February/March 2018 NC NOW Newsletter Available

NC NOW Newsletter for February and March 2018 includes stories of how people in Fayetteville got that untested rape kit inventory done (with Fayetteville NOW’s help), some events around the state (Trauma to Prison Pipeline Report, Title IX at FSU), national events on #EnoughIsEnough and the next US Supreme Court case, NIFLA v. Becerra, on what CPCs can say in California. Currently CPCs need to tell the truth in California, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates are suing to change that!

See the newsletter online at NC NOW Newsletter for February and March 2018.

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Bus to Rally in DC Against Fake Clinics (CPCs) Telling Lies – 3/20/18

“What’s more important? The right to spread lies, fear and shame under the guise of free speech? Or the right of people seeking health care and counseling during pregnancy to receive accurate, unbiased, and comprehensive information from a licensed medical facility? An upcoming Supreme Court case may decide just that.” – Lynne Walter, Naral Pro-Choice NC

The Supreme Court said in November 2017 that it would decide whether California violates free speech guarantees to require “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) to tell patients the truth about access to contraception services and abortion assistance. Even though the opening arguments start this month (March, 2018), standard media is not covering the case – but the anti-abortion groups are!

Crisis Pregnancy Center Protest
Photo Credit: Whole Woman’s Health Blog

On Tuesday, March 20, the U.S. Supreme Court (in Washington DC) will hear oral arguments in (National Institute of Family and Life Advocates) NIFLA v. Becerra, a case that fake women’s health centers brought to the court to overturn a California law (California Reproductive FACT ACT) that provides people with access to full and accurate information about their reproductive health options. Becerra is California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

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WomenNC Celebration Highlights Coalition Work and Research – 3/8/18

Raleigh, Durham and NC NOW had the chance to participate in WomenNC’s Annual Local to Global Celebration honoring Juanita Bryant and celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018. Over 150 people attended the event at the Hunt Library at NC State University in Raleigh. Special guests included NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, WRAL anchor Debra Morgan as Emcee, Dr. Jo Allen, President of Meredith College, and Zion Tankard, Chair of the Durham County Women’s Commission among many others.

Presentation of award to Juanita Bryant Also pictured: Beth Dehghan, Elaine Marshall Photo Credit: Lori Bunton

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Blue Stocking Salon on Women in Poverty Summary – 1/27/18

Fayetteville NOW’s Young Feminist Committee hosted their 3rd Blue Stocking Salon on January 27th, 2018. The topic of women in poverty drew the largest group yet! We discussed various studies and their results, personal experiences with social safety nets and anti-poverty activism as well as what we could do after the salon to act on what we learned.

The first point discussed was an analysis that estimated that if the wage gap was resolved, the number of women in poverty would decrease by half, what an astounding possibility asserted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research! We wondered if they studied the wage gap by comparing men and women in the exact same job or if they compared across similar job responsibilities, and concluded that while comparing the exact same job would yield more exact results, using the undervaluing of ‘women’s work’ instead of individual discrimination as a comparison tool is still effective.

Women In Poverty In America Data from National Women’s Law Center, Picture from Equal Means Equal

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Title IX Coordinator Addresses Fayetteville NOW Chapter, 2/20/18

Attorney Patricia Bradley introduced her talk on Title IX to the Fayetteville NOW chapter by asking if we knew the only sport women could receive scholarships for prior to 1972. Field hockey? Nope. Gymnastics? Not that either. Only cheerleading!

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex for any educational institution that receives federal funding, and requires compliance across any opportunities offered, from sports to classes to admission and scholarships. Ms. Bradley expounded on her role as Title IX Coordinator at Fayetteville State University, the process a claim goes through, and cited examples on claims and how the university has responded.

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Rape Kit Inventory Initiated in Fayetteville, NOW Helped

Many North Carolinians learned that there are 15,160 untested ‘sexual assault evidence collection kits’ (SAECK) left in North Carolina on February 28, 2018. These kits, also known as ‘rape kits’ were inventoried as part of the 2017 state budget, thanks to a bill that was spearheaded by the executive director of a Rape Crisis center in Cumberland County, Deanna Gerdes. Prior to the inventory, no one knew how many untested ‘sexual assault evidence collection kits’ there were across NC. Gerdes worked with Lt. John Somerindyke, Fayetteville Police Department’s Special Victims Unit commander, who discovered the problem in the first place and leads a unit to solve these crimes.  Other key supporters were bill sponsor state Rep. Billy Richardson, D-Cumberland; Roberta Waddle, a long time officer of Fayetteville NOW and NC NOW; and Gerdes’ daughter, Kathryn. Attorney General Josh Stein announced the count on 2/28/18, and has great recommendations going forward what to do. NC is finally making progress on untested rape kits, thanks these heroes in Fayetteville.

Deanna Gerdes at Podium, SBA Celebration with Fayetteville NOW. Photo Credit: Gailya Paliga

Gerdes and Somerindyke have talked about their journeys to getting this bill written and passed at a few events with NC NOW and the Fayetteville NOW chapters in the past 6 months. On Feb 22, 2018, the Fayetteville chapter of the National Organization for Women held their 18th annual Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Birthday Celebration, where they honored Gerdes and Somerindyke for their work on the passage of this bill. Some of their journey is captured in “Fighting for statewide sexual assault survivor justice: Gerdes and Somerindyke honored at Fayetteville NOW event,” which was the cover story in the 2/6/18 issues of Up and Coming Weekly, a community paper in Fayetteville. Gerdes and Somerindyke also did a workshop at NC NOW’s state conference last October on grassroots work to pass the auditing of the Sexual Assault kits. More about their workshop and the conference at “Mobilizing Women NOW – Totally Worth It! Summary.”

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Deportation Can Be A Death Sentence

What many Americans don’t understand is that deportation can be a death sentence.

According to “When Deportation Is A Death Sentence,” 1/15/18, New Yorker, “Hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the U.S. may face violence and murder in their home countries. ” What about “the U.S. government’s duty to protect prospective deportees who plead for their lives”?

“Before Laura crossed the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge into Mexico, she turned to the Border Patrol agent supervising her return to Mexico. “When I am found dead,” she told him, “it will be on your conscience.”” She was murdered.

On 3/6/18, our Tuesdays With Tillis protest is for a Clean DREAM Act and Justice For Immigrants. The facebook event can be found here. El Centro and El Pueblo organized the program. They give us some more stats on how deportation is a death sentence.

Feminist 5K Run/Walk/Roll – Jun 8, 2018

The Feminist 5k returns in 2018!
Sign up before May 9th for an early bird rate!
This is a fun run/walk/renunciation of the patriarchy.

It’s been quite a year, dealing with a federal administration in chaos, and with our own legislative leadership in NC. On the other hand, women are rising up! Joining existing organizations doing the work, like National Organization for Women, and making their own unofficial groups to make change. And the #MeToo movement has been a catalyst for long overdue recognition of how widespread Sexual Harassment is.

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Celebrate International Women’s Day in NC on 3/8/18

NOW is part of International Women’s Day celebrations in Raleigh and in Charlotte.

View of WomenNC panel in 2014 from NOW table
Photo Credit: Gailya Paliga

Press For Progress in Charlotte NC

Charlotte NOW is involved in an annual event for International Women’s Day on Mar 8, Press For Progress. It is at the International House, 1817 Central Ave, Charlotte NC. Charlotte NOW is on the Charlotte International Women’s Day Committee, and told me about the upcoming event. The following is from the eventbrite listing.

You are invited to celebrate the history, contributions and achievements of women. Join us for an inspirational and motivational event to bring change to move women forward.

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Rape Crisis Sensitivity Training in Fayetteville – March and May 2018

Upcoming ‘rape crisis sensitivity’ trainings in Fayetteville advertised at Fayetteville NOW’s Susan B. Anthony Celebration on 2/28/18. Become informed about rape and sexual assault, find out how you can help survivors.

Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County works closely with Fayetteville NOW. More on SBA Celebration and work that Fayetteville NOW and the Rape Crisis Center have done together on rape kits in next posts.

At a “Shine A Light on Sexual Assault” program in 2016, “Ze Surratt II, from the Cumberland County Rape Crisis Center, said the organization was founded in 1976 when there was a realization that sexual assault survivors needed additional assistance beyond police and doctors.” Read more about the event at Program seeks to assist survivors of sexual assault,” Fayetteville Observer, 5/1/16.  Surratt is still involved with the center, and with organizing these trainings.

Volunteers must attend both classes – one set in March 2018, and one set in May 2018. See more information on the flyer.

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