Sept. 23-29, 2008
Buttons for mobile messengers
All around Chicago the next few weeks, you're likely to spot Foundation staff, board members, Alumnae and Leadership Council members wearing buttons that promote the 23rd Annual Luncheon. Give them a shout out. Ask them about getting individual tickets or a table. We don't want you to miss this year's luncheon. We also have a limited supply of buttons to distribute to our supporters. Click here to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Button" if you want to be one of our mobile messengers. We'll rush a button right out to you.
Anna Langford, the first African American woman elected to Chicago’s City Council, died last week at age 90. Langford served as alderman for the 16th Ward, including Englewood and Gage Park, from 1971 to 1975 and again from 1983 to 1991. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Cicero was conceived in her Englewood living room." Rev. Jesse Jackson remembers her as “a voice for those that had no voice in city council,” the Chicago Defender reports. Sen. Barack Obama calls her “a historic figure and unwavering champion for civil rights in Chicago,” as quoted in the Sun-Times.
It’s rare we approve of a movie with a rape scene, but Hounddog is an exception to the rule. Written and directed by Deborah Kampmeier, the film tells the story of a girl able to break the cycle of violence—physical, emotional and sexual—in her life. Because of the rape depiction, star Dakota Fanning was the target of a “religious right smear campaign”—yet, as Melissa Silverstein says at the Women’s Media Center, "no one called for an investigation of Steven Spielberg or Tony Scott…who directed Fanning in violent scenes in War of the Worlds and Man on Fire. Yet, when depicting the epidemic of violence against women and girls, which happens according to statistics every two minutes in our country, an investigation is warranted?" Most other films show sexual violence gratuitously and make no effort to connect one incident with the epidemic of violence against all women and girls. But Hounddog shows rape as part of this epidemic, and the film empowers the survivor instead of erasing her experience. Silverstein adds, "People who have never discussed their own rapes have come up to Kampmeier after screenings crying, thanking her for giving voice to their own stories." Hounddog opened in theaters on Friday, Sept. 19.
How are older women impacted by the Wall Street shockwave? Women’s eNews reports that women’s retirement savings, though smaller on average than men’s, will be especially hard hit since their "savings cushions are smaller and less able to absorb the shock of a major market reversal." "Smaller losses hit women harder because almost 2.5 million older women live in poverty in the U.S. compared with 1.1 million men," says Cindy Hounsell, president of the women’s retirement advocacy group WISER. Women now may wait longer to retire—and retired women may re-enter the job market, experts say. This financial crisis also renews discussion around Social Security. These payments are important for older women: The National Women’s Law Center says that for one-third of older women, Social Security checks make up 90 percent or more of their income. Learn more about this topic from a coalition we support: Wider Opportunities for Women’s Elder Economic Security Initiative in Illinois, which is led by Foundation grantee Health and Medicine Policy Research Group.
On Sept. 9, the Foundation’s Asian American Leadership Council held a fundraiser at the home of Ranjana Bhargava. “Small Plates, Big Taste” showcased Bhargava’s culinary skills with tapas-style tasting plates of vegetarian Indian food. Guests were encouraged to make their own samosas and tried many flavors. At right, Bhargava shows board member Marj Halperin how to fill a samosa. Mary F. Morten, our interim executive director, spoke about the Foundation, and Asian American Leadership Council co-chair and board member Sharmila Rao Thakkar talked about the Council and fundraising for The Catalyst Fund for Reproductive Justice. All money raised from the event benefits the council’s Silk Fund for grants. A special thanks to Ranjana for donating her time and opening her home to the Council.
Read more at our Press Room and our Past Events at cfw.org.
Abstinence-only: New reports on curricula's failures
A special issue of the Sexuality Research and Social Policy journal outlines the serious problems with accuracy, effectiveness and ethics in abstinence-only-until-marriage sexual health programs, according to a press release from Guttmacher Institute, a leading think tank on sexual and reproductive health. John S. Santelli, a Guttmacher Institute senior fellow, says, “The articles make clear that abstinence-only programs are based on ideology and politics—and go against the consensus of public health science.” Three pieces in particular stood out (PDF files): why states reject Title V abstinence-only funding and how activists can encourage rejection; inaccuracies about condoms; and a review of studies about sexual health education programs, which concludes that most abstinence-only programs don’t delay initiation of sex. We updated our online abstinence-only policy brief with these links for your reference.
Two days left to comment on “conscience” regulation
Read the Aug. 26 Tuesday Blast (News section) for more on the Department of Health and Human Services "provider conscience" regulation (PDF) that would do more harm than good to family planning clinics receiving HHS grants. Our Action Alert has our talking points, but please add your own stories and opinions so HHS hears a diversity of voices against this regulation. CLICK HERE to comment: Sept. 25 is the final deadline.
And sign our online petition for reproductive justice—and an Illinois bill defending it. See our signatures so far.
Find more advocacy opportunities at our Online Action Center.
Our website calendar lists all our programs, events and cosponsorships.
In the spotlight
SEPT. 25 (Thu.): Queer Funding Strategies for Women-Led Organizations and Women Leaders
(first in Lesbian Leadership Council series), 6-8 p.m.
SEPT. 28 (Sun.): South Asian Women's Health Forum (Asian American Leadership Council
cosponsorship), 2-5 p.m.
NEW: OCT. 2 (Thu.):Executive Director Roundtable: Issues Facing Girl-Serving Organizations,
NOV. 7 (Fri.): "Jarred: A Hoodoo Comedy" by Teatro Luna (Latina Leadership Council fundraiser),
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