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Friday, October 28, 2005

Callicoon's Day to Be Gay in the Catskills

I give the residents of Callicoon, NY credit for hosting their annual "Day to Be Gay in the Catskills" event, organized by the Day to Be Gay Foundation, despite some early challenges surrounding the event's venue and inception. I should say I give the organizers credit, primarily- but they have been supported in logistics and location, aspects many communities would not even consider. Many communities would never even entertain such an idea. Thats not to say that it came about effortlessly. I do not mean to minimize the role of resitance and hate-havers.
The organizers persevered and it had the semblance of a well attended community event, with numerous vendors and speakers, such as New Paltz Mayor Jason West.
What do such events accomplish? What is the goal? I cannot speak for any group or demographic, but my personal opinion is that such events embolden people to be who they are, to express who they are openly, to take one step closer toward their fears and one step away from a comfort zone that is rooted in discretion and veneer.
I think when we talk about sisterhood, feminism, gender roles, equality, civil liberties, parenting- we cannot help but include LGBT issues under our umbrellas. Empowered mothering reaches across many sub-groups and pigeon holes.
What these organizers do has a ripple effect on the future cultural climate for our children. What activists and organizers sacrifice today impacts the burden of the next generation who are hopefully one step closer than those that step now. I hope we can view every step, whether large or small, in the context of positive contributions and express some gratitude to those who try. Imagine if we all tried?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Drinking Liberally?

I wish we had this!

Check out this idea at a pub near you: Drinking Liberally
What is Drinking Liberally?

An informal, inclusive Democratic drinking club. Raise your spirits while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher. Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics. You don't need to be a policy expert and this isn't a book club - just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent frustration and hang out in an environment where it's not taboo to talk politics.

Bars are democratic spaces - you talk to strangers, you share booths, you feel the bond of common ground. Bring democratic discourse to your local democratic space - build Democracy one drink at a time.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Upper Delaware- My Stomping Grounds

So this is the part of the US where River Momma tends her brood.

Photo from National Park Service

The Upper Delaware River Corridor refers to the area of the Delaware River that divides New York State and Pennsylvania, running from upstate New York down through Hancock, Callicoon, Narrowsburg, toward Port Jervis and beyond. On the PA side, the river is flanked by Damascus, Milanville, etc. down through Milford and Delaware Water Gap.
"The green fullness of the rolling hills, quick glimpses of granite cliff faces, and bald eagles perched on trees overlooking the water form a vibrant backdrop as the Delaware River snakes gracefully through the rural countryside on the start of its 331-mile journey to the Atlantic Ocean. But the story of the Upper Delaware is much more than just a collection of beautiful pictures. Joseph Brandt, John Roebling, and Zane Grey lend a texture to the landscape that helps tell the tale of frontier life and the rapid growth of America during the 1800’s.

The Delaware is also a river of compromise; its pristine waters offer outstanding family recreation, an exceptional habitat for a great variety of fish, and drinking water for over 17 million people.

As part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the first 73.4 miles are protected as the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. While most of the land along the river’s bank is privately owned, the Upper Delaware River offers natural beauty, rich history, and a variety of splendid recreational opportunities."

Monday, October 03, 2005

Mothering Resources- Share Yours

"When in doubt, ask a mother!"
I am indebted to so many women for their courage, tenacity, skill, generosity, and willingness to give. I have learned many things over the years from my own children, the children I have had the pleasure to know, and the families I have been able to work with.
What have you learned? What informs your view? What do you read, watch, link to?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Feminism: Add Your Perspective

The term "feminism" certainly means different things to different people, and even among feminists themselves, the term is constantly evolving. Feminists focus on different issues, and have different priorities and ideas about where the energy should be directed.

Feminism is advocacy for women, and is comprised of a diverse collection of social theories ,political movements , and moral philosophies, largely motivated by or concerning the experiences of women, especially socially, politically, and economically. As a social movement, feminism focuses on promoting women's rights.

Within academia, some feminists focus on documenting perceived gender inequalities which they claim oppress women and on changes in the social position and representation of women. Others argue that gender , and even sex , are social constructs, and research the construction of gender and sexuality , and develop alternate models for studying social relations .

Some feminist scholars have posited that the hierarchies in businesses and government and all organizations need to be replaced with a decentralized ultra- democracy . Some argue that having any central leader in any organization is derived from the androcentric family structure (and therefore needs reform and replacement), and thus such scholars see the essence of feminism as beyond the surface issues of sex and gender. (See Anarcha-Feminism and Post-structuralism )

Feminist political activists commonly campaign on issues such as reproductive rights ,violence within a domestic partnership ,maternity leave ,equal pay ,sexual harassment ,street harassment ,discrimination , and sexual violence . Themes explored in feminism include patriarchy ,stereotyping ,objectification ,sexual objectification , and oppression .
Looking at these paragraphs, which admittedly concludes a pretty tame, user-friendly definition- I thought it was interesting to see the words PERCEIVED and THEY CLAIM.
Certainly documented cases of pay disparity and promotion practices can be quantified statistically and in my humble opinion speak more to facts than perception. Are all positions opinions, perceptions, claims? At what point can we say that a concern is legitimate, valid, factual, based on measurable indicators? When the majority of society offers up their blessing?
Feminism has chamged for me over the years. As a young person in my teenage years, feminism was about my right to reproductive liberty and access to birth control for all women who desired such resources. When I became a mother, then single mother, then mother again, my thinking began to focus on resources for mothering in addition to breastfeeding support and natural parenting models. I became more focused on environmental issues, workplace issues, health issues particularly with respect to hormone replacement therapies and reproductive health matters. As I matured, so too did my perspective. My sense of self and "belief" systems became more complex, broader, less easily articulated. What seemed so clear and absolute for me as a younf female suddenly seemed frought with scenarios of gray.
Still, I maintain that as I have changed and held many different viewpoints, so too do other women in our society and that is why the crux of feminism to me is CHOICE. The choice, the autonomy, the freedom to self-determine. Whether this means having or not having a child, living a secular, theist, or pagan spiritual life, selecting traditional western medicine or homeopathy... feminism to me has became the notion that women are capable of choice and should be treated accordingly-
By our government, by our families, by our neighbors, by each other and BY OURSELVES.

What does it mean to you?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Who's the Momma?

I started blogging because I am a mother and believe very much in the necessity of support and sharing among caregivers. I think it helps us be ourselves, be empowered, and be courageous when we know that we can reach out to others for feedback, resources, perspectives, and information.
I also know how hard it is to be an opinionated parent, and be active around social issues. Very often our role as a mother makes us mindful of our world and our collective response as custodians- we are mindful of legacy and resources, of social systems and rights, of disparities and inequalities- every time we look at our children and reflect on what our hopes are for them.
We have hopes for all children- that they may know a world that is better than what we have today. Not worse.
Like many of you, I become discouraged when I follow current events, read about global needs and challenges, resources, civil liberties, and a myriad of concerns. But I am also encouraged by the rapid changes I have witnessed just in my short life, and the changes that have happened over many lives.
And, like many of you, I try to do the best I can each day. I try not to use my children as AN EXCUSE for apathy, but rather as A REASON FOR ACTION.
Progressive Women's Blog Ring
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