Hurray for Our Signs?

Women’s Marches  happen in major cities and will happen again in January 2019 in Oakland. Each March is about a five-hour event for participants.

Each March represents thousands of unpaid hours for organizers and volunteers.The March in Oakland spends in excess of $100,000, the majority for police ‘protection.’ It seems that our guarantees of free speech and right to assemble should not be subject to such a shakedown.

WS Many signs

In Oakland,  about 100,000 thousand people turned out in 2017, and between 40,000 -50,000 in 2018. The call to resist the Trump Administration’s predations – rather than to empower at the local level – is a prominent theme. Not much about the Women’s March seems to appeal to women of color, those with the most to gain when gender parity is actually achieved.

What has improved for the women of Oakland because of the Marches? Social and broadcast media attention for a week or so.  Then everyone goes back (to borrow a phrase from James Baldwin) to their ‘sunlit prison.’

All women face enormous hurdles not only over control of their bodies and lives but ascension of our priorities – locally, nationally, and globally.  Our second-class status is profoundly embedded in our cultures. Therein lies the most formidable challenge – women’s embrace of their own worthiness and value.

What If … the Women’s March identified a goal for community action for 2019?  There are so many barriers afflicting,  women, let’s pick one as an example.

What If … the dollars invested in the March meant that Alameda County would get not the usual 6,000+ calls about domestic violence this year, but instead a 50% reduction – because women had been learning and practicing ways to heal and protect themselves. And abusers always faced consequences.

What would such an effort look like?  Surely it would involve an information campaign, close collaboration of agencies and community organizations to track statistics, and dedicated funding for the work of providers serving abused women.

What if donors put their cash not just behind one “show of force” event, but directed more dollars every month to direct services to women?

I offer this challenge with deepest concern for the future of women’s lives and influence. We have no time to applaud our signs.  We need efforts that actually advance the power of women.

Susan Burgess-Lent, Executive Director

Women’s Centers International

Ladies, Howl You Do It? Part 2

Further Support 1

Ok, the underwhelming response  to my posting Howl We Do It suggests that I offer some further guidance on the  fine art of howling.  No time to waste getting started with the Full Moon Sisters (FMS) Movement.

Some of you…well, for A LOT of you, might find even the thought of  full-throated Screen Shot 2018-11-06 at 1.16.16 PMhowling terrifying. A normal response for sure.  It’s hella scary.  All the more reason to do it.

STEP 1:  Wrap your mind around the possibilities of making animal sounds.  It’s like learning to sing with a mission. The pain you feel/felt from harassment, mansplaining, and other abuses in your life – recent or past – will motivate.

STEP 2:  Start practicing.  Mark Day one on your calendar.

STEP3:   Work into it.

·      Start with a whimper in the bathroom when no one’s around

·      Move up to a whimper in the bathroom when you know people are around

This is the first milestone.  You need to clue in your housemate(s).  You are doing this as part of a new movement to protest the shit women put up with, to vent the pain and to make a group statement about the changes coming.

OK then!  Give it a go for a week to ten days.

Practice Once Every Day.   10 seconds minimum.

Oh, and get a girlfriend to  practice with you.  Men can join in solidarity.

We’ll work our way into the public auditory space together.  Of course, we’re drawing from the wolves delicious inventory of sounds.  Please share with friends!

Question, comments:  HowlWeDoIt@gmail.com

Stay tuned for the next bits about working your way to a howl.

Advancing Women’s Power – Show Us the Money. 

A survey of 1,000 philanthropists revealed that many donors simply do not know of organizations that devote their efforts to women and girls. Some donors feel the issues facing women and girls are too complex and the remedies too hard to scale up – as if this is an informed assessment of the possibilities.  If we understand how many women live in poverty, we can see that as a measure of extreme need in virtually every area of women’s lives:  education, health, housing, livelihood, and protection from violence.

Women below the poverty level.png

Current national surveys on philanthropic giving do not consider “women’s and girl’s issues” (W&GI) aa a distinct giving category.  Instead, it gets bundled into pre-existing categories such as ‘human services’ –  which get about 12% of charitable dollars each year.

The Women’s Philanthropic Institute found that between 2000 and 2014, 1,226 gifts worth $6.22 billion were directed specifically to W&GI. The figure represents just 1.6 percent of all gifts included in the data.  At the same time, women’s funds and foundations have estimated that only 5 – 7% of all foundation giving is directed specifically to W&GI.

This range – between 1.6% and 7% – is indeed a troubling commentary on the disconnect between donors and the needs of women and girls. Women Moving Million co-chair Jacqueline Zehner believes women donors hold the key to unlocking the potential of women and girl around the world.  I am certain she is right.

My home, the San Francisco Bay area, one of the wealthiest urban areas in the U.S., ranks 45th in charitable giving. We improve this by learning about the work being done to empower the neediest women of our community, and putting serious money into it.

Women’s Centers International has a well tested Model for advancing the skills and power of marginalized women.  It’s an every-day effort to fund the implementation of that Model where it’s needed.  More committed women donors will make the effort exhilarating for all of us.

Liget…And Howl We Do It

Here’s  a new concept in human emotion:  liget.

The term comes from a story on Invisibilia (NPR) about a couple who visited a remote tribe in the Philippines. “Liget” is the tribe’s word for a kind of distress combining rage and sadness.

Liget may well express the emotions women often feel and seldom understand or discuss.  It’s that galling sense of having little value, of putting up with a lot of shit from society in general, most men in particular, and other women on occasions of betrayal.

Liget is the word I needed for Howl We Do It, my nascent campaign to develop unity in protesting and changing the inequities and violence directed against women.

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 11.26.14 AM

Here’s how the pros do it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IaYm3NjJnM

If you want to keep informed on the Howl We Do It movement, please email me at HowlWeDoIt@gmail.com

 

Thou Shall Not Congeal

Anxiety.

It forages among our unexpressed thoughts, nibbles away our best energy, like termites tunneling in a foundation. The free-floating dis-ease can fulminate from symptom to crippling malady, depending on how plugged in you’ve made yourself.

Our culture distributes anxiety most insidiously and perniciously through television, through the medium’s endless barrage of titillating headlines, shocking images, and random data. To watch a sports or news broadcast is to be pulled and twisted into a brain-fuck netherworld.

When I gave up watching TV seven years ago, I actually experienced a sort of withdrawal. I realized, with no small regret, that TV had succeeded in hollowing-out of my initiative.

I believe it’s a fundamental human tendency to be a lazy ass, snack-munching bubblehead. We can indulge this occasionally. However, once we find regular comfort in sucking the tit of the toxic media sow, we full-on spiral down into sinning against our singular talent. We congeal.

Congealing produces splendid results in cooking and terraforming, but not so much with human souls. From our media, we learn to believe the messages delivered in slick seductive commercials about how we (especially women) should look, and how we can be good little consumers of gadgets and goodies that ultimately do not and cannot make us happy.

The trick is never to congeal – to keep rearranging our inputs and outputs to serve a grander purpose

Furry VW Beetle– our unique purpose.  Each of us is honored with one.