In Partnership Contra Costa NOW and Women’s Empowerment (Diablo Valley College)

In Partnership
Contra Costa NOW and Women’s Empowerment (Diablo Valley College)

In March, 2015, Mary Davis, President of Contra Costa NOW spoke about women’s history, NOW and the current status of women at a Brown Bag meeting at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill CA. She was joined by Erika Maslan (chapter vice president) and Phyllis Bratt (Chapter VP of Membership) with around a hundred students attending. At that meeting we met some students from the campus’ Women’s Empowerment club (WE DVC).

Since then we have held several meetings with the WE DVC group and have formed a loose partnership. We are very excited about the enthusiasm and commitment these young people have to social justice and equality. They are the hope of the future and there is great cause for optimism.

During the coming year NOW and WE will be working together on Voter Registration drives at DVC, local high schools, and potentially other locations. Please contact us if you would like to participate in our Voter Registration drives.

We have also started planning for a symposium to be held March 18 and 19, 2016 at DVC. The symposium will bring together a number of groups covering a broad range of social justice issues. We will keep you posted on the symposium as more information is available. Make sure you put the symposium on your calendar.

Women’s Lives Matter!

Demonstration (3)On September 22nd, 2015,  Mary Davis and Phyllis Bratt (President and VP Membership of Contra Costa County NOW) joined a large gathering of 30 to 40 students at Diablo Valley College (DVC) in Pleasant Hill CA.  The students were counter-protesting a group of anti-choice folks who had shown up on campus with their misleading posters and inflammatory speech.

The DVC counter-protest was organized by the Women’s Empowerment (WE) Club on campus.  What articulate, thoughtful, and well educated responses those young women and men made to the overblown rhetoric of the other side.  One anti-choice older man actually said in response to “What about women?” “We are not here to talk about women.”  And they didn’t.   WE was delighted to have representatives from NOW there with our signs and support.

Women’s Lives Matter!

Paying respects to Emmaline Pankhurst

Emmaline PankhurstPhyllis Bratt (VP-Membership CCNOW) and Mary Davis (President CCNOW) paying their respects to Emmaline Pankhurst, founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union, the militant suffragettes. She is at rest in the Brompton cemetery in London.

From East Bay Women’s Political Caucus (EBWPC)

Even though women have only been officially serving in the United States military since the establishment of the Army Nurse Corps in 1901, we know that they unofficially have served and died in our Country’s wars as far back as its first. Women served as cooks, laundry workers, nurses, and even disguised themselves as men to go to battle during the Revolutionary War. In December 1775, Jemima Warner, who had accompanied her husband to his battalion to care for him during its campaign and was working as a cook after his death, was killed by an enemy bullet during the siege of Quebec. It was in World War I that Army Nurses Edith Ayres and Helen Wood became the first women military members killed in the line of duty.

On this Memorial Day we remember them, all women soldiers and military affiliates, and all soldiers who have given their lives in service to the United States. Although in modern times we may not always agree on the policies and decisions that take our Country to war, we can agree that this supreme sacrifice is always painful and worthy of recognition.

In gratitude,

East Bay Women’s Political Caucus

Email Received by Contra Costa NOW Vice President from Barbara Boxer

Dear Contra Costa NOW Vice President:

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for women’s access to essential health care.  I appreciate hearing from you about this vital issue.

Health care reform was a historic victory for women’s health.  It requires new insurance plans to cover preventive services that women need, including breast exams, HIV screening, and contraception.  It also bans gender rating by insurance companies, requires them to cover maternity care for pregnant women, and prevents breast cancer survivors, domestic abuse victims, and women with other so-called pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage.

I recently joined Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to announce the 21st Century Women’s Health Act, a new bill that would protect and build on progress made on women’s health care.  Our bill invests in women’s health clinics and the primary care workforce, and promotes critical preventive services like contraception coverage.  The bill also works to provide compassionate assistance for survivors of rape by ensuring all hospitals provide emergency contraception, increasing awareness, and working with community-based groups to prevent sexual violence.

I am also proud to be an original co-sponsor of S. 217, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2015.  This bill would protect women seeking essential health care from needlessly burdensome requirements, such as requiring doctors to perform unnecessary tests or preventing them from prescribing medication as is medically appropriate.  The bill affirms the fundamental principle that a woman’s medical decisions are best left up to her, her family, and her medical provider – not politicians waging radical assaults on women’s reproductive health.

Recently, on the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, I introduced a bicameral resolution in support of women’s reproductive health with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY).  This resolution outlines the critical importance that access to reproductive health care plays in the health, well-being, and economic security of women and their families.

Again, thank you for writing to me.  Be assured that I am committed to working every day to protect the health and rights of women across America.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Family Justice Center Gets Special Recognition

In recognition of 20 years since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, federal officials recently visited East Bay family justice centers to applaud efforts in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to protect women and children.

Representatives from the federal Department of Justice visited the Central County Family Justice Center to listen to two panels, one made of local public leaders and another of non-profit partners.

Both East Bay counties are considered to be leaders nationwide in how they respond to and address domestic violence and other crimes against women at the local level.  Contra Costa County uses a “coordinated response” model, in which police, prosecutors, and victim advocates all work together to address an individuals victim’s needs.

The Latest News

Cyberstalking and Online Threats

Cyberstalking and online threats have become an increasingly pervasive problem that disproportionately affects women and girls. Last week NOW partnered with the National Task force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and the National Council of Women’s Organizations in coordination with The Victims’ Rights Caucus (Representatives Judge Poe (R-TX) and Jim Costa (D-CA), co-chairs) and Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA) to sponsor a provocative Capitol Hill briefing with panelists:

  •          Michelle Garcia, Director of the Stalking Resource Center
  •          Zoe Quinn, Video Game Developer and Co-founder of Crash Override
  •         John Wilkinson, Attorney Advisor at AEquitas: The Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women
  •          Danielle Keats Citron, Professor at the University of Maryland School of Law and author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace

About 2,300 people watched the briefing which was live streamed via Twitter. The recording is not currently available, but we’ll send a link when it is. See the new fact sheet about Cyberstalking and Online Threats.

Loretta Lynch, AG Nominee

A deal is close on the abortion language in the trafficking bill. Following that vote, the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, nominee for attorney general, may be voted on this Wednesday, April 22 or Thursday, April 23 or maybe next Tuesday. We expect the vote to be close. If you haven’t called your senators yet, please do. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your senator. Or visit the Senate website for the direct office number.

The delay has been disgraceful. Push the Senate to hold a vote on the confirmation of Loretta Lynch for AGand demand that they #Confirm Lynch.

Marriage Equality to be argued at U.S. Supreme Court April 28

Two and a half hours of oral arguments in the marriage equality cases before the U.S. Supreme Court will be heard on April 28. NOW activists will rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on that day. Check for local demonstrations as well.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted review of cases from four states – Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. These cases are on appeal after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned district court rulings striking down the states’ marriage bans — creating a conflict with four other federal appeals courts that have invalidated similar state marriage bans. NOW Foundation signed on to an amicus brief a summary of which can be here.

A recording of the oral arguments will be posted on Friday, May 1.

A decision is likely to be released by the end of June. A favorable ruling could legalize same-sex-marriage in all 50 states while an unfavorable one could leave as few as 18 states with marriage equality. Stayed tuned.

A summary of other U.S. Supreme Court Cases for which NOW Foundation signed on to amicus briefs  is on the NOW Foundation website.

NOW Opposes FratPAC Position on Campus Sexual Assault

NOW signed on to a letter drafted by the National Alliance to End Sexual violence to oppose the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee’s (FSPAC or “FratPAC”) misguided and dangerous position on sexual assault, specifically their recommendation to defer any campus judicial proceeding until completion of criminal adjudication (investigation and trial).

We are sending a letter to every member of Congress saying we oppose this wrongheaded approach – especially during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. FSPAC had planned to lobby Congress next week in support of their position, but recent reports indicate they may be toning down their opposition.

“Till Death Do Us Part”, Post and Courier Special Investigation

More than 300 women have been shot, stabbed, strangled, beaten, bludgeoned or burned to death by men in South Carolina over the past decade, dying at a rate of one every 12 days while the state does little to stem the carnage from domestic abuse.

Sentenced to 41 Years

The right wing’s relentless War on Women has real-life casualties. The latest is Purvi Patel, a young woman whose constitutional and human rights have been violated by the state of Indiana. Last week, Indiana authorities actually sentenced Ms. Patel to 41 years in prison, making her the first woman in the United States to be tried and convicted of having a miscarriage.

Purvi’s personal story of an unwanted pregnancy, which she desired to terminate, is heart wrenching. Unfortunately, her story could be just the beginning of similar sentences and convictions across the country. We know that one in three women by the age of 45 will need to access abortion care in their lifetime. But instead of providing the caring, compassionate abortion services that so many need and deserve, TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws and other anti-abortion measures block access at every turn.

Help NOW fight for women’s access to the full range of reproductive services they need.

TRAP laws have been enacted throughout the U.S., not just in Indiana. They masquerade as health regulations but in reality are designed to shut down abortion clinics and make it all but impossible for women to access safe, confidential abortion care. Shamefully, these laws disproportionately impact women who are already vulnerable — women of color, immigrant women and low-income women. And, as we have seen from Purvi’s story, the lack of access can have dangerous consequences for them.

NOW is working to reverse these anti-woman laws, and we need your help to succeed.

The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2015 (S. 217 / H.R. 448) would stop states from enacting laws that single out abortion services or make abortion care harder to access but do not significantly advance women’s health.

NOW’s grassroots activists are calling and emailing lawmakers, talking to their friends and co-workers, and holding vigils and demonstrations to demand an end to these dangerous and demeaning TRAP laws! Please give as generously as you can to support our efforts.

It is time for the right-wing attacks on abortion care to stop. Safe, affordable abortion care must be made available to every woman who makes the decision to terminate her pregnancy — without interference from ideologues or politicians.

NOW is standing up to anti-woman extremists. Chip in whatever you can, and stand with us!

Women Still Earn Less than Men Across the Board

11157420_983308781681718_8352189328722192035_o April 14 is Equal Pay Day. As you see from the chart below, American women earn less than men across the entire distribution of income. In fact, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the gender wage gap is smallest among workers near the bottom — partly because the minimum wage sets a wage floor for everyone, and most minimum-wage workers are women.

The gender wage gap has narrowed a bit in recent decades mainly because the vast majority of men’s wages have stagnated or declined. That’s hardly good news. America is the richest nation in the world, but almost all the income and wealth continues to go to the top. Whoever is running for president must deal with this central fact.

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