Photos from the Garden Party 8/19/2017

Photos from our garden party

What a wonderful turnout!  We had raffle prizes, a feminist quiz, suffragette video, delicious food, and good company.

Nancy and Joe

Nancy B and Joe

 Mary, state board rep and past president with our newest member Olin.  Olin adores Mary! and vice versa!

Mary and Olin

Laura and Jim

Laura and Jim

Chapter members enjoying conversation

Karen S and chapter members

 Kathy and Dorothy

Kathy and Dorothy

Erika, president; Katia, action committee chairperson and Olin’s mom; and Adel from Planned Parenthood

Erika_Katia_Adel

Darnelle and Lesley, longtime members

Darnelle_Erika_Leslie

 Current Board Members:  Kathy, treasurer; Erika, President; Nancy, VP Action; Phyllis, VP Public Relations; Karen VP Membership

Board Members

Unacceptable, Betsy DeVos: Stand with survivors of sexual assault

Unacceptable

Under Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education (DOE), campus sexual assault survivors are on their own.

DeVos recently met with misogynistic “men’s rights groups” and rape deniers about weakening Title IX protections for campus sexual assault survivors.1 And that’s not all. DeVos has also appointed Candice Jackson – an anti-feminist activist who publicly doubts women who report sexual assault – as acting head of the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights. This is beyond appalling.2

We cannot remain silent while DeVos undermines policies that protect students from discrimination and violence, empowers rape deniers and appoints anti-feminist activists to run the DOE’s investigations of schools that fail to properly handle reports of sexual assault. We must raise a massive public outcry to demand that DeVos do her job, immediately fire Candice Jackson and publicly commit to protecting all students from hate.

Tell Betsy DeVos: Fire Candice Jackson and publicly commit to protecting all students from discrimination, hate and violence.

DeVos has already refused to say whether she will stand up for LGBTQ students. Now it seems she is turning her back on sexual assault survivors as well. DeVos devoted one third of her summit on Title IX to “men’s rights groups.” These groups elevate a false narrative that most sexual assault charges are false, promote victim-blaming, and attempt to harass and intimidate assault survivors to get them to drop their cases.3

At around the same time of DeVos’ summit with “men’s rights groups,” Jackson, the acting head of the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights, told reporters from the New York Times that:

“90 percent of sexual assault accusations fall into the category of, ‘We were both drunk’, ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.’”4

This is not the first time Jackson has made such appalling statements. She is a long-time anti-feminist activist who has almost no experience with civil rights law. She once claimed she faced discrimination because she was white.5 She has also made many victim-blaming statements over the years and has shown a deeply troubling skepticism of women who report sexual violence.6

Jackson is completely unqualified to run the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights. A top DOE official in charge of enforcing policies to protect students from discrimination and violence should never trivialize sexual assault or discourage students from reporting it.

Tell Betsy DeVos: Fire Candice Jackson and publicly commit to protecting all students from discrimination, hate and violence.

One in five women are sexually assaulted in college.7 Schools are responsible for responding to student reports of sexual violence, but many universities have a terrible record of sweeping sexual assault cases under the rug to protect their bottom lines.8 When schools do not do their jobs, many survivors end up suing educational institutions and must endure drawn out and sometimes humiliating investigations just to get basic accommodations like class schedule changes and mental health coverage.9

In the face of this epidemic, the Obama administration issued a 2011 Dear Colleague Letter to clarify how Title IX, which mandates gender equality in education, should be used to fight campus sexual assault.10 The guidance makes it easier for students to report sexual violence to their institution. It also requires schools and universities to handle reports quickly and fairly and provide accommodations for survivors so they do not face their assailants daily in their dorms and classrooms.11,12

According to a recent Title IX DOE report, there are 344 open sexual violence investigations at 242 postsecondary schools on the books right now.13 Title IX will only protect students from hate and violence if DeVos makes sure that schools enforce it. Speak out now to demand that she stand up for sexual assault survivors.

Thank you for your activism.

References:

  1. Casey Quinlan, “Betsy DeVos echoes ‘men’s rights’ activists on campus rape,” ThinkProgress, July 14, 2017.
  2. Laura Bassett, “Betsy DeVos Is Under Fire For Scaling Back Campus Rape Investigations,” HuffPost, July 6, 2017.
  3. Kaitlin Menza, “Betsy DeVos’ Campus Rape Talks with Men’s Rights Groups Are a Travesty,” SELF, July 14, 2017.
  4. Kellman and Feldman, “Education Department Official Apologizes for ‘Flippant’ Sexual Assault Remarks – Again,” TIME, July 13, 2017.
  5. Annie Waldman, “DeVos Pick to Head Civil Rights Office Once Said She Faced Discrimination for Being White,” ProPublica, April 14, 2017.
  6. Bassett, “Betsy DeVos Is Under Fire For Scaling Back Campus Rape Investigations.”
  7. Michelle J. Anderson, “I’m a college president. Betsy DeVos should help me deal with campus sexual assault.” The Washington Post, July 13, 2017.
  8. Laurie Kellman and Carole Feldman, “Education Department Official Apologizes for ‘Flippant’ Sexual Assault Remarks – Again.”
  9. Teen Vogue, “Betsy DeVos, This is What Sexual Assault Survivors Want to Know: ‘Who are you here to serve?’” July 12, 2017.
  10. Jeannie Suk Gersen, “The Trump Administration’s Fraught Attempt To Address Campus Sexual Assault,” The New Yorker, July 15, 2017.
  11. Teen Vogue, “Betsy DeVos, This is What Sexual Assault Survivors Want to Know: ‘Who are you here to serve?’”
  12. Andrew Kreighbaum, “DeVos Hints at Changes in Title IX Enforcement,” Inside Higher Ed, July 14, 2017.
  13. Kellman and Feldman, “Education Department Official Apologizes for ‘Flippant’ Sexual Assault Remarks – Again.”

 

Planned Parenthood Capitol Day

Contra Costa NOW members, behind the desk of Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governer, in support of Planned Parenthood Capitol Day, #CAStandsWithPP.

gaven newsoms desk

Planned Parenthood Capitol Day

#ContraCostaNOW at Planned Parenthood Capitol Day, #CAStandsWith PP.  Left to right:  Jo-Anne, Kathy, Diane, Erika, with the Golden Bear

Golden Bear

National Organization for Women Press Release

For Immediate Release
Press Inquiries Contact: 951-547-1241
press[at]now.org

“The Verdict on Trump’s First 100 Days Is In—He’s Guilty of Turning Back The Clock On Women”
Statement by NOW President Terry O’Neill

April 29, 2017

Washington, DC – Donald Trump’s first 100 days have taken a terrible toll on women.

Perhaps his most dangerous move was the illegitimate installation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, a jurist who has a record of hostility to reproductive rights and prioritizing corporate interests over access to basic health care. And Donald Trump, who campaigned on the promise to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, would surely not have made this choice if Gorsuch’s views on Roe were in any doubt.

The Trump Cabinet is a who’s who of sexism and disregard for women. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made millions on the fraudulent reverse mortgage scheme known as “widow foreclosures,” which capitalized on a loophole that forced the elderly out of their homes upon the death of a spouse.

Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary, the ethically challenged Tom Price, has launched a crusade to eviscerate Obamacare and remove essential health benefits such as prenatal and maternity care. Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos lacks even the most basic understanding of Title IX, the landmark legislation that outlaws sex discrimination in educational institutions and programs that receive federal aid, and addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and sexual violence.

The list goes on—Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is a neurosurgeon who knows little about housing policy and opposes the existing rule that requires local communities to assess segregation and try to address it. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions is an appalling throwback to the bad old days when white men did a they could to stop African Americans from exercising their right to vote. Sessions has also referred to Roe v. Wade as “one of the worst, colossally erroneous Supreme Court decisions of all time,” voted three times against the Violence Against Women Act, and opposed the 2009 Hate Crimes Bill, denouncing the inclusion of rape as a hate crime.

Trump’s Muslim ban victimizes women and children seeking refuge from persecution and violent regimes, and his draconian policies on immigration hurt immigrant women, split families apart and keep domestic violence victims from asking for help.

One of Trump’s first actions as president was to expand the “global gag rule,” which prohibits international health care providers from giving women truthful information about their reproductive choices. Trump has also slashed funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which provides lifesaving resources to millions of women and girls around the world.

From rolling back EPA regulations that limit environmental damage affecting women and children to reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines that disproportionately affect Native women and low-income women of color, and so much more, Donald Trump has been busy these past 100 days turning back the clock on women’s rights, safety and health.

The good news is that, together with our allies, NOW’s leaders and activists throughout the country have stopped Trump from doing even more damage. We will keep marching, protesting, lobbying and pushing back on Donald Trump and his destructive, anti-woman agenda. He won’t like what he hears, but he can’t silence our voices.

For Press Inquiries Contact

M.E. Ficarra, press@now.org, (951) 547-1241

Contra Costa NOW at the Earth Day Science March

Photos from Earth Day March

Earth Day

Erika

Erika Jaqi

Contra Costa NOW Members Sending Postcards to Their US Senators and Congresspersons

Postcards

NOW Launches New National Action Program

With women’s rights facing more severe threats than we have seen in decades, NOW is fighting back. We are standing up for the rights and well being of all women, in all our diversity and in all communities. We are showing up for our allies in Muslim communities, in immigrant communities, in LGBTQIA communities. We have a message for Donald Trump and every politician enabling his white male supremacist agenda: We are leading societal change and promoting feminist ideals — and you need to get out of our way.

I am thrilled to let you know that today we are launching NOW’s expanded National Action Program. This program encompasses five action campaigns that not only defend the gains we have made, but also work pro-actively to achieve real equality for women and girls.

  • Our campaign to Mobilize for Reproductive Justice will work to defeat Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and we will fight to defeat Trump’s Alternative Health Care Act (Trumpcare), which would defund Planned Parenthood, drastically cut maternity care coverage, and imperil access to birth control. We will also promote pro-active bills like the EACH Woman Act to guarantee full coverage of abortion care in all plans including Medicaid–thus permanently repealing the Hyde Amendment–and the Women’s Health Protection Act to stop states from using deceptive legislation to shutter abortion clinics.
  • Through our campaign to End the Sex Abuse to Prison Pipeline, we will urge the Title IX coordinators in middle and high schools around the country to ensure that students who are survivors of sexual assault receive the wraparound services they need in order to stay in school, recover from their trauma, and thrive. Survivors in far too many public schools, especially girls of color and LGBTQIA students, face penalties, punishment, and school pushout instead of the trauma-informed services they need.
  • Our campaign to Advance Voting Rights recognizes and responds to the impacts on women in communities targeted by right-wing voter suppression schemes. We will work with our allies in the civil and human rights communities to overturn measures like racial gerrymandering, voter ID laws, and voter purges. And we will work with our civic engagement allies to encourage women of color not only to vote, but also to run for public office and for leadership roles in their political parties.
  • Our renewed campaign to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment includes working for ratification of the 1972 ERA by three more states (to meet the constitutional requirement that three-fourths of the states ratify a proposed amendment), as well as supporting a start-over strategy for a new ERA, and engaging younger women and girls in the struggle for women’s constitutional equality. In this effort, NOW is committed to an inclusive and intersectional ERA interpretation that includes equitable access to all aspects of reproductive health care, and centers marginalized people including LGBTQIA individuals, immigrants, women of color, and women with disabilities.
  • Finally, our campaign to Protect Immigrant Rights will work with our allies in the immigrant rights community to oppose Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban and to stop the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s abusive raids, detentions, and deportations that tear families apart. We will in particular work to keep restaurant workers safe from abusive enforcement tactics, knowing that the restaurant industry employs over one million undocumented workers, second only to the construction industry.

NOW’s national action program will propose concrete actions our local chapters, state organizations, members and activists can take, as well as anyone in the general public interested in addressing such issues, along with resources and platforms for engagement. The program will also grow and evolve as we respond in very real-time to the harmful and discriminatory actions of Donald Trump’s administration.

As NOW members and leaders, your role is central to our success. The tools created by the NA Program are intended to be helpful for you as you engage your communities, and your representatives, both locally and nationally. We want to hear from you: your successes, your challenges. How can we better support and equip you to do this important work? This program will strive to increase engagement at all levels of NOW–from the local to the national–and to build unity among our thousands of dedicated grassroots activists across the country.

This is undeniably a challenging time for all of us. But we have been so inspired by the millions of people who have already stood up and committed themselves to resistance just in the last few months. Let’s build on this momentum and make sure this current administration knows we are here, we are watching them, and we are prepared to take the necessary action to defend our rights–and especially the rights of the most marginalized across this country.

Many thanks for everything you already do, everyday.

 

In solidarity,

Terry, Bonnie, and the rest of the team at NOW

 

“Brazen Women” Event at Rossmoor

Mary Davis and Phyllis Bratt representing Contra Costa NOW at the Brazen Women Event at Rossmoor

Rossmoor1

From NARAL, CA License Plates with the Message: California Trusts Women

Donald Trump and his anti-choice allies are obsessed with defunding Planned Parenthood and making abortion and contraception all but impossible to access. If they cut off federal funding to reproductive health-care centers, it could jeopardize care for many Californians.

We aren’t going to sit back while our fundamental rights are threatened. So we’re launching a campaign to create a license plate with a simple message: “California Trusts Women.”

Join us to kick off this campaign by pledging to buy a “California Trusts Women” license plate when they become available. The funds go toward making sure Californians can access quality reproductive health-care.

We need at least 7,500 people to sign this pledge to get our bill, sponsored by State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, moving!

Now more than ever, we need to stand up for reproductive freedom and protect the right to health care for all. We need to take the momentum from our amazing women’s marches around the state and the country and drive real change in our communities.

With a “California Trusts Women” license plate, you can show your commitment to reproductive freedom and raise money to provide family planning services to low-income Californians and allow abortion clinics to keep their doors open.

The first step to making this license plate program a reality is to get the state legislature to vote in favor of the bill. We need to show them there is overwhelming demand for a pro-choice license plate.

Sign the pledge to get a “California Trusts Women” license plate when they become available.

We have lots in store for this campaign, starting with mobilizing people around the state to support this bill. Then, we’re commissioning work from three California-based women artists to design the plate and you’ll get a chance to weigh in on the design you like best.

It’s a long road between now and getting these license plates on our cars, but we know we’ll get there with your support.

Thank you for all you do for reproductive freedom.
Amy Everitt
State Director, NARAL Pro-Choice California

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