Friday Night Fun and Culture: Emmylou Harris


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Statewide protections for transgender people pass in historic New York vote

Congratulations New Yorkers…

From LGBTQ Nation:

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

As applause broke out in the State Senate, New York has passed a comprehensive package of protections for transgender people, passing the State Assembly 100-40, and the State Senate 42-19. It will now head to governor Cuomo’s desk, where he is expected to sign.

GENDA adds gender identity and gender expression as protected classes in New York’s human rights and hate crimes laws, and prohibits discrimination in several areas, including housing, employment, and public accommodations such as restrooms. The inclusion of these categories also allows for enhanced penalties for crimes against transgender people as a class.

State activists were elated with the passage.

“It is just amazing,” said Luca Maurer. “As a person who has been involved for a very long time, since before the previous SONDA act was prosed and passed, this is amazing news. I’m having a lot of different feelings, but I’m over all I’m feeling overwhelming gratitude. I’m happy I was able to play a small part, but we stand in the shoulder of those who came before us, and the tremendous sacrifices of so many other transgender people before us.

Maurer is the Program Director for The Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services at Ithaca College. For him, this bill is a recognition of the lives transgender people live every day.

GENDA has passed in the state’s Assembly every year since 2008, but has never made it through the Senate, which has been staunchly Republican. Now, with a Democratic majority, the bill has finally been able to move.

The bill passed out of the Senate committee yesterday for the first time, before going to the senate floor today.

The bill, known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), was first introduced in 2003, and has been a part of nearly every legislative session in the state since then.

GENDA grew out of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) bill, which passed in 2003, after protections for gender identity and expression were removed, a point that has frustrated and angered transgender activists for more than a decade.

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Democratic National Committee drops partnership with Women’s March

From The Jewish News Service:

This development comes amid accusations of anti-Semitism within the movement’s leadership, causing many organizations to drop their support of the this year’s march, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19.

By Jackson Richman
January 15, 2019

The Democratic National Committee has dropped its partnership in the Women’s March over anti-Semitism concerns, according to a Democratic source.

This development comes amid accusations of anti-Semitism within the movement’s leadership, causing many organizations to drop their support of the this year’s march, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19. There have been calls for firms to back out.

DNC Deputy Communications Director Sabrina Singh told JNS that although it will not participate in the march, “The DNC stands in solidarity with all those fighting for women’s rights and holding the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers across the country accountable. Women are on the front lines of fighting back against this administration and are the core of our Democratic Party.”

In recent weeks, a number of progressive groups that have withdrawn their support of the march, which was launched in 2017 in protest of the election of President Donald Trump, including, but are not limited to, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, the Human Rights Campaign, Greenpeace, Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance, Coalition Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.

Moreover, local marches, such as in Chicago and New Orleans, have been cancelled.

Jewish organizations such as the Jewish Democratic Committee of America applauded the groups that have scrapped their affiliation with this year’s Women’s March.

“JDCA supports the objectives of the Women’s March and stands with sister marches across the country this weekend,” its executive director, Halie Soifer, told JNS. “At the same time, we welcome the DNC, SPLC, Emily’s List and other organizations’ decision to not sponsor and participate in the Women’s March and take a principled stand against anti-Semitism.”

Women’s March co-leader Tamika Mallory denied any anti-Semitisc accusations, including her support of National of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has an extensive history of making anti-Jewish remarks such as “I’m anti-termite” and that Hitler was “a very great man.”

Mallory said in a Monday appearance on ABC’s “The View” that “we did not make those remarks. What I will say to you is that I don’t agree with many of Minister Farrakhan’s statements.”

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A Jewish Women’s March guide: Which local marches are and aren’t affiliated with the national group, and why

From The Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

By Josefin Dolsten
January 15, 2019

NEW YORK (JTA) — Alyssa Weinstein-Sears and her husband, Joe, try hard to empower their 11-year-old daughter and teach her about being politically involved.

“In the 2016 election, she was very pro-Hillary and I took her into the voting both with me, and I let her push all the buttons. And we think it’s really important for her to stand up for women’s rights,” Weinstein-Sears said.

That’s why the 28-year-old considered taking her daughter with her this year to the Women’s March, either in Washington, D.C., or in Houston, where they live.

But Weinstein-Sears, who works as an educator at Houston’s Holocaust museum, and her daughter will not be attending the march on Saturday after all.

The reason: Weinstein-Sears can’t get on board with a movement whose leaders she feels have failed to adequately condemn anti-Semitism.

“It’s really difficult to be supportive of a movement that has anti-Semitic undertones when I’m trying to raise a strong Jewish daughter,” she told JTA on Monday.

She isn’t alone. In the past year, celebritiesactivists and community leaders — Jewish and otherwise — have said they will not attend the march and called on the national organizers to step down over claims that they have not done enough to disavow anti-Semitism.

It all started when Women’s March co-founder and organizer Tamika Mallory attended a speech by and praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has a long history of making anti-Jewish and homophobic statements. Though the Women’s March organizers eventually disavowed Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism, many believed their response took too long and did not go far enough in denouncing him.

More recently, a report in Tablet said that Mallory and fellow organizer Carmen Perez had made anti-Semitic statements at two Women’s March planning meetings, claims the organizers deny. On Monday, Mallory appeared on “The View,” where she failed to outright condemn Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic comments.

Some Jews also feel uncomfortable by comments made about Israel and Zionism by organizer Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist and outspoken critic of the Jewish state.

A number of organizations have cut ties with the group: The National Council of Jewish Women and the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York, for example, are no longer sponsoring the Washington march.

“In an ideal world we’d love to be able to endorse [the national Women’s March], but in the real world there are concerns,” National Council of Jewish Women CEO Nancy Kaufman told JTA last month as her organization was weighing whether to sign up as a 2019 sponsor.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the prominent liberal political action committee Emily’s List also have stopped supporting the march, the Daily Beast reported last week.

Jeff Migliozzi, a communications assistant at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told JTA that the organization believes “supporting the local communities around us with their marches is of greater priority at this time.” Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam is designated as a hate group by the center.

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Women’s March set to proceed under cloud of controversy

If you march… Make sure the march you join is not one affiliated with Sarsour, Mallory, and Bland.

Louis Farrakhan is not only a vicious Anti-Semite but an anti-LGBT bigot.

From The Guardian UK:

Event on Saturday set to be smaller after several major sponsors withdrew following allegations of antisemitism

in Washington DC
Fri 18 Jan 2019

Just two years after leading the largest recorded protest in US history, the third annual Women’s March on Saturday is set to proceed under a cloud of controversy.

This year’s march is shaping up to be smaller and more splintered than before, after several major sponsors withdrew and local chapters disaffiliated from the central organization which leads it, following allegations of antisemitism.

Leaders were slow to deny and condemn allegations they had made antisemitic comments, and recent reporting has revealed deep ties between top officials and the Nation of Islam, whose leader, Louis Farrakhan, is a notorious antisemite.

Major progressive groups which sponsored the first march in 2017 have quietly withdrawn, including leading unions, environmental groups and women’s organizations. Of the many Jewish groups listed as partners in previous years, only a few remain. The Democratic National Committee, which had previously appeared on a list of 2019 Women’s March sponsors, recently disappeared too.

It’s a major blow for the movement that marked the beginning of the “resistance” in the wake of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential upset, when hundreds of thousands descended on the National Mall in Washington DC, a mass demonstration roughly three times the size of Trump’s own inauguration.

Experts called the 2017 Women’s March the largest single-day protest in recorded US history, with turnout around the country estimated in the millions, and top celebrities and politicians lending their star power to the event. It also presaged the coming of the powerful #MeToo movement which would reshape the culture around the treatment of women at work.

This year, however, the showing is expected to be fractured.

Following a protracted fight over the organization’s leadership, Vanessa Wruble, a Brooklyn-based activist who was pushed out of the organization in 2017, went on to help found another organization called March On, which emphasizes supporting local activists and denouncing antisemitism.

The result is that there will be two major women’s marches taking place on the streets of New York and many other cities around the country on Saturday – the original one, which emphasizes leadership by women of color, and another – March On – formed in opposition to antisemitism.

“Founded by the leaders of many of the marches across the country, March On is women-led, but open to all, and will employ a sophisticated political strategy to coordinate concrete actions at the federal, state, and local level through the joint efforts of millions of marchers,” the March On website states.

Lee Weal, an activist based in New York City, told the Guardian that while she went to the second Women’s March and had been planning to go to the third this year, the group’s ties to Farrakhan put her off.

“If we insist that Trump disavow people like David Duke, you can’t have a different rule for those on the left,” she said, adding she thought leaders were “hurting the movement” by aligning with him.

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The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s

From The New York Times:

Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice.

By Mary Pipher
Dr. Pipher is a clinical psychologist.
Jan. 12, 2019

When I told my friends I was writing a book on older women like us, they immediately protested, “I am not old.” What they meant was that they didn’t act or feel like the cultural stereotypes of women their age. Old meant bossy, useless, unhappy and in the way. Our country’s ideas about old women are so toxic that almost no one, no matter her age, will admit she is old.

In America, ageism is a bigger problem for women than aging. Our bodies and our sexuality are devalued, we are denigrated by mother-in-law jokes, and we’re rendered invisible in the media. Yet, most of the women I know describe themselves as being in a vibrant and happy life stage. We are resilient and know how to thrive in the margins. Our happiness comes from self-knowledge, emotional intelligence and empathy for others.

Most of us don’t miss the male gaze. It came with catcalls, harassment and unwanted attention. Instead, we feel free from the tyranny of worrying about our looks. For the first time since we were 10, we can feel relaxed about our appearance. We can wear yoga tights instead of nylons and bluejeans instead of business suits.

Yet, in this developmental stage, we are confronted by great challenges. We are unlikely to escape great sorrow for long. We all suffer, but not all of us grow. Those of us who grow do so by developing our moral imaginations and expanding our carrying capacities for pain and bliss. In fact, this pendulum between joy and despair is what makes old age catalytic for spiritual and emotional growth.

By our 70s, we’ve had decades to develop resilience. Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. We don’t need to look at our horoscopes to know how our day will go. We know how to create a good day.

We have learned to look every day for humor, love and beauty. We’ve acquired an aptitude for appreciating life. Gratitude is not a virtue but a survival skill, and our capacity for it grows with our suffering. That is why it is the least privileged, not the most, who excel in appreciating the smallest of offerings.

Many women flourish as we learn how to make everything workable. Yes, everything. As we walk out of a friend’s funeral, we can smell wood smoke in the air and taste snowflakes on our tongues.

Our happiness is built by attitude and intention. Attitude is not everything, but it’s almost everything. I visited the jazz great Jane Jarvis when she was old, crippled and living in a tiny apartment with a window facing a brick wall. I asked if she was happy and she replied, “I have everything I need to be happy right between my ears.”

We may not have control, but we have choices. With intention and focused attention, we can always find a forward path. We discover what we are looking for. If we look for evidence of love in the universe, we will find it. If we seek beauty, it will spill into our lives any moment we wish. If we search for events to appreciate, we discover them to be abundant.

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