Thursday, December 9, 2010
I’ve long been convinced that there’s a link between happiness and political engagement and recent research supports this. Like my friend Jocelyn Morris, one of my reasons for retiring was to have more time for feminist activism. As the baby boom generation retires, my hope is there will be more and more women like the incredibly talented and amazingly energetic Jocelyn Morris: From Jocelyn:
THIS MY STORY AND I'M STICKING TO IT!
I retired from the US Army Civilian Corps after 23 years and having been working since I was 14 years old after school for my family doctor. I have been working off and on for 50 years!
I went to Rutgers Law School in Camden, NJ, full time, at age 42 after completing my BA at Antioch Univ. My favorite Professor at Antioch was the President of the Philadelphia, PA, ACLU chapter. He took me to the Philadelphia City prison to interview, Mumia Abau Jamal, who was in prison for allegedly killing a Phila. Police Officer. He had me work on a Jailhouse Law Project where I assisted prisoners with their legal research. He encouraged me to go to law school.
At 42, I was older than all of my professors and students. The professors were so sexist I dropped out after the first semester and with my Active Duty spouse, moved to Sacramento, CA, where I completed my Paralegal Certification which taught me legal research skills which I use to this day.
I joined Philadelphia NOW in the 1970's, then convened the Germantown NOW Chapter in the local YWCA on Germantown Avenue in the 80's prior to moving to California.
Retirement: I decided I wanted to work on Women's Issues full time so after being appointed to Co-Chair the NOW Combating Racism Committee and running for the Prairie States NOW Board of Directors seat, I decided it was time to let my day job go.
Money was not a real problem because I had saved 15% of my Army salary (GS-12 when I retired) since 1990 when I joined the Army FERS retirement savings program. Also my spouse has his Air Force Retirement and is currently a full time employee for the US Army.
If my internet system was better I would probably spend 6 to 8 hours on line doing research. I do outreach to organizations and people (Quite a few I find on the major news stations); books I read and contact the authors for more in-depth information and papers/reports shared by other NOW Board Members. Do not believe the HughesNet commercials you see on TV. On average I can only stay on line, at most 2 hours before my computer connection times out and when the weather is bad, I can't get connected at all!
Our Committee worked on the Anti-Shackling of pregnant prison inmates which was passed at the NOW National Conference in 2008. Two women (WORTH organization) who had been shackled in prison did a workshop at the conference which I attended. I helped them make contacts with NOW people who could help them draft and present their resolution on the conference floor. NOW has had staff and interns published a NOW Anti-Shackling Tool Kit in November 2010.
There are so many problems and limited time and resources (Computer access) that I find I need to limit myself to one issue at a time.
While I was in Springfield, MO, I found this book at Barnes & Noble, which focused me on my current issue which is the Mass incarceration of Blacks and Minorities under the Government "War on Drugs" program which was started by President Reagan in the 1980s. 80% of the young Black men living in Chicago, IL, has either been arrested, in prison, or out on parole because of the police focusing on minority neighborhoods in the big cities. Our Federal, State and local Government officials has decided to replace "Slavery and the plantation systems with the mass incarceration of minorities to provide a permanent underclass using the prison industry.
The book is:
ALEXANDER, MICHELLE; “THE NEW JIM CROW: MASS INCARCERATION IN THE AGE OF
COLORBLINDNESS”; © 2010, THE NEW PRESS, NY
Some other books which have helped focus my work are:
KAOLIN.; “TALKING ABOUT RACE: A WORKBOOK ABOUT WHITE PEOPLE FOSTERING
RACIAL EQUALITY IN THEIR LIVES”; (C) 2010, CRANDLE, DOSTIE & DOUGLAS
BOOKS, INC., NJ
KRISTOP, NICHOLAS D. AND SHERYL WUDUNN; ”HALF THE SKY: TURNING OPPRESSION
INTO OPPORTUNITY FOR WOMEN WORLDWIDE”; (C) 2009, RANDOM HOUSE, NY
MCCALL, CATHERINE; “WHEN THE PIANO STOPS: A MEMOIR OF HEALING FROM SEXUAL
ABUSE”; (C) 2009, PERSEUS BOOKS GROUP, BERKLEY, CALIF.
GALLAGHER, ANNE T., “THE INTERNATIONAL LAW OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING”, (C) 2010,
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, NY
GAYLOR, ANNIE L., “WOMEN WITHOUT SUPERSTITION: NO GODS – NO MASTERS”, (C)
1997, FREEDOM FROM RELIGION FOUNDATION, MADISON , WI
MOGHADAM, VALENTINE M.; “GLOBALIZING WOMEN: TRANSNATIONAL FEMINIST
NETWORKS”; (C) 2005, JOHN HOPKINS UNIV. PRESS, MARYLAND
Just before I retired I read the book above and joined www.globalsister.org which has over 45 different discussion groups and over 1,100 people from around the world. One of my goals is to establish a global network of women's organizations and include women outside the US on NOW's membership rolls. Women are discriminated against in every country so we should all be working together to make this planet a better place for females.
I realized that one person can make a difference and I am giving it my best shot!
That's my story and I'm sticking to it, Smiles!!