From the report: “San Francisco’s uniquely large disparities in the arrest rates of African Americans versus other races have been repeatedly reported…yet little has been done. New figures show these disparities have worsened in recent years. Today, black women — 6% of SF’s female population — constitute nearly half of all female arrests, and are arrested at rates 13 times higher than women of other races.”
Download report here (pdf):
Feminist scholars to Obama: End prosecution of Palestinian survivor of sexual torture
Between 1969-1979, Rasmea Odeh served ten years in an Israeli prison. Her sentence was based on a confession she made in the midst of 45 days of sexual and physical torture while in detention. Following her release, she was exiled from her Palestinian homeland and eventually immigrated to the United States from Jordan in 1994 as a legal resident where she tried to put her memories of torture behind her. She later became a naturalized citizen.
In the US, Rasmea settled in Chicago where she became the associate director of theArab American Action Network, a social service and community organization. There, she established the Arab Women’s Committee, a grassroots collective that promotes leadership among Arab immigrant women, challenges systems of oppression that impact Arab women’s lives and secures a positive and safe political, economic, social, and cultural environment for Arab women and their communities. In 2013, the Chicago Cultural Alliance granted Rasmea its Outstanding Community Leader Award in recognition of her devotion of “over forty years of her life to the empowerment of Arab women.”
Now, Rasmea is being persecuted again for not giving account of her time in jail after her torture 45 years ago on her naturalization application in 2004.
On 22 October 2013, the US Department of Justice arrested Rasmea Odeh at her home in the Chicago Suburbs. The Department of Justice alleges that Odeh failed to disclose on her naturalization application that she had served time in Israeli jail – even though her sentence was based on a confession she made in the midst of weeks of torture. Rasmea faces up to ten years in US prison, fines up to $250,000 and potential deportation and de-naturalization.
The Israeli state avoids any blame for the politically motivated abuse and imprisonment of Rasmea. The criminal charges she faces for alleged immigration fraud in the US are also politically motivated. They are based upon naturalization papers she filed ten years ago in 2004 and sprang from an illegal federal investigation of 23 Palestinian and anti-war activists that violates First Amendment rights.
They are also connected to a long history of federal authorities using fear and repression to silence Palestinian-American activists and intimidate immigrant women from participating in social justice movements.
Rasmea Odeh has suffered enough already. When the Israeli military arrested her, they also arrested her family members shortly after her arrest and destroyed her family’s home. Odeh’s 1969 conviction in Israel was determined by a court system that systematically abuses Palestinians’ due process rights, has a record of torture and sexual abuse of Palestinian women, men, and children, and convicts Palestinians at a rate of 99.74 percent.
As feminist scholars, we call on the Department of Justice to drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh. We extend our deepest support to Rasmea in the face of injustice. We recognize her as a leader in the international struggle to empower women and end violence against women. We recognize the pain and suffering she endured in Israeli prisons and we honor her for testifying before a United Nations Committee in Geneva as a survivor of sexual torture.
We honor her decades of feminist activism on behalf of Arab and Muslim immigrant women living in poverty in Chicago. Rasmea built the Arab Women’s Committee and its base of nearly six hundred Arab immigrant women from scratch when she went door to door as a recent immigrant herself and made phone calls to households with Arabic names from the white pages.
She developed an infrastructure for disenfranchised Arab immigrant and refugee women to obtain social services and support and she established English as a second language courses through which immigrant women perform plays, write their immigration stories and form deep friendships, sisterhood, and solidarity.
Because of Rasmea’s work, immigrant and refugee women who came to the US from countries facing war and political crises – like Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Syria, and beyond – now have a place to seek support, gain empowerment and community and call their home.
Rasmea’s story encompasses some of the most urgent feminist struggles of our times – violence against women and the use of sexual violence as a tool of colonization and war; the impact of racism and anti-immigrant policies upon women; the criminalization of women of color; and the use of intimidation to thwart feminist activism.
Rasmea’s trial is set to begin 4 November 2014, in Detroit, Michigan.
We call upon all feminist movements to stand with gender justice and centralize Rasmea Odeh’s struggle within all of our movements.
We call upon President Obama and the United States Department of Justice to drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh.
- Sarah Abboud, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
- Stéphanie Latte Abdallah, Researcher, CNRS (IFPO)
- Diya Abdo, Associate Professor, Guilford College
- Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University
- Lila Abu-Lughod, Professor, Columbia University
- Fida J. Adely, Associate Professor, Georgetown University
- Jocelyn Ajami
- Nadje Al-Ali, Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
- Dina Al-Kassim, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
- Deborah Al-Najjar, University of Southern California
- Lori Allen, Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
- Paul Amar, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
- Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
- Barbara Aswad, Professor Emerita, Wayne State University
- Sa’ed Atshan, Postdoctoral Fellow, Brown University
- Elsa Auerbach, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Kathryn Babayan, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley
- Joanne Barker, Professor, San Francisco State University
- Janet Bauer, Associate Professor, Trinity College
- Leila Ben-Nasr, Ohio State University
- Sherna Berger-Gluck, California State University, Long Beach
- Amahl Bishara, Assistant Professor, Tufts University
- Elizabeth Bishop, Associate Professor, Texas State University
- Jennifer Brier, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Victoria Brittain, Journalist and Author
- L.M. San Pablo Burns, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
- Louise Cainkar, Associate Professor, Marquette University
- Piya Chatterjee, Scripps College
- Julia Chinyere Oparah, Professor, Mills College
- Andreana Clay, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University
- Maria Cotera, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- Ephrosine Daniggelis
- Angela Davis, Distinguished Professor Emirita, University of California, Santa Cruz
- Lara Deeb, Professor, Scripps College
- Christine Taitano DeLisle, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign
- Gina Dent, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
- Lisa Duggan, Professor, New York University
- Zillah Eisenstein, Distinguished Feminist Scholar, Ithaca College
- Omnia El Shakry, Associate Professor, University of California, Davis
- Nada Elia, Independent Scholar
- Hoda Elsadda, Professor, Cairo University
- Anita Fábos, Associate Professor, Clark University
- Roderick Ferguson, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Ellen Fleischmann, Professor, University of Dayton
- Cynthia Franklin, Professor, University of Hawai’i
- Rosa Linda Fregoso, Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
- Nancy Gallagher, Research Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
- Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York
- Sherna Berger Gluck, Emerita Faculty, California State University, Long Beach
- Layla Azmi Goushey, Assistant Professor, St. Louis Community College
- Marame Gueye, Associate Professor, East Carolina University
- Elena Gutiérrez, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Elaine C. Hagopian, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Simmons College
- Sondra Hale, Research Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
- Hala Halim, Associate Professor, New York University
- Najla Hamadeh, Independent Researcher
- Michelle Hartman, Associate Professor, McGill University
- Nadia Hijab, Author and Human Rights Advocate
- Grace Kyungwon Hong, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
- LeAnne Howe, Professor, University of Georgia
- Constantine Inglessis
- Jacqueline Khayat Inglessis
- Joyce Inglessis
- Bushra Jabre, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Lynette Jackson, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Amira Jarmakani, Associate Professor, Georgia State University
- Suad Joseph, Distinguish Research Professor University of California, Davis
- Mohja Kahf, Professor, University of Arkansas
- Ronak Kapadia, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
- J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Associate Professor, Wesleyan University
- Laleh Khalili, Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies
- Sharon Heijin Lee, Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow, New York University
- Pardis Mahdavi, Associate Professor, Pomona College
- Lisa Suhair Majaj, Writer and Editor
- Jean Said Makdisi, Writer
- Harriet Malinowitz, Lecturer, Ithaca College
- Rania Masri, Associate Director, American University of Beirut
- Victor Mendoza, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- Hasna Mikdashi, Arab Women’s Studies and Research, NOUR, Cairo
- Maya Mikdashi, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers University
- Minoo Moallem, Professor, University of California, Berkeley
- Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Distinguished Professor, Syracuse University
- Scott L. Morgensen, Associate Professor, Queen’s University
- Norma Claire Moruzzi, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Susan Muaddi Darraj
- Nadine Naber, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Margo Okazawa-Rey, Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University
- Jennifer Olmsted, Professor, Economics, Drew University
- Geeta Patel, Associate Professor, University of Virginia
- Suvendrini Perera, Professor, Curtin University
- Jasbir Puar, Associate Professor, Rutgers University
- Michelle Raheja, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
- Aneil Rallin, Associate Professor, Soka University of America
- Barbara Ransby, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Robin L. Riley, Assistant Professor, Syracuse University
- Eleanor Roffman, Professor Emerita, Lesley University
- Judy Rohrer, Assistant Professor, Western Kentucky University
- Rachel Rubin, Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Rosemary Sayigh, Researcher and Visiting Professor, Center for Arab and Middle East Studies, American University of Beirut.
- Susan Schaefer Davis, Independent Scholar
- Laurie Schaffner, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Malini Johar Schueller, Professor, University of Florida
- Sarita See, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
- May Seikaly, Associate Professor, Wayne State University
- Sima Shakhsari, Assistant Professor, Wellesley College
- Simona Sharoni, Professor, State University of New York, Plattsburgh
- Setsu Shigematsu, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
- Irene Siegel, Assistant Professor, Hofstra University
- Andrea Smith, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
- Samera Sood
- Ahdaf Soueif, writer
- Rajini Srikanth, Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Maria Francesca Stamuli, National Library of Naples
- Neferti X. M. Tadiar, Professor, Barnard College
- Kim TallBear, Associate Professor, University of Texas, Austin
- Sunera Thobani, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
- Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor, The New School for Social Research
- Judith E. Tucker, Professor, History, Georgetown University
- Karyn Valerius, Associate Professor, Hofstra University
- Sherry Vatter, California State University, Long Beach
- Maurice L. Wade, Professor, Trinity College
- Lee Ann Wang, Assistant Professor, University of Hawaii
- Jessica Winegar, Associate Professor, Northwestern University
(Editors’ Note: To learn more about Rasmea Odeh’s case, listen to an engaging interview with Nadine Naber on KPFA)
This past winter, I was privileged to participate in several events in Chicago organized by Rasmea Yousef Odeh, associate director of the Arab American Action Network and leader of that group’s Arab Women’s Committee. The events brought together anywhere from 60-100 disenfranchised women, all recent immigrants, from nearly every Arabic-speaking country. The attendees were there to learn English, share meals and stories, and discuss personal struggles, in everything from marriage and parenting to navigating the US educational and medical industries and the US immigration system. The women also talked about fending off racism. Together, they developed solutions for their own lives.
One event I attended was a celebration of International Women’s Day, at which immigrant women performed a play that Rasmea Odeh had written. The play focused on several generations of women in an extended Arab immigrant family who grappled with gender-related struggles both in the family and in American society with recourse to their loving but often tense connections with one another. The audience was engrossed, laughing and commenting throughout the performance, perhaps because they rarely see their own life struggles thus affirmed in America. Rarely, in fact, do they see humane, nuanced representations of Arab women’s lives at all.
After the play, attendees listened to music and celebrated their own accomplishments. Several women were from countries like Yemen and Iraq and had come to the United States without knowing a word of English. They could now read and write. Odeh asked each of her students to bring something they had written in English to be read out loud. The first woman stood up and read: “I love my teacher.”
As the event went on, women spoke over and over about the affection and gratitude they felt toward Rasmea Odeh for touching and transforming their lives and making such a beautiful space possible. I then understood why scores of women were attending each class, workshop or event — even though they were under no obligation to do so and even though many had to walk by themselves through a polar vortex snowstorm (in Chicago, no less) to get there.
I could not help but recall the scenes at the Arab Women’s Committee events some months later, in May, at a historic Chicago conference in commemoration of the 1964 Freedom Summer, when civil rights icon Angela Davis insisted that every social justice activist in the US embrace solidarity with Palestine and the movement demanding that the US government drop its charges against Rasmea Odeh.
Charges? What charges? Why would the US government want to prosecute this 67-year old Palestinian-American community activist and teacher?
On October 22, 2013, also in Chicago, Department of Homeland Security agents arrested Odeh. She was subsequently indicted on one charge of unlawful procurement of naturalization, and released the same day on a $15,000 bond. The US government accuses Odeh of failing to answer a question truthfully on her naturalization application ten years ago in 2004. She is scheduled to stand trial in a Detroit federal court starting on September 8, 2014. If convicted, she could face up to ten years in prison and fines up to $250,000. She may also be deported and have her US citizenship revoked after the potential prison sentence is served. From national call in-days to student protests, petitions and mobilizations to pack the courtroom, a campaign to support Odeh has gained massive support.
US officials say they are after Odeh for immigration fraud. The Department of Justice alleges that Odeh failed to disclose on her naturalization application that she had served time in Israeli jail — even though her sentence was based on a confession she made in the midst of 45 days of sexual and physical torture while in detention. In addition, Odeh’s 1969 conviction in Israel was determined by a court system that systematically abuses Palestinians’ due process rights and convicts Palestinians at a rate of 99.74 percent. The Israeli military justice system that is applied to occupied Palestinians, in fact, has itself been found to be in immense violation of international law — from the lack of protections against torture and rape while in custody to the simple fact that virtually no Palestinian walks away free from an Israeli trial. The Israeli state also unlawfully imprisoned and tortured Odeh’s family and destroyed her family home soon after her arrest.
Odeh’s release from Israeli jail was followed by exile to Jordan and immigration to the US. Living in Michigan and Chicago since 1994, she has worked at the Arab American Action Network since the mid-2000s and led the Arab Women’s Committee, one of the most successful empowerment programs for Arab immigrant women living in poverty. For this service, Odeh received the Mosaic Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Chicago Cultural Alliance. Thanks to her leadership, the Arab Women’s Committee now has a base of nearly 600 Arab immigrant women and does much more than the typical social service program. Women may obtain language training and other services, but they also come to find emotional support, genuine human interaction, artistic and writing activities, political discussion and debate, and a level of solidarity otherwise absent from their lives.
The question remains: Why is Rasmea Odeh being prosecuted, and why now, for an alleged infraction that is a full decade old? Analysts connect her arrest with many previous US government campaigns against Palestinian-American activists and their supporters. Under the Nixon administration, there was Operation Boulder. The case of the Los Angeles Eight outlasted three (and almost four) presidents before it was finally set aside. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, there has been increased spying, profiling and infiltration of Arab and Muslim communities and there have been prosecutions for sending charitable aid to Palestinians, as in the case of theHoly Land Five.
In all of these cases, as in Odeh’s, what the US government considers suspect is connected to what Palestinian-Americans and their supporters are permitted to say about Israel — and to Israel’s own systems of militarism, surveillance, repression and incarceration. There may also be a connection between Odeh’s indictment and the 2010 FBI raids targeting 23 anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists in the Midwest. And Palestine Solidarity Legal Support responded to more than 100 more incidents in 2013 alone. These incidents involve not only extra government scrutiny but also all sorts of intimidation and bullying. The Odeh indictment may also be related to the US government’s Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program, which delays and denies naturalization applications of members of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities, solely on the basis of religion, ethnicity and/or national origin.
But again, why Rasmea Odeh, and why now? Why now, when so many Arab immigrant women in Chicago are celebrating their personal successes in America partly due to Odeh’s remarkable leadership? Why now, when the Palestinian struggle, typified by the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, is growing faster than ever before in Chicago and across the US?
We may never really know why, but this much is clear: The federal government is using immigration infractions as a political tool to target Rasmea Odeh with criminal charges. The circumstances of her case are especially aggravating: 1) Israel tortures and sexually assaults Palestinians like Odeh as a means of facilitating the colonization of Palestinian land; 2) the US is complicit going back decades in Israeli war crimes and violations of international law; and 3) the US is now excavating the naturalization papers of a 67-year old survivor of sexual torture in order to brand her as a criminal.
These circumstances are why the streets of Detroit will be filled and the courtroom packed on September 8. From now until then, the collective voice of those whose lives Rasmea has touched, and the growing number of others who support her, will continue to demand: Drop the charges now!
[A boycott how-to is below this powerful statement. -Eds.]
Statement in Solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza and with seekers of freedom and justice world-wide
As Palestinian, indigenous, women of color, anti-racist, and Jewish feminists involved in a range of social justice struggles, we strongly condemn the current massacre of the Palestinians of Gaza and affirm our support for and commitment to the growing international movement for a free Palestine and for racial justice, equality, and freedom for all.
As many of us know from time spent in Palestine and in other movements for justice, the connections between the movement for a free Palestine and anti-colonial struggles for self-determination throughout the world are inextricable.
The current Israeli attacks on Gaza have resulted in more than 1900 Palestinian deaths, including over 450 children; the displacement of up to 25% of the population; and the destruction of crucial infrastructure such as sanitation, hospitals, and schools. We condemn and are horrified by the current acts of Israeli brutality, while also recognizing the deeply rooted and ongoing violence that Palestinians are forced to endure on a daily basis — for example, living in ghetto-like conditions in Gaza, systematically having land confiscated, being deprived of their livelihoods, collective punishment, gender and racial violence, and ongoing expulsion and displacement from the Nakba until today.
An extensive prison system bolsters the occupation and suppresses resistance. Over 5,000 Palestinians are locked inside Israeli prisons; more than 200 are children. There is ongoing criminalization of their political activity.
We believe in the critical importance, now more than ever, of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions call for Israel to 1) End its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall; 2) Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3) Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. The purpose of the BDS campaigns is to pressure Israeli state-sponsored institutions to adhere to international law, basic human rights, and democratic principles as a condition for just and equitable social relations.
We stand with the Palestinian community and with activists all over the world in condemning the flagrant injustices of the current Israeli massacre against the Palestinians of Gaza; the land, air, and sea blockade of Gaza; and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
We call for an end to US military aid, at more than 3 billion a year, for the Israeli state and its occupation.
We call upon all people of conscience to stand with Palestine and to join the worldwide actions in which communities and civil society are stepping up in critical ways. We recognize that all our struggles for social, racial, gender, and economic justice and for self-determination are deeply interconnected and can only gain strength and power from one another. As Audre Lorde taught us, “When we can arm ourselves with the strength and vision from all our diverse communities then we will in truth all be free at last.”
Ujju Aggarwal, INCITE!; New School for Social Research
Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University
Bina Ahmad, National Lawyers Guild
Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley
Linda Carty, Syracuse University
Ayoka Chenzira, Artist and Filmmaker
Angela Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz
Gina Dent, University of California, Santa Cruz
Zillah Eisenstein, Anti-Racist Feminist Scholar, Activist, Writer
Eve Ensler, Writer, Activist, Founder of V-Day and One Billion Rising
G. Melissa Garcia, Dickinson College
Anna Guevarra, University of Illinois at Chicago
Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Wells College
bell hooks, Feminist critic and writer
Suad Joseph, University of California, Davis
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University
Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation
Mona Khalidi, Columbia University
Reem Khamis-Dakwar, Adelphi University
Nancy Kricorian, Writer
Amina Mama, University of California, Davis
Hannah Mermelstein, Adalah-NY; Librarians and Archivists with Palestine
Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University
Nadine Naber, University of Illinois, Chicago
Premilla Nadasen, Barnard College
Donna Nevel, Jews Say No!; Nakba Education Project, US
Dana Olwan, Syracuse University
Barbara Ransby, University of Illinois at Chicago
Beverly Guy Sheftall, Author, Atlanta, Georgia
Kimberly M. Tallbear, University of Texas, Austin
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace
Alice Walker, Writer and Activist
Editors: Here’s a list of “optimal” items to boycott to help end Israel occupation:
- Jaffa citrus fruits
- Golan Heights Wine
- Sabra Hummus
- Medjool Dates
- Eden Springs Water
- Dorot Garlic and Herbs, Israeli Cous Cous and Pastures of Eden Feta (found at Trader Joes)
- Tribe Humus
- Yes to Carrots
- Sara Lee bakery items
- Coca Cola: includes Dr Pepper, Fanta, Fruitopia, Kia Ora, Lilt, Sprite, Sunkist, Schweppes, Dasani Water, Nestea, Fresca, Tab
- Victoria’s Secret
- Sara Lee: Hanes, Playtex, Champion, Leggs, Wonderbra
- Naot shoes
- Delta Galil Industries: Gap, J-Crew, J.C. Penny, Calvin Klein, Playtex, Victoria’s Secret, DIM, Donna Karan / DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Playtex, Calvin Klein (cK), Hugo Boss, Banana Republic, Structure
- L’Oreal / The Body Shop
- Estee Lauder
- Ahava cosmetics
- Dead Sea Cosmetics
- TEVA drugs
- Hewlett Packard
And here’s info on “Buycott,” a phone app to help do more consumer boycotting.
As the campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions writes, “The consumer boycott is beginning to bite, too: a fifth of Israeli exporters reported a drop in demand as a result of the boycott in the wake of the Gaza massacre.”
The fantastic Project Nia in Chicago recently organized a panel that considered radical alternative responses to the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin that do not rely on prisons and policing. We’ve embedded the audio from the panel above and the description of the panel is below. Beth Richie, panelist and co-founder of INCITE!, references the 2001 INCITE!/Critical Resistance Statement on Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex as an important tool for imagining and developing organizing strategies to address violence. For more info about that statement, visit this webpage.
Transformative Justice and the Trayvon Martin Case: A Consideration:
After the not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for killing 17-year old Trayvon Martin, some are asking what “justice” would look like for Trayvon. The conversation about whether the criminal legal system is the ‘best’ way to seek accountability for harm has been ongoing for several years. It continues in the wake of this trial. Some outstanding questions include:
1. What would transformative justice look like in this case?
2. How do prison abolitionists respond to the George Zimmerman trial?
Panelists include Erica Meiners, Beth Richie, Traci Schlesinger, and was moderated by Mariame Kaba. More about the panelists here.
Birmingham City University Palestine Society released the infographic below entitled, “Childbirth in Palestine.” They note, “this particular Info-graphic shows how difficult it is for a woman in Westbank, Palestine to travel to the hospital in time to give birth due to the 500+ Israeli checkpoints.” For more details about this crisis, visit this article discussing recent studies that document the profound impact of the Israeli bombing raids on Gaza in early 2009 and the on-going violence of Israeli checkpoints on the experience of childbirth in Palestine.
Visit INCITE!’s statement on endorsing the Palestinian call for BDS—Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions for Palestine.
A message from Mamas of Color Rising:
Mamas want You!
After two years of pushing for change in Texas Medicaid, Mamas of Color Rising (MOCR) in collaboration with others, is on the verge of winning a major victory for Women of Color and poor women in Texas. If we are successful, pregnant women on Medicaid will now have the option to choose a Midwife and deliver at a birth center as opposed to the OB/GYN and the hospital as their only choice. This choice allows women to receive more personalized and holistic care, longer and more comprehensive appointments, as well as shorter waiting times prior to appointments. This is in contrast to the more prevalent 5 minute prenatal checks and three hour waiting times in clinic lobbies and waiting rooms. These more “healthy” and ideal scenarios are choices that the wealthy and privately insured are currently demanding.
For women of color, this victory will represent much more than a “healthy” choice. According to Amnesty International, in the U.S. African American women are four times more likely to die of pregnancy related complications than white women, and Latina women are 2.5 times as likely as white women to receive late or no prenatal care. The outcomes in Texas are actually worse than these national averages. Research shows that access to the midwifery model of care can tangibly improve these outcomes.
MOCR has never asked broader friends, supporters and allies to come out for an action before. As busy mothers ourselves, we only ask when its absolutely needed. BUT today we are asking!
Come out next Tuesday August 28th to the public hearing at the Health and Human Services Braker Center, located at 11209 Metric Boulevard, Building H, Austin, Texas. The hearing will be held in the Lone Star Conference Room from 9am-11am.
Wear one of our stickers and represent the fight for equal access to healthier birth choices for ALL women!
Support our mamas members testimonies!
WHY SHOULD YOU BE THERE??
Not a mama? Don’t have kids? Don’t even want kids?
This issue affects us ALL. For all folks committed to racial and economic justice, next Tuesday’s Medicaid ruling is critical!
For Mamas of Color Rising the right for women on Medicaid to choose their type of birth provider directly addresses the larger social issues that we are working on such as:
* The current HEALTHCARE APARTHEID we are living in this country which particularly affects African-American and Latino immigrant communities.
* The WOMB TO PRISON PIPELINE- that according to MOCR begins earlier than school, since discrimination, policing and tracking actually begin in the womb.
* And finally, a JUST and LOVING world is one world where all mothers and babies receive attentive quality loving care.
It’s THAT simple.
We will see you at the hearing!
Mamas of Color Rising Collective Members