I was recently in Calcutta, India, my place of birth, home to where my mother, a sibling, old friends, and sweet memories still reside. This is my other “home” where I try to get to every year to renew and regenerate myself, and recharge from the stresses of a running a two working parents’ nuclear household in frenetic New York City. My trip last month came after a two year gap; I felt the familiar overwhelming desire to be there, to be a part of the sights and sounds of an India that were at once familiar and yet distant to me. Having left almost 23 years ago to move to the US, I have a unique insider-outsider vantage point. I was born and brought up there; I know things instinctively – all the cultural puzzles, contradictions, nuances of language, wordplay and verbal cues, body language, subtle things - that only a native-born can ever know. But, having been away long enough, and trained in and working in a field where critical inquiry is required, I can no longer accept without questioning the status and daily conditions of millions of people living in absolute poverty, what Collier refers to as The Bottom Billion. Even as India’s economy grows steadily at about 8% a year, there are entire communities of people, some 300 million of them, who live under a $1 a day without regular access to food, water, housing, livelihoods, reproductive healthcare or education. Malnutrition in children under five is at a staggering 45%.
February 6, 2009 posted by admin Dear Barack and Michelle, I’m writing to you as the parents of beautiful girls, and as people who hold the future of this country in your hands for the next four years. I know that you both take seriously your job as parents as well as the way you can shape public policy to improve your daughters’ lives. Michelle has talked about supporting working parents and Barack has talked about fighting workplace discrimination so Sasha and Malia will not have to experience it as adults. George W.
February 5, 2009 posted by admin As someone who studies girl culture and as a mother of a 13 year old, I can't miss the avalanche of "mean girls" in the media and what it suggests to my daughter; to all our daughters. Can we imagine a girl-targeted reality show, sitcom, or drama that doesn't revolve around a catfight? Do we really need more movies like Bride Wars or another Jennifer-Angelina magazine cover with an inset of Brad in the corner? It seems like the only public displays of sisterhood we see any more involve girls collectively dissing other "bad" girls or commiserating over break ups with guys. As an education professor, I spend a lot of time in public schools.
Februrary 5, 2009 posted by admin Dear President Obama, I was one of the “super volunteers” for the Duluth, MN area throughout your campaign. I’ve always been interested in history, culture and politics, and I had the opportunity to attend JrNYLC (Junior National Young Leaders Conference) in Washington, DC. Working on your campaign was one of the most memorable experiences of my life! It has already led me to new political experiences because of the people I met campaigning. I recently attended “Camp Wellstone” to learn more about working effectively on political campaigns. One of my supervisors, Drew Sandquist, worked on your inauguration team.
Februrary 5, 2009 posted by admin Dear Arne Duncan, My school is a Leonard Bernstein school, which means that we do way more than read textbooks to learn. I am linguistic or word smart, but many of my friends are different. I know that you know about this because my teacher went to Chicago to see what other LB schools do. But as you make decisions, I want you to remember that not all kids benefit from the typical work sheets that most schools teach! Sylvie, grade 5 This post is part of a forum
February 5, 2009 posted by admin Dear Mr. Obama, I realize that you have two daughters and you love them very much! I work on a magazine called New Moon Girls. I am on the GEB or the Girls Editorial Board.
February 4, 2008 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird [caption id="attachment_1043" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="With Robyn Ochs and a fellow NYC Bi activist"][/caption] I spent this weekend in Denver, CO at the 21st Annual National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Conference for LGBT Equality (aka “Creating Change”). As Kate Clinton warned, I am recovering from the shock of re-entry into the “real world” where, in fact, not everyone is queer—nor even an ally (bummer). This was the second year I was able to attend this fabulous conference where thousands of LGBT activists gather to network, build coalitions, and share tips on how to create change. And I gotta tell ya—I’m hooked! Since I skipped the day-long institutes, my first Creating Change event was Dolores Huerta: “We Have Arrived!” Dolores Huerta co-founded United Farm Workers of American with Cesar Chavez. She immediately caught my attention when she stated that the minimum wage should be no less than $25/hour. Now that’s what I call a living wage! Huerta further captured my heart when she said, “We need to educate ourselves about each other’s movements and organizations.”
February 5, 2009 posted by adminWe asked activists and scholars in the girl’s rights movement to draft a letter to President Obama, outlining their Girls Agenda for 2009. Here’s what Nancy Gruver, founder and CEO of New Moon Magazine had to say: Dear President Obama: As Malia and Sasha’s proud father I don’t need to tell you how having daughters can give you new eyes on the world. My daughters, Mavis and Nia, are adults now. But it feels like just last week that they were ten years old and I was worrying about how to help them navigate the treacherous journey from girlhood to womanhood. We started New Moon Girls magazine together to give girls a place to express themselves and make the world better. I believe you agree that growing up should mean increasing opportunities as well as responsibilities for our daughters. It should mean increasing respect and rewards for their intelligence, creativity, and skills. It should mean they have access to equal education and healthcare, including effective pregnancy prevention. It should mean they have the freedom to walk down the street or go on a date without worrying they might be attacked just because they are female.
February 3, 2009 posted by adminWe asked advocates and scholars working on issues affecting girls’ lives to address the national conversation on girl’s needs, desires, and rights. What would they like to see changed? Below is the first response in this week’s forum: Health is not just the absence of disease or risk. It is the ability to live in a healthy body, with a healthy mind and spirit. Girls need more than the elimination of risks and dangers in their lives, environments, schools, neighborhoods, homes. They need the encouragement and information that can enable them to live in the positive. Most government funded research focuses on what, how and sometimes why negative practices, forces, impacts can be eradicated. How about some effort, energy and resources getting behind what works for diverse girls? What girls need to enhance their resilience not just to minimize their risks?
January 21, 2009 posted by Linda Basch I want to draw your attention to a moving commentary by Deborah Siegel, “Masculine Mystique, Meet Feminine Mistake,” posted at the Women’s Media Center, in which she raises questions as to why the media seems to latch onto outmoded models of marriage roles, where men are the breadwinners and women are the caretakers of home and family. This raised in my mind another scenario we also are seeing today: the high cost of child care. In this scenario, one or the other of the parenting couple opts to stay home to care for home and family. Then, what happens when the working partner gets laid off? As in Deborah’s case, though Deborah works fulltime, those families also fall into a tailspin