatedly manipulate women reveals a cruel misogyny that runs to the core of his character.
On the heels of Roger Ailes’ shameful removal from Fox News, following similar sexual harassment claims, Mr. O’Reilly’s case is part of a larger culture that condones the harassment and objectification of women at Fox News. Men like Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Ailes will never be stopped as long as their behavior is allowed to continue, even supported, by their employer.
For too long women have endured dangerous sexism at the hands of powerful men and , powerful institutions. Fox News is too big and too influential to simply let this go. Women have the right to go to work without facing harassment. Fox News apparently doesn’t get that basic concept.

Contact

M.E. Ficarra , press@now.org , 951-547-1241
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Reposted 4-4-17 AZ NOW
This article has been reposted with permission by Kathryn Mitchell, NOWPAC.az@gmail.com
The AZ State NOW website may contain advertisements for third parties or political ads. The advertisements on the AZ State NOW website should be labeled “advertisement” or “sponsored.” The AZ State NOW does not explicitly or implicitly endorse third parties in exchange for advertising and advertising does not influence content or actions.


NOW is the time to come together and plan our strategy as feminists and progressives for the next four years. Please join us at our next Inez Casiano/Central Phoenix NOW meeting on:
Sunday, November 27 at 
10 a.m. at 
Grand Central Coffee Company at 
718 N Central Avenue 85004.
 They open at 10 so get your food and drink downstairs and join us in a private room upstairs.   Kathryn likes the quiche and Earl Grey tea with lavender while Dianne prefers red wine over a tall glass of ice. For a complete menu check their webpage http://grandcentralcoffeecompany.com/Grand Central Coffee Company

NOW is the time to come together and plan our 2017 feminist strategy and the Woman’s March on January 21.

Our speaker will be Sue Ellen Allen to talk about Reinventing Reentry from prison for women. 
 Our action will be letters about H.Con. Res 150 re domestic violence. 
 But our main discussion will be 2017 strategy and the Woman’s March on January 21 in DC and what will happen here inAZ.
Please join us. NOW is the time.

The Inez Casiano/Central Phoenix NOW chapter will have their monthly meeting Sunday, October 23 from 10-11:30 a.m. at Grand Coffee, 718 N Central, upstairs. 
This month we’ll hear from January Contreras of Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services (ALWAYS) about immigrant women and trafficking. In addition, we’ll do a follow up action on the shackling case i.e. write letters to the Board of Supervisors not to fund private lawyers for the case but to settle. Some endorsed candidates may stop by if their schedule permits

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell should be ashamed of themselves. Their failure to renounce their endorsements of Donald Trump disqualifies them from any semblance of leadership. 


10.08.2016
Reposted 10.10.16 from NOW Media Center on AZNOW.org
Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell should be ashamed of themselves. Their failure to renounce their endorsements of Donald Trump disqualifies them from any semblance of leadership. They’re letting women down by not rejecting a presidential nominee who boasts of his exploits as a sexual predator. They’re letting the GOP down by surrendering every scrap of principle and moral authority represented by the party of Lincoln for fear of losing votes energized by Donald Trump’s hate speech.
As Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have an obligation not only to members of their caucus or supporters of their politics, but to every citizen of our democracy who depends on the nation’s leaders to actually lead. Anything short of unconditional rejection of Donald Trump’s candidacy will be seen as an expression of support—and the height of shameful, irredeemable cynicism.
Contact
M.E. Ficarra , press@now.org , 951-547-1241 
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Reposted 10.10.16 from NOW Media Center 

The AZ State NOW website may contain advertisements for third parties or political ads. The advertisements on the AZ State NOW website should be labeled “advertisement” or “sponsored.” The AZ State NOW does not explicitly or implicitly endorse third parties in exchange for advertising and advertising does not influence content or actions.

Posted 07/13/2016 by & filed under Activism, Essay, Promoting Diversity & Ending Racism.
By Angela Myers, Communications Intern

Angela@BlackLivesMatterProtest

A protestor shares her personal story of discrimination growing up in Minnesota with the crowd gathered at a rally against police brutality held in Lafayette Park north of the White House on Thursday, July 7th 2016. The rally escalated into a march from the White House to the U.S. Capitol. (Alex Edelman/For The DCist)


Wobbly and unsure on her feet, my mom leans with one hand on her walker while the other points to the large pink button on her chest. The button reads, “This is what a feminist looks like.” I had given the large button along with a few others with feminist quotes to her for her birthday. By wearing the button, which she dutifully pins to her chest everyday, she breaks stereotypes. Not many people look at disabled Black women and think: “feminism”. But she wears her button proudly. I then turn to my father and ask, “Are you a feminist?”
He nods his head and says, “I became a feminist when I had two daughters and realized that gender inequality is a real thing in the workplace,”
I nodded my head, but also knew in my mind that this was untrue. My dad had spent his life researching racial disparities in policy and the prison industrial system. For years he wrote about how Black men’s bodies are criminalized, and how it affects families and communities. He would write racism, but in actuality the criminalization of Black men’s bodies comes from racism and sexism. From reading his work from the seventies and eighties, I know that he has been a feminist long before he called himself one. For years Critical Race Theorists, Civil Rights activists, and more would not call their work “Feminism” because of the assumed meaning that feminism only fights for women’s rights.
And although the majority of feminist activism does fight for women’s rights. The true meaning of feminism is to fight against sexism and oppression, which effects everyone. When young boys have sex with their teachers in middle schools, feminist activists call it rape. It was feminist theorists who began to tell boys that accepting kindness and being loving is not emasculating, and that “man up” does not equate to inflicting violence. These are feminist issues. The many men and women who raise these issues are feminists, even if they do not see themselves as such.
When someone says “Feminist,” usually the image of a white, privileged, cis-gendered heterosexual woman comes to mind. This stereotype of the typical feminist is becoming increasingly untrue (also historically there were plenty of folk outside this stereotype that held feminist ideals even if they did not call themselves feminists.) Take a quick look at Twitter and the folk who claim Feminism, and you will see that men, transfolk, women of color, presidents, and even my parents claim Feminism.
The stereotype of what a feminist should look like is harmful because it creates an untrue narrative of what feminists fight for. Feminists fight for equality of the sexes. Whatever equality looks like for them. For many People of Color, and others, this also means fighting for racial equality. And by seeing feminists and feminism as a two-dimensional concept that only incorporates a singular view, we disregard the many brilliant and inspirational people who are doing feminist work.
My feminism means fighting for racial justice as well as gender equality. I am a Black woman from Minnesota. On July 7th, 2016, I woke up with my home state in the news. I woke up and saw a Black man, Philando Castille, being shot on a road I’ve driven on before, with a four year old Black girl and a Black woman also in the car. My first reaction was not surprise. I am no longer surprised when horrific acts of violence are perpetrated by police officers against men of color only to be broadcast to the world. But I am pained. I feel my eyes tear up. I feel my mood darken.
And I remember the last time my state made headlines, it was for being the best state in the country to live in. The truth, which I’ve known for a while, is that Minnesota is a great state to live in if you are White and Christian. Minnesota has a real race problem. It has one of the highest disproportionate shares of Black folk in prison in the country. This is a sexist problem as well as racist because as we know, Black men aren’t inherently more violent or criminal. But still white police officers believe they are. Black children have the highest drowning rates in the country, and are more likely to drown in my state than be shot. Black students in the state are consistently failing in our school systems, many dropping out at some of the highest rates in the country. Islamophobia and xenophobia against the Somali population is obvious. Also many of the women and children who have found refuge in the state suffer from PTSD and often don’t get the help they need to thrive, because they are seen as temporary guests. These are never things that are considered in the articles on which state is best.
These facts show that there aren’t policies in place in Minnesota that serve the most vulnerable populations. And as legislators don’t create policies to protect our communities, they are showing how they don’t care about Black communities. Legislators, and also the majority of the White community in Minnesota, are ignorant to the Black communities in Minnesota.
The policies that are in place, put Black bodies in prison. These are sexist policies as well because they rely on stereotypes that are linked to sex and gender. Black skin is not on trial here, but Black bodies are. Being Black in Minnesota is being invisible when it comes to how people make laws and who they are looking at to help, but being hyper-visible in the eyes of law enforcement as a threat, as criminal, as dangerous.
When the word “inclusive” was used in my privileged, predominately white high school, the inclusion was for the LGBTQIA community, not for the students of color. Often issues revolving around LGBT rights and feminism were only linked to white skin and the obstacles that White women faced or White Queer folk faced. And these conversations are important. But the conversations never got far enough to think about Women of Color or Queer People of Color. Our pain and our complexities are invisible in Minnesota. The most common phrase that I heard growing up was that we were the dirt, the shit, the dark hole in the never ending land of snow. If you can imagine that image, you will understand the isolation and the hyper-visibility of what it is like to be Black in Minnesota.
StopRacismNOWI remember when a cop car slowed to a stop when I was walking down a cold Minneapolis street. My heart raced and although I was doing nothing wrong, all the laws I could be expected to break were on my mind. My throat was dry and I could feel myself holding back tears while I answered the policeman’s questions. “How old are you?” “What are you doing out on this street at this time of night?” It was ten and I was walking from my boyfriend’s house to where I had parked my car. “Oh where does your boyfriend live?” It was then, with the disgust rolling off his body that I knew what he saw. He didn’t see an ambitious, high- achieving, varsity swimmer, sixteen-year-old girl in her first relationship. But rather someone more sinister, who didn’t deserve to walk the streets of Minneapolis. If I told you what I was wearing, would you believe my innocence? Long johns, jeans, ugg boots, and a large puffy jacket couldn’t disway his suspicion. Plenty of people passed me. All of them White. All of them stare, but none of them made eye-contact.
This is what it is like when the intersection of racism and sexism play on your skin. And thinking back I wonder, why couldn’t that police officer see a feminist? This would happen more and more as I got older, as my body changed. And as I got older I realized more and more, why I needed feminism, and why fighting just racism or just sexism was not enough. Because when I walk into a room, people do not see just a Black person, or just a woman; they see a Black woman. And because of this, there has never been a time or case when I just felt like a Black person, or just a woman. I do not know what those two things are separately. But feminism fights for me, my Black womanhood, and everything that means or doesn’t mean.
For years women in the Feminist movement and NOW have fought to be heard. “Women’s work” and “women’s issues” were invisible to the public fifty years ago. The work that NOW and other feminist organizations have done for women is tremendous. But historically the women who profited from feminist organization’s work have been White women. In the LGBT community, feminist and LGBT rights organizations have done so much work on the issues that affect White folk in that community, but not focusing on the fact that Black Trans-Women are the poorest group in our country, and are the most likely to face violence and harassment. Even in movements that were supposed to create equality for everyone, People of Color have fallen by the wayside. Told to choose a cause and shut up. Told that others need to win first in order for everyone to win. This was shown to be untrue.
Black women were the ones who pioneered a new meaning of feminism. An intersectional feminism, that truly fights for everyone. NOW in the last few years changed its mission statement to not only include this feminism, but to make it one of the core tenets of the organization. Feminism fights, as renowned feminist theorist bell hooks states, “sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.”
NOW F Fem logo-300x284Sexism doesn’t just hurt women, but it hurts men by stereotyping men as killers, specifically Black men as killers and demonizes them. Sexism is already an intersectional oppression. It has affected folk in different ways and on different layers of oppression and privilege. If we are truly fighting for all people to be equal then we must also fight on multiple fronts. We can’t forget, Black women and Black transfolk are being killed too. We must fight sexism, racism, transphobia, ableism, classism, and more. As bell hooks writes in the very first line of her book, “Feminism is for Everybody,” “Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression,” Because of the history of racism Black men have been turned into uncontrollable demons that need to be shot down. Latina women have been turned into one dimensional sexual objects who can’t say no, even when they’ve said no. The undeniable factor of sexism is deeply entangled in racism. So if we truly want to fight ALL sexism, we also have to fight racism.
YoungFeministMobilizingThis all brings me back to the Thursday morning that I woke up with my home in the news. That morning I thought, how could someone mistake a man with a four year old girl in the back seat as threatening enough to shoot, threatening enough to kill? How, if not by seeing the man’s sex and race as indicators of difference that brought about fear? Sexism and racism are what turn twelve year old boys who are playing on a playground into dangerous men then into lifeless bodies. Sexism and racism is what brought me to a protest that Thursday night, pounding on NOW signs, yelling and screaming, “No Justice, No Peace,” and “Black Lives Matter.” Because if we truly are going to fight sexism, and if we are truly going to achieve the goals of Feminism and equality, this is what a feminist needs to look like.

Posted 06/22/2016 by  & filed under Ending Sex Discrimination, Ending Violence Against Women, Stopping Violence Against WomenBy Angela Myers, Communications Intern
The juvenile justice system is criminalizing sexual assault victims. In our juvenile justice system, many, if not most, of the young women placed in the juvenile justice system are victims of sexual abuse.
Although in the last 20 years the amount of youths placed in the juvenile system has gone down, the proportion of young girls placed into the system has increased.  As stated in an Education Week article,“Sexual abuse is a “primary predictor” for involvement with the juvenile-justice system, and that girls of color—particularly African-Americans, Native Americans, and Latinas—are disproportionately affected.” By putting young women into the juvenile system, the root problems of bad behavior and delinquency aren’t being solved. Sexual abuse history is also strongly linked to the likelihood that a young woman will be charged again after release.
What is the issue?
The sexual abuse to Prison pipeline is an issue that focuses specifically on young women who have experienced sexual assault. These girls are pushed into the juvenile justice system for displaying understandable reactions to trauma, which usually meet the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). By being placed into the juvenile system, girls don’t have access to proper mental health treatment. As data and reports show, girls are 4.4 times more likely to experience sexual assault than boys. By placing these girls in the juvenile justice system we are taking them out of their communities, not giving them the help that they need to psychologically recover from trauma. The juvenile justice system is also known for having an ineffective education system. This inhibits those in the system to easily transfer out and back to school. So in the end, by placing victims in the juvenile justice system girls are taken out of their communities and everything they know.
Sexual assault is a traumatic experience that leads many young women to act out.  But the research so far shows that an overwhelming majority of girls in the juvenile justice system have experienced sexual abuse. In a 2006 study in Oregon, 96 percent of the girls in the juvenile justice system had a history of sexual abuse, and 76 percent had experienced one incident of sexual or physical abuse before age thirteen. Additionally, in a 2009 study in South Carolina of “delinquent girls”, 84 percent reported a history of sexual violence. In Angela Davis’s book, Are Prisons Obsolete?, Davis writes extensively, in the chapter  “How Gender Structures the Prison system,” on the sexual abuse that is experienced by women in the prison system in California, before and after they enter the system. A major problem and factor in our juvenile justice system and our prison system is that women and girls are being sexually abused in prisons, and if they aren’t, the standard practices of those systems have the potential to retraumatize victims. Strip searching, for example, is standard practice for adult prisons but on a case-by-case basis in the juvenile justice system. Being stripped searched can be retraumatizing for victims of sexual assault.
The most common crimes for which girls are arrested—running away, substance abuse, and truancy—are also the most common reactions to abuse. Putting these girls into the juvenile justice system is generally a harsher conviction than needed if we want to punish these girls for their crimes. These crimes are also often painted as ones that need to be punished early and quickly, rather than treated. These girls are not criminals, but victims. Once we see that these victims need treatment not punishment, hopefully then we will be able to curb the sheer amount of girls in the juvenile justice system.

Why is this important?
It has become obvious lately that the juvenile justice system and the prison system in general is flawed. A disproportionate amount of the women in these systems are women of color. By criminalizing young girls who have experienced sexual assault we are further traumatizing those girls and not fixing the root of the problem that caused their delinquent behavior. Girls who are put into the juvenile justice system also face the stigma of being labeled a “delinquent child” and that can follow them once they leave the system. Then after they re-integrate back into school the change in structure may retrigger problematic behavior. These girls and all young women deserve respect and also the proper care for their needs. This can change if we give therapy to girls who are exhibiting bad behavior in the classroom and signs of trauma. Also we can work toward ending sexual abuse toward young girls by giving therapy and rehabilitation to rapists and child molesters. As a society we need to stop sexual assault at all ages. Until then we can’t criminalize the behaviors of young women who are acting out because of their trauma due to sexual assault.
 

I’m sure you’ve seen that a second video showing Baltimore Raven’s player Ray Rice committing an act of domestic violence has been released. Every media outlet has been showing it, making it hard to ignore.
Sign the petition and tell Goodell that he must go. Only when millions of NFL fans saw that video did Commissioner Roger Goodell take a stand. It’s pretty clear thatGoodell thinks he has an image problem, but in fact the NFL has a violence against women problem.
The arrest rate of NFL players for domestic violence and sexual assault is significantly higher than the general population. Since Goodell started as commissioner in 2006, there have been fifty-six instances of domestic violence, but players were suspended for a combined total of 13 games and only 10 players were released from their team.
The NFL sets the example for college, high school, middle school and even elementary school football programs – the example currently being set by the NFL is simply unacceptable. The organization must have new leadership. Sign our petition and demand Goodell resign!
We are demanding that Goodell resign from his position and that his successor appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms.
New leadership must come in with a specific charge to transform the culture of violence against women that pervades the NFL. Sign our petition and demand thatGoodell resign!