I heard a story on NPR that left me shattered. It spoke of a study, published yesterday in the American Journal of Public Health, suggesting that more than 1,100 Congolese women are raped every day. That’s apparently twenty-six times higher than previous already-horrifying estimates. I couldn’t wrap my brain around that kind of figure. I thought certainly I’d misheard, misunderstood, so I went to The World’s website to check. No… apparently not.
I’m often left feeling impotent by the news. I mean, these women are a world away from me. What can I do? I suffer from the same chronic deficiencies of time and money as just about everyone else I know. But I haven’t been able to shake that number from my mind. 1,100. Every day.
So I did a little more poking around on the internet and as it happens, there’s a WomenforWomen.org 5k run/walk on July 23rd. So… I signed up. I’ve set a very modest goal–this is a tough economy and April was especially brutal this year, but I’m hoping with your help to raise a mere $200 for Women for Women. It’s not much, but it’s something. And I’m kind of slow, but I’m starting to really understand how somethings add up. There is power in somethings.
Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies. We’re changing the world one woman at a time.
Run for Congo Women is a global run/walk event series benefiting Women for Women International’s programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Busy day today and off to a late start, but here’s a bit of this and that:
During the month of April, when we have two trips coming up, a baby’s birthday, an estimated tax payment and we’re still smarting from a “catastrophic data loss” event, I have ABSOLUTELY NO BUDGET FOR PRETTIES. So of course, my beloved Kate Spade is having a 25% off Sale today and tomorrow. Bitch. Here’s hoping you can take advantage of it in my stead.
Via the profoundly awesome Making It Lovely blog, this bit on a box-themed boys’ birthday party. I haven’t the time nor the energy for such things and I am stunned and amazed that any mother of twins does. Is it wrong that I kind of hope she’s on speed? Anyway, it’s an awesome party.
Also from Making It Lovely, the Chuck Close “Inspiration is for Amateurs” quote. I want that done up as some kind of pretty Etsy print for my office. Needle point, maybe…
I am not the worst mother in the world. We had a family dinosaur dance party last night [dinosaurs love to dance to PANAMA, fyi] and we baked chocolate elephant cookies for dessert. I want credit for that, dammit.
Behold my new favorite pen. I want to try the needle tip version before I order a case, though. Might like that better.
Everyone’s seen this by now, yeah? Girls Love Superheroes tumblr. I’m not kidding when I say that puts a lump in my throat. (I wish I had pictures of me in my aluminum foil Wonder Woman bracelets. Or playing Almighty Isis in a crudely-fashioned bedsheet dress.)
Finally, I wish I had time to comment in depth on the budget stand-off w/r/t Planned Parenthood. The Hyde Amendment already makes it illegal to use federal funds to pay for abortions, so defunding Planned Parenthood in the name of keeping tax dollars anti-choice is a bit off. This is such a difficult issue. I believe that the staunchly anti-choice individuals really do believe they’re doing the right thing–that by pulling monies out of Planned Parenthood, even when those monies do not directly fund the procedure, they’re saving lives. I believe they’re wrong. I believe they’re *costing* lives, by valuing potential life over actual life. Planned Parenthood isn’t some front operation for an abortion factory. It’s a healthcare clinic. I’ve been poor in my life and I’ve needed their services and they were there for me and countless other women who couldn’t afford to go to a private OB/GYN or didn’t know how to find one. We’re talking about yearly exams, cancer screenings, birth control, UTIs, yeast infections–regular issues in the care and feeding of your average vagina that are not and should not be hot button issues. I understand that money is tight. Believe me, I know from money being tight. But I don’t think this is about the money at all–I think this is about politics in the most literal sense of the term. This is about the struggle for power. And I am once again disappointed to see this nation’s girls being used as props and pawns. Okay. Enough. I have to get back to work now.
I just sent the following letter to Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. Perhaps you’ll consider writing something similar? You can get help over at the ACLU site or you can find your Senators on the Senate’s own site.
Dear Senator Merkley,
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau women, on average, make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. For women of color, the wage gap is even wider.
I am writing to ask you to support the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182), and help put an end to wage discrimination once and for all. The House of Representatives passed this bill on a bipartisan basis in January 2009, and now, your action in the Senate is needed.
I’m sure–I hope, anyway–you’ve gotten a ton of these letters from members of the ACLU. I don’t know how much good they do; I don’t know how seriously people take boilerplate letters. So let me add this personal note:
I have a son and a daughter and I love them both more than I ever thought myself capable of loving anything. But when we got the news from the ultrasound technician that we were having a girl, I cried. I cried not because I thought I’d love a girl less than a boy–nothing could be further from the truth. I cried because I know that even in this twenty-first century, there are still many opportunities not equally available to men and women in this country and I wish my child’s future to be limited only by her abilities and the outermost boundaries of her dreams.
My daughter is a real person, Senator. She’s six months old, her name is Tallulah Louise and she likes bananas and Mum Mums.
You, Sir, are in a position to help make my vision of future of equal opportunity for her a reality. I very much hope you’ll consider doing so.
The ACLU also recommends:
One quick phone call to your senator(s) office can help double the impact of the letter you just sent them. We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible. Here are the steps:
Call your senator at 1-877-667-6650 and follow the simple instructions; they will direct you to your senators’ offices.
After you are put through, be sure to tell them the following:
Your name and address
That you are their constituent.
You are calling to urge them to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Women only make 77 cents to the dollar.
The Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182) would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and bar retaliation against workers who disclose their wages to coworkers.
The House already passed the bill in January 2009. It’s time for the Senate to do the same.
This morning, I found out that Glenn Beck is simulcasting his Christmas show ‘The Christmas Sweater: A Return To Redemption’ in theaters nationwide this Thursday, and that one of those theaters is not far from my new house. I think Glenn Beck is a jackass, so I immediately emailed three good friends and made plans to go. I mean, how can you miss a return to redemption? You sneak in a flask of bourbon, and you’ve got material for weeks. Comedy writer heaven. Better than ‘New Moon.’
I posted my intention to go on Twitter, figuring the more the merrier, and went to work. A couple of hours later, I logged back on and found reply after reply to the effect of: ‘your a looser!’/’boy, glenn beck gets all the brainiacs!’/’your so stupid!’ Huh? Anyone who even sort of knows me knows I’m kidding, right?
Reading back, the mishegoss started with a message from the Twitter account of an anti-Glenn Beck website: ‘It’s not just Scott Baio, now Former MTV VJ @DaveHolmes has come out as a Glenn Beck fan!’ And since this account doesn’t follow me, it would appear that he just does Twitter searches for ‘Glenn Beck’ and rolls his sleeves up for a slapfight. Even with political kingmakers like Scott Baio. This is how we define ‘activism’ in 2009. Fantastic.
I don’t mind being called names. (I do mind the misspellings, but what are you gonna do?) Here’s what galls me: this guy sent out incorrect information with my contact info on it, a clear incitement for his followers to send me vitriolic messages, and his bio reads: ‘I’ve had enough of Glenn Beck’s vitriol, misinformation, race baiting, & incitement of violence – and so should you.’ Too bad I’m white, because we had a good shot at an irony grand slam.”
As such, Fraction and I have decided to forgo Valentine’s Day baubles this year and make a donation to the campaign instead. If you’re as excited about the possibility of President Obama as we are, perhaps you’ll consider doing the same…?
I’m tempted to make a chocolate joke, but I’ve decided it would be in bad taste. Le sigh.