Archive for dignity

Dr. Marguerite 'Maya' Johnson Angelou's Epic Courage WAS #YesAllWomen

Maya Angelou

Image: BestLife Quotes

Written by guest contributor, "hardybear" of the wonderful Free Range Talk site:
Weaponry as penile enhancement is a timeless male tradition. Cave men absolutely took breaks from brutalizing Og-Ella to take crude yardsticks to their clubs, spears and their poles.

Is it any wonder that 55% of all women have been sexually assaulted or raped by now? "Men’s greatest fear is that women will laugh at them, while women’s greatest fear is that men will kill them", said Margaret Atwood, in one #YesAllWomen tweet.

The epic Melissa Harris-Perry took Elliot Rodger's entitled rampage on women to a critical place in the #YesAllWomen wave on Saturday. She firmly put systemic misogyny On Notice. Catch the illuminating conversation for yourself at MSNBC, first block of the show.

She gets it.

The Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen was tagged by 61,500 tweets per hour at its height. It was one of the most beautifully yet startlingly overwhelming experiences that I can recall as a card-carrying, first gen. feminist - and an utterly astonishing wave of strength, shared courage and love that is SO desperately needed right now.

Women are at war in far more than one theatre. The GOP Regressives have had their crosshairs trained on dames since we got the damned Vote. Hillary Reactionary Rage - 2008 round - escalated the Neanderthals and soon gave 'Rosemary style' birth to the bastard Lipton Brigade.

The medieval mentality of 'legitimate or God Given rape' and trans-vaginal wands is sweeping from old white guys to young entitled white bucks, apparently. The response of #YesAllWomen, was about as Everything as it gets on The Tweeter. It was empowering, devastating, unifying and a balm we sorely needed after the UCSB attack.

When the poet of America's soul, Maya Angelou, walked on in its ebb and flow … it was a mystical moment as simply profound as she was.

A woman who muted herself, silenced that extraordinary voice, for five years of post-rape trauma at the unthinkable age of 8. Melissa brought this story full circle as she described her personal history with Maya, who mentored her in college and beyond, and even hosted her wedding reception. Their last taped interview together is revelatory. Enjoy at footer.

We must have the courage to be courageous. Especially when poised to witness a fond dream of Dr. Angelou's: to see a woman take that seat in the Oval Office that our first black president has filled with honor and integrity ... and nary a lick of misogyny will have to be dusted off his chair.



Genderqueer — Neither Male Nor Female But An Androgynous Hybrid Or Rejection Of Both



Genderqueer. I'd never heard that term before, but there's lots I've yet to learn.

The newish word is for members who describe themselves in terms such as agender, bigender, third gender or gender-fluid are requesting — and sometimes finding — linguistic recognition. At least that's what they're talking about at Mills College in California.

Yahoo News reports:

The weekly meetings of Mouthing Off!, a group for students at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, always start the same way. Members take turns going around the room saying their names and the personal pronouns they want others to use when referring to them — she, he or something else.

It's an exercise that might seem superfluous given that Mills, a small and leafy liberal arts school historically referred to as the Vassar of the West, only admits women as undergraduates. Yet increasingly, the "shes" and "hers" that dominate the introductions are keeping third-person company with "they," ''ze" and other neutral alternatives meant to convey a more generous notion of gender.

I actually think this is kind of cool, but at the same time a bit confusing. But then again, try to explain long division or the mating rituals of the American Prairie chicken and you'd loose a lot of people along the way too.

So suffice to say that today, the progressive thinking when it comes to pronouns is to let the individual choose what is most certainly not a selected choice for them -- their sexuality. Everybody is what they are, and that's how they should be referred to.

Take Bradley/Chelsea Manning as an example. We knew him as he. He knew himself as she. Now technically and correctly, she is a she. Unless of course, Manning should prefer to be called by the newer term, "ze."

That's right. Ze. Along with that one, students at Mills are allowed to assign themselves their preferred gender pronouns, known as PGPs. Becoming more and more familiar are such ones as ''sie," ''e," ''ou" and "ve." These have become an accepted practice for professors, dorm advisers, club sponsors, workshop leaders and health care providers at several schools.

So, please do everyone a favor. If you have a preference, feel free to make it known up front. Don't let us call you, her or him if you prefer another term. But also, don't take offense if it takes us a bit of getting used to. I think there are a lot of people like myself who, by the way is a he or him, and I'll stick with that for the time being, who will need a bit of time for the adjustment.


Time to Speak Up


Cameroon flag
Eric Ohena Lembembe, Gay Rights Activist, Tortured And Killed

This is the headline of an article by Robbie Corey-Boulet that caught my attention, especially during the honeymoon of the victories that the LGBT community has been celebrating since the US Supreme Court rulings. Sometimes we forget how awful things are in other parts of the world.

DAKAR, Senegal -- A prominent gay rights activist in Cameroon was tortured and killed just weeks after issuing a public warning about the threat posed by "anti-gay thugs," Human Rights Watch said.

One friend said Lembembe's neck and feet looked broken and that he had been burned with an iron.

I started to get curious about something. Cameroon. Is this the same Cameroon that I read somewhere was getting billions of dollars in US foreign aid?

Where is it exactly?And what part do we play in their existence. If we have any sway over them, maybe it's time we start using it. So I Googled U.S. foreign aid -- okay, first I Googled a map of Cameroon to get my geography right, then I found the foreign aid numbers.


It's hard to get a real grasp on what we're really spending and even harder to know why. According to the U.S. official development assistance office, the most recent numbers are from 2007 and 2008. In the first of those two years, we officially gave $1.908 billion in aid to Cameroon. We dropped that nearly three-quarters to a mere, $524 Million in 2008. Maybe we need to drop it again, or see to it that it's being put to good use -- educating the people there.

Lembembe was among the most prominent activists in one of Africa's most hostile countries for sexual minorities. First as a journalist and later as executive director of CAMFAIDS, a Yaounde-based human rights organization, he documented violence, blackmail and arrests targeting members of Cameroon's gay community.

Homosexuality is punishable by prison terms of up to five years in Cameroon, and the country prosecutes more people for gay sex than any other in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Human Rights Watch.

We have to start holding countries accountable for human rights if they want our handouts.  From a strategic position, Cameroon offers us little. But from a human standpoint, it offers us a lot. It's a chance to show the world that even small countries matter. But they also have to treat their citizens with respect and dignity or the money for friendship will stop.


VIDEO: "Dignity... That was the message of the signs [the restaurant workers] carried: I am a man, I am a woman."


strike restaurant workers i am a man woman

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Yesterday's Doonesbury: “Lack of paid sick days for workers causes what? Rich owners.” #FastFoodFwd nailed it.

So did Chris Hayes:

All successful social movements are built and all social progress is built out of multitude of tiny miracles just like we saw in New York City.

A single person... a union of thousands or millions who decide against the odds against great risk with no protection to do something courageous, to speak up for their dignity, to proclaim themselves fully human and that was what the fast food workers did today. That was the message of the signs they carried: I am a man, I am a woman.

And this sign  should ring a bell, because it's a sign we have seen at a major labor strike before. At this labor strike, in the city of Memphis in 1968, these sanitation workers were being paid so little that many of them, even working full time, needed welfare just to feed their families.

Their jobs were not just astonishingly low wage, they were also incredibly dangerous. The strike  got started after two workers were killed, crushed in a sanitation truck's compactor.

Supporting that strike is what Martin Luther King Jr. was doing in Memphis in 1968 when he was assassinated 45 years ago today. He was there to support those sanitation workers in their strike and in their struggle.

This coverage made me tear up. To see people standing up for their rights, risking their jobs, organizing, demanding to be treated with dignity, to be treated as human beings...

Such a minimal request, such a fundamental demand should never have to be made. Treating people equally and with respect is what this country should be all about. And nobody should have to beg for that.

martin luther king we are people strike workers