Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Memories Circles

This afternoon in 1977, fourteen mothers of disappeared children met for the first time.

From then on they searched as a group, as a group they knocked on doors that would not open. “All for all,” they said.

They said, “All for our children.”

Thousands upon thousands of children had been devoured by the Argentine military dictatorship, and more than five hundred children had been kidnapped and given to officers as war booty. The papers, radio, TV breathed not a word of it.

A few months after their first meeting, three of those mothers, Azucena Villaflor, Esther Ballestrino and Maria Euginia Ponce, also disappeared, just like their children, and like them they were tortured and murdered.

But by then the Thursday meetings were unstoppable. Their white kerchiefs moved round and round the Plaza de Mayo and around the world.

~Eduardo Galeano, Children of the Days

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Where is your local Feminist Bookstore?

"Feminist Bookstore" scene from Portlandia
Portland, Oregon
In Other Words
14 NE Killingsworth Street - Portland, OR 97211

Chicago, Illinois
5233 N. Clark St. - Chicago, IL 60640

Austin, Texas
5501 North Lamar #A-105 - Austin, TX 78751

Madison, Wisconsin
315 W. Gorham St., Madison, WI 53703

Tucson, Arizona
Antigone Books
411 N 4th Ave. - Tucson, AZ 85705

Gainesville, Florida
Wild Iris Books
22 SE 5th Ave., Suite D - Gainesville, FL 32601

Atlanta, Georgia
Charis Books and More
1189 Euclid Ave NE - Atlanta, GA 30307

New York, New York
172 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

Philadelphia, PA
Big Blue Marble Books
551 Carpenter Lane - Philadelphia, PA 19119

St. Louis, MO
Left Bank Books
321 N. 10th - St Louis, MO 63101

Feminist Majority Foundation has a list of bookstores by region.  I am working through to make sure each is still open. One source I found said there are actually only 9 feminist bookstores still open in the US.

Please comment below to add more Feminist Bookstores from around the world!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

8-year-old girl takes on S.C. lawmakers in fossil fight

Eight-year-old Olivia McConnell, from New Zion, S.C., is so passionate about science, she can be found searching for -- and finding -- shark's teeth in the playground sand during recess.
Asked why she spends her recess looking for shark's teeth, Olivia replies, "Well, I like fossils."
Her love of fossils led her to discover that South Carolina has no official state fossil. She knew one of the first fossils found in North America, from an ancient kind of woolly mammoth, was dug up in South Carolina, so she wrote to Gov. Nikki Haley and other state lawmakers to lay out the case.
"I wanted it to be the state fossil because I didn't want that history to be lost, and our state to not get credit for it," Olivia says. "If something's wrong I've got to help out. It's just the right thing to do. That's what I'm all about."
At the state Capitol, Olivia's letter went to her senator, Kevin Johnson, who thought a state fossil was a great idea.
"I thought it would just fly through the House and through the Senate, and we'd have the governor pass it with no problem," Johnson says.
But then, big problem: Several highly religious senators stalled the bill by attaching whole passages from the Bible's Book of Genesis. The senators, including Mike Fair, said the Creator of the mammoth should be recognized, as well.
"There had to be a cause to the beginning," Fair says. "It didn't happen accidentally."
But now, Fair admits he did not understand who he was dealing with. Olivia and her family pushed back hard. They also believe in the Bible, but they don't want religion attached to a fossil law. Fair and the others were motivated to compromise.
"The fact that an 8-year-old was doing this was remarkable and something we should celebrate," Fair says.
Right now, the bill remains stalled in committee, but Olivia will not budge -- ever. She says she'll "keep going until they pass the bill."
"Maybe it might not be until I'm 23 or 40," Olivia says. "If it doesn't pass this year, I'm going to be back next year."
In the meantime, they can find Olivia on the playground, digging up history -- not yet realizing how a third-grade girl facing down the state Senate might have made some HERtory of her own.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Feminist Archives at In Other Words Feminist Community Center: A Treasure Trove

Off Our Backs, Gay Community News, Sojourner, Sinister Wisdom (still publishing), Aphra, So’s Your Old Lady, Bridges, Quest, Amazon Quarterly, Woman of Power, Womanspirit, The Ladder, Chrysalis, No More Fun and Games, Bluestockings, Feminary, Fireweed, Women’s Studies Newsletter Quarterly, The Second Wave, Calyx, Feminist Broadcast Quarterly of Oregon, Hot Wire, Heresies, Women’s Review of Books (still publishing), Belle Lettres, Beltane Papers, Matrices, Motherlode, Shamate, Reclaiming Quarterly, Lavender Left, Motive, Mothering, Connexions, The Lavender Network, Lesbian Women Inciter.

Do you remember any of these? If you were a feminist, came out as a lesbian or gay woman/person or was involved in women’s community, culture, politics, activism of some sorts, during the seventies, eighties and even nineties, you may have heard of some of these now vintage yet powerful publications. If not, and you have the interest to delve into these extraordinary times, you may want to check out the Feminist Archives. Housed at In Other Words Feminist Community Center, you can immerse yourself in the distinct and diverse cultures, literatures, politics, controversies, passions and activisms of the feminist movements from which they were birthed. 

In addition to these publications of herstorical significance (only two are still publishing), there are essays, stories, interviews, debates, newsletters, letters, photographs, graphics, t-shirts and posters focusing on rape, racism, classism, sexuality, gay marches on washington, anti-gay initiatives, collectives, conferences, cancer, disabilities, AIDS, health issues, lesbian child custody, women’s studies, queer studies, music, art, socialist-feminism, poetry and writing of all kinds. 

It is somewhat overwhelming to read over the list. And the fact that these archives exist is testament to the concentrated efforts of many dedicated volunteers at In Other Words, past and present. 

You may have noticed the “Feminist Archives” banner above the file cabinets and book shelves with silkscreened t-shirts in the background of scenes of “Portlandia: Season 3.”

Please make use of the archives---for research projects, to reminisce, to learn and to remember our herstory. Archives items cannot leave IOW. Tell someone about it. Tell the people at IOW you appreciate it. 

Written by Wendy Judith Cutler, writer, teacher, longtime lesbian-feminist supporter of In Other Words who donated the “Feminist Archives” in 2006. I am indebted to IOW’S board, coordinators, interns and volunteers (past and present) and particularly to: Jane Knechtel, board member and ardent supporter of these archives, Sue Burns, who was the amazing bookstore coordinator for many years; and Johanna Brenner, esteemed feminist, socialist, activist, scholar, past board member and ardent supporter and co-founder of In Other Words. We are so fortunate to have her in our lives.

More about In Other Words:

When In Other Words opened in Portland, Oregon in 1993 there were over 200 feminist bookstores in the United States and today there are fewer than 30. In Other Words is the only feminist bookstore in the United States that also functions as a nonprofit organization, which has allowed us to serve a unique role in our communities.

As we have observed the demographic, cultural, and social transformations of Portland’s diverse feminist communities recently, we’ve identified new needs and shifting interests that have inspired us to undertake one of the largest expansions in our organization’s history: we are transitioning into In Other Words Feminist Community Center.

We would LOVE your support! Please consider donating your time or money to In Other Words so we can continue to serve our local communities and build feminist space together.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day

"Einstein once said, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination…no more men!”

He said it to a few friends.

The friends laughed.

He did not.

Now it turns out there are fewer and fewer bees in the world.

Today, on Earth Day, let us acknowledge that this is not happening due to god’s will or the Devil’s curse, but rather because of:

the murder of natural forests and the proliferation of farmed ones;
monocropping for export, which limits plant diversity;
poisons that kill pests and with them everything else;
chemical fertilizers that fertilize money and sterilize the soil;
and radiation from the machines people buy because advertising tells us to."

~Eduardo Galeano, Children of the Days

Celebration of Earth Day!

Today is the day we recognize the Earth and celebrate the way she has sustained us since, well, forever! Mama Gaia nourishes us with her waters, her trees swaying in the wind celebrate her strength, the sunshine warms us inside and out and the moon reinvigorates our emotions. We acknowledge your divine beauty, Mama Earth, and we apologize for not always loving you the way we should. We see how you nourish and sustain plants, animals and us with your loving care. We vow to do better each and every day. We love you for the life and love you give to us.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Keep an eye on this guy

Today in 1955 Albert Einstein died.

For twenty-two years the FBI tapped his telephone, read his mail and went through his garbage.

They spied on Einstein because he was a spy for the Russians. So said his bulky police file. The file also said he had invented a death ray and a robot that could read minds. It is said Einstein was a member, collaborator or fellow traveler of thirty-four Communist front organizations between 1937 and 1954, and was honorary chair of three Communist organizations. It concluded: “It seems unlikely that a man of his background could, in such a short time, become a loyal American citizen.”

Not even death saved him. They continued spying on him. Not the FBI, but his colleagues, men of science who sliced his brain into two hundred forty pieces and analyzed them to find an explanation for his genius.

They found nothing.

Einstein had already warned, “I have no special gift. I am only passionately curious.”

~Eduardo Galeano, Children of the Days

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, M.D.: a feminist pioneer in the interfaith movement.

When the Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, M.D., preached in May 1893 at an event held during the Chicago World’s Fair, she broke new ground. She did not participate in the first World’s Parliament of Religions held four months later, but her powerful sermon anticipated the Parliament’s inclusive, multi-faith outreach. In retrospect, it might be said that Shaw set the stage for the Parliament. At a time when it was considered improper if not scandalous for women to speak in public, she and the many women who addressed overflow audiences in May at the World’s Congress of Representative Women courageously challenged cultural norms. It is a story that’s been forgotten or ignored, and suggests that Shaw be celebrated as a feminist pioneer in the interfaith movement.

Anna Howard Shaw was an impressive woman – the first ordained female in the Methodist Church in the United States. Born in 1847, she graduated in 1873 from Albion College, then attended the Boston University School of Theology, where she was graduated in 1876, the only woman in her class. To pay her expenses through college and university, she preached and lectured in the cause of women’s suffrage. After serving two Methodist churches in Massachusetts, Shaw made history in 1880 when she was ordained by the Methodist Protestant Church. She earned an M.D. in 1886 from Boston University. Shaw met Susan B. Anthony in 1888 and, from that year until Anthony’s death in 1906, the two were rarely separated. At the request of “Aunt Susan,” Shaw delivered the closing address at her funeral and pronounced the final words at her Rochester grave. Rev. Shaw died at age 72 in July 1919, not living to see women win the right to vote the following summer.

Read the rest on The Interfaith Observer

Friday, April 4, 2014

Track Trio on the Pro Circuit by Vicki León

The first century A.D. was a time of glory for the athletes Hedea, Tryphosa, and Dionysia, three talented sisters from Tralles, a prosperous, sports-mad city overlooking the Maeander River in Asia Minor (Turkey today). By this era, almost every city in the far-flung Roman Empire boasted public baths, gymnasia, and running tracks. Each year, more than 300 athletic competitions (and musical ones, as well) were held around the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The number of athletic meets and female participation in them grew yearly. Good Roman roads had made overland travel safe (if slow), and a reduction in once-rampant piracy made marine travel another option. 

Tryphosa and Dionysia, the oldest and youngest of the triple-threat trio, specialized in running. Hedea was an all- rounder. Besides track, she raced war chariots, sang, and played the lyre.

The sisters competed in two types of events: crown and money. Crown games included the original big four: the Olympian, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean games. Instead of medals, winners got high-status symbolic wreaths. Once the winning athletes got back home, the perks flowed, such as free meals for life. At money games, winners got cash and other gifts, paid for by the sponsoring city. First prize in the 200-meter footrace, for example, could amount to four times the annual salary of a soldier. Goodies aside, athletes also won incredible fame.

The record of wins by these teenagers is astonishing. Over a period of some five years, Tryphosa took crowns at the Isthmian Games near Corinth and the next Pythian Games at Delphi—the first girl ever to do so. Dionysia won track firsts at the Asclepeian Festival in Epidaurus and the Nemean Games.

Hedea won the war-chariot race at the Isthmian Games and two firsts for track at the Nemean and Sicyonian games. She also nabbed a first for lyre players at the Sebasteia Festival in Athens. These “golds” are only career highlights. The formidable sisters no doubt racked up many seconds and thirds, but in ancient times, only first-place winners got recorded or rewarded. The girls were made honorary citizens of several cities, including Corinth. Citizenship (which women lacked in certain times and places) gave such benefits as tax-free pensions and office-holding privileges.

Hedea, Tryphosa, and Dionysia may not have endorsed track shoes, but they surely served as role models for girls everywhere. They were probably active through their teenage years. By the time they retired from competition, the words from a certain Paul from Tarsus, an evangelist and rabid sports fan, were on everyone’s lips: “I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith.” His quotes could just as easily have summed up the lives of the track trio from Tralles.

Most of what we know about 
these girls comes from the existing 
base of their now-lost statues, erected 
at the famed oracular shrine at Delphi
 by their father, Hermesianax of Tralles. Further confirmation comes from the historian Pausanias, who saw and wrote about their still-intact monument 100 years later. This proof sheds substantial light on women’s competitive athletics in the Mediterranean world of the first century A.D.—adding to the growing evidence about female participation in athletic, musical, and cultural life 2,000 years ago.

EXCERPT: pages 38-39, 4000 Years of Uppity Women. copyright 2011 by Vicki León (MJFine Books 2011).

A multi-faceted writer of non-fiction for readers young and old, Vicki León has 38 books to her credit, including numerous titles on wildlife and endangered ecosystems.This California author is best known, however, for her 9 books on women's history: from 3 Outrageous Women titles for younger readers to a pictorial book on Malinali, the slave girl whose language skills were key to Cortez' conquest of old Mexico. Her "best of" book about daring gals of long ago, called 4000 Years of Uppity Women, came out in 2011 and remains a leading title for Barnes & Noble. She also welcomes uppity girls at her author facebook page, "Vicki Leon's Books for Uppity Women."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Do you believe?

One afternoon, my youngest daughter drew this picture and shared it with me; I was truly astounded!! Her drawings never cease to amaze me, she has a gift and she really goes within her imagination to create some of the most interesting drawings I have ever seen. In this piece, she drew a Mermaid, and how her discovery prompted intrigue with the onlookers; however the Mermaid did not seem to be fazed by it at all. She smiled and seemed to take it all with ease, maybe knowing deep inside that she would be okay regardless of anyone else's reactions. What would it be like to see something we may or may not believe in? They say that things that cannot be seen are much harder to believe in, but I don't think so. We don't see much representation of Goddess energy or the Divine feminine, but we know it exists. We see it all around us and many people are remembering that the Goddess was always there; waiting to be remembered, waiting to be revered again. It may be hard to believe in Mermaids; for the simple fact that I have never seen one in my life, but the image came from somewhere! All of the images created in celebration of the Divine feminine came from somewhere; we may not have seen them long ago, but someone did and they drew likenesses; to remember them and celebrate the images of the Divine feminine. Perhaps we can think of mermaids as Goddesses of the ocean; like Yemaya for instance; protecting, cleansing and renewing with her powers just as the ocean does in the Full Moon's energy.