Women’s Work: Bright Spots for Main Street Women This Week

This week, the Oscars treated us to Seth McFarlene singing "We Saw Your Boobs" and the sequester cuts go into effect that will negatively impact women. But there were bright spots... VAWA PASSES AND MOVES TO PRES OBAMA'S DESK The VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT was finally reauthorized. The U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday and passed the bipartisan Senate version, which included key protections for campus rape, Native and immigrant women, and LGBTQ women.  Representative Gwen Moore, Democrat of Wisconsin and a victim of domestic and sexual violence herself, spoke passionately about the need to pass the Senate’s bill. I pray that this body will do as the Senate has done and come together as one to protect all women from violence. As I think about the L.G.B.T. victims who are not here, the native women who are not here, the immigrants who aren’t in this bill, I would say, as Sojourner Truth would say, ‘Ain’t they women?’ ” Every Democratic and 87 Republicans voted for the Senate bill; 138 GOP members voting against it.  Among the nay votes was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).  The House's action means that VAWA will be reauthorized for another five years, … [Read more...]

Mainstreet Women: You Keep My Hope Alive

I love Alicia’s response to “what’s one thing you’re really proud of and wish every girl could experience too?” What I wish for all girls is that they give birth to something new. Whether it is a child, a book, or a business, that’s what we’re here to do. (Alicia, CA) The book I'm writing on real women, Mainstreet Women, is giving birth. It is my way of sharing what women across the nation care about, are proud of, stand for, want political leaders to know, and wish for our country. This blog is a part of the labor (of love) to keep connected while I work toward honoring Mainstreet Women’s voices, grit and glory, to the best of my ability. A STAND Hearing and sharing Mainstreet Women’s voices with the world is also taking a stand. As our nation’s leaders bicker, wars rage, poverty grows, inequities widen, and with the Sandy Hook tragedy fresh -- I look to women to make change happen -- to keep my hope alive. And, putting Mainstreet Women's voices out in the world is a call to action. No matter what side of the political spectrum you lean, my hope is that these voices change mindsets and catalyze actions – both on personal and the public levels. Mainstreet Women have … [Read more...]

Sandy Hook Tragedy: Mainstreet Women Heroines & Moms

I promised you a different blog post today, a breezy holiday piece. In the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, my heart’s not there. Sandy Hook, population 11,000, looks like many Main Streets in America. Friday's unthinkable tragedy changed that community, those families' lives, forever. Once again, we see images of terror and pain, sorrow and loss, in a town that feels so familiar. It is almost too much to bear, hearing 1st grade teacher Kaitlin Roig recall what the little ones in her class cried, 'I just want Christmas. I don't want to die, I just want Christmas.'  MAINSTREET WOMEN HEROINES We have now learned that Mainstreet Women acted with extraordinary bravery on Friday. Principal Dawn Hochsprung and School Psychologist Mary Sherlach charged the gunman, dying in the process. Teacher Victoria Soto shielded students with her own body and perished. Prayers and thoughts go out to all the families in Sandy Hook, a burrough of Newtown, CT, where the dead include:  12 girls, 8 boys and 6 women. Hearts also go out to the family of Adam Lanzan and his Mom, Nancy. MAINSTREET WOMEN: ON BEING “MOMS” Today, it feels right to share … [Read more...]

Mainstreet Women: Unpacking Main Street #3

Mainstreet Women Question #1: Tell me a little about where you live, your main street or what you consider main street to be. (Post 3 of 3) Mainstreet Women I interviewed defined Main Street as place, people, and a philosophy. Women also described Main Street as a choice, a way to embrace diversity. And, women said its where passions, influence, and love join them together with others on this human journey. Whether hearing ourselves called Main Street initially puzzled, rankled or resonated, how about thinking of Main Street like this? "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home--so close and so small they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity."  Eleanor Roosevelt, 1953 MAIN STREET = PLACE FOR FAMILIES & NEIGHBORS I live in a neighborhood that feels like true Americana. For example, every 4th of July everyone pours out into the streets of our neighborhood for a big potluck. On … [Read more...]

Mainstreet Women: Unpacking Main Street

Mainstreet Women Question #1:  Tell me a little about where you live, your main street or what you consider main street to be. (Post 1 of 3)   “People think they speak for women. I don’t know who these women are they’re speaking for – they’re not me, not my friends or family.” (Beth, MS) Main Street + Women were my tell-tale heart in the run-up to the 2012 elections. What did pols, pundits, and the President mean when they called us all Main Street? It felt vital to know, to understand before exercising my citizen muscle and casting my one precious vote. Frankly, I felt dumb:  had I missed the Main Street memo? First I did what people the world over do:  I googled it. Gulp, about 820,000,000 results. Result one. Main Street® according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation (who registered the trademark, one of the reasons we’re called “Mainstreet” Women):  Main Street is the economic engine, the big stage, the core of the community. Our Main Streets tell us who we are and who we were, and how the past has shaped us… Our Main Streets are the places of shared memory where people still come together to live, work, and play. … [Read more...]

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