We March for Her, Part 5

If you missed Part One, start here.

If you missed Part Two, start here.

If you missed Part Three, start here.

If you missed Part Four, start here.

 

We are all feeling a little emotionally drained and defeated right now. The day we couldn't fathom really happening came and went yesterday, and we are left reeling with the aftermath. There have been immediate changes and executive orders; and, well, it can feel frightening. Daily Grab Back is going to harness all of the strength of these 27 amazing individuals and seek solace in the fact that we know we aren’t doing this alone. We not only have these women to look to, but we also have all of you. You are there with us every single day, Grabbing Back, and we will not back down. It’s not over and you're not alone.

Barbara Smith

Barbara Smith is an author, LGBT activist, feminist, and book publisher for women of color. Barbara was born on December 14, 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio, and shares that birthday with her twin sister, Beverly. Their mother was the first in their family to receive a college education and expected the girls to do the same. She died when the twins were nine, and the girls were raised by their aunt and grandmother, who continued to press the importance of education. Barbara received her BA from Mount Holyoke College and her MA from the University of Pittsburgh. Smith co-founded the Combahee River Collective in Boston, and co-authored the Combahee River Collective Statement in 1977 with her twin sister, which was one of the very first examinations into intersectionality and different types of oppressions including racism and heterosexism. It marked the beginning of black women being unapologetic about their sexual orientations and how this related to their social justice work. In 1980, Smith and colleagues founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, the very first US publisher for books by women of color. In 1994 Barbara received the Stonewall award for Service to the Gay and Lesbian Community and in 2005 she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. We march for her.

For more information on her life, click here.

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is a feminist organizer, writer, and political activist. Gloria was born on March 25, 1934 in Toledo, Ohio. She attended High School in Toledo and then  Washington DC, where she graduated. She then went on to graduate from Smith College in 1956, and after that spent two years in India as a Chester Bowles Asian Fellow. When she returned she was hired by Warren Publishing as the first employee of Help! Magazine. Gloria would go on to start her own feminist magazine, Ms., with Dorothy Pitman Hughes in 1972 - which was also the year she became the first female to speak at the National Press Club. Gloria has authored many books including “Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellion” and “My Life on the Road.” In 1993, Gloria’s concern for child abuse led her to co-produce and narrate a TV documentary called “Multiple Personalities: The Search for Deadly Memories,” which would go on to win an Emmy. Gloria has been a spokeswoman on all issues of equality including race caste systems, child abuse, and gender roles, and she continues to break boundaries to work on social justice and peace. We march for her.

For more on her life and a complete list of her works, click here.

Hannah G. Solomon

Hannah was born into a large Jewish family of ten children in Chicago, 1858. When Hannah was a child, her parents set the tone for civic engagement, with her mother forming the Jewish Ladies Sewing Society and her father founding the Zion Literary Society. In 1876, Hannah and her sister joined the elite Chicago Women’s Club as the first Jewish women. She married at the age of 21 and went on to have three children with Henry Solomon. In her mid-thirties, she began the work to form the National Council of Jewish Women, with the support of her husband. Then in 1894, the NCJW joined forces with the National Council of Women to work together towards social change. These combined organizations would help set the foundation for the early social welfare system in Chicago. Hannah also worked on instituting Chicago’s first juvenile court system, and worked to improve laws regarding the city's children. Her legacy has had a profound effect on our welfare system, as well as how we now care for Wards of the State. We march for her.

To read more about her life, click here.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman has been referred to as the “Moses of her People.” Harriet was born into slavery between 1820 and 1822 in Maryland. She was named Araminta Ross and her parents were Harriet Green and Benjamin Ross. When Harriet was 12, she intervened while a fellow slave was being beaten after attempting escape and suffered a blow to her head that left her with severe headaches and narcolepsy. Slaves weren’t allowed to marry, but Harriet married a free black man named John Tubman in 1844 and renamed herself Harriet. In 1849, Harriet and her two brothers escaped slavery and went north, using the already existing Underground Railroad. Her husband refused to join her and remarried. Harriet returned to the south at least a dozen times, bringing at least 80 “passengers” on the Underground Railroad to a new life of freedom up north. There was a $40,000 reward for her capture or death put out by slaveowners, but she was never caught and she never lost a passenger. After the war was over, she joined Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in the fight for women’s suffrage. Harriet risked her life over and over to give others a taste of freedom. We march for her.    

For more on her life, click here.

Edith Windsor

Edith Windsor is an LGBTQ activist and a pioneer in operating systems. Edith was born June 29, 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Edith’s family was hit hard by the Great Depression when her father lost his candy and ice cream store, as well as their home above it. Edith also experienced anti-semitism at school during that time. Windsor attended Temple University and became engaged to Saul Windsor. They broke off their relationship when Edith fell in love with a female classmate, but ended up getting married, only to result in a divorce a year later when Edith confided that she wanted to be with women. Edith received her Masters in Mathematics from NYU in 1957, afterwhich she began her 16 year career with IBM, where she attained the highest tech position at the company; Senior Systems Programmer. She met Thea Spyer in 1963 and they began dating in 1965. Spyer proposed in 1967 with a circular diamond pin, so as to not give Edith’s sexuality away to her coworkers, and this would lead to what is now referred to as “the very long engagement.” Edith and Spyer fought every step of the way for their right to marry, dealing with difficult health issues along their journey. They entered into a domestic partnership in 1993, when it was first recognized by the state of New York. In 2002 Spyer suffered a heart attack and by 2007, her doctors told her she had less than a year to live. Edith and Spyer went to Canada, where same-sex marriage was legal, and ended their very long engagement in Toronto on May 22, 2007. Spyer passed away two years later and when Edith was denied the right to claim a federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses on Spyers estate, she filed a lawsuit against the federal government that resulted in Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) being found unconstitutional and was issued a tax refund. Edith has been a trailblazer, not only in the tech world, but also for LGBTQ rights. We march for her.

For more information on her life and what she is working on, click here.  

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997 in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. When Malala was a young child, she loved to learn and would often toddle into her father’s classroom as he taught. When Malala turned ten, the Taliban took over the valley she lived in and forbade girls from attending school, or doing cultural activities like dancing or watching tv. Suicide bombings were prevalent and the push to suppress girls was at the forefront; by the end of 2008 over 400 schools had been destroyed. In early 2009, Malala started an anonymous blog speaking out against the Taliban and her desires to go to school, and by May she had been forced to evacuate her home and seek safety hundreds of miles away. When she returned a few weeks later to the Swat Valley, she resumed her blogging and began to gain recognition. In 2011, she had been nominated for the Children’s Peace Prize and had received Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize, but unfortunately not everyone loved her message and she was shot in 2012 at the age of 15. Malala was shot three times on her school bus by a member of the Taliban. She ended up in Birmingham, England to receive the best care. She would require multiple surgeries, but despite being shot in the head, she suffered no major brain damage, and after weeks of treatment and therapy, she began attending school in Birmingham. In 2013, she wrote an autobiography “I am Malala; The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban.” She has since started the Malala Fund with her father and works to empower girls and encourage them to be leaders in their countries. Malala fights for education for all girls and believes that they can be an advocate for change in their communities. We march for her.

To learn more about Malala, click here.


We march for them. We march for you. We march for us.

 

We March for Her, Part 4

If you missed Part One, start here.

If you missed Part Two, start here.

If you missed Part Three, start here.

 

Yuri Kochiyama

 

Yuri Kochiya was an extremely vocal and sometimes controversial Japanese-American political activist. Born to immigrant parents in 1921, her life took a turn, when in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Yuri’s father was falsely imprisoned. His imprisonment took such a toll on him that he died the day after he was released, and Yuri and the rest of her family became some of the 100,000 people forcibly relocated to US Japanese internment camps. After WWII, she and her husband (whom she met during her family’s 3 year internment) eventually moved east to Harlem, and it was there that she became deeply involved in the civil rights movement, and in opposition to the Vietnam war. Her activism was influenced by meeting and becoming friends with Malcolm X in 1963, and at that time she began to focus on Black nationalism and separatism. She went on to agitate for reparations and a government apology for the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, and partially in response to her efforts, President Reagan signed into law the Civil Liberties Act in 1988 which included reparations. After September 11th, Yuri was involved in activism opposing the profiling of and bigotry against Muslims, Middle Easterners, and South Asians that became more intense after the attack. Her relentless work on behalf of social justice for People of Color, especially Asian-Americans, continues to inspire activists today. We march for her.

 

For more on her life, visit here.

 

Winona LaDuke

 

Winona LaDuke is an environmentalist, an economist, and an activist for issues involving tribal land claims and preservation. She was born in 1959 to an Ojibwe father, actor and activist, and Jewish mother, artist and teacher, both of whom she credits for her activism. At Harvard in the late 70s, early 80s, she first became active in the school’s Indian political community, and at age 18 she addressed the United Nations on Indian issues. Winona graduated with a degree in rural economic development, and moved to the Ojibwe White Earth Reservation in Minnesota to become principal of the high school, eventually gaining a Masters Degree in Community Economic Development through distance-learning at Antioch College. There she founded the Indigenous Women's Network in 1985, and worked to bring awareness to the forced sterilization of Native American women. In 1989 she formed the White Earth Land Recovery Project, which is working to reclaim land that belongs to the Anishinaabeg people, reforest the land, create jobs on the reservation, and bring back wild rice cultivation. In 1996 and again in 2000, LaDuke ran as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Green Party. Today Winona works with the organization she helped found, Honor the Earth, doing speaking engagements all over the country on the topic of the Native environmental movement. Winona is currently standing with the Standing Rock water protectors, against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and against our environmentally-toxic reliance on fossil fuels. We march for her.  

 

To learn more about Winona LaDuke, go here. To find out about her current projects, go here.

 

Audre Lorde

 

Audre Lorde is a black feminist/womanist poet and activist. She was born in Harlem in 1934 to Caribbean immigrants. She learned to read and write at age four. When someone would ask young Audre how she was feeling, she would respond by reciting a poem. In grade school, when other people’s words no longer sufficed, she began writing her own. She went to Hunter College and then Columbia University, earning a degree in library science. She worked as a librarian for many years while continuing to write poetry and be involved in the civil rights, antiwar, and feminist movements. In the sixties she also began to write about her different identities as a black woman, a feminist, and a lesbian. Her poetry was being published regularly in literary magazines and anthologies, garnering her a National Endowment for the Arts Grant and finally a poet-in-residence position at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. She would go on to teach at John Jay College and Hunter college. Her writing won her acclaim and in 1973 Audre’s third volume of poetry, From a Land Where Other People Live, was nominated for a National Book Award. Black Unicorn (1978) is considered by some critics her best work. In 1980 she published a book of essays about her battle with breast cancer, The Cancer Journals, and in 1991 she was named New York State’s Poet Laureate. Audre died in 1992 of cancer, which had spread to her liver. Audre’s writing, both prose and poetry, focused on the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. She gave voice to the complexities of motherhood and family, the complications of multiple and shifting identities, and global politics. She was one of the most influential and outspoken critics of the lack of intersectionality in mainstream, especially academic, feminism. We march for her.

 

To learn more about Audre Lorde and her writing, go here. To see what work is being done today in her name, visit this site.

 

Wilma Mankiller

 

Wilma Mankiller served as the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief for a decade (1985-1995) and oversaw many positive changes for the Nation and its people. Wilma was born in 1945 in Talequah, Oklahoma. In 1956 her family moved to California via the Bureau of Indian Affairs relocation program when the US government claimed the land of 45 Cherokee families in Talequah, citing eminent domain for military purposes. In 1963 Wilma married and went on to have two daughters. At that time she was involved with San Francisco’s Indian Center and became an activist in the late 1960s. She earned her BA in social science from Flaming Rainbow University, and did graduate work at the University of Arizona. In 1977 she divorced and moved back to OK with her daughters, and sought an entry-level position in the Cherokee Nation. By 1983 she’d risen to deputy chief of the Nation, and in 1985 she became principal chief. Despite the challenge of being a woman in a male-dominated arena, Wilma would go on to run two successful re-election campaigns, finally choosing not to run a third time for health reasons. Until her death in 2010, she remained active in the fight for Native American and women’s rights. Mankiller accomplished so much during her leadership including the following: the Cherokee Nation’s population swelled from 55,000 to 156,000, the tribal high school in Talequah was reopened, a hydroelectric facility was built, the Cherokee Nation Community Development Department was founded, and relations between the Nation and the US federal government were strengthened. We march for her.

 

To learn more about Wilma Mankiller, click this.  

 

Diane Nash

 

For decades, Diane Nash has been an effective activist, strategist and leader in the civil rights movement, particularly the student’s arm of the movement.  Diane was born in 1983 and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Her grandmother was a particularly big influence on her, instilling in her the self-confidence that would inform her future activism. When she transferred from Howard University in Washington, DC to Fisk University in Nashville, TN, she came face-to-face with the full effect of Jim Crow laws. The outrage of segregated bathrooms and the like sparked the beginning of her activist career. She soon became a leader and a spokesperson for non-violent civil disobedience, such as the Nashville sit-ins that eventually spread to 69 other cities across the US and directly led to the desegregation of Nashville lunch counters. In 1960, after heeding the call from NAACP leader, Ella Baker, for students to follow their own principles and path, Diane co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  She also worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); and with the Congress of Racial Equity (CORE), coordinating the Freedom Riders and their non-violent protests against state segregation of interstate buses and facilities. SNCC, SCLC, CORE, and the NAACP would come to be known as “the big four” civil rights organizations. In part due to Diane’s repeated successful organization, these groups finally got a seat at the table. In 1963, President Kennedy appointed Diane to a national committee to prepare civil rights legislation, the outcome of which was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We march for her.

 

To learn more about Diane Nash and the Freedom Riders and to watch the PBS film, click here.

 

Sylvia Rivera

 

Sylvia Rivera, a trans woman of Venezuelan and Puerto Rican descent, was a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, and a co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front, Gay Activist Alliance (GAA), and the Street Transvestite/Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR). Born in 1951 in New York City, Sylvia’s home life, as it was and is for many trans people, was difficult. By age 11 she was living on the street and working as a prostitute, eventually taken in by the drag queen community. Her earliest activism was with the civil rights movement, but she was also became involved with the anti-war and feminist movements of the 1960s. Her persistent focus in all her work was the intersection of race, income, and gender in gay rights activism, and she fought tirelessly against the erasing of the most marginalized groups - homeless, people of color, drag queens and transvestites - from the movement as it sought mainstream support. In 1970 she co-founded STAR to help homeless queer youth of color on the streets of New York, and resurrected it again in 2001 to work on more overtly political action. In 1986 the New York City Gay Rights Bill was passed, in part due to Sylvia’s hard work with GAA. At the 2000 Millennium March in Italy, Sylvia was hailed as “the mother of all gay people” for her work. Even as she lay dying in 2002, she met with leaders of the Empire State Pride Agenda to push for transgender inclusion in the organization and its agenda. We march for her.


To learn more about Sylvia Rivera’s legacy, go here.

We March for Her, Part Three

If you missed Part One, start here.

If you missed Part Two, start here.

 

Dorothy I. Height (1912-2010)

 

Dorothy I. Height was a prominent civil rights and women’s rights activist. Born in 1912 in Virginia, Dorothy was recognized early on for her talents as an orator and activist. In high school she won a national oratory competition and was awarded a college scholarship. She was outspoken socially and politically as a teen, launching an anti-lynching campaign. Dorothy earned a B.Ed in 1930 and a Masters in Psychology in 1932, both from NYU. Dorothy became a social worker with the YWCA in Harlem. Her activism spurred the YWCA to allow for the integration of all their centers nation wide. Dorothy established the Center for Racial Justice, where she continued her work fighting against racial injustice and for women’s equality. In 1963, Dorothy was one of the organizers for the March on Washington and although she stood with Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy was not invited to speak. This event furthered her resolve for the need for women’s rights activism, and in 1971 she help found the National Women’s Political Caucus.  President Obama has called Dorothy “the godmother of the civil rights movement.” We march for her.

 

Read more about Dorothy I. Height here.

 

bell hooks (1952-)

 

bell hooks is an activist, writer and scholar, best known for her work regarding black women and their perception in American society. Born in the deep south in a culture rich in segregation and patriarchy, bell sought to liberate herself from the confines from which she was born. The criticism she faced for being outspoken almost dissuaded her from expressing herself through writing. However, using the name she chose for herself, bell was able to construct a new persona from which she would draw strength and create distance from disapproval and oppression. bell has written and lectured extensively on the plight of the black woman, who in being excluded from the mainstream feminist movement are often forced to choose between honoring their race or their cause, as they seldom intersect. bell earned a PhD in English at the University of California Santa Cruz and has taught and guest lectured at several universities along the west coast. bell’s work emphasizes the need for solidarity among spheres of gender, race and class. Although some criticize her work as “unacademic,” bell counters that by choosing not to adhere to the rigors of traditional scholarship, she is making her work available to all. bell currently sits as a distinguished professor at Berea College. We march for her.

 

Read more about bell hooks and her writings here.

 

Dolores Huerta (1930-)

 

Dolores Huerta is an activist and labor leader, tirelessly advocating for the rights of migrant workers in America. Dolores, a Mexican-American born in New Mexico, was influenced early in life by her father, who was an assemblyman and union activist. Following in his footsteps, Dolores sought to help protect the rights of non-US migrant workers who faced poor working and living conditions and were targets of racism and violence. In 1960, Dolores started the Agricultural Worker’s Association, lobbying politicians for migrant rights. In the 1970’s Dolores’ work paved the way for legislation to pass which allowed for the collective bargaining rights of farmers. Dolores’ activism championed for comprehensive immigration policy and improved health conditions for farmers and migrants. Huerta’s work has earned her the Ellis Island Medal of Freedom and she has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Today, the Dolores Huerta Foundation offers support and training to low-income communities.  Dolores continues her role as an activist and lecturer on social issues including immigration, income disparity, and the rights of women and Latinos. We march for her.

 

Read more about Dolores Huerta here.

 

Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992)

 

Marsha P. Johnson was a trans woman who became a prominent member of the New York City LGBTQIA community, and who was one of two founding members of the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) as well as an active member of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). Born in 1945 in Elizabeth, NJ as Malcolm Michaels, by the time Marsha moved to Greenwich Village in 1966, she was living her life primarily as Marsha. No stranger to the hardships of homelessness, bigotry and violence plaguing many members of the Trans community in New York at the time, Marsha put herself in the center of the activist movement. STAR sought to keep Transgender people off the streets and to protect them against the violence and intolerance they were often victims of. In 1975 Marsha became a subject for a series of paintings and portraits by Andy Warhol, putting her on public display as an icon of trans femininity. Marsha died in 1992, her body found floating in the Hudson River. The police speculated suicide, but those who knew the violence and vitriol Marsha faced as a public trans figure feared something worse had happened to her. Today, her death remains a mystery. We march for her.

 

Read more about Martha P. Johnson here

 

Barbara Jordan (1936-1996)

 

Barbara Jordan was a lawyer and politician, earning her place in history by becoming the first black female senator in Texas. She went on to be elected to Congress in 1972, again a historical post for a black woman from the deep south. Barbara earned her law degree from Boston University in 1959. Her involvement in the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy helped to launch her career into politics. Barbara favored a political ideology of working within the existing power structures and staying community minded, something that sometimes earned her criticism from civil and women’s rights activists. In 1974 Barbara earned acclaim as a member of the Judiciary Committee with her pointed and insightful questioning of President Nixon during the Watergate investigation. Her impassioned remarks championing the constitution inspired the nation. When Barbara left politics she returned to Texas as a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Barbara Jordan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. We march for her.

Read more about Barbara Jordan here.

 

 

We March for Her, Part Two

If you missed Part One, start here.

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson was a writer, ecologist, and scientist who called for drastic changes in the way humankind interacted and viewed the natural world. Rachel was born on May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania. Her love for nature was cultivated at an early age and she would eventually study marine biology, graduating from Johns Hopkins University with an MA in zoology in 1932. Rachel originally wrote books and pamphlets on marine life and conservation, working for the U.S. Bureau of Fish and Wildlife. Her books such as The Sea Around Us (1952) and The Edge of the Sea (1955) both won awards and became quite popular, encouraging her to leave her government job and become a full time writer. Her book Silent Spring, written in 1962, completely changed the way people thought about pesticides. She was called an alarmist by some, but courageous by others. A year before she passed away from breast cancer in 1963, Rachel testified before congress calling for better policies to protect human health and the earth. We march for her.

For more information on Rachel Carson’s life and a complete list of her works click here.

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm was an author and the first black female congresswomen of the United States. Shirley was born on November 30th, 1924 in Brooklyn, NY. She spent some of her childhood in Barbados with her grandmother and graduated from Brooklyn College in 1946. She began teaching and went on to get her MA in elementary education from Columbia University. Chisholm made history in 1968 by becoming the first black female congresswoman of the United States. She went on to serve seven terms, representing the state of New York. She fought for education and employment opportunities, as well as authoring two books: Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973). Shirley shattered glass ceilings and even had a presidential run in 1972. She passed away in 1980 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2015. We march for her.

Read more about Shirley Chisholm here.

Angela Davis

Angela Davis is an academic scholar, author, and political activist. Angela was born on January 26th, 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager in Alabama, she formed interracial study groups that were targeted and broken up by the police. She also grew up with several of the girls killed in the Birmingham Church Bombing of 1963. Davis moved to Massachusetts to attend college, continuing on to San Diego as a graduate student.  In San Diego she joined the Black Panther Party, and the all-black branch of the communist party, the Che-Lemumba Club. Davis began teaching at UCLA, but ran into trouble because of her political ties. She spent 18 months in jail after being charged with aiding a prison escape, but was acquitted after it was found she had nothing to do with the escape. She has authored five books including Angela Davis; an Autobiography (1974) and Women, Race, and Class (1983). Davis ran on the Communist Party ticket as Vice President in 1980 and 1984. She has been an outspoken activist for the abolition of the current prison system, calling it the new form of slavery in the United States. She is currently the Professor Emeritus of History and Consciousness and Feminist Studies at University of California at Santa Cruz, and continues to be an activist and lecturer. We march for her.

For more information on Angela Davis’ life and a complete list of her works click here.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a pioneer for transgender activism. Born on the southside of Chicago on October 25th, 1940, Major came out to her parents at the age of twelve. She began taking hormones and eventually moved to New York City. Miss Major and other transgender women were a major factor in the Stonewall riots in NYC, but transgender participation has been erased from its history and credit has been given primarily to white, gay men. Miss Major became an activist after a friend was murdered and the police refused to investigate, reporting the death a suicide. Miss Major moved to San Francisco and took on the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, eventually forming the Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center in the 1990s. Miss Major was an advocate for transgender rights in the prison system helping women upon release and exposing the injustices they faced while incarcerated. In 2003, Miss Major joined the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project and later became the executive director. She is a fierce advocate in her community, a ray of hope for transgender women of color, and is lovingly referred to as both Mama and Grandma Major. We march for her.

Read more about Miss Major Griffin-Gracy here

LaDonna Harris

LaDonna Harris is a Comanche Native American social activist and politician. LaDonna was raised during the Great Depression and watched as her people faced huge cultural upheavals including land allotments, boarding schools, and urban relocation programs. After marrying an up-and-coming politician, Fred Harris, LaDonna began dipping her toes into activism. She was rejected by the Junior League of Oklahoma for her Comanche heritage and decided to form the national organization Americans for Indian Opportunity. She moved to Washington DC and was invited to the Oval Office by Lyndon B Johnson and immediately started teaching a series to members of congress called “Indian 101;” this series would last over 30 years. LaDonna spent her time working tirelessly to return land to native nations, helping tribes gain national recognition, forming the National Women’s Political Caucus and National Urban Coalition, and even ran for vice president on the Citizens Party ticket. LaDonna currently works to bring young professional Native Americans to the capital to be ambassadors for their nation. We march for her.

To watch a PBS documentary on her life and read more about LaDonna Harris, click here.

 

 

We March for Her, Part One

When the Women’s March on Washington released its “Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles” document this week, we at Daily Grab Back were pleased with the inclusivity and progressivism of the platform. In addition to recognizing the need for intersectionality and a particular focus on the needs and struggles of Black, Native, poor, immigrant, Muslim, queer and trans women, the platform also lists 27 revolutionary leaders that have paved the way for this march as having a special place of honor for #WhyWeMarch.    

Bella Abzug • Corazon Aquino • Ella Baker • Grace Lee Boggs • Berta Cáceres • Rachel Carson • Shirley Chisholm • Angela Davis • Miss Major Griffin-Gracy • LaDonna Harris • Dorothy I. Height • bell hooks • Dolores Huerta • Marsha P. Johnson • Barbara Jordan • Yuri Kochiyama • Winona LaDuke • Audre Lorde • Wilma Mankiller • Diane Nash • Sylvia Rivera • Barbara Smith • Gloria Steinem • Hannah G. Solomon • Harriet Tubman • Edith Windsor • Malala Yousafzai

Believing we have a responsibility to educate ourselves about these women and the contributions and sacrifices they made in the fight for justice and freedom, DGB will be running a special five part series in the days leading up to the Women’s March on Washington honoring these remarkable and heroic women.

Bella Abzug

Bella Abzug was a women’s and civil rights activist, lawyer and politician. A child of Russian Jewish immigrants, she grew up in the Bronx. After getting her law degree at Columbia University, Bella practiced labor and civil rights law. She defended Willie McGee, a Black man who was accused of raping a white woman in Mississippi and fought to appeal his death sentence and delay his execution. She also defended many people accused of communism by Senator Joseph McCarthy. She was involved in antinuclear and peace activism, as well as women’s rights activism and helped establish the National Women’s Political Caucus with Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1971 and served 3 terms where she became known as a fearless and outspoken champion of women’s and civil rights. We march for her.

Read more about Bella Abzug here.

Corazon Aquino

Corazon Aquino was the first female president of the Philippines. After graduating from college in the United States, Cory became a mother of five and wife to Benigno Aquino, a senator and outspoken opponent of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. In the 1970s, her husband was imprisoned, exiled, and upon his return to the Philippines in 1983, assassinated. Cory took on the role of leader of the opposition after her husband’s death, eventually running against Marcos in his attempt to legitimize his presidency in 1986. When she lost, amid widespread suspicion of voter fraud, she led a peaceful protest movement that became known as the People Power Revolution. Within weeks, Marcos relinquished power and fled the country, and Corazon Aquino became president of the Philippines. As President she created a constitutional commission to draft a new constitution, promoted civil liberties and human rights and began to restore economic health to the Philippines. Cory declined to run again in 1992, preferring to send the strong message that President should not be a lifetime position. We march for her.

Read more about Corazon Aquino here.

Ella Baker

Ella Baker was a Black civil rights activist who worked with many prominent people and organizations during the Civil Rights movement. Born in Norfolk, VA, in 1903, Ella grew up with a close relationship to her grandmother, who had been a slave. She graduated as valedictorian of Shaw University and moved to New York where she started the Young Negroes’ Cooperative League, a group which allowed Black workers to pool their money to get better access to goods and services. She became the national field secretary for the NAACP, eventually becoming the national director of branches. In 1957, at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King, Ella became the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership conference, and through her work there the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was created, as well as the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. We march for her.

Read more about Ella Baker here, or watch Fundi: the Ella Baker Story.

Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs was a writer, civil rights activist, and philosopher. She was born in 1915 to Chinese immigrants. She earned a PhD in Philosophy at Bryn Mawr College, but struggled to find work as an academic after her graduation due to the barriers women and minorities faced in the academic world of the 1940s. After joining the Workers Party and working as a tenant organizer, she began what became her lifelong work of fighting for the civil rights of Black Americans. In 1953 she moved to Detroit and married Black activist, writer and auto worker James Boggs. She and her husband worked with Black Power organizers across the country, and later adopted Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence, which she used as a guiding strategy for the rest of her life. She led marches, gave lectures on human rights, planted community gardens and founded food cooperatives, organized workers and co-founded Detroit Summer, a community transformation organization. Prominent written works include “Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century,” “Women and the Movement to Build a New America,” “Living for Change: An Autobiography,” and “The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century.” We march for her.

Read more about Grace Lee Boggs here.

Berta Cáceres

Berta Cáceres was a Honduran environmental activist, a co-founder and coordinator of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, and an indigenous leader of her people. She was born into the the indigenous Lenca people in Le Esparanza, Honduras, around 1971. Her mother was a midwife and humanitarian and cared for the refugees from El Salvador during the turbulent civil war in Central America in the 1970s. As a student in 1993, Berta formed COPINH, which fought against illegal logging, and the presence of the US military on Lenca land. She was a proud feminist and supported LGBT rights, as well as other progressive and indigenous issues. In 2006 Cáceres worked with a group of Lenca people to fight against the constructions of the Agua Zarca Dam on indigenous land. The dam would have cut off water, food, medicines and supplies to the hundreds of indigenous people that called that land home. The national and local government not only did not consult the indigenous people, but also bribed locals for signatures, doctored the minutes of meetings, and lied to make it look like there was overwhelming approval for the dam. Though it took years of hard work and dedication, they were able to stop construction on the dam in 2013. Unfortunately Berta paid with her life in 2016, as many who fight against the corruption of the Honduran government do. We march for her.

Read more about Berta Cáceres here.

 

 

 

More than Just a Dreamer

Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day; a day our nation chose to honor a man of immeasurable character, who fought and died for a more just and equal nation. A day that took 15 years after his assassination to be signed into law in 1983, a day that took three years after that to be first observed, and a day that took a full 14 years after that, in the year 2000, before it was officially observed in all 50 states of our nation.

 

We have all heard King’s most famous “I Have a Dream Speech.” We have heard many twist King’s words to further the claim that current civil rights movements are too violent, claiming King wouldn’t have wanted it that way. We have heard that he fought for peace, which is true, but his words have been used to silence current movements, and that certainly is not what Dr King would have wanted.  We are highlighting notable quotes from a few of his other speeches today to honor this man and his legacy. Remember them and recognize that we've got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.” 60 Minutes Interview, 1966


 

“Freedom is never given to anybody, for the oppressor has you in domination because he plans to keep you there, and he never voluntarily gives it up. And that is where the strong resistance comes—privileged classes never give up their privileges without strong resistance.”

The Birth of a New Nation, 1957


 

"True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice."

Strive Toward Freedom, 1958


 

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly."

Letter from Birmingham, 1963


 

"Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

Letter from Birmingham, 1963


 

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, 1964


 

“All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper.’ If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.”

I’ve Been to the Mountain Top, 1968

 

 

Be Heard: Tips for Reaching Your Representatives

By Amy Esther

Every day I read another story from a frustrated, discouraged activist who has been trying to call their elected representative, but reaches only a full voice mailbox or an endless busy tone.

It brings me back to the days when I used to work as a newspaper reporter covering politics and community news around the Philadelphia region. Every week I had to call elected officials or their staff, and most of the time they were none too happy to hear from me.

Since it’s increasingly critical that we make our voices heard, especially to the officials who are supposed to be represent our interests, I thought it might be helpful to share some tactics I used to use to break through the firewall. Most of these require a little time or effort, and a persistent (even aggressive) attitude. But it can be done!

 

1. Do a little research and try to find the names of your representative’s staff, especially those who work in the field offices or specialize in a particular policy area.

 

2. Start by calling every number you can find: don't ask if it's better to call this office or that one - put them all in your phone contacts and just call down the list.

 

3. Get creative: If you get an endless loop of recorded menu items and a full mailbox, start dialing random extensions (try '0' first). As soon as you get someone, take note of what extension worked. If they send you back to the same full mailbox, start calling them back directly and let them know it didn't work. They will quickly realize that you are THEIR problem until they can pass you on to somebody else.

 

4. Get creative, part II: Find out if there is a different office or department housed in the same building. Call them, act confused and asked to be transferred to your  representative’s office. The point here is to make your call an internal transfer within their phone system. (I used to do this when a mayor's office had blacklisted my phone number. Every day I'd call a different department, like waste management, and ask to be transferred. They always pick up for internal calls!)

 

5. Another way to call: Google the representative’s name and find a recent press release. On it will be a number for press inquiries. Call them, and simply say you are with a local group and trying to find the name and extension for the staffer responsible for your issue area (like health care, for example). Write it down, then ask to be transferred, as in #4.

 

6. Use the press: Check your smallest local newspaper for the name of a reporter who has recently covered your representative. Call them up (just call the newsroom and ask by name). Ask the reporter if they can recommend a good person who answers their phone at your representative’s office, and a direct extension. Go ahead and mention that the representative is receiving such an earful from local residents that their main lines are all down. They might even take a quote from you and write it up! Let them know if there are any local protests or demonstrations being organized.

 

7. Show up to public meetings: The Indivisible Guide has some excellent info on how to attend meetings and events, so I highly recommend it. But in addition, remember that there are often opportunities to talk one-on-one with your representative or their staff. After a meeting, they will usually be surrounded by a few buddies or other officials. Just stand in that group, lean in and try to make eye contact. It may feel super awkward, but eventually you’ll find an opening to jump in. (I once had to walk with the group all the way to the representative’s minivan and be the last person standing with him in the parking lot, but eventually he DID acknowledge me.) Their staff may be easier to talk to, so introduce yourself and give those folks an earful, too. Also look for local reporters at the event. They love anecdotes about how a national issue affects your family and community.

 

8. Show up at their offices: Be friendly, but firm. Say something like, "I was having trouble getting through on the phone line, and it's really important to me that I register my opinion with [name of specific staff person]." Hold out and don't just leave a message at the desk. If you have a really bad experience (like security kicks you out), call a local newspaper. Again, they LOVE finding a fresh local angle on a national issue. Finally, if you're going to showing up a lot, I recommend making friends with the receptionist! He or she can help you.

Amy Esther is a guest blogger for Daily Grab Back; views do not necessarily reflect those of DGB.

Be Like George Michael and Give with (Careless) Whispers

We were shattered to learn about the December 25th passing of devastatingly talented George Michael. He was an outspoken supporter of LGBTQIA and workers’ rights but did you know that he was also a philanthropist and humanitarian? Several stories are emerging in the wake of his unexpected passing which you can read here and here.

What an amazing way to leave the world - better than he found it. He truly was somebody to love.

Today, please find a person, cause or organization in need of your help and give quietly. As he sang, “From all this gloom life can start anew.” Let’s honor his legacy and work together to start anew.

 

Thanks for Helping Journalism

Hey Grabbers, remember this day when we asked you to go out and buy a print newspaper and also subscribe? Once again, the impact of your grab has been felt. The Washington Post is set to increase their newsroom staff by a whopping 8% and the New York Times has gained over 130,000 new subscriptions since the election. Great work and let's keep supporting REAL journalism.

 

Thank You!

It’s been two weeks since we posted our first Daily Grab Back and we wanted to thank you all so much for sticking with us. We know that it takes time and effort to read and do our Daily Grabs, but when a group combines their efforts, they tend to have a greater effect. We at DGB truly believe in the power of small actions having a real-world impact. Thank you for sticking with us and we look forward to working and growing with you all in the future.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,”- Margaret Mead

 

Update on Standing Rock

Because of all of the brutally difficult, life-threatening work from the members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other protesters who joined them, the Army Corp has denied access to the easement and the pipeline will have to be redirected to a location with less environmental impact. This is a huge and hard-fought win for the Sioux Tribe and we want to stand with them and celebrate today.

We want to express our deep gratitude to the members of the Native American Community, the veterans that stood with them, the Obama Administration, and the Army Corp for working together and taking the correct steps to ensure the right thing was done. We’d also like to thank everyone who did our second ever DGB and called the offices of North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Know that the work is not over and we must continue to Stand with Standing Rock as the President Elect takes office. We must ensure that he respects this decision and he knows how important it is. We also hope that local law enforcement will do it’s best to repair the relationship with the community and work hard to heal wounds.

To stay up to date on all news, as well as learning how to continue to help Standing Rock, regularly check this website http://standwithstandingrock.net/category/news/ and let the people of Standing Rock know that you continue to stand with them.

 

United Day of Women

United Day of Women

 

December 3rd is the United Day of Women and we urge you to join the movement and celebrate the day. The United State of Women is encouraging women across the country to hold an open house strategy session. You can join this strategy session by RSVPing here. https://www.facebook.com/events/405184466538060/

 

What exactly is the United State of Women? Their website details their six pillars:

- Economic Empowerment

- Health and Wellness

- Educational Opportunity

- Violence Against Women

- Entrepreneurship and Innovation

- Leadership and Civic Engagement.

 

At the DGB we strive to support and defend these pillars in all of our Grab Backs.

 

Please join us in shaping the future by taking the pledge to “fight like hell for gender equality, speak out against injustice, hug my people tight, control my own health decisions, stand strong with survivors of sexual violence and harassment, fight to keep immigrant families together, organize against racism in all it’s forms, and never stop fighting for my sisters.” Only together can we Grab Back.

http://www.theunitedstateofwomen.org/fight-like-hell/

 

 

How a Grab is Made

 

At Daily Grab Back (DGB), we promote action. But not just any action. Each DGB begins with a team that identifies pressing issues threatening our world, our democracy, or any group of people who don’t have a voice.  It is important to us that DGBs address both short-term and long-term goals. These can be actionable items for quick results, such as making a call to stop a bill, or they can shine light on an issue with long-term promotion of engaged and active citizenry. Such longer-term impact DGBs will involve things like local education, expansion of media sources, and support of organizations or businesses that give back to our communities.

Once found, the issues are handed off to our crack Research Team, which triages them by urgency. This is a complex task in such turbulent times. Once they analyze the problem thoroughly they consult with specialists in the field whenever possible to help determine what actions will make maximum impact.

After the Research Team is done putting the DGB structure together, they pass the ball to our Writing Team. This team looks it over and tests it out to ensure we are relying on credible sources and conveying accurate information to our participants. They also flesh out and describe the action in a straightforward way that promotes the urgency of the situation.

Once that stage is completed, the DGB goes to our Design Team, which pairs the text of the action to a engaging and creative image. We have talented artists that work hard to ensure our action catches the eye.

The last step occurs when the Social Media Team works their magic and takes a DGB from something you can do to something you can like, post, and easily share with your circle. We post actions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with additional platforms planned for the future. Stay tuned for exciting upcoming actions and more from your partners in the revolution here at the Daily Grab Back!

 

DGB Holiday Shopping Guide

Today marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season and DGB wants to help you shop responsibly and charitably.

 

Your DGB for today is to log into Amazon through smiles.com.amazon for all your regular Amazon purchases. They give .5% of your purchase to a charity of your choice at no extra cost to you, all while you shop in your underwear. Amazon Smile has over one million charities to choose from. We suggest your local ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, or the Human Rights Campaign. We keep ours bookmarked, so we won’t forget to use it this season and all throughout the year. You can also check out Amazon Handmade to support small businesses.

 

If you aren’t an Amazon shopper or you are looking for responsible gift ideas, we have researched and provided a list so you have one less thing to do.

 


Threads 4 Thought: You can find ethical and sustainable clothing for women and men. Their mission is to bring environmental change to the fashion industry.

https://www.threadsforthought.com/

 

Penzeys Spices: They focus on the promotion of kindness and were recently boycotted for speaking out against the racism surrounding the election.

https://www.penzeys.com/

 

Sackcloth & Ashes: For every blanket purchased, they will donate one to your local homeless shelter.

https://www.sackclothandashes.com/

 

Thistle Farms: Started at home for female survivors of abuse, addiction, and sex trafficking, they now sell natural bath and body products and employ residents and graduates of their program.

http://thistlefarms.org/

 

Local businesses owned by people of color: Blackownedbiz.com

 

Locally owned businesses operated by minorities and women: sba8a.com and mwbe.com

 

Your Favorite Local Thrift Store: The best option for taking care of the environment and giving money to a good cause. Recycle, reduce, reuse, and close the loop...sing it with me now.

thriftstores.net

 

 

Activism is not a Competition

  

*update*

see our updated list of similar action sites here

    Because we at DGB never lose sight of our goal to do as much good as we can in all the ways that we can, we are excited to share with you some sites with a similar model. Activism is not a contest. We are always louder together!

 

Political Table Talk

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   Want to show Uncle Trumper that his views have real, negative consequences, but don't want to fight over turkey and gravy? Here at DGB we are fans of evidence-based strategies.  We turned to social scientific researchers and want to share some of their knowledge on what actually works to get people to change their political views.  

 

    Shaming doesn’t work.  Yes, we all want to grab our racist uncle and tell him ‘shame on you’ and ‘look what you did,’ but this is not going to get them to change. In fact, that is the kind of better-than-thou attitude many people find condescending and will immediately reject. Social psychologists often say people who feel threatened are not conducive to change. So let’s talk about what does work.

 

    Personal stories work.  You know how politicians always talk on the campaign trails about a specific person they met with, the challenges they told them about, and how they plan to help them?  Well that is because personalizing a situation in a story is more effective than discussing an issue in the abstract. The problem is that your uncle doesn’t care about some unknown person in a different state whom he’s never met. However, your uncle is more likely to care about how this affects people he knows and likes. Instead of arguing that revoking ACA is a bad idea, tell him about someone in the family with a pre-existing condition and how they are worried they will lose their access to treatment. Give him concrete examples of people he loves who will be affected. Once you’ve told the story, he may go on and keep saying, ‘but ACA is bad’ or ‘the republicans won’t take away the pre-existing conditions clause.’ That's when you can reply, ‘but you understand why Cousin Molly is so worried because if she does lose her coverage, her health is at risk.’

    You’re probably thinking, ‘nah that won’t work,’ but researchers have tried a similar strategy and have found it to have positive effects - even when the people are not personally related or acquainted with each other. In a recent experiment published in Science, David Brookman and Joshua Kalla found that a canvasser talking to a person about transgender rights did not change the minds of those they talked to. But when they sent canvassers that revealed to the person that they themselves were transgender and told them about their personal struggles, the person was able to change their views about transgender rights. They even went back three months later to see if their attitudes had changed back, but they did not. And this was in Florida!

(By the way, if you’re thinking ‘wasn't that research fraudulent?’ the answer is no; the fraudulent study was revealed by the researchers constructing a different fully transparent study.) 

Based on this information, it may make sense for you to think up two or three examples of people who will be impacted by changes the new administration promised and focus the conversation around that. Also remember that at the table your uncle may not have an epiphany and instantly change his mind, but he might go back and think of the issue in a way he didn’t before. Helping people put themselves in other's shoes is one way toward the progress we all want to see.

We hope this helps you in your dinner conversations, and here at the DGB we wish you a happy holiday!