Bob Zybach & Janet Meranda present The Story of Letitia Carson in Oregon, 1845-1888 Tuesday, February 28 6:00 p.m. Newport High School Boone Center (Newport High library)-sponsored by the Newport Public Library Foundation and Central Oregon Coast NOW Foundation.
In recognition of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, Dr. Bob Zybach and Jan Meranda will share their research about Letitia Carson.
Letitia was a former slave who moved to Oregon with her white husband, Dave in 1845. After Dave died in 1852, their land was taken from her by Greenberry Smith, a wealthy white landowner. Letitia’s story is significant because she fought for years to regain her property, and eventually won, becoming the first black woman to make a successful homestead claim in the Pacific Northwest. Her story was the inspiration for Jane Kirkpatrick’s novel A Light in the Wilderness, and Jan Meranda’s recent biography, Freedom’s Light: The Letitia Carson Story Begins.
It started as a group text message among four friends from graduate school about new kids, puppies, and jobs. You know, the successes and struggles that are the building blocks of everyday life.
In the wake of the election, the discussion changed. While everyday life continued, the four friends — all women working in the climate and ecology fields — faced a new reality. Their discussions turned into an email chain, which grew to include a group of women, until finally it spawned a pledge of inclusivity in science and the need for reason in politics that’s now been signed by more than 14,000 women in science.
The group, dubbed 500 Women Scientists, was created in response to President Trump and his anti-science, anti-women comments. Its pledge vows to protect the scientific enterprise from his attacks as well as “build a more inclusive society and scientific enterprise.”
Should we journalists use the word “lie” to describe President Trump’s most manifest falsehoods?
That debate has roiled the news world. The Times this week used the word “lie” in a front-page headline, and I agreed with that decision, but there’s a counterargument that lying requires an intention to deceive — and that Trump may actually believe his absurd falsehoods.
So in 2017 we reach a mortifying moment for a great democracy: We must decide whether our 45th president is a liar or a crackpot.
Yet the costliest presidential falsehoods and delusions are not the ones that people are talking about, such as those concerning the inauguration crowd or electoral fraud. The most horrific chicanery involves Trump’s new actions on women’s health that will cause deaths around the globe.
It followed the weekend’s stunning women’s marches: At least 3.2 million people apparently participated in all 50 states, amounting to 1 percent of the U.S. population. In a slap at all who marched, Trump this week signed an order that will cut off access to contraception to vast numbers of women, particularly in Africa.
It will also curb access to cancer screenings and maybe even undermine vaccination campaigns and efforts against H.I.V. and the Zika virus. The upshot: Thousands of impoverished, vulnerable women will die.
Americans have focused on the executive actions about building a wall, or expediting oil pipelines, but nothing is more devastating than the edict on women’s health (signed in front of a group composed almost entirely of smiling men in suits).
In fairness, Trump probably thought he was doing a good thing; that’s a measure of his delusion. He reinstated what’s called the Mexico City policy, which stipulates that family planning funds cannot go to foreign aid groups that ever discuss abortion. (Federal funds already don’t go for abortions.)
Presumably Trump thought this policy would reduce abortions, and was thus “pro-life.” In fact, this is a “pro-death” approach that actually increases abortions, as well as deaths among women.
How can that be? Many groups, like Marie Stopes International and Planned Parenthood International, lose funding in poor countries from this policy. In 2001, when President George W. Bush imposed a more limited version, 16 developing countries lost shipments of contraceptives from the U.S.
This all sounds wonkish and antiseptic, but in poor countries, the most dangerous thing a woman can do is become pregnant. I’ve seen too many women dying or suffering in filth on stained cots in remote villages because of childbirth.
I wish Trump could see them: a mother of three in Cameroon dying after her birth attendant sat on her stomach to hasten delivery; a woman in Niger collapsing from a common complication called eclampsia; a 15-year-old girl in Chad whose family dealt with her labor complications by taking her to a healer who diagnosed sorcery and burned her arm as she lay in a coma.
With this new order, Trump will inadvertently cause more of these horrific scenes. Maybe “war on women” sounds hyperbolic, but not if gasping, dying women are seared in your memory.
Worse, Trump expanded this “global gag rule” — as critics call it, because it bars groups from mentioning abortion — so that it apparently will cover all kinds of health services, including efforts to tackle polio or Zika or H.I.V., even programs to help women who have been trafficked into brothels. (The White House didn’t respond to my inquiries.)
I hope all of the marchers call the White House, 202-456-1111, or their members of Congress, 202-224-3121, to protest.
Marie Stopes alone estimated that if it cannot find replacement funding, the new policy will result in 6.5 million unintentional pregnancies, 2.2 million abortions and 21,700 women dying in pregnancy or childbirth.
The victims invariably are among the most voiceless, powerless people in the world. When Bush imposed his version of the policy, it meant that no contraceptives reached a village in northern Ghana. As a result, a young woman named Kolgu Inusah became pregnant.
She tried to abort the pregnancy herself using herbs, but something went wrong and she suffered terrible abdominal pains. She was rushed to a clinic, but doctors couldn’t save her. Her two children now have no mom.
President Trump, you may think you are “pro-life” and preventing abortions, but that’s a lie or a delusion. In fact, you are increasing the number of abortions and of dying women.
And to those women and men who marched last weekend, remember that this isn’t about symbols, speeches or pussy hats. It’s about the lives of women and girls.
Please, please, keep on marching, keep on calling.
Can you imagine if Alice Paul or Ida B. Wells, women who fought for our right to vote, had to watch as a Donald Trump is sworn in as President of the United States (recognize the last male voice on the video? Listen to what he says – really scary)?
We will not be silent as elected officials attempt to roll back our rights. We will fight against any attempt by state houses, Congress or this Administration to limit rights or freedoms in our country, particularly the rights of those most marginalized. Stand with us as we fight for justice.
When Marin Alsop was 9 years old, her father took her to see Leonard Bernstein direct the New York Philharmonic. The next day, she got a bracing response when she told her violin teacher she wanted to be a conductor. She couldn’t. She was a girl.
Today, Alsop is music director and conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Yet despite her own ability to break through that glass ceiling, the 2016 election showed her that one crucial one remains in place.
“We thought we had achieved things, but they weren’t sustained,” she said.
“Some young women probably didn’t realize how stacked the deck is against women in our world,” Alsop pointed out. “This is how it’s been historically. We think, ‘Oh, here’s a breakthrough,’ and then the door slams shut even harder.”
Not only did the first female presidential nominee of a major political party lose after her victory was taken for granted, but she lost to a man caught on tape boasting about groping women. Now the sadness, alarm and ensuing determination that many young American women felt after the door-slam of the 2016 election have become catalysts for a resurging women’s movement.
“We all assumed that it was time for a woman to have this opportunity, and that it was obvious,” added Alsop. “It’s galvanized people.”
The Women’s March on Washington is bringing some women together around America, where they meet in state and local chapters to prepare for the march and to share experiences. In Key West, Florida, women are participating together in late-night yoga. In Orlando, they meet at a Fuddruckers restaurant. Women in Washington state are knitting special hats for the march. Women in Texas gather in living rooms to create signs.
The day after the election, Planned Parenthood received roughly 40 times the average number of donations. Appointments for contraceptives such as intrauterine devices at Planned Parenthood centers increased tenfold. The website of the National Organization for Women was so overwhelmed with the number of visitors it crashed.
“It was horror,” said Terry O’Neill, president of NOW.
“A lot of people woke up to the day after the election . . . feeling very scared,” said Emma Collum, 32, one of the Florida organizers for the Women’s March on Washington. “You woke up not knowing if your neighbor had voted for an administration that was basically going to take away your rights.”
SOME YOUNG WOMEN PROBABLY DIDN’T REALIZE HOW STACKED THE DECK IS AGAINST WOMEN IN OUR WORLD.Marin Alsop
Activists and organizers interviewed for this article all reported that in dozens of conversations with women they have come in contact with since Election Day, there has been a sense of fear or panic.
The tenfold increase in IUD appointments post-election reported by Planned Parenthood can be attributed to the fear of changes being made to the Affordable Care Act, something President-Elect Donald Trump has promised will happen. According to Gallup, concern over health care jumped from 4 percent in October to 10 percent in November. The same polling also saw a spike in concern over elections and election revisions.
315,000Donations received by Planned Parenthood since the election
“The best way I can sum up the feeling . . . is that we saw the earthquake up in the ocean and we know the tsunami is coming,” O’Neill said of her conversations with activists and the leaders of organizations that partner with NOW.
Women’s march organizers such as Collum, Amber Keith and Meghan Brokaw reported having a hard time waking up the morning after the election, or sleeping at all. Brokaw described it as “a despair.”
But they also spoke of that fear, and the root cause of that fear, as having a silver lining.
“I think ‘scared’ could be categorized as one of the top emotions in the formation of this organization,” explained Collum. “Now I felt empowered by this organization and I felt safe.”
“I wish that we had this before the election, this sisterhood and this community,” added Brokaw, 31. “But I’m excited that it’s happening now.”
Would this community of women have formed had Hillary Clinton won the election? The activists and organizers interviewed for this article said probably not.
“I would have just celebrated and then gone on with my life,” said Keith, 41. “It definitely lit a fire in me.”
The number of volunteer applications at Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, which manages centers primarily in the Carolinas, increased from five to 10 a week to hundreds in the immediate aftermath of the election, and now is still more than double what it was before Trump’s win.
The Women’s March on Washington, for which Brokaw and Keith help lead the Kansas state chapter, has registered nearly 300,000 attendees since Election Day. Organizers estimate the number will be even higher in Washington on Saturday.
For many, the march is not the culmination but a beginning.
“We’re using this march as a launching pad,” Keith explained. The Kansas contingent plans on having a platform outlined before heading to Washington that will likely focus on education and increased female and moderate representation in the state Legislature.
Meanwhile, in Florida, Collum said the new community of female activists was inspired by Florida’s status as a swing state.
“We can turn the head of the country if we can turn the head of the state,” she said. “That’s a lofty goal, but, dammit, it’s a goal.”
Dr. Alexa Canady, the first female African-American neurosurgeon, has faced discrimination throughout her life. The post-election determination and the quick organization of events such as the women’s march have reminded her of the civil rights era in the 1960s.
“People organize when they’re ready, when they have something that galvanizes them,” she explained. “I think, in fact, it may open the eyes of many women to how tenuous things are.”
Natalie Fertig: 202-383-6020, @natsfert
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article126520714.html#storylink=cpy
I was scuba certified and exploring the complex and beautiful world below the ocean’s surface by the age of 16. Few get to venture into that world, but many should. My first underwater experience was on a 90-foot wreck dive in the cold, murky waters off the New Jersey Shore; I later had a vibrant, colorful dive on the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, experiences like those simply will not be available for future generations if we don’t address the threats to our oceans from climate change, pollution and overfishing. With the waters I loved facing such dire straits, I entered a career in science focused on ocean conservation.
Getting here wasn’t always smooth sailing—and when times were tough, I had great mentors of both genders, though I’ve always found it useful to consider the accomplishments of women who succeeded before me.
One of these women is Rachel Carson, who truly struggled to be recognized for her scientific achievements in a gender-biased world. She fought tirelessly against the use of DDT because of its effects on the environment and the birds that she loved. It was rare at that time for women to be on the front lines, and her opposition was deep-pocketed and powerful. So it’s not surprising that she was portrayed by her critics as a hysterical woman, prone to being less rational and more emotional. She was attacked fiercely by the chemical industry and shunned by magazines unwilling to publish her work. But her now-famous book, “Silent Spring,” paved the way for the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 – perhaps her greatest vindication, though it happened long after her death. And her resilience in the face of tough odds continues to inspire many of us today.
Four decades later, the situation for women in science has improved, but there is still a long way to go. The same is true for the business sector and the non-profit sector, in which I work. Fortunately, there has been a lot of progress and I’ve never been more hopeful and confident that times are changing than I am today.
As senior vice president for U.S. oceans at Oceana, I’ve led campaigns that have fought the expansion of offshore oil drilling, reduced cruise ship pollution, promoted shark conservation and more. Most recently, we launched Global Fishing Watch, a groundbreaking new digital tool that allows governments and citizens around the world to improve fishery management to bring back ocean abundance and strengthen food security. I’m proud to be involved in this exciting new era of fisheries management, and I’m here today because of female role models, both past and present.
Today there are many. Their actions, their successes and most importantly, their words of advice have been invaluable to me.
On the double standard that exists for women in the workplace, this quote from Hillary Clinton really stood out for me. She told Susan Page of USA Today, “Any woman who wants to be on the stage — whether in politics or business or journalism or anything — just has to toughen up.” She then added, “If you allow it to define you, if you allow it to adversely impact you and your dreams, then you’re going to be blocked, and you’re going to be blocking yourself.”
The last thing we want to do is to block our own success.
Another source of inspiration is Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti. Minister Susi is a self-made entrepreneur and even created her own airline, Susi Air. But what I love about her is that she is relentlessly fighting against illegal fishing. She has seized, prosecuted and sunk more than 200 vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters—a dramatic but effective tactic to deter bad actors in her country’s waters. Minister Susi is a partner with Oceana in Global Fishing Watch, and spoke at its launch in September.
Women in leadership positions offer us continued inspiration. They inspire us with their strength and their accomplishments.
I hope I can help our resilient oceans return to abundance so that future generations can enjoy their many benefits. I hope that my position can offer one more example to girls and young women beginning their careers— that science is a field for women and that leadership is an opportunity for women as well. I hope more women and girls will explore our oceans and never hesitate to dive into any field that inspires them.
I’m grateful to the women that have shown so clearly that we all have the potential to change the world, and I intend to pass that on.
Jacqueline Savitz is the Vice President for U.S. Oceans at Oceana, where she previously served as senior scientist, senior campaign director and deputy vice president of U.S. campaigns. Prior to her work with Oceana, Savitz served as Executive Director of Coast Alliance, worked as an environmental policy analyst with the Environmental Working Group and worked as an environmental scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Donald J. Trump’s campaign was dogged by accusations of misogyny. Now his cabinet is shaping up to be one of the most hostile in recent memory to issues affecting women, advocacy groups for women say. Tax credits for child care and the prospect of paid maternity leave are exceptions to a host of positions that could result in new restrictions on abortion and less access to contraception, limits on health care that disproportionately affect women and minorities and curbs on funding for domestic violence, as well as slowing the momentum toward raising the minimum wage or making progress on equal pay.
Consider their positions on these issues.
Jeff Sessions, Mr. Trump’s selection for attorney general; Tom Price, chosen for Health and Human Services secretary; and Mike Pompeo, the pick for C.I.A. director, all voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, which funds shelters and services for victims of domestic violence, because of amendments extending protections to L.G.B.T. victims. The act is up for reauthorization next year.
Pay discrimination and equal pay
Senator Sessions and Representative Price also voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended the statute of limitations to allow women to sue for pay discrimination.
Mr. Sessions, as well as Elaine Chao, Mr. Trump’s choice for transportation secretary, opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have strengthened federal equal pay laws for women.
Ms. Chao, in her tenure as secretary of labor in the George W. Bush administration, opposed raising the minimum wage. President-elect Trump generally opposed raising the federal minimum wage during the campaign, although he occasionally contradicted himself. Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, points out that two-thirds of minimum-wage earners are women, who dominate fields with low-paying service jobs.
Mr. Trump, who supported the right to abortion as recently as 1999, opposed abortion during the campaign. And so do almost all of his cabinet picks, including Betsy DeVos, his nominee for education secretary; Nikki Haley, for ambassador to the United Nations; and Ms. Chao. Governor Haley signed a bill into law in South Carolina banning abortions from 20 weeks, a rollback from the medically established viability standard of 24 to 26 weeks. Ben Carson, his nominee for Housing and Urban Development, is a longtime abortion foe.
In Congress, Senator Sessions and Representatives Price and Pompeo have consistently voted for abortion restrictions, including a ban on abortions after 20 weeks and against funding for Planned Parenthood and Title X, because abortion is included in these family planning services.
A Trump administration may well restrict funding for family planning or abortion in programs overseas to which the United States contributes.
In Congress, Mr. Sessions, Mr. Price and Mr. Pompeo all voted against requiring employers to provide health care plans that included contraception, citing religious liberty.
In an exchange that went viral in 2012, Mr. Price scoffed at the notion that any woman could not afford contraception as part of his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which requires contraceptive coverage without co-payments as well as a range of other preventive services for women. “Bring me one woman who has been left behind,” he said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “Bring me one. There’s not one.”
As numerous women’s advocacy groups have demonstrated, high co-payments for birth control have been a significant deterrent for many women.
Medicare and Medicaid
Mr. Price proposes offering states lump sums, known as block grants, for Medicaid. These measures could disproportionately hurt women, particularly poor and minority women, since they would end up reducing the amount of federal money going to the states for health care. Medicaid is the main source of health care for low-income women, providing prenatal and maternity care as well as paying for nursing home care, which affects women more because they live longer. Under Obamacare, federal money to expand Medicaid has helped to narrow a longstanding gap in health care between blacks and whites.
Mr. Price has also proposed that the federal government provide a contribution that could be applied to private insurance or Medicare. Some fear those changes would hurt women because they become sicker as they age and would be more likely to exceed a fixed federal contribution.
“They will frame this as flexibility, but it’s about the federal government paying less or making it easier for states to cut back on services,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Child Care and paid maternity leave
One of the few bright spots that women’s advocates see in a Trump administration are proposals championed by Ivanka Trump to require paid maternity leave and offer expanded tax credits for child care. The law now provides only for unpaid leave. Many people working on this issue would prefer paid family leave, to allow men to play a larger role in child rearing. And the child care credits have been criticized as too small and tilted toward higher-income families. But Ms. Smeal said, “Getting something is better than nothing right now.”
December 7, 2016 – By Susan Chira (@susanchira), a senior correspondent and editor on gender issues for The New York Times.
TULSA, Okla. — The women’s wing of the jail here exhales sadness. The inmates, wearing identical orange uniforms, ache as they undergo withdrawal from drugs, as they eye one another suspiciously, and as they while away the days stripped of freedom, dignity, privacy and, most painful of all, their children.
“She’s disappointed in me,” Janay Manning, 29, a drug offender shackled to a wall for an interview, said of her eldest daughter, a 13-year-old. And then she started crying, and we paused our interview.
Of all America’s various policy missteps in my lifetime, perhaps the most catastrophic was mass incarceration. It has had devastating consequences for families, and it costs the average American household $600 a year.
The United States has recently come to its senses and begun dialing back on the number of male prisoners. But we have continued to increase the number of women behind bars; two-thirds of women in state prisons are there for nonviolent offenses. America now incarcerates eight times as many women as in 1980, and only Thailand seems to imprison women at a higher rate.
And the situation may well worsen under the Trump administration; the president-elect’s nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has in effect defended mass incarceration.
The global capital for female incarceration may be right here in Oklahoma, which incarcerates 142 out of every 100,000 women, about 10 times the rate of low-ranking states like Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I wouldn’t argue that mass female incarceration is worse than mass male incarceration — they’re both counterproductive — but the imprisonment of women has heartbreaking collateral damage, because women are disproportionately likely to be primary caregivers, and 60 percent of American women in state prisons have children under 18.
“There’s a devastating impact on the children,” said Amy Santee of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which supports an alternative to imprisonment for women. “They’re put in chaotic homes, they’re more likely to be sexually abused, they’re more likely to be imprisoned themselves.”
Research shows that prison routinely fails at helping women straighten out their lives — although it does mess up their children.
“I felt my life was going to repeat my mom’s, and it did,” said Alisia Hunter, 37, who said her mother was imprisoned for financial offenses while she was a child. Hunter then ended up having a baby at age 16 by one of her father’s buddies, and she soon began doing stints in prison for drug offenses.
“Prison got me sober, but it didn’t get me anywhere,” Hunter told me. Each time she went to prison, she would get clean, and then once out she would return to drugs.
She did try to get into a drug rehabilitation program. But the state, while willing to pay to imprison her, was unwilling to pay for drug rehab except for the most serious addicts; she didn’t qualify.
One reason mass incarceration doesn’t get fixed is that society regards felons with a mix of fear and contempt. In fact, the women should evoke sympathy; even more than male prisoners, they have been through the wringer.
A quarter of women in state prisons reported having been sexually abused as children, one 1999 Justice Department study found. A different study found that 43 percent of women in jails that were examined had serious mental health problems, and 82 percent had drug or alcohol problems.
Anessa Rabbit, 31, says she grew up in a family of addicts and was born with drugs in her system. I can’t confirm her life story, but she told how she was molested by her father beginning when she was 7, began smoking methamphetamine daily when she was 11, moved in with a man when she was 13 and dropped out of school in the ninth grade.
Like many female felons, Rabbit seems to have gotten in trouble because of a boyfriend who manipulated her into committing crimes.
“He always put me in the position of doing the dirty work,” Rabbit said, speaking of a boyfriend who used to choke and beat her when he wasn’t coercing her to commit crimes. She says they committed robberies and other offenses, sometimes she at his behest; he ended up with a sentence of four years probation and she faced a possible sentence of 26 years in prison.
Prosecutors often understand what’s going on but threaten the women with long sentences (sometimes based on conspiracy laws) to get them to testify against their men. That’s how the criminal justice system works, but when the women refuse to cave, they go to prison for many years — and the guys then drop them.
When men are in prison, they seem to get visits frequently from girlfriends, who also add money into their commissary accounts so they can buy small items and make phone calls. But the prisoners and social workers I spoke to said that when women are imprisoned, they get fewer visitors and their accounts are often empty.
Mass incarceration also has an abysmal record. Recidivism is high, and imprisonment breaks up and impoverishes families. A newly published study from the Russell Sage Foundationfound that incarceration of a family member is associated with a 64 percent decline in household assets, magnifying poverty and the race gap in America. And the 2.6 million American children who have a parent in prison or jail pay an enormous price — which, as Rabbit’s story shows, isn’t always necessary.
Rabbit was diverted from prison to a model program in Tulsa called Women in Recovery. (Hunter also is in the program.) It reduces the numbers of women in prison, saves money and has had remarkable success helping troubled women shake drugs and restart their lives.
It has a two-generation approach that works with both the women and their children. The program offers counseling, intensive support, coaching on budgeting and conflict resolution, and help getting high school equivalency diplomas, housing and jobs.
The upshot is that Rabbit has now been clean of drugs for nine months — the longest since she was a young child — and has a job in a warehouse with some prospects for promotion. She has custody on weekends of her son, 12, and daughter, 11, and is trying to rebuild relationships with them.
Women in Recovery programs last 17 months and cost $19,700 on average; after that, the woman is in a job, and recidivism over the next three years is just 4.9 percent. Without the program, the state might imprison the women for years at a much greater cost — and end up with a much higher recidivism rate.
So if we want to reduce female incarceration, we have a solution here in Tulsa that will also reduce crime and pay for itself.
I know some of you are glaring at this article and thinking: It’s their own fault. If they don’t want to go to prison, they shouldn’t commit crimes!
That scorn derives partly from a misunderstanding of drug abuse, which is a central reason for mass female incarceration in America (and a major reason for mass incarceration of men as well, although to a lesser degree). As Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the surgeon general, noted in releasing a major report this month: “It’s time to change how we view addiction. Not as a moral failing but as a chronic illness.” In short, we should think of drugs not primarily through the criminal justice lens but as a public health crisis.
If you think all this is just coddling criminals, consider for a moment Michelle Vavrick, 24. I can’t independently verify her story, but her counselors believe it, and it tracks what many other women in her position have experienced.
Vavrick says she was raised in a chaotic and violent home with alcohol and drugs. Beginning at age 7, she says, a pedophile named Sean began picking her up at her house and taking her away to rape her on an almost daily basis. She responded by acting out, self-mutilating and becoming violent.
“At 10, I became uncontrollable,” Vavrick remembered. “Sean and his friends would shoot me with heroin so they could do what they wanted to me. Six of them.”
Vavrick self-medicated with alcohol and drugs, went through rehab programs that didn’t work and ran away at 18. She lived on a park bench, sold sex, connected with a gang and robbed people. “I was a big ball of anger,” she recalled. “I couldn’t stand being in my own skin.”
Last year she was finally arrested for drug running and faced a sentence of 15 years to life. Fortunately, she was diverted to Women in Recovery, underwent intensive cognitive processing therapy — and transformed. She has now been clean for 10 months and is warm and hopeful. Instead of sitting sullenly in a prison cell, she works in a bakery, loves it, and hopes to run her own bakery some day.
At one point when I was interviewing her about her past, she began crying. Alarmed, I quickly apologized, but she shushed me up. “This is progress,” she said, beaming through her tears. She wants to let herself feel again.
Reporting these kinds of topics is often tough: I see people stuck in cycles of poverty, drugs and incarceration, with their children often headed in the same direction. Even well-meaning help is sometimes rejected, for we humans have an astonishing capacity for self-destructive behavior — just as society does, with policies like mass incarceration. That backdrop makes it exhilarating to see a program like Women in Recovery succeed, and an individual like Michelle Vavrick blossom through it into a new future.
“I know how precious my life is, and I never want to stick a needle in my arm again,” she said. “I want to live.”
November 25, 1916
Mrs. Inez Milholland Boissevain
Loses Her Life to the Cause
The Washington Times, November 26, 1916
When news reached the Congressional Union, Chair, Miss Alice Paul started to dictate a statement, then broke down and asked that she be excused. “I can’t say anything right now,” she said.
Miss Lucy Burns, Vice Chair of the Congressional Union said, “Mrs. Boissevain’s death is a great shock to all of us. Her passing is a great loss not only to this movement but to many others with which she was associated. Her death typifies in a very striking manner the sacrifice of life and genius that this struggle is costing. It is a struggle for a right that an intelligent people ought to have conceded long ago, and it is opposed only by the selfishness of professional politicians.
Her death will make women all the more determined to work harder to overcome this injustice, and all the more resentful of that injustice.”
The Inez Milholland Centenial is co-sponsored by the National Women’s History Project.
2016 Tribute to the Lady on the Horse
Who is the lady on the white horse? Where did her story end? Inez Milholland died November 25, 1916. She is our St. Joan. In 1913, leading 10,000 suffragists to the White House astride Grey Dawn she rode into danger so that women could vote. Known as the “beautiful suffragist, she gave herself over to the National Woman’s Party and to the cause. She could have been noted as the most educated, the most articulate, the most “Modern Woman,” but her value on the speaking trail was demonstrating that women who value the vote can be beautiful too. While on tour, speaking two or three times a day for months, she fell from the podium at Los Angles Blanchard Hall, was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital and never left. She died 30 days later.
The provenance of the women’s vote, from 1845 to August 26, 1920 began with Quaker women meeting with the Iroquois and ended with a mother’s admonition to her son Harry, “Be a good boy.” Harry Burn delivered that last single whisper that collectively handed women their success. It can be no surprise that it was at the urging of a mother, of a woman whose admonition piled on to Abigail Adams’ rebuke to John, “remember the women.”
This week, we remain in the procession of women who have yet to ascend to full power, to wholly realize what America would look like with a woman at the helm. You can be sure that Inez Milholland dreamed of it too.
Assistant Producer, Zoe Nicholson
National Women’s History Project
730 Second Street #469
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
(707) 636-2888 firstname.lastname@example.org